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Everything posted by FFWF

  1. I don't think it's been a working title for a while now. If nothing else, I think it got sufficient publicity as just a working title that it might have genuinely confused some people if they'd renamed it; I'm thinking of Octopath Traveler, in this regard, which was also initially a working title but became established as the brand. You don't want to change a name everyone already knows.
  2. It's an honestly fascinating problem that WayForward developed a deliberate thematically one-off gameplay gimmick for Pirate's Curse, but they made it too well and it accidentally plays better than the main series. I don't think they can possibly make "Shantae is a pirate now" the premise of the whole series without betraying what came before, but it's going to be very interesting to see what they can take forward. For example, if the dances become instantaneous, are they really still dances?
  3. In the end, weren't there only a handful of New 3DS exclusives, and not necessarily the ones you'd expect? I remember Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, The Binding Of Isaac, and Hyrule Warriors (de facto, apparently it was abysmal on a standard 3DS). If Switch Pro games would have to curtail their requirements for undocked mode anyway, I would imagine they'd be capable of something similar for docked non-Pro play, though admittedly I know little of such things.
  4. I just feel that some of the system's critics fail to understand the different ways in which people play. I use my Switch exclusively undocked; I don't even have it hooked up to a TV. I never detach the JoyCons, never play multiplayer, I'm indifferent to HD Rumble. If the Switch Lite had been out closer to launch, I'd have bought it, absolutely. Edit: Just remembered that Nintendo did some research in 2017 showing that over 30% of Switch owners use it undocked more than 80% of the time. (Source)
  5. Nintendo has zero interest in making the system stand apart. It's intended to be a no-hassle version of the Switch at a more accessible price; removing bells and whistles to bring the price down is the whole point. They certainly don't want to split the existing Switch market with mutually exclusive gimmicks; it's less for the portable market and more for parents with small children, much like the 2DS.
  6. SteamWorld Quest (Switch) - I have not previously played any card-based RPGs; but I trust the Image & Form crew, and here we are. SteamWorld Quest plays very well; the mechanics are easy to pick up but with boundless depth, you get a steady stream of new cards from treasure chests and crafting and even character development - in some respects, there's actually too much content; I never came close to acquiring many of the craftable cards, which is perhaps a way of encouraging players to focus on developing a strategy rather than taking a scattergun approach. However, this is one of the game's drawbacks: There isn't enough game for the cards. The number of cards, strategies, possibilities far outlast the actual length of the game; indeed, even the addition of extra characters to swap into your three-man party feels difficult to appreciate, because the mechanical potential for experimentation doesn't really line up with how the game plays out in practice. With only three party members usable at a time, any character without a clear niche doesn't have a place; and the challenge level means that you will simply never swap out your healer, for example, while the decision to award only diminished experience to unused party members means that they'll quickly be left behind. The game feels like it would have benefited from full heals after every battle and full XP to all characters to encourage alternative set-ups and strategies; in addition to just plain needing to be longer - but at the end of the day, this is an indie game, so one can't expect miracles. The story, for this is after all an RPG, is fairly standard RPG fare, but quite fun; the characters have just enough of a second dimension to work, and are charming enough to want to spend time with. But it's also a very weird narrative which is barely SteamWorldy at all; it's framed as a fairy-tale, and the characters behave and speak throughout as if they were human - to the extent that the writing would honestly feel more natural if they were. Of all the SteamWorld projects so far, then, this is the one which feels the most uneven; there's enormous potential, and it is fun, but it felt like it needed not so much more time in the oven as a slightly different recipe entirely. Gato Roboto (Switch) - An entertaining and enjoyable mini-Metroidvania, with a Blaster Master twist where your underpowered cat protagonist can leave its chunky mech suit entirely. If we're being perfectly honest, it's actually not terribly Metroidy; while the map is windy and intersecting, the main course is actually very linear with areas being unlocked in a clear order, exploration and backtracking being largely reserved for tracking down bonus upgrades. Additionally, not only are there other vehicles beside the mech suit, there are extended periods where you play as the cat alone. So this game is more of an atmospheric Metroidvania, with its labyrinthine tunnels and ever-present sense of danger; but that's no bad thing. I had my doubts about the game's entirely monochrome graphics at first, wondering if enemies would fail to stand out, or the environment grow cluttered; but everything is actually signalled quite well, and the monochrome look allows for a considerable number of unlockable bonus palette swaps to be found and engaged with; I neglected these, but in retrospect I wish I'd put each of them on having found them, just to see what they really play like. My one real objection is that the game has a fairly unnecessary point of no return just before the last leg; and completing the game locks you into a state where you simply can't revisit the map at all. Possibly this is to encourage replayability? It is a short game, ultimately; I completed it 100% in almost exactly three and a half hours, which apparently is about standard. Short, but sweet; I could have played the game for hours longer, and can only hope that a sequel will one day be on the cards. Coming up next: With nine labyrinths under my belt and over seventy hours of playtime, I can comfortably say that I'm past the halfway point of Etrian Odyssey Nexus (3DS); my strategy of clearing a labyrinth between every other game I play is paying off. But with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Switch) regrettably proving technically incompetent at present, I've no choice but to wait for it to be updated to a passable state... which means that, with the next game on my list, I'm now playing two Etrian Odyssey games at once: Persona Q2 (3DS).
  7. Apparently Max Raid Battles can be accessed offline, and the game will generate AI trainers to support you.
  8. Bea/Allister's gym is in an area that's overall Rock/Ground themed, and that's what people assumed it would be before today. You could make an argument that Fighting has something of an association with those kinds of aesthetics, but either way the obvious choice was skipped. I think that's a fair concern about version-exclusive gyms, though, if it feels like the gym doesn't have a strong connection to the area it's in; it implies that the gym leaders probably won't be too involved in events outside of their little bubble.
  9. As with the previous food-based Pokemon, I have no strong feelings about them but see no reason why they shouldn't exist. Duraludon's design is really appealing, though; I appreciate how sleek it is. So weird that they still haven't formally announced Impidimp, though; it even appears on a poster in the background at one point! But I dug over the website and press release, and it is definitely confirmed that only specific individual Pokemon can Gigantamax, not every Pokemon of that species; so only certain special Corviknight can Gigantamax, for instance. A strange decision, especially given that they have unique moves. Rose and Oleana seem like people we'll be fighting at some point, and there's a weird emphasis on the corporate angle that I hope is going to be subverted. Bea gives me something of a Danganronpa vibe, and I'm not sure why. But I do think it's interesting that they're doing version-exclusive gyms now; I actually really like it when the versions have significant differences so that there's a real choice to be made between them, so I'm on board with that. It also increases our chances of finally getting that Dark-type gym, too; the website appears to confirm multiple towns with version-exclusive gyms, so the theory that the Ice-flavour area may have a Dark-type gym could be onto something.
  10. It... it sounds like you can't even Gigantamax every Pokemon from a Gigantamax-capable species? (Source) So they're not only Mega Evolutions, they're also the obtainable Totem Pokemon from Ultra Sun/Moon. I was behind Dynamax up to now because of the way it wasn't restricted to particular Pokemon, but Gigantamaxing is somehow even more exclusive.
  11. It's difficult to be sure if they'll animate the remaining classic Pokemon for the inevitable enhanced version - and that is thought to be the issue now, it's that there are more new animations than people necessarily notice (although Mega Evolutions they're clearly trying to replace mechanically). Implementing the remaining Pokemon for the enhanced version would not only set up expectations for future generations that they're specifically trying to avoid now, but it would also open them up to the accusation, already being levelled, that they could have perfectly well included all Pokemon if they'd only delayed the game. I don't think they'll bother; they'll put their efforts elsewhere. Honestly, the real problem is the annualisation of the mainline franchise. We're currently in our longest streak of consecutively-released mainline games since the classic days, and GameFreak are taking fewer and fewer gap years. With the enhanced versions, GameFreak is simulating the long-term event-based support some major games get, but by literally making additional games rather than delivering it as DLC. As they move into HD graphics and home consoles, I don't think that approach will continue to be sustainable - not just for consumers, but for their own development teams. They should really consider slowing down, supporting their releases over a longer period with things like classic Pokemon DLC packs and events and in-game tournaments and all that stuff people go for in other big-deal games; and using that to take more gap years, maybe lean on their neglected spin-off lines more, give new games additional time in development. Honestly, I literally couldn't care less about bringing old Pokemon forwards, but it's become more and more obvious that GameFreak have been rushing the development of recent games. I'm hoping the increased scrutiny will bring about a genuine change in their development practices - though in reality, only decreased sales will do that.
  12. This game seems like a surprisingly smart move. Pokemon has always gone out of its way to design distinctive and appealing characters who largely just sit around in their challenge rooms all day doing nothing, and only get more leverage in the anime if at all. Finally exploiting the popularity of human characters rather than just Pokemon was pretty canny on GameFreak's part. Because the accumulation of mechanical gimmicks is making the mainline games steadily more bloated with archaic minutiae, some of which they're designing new systems to improve upon? The big problem with Mega Evolution is that it's a single-gen gimmick that wasn't designed like one; crafting Mega Evolutions as distinct new Pokemon was a serious mistake if they didn't intend it to be a fixture (and it was already soft-dropped in Gen VII). People give Dynamax flak for being boring, but mechanically it's built as a synthesis of Mega Evolution and Z-moves, and flavoured as being region-specific so it won't carry the same long-term expectations.
  13. It's very obvious that what you're meant to do, in GameFreak's ideal world, is to give your friend your Pokemon and feel happy that you're sharing parts of each other's playthrough and that your Pokemon will grow with your friend; hence their nicknames being fixed, getting bonus experience - the mechanics and the flavouring of whole process, including in-game trades, which are of course one-way only. The fact that nobody would ever do this makes a mockery of the theme and reveals it for the meaningless busy-work it is.
  14. I've never really cared for trade evolutions anyway; the premise of having a potentially good Pokemon which won't evolve unless you give it away, and you never see the benefit, seems wildly flawed. They should either rejig it into a general online/multiplayer interaction, or provide an in-game service which lets you loan out your Pokemon for a while to get it back later.
  15. They've changed evolution methods before when the original mechanic wasn't carried forwards; with Feebas and Milotic, for instance. Inkay and Malamar will probably have to change at some point, too. Frankly, I think there are a lot of evolution methods which are over-complicated, usually because they were introduced cross-generation, and which I think could stand to be retconned and smoothed out. With that said, while I personally don't care for it, I think some version of Amie/Refresh is a reasonable addition to the series that complements GameFreak's aim of making each Pokemon feel more individual and alive. I wouldn't get rid of it... though I would combine friendship and affection.
  16. Timespinner (Switch) - The first thing anyone ever says about this game is that it's a good rip-off of Order Of Ecclesia, and who am I to defy convention? Mechanically, that is true; you could tell me that Timespinner was literally built on the same engine and I wouldn't bat an eyelid. But the broad brushes are a lot different. Whereas Ecclesia's story focussed on only a handful of characters and its plot beats were drawn with a very broad brush, Timespinner spins a fantasy/sci-fi tale about revenge, war, and the fate of worlds; it's a bit front-loaded on lore but with everything sliding together towards the end, and builds much stronger relationships between its well-developed protagonist and its various main and secondary characters. The visual design lines up with the story in being rather on the gritty side, tending to go for dark, muddy palettes and with a liking for brown caves and functional corridors; it suffers from a real lack of life and vibrancy here, and takes until more or less the end of the game to really pick up. The map design is at its best in tight, wriggly little towers and corridors, but an awful lot of it is long, flat expanses, resulting in a fast-travel map that only just fits on your screen, and scrolling in map screens that could have been avoided with a little more verticality; it's also a little disappointing that the game's time-travel mechanic has been interpreted as resulting in two very samey maps, often easy to confuse. The music definitely has a Castlevania vibe and is good, but fails to reach OoE's heights. So there are highs and lows. Deriving mechanically from OoE means the game plays very nicely - but it has a few flaws, some of them inherited directly from OoE itself. The familiar system, for instance, which gives you a variety of monster pets to help in battle, is essentially redundant; they start off weak and stay that way, and their slow as molasses attack style means they're unlikely to pick up much experience. The game's RPG level-up system feels redundant, too; you can find upgrades to your health, magic, and time stats out in the world, and equipment to boost the rest of your stats, so it's not clear whether a level-up system is really necessary. Compounding this is that your weapons also have a level-up system, so even your damage is partly dependent on two different level-ups. Weapons having a level-up system feels particularly unhelpful; the game gives you a fair number of them, but the fact that they need levelling to be useful discourages focussing on any but a select few - though the game does give you a three-slot quick-select, and it genuinely is very helpful to be able to switch between attack styles on the fly (another inheritance from Ecclesia, of course). Technically you can mix up to two weapons per slot, and each weapon comes with a magic spell and supplementary ring that can be swapped; but they tend to work best in their original sets. Probably the saddest real flop is the game's signature time stop mechanic, which is enormously easy to simply forget about, required largely for a few mandatory jumps on falling objects. I think the intention was for it to be an option in battle rather than mandatory, but combined with the fact that attacking isn't possible in time stop and it's purely a mobility power, it's definitely underused; and it recharging through attacking enemies is something which might have been better replaced with a cooldown, too. There are other points I could discuss, but what they boil down to is that Timespinner is solidly okay. Its themes come together and there's only really the one heavy-handed exchange, its story feels like it's told in the right amount of time, the gameplay is functional and fun, and it's generally nice to look at and listen to. Could it have been better, yes; but it's also a Kickstarter game, and so I'm aware it has some limits that mainstream releases might not - including those of the creator's vision. They made it their way, and I respect that; and I enjoyed playing the result. Frankly, I hope they make another, because I feel that with lessons learned they could craft Coming up next: Despite both my New 3DS's microSD card slot needing a replacement, and my microSD card itself being corrupted, I have somehow arrived in a reality where I managed to preserve my Etrian Odyssey Nexus (3DS) save; the good news is that I can keep on playing it, but the bad news is that I have to keep on playing it. Fortunately, for a very long game it's also very chunkable, and I'm planning on slotting it in at a stratum between everything else I play. I've been putting off SteamWorld Quest (Switch), and it has to be said that I haven't heard as much buzz for it as with Dig and Heist, but I definitely want to see what Image & Form have come up with; Gato Roboto (Switch) is another shorter Metroidvania that I've heard enough about to grap; and lurking in the distance is a second Etrian Odyssey crossover title, Persona Q2 (3DS), though from what I've heard it's shorter than the average EO rather than (much) longer. That'll see me for the foreseeable future; and then maybe I'll get my hands on that other big-name Metroidvania that came out recently...
  17. Even assuming that Ken owned everything else - story, characters, art - then I would imagine he'd have to redraw the SEGA characters with his own distinct designs and different names à la K'Nox (or just scrub out any text that actually gives their names, black out the characters into shadows, etc.). Alternatively, if he put the whole thing out for free, there might be an argument that it wasn't a commercial use of the property and thus falls under fair use, like fanart. It would depend, basically. With that said, given Ken's estimated publication date for his "remaster": Then the answer is that we'll never find out.
  18. As it happens, Masuda and Ohmori do discuss the issue further in a new Famitsu interview (English summary via Siliconera) :
  19. This is exactly it. Ian Flynn will never commit to showing the two worlds because even Sonic Team aren't committed to the idea. Nothing in the games, and I don't think even any statement by a Sonic Team member, has ever acknowledged there being two planets or a portal between them. The most you'll ever get, as a player, is "I wonder where all the humans/animals are in this game?", but "Standing just off-camera" is honestly a better-fit explanation in every single instance. It's genuinely not clear if the two-worlds nonsense is even meant to be literal. But this is all related to a bigger problem - that Sonic Team no longer wish to make decisions. Sonic Team are treading water. Is Silver still from the future or not, is Blaze still from another world or not, is this new villain dead or alive... They'll never even address the question in their games because they're terrified that it might limit what they do later. They've put themselves in this paradoxical position where they refuse to make any canon statements in case it contradicts any other canon statements they might want to make in the future. Every single choice they make is dedicated to ensuring that they can continue to make unambitious games without having to think about either the past or the future. The comics will necessarily be the same. So long as Sonic Team wish the comics to remain game-accurate, nothing will be done that cannot be undone in the future.
  20. The game's looking great; my main concern, environmental diversity, has definitely been addressed. I'm glad they were able to create a game which appears to be taking the best of both its predecessors. Yoshi's Island 2 also became Yoshi's Island DS at the last minute... I feel like there might be more examples of this out there. Perhaps NoA thinks that games with subtitles sell better, or that cross-platform numbered sequels put people off. It will have been some calculation based on market research.
  21. I'm not sure if he meant "darker" than MM, or just darker than base BotW.
  22. If I'm honest, I can't blame GameFreak for not wanting to have to remodel and rebalance getting on for a thousand Pokemon every single game, and I've felt for a while now that the games were getting bogged down with minutiae from previous generations like an endless sea of outdated moves and items, classic legendary transformation items, gimmicks like Mega stones and so on. This decision was inevitable, and if Game Freak are finally pulling the plaster off, I hope they'll use the opportunity to make Sword and Shield's gameplay options tighter and more focussed. At least they're still providing a way to carry all your Pokemon forward at all, which has not always been the case; it's easy to envisage a version of the franchise which never allowed such an option. The battle background for the Water gym does look unusually plain, and since we know that backgrounds aren't this blank in the rest of the game then perhaps it's a game-in-development thing, or just a weird stylistic choice for this gym in particular. I'm just glad to see gym puzzles back; they have been sorely missed.
  23. Unfortunately, the U.K. doesn't get a say; only members of the Conservative party..
  24. They aren't ashamed to bring back Zavok, who had a similarly inconclusive fate to Infinite in a game which did not sell that well. But Sonic Team seem to regard Zavok as some kind of contextless monster who can be wheeled out whenever they want, so there is a slight difference to Infinite. Zavok literally tried to kill Eggman, but I guess that's water under the bridge; whereas Infinite raises questions about the Phantom Ruby if you bring him back, so they would have to actually think about it (and we can't have that).
  25. BoxBoy + BoxGirl! (Switch) - The unexpected fourth title in the series, and the first for the Switch! The 3DS trilogy dragged a little in the middle, but was great overall, and this new title carries over the best elements. As ever, on its most basic level, it's a minimalist-aesthetic block-pushing puzzle platformer, but the presentation, side-material, and number of gimmicks manages to keep the game fresh even over a pretty large number of levels; and for long-time players there's the extra challenge of S-ranking, playing each level in as short a time and with as few boxes as possible. And then there's the story - but we'll come to that. There are a few changes overall, the biggest being that the game this time is split into three campaigns - a classic single-player A Tale For One, a two-player co-op that can comfortably be played single-player in A Tale For Two, and at last the ability to play as the bizarrely-shaped third character in the trio in the postgame A Tall Tale. ATF1 openly declares itself the main story, and as such is the longest campaign and the one with the most gimmicks. It's also the mode which I felt was strangely unnecessary. If the series has one flaw, it's that the games can recycle too many gimmicks, and so the campaign at times can feel like a bit of a level pack, slowly reintroducing all the old themes yet again. But there are some new tricks this time, too; a few new gimmicks, some more exploitable than others, and even fresh abilities - which I don't feel are classics, but which I think were worth experimenting with, though I won't cry if they're gone by next time. Notably, not all gimmicks or abilities appear in the other, shorter campaigns, perhaps because the developers thought they'd reached their limits with them in single-player; but this is a bit of a shame, as I think it's the different gameplay offered in ATF2 and ATT that really make this game stand out. There are a few overall changes, such as completion now ranking you according to how many crowns you collected and a target number of boxes, rather than boxes and crowns being interlinked; each rewards you with a separate currency allowing you to buy in-game items. These items now include cheap assist items, which can do things like increase your speed and box limit - cheats, essentially, ones which I won't use but some less able players may need, so that's fine; also the customary music and comics, and the expected bonus challenges, here tasking you with using your abilities to pop balloons within a time limit. Costumes are now split into head, eye, mouth, and body parts, and doled out by a pachinko machine; there's an enormous amount of stock, but not being able to choose your rewards may rankle. Currency carries across between campaigns, costume currency stacking up exactly to how many costume pieces there are, the other currency coming in at well in excess of what there is to spend it on. S-ranking is now based on a single overall score for each level derived from completion time, boxes used, and crowns; this can be rather an annoying change, as it's not always clear whether you need to improve your time or your number of boxes used, but it does help to make clear that you do need to do everything to earn that precious S-rank - and there are ample opportunities to be every bit as devious as you could in previous titles (yes, there are still levels you can complete with zero boxes used!). One thing that hasn't changed is the surprisingly involved story and intricate lore associated with the series. It's not something you'd expect from a minimalist-aesthetic Nintendo puzzle platformer - but it is by the Kirby developers, after all; and there are sufficient developments in this title that it's actually necessary to formulate theories to understand how the game fits into the series overall! This is a real reward for long-time players - and doubtless a big surprise to anyone new to the series. In fact, if you finish all three campaigns and play close attention to all the clues scattered throughout the game, you may even reach awareness of a rather exciting secret... So there we have it: BoxBoy + BoxGirl!, the minimalist-aesthetic puzzle platformer whose generic surface elements belie a genuinely fulfilling experience on all fronts. I had my doubts once, but now I'm fairly sure we'll see more titles in the series in future; and this installment gives me every cause to hope for the best.
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