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Sonic The Hedgehog Rant: Love it or Hate it Up to Eleven

Last posted Apr 13, 2014 at 05:56AM EDT. Added Apr 13, 2014 at 02:57AM EDT
6 posts from 5 users

Okay, I have a bad feeling this will get locked, not have very many views, or will be moved somewhere else, but time for my rant anyway, and take a seat, this one’s a LOOOOONG one.

Okay so, the Sonic series, a.k.a, one of the most divisive gaming franchises ever spawned. I honestly like this series a lot, hell, one of my first four video games was Sonic Heroes. However, as tons of people know, this series is essentially both the love and the bane of the internet. Some forums are dedicated to how GREAT and AWESOME the games are (I’m praying you caught the sarcasm) and others are dedicated to exposing the game for what a ‘mess’ it truly is… or is it?
So of course, the Sonic the Hedgehog series has gained a huge reputation for not only its ridiculously fast gameplay, but also for its splintered fanbase, atmospheric soundtracks, and what will inevitably be posted in the comments:

Now, the gameplay, as most know, its a ripping fast adventure through colorful environments that throughout the series cannot seem to make up its mind on whether it wants to be realistic or in some fantasy world. Already a divide is made here, as many may see the dramatic changes in the environments as somewhat jarring considering the fact that half the time, it is a romp through imagination and the other half its essentially an alternate Earth with loop-de-loops and rails. This can prove problematic as the huge shifts in aesthetic can end up proving to be hard to get used to, but ignorance can be bliss at times and in the end it is all subjective.
Then you’ve got the series itself. It has had its ups and downs, with some instant classics such as Generations, Rush, and the Adventure series, it had horrible games such as Secret Rings, Labyrinth, Free Riders, and… (shudder) that hellspawn that shall not be named… and had, again, divisive games such as Riders, Unleashed (Which in my opinion is freaking awesome), Heroes (of course) and the upcoming Sonic Boom. Overall, these games have retrieved both the love and hate of thousands as these games end up being either Critic Snark Bait, Fan Nemeses, Fan Favorites, or something in complete limbo in between.
These games all have their strong points (Except… oh god), and they all have weak points. The Adventure series was grand and lived up to its name, being a riveting adventure every time. However these games were plagued with terrible camera angles, touchy controls, and tough-to-get-used-to graphics, even for the times they were released. These games had their easy to identify strong points, mainly music and gameplay, but the bad was just as simple to see, such as the original adventure’s numerous glitches and downright weird voice acting that would be excusable, but is lessened by the fact that Metal Gear Solid came out two months before on a less powerful console and still had believable voice acting. Not to mention the schizophrenic difficulty that seemed to flip between piss-easy and Battletoads-hard. The fact that these games are essentially the very essence of the Sonic series to most of the fanbase, however, is fairly easy to understand. But it is just… well… flawed. The games were enjoyable, but when the novelty wore off, IT WORE OFF, and at times you’d go entire months forgetting the games even existed. Overall, good but the massive amounts of a little thing called ‘preference’ make it, well, FLAWED.
Now for the gameplay, which again is difficult to describe. You essentially roll around at the speed of sound and the entire focus is to make it to the goal ASAP. This is, again,a touchy subject, as various people would come to state that the gameplay of these games is excellent and an equally various group would immediately argue. The games are all a test of reflexes and quick-thinking, but this can easily become an issue for those who are more used to slow, steady gameplay as opposed to being a blue comet screeching down a stage. For those with quick reflexes, the games are a good challenge, as they improve your ability to think on your feet while actively trying not to become a bloody pancake smashed into the wall thanks to your own speed, but for those with more strategic mindsets, they can find this series an utter bore, as you have little to no reason to plan ahead and you can mindlessly bowl through whatever is giving you trouble with little thought, if only the time window is short. Again, very subjective, and not for everyone. The games can either feel like a roaring blast through the world at ludicrous speeds or no better than Mindless Shooting of Duty: Rehash in that you essentially never have to plan ahead for an encounter and instead just use your reflexes or experiments to find weaknesses in bosses and enemies. Again… just, FLAWED.
Speaking of bosses and enemies, they can be either tedious or very fun.
Throughout the series you are constantly greeted by baddies that you have to wipe out with your speed or whatever strange gameplay mechanic is being debuted, all while trying not to die on your own. Simple in theory, right? Well, it depends. Some bosses are just like the infamously fast paced levels, and are just as fast, if not faster. Others are clunky and slow and really leave a mark on the game’s value. A crowning example of this would be Sonic Unleashed, where some bosses you face going at Mach 2 speeds while others you face off with paws and claws to whatever icky darkness they’re souped up with. These changes can be kind of jarring despite the reasonable time given to prepare, as you may end up wishing you never had to worry about that specific boss and rather fight a boss corresponding to the opposite time of day. Of course this leads to yet another impasse as one will likely favor a certain type of boss style and overall feels disappointed by any others, and dampen the experience for them. Simply put, subjective. It all depends on how you feel towards that game’s gameplay and style and how you compare it to others. This easily leads to various differing opinions as to why one boss would be tough to one person and that same boss would cost no effort to another. The sheer amounts of arguments this can cause is headache inducing to think about. So that would explain the splintered opinions from a gameplay standpoint, but what about others?
The characters are also hard to generally agree on. To some they are endearing and are fun little additions and to others they are annoying and unnecessary. Another impasse is created due to the sheer fact that everyone has their own opinion as to what traits are likable and what traits are unlikable. For example, Amy Rose could be an adorable, smitten teen to one person and a psychotic yandere on the level of Gasai to another person. One guy could find Sonic cool and relatable and another guy could see him as an obnoxious prick. Again, subjective. (See a pattern yet?)
We aren’t done yet. Obviously, there is too much to talk about in a single post, but I will try to fit in one more subject before we close up and debate. Now, as we all know, the series itself has earned the ire of many internet gamers like Egoraptor, but also gained the approval of just as many others. Why is this? Well, of course, I’m no mind reader, so i can’t exactly tell you why EXACTLY one would hate or love the series. But again, I will try. To many gamers, the series may seem childish and overbearing of itself, not really deserving of its status. Many would question: ‘How the hell did this get popular?’ The answer is simple: Because it is VERY SUBJECTIVE. (Big fat pattern here somewhere…) The series can appeal to some while being completely shit to another. All of the games have good points and bad points, its when someone only sees a single side that things begin to get rough.
The series overall can seem like either an imaginative romp through excellent worlds with great characters and gameplay with kicking music or just a bland and clunky rush through an annoying and crappy world where you get punished for even the slightest screw up. Sometimes the games are extremely fun and the impression lasts long enough to overshadow the crap, but if someone manages to see the shit side of the platter and see it as a blemish on everything overall, its easy to develop a negative opinion.Its when you refuse to see either side that you start looking stupid. Paying attention only to flaws ends up making you look like a pretentious and self-righteous douche that acts as if anything he thinks is good is perfect whereas if you pay attention only to the good you end up looking like a dumb blind sheep who would gladly accept any shit thrown at your face. In the end, the only way to truly get a good grip of the series is to see both sides for what they are, SUBJECTIVE. Even now, Sonic remains a gaming mainstay that deserves many accolades and many rotten tomatoes, but the truth is, it has the potential to be a lot more popular to many, if only the flaws were worked on more and focused on actually being erased. In the end we’ve got a great series that could easily compete with Mario, but the absurd amount of flaws in this series are the driving factor that divides the entire gaming community. All I can say is, if you like it, you like it, and if you hate it, you hate it. End of story. The true reason for all of the division is the sheer amount of subjectivity that comes bundled with these games and ends up creating at hard to love but hard to hate game series.
(Rant over)


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