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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:22 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
I hate the design philosophy of having rigid skill progression in an RPG and having very clear forcing into "you must play this way". Even in games with very freeform skill progression or varied skill trees, some of which may not be as useful as others, part of the joy of learning a combat system is often discovering which synergies work well and which do not. And in some cases, playing with a subpar skillset for amusement can sometimes be nice to have as an option too.

I don't think that's really what I was talking about. There's a very big difference between having choices regarding which direction to take you game, and just having a surplus of useless options every time you need to make a choice in combat.
Also, I never really talked about keeping the options few. But rather, keeping all the ones you do have relevant and accessible.
I do appreciate a limit that allows me to at least constantly have an intuitive feeling for what my options are, but there also need to be enough options that every tactical choice becomes a relevant decision. If the game gives you 20 different status effects, and you never really feel like you need to use any of them at any point throughout the entire game, then that design has failed. Make me want to use them! But also don't force me to just do so blindly. The tactical choice is what matters here.

Really, just to repeat myself - playing DQ11 on the Strong Monsters setting is just an absolutely perfect example of what I'm talking about, and anyone who hasn't played it should go do so now, so they can understand what makes it great. :)

BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Pokémon initially started as a bland, glorified cock-fighting simulator which I think a lot of us got into due to its slick marketing campaign more than the actual gameplay quality. That and the multiplayer gimmick.

... and it never evolved from that, despite still releasing new entries periodically.

Comparing Pokémon to Final Fantasy Legend/SaGa comes across so weird to me. In my mind, these games belong to vastly different generations.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:08 pm 


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Doesn't pokeymans have some deep competitive meta that people really get into?
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:17 am 


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Pokemon really is all about multiplayer.
Of course, there's no need to bother with actually playing on cartridge at this point, not when the games have stopped actually even pretending to improve [emphasis on pretending -- I still "like" Pokemon, but the high water mark of actual mechanical improvement was D/P/Pt, and that didn't really change much for the guy how was just playing the game alone straight through vs say, playing Pokemon Gold, each additional game added a bunch of mechanics that really only matter much in multiplayer, and Sw/Sh ended up putting the axe on a bunch of those things anyway], and each game has gotten more hand-holdy despite it starting off pretty easy already.
If you just want to enjoy multiplayer and play with all sort of wacky teams that trying to build on cartridge would take an absurd amount of time and effort, just go on Pokemon Showdown.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:27 pm 


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ACSeraph wrote:
Great gameplay doesn't necessarily have to be excessively difficult. I love me some SMT3 Nocturne for the brutality, but there are definitely times when I want to get drunk and walk from one fantasy town to the next watching my party slaughter everything in their path ala FF12. There is room in the world for both.


I think JRPGs largely do need to be difficult to have good gameplay. In an easy action game you can still have a good time playing for no damage or speed or style or just by enjoying the look and feel of your dude's moveset. Navigating a menu isn't inherently interesting, there needs to be consequences for your choices to make it interesting, and by far the easiest and most reliable way to achieve that is to make it tough.

Some JRPGs might have depth in their character building systems or exploration and treasure hunting or things like that, and those can be fun for their own sake. But even then there's so much more to them when you have a genuine need for an optimized build and a crissaegrim than when they're just for show.

I really gotta try Nocturne one of these days.

Blinge wrote:
Doesn't pokeymans have some deep competitive meta that people really get into?


From what I hear it does, but they have to follow a bunch of house rules such as only one of a given pokemon per team.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:10 pm 


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Yup. You also can't use any moves that raise evasion or put more than one of your opponent's 'mons to sleep at a time. One-hit KO moves aren't allowed, either .
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:21 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:

Some JRPGs might have depth in their character building systems or exploration and treasure hunting or things like that, and those can be fun for their own sake. But even then there's so much more to them when you have a genuine need for an optimized build and a crissaegrim than when they're just for show.

I've gotta come down on ACSeraph's side here. There's defo room for both, I mean
I enjoyed SMT Strange Journey and I enjoyed Earthbound.


Vanguard wrote:
From what I hear it does, but they have to follow a bunch of house rules such as only one of a given pokemon per team.


Eh, such house rules can allow a scene to exist. Like Smash bros players banning items and stages because they favour certain characters.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:42 pm 


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Blinge wrote:
Eh, such house rules can allow a scene to exist. Like Smash bros players banning items and stages because they favour certain characters.


I don't have a problem with house rules, but I get the impression that Game Freak is just stumbling around in the dark and it's the community's job to turn their mess into a coherent game. The Smash Bros guys seem a lot more competent and I think the house rules are mostly necessary because it's meant to be a party game moreso than a tournament game.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:23 am 


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Been getting into the Virtua Fighter series again after a very long hiatus. Learned the basics of Taka Arashi in VF5FS, and I've also been messing around with Wolf in the older Saturn titles. I wanted to take Taka for a spin in 3TB as well, only to find out my VF3 disc apparently succumbed to disc rot over the many years it has spent neglected on the shelf. Luckily I can pick up another copy for cheap.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:37 am 


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Well I played two more hours of FFIX and I don't hate it. Feels like I'm still in the prologue though
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:04 am 


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:44 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Also, I never really talked about keeping the options few. But rather, keeping all the ones you do have relevant and accessible.
I do appreciate a limit that allows me to at least constantly have an intuitive feeling for what my options are, but there also need to be enough options that every tactical choice becomes a relevant decision. If the game gives you 20 different status effects, and you never really feel like you need to use any of them at any point throughout the entire game, then that design has failed. Make me want to use them! But also don't force me to just do so blindly. The tactical choice is what matters here.


Status effects are almost always handled terribly in RPGs. They really ought to just tell you what the enemy is immune to right off the bat. Experimenting to find out what works is almost always a worse use of your time than straight up damage racing. Part of the problem is that a lot of status effects are so brutal that the boss has to be immune or it's a free win. One thing I wish RPGs would copy is the Dark Souls system where if you try and fail to inflict a status effect, instead of it being a waste of your time, the attempt brings the enemy closer to getting that status next time. With a system like that in place you could even make the strongest bosses susceptible to instant death without it becoming a problem. Another good system is Etrian Odyssey's where successfully inflicting a status ailment causes the enemy to develop a resistance to it, until eventually they become immune. It's not as good as Dark Souls's system, but it does let them leave bosses vulnerable to paralysis and such without making them trivial to shut down entirely, and it also rewards you for packing a wide variety of status effects instead of going all in on one of them.

That reminds me that I recently played a freeware doujin RPG that handled status ailments exceptionally well. It's called Liar Jeannie in Crucifix Kingdom (the english version is available here). Nothing is immune to any status ailment, and as I recall nothing ever has a better than 50% chance of resisting one. Status ailments have different degrees of severity and they get worse as you repeatedly apply the same effect. One stack of numb doesn't do a whole lot but twenty of them will shut absolutely anything down completely. A lot of status attacks hit multiple times so even against resistant enemies you're likely to land at least one stack. Been meaning to write a review of that and a bunch of other doujin games but have not gotten around to it.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:52 am 


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Virtually every boss in FFV is vulnerable to instant death with some combination of Dark Shock, Level 2 Old, Level 5 Doom, and Dragon Power.

Due to an oversight, every enemy in the game is also susceptible to the Berserk status, including the final boss.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:21 am 


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That's a great thing given FF5's immense toybox appeal. FF5 is a good example of a JRPG that has deep, fun gameplay despite not being very hard. With that said I wouldn't want to see those same rules in a challenging game. Etrian Odyssey would lose a lot if you could dark shock the Abyssal God and True Jormungandr into oblivion.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:14 am 


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Yes, FF5 speedruns with good commentary can be very entertaining to watch, just to see how they deal with each individual boss fight or forced encounter while remaining hilariously underpowered.
There are so many instances where it feels like the game is just one tiny oversight from making those speedruns impossible.

Vanguard wrote:
Part of the problem is that a lot of status effects are so brutal that the boss has to be immune or it's a free win.


That's usually the issue for at least the Final Fantasy series, but another approach could be that the status effects are so necessary that you can't make a dent in the boss, or defend against its attacks, if you aren't using them.

Once again I'll bring up DQ11 as an example. It has that logarithmic(?) damage scale where your damage vs defense needs to overcome a certain threshold to even matter, and a lot of bosses in this game need to have their defense bumped down, or your damage needs to be boosted, or ideally both, to do any kind of effective damage. On top of that, you absolutely need to gauge the boss's worst attacks and keep up defensive status effects to prevent those attacks from pretty much one-shotting you. Also, in battles agains multiple characters (bosses with minions, or even a lot of common encounters) making most of the enemies unable to attack while you take down the others is pretty much invaluable to avoid getting swarmed. There is no way to just out-DPS those situations.

Most of the boss battles in the game is a constant threading water and balancing of being able to keep up those status effects, while still being able to also get some damage in, and keeping characters healed. The high amount of RNG in the battles will constantly throw your strategy off balance and force you to deal with whatever's going on.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:40 am 


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You guys ever do the FF5 Four Job Fiesta?

It's some charity event every year where you donate to a thing then a tweet bot tells you which class you're allowed to use with each crystal. I did it a few years back with " berserker risk " on, which means it's possible that the bot will give you berserker class.
I got two of them REEEE :|

Still managed to beat it though, In fact i think I have the final boss clip somewhere. I beat either Omega or shinryu but quit out of the added GBA content because fuck that party.
Oh I still have the final boss clip online. Can't remember what Class Krile is!
Two berserkers, thief?? and a Bard. Eesh.
https://youtu.be/bD3wNSAEyk0


Also re: Etrian Odyssey..
Number 2 is where I realised my limit and tapped out. The post-game content is so wildly difficult that the only way I was going to beat it is get a completely new party re-specced and train them all up using guides and help from the internet and none of it would be my own play anymore. I don't know how anyone does this shit playing by themselves organically or whatever. Guess there must be real stat-lords out there.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:59 am 


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Status effects are almost always handled terribly in RPGs. They really ought to just tell you what the enemy is immune to right off the bat. Experimenting to find out what works is almost always a worse use of your time than straight up damage racing. Part of the problem is that a lot of status effects are so brutal that the boss has to be immune or it's a free win. One thing I wish RPGs would copy is the Dark Souls system where if you try and fail to inflict a status effect, instead of it being a waste of your time, the attempt brings the enemy closer to getting that status next time. With a system like that in place you could even make the strongest bosses susceptible to instant death without it becoming a problem. Another good system is Etrian Odyssey's where successfully inflicting a status ailment causes the enemy to develop a resistance to it, until eventually they become immune. It's not as good as Dark Souls's system, but it does let them leave bosses vulnerable to paralysis and such without making them trivial to shut down entirely, and it also rewards you for packing a wide variety of status effects instead of going all in on one of them.

Agreed. I can't tell you how many JRPGs I've played while never bothering with half the spells because status effects just seemed useless. I was disappointed when deathblows became a big thing in TrailsInTheSky 3, as it feels cheap to KO a bunch of soldiers with a single death scream, and annoying to have your own char go down in one hit. I'm pretty sure the first game had a countdown that would appear on somebody, which would cause a delayed death rather than an instant one. Don't know why they didn't keep that system.

Cosmic Star Heroine basically has both of the mechanisms that you mentioned. The enemies have a hidden "resistance bar" for status effects, so the effect might not hit them the first time but the resistance is depleted so the 2nd or 3rd attempt will succeed. And after they've fallen victim to it, the resistance increases for next time.

BTW, CSH is a good game but it's possible to be too clever for your own good. You can get a weapon that makes Alisa start with 200 style. She gets a skill 'all out' that converts style into a damage boost. Towards the end of the game I could just use 'all out' my first turn, go hyper the second turn, and use 'data storm' and everything would die immediately, even bosses. Maybe I had one of the other characters cast a damage boost also, I forget. But it was 2-3 buffs that would stack and do insane damage.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:29 am 


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Blinge wrote:
Also re: Etrian Odyssey..
Number 2 is where I realised my limit and tapped out. The post-game content is so wildly difficult that the only way I was going to beat it is get a completely new party re-specced and train them all up using guides and help from the internet and none of it would be my own play anymore. I don't know how anyone does this shit playing by themselves organically or whatever. Guess there must be real stat-lords out there.


My stance is that you should look up all the rules and skill formulae and things like that because the game doesn't explain them at all and you can't make informed decisions without them. It's a serious flaw that they don't explain that stuff but I've made peace with it. You should not use someone else's builds or cheese strategies because preparation is half of the game. Looking up enemy data is the only real grey area. Most of the time you don't want to because figuring everything out is part of the fun, but once in a while the postgame bosses will throw something seriously unintuitive at you.

Like for example, when the true last boss of EO3 is in defense mode and below 3/4 health he reads your inputs and chooses counterattacks appropriate to whatever element you tried to hit him with. If you don't use a physical or elemental attack then he instead heals himself for an unreasonable amount of health. Once you know he's reading your inputs you can plan for it and manipulate him into doing what you want and he becomes perfectly manageable, but I don't think it's clear at all that that's what he's doing. The series has gotten a lot better about not doing shit like that over time. Like the true last boss in EO4 is seriously bullshit if you try to fight him fair but aren't supposed to fight him fair, you're supposed to cripple him in a side quest and the game makes that quite clear.

I still have an advice post saved in my WIP posts .txt that I wrote just before you said you were quitting EO2. Maybe it'd help clarify what sorts of things 2's postgame asks of you? I'll post it below but by all means feel free not to read it.

Spoiler: show
2's postgame can be a drag, especially all the directionless and unrewarding side quests. It's the only one in the series where I'd consider calling it quits after the main game. There's no point if you're not having fun, right? And I mean, you did already beat the game. Saw the end credits and everything.

Did the dragon hit you with voltage? You're almost required to stop him from using that and the easiest way is to have your protector use antivolt. It won't guarantee every character's survival unless it's maxed. If it is maxed, voltage will heal you rather than hurt you. Antiall is not an acceptable substitute. The dragon uses voltage on turn 1 and after that he'll use it every fifth turn. His other attacks shouldn't be too threatening unless your armor is out of date or something. He can also use corrupt, which is dangerous, but only if your party has a ton of buffs. For your team I doubt it shouldn't be a problem. Make sure every party member has the HP up skill maxed out. It's a gigantic boost and 100% worth eating the 5 level respec cost if you don't have it.

It definitely isn't worth filling your force gauges before a boss fight unless you use axcelas or are wielding a force up weapon. That's way too time consuming. I've never done it and would never consider it.

There are FOEs called icekings on floor 29. Their drop lets you make polar rods, which are the best staves in the game because of their speed bonus. Having a medic move before the enemy makes a world of difference. You shouldn't need many healing items at all with one of those. A hexer that casts revenge before rather than after the enemy moves is likewise a big deal. If you're using any of the ygg weapons (or the agnea for your gunner) you probably shouldn't. They have good attack power, but they completely wreck your speed. No, the game doesn't ever tell you this. Arguably it's ok for your gunner and landsknecht since their speed isn't too important, but even then I'd rather have use the agneyastra and the dragonbane for their side benefits. The ygg axe is the exception that is probably worth using since axes already ruin your speed.

For the Ur Child, I don't think axcela abuse would be strictly necessary, but it's definitely the most reliable solution. He's quite a bit nastier than the three dragons. An endgame gunner and hexer should be able to put out around 3000 damage per turn. He has 25,000 HP so that's a kill in 9 turns. Come in with your protector's force gauge full and that's 16 axcela IIs to be invincible the entire fight. Really 14 axcela IIs would be just as good since he heals himself for a negligible 210 HP on turn 6. It's not a severe amount of farming, especially if you've already been killing harpuia for experience and money. If you don't mind fighting as dirty as possible, the Ur Child can be taken down in two turns by a protector and a bunch of low level landsknechts. There's a bit of luck involved but it should work about half the time.

Did you ever retire your characters? I always do it at least once. In 2 I like to retire at 30 for the sizeable stat boost and then again at 70 to raise the cap to 71. The grind isn't that bad if you exploit boss respawns. The forbidden wood's random encounters tend to be fairly tame too, so you can get away with exploring well below 70 as long as you're careful around bosses and FOEs. You shouldn't need it and at this point you may not want to bother, but it does make a big difference.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:43 am 


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Rant approaching.

Virtua Fighter 1 on Saturn is such a trash fire for the love of god. I have a pretty high tolerance for bullshit AI in retro fighters since I love playing them and AI is really your only option in old obscure games. But VF1 definitely ranks among the all time worst AI I've seen (alongside AoF2 and MK2/3) cheating to the point of being nearly impossible to clear with the vast majority of the cast and definitely impossible to clear with anything resembling a legitimate fighting strategy.

The AI blocks everything and also fuzzy guards almost every throw attempt. And it actually does cheat in ways beyond standard input reading because Wolf is somehow managing to grab me from half screen away ffs. The only real way to clear it is to pick Akira and spam 446P+G fishing for counterhits. It's really such a damn shame because with even tolerable AI similar to VF2's I'd really enjoy going back to this now and again. I wonder what the whole story behind this shit-show of a release was.

I need some weird friends who want to play obscure fighting games with me... :(
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:09 pm 


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I'd be happy to play obscure fighters with you. :lol:

Saturn VF1 is an infamous rushjob. :D The 32X version came out later, and while it looks a bit worse, is actually much more playable. Japanese version is really expensive though.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:24 pm 


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CIT wrote:
I'd be happy to play obscure fighters with you. :lol:

Saturn VF1 is an infamous rushjob. :D The 32X version came out later, and while it looks a bit worse, is actually much more playable. Japanese version is really expensive though.


Hit me up if you're ever in Japan; we'll go play some Buriki One :lol:

You know I actually have a US copy of Virtua Fighter 1 32x, but while here in Japan my parents threw away a massive box of "old junk cables" which just so happened to be every video and power cable for every retro console I owned, and my AES' arcade stick just to make it an extra hard punch in the dick. While most of those cables I've been able to replace, the cable that links the 32x to the main Genesis unit is basically irreplaceable :( I'd have to buy a whole new system.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:50 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
I still have an advice post saved in my WIP posts .txt that I wrote just before you said you were quitting EO2. Maybe it'd help clarify what sorts of things 2's postgame asks of you? I'll post it below but by all means feel free not to read it.


It's much appreciated, Vanguard. Unfortunately such is my repression of Eo2 memories that half of this no longer makes any sense to me. It's alright, I walked away and have made peace with it... almost entirely. :wink:
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:42 pm 


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Starcrawlers: Hardcore + Ironman run

The absolute best dungeon crawler I've played in ages with a heavy "Shadowrun-in-Space" vibe, and lots of skill trees to play with and experiment with synergies. Currently doing a run on the hardest difficulty with permadeath mode enabled. I've discovered that some skills I've neglected to use on previous runs are ridiculously good and basically act as the class's specialty, and experimenting with others has confirmed they're not terribly worthwhile.

Force Psyker's Purity Prism in particular is nuts, dealing 250% weapon damage total, instantly eating debuffs and stun effects, while nullifying further effects while active. It's amazing with both the Void Psyker who regularly blows himself up with energy while charging, negating the stun, and also negating the stun from the Prototype when it shuts down from Malfunctions. There's at least one bonus boss in particular who abuses the heck out of absolutely insane unique debuffs that I bet this could stop cold... As usual, the defense-oriented tree sucks hard due to the way damage scaling works later on, but skip trying to keep defense barriers up on people and focus on their massive single target damage skills and passives, and you've got a futuristic battle priest running around with a rocket launcher and a giant hammer crushing everything effortlessly, tossing around damage debuffs with their attacks, locking enemies in stunning barrier prisons, and basically being the top tier combat class.

The poor Engineer gets ragged on for being one of the worst classes frequently, but their passives that buff damage and particularly accuracy are insanely useful. They need New Game+ to get access to all their best abilities at once, but even on a first playthrough, go with Contructor skill tree, grab Thumper, and discover that it has an unlisted stun effect, and suddenly you've discovered the Engineer's single best combat skill in the game, capable of mass stunning enemy groups with ease. I've found a couple other items with unlisted effects, probably an oversight, such as Anti-Nanite Spray which in addition to buffing Nanite resist adds a 5% dodge buff for the mission, by far its most important effect!

Cyberninja's probably become one of my fave classes. It has a couple largely gimmicky skill trees that don't feel entirely practical, but the Combination tree's constant free hits with Flip Kick/Ricochet and absolutely insane damage from a Combo Strike -> Takedown is too good to pass up. Other classes play the instadeath role better, with Void Psyker's Voidstorm being king of the instadeath for random groups, and Hacker's Logic Bomb being a close second. However, Assassination is insanely useful for killing the random mobs of angry people sent after you by corporations you've pissed off, and just having the Cyberninja around to end some of those without a fight is very useful.

I need to write up a guide for this I think, there's some wikis with lists of skill trees and whatnot, but it's a lot harder to find info on which skills/synergies are worth investing in and which aren't (and with only 5 slots for active skills, it makes skill selection important).
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:05 pm 


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^ I've been searching for a godd Dungeon Crawling game like this on the Switch for ages. Any word on a port of Starcrawlers ?
Or any other recommend Dungeon Crawlers on the NS ?
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:38 pm 


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I don't own a Nintendo Switch, so I'm afraid I'm the wrong person to ask. I can recommend dungeon crawlers outside of that though, such the recently translated Wizardry Gaiden IV: Throb of the Demon's Heart for the SNES.

It would be nice if Starcrawlers got more exposure via ports, but it'd need its controls retooled since the interface is entirely point and click currently. It'd be doable though, but likely a lot of work on the developer's part, especially since it relies heavily on mouse control for the first person exploration and navigation to click on objects.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:03 pm 


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Starcrawlers RULES!

Try a virus tree Decker using the tier-1 skills from the other two trees (they count as viruses, weird the upper-tier actives in the virus tree don't).

Infect a couple enemies, then activate their ultimate skill and watch an apocalyptic rain of RNG madness ensue!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:23 pm 


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I'm actually running with a team of all 8 recruited and trying to keep them evenly levelled (though that's kinda failed, my main 4 are at 26, the rest are like level 12, going to have to have them catch up). Currently running with Force Psyker, Void Psyker, Smuggler, and Cyberninja.

Hackers are fun, and are by far the most useful out-of-combat utility class due to their sheer versatility in terms of the number of hackable things. I usually run a Malware skillset with them for the damage over time funtimes you get from multiple damage viruses + Overheat for the Stun, Kill Switch for the easy re-applications of stun as need be. I'm currently trying a pure Optimization Hacker; it sucks. The buffs you can get from Optimization just aren't as impressive or as helpful for mitigating damage as keeping enemies stunned or instakilling them are, and their other trees are much more helpful early on out-of-combat (Optimization's pretty much only used for one thing as far as I can tell, and it's very specific).

Smugglers are amazing too - I made the mistake of going Gunslinger with them on my very first playthrough, same thing a friend did. It's actually their least useful combat tree overall, and I don't think the free shots or extra combat initiative from using a Pistol make up for the raw unstoppable damage they can do with their other trees and a high powered Rifle. Trick Shot does have some very real crowd control or instakill applications on groups though if you have a pistol that has a chance to stun or kill on hit. The real utility comes from maxing out their trap tree for the automatic trap deployment at the start of fights. Add to that 3 different skills that can stun/delay enemies in the tree: the spammable, but unreliable Flashbang, the risky but insanely powerful Timed Mine, and the incredibly powerful, but limited use Bag of Wonders. I shied away from Timed Mine previously due to the risk; my estimate is it has a 90% chance of successfully landing before the target enemy's turn. When it fails, it's quite annoying, as I've had it instead deploy in front of an NPC I had to protect, thus eating up medkits, but the success rate is much higher than expected and it seems pretty well worth the risk to hugely delay an enemy's turn.

Smuggler's gambling tree is also packed with fun goodies, in particular Bounty (extremely fast damage, opens up enemies to extra damage, just make sure you have credits) and the insanely potent Slot Machine. Even on a "failed" slot enemies take a lot of damage, and the slots are heavily rigged in your favour to hit groups for huge amounts of damage with a low time delay attack. Screw using a pistol; give the Smuggler a hard hitting Rifle or Shotgun to buff up damage as high as possible, and you've got plenty of skills to use them with. Heck, even Coin Toss is very powerful, and one of its random Bad Luck applications on enemies is Stun!

The best part of New Game+ is when you are able to get enough skill points to totally max out all the skill trees and really play around with setups. It's a bit of work having to refarm each faction's favour points up again as well as repurchase software for your deck, but that's OK.

I got around to playing with Void Psyker's "Cosmic Horror" ability more too. It takes a while to build up the charges needed to use it safely, but it seems to do a ridiculous 3000% or so weapon damage with a random element to all enemies, basically insta wiping the field as well as buffing you and maxing out your Void Energy so you're ready to fire off a Void Storm or whatever. However, if it fails due to not having enough charges to use it safely (and 100 charges is likely not 100% safe based on the skill description), your Void Psyker instantly dies. And, if they somehow survive the instant death effect, they're hit with a Very Bad And Extremely Ominous sounding debuff that, as it turns out, hits for 10 million damage every turn. You can actually make this safe to use with a Force Psyker though. Either carry an A.N.C.H. or use Manifest Spirit to soak the instant death hit, and use Purity Prism to eat the debuff before the Void Psyker's next turn. Summoning Cthulhu for funtimes is the best thing ever!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:55 am 


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Virtual Fighter Rant Vol.2

Still doing Virtua Fighter, learning a new character in Final Showdown (Wolf). I love this game, but we gotta talk about Dural.

Uber "bonus" bosses that don't allow continues are probably the biggest sin in all of single player fighting game modes. At least with an "SNK" boss you can grit your teeth and keep dashing yourself against the rocks until you learn a good strategy or just get lucky. In the end you feel good that you downed the asshole.

Virtua Fighter on the other hand throws a huge difficulty spike SNK boss at you and tells you to go fuck off. So even if you enjoy it, you almost always end your credit with a shitty taste in your mouth. Turning down the difficulty isn't a good option either since it makes everyone other than Dural a vegetable. It seems like a small thing, but it really hurts my enjoyment of sessions with this game and just brings the experience down. I've gotta reiterate: single player experience absolutely matters in fighting games, because ten years from release that will be most fans' only option.

Luckily this is pretty rare in fighting games. The only two examples I can immediately think of are KoF2k2UM Rugal (who has specific conditions to appear and can thus be avoided) and that stupid ass tank from Tekken 6, which was not actually the final boss and Tekken 6 sucked either way.

Side note: while you can't continue in VF2 either, Dural's AI is much closer in level to the previous fights, making the whole thing a lot more fair and less irritating. How in the hell did a game from 2010 end up taking such steps backwards with difficulty balance compared to VF2 ffs.

Seriously though everything else about this game is godly. I would absolutely kill for a modern port to play online. Or a sequel? *keeps smoking*
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:37 pm 


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Ready for finishing up FFVIIRE, think I've got the taste back for JRPG's but not sure where to head next. I've still got a Tales game sat on the PS4 HD (not the most recent one, think it's an upgraded PS3 game - Beseria maybe?), but thinking I might head back to either IX or X.

Just bought the Moonbase DLC for Prey, loved the main game a few years ago so this will give me an excuse to jump back in.

Had a quick nosy at Banjo Nuts & Bolts - quite odd, but intriguing enough. Also it looks absolutely glorious, this must have been upgraded for the X1X.

Also picked up the deluxe edition of Sunset Overdrive for Xbox - seems like Crackdown meets JSR from the quick go I've had, looking forward to getting stuck into this.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:36 pm 


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Marc wrote:
Had a quick nosy at Banjo Nuts & Bolts - quite odd, but intriguing enough. Also it looks absolutely glorious, this must have been upgraded for the X1X.


Played the beginning of that once. I like how they make 4th wall jokes at the expense of the earlier games, and it's like, no fuck you those games were great why are you teasing me with this shit i dont want to play your shitty racing game!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:48 pm 


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Location: Brazil
Who doesn't love Virtua Fighter, that's what I wanna know.

ACSeraph wrote:
Side note: while you can't continue in VF2 either, Dural's AI is much closer in level to the previous fights, making the whole thing a lot more fair and less irritating. How in the hell did a game from 2010 end up taking such steps backwards with difficulty balance compared to VF2 ffs.


VF3tb is the same in that regard, with Dural being a tough but fair last trial - since the AI learns and adapts to your moves, you can't spam the same ones over and over again, and that learning process, both for the player and the AI, reaches it's climax with Dural, which has a moveset that borrows from every other fighter in the game. Pretty cool.

A shame about VF3tb though, an amazing game that was overshadowed by flashier games like DOA2 and Soul Calibur.


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