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Old 02-13-2020   #42
Gunla
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So I've gotten done with playing CyberDime now with Sonic & Metal Sonic. Obviously some stuff changed here and there since the classic levels were removed from the main campaign (I played Sonic on the original campaign rotation and Metal on 1.1's, though I ended up actually doing the former second) but some stuff overall to say before diving into particular zones:

Spoiler: General Remarks
  • The original zones compared to the reimagined zones feels quite jarring as is. I think these reimagined zones work better as separate mods but compared to the full package they feel off, and having them in the main campaign made things feel quite too long. This isn't focusing on their quality but to an extent they feel like a different collection.
  • Continuing on the above, but several boss fights end up being reused this way, namely being the GFZ and THZ bosses. Even with the classic levels gone from the main campaign, there is still reused bosses and it kind of sticks out a bit.
  • Some of the earlier zones definitely feel more polished and fleshed out than the later zones.
  • A lot of the walling for some of your levels seems to stick out quite a bit, there's moments where the walling seems to contradict other parts of the map (a significant instance is after the road with the houses in Chilly Cliffs Act 2)
  • There are still several drops of faith/blind jumps that aren't properly telegraphed for being safe. This was mostly a problem in Shrewd Blizzard 2, for instance, where there are these drops and also death pits present in the level.
  • I think for the most part, not really enough was done to make the bosses feel fresh when they were taken from the main game (and ERZ3 boss), and in some cases the pinch phase just sort of feels moot (Fang in particular) or the boss ends up feeling too wieldy with how it was changed (Eggscalibur). I do think it's neat that basically all of the bosses got incorporated but I don't think what was done to make them unique made them entirely winners; this is definitely more opinionated though. Is there a reason why the boss acts require you to pick up rings? While it makes sense for the ones that don't start you in the arena, for the others I think it was a fantastic change made for 2.2 and not having that feels like a step backwards.


Some more specifics on each of the zones:
Spoiler: Zones

CAMPAIGN ZONES
  • Shoal Coast is alright; Crum on the previous page sort of hit the nail on the head with what the issues are. That last slope before the end feels arbitrary and could use some reworking since you're throwing Hive Elementals immediately at the player too.
  • Sunrise Uplands is pretty solid, I think this level definitely feels like the pack starts on a pretty good note and is the best zone in the pack. It's a Green Hillsy aesthetic but it definitely feels visually polished. Not really much bad to say since I think it was fine overall.
  • Chilly Cliffs Act 1 felt pretty good for the most part, but I think some of the issues with the pack overall start to show here - things are very horizontal and wide, in some cases quite wide open. The Emerald Hunt in Act 2 is fine, if a bit too wide open as well. The boss for the zone doesn't really fit here though since it's the THZ boss. The zone still feels pretty visually polished and I do like it a lot.
  • Nightlight Gully is alright, but Act 1 feels too short compared to the rest of the maps here (though in most other cases I think it's fine?) Act 2 starts throwing several of the drops without a whole lot of line leading for players. Some of the visuals here feel polished via the 2.2 textures but a lot of the wood textures and visuals feel like they're in need of a touch-up. The GFZ boss shows up again, which coming so soon after Sunrise feels kind of jarring. It does tread a bit too closely with Sunrise Uplands for having 2 grass themed levels already.
  • Molten Tunnels, namely Act 1, starts to sort of creep in the "SRB2 but slightly different map philosophy" issue that ends up being present with other maps later on. Too many of the dropoffs are present here for players, though. Act 2 pulls from more zones, though it feels like there's not a whole lot of committal from it when it wants to pull inspiration from Lava Reef Act 2 or if it wants to be Egg Rock with how those textures are pulled. This level is also really wide open at times and feels kind of easy to get lost if you weren't playing a character without some form of a hover or vertical gain. I don't like how the Eggscalibur was implemented, I think the holes are too specific and it isn't really indicated to the player how to progress, imo - I would have locked off the upper section until the pinch phase to prevent the player from getting misled
  • Barren Valley is pretty visually interesting, I dig the aesthetic - but I think it takes the name too far in that it is really wide open in some areas and you're just sort of moving around and there's too much stop and go with how the platforming sections generally force you to slow down. Act 2 fares a bit better with this but it still feels visually... lacking, even if it feels polished visually.
  • Shrewd Blizzard feels alright - there's moments where the zone definitely feels like it has some sauce to it but there's a lot of the blind dropoffs again. In particular, there's a moment in Act 1 where you're climbing up raw snow texture and there's a huge hole that puts you back at the floor and it blends in too much. Felt like a bad "gotcha" moment. Act 2, as mentioned before, both has the drops and some death pits which I don't think was a great call, and the floating platforms at the end feel off since they're only in that part of the zone. I'd probably have said to just make them solid plats since it feels out of place. The other thing is, since it's the Frozen Hillside enemies, it's fairly benign, and for something around here, it probably should have some more threatening foes to it.
  • Techno Trouble feels dated. Many of the elements here feel like things Techno Hill did already and it didn't really feel that special for Act 1 or 2. In particular, seeing that the turret gimmick was recreated here without any major new quirks to it felt kind of concerning to one of my overall problems with the pack, in that it feels afraid to branch off and try some wild stuff. The boss is already used once in the pack, but for better and worse, it fits better here.
  • Dark Woods felt like Forest Fortress stretched into two acts, with it playing with the idea of being a castle sometimes. The map is a bit too wide open, and some of the switch puzzles felt tacked on and unnecessary (especially the one at the end of Act 1). Not a fan of the boss at all for what reasons others described, it feels like I'm suddenly fighting a decaffeinated bullet hell boss.
  • Dry Gulch felt like a benign Arid Canyon without a whole lot of verticality to it, and it's quite flat compared to other levels in the pack. I liked the temple sections in Act 2 and wish it was more of that since it felt pretty fresh. As for the boss, the arena itself significantly weakened the impact of the pinch phase for Fang since the arena is already wide open. I think something should be altered to make that pinch really matter, since now it's just a small stipulation instead of a bigger one.
  • Desolate City is a fresher concept, but visually, this map feels on the older side of things. The goop hurts you in this level compared to Techno Trouble as well, and there's parts in the underground that use a lot of clashing textures in Act 1 (stuff from Deep Sea, Techno Hill, and Egg Rock) Many of the open ended areas for jumps make this map feel like it was meant predominantly for thok or boost mode. The changes to the Metal fight mean you aren't really able to cheese it as much, but that feels like a marginal change at most.
  • CyberDime feels quite short compared to the rest of the maps. The first act is a good take on the Emerald levels with the 3 open ended sections connected by the teleporter. The second act just sort of feels like a few corridors and area to lead up to the ERZ boss and the way this was changed does not feel quite good, it was very frustrating early on to deal with. I actually REALLY liked Act 3, I'm a bit of a sucker for those type of review in bite-sized chunk levels and I think most of the chunks are pretty short but nice overall, except maybe the Desolate City one's wall should come down a bit faster. As for the boss, I don't think opening up the arena like that was great since it basically gives you an even larger chance of getting knocked off by Brak and leaves it more up to RNG to let the cyberdemon walk cycle not screw you over.

REIMAGINED ZONES
  • Green Hills is Green Hills. I don't think the boss works too well in 3D but the zone overall is fairly benign. Not really anything bad, but it does feel a bit out of place with so many grass zones already.
  • Bridge Zone, pretty identical thoughts. It's fine but I don't think its place is here, nor does the GFZ boss fit it.
  • Unfortunately, I think Marble Zone as a concept in general doesn't really work. The Gargoyles are a guessing game to figure out which one is the right one and it doesn't feel enjoyable. The lack of visual variety can cause players to not know where they are and get too lost, but the sub is neat to actually have here.
  • Some parts of how you progress in the spring sections of Hidden Palace, namely just clipping through floors, seems kind of haphazard. The boss doesn't really telegraph when you need to attack him either, which is not terribly friendly to players.


Spoiler: Overall remarks/thoughts/suggestions
  • One thing this pack absolutely does well is make me really enjoy utilizing boost mode and similar speed mechanics. A lot of the levels are almost too wide open and with characters without this, things are definitely a bit more on the slower side. I tried a few zones with Neo Sonic as well and things felt really good playing as him. I can see Amy being pretty solid for some of these zones, but for the most part without thok or boost mode some of these definitely feel like they'd drag on.
  • Good music choice overall. Pretty great tunes in here.
  • Some of the Emerald Hunt levels feel more like regular levels retooled into being Emerald Hunt and thus they feel a bit too linear.
  • The reimagined Sonic zones probably could be better suited for a separate release or included as future bonus levels if any sort of unlockables are implemented.
  • Without that boost mode, too many of these levels feel long, and with such a big pack as is and seemingly more zones on the way, I think a few of the levels can be trimmed down, especially in the horizontal side of things. Too many maps feel like you're going forward lots of the time and not really up unless it's for a rising setpiece only for you to go down again. I see later on in the pack you used more teleporters to mask this a bit which can help but they're mostly textured like death pits and don't always have a clear indicator that they're teleporters.
  • This pack is already quite long as is; it definitely feels like a quantity over quality issue and I think I'd rather see some of these zones get fixed up and get some polish.
  • Another issue I think that kind of hurts this pack overall... to make an analogy, it sort of feels like, if SRB2 was a LEGO set for a sedan, CyberDime is remaking that car into a limo. It's still a car at the core, but it's just a bit longer. Much of this pack feels a bit too benign in some cases and I think more should be branched out and new ideas could be explored, since many of the setpieces from later levels feel like ideas seen in SRB2 as is and in some cases have less than their V2.2 counterparts. Doubling up on grass zones and snow zones further also feels like a bit much for the current campaign.

Last edited by Gunla; 02-13-2020 at 08:46 AM.
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