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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 8:00 am 


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What got titled "Revenge of Shinobi" and "Shinobi III" in the US are indeed basically a different series; their JP titles are "The Super Shinobi" and "The Super Shinobi 2", whereas Shadow Dancer is kind of a spin-off of AC Shadow Dancer, which is of course the sequel to AC Shinobi.

But yeah the Super series is definitely a bit slower, the first one feeling quite sluggish and clumsy imo
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:26 am 


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Revenge/Super is an archetypal assault course memoriser. An expert can bulldoze it with ninja efficiency, and there's considerable tactical freedom in its CQC, crossguard and doublejump mechanics, but played blind - fuhgeddaboudit. Fuuuckouttaheeya. The combination of tight camera and scroll-happy stage design plus savage powerdown on damage will keep you groping in the dark until you've taken your licks and become Rutger Hauer in that one Look Ma, I'm The White Zatoichi flick.

I do love it but I suspect its near-universal mainstream acclaim is more to do with the (at the time, and imo still quite) super-cohesive near-future ninja style. Castlevania Bloodlines and Alien Soldier are progressively better-staged examples of the same Powerdown On Damage / Sup Boss Imma Shove You In This Woodchipper curve.

Chronicle Of The Bellend Slicer
A Ninja Discovers Comedy
Just One Thing Ahnuld, I Forgot To Buy A Rubber

Some fun to be had. (`ω´メ)

Worth noting for fans of SS1/SS2 that the Saturn's Shin Shinobi Den aka Legions aka X is effectively the third game in this sub-series, and while Revenge gets BIG BOUNS for its look, Den tends to get slated for its cheesy Tokusatsu styling. Despite the shamefur effort (witness SS2's superhumanly spine-shattering divekick return as the poor cousin of Unca Scrooge's pogo bounce) it plays alright imo. Some neat ideas like giving the sword its own button, and making it more of an equal partner opposite shuriken. Some advanced enemies will send your shuriken right back at you, but because Den's devs obviously like SS2's hidden six-button mode, you can just block on reaction.

Level design's a bit flabby in spots but it's better than it's commonly made out to be, certainly at the time, when most mags were mongling Tom Zito's microscopic chode. The rolling katana somersault is badass, genuinely near-Ninja Five O smooth (now that is some nice rolling! Image). I always miss its innovations when I return to the MD games. Would make a rad arrange mode backporting them somehow. :idea:
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 8:48 am 


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mycophobia wrote:
What got titled "Revenge of Shinobi" and "Shinobi III" in the US are indeed basically a different series; their JP titles are "The Super Shinobi" and "The Super Shinobi 2", whereas Shadow Dancer is kind of a spin-off of AC Shadow Dancer, which is of course the sequel to AC Shinobi.


You know, I had the Japanese titles in the back of my head as I was typing that. but the neuron that puts 1+1 together didn't fire on that one. Given Sega's localization at the time I should probably just be thankful it wasn't titled Thundening Ninja or something.

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But yeah the Super series is definitely a bit slower, the first one feeling quite sluggish and clumsy imo


I think III is excellent, but Revenge, yeah, clunky is the word that always comes to mind. I don't even feel like it's an "of its time" thing when Ninja Gaiden & other NES standouts had already set a higher bar.

BIL wrote:
Worth noting for fans of SS1/SS2 that the Saturn's Shin Shinobi Den aka Legions aka X is effectively the third game in this sub-series, and while Revenge gets BIG BOUNS for its look, Den tends to get slated for its cheesy Tokusatsu styling. Despite the shamefur effort (witness SS2's superhumanly spine-shattering divekick return as the poor cousin of Unca Scrooge's pogo bounce) it plays alright imo. Some neat ideas like giving the sword its own button, and making it more of an equal partner opposite shuriken. Some advanced enemies will send your shuriken right back at you, but because Den's devs obviously like SS2's hidden six-button mode, you can just block on reaction.

Level design's a bit flabby in spots but it's better than it's commonly made out to be, certainly at the time, when most mags were mongling Tom Zito's microscopic chode. The rolling katana somersault is badass, genuinely near-Ninja Five O smooth (now that is some nice rolling! Image). I always miss its innovations when I return to the MD games. Would make a rad arrange mode backporting them somehow. :idea:


I have this game but didn't play it for long. Maybe I just need to give it more time but it felt kind of...I dunno, floaty?


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 7:18 pm 


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"Revenge of Shinobi" was a memorably badass but unhelpful retitle, giving the impression that Super is meant to be a "Shinobi II" when it most definitely isn't. And then Super 2 gets rebadged as "Shinobi III," compounding the cockup. The MD-based Super 1/Super 2/Shin are better thought of as a Salamander to the AC trio's Gradius.

Sengoku Strider wrote:
I think III is excellent, but Revenge, yeah, clunky is the word that always comes to mind. I don't even feel like it's an "of its time" thing when Ninja Gaiden & other NES standouts had already set a higher bar.


To devil's advocate for SS1 slightly, I don't think it's a mechanically clunky game. Zoom the camera out and it'd work fine. Unfortunately there is nothing as important to a soldier as his eyes, and so you have to endure at least a couple blind, bumpy survival clears while learning the course layout (shield magic helps). Sans this (massive) caveat, I'd have no qualms listing it as a late 80s highlight ala FC NG/Batman et al. Doesn't handle as sharply as them, or Kujaku Ou II, but that's alright in its context.

Castlevania Bloodlines is what happens when SS1's best killer=biggest guns feedback loop is applied to a game with functional camera tracking. Alien Soldier is yet better, since it's designed around the concept, rather than adapting it to an existing chassis (or a flawed one, in SS1's case).

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I have this game but didn't play it for long. Maybe I just need to give it more time but it felt kind of...I dunno, floaty?


It doesn't handle with SSII's perfectly-judged weight, that's for sure. That game's running slash, which for those who've not seen it, is:

>Invincible to projectiles, but not melee/contact damage during hop, enforcing good spacing.
>Absolutely invincible during slash, encouraging ballsy aggression and imparting a sense of almighty power.
>Completely unguarded during sliding stop, punishing sloppiness.

That's a lot of great design sense packed into one move! Image

But yes. Shin, or to call it what it is, Super Shinobi 3's version is functionally similar, but looks, and feels, like a wafty balsa-wood POS.

Probably because that's what the digitised actor was actually wielding! Image :sad:

However, that same floaty aspect gives it some surprisingly agile jump attack chains (I genuinely wonder if the devs were modelling on FC Ducktales... same vibe exactly). Between the ridiculous "cane bounce" and the suave rolling slash, you can go for impressive lengths without touching the ground, leaving masses of collapsing, MSPaint-bisected extras in your wake. :lol:

Do you know about SS2's hidden six-button mode? Hidden on MD at least, it's a default option in M2's customarily superlative 3DS AGES version. Makes a killer moveset even moreso, with the katana having its own button, and blocking likewise. Crouch katana's reach is amazing, cuts enemies off at the knees from across the screen. Image
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 5:03 am 



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Sengoku Strider wrote:
Is it just me, or is Genesis Shadow Dancer a tighter game than Revenge of Shinobi? Revenge has been put in the hall of fame while Shadow rarely gets mentioned, but I'm wondering if that's just because everybody had Revenge through various multi-game carts/discs.

Shinobi -> Shadow Dancer and Revenge -> Shinobi III feel like two different series. Just the health meter alone changes everything.

Genesis Shadow Dancer is a tighter game and returns to the arcade aesthetics since it drops the health bar and forces you to focus more or die from getting hit once.

My own aside about Genesis Shadow Dancer. I play the game without shurikens. Allegedly considered a tougher mode, but I think its a little easier, since you can finally hit those ninjas that block all projectiles more easily with your kick/sword. Wish it let you not use shurikens during boss fights too.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:32 pm 


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Still Wasteland 2.

Finally in California. This is where the game really hits stride.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:55 pm 


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BIL wrote:
To devil's advocate for SS1 slightly, I don't think it's a mechanically clunky game. Zoom the camera out and it'd work fine. Unfortunately there is nothing as important to a soldier as his eyes, and so you have to endure at least a couple blind, bumpy survival clears while learning the course layout (shield magic helps). Sans this (massive) caveat, I'd have no qualms listing it as a late 80s highlight ala FC NG/Batman et al. Doesn't handle as sharply as them, or Kujaku Ou II, but that's alright in its context.


I guess it's mainly the jumping mechanics that don't feel are as well-implemented as they could have been, especially given how mechanically perfect they are in Shinobi & Shadow Dancer. I don't think some of the stage layouts are super well done either, which is the real crux of the matter. But I probably need to go back & dedicate some time to it with a fresh eye. I've been playing one or two credits of the AGES original Shinobi almost daily for months now, it's given me a different grasp of the series. I'd played it plenty before i the arcade, but never seriously. That made me realize what a great sequel to it Shadow Dancer is. It evolves the game, while not resorting to the randomized pinch points of the original. The boss encounters are better implemented as well.

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Castlevania Bloodlines is what happens when SS1's best killer=biggest guns feedback loop is applied to a game with functional camera tracking. Alien Soldier is yet better, since it's designed around the concept, rather than adapting it to an existing chassis (or a flawed one, in SS1's case).


I'll be honest...I think Bloodlines is okay but doesn't live up to its praise. I love Castlevania, last year I got the collection and mainlined through every single game in like two weeks, even the first Adventure on Gameboy. Every game except for Bloodlines, that is. A year later I'm still not done.

Part of it is that I went in with really high expectations, I'd come across people for years who'd swear it was better than Super IV. But the actual experience felt kinda bootleg after playing it in sequence finishing all the other games first. The weird decision to redo all the items/drops was jarring, but mostly it was the timing on the whip that felt off. The spear feels downright limp. The atmosphere's nowhere close to the GOAT-tier eeriness IV evokes. There are some cool demoscene effects, bosses are classic Konami, and yes, I can appreciate the super whip as a great incentive to absolutely master the game. Between that and the two characters and the different secrets they can access, I can see that if I were a Genesis owner back in the day and hadn't burned the other games into my brain already, I'd be happy with it as a purchase to last me a while.

But despite finding Castlevania games totally addictive, for whatever reason I find myself having to force myself to sit down and go at Bloodlines.

Alien Soldier is a game I've only put a tiny amount of time into. It's just waiting for the right intersection of me feeling like getting into a new action game, and having the total 100% brain output the game seems to demand.

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However, that same floaty aspect gives it some surprisingly agile jump attack chains (I genuinely wonder if the devs were modelling on FC Ducktales... same vibe exactly). Between the ridiculous "cane bounce" and the suave rolling slash, you can go for impressive lengths without touching the ground, leaving masses of collapsing, MSPaint-bisected extras in your wake. :lol:


In the abstract that description actually sounds a lot like the PS2 Shinobi. I wonder if there were the same thoughts in the backs of the devs minds.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:52 pm 


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Sengoku Strider wrote:
I'll be honest...I think Bloodlines is okay but doesn't live up to its praise. I love Castlevania, last year I got the collection and mainlined through every single game in like two weeks, even the first Adventure on Gameboy. Every game except for Bloodlines, that is. A year later I'm still not done.


Bloodlines is what I put on when I want the opposite of IV - a single-sitting 16bit action game modelled on VS Castlevania - so I'm not surprised people tend to prefer one or the other. (VSC has tighter loops, but you have to do both every time, while BL lets you do Expert in the same span, or less if you're a real POW-crazed Wampyr Killer)

Typing this, I realise I consider CV4 the Super Shinobi of the traditional series. Floaty jumps, big sprites, generous HP restores, immense damage knockback... I own and love all these games, so suffice to say, even a lower-ranked traditional CV is near my heart. I think of Silent Hill 1 & 2 similarly - long moody games I play every two/three winters. ("long" in single-sitting context, ofc)

You know about the light/heavy dynamic on the attack button, right? Although I stick to John, I thought the spear was pretty visceral myself, the way it gores into heavy targets (also neat how it leaves the crouch attack for rapid pokes)

Spoiler: show
Image


^^^ tm & c Squire, I've been dining out on his Eric Expert 1LC forever. The whip works similarly, just without the graphical embellishment. Extremely useful for things like Bone Pillars, where you'll want to sustain your attack for some's fireballs, and terminate it ASAP for others'.

Quote:
Alien Soldier is a game I've only put a tiny amount of time into. It's just waiting for the right intersection of me feeling like getting into a new action game, and having the total 100% brain output the game seems to demand.


My single favourite MD game. :cool: Has a reputation as a player-killer, AS. It's really the sort of game that's more interested in killing your run, ie, tangling you up and making your steel avenger look klutzy.

WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY EVEN WORSE Image

When you get around to it, keep in mind Epsilon's a pretty tough character. You can (and will!) take lots of bumps while learning the ropes. Even veteran play can get bumpy, though always calculatedly so. Getting in a bullet-spewing boss's face and taking a nick is alright, when you've just bitch-slapped him with Counter Force and stolen a scad of Big Gems to burn his face off with Phoenix Force, which cancels more bullets into gems, for more Phoenix Force, etc.

This said, there's a definite entry barrier on the aim controls and weapon-switching. The latter may seem shockingly clunky at first; the key is, it's not meant to be Contra-instant. Rather, it's a "player action," just like jumping or dashing, so you need to find the right time and place. EG: not in front of a boss who's about to stab you! :shock: Dash behind him, then switch. :cool: Soon you'll start to feel like Badass Mecha Anime, where impossible-to-track buddy empties one badass weapon after another into his hapless target's face and/or buttocks Image

Main thing to get hold of early on is building your ammo stocks. I wrote a basic primer here if it's of any help (moderate untagged mid-game spoilers, lategame spoilers are tagged). You can leave Act 1 with a huge head of steam if you calculatedly max out those ammo boxes. TLDR: Buster's a great starter weapon. Flame and Lancer are invaluable exotics, but you have to work around their idiosyncratic, ammo-guzzling handling. Sword is Buster with marginally better power and significantly worse economy, I don't like it. Ranger/Hunter are beginner weapons that automate aiming/spacing at crippling tradeoffs to DPS - don't use, they'll screw you in the long term.

Well, Ranger can do some fun things when you know what's coming up. Not worth it during a first clear on defaults though.

Quote:
In the abstract that description actually sounds a lot like the PS2 Shinobi. I wonder if there were the same thoughts in the backs of the devs minds.


PS2 Shinobi's dismemberings were so good, Sega got rid of them for the JP/EU revs, and Kunoichi/Nightshade Image I never got that... it's just a ninja-themed Quake 1. Then again, even Q2's gibs were conspicuously toned-down, no more skyrocketing chunks and lingering bloodrainbows. Maybe some people are more affected by polygonal carnage than others. :/
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:30 pm 


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BIL wrote:
Typing this, I realise I consider CV4 the Super Shinobi of the traditional series. Floaty jumps, big sprites, generous HP restores, immense damage knockback... I own and love all these games, so suffice to say, even a lower-ranked traditional CV is near my heart.

You know about the light/heavy dynamic on the attack button, right? Although I stick to John, I thought the spear was pretty visceral myself, the way it gores into heavy targets (also neat how it leaves the crouch attack for rapid pokes)


I can see the Super Shinobi comparison, though I don't know that it's quite as drastic a departure as that given that Bloodlines still has you attacking in 6 directions and swinging from stuff. But I can understand people preferring the extra element of animation priority gameplay that not being able to alter jump trajectory offers.

For me, my go to in that department would actually be the PSP remake of Rondo. I first played it on my Vita, and while I know some have allergic reactions to 2.5D visuals it was so wonderfully animated that switching over to the original just felt choppy & unfinished. I can't think of another game I've enjoyed just for its walking.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:56 pm 


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BL's whip character has to jump to attack in three of his five directions, though, and those jumps are Green Beret-rigid (hence the Axe retaining its value). The whip swinging likewise commits you to a lengthy jump, though I wouldn't say it's very comparable to CV4's anyway (an iframed attack usable wherever there's a ceiling, which happens to cross a couple of big gaps, VS a movement mechanic tied to specific grapple points).

Rondo is similar WRT jumps. Its whip user can technically modify his jumps, nudging neutrals in either direction and recalling advancing jumps, but only via a specific command (holding the jump button), and only once.

This is a big part of the 16bit Draculas' appeal to me. They don't feel like anything so perfunctory as a series, let alone a (groan!) franchise. Instead they work as individual sequels to the FC game. So even when they cross over on paper (X68k and CV4 having free jumps, BL and Rondo having panic bombs, all but Rondo having downstrikes), those mechanics tend to work very differently from game to game.

I've not seen animation preferences attributed to fixed jumps before - for me it's all about accountability. I like the tension of being forced to act without recall. Although they all leavened the harsh discipline of the original in one way or another, I prefer stuff like Bloodlines and XX that retained more of that. (I hated XX with a passion for many years, and still have plenty of things to knock, but the trad CV masterclass of its Clock Tower + Death is exactly what I mean)

This isn't to say bendy jumps = ezmode. PS1 X68k Original is easily as tough/tougher than the rest (for good or ill), and currently getting back to 1LC speed with Saigo no Nindou, I'm reminded that it's probably the most rigorously punishing sidescroller I've played, despite its character's firepower and mobility putting most STG vehicles to shame. Rygar (AC)'s no joke either, you can do crazy swerves while instakilling stuff on the opposite end of the screen, but if you don't think it all through you'll get a dinosaur up the ass. It's all about scaling the game around the character.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:18 am 


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BIL wrote:
I've not seen animation preferences attributed to fixed jumps before - for me it's all about accountability. I like the tension of being forced to act without recall. Although they all leavened the harsh discipline of the original in one way or another, I prefer stuff like Bloodlines and XX that retained more of that. (I hated XX with a passion for many years, and still have plenty of things to knock, but the trad CV masterclass of its Clock Tower + Death is exactly what I mean)


That's what the term animation priority refers to, having to commit to an uninterruptible animation the whole way through. It's used in regard to games like Dark Souls and Monster Hunter that build their combat around strategizing actions ahead of time and punish bad choices. Castlevania is like the grand daddy of this.

XX is a weird game. It plays just like it should, has great artwork, solid soundtrack, but is let down by bad level design and feels like a step backward without any of the wild effects in IV, despite coming out 4 years after it. Still, just as I think Bloodlines being praised to the skies makes it a little overrated, XX being treated like a Bubsy game makes it underrated. It's a totally serviceable 7/10 action game that suffers from being in a series full of medium-defining classics.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:47 am 


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Sengoku Strider wrote:
BIL wrote:
I've not seen animation preferences attributed to fixed jumps before - for me it's all about accountability. I like the tension of being forced to act without recall. Although they all leavened the harsh discipline of the original in one way or another, I prefer stuff like Bloodlines and XX that retained more of that. (I hated XX with a passion for many years, and still have plenty of things to knock, but the trad CV masterclass of its Clock Tower + Death is exactly what I mean)


That's what the term animation priority refers to, having to commit to an uninterruptible animation the whole way through. It's used in regard to games like Dark Souls and Monster Hunter that build their combat around strategizing actions ahead of time and punish bad choices. Castlevania is like the grand daddy of this.


Oh right, I see! Never thought of it that way, haha. I always think of CV1 etc in mechanical/transactional terms. A terrible blow has been committed to, and now, much like IRL, someone's gonna pay, whether it lands or not. Pray it's them and not you. Image Much more elegant than my version. :lol:

90% of my problems with XX would evaporate if they'd just ported over Rondo's engine, instead of piecing together a subtly worse facsimile. It'd still have a few clanger stages, and a myopic attempt at its pathfinding, and it'd still be missing Rondo's best bosses (or downgrade them, like Dullahan and his new, vast, empty room - "who needs walls for spearing the indecisive to anyway?") - but I forgive all that, because Rondo exists, and I consider XX a mission pack. I'd liken it to the similarly warmed-over Metal Slug 4, but as a direct comparison that's terribly unfair to MS4. Maybe if that game forced you to use the new guy who can't run and knife at the same time.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:08 am 


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Horizon Chase Turbo is superb. I’d say it’s OutRun-style, but actually, due to the racing being on circuits, its closest comparison point would be the old Lotus / Top Gear games on Amiga / SNES / MD. 60 fps, with some utterly gorgeous visuals but rendered in polys. What’s not to like? I’ve been dipping in and out of it for a while, but after sitting down properly, I’d say it’s probably better bang for your buck than Hotshot Racing, though the latter is more of a spectacle. The only off thing, is that after around 1.5 hours play last night I found the thing starting to drop frames and stutter quite badly on Switch.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:20 am 


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Okay. So I'm playing the Witcher now. First time through.

I finished Chapter 1 and am a bit into 2. Initial thoughts are that it's fair, so far.

Pros:

- the main character is written pretty well

- some of the NPCs are written well

- the alchemy ins't too complex

Cons:

- the "rest at a fire" system is kind of janky and weird

- the whole first area is very large and you have to run around too much in a loop all the time. should have been an instant transportation option on the map

- the dungeons are fairly empty and all look alike

- item management is a PITA. i can carry around 100 dead hell-hound heads but i can't carry 2 axes. lot of other issues with that

- overall the pace is a bit of a slog

- combat is silly and broken

All-in-all, I think it's getting "better" in chapter 2, but it's still a bit vague. It feels not too different from Bioware games like KOTOR and Mass Effect in the dialog trees but with far less narrative detail.


Edit: I just finished level grinding in chapter 2. That was a horrible slog. There's only a single dungeon with enough experience to level you up at all. On top of that, it's dark, so you have to either waste time making and using Cat potions so you can see what's going on or turn the brightness up all the way and poke around in the dark. AND there's only one kind of monster (more or less) and they are boring a hell to fight. Moving on to actually doing story stuff now that my character is a bit better equipped. Still though, that was not great.


Last edited by vol.2 on Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:54 am 


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Got to mess around with a Neo-Geo Mini. The controller sucks ass; the stick on it feels like an analog stick and it's impossible to precisely differentiate cardinal directions with diagonals precisely and reliably. Many games on there such as Blazing Star use only 2 buttons of the 4 on the stick and would've benefited from having a rapid fire button. Playing Blazing Star without rapid fire sucks as there's only a couple of ships that are decently enjoyable without rapid fire. The rest feel like they require absurd and unrealistically achievable tap speeds to maintain the better version of the shot. Windia and Aryustailm both are fairly powerful even without the super rapid shot, and Windia's is easier to acheive whereas Aryustailm actually does considerably less damage with the super rapid piercing lightning.

The lack of autofire for the button mashy shmups on it sucks, and the controller also feels sucky in general. It's a nostalgic cash grab, but not a good way to properly experience the games at their full potential. All of the games that would benefit greatly from rapid fire needed it on Button A, so why isn't there even a dedicated A rapid button or something? Ah well.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:33 pm 


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i've been playing xanadu next recently, which is a game i've had my eye on for a while. it's a bit like an ys game, but with more of a focus on exploring a very interconnected world full of shortcuts and loop-rounds. the combat is very simple and mainly revolves around baiting out enemy attacks, sneaking behind them and then mashing them down. it's quite satisfying though, kind of in the same way that king's fields very restrictive and simple combat is. there are also active and passive skills you can learn, and magic.

i'm coming towards what i assume is the end of the game now as i've found the dragonslayer sword and entered castle strangerock. the game is a little bit janky, but on the whole i've really enjoyed it.


the other game i tried playing (again) recently is child of eden. i've had this game for years now and every now and then i go back to it. i feel like i should love this game, but i always seem to end up getting hit by stuff i have never seen or feeling like i have no idea exactly what i'm meant to be shooting. this has never been a problem for me in rez. maybe it's my colour blindness? dunno, but i always just end up frustrated with this game.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:52 pm 


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Immryr wrote:
i feel like i should love this game, but i always seem to end up getting hit by stuff i have never seen or feeling like i have no idea exactly what i'm meant to be shooting. this has never been a problem for me in rez.

It's been awhile since I've played it myself, but I tend to view the main culprits for my own similar preference for Rez as 1) The busier visual style of Eden, which looks nice, but can be harder to keep tabs on than Rez's comparatively spartan vector look, and 2) The fact that Eden is played from a first-person perspective, so it's tougher to tell precisely when an approaching hazard registers as a hit, whereas in Rez you could actually see stuff striking your avatar.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:06 pm 


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Played enough Gears Tactics that I started seeing overwatch vision cones when I closed my eyes, so started on Resident Evil 3 Remake and then noticed the Batlletoads sequel/reboot was on Gamepass (yeah that was shat out with little fanfare) and thought I'd give it a spin while I still have a trial period.

Ewww. No.

While I was critical of its combo system being undermined by cheap interrupts and some odd i-frame choices, Streets of Rage 4 still got the fundamentals right and was a fun ride. This fails at both of those things. I've played a couple of beat 'em up stages and a turbo tunnel section. Well. The beat 'em up bits have unnecessarily convolutioned button combinations to do moves, enemies that rarely attack, no grapples, overlapping sprites so it's entirely possible to lose your character, and ultimately seems to rely on sheer volume of damage sponge enemies to confuse you as to what's what and where. Also you spend a lot of time just running along empty space to the next encounter.

The turbo tunnel section switches to a view from behind but is no less nonsensical than the original, just less punishing by letting you respawn at checkpoints. The persepective and scaling is messed up, so it's hard to see where you're supposed to be positioning. Offensively, some dodges appear impossible. Until you die and it gives you a "hint" - which in this case is explaining there are extra controls to dodge left/right. Sigh. On top of that, inertia. But you can brute force it relatively easily. Although it does go on for absolutely ages and I nearly quit because it was just not fun.

Amd finally, minigames. Early on you have an entire stage of simple button mashing which is only slightly less engaging than the main gameplay. And there are basic puzzle minigames blocking progress throughout levels for no other reason than to stretch things out more than all the dead space you run through. Apparently there's a metroidvania segment later on but no, I think I'm done here. The janky arcade Battletoads is better than this.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:55 pm 



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Finished R-type tactics 1 with the human side. Yet to play as bydo.

Average mission score ~10,000.

Pretty easy game, especially for turn based tactics genre vets. Translated some hori-shmup mechanics quite well (charge shot, force use, environmental hazards), but heaps of missed opportunities also. I guess it might have been too radical but they should have made all weapons follow a hex path similar to what they do in the horis. As it is everything except charge shots are the equivalent of a homing weapon in shmup terms. Some amazing level design also lifted from shmup world, but marred by a lot of filler too (the second act where you travel through hyperspace). Biggest shame is how a lot of the best units (futures, seraphs, striders) are not as interesting as the force carrying units (warheads are the best, in this category) and the image fight ship is super underpowered except in water levels of which there are like 3 out of 30 (human side).

Oh and the other thing they translated well from the shmups is memorization. All the challenge comes from fog of war and not knowing what's coming next. If you ever play a mission twice you will finish it in fewer turns and losses easily cause you'll remember where they took out your AWACS (which tended to be the only unit that ever died for me) and time your charge shots for massive damage.

Started R-type tactics 2, playing as the rebels. Level design is much better so far, especially early game. Decently challenging. The base building level is my only complaint so far.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:10 am 


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Got really excited about Hades, best new game I've played in a very, very long time. There's lot to like, surprisingly deep system on how to evolve and build up your weapons, procedural levels, quick pace, it is challenging but never feels unfair, and there is always some progress to be made - you never hit a "dead end" and the other characters seem to always be on top of what's happening - always commenting on how you are doing, be it current specific step of your progress or your current state of health - on my 35h playtime I've yet to see any repeated dialogue. There must have been a shit ton of dialogue to write, record and track for all of this, so it makes it even more impressive.

I started playing it on Switch at my folks place during christmas, then switched to PC as it has cross-saves now :)

[Disclaimer edit: I do understand that most of the stuff I love about Hades is what other roguelites have done for ages now, but they have never been built in totally attractive slam dunk package, until now]


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:04 pm 


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Okay. Okay. So the Witcher is a confusing mess and it's janky as hell.

A little bit of a rant here, but it's a spoiler to anyone who hasn't played it yet so...

Spoiler: show
When you start Chapter 2, the game basically tells you to go to Raymond and talk to him. If you do that, you set events in motion that will kill Coleman and gut the story from the rest of the chapter. Sure, you can still "finish" the chapter, but all clues that make the chapter story play out are just dead-ends and you lose a shit-ton of experience. This wouldn't be a huge issue as one could start over, but the game also has shitty, shitty fighting/leveling mechanics and I had already spent two days (literally two days) grinding before I realized that talking to Raymond at the beginning of the chapter makes you lose everything. This is almost as bad as Mass Effect 1 where you basically always lose the game unless you choose all the correct dialog options and complete everything in a certain amount of time (both of which are hidden game mechanics and can only be discovered with trial and error). It's not that bad because there are more chapters to go, but it's pretty frustrating that the game walks you right into the worst thing you can do, and also makes it so you can't really recover the story from it. You "figure things out," but only at the end and through brute force, and you miss out on all the threads being wrapped up. All of which might be okay if there was literally anything else besides the story to recommend the game.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:57 pm 


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Wasteland 3. About 25 hours in.

I'm constantly amazed at what Fargo and co bring to the table. In short - it looks great, it sounds great, and it is fun to play.

I miss these types of games that don't hold your hand. Here is some stuff, we're going to point you in a general direction, and then it's up to you.

Party creation was less overwhelming then my first foray into 2, but I did peek to see what stats to invest in.

Real quick version:

Leader - Small arms (shotguns/hand guns) and explosives. Leaders are far more viable in 3 since the buff to hand guns. Shot guns are pretty ok too.

Sniper - Cause you always need a lock picking, medic, murderer in the wastes.

Assault - Love this guy. Submachine guns and bladed melee.

Heavy - Heavy weapons don't suck in 3. Carries big ass guns and a flamethrower.

Combat is satisfying and fair, but occasionally you'll get a "How the fuck did I miss that?" moment.

It's written well and the voice acting is great. To be fair these things were good in 2 also.

Other shit now that I am not on a tablet:

You now have group inventory. I sort of preferred individual just cause it was easier to keep track of who used what ammo. That said there is no carry weight and a pen and paper can keep track of types of ammo. Fair trade.

There is some jank/bugs. Sometimes you get the moving with still legs in combat, and once I went back to an area and two people who were in my base were there even though they should have been in my base.

Like 1 and 2 - you'll never make everyone happy either. That's part of its charm: )

Oh and the world map is far far improved.
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Last edited by Stevens on Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:44 pm 


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vol.2 wrote:
Okay. Okay. So the Witcher is a confusing mess and it's janky as hell.

A little bit of a rant here, but it's a spoiler to anyone who hasn't played it yet so...

Spoiler: show
When you start Chapter 2, the game basically tells you to go to Raymond and talk to him. If you do that, you set events in motion that will kill Coleman and gut the story from the rest of the chapter. Sure, you can still "finish" the chapter, but all clues that make the chapter story play out are just dead-ends and you lose a shit-ton of experience. This wouldn't be a huge issue as one could start over, but the game also has shitty, shitty fighting/leveling mechanics and I had already spent two days (literally two days) grinding before I realized that talking to Raymond at the beginning of the chapter makes you lose everything. This is almost as bad as Mass Effect 1 where you basically always lose the game unless you choose all the correct dialog options and complete everything in a certain amount of time (both of which are hidden game mechanics and can only be discovered with trial and error). It's not that bad because there are more chapters to go, but it's pretty frustrating that the game walks you right into the worst thing you can do, and also makes it so you can't really recover the story from it. You "figure things out," but only at the end and through brute force, and you miss out on all the threads being wrapped up. All of which might be okay if there was literally anything else besides the story to recommend the game.


This is an aside but I'm confused by your comment on Mass Effect 1 - there isn't a hidden time limit and while mixing/matching paragon/renegade instead of sticking with one can lock you out of a couple of key events (confronting Wrex, reasoning with Saren), I don't think anything counts as a fail condition. If I recall there are some dialogue options right at the end which affect the ending but I don't think they're locked, they're just straight up binary choices (it's been a while though).

Mass Effect 2 is where it gets complex as to who lives/dies but even then you have to ignore loyalty quests and fanny around after you hit the point of no return to get the shitty ending.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:58 am 


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TransatlanticFoe wrote:
(it's been a while though).


Yeah, it's been awhile since I played either one, and I'm probably mixing things up. I assume I'm remembering II. I think it was actually either/or ignore quests/waste time. I don't play lots and lots of the Bioware-esque CRPGs, so it easy enough for me to not know exactly what's going on and end up wasting time. I don't think there's anything wrong with letting the player sort things out and enjoy the game at their own pace, and I remember being annoyed that the game was punishing me for not figuring out what it wanted me to do fast enough. I'm okay with being forced to make choices though, that stuff doesn't bother me.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:48 am 


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Mass Effect 2 definitely gives you the impression you should constantly be pursuing the main quest, and urgently. But there isn't actually a time limit - you can do everything and while there are a couple of arguments where you can lose a teammate's loyalty, it doesn't necessarily impact anything (I lost Jack's and Legion's in my first playthrough, but no-one died in the endgame). I suspect I Googled it early just to confirm, because the path the game suggests you take will leave everyone dead at the end - but doesn't actually punish you for taking your time (unless you wait until the point of no return to do side quests).

Dragon Age is where I fell into the trap. In Origins the dialogue pushes you to do a particular quest first, but it's lengthy and you'll have an unbalanced party. I hit a brick wall early as a result and had to put it on easy. Inquistion on the other hand, is so hands off and directionless at the start that I didn't realise you're supposed to leave the first area of the game until I nigh ran out of things to do there.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:57 pm 


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TransatlanticFoe wrote:
the path the game suggests you take will leave everyone dead at the end

I guess that feels like losing in a game to me, especially if it's possible to keep everyone alive.

Quote:
but doesn't actually punish you for taking your time (unless you wait until the point of no return to do side quests).


Again, it's been awhile, but I think I did that. Maybe someday enough time will have passed that I forget the plot enough to play it again, but I didn't find a lot in the game besides advancing the story, and I generally don't reread books until I've well and truly forgotten them. I may actually be getting to that point with KOTOR. (though I haven't finished KOTORII yet)

Quote:
Dragon Age is where I fell into the trap. In Origins the dialogue pushes you to do a particular quest first, but it's lengthy and you'll have an unbalanced party. I hit a brick wall early as a result and had to put it on easy. Inquistion on the other hand, is so hands off and directionless at the start that I didn't realise you're supposed to leave the first area of the game until I nigh ran out of things to do there.


I've got the first two DA titles, and I played about 6 hours of the first one and I think I did the same thing or I just couldn't cope. There was something about it at the beginning that I didn't get sucked in like I did with other Bioware type games. I really, really got sucked into KOTOR, and ME1/2 were great stories as well, but DA I guess I just didn't hit the meat of the story or something because it didn't grab me. I'll watch for that trap if I ever decide to give it another go.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:16 pm 


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I got into Spirit Hunter NG in the past week, the sequel to Spirit Hunter: Death Mark. Both are essentially visual novel/point & click adventure game hybrids. I almost always find myself disliking point & clicks, but Death Mark had enough personality and intriguing Japanese horror atmosphere to keep it interesting.

When I first tried NG a few months ago, I was pretty quickly put off. Death Mark did small time sales and it was clear they'd aimed for bigger things with NG in what felt like all the wrong ways. The UI was ripped off from Persona 4. Instead of a clued out sickly middle aged guy, the new protagonist was an edgelord high school boy who also just happened to be THE GREATEST UNDEFEATED ILLEGAL UNDERGROUND FIGHTER IN TOKYO. And of course he was also living alone and taking care of an imouto character who's basically the little girl from Persona 4, who he's constantly rude to for no reason because he's just that edgy. Did I mention that the obligatory best friend character looks exactly like an edgier version of the best friend from Persona 4? It also just felt like everything was overcomplicated & took forever to get where it was going.

But I gave it another shot, and once I got 2-3 hours in the superficial ridiculousness started to fade as the game opened the characters up a bit. The edgy best friend is acknowledged as being kind of a frightening psycho dickbag. The edgelord main character's internal monologue reveals him to be an angry kid who never knew his father and has spent his life misdirecting his frustration & anger at the world. The obligatory submissive but genki idol character is damaged & looney under the surface and she knows it, which is why she's into hanging out with these two.

The ghosts continue the tradition of the first game in being genuinely fucked up & frightening looking. This game goes places that you're not supposed to go. The first story literally involves a lake that became a dumping ground for stillborn babies. The second one is about nearby neighbourhood dogs being strung up & decapitated. I say that not to spoil, but because anyone who's thinking about getting into it might want to be warned ahead of time that it goes way beyond its Persona-ey exterior to the darkest of places. If you mess up, any of your companions can die horrific deaths and you'll continue on without them.

Fortunately, it does all this in a fashion which, while at times remarkably gruesome, doesn't feel exploitative. There's still heart at the centre of the story. The game presents you with the option of either destroying the ghosts or resolving the traumas which created them, rewarding the latter. It's about teenagers, but feels aimed at a more mature crowd than something like World End Syndrome is. There are themes of social and institutional alienation under the surface throughout. It's constantly placing the player in liminal spaces which are somehow also overshadowed by an ever present inhabited urban mass. It does a great job of expressing the manner in which Tokyo is simultaneously absolutely suffocating and yet isolating.

It's not perfect - some of the problem solutions are unreasonably obtuse, and it makes you do a lot of actions that could be skipped - always walking all the way home screen by screen, having to choose to go to bed, even though there's nothing else to be done until the next day - though there's an element of life simulation in that too. Anyone who's lived in a Japanese city knows well how much the convenience store glowing in the late night dark on the way home is a constant marker of place. The way you're always walking past commercial buildings packed with tiny businesses hidden away in the backs of the upper floors, of which you have only the vaguest awareness. They survive somehow, but they're about somebody else's world.

But anyway, it's won me back over, and seems to be a meaningful evolution of the first game in pretty much every department, from art to narrative. Recommended for anyone who's into the intersection of all this stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:26 pm 


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I always come back to PlanetSide 2 and question why I go these massive breaks. I'm not very good at it, but I love this game. I made a massive switch last I was super into this game from Vanu Sovereignty to New Conglomerate and for some reason am seeing better results. Switched up how I play from frontline assault to a mid range marksman because for some reason, in games like this, there's the most bizarre phenomenon: I unload 8-9 bullets into someone, headshots included, and they don't die. TWO body shots as heavy assault with my nanite mesh up and for some reason *I'm* dead. c:
So I switched to a playstyle that will let me get a jump on people and reward me better for my headshots without going full sniper. Doing way better.

Really though, I'm just surprised this game is still active and gets the huge updates that it does 8 years later. But thank god. I guess it's just way too unique to be killed by other online multiplayer. What other games can have skirmishes THIS big?


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:42 am 


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I am about to start playing this total conversion mod for Arx Fatalis: https://arxinsanity.weebly.com/

I was into the original when it came out, having been a fan of the Ultima Underworld series. For those of you who aren't aware, Arx was intended to be Ultima Underworld 3, but negotiations fell through with Electronic Arts after they bought Origin and owned the Ultima stuff. So Arx lost it's orginal purpose (and I guess a lot of potential funding) and went on to the obscurity of bargain bins.

IAC, I am kind of excited about this very long awaited re-skin and re-tool of the game, so just wanted to share in case someone else here didn't know about it.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:32 pm 


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I decided I needed to actually put some time back into enjoying games as I seem to have been just caught up in a mire of 'real world stuff' drama for so long now. House problems, car problems, work problems, fucking covid, etc.

Death End re;Quest - completed, and I got the good ending without having looked anything up! Strange game, the story is very clever but also a mess in places, but the way they put it together into a game was really good, only let down by damage sponge enemies in some places. Particularly liked the hacks where you can turn a standard RPG turn based battle into, for example, a FPS.

Azur Lane Crosswave - completed the main story, working on the battles now. Wasn't sure what to expect from this but I love it, very arcade style action and while it's based on the mobile game most of the gacha mechanics have been purged and you can just earn / unlock anything.

COD Cold War - my only complaint on this is the skill based matchmaking, it's been implemented in very invasive ways and nobody is really sure how far it goes - but it certainly seems aimed towards ensuring you do not win too often in more ways than just throwing you in 5 rounds with pro players then 1 round with casuals. The thing that makes this so incredibly obvious is when you play in a party it kind of breaks this attempt to fuck you over so hard. When I play with Icarus and Nastywolf I find a consistent above average performance which is missing from random pickup parties even though we're not communicating that much since I'm on PS and they're on PC.
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