So I’m watching the Giant Bomb Quick Look of Sonic Lost World. It’s coming out at the end of the month and as a big Sonic fan, I wanted to check out the latest in the series since I wouldn’t be able to play it since I don’t have a Wii U. Almost immediately, I noticed an issue with the gameplay that has plagued Sonic game for some time now: inertia. When Sonic runs and jumps and you let go of the analog stick or d-pad, Sonic loses the forward momentum he had while running way too quickly.
One of the main problems that many people have with the recent Sonic games is the issue that Sonic doesn’t “feel” right as you control him. What I think the issue boils down to is the physics. The physics with Sonic are completely unrealistic in the new games. It’s not even believable from a cartoon perspective. Not that Sonic had realistic physics but it did have physics based in reality.
In the old Genesis Sonic games, Sonic didn’t speed away as soon as you started moving and couldn’t reach full speed just from running normal. It took time and full speed could only be reached from a downward slope or a speed pad. Also, the kind of speed you got from running as opposed to being curled up in a ball is different. Being in a ball made Sonic feel more loose while on foot had a sense of resistance to it. In recent games, it’s much easier to gain full speed and there’s only one kind of speed. The problem with this is there’s no attention to traction in the recent Sonic games, making it difficult to control and providing no distinction between running and rolling.
When Sonic runs and cuts left and right, the control is very loose and you lose that feeling of control. Sonic should curve left and right more as you can’t normally move that quickly to the left and right if you’re running on your feet. You have too much traction on your feet to be able to do that. Sonic could if he’s curled up into a ball as he then controls more like something on wheels but not on foot. When someone is running and wants turn left, right or even around, they run in a U shape in order to do it. Sonic should do the same. Other way is if you want to cut in a different direction quickly, you need to reposition your feet in the direction you want to go. This can be achieved with a little hop or a quick stop. Either way, there’s a brief moment where you’re not moving at all. That moment would be enough to gain your bearings and know what direction you’re going.
Finally, the issue I mentioned at the beginning of the post. For some reason, Sonic loses forward momentum when you change direction in mid-air. Now this is unrealistic and there’s no real realistic way to fix this. In real life, if you jump in one direction, that’s the direction you’re going. You can’t change it in midair. However, in previous Sonic games and in Mario games as a matter of fact, you could change the direction you’re going but only to an extent. Forward momentum from when you jumped is still taken into consideration and if you’re going fast, you can only slow down your approach in midair, not change the direction entirely.
The issues with Sonic Lost World are nothing new in the Sonic franchise but I thought I would point out the issues that have haunted the series since Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. These are the issues that need to be fixed for the Sonic series to truly return to its glory days.