It was about this time last year that the implementation of Denuvo in Sonic Mania was blowing up. SEGA had delayed the game on PC, implemented the controversial DRM in secret, and then fans began to run into all sorts of performance and ownership issues.
Well, Sonic Mania Plus is out this week and it’s the same story all over again. Sonic Mania Plus is the original game plus the new Encore DLC. It’s the DLC itself which uses the latest version of Denuvo Anti-Tamper DRM, and the poor implementation is causing all sorts of issues for players, all of which are legitimate customers.
First of all, a number of players are complaining that Sonic Mania now runs slower than it did before. Over on the Steam discussions, there are fans claiming it actually takes longer to run through a level after this update as the movement has physically slowed down. Some can’t even get past the menu screen with something causing an endlessly looping loading screen.
Notorious cracker Voksi began digging into the code to find out what the problem was. It turns out that the performance slowdown is triggered in the time attack menu which occurs when scrolling down to the last set of levels. For whatever reason, once a player has scrolled down the level select, Denuvo will continue writing constantly in it section until the game is closed, ultimately causing the slowdown.
Voksi busied himself with making a crack and discovered the exact same anti-tamper trigger for himself, in the exact same spot. It looks as if Sega rushed to implement the latest version of Denuvo without testing it thoroughly, resulting in a scenario where the cracked version of Sonic Mania Plus runs better than a legitimate copy. It isn’t necessarily the fault of Denuvo, but rather that Sega was in such a hurry to implement the DRM that it hasn’t been implemented correctly.