shmups.system11.org

Shmups Forum
 
* FAQ    * Search
 * Register  * Login 
It is currently Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:10 am View unanswered posts
View active topics



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13755 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am 


User avatar

Joined: 16 Nov 2015
Posts: 1456
It’s amazing that Doom Eternal even exists. Considering nuDoom was received to near-unanimous praise by masses and critics alike (despite its many issues), the developers had no reason to take such a radically different approach for its sequel. Instead, they recognized nuDoom’s problems and sought to actually improve on it. What we ended up with is a massive improvement that blows nuDoom’s gameplay out of the water, one of the best enemy casts out of any action game that brings some of the more famous Japanese action games to shame, and an unique approach to aggressive short-term resource management that I haven’t seen in any other game; bringing some light into this godforsaken stagnant genre and showing that first-person shooters don’t have to be exactly all about shooting.

What sets apart Eternal from the rest is its large focus on short-term resource management. In nuDoom the only resource you would worry about was health, as past the first levels you’d get more ammo than you could reasonably spend, and armor was mostly out of your control as it was limited to finite item pick-ups. In Eternal, replenishing armor has been integrated into the combat through the Flame Belch, and the massively decreased maximum ammo capacities on all ammo types pushes you to be way more mindful of ammo than before. Now on top of shooting things, you’re always thinking about resources. And because you’re thinking more, you have more engaging gameplay on your hands. This is also makes the sections inbetween arenas less boring, because now you’re always thinking what resources you can refill off the suffering of demons instead of being given a free ammo refill.

The reduced max ammo discourages players from being able to sit on the one weapon for the whole fight without running out of ammo. This doesn’t affect players who already regularly switch weapons, but it teaches new players to use all of their weapons if they want to survive. It’s still possible to mostly rely on one weapon if you really want to, but that means having to disengage more often in order to seek out fodder to Chainsaw, or having to wait for Chainsaw fuel to regenerate. Instead of fighting the system like that, it’s a more optimal use of your time to switch to a different weapon.

The high ammo caps in nuDoom meant that you could use the power weapons all day, which made the regular weapons fall to the wayside. Here having less max ammo means that there’s more of a trade-off for heavily relying on your power weapons (as it makes you more reliant on the Chainsaw), but this also means that you have more of a reason to use your regular weapons (Combat Shotgun, Plasma Rifle, HAR) against fodder where using the power weapons is just overkill. While infinitely regenerating chainsaw fuel does mean you have infinite ammo, it does not mean you have infinite ammo at the moment--so sticking to one weapon means you might be caught with your pants down when you find you have no ammo for it anymore.

One consequence of this is that it does piss off nuDoom players who liked nuDoom for letting you play it in any way you wanted and win (that usually being sticking to their favourite weapon for the whole game), whereas ammo limits break the power fantasy. This is where Eternal could have appeased both types of players who derive fun from challenge or from breaking the game, namely by scaling up the max ammo limits for all weapons the lower you set the difficulty setting, but keeping everything on Nightmare the same. Given that how much ammo and health you can carry directly affects your survival, it makes sense that lower difficulties would give you more ammo. So if you would want to play Eternal with all the ammo in the world, just turn the difficulty down a notch or two.

That said, the game is only any stringy with ammo for the first two levels. Once you get access to all four basic ammo types and some max ammo upgrades, you only have to Chainsaw enemies a few times during a mid-sized fight, provided you mix up your weapon usage enough. And it’s not as if ammo is the sole reason why you want to churn through weapons as if they’re all functionally the same; each weapon in Eternal is still better suited for a given situation than another, which isn’t even counting Weak Points.

The Flame Belch is so tacked-on that it could be cut out of the game without breaking the balance. But I’d say its inclusion is a net positive because it manages to add something interesting to the game: a layer of optimization. Instead of just Glory Killing a staggered enemy, you can optimize your resource gains by setting them on fire beforehand. And since the range of your Flame Belch is deceptively larger than the visuals suggest (in a FPS with no stereoscopic 3D support, it *feels* better for the range of melee/flamethrower attacks to be larger than they seem) and can be swept in a horizontal cone, you can use your Flame Belch charge on more enemies at once to squeeze even more armor out of enemies. It’s similar to the many hidden techniques in fighting games or stylish action games you can use to squeeze out a bit more damage or cancel out of recovery earlier. They do not carry the game by themselves, but you stand to lose more by removing them than you stand to gain.

The most immediate improvement to Eternal is the expanded movement: you now have two (mid-air) dashes and a grappling hook on your SSG (AKA the Meathook), allowing for greater vertical mobility and creativity to how you approach fights. Mid-air dashing gives you more options for arena traversal, and it also allows more variety in arena design take advantage of this. Especially with the Air Control rune, you can build up some ridiculous momentum with the Meathook to fly over enemies and get around faster, though there’s a small cooldown after using it to prevent it from becoming completely broken and letting you stay in the air indefinitely. While I can’t say for certain whether you move slower compared to nuDoom as a means to balance out dashing, arenas for Eternal in general are larger and more spacious compared to nuDoom, which can give off the impression of moving more slowly. The game could have just as well done away with dashing in favor of a higher ground speed, but in doing so you’d lose the air game of mid-air dashing, and it would be hard to justify why you’re only able to dash mid-air and not on the ground (especially considering nothing would prevent you from dashing right after you jump for a pseudo-ground dash). Having both faster ground speed and dashing might be on the more broken side of things (imagine having dashing in olDoom on top of your sprint speed).

Spoiler: show
One consequence of the addition of dashing is that dodging projectiles and slam attacks from Knight-type enemies became much easier. Normally when changing strafing directions in an FPS, your velocity is briefly reset and have to re-accelerate to top speed, leaving you briefly vulnerable to incoming shots while your velocity is still low, and in the case of avoiding Hell Knight leaps you are boned if you weren’t at max velocity when the Knight initiated the leap. But dashes can instantly accelerate you to top speed in any of the eight cardinal directions. To compensate, the attack token system that governs how many enemies were allowed to attack at once seems to be much more lenient in Eternal compared to nuDoom. All fodder enemies always seem to be attacking you at once, and more of them use their charge attacks at once. Another new measure to balance out dashing is that more enemy types will fire projectiles in bursts, which can effectively box you in (at medium range). For example, if you strafe/dash right, there will be a stream of projectiles to your left, cutting you off from one direction and leaving you open to projectiles with leading, forcing you to either tank the damage or use your vertical mobility options to simply hop over the projectiles.

The rest of your Equipment has also been retooled: now the Frag Grenade is actually useful with its larger AoE and being able to consistently falter even heavier demons for an opening, and the new Ice Bomb acts as a get-out-of-jail-free card by letting you freeze a group of enemies, where damaging frozen enemies also drops extra health. It’s a lot more useful than nuDoom’s Equipment, whose effectiveness was marginal at best, or in the case of the Hologram you weren’t entirely sure whether it actually worked.

In nuDoom, you often forgot about your Equipment items because not only was their usefulness marginal, it also briefly made you unable to fire your gun. By posing the use of Equipment as an either/or choice, the most versatile option usually wins out (in this case just shooting enemies with your gun) because it minimizes the downtime of switching weapons/lowering your gun and being unable to attack. So with either/or choices, options with more (comparatively) marginal benefits and situational use draw the short straw.

What Eternal then did is mount the Equipment Launcher on your shoulder, allowing you to use Equipment while firing your gun. Even if using the new Flame Belch/Frags/Ice Bomb isn’t worth it over just being able to shoot and switch weapons, it doesn’t matter because now you can do both at the same time with no additional cost (other than the mental effort of doing more things at once). The old binary system could have been justified by buffing Equipment to be a worthwhile trade-off over being briefly unable to use weapons, but downplaying the binary commitment allows less-versatile options to be more relevant, and allows for larger combo potential.

In the frenzy of combat it’s easy to forget about your Equipment, as the rest of the combat in Eternal already takes up tons of concentration. But if you died and know that you forgot about the Flame Belch and Frags and Ice Bomb, then you know how to improve your chances of survival next time. And knowing what to improve on and how to improve on it is what motivates players to keep trying. Saying they’re just there to rotate through as soon as they come off cooldown is being reductive, considering there’s still opportunity costs attached to igniting or faltering more enemies at once with the Flame Belch/Frag respectively as opposed to using it on just one enemy.

But of the Ice Bomb I’m not a fan. It’s basically the Stun Bomb from 2016, only now it has a much longer cooldown so you can’t spam it as much. But the core problem remains: it simplifies interacting with tons of enemies. For example, it shuts down the Whiplash’ mobility, it lets you safely circle towards a Pinky’s back to finish it off, it lets you safely walk up and Blood Punch off a Cyber-Mancubus’ armor without having to deal with its close-range shockwave attack, it allows you to easily shoot Weak Points off enemies as they’re frozen in place, and it allows you to dump tons of damage into a Super-Heavy demon so you can kill them before they have the chance to even counter-attack. There is no skill involved in using it beyond aiming somewhere where you can freeze the most enemies, and in terms of resources it’s very forgiving because it works off its own cooldown that’s not shared with anything else. Especially once upgraded the Ice Bomb becomes even more powerful than it should. The combat is more interesting when the enemies get the opportunity to actually move around and be a threat, so if you want to keep things interesting for yourself you should ideally never use the Ice Bomb at all. As it is, the Ice Bomb is just a crutch for newer players, but the game never gives you a reason not to use the readily-available tool that simplifies combat.

On the other hand, the Frag Grenades are more reasonable because all they do is deal damage and briefly falter enemies instead of taking them out of the picture completely. There would be a more interesting trade-off to the Ice Bomb if it shared resources with something else, like the Frags. So you can either choose to spend two charges from a maximum of two for an Ice Bomb, or one charge for one Frag, of which you can quickly fire two. Defensive player would lose out on the Frags to use the Ice Bomb, whereas aggressive players would sooner rely on the versatility of two Frags than the Ice Bomb crutch. Alternatively, the Ice Bomb could keep its get-out-of-jail-free card role without being downright broken if damage dealt against frozen enemies was massively reduced and if it wasn’t possible to break the Weak Points of frozen enemies. That way the Ice Bomb can still save your hide in a tough position, but it won’t let you effortlessly dispatch enemies since you can’t damage them that much; at most it just delays them. It should be noted that frozen enemies already take less damage than normal, but a suit upgrade which just lets you do normal damage against them instead.

There’s also a more general topic I want to address here, which is Eternal’s usage of cooldowns. Cooldowns are a valid way of balancing the power of certain options, but they come with two caveats: they enable stalling, meaning newer players will opt to back away from the action until the cooldown is refilled, and they lower the skill ceiling because a higher-level player is inevitably restricted by the cooldown (unless there’s a way to reduce the cooldown through proactive play, as with the Equipment Fiend Rune in Eternal). Stalling is less of a problem in games with time limits or games that snowball you to death if you don’t play proactively, but it’s still possible to stall in Eternal what with all the movement options afforded to you. So I’ve already read several online complaints about people thinking it’s only possible to deal with Whiplashes/Cyber-Mancubi with an Ice Bomb, and having to stall before they can begin to deal with them. While the most obvious response might be to call these people scrubs and that they’re playing the game wrong, it’s still a failure on the game’s part to allow them to play the game that way and still win.

One approach that would be very much in line with the rest of the game is to have your Equipment only recharge by killing enemies (á la potions in Path of Exile). It would further discourage passive play in favor of going out there and killing shit, and it would reward better players by letting them use their Equipment more often the faster they kill. A hybrid solution could also be used where there’s still a cooldown, but it’s longer than a minute and only there to recharge your Equipment inbetween arenas, so the most reliable way of recharging it is still to kill shit.

Another thing hampering the Equipment system (and resource management) is the UI: Eternal tucks away all status indicators and ammo counters in the bottom right in the screen, which with the intensity of Eternal’s combat you’ll have almost no time to glance at, while it’s also too small to be picked up in your peripheral vision. Instead I found myself relying more on intuition on when my Equipment was ready and how much ammo I had, which tended to backfire time to time. Ideally, all UI indicators would be positioned around the crosshair, where you would actually be focusing your eyes during combat. With the increased focus on ammo management and weapon switching, knowing how much ammo you have for other weapons you plan switching to is important. Unfortunately Eternal only shows you the ammo for your current weapon, so I often found myself switching to another mainstay weapon, only to find out the hard way that it has no ammo. Some ammo count indicators for all your ammo types (as the original Doom did, or more usefully what Quake Live did by displaying them at the left/right side of the screen) would be useful here.

That said, the visual clarity of Eternal has been improved. nuDoom was dominated by the red, orange and black colors, which made it more difficult than necessary to tell apart enemies from the background at a glance. By contrast, the locales in Eternal are much more varied and colorful, making enemies to stand out more. Another underrated facet to knowing what enemies you’re dealing with is the enemy projectile colors/shapes. Even if you haven’t directly seen the enemy, you can tell by the projectiles that a particular enemy type is out and about. Yellow/green-ish means its a Gargoyle, a set of three rings means its a Carcass, a large horizontal wave means its a Dread Knight/Baron, blue/red-ish means its a Cacodemon, a Lost Soul means its a Pain Elemental, purple means its a Prowler, and so on. Regrettably the sound mix is still too muddled to be able to tell where the sounds the demons are making coming from. There are some exceptions this time around that are able to give you useful information based on their sound: the Whiplash makes a noticeable passive hissing sound when it’s nearby, and the Cyberdemon’s beam makes a very noticeable charging sound before it is about to fire. But these are still exceptions to the rule.

The Glory Kill mechanic has also seen some changes. Instead of dropping a useless +5HP, now Glory Kills will always drop at least +20HP, which is usually more worth it. But more importantly, Glory Kills have become a lot safer to do now with the introduction of dashing. You can immediately dash away from a bad position once the Glory Kill ends, especially with the upgrade that refreshes your dash charges on a Glory Kill. This makes Glory Kills a bit too safe to perform, and further encourages players to spam it without considering whether they will get pummeled with a meaty once the invincibility ends (because they know they won’t); further bolstering the perception of Glory Kills as a braindead cosmetic finisher instead of a move with relevant risks and rewards. It’s still possible to have your dash bodyblocked by a demon, and Mancubi can consistently punish you for recovering from a Glory Kill in their shockwave range, but a good majority of the time you can just dash away from a Glory Kill while taking no or minimal damage. This holds doubly true when you have the Savagery (Faster Glory Kills) and Blood Fueled (get a speed boost after a Glory Kill) Runes equipped, whose speed boost is much more powerful in Eternal compared to nuDoom (for the record, I like that Blood Fueled lets you go even faster now and wouldn’t want to change it, but it does make Glory Kills less risky).

Glory Kills could be a proper trade-off if the AI actively tried to surround and bodyblock you, but esp. with Savagery the Glory Kills wouldn’t last long enough to give the AI time to do so. A more controversial approach would be to remove the invincibility entirely but make Glory Kills twice as fast to compensate; now that enemies can freely damage you, you have to actually decide whether the situation is safe enough or create a situation where you can Glory Kill without getting hit during by enemies. A hybrid solution is to keep the invincibility, except for the tail end of the Glory Kill. That way you can still use Glory Kills to tactically i-frame through attacks, but enemies have an opportunity to damage you before you’re able to dash away. I should note that most of what has been said about Glory Kills also applies to Chainsaw kills, as it’s basically executed in the same way. Chainsawing enemies would come off less “press C and watch a cutscene for free ammo” simple matter if there was a tangible risk attached to chainsawing enemies, as it would further encourage being aware of your surroundings and knowing when it’s safe to do a GK/Chainsaw.

One relevant change for Glory Kills is that your melee punch does next to no damage, meaning you can’t just walk up a Possessed and spam F for a free Glory Kill. What this means is that your primary way of setting up a Glory Kill is to shoot demons enough so they get staggered, but not that much so they get outright killed. So you have to control your shot count with the HAR if you wish to stagger fodder, or control at which you range you fire the Combat Shotgun. In practice, being this precise is easier said than done when you are at low health and being chased by several heavy demons. Having to shoot demons enough but not too hard (if you want a Glory Kill) and your punches dealing piddly damage might sound counterintuitive in a franchise all about shooting demons, but it results in somewhat deeper gameplay than “mash F for a Glory Kill”.

The punch dealing no damage isn’t a major dealbreaker as dashing into enemies deals more damage; dash twice into a Possessed and they get staggered so you can Glory Kill them. They still could have made a punch deal as much damage as a dash though, since most people default to the punch for the melee and the game never tells you about ramming into enemies being an effective melee attack

The new Blood Punch mechanic is a good way of integrating a useful melee option in a shooter without it becoming too dominant or useless. It lets you deal massive burst damage against heavy demons, cancels summoned barriers from Carcasses and Archviles, can insta-kill Pinkies from the front, and punches 70% off of a Cyber-Mancubus’ health pool. It’s recharged by Glory Kills, so it provides an incentive to Glory Kill more aggressively by then letting you kill enemies more quickly with the Blood Punch, further pushing for an aggressive playstyle. What’s interesting is that the enemies which are weak to Blood Punch are also those that are specifically designed to keep you out of melee range, so you can’t just walk up to them and Blood Punch them without taking damage in the process--you need to set them up with a falter first. And Blood Punch being limited means you can’t spam it whenever.

The Weak Point system introduces several soft counters to enemies, allowing you to weaken them without outright killing them, in turn also facilitating switching between weapons that are more suitable for destroying Weak Points. For the Weak Points of Arachnotrons/Revenants/Mancubi/Makyr Drones, what weapon you want to use to destroy them depends on the situation. Sticky Bombs can be refired faster, are easier to land because of their larger size, but aren’t as viable at longer ranges because of their travel time and limited range. Precision Bolt is hitscan and so better suited for longer ranges, but it relying on a scope and having a lower RoF makes it less suitable at short-range unless you learn how to quickscope. The Ballista is suitable at any range and deals good damage on top of that, but its fire rate is very slow, and compared to other weapons it costs relatively more ammo. Alternatively, Heat Blast and Blood Punch are also very effective at destroying Weak Points in one shot without having to directly aim at it, but they need to be charged first.

This way each ammo type has a weapon you can use to dispose of Weak Points (except for Rockets, which can deal so much damage that they can just kill enemies without having to bother with their Weak Points), meaning you still have multiple valid options to deal with any given Weak Point. As another example, while the Shieldguy shields can be overloaded with the Plasma Rifle for an easy kill, so you can also circumvent their shields by: just Meathooking onto them (which forces them to put their shield aside and gives you extra armor in the process), firing any explosive behind their shields, using the Chaingun (which removes the shield just as fast as the Plasma Rifle but doesn’t make it explode), and taking out a Shieldguy from the front with a Destroyer Blade or firing at the slit in their shield with a Ballista/Precision Bolt. And even then there’s an opportunity cost to overloading the Shieldguy’s shield, where sometimes it’s a better idea to wait for them to only overload their shields when they’re in the middle of a group of enemies.

A problem arises when the soft counter is so powerful that using anything else is a waste of ammo, as is the case with the Cacodemon’s new grenade swallow weakness. Instead of wasting rockets on it, a single Sticky Bomb/Frag Grenade will lead to a free stagger (a single Arbalest will also be an one-shot kill). As the hitbox for shooting a nade in a Caco’s mouth and the hitbox for hitting a Caco with the Ballista are very large, exploiting this Weak Point is trivial. Doubly if you consider that Glory Killing a Caco is done in the air where other enemies can’t bodyblock you after it ends. The end result is that the Cacodemon is a boring enemy to fight because he’s high-priority (what with his highly damaging melee lunge and projectile burst), but easy to single out and take out. If it’s that easy to take out a high-priority target, why wouldn’t you? One could fix this by increasing the risk for the reward (f.e. the Caco can only swallow a nade when you fire at his mouth during his highly-damaging lunge attack), or decreasing the reward for the risk (f.e. swallowing a grenade only removes a third of the Caco’s health, meaning you have to commit to killing it with other weapons instead of waiting before it’s ready to swallow again, allowing the Caco to be a more effective pressure unit).

This bears extra mentioning: Weak Points are soft counters, not hard counters. With the exception of the Maurader (and Cacodemon), you can kill any enemy with any weapon without having to exploit their Weak Points. But whether you can use those weapons also depends on the situation. Dread/Hell Knights and Barons of Hell can be consistently faltered with the Chaingun, but focusing on them with the Chaingun provides other enemies with an opening to attack you. Even though you can insta-kill Pinkies and punch off a Cyber-Mancubi’s armor with a Blood Punch, you can’t just safely walk up to them, you need to create a situation where that’s possible first. And once you learn how to switch cancel effectively or use the Lock-on Burst, you can kill most heavies without ever having to bother with their Weak Points to begin with, as destroying Weak Points doesn’t actually deal that much damage to their HP (aside from the Cyber-Mancubus). The Revenant is so weak that there’s no point in going after its Weak Points and it would take longer to kill it that way. At that point Weak Points are there when you want to disable one heavy when you want to focus on another one without getting interrupted, or when you want to falter a heavy. Focusing on Weak Points is definitely not required, and not even the most efficient strategy.

Despite this, public opinion keeps persisting that Eternal has become a “puzzle shooter” where you must pull out this specific weapon against this specific enemy. It’s easy to point to the previous paragraphs and tell them to just git gud, but clearly somewhere something has gone somehow wrong in teaching the player that there’s more than one way to deal with most demons. For that, I’d point to Eternal’s tutorials, which has come to suffer from something I can only describe as overtutorialization. When the tutorials are so heavy-handed and tell you how to beat every new obstacle, it can happen that the player becomes trained to not to explore other options beyond what is shown (one example being in this thread), because what is shown is enough for them to survive most fights, and if it’s constantly rubbed into them through the loading tips, then it must be the most correct way to play, right? After all, why change up your winning strategy? The heavy-handedness of the tutorials and the constant reinforcement by loading tips can then give the impression that you must destroy Weak Points under any circumstance to not get killed by heavy demons, which is further reinforced by the first two-three levels of the game. At that point you don’t have the weapons/mods to quickly kill heavy demons with, so prioritizing Weak Points in those levels becomes very essential to your survival (especially against Cacodemons); a lesson which carries over to the rest of the game.

Even if the tutorials tell you about every single possible way to deal with a Weak Point, it doesn’t solve the core problem that players feel forced to prioritize Weak Points, and that the game allows them to get away with doing so. It’s a similar problem as with the Cacodemon: it never really hurts to NOT exploit the Weak Points on Mancubi/Arachnotrons/Shieldguys. Briefly firing a quick Precision Bolt/Ballista shot or one/two Sticky Bombs is relatively low commitment for high rewards. The perceived reward and proven effectiveness taught in the early levels makes it always seem worth it, and the game doesn’t consistently punish you for wrongly prioritizing it where you shouldn’t. Compare this to exploiting the Weak Points on the Knight-type enemies or Pinkies/Cyber-Mancubi, where whether you’re able to do so safely depends on the situation. If Eternal wishes itself to rid itself of this puzzle shooter criticism, it must present more drawbacks for trying to exploit any Weak Point. For example, if overloading a Shieldguy’s shield with the Plasma Rifle would also damage you if you got caught in its AoE, then you’d be much less inclined to use the Plasma Rifle up close, and instead consider if there’s a better weapon you can use up close or if you can afford to put some distance first between you and it. If disabling the Weak Points on a Revenant/Mancubus made it enter a kind of berserker mode (sort of how the Arachnotron will keep spamming grenades after you destroy its turret) that make them even more dangerous depending on the situation than if you were to keep their Weak Point alive, then there’d be another consideration to disabling the Weak Points.

As mentioned earlier, the tutorials are unusual even for AAA standards in how heavy-handed they are, going as far as telling you how to beat bosses. It might come off as patronizing, but if anything I appreciate it. Compare this to Platinum games where core mechanics that would improve your experience tenfold once you know about them are never mentioned or hidden in-game, forcing you to rely on third-party resources (like the freaking developer blog) or hearsay to just learn about their existence. By just teaching you the rules, you can more quickly get to the “what can I do” to the “how can I do this” part, which is where the meat of the game lies. Especially for a FPS as unorthodox as Eternal, many of its mechanics are rather abstract and can’t be intuitively figured out (it can be deduced from all other games or just simple logic that fire enemies are weak to water attacks, but Knight-type enemies being weak to Chaingun or enemies having Blood Punch weaknesses isn’t), in which case just telling/showing the player about it or forcing them to experience it is the best option. The tutorials only told players through text about the essential fact that one pip of Chainsaw fuel always regenerates, yet I saw several comments of players who didn’t learn about this until halfway through the game, hence the necessity of forcing players to experience unorthodox mechanics like these. Either way, you can completely disable tutorials in the main menu, so you can choose to avoid being forced to deal with tutorials anyways.

There’s one important change that makes Eternal’s story infinitely better gameplay-wise than nuDoom’s, and that’s the ability to skip cutscenes. It means you no longer have to be locked in a room for 1-2 minutes doing nothing while forced to endure Dr. Hayden jabbering on about some plot junk. Unfortunately the story in Eternal jumped the shark in several ways compared to nuDoom, but that’s outside the scope of this post. There are still several 4-6 second unskippable mini-cutscenes after the end of battles that show a door or something opening, which are more tolerable, but still waste your time. So levels also have drawn-out elevator sequences for whatever reason where you can’t move for several seconds. While I’d like to say these could just be removed, it was recently brought to my attention that AAA developers actually use long corridors and elevator rides to disguise loading screens. I suppose this fact is hidden from you to not break immersion, but I would be more accepting of these empty sequences if the game also showed you a LOADING… indicator on top of that. That, and making the elevator rides faster when loading has actually finished, for when you have an SSD for example.

The pacing of Eternal’s campaign is also massively improved over nuDoom. Where in nuDoom you only got your double jump in the fifth level, Eternal gives you your double jump and chainsaw right from the get-go, and it doles out weapons and mods and equipment at such a high pace that you’ll have most of your main tools by the fourth level in the game. It’s still not entirely ideal; the first two levels suck a lot compared to the rest of the campaign because you just don’t have most of your weapons and tools yet, meaning there isn’t much depth that can be had at that point of the game. The lack of depth in the first level can be excused since the player is still getting to grips with the game at this point, and it can be sped through by veterans. But the second level wastes too much time with jumping/environmental puzzles, and is a sore spot on replays. The Master Levels (remixed levels with tougher enemy placement) are a solution to this, although at the time of writing we only have two of these.

Speaking of the levels, it’s impossible not to mention the increased focus on platforming inbetween the arenas. It is more engaging than nuDoom’s empty corridors and incredibly basic jump-and-ledge-grab-over-the-gap platforming challenges, but it’s still not good. The core problem with the platforming in Eternal is still the same as nuDoom’s: it only challenges you on figuring out where you need to go, not how you go about getting there. Once you figured out where to go (which isn’t very hard considering Eternal heavily relies on the color green to signpost where you need to go next), that’s all there’s to it. As the execution for said routes is always incredibly lenient, there isn’t much replay value to be had. Segments that require you to dash over huge gaps using floating dash refills are always beatable with one dash or double jump remaining in stock. Platforms that fall when you stand on them/are attached to will take at least a second or two before they start falling. Most platforms and hazards do not move, ridding platforming challenges of the elements of timing and on-the-fly adjustment of landing on a moving platform you’re just about to miss. Platforming sections that require you to shoot a switch mid-air to temporarily open a gate are sadly rare. Sections that have hazards on the wall you’re climbing are also sadly rare. Being lenient isn’t a problem for the start of the game (because you’re still getting used to how the platforming works), but past the third level the platforming doesn’t demand any higher level of execution out of you or make you use your existing moveset in different ways, so the platforming quickly stops being exciting and feels more like filler (because it honestly is).

Screwing up platforming sections has also been made more lenient, as falling into a bottomless pit teleports you to the last piece of solid ground you stood on and takes a bit off your health, instead of being an instant death like in nuDoom. This change I actually appreciate, because it makes screwing up the platforming feel more fair. It’s a problem I have with a lot of shooters, where death in combat is often the result of several smaller mistakes adding up, yet the single mistake of missing a jump is always fatal, which feels like a disproportionate level of punishment. In older shooters everyone would always quicksave right before platforming sections because they were so fatal, so nobody cared about insta-death pits as much. But as nuDoom was checkpoint-based, you were forced to walk all the way over where you died. By teleporting you to the last piece of ground you stood on, Eternal manages to cut down on this downtime and get you back to the meat of the exciting platforming.

Another thing that seems like wasted potential to me is that the platforming elements are almost entirely separated from the combat arenas. There are rarely ever enemies threatening you while you’re wall climbing or swinging between monkey bars or jumping from platforms, and the heavier platforming elements are never featured in the combat arenas themselves. It would have been interesting to have a few gimmick arenas where there’s barely any solid ground to stand on, and you’re forced to stay in the air using wall climbing, monkey bars, and your Meathook. If anything, not having the Meathook be utilized for the platforming itself is also a huge waste considering the opportunities it already provides

One thing that gets brought up rather often (despite only appearing in two levels of the game) is the purple goo. When you’re standing in it, you’re slowed down and can’t jump or dash. The problem with it is that in Exultia the level forces you to wade through it. You have no options to speed things up (aside from using the level geometry in unintended ways to skip the purple goo altogether, which isn’t applicable everywhere), which makes these unexciting, especially on replays. And combat-wise all you’re doing here is playing whack-a-mole with Tentacles, which doesn’t come close to the depth offered by regular combat. While filler segments are necessary to prevent players from having to stop playing and take a break, these segments go all the way into “turn your brain off” territory.

However, I still believe that purple goo can be good if used as an environmental hazard, instead of forcing the player to move in it. The first outdoor arena in ARC Complex is a good example, as it forces you to get more creative with the surfaces in the arena that aren’t covered in purple goo (but are covered with enemies), and so punishes sloppy movement/positioning if you fall into the goo. It is only a shame that purple goo is rarely used at all (in this way). Another thing to consider is that, while almost all your movement options are restricted in purple goo, pulling yourself out of the goo with the Meathook isn’t. Knowing this, it would have made infinitely more sense to only introduce the purple goo right after the player gets the Super Shotgun + Meathook, and so place them in an environment filled with purple goo where they’re forced to make use of this new tool in order to survive.

Arenas in Eternal tend to feature more gimmicks than in nuDoom, which I think is very useful for arena level design, though I have to make a big detour to explain why.

One of the core tenets of olDoom is that it’s about fighting for breathing space. While you are the fastest entity in the game, enemies have large hitboxes and often come in large numbers, which combined with constrictive level layouts, hitscan enemies, and infinitely tall enemy hitboxes/a lack of vertical mobility options, means that running past enemies often isn’t an option. As enemies keep encroaching you on what little free space you have, you will eventually get overwhelmed.

Compared to olDoom, both the player and enemies in nuDoom/Eternal have way more mobility. This mobility allows the battlefield to keep shifting unpredictably, forcing you to keep repositioning and improvising your strategy on the fly. A single encounter can then play out in many different ways, but if every encounter is an unpredictable improvisation-fest with no elements to distinguish them from one another, then they’ll start blurring together. Normally these distinct elements are realized through the level layout/enemy placement, but here nuDoom/Eternal runs into another problem: the level designer cannot predict where exactly the enemy will decide to move. In exchange for letting the enemies move however they like and let the AI create the challenge, the level designer forfeits a degree of control in designing levels. In order to allow the AI to utilize its movement options meaningfully (a Whiplash or Prowler is wasted when put in a monster closet or narrow corridor), all arenas must be designed with a set of guidelines (or restrictions), which is why almost all arenas in Eternal have this circular open ‘skatepark’ design, as it provides both the enemy and the player enough space to keep outmaneuvering eachother. However, most of these skatepark layouts by themselves don’t make you play all that differently compared to others, and you can get away with the same strategy of “run circles around the edges of the arena while only diving in for resources” on most of them, so rarely are these skateparks a driving force in making you reconsider your general strategy..

Games with simple and predictable enemies, like in olDoom and Super Mario Bros, give the designer way more control over how and where they can be used. As fighting an enemy with simple AI isn’t that interesting by itself, the level design needs to compensate for it through the enemy placement or level layout. Here the level layout strongly affects how an encounter plays out, as simple enemies are way more reliant on the level layout to pose a threat. This opens up way more level design possibilities compared to games where more complex enemies place restrictions on how they can be used effectively, and this greater freedom allowed for greatly unique levels where the layout dictates your approach instead of the AI. The Mario games and olDoom have an incredible amount of custom levels made for them, whereas something like Devil May Cry doesn’t lend itself well to custom levels. There the only thing you can change about each encounter is which enemies get used, how many of them there are, and where they spawn, as the layout of the arena barely affects the combat and enemy behaviour. The total amount of level design possibilities here are limited by only the total amount of enemy combinations, which doesn’t even come close to that of Super Mario Bros. or olDoom.

The arena layout does affect combat/enemy behaviour in Eternal, but not always to a degree to make it stand out from others. In nuDoom, the game tried to keep things fresh by padding out the rate at which you were introduced to new weapons and new enemies, but as it ran out of new enemies/weapons, so did its final levels start to blur together, because there was nothing new or fundamentally different about them. Another option is to introduce some kind of gimmick that fundamentally forces the player to change their approach. This can range from environmental interactables like traps and crushers you can trigger, to environmental hazards like purple goo, damaging floors, or platforms that fall when you step on them. A better example of this is DESYNC’s Aberration Zones, which are remixed versions of existing levels that periodically apply new mutators that make the game easier or harder (such as ‘all enemies explode on death’, and ‘you can dual-wield weapons’) and stack on top of eachother, forcing the player to adapt to a new playstyle and use existing mechanics in a way they normally wouldn’t have much reason to. The gist here is that gimmicks like these can be added without interfering with the enemy AI/placement, or even with the arena layout, and so be used to more easily increase the amount of ‘unique’ arenas.

That is not to say gimmicks are necessary for arena level design. In fact, Eternal already has an effective solution to this problem. Instead of just introducing new content, it creates memorable situations by constantly upping the ante in complexity. Arenas that pose new and more challenging enemy combinations compared to what came before stand out because the player has to rethink how to up their ante again if they want to survive, of which the extra-challenging Slayer Gates are a great example.

Keeping a smooth difficulty curve is important here; if the difficulty doesn’t rise fast enough then it feels like there’s too much filler, and if the difficulty spikes too early, then what comes after feels boring unless the highs get even higher. However, difficulty by itself isn’t the core factor here. If you ask people who play on Ultra-Nightmare, the hardest level in the game would be the 2nd/3rd one, since you don’t have most of your upgrades/tools at that point yet. But the game still remains interesting even after, because the enemy formations get more complex as the game goes on, asking of you to make even better use of your toolset. Here difficulty is merely a byproduct; it exists to create a wall that blocks progress, and force the player to learn how to use the tools given to them to scale it. Without difficulty, there is no reason to fully utilize your toolset if anything you do will pass for success. The end goal is to get the player to learn and interact the system to the deepest extent possible, but depth and difficulty aren’t necessarily inseparable. Even though Eternal is undoubtedly deeper (and therefore more engaging) than nuDoom, I would still say it’s easier since you have more tools to keep yourself alive with, and no Imps sniping you for 45HP, for one.

nuDoom failed at keeping things interesting because of its broken weapon balance that would make even the harder encounters in the game a total breeze, and even then it took the game ages to get going with its enemy combinations (because it was trying to pad out new content as much as possible), where Barons of Hell only appeared rarely, and usually by their own at that. Eternal instead excels at this by introducing its cast at a much faster pace than nuDoom, having a large enough cast to allow for a large variety of enemy combinations to begin with, while also providing a sneak peek for higher-level enemies in the early-game through its optional Slayer Gates. On top of that, Eternal also has Master Levels, which remixes existing levels to feature even more dangerous combinations of high-level enemies, keeping things interesting for players who want to push the boundaries of the gameplay even further. id Software also mentioned in a talk that future Master Levels might even feature some of the aforementioned gimmicks, such as Superman 64 Fog, but for that we still have to see.

The upgrade system is still here, and still vapid as ever. As usual, you get enough upgrade points by the 2/3rd point of the game to upgrade everything useful, which kills any semblance of build variety and makes your upgrade choices stop mattering near the end. Most of the Fundamentals Suit Upgrades should’ve been just applied from the start since there’s no reason to not take them, as they allow for more options in terms of weapon switching combos and mobility. The Frag Grenade isn’t all that useful until you upgrade it and some Weapon Mods aren’t really worth using until upgraded (such as Destroyer Blade, Remote Detonation, Mobile Turret), so those upgrades might have as well been applied from the start too. You still need to do challenges to unlock weapon masteries, which limits your freedom in combat by keeping useful upgrades hostage until you kill particular enemies in this particular way. It is telling how shallow this system is that Eternal now offers Mastery Tokens which just lets you skip weapon mastery challenges altogether.

One area that has been improved on are the Runes. Instead of locking specific Runes to specific Rune Trials which appear once in the entire campaign, each Rune Station in Eternal lets you pick one of the available nine Runes in any order you like. This means that you do not have to wait until half the game to get Mid-Air Control, and can just get Runes that suit your playstyle from the get-go. The new Chrono Strike rune just gives you slow-mo, and might be considered rather OP because of it. Normally I hate broken tools being defended with "just don't use it" (because most players don't even consider playing with self-imposed restrictions and so might unintentionally and unknowingly ruin the game for themselves), but here the limited amount of Runes you can equip actually gives you a valid reason not to use Chrono Strike. Personally I want to go as fast as possible, and having to sacrifice Faster GKs/Air Control/Blood Fueled for Chrono Strike would not be worth the trade-off. Even then the slo-mo gets more in the way than anything because you can't avoid activating it when using your alt. fire mid-air. So there's people who prefer not using the Faster GKs rune because they like having the extra breather in combat to decide on their next course of action. So limiting the degree to which you can customize the playstyle of your character acts as a legitimate incentive to not use the most broken configuration at your disposal, as seen in RPGs about designing unique builds. You can always find a build that breaks the entire game, but there's still plenty of other possible builds with unique playstyles that may be more appealing to you even if they're not the most efficient.

All the weapons and weapon mods have been substantially overhauled to be worth using more, at least on paper. Like D16, the Super Shotgun and Gauss Cannon (now known as the Ballista) are still your main pillars because of the DPS you get off switch canceling them and the newfound utility of the (Flaming) Meathook, but unlike D16 all the other weapons have more defined niches to make them regularly worth using even when discounting the decreased max ammo caps.

The Combat Shotgun primary fire is still mostly useless once you get the Sticky Bomb mod 2 minutes into the game. With the removal of the infinite-ammo Pistol, the shotgun primary fire could have as well served a role as infinite-ammo fallback since now it only has a very small niche (setting up fodder for GKs, which the HAR does a more consistent job at anyways) in a full arsenal. The Sticky Bomb now fires three/five explosives that one-shots fodder and destroys Weak Points compared to the single-shot Explosive Shot in D16, which makes sense considering how many more fodder and Weak Points (and especially Cacodemons) Eternal throws at you.

The Auto-Fire serves to replace the useless Charged Burst, but it’s still never truly worth using. It must be deployed before firing, it slows you down when deployed, it has only a short effective range on account of being a shotgun, it chews through all your ammo, and worst of all, the DPS does not make up for it. Compare this to the Chaingun’s Mobile Turret which serves a similar purpose (sustained DPS at the cost of your mobility and a lot of your ammo), but doesn’t slow you down as much, deals equivalent DPS, has more ammo to chew through, and is effective on most ranges. The Auto-Fire simply cannot compete. As the Auto-Fire is inherently the riskiest to use because of its short range, the only way to make it truly worthwhile to use is to give it the best DPS in the game and/or reduce/remove the mobility penalty and/or deployment time. To increase its range would just make it a Mobile Turret clone, which is redundant. The upgrade for the Auto-Fire that makes enemies drop shotgun shells on death does make it worth using, but other options are just better.

The Plasma Rifle may no longer have its OP Stun Bomb, but it’s still worth using for other reasons. Its primary fire now makes enemies explode on death, making it useful for groups of fodder, and it can also make quick work of Shieldguys by overloading their shield. The new Heat Blast, when fully charged, works like a pocket Blood Punch with bigger range. Its crowd control/Weak Point disabling is very useful, and so provides another reason to use the primary fire to keep it charged.

On the other hand, the Microwave Beam is pretty bad at its intended role. It makes you completely commit to one enemy by locking your aim on them and making you move at a snail’s pace in a game where you’re always outnumbered and surrounded. Its DPS is simply not worth the risk of using it, even with its increase in the latest update. Killing heavier demons with it damages all nearby enemies in a ridiculous AoE, so ideally you want to reduce a demon’s health to almost zero and reduce the amount of time you spend moving slowly while locked on. But the strangest thing is that locking onto a staggered demon cancels their stagger state and instantly resets their health from 10-20% to 50% (like what usually happens if you don’t finish off a staggered demon fast enough). So you have to stay locked-on to an enemy for several seconds in order to trigger an explosion on death, making the Microwave Beam much less viable to use than it could have been if it only took 1-2 seconds to microwave staggered enemies. Arguably there is a higher skill ceiling to knowing how much you can damage an enemy without staggering it so you can minimize the time spent on microwaving it, but this higher execution barrier just ends up making it less relevant compared to other options. The Microwave Beam does have a niche where it’s able to falter any enemy with a quick tap of the beam, so you can briefly fire the beam for one tick to falter them, and then immediately combo with another weapon to deal damage while they’re immobile. You can’t stack the falter with other weapons like you can with Frags, but unlike Frags the Beam is not limited to cooldown charges.

The HAR (now the Heavy Cannon, but whatever) in nuDoom became less useful as the game went on, but in Eternal it still has some good niches for its ability to set up GKs, and the usefulness of its revamped Scope mod (now the Precision Bolt). Whereas in nuDoom it was just a useless zoom that did a bit more damage on headshots, the Precision Bolt can quickly fires a penetrative single shot that can take out multiple fodder enemies in one hit, and more importantly it can also one-shot Weak Points from any range. The fact that the Precision Bolt is semi-automatic now means that quickly switching to and fro the Precision Bolt to quickscope something makes it attractive to incorporate into your weapon combos.

The same can’t be said for the Micro-Missiles mod. While it still has a useful niche (outputting damage equivalent to the Mobile Turret without the mobility penalty, but with increased ammo consumption), the Precision Bolt is a way more versatile mod, which means you generally want to keep that mod selected. Switching mods to the Micro-Missiles means being briefly unable to fire and losing out on being immediately able to use the more versatile Precision Bolt, meaning that you will likely have to switch mods again back to the Precision Bolt.

The fact that you can only have one mod equipped at once greatly biases your choice towards more versatile mods that cover more use cases than the other mod, and so require you to switch less often. Meanwhile the more situational mods are hidden by another layer of commitment (switching mods) that doesn’t always seem to be worth the trade-off. This would be more acceptable if both mods for a weapon were perfectly balanced, but it’s impossible to balance a mod’s power around having to switch twice to it, when you can have said mod equipped from the start and just switch to it once. Instead of doing a weapon switch and then a mod switch, it’s faster to switch once to another weapon that shares a similar use case. Instead of firing a Destroyer Blade, a remote detonated rocket has a similar effect. As it stands, mods like the Micro-Missiles, Auto-Fire and Destroyer Blade, lose out in this system. If mod switching was instant, then this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. Even better would be to repurpose the two mods for each weapon as a secondary and tertiary fire and remove the input barrier completely, and so allow for potentially more interesting synergies between your three modes of fire that wouldn’t be possible with the old system (although this might be a hassle on a gamepad layout).

Spoiler: show
The Rocket Launcher has also seen some substantial changes. It fires more slowly and the projectiles don’t travel as fast as they did in nuDoom, but in return it deals more damage and self-damage. It means you can’t just always use the RL at long-range because it’ll miss more often, and it means you can’t always use it at short-range if you care about your own health, making the RL more of a situational weapon instead of a universal one you can apply everywhere with no consideration. The power of the RL has been kept further in check now that certain heavy enemies (such as the Arachnotron and Whiplash) are capable of dodging long-range rockets on reaction, and Carcasses being able to plop barriers in your face without warning acts as a soft counter to using the RL, so it’s no longer as broken as it used to be.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the The Lock-on Burst. It’s on par with the SSG/Siege in nuDoom with how disgusting it is. It can easily stagger or downright kill most heavy demons in one burst. It takes under 2 seconds (even less when upgraded) to lock on to an enemy, there’s no mobility penalty for using it, and there isn’t much skill in terms of aiming or positioning required since the rockets are homing. One burst will instantly kill: a Revenant, a Whiplash, a Hell Knight, and a Carcass, and it will instantly stagger Arachnotrons and Dread Knights. One burst also places Mancubi one rocket away from death. Knowing this, the Lock-on Burst becomes incredibly attractive to use, but the level of skill required to use a Lock-on Burst efficiently is so low that it doesn’t feel engaging to use, which makes its ridiculous damage feel undeserved. It is telling that its damage was nerfed in BATTLEMODE in order to get players to stop spamming it all the time, because there wasn’t much that demon players could do against homing rockets. Just lowering the damage/RoF/charge time wouldn’t fix the low execution ceiling of the mod either, and ideally the Lock-on Burst would be completely redesigned to be something else.

The Super Shotgun thankfully no longer has the broken Double Trouble upgrade like in nuDoom, but deals more damage at the expense of having a smaller range. It also reloads more slowly, which further encourages weapon switching. And then the Meathook compensates for these changes by opening up a plethora of mobility options. The SSG mastery also ignites enemies you hook onto which will make them drop some Armor on hit. It further encourages the player to use the Meathook for the speed and mobility, and being able to actively recover armor while Flame Belch is on cooldown. However, you have to risk getting within SSG-range of enemies to blast them up close for maximized armor gains, as the burning status effect of a Flaming Meathook is much shorter than that of the Flame Belch.

So you can further optimize armor gains by Flaming Meathooking into a staggered enemy to ignite them right before GKing them, instead of spending a Flame Belch charge which you have to wait longer for to recharge. The only issue here is that depending on the length of the Glory Kill animation, the burning status effect can end before the GK animation finishes (even with the Faster GK Rune) and so deny you your armor drops, which makes Meathooking into GKs for armor rather inconsistent. This could be easily fixed if the burning status effect didn’t decay during a GK.

The Ballista is a reskin of nuDoom’s Gauss Cannon. It is still one of the most powerful weapons in the game and a cornerstone in your arsenal, but it’s not as braindead to use anymore. The primary fire costs 30 instead of 15 cells now, which combined with the lower max ammo means you can’t use it for entire encounters without ever having to switch. Because of its high burst damage, swapping and firing back and forth between it and the Rocket Launcher/SSG becomes one of the highest DPS attack methods in the game. It is somewhat balanced out by being only useful against single targets. There are also more enemies on-screen at once than in nuDoom trying to peg you from behind, and you have to be in SSG range to make good use of this combo (whereas the overpowered Siege Mode in nuDoom had infinite range and could penetrate through multiple enemies at once).

Arguably the combo melts heavy enemies way too fast (especially when combined with your Equipment), killing and stunlocking them before they can really retaliate, which generally offsets the risks in using it to the point of becoming the dominant strategy against tankier enemies, and preventing the heavier enemies from really doing anything. You could offset this by giving most demons more health, though this wouldn’t fix another problem I have with this combo, which is that it invalidates most other automatic fire weapons. It even encroaches on the Mobile Turret’s niche of faltering Knight-type enemies, because the combo kills them so fast that you don’t even need the falters (with the exception of the Baron because of his HUGE health pool and melee range), and other automatic fire weapons don’t really have a utility other than simply dealing damage (besides the Plasma Rifle for its Heat Blast). Even if enemies are outside SSG range, you can instead do a Precision Bolt/Rocket/Ballista combo less-optimal-but-still-very-high DPS. Knowing how the Ballista is the link for most burst-fire combos, it would be appropriate if the max ammo capacity for cells was lowered even more to properly balance this out.

The Precision Bolt (now the Arbalest) is useful in that it can one-shot Cacodemons from a distance and deal extra damage to Pain Elementals, but it doesn’t have much of a purpose outside of that. It’s basically a more damaging rocket that costs the same amount of ammo as a regular Ballista shot, but even then it’s more efficient DPS-wise to use the Lock-on Burst or the Ballista/Precision Bolt combo for long-range damage, as optimizing ammo usage isn’t really THE reason why you would want to use this mod when it’s easy to refill ammo in Eternal (maybe it would if your max cell ammo was lower). As you have to charge before using it and it mildly gimps your mobility, it has some use at the start of the fight, but in the middle of a fight it’s usually more efficient to use something else. All the Arbalest does is just deal damage in an arsenal where many weapons/mods already *just* deal damage, and it wouldn’t have been used all that much if it weren’t for its extra damage against flying enemies. Ideally, the Arbalest would have some extra utility beyond just damage and some minor AoE splash damage.

The Siege Mode (now the Destroyer Blade) is no longer as disgustingly OP as it used to be. The charge time is a bit longer and you can’t move (as much) while charging, but to compensate it fires a projectile with much greater horizontal range, and you can even fire it prematurely at the cost of a thinner projectile. It can clear out large groups of fodder and deal a lot of damage to heavies, but you won’t be using it all that often (other than for style) because its utility doesn’t outweigh the commitment required in using it. Even though the Destroyer Blade can remove tons of fodder at once, fodder is rarely tightly grouped together, and the fodder is usually not that threatening to warrant not moving for 1-2 seconds to charge up the Destroyer Blade, so you might as well use anything else. Against heavy demons you have more DPS-efficient options that don’t gimp your mobility as much, so even there the Destroyer Blade loses out again. On top of that, the projectile likes to get prematurely canceled if it makes too much contact with the level geometry (which is likely with its wide hitbox), so it might disappear before it even hits your targets. Even if you were to reduce the charge time, the Destroyer Blade would still lack a solid niche. If the Destroyer Blade was more powerful against heavies (not just in terms of damage, but falter or other status effects) and more effective against wiping out groups of fodder (by having even greater range and being able to pass through walls), then it might be worth it to use the Destroyer Blade more often.

The Chaingun is also more useful this time around, now that it no longer has a wind-up before firing and has a niche for being able to falter Knight-type demons. The now-redundant Gatling Rotator has been replaced with the Shield mod, being the only weapon/mod in your arsenal to serve a primarily defensive purpose; so it can nullify damage from pretty much everything that isn’t stuck to the floor (like those laser ring hazards and Cyber-Mancubus acid). Even so, it is still kinda useless, because usually your movement serves as a better defense, the Ice Bomb/Crucible/BFG serves as a better get-out-of-jail free card, and you can only use your Equipment and Chaingun primary fire while the Shield is up, which aren’t that useful by themselves. You can falter enemies by dashing into them while the Shield is active, but this is slow and doesn’t have much range, so you’re better off using other falter options like Frags, Remote Detonation, or a Microwave tap. Dealing enough damage while the Shield active and then releasing the Shield will cause it to launch forward through enemies and falter everything in its path, but a slightly more powerful falter tool isn’t really worth that level of commitment. That said, the required amount of dealt damage for a Shield Launch doesn’t have to come from just the Chaingun, so you can fire a rocket and then switch to the Shield so the rocket will hit an enemy and charge your Shield Launch right as you deploy it. But even then that requires more set-up than most of your other falter tools, at which point you might as well spend that effort on trying to kill enemies instead of just faltering them.

Damage is what the Mobile Turret mod especially excels at, being able to output a consistent high level of damage from all ranges at the expense of your mobility and bullet ammo. It may not have the same DPS as the Ballista combos, but it’s easier to use, doesn’t require you to get close, and it doesn’t share ammo used in most Ballista combos (the Precision Bolt doesn’t cost that much ammo). So if you’re out of shells/cells, then this is an attractive mod to use.

The BFG unfortunately still retains its role as a panic button that removes everything on screen with one click, effectively letting you sidestep an encounter instead of actually engaging in the combat dance laid out by the game. For what it’s worth, compared to nuDoom BFG ammo in Eternal is much rarer, and you can only carry two charges instead of three. Super-Heavy demons actually won’t go down in one BFG shot (but will still get stunned). Eternal also introduces an alternative to the BFG that shares its same ammo pool: the Unmakyr. It’s basically the Spread Gun from Contra, where it can fire a spread of highly-damaging projectiles that doubles as crowd control from long-range, and ridiculous single-target damage at point-blank range. But as the spread of the Unmakyr is too narrow, all you’re left with is a boring assault rifle that just deals ridiculous damage with no drawback other than costing very rare ammo (which you don’t really need to rely on for survival in the first place). Given the rarity of the BFG/Unmakyr ammo, using the Unmakyr against a single enemy (that isn’t a Super-Heavy) can feel like overkill, at which point you’re better off saving up ammo for the BFG for its ability to clear out an entire arena at once.

Finally there’s the Crucible, which acts as yet another panic button. I don’t see the logic in giving you another one when the BFG already exists. As Crucible ammo is very rare and one charge kills only one enemy (of which you can carry up to three), the only enemies you would ever want to use this against are Super-Heavy demons. So instead of giving an Archvile or Doom Hunter the time to breathe and create an unique encounter where you’re trying to prioritize them while dealing with other enemies trying to intervene, you can just remove the Super-Heavy from the puzzle right as they spawn. Superweapons like these invalidate what Super-Heavies could have brought to the table, which is why they should be reworked to have less powerful/more balanced interactions with enemies that don’t overshadow all your other options (in the Slayer’s Testaments mod for Quake, the Crucible has a ground pound move that fills a niche in letting you immediately fall down to the ground). Alternatively, given that the Superweapons act as more of a crutch, it would make more sense to reduce ammo for them on higher difficulties, and just prevent you from using them altogether on Nightmare difficulty in order to get you to actually learn to deal with Super-Heavies.

Eternal brings with it one of the best enemy rosters of any FPS. Compared to nuDoom, the size has doubled, and many of the enemies now cover a wide variety of roles that allow for more unique and properly challenging encounters.

One thing nuDoom lacked was a mobile pressure unit that could effectively chase you down and restrict your movement, so its arenas had to rely a lot on Revenants (which were a joke enemy), Hell Knights (if you keep moving they can’t really hit you), (Cyber-)Mancubi (too slow to keep up with you), and tons of Imps (which are quickly killed).

Enter the Arachnotron. Its turret constantly fires bursts of fast projectiles in a wide tracking sweep, which makes it a pain to deal with from all ranges, but it’s made fair by how easily destroyable the turret is. Even with its turret destroyed, the Arachnotron is still a relevant mid-range threat once it starts spamming grenades. The Arachnotron is pretty fast, can even dodge your long-range rockets on reaction, and can at some points climb onto the ceiling for a better vantage point, all of which allows the Arachnotron to be a versatile and relevant threat no matter where you move. Its Weak Point also allows the Arachnotron to be introduced very early on (the second big fight in the game, in fact) and still be reasonable to deal with with the player’s lack of big single-target damage options at the time. It’s a wise decision for a sequel to introduce a new major enemy right off the bat. Starting with only old and familiar enemies before we got to the new ones would make it seem like Eternal is just playing it safe, and it also helps set the stakes higher for people who played the last game and would be very unwowed by having to fight nothing but fodder for the first mission again.

The Mancubus is also much more threatening now, its cannons have insane leading and projectile speed, and its close-range shockwave activates much faster and at a greater range, allowing the Mancubus to more effectively serve its role as walking area-of-denial compared to nuDoom. The only unfortunate part is that destroying both cannons completely neuters the Mancubus, as the accuracy on destroyed-cannon projectiles is just laughable. I’ve rarely gotten hit by them, and even then their damage was negligible. The Mancubus being so tanky requires significant commitment to take it down, but destroying both cannons with two sticky or a Ballista+Precison Bolt combo takes comparatively less commitment and allows you to ignore the Mancubus entirely for the time being, which can become the dominant option until you learn about the Ballista combos, and make going for its Weak Points feel like a necessity. It would be preferable if like with the Arachnotron after having its Weak Point destroyed, the Mancubus shifts to a not-as-but-still-pretty-threatening mode of attack by trying to rush you with its flamethrowers, like a suicidal Mancubus player in BATTLEMODE. So even if you do prevent it from harassing you from long-range, you will have to deal with it constantly bumrushing you.

So the Cyber-Mancubus has also been buffed, and the acid its projectiles leave on the floor cover way more space, so it can actually restrict your space now. Its Weak Point is interesting, in that you have to get in Blood Punch range against an enemy that will instantly do a shockwave if you get close, so you need to first set up a Glory Kill on other enemies to charge your Blood Punch (giving you a reason to reconsider what weapons to use and where to find fodder), and then falter the Cyber-Mancubus first (unfortunately trivial with the Ice Bomb) before you can get close without getting hit. The only issue I have with this is that Blood Punching off its armor takes away so much of its health that you can immediately finish it off right after with a single SSG blast, which you always want to do and is very hard to mess up, to the point that it’s almost redundant as the Blood Punch itself might have as well resulted in an instant kill. As a result the decision to finish it off with an SSG stops becoming an interesting one, as it’s clearly the best one. If punching off its armor only reduced its HP to that of a regular Mancubus (or a bit below that), then the player would have to reconsider whether staying in its shockwave range is a good idea and whether they can SSG/Ballista combo it to death in time.

With the introduction of dashing, Hell Knights have become significantly less threatening now that you can consistently outrun them, whereas the Baron of Hell would be overkill to utilize regularly. In order to give the arena designers more flexibility in dictating the difficulty and pacing of the encounter design (just like how Doom 2 introduced the Hell Knights as a weaker variation to the very-tanky Barons so extra ammo wouldn’t always have to placed for the player to reasonably deal with one), a sidegrade was required to fill in this new gap in the roster, which came in the form of the Dread Knight. It can fire projectiles (that aren’t such a big deal), but its ground pounds leave behind a huge pool of damaging acid on the floor that can cut off your escape and mess up your day if you aren’t keeping track of where it is leaping. lts huge AoE and lasting acid make it a tangible long-term threat that you actually want to prioritize.

The Baron of Hell behaves mostly the same, but it’s even tankier this time around (it can actually shrug off a BFG shot). Like the other Knight demons, it will relentlessly leap after you and force you to keep moving. Despite what the power level scale may suggest, the Baron’s ground pound is less threatening than that of the Dread Knight’s, since it doesn’t have the lasting acid or massive AoE (even though it is still noticeably bigger than the Hell Knight’s). But the Baron is still a huge pain even without. Even though it is so tanky that not even your Ballista combo can quickly shut it down, the Baron is actually not that high on your priority list. Much like the Hell Knight, its attacks do not pose an immediate threat (as long as you keep moving, which you should be doing to begin with, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about them). So the Barons act as more of an arena modifier where you first want to take out other more dangerous heavies before being able to focus on the Baron without other enemies intervening, but at the same time the constant pressure of the Baron makes it harder for you to focus on other heavies, making it much more risky to use options that gimp your mobility. The only thing I dislike about the Baron is its gore, where instead of blood and guts it just shows fire and brimstone leaking out, and ends up looking like this messy orange blob once damaged. It makes it hard to discern the Baron’s stance and whether it is charging a leap or a projectile.

The most dangerous enemy in nuDoom was actually the Imp because it could quickly move around the arena and snipe you for 45+ HP from behind, sometimes leading to more defensive playstyles of trying to take care of all the Imps first without getting sniped, going against the push-forward combat philosophy of the game. In Eternal the fodder enemies have been reworked to deal less damage overall, meaning the (Super-)Heavy demons that actually deal the brunt of the damage are more likely to get prioritized, which they should be considering fodder enemies will keep respawning as long as there’s (Super-)Heavy demons alive. Otherwise the player would be wasting time fighting respawning fodder and getting nowhere (a tidbit that the tutorials could have mentioned at the very least). Even though the fodder deal less damage, their charge attacks still hurt and should be taken into consideration, so completely ignoring fodder until you need resources isn’t always the best idea.

The new Prowler acts as a hard counter for camping and backpedaling, as it can *teleports behind you* for a quick backstab or a bodyblock no matter where you are. But as long as you’re moving forwards (like the whole game encourages you to), you have nothing to fear. The addition of an enemy that can follow you around by teleporting is brilliant, because it means that you can never truly outrun the enemies and that nowhere is truly safe. This is a type of enemy that can only work in arenas, in olDoom it would be a matter of trying to bait the Prowler into teleporting behind you around a corner so you can safely take it out one by one before advancing, because usually you don’t have the space or resources to rush forwards without dying (especially with hitscanners around). But since Eternal gives you ample of both, an enemy that teleports behind you does not wind up killing the pacing. The only problem with the Prowler everyone will eventually run into is the fact that Chainsawing it takes two pips, which you rarely have. The Prowler’s silhouette is very similar to that of the Imp (which takes one pip), so while you thought you were about to Chainsaw an Imp for ammo, it was actually a Prowler, and because you don’t have the fuel you’re temporarily stuck in the “revving up Chainsaw” animation which also slows your movement a bit. This lack of clarity leads to a lot of accidents and frustration, which could have been avoided if the Prowler had a more distinct silhouette. While the Prowler has an unique purple color, the color does not make it stand out enough on its own. Alternatively, a better question to ask is why the Prowler should take two pips to Chainsaw. A single point-blank SSG blast will kill a Prowler, and Prowlers tend to come in large numbers, so it’s not like being able to Chainsaw Prowlers with one pip would negate most of the challenge they pose.

Whereas the Prowler is there mostly to harass you, the Whiplash just wants you dead. Not only does the Whiplash’ projectiles have insane leading, but they also cannot be jumped over, and they’re homing too. Getting hit by one hurts a lot, but it also knocks you back and kills your movement, which makes you briefly extra vulnerable to getting hit by other attacks. Add to this their huge melee attack range, their thin hitbox, their ability to make themselves harder to hit by slithering like a snake across the ground and constantly trying to outflank you, and you have a great high-priority enemy, something which nuDoom lacked (save for the rare Summoner). It is only a shame that the Ice Bomb and Lock-on Burst shuts them down so easily.

I would argue that the homing property on the Whiplash is a bit too much, especially considering that their projectiles are often fired outside your FoV without any audiovisual telegraphing (unlike the HUD indicator popping up when a Revenant fires its homing missiles), and even then being able to time two dashes right to dodge both of the Whiplash’ projectiles without getting hit in the chaos of Eternal’s combat asks of way too much precision and attention than you’re able to offer, which makes dealing with their projectiles seem inconsistent and bullshit at times. They’re enough of a threat because of their leading and being fired at short/mid-range, the homing property is just overkill.

Revenants are still in. They’re still a joke. Their major change is that their rockets are now homing, which you can break by dashing or double-jumping. Something that you will already be doing. All the time. Even then their missiles barely deal any damage, which just makes one wonder what the hell the point of the Revenants is. You can destroy the Weak Points on the Revenant, there’s just no point in doing so. Even with the Weak Points active they’re not a threat, but a more convincing reason is that just going for the kill is much faster than bothering with their Weak Points. If an enemy’s base HP is so low to begin with, why bother crippling it? The Makyr Drones at least drop extra resources if you exploit their Weak Point. And with the Weak Points disabled, the Revenant can’t do anything but try to (relatively) slowly run up to you and hit it with its melee swipe, which is trivial to outrun. The Revenant could have been an actual threat if its homing missiles worked like the homing boogers in Serious Sam, where they have perfect tracking and can only be gotten rid of by directly shooting at the projectile or breaking line of sight. Though anything that lets the Revenant pose short-term pressure from long-range would work.

The Pinkies have had their recovery speed after a charge and turning speed upgraded to be able to keep up with the player’s newfound dashes, but they cannot keep up with your newfound vertical mobility at all. Pinkies could never really deal with heights, and only excel in arenas with low roofs or no height differences where getting the high ground isn’t as possible. Now it’s trivial to just Meathook around them or right over them as you shoot their hiney from above. This could be fixed by adding more armor on the top of its vulnerable backside, so the only good angle you could get at it is when you’re on an equal height level with the Pinky.

The Pain Elemental is a wee cunt. The Lost Souls it keeps shitting out work more like projectiles instead of persistent pests like in Doom 2, but they’re very fast and lead accurately, and can also shield the Pain Elemental from damage. So the longer the Pain Elemental walks on Earth, the stronger it will become. It is basically a flying higher-tier Arachnotron, except it has no Weak Point to cripple its ability to annoy you from long-range, and the Elemental takes a lot of punishment before going down (the most out of any non-Super Heavy) so it can’t easily be shut down by a Ballista combo. The Pain Elemental’s accuracy puts it high on the priority list, but its high HP and the fact that it makes you look up to aim at it leaves you vulnerable to other enemies, so even though you should prioritize the Elemental, whether you can is another matter.

The Cyberdemon (the game calls them Tyrants, but that shit’s dumb) is just a big area-of-denial modifier to a fight. Where the Baron constantly chases and puts pressure on you, the Cyberdemon doesn’t move much and makes its entire surrounding area riskier to be in. For that reason they’re often placed in open spots where they have a sightline on almost the entire arena (the layout of the first Slayer Gate it appears in allows you to break its LoS easily, but I suppose it makes sense to go easier when it’s your first encounter with a new demon). Its attacks don’t deal that much damage and they’re fairly easy to avoid, but they have a lot of coverage: it can call down an AoE airstrike at any point in the level to flush you out of cover, and it has a very obviously telegraphed tracking laser beam (its charging sound is thankfully the one thing to stand out in the muddled audio mix) to rail you from all ranges. Much like in the originals, the Cyberdemon is trivial on its own, and is only any good when surrounded by supporting enemies.

Eternal’s roster now has a lot of options when it comes to enemies that deal damage, but enemies can also pose a threat in ways other than just damage. The Carcass makes a great case for this by being able to plop a shield in your face, even at long ranges. The risk of having a shield suddenly spawned in your face means that using the Rocket Launcher becomes a lot less attractive if you don’t want your rockets to blow up in your face, but it’s not a hard counter to the RL. You can overload the shield with a Plasma Rifle to damage nearby enemies, but you can also simply jump/dash around the shield and continue to use your Rocket Launcher. Whether you can react to this in time is another matter. The Carcass will also intentionally try to put a shield between you and a staggered enemy in order to block you from getting a Glory Kill, continuing to be an indirect threat even in other ways. So the Carcass can unpredictably throw a wrench in your plans and force you to adapt to barriers in your face.

The Doom Hunter I’m mid about. It’s the least dangerous and probably the least tanky Super-Heavy, as they’re essentially supercharged Arachnotrons. Much like the Cyberdemon, its attacks are not that much of a threat to warrant prioritizing it, so you only really want to deal with it at the end of the fight when there aren’t many other enemies around to interfere. Its projectile spam can be avoided by simply jumping out of the way, its homing missiles can be dodged by simply dashing, and while its main cannon is fast and can lead you, it only starts accurately leading you in its second phase (which is all the more reason why you want to postpone triggering it until the end of the fight). Even the Pain Elemental leads more accurately than the Hunter in its first phase. While the Cyberdemon is unlikely to outright kill you, its laser beam and missile spam still force you to take it into consideration. Even though the Doom Hunter is more mobile than the Cyberdemon, it doesn’t chase you the same way a Baron or Arachnotron does, so either way it the Doom Hunter doesn’t have much of a presence and doesn’t add much to the fight. Even on its own its trivial to burst down a Doom Hunter, because (unlike the souped up Hunters in the boss introduction fight) it’s not that tanky, especially considering how the sled takes bonus damage from Blood Punches and how you can go to town with the SSG/Ballista. While it’s more aggressive in its second phase, a single Lock-on Burst will kill it in that state within no time, and even then it can be quickly burst down with Ballista combos. I do like that the Doom Hunter is invincible while it is shifting from the first to the second phase, giving other enemies an opportunity to intervene, but this would have only worked if there were any other enemies around to begin with and if you don’t deal with the Hunter at the end of the fight. The Hunter’s plasma shield is a red herring, as its sled is unprotected and can be shot at from most angles. The shield is only there because the first time you encounter the Doom Hunter you don’t have most of your arsenal yet (especially the Mobile Turret, which is excellent for shooting off a Hunter’s sled at range), but past that you can completely ignore it. As it stands, the Doom Hunter is essentially a tankier but less threatening Pain Elemental, at which point you might as well place two Pain Elementals in its stead.

The Archvile is back, and a major PITA like it always used to be. While it doesn’t have its hitscan attack (since hitscan in wide open circular arenas is generally a bad idea), it can still pose a similar threat by summoning a lake of fire below your feet, forcing you to GTFO all the same. Since Eternal doesn’t leave behind any corpses for the Archvile to resurrect, the obvious alternative is for the Archvile to summon new enemies. Not only that, but it summons a group of them all at once, and all of them are buffed too (meaning they move and attack about twice as fast). Suffice to say, the Archvile is the one enemy you want to prioritize above all else. The position at which the Archvile is random (depending on the arena), so you can’t always memorize where he’s going to be. While the Summoner in nuDoom had a similar role, the key difference is that the Archvile is much tankier and thus nowhere as easy to burst down, actually allowing other enemies to interfere in the process of trying to get to the Archvile, and so allowing for a greater potential amount of situations than if you could easily remove the Archvile in one click. The Archvile inherits the ability of the Summoner to teleport around the arena to get away from you and make dealing with it less formulaic, but it can also deploy a flame wall while summoning enemies, which means you can’t snipe it from afar and forced to commit time trying to get around it, giving other enemies a chance to intervene.

Unfortunately it’s different in practice. Setting aside being able to just remove an Archvile outright with the Crucible, setting up falter combos with the frags/Ice Bomb allows you to deal such a ridiculous amount of burst damage and stunlocking that the Archvile can barely do anything but die, as the Archvile is not that tanky. Part of the fun is chasing down the Archvile and figuring out how to ignore with other enemies intervening, so being able to delete the Archvile in one cycle kind of kills that dynamic. If the Archvile had more health and if it more frequently tried to teleport away from you, it would allow for more enemy interplay. Another approach is to add some kind of Revenge Value system where after taking a certain amount of damage, the Archvile will teleport away guaranteed, even if it is in a falter state.

There’s also Buff Totems, and these are just pretty weird. They aren’t so much enemies as they’re a static object you melee. All enemies are buffed and will keep spawning as long as these exist, so there’s no reason to not beeline towards a Buff Totem to destroy it before dealing with other demons, especially considering their position is always static and can be memorized. One of the arenas in Urdak places these at the outer rims next to the starting point, so all you do for each attempt is go there and take it out before dealing with other enemies. There is barely any depth behind their implementation because there’s next to no enemy interplay once you know when and where they spawn. First you run past everything to take out the Totem, then you fight everything else. Other enemies barely factor in how you go about dealing with Totems, so there isn’t much level designers can do with Totems using just enemy placement (which is probably why they rarely appear in the campaign). It’s basically an Archvile in terms of purpose, except the Archvile can teleport around (if you don’t kill it too fast), so all Totems might have as well been replaced with Archviles for better effect. The Super Gore Nest level does have an interesting use for Totems, where you can’t get to the Totem until a certain amount of time has passed and are forced to deal with buffed enemies in the meantime. Though considering how the Totem is only any interesting when you have to deal with buffed enemies, it might have as well been changed to be a passive buff applied for the duration of an entire fight.

Finally, there’s the big bad, the salt dispenser, the Traffic Light Man. The Marauder fucking sucks. The biggest problem here isn’t that he forces a different playstyle, but it’s the same as the Buff Totem’s: he has next to no enemy interplay and every encounter with him plays out the same. To damage the Marauder you must shoot him when his eyes glow green, but in order to trigger it you must stand in the perfect range, but in order to do that you must stand still, which leaves you wide open to any demon around you. Therefore it only makes sense that you should only try to deal with the Marauder right after you’ve taken care of every other heavy demon in the arena. Other enemies can’t strongly affect how Marauder fights play out, because you want to kill all of them first. Only respawning fodder demons will remain, but those aren’t a major threat, especially if it’s just zombies. This isn’t necessarily a problem (see: Cyberdemon), but the Marauder also shares the same problem with the Doom Hunter, which is that despite being a Super-Heavy, its presence in the arena is completely ignorable. The Marauder can run fast, but jumping up or down platforms slows him down immensely, so if you regularly use vertical movement he can almost never catch up to you. His only ranged options are his SSG, which he can only use at point-blank range, and an axe projectile throw whose hitbox is much smaller than its visuals suggest, and doesn’t really accurately lead you at all. At range he can’t really touch you, and it’s easy to keep your distance from him anyways. If you shoot his shield, the Marauder will summon a wolf, but it’s easily killed and much like the man himself is slow at ascending/descending platforms, so it never really factors into your decision-making. So even passively the presence of the Marauder doesn’t really add anything to a fight.

The Marauder could work in arenas where instead of fodder demons, heavy demons keep aggressively respawning as long as the Marauder lives, thus making it much harder to create a safe moment where you can deal with an enemy that’s as hard to hit as the Marauder when you constantly have Whiplashes, Dread Knights and Cyber-Mancubi on your tail. Unfortunately the Marauder only ever gets paired up with respawning fodder enemies, so you can ignore those for the most part.

Even then, fighting the Marauder is also a pain not because it requires precise timing or something, but because you’re stuck waiting for the AI to do the one thing that lets you move the fight forwards. The tutorials will say that the Marauder will do his green-eyes melee attack if you stand in the perfect range, but this is a bold-faced lie. Even if you stand still and let the Marauder run towards you, there’s a 50/50 chance that he’ll do the melee attack (thus letting you deal actual damage and make some progress), or he’ll throw an axe projectile in your face (he’ll block if you attack during its animation) and so force you to wait even more before RNGesus allows the Marauder to eventually flash green (they could’ve just made his eyes glow different colors to signify whether you’re standing in the perfect range, he’s already one-third of a traffic light man). It becomes even more frustrating when you consider the SSG is inconsistent when it comes to actually faltering the Marauder during his melee attack, so he just tanks your shot and will continue blocking again right after. Even if you’re really skilled at the game and can kill the Marauder in one cycle, you’re still stuck waiting for his next attack to hopefully be a melee strike. You can damage the Marauder when he’s blocking by using Remote Detonation and/or shooting explosives behind his shield, but these only deal chip damage, as it’s faster on average to just kill the Marauder by parrying. Otherwise you need to rely on borderline exploits like using the BFG’s rays to forcibly make him look towards the BFG’s rays to block them as you shoot the Marauder in the back.

If there was a way to actively and reliably create an opening in the Marauder’s defense (i.e. something that doesn’t rely on waiting for the AI to do the one thing that makes them vulnerable) as you can with any other enemy in the game, then fighting the Marauder would have been a lot more bearable. For example, normally the Shambler in Quake 1 would enforce a peekaboo defensive playstyle because of its long-range hitscan attacks, but by [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3cicuItOts]constantly dancing in and out of its melee range[/url] you can repeatedly force it to do a much less threatening melee attack, while you’re laying down extra hurt up close with your shotguns or nailguns. There’s a million ways the Marauder could be made more fun to fight, but there are too many to list.

Eternal brings its own set of boss fights, which are about as mid (maybe even worse) than those in nuDoom, which still makes them better than the boss fights in 99% of all other first-person shooters. The main difference compared to how nuDoom handled bosses is that in Eternal they’re not just jumping puzzles, but they also regularly summon adds (regular enemies) alongside the boss enemy. These can function not just as walking ammo packs, but also as a threat for you to consider (and it also prevents your crowd control-oriented weapons becoming completely redundant in a fight).

The first boss fight is the introduction of the Doom Hunter (just your regular Hunter but with 3x as much health), which might very well be the best boss in the series, precisely because it leans more heavily on respawning adds like Prowlers and Carcasses to make dealing with the Hunter not-so-straightforward. Not having your long-range damage options like the Ballista and Minigun at this point means you need to rely on the SSG and RL for damage, neither of which are really viable long-range, while staying close to the Hunter is relatively dangerous. The Hunter’s plasma shield makes the Lock-on Burst ineffective, so if you want to use the Burst you have to disable the shield first. How much you can commit to offense at once is limited by your ammo and the state of the Hunter’s shield, creating a dynamic where you’re constantly switching between killing regular demons for resources while trying to avoid direct contact with the Hunter, and vice versa. As it turns out, having bosses emulate the regular combat more results in a more dynamic and effort-demanding fight than nuDoom’s jumping-puzzle bosses where resource management and weapon selection were largely irrelevant. This fight then goes even further beyond by pitting you against two lightly super-charged Doom Hunters at once after defeating the first one, just to raise the stakes. Only complaint I have with this phase is that the arena for it is so large with plenty of cover that it’s trivial to isolate one Hunter from the other, which sort of defeats the purpose of fighting two Doom Hunters at once.

The second boss, the Gladiator, is basically an extended Marauder fight, i.e. more waiting and hoping for the next attack being one you can parry. A key difference is that parrying the Gladiator puts it in a stagger state where you can Glory “Kill” it for extra damage (similar to how Punishes work in Furi). The downside of this implementation is that it allows for none of the weapon comboing and damage optimization that you could perform after parrying a Marauder. The Gladiator takes reduced damage while it is in a stagger state, so going for the Glory “Kill” is your most damage-efficient option (you can actually deal more damage in the window right after his stagger state ends, but this is only possible in phase 2 of the fight when the Gladiator no longer has his shield), but this being the case also greatly lowers the skill ceiling for optimizing your damage output. This may only affect a small portion of players who care to do things like this, but generally you stand to lose more by lowering the skill ceiling.

The Gladiator will also spawn in enemies, which adds some more overlapping threats to deal with so you can’t just keep staring at the Gladiator and waiting for an opening, but unfortunately enemy waves are only spawned every so often, so for a good three-fifths of the fight you’re still stuck waiting and staring at the Gladiator. Overall, the Gladiator feels rather weak. Most of Eternal’s mechanics don’t really shine in a fight where the winning strategy is “bait and punish”.

The Khan Makyr fight is another weird one. You first have to shoot the Khan Makyr for a while until she gets stunned, and then Meathook onto her so you can deal a proper blow with the Blood Punch and move on to the next phase. The fact that you can only make any progress by having to charge up a Blood Punch by setting up Glory Kills on at least two regular enemies while avoiding the Khan Makyr’s attacks would have been interesting (as it encourages target prioritization, weapon selection, etc.), but here the game outright cheats by giving you a free Blood Punch charge when you put the Khan Makyr into a stun state, or drops a charge when you headshot a Makyr Drone, which defeats the entire purpose of having to charge a Blood Punch.

In terms of attacks, with each phase more and more of the arena gets covered in damage zones, but when you realize that the highest platforms won’t get affected by this, these aren’t so much of a problem. It’d be another story if said damage zones would more often change to affect different parts of the arena, and include even the tallest platforms. It does get trickier with the orbital laser that chases you around, but only in the last phases of the fight where most of the arena is already covered in acid, which is why I wished more of the arena would get covered earlier on in the fight. Otherwise as long as you keep moving away from the orbital laser you’ll never get hit, and it doesn’t pose much of a relevant threat. What also doesn’t help is that there isn’t much to disabling the Khan Makyr’s shield. The Makyr doesn’t really try to block or avoid incoming fire and is a fairly large target, so your aiming skill doesn’t get tested that much. Her shield goes down after sustained fire from pretty much any long-range weapon (or one BFG shot), so weapon selection doesn’t really get challenged here. If you split your weapon usage between all ammo types and have upgraded max ammo, you’ll even have enough ammo for the entire fight without having to refill once off the Makyr Drones, so resource management isn’t much of a factor either. And because the only adds for this fight are Makyr Drones (for plot reasons) that are sparsely spread across the arena, crowd control is barely a relevant skill either. In short, the Khan Makyr fight doesn’t really have anything going for it.

Finally there’s the Icon of Sin, which is a clusterfuck. The Icon of Sin is a big bulletsponge where you need to shoot off multiple parts off its body, and you can’t get a good angle against certain parts unless you reposition yourself in the arena. It’s at least more preferable than being able to camp one spot for the whole fight and kill it by only shooting its pinky finger. But it being a static bullet sponge does mean it falls into the same problem nuDoom’s bosses had where you have no reason to use anything but your power weapons against it; diminishing the role of proper weapon selection. Regular enemies do respawn, but as you also have infinitely respawning Crucible and Blood Punch charges in the arena, the presence of other enemies doesn’t matter--not even Barons or Whiplashes, because you just quickly delete them with one swing of the Crucible anyways and then safely Chainsaw for ammo whatever fodder is shambling around nearby--making threat prioritization a non-issue and resource management largely riskless. The IoS does have attacks of its own which force you to move to different floors or halves of the arena, but the long interval between attacks and the tendency of the IoS to target the part of the arena where you aren’t means that you can get away with standing in the same spot as you chip away at the IoS, so movement isn’t really being tested here either. Then there’s the second phase, where you have to shoot eight body parts all over again, just in a different arena with different enemy spawns which again don’t matter much because of the infinite Crucible charges, so the second phase just feels like filler again. All in all the IoS doesn’t play to, well, ANY of Doom Eternal’s strengths. Instead it takes the action game inspiration to heart by having the final boss be all size and spectacle but no substance.

All in all, Eternal is undoubtedly one of the best FPS releases of all time and improves on its predecessor in almost every way imaginable, even if there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I do wish we see more shooters that take a more sub-systematic approach to design that we see a lot in Japanese action games, focusing on smaller abstract mechanics like Weak Points, Flame Belch, Blood Punch and Falters to increase the depth of the base gameplay (as opposed to immersive sims which design systems with the intent to simulate a believable world first and then have gameplay emerge from it), and breaking away from the standard FPS template where you are only allowed to differentiate yourself with (slightly) different weapons/enemies/levels, while barely changing the player character’s core toolset/movement options or how the player fundamentally interacts with enemies. Eternal and the upcoming ULTRAKILL are marking the end to the Boomer Shooter Resurgence era of first-person shooters, and the future is looking great.
_________________
Xyga wrote:
chum wrote:
the thing is that we actually go way back and have known each other on multiple websites, first clashing in a Naruto forum.

Liar. I've known you only from latexmachomen.com and pantysniffers.org forums.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 12:57 am 


User avatar

Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 3578
Time for the miserable annual ritual that's been haunting me throughout the Trump presidency, checking to see if No Man's Sky is good yet.

But this time I've got a new computer so I won't be CPU-bottlenecked anymore. Plus the patch notes say they punched up the combat mechanics so things are faster and more exciting. Alright, I'm so excited all I have to do is choose the difficulty and...

...crash to desktop. Every time. And according to the GOG forums I'm not the only one.

Still the same No Man's Sky I remember.
_________________
Two working class dudes, one black one white, just baked a tray of ten cookies together.

An oligarch walks in and grabs nine cookies for himself.

Then he says to the white dude "Watch out for that black dude, he wants a piece of your cookie!"


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:04 am 


User avatar

Joined: 31 Oct 2016
Posts: 757
Location: bmore
Mischief Maker wrote:
Still the same No Man's Sky I remember.


I was interested in how that was progressing ever since I watched the LGR on it. He claims it gets a lot better about 20 hours in, but that could also just be Stockholm Syndrome.


Top
 Online Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:20 am 


User avatar

Joined: 31 Jan 2019
Posts: 215
I also tried to check out the 'nu' No Man's Sky, only to discover this update causes the game to have absolutely no audio. It also seems to run at about 14 fps, with every 4th or 5th frame dropped.

Alas...

The only reason I care at all is that every one of these update are 5-8gb a pop, which are starting to add up


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:51 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1573
The new Curse of the Moon isn't doing it for me. Super disappointing because I really like the first one. I don't mind a challenge but this one's just frustrating.
_________________
blog - scores - collection
Quote:
Don't worry about it. You can travel from the Milky Way to Andromeda and back 1500 times before the sun explodes.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:53 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 12604
Location: Wherever.
Thaaaaat's IT! I've come up with some nyuuuu commentereeeehh!

- Enemies with instant death abilities continue to be responsible for 9 of every 10 Game Overs I get (most of the rest are "several large baddies + tight spaces = camera fun times!" situations); a single screw-up is all it takes to turn a fight you'd been winning handily into a loss by default. I noticed that "samurai" type enemies (which can also instant kill, though they haven't given me as much grief as most of their ilk) can drop a "Safety Bit" accessory, which if memory serves protects against instant death in other FF games, and naturally the better part of a hundred hours in not a single one has dropped. :P If I ever do get one I am going to staple the damn thing to Noctis's forehead.

- I have to both criticize and haltingly praise the devs for daring to put stuff into the game that the engine really wasn't built for; whether it's
Spoiler: show
stealth segments, platforming challenges, or my personal favorite, monster truck racing :lol:
, as janky as they are I do have to admire the sheer chutzpah of including them; it's like they not only carried over the scraps of FF Versus XIII but several similarly-ill-fated spinoffs. :lol:

- Despite some occasional pop-in and other nuisances I think the game still looks quite nice several years on, all things considered; that said, perhaps the attention to detail I appreciate most of all is that you're prevented from zooming in on any of the female characters in the model viewer. :lol: Frankly, I don't know why they bothered; easily the most sinful part of the entire presentation, which never fails to have me thinking scandalously improper thoughts, is the food porn. Smoked Behemoth is best girl.

- In similar fashion to FF12 I'm regularly discovering things that the game never tells you outright
Spoiler: show
the "dash recharge" sticks out the most offhand
, which in some cases is pretty darn cool, though on occasion (albeit less so than its predecessor, at least so far) I wish they'd given just a little bit more of a hint in the right direction someplace (much as I enjoy fishing, wasting time with every lure in your tackle box trying to get some unknown specimen to bite - and sometimes nothing you have will work - is a real drag).

- I'm also not so sure about the decision to make almost every pickup in the game a small, frequently easy-to-miss shiny blip; a lot of the stuff is nothing terribly important, but there are also one-of-a-kind weapons and other stuff that can be effortlessly overlooked if you don't unleash your inner OCD. 12 did something similar, putting pretty much everything, including unique and important items, into random-spawning jars, making it considerably difficult to keep track of where you've been and what you've collected than leaving an old-fashioned empty chest in your wake. I guess you could argue something like that wouldn't fit in aesthetically here, but come on, I'm driving a muscle car past herds of Cactuars on my way to a magic volcano with patches of fresh ginger and a campsite inside it. :P
_________________
"Fight me IRL if you want to man up so badly."
Glossary / Discussion / The Bizaar / Vasara HS


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:21 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 5660
Location: Denmarku
So. What game are you talking about? :P


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:26 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 7560
Location: MD
Final Fight ;)


Top
 Online Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:44 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 12604
Location: Wherever.
Image
_________________
"Fight me IRL if you want to man up so badly."
Glossary / Discussion / The Bizaar / Vasara HS


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:28 am 


User avatar

Joined: 15 Dec 2007
Posts: 3485
Location: ʍoquıɐɹ ǝɥʇ ɹǝʌo 'ǝɹǝɥʍǝɯos
Ridge Racer 2 [PSP].

Having put this off for years, I finally decided to just go through all the tours myself instead of saying screw it and downloading an all-clear save so I could IMMEDIATELY GO FAST with the proper fastest Class 6 car.
The lower speed classes just aren't as much fun in this game. Classes 5 and 6 feel amazing, but having to do classes 1, 2, and 3 before are a bit of a chore, especially since the big draw of DYN type cars, the fact that they enter a drift without releasing the gas, doesn't kick in when you want/need it to because you aren't going fast enough. Huge portions of the game are painfully slow and easy.
Gets a bit trickier later on, even if you're still able to just go fast enough to have massive 10+ second gaps between you and the 2nd place CPU even into class 6.

Avoiding cars is a bit annoying when you're doing like 320km/h in a drift around a corner and someone ahead doing a little over half that appears from around the corner and you hit because you're in a drift and you have extremely limited control over where along the road you are.
Hell, even if you weren't in a drift, it's tricky, because your turning radius is like a mile wide. It's almost safer to just try and slam into the wall, since you'll lose less speed, you won't push the other car to go faster, and you'll probably be positioned better to overtake. Really silly.

Unlocking the first round of special cars is fairly fun, even if the strategy is basically "build up 3 bars of boost, wait for the last lap to pass them since they'll just rubberband past you otherwise, and then [almost] NEVER STOP BOOSTING". That last bit is very fun, nothing like trying your hardest to hit 400km/h around the course for extended periods of time.
Kinda really annoyed that the EX tour goes back down several speed classes at the start. It's not even particularly much harder than before, and the only time I lost a race was because I ran into the back of another car near the end.

Despite the main campaign being a little bit of a chore, I still love the game. Great sense of speed, satisfying and entertaining [if entirely nonsensical] handling, nice graphics. Kinda wish the visuals were a little less de-saturated, especially the RR1 and RRR tracks. The music is kind of a mixed bag. The remixes aren't that great. The songs made for the game are decent, and the classic tracks that weren't remixed [except for the RRV soundtrack lol -- god, that game is a musical travesty] are great.

I've always liked how the boost system is purely offensive. The game remembers how fast you were going before you entered a boost, so you can't just fire one off to recover, you'll just slow back down to that at the end. It also means that you can't just use boost to ignore the effects of hills after the fact -- again, it remembers the speed you entered the boost in, so you get slowed down a bunch [and even if you did start it before, your car is still under the gravity induced slowdown going up the hill].

Dunno if I ever mentioned this before, but drifting is really goofy -- like, it's mechanically a lot like classic Ridge Racer drifting, but a lot easier to maintain since the car doesn't ever just snap back to grip. Being a lot like classic Ridge Racer drifting, your car perfectly slides along with the course regardless of which direction it's facing. Older games would hide this fact by snapping you back into grip if you spent more than a little bit of time drifting the wrong way, but RR2PSP here will allow you to consistently save yourself from ramming into a wall by just entering a drift. You lose a fair bit of speed, but you can be angled at like 130 degrees away from forward and still be doing kinda okay. :lol:
_________________
eyesoul, an uncomfortably euroshmup-like game I made. :P
Rolling Start arcade racing game forum.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:16 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 4231
Location: Southern Ontario
My introduction to Ridge Racer was the N64 version and it's magical "360 degree drifting all day long" where you could spin around and around magically gripping the middle of the road as long as your speed was high enough. I remember I never 100% completion'd it though, there was one challenge involving a car that constantly speeds up until it's outright faster than you and it seems you have to keep the car blocked on your bumper the whole time? I was young and might be misremembering the details but I remember it was hard enough that I wasn't able to get through it even after a dozen tries.

Quote:
but RR2PSP here will allow you to consistently save yourself from ramming into a wall by just entering a drift.


It reminds me of Outrun 2006; one of the changes from Outrun 2 is that drifting now acts as a "shield" of sorts, and hitting traffic during a drift will not result in a special drifting-specific collision. It means if you're about to hit another car, you can instantly go into a drift and grind past them with negligible speed losses, whereas in Outrun 2 you have to be much more cautious about drifting when there's traffic as mid-drift collisions cause a very substantial speed loss.


Currently Playing: Tales of Phantasia [SNES & PS1]

The PS1 of Tales of Phantasia hit nearly all the good elements we now take for granted in a modern "Tales of" game, having gotten over its growing pains from its earlier SNES version. You've got tons of voicing, skits in the overworld, a competent fan-translation patch by Absolute Zero that also hacks in subtitles for many voice-only lines, and multiplayer (when the 2p/3p/4p characters are equipped with the Channeler Rings, something fortunately later dropped in favour of always available multiplayer that doesn't eat accessory slots). You can also now control and play whoever you want mid-battle, with Chester being more interesting thanks to actually getting skills rather than just firing a basic, but extremely effective shot repeatedly. Combat skills also don't use the weird Short/Long distinction that unfortunately Star Ocean kept as a staple, where certain skills can only be used at specific ranges on the SNES, can't be swapped mid-battle, and where it's difficult to actually properly move to Long range at times if you want to use one of those specific skills. It feels a lot better to control all around, and you now have a dedicated Run button to move around quickly out of combat without needing to have Jet Boots equipped to someone, a nice added convenience.

The SNES version is still interesting to play, mind you. The graphics are gorgeous, particularly the detail in some of the environments and the background vistas you see, and the music is exceptionally good. The only downside is the only real English translation available is the infamous DeJap translation that takes significant stylistic liberties with the translation (outright embellishing the translation with explicit sexual language and profanity that are not accurate to the original read ing's style). There's also some outright mistranslations, such as a block of tofu in a food shop being labelled as a "Twinkie", along with a joke about the BHT content, despite looking nothing like a Twinkie and the shop being in a medieval fantasy environment.

The combat in the SNES version is also... clunky to say the least. In addition to the Short / Long skill restrictions where the exact skill you can use depends on range from the enemy (which can be difficult to control on fast enemies), there's also some formation control clunkiness. You can adjust if you're to the right or left of your party with the L and R buttons, but they don't reform in the same order if you move to the left. Let's say you're in this order, with 1 as the player: 4 3 2 1 - If you're ambushed and enemies are on the left and you use the L button to reposition, the formation then becomes 1 4 3 2, and not 1 2 3 4. It doesn't reposition characters so swapping formation directions always maintains the same order, which is unusual. It also seems to screw up formations if your player character is killed and gets revived. The main problem with this is your mages will happily run to the frontlines if your fighter gets killed, thereby putting them in danger of the stuff that just killed you. The first spellcasting boss you meet tosses wide-area spells can 2 shot the party effortlessly so it's important your party is spread out widely (or just keep the boss stunlocked and denied from casting via Akisazame spam).

The PSX version is much better about formation control, with a button that specifically orders the team to stay in place as need be, so you can run forward to attack the enemy without your entire team necessarily shifting their position. Item use and ordering spells to be used is also a lot more user friendly. In the SNES version, you cannot use an item or make other orders if a spell is animating, whereas you can give the order in the PSX and they'll use it at their next opportunity, as opposed to constantly pausing and trying to find an opening between enemy spells to use an item.

You also can't change AI settings midbattle for what spells they'll use in the SNES version. You can only toggle what spells the AI should use out of combat, so you're left with casting spells manually if you've accidentally brought the AI in with spells set to auto use that are ineffective.


Tales of Destiny R - Director's Cut (PS2)


Replaying this again. It's still one of the best if not the best Tales of combat systems in the entire series, which makes it a damn shame it has no official translation available. There's a couple of decent guides, but annoyingly the puzzles you have to solve are just written as "here's the solution" in the translation guides. There's no translation of the actual puzzles themselves, so no opportunity for a player to see them translated and get to solve them. Very unfortunate.

I wonder if it's worth playing the PS1 version. I doubt it; the PS2 version is so incredibly polished that it's basically the definitive release now.
_________________
YouTube VideosTwitch1CCsSideLine game guide


Last edited by BareKnuckleRoo on Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:36 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 09 Jul 2017
Posts: 2396
Location: Eating the Rich
I enjoyed the original but I don't have the PS2 version to compare it to.
_________________
New best thread on shmups farm forum. BIGWOW. Such deleted posts, many scrubs, so opinion.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:44 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 4231
Location: Southern Ontario
I would highly recommend the PS2 version as a must-play action RPG. It is, as far as I know, playable in an emulator if need be with some special toggle settings to avoid an early cutscene crashing, unlike Tales of Rebirth, another great RPG which unfortunately is currently unplayable in an emulator due to repeated crashing during cutscenes preventing progress beyond the very beginning of the game. I am very, very fortunate to own the Japanese exclusive "Tales of" games and a PS2 that has a modchip installed for that very reason.
_________________
YouTube VideosTwitch1CCsSideLine game guide


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:48 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 15 Dec 2007
Posts: 3485
Location: ʍoquıɐɹ ǝɥʇ ɹǝʌo 'ǝɹǝɥʍǝɯos
BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
My introduction to Ridge Racer was the N64 version and it's magical "360 degree drifting all day long" where you could spin around and around magically gripping the middle of the road as long as your speed was high enough. I remember I never 100% completion'd it though, there was one challenge involving a car that constantly speeds up until it's outright faster than you and it seems you have to keep the car blocked on your bumper the whole time? I was young and might be misremembering the details but I remember it was hard enough that I wasn't able to get through it even after a dozen tries.

Yeah, car blocking is a very traditional Ridge Racer challenge. Still need to unlock the White Angel in Ridge Racer Revolution on PS1, I beat the other two supercar challenges.
Also, I need to unlock the 13th Racing in the first game on PS1, and it's a lot harder since you don't have a rear-view camera. :lol:

Haven't spent much time with RR64. I think I fired it up like once?

Quote:
Tales of Destiny R - Director's Cut (PS2)[/b]

Replaying this again. It's still one of the best if not the best Tales of combat systems in the entire series, which makes it a damn shame it has no official translation available. There's a couple of decent guides, but annoyingly the puzzles you have to solve are just written as "here's the solution" in the translation guides. There's no translation of the actual puzzles themselves, so no opportunity for a player to see them translated and get to solve them. Very unfortunate.

I wonder if it's worth playing the PS1 version. I doubt it; the PS2 version is so incredibly polished that it's basically the definitive release now.


PS1 version of ToD is a lot like Tales of Phantasia on PS1, so if you're enjoying that, you might have a good time with ToD PS1.
I still like the game [it was my first Tales of game that I bothered putting any actual time into playing], but it has some really dumb things here and there. IIRC, there's a puzzle where the hints are just outright mistranslated, so you just have to guess/look the answer up.
_________________
eyesoul, an uncomfortably euroshmup-like game I made. :P
Rolling Start arcade racing game forum.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:14 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 03 Oct 2011
Posts: 4231
Location: Southern Ontario
null1024 wrote:
Yeah, car blocking is a very traditional Ridge Racer challenge.


Is there any particular trick or exploit to get around them?
_________________
YouTube VideosTwitch1CCsSideLine game guide


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:39 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 09 Jul 2017
Posts: 2396
Location: Eating the Rich
BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
I would highly recommend the PS2 version as a must-play action RPG. It is, as far as I know, playable in an emulator if need be with some special toggle settings to avoid an early cutscene crashing, unlike Tales of Rebirth, another great RPG which unfortunately is currently unplayable in an emulator due to repeated crashing during cutscenes preventing progress beyond the very beginning of the game. I am very, very fortunate to own the Japanese exclusive "Tales of" games and a PS2 that has a modchip installed for that very reason.


Shouldn't be a problem. I could do opl or burn off a disc to play on original hardware. I've got a lot lined up to chew through already though, still on FFIX. Hopefully I will wrap that up this week.
_________________
New best thread on shmups farm forum. BIGWOW. Such deleted posts, many scrubs, so opinion.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:38 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2012
Posts: 489
Durandal wrote:
It’s amazing that Doom Eternal even exists.

Doom Eternal is the best character action game I've ever played. Its so intense and stressful (in a fun way) and demands a lot from the player for a AAA game.

I don't know if I like it better than Doom 2016 though. Sometimes in Doom Eternal it feels like the gameplay is more about spinning plates and managing cooldowns than the actual shooting. Its a cool design but its mentally exhausting and I think Doom 2016 feels a little better to play because of its relative simplicity. Doom 2016 still has thoughtful cooldown management and resource decisions, but Eternal pushes so far into that realm that it almost doesnt feel like an FPS anymore.

I do like it overall, and I'll probably double dip on it whenever the Switch port finally comes out.
.
_________________
1CC List


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:34 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 15 Dec 2007
Posts: 3485
Location: ʍoquıɐɹ ǝɥʇ ɹǝʌo 'ǝɹǝɥʍǝɯos
BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
null1024 wrote:
Yeah, car blocking is a very traditional Ridge Racer challenge.


Is there any particular trick or exploit to get around them?


For classic Ridge Racer [in this case, I'll talk about Revolution, the game I've played the most] if the enemy car passes you, it'll stop after the beginning of the next lap and wait for you. After a successful block, the enemy car will be off your tail for a bit.
In addition, in RRR, the enemy car seems to not catch up as fast while it's not in your rear view mirror, so drive the best damn lap you can while it's off screen. When it does get close, bodily block it. The mirror makes this not the hardest task, but you might actually need to slow down if it's getting close and you need to position yourself to not be in the middle of a drift when it catches up and just goes around you.
In RR1/Turbo, you can use the external view to get a liiiitle bit more viewing area, but it's just kinda hard. I think the opponent AI might follow a fairly fixed line too, so you might want to look into that. There's a lot of variation that gets in the way, and again, it's hard to keep track of where the opponent car is since it's rarely on screen. Either it's behind you, gaining fast, and possibly entirely invisible since you can't look behind you, or it's ahead of you, zipping into the distance, doing like twice your speed.
The supercars are absolutely busted with how fast they are.

I mostly drive the Yellow Solvalou in RR1/Turbo/RRR. The Blue is faster, but if you screw up, it has much worse acceleration.
Also, drive in manual -- you want that bit of extra top speed. If you don't screw up much, you rarely need to shift in RR anyway, so it's not too hard to pick up.
Dunno how much of this applies to 64, but it might still help.
_________________
eyesoul, an uncomfortably euroshmup-like game I made. :P
Rolling Start arcade racing game forum.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:16 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 31 Jan 2019
Posts: 215
So, No Man's Sky updated again and now the audio works (although the frame rate is still terrible while flying)

Anyway, within a couple minutes I found a building where all these monsters burrowed out of the ground and attacked me. Never saw that before!
But then, I just jet-packed to the roof of the building where they couldn't touch me and killed the lot of them. Y'know, like you do with everything that attacks you...

Someone really needs to inform HG that new stuff in of itself doesn't add anything. People need new stuff to do. Otherwise it's just skins.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:21 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 3578
No Man's Sky's new patch lets me actually play the game, but holy shit the tutorial SUUUUUUUUUCKS and takes FOREVERRRRRRRR and it's still unskippable!

Then again it's nice to have a game clearly vindicate my recent CPU upgrade, made way more of a difference than my GPU upgrade last winter.
_________________
Two working class dudes, one black one white, just baked a tray of ten cookies together.

An oligarch walks in and grabs nine cookies for himself.

Then he says to the white dude "Watch out for that black dude, he wants a piece of your cookie!"


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:31 am 


User avatar

Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 3911
Location: Villa Straylight
So I started Dragon Quest XI

.. these cockneys trigger me. how dare they appropriate the culture of my people..

Image

ANG ABAAT M8
_________________
ImageImage
1cc List - Youtube - You emptylock my heart


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:20 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 10 May 2007
Posts: 12973
Location: SODOM
U WOT (■`W´■)

I OUGHTA GRAB ME SHOOTA, POP ROUND THAT REGGIE GAFFA'S PLACE, AND SHOVE ME MEAT N' TWO VEG ROIGHT DAHN HE MAHF

At the footie unfortunately (`ω´メ) BIG PLUMS UNITED just equalised our DONKEY BOTHERERS F.C., faaack
_________________
Image
STOMP 'EM IN THE NUTS
[THE MIRAGE OF MIND] Metal Black ST [THE MASSACRE] Gun.Smoke ST [TRAGEDY FLAME]


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:04 pm 


User avatar

Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 3911
Location: Villa Straylight
down iz maaf.*
if yer ganna do it mayte bettah do it wite

confession I have said ang abaat a few times IRL, genuinely without affect or irony.
_________________
ImageImage
1cc List - Youtube - You emptylock my heart


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:04 am 


User avatar

Joined: 09 Jul 2017
Posts: 2396
Location: Eating the Rich
Is that English? :lol:
_________________
New best thread on shmups farm forum. BIGWOW. Such deleted posts, many scrubs, so opinion.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:49 am 


User avatar

Joined: 31 Oct 2016
Posts: 757
Location: bmore
@bil/blinge

What's the deal with people using "governor" to refer to people who clearly aren't governors? Is that just an old-timey thing that isn't observed anymore, or is there some basis?


Top
 Online Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:51 am 


User avatar

Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 157
Location: NYC
vol.2 wrote:
@bil/blinge

What's the deal with people using "governor" to refer to people who clearly aren't governors? Is that just an old-timey thing that isn't observed anymore, or is there some basis?


https://www.etymonline.com/word/governo ... ne_v_29947

It's like saying 'boss.'

"Whatever you say, boss."

"What are we doing today, chief?"


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:04 am 


User avatar

Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 3911
Location: Villa Straylight
Steamflogger Boss wrote:
Is that English? :lol:


:lol: you probably understand but for the clarity's sake

and abaat = hang about = hold on = wait

boy those are some layers.

Obviously using different regional accents is fine for a game, using existing variants to suggest rural/urban and class divide. But an NPC said "u avin a giraffe? "
( you having a laugh? )
Why would rhyming slang literally from London exist in Heliodor in a fictional game. ¬_¬
That's a step too far, that's not just words sounding different, that's a different word!

I wonder if some non brits read the giraffe line and didn't understand it
_________________
ImageImage
1cc List - Youtube - You emptylock my heart


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:37 am 


User avatar

Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 157
Location: NYC
Blinge wrote:
Steamflogger Boss wrote:
Is that English? :lol:


:lol: you probably understand but for the clarity's sake

and abaat = hang about = hold on = wait

boy those are some layers.

Obviously using different regional accents is fine for a game, using existing variants to suggest rural/urban and class divide. But an NPC said "u avin a giraffe? "
( you having a laugh? )
Why would rhyming slang literally from London exist in Heliodor in a fictional game. ¬_¬
That's a step too far, that's not just words sounding different, that's a different word!

I wonder if some non brits read the giraffe line and didn't understand it


I thought cockney rhyming slang didn't use the rhymed word as slang. So famously raspberry is from raspberry tart, rhymined with fart. But they don't say "blow a tart", it's always raspberry.

Or as Wiki puts it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhyming_s ... ream_usage

"The construction of rhyming slang involves replacing a common word with a phrase of two or more words, the last of which rhymes with the original word; then, in almost all cases, omitting, from the end of the phrase, the secondary rhyming word (which is thereafter implied), making the origin and meaning of the phrase elusive to listeners not in the know. The form is made clear with the following example. The rhyming phrase "apples and pears" was used to mean "stairs". Following the pattern of omission, "and pears" is dropped, thus the spoken phrase "I'm going up the apples" means "I'm going up the stairs"."

Using that chart, they should have said "u avin a Turk[ish]?"


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 am 


User avatar

Joined: 19 Feb 2013
Posts: 3911
Location: Villa Straylight
Nice of you to get so scientific but as with any slang there arent strict rules. Sometimes it's as you say, sometimes it isn't.
Either way my giraffe point still stands.

By the by I just remembered at my last job I asked the manager something and he said " ain't got a scooby, mate. "
Translate that one. :lol:
_________________
ImageImage
1cc List - Youtube - You emptylock my heart


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:11 am 


User avatar

Joined: 18 Feb 2011
Posts: 5660
Location: Denmarku
Blinge wrote:
Why would rhyming slang literally from London exist in Heliodor in a fictional game. ¬_¬

By the same logic as the characters speaking English in the first place I guess?
Fantasy settings have always been derivative, of other works as well as real life culture obviously, so using accents isn't really worse than cultural idioms and stuff IMO.

The DQ localizations have been doing this since DQ8, and honestly I love it. It's been very consistent and very expertly handled IMO. Even different monster types have held up consistent unique ways of speaking throughout the years.
Some of the regional accents might come across a little derogatory, or even borderline racist, but I think they are generally handled in such a loving way that they get away with it. It adds a lot of personality to the game. The haiku speech patterns in Hotto might get a little obnoxious (on the other hand, the rhyming mermaid queen is brilliant), though even the game itself makes fun of that when one of the kids of the town decides he just can't be bothered with it.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13755 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BrianC and 16 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Space Pilot 3K template by Jakob Persson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group