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 Post subject: How can I get better at bullet hell games?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:17 pm 


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Joined: 21 Aug 2019
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I've been playing Donpachi and it's sequels for nearly 2 decades now. Never got to the true final bosses in any of those games. I wonder how some of you folks even do it?
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 Post subject: Re: How can I get better at bullet hell games?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:22 am 


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Joined: 10 Apr 2019
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Play something else. While this might sound counter intuitive, it's helped me a couple times to take a break. When you come back to your "main" game, you'll have gained new perspective.


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 Post subject: Re: How can I get better at bullet hell games?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:32 am 


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Joined: 18 Jun 2012
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Location: Chicago, IL
It's really about practice, and forming good habits. Not to say I've 2ALL'd any Donpachi game (I haven't; only 1ALL'd DaiFukkatsu).

But with any of the other games I've 1CC'd especially in mame, I split my time between grinding full runs and -when I was really serious about clearing- setting up save-state practice of each stage until I could consistently react to most of the stage.

In ESPGaluda (my run here), I practiced stage chunks of Stage-to-Midboss, Midboss, and Post-Midboss-to-Endboss, and Endboss. When I was doing bad in full runs or lousing up some boss, I would sometimes switch to different save-states to get better at those. Sometimes I watched replays in order to learn tips to survive certain patterns, or ways to deal with waves. I don't rely on this -too- much because oftentimes a superplay or high-scoring play will have strategies that are harder to pull off than sheer survival.

Cave ports on the 360 likewise have stage practice modes and easy modes to let you learn stage layouts, boss patterns, and take the edge off of their asinine loop requirements.
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 Post subject: Re: How can I get better at bullet hell games?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:50 am 


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Joined: 29 Aug 2010
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It's a hard question to answer without knowing anything about your play style or other habits. Ultimately "getting better" in anything simply means putting more time into it.

If you make mistakes, you have to learn from them if you want to improve faster. Pattern recognition is super important in bullet hells in particular. You have to learn to see and intentionally pass through openings naturally without thinking about it and that comes from practice.

If you credit feed, I would recommend stopping. Continuing removes a lot of the tension and the will to improve. Sometimes I'll credit feed on a first play just to get a feel for the game's pace, but then after that I just play straight through, get as far as I can get on one credit, and attempt to learn from my mistakes on subsequent runs. The side benefit is games often wipe out your score if you continue, so by doing this I can see the progress I am making not just by the length of survival, but how my score improves over the course of many runs.

Don't be afraid to use your resources (i.e., bombs). Probably one of the things that let me improve the fastest was getting out of my old late '90s and early '00s mindset that "bombing is for wimps." Sure, many games will give you bonuses for not using them, but that won't amount to much if you can't get the clear to begin with. Get the clear first, then start stripping away how often you use your resources to score better (this is going to vary from game to game anyway).

As was mentioned, stage practice modes (or save state practicing in MAME) can help a lot. Sometimes no matter how good you are at weaving through dense patterns of bullets, you are still going to get cornered with no way out. Knowing where to position yourself ahead of time can make all of the difference.

I agree that it's worth playing a variety of shooters, not just bullet hells. You will learn skills and strategies that will end up helping you in other sub-genres, and vice-versa. Experience in general goes a long way with shmups.
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 Post subject: Re: How can I get better at bullet hell games?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:08 am 


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Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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This is game-specific but for me playing something like like the chunked-up stage challenge/practice mode in PS4 Ketsui is very helpful. It's basically like using save states to practice but I find the UI and overall experience more engaging. The game walks you through one section at a time, rewinding if you screw up but ranking you for each section and then challenging you to complete a whole stage after each series of sections. This type of system provides structure while allowing you to build up knowledge and skill of each section iteratively.
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 Post subject: Re: How can I get better at bullet hell games?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:29 am 



Joined: 04 Nov 2013
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Short answer: save state practice.
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 Post subject: Re: How can I get better at bullet hell games?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:27 pm 


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Joined: 03 Oct 2011
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Location: Southern Ontario
iplaymyshmups wrote:
I've been playing Donpachi and it's sequels for nearly 2 decades now. Never got to the true final bosses in any of those games. I wonder how some of you folks even do it?


Part of it is simple tenacity - you keep playing and playing and eventually you'll feel something "click" for you and get noticeably better. But even good players have days where they feel like they're playing badly.

As far as getting to the true final boss, there are some games out there that are sufficiently difficult that even seeing the true final boss (such as Hibachi in DFK's Ura loop or DOOM in Ketsui's Ura loop) is simply not going to realistically happen for the majority of players. They're designed that only seriously hardcore players with the right combination of intense practice and raw talent will ever see those ultra secret bosses. It's just the nature of the game. You might never make it to a Hibachi battle. And that's OK.

Don't feel pressured like you're not able to enjoy the games just because you're not able to encounter the ridiculously hard super secret bosses. In most games a 1CC of the first loop is a realistically achievable goal for the average player whereas a 2-loop clear is a far, far steeper hill to climb.

Honestly, though, just keep playing the games and putting the hours in, and the more you play, the more dodging will become instinctive and natural and eventually you put that together with familiarity with the game's patterns and you'll see progress.
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