Sliders 'n Socks

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#126 2021-01-13 19:55:18

Polly
Moon Pie Advocate
From: Pollyland
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 170
Website

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

Ohhhhh baby, fresh meat for the Danganronpa train.  I AM READY FOR YOUR REACTIONS ;D


You got a 25% at best at beat me.

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#127 2021-02-18 15:33:33

Ghosty
Spookmaker
From: Ghost Town
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 48

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

This post's going to be a big one.

So my compy broke down a while ago and I haven't been able to play many games - but shortly before it crapped out I'd gotten myself Petal Crash, a puzzle game. It's in the vein of games like Puyo Puyo, Puzzle League, etc. It's got this distinct GameBoy Color on Super Gameboy-vibe to it. The look and sound and general vibe of this game is just great! The actual gameplay is quite good too, though it's no Puzzle League. It's got a Story mode where you play against increasingly tougher AI opponents, a solo Puzzle Mode with limited moves, an Endless Mode (think Tetris) and a two-player VS Mode. And naturally there are some hidden characters, though you can't use them in Story Mode. It's just a really cute and good puzzler!

--

While my desktop compy was dead I gave Trails of Cold Steel a go. I was forewarned of some awful manga-type stuff shoved into the intro chapter, but I was feeling confident that it was still going to be a good game - I mean... This is Falcom! So while the game had a lot of anime tropes tacked on, it was still plain to see that there's still some solid Falcom writing in there, and the battle system feel much improved from the Trails in the Sky series. So I puttered through the game rather happily. Rean, the new protagonist, I liked a bunch, the new country and the limited though large central cast promised good times ahead.

Then something happened. Not immediately, not some singular event, but rather all the tacking on of bad tropes and shoehorning of Rean into this particular role of player surrogate and specific lines here and there that felt... Heavy-handedly directed in the script that I felt didn't really 100% feel... Entirely natural. It just started to add up. Sometime it the last two-three chapters I just... Stopped buying what it was trying to sell. I stopped caring. I still finished the game but with an empty feeling. I didn't want to dislike this game, but I ultimately arrived at the writing just being ruined for me. I just don't appreciate how far changed the tone away from what it was in Sky, the increasingly anime direction it was no doubt being forced to take. It makes me sad, but I don't think I'll be playing the other Cold Steel games. I still like the Sky games a whole lot though, even if I didn't jive with their combat system.

--

After finally piecing together my new computer and after much trouble finding Windows 10 affordably, I jumped straight into the game I'd been looking forward to - Shadowverse, a TCG by Japanese Cygames!

A little over ten years ago I played another online TCG that I ultimately quit playing after getting through most of the singleplayer content, as at that point you were practically forced to buy cards (with cash $$$) to meaningfully participate in the multiplayer game, as most prebuilt cardpacks were complete garbage and uneditable. Going into this game I was only expecting about the same, but I've had a real craving for a TCG for a some time now. I'd be content if I just burned through the singleplayer and just dropped it, so that was the plan.

But holy carp this game blew me away completely! The singleplayer content alone is way beyond anything I could've imagined with the intricate story and voice acting and generous rewards for the tutorial and first chapter to get your decks going. (The plot is stupid but the characters are done well.) Unlike the game I played way back then, I can just play this and get more than enough cards to make my own decks and dare to take on the multiplayer game all without paying anything! Which makes me think that I might actually put down some cash on this game soon enough, because it deserves it.

Some terminology:
Leader = Your hero card. Keep this alive.
Follower = Your creature cards. Are played onto the play field.
Amulet = Are played onto the play field, cannot attack and have no health but has effects, usually periodic.
Spell = Spell cards are played and discarded immediately upon use.
Class = Cards are of 8 different classes (9 with neutral cards). You can compare them to Magic's colours or to factions. Your deck can only have one class of cards plus neutral cards.
Ward = Follower cards with this ability must be destroyed before any other Follower or Leader cards can be attacked.

In a nutshell, you have your Leader with 20 health (called Defence) which has no abilities and cannot attack. The objective is to kill the enemy leader. (This is a 2-player game.) You mainly rely on creature cards to attack and defend, these are played onto the playfield, one row per player with 5 'slots' each. If you have them all filled with creatures, your Leader can't be attacked (at least I think this is how it works), but most of the time, this isn't doable and Followers quickly die, so Followers with the Ward ability are important to keep you off the flames. You start with 1 play point on your first turn, increasing by one for every turn, limiting you to low-cost cards at the beginning of the game, eventually capping at 10 play points.

The big gimmick of this game are Evolutions - they let you upgrade a card mid-combat giving +2 Attack and +2 Defense (usually) and sometimes gives the Follower extra abilities. The player who goes first gets 2 evolution points to spend and the player who goes second gets 3 and can first evolve one round earlier than the first player. Evolutions only last for the duration of the battle.

Basically, it's a lot like Hearthstone and that other game! (I forget the name.)

The art style is a lot more anime-esque than western TCGs, and I think I prefer it. The music is great and everything feels polished in the extreme.

The only thing lacking so far is more of a better guide as to where everything is in the menus, and that they are, because it can be a little overwhelming. (There are info dialogs that pop up the first time you enter a submenu, but then you don't see them again.)

One gotcha is the the various tickets you get you should go to More > Tickets and then usually there's a 'spend' button or something similar next to them - and make sure you spend them all. Another thing to look at is the Crate button under Home to claim promo items and the like. Also Home > Missions to look at daily missions you can complete for rewards. There are also some rewards from the singleplayer content (Solo > Main Story).

I love it so far! So if you like TCGs, check it out! (It's on Steam) yikes

Last edited by Ghosty (2021-02-19 08:02:33)


The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The hole is greater than it was a minute ago.
Wait, it's growing! Oh no! Run!!

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#128 2021-02-19 12:52:46

Polly
Moon Pie Advocate
From: Pollyland
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 170
Website

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

I think Falcom definitely made a conscious decision to make Cold Steel a wider appealing game, so you get those nods like Rean being more of a player surrogate (though he is his own person quite a bit more than a lot of those tend to be.)  and the anime influence being a lot more potent.  It's either gonna work or it's not for some, and for folks like me there are just things about Cold Steel that get under  my skin the more the series goes on, but never made me dislike it.  (I really hate how ALL of Rean's relationships with EVERY WOMAN IN EREBONIA has to have a hint of romance to make the player feel good, for instance.)  It exploded Falcom into the mainstream, and I feel if any company deserves that kind of push, it's them, but I really hope future games pull back on Cold Steel's compromises for mainstream success at least a bit.

I've been fidoodling around with a couple hacking simulator games, myself. 

Uplink, which was released all the way back in 2001'ish for PC, is kind of a hacking sim/roguelike hybrid since you can fuck up big hacking jobs bad enough that you get disavowed by the Uplink group.  You take on various missions, make money, build your rig, buy app upgrades, and it all starts coming together narratively as you go.  The original game's interface is quite a bit dated and I imagine playing it these days, especially for younger folks, might be rough, so thankfully there's a full HD modernization mod that makes the game way more playable in 2021, and I had a blast with it.

I also did a 20 minute'ish video on the original+the OS mod if you're interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VNX2OHySzI

Also played through Hacknet, which is a more story/narrative driven affair than Uplink.  You're not finishing missions to earn mony to build a hot new rig, and to my knowledge there's no permanent Game Over state (though there IS a Game Over state that you can hack your way out of if you can figure it out in about 60 seconds.)  This one's more about creating a certain atmosphere  with its story and your interactions with other hackers as well as the logs you find on other systems and the like. The mission structures in this game are a bit more involved and puzzle boxy, where mission types in Uplink are pretty cut and dry once you know them.  You'll be snooping through filesystems, deciphering file headers, and investigating large .txt files for precious information to get to the bottom of the game's underlying mystery. 

You'll also be expected to learn some very basic UNIX-based terminal commands and how to use them and be able to do that under some amount of time pressure (though the timers are generally pretty generous.)  Not everything can be handled via the game's UI, so you'll need to have some commands memorized to be able to crack every system.  I committed myself entirely to using the terminal the entire time and it was a lot of fun!

This one was a blast, and the climax, which was set to Carpenter Brut's "Roller Mobster" is a fucking sight and moment to behold.  I've never felt so stressed out, heart racing, trying not to fumble my commands over just typing shit into a computer terminal, but this game nailed it, with a narrative ending that was ultimately very satisfying.

Two great hacker games I would recommend for different reasons!


You got a 25% at best at beat me.

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#129 2021-02-22 22:22:35

Psychic_Heist
Member
Registered: 2019-09-19
Posts: 90

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

Finished up “Dangonronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc” last night. Obscenely entertaining. Even bought a stuffed Monokuma for my office at work.   You can say the game stuck with me more than I thought it would.  It’s also so happens I was seeking something to read with a manga aesthetic, wanting to watch some anime that was new to me, and play a video game – and Dangonronpa scratches all three itches adequately.

The murder mystery ‘class trials’ of course are fun, but the characters were the real stars.  A special shoutout to Toko (can’t really elaborate due to spoilers), to Byakuya for being the ultimate jerk you love to hate, and to the vocal performance of the Mastermind, which is just a wild spectacle to behold.  However, Monokuma steals the show.  What an insanely delightful villain, one of the best I’ve encountered in a while, and I’m glad the game just indulges in the character.

Another thing that worked for me was the soundtrack.  It doesn’t have very many tracks (for budget reasons I’m sure) but the music we do get felt perfectly utilized for each moment, giving each reoccurring theme of music an episodic TV show feel.  There were some also some genuinely nice ambient tracks too.

I do have a couple criticisms, but no biggies.  First off, the various ‘gamey’ parts of the class trials themselves were fun, but at the beginning I wish they allowed just a little more practice with each of them instead just throwing me in.  I don’t get to play video games every day, so as they kept adding additional mechanics, I found myself not fully feeling like I mastered the previous ones, and at times a little ‘Uh, what do I do here?’ And what I am really referencing is the absorb bullet mechanic –which had me stuck a few times because I had forgotten about it.  Secondly, while I am content with the ending, I do have a lingering feeling that maybe they cut some corners on some of the ending plots finer details.  Of course, there are two more games to play, so I am hoping further light is shed upon certain events as I continue to play through the series.

Which I will get to Dangonronpa 2 soon enough, however, in light of the recent Resident Evil VIII trailer, presentation, and demo – which looks soooo goooood and sooooo my thing – I realized I need to play Resident Evil VII. Sooooo, that will be my next big video game endeavor.

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#130 2021-02-23 08:06:47

Polly
Moon Pie Advocate
From: Pollyland
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 170
Website

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

You're entirely spot on about the minigame portions of Danganronpa.  They throw you in with kinda bad explanations and it's something that only gets worse with the series going forward (the minigames also just dive in quality game-to-game xD)  Thankfully they're not the bulk of any class trial, but lord almighty do I instinctively wretch every time "(IMPROVED) Hangman's Gambit" pops up....  The story and characters are the stars here and they go delightfully buck wild with them, so I think you're gonna like where things go from here .

And same on RE7.  I REALLY need to get on that, but the right mood has just never quite grabbed me.


You got a 25% at best at beat me.

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#131 2021-03-24 08:45:23

Psychic_Heist
Member
Registered: 2019-09-19
Posts: 90

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

Finished “Resident Evil VII” about two weeks ago ...

I never played “Resident Evil 6”, or 5 for that matter, but apparently those games took the ‘Survival Horror-Action’ of “Resident Evil 4” and switched them around to ‘Action-Horror’ with the scope of “Resident Evil 6” pushing those boundaries to a level of such ridiculousness that it crumbled from all the weight and turned out a mess that fell flat across the board.  That is what I hear, but I don’t know (I do hope to eventually check those out for series completion sake). And so after a game that fumbled the identity of the series, it was the goal of “Resident Evil VII” to reboot the series into something that would be more in touch with it’s survival horror roots while also downsizing the games scope to focus on a more immediate atmosphere to scare the hell out of you.  For the most part, I feel like they succeeded.       

I was a bit worried in the first couple of hours or so of playing “Resident Evil VII” that I wasn’t going to like it.  I attribute a lot of those feelings to the controls themselves.  I can’t recall the last time I played a proper first person game on a console (and no, I don’t think Danganronpa really counts) so playing one on a controller and not a mouse/keyboard took a little time (and adjustments in options) before I could feel comfortable with it.  The other thing that worried me was that the game -- in a bid to be more grounded, gritty, and gruesome -- would take itself a little too seriously.  Thankfully I breathed sighs of relief when an early boss fight ends with the boss jumping on the roof of a car in a dramatic fashion, as well as when solving an early very much a Resident Evil puzzle and the main character exclaimed “Who designed this place?” I shouldn’t have feared, a good dose of self-awareness and b-movie schlock are speckled throughout the journey.

I’d guess it was about 25% through the game that I felt myself having a genuinely good and spoopy (to borrow a term learned from Ghosty) time, and that momentum just builds and builds until about 70% of the playtime, which I will elaborate more on later. Right now I just want to focus on the strengths of this part of the game's progression.  Maybe I am too fresh from playing the game, but sections of “Resident Evil VII” offers some of the most unnerving, stressful, and frightening experiences I have ever played in this series.  The game made me afraid of my own goddamn shadow for chrissakes. Opening doors are scary again.  Moments of wanting not to progress are abundant.  It is easy to say now, looking back, that this is the fun of the game, the best thing about it -- but damn if some of those moments at the time were nerve-racking and suffocating. 

Another thing, and I love “Resident Evil 4” just as much as anybody, but it is nice to play a survival-horror game that's a bit more traditional in feeling like I need to manage inventory and conserve ammo and healing items. The developers smartly give you just enough to survive, while making you believe you’re going to run out.  To recall back to what I mentioned earlier, VII feels off at the start due to it’s first-person perspective and control, but as elements such as this are added, VII turns out to harken back to classic Resident Evil games.

Being a fan of horror movies, I was also happy to see the game wear it’s horror movie influences on its sleeve.  The most obvious being “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Blair Witch Project” for sure, and a section of the game that’s very much “Saw.”  I also picked up on Wes Craven’s “The Hills Have Eyes,” and David Cronenberg’s “The Fly.” This also might be a little bit of a stretch (though Texas Chainsaw and Hills both have something to owe to it) but I can also see a touch of James Whales “The Old Dark House.”

From about 20% in to about 70% through, I am really loving the game, and I feel like it builds itself up really well.  But then there is a change of scenery, and a section of the game that while looks impressive on a technical level, fell mostly flat for me.  The intense atmosphere the game had established suddenly evaporated, and the game stopped being scary.  I know what scares us is subjective, so this section will depend on the individual player, but I found this part of the game tremendously boring and dull, and when you remove this game's mask of a formidable environment, this game’s flaws are glaringly out and open. 

VII’s game design repeats itself an awful lot.  Throughout you will find video cassettes that as your character watches, you actually will *go into the past event* and play it. Those cassettes will reveal some sort of puzzle or path that will reveal itself that you will need to take in order to progress in the present.  So when the cassette section is over, guess what, you get to do it all over again! I admit that this redundancy isn’t so bad because since you know what to do you can usually expedite through it, and you still feel the ominous influence of the game's atmosphere.  However, the sections happen just enough that I began to wonder if the developers just ran out of ideas, and so when it happens yet again in the later third of the game, I was pretty done with it, waiting for the game to end.

There are also the puzzles themselves, which too will end up repeating themselves.  There are a handful of RE style puzzles of looking for the right item in order to progress, but I felt like a chunk of these are rather uninspired and empty.  One section of the game has a very good set of puzzles that was very satisfying to think your way through.  It’s a part so good I wished they riffed and varied up that style of design in more sections of the game -- but not really no, you’ll just end up repeating it mostly step by step.

Finally, the last leg of the game starts throwing enemies at you in hordes as you, more or less, linearly progress to the end.  It feels very “Resident Evil 4” except the action isn’t nearly as satisfying. The enemies, these symbiote Venom looking things, have been used so much by this point in the game, I was feeling pretty brain-dead when taking them out, no matter how much I liked this game’s shotgun.  (I should add here that this part of the game and gameplay is expanded upon in the games free DLC epilogue “Not A Hero.” But I don’t like the shotgun you get in that as much, and stopped playing it about midway through because I just couldn’t bring up any incentive to care anymore.)

Those are my critiques, but I don’t want them to overshadow what the game does well, or paint the wrong picture of my experience with the game.  I should point out that I didn’t pay anything for this game (and you can get it at a good price these days) as one of the upgrades of Playstation 5 ownership is your Playstation Plus can now download more than just monthly titles, you have access to freely download ‘Playstation 4 Greatest Hits’ as well  -- so what I didn’t like is softened by that.  If I had shelled out $60 for it, I think I’d be a bit more bitter.

Other thing I kept in mind is that *I believe* that this game was the debut of the all new ‘RE Engine,’ so I can give the developers a pass for most of the repetitive and lull-inducing game design decisions because you get the sense that they were keeping things simple because they were still figuring that new game engine out (it was also developed with VR in mind so that had to be apart of the decisions of the games simplicity).  This might seem dismissive, and I don’t mean it to be,  but “Resident Evil VII” is like a really really good tech demo for something greater. And “Resident Evil VIII”, or ‘Village’, already looks like it has more confidence about it.  Give me better puzzles, enemies, and more cohesive and fuller level design, and I think it will be stellar.

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#132 2021-03-29 09:31:38

Beepner
Phil Collins Appreciator
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 71

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

Oh hey, this forum is still here. :sweatdropemoji:

Psychic_Heist, I've never been huge into the Resident Evil franchise, I did play 4 on the PS2 back in the day and Revelations on the 3DS. So I mostly experienced Resident Evil in its "over-the-top-stupid" phase. Kind of like Metal Gear Solid in that regard, whereas I think the Playstation games were playing it straight while skirting the edges of b-movie schlock, although where MGS actually jumped the shark into complete insanity territory is up for debate. Anyway. Being an RE outsider as it were, I get that sense that there are two RE franchises, not that pseudo-reboots to get a series "back to its roots" are a new thing.

As for me, I've been playing Doom-n-Quake, Quake-n-Doom. Doom 2 and Final Doom, Quake 2 and Quake I mods and mission packs. And Heretic, but I don't want to talk about that as much. What can I say, these oldschool FPS are my pandemic comfort food, although the burnout comes a lot quicker now when I sit down for a session, so I've been trying to emulate PS2 games on my now 11-year-old rig. Persona 3 works fairly well, Ridge Racer V works but has some graphical glitches that make eyestrain a real problem (and that game never looked the best to begin with. Silpheed: The Lost Planet runs rather well too, it being my first PS2 game (that wasn't a PS1 game), it's an interesting little nostalgia trip. I've never finished it, the stages are long and you go back to the beginning of a stage when you game over, and it starts throwing some "how the heck was I supposed to dodge that" moments at you in the later stages.

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#133 2021-04-19 18:51:41

Ghosty
Spookmaker
From: Ghost Town
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 48

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

Another long one incoming!

--
"Remember, Date—Six minutes!"

I have been playing through AI: the Somnium Files! I think I'm one of very few that didn't watch Polly stream this in 2019, though I knew about the game coming out from Polly being real excited for another Uchikoshi-game. This being the guy that directed the Zero Escape-series. I just took my time with this one, playing a little bit at a time instead of binging a game like I usually do.

It really blew me away! Just the writing is great—which is the meat of the game—but I'm also astounded at just how big a budget they must have put into this thing!! The animation incredible! The dub is awesome! It's also just a real damned funny and interesting game with some amazing characters! Okay, I'm gonna stop gushing now.

I'm real happy I got to play this. I just haven't had a machine that could handle it until pretty recently. It really hit that "I want to play a story-heavy game"-spot for me.

But basically... It's an adventure game. You're put into the boots of Kaname Date—a police investigator with a cybernetic eyeball that is also your work partner, and your job is to dive into people's subconscious mind to look for clues to in order to solve a murder case. I mean sci-fi cop show by Spike Chunsoft—what could go wrong? Why are you still reading this!?
--

Alright, so I've also been playing other games. Mostly Shadowverse. About three weeks ago a new cardpack came out, which of course means that another cardpack was rotated out. My silky-smooth operating deck was wrecked! I've mostly been focused on Portalcraft because it's just the coolest class out of the bunch. And while I could make an analog to my old deck, and it was pretty effective, it felt like ass to play and I'd end up milling loads of cards always teetering on decking out most every match. I just didn't like it at all.

So I've been strugging to come up with a nice new deck I can feel happy with, and though I got a couple of mostly good decks together, I just can't seem to get them to where I'm happy with them. I think I'm kind of burned out on Shadowverse for now. It doesn't help that mission rewards seem to have gotten stingier than I remember them being.
--

Lastly, I've gotten started on Pyre (the Supergiant game). I'd briefly tested it a bit on Steam share. I'd played just the first match in the game and I just couldn't get to grips with the controls at all. So I just kind of left it for a while.

Some weeks later I realised that I already own this game—It's in that one huge Itch-bundle that I understand a lot of people bought last year. So I set that up and gave it another go and I had a much better time of it. The music is plain great! (It's got some Matt Uelmen (Diablo, Diablo II, Torchlight-series) vibes in places, but on the whole it's a pretty varied soundrack!) The matches ("Rites") went a lot better, though I still wished it were easier to practice in a more drill sort of way. You do get a practice mode of sorts fairly early on in Campaign Mode, but it really takes a bit to get good at this thing.

Just today I figured out a good way to practice—I just focus on passing between two characters, alternately running up the field short sections at a time until I'm in range to dash/jump/throw into the enemy pyre. Passing the ball ("Orb") really is key to getting good at this thing.

I like the story elements so far, and the visuals and music and tone of the game just makes for a really nice vibe. But if you were it ask me if I'd recommend this game I'd probably just... Pause. I think it's a cool and unique game.

But when you recommend something, who would you be recommending it to? Who is this game for? That ends up being a tough question. Because it's kiiind of a sports game, it's got this "basketball-adjacent" core game, but it's not basketball so could you sell the idea to someone who likes sports games? But it's also got this visual novel-type fantasy story thing that takes up the lion's share of the game time (unless you play Versus Mode). So would you recommend it to someone who likes VNs or adventure games? But do they like basketball basketball-like games? But it's also got RPG elements.

Then again. Recommendations are never sure things. Even if a game seems to check all your personal boxes, sometimes you just don't like a game. Sometimes you just try a game you wouldn't think to try, and you might like it a lot! It's just a tricky thing.

I myself like this occult basketball basketball-like tournament, even if I'm not completely sold on everything. But I'm only what I think is a little less than halfway through the game. I'll probably comment more on it once I've beat it.


The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The hole is greater than it was a minute ago.
Wait, it's growing! Oh no! Run!!

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#134 2021-05-18 10:12:48

Ghosty
Spookmaker
From: Ghost Town
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 48

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

On no, I'm going to double post...
Well, here it is!

I've had a period of just bouncing off most every game feeling burned out, after dropping Shadowverse—the game that had me trapped in it's orbit, playing it, thinking about decks to make and cards to get when I wasn't playing it, trying to think of card synergies...

But I was still hungry for deckbuilding card games, so I poked at some I had, like Slay the Spire and I even dug out Phantasy Star Online Ep.III. But otherwise I wasn't feeling like much.

Though I thought something that was mostly story and not a lot of 'game' might work for me, in the place I was at. After asking a friend for some suggestions, I started playing To the Moon, a visual novel with that top-down 2D perspective of a JRPG.

Er... Let me start again.

To the Moon - a visual novel about a dying man's wish to go to the moon. Two doctors will dive into his memories to make him relive his life in one final simulation, in order to get his wish fulfilled.

Right away, the soundtrack is the thing that jumps out at you, and it's quite a good one, let me tell you! It's very much a point-'n'-click game, in spite of the top-down perspective, but it works! Thankfully there are no items to combine, just things to find and basic visual puzzles to beat.

The story. While I thought the characters felt credible and the initial plot setup was cool; I failed to find anything likable about the characters in the story that was Johnny's life. But as the game went on, that turned around in a big way for me!

I'd like to talk about some more particulars of the story and how they hit me but I just can't think of a way to do so without spoiling the whole thing. So I won't.

On that note, I would like to comment, though, that I really wish I hadn't seen the trailer—or pictures the game—prior to playing it. This is the kind of game where you need to just go in blind to have the best experience. So if you're thinking about trying it at all—AVOID PICTURES! ... And sound. And video.

Because it's a good story! You just have to trust it!

This game isn't new per se (it came out in 2011), and I understand that there's a sequel out, called Finding Paradise. I'd like to play that eventually.


The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The hole is greater than it was a minute ago.
Wait, it's growing! Oh no! Run!!

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#135 2021-08-14 16:18:48

Ghosty
Spookmaker
From: Ghost Town
Registered: 2019-08-26
Posts: 48

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

I don't care—I'm going to do it—here comes the triple post!

SO! It's been some time since I last posted. I had Shadovwerse still sitting in my library, I'd quit playing it for some time and I had my cursor over the "uninstall" option. But then I thought... "You know... I'm going to look at it one last time!" So I boot it up, it needs to download some update. I walk away and come back, I pop into the top menu and there's a new singleplayer chapter out! So I figure I'll play through that, and then I'll be done and good and uninstall the thing. 'Course, it's the first chapter of a new story arc, so it's always a little unsatisfying a note to end on.

I play an unranked match to see if anything has changed while I was gone. It has! Every Class has a new gold and legendary card! Neat! Maybe I can improve my old "good" deck!

I pop on again two days later and there' another singleplayer chapter out! I even got a crap-ton of free cards! "Oh I am making a new deck!!"

I kick ass on the ladder! I rank up a bunch! It feels good! I even feel a bit better about myself! I wonder how that works? I even get a deck with a second Class going and it works ace! I roll my first leader card for Portalcraft! Sweet!

A little under two weeks later there's a new Rotation. Fucking Rotation. I'm dead in the water again. Everything feels so alien and awkward now that the old gimmicks are no longer viable and I have to learn all these new cards. I can't seem to get a deck together that works. I take a break from the game a week or two, I'm just not feeling it.

I come back, I can now see some tournament-winning decks in the menu again and I play some unranked matches to see what's out there. The new Machina deck I quickly perfect and it kicks ass, though I make some blunders piloting. I figure out that my Evo deck is still workable with minor modifications but it's juuuuuuust a little badly matched against the new "if you have more evolution points than"-type cards that every Class now have. I can fight on the ladder, but I can't climb on the ladder, I'm just sort of sitting there. I have a third deck going with a more uh... Unconventional gimmick for the current meta. With some of the new cards, I think I can make it work!

And it does work! ... Sometimes. Sometimes, the enemy is chanceless! But sometimes is not enough. I'm too dependent on my initial hand to win. It works, but ultimately, it's just not as good a gimmick as the big meta gimmicks this Rotation.

I take a good long think about my decks. I have one that's absolutely kickass, but that I don't much care to play, one old that almost viable, and one that's... Floundering, even though it technically works as intended.

My realisation is this: You HAVE TO pick the "new" gimmicks for each given Rotation, that is 1-4 viable gimmicks for a given Class in any given Card Rotation. You can swap about 4-5 cards to taste. So two different card names, maybe three if you only have one of one card. That is the freedom afforded to you, if you have any desire to win whatsoever. That... Just doesn't feel like fun.

You're basically racing to complete one of the "new" decks around the "new" finishers and get good at using them fast before they're rotated out and repeat. There's no creativity involved. And that just... Mmmh. hmm

So finally, I uninstalled it and removed it from my Steam library. Goodbye TCGs. It was more fun than I thought it would be, while the illusion lasted.

----

I poked around in my library to see if I had anything... Fun. But mostly card-related. I still love deckbuilding! I still like Slay the Spire, but I'm kind of burnt out on that particular game.

I found this little game called Signs of the Sojourner. It's... Not really a card game, despite what it may have you believe. It's more like Dominoes... But with deckbuilding! But it's also a Visual Novel/Adventure Game of sorts. It's... Neat!

Neat but frustrating. Because they made a very deliberate choice in this game to not let you be good and stay good, because the symbols you have to match up are different in different towns and talking to different characters. But you can't have an effective deck while also having a wide enough variety of symbols to use to be effective everywhere.

I have mixed feelings about this game. It does some really cool stuff I've never seen before with it's conversational battles using pseudo-Dominoes with card effects. And conversations can have multiple outcomes and while usually you want your conversation to end friendly, that isn't always the case, and just trying to make the conversation as long as possible tends to be a good idea, if it can be done. The writing and vibe of the game just feels real good somehow. It pulls you into it's own, gentle, tempo. The world has a kind of warmth to it but also trouble and conflict and you never know what to expect.

The story starts with you about to set out with The Caravan for the first time. Your mother founded The Caravan—a troupe of traveling merchants—but after her death, you now have to be the one to put food on the table, and you have to learn fast how to keep your family shop afloat by aquiring products to stock with.

It warrants checking out! Even if I can't quite decide how to feel about it.

----

How do you feel about breaking pots? It's fun right! You go into people's houses, you wreck shit, and money and healing comes out! But after a while all the pots start looking the same. But this next game has many different kinds of pots for you to discover! Low pots! Tall pots! Boxes! Barrels! Even pressurized vessels!

I got a new game called Blue Fire! It's two very clear inspirations are Hollow Knight and 3D Zeldas. In fact, they feel very on-the-nose. For example, the protagonist wears robes, but the menu to change robes is called "Tunics".  It also has Zelda-style dungeons with all the usual trappings and they are called "Temples". The art and music feels VERY Hollow Knight with it's dark, cutesy glowy-eyed characters and a the ruins of a civilization that warrants saving.

But this game is no dud! It feels real good to play—even if not every inspiration was entirely understood by the developers or perhaps tuned a bit farther away from the original idea; But somehow it doesn't seem to matter much! You got a big world to explore, great-feeling controls, nice pacing, merciless Dark Souls-ey enemies that will fuck you up in a move or two (until you learn their patterns). Infrequent save points that let you change your spawn (though you can Save anytime, but it won't change your spawn point). Difficult platforming and obscure parkour paths to find to get cool rewards.

If I can blame it for something, it's that it's not as wide open as something like Hollow Knight, it's got some locked doors sprinkled all over, but I did do some minor and unintentional sequence breaking, so it's not as linear as some other games, either. But my biggest gripe is simply the name. Sure it's got some precedent in the game lore but it just feels kind of... Bland and forgettable.

It's also got platforming challenge rooms which... I wasn't too keen on at first. I have a hard time with precision platforming in 3D. But the game is lenient in that you can tackle them when you feel like it, even after getting more movement abilities—which helps a lot if you're like me. There's room to make them easier or harder depending on when you tackle them and what you equip. So now I really don't mind it!

It may not be Hollow Knight and I haven't beaten it yet—but I'm having a very nice time time and think it's going to place on my end-of-the-year list.


The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The hole is greater than it was a minute ago.
Wait, it's growing! Oh no! Run!!

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#136 2021-09-02 12:16:48

Psychic_Heist
Member
Registered: 2019-09-19
Posts: 90

Re: HEY YOU! PART TWO! WHATCHA PLAYIN'?

Ghosty!!! Yer posting streak stops here!!! tongue

I am five hours into “Fantasian,” currently available on Apple Arcade.  It appears that this is about a 40 hour game, making these impressions early yet.  It has been a pretty solid five hours.  Playing this game is like the biggest bowl of comfort food I think I have been served up in awhile.   It’s by the final fantasy guy, so yeah, there’s a strong flavor of that, and it’s music is composed by the other final fantasy guy, and you get that spice too.  The way your character moves around on the handmade ‘diorama’ backgrounds, invokes a strong feeling of nostalgia I get from Playstation 1 era JRPGS with pre-rendered backgrounds. 

Except Fantasian’s backgrounds and how they are rendered into the game are exceptionally gorgeous.  Really, it’s like the main draw of the game for me.  Everything looks so tactile, that it is a visual experience I can say that I haven’t quite experienced anywhere else.  The love and detail really shines though.  I want to explore every nook and cranny to see everything they’ve made.

Also interesting is the game will also tell it’s story in visual novel-like segments.  I believe this is probably because they couldn’t make a diorama for every location, but these segments are effective for the purpose of storytelling.  The story so far is standard typical JRPG.  I’d be curious to hear from those who play JRPGS a lot more frequently than I do on what their impression of the story is.  I usually just end up replaying JRPGs of my past than play what is currently out -- so this story feels like its story points are refurbished from the 90s/00s JRPG era.  I could see some criticism with that.  I like the characters though (I especially like the princess character), even if they too are pretty typical.  I wonder if the game will twist these familiar tropes as I progress.   

Battle system is fun.  Battles feature the ‘turn-bar’ that was in Final Fantasy X, and I loved that system, so I am thrilled to see it here.  Battles are also where the touch screen (since I am playing this on my phone) mechanics really shine.  Guiding and angling how and who you want your attacks to hit using your finger feels really good.  Combine that with an interesting random battle mechanic (basically you can fight random battles like your standard jrpg fare OR you can save those encounters up and then fight them all at once), has kept me really engaged.  Battles for the most part, are pretty easy and breezy, however, I have had a couple where the difficulty suddenly spikes pretty high and fights kept me on my toes.

Nitpicks: The touch screen for moving around has taken me some time to get used to, and damn, if I still feel like it is finicky every now and then.  I really wish I could control my character directly.  I think there is an option to pair a controller to the game, but I am not carrying a controller in my pocket xD

Another nitpick: When you first hear the random battle theme, it's in this industrial futuristic sci-fi setting and I think it matches that environment perfectly.  It’s just when I hear it in each subsequent location, like a Tatooine-esque village or a forest area, it feels mismatched.  Not that it’s a bad battle theme though.

To quickly wrap up, I am enjoying some “Fantasian,” though I wonder if a lot of the enjoyment is stemming from having the compatibility playing a contemporary visually gorgeous JRPG on my phone.  I am looking forward to what else the game will offer.

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