Just completed Ratchet & Clank. It was a short and overall fun ride, albeit with some rough edges and some jank.
The controls were a bit awkward and unhandy in some locations, there were some important level elements that were always just out of view and difficult to see (mainly attach points for your hook shots, which I not only constantly missed, but which also had very janky and unintuitive physics that often made me undershoot my jumps), there were actually two different jump buttons of which one was for a very context-sensitive and stiff jump that could easily land you inside pits on accident, and the game's humor, while not horrible or anything, wasn't exactly for me, as it was just way too cliche and predictable. It was basically "low-effort Dreamworks movie" tier of humor.
The game also had these puzzles every now and then, mainly for opening doors, that I didn't find very fun. I mean, I'm not exactly the biggest puzzle fan, anyways, but these in particular felt like your typical "we gotta have just ONE more game mechanic in here" type of mini-game that was hastily put into the game without it really adding much to the overall experience.
Proobably one of the game's most annoying aspects is that it's of the kind that has zero faith in the player. If you step off the main plot's path for even just a few minutes to go exploring the level or back-track a little bit because you missed something, some character will immediately remind you of what you should be doing or tell you how to solve a certain puzzle. Basically, if you don't advance the story for a few minutes, the game immediately assumes that you're incapable of doing so. It feels especially insulting when the game uses this to remind you of a mechanic that it failed to properly explain the first time.
Despite all this, as I said, I did actually have quite a bit of fun playing the game. The weapon level-up system was very enjoyable, there were tons of weapons in the game, many of which were really fun to use, the graphics were great, and there were a few really fun levels. My favorite level was probably one where you could fly around with a jetpack and go explorting to find brain collectibles. It was way more open and focussed on exploration than any other level in the game, and I found it so addictive that I actually found every single brain. The rest of the game was way more linear and not quite as addictive for me, but still very enjoyable in different ways, more focussed on action, which it had quite a lot of.
Funnily enough, just today, there was a patch released for the game with some PS5 enhancements. I played the majority in PS4 mode at 30 FPS, but thanks to the patch, I could experience at least the final stretch in 60. I feel like the game also definitely benefited from the PS5's fast loading times, since every death resulted in a loading screen. These only took a few seconds on PS5, though. I'm going to assume that they would have taken a lot longer on a PS4.
A few days ago, I completed juzcook's kaizo hack Invictus. Overall, it was a really great time and everything was marvelous. The final boss fight wasn't that bad outside of one troublesome disco shell section, and the final level was quite fun to play. For any Kaizo players looking for a hack on the easier side of things, I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
Yesterday, I finshed my fifth (or sixth?) playthrough of Donkey Kong Country Returns. I seem to play it once every year and beat it over the course of just a few days. It was just as fun as it always was and my favorite world still remains the Cliff World (World 6).
I'm thinking of taking a break from playing video games to focus on working on some of my SMW projects (one of them being the VLDC6 compilation).
Started playing Gris yesterday and completed it this morning. It was a really short, but quite unique experience, only lasting for about three hours. Honestly, there isn't even a lot I can say about the game without taking away from the experience. I recommend just playing it yourself if you have an interst in stress-free, artistic experiences. I suppose you could describe it as a puzzle exploration game with some platforming, but really, the gameplay is very light from beginning too end and never gets very challenging or demanding. As I said, it's a rather stress-free experience and the gameplay just serves as a means of telling a story - though what kind of story is entirely up to you, as the game intentionally keeps this vague and minimalistic. The story is told purely from visuals and depends solely on the player's interpretation.
Technically, I believe the game does try conveying a few concrete themes in its story. A video I once watched claimed the game was about
death and acceptance
, and the game itself does at least hint at this. There is an achivement in-game literally called
. However, I find that the story is kept so vague that you can really interpret it in whatever way you like, and I found that for me personally, the themes of
death and acceptance
weren't even that present, to a point where I wouldn't even have thought about them if it weren't for that one video.
My personal interpretation is that the game is more about
overcoming sadness and loneliness, finding yourself, learning to be yourself and learning to move on
death and acceptance
can certainly play a part in that, but I personally just didn't feel those themes as strongly.
I do think this in and of itself is really one of the game's strengths. Since it's entirely up to interpretation, it can offer something for just about every type of gamer. Above all else, the game is just really, really beautiful. The art style is absolutely indescribable. All I can say is that I was taking screenshots every couple of seconds while playing because it looked so pretty. I really recommend giving it a try just for its art style alone. As I said, it's only about three hours, so you don't really lose much, even if you end up not liking it.
Afterwards, briefly started playing Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Adventure. It seems to be an enjoyable game, but didn't really expect anything else. Taiko games are always a lot of fun. Just wish I wasn't so afraid of actually using my drum controller. The damn thing is just so incredibly loud that I don't have the balls to use it in this house.
I played through the first ~5 hours of Omori, but honestly, I'm really not feeling it. I was excited to play it after finishing my Persona 5 Strikers replay, and when I finally got around to trying it, it was... eh. The story with Omori himself is intriguing, but I really hate the battle system. Half the reason I play any RPG is for the battle system, and Omori's is just awful for me. It also reminds me of Super Princess Peach in a weird way... I swear every RPG Maker game (the engine Omori was made in) thinks it needs to have some kind of cool, wacky new battle system that breaks away from the norm, but... I'd really just prefer the norm here.
I'll give it a few more hours when I can, but if I still don't like it, I might just watch the cutscenes online. The next game I was going to play was the PSP version of the first Persona game.
Ironically, I felt pretty much the opposite way about the battle system. I don't really like the standard RPG Maker battle system (or really the turn-based battle systems of most classic RPGs, period), but found the OMORI battle system to at least be kind of fun. Mostly, I think the animations are really great, and the emotion system is simple, but quite fun and effective. I wouldn't call it amazing or anything, but I certainly enjoyed it more than standard turn-based battles.
If it helps, I find that you can pretty much skip the majority of random battles in OMORI and still beat the game with only a little bit of effort. If you dislike the battle this much, I'd say skipping most battles and beating the game just for the story alone might still be worth it. Though if entertaining battles are really the main reason for you to play RPGs in the first place, then OMORI might not turn out to quite be the game for you. While it surely contains a ton of them (if you don't skip most, that is), I find that the gameplay in general serves more of a narrative purpose. So if that isn't your kind of game, you might end up not liking it very much.
As far as our playthrough was concerned, we were kinda annoyed by the length of each chapter and by the high amount of battles while playing the game, but as we got closer and closer to the end, something clicked for me and I started to understand why exactly the game includes so much content. This discovery still doesn't necessarily make it any less tedious to play through, but I at least find all the side content to have some story purpose.
Some games I've played lately: Spyro Reignited Trilogy-So far just the first one. Not really much to say. Don't really remember enough of it to consider it nostalgic even tho I did play it sometimes in my youth. Those blue thieves are stupidly annoying (looking at you, one in Town square), even more-so when they run next to ledges, and their laugh is taunting you. Little Nightmares-Got to the part where you have to pull the lever and jump on the crate dangling over the bottomless pit. Took a hiatus after missing the jump several times. Maybe I'll get back to it. Bowser's Fury-It took me a while to figure out how to access Bowser's Fury and I felt kinda dumb. This game is a cat lover's dream. Like the blue thieves in Spyro, chasing the rabbits is kinda annoying. Super Mario 3D World-Never got to play it on the Wii U, so it's a completely new experience for me. A bit easier than Super Mario 3D Land, since the stars stay collected even if you lose a life. Lion King (Switch)-Bundled together with Aladdin. Played the infamous 'Just Can't Wait to be King' level and got as far as the second monkey puzzle. Apparently there's a rewind function cuz I guess the ppl who brought it to the Switch were aware of how infamously difficult this game is.
Oh yeah, I also completely forgot to add this to my last post, but I've completed Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Adventure 1 & 2 recently.
I loved both games. Taiko is just so much fun. I've had to play all of it with a controller, unfortunately, but it got me in the mood so much that I actually took out my Taiko controller, overcame my anxiety and started playing the shit out of it, regardless of whether neighbors could get annoyed by the noise. I've used the controller on Osu! Taiko, because currently it's more easy for me to hook them up to my PC.
In fact, I got into the mood so much that I acctually bought two Taiko Bachi replacements made of wood (because the plastic ones that come with the official controller are quite loud and weak), I even went ahead to mod my controller yesterday. Unfortunately, by default, the thing is kinda bad and you have to hit it really, really hard to get a hit registered (which just plays into my fear of being too loud), but it turns out this can be improved with just a few easy-to-get materials. You basically have to replace some foam piece with cork, replace some other piece with a rubber sheet and then attach a little more rubber to the edges. That's all. I did this yesterday, and it worked great! The surface now even registers very light hits. The edges stil aren't perfect and still need some force, but overall, it's a great improvement and was absolutely worth it. Can't wait to actually test it out in-game today.
So as for the actual games themselves, as I said, I loved them and they were a lot of fun, but I had one major problem with both of them: the difficulty setting was complete nonsense. As I usually do with games, I started playing the first one on Normal, but as it turned out, that completely trivialized the game. It felt impossible to lose, even during boss battles, and I barely took any damage. Once I noticed this, I immediately switched to Hard - and got my ass kicked. As it turns out, there's actually a butt load of things affected by the game's difficulty setting. You're not only getting the harder versions of all things, but enemies also suddenly become way more aggressive. They attack way more often on OK hits. Even some challenges are changed entirely on hard mode. For example, on Normal mode, you might get a challenge like "hit 100", but on hard mode, the same challenge might be a "get a 230 combo".
This actually was a huge problem for me. As I said, Normal was way too easy for me, but Hard, in a lot of places, was way too difficult and nearly unbeatable for me. There were a few battles that I actually just wasn't able to beat, so I had to switch back to Normal mode, which made me sad, because it just meant trivializing a battle. I had no choice, though, these battles were practically impossible. One way to improve this would have been to give you more fine-tuned control over the difficulty. Instead of having one setting control multiple things, just have multiple settings. For example, I would have loved to play the game on Normal, but with way more severe punishment (like every OK doing huge damage or whatever). Alternatively, playing the game on Hard, but with less of a punishment might have also worked. Overall, it was just very disappointing to get to a boss that felt impossible to beat on Hard, just for it to be completely trivial on Normal.
As for comparing both games to one another, I think I actually slightly preferred the first one. They're actually very similar, with the second one having a few improvements on paper, but I felt like most of them either amounted to nothing or even turned out to actually harm the game. For example, the second game sort of got rid of random encounters, and it didn't work at all for me. I didn't think I'd ever speak out in favor of random battles, but the second game implemented them so badly, I just have to in this case. In the second game, you have to touch enemy symbols on the overworld to start a battle, but these simples always spawn behind you and walk the same speed as you (maybe even slower), so they will NEVER catch you. This means the only way to actually start a random battle is to intentionally touch an enemy symbol, which just feels so weird to do in an RPG. It feels like the game is broken and you have to unbreak it yourself.
I also enjoyed the first game's story and characters slightly more, though realistically speaking, both games were actually quite similar in this regard. It felt like both games told the exact same kind of story, just approached from different angles. The first one just happened to amount to slightly more interesting characters and locations, in my opinion.
After completing Rhytmic Adventure, I went on to start playing Itta. A very weird kind of game. It's a bullet hell shooter, but the combat consists entirely out of boss battles. You do have your overworld, items to find, friendly NPCs to interact with etc., but all battles in the game are boss battles. Certainly unusual. The game is kinda rough around the edges (with some glitches here and there, a rough UI and kinda unhandy controls), but overall seems fun so far.
Konami recently announced a new Getsu Fuuma Den game! I'm really happy about that, it caught me off-guard. Konami doesn't really make games nowadays, and it's for a sequel for a Japan-only game from the 80s that never had another game before. It's a 2D game too, which I really appreciate! I'm looking forward to that.
Currently working on a 2nd playthru of MOTHER 3 and I didn't even realize right away that this happens to be right around the 15th anniversary of MOTHER 3's release in 2006. Steel Mecharilla was that one boss last time and it still is. I thought figuring out how to activate the next cutscene was the hardest part of this game (lookin at you Mr. T look-a-like who wouldn't let me thru the train tunnel in chapter 4), but no, I was right the first time, the bosses (particularly the chapter 7 bosses and
) are the hardest parts of the game. Barely made it out of Jealous Bass and Mr. Genetor alive. Also took a chance on the save frog in Ms. Marshmallow's room (thankfully didn't get stuck and then have to use a walk thru walls cheat). I didn't fight her last time but I did this time. I also just realized that chapter 7 is like the Surface Tension of MOTHER 3. They're both the longest chapter in their respective games, feature the widest variety of scenery and gameplay, and feature some of the toughest battles in their respective games. Here's what I named the different characters.
Also started playing Portal Reloaded. To give you a hint as to how much it pushes you out of your comfort zone, the tagline is "thinking in four dimensions." You have the regular portals plus a 3rd portal that allows you to move through time between the present and future version of each chamber. Anything you do in the present (move a cube, place a portal) will affect the future, but not vice versa, so you can put a future cube in the present timeline, but not vice versa, but if you move present day cube while future cube is in the present timeline, the future cube disappears. The first few puzzles have the time portals in fixed spots, but after that you're free to fire a time portal anywhere you like.
IDK if it's any easier to try to play than to explain.
That sounds legitimately horrifying! 😨
I'm someone who immediately gets exhausted from just looking at tough puzzle levels in games. Portal 1 & 2 were manageable for me, but this one sounds like a legitimate nightmare for me!
After finishing Mother 3 again I went on to play Earthbound since I still have the ROM of that. I want to have fun with it and get into it (since I've heard it gets better later on) but the whole scenario with the Sharks and Frank just kinda grind things to a halt for me. Frank is a wake-up call boss not unlike Brock from R/B/Y. Right now I have Lifeup and Hypnosis, but I can't restore PP just by dying, no, I have to find a butterfly in a random location to restore my PP, which somehow goes down to 0 every time I die, unlike Mother 3 where the PP gets refilled automatically. Frank's knife attack does 31 damage to me while my cracked bat does a measly 7 by default, and AFAIK there's not really any way for me to buff or debuff stats yet during battle (besides HP) and severely limited options in what all I can equip. IDK why TvTropes considers Mother 3 a sequel difficulty spike compared to Earthbound.
Bravely Default II
Hey, I remember you talking about your experience with Default in this thread some years ago, RPG Hacker! I remember your grievances with it. It's actually quite interesting seeing another perspective on Default II, though. The... funny... thing is, as a diehard Bravely series fan that holds Default and Second as two of my favorite games ever, I absolutely hated almost all of my time with Default II. Especially compared to Bravely Second. I should note, specifically, that I'm talking about the gameplay. I love the music, I enjoy the art style's transition to HD, and the story is quite generic (unless you get into the optional, hidden lore where things get interesting) but I wouldn't say it's bad either.
But, yeah, strictly speaking about the gameplay, and the battle system, I absolutely hated it. Never in my life have I seen a game backtrack so hard on almost every single quality-of-life improvement/change that the previous game (Bravely Second in this case) brought to the table. Since you haven't beaten the game I won't go into detail at the moment, but suffice it to say, by the middle of the game, I was grinding for hours just so I could get over-leveled and plow through the rest of the game. I wanted to see how the story unfolded, but beyond that, I wanted the game to end as quickly as possible. It was honestly heartbreaking for me, considering how much I love the first two games. When it was announced, I was almost as excited for Default II as I was for Kingdom Hearts III! But, I think at this point, I've learned to keep my expectations grounded from now on.
Haha, that's quite interesting. I remember that our opinions on Kingdom Hearts III were already (kind of) polar opposites, and now the same is true for Bravley Default. Though I suppose this is also to be expected to some degree. I think there's no other genre with gameplay as divise as RPGs, and whenever developers change anything about this divise formula, they probably just end up alienating some of the original fans. Just like how a lot of fans probably hate how Final Fantasy moved away from turn-based battles entirely, whereas I'm just sitting here and thinking to myself "hell yeah, get me out of Turn-Based Poopy Ville, thank you very much".
As already implied in my previous post, I'm in the exact opposite camp here. In Bravely Default, I really didn't like battles and just tried to avoid them as much as possible, often times switching off random encounters entirely for a dungeon or so, which would of course put me at a disadvantage for the next boss and also kind of felt like cheating (since there was a special item in the game just for reducing encounters). In Bravely Default II, on the other hand, while I will occasionally avoid battles (simply due to the pacing being kinda exhausting, as mentioned before), I don't hate them. At least not generally. There is of course the odd boss and random encounter here and there that will catch you off-guard and feel unfair or frustratingly difficult, but in general, I do enjoy the battles.
This is also why I didn't really do much grinding so far. I like the battle system enough that I usually try to beat bosses with strategy rather than by just overpowering them with a higher level. There are exceptions, of course. The berserker boss felt absolutely impossible to beat and I went to grind at least a little bit. In the end, the grinding didn't even help much and I had to rely on luck. Anyways, I didn't do much grinding besides this one boss, and when I did, it was usually just because I noticed I was close to leveling up a job and wanted to do that before the next boss or whatever. I do still have my issues with the battle system, but these are mostly issues that the first Bravely Deault had as well - or for that matter, 90% of all turn-based RPGs I ever played. You know, things like most status effects being completely useless on the majority of bosses, or things like not gaining any EXP when one of your characters is dead at the end of battle. These things always bother me.
Anyways, I'm curious. What are these "quality of life" changes that you mentioned that are missing? It's been a while since I've played the first game, so aside from the general battle system, I don't even remember most of the ways in which that game differed. As for Bravely Second, I never even played that beyond its demo. After finding out it had the same general gameplay as the first game, I just didn't really have any motivation to even give it a try, so I wonder what exactly it did that improved on its predecessor. With my memory on the 3DS games being so fuzzy, I actually felt like Default II added quality-of-life features, if anything. The auto-saves are definitely one that I wouldn't want to miss. Beyond that, I haven't really felt like anything major was missing. Can you give one or two examples? Genuinely curious. It's absolutely possible that my fuzzy memory about the first game helped me enjoy this one even more.
Since my last post here about Earthbound (which might have been made in frustration) I've recorded two of the melodies (which so far kinda remind me of Mother 3's 7 needles) and now that I have Paula as a party member the game is a little easier now. It was definitely for sure a case of early game hell. It's now like a video game page-turner. Paula seems like a blonde Kumatora while Ness (who I named Sans) seems like this game's equivalent of Lucas (or maybe Lucas was Mother 3's equivalent of Ness). I also named Ness's offensive PSI move PSI Cats. I also managed to glitch a blue guy on top of a tree.
Anyways, I'm curious. What are these "quality of life" changes that you mentioned that are missing?
Bravely Second indeed had mostly the same battle system as Default, so yeah, you probably wouldn't have liked it. However, for the people like me that did like it, the QoL changes they made were amazing. Here's a list of several of these changes that Default II is missing:
- There is no longer an automatic prompt for chaining battles together for extra EXP after a regular fight ends, making grinding take far longer
- You can no longer save job+ability+equipment combinations. This doesn't seem like a big loss, but trust me, I was begging and pleading for this to come back by endgame.
- You cannot Brave with a special attack
- Special attacks are now tied to story progress, and the Asterisk a character is using, instead of the weapon and being available from the get-go
- Many Asterisks are just the same as ones from the last two games, but with the abilities split between them to artificially jack up the amount of Asterisks there are
- No form of air travel - you need to either use the horse carriage to go town-to-town, or walk/run
- Dungeons no longer tell you the recommended level, leaving you to guess
- Dungeons do not have maps
- No sidequest tracker
- A new, cumbersome Weight mechanic has been added to every equippable item, making optimal loadout creation quite obnoxious
- The "Auto" feature from the last two games has been downgraded immensely. Instead of pressing Y a single time and every character will infinitely repeat their previous action until they die or the battle is won, you need to press Y for every character, each turn, making the feature next to useless now. No more AFK grinding or cool Auto boss battles.
A few of these removals, like dungeon maps, sidequest tracker, and not being able to save job+ability+equip combinations especially, reeeeeeally pissed me off. I just kept thinking, what in god's name compelled them to remove all of this? Don't fix what isn't broken!
Oh yeah, some Of those are certainly irritating. I've wondered about the missing map in dungeons, too. Especially annoying when you want to get all the treasure chests, but just don't have any direction on where you've already been. Being able to save job and equipment configuration is also a nice feature and one I've wished for a couple of times.
I've gotta admit that neither of those missing features is really a deal breaker to me, though. I don't actually change my equipment and jobs too often, anyways, so I guess that's why the latter feature missing doesn't bother me too much (about 45+ hours into the game now). It's also probably why I kinda like the weight system, I found it to be kinda need and fun to use. The dungeon map thing is really only a minor annoyance to me and nothing more. I guess most of the other things mentioned also don't really concern me, since they are heavily tied to grinding, which is something I just don't voluntarily do in the first place. Basically, for me, the need of having to grind in the first place is a larger issue than grinding not being very convenient, so I think if they had generally balanced the game better, most of these missing features would be a lot less noticable.
I can still see why they would bother you, though. The balancing/pacing issue is one that bothers me more and more the longer the game keeps going. There were so many random battles on the dang air ship, oh my god, it just kept going. I skipped like 90% of them, I would have gone insane doing them all. However, skipping so many battles all the time of course leads me to be underleveled, which makes bosses extra harsh to find. I think I still prefer that over grinding, though. While a lot of bosses so far have initially felt like insurmountable iron walls, I have managed to overcome almost all of them after a few tries without grding, despite being slightly underleveled.
As for the misisng sidequest tracker, I'm not quite sure what you mean by that. There is a sidequest diary in the game. Is that not what you're referring to? I've used it a lot and find it quite handy. Do you mean something different?
As for the missing sidequest tracker, I'm not quite sure what you mean by that. There is a sidequest diary in the game. Is that not what you're referring to? I've used it a lot and find it quite handy. Do you mean something different?
I'm not talking about a tracker for the sidequests you've already done. Previous games had a full sidequest log, where the quests you have not found yet are just marked "???", letting you know how many you have left. Default II has no such log, therefore you need to travel the world and manually look for the ones you've missed. Awful thing to leave out.
Ah, I see. Yeah, that can be practical and I see why one would like that. Personally, I think I don't actually mind it being removed, because that encourages exploration. That way you can discover side quests yourself, which kinda makes them more memorable in my opinion. Like me just randomly stumbling over the side quest that unlocked the card game. I think having that kind of list can be both a blessing and a course.
I've been playing Super SIG World 13 and 16 lately, they're actually remakes of SIG 1 and 2. They're pretty basic, as you'd expect from such an old vanilla hack. But it can be fun honestly.
I mentioned wanting to play some vanilla hacks just to check them out, since I usually play hacks with at least custom music and visuals, even if not on every level.
Honestly, you can tell both hacks are old and early attempts, because they're pretty flawed. There are a lot of questionable decisions in certain levels, like blind jumps and some rather annoying setups and difficulty here and there, despite the game being pretty easy all things considered. But there are many quality moments too, which are pretty fun, particularly puzzles, like in ghost houses and whatnot.