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Salamander last won the day on March 2 2019

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  1. I have to be completely honest: I thought that was a realistic possibility up until we saw the trailers. I outright expected it, even. But this looks so vanilla - literally just Diamond/Pearl HD - that I genuinely don't think they care about Platinum one bit. Insane to me that GameFreak looked at the reception to Platinum and to every previous remake and decided that what people wanted was for DP remakes to be more faithful.
  2. Can't wait for eight-directional movement and "Distortion World project has started!"
  3. While my feelings aren't quite so strongly negative, I do find myself deeply ambivalent about BDSP. While I don't mind the graphics, the fact that they respect the original proportions so much makes the whole thing look weirdly like a sidegrade more than an upgrade - but the elephant in the room is Platinum, and they went out of their way in the presentation to tell people that if they were looking for Platinum content they should stop paying attention. I hate to say it, but even the names sound uninspired. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl? Is that seriously the best they could come up with? I don't want to be precipitous, but the evidence so far is that this is going to be an absolutely literal, by-the-numbers remake, with none of the creativity that was the redeeming feature of ORAS. And if that is the case, then I just don't think I'm interested. By Gen IV the games were fundamentally modern anyway. I already played an updated Diamond/Pearl, it was called Pokemon Platinum and it was great. Like, did anyone not just want Perfect Platinum? As for Legends: Arceus - while I commend GameFreak for doing something different... well, I'm not remotely interested in open-world, action RPG Pokemon. That is in fact the opposite of everything I've ever liked about Pokemon. Edit: I guess what I'm saying is that I feel like GameFreak outsourced the wrong game. Legends: Arceus could've been done by people who actually have experience with this sort of thing, while the D/P remake would've been in more ambitious hands in-house.
  4. Castlevania (and to a lesser extent Metroid), which is crazy because that series and its style of gameplay has ended up being majorly my jam. I'm not sure why exactly it took me so long to take an interest; perhaps because I thought it would be a lot less flamboyant than it actually was? Whatever the case, the upshot was that I didn't get into the Metroidvania genre until the late DS years, at which point the GBA games had become unobtainable for me - result being that I've never played some of the major IGAvanias. Do a Castlevania Anniversary Collection 2, Konami!
  5. I think speculation is all very well, but it's the certainty that's the problem, the unjustified, faith-driven certainty. It's partly that people don't like surprises, partly that they do like to feel in the know; partly that it drives clicks and ultimately makes profit for shameless YouTubers trading on the gullible public. But it's also a problem that many people are completely unable to differentiate what is likely to happen from what they want to happen. That's exactly what most theories are, really; they don't actually have anything to do with real evidence, they're simply a statement of desire, and because they are statements of desire then people get emotionally invested in them - to their cost. You've probably all heard of the psychological studies indicating that, if you show a person evidence which disproves a belief they hold, it actually strengthens that belief, right? That's what we get with some of the Smash rage; people who are absolutely convinced that Character X is coming along next, only for it to be Character Y, feel as if only some deep injustice can explain this error - rather than their own cognitive biases being to blame. It is very much a cult in miniature, with prophets and laws.
  6. Nostalgia (DS) - Well, I had my left JoyCon sent in for long-overdue drift repairs, but being long-overdue as they were, I had prepared a suitable substitute back on my 3DS. Nostalgia (originally Winds of Nostalgia) by Matrix Software, developers of the Final Fantasy III and IV remakes for DS, is a sort of Victoriana Jones RPG set in a nineteenth-century Earth with airships, monsters, and adventurers. It leverages this setting to a T with real-world cities - London, Saint Petersburg, Tokyo - and dungeons set in real or otherwise Earth-based locations, such as the Tower of Babel, Mount Fuji, and Teotihuacan. Combat is turn-based, non-round-based, with a clear turn order indicator (better QOL than Bravely Default II!), and each character has a lengthy skill tree with multiple levels per skill. There are dozens of optional sidequests and real-world locations to track down and record; and the whole thing is chunky, with a respectable-length plot for a handheld game and a good seven or so purely optional dungeons. HowLongToBeat gives a figure of around forty hours for a completionist run; my own completed run ran to sixty hours, with all quests completed, bosses defeated, world treasures located, maps filled in, and treasure chests found (but I didn't encounter every enemy type or acquire every item). So, why didn't this game set the world on fire? Why did this game get acquired by a minor North American publisher who gave it a second-rate localisation, and why didn't it come to Europe at all (the reason I didn't get it before now)? Well, much though I hate to say it, the game exudes intense averageness. It actually does a lot that's fairly novel or at least unusual, but the fact is that it's right there in the title: Nostalgia. This is a game which is doing its level best to evoke the impression of RPGs of yesteryear (yesteryear in 2007!), and it succeeds in feeling too much like something you've encountered before. The battles are simplistic and never challenging (with the exception of maybe the final boss and one of the postgame bosses, who pulls out a nasty trick at low health); the skill tree is obtuse; the airship battles use rudimentary positioning systems which you don't actually have any power over; the map is far too big for its own good and would've been better-served by being about half the size; the visuals and art are underwhelming (the western box art is abysmal); and the plot starts out very slow and does a lot of meandering before finally getting genuinely intense and exciting just before the end. This isn't to say that the game is bad, though! It's pretty much the definition of "good but not great"; it bangs on the doors of greatness but isn't allowed in. I still had a great time, though - at sixty hours of playtime, I'd better - and if anyone has a hankering for a classic-style RPG and still has a DS-compatible system, I'd say go for it, it's not a hidden gem but it is a hidden shiny rock. If I'd been able to get my hands on it when I wanted to, i.e. about a dozen years ago, I don't think I'd have been disappointed, and I'm not really disappointed now. Besides, it kept me going just long enough for my JoyCon to get back to me, so you can't say it didn't do its job!
  7. I am curious as to how they're going to cap this off. Part of me thinks it should be somebody completely bizarre and off-the-wall. Just something to exude that sense of "relax, it's just a game, it's just for fun", and puncture the hostile discourse.
  8. I just can't see them making four sets of graphics for every level ever again.
  9. I'd say that Direct worked out pretty well for me! Of course, there were inevitably a few disappointments; I would have liked to see the 2D Metroid which is almost certainly in development, and of course a new Mario Golf means the Golden Sun dream is dead(er than ever), but otherwise there was a lot to interest me. The Famicom Detective Club remakes are games I really should take an interest in; well, there are quite a few other mystery visual novels on Switch which I could have bought but haven't, but these ones are some of the classics and I really want to experience what they do. Project Triangle Strategy (please don't let the working title become the final title this time) I'm very excited by; I had a great time with Octopath Traveler but felt its structure was ultimately lacking, and I've been getting curious about the old Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre series, so the Octopath team not doing a straight sequel but instead a new take on that interpretation of the strategy genre is something right up my street, and I'm looking forward to trying the demo... which saves me from having to try out the Bravely Default II final demo, frankly, as I think this tips me over the edge into not caring about that game at all. A shame, as the original and Bravely Second were fantastic (if flawed in various ways), but there it is, they changed too much. Similarly intrigued by the Legend Of Mana remaster, though moreso by the Saga Frontier remaster, as I've been looking to take a deeper interest in Saga for quite a while (just haven't yet gotten around to it). RPGs! Every time I want to get out, they just keep sucking me back in.
  10. Pyra/Mythra's intro trailer really led me around by the nose. The instant it opened I assumed it would be Smash, but then it started to look as if it had an actual plotline, and I was considering that it might be more Xenoblade 2 DLC, or even Xenoblade 2-2 or something silly like that... but then, no, it was Smash after all! I find it hard to be too annoyed, given that Sakurai has openly stated in the past that he wanted Rex and Pyra in the game; difficult to object to the man doing what he wants. I have a lot of sympathy for the "anime swordsman" complaints, but it seems to me that the last few Smash characters, despite all being nominal swordwielders, are quite stylistically different (hugely so, in Steve's case), and while I can't make a comment about their gameplay then they certainly exude a very different feel, a different atmosphere. It seems like it's only really Byleth who felt like too much in that regard, to the extent that even their reveal trailer commented on the "too many swordfighters" criticism (which Sakurai subsequently admitted was accurate, along with there being too many Fire Emblem characters); but at the end of the day, Byleth was very samey, whether or not it's true that they were whipped up to replace a scrapped Monster Hunter rep. But at the end of the day, there are a lot of swordfighters in video games, and RPG characters especially are pretty easy to construct as Smash characters. I think it's fair to hope for the next character to be radically different, though. Of course, there is the looming spectre of a Gen. 8 Pokemon which feels so inevitable that people are more or less dreading it; and for all that most people feel that Gen. 8's problem wasn't the Pokemon themselves, it's hard not to say that Cinderace feels like the obvious but also the most generic pick. If we are getting a Pokemon, hopefully it will be something a little more off-the-wall. At the end of the day, I admit I've got no real skin in the game, though. I haven't even played Smash or most of the games in the DLC! I'm just interested in developments.
  11. It seems reasonable to suggest that the longer a Direct is, the greater the likelihood of it featuring something to interest you personally. Well, for my part, I find it interesting even hearing about games I don't intend to play, so I can be fairly sure that the Direct should be an entertaining watch.
  12. It feels weirdly surreal that this is actually happening.
  13. This reminds me somewhat of the debate over whether Boom Knuckles had too small a head; the edits which scaled up his head always looked disturbing and disproportionate to me, but evidently some people felt quite the reverse. I've never had a problem with Sonic characters' hands before, but some of the examples posted above do look as though things have gone a bit wrong. There's a balance to be struck. At the end of the day... a lot of the design quirks of characters like Sonic, Mickey, Mario originate in a simple need to make their character design comprehensible in early basic animation; how do you distinguish their arms and hands when they pass in front of their body, etc. Hence gloves, hence pink arms and overalls. With a really good design, though, those necessary quirks become part of the enduring style. It's fascinating, really.
  14. It's a feedback loop. The games perform and review poorly, so SEGA deprioritises them and reduces funding and development time, so the games' quality and scope diminishes, so the games perform and review poorly - and so on. Another way of putting it would be to say that it's quite shockingly poor franchise management; SEGA seems to have little interest in retaining talent or taking care who works on their games or under what conditions. Perhaps we're seeing a change in strategy for the coming games, but I'll believe it when I see it.
  15. Nothing about this project fills me with confidence. The track record of the creators, the introduction of yet another new multiverse, the portentousness of the synopsis... Just let Sonic go on a fun adventure. Tropical island, mystic gems, mad scientist, it should be so easy.
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