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Videogames: Spooktober Season


Fez
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Not a fan of Final Fantasy VII Remake limiting Summons to really long battles. Part of the fun was original was going mental and using Ifrit and Shiva on some mid-ranking goons before dropping the Fat Chocobo on them. *sulks*

Also not sure about Fat Chocobo now being an artillery piece who sits in the middle of the battlefield and lobs bouncy cartoon bombs at the enemy. Him just flattening enemies by landing on their heads in the original was much funnier.

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I always struggled with the Rail in Hades, unless I got the boon for unlimited ammo. I'm much more a dash-strike, always be attacking player; so the idea of needing to stop and reload messed with my gameflow too much. The highest heat clear I got on the Rail was only 2 I think, meanwhile I got past 20 with both the fists and the sword. 

To me, the most broken combo was getting the fists with the Zeus boon for lightning strikes on attack (or Artemis' extra arrow on attack) and the Athena boon for damage reflect on dash. You're unkillable and destroy everything immediately, I even beat the optional challenge version of the final boss pretty easily with that setup.

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If we include the aspects I think all the weapons in Hades are my favourites :lol:

In their basic forms I think it's probably the fists for me, though the rail comes a close second.

Out of all the weapons:

Spoiler

I really love doing caster builds with the Poseidon sword, and Excalibur can be a lot of fun.

Spear is the weapon I've struggled the most with, which is interesting, because I really love a lot of the spear hammers and I find Achilles to be very fun and engaging, but I think the way in which the spear is sort of medium damage, kinda longer range than you'd think, and a bit slower than I'd like sorta doesn't lend itself well into any of the ways I like to play, being too much of a middle ground in a lot of ways. I do really enjoy the Guan Yu spear though for the high risk but incredible damage.

Honestly all the alternative shield aspects are fun in their own ways though I think Zeus might be the most fun purely for the silliness of some of the builds I've done with it where I have the special doing stuff and chasing me like a deadly lawn mower as I just run around. Chaos can be incredible though, as can Beowulf.

Coming right off the back of Beowulf in the same spirit the Hera bow is so good and functions pretty much the same way allowing a very unique and bursty cast based play style. On the other hand Chiron makes the bow special incredible and is such fun to use, and I don't think I've seen anyone who dislikes it. Then there's the Rama bow which is just fantastic, does great damage, has a really fun mechanic attached to it, all around good weapon.

The fists, interestingly enough, are the weapon which has the least variety, possibly because in their default state they're already so good and fun to use. I tend towards using Demeter for the extra big uppercuts since it's functionally just a direct upgrade to the basic version.

And on to the Rail. Eris is very very very powerful, blowing up stuff is fun, what else to say? Hestia brings a very different and unique play style to the rail but I never figured out a comfortable mapping on my controller for reloading and that sorta kills it a bit. Lucifer, I used to think was trash but have since played some very fun runs with it, and it lends itself well to silly gimmicks like the "super soaker" using the poseidon attack to push everything miles away from you.

 

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4 hours ago, Fez said:

I always struggled with the Rail in Hades, unless I got the boon for unlimited ammo. I'm much more a dash-strike, always be attacking player; so the idea of needing to stop and reload messed with my gameflow too much. The highest heat clear I got on the Rail was only 2 I think, meanwhile I got past 20 with both the fists and the sword. 

To me, the most broken combo was getting the fists with the Zeus boon for lightning strikes on attack (or Artemis' extra arrow on attack) and the Athena boon for damage reflect on dash. You're unkillable and destroy everything immediately, I even beat the optional challenge version of the final boss pretty easily with that setup.

My issue with the fists is I lose control too easily and end up in the lava... also, if I don't get a good boon right away, I tend to struggle a little and not have as much fun. I've been much better with range though I'll keep trying.

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On 12/21/2021 at 7:53 AM, Fez said:

Less gaming than a general PC tech question (for the PC I game on), but I've been trying to upgrade to Windows 11 and the PC Health App doesn't seem to be working. At first it told me I wasn't eligible to upgrade because TPM 2.0 wasn't enabled, so I went into the BIOS and enabled it. But now when I run the app it just says 

"To see if this PC can run Windows 11, check the system specifications, or ask the company that manufactured your PC."

and the only button I can click on takes me to a Microsoft site that just says

"We’re doing some extra testing to make sure Windows 11 is ready for certain PCs—yours included."

Am I genuinely not able to upgrade yet or is this some sort of weird error that can be solved?

I don't know Fez, this is just good evidence to me not to upgrade. Upgrading Windows has always been a multi-day, multi-hour per day affair. I say hold onto the shitty Windows 10 a bit longer.

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Finished Final Fantasy VII Remake after 36 hours. They certainly made some choices in that game.

The good:

  • Graphics, obviously. This looks ten times better than running around inside the original FF7 CGI cutscenes, and the graphic designs is never less than brilliant. Walking around an iconic location which is a 100% match from the original (like 7th Heaven, Aerith's church or President Shinra's office) but is now a fully interactive 4K location versus a pixelated 2D blot of art never gets old.
  • Characterisation. Everyone gets their time in the sun and many characters who were ciphers in the original are much, much more fleshed out here. The main beneficiaries are the other Avalanche members (particularly Jessie), the Turks (whose moral ambiguity and guilt fits in better with their characterisation in the spin-offs) and, by far the most important, Aerith.
  • The combat, at least how it handles and controls. It's surprisingly identical to the original, with just the real-time movement and basic attack element being added on. The system appears to be very button-mashery, but timing, dodging, guarding and working out what sort of damage you want to deal is very important, and in some battles the system can get quite engrossing.
  • Many of the new subplots involve getting to know the citizens of Midgar, finding out more about their lives and so on, which is quite interesting and sets up the destructive events at the end of the game better.
  • Worldbuilding is, generally, much better than in the original, with much more detailed information on the city and how it was founded and built.
  • Being able to see a random battle is about to happen before it does.
  • The weapon upgrade system, so you can upgrade your favourite weapon rather than constantly ditching it for something new, is an excellent idea.
  • The music. Absolutely gorgeous and immediately stakes a claim to being the greatest video game soundtrack of all time.
  • Many of the side-quests in the towns are quite good, though fairly short.
  • The Honeybee Inn sequence has gone from being a bizarre non sequitur camp thing into a much more amusing and entertaining full-on show, complete with Cloud dancing like a mofo, and the much longer shift in tone works much better than in the original game.

The bad:

  • The pacing is shot to hell, especially in its second half. I thought the game was going to have more open-world elements and side-quests to extend the playtime, but these actually don't add much to the game's length. Where the bulk of the elongating comes from is the interminable toing and froing between areas (a journey of two screens, three battles and 8 minutes in the original is now an hour-long odyssey across a small area but with a highly convoluted route across it) on missions.
  • Unskippable cutscenes. Or rather, unskippable dialogue: the cutscenes are quite important to plot and character, but not being able to tap the button to fast-load the next line of dialogue is very annoying. Weirdly, the game lets you do it maybe 10% of the time but the rest you have to sit through it.
  • So many narrow areas you have to squeeze through. Necessary on the PS4 due to that console's crippling lack of memory, but utterly unnecessary on the PS5 and PC. It'd have been nice if they'd removed them.
  • Cloud remains a baffling blank slate of a character. Obviously it's hugely important why he's like that if you know the original game, but given the improvement to everyone else, it feels odd the character you control for 98% of the game is a bland cypher whose response to almost every line of dialogue uttered by another character is to gasp and look dull-surprised.
  • The weapon upgrade system is excellent but to maximise it, you need to upgrade all your weapons, even the ones you're not using. It's also impossible (unlike the original) to sell weapons you're not using. Late in the game, keeping all 6-7 weapons that each character has fully upgraded turns into a mind-numbing chore. Also, protip, to get the maximum out of this system you need to do a second run in New Game+. If you're not planning to do that, you don't need to keep upgrading the weapons you're not using.
  • Combat: although the system is generally good, it has some weird flaws. Your AI companions will only use their basic attacks unless you tell them otherwise, and the system is not well set up (especially on PC) to give orders to other characters continuously through battle. I found myself wishing for FFXII's customisable battle system, which would have made the game far easier. In addition, only being able to use 1 Summon per battle is pretty stingy and silly. FFVII worked well because it was systemic, combining rules and intelligence so if you want to do something like use 3 Summons in one fight one after the other, you could, and it was cool. This game often feels like it's slamming a "NO!" sign down every time you want to have fun or make your life easier.
  • In addition, taking some of the memorable enemies from the original game and turning them into half-hour-long, multi-stage boss fights gets old really quickly. Yeah, the sentient haunted house was a weird thing to fight. No, we don't need it to be an absurd boss battle devised by Satan.
  • Red XIII being in the game for its last 5-7 hours or so, but not being able to control him.
  • Most of the game seems to be welcoming to newcomers to the franchise who've never played Final Fantasy VII before, until the last half hour when it goes fucking nuts and starts chain-gunning the player with obscure fanboy references to spin-off media, shifting timelines, throwing in call-outs to Advent Children and a PS Portable-only mobile game and half-spoiling plot events from much later in the FFVII timeline. It's genuinely bizarre.

Anyway, will try to get Interlude done next, and then the long wait for Remake 2.

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55 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Finished Final Fantasy VII Remake after 36 hours. They certainly made some choices in that game.

  • Combat: although the system is generally good, it has some weird flaws. Your AI companions will only use their basic attacks unless you tell them otherwise, and the system is not well set up (especially on PC) to give orders to other characters continuously through battle. I found myself wishing for FFXII's customisable battle system, which would have made the game far easier. In addition, only being able to use 1 Summon per battle is pretty stingy and silly. FFVII worked well because it was systemic, combining rules and intelligence so if you want to do something like use 3 Summons in one fight one after the other, you could, and it was cool. This game often feels like it's slamming a "NO!" sign down every time you want to have fun or make your life easier.
  •  
  • Most of the game seems to be welcoming to newcomers to the franchise who've never played Final Fantasy VII before, until the last half hour when it goes fucking nuts and starts chain-gunning the player with obscure fanboy references to spin-off media, shifting timelines, throwing in call-outs to Advent Children and a PS Portable-only mobile game and half-spoiling plot events from much later in the FFVII timeline. It's genuinely bizarre.

 

I pulled out the parts on combat and the cluster$%&@ of an ending.  I mostly enjoyed the combat, but if there was only one change I could make it would be that your companion characters would charge their abilities at the same rate or even just a little slower than the one you control.  I get that the goal was to have you switching characters non stop and building action bar regularly, but I didn't enjoy that.  Let Aeris build her action points independently and then I'll switch over when its full and trigger an ability.  That would have felt like a much more natural evolution of the ATB system.

The ending is something that left me completely at a loss.  I don't even know how I am supposed to feel about it because now I have no idea what comes next.  I get that they didn't want to make a direct remake.  But like you said, it took things that would make zero sense to much of the audience and threw it right in their face.  For what?  Maybe it will be worth it... but I won't know that until they decide to release the next part.  :dunno:   And lets remember, a baby born the day FFVII was released would now be 24 years old.  (That really hurts...)  The game really should have been more focused on the new player experience. 

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10 minutes ago, Rhom said:

I pulled out the parts on combat and the cluster$%&@ of an ending.  I mostly enjoyed the combat, but if there was only one change I could make it would be that your companion characters would charge their abilities at the same rate or even just a little slower than the one you control.  I get that the goal was to have you switching characters non stop and building action bar regularly, but I didn't enjoy that.  Let Aeris build her action points independently and then I'll switch over when its full and trigger an ability.  That would have felt like a much more natural evolution of the ATB system.

Interesting, I generally found they did that. I'd play as Cloud, do a couple of attacks and a few dodges and then the other two characters would have already charged their bars and I could get them to do their things and then go back to Cloud again. Barrett and Aeris in particular seemed pretty good to stand off and blast away with their ranged attacks, so were regularly at full charge when I needed them to be. Tifa admittedly did have a tendency to stand in a corner with her Guard up and didn't charge as often, so if she was in the party I did have to manually direct her into battle a bit more often (in retrospect, bad choice, but I had Tifa as the Heal All character, when I probably should have made it Aerith, but Tifa is in the party for a lot more of the game).

Quote

 

The ending is something that left me completely at a loss.  I don't even know how I am supposed to feel about it because now I have no idea what comes next.  I get that they didn't want to make a direct remake.  But like you said, it took things that would make zero sense to much of the audience and threw it right in their face.  For what?  Maybe it will be worth it... but I won't know that until they decide to release the next part.  :dunno:   And lets remember, a baby born the day FFVII was released would now be 24 years old.  (That really hurts...)  The game really should have been more focused on the new player experience. 

 

If the sole purpose of that stuff was to say, "okay, so it's not a given the good guys will win again, and characters who died before might survive this time around and characters who survived might die," but otherwise it sticks close to the original, okay, fair enough, but I'm not 100% sold on these guys doing that. They seemed to build up the shifting timeline way more than that. Plus now it's Nomura in charge, who is bananas.

My ex-girlfriend's daughter was born one year before FF7 came out and is now 25 and has a daughter of her own, which is indeed fairly terrifying.

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Got Hades as a Christmas gift and am running through the first few levels and building my character up, but I have no idea what I’m doing yet. Just got the bow and am enjoying the ranged combat more than the sword though

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My fastest clear was using the last aspect of the fists, the chained dash strikes with it have ridiculous mobility. They're probably my least preferred weapon though, as they thrash my arms/wrists/fingers the most.

I really struggled with the spear when playing it normally, but the hammer for triple dash strike really worked for me.

I picked it up on the PS4 and did a couple of runs, it definitely doesn't tax me in the same way but some real different control muscle memory to learn. The bow seemed much harder than with mouse and keyboard and I can't imagine the rail special working well for me at first. Got to Lernie on my second run.

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So what's everyone's Game of the Year?

Mine's Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. No question. It's an incredible CRPG. My first playthrough took over 200 hours, I only finished it a couple months ago, and yet I've already started another game to see one of the other mythic paths.

I tried making a top 10 list beyond that though, and I can't really. Most of the games released this year just didn't speak to me that much. I think my #2 and #3 for instance would be Disco Elysium: The Final Cut and Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. They did both release this year, so they "count", but it's hard to really call them 2021 games; and I've played all those games before this year. 

I did like Loop Hero a lot too. And so far I think FFXIV: Endwalker is a decent experience (I've finished the main story, haven't done any of the endgame yet), but I liked both Shadowbringers and Heavensward more. Most other 2021 releases that I played just didn't grab me for me than a few hours; games like Scarlet Nexus, Tales of Arise, Battlesector, Psychonauts 2, etc. I haven't played the Halo Infinite campaign yet, so maybe that'll end up in the positive column.

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I was just reading an interview in EDGE, a gaming magazine with Miyazaki who talked about GRRM's early involvement. Basically George provided a historical foundation for the setting, based on loose ideas Miyazaki provided and ideas GRRM pitched, and then Miyazaki and his team elaborated on that to get to the present place. Sounds like an interesting approach, as they interpreted and expanded on the nucleus GRRM gave them.

 

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