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Videogames : Cyberpunk Samurai edition.

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52 minutes ago, RumHam said:

I never understood the high praise IX got. I mean yeah it's not VIII, but it's nothing special. I played it when it came out on switch last year and couldn't for the life of me tell you what the plot was beyond something something crystals. Plus the card game sucks compared to Triple Triad. 

Octopath is good, but most people go into expecting all eight stories to converge at the end and they never really do. Other than some text in an optional boss dungeon that connects many of the characters backstories. 

As mentioned above Dragon Quest XI is pretty great and has a 2D mode if you wanna really go "classic JRPG." There's a pretty generous demo too. 

Yeah, I love Dragon Quest XI, and now that you mention, I don't think I ever beat it. I might jump back in there. 

I may give Octopath a try. I figured the stories would converge, but that wasn't the selling point for me. I'll keep my eyes open for the next sale.

FF9's story is really...convoluted and uninteresting. I actually really liked FF8 when I figured out how to break the game by junctioning. I actually love that about JRPGs: Breaking the game before the end. FF9 seemed dead set against you doing this. I do like some of the characters like Freya. She's super interesting and totally underutilized. Same as Amarant. Vivi has a great story--I wish he just had a better game. Ah well. 

 

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with me being the completionist that I am, I installed The Witcher 1 first and played it during the first New Years days.

 

There's enough good stuff in Witcher 1 to make it worthwhile, but only if you switch the difficulty down to minimum. There is zero reason to ramp up the difficulty, as the combat is so appalling that it's just not worth it. It also dramatically extends the length of the game from about 35 hours to 50+, which you really don't want to do.

The amnesia is because CDPR was launching the game internationally, so 95% of their target audience had never heard of the character (the first English translation of the first book didn't come out until around the time the games came out) so they needed to bring them up to speed.

Witcher 2 has a far less interesting story than 1 or 3 and it is currently the buggiest of the three games, but it's also the shortest (you can blitz it in 20 hours, maybe a bit less). Mainly because the entire setting for Act II of the game changes depending on your choices, so they had to make the game short enough that people would double back to check out the other option. I would say skip it, but it does introduce Vernon Roche who is a very solid character and has a lot of stuff to do in Witcher 3. It also directly sets up the political situation in W3 which is otherwise somewhat confusing.

Witcher 3 is an absolute masterpiece, though.

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Well... Not sure when I will be able to continue the game, but it's... well, okay. The best thing I can say that for what it is, the game feels extremely polished.

I remember what state the game was in when it launched. It was very much not polished. They had a bug where it took between 5 and 7 minutes to load a saved game on release and didn't fix it for weeks, which was extraordinary.

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2 hours ago, RumHam said:

I never understood the high praise IX got. I mean yeah it's not VIII, but it's nothing special. I played it when it came out on switch last year and couldn't for the life of me tell you what the plot was beyond something something crystals. Plus the card game sucks compared to Triple Triad. 

I adore FFIX. It remains my favorite mainline FF game (Tactics is my favorite overall). I agree that the main plot isn't always the best; it suffers from too many twists. But the characters and the world they are in are just so delightful. There are also great stories being told in the game, most notably Vivi's arc, and tons of great moments.

Also, and I can't stress this enough, it remains so refreshing to have an upbeat and positive-thinking main character in a JPRG (and the one time he isn't upbeat, there's fantastic music and the rest of the party is there to get him out of his funk).

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1 hour ago, Fez said:

(Tactics is my favorite overall). I agree that the main plot isn't always the best; it suffers from too many twists. But the characters and the world they are in are just so delightful. There are also great stories being told in the game, most notably Vivi's arc, and tons of great moments.

I agree with all this, it's a fantastic world. I didn't find the gameplay all that interesting. Like the only character development decisions I remember making were "keep using this inferior weapon a little longer until they learn the skill." 

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10 hours ago, Nictarion said:

Train to Busan is pretty great, but I agree with the praise for TLoU. I haven’t played a new game in years (think the last was Uncharted 4 lol), but I can’t wait for part II. 

I have that film on my watch list. Need to bump it up again. 

Still playing Jedi: fallen order intermittently as have work getting in way. I'm enjoying it but finding the contols a bit frustrating. It could be because I've been on an uncharted/last of us binge but the jedi game is a lot less forgiving and has more annoying "just missed/fell off" moments. I also really dislike having to push in the L3 button to run but can't really see an alternative control configuration that avoids this?

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I can't find anything out currently that I want to play (which isn't the same as nothing being out currently) :( I am sick of roguelikes and roguelike mechanics, so I'm not real interested in Hades despite its pedigree. I'm already finished Control and Untitled Goose game and none of the creators I follow have produced a significant number of Mario Maker levels lately. I've spent all the time I'm going to with Outer Worlds and Jedi Knight: Fallen Order. Not all that interested in Disco Elysium. Is there anything I might be overlooking? I play on PC and Switch. I'd love to be blindsided by some brilliant indie gem like I was by Hollow Knight, but I just can't find anything that piques my interest.

 

12 hours ago, RumHam said:

I never understood the high praise IX got. I mean yeah it's not VIII, but it's nothing special. I played it when it came out on switch last year and couldn't for the life of me tell you what the plot was beyond something something crystals. Plus the card game sucks compared to Triple Triad. 

Octopath is good, but most people go into expecting all eight stories to converge at the end and they never really do. Other than some text in an optional boss dungeon that connects many of the characters backstories. 

As mentioned above Dragon Quest XI is pretty great and has a 2D mode if you wanna really go "classic JRPG." There's a pretty generous demo too. 

IMO Octopath had a great start that never moved beyond that start. Everything feels really samey and paint-by-numbers.

FFIX is unimpressive IMO. It's fine mechanically, mostly -- although unlike VII, you had to make sure you got enough XP to stay competitive, which was a bummer -- but I never really cared about the characters.

DQXI is the best "classic style" JRPG in recent memory. Not that it's perfect but there's nothing else on its level currently.

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3 hours ago, Inigima said:

I can't find anything out currently that I want to play (which isn't the same as nothing being out currently) :( I am sick of roguelikes and roguelike mechanics, so I'm not real interested in Hades despite its pedigree. I'm already finished Control and Untitled Goose game and none of the creators I follow have produced a significant number of Mario Maker levels lately. I've spent all the time I'm going to with Outer Worlds and Jedi Knight: Fallen Order. Not all that interested in Disco Elysium. Is there anything I might be overlooking? I play on PC and Switch. I'd love to be blindsided by some brilliant indie gem like I was by Hollow Knight, but I just can't find anything that piques my interest.

I was having that issue myself a few weeks ago. A few options, besides the stuff I've mentioned I've been playing:

Wildermyth- It's in early access, but the way the game is structured its fully playable right. Its a cross between a turn-based tactical game and a visual novel (or really, a bunch of novellas). The gameplay is a bit simple, but there's something kind of beautiful about the writing and presentation. RPS can say it better.

Total War: Three Kingdoms: If you like Total War games, this is the best one; IMO. And there's a new DLC coming out this week with 184 as a new start date.

Halo- All of them are on PC now and they hold up really well.

Ring Fit Adventure- On Switch. It's the first exercise game I've seen that is both a proper video game and gives you a real workout. Its kind of amazing.

Hypnospace Outlaw- Be an internet cop in a retro-future internet. Basically a nostalgia trip down the '90s internet.

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17 hours ago, RumHam said:

I never understood the high praise IX got. I mean yeah it's not VIII, but it's nothing special. I played it when it came out on switch last year and couldn't for the life of me tell you what the plot was beyond something something crystals. Plus the card game sucks compared to Triple Triad. 

Octopath is good, but most people go into expecting all eight stories to converge at the end and they never really do. Other than some text in an optional boss dungeon that connects many of the characters backstories. 

As mentioned above Dragon Quest XI is pretty great and has a 2D mode if you wanna really go "classic JRPG." There's a pretty generous demo too. 

At the time, it was seen as getting "back to the basics" after the cyberpunk futurism of VII and VIII, with intentional nods to the franchise's traditions (Vivi's appearance), and a simplier/traditional system structure after the experimental VIII. Also, VIII had a very mixed reception (and rightly so), and some of the fanbase in reaction embraced IX all the more.

But yes, it's slow. The battles move glacially. There's little narrative tension for most of the first three-quarters of the game, rather a series of random events and encounters and adventures, but it acts like there's massive narrative tension, which gives the story a weird, unearned melodramatic tone. The underlying concept is pretty good, yet poorly developed and in some ways executed -- the game feels rushed in this respect. But its biggest sin it shares with VIII: while VII made an effort to at least somewhat tie in all the characters to the larger narrative and develop them to an extent, both VIII and IX have teams where a good half of the party have no or minimal character development across the game -- why should I play these characters, except for their visual style and limit break, when I can play with the characters that actually feel tied into the greater narrative? Final Fantasy X, thankfully, went back to giving all the characters distinct stories and conflicts.  

Edited by kuenjato

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Have to say I wasn’t all that interested in Disco Elysium either but it’s gotten such good reviews I’ve bought it.

im only 30 mins into it but it’s writing  is so refreshingly great that I felt immediately positive towards it. Really reminds me of Planecape Torment.

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24 minutes ago, kuenjato said:

At the time, it was seen as getting "back to the basics" after the cyberpunk futurism of VII and VIII, with intentional nods to the franchise's traditions (Vivi's appearance), and a simplier/traditional system structure after the experimental VIII. Also, VIII had a very mixed reception (and rightly so), and some of the fanbase in reaction embraced IX all the more.

But yes, it's slow. The battles move glacially. There's little narrative tension for most of the first three-quarters of the game, rather a series of random events and encounters and adventures, but it acts like there's massive narrative tension, which gives the story a weird, unearned melodramatic tone. The underlying concept is pretty good, yet poorly developed and in some ways executed -- the game feels rushed in this respect. But its biggest sin it shares with VIII: while VII made an effort to at least somewhat tie in all the characters to the larger narrative and develop them to an extent, both VIII and IX have teams where a good half of the party have no or minimal character development across the game -- why should I play these characters, except for their visual style and limit break, when I can play with the characters that actually feel tied into the greater narrative? Final Fantasy X, thankfully, went back to giving all the characters distinct stories and conflicts.  

I can't disagree with any of that, yet somehow it all worked for me in IX. Even the characters who don't matter to the larger narrative, like Quina and Amarant still have some really fun character moments. That optional cutscene system the game I had, I forgot what it was called, it was a silly system but most of the scenes were a lot of fun.

Also, I think VII had the same party issue as VIII and IX. Cid, Yuffie, and Vincent are barely involved in the story, and Barrett drops off the map after Correl finishes. But all Final Fantasy games starting with VI have had this issue (as do most party-based RPGs in general), when you have 8+ party members it gets really hard to give all of them equal billing. There's pretty much always a core group, usually its the first party members you meet in the game, and then there's the B-team. 

X did do a better job then most, but even there, as far they tie into the greater narrative, everyone is playing second fiddle to Tidus, Yuna, and Auron.

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8 hours ago, Fez said:

I can't disagree with any of that, yet somehow it all worked for me in IX. Even the characters who don't matter to the larger narrative, like Quina and Amarant still have some really fun character moments. That optional cutscene system the game I had, I forgot what it was called, it was a silly system but most of the scenes were a lot of fun.

Also, I think VII had the same party issue as VIII and IX. Cid, Yuffie, and Vincent are barely involved in the story, and Barrett drops off the map after Correl finishes. But all Final Fantasy games starting with VI have had this issue (as do most party-based RPGs in general), when you have 8+ party members it gets really hard to give all of them equal billing. There's pretty much always a core group, usually its the first party members you meet in the game, and then there's the B-team. 

X did do a better job then most, but even there, as far they tie into the greater narrative, everyone is playing second fiddle to Tidus, Yuna, and Auron.

While Barrett gets little after Correl, the whole conflict with Dyne is at least something -- same with Yuffie, who exemplifies an entire area of the game/subquest and deepens the world's lore (i.e. resistance to Shinra). Contrast that with "characters" like Selphie, Irvine, Quistis, Aramant, Quina, etc. etc. -- characters that might have actually had some resonance, if any effort was made.

I don't think IX is a bad game, mind you, I put in some 90 hours when it was released and did almost everything. But it really is a confused meander, even more than VIII, for some 80% of its runtime. This might be why X is my favorite FF; despite its weirdness, it feels very focused and 'tight' in its thematic development, character growth, and overall plot, compared to the messy predecessors. 

I'm currently playing Assassin's Creed Origins, and after some 20 hours I'm really starting to enjoy it, despite some shortcomings. It feels like the opposite of Witcher 3 in certain ways: one plays 3-4 hours and receives a brief, borderline-rushed cutscene, as if Ubisoft is determined to not risk player boredome and needs to rush back into the action. Sort of like Abrams' Star Wars films, actually. It's kind of a shame, as I like the lead character & his conflict.

Edited by kuenjato

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12 hours ago, kuenjato said:

-- why should I play these characters, except for their visual style and limit break, when I can play with the characters that actually feel tied into the greater narrative? 

I knew my taste for games diverged greatly from the majority of the participants in this thread, but this is really stunning. You pick characters for their fit in the narrative as a criteria? I'm not saying it's wrong. It has just never occurred to me. I get that the story is important to most of you guys here, but this is a revelation. Also, I'm not an FF expert, but I played FFX a couple of years ago and its very class based and role specific. Its a rock paper scissors hard counter kind of game. Characters aren't easily substituted.

:blink:

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2 minutes ago, Proudfeet said:

I knew my taste for games diverged greatly from the majority of the participants in this thread, but this is really stunning. You pick characters for their fit in the narrative as a criteria? I'm not saying it's wrong. It has just never occurred to me. I get that the story is important to most of you guys here, but this is a revelation. Also, I'm not an FF expert, but I played FFX a couple of years ago and its very class based and role specific. Its a rock paper scissors hard counter kind of game. Characters aren't easily substituted.

:blink:

That's really the first time in a long time the series did that. To some degree, part 6 dropped that and you could play with whomever, vii was a huge jump in that direction along with viii totally abandoning characters filling roles. You just equipped them to fill the needed role. IX jumped a bit back to class mechanics but you still had options. Ffx is the outlier in how it forced you to choose different characters for different enemies.

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11 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

That's really the first time in a long time the series did that. To some degree, part 6 dropped that and you could play with whomever, vii was a huge jump in that direction along with viii totally abandoning characters filling roles. You just equipped them to fill the needed role. IX jumped a bit back to class mechanics but you still had options. Ffx is the outlier in how it forced you to choose different characters for different enemies.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. That makes more sense then. I think if you grinded obscenely hard in FFX you could have overcame that too eventually. I really liked that concept for a skill tree.

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I hated FFX skill tree. Felt super linear. My favorite was FFVII. I just loved being able to link materia on sword/armor and coming up with maximum cheese builds :laugh:

Edited by The Winged Shadow

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18 hours ago, Proudfeet said:

I knew my taste for games diverged greatly from the majority of the participants in this thread, but this is really stunning. You pick characters for their fit in the narrative as a criteria? I'm not saying it's wrong. It has just never occurred to me. I get that the story is important to most of you guys here, but this is a revelation. Also, I'm not an FF expert, but I played FFX a couple of years ago and its very class based and role specific. Its a rock paper scissors hard counter kind of game. Characters aren't easily substituted.

:blink:

When playing RPG's -- particularly in the age of the PS1 -- the story hook and character growth, both in terms of narrative and gameplay, were really the main draw. The gameplay mechanics of turn-based combat was only fitfully interesting or challenging. 

So, I would tend to have parties of characters I liked / the game inspired me to care about. In FF VIII, only two characters were substantially developed (Squall and Rinoa), and in FF IX, only 3-4 (if Steiner can be considered "developed"). This was particularly bad in FF VIII, which had multiple ways of playing but the real differentiation came in the type and power of their limit breaks. Thus, I only played with Squall, Rinoa, and Zell, who had some button interaction for his particular limit break, making the game a smidgen less tedious.

In FF X, all of the characters had some sort of narrative drama and/or thematic intention regarding the larger story and, just as importantly, had a specific connection to the world of Spira. That's what I meant... I mean, why would I spend any amount of time powering up a Selphie, Irvine or Aramant? They were nothing characters.

 

 

Edited by kuenjato

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7 hours ago, kuenjato said:

When playing RPG's -- particularly in the age of the PS1 -- the story hook and character growth, both in terms of narrative and gameplay, were really the main draw. The gameplay mechanics of turn-based combat was only fitfully interesting or challenging. 

Shrug, I'm easily satisfied. Although I vaguely remember that on my first playthrough on VIII and X, I only progressed the story to play the card game and get Blitzball members and stopped playing both games entirely after I out leveled the competition in the minigames. Not sure if it had anything to do with the combat system as it was too long ago, but whatever the case, that was my impression of both games until the remastered version came out.

7 hours ago, kuenjato said:

I mean, why would I spend any amount of time powering up a Selphie, Irvine or Aramant? They were nothing characters.

See, this never occurred to me. To me, its like buying a happy meal at McDonalds. Its about the collectable not the food. Whether the food is good or not doesn't matter, its a bonus if its good. If it isn't, then its the cost of getting the collectable. Its a completely separate issue. 

My main experience with RPGs is the Disgaea series. The stories are always corny with a predictable flow. It's not a factor to me, its selling point is that its a grindfest anyway.

More to the point, you are supposed to create completely generic characters to supplement your main characters. In the earlier games, there is no benefit to using the main characters because they are outclassed by the generic characters. They have unique skills and that's pretty much it. I tossed them aside without hesitation once it became apparent that they are stuck on A in aptitude and can never upgrade to S and even before that when their default set up just wasn't good and they couldn't keep up. Created generic characters are real nothing characters by the way.

In FFVIII, I think that my Rinoa was dead last in levels. She's out for much of the game and was usually replaceable when she's available. At least Selphie and Irvine carry over their levels to the Laguna crew. Why would I level Rinoa when I don't even have to play her outside of a couple of battles? Maybe if I had just the right drops to upgrade her weapon like the rest of the crew? 

Its a simple difference in perspective. I'm just saying I have never thought of it that way and its interesting to me.

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Managed to complete Frostpunk - well, the main scenario - on around my eighth attempt. That was brutal. The final storm was completely insane and I only survived it by sheer luck, that on a whim I'd managed to build 3 robots earlier on and they were (just barely) enough to keep the coal flooding in to keep the reactor on. But that was a close thing.

I also only won because I'd become a theocratic dictatorship brutally suppressing the merest hint of opposition, but there you go. Almost everyone survived and I managed to get about 600 survivors though the game.

Now to check out the other scenarios.

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FF VII remake is delayed until April, where it will be competing with the remake of Resident Evil 3 and Cyberpunk 2077.  Seems kinda risky to go up agains the hype juggernaut CDPR have built, but nostalgia's a powerful thing, even when they're only selling 20% of that nostalgia :D

Edited by kuenjato

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On 1/12/2020 at 4:14 AM, red snow said:

I have that film on my watch list. Need to bump it up again. 

Still playing Jedi: fallen order intermittently as have work getting in way. I'm enjoying it but finding the contols a bit frustrating. It could be because I've been on an uncharted/last of us binge but the jedi game is a lot less forgiving and has more annoying "just missed/fell off" moments. I also really dislike having to push in the L3 button to run but can't really see an alternative control configuration that avoids this?

The run button is a toggle, so you just need to hit it once to keep running.  I also set up the control scheme to be more like Sekiro.  L1 block, r1 attack, L2 force push, r2 force attack, up button for force pull, square is heal, circle dodge... 

My least favorite part of the game is easily the sliding down sections where you can fall off, and the swinging sections at the beginning (they get significantly easier toward the end), but at least you get to retry them right away

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