For a long time, the essay, Modern Sonic: The REAL Problem has been my featured deviation. It has garnered almost universally positive responses (Yes; almost; if everyone was mad at this series, it would have died), and reading positive responses to my work always makes me feel good. Unfortunately, it is also sadly out of date. For a while, my decision to boycott the series following the intolerably-bad Sonic 2006 kept me from updating the rant, but I've had so many people comment on it that I feel I might as well write something new. So to those who corresponded with me in the comments, some of this is review, but everyone else, here is my (and many other people's) new problem with Sonic.
In the heels of Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and Sonic 2006, a lot of the problems facing the series were mechanical; they stemmed from sloppy gameplay issues that could have been solved, but wouldn't, because Sonic wouldn't seem to exert any effort. From there, I complained that every time a game sucked, Sonic Team didn't conclude that they needed to exert more effort, but just that they needed a new idea for a game. I theorized that this was because even though they exerted lots of effort in the Adventure series, there were a lot of negative reactions to certain sorts of gameplay in them, such as mech-shooting and treasure-hunting, and so Sonic Team presumably decided to start making games with less effort, but "better" ideas. This, in turn, meant constant attempts to reinvent the series, with none of them being good, because reinvention in itself takes effort. (Though that wasn't the only reason they were bad).
That was then. Now, there's a new problem: Sonic Team has finally succeeded in reinvention. They've found a formula of gameplay they've stuck with; the boost-to-win type with constant running and grinding, almost no platforming, and frankly, almost no challenge of any kind; as pioneered by Dimps. said something about that, which I found very astute: Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic PS360 were not the worst things to happen to this series, because at the very least, they were so bad that Sonic Team resolved never to repeat such mistakes. In fact, so he held, Dimps was the worst thing to happen to this series, because they pioneered a sort of gameplay that isn't (technically) broken and enough people actually like, and now we'll never hear the end of it.
A major paradigm shift has occurred; I used to think the biggest problem influencing Sonic Team's new decisions was that people complained about them, but now, the problem is that people actually praise their games. Critics have praised Dimps' handheld, 2D games for about as long as they've dissed 3D Sonic gameplay, and so naturally, Sonic Team modeled their new 3D gameplay more and more after that, and naturally, critics have praised new 3D games more and more. Holy shit; people, but you've gone and proved Lenin right: A lie told enough does become the truth, or at least come as close as makes no difference. They, their critics, and presumably whoever still buys their dreck, have fully been subsumed in the myth that Sonic's roots consist of playing only as Sonic, and only running through Hot Wheels sets, and only mind-numbingly simple stories, and by that mistaken standard, they've concluded they finally have gotten back to their roots.
So what now? Some people look on Sonic Colors and Sonic Lost Worlds and conclude that Sonic Team is finally showing some ambition again, and doing something new; something other than speeding through slight-obstacles. Perhaps, and indeed, I can't imagine Sonic games getting much more boring than the Dimps mold they were stuck in, but look closely at what their big innovations are. I take one look, and can only see Mario. They've jacked Mario's powerup mechanic for Sonic Colors, and now, on top of bringing that back for Sonic Lost Worlds, they're also jacking the orbital gravity mechanic from Super Mario Galaxy. Now; I don't necessarily hate "clone" games the way some people do, and of course I like Mario, but the issue is that all of this stuff is being shoved in at the expense of stuff that was established, and it's all because Sonic Team believes they've brought back everything of value from the past; no unfinished business. So they're giving Sonic powerups that let him fly and dig, despite him having close friends who already can do that without powerups, and despite a large, and (with some people, at least) popular supporting cast, instead of using them, they've gone and put in a bunch of new characters that look like they were ripped from a seasonal Dreamworks movie.
This is the sort of shit I've seen before with too many series, and I wrote about it a long time ago. bahmo.deviantart.com/art/Reinv… Once again, however, the issue with Sonic Team has changed. Before, they just forgot what made them great; now they remember it incorrectly. They don't think they've cockslapped their fanbase, but they have. Just because you aren't adding stupid things like guns, lycantrhopy, and swords to your games anymore does not mean that they're in better standing; you need to start paying attention to the good things you removed.