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BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro


I would also like to point out that the innate smoothing effects of analog CRT televisions made graphics like this look a lot different, same with how sprites were smoothed over in 16-bit games on CRT and had a lot more depth of character.

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The Locator
Sep 12, 2004

Out here, everything hurts.






I'm terrible at effortposts and I'm tired, so I'll just say that Factorio is the best game ever, as long as you don't value your time or eating, since it's one of those things where if you are the right kind of person, you can sit down and the world just disappears until you suddenly realize that it's been 8 hours since you started playing and had no idea and haven't eaten and it's now 4 hours past the time you should have gone to bed... The factory must grow!

The thread is here - https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3629545

VideoGames
Aug 18, 2003



Thank you everyone for the kind words. Also Payndz I have only played TR2013. I think TR2013 (and to some degree Legend and Underworld) made me tire a bit of shooting human enemies. I am not about that.

I know the fact that most enemies were not human in TR1 and was most likely done that way because of AI limitations and that they did not want Lara to be a murderer (she only directly kills one person in Anniversary). That TR2013 went so heavy on it felt like it was missing a lot. I also liked that the place Lara visited in TR1-3 were pretty much untouched for years and that was why they were so empty.

I will give Rise and Shadow a go. I do own them and even a bad Tomb Raider game is still a game I would like to play

Payndz
Sep 22, 2006

They smelled of pubs, and Wormwood Scrubs, and too many right-wing meetings.

So I twatted them with a magic yo-yo. Because, hell, why not?


VideoGames posted:

I know the fact that most enemies were not human in TR1 and was most likely done that way because of AI limitations and that they did not want Lara to be a murderer (she only directly kills one person in Anniversary). That TR2013 went so heavy on it felt like it was missing a lot.
It's one of the ironies of the rebooted series that in the first game they make a huge deal of Lara being put in a position where she has to kill or be killed, and it's played as a massively traumatising experience. Then later on in the same game she's essentially yelling "You want some of this, you fuckers?" as she blasts countless goons with heavy weapons and explosive arrows, and by Shadow she's a straight-up psychopathic murder machine who kills anyone who looks at her funny in the most brutal ways possible without a moment's hesitation.

I joked in another thread about the side mission in Shadow that plays out as follows:

NPC: Please rescue our children! Some mercenaries are making them work in the mines.
Lara: No problem. I will slaughter everyone I see in a bloody and horrific manner.
NPC: Er, we just want our kids back, you don't have to-
Lara: Slaughter.


But it's absolutely what happens.

Fly Ricky
May 7, 2009

The Wine Taster

These spoilers have me so stoked to play the reboots.

For content, one my top games ever is King of Dragon Pass.

I donít know how to describe the genre, but maybe text-based roguelike with beautiful art? You begin with a bunch of choices as to the history of your clan, and then attempt to build a Game of Thrones-ish empire across the land.

Turns are consecutive seasons of the years, and you are faced with not only managing the the funding of agriculture/exploration/military/etc., but also a unique event. These range from visitors to your land. paranormal phenomenon, making nice with neighbors, to fending off another clan attempting to overthrow yours.

While the amount of art is limited for practical reasons, there are an enormous amount of unique events so every play through seems fresh even after dozens of hours.

I have an almost an active dislike for the fantasy genre, but this game, and itís recent (and even better) sequel Six Ages are so good I find myself jumping into them for a bit every week.

Glare Seethe
May 15, 2004

Tenochtitlan, looking east.


Fly Ricky posted:

For content, one my top games ever is King of Dragon Pass.

Amazing game, and so wonderfully obtuse. It's a special kind of game that can deliberately obfuscate mechanics and have that work as an advantage. So many of your decisions will be made on partial information, and most of the time you'll be winging it and hoping for the best. I had a much better handle on it in my second playthrough (which I won) but I don't know that I ever truly felt comfortable playing it, in terms of my leadership. And I'm pretty sure I save-scummed to get through some of the hero quests...

morallyobjected
Nov 3, 2012


Fly Ricky posted:

These spoilers have me so stoked to play the reboots.

Honestly I think the first one has the best writing/characters, the second one has the best gameplay, and the third is forgettable (but if you just want more of the same gameplay, it'll give you what you want).

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


BeanpolePeckerwood posted:

I would also like to point out that the innate smoothing effects of analog CRT televisions made graphics like this look a lot different, same with how sprites were smoothed over in 16-bit games on CRT and had a lot more depth of character.

I took a quick photo just now, it looks great still, I'll find some nicer views maybe to compare

Castor Poe
Jul 19, 2010

Cops don't like me.
So I don't like cops.



Tomb Raider talk made me re-install all the pre-reboot games and put my current run of No One Lives Forever on ice.

You bastards

Electromax
May 6, 2007


The original TR had amazingly designed levels for being one of the first 3D games of its kind back then. They evolved the key collecting stuff that DOOM was doing by adding a ton of interesting traversal (clunky controls or no) and the whole block moving/lever stuff basically set a template for 3D games for a few years.

I haven't finished yet all 15 levels yet but I've been looking at them lately trying to flesh them out like this.



https://imgur.com/gallery/froEeNJ

Read some interviews with the designers at the time who were just sort of creating stuff vaguely based on museum artwork. In the original TR1, they didn't even support skyboxes so there are no open-sky areas, just open bright-lit holes in the caves that approximate them. But it doesn't really stick out. TR2 is comparatively huge.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


Loading it up tonight brought back a great memory of a conversation I had with a pal at the time, we were watching the pre rendered intro and he said 'Do you reckon game graphics will ever be as good as that?' and I solemnly turned to look at him and said 'not in our lifetime'

Castor Poe
Jul 19, 2010

Cops don't like me.
So I don't like cops.



By the way, TR 1-6 + Legend and Underworld are $1 a piece on Steam right now.

Electromax posted:

Read some interviews with the designers at the time who were just sort of creating stuff vaguely based on museum artwork. In the original TR1, they didn't even support skyboxes so there are no open-sky areas, just open bright-lit holes in the caves that approximate them. But it doesn't really stick out. TR2 is comparatively huge.

Funnily, the lack of skyboxes really helped giving the game that unique creepy atmosphere and dreadful feeling of isolation, which the rest of the series never quite captured again.

Castor Poe fucked around with this message at 23:40 on Feb 11, 2021

Sorting Algorithms
Feb 7, 2021


Hello! I've lurked SA for a long time but after seeing my videos get posted here I decided it was time to finally register an account. One of my favorite things in gaming is finding under-appreciated independent PC games and sharing them with people, so I decided to try my hand at video essays and so far they seem to be doing well. I've done ones on The Void Rains Upon Her Heart and Mayhem Triple, and I'm currently working on ones for The World Is Your Weapon and Super Daryl Deluxe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9dHyT1kW1c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6knWlaPOw7o

The Something Awful forums are how I discovered a lot of these games so I hope I can give back in some small way by making these!

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004


Vandar posted:

Suikoden II is fuckin' awesome and that fact that it's not mentioned in the same breath as a lot of other JRPGs like the Final Fantasies and Chrono Trigger and such is a goddamn crime.

I talk about Suikoden 2 all the time and have done so for ages, if this is any consolation.

Though my favorite JRPG is Vagrant Story, I like everything about it, even the box puzzles everyone hates.

Party Boat
Oct 31, 2007

where did that other dog come from

who is he


Elentor posted:

Though my favorite JRPG is Vagrant Story, I like everything about it, even the box puzzles everyone hates.

You have excellent timing.

One of my all-time favourite games is 21 years old this month. Letís talk about....



Vagrant Story is one of those games that has amassed a small but very vocal base of fans that insist on its perfection - and while Iíll say again it is one of my all-time favourite games, I do not count myself among them. In fact, I think that those who gave up playing it after bouncing off one of its many obtuse systems have some good points - but Iíll get to those.

I want to start where Vagrant Story is inarguably great - its overall presentation is simply some of the best that the PS1 has to offer. Director of Final Fantasy Tactics Yasumi Matsuno brought many of his team from that game to Vagrant Story and the two carry a very similar mood despite the significant shift in gameplay and art style. Hiroshi Minagawa and the Final Fantasy Tactics art team brought their mastery of spritework into 3D, creating models whose shifting facial expressions seemed almost impossible for the hardware to accomplish.


(The screenshots in this post were taken using the Beetle HW emulator and the super-sampling option, so will differ slightly from how the game looked on original hardware.)

This excellent thread by @dreamboum goes into detail on this far better than I would be able to, and also covers bits about the music and script with quotes from the team:

https://twitter.com/Dreamboum/status/1226610123000467457

Vagrant Storyís score was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto, and if youíve played another of the Matsuno games he worked on itíll sound instantly familiar to you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM7RIUgYIoU

The music above plays over the gameís end credits and I add it here because itís the only piece of music in the game that is fully orchestrated, and also because itís a medley that covers several of the more prominent themes in the score. The rest of the gameís music is synthesised, and while this might seem like a drawback in the age of games on CD, it was a major element that helped the gameís cinematic scenes land.



Vagrant Story is not voice-acted - the gameís lines appear in comic book bubbles that the player buttons through, meaning that the tempo of a given scene is largely dictated by the player. Despite this, the score always stays in perfect sync with the action - something which would have been impossible for CD audio at the time, but is easily accomplished by having a synthesised score. A great example from this is Climax of the Graylands Incident, which is a single continuous track that plays throughout the combat, cutscenes and boss battle of the gameís tutorial mission, rising and falling in intensity alongside the playerís actions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cr42rn8KSA

The gameís love of synth over sample extended to its sound effects, which are all produced from the PS1ís sound chip. This meant that a sound effect could have varying levels of reverb applied to it depending on how deep you were in the gameís dungeons.

And thereís plenty of dungeons - or maybe just one big one. Apart from the brief tutorial mission, the entirety of Vagrant Story takes place in the ruined city of LeŠ Monde, which the design team modelled very closely on the French medieval city of Saint-…milion.




And LeŠ Monde does feel like a real place, or at least a Playstation facsimile of a real place. Itís as interconnected and labyrinthine as any Metroidvania map, with locked doors and magical seals repeatedly forcing you into quarries, forests and around the city walls on a slow spiral into the Grand Cathedral at the cityís centre. Hereís an excellent video covering various elements of Vagrant Storyís design that fellow goon Electromax put out while I was writing this. You should check out their work in the Retro PS1 thread!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZkuriIacG4

I mention it here partially because itís simply a fantastic video, and partially because it confirmed something that Iíd wondered for a while - the gameís various areas all fit neatly together to produce one huge city map. Itís a place I just love exploring, even divorced from the story tugging me forward.

I donít want to dwell on Vagrant Storyís story for too long (even though itís what that vocal base of fans point to as the gameís crowning glory) because while I like it a great deal I donít think any summary of it I could write would be especially interesting. Suffice to say it covers nice strong themes of betrayal and lust for power, but what I really enjoy about it is its restraint. You play Vagrant Story as a party of one, and that loneliness is a significant part of the gameís tone which would be broken if cutscenes were too frequent. Early in the game the cultist leader Sydney compares player character Ashley Riot to a hunter and himself to a hart, and it feels like the gameís story has a similar relationship with the player, disappearing into the woods for long stretches only to suddenly reappear for just long enough to spur you forward.

Iíd also be remiss if I didnít mention the exceptional localisation work by Alexander O Smith. Vagrant Storyís era was one where there was still a general expectation that English localisations from Japanese would be clunky at best (Jeremy Blausteinís work on MGS1 being a notable exception), but Smith worked archaic English words and idioms into the script to fit alongside the medieval surroundings.


I knew I was in safe hands when a couple of early characters were written with distinct Scottish accents.

So how does it play? Great, with a significant reservation.

At its core, Vagrant Story is a game about trade-offs. Trade-offs are the basis of any good tactical game, and Vagrant Story has plenty of them. Maybe too many for its own good.

The most obvious trade-off is Risk, a stat that gets its own dedicated bar alongside HP and MP. Most actions in battle generate Risk, but itís increased exponentially by chain attacks. These are timing-based combos similar to those in Super Mario RPG, allowing a skilled player to execute a series of hits on an enemy before itís able to retaliate. The downside to this is that as Risk increases, Ashley becomes more inaccurate and takes increased damage. At maximum Risk even normal enemies can become lethal threats, so itís important to keep it under control by limiting your chains or using special Risk-eliminating items.

The next area of trade-off is damage calculations, and this is where we get into the weeds a bit. Aside from the end-game, weapons in Vagrant Story donít get significantly more powerful as you progress. Instead, the main way you deal damage is by exploiting enemy weaknesses. Each enemy has different defence levels against seven elemental affinities and three damage types (edged, blunt and piercing), as well as a defence decided by which one of six enemy classes it falls into. This means that the damage calculation is decided by looking across three sets of stats for both your weapon and the enemy, making it unclear exactly why your nifty silver dagger that wrecked poo poo against undead is suddenly doing 2 damage against humans. Did I mention that most enemies have multiple body parts which might have wildly different defence values? And god help you if the enemy is wearing armour, because youíll have to take that into account as well. Don't forget to keep an eye on your weapons Damage Points and Phantom Points!


Expect to spend a lot of time looking at a screen like this.

Fortunately the game tells you how much damage you can expect to do before you commit to an attack and what type it is (here you can see that weíre making an edged, physical attack against a beast type enemy), but it doesnít make the process of switching weapons any less tedious.

You see, for a trade-off to be tactically interesting, you have to know what youíre trading and why. Vagrant Storyís damage system is so opaque that itís almost impossible for a first-time player to properly engage with it. To add insult to injury, the spell that allows you to see enemy defence values is only received after the fourth boss, past the ďgently caress thisĒ point for many first-time players.

(If you are a first-time player, my advice to you is that the damage type of a weapon is by far the most important thing in the early game. Make sure you have at least one decent edged, blunt and piercing weapon at all times. And make sure you turn on updates for changes to your weapon stats in the options.)


Attacking will sometimes improve your weaponís stats against the type of enemy youíre fighting, but can also lower them against others.

The trap that a lot of people fall into with Vagrant Story is that if you end up in a fight youíre not really equipped for (or donít know how to find the weakness) i.e. most boss fights, the best way out is to chain attack like crazy, doing 1-5 damage per hit and regularly missing completely, hoping to keep your Risk under control for long enough to nickel and dime the boss to death. Itís an extremely dull and unsatisfying way to play, so itís a real shame that the game encourages you down that route so readily.


Real VS pros spend all their time looking at this screen.

This is why I say that Vagrant Storyís detractors have a good point. There is a genuinely great action-RPG with tactical depth underneath the layers of impenetrable stats, but I absolutely understand anyone who says they donít want to dig through them.

Vagrant Story is a tough game to love at times. But I really loving love it.

Party Boat
Oct 31, 2007

where did that other dog come from

who is he


Things I didn't find space to mention in this post:

- Akihiko Yoshida would later replicate the arse-out character design of Ashley Riot when he worked on Nier: Automata
- The equipment crafting system that is literally impossible to use without a strategy guide
- The box puzzles (which own) have a time trial challenge mode called "Evolve or Die!!" You get an animal rank depending on how quickly you completed it, with the top ranks being Human and Little Green Man (I tend to get Pregnant Yak). The lowest rung on the evolutionary ladder is, of course, Video Game Designer

Rinkles
Oct 24, 2010

What I'm getting at is...
Do you feel the same way?


Party Boat posted:

- Akihiko Yoshida would later replicate the arse-out character design of Ashley Riot when he worked on Nier: Automata



lol

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority



I think you'll appreciate my Monster Hunter World guild card

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


Oh, and along the lines of that Twitter thread (which I remember seeing a while back, and it's really loving cool), I think you'll appreciate this video, in which one of the former Extra Credits guys talks about Arc System Works applying their 2D fighter knowledge to 3D fighters. Specifically, to Guilty Gear Xrd and Dragon Ball FighterZ, both of which are 3D fighters that heavily evoke the look of 2D fighters. How they accomplished this is very cool!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZsboyfs-L4

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro


cheeky

fridge corn
Apr 2, 2003





I have never played Vagrant Story

Party Boat
Oct 31, 2007

where did that other dog come from

who is he


You should give it a go! It reminds me a lot of Dark Souls in terms of how strong its sense of place is. I also love that 90% of the game's bosses are separate from any part of the story, you just walk round a corner and whoops there's some cursed armour that wants to cave your face in.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004


Some elements of Vagrant Story's background that I like:

1) Your character is a badass. You don't learn skills, you just remember stuff you forgot because you have amnesia. And even though you have amnesia, the game starts with your character invading a castle on his own, with a quote very early in the game that sets the tone entirely, when told to ask for reinforcements, in the video posted:

"Reinforcements?
I am the reinforcements."

It legit gives you whichever power trip you're craving in a way that feels loving badass.

2) The ye olde english is a thing that, normally, I loving hate, especially given that English is not my first or second language. Playing through some quests in FF14, a game I really like, is painful. Vagrant Story was a game that forced me to restart because I played it very young and it was hard to follow up on the script, and yet I loved every second of it. There's a reason why the translation work is so highly regarded. It's good.

3) The opening cinematic is short, heavily compressed, but it has some level of animation that is beyond what any pre-rendered cutscene from the PS1 (and to some extent, even PS2) era had. The animation rigging of the dancer priestess is insane.

4) It has the one video game symbol you're allowed to tattoo without feeling too much shame.

peter gabriel
Nov 8, 2011

Hello Commandos


I love this thread

Electromax
May 6, 2007


Great posts about Vagrant Story and thanks for shoutout. I finished making that video recently and was too burnt out on VS after to make a post here, but I actually had notes about how much it reminded me of the stuff kids nowadays love about Dark Souls*. Rich lore that isn't all spelled out for you, a dense and complex combat system with stat screens full of numbers that turns beginners away but makes sense and is exploitable if you pay attention, a high level of player character customization, evil possessed enemies in a city that's been lost to the undead, gloomy level design and even a New Game+ system that lets you carry things over.

I also cut a fair amount of plot discussion because I wasn't confident enough in my own interpretation after spending some time on reddit and other communities, it seems if you can read the JP Ultimania book a lot of things are explained that I didn't pick up on. But I will add there were a couple teases of a sequel over the years, Matsuno commented on twitter that the sequel would've been about a character like Sydney would could go into peoples' minds/hearts to get the truth, and a new FF14 quest that was just added and he was involved with used elements of that story (https://www.thegamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-quest-scrapped-vagrant-story-sequel-idea/) Not sure if assless chaps are involved.

*imagine if they had tried to make it an ARPG on PS1 with "live" combat... like third person king's field. can't imagine it would've turned out very good at that time.

Ms Adequate
Oct 29, 2011

Baby even when I'm dead and gone
You will always be my only one, my only one
When the night is calling
No matter who I become
You will always be my only one, my only one, my only one
When the night is calling





Vagrant Story was a game I could never quite wrap my head around but it was extremely good nonetheless. Strong Dark Souls vibes before Dark Souls tbh.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004


Can I make joke reviews but effortposts nevertheless, I don't like games enough to talk about games but I like some games enough to make some comedy posts about them.

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro

Elentor posted:

Can I make joke reviews but effortposts nevertheless, I don't like games enough to talk about games but I like some games enough to make some comedy posts about them.

plz make your posts up to look like the side listicle columns in OPM, EGM, or PSN mag circa 1998

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004


I already did a 90's magazine gimmick once and boy oh boy I do not look to replicate that, the amount of effort I put was colossal, it was way bigger than I expected and I expected a lot.

BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro

Elentor posted:

I already did a 90's magazine gimmick once and boy oh boy I do not look to replicate that, the amount of effort I put was colossal, it was way bigger than I expected and I expected a lot.

Yeah, I'm really just joking, because I appreciated that particular post to much. Legendary content.

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


Elentor posted:

Can I make joke reviews but effortposts nevertheless, I don't like games enough to talk about games but I like some games enough to make some comedy posts about them.

This is less a joke review thread and more a sincere gushing thread, IMO. That said, you could always make a separate thread to do joke reviews, and I imagine it'd get plenty of attention.

ShallNoiseUpon
Sep 10, 2010


Elentor posted:

Can I make joke reviews but effortposts nevertheless, I don't like games enough to talk about games but I like some games enough to make some comedy posts about them.

Shine posted:

This is less a joke review thread and more a sincere gushing thread, IMO. That said, you could always make a separate thread to do joke reviews, and I imagine it'd get plenty of attention.

By the same token, the worst that's going to happen is someone is going to say "ehh maybe these don't fit make a new thread" so...show us what you've got at least?

FrozenGoldfishGod
Oct 29, 2009

JUST LOOK AT THIS SHIT POST!





Dark Souls
Okay, so, not really going to surprise anyone here, but this game blew me away when it first came out. Like, I legitimately bought it twice over, just so I could try it on PC after dumping around 600+ hours into it on console (the port was not great), and it's easily the weakest entry in the series in terms of gameplay and stat balancing, but the story was fun to tease out of little bits here and there, and the feeling it gave me of this weird, fantastic world that felt so incredibly ancient and full of new little bits to discover and look at everywhere was great. The music was pretty good, but I have to say that the sound design really shone in how often they used little noises to give away what was about to happen to your character - I'm particularly thinking of the undead archer sound effects.

Dark Souls 2
So this one gets a lot of stick for a lot of reasons, but I have to say, it REALLY cleaned up some of the stat cruft from the first game. Most of the criticism I hear is that it got very linear towards the end, which while true is also somewhat of a thematic point: that no matter HOW you got there, this poo poo is just going to keep going in cycles. Some prick will always want to light the fire again, and this whole stupid mess will just recur, just with some different names on the signposts. The sound design was also much more solid, and (perhaps because they knew they could deliver now) there were far fewer straight-up busted fights than the first one (Bed of Chaos, Lava Centipede, Moonlight Butterfly - those three spring to mind immediately as examples of fights that glitched out SO OFTEN in the first one), while the only one that even came close to those was Old Iron King, whose fight was at least functional.

Dark Souls 3
Arguably the best Dark Souls game of the lot. All the mechanical improvements of 2, with even more cleanup on the gameplay and mechanics, and being the last one and for the most advanced consoles of the three, it is just goddamn gorgeous. It has all the things I liked about the first two, showcasing this ancient and decrepit world slowly falling apart, while bringing back some actual direct references to the first game and some indirect ones to the second (Yhorm the Giant, anyone?). It also has much more of the exploration feel that the second one, with its relatively more linear levels, lost a bit; in the second one, there's really few ways to creatively sequence break, while in the third I can find all kinds of ways of advancing through the game once I get past about a third of the way in. The weapons are pleasantly varied, and while I'm sure the PvP meta was as fossilized as any other game out there, none of them really felt unnecessary or gimped, just some more or less suited to my particular playstyle preferences. It basically was the perfect capstone to end the series.

Bloodborne
Not technically a Dark Souls game, but holy poo poo is it by far my personal favorite of the Soulsborne games from FromSoft. From the fact that armor does basically nothing (yes, I know there are small damage resistance differences that can add up, but you can't turtle or tank hits like the right Dark Souls builds could) to the fact that 99% of the weapons in the game follow the pattern of 'left hand defensive, right hand offensive', to the fact that the stats are relatively straightforward and simple once you mess about a bit, to the fact that each weapon is basically an entire moveset unto itself with very little overlap or repeat; I could go on for days listing examples, but this game is just, for me, exactly what I want in terms of gameplay. It doesn't hurt either that it's easily one of the most interconnected gameworlds in a FromSoft game; there are SO MANY little shortcuts and side paths you can use to get around the map, and sequence breaking is not only possible, it's practically demanded by some builds. Add in the fact that there are so many side areas to explore - Cainhurst Castle being one that stood out to me as 'If this were any other developer's game, this would be half a DLC, along with Hemwick Charnel Lane as the other half', and then you get to the actual DLC and while it's not REQUIRED to understand the story, it does basically fill in the gaps about what exactly started everything spiralling out of control so quickly.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


First time I played Dark Souls and I got to a ladder you could kick down, climbed down and realized I was back at a campfire I'd come by earlier....

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 08:47 on Feb 14, 2021

THE AWESOME GHOST
Oct 21, 2005



Party Boat posted:

You have excellent timing.

Vagrant Story is a tough game to love at times. But I really loving love it.

This makes me jealous I never experienced this as a Squaresoft loving teen. There were just so many of them that some stuff that was legitimately great I completely missed out on to play like... Parasite Eve. VS in specific I've heard is a bit rough to go back to in a way that some of the other PS1 games aren't - I still recommend FF Tactics for example, and the PSP remake of Tactics Ogre is imo perfectly playable as a modern game (You just need some way to play PSP games).

I really love the Ivalice setting, not for the setting itself but more because it feels like the art/story/character team that works on them together made some really cool, super unique stuff. FF14's director is also a huge fan btw and has brought back a lot of the "Ivalice" team to do a lot of Ivalice content in the game, and FF16 looks to be a heavy reference to that team's work

sticklefifer
Nov 11, 2003

TOO EASY

Payndz posted:

It's one of the ironies of the rebooted series that in the first game they make a huge deal of Lara being put in a position where she has to kill or be killed, and it's played as a massively traumatising experience. Then later on in the same game she's essentially yelling "You want some of this, you fuckers?" as she blasts countless goons with heavy weapons and explosive arrows, and by Shadow she's a straight-up psychopathic murder machine who kills anyone who looks at her funny in the most brutal ways possible without a moment's hesitation.
On this specific note, here's my effortpost on the action/adventure genre, since I've been playing a few of them lately.

Ludonarrative dissonance is a major part of the action/adventure genre games like Tomb Raider/Uncharted. Ostensibly they're about treasure hunting, but when the protagonist is either a wealthy naive explorer (young/reboot Lara Croft) or a quippy rogue with a heart of gold (Nathan Drake), the combat sequences really grate against both the climbing/puzzle/discovery portions and the characterization in the storytelling in terms of tone. Sure, the enemies are typically mercenaries and the killing is primarily self-defense, but you're not a soldier in a war, and the only reason you're there and killing people at all is because you want to steal some ancient artifacts or find some fabled lost city that someone else wants too.

You can sort of get away with that for Drake in the Uncharted PS3 trilogy, but once he's a settled down family man in 4, it becomes especially weird because his partner is... a journalist. In the epilogue of Uncharted 4, you meet Nathan & Elena's tween daughter, who has just discovered her parents' past as intrepid treasure hunters. They start explaining their adventures, but in the back of my mind during those scenes, I kept thinking "Oh, and we also killed thousands of people." There are island chains in the Indian Ocean and cave networks in the Himalayas that are absolutely littered with corpses because of these people. That may be why U4 (and the last TR game) didn't feel quite as solid to me as Uncharted: Lost Legacy. It works MUCH better for ULL because Chloe and Nadine have no scruples about killing and were never characterized that way. Chloe was even initially introduced in the 2nd game as part of Nathan's dark past, while Nadine had her own paramilitary organization.

That said, as I play more games in this genre, the more I realize how samey they all get after a while, and that's not even including the gameplay:
-You find a lead to this lost treasure you've been seeking for years.
-Bad guy wants it too, and wants to exploit it.
-Bad guy has a relentless paramilitary force, every single member of which is absolutely hellbent on stopping you at the cost of their lives.
-Said paramilitary force is also pretty inept since a relatively untrained thief can take out an entire army of them.
-You jump and climb impossible paths to take the most roundabout way possible, putting you far ahead of the bad guy.
-There's a simple door the bad guy found that puts him ahead of you, so none of that mattered.
-You solve a complex puzzle full of anachronistic mechanical devices to reach the treasure.
-It's actually not the treasure, it's just a clue of its location.
-That location is also yet another clue of where to really find it. The bad guy gets there first for some reason.
-Weird supernatural poo poo introduced in the tail end of the 3rd act.
-Bad guy's hubris destroys the treasure and its location so nobody gets it, and there's no proof of the legendary treasure, lost city, or weird supernatural poo poo.

I enjoy each of those games individually when I play them, but if you play two or more of them anywhere near each other, you start realizing you could fill a Bingo card with all the exact same story beats.

sticklefifer fucked around with this message at 00:08 on Feb 15, 2021

Whybird
Aug 2, 2009

Phaiston have long avoided the tightly competetive defence sector, but the IRDA Act 2052 has given us the freedom we need to bring out something really special.

https://team-robostar.itch.io/robostar




Nap Ghost

Time to talk about Anachronox.

Ion Storm made big news when it came out. A studio stuffed with the rock stars of PC development. John Romero! Tom Hall! Warren Spector!

It turned out, of course, that creating a studio and filling it with rock star developers didn't actually make for good games -- but we did get Deus Ex out of it (as was posted earlier in the thread) and it'd be a crime not to mention Anachronox as well. Final Fantasy VII had made the gaming world reconsider just what an RPG could be a few years ago, and Anachronox was Ion Storm's attempt to capture the same market.



Anachronox was funny, unique, and charming. Set in a Hitchhiker's-style sci-fi future of a thousand and one bizarre alien species, it created the genuine feel that you were walking through a busy, lived-in space: something that even games today struggle with. Anachronox's world didn't just exist for the characters and their story: it felt like something that would go on without you, and keep going on.

The game itself was brilliant in many ways and flawed in many others, but it's most definitely the only thing like it out there.

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


I also remember laughing like crazy at the credits for some reason.

Payndz
Sep 22, 2006

They smelled of pubs, and Wormwood Scrubs, and too many right-wing meetings.

So I twatted them with a magic yo-yo. Because, hell, why not?


Sticklefifer posted:

-You jump and climb impossible paths to take the most roundabout way possible, putting you far ahead of the bad guy.
-There's a simple door the bad guy found that puts him ahead of you, so none of that mattered.
In one of the Uncharteds (2, I think) there was a bit where Nathan went through a ridiculous climb to get into a long-lost tomb or whatever, only to find that not only were the bad guys already there, but they'd set up cables, lights and a goddamned generator in the five minutes since the last encounter.

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BeanpolePeckerwood
May 4, 2004

BUT SATAN'S BOY
I COULD NEVER BE!



Pork Pro

Payndz posted:

In one of the Uncharteds (2, I think) there was a bit where Nathan went through a ridiculous climb to get into a long-lost tomb or whatever, only to find that not only were the bad guys already there, but they'd set up cables, lights and a goddamned generator in the five minutes since the last encounter.

UC games usually have this narrative mechanic of Nate using 'brains' to work his way into the tombs with a sort of artisitic ingenuity and whatever paramilitary orgs he's racing against just roughly following his breadcrumbs and dynamiting their way into places semi-randomly. It mostly works but also kind of breaks down the more that it's used across 5 games.

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