Author Topic: 3D Platformers  (Read 854 times)

Beagle 2

  • Silver Member
  • ****
3D Platformers
« on: June 11, 2019, 09:31:50 AM »
With the advent of 32 bit consoles, it seemed likely that 3D platformers would become the dominant genre of games, just as 2D platform games had dominated the previous couple of console generations. The first classic of that era, Mario 64 is still as playable today as any of the other games in the series, which is a real testament when you consider how clunky other games from that period now feel.

These games became increasingly unfashionable and shunted to the kids’ market after that. I don’t know if that’s because developers felt that Mario had that genre all sewed up, or that the market aged into their twenties and thirties and wanted to play games that had more brown and bursting heads in them, or just that the mechanics of those early 3D platformers were taken and used so ubiquitously in other types of games that jumping and puzzle solving in imaginary cutesy worlds seemed limiting and old hat. Old Hat would be a brilliant 3D platform game by the way, nobody ever did anything with hats in platform games. 

Mario Odyssey was a system seller for Switch, it was certainly the reason I bought one, but it still seems like this is a neglected genre in an age where we’re once again absolutely saturated with 2D platformers (albeit ones with bolted on storylines about depression or Chlamydia or some old shit to generate a few easy think pieces and hammer home the idea that games are art like we hadn’t all worked that out when we were five). Mario Odyssey is a 7/10 game at best by the way, happy to clear that one up.

I picked up Yooka-Laylee recently and it remains my favourite gaming experience on Switch, I didn’t understand the mediocre reviews until I reached the casino level, which remains my least favourite experience of drawing breath. I’ve also been playing Super Lucky’s Tale on Xbox, but only because my son yells at me to put it on instead of Forza Horizon. I can’t get used to the limited field of view at all and the little red bastard controls like a wet dishcloth flapping beneath the blades of a chinook.

My son loves to watch me play games where we can explore these lush, colourful worlds and I Iove playing them, so I’d like some more please – what are your favourites from this era and previous systems? And why aren’t there more people making indie 3D platformers, is it just a case of time and effort?

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 09:50:18 AM »
A Hat in Time is the obvious one that got lots of praise a year or so ago. I've not played it, so I can't give it a personal recommendation, but by all accounts it was the homage to and progression of early 3d platformers that Yooka-Laylee failed to be.

Beagle 2

  • Silver Member
  • ****
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 10:02:20 AM »
Yeah I really want to play that but I'd been waiting for it to appear on Switch. It doesn't seem to have any recent news in that respect so maybe I should take the plunge on Xbox. Shame it doesn't seem to be on the Game Pass though.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 10:18:57 AM »
I felt with 3D platformers back in the day perhaps the issue is there was never such a strong "formula" for it? 2D platformers and more recently first/third person shooters I think have much more of a baseline of what the game should be that's easier for multiple developers to get a hold of. With 3D platformers it always felt like the pressure was much stronger in terms of interesting mechanics and level design to hold the players interest, having to constantly pull something out of the bag  seemed like something only a handful could so, most obviously Nintendo and Rare.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 10:28:28 AM »
Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time is brills.  Took everything that was great in the PS2 era of 3D platformers, and simply upped the scale and ambition with dense, busy backdrops and tons of Mario Galaxy-influenced planetoids. That game flooded you with rewards.   I reckon something in the ps3 and 360's hardware meant that early on devs couldn't bring the lighting and colour to match with this newfound sense of scale, and those dayglo games that killed in the previous era took it in the back, especially 3D platformers.  Now there's a generation who never really played them, so they don't know what they're missing.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 10:55:17 AM »
The Tomb Raider series is still going strong, Tomb Raider 2 is the best platformer ever developed in my opinion. I agree Mario 64 still holds up, as does Banjo Kazooie. Gex was a great series, often overlooked.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 12:47:43 PM »
Gex gets so much shit and it makes me rage because they're exceptionally well-made games.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 01:38:46 PM »
3d platformers are Gash. 100 percent fact.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 02:45:24 PM »
3d platformers are Gash. 100 percent fact.

You are fucking gelatin.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 02:56:17 PM »
You are fucking gelatin.
Crash Bandafuckingupyourarse.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 02:57:43 PM »
The first 3D Prince of Persia was bloody great. A couple of dull puzzle sections - one with rotatable mirrors, I seem to recall - but the combat was fun and fluid, if a little repetitive, and the platforming was excellent, with a good time reversal mechanic to gamify restarts.

Probably not playable on the current gen consoles, sadly.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 03:11:12 PM »
The first 3D Prince of Persia was bloody great. A couple of dull puzzle sections - one with rotatable mirrors, I seem to recall - but the combat was fun and fluid, if a little repetitive, and the platforming was excellent, with a good time reversal mechanic to gamify restarts.

Probably not playable on the current gen consoles, sadly.

It was on the PS3, think I saw it on the PS4 store the other day.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 03:26:56 PM »
Sands of Time is backwards compatible on Xbox One and Xbox 360 too.

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2019, 04:15:33 PM »
The Crash Bandicoot trilogy is a favourite of mine because of how focused it is, what with its linear levels and all.  I admire its purity; it really manages to take the essence of a 2D platformer and successfully transfer it over to the third dimension.

When it comes to more expansive and free roaming 3D platformers; Psychonauts is bloody marvelous.  Great fun and with Tim Schafer's usual imagination and humour on full display.  What with the sequel coming along soon, now's as good a time as any to play the original, if anyone hasn't done so already.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2019, 04:24:15 PM »
Psychonauts is janky as fuck and you can really see the seams - but that doesn't actually mark against it and in places actively improves the aesthetic

Twed

  • I need you so, Medieval Zone, you don't need me
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2019, 04:26:59 PM »
I hate Tim Schafer's head, it looks like I'm supposed to take it to a deli to get it sliced

Jerzy Bondov

  • Coffee goes in, sarcasm comes out!
    • Wrongfully Adapted
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2019, 07:40:30 PM »
The first 3D Prince of Persia was bloody great. A couple of dull puzzle sections - one with rotatable mirrors, I seem to recall - but the combat was fun and fluid, if a little repetitive, and the platforming was excellent, with a good time reversal mechanic to gamify restarts.

Probably not playable on the current gen consoles, sadly.
Sands of Time isn't actually the first 3D one - that's Prince of Persia 3D which was released unfinished and wasn't very good. SoT is amazing but the bit where you have an endless fight in a lift puts me off going back. When you get the best sword at the end and become unstoppable is incredibly satisfying.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2019, 08:59:18 PM »
The recent Spyro remasters are a super example.

I seem to remember getting great enjoyment out of the early harry potter games as a bairn, although I suspect they'd probably be a bit naff now. The latter ones turned into FPS, and the leaked footage of the upcoming one points to an RPG, unsurprisingly.

But I think a lot of the precision and purity is lost when you add in the extra dimension. I've never fully bought into 3d mario for this reason (although obviously Odyssey is rich & inventive in so many ways). A few years ago I bought an original xbox console so I could play the first 3d Oddworld game (the 2d ones being the pinnacle of the genre) - eurgh.....


Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

  • This little motherfucker's tasty!
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2019, 10:08:59 PM »
What a coincidence. I was thinking of starting a thread on this very subject. The lesson here is not to bother doing stuff.

I've had a real hankering to play a platformer recently but the pickings seemed to be slim. I was thinking about maybe getting that remake of Ratchet and Clank, but I've not heard much good about it. That's a shame, as R&C3 was one of my favourite games on the PS2. The recent PS4 Spider-Man game scratched the itch to some extent, although I wouldn't call it a platformer, strictly speaking. I might have to check out A Hat in Time.

The first second 3D Prince of Persia was bloody great.
It was and indeed is. I replayed it a couple of years ago and it totally held up. To hark back to a comment in the Art Games thread, I always thought it seemed to take some influence from Ico. I recently played Brothers: A tale of Two Sons, which also felt indebted to Ico.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2019, 10:37:06 PM »
I'm a total pleb, adore 64 and SMG1&2 and Odyssey for a few hundred moons but didn't enjoy the entire grind to 500 for the real ending and not touched it in a year. Nothing compares to the experience of 64 except maybe the first few hours of Galaxy. Never been into any others aside from TR but I don't strictly see it as a platformer even though it really is.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2019, 11:20:06 PM »
Yeah, it's mad, but as a streamlined experience in its entirety, no Mario's ever really topped 64, and that's literally the first one. The others improved on the mechanics, but with too much busy work in the later game. If you stick purely to main story missions, Odessey might be the best, beginning to end, but there's just too much repeated endgame content for it to be a true masterpiece, I reckon.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2019, 05:18:52 PM »
Yeah, it's mad, but as a streamlined experience in its entirety, no Mario's ever really topped 64, and that's literally the first one. The others improved on the mechanics, but with too much busy work in the later game. If you stick purely to main story missions, Odessey might be the best, beginning to end, but there's just too much repeated endgame content for it to be a true masterpiece, I reckon.

Although I think a lot of the issue is that even in Mario 64 is that you didn't really have simple base mechanics driving the game, the tasks were arguably more worked into the level design but they had vastly more variety to them than any previous 2D Mario game.

Again I suspect that's part of the reason the genre didn't become dominant long term, as Tomb Raider shows you don't automatically need a cartoonish setting but compared to first person shooters its much harder to fall back onto basic game mechanics, you need to keep on coming up with more complex design work to keep players interested.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2019, 05:28:56 PM »
Mario 64? Streamlined? The game that makes you repeat the same ground seven times per level, minimum? PER LEEZ.

Twed

  • I need you so, Medieval Zone, you don't need me
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2019, 05:30:14 PM »
64 is incredible. To come out with the feel and controls of that out of the blue was the work of craftspeople. If it had twin-stick controls like a modern platformer it would have been a little better, but I'm not sure people would have been able to cope with that much newness at the time.

Mario 64? Streamlined? The game that makes you repeat the same ground seven times per level, minimum? PER LEEZ.
In a guided way that made the repetition into not-really-repetition? It was joyful.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2019, 05:46:11 PM »
Mario 64? Streamlined? The game that makes you repeat the same ground seven times per level, minimum? PER LEEZ.

Maybe streamlined is the wrong word. It doesn't contain hours and hours of filler, though, and as we've discussed before, you don't have to repeat the same ground over and over, because later stars unlock things like cannons, staircases and wing caps, etc, to create shortcuts, or whole other routes for you to explore instead.

All future 3D Mario's have so much filler if you want to 100% them. It always drags them down a bit in my estimation.

Twed

  • I need you so, Medieval Zone, you don't need me
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2019, 06:12:24 PM »
I hate there being more content, I would rather get familiar with an area in new ways. Mario 64 did this better than any game up until that point and remains one of the best at it.

I hate the idea that new levels for every single thing you do is better. GTA wouldn't be fun if every time you drove it was different roads.

Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2019, 11:59:30 AM »
Didn't like Mario 64 then, don't like it now. Enormous respect for the craft of it, mind.  The fact people are still finding new ways to interact with it speaks to what an astonishing box of tricks it is.

Actually it's just occured to me that Mario 64 is more in tune with the ethos of the Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog games than the NES or SNES Mario games. There's a fucking thinkpiece in this.

biggytitbo

  • WHAT ABOUT THE GODDAM JAFFA CAKES ASSWIPE
    • theunredacted
Re: 3D Platformers
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2019, 12:09:20 PM »
The genre never got any better than Alpha waves on the Atari ST imo.