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buying ablities to better gameplay?

Rey Skywalker-Ren

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 I thought back to my first Sonic game, Sonic the Hedgehog 360, and I thought about when I can buy the ablity jewels in the market and it gave me moves like mach speeds and others.

What if this was in all the games and you can buy items to make your character much more fun to play as? And you dont need to force to buy them? Like if you have enough rings, buy the mach gem to make Sonic or whoever you are playing as faster or:

boost gem: gives any character the boost
homing gem: gives any character to do the homing attack
power braclet: makes moves 50% more powerful
ring dash gem: make any character dash along the trails of rings

some ideas but it can help to make the player's experiance with a character better.


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I don't think "unlock the ability to make the game more fun" is a good way of putting it, haha. I think unlockable abilities are a fun way to keep the game engaging over the course of the story, however. I liked how in Sonic Adventure 2 and Unleashed you were always getting new abilities to play with.

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Sonic Generations had a store that allowed you to buy different skill sets as well, and while I thought it was fairly intuitive, I honestly don't like the concept of buying skills.  For starters, it makes no sense.  How do you buy the ability to do something?  I know it's just a game, but it sort of sucks out the immersion.  If I could buy skills I would be able to do a lot of things I normally couldn't.  Second, it means that obtaining these skills boils down to repeating levels over and over until you get the amount of rings necessary, similar to how Sonic Rush Adventure, though an otherwise great game, boiled down to repeating the same stages to get different material after the final boss.  That's just not fun.


SA1 and SA2/SA2B were a step in the right direction as far as obtaining skills go.  They're found in upgrade items scattered across Adventure Fields and Action Stages.  That's an okay mechanic and all, but it sort of loses its charm when you realize it was only added to prevent you from accessing a stage that isn't yet relevant to the story.  Thus, it means that your ability to access a level is not based on skill, but based on rather or not the programmers want you to, and that is also not fun.


Ideally, I think new skills should be unlocked as a result of performing different moves that pertain to it, which is why alternative paths work so well.  Unlocking skills based on the mechanics you use most often would not only make the gameplay seem to flow logically but also give you a sense of progression as you slowly become more capable of performing different tasks.  For example, say that there are some paths which make use of the Light Speed Dash more than others.  After using the Light Speed Dash enough times, you gain a skill that makes it easier to do and/or doubles the amount of rings you gain as a result of performing the action.  That would be pretty cool, in my opinion.


I'm not against the concept of commerce in a Sonic game.  I just feel that they shouldn't be used for obtaining new skills.  Having items that you can buy which allow you to use different skills more efficiently or allow you to access different areas (to an extent) is pretty nice, but buying skills just always seemed pointless to me.  Especially since half the time the skills are completely unnecessary to completing the game or even making the game easier.

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The way I see it, from the designers' perspective there's only four reasons to use upgrades:

1. To make the player feel like they are constantly making progress.  A lot of iphone and flash games are built around getting you to endlessly farm currency to buy upgrades, and that's pretty much all there is to those games.  Personally, I find this method to be a bit shameful, as it gives little real substance to your game.


2.  A reward for doing something special.  Just look back to Super Sonic in the genesis games, and you'll know exactly what I mean.  The extra ability is a way to say "Good Job, you conquered this."


3. To introduce gameplay mechanics over time.  Sonic Adventure 2 did this well.  On my play through I had Sonic as a simple run and jump character, but later gained the light dash, bounce, etc.  As these new skills came in I learned how to use them one a time and was happy with them.  Later I showed a friend the game, and he had much more trouble than I did.  I already had all the abilities, and being able to do so many things at once was sensory overload.  He kept accidentally bouncing and light-dashing all over the place, and it was not pretty.


4. To act as markers of progress.  They are keys, in other words.  This is a central mechanic of the Metroid series.  For example, receiving the grapple beam allows you to swing across gaps.  You could not have previously crossed that gap without the grapple beam, but now that you beat the boss you can.  In this way, the grapple beam acts as a key to a sort of locked door and makes sure you progress through the game in the order the designers intended.  (though in an interesting way.)


Really, Sonic games are not the "upgrade" sort of game for the most part.  Number 2 and 3 are really the only ones well suited the series.  I plain just don't like #1, and #4 is best kept to open games where you choose or figure out your own path.

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Eh, I dunno. Buying abilities to improve gameplay that should already be good doesn't sound ideal to me.


I guess I'd be okay with buying stuff that adds to the gameplay, though, like the shields in Generations.


...just as long as we're not talking real money. Then it's microtransactions and that's no good.

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I think buying upgrades or a better version of a skill/power-up you got could work. Instead of buying the bounce bracelet, you find a worn out, previously used bounce bracelet on the floor that gets the job done but isn't very versatile. Later on, after getting the basics of it down, you could buy a newer model with more features and utilities such as breaking iron crates, dealing more damage to bosses/big enemies, or bouncing higher. Also, some items could realistically be bought in stores. The Light Speed Shoes or Crystal Ring look(keyword is look) like items you could buy in an everyday store. The skill gains could be advertised beforehand in a flier somewhere early game before you need to use them. For example, after seeing a flier or poster early on in-game, Sonic could find a trail of rings suspended in the air that leads to a Chaos Emerald or something important to the story and realize that he needs the Light Speed Shoes in order to get up there.

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