Jump to content

FFWF

TSS Member
  • Content Count

    4,589
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

FFWF last won the day on March 2 2019

FFWF had the most liked content!

8 Followers

About FFWF

  • Rank
    Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male

Recent Profile Visitors

14,095 profile views
  1. They do seem to be struggling to come up with content which wasn't already in the original reveal trailer. Today's update is almost entirely made up of expanded details for things we already know about; which, okay, very welcome, but there's not really anything fresh to grab us - and a lot of it only applies to the subsequent Crown Tundra in any case, not even the upcoming Isle of Armor! Still, it beats that one extra trailer they stuck at the end of a Direct which I don't recall revealing even a single new detail whatsoever.
  2. La-Mulana 2 (Switch) - I like puzzles; and, for my sins, I like video game, exploration, dungeon puzzles. So naturally I was aware of La-Mulana; but also, necessarily, of its reputation. Eventually, I saw an LP of that game, and as much as I enjoyed it, some of the puzzles there seemed deeply dubious. But La-Mulana 2, on the other hand, was reputed to be fairer; and, if true, it would be right up my alley. I decided to give it a shot. And let me say, no regrets! It's been too long since I've played a properly explorey Metroidvania, with so many options for where to go at all times, so many secrets. Tricky platforming, challenging multi-option combat that didn't go on too long - these alone would have won me over. But nobody can talk about La-Mulana without mentioning the puzzles, and I was determined to tackle them right - even keeping an Excel file in which I recorded my own annotated maps, and a Word file transcribing just about every single tablet and line of dialogue. And the result paid off! The game has a good mix of trivial per-room puzzles and high-level puzzles requiring synthesising information from across a dizzying variety of locations; and by and large, they're all legitimate, fair to the player who's paying attention. There are still a few wrinkles, though; a few things I looked up, because I wasn't sure if I was missing something or if the game wasn't telling me something - and there were instances of the latter (some I suspect of being down to questionable localisation - but what a hard game to localise at all, though!). But overall, I'm really happy to have played this and to have given it my all. Here's hopefully to the Hell-plus bonus dungeon arriving one day, and to any future efforts along these lines!
  3. As a fan of early Mario & Luigi, and as somebody who played Sticker Star and hated it, I have a lot of sympathy for classic Paper Mario fans; but there's a risk that we overlook anything that isn't a carbon copy of the things we love. Nobody's obliged to be enthusiastic about a series taking a new direction - heaven knows I hate what Nintendo's been doing with Yoshi - but some of the criticism being levelled against this game seems alarmist and unfounded, as if the very idea of it not being TTYD means it will automatically be bad, rather than just not what some people are looking for. I don't know if this will fill the Mario RPG void for me, but what they're showing so far looks like something I could have a good time with. I think what's selling me on this game is that it looks like they have a clear creative vision. Their advancing graphical prowess gives them the ability to render their paper aesthetic in ever more sophisticated ways; that in turn has inspired them, as it did long before Sticker Star, to integrate aesthetics into gameplay and narrative; and the result is this immediately visually distinctive and compelling clash of flat versus fold. It's a really organic progression, and the very fact that they're willing to embrace this fusion of aesthetics and gameplay gives them more creative opportunities. And the story (in strict fairness I should say world) honestly looks really promising, too. We see loads of different set pieces in that trailer and we've seen a respectable number of partner characters, and the trailer takes care to underline that they are vocal regardless of how generic they are. The flat versus fold aesthetic conflict makes it logical to use stock characters to better draw these comparisons - and Nintendo's been doing amazing things with the stock characters in their writing recently (anyone who didn't play the new storylines in the M&L 3DS remakes is really missing out). Conversely, I'm not particularly sold on King Olly's design just yet (or name, but I assume in Japan he's King Ori(gami), so it's perhaps a translation artifact); he seems rather simplistic, but that's clearly the point, to underline his visual connection to Olivia and to make his inevitable subsequent origami transformations more striking by comparison: It's pretty obvious that the Shy Guy was actually a disguise for him, rather than vice-versa; and he's visually a component of the paper aeroplane attacking Bowser's airship later, too, and so doubtless there will be more and more. Nintendo's allergy to original characters is wildly exaggerated; I'm sure they'll be back en masse when Nintendo's ideas take them outside the Mushroom Kingdom again, but there have still been interesting characters all this time, designs notwithstanding.
  4. Well, this certainly looks more promising on the face of it than the past couple of entries. Hard to make too many judgements about the battle system yet, but they're willing to make changes, which is correct. So far as new characters versus stock characters goes, having played the extra stories in the Mario & Luigi 3DS remakes, I am now firmly in the camp that it all comes down to the writing; the extra storylines in the remakes were some of the best Mario writing ever, all with pre-established characters. (This isn't to say that I don't care for new characters - far from it - but it's all in the context.)
  5. Eggman, to my recollection, never shows any sign of having the slightest shred of empathy. He may admire his grandfather as a scientist, but that doesn't necessarily mean he cares about what happened to him as a person; and I agree with the speculation above that Eggman's feelings are closely tied not just to his grandfather's achievements but to his reputation. It's also very clear that Eggman has no interest in GUN whatsoever; he probably regards them, quite accurately, as faceless nobodies. From this, I conclude that, even after learning the truth about his grandfather's death, Eggman probably views that fact as his grandfather's failure rather than GUN's responsibility. And a good thing to, if you ask me. Eggman certainly doesn't need his backstory and motivations limited by these events. He's great because his ambitions are universal and his grudges are saved for the protagonist of the series.
  6. I wonder, you know. If you look at the lower-right concept design here: It has very heavy Metal Sonic vibes - general colour scheme, certain non-organic traits like the missing iris and mouth... It's pure speculation, but I do wonder if one of the early ideas mooted for Shadow (or Terios, I suppose) was that he could be Metal Sonic given an organic body to become a greater rival to Sonic. You could have done a lot of the same things with the character that way, really; the cockiness, the mystery, the way he can be mistaken for Sonic; it lends itself to some of the traits they would establish for Metal Sonic later, like his desire to replace Sonic and become the "real" Sonic, but it's also a vehicle for a classic story of a machine becoming human and having to deal with newfound emotions (doubtless starting with cockiness, envy, rage, but perhaps later self-doubt), and ultimately have him become an independent agent, an anti-hero of shifting allegiances a little like Sonic Team seem to want Shadow to be. Of course, what they went with was completely different and now they can't ever do that idea because people would just call it a rip-off of Shadow. A shame, in my opinion. I'm broadly in agreement. I think Sonic does have continuity and it would be better not to overtly erase or rewrite that because there are still elements there you can or may want to later use, but at the same time I think that continuity has always been very loose and there's ample room for manoeuvre if they want to quietly backpedal on some things and reinterpret them a bit. It's part of why I don't see any need for a Classic and Modern "split"; different gameplay styles suit different kinds of story, and I don't think anyone has a problem with both being around. People welcomed Mania as a throwback, but I don't think anyone really saw it as mutually exclusive to what was being done with Modern Sonic (except maybe Sonic Team - and they keep on combining the two anyway!). This, I think, may be the problem. On the one hand, I agree that Shadow, considered independently of his design, stands sufficiently well on his own. He has a distinct personality, he has his own clear motivations, he has his own circle of friends and his own approach. But on the other hand, he's dark Sonic. That's inescapable because it's his design. He has a few little tweaks that give him his own style, but the overwhelming force of his design is that he is Sonic but black. And the result of that is that you cannot use him without reminding people instantly of Sonic, without them contrasting him to Sonic. We see this in the games, where he is either presented as a rival to Sonic, or cast in the role of Sonic - as playable co-star, as team leader, and so on. Whole games hinge on this structure. I suspect this may be an unpopular way of phrasing it, but I actually think Sonic Team made a serious mistake when conceiving Shadow. They designed a character to look like a dark Sonic, but they wrote him as having nothing to do with Sonic; and I'm frankly not convinced that you can have both at the same time. I think there's something quietly tragic - not deliberately, but in its nature as a product - about the Sonic Adventure 2 experience of going through the game seeing this character who looks like Sonic, who styles like Sonic, who has powers like Sonic, and who is consequently at the centre of this long mystery of exactly who he is and why he is so similar to Sonic... and then there is no reason. If you dig into the lore, there's a tiny little implication of why he might look like Sonic, but fundamentally it's inconsequential. The real answer is marketing; a trick, basically. And so there will always be a dissonance there for everyone except long-time fans who have gotten used to this quirk; but an outsider is never going to view Shadow as an independent character.
  7. Aviary Attorney (Switch) - While this game makes absolutely no secret of its Ace Attorney inspirations, something which is welcome in this official drought for the series, it's actually got quite a bit more going for it than that. Its fusion of the music of Saint-Saëns and the satirical art of J. J. Grandville (both supplemented with original material) create an entirely fresh and original atmosphere relative to Ace Attorney, and its setting in revolutionary France is surprisingly well-researched for a game about humanoid animals. The trials themselves aren't quite the epic showpieces of Ace Attorney, but as bite-sized approximations they're fairly comfortable, though the final one for each branch feels a little brief; but it is impressive that the game does branch, that it remembers your choices and mistakes and takes them with you through your playthrough without ever shutting you down with a game over, allowing you to botch each and every trial and still continue to an ending. The result is really quite a different experience from Ace Attorney; and feels perhaps closest to its inspirations less in its investigation-and-trial formula than in its eclectic assortment of lovably off-kilter characters. I don't know if I got what I came for, but I got something I valued. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition (Switch) (Act 1) - So I probably didn't need to get this. I have something of a taste for classic RPGS (or perhaps more classic-style RPGs, which isn't the same thing), and am interested in important, landmark titles; but I'm still not sure whether or not I was right to buy into this, the latest entry in that most traditional of RPG series, Dragon Quest. There's no doubting its quality, though. The game is gorgeous, somehow even on a handheld Switch; the story is an old one, but well-told, and not without twists and turns that keep it interesting; and the characters and locations are all tremendously jolly and well-distinguished. The battle system is largely brainless but each character has opportunities for customisation through a skill tree system, perhaps taking inspiration but much improved from Dragon Quest VIII, which also feels like a clear influence in the game's wide-open fields and routes which are nonetheless stuffed with details; the game feels like what Pokemon Sword and Shield wanted to be. I've laid the game down for a while after what the fans seem to agree constitutes "Act 1"; it's a long title, and this feels like a good time for a pause, as between seasons of a television show. But I'll be back for the next season, sometime in the next couple of months; but I want it to feel fresh and something to look forward to again, rather than getting stale from too long a duration. Bravely Default II (Switch) (demo) - I would have considered myself a bit of a fan of the Bravely series. I played both Bravely Default and Bravely Second back on the 3DS; and while they certainly had their flaws in the writing department, they were also excellent classic-style RPGs, largely in the customisation permitted by their Final-Fantasy-V-style job system, though their charming chibi art was also fairly appealing (if sometimes a deeply poor fit with its outfit designs). So, I was quite looking forward to the eventual Switch entry, and keen, once the demo was announced, to give it a go. So, the question is: What went wrong? This demo feels like a straight botch on just about every level. (Except perhaps the difficulty; they announce up-front that they're making it more difficult than the final product, a deeply strange choice, but once you level up a bit and get your jobs in place, it's not so bad.) The menus are a strange mix of overwhelming information and obtuse use, with different buttons required for tooltips in different areas, panels covering up relevant data, a presentation that tries to be stylish but sucks the magic out of changing class. Classifying the borrowing of another job's command list as a "sub-job" system, meanwhile, makes it feel quite unfair that you don't get a jot of JP towards it from each battle, meaning the game feels grindier than it needs to be. The enemy graphics are charmless, as are the visuals in the demo's sole dungeon, an abominably-designed waste of space made up of large amounts of nothingness offset at perfect right-angles; clothes look weirdly flashy and reflective, and the camera in the town is zoomed out much too far, leaving you squinting at your character and the virtual stick figures he runs into. Worse, in the graphics department, is the attempt to render the series's trademark chibi art in more realistic details, leaving the characters, who look great in their concept art, looking like horrid muscular infants. But the biggest botch exists in changes to the battle system: Instead of queuing up your whole party's moves in advance and playing them out against the enemy, characters now take their turns individually, and different actions appear to have different, unpredictable levels of delay before their turn will come up again - with the result that you never have any idea whose turn it is going to be next, and strategy is impossible. It's not unusual to take a turn, only for that character to then immediately get another turn! Perhaps it's just because I've been playing Dragon Quest XI, but it feels like they tried to copy that game without understanding how it interacted with their own series's standards. In fact, in general, the whole game presented thus far feels like the developers were making changes without understanding, without thinking about the consequences or indeed about what they were losing with each change. There are a sparse few successes; the differing degrees of elevation on the world map are a cool touch, and indeed the world map is one of the few parts of the game that honestly looks good; and the designs of the new job classes are great, interesting and exciting all round and often avoiding the generic, or indeed the male-female dichotomy of boring-sexy which previous games' job designs fell into. (It's just a shame that weird reflections and ugly character models detract from these fresh, interesting designs.) But overall, from having gone into this experience fairly excited about the prospect of a new Bravely title, I now find myself actively turned off from ever getting it when it comes out, if it doesn't get some serious improvements... which seems unlikely with a 2020 release date on the horizon. I would be comfortable with the thought of it being delayed into 2021 if it meant the developers overhauling their menu design, battle system, and lighting; but I don't expect it to happen, and so am left with the disappointment of knowing I'm probably not going to bother with the game. What a shame - but a good thing they released a demo, though! Trials of Mana (Switch) (demo) - This, on the other hand! I have no familiarity with the Mana series whatsoever, but this was a definite breath of fresh air. Everything is brimming with colour, life, energy in this short slice of the upcoming remake. The graphics are lively and charming, the character designs are... perhaps better suited to 2D than 3D but I appreciate that they were so faithful to the original, and as an action game it's accessible and easy to learn in a way I appreciate as someone largely unfamiliar with such things. I'm a little dubious about systems where you choose your party rather than getting a pre-set one which can have strong ties written over the course of the game, but Trials Of Mana papers over the cracks pretty well, and I appreciate that you have such a diverse set of options for your main character. I'm not anticipating getting the full game, largely as I have a pretty massive backlog... but if I end up with a Bravely-Default-II-sized gap in my calendar, I know where I'll be looking instead.
  8. I wonder if it was convenient for the Smash team in terms of their internal schedule to start the second Fighters Pass with a character from a Nintendo IP, so they wouldn't have to spend time in negotiations with the rights holder. Actually, thinking about it in those terms, given the rumour that they pitched for Sora but got rejected by Disney Japan, I wonder if Byleth was an emergency replacement; s/he does seem a relatively unglamourous character to have ended on given that a second Fighters Pass wasn't part of the original plan. It's interesting that Fighters Pass 2 will include an extra character compared to the original Fighters Pass. It does make me wonder if they might have inserted Geno in at the end for the long-time fans, given that Smash Ultimate is something of a last chance for dream characters.
  9. This is some astonishing lack of self-awareness on display. You mean Miba, O'sh, and Dr. Infinitevus?
  10. I kind of like him, too, though certainly not as an edgy all-powerful monster. I think he's accidentally a good character; he wasn't written to be, but somewhere in the mess of his conflicting backstory emerges something interesting - a coward with a massive inferiority complex. I'm just not sure the writers realise it.
  11. It scarcely bears saying at this point, but: You cannot, indeed do not, copyright an idea. You only copyright the presentation of an idea. So if you want to write a series of books about a magic school in a castle, then so long as you don't call it Hogwarts or borrow any of the specific characteristics of that idea from Harry Potter, you're fine. If you want your baddy to have a giant spherical space station that's really deadly, then so long as you put your own spin on the design and give it a distinctive name, there isn't a problem (say, wait a minute...). And if you're working on a licensed Sega product and want to do a story with high-tech echidnas (and Sega allows it), then so long as you give it all fresh names and designs and not pattern it too closely after previous efforts, it'll all be peachy. (Personally, I don't really care for "high tech" echidnas as such; I think canon echidna technology is a bit more mystical than that, as much magic as technology. But if Sega wants to put echidnas on a spaceship tomorrow, nobody can stop them.) This is how genres of fiction form, by people using the same broad ideas but with their own unique presentation. Doesn't matter if a hundred people have done it before and you've read all of them. You take the idea and you make it your own.
  12. Return of the Obra Dinn (Switch) - A highly unconventional sort of detective game, your goal as a nineteenth-century insurance agent is to board a ship found adrift and identify the fates of every person on board, individually, with the aid of a pocket watch which shows you the moments of their death. With an initially somewhat clunky interface which is probably exactly as flexible as it needs to be to allow you to draw connections between names, faces, and exact manners of death, the basic gameplay loop involves exploring the ship, using the pocket watch on any corpses you find, and interpreting the final moments depicted in the vision therein. Names are rarely given, but clues exist in costume, association, ethnic background and so on. The game confirms correct fates only in batches of three, more or less eliminating the possibility of guesswork, whilst at the same time apparently allowing for multiple possible fates to be entered for characters whose end is genuinely open to interpretation. What results is a strangely unputdownable game! The flow of it, the way each piece of information reveals more, and more, is brilliant at inviting you to continue delving into the past and using deduction to identify everyone on board. The game is in 3D but uses a one-bit aesthetic that carries an extremely retro vibe which ties in with the historical period and gloomy setting; facially, characters are just distinct enough to be individual, though by necessity very few have anything resembling characterisation - though there are some more prominent than others, with the possibility even of emergent narrative as you follow individuals through other characters' fates. The opening section of the game is just tight enough for you to get the hang of things before throwing you into paths of deduction that sometimes branch or require particularly careful investigation of the environment, but there are always clues, both to individual character's fates but also to the origins of the situation the Obra Dinn faced in its final voyage. One last section of the game is locked off until you get absolutely everything else right, and strangely, I feel that's the game's only misstep; the secrets hidden therein don't feel sufficiently revelatory compared to, say, some of the instigating incidents or even the bitter end (which rightly is where your investigation opens). But the basic detective process of the game is unmissable for fans of deduction, and I can only recommend it. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - A spin-off of the mainline Azure Striker Gunvolt series, this game stars angry non-psychic Copen as a defender of humanity's last vestiges in a grim alternative future. As the series's first Switch entry, the presentation is appropriately improved from the 3DS and features greater use of full-figure dialogue images, dialogue played out over actual art rather than stock figures, fancy effects and so on. Copen's gameplay is still reliant on dashes and lock-ons, similar to Gunvolt's remote attacks but with a lot more aerial mobility, and over the game he acquires a considerable stock of additional weapons. The only question is: Why is it so mediocre? In gameplay terms, very few stages have notable individual gimmicks that stand out, level design is basic and repetitive, and the weapons gained, Mega Man style, from each boss are uncompelling in relation to the core weapon. The camera is too zoomed in for Copen's extremely long-range dashes to feel safe, and no stage really takes full advantage of his range of aerial movement either. Purchasable upgrades exist and are uninspiring. Visually, the game's range of settings is extremely limited and more or less boils down to corridor after boring corridor, with little variation or stylistic individuality. The bosses are more or less interestingly designed, but often disguised by so many flashy effects that one scarcely gets a good look at them; their untransformed designs feature even more briefly. And, having criticised the same developer's Blaster Master Zero 2 for trading in its formerly restrained and fresh style for stock anime tropes, it is a huge disappointment to see this game feature no fewer than three separate visually underage girls who are also criminally underdressed; if a game feels obliged to pander to literal paedophiles, this says very little about their faith in the rest of their product. The game's writing, too, largely falls flat. Characters exist so briefly that they barely even have time to establish the stereotype they represent, let alone subvert it; certainly it's difficult to even care about the support characters Copen is fighting for, since they never do anything useful or interesting. (Ironically, the most interesting, motivated character is the game's Gunvolt analogue, whom I'd happily play a game about.) Copen himself doesn't even seem to care, as his characterisation shoots for "stoic" and ends up so flat it looks shallow. There's simply no passion at work, nothing to move, no reason to care about the stakes - which don't really evolve at all from the game's start to finish; it feels like the whole game is just Act 1 to an undelivered Act 2. Questions which the player should have, like how this game's plot relates to the main timeline or how Copen still looks the same as ever, are undermined by the game not troubling to even treat them as mysteries until they are at the last minute resolved. The only good thing I can think of to say is that Copen's reinvention as defender of the oppressed is certainly an improvement from his former characterisation as psychopath who wishes to enact genocide upon the oppressed, though given that the game's premise implicitly validates his original racist characterisation then it's not much of an improvement. I don't remember the previous titles very well, but I'm sure they had at least a little more meat to them than this - though frankly the whole experience was so dull that I eventually found myself rushing to the end. I used to regard Inti Creates as fairly reliable; hopefully they'll pick up, but I'll be looking on their output with skepticism from now on.
  13. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS) - I've thoroughly enjoyed every incarnation of Shovel Knight, each of its campaigns so far, and the fourth and last, the third playable boss knight, might just be the most ambitious yet. It doesn't reinvent the whole game as dramatically as Spectre Knight's campaign does; but Spectre Knight's campaign was relatively slim, and King Knight uses that as a base to create an explosion of content. Quite aside from the fun of experimenting with another wacky new moveset, the whole game structure has been reinvented here to focus on an interconnected world map of short levels inspired by Super Mario World, with more treasure stages, relic demos, and wandering bosses than ever before. The plot, too, essentially has nothing to do with the main storyline until the approach of the denouement, and instead is an essentially new storyline with bombast and wackiness and a surprisingly but inevitably bitter end - all wrapped around a card minigame, a very physical bash-about that reminds me more of a board game, and which has a huge amount of flexibility in play and optional content. It will bother the completionists that there's an awful lot of card game to play if you feel like you have to (though you really don't); and I have to admit that I have serious qualms about the game's loss penalty, whereby the opponent will permanently remove one of your cards - meaning that failure can quickly become compounded by repeated losses gradually wearing down your resources. But that's an experience I would have faced less had I done more to obey the directions set out for me by the game itself, and others will have had different experiences. The New Game+ modifications are similarly fierce, and will challenge your pride and desire to hold onto your bags of cash; it's not quite as interesting as Spectre Knight's New Game+, but it is meant to be a new and harder game mode, so again, I accept it. And overall, I had a fantastic time with this, what will probably be the last game I'll ever play on my 3DS; and what a send-off, for both the console and Shovel Knight; a celebration of platforming and less powerful consoles. I'll look forward to what's next. Shovel Knight Showdown (Switch) - Oh, this is what's next. Shovel Knight Showdown! The original proposal, during Shovel Knight's Kickstarter, was for a simple four-player battle mode featuring the game's knight bosses; but this has since expanded, like just about everything Shovel Knight, into a separate title with a startling amount of content. To be honest, I'm not a fighting game player, but fortunately even the single-player is pretty robust, with every single character having a short story mode with a unique rival, helping to characterise those who didn't get as much airtime in the campaigns to date - and, even more interestingly, giving you the chance to play as all these strange characters with unique movesets. To a certain extent, their intricacy has been scaled back to allow a certain degree of accessibility and cross-character skill, but it still feels great to be playing as all these characters who you could previously only fight against. There are also stacks of unlockables, accessible both through specific feats or through time spent playing, and while some can be grindy then they're all very doable even if you only have CPUs to face off with (...as I did). So there's a real celebratory sense of "everyone is here!" that makes this the perfect send-off for the Kickstarter phase of Shovel Knight - just in time for a new Yacht Club Games Presents this Wednesday to show off their Cyber Shadow and Shovel Knight Dig collaborations, and also tell us a little more about what's next. Clearly I'll be playing their games for some time yet.
  14. This may well be the case. Music copyright is an extremely complicated business, but a short sample (as presented in the second trailer) would be a lot easier to clear than an extended piece (as presented in the unused track).
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.