In September, I wrote a post about the kind of game I think would make for an excellent comeback for Crash Bandicoot. With the Sonic Boom games coming out soon, I thought it would be an opportune time for me to talk about the kind of Sonic game I think Sega should make, and I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time.
Let me start by saying that I don’t want another Sonic 4, or another Sonic Lost World. What I really want is “Sonic Adventure 3”, the game I’ve been longing to see made for nearly a decade now. Sonic Unleashed tried a contemporary take on the Sonic Adventure formula, but it failed miserably. The Sonic game I’d make would adopt a similar approach to Sonic Adventure 2, complete with a trip back to the game’s style, but probably with better voice acting.
In that game, you had two story modes, each with different levels tailored to a specific character. Sonic and Shadow had the high-octane speed levels, Tails and Dr. Eggman had the mecha-shooter levels, and Knuckles and Rogue had the treasure hunting levels. All of these levels were done very well (for the most part), so I was always baffled by the fact that Sonic Team never implemented the different gameplay styles again after Sonic Adventure 2, especially since there was a genuine difference in each character’s gameplay style. They were going for something like what I’m talking about in Sonic 2006, but they botched it in a veritable orgy of terrible game design.
While I would like a game that played like Sonic Adventure 2, I somehow get the feeling that having two story modes might seem redundant nowadays, so I have an idea on how multiple characters can be made playable. Some missions could be playable as certain characters, depending on the context of the story. The following characters should be playable:
- Sonic, whose levels should be based on speed and acrobatics
- Tails, whose levels should take advantage of his flying abilities
- Knuckles, whose levels should be based on treasure hunting
- Amy, whose levels should be based on puzzle solving
- Shadow, whose levels are based on high-speed combat, incorporate both melee combat and firearms (yes, I liked the guns!)
Of course, I mainly suggest this because I’m getting very fed up with Sonic Team devaluing the other characters, and would love to be able to play as the other characters again, and since some of my favourite Sonic games from my childhood let you play as other characters, the fact that you can’t in newer games is really annoying.
Now let’s address another important issue. Hub worlds have so far appeared in every Sonic game since 2006, and half the time, they’re done the completely wrong way. If you want an example of the hub worlds done right, look back to Sonic Adventure, where there are three hub worlds, and you use them to access the action stages. It couldn’t be simpler. If you want an example of the wrong way to do it, look no further than Sonic Unleashed (not counting the notorious load times of Sonic 2006), where to you have to look around for clues in order to advance the plot, and to unlock levels that further progress the story, you have to backtrack and collect Sun and Moon medals like an idiot (even worse on the Wii version, which pretty much requires you to get the S rank for maximum medals).
Instead of that, let’s go back to basics. Like in Sonic Adventure, there would be hub worlds, but instead of three large hub worlds, let’s have several smaller hub worlds. This, I feel, would make the gameplay simpler, while still giving you a lot to do, and I think I know how to stretch the game out further. In my opinion, Sonic Team needs to resurrect two things – emblems and the All A-Rank challenge (which in this case would be the All S-Rank challenge). I felt that emblems made the game worth playing for longer, especially since they had actual rewards in the Chao World (which I’ll mention later), and they gave a reason for you to actually attempt the All A-Rank challenge, which believe me, was damn near impossible (to the point that I never managed to complete it).
Next, let’s talk about about the Chao World. If we’re going to make a Sonic Adventure 3, the one inevitable addition is the Chao World, where you can raise Chao. The Chao minigames (Chao Race and Chao Karate) came with their own emblems, meaning that it wasn’t completely pointless to have this mode. I don’t really have any problems with the Chao World. I just felt it should be included.
Finally, let’s talk about the music. The Sonic Adventure games had a clearly rock-oriented soundtrack, but there was quite a variety of musical styles tailored for each playable character. Since 2010, however, this had been replaced by the soulless electronic pop of Cash Cash, and the shockingly bland orchestral songs that try and fail to evoke the feeling of Super Mario Galaxy (which Sonic Lost World stole from quite conservatively). Rather than this approach, I suggest a return to the rock-oriented soundtrack of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s (in other words, Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, and Sonic Heroes), mainly because it’s perfect for the style of the Sonic games (or at least it was back then).
At this point, I seem quite biased in favour of the Gamecube era Sonic games, but that’s because I’ve been waiting for Sonic Adventure 3 since I was eleven (I was also waiting for the next real successor to Sonic 3, but I guess that’s not happening). My expectations would naturally have been soaring in the heavens back then, and as a Sonic fan, I still have high expectations that are repeatedly disappointed year after year. I know that Sega got it right with Sonic Generations, but will Sega ever get it right again? Will the Sonic franchise’s credibility be restored, or is it doomed to just be an object of nostalgia, lost beneath the cracks of an evolving industry?