The hype was palpable when news broke out last week, but more and more mobile gamers are losing their patience with SEGA Forever and giving it bad reviews. Sure, it would have been neat to play all those old-school games from the late 80s and early-to-mid-90s on your powerful new iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S8 (or a slightly older flagship device), but many players are reporting a slow, clunky experience that isn’t quite as good as SEGA’s own mobile releases of the games in the collection from the late 2000s.
As noted by Polygon, many players have discovered that SEGA Forever has been “a bit of a bust” so far, despite all the electricity surrounding its launch last week. The publication cited reviews from Apple’s iTunes Store, where players slammed many of the games featured in the first wave of releases, including the likes of Altered Beast and Phantasy Star 2. Looking at those reviews, it seems that gamers are willing to commend SEGA for trying but are largely nonplussed by the games’ performance thus far.
“I love SEGA’s attempt to entice customers by providing a promising vision of classic games on mobile platforms,” said one SEGA Forever player who reviewed the game Altered Beast on iTunes.
“Unfortunately, the execution leaves something to be desired.”
The user, who tried playing the game on their iPhone 6, wrote that the Altered Beast port tends to “stutter and lag,” that music or sounds continue playing even if the mute switch is turned on, and that ads tend to make the game freeze or crash.
The original Sonic the Hedgehog came to iOS and Android devices last week as part of SEGA Forever, and reviews haven’t been too kind either to this port, as the game currently boasts an average rating of 2.3 stars out of 5.
“The game functions well but the controls are terrible. What should be a ‘d-pad’ control for Sonic’s movement, is instead a stick like on modern controls that works like a d-pad.”
Over on the Android side of things, Comix Zone has a strong average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, but there are some complaints about frame rate, as well as some two- or three-star ratings, among the most helpful reviews. As mentioned, players seem glad that SEGA is intently pushing the Forever collection, but even the five-star reviews are mentioning that using an emulator could make for a much smoother playing experience.
“Genesis emulators run this game so smooth. Come on SEGA, beat those emulators as show what you got! Paid or no paid, people want these games Smooth. 5 stars for coming up to bring these games to mobile”
Earlier today, the Inquisitr wrote that SEGA’s chief marketing officer, Mike Evans, defended the company’s use of Unity, which has resulted in several “dropped frames, hitches, or skips,” as described by Digital Foundry’s John Linneman. Evans had notably said that SEGA opted for Unity because it allows the company to potentially port its titles onto other platforms, such as desktop computers, Apple TV, and the Nintendo Switch.
In an op-ed from ExtremeTech, Joel Hruska wrote that Mike Evans’ statement amid the continuing trend of bad SEGA Forever reviews doesn’t hold water, mainly because a lot of the players making the bad reviews and experiencing slow gameplay are using high-end phones like the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8. He had also stressed that SEGA released some of the games in its new collection as far back as eight years ago and that those ports were quite impressive for the times.
While Hruska understood where Evans was coming from when he said that fragmentation may be a reason why SEGA Forever reviews haven’t exactly been stellar, he believes that the problems all boil down to the controversial decision to use the Unity engine for emulation. He added that SEGA Forever shouldn’t have been rushed out to gamers so soon, given the amount of disappointment it’s caused so far.
“Evans defends the use of Unity as a way to bring games to the widest audience of people, but Unity isn’t known for high performance. How much of a problem that’s causing here is unknown, but it’s unlikely to be helping the situation.”
As Evans told Eurogamer, he feels that a lot of the negative SEGA Forever reviews come from a small percentage of players, hardcore gamers, or “specialists” who expect a rock-solid port with few noticeable kinks. He also promised that SEGA will listen to fan feedback and keep working overtime to improve the quality of the games it releases as part of the SEGA Forever collection.
The bigger question, however, may be how long fans are willing to wait for those improvements to take place.
[Featured Image by Andrew Toth/Getty Images]