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Sonic Mania Is A Stellar Bit of Blast Processing

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Last year, I was at ground zero of Sonic the Hedgehog - the Sonic 25th Anniversary party in San Diego. Yeah, the one with the awkward silences and broken livestream. It wasn't the disaster some made it out to be, and honestly, Crush 40 was pretty sick in concert. Still, there was a whole lot there I couldn't muster a single fuck about, and the communal chili dog station was kind of nasty, if we're being honest.

I digress. There were two major takeaways that night, for me. Firstly, the reveal of the game that would come to be known as Sonic Forces, during which an enthused fan punched me in the shoulder and almost prompted me to curbstomp him on the spot. Secondly, the debut of Sonic Mania, which happened while I was outside in a line that wrapped all the way around the building. Later on in the evening, I actually got my hands on it, and liked what I played. It felt like Sonic on the Genesis, straight-up. Sure, I questioned the necessity of making another game of that, but…

Sonic Jam - "Sonic Heroes" (2003)

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"What goes up, must come down," croons Johnny Gioeli in the opening cinematic of Sonic Heroes. Those words ring true for the game's star. Sonic's heyday was over. The Dreamcast was dead. Sega was struggling to put out relevant games as a third-party developer. Sonic and Sega, those tragic, star-crossed figures with fates too entangled for their own good, were in a bad place. At the very least, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle had done well enough as an early Gamecube exclusive to give them time to pump money into another Sonic game.

With the Adventure formula doing well enough for Sonic Team, they decided that 3D was the route they wanted to keep taking with the franchise. And on paper, all the pieces for a good game were there. A plot that involved teams of different Sonic characters racing against each other, coupled with diverging campaigns that offered potential twists on the gameplay, depending on who the player chose. It would be done on a new generation of consoles, …

Overrated Is Overrated

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There's a hot piece going around Twitter right now about Breath of the Wild. It's about 7,035 words long and has a header image that says "independent thought alarm" (edgy!) It is, for all intents, a Bad Take (tm), and reads more like an angry screed about why Breath of the Wild is bad because it's not like games that came out over a decade ago. Fun. I'm not going to link it because game journalism thrives on your clicks, and that's one take that doesn't deserve them. Go read some Waypoint or GamesCriticism.org. Go watch some hbomberguy, Joseph Anderson, or Matthewmatosis. Support something that's earned it. Support decent sites. Love yourself.

On the same token, it's bad form to be a contrarian jackass and tear apart someone's argument. I hate it when people do that, because it just seems so petty. Sure, I think the piece is pretty poor across the board, and I think the take is pretty bad, and I think evoking Strunk, White, and Chekov ar…

Sonic Jam - "Sonic Adventure 2" (2001)

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Ask just about anyone, and they'll tell you that Sonic Adventure 2 is the best 3D Sonic game. Some might even tell you that it's the best Sonic game, period. They'll cite running away from a truck through Not-San Francisco and skating down city streets on a piece of metal. They'll start singing the words to "Escape from the City" and "Live and Learn." Rightfully so, too. Those are great sequences and some great tracks. But there's something else about those bits.

You can see them in the first 15-20 minutes of the game. Even the first 10.

You don't really hear people chat much about the rest of Sonic Adventure 2. Maybe they'll chat a bit about Shadow's introduction, or start rapping about Knuckles not chuckling, or show you some titty fan art of Rouge the Bat. But you don't hear most people who remember the game fondly talk about the rest of it. It's mainly relegated to that one level and those two songs, at least from my exp…

Sonic Jam - "Sonic Shuffle" (2000)

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I really want to write about Sonic Adventure 2, you know. I have a lot of thoughts on that game. How it's a letdown after the breath of fresh air of the first game. How it introduced a lot of the problems that would lead to people hating Sonic. How all the praise for it is honestly overblown, and people who call it the best 3D Sonic title are, really, just wrong. So many thoughts, honestly.

But I can't share those with you right now. Why? Because Sega decided, seventeen years ago. to make my life harder. They did this by releasing Sonic Shuffle. Not only did they do this, though, but they decided to stuff it to the brim with content. So, in order to talk about it, I had to play way more of it than I would've liked. Hilariously, it's probably the longest time I've spent with a game for this column so far, outside of Sonic Chronicles. Yeah, I played that one in advance. Sue me.

It's unfortunate, then, that Sonic Shuffle is basically what happens when bad intenti…

Breaking Up With Overwatch

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One of my good friends has been playing Hearthstone since the game launched, practically. He's sunk hours upon hours into it, not to mention hundreds of bucks. Yet not a week passes that he doesn't somehow drag the game. From bad drop rates to useless expansions to the fact that the client itself is buggy and prone to crashing, he has a laundry list of complaints. He still plays, but most of his time is spent in DOTA 2 (a game he's also hate-played for about 2.5k hours,) and the release of each new expansion is met not with excitement, but with dread for how Blizzard's going to screw it up. According to him, Blizzard is a company prone to screwing things up, yet never getting punished for it.

This is a fact I can attest to. Back in high school, I was pretty hardcore into StarCraft. My ex was a lifelong player, since she was practically a toddler, and her enthusiasm by proxy got me into playing it. Sure, I'd dabbled before, borrowing my friend's Battle Chest an…

You'll Always See It Coming: Persona 5 and the Importance of Focus

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For all intents and purpose, Persona 5 was supposed to be my favorite game this year. Shin Megami Tensei has always been my favorite gaming franchise, and even a middling past two or so years has done little to waver that opinion. On top of that, the Persona games are titles that hold a lot of personal meaning to me. Persona 3 in particular is what I attribute to getting my second wind at life, at trying to actually build friendships, apply myself in studying, and be an overall better human being. Even if I wasn't as crazy for Persona 4 as the rest of the world, too, I still dug it, and I genuinely love the first two games (all threeofthem.) This is a sub-series I love in a franchise that I can't get enough of. It stands to reason that I was beyond excited for the next installment after waiting almost ten years.

Which is why it pains me to say that I think Persona 5 is kind of a bad game.

Before you go dig up dirt to fling at this hottest of takes, I'll give full disclosu…