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Undertale (PC, PS4, Switch) & Deltarune (PC DEMO)


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I find that Undertale also seems to be a commentary on the violent nature of many RPGs in and of itself. Even in otherwise harmless games like Pokemon, the whole game pretty much revolves entirely around monsters fighting each other. Non-violent activities are basically shallow minigames at best.

Combat systems tend to be the one component in a game where the player gets the most input by far. Even on dialog-heavy RPGs like Obsidian's stuff you're still limited to relatively few predetermined choices compared to what a well fleshed out battle system lets you do. No surprise that's where most of the focus goes (as it should).

Undertale does exactly the same as any other RPG but reversed. In a normal RPG taking the peaceful choice (aka running away) makes for boring gameplay wherein here it's fighting that gets turned into a challengeless run, except for a couple really good exceptions. When novelty of the switcharoo wears off it makes one wonder if this wouldn't have been better executed by actually making the player enjoy those battles, just to pull the rug under his feet later when he realizes just how much he has been loving murdering everyone. 

I would appreciate if alternative approaches to combat were made in other games where it is appropriate. Normally enemies are mindless bastards that will kill you on sight so it makes sense there, but in stuff like Pokemon other options would not just be neat to have, they'd also be lore-accurate. The Breath of Fire series is pretty good at giving enemies interactivity (and thus a defined, if simple, personality) with other enemies and/or the party's actions, which I appreciated.

 

I think Undertale is okay at best.

tl;dr version

  • The bosses are good. They'd be better if they required some use of the Act command
  • The music is good
  • The overworld puzzles are mindless fodder with no challenge
  • The humor falls flat and becomes abrasive as jokes get dragged out
  • Too much of the game's enjoyment involves its sense of humor lining up with your own
  • Most of what the game does well has been done before and done better

Yep.

I'm on the lucky side of the fence that enjoyed (or at least found non-grating) the NPCs/humour, but other than that I agree with your points.

Fun bosses, great and well used OST, charming cast (YMMV). But I had the nagging feeling I had already been there done that in other games/anime/whatever, so it did not prompt in me the same emotional response my friends who have never touched stuff like Nier, BoF, Mother... got. Can't blame them though, I know I cried like a baby with Mother 1.

At the end of the day Undertale is a good game worth playing and hopefully a gateway drug for many people into more niche, whismical JRPG stuff.

Or Yoko Taro's games if they REALLY wanna have a bad time (^:

 

 

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See, I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I found the battle mechanics really fun and creative, and I enjoyed learning how to nonviolently defeat each enemy type. Some were very obvious, but others required a bit more experimentation. I also found the humor very charming, but I'm a sucker for games like Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi that also have a similar blend of lightheartedness, genuine heart, and dark moments.

I don't know how much of the True Ending you've had spoiled, but if your neutral run was full pacifist, you can use the same file to unlock the true ending. And personally? I think it's absolutely worth it. The neutral finale is grand... up until the actual ending. True Pacifist gives you a proper and very heartwarming end, especially if you go back and interact with the various NPC's.

But that's just me. I mean, I found the game very special despite playing games with similar tones. It's one of those YMMV things, I guess.

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I think Undertale is okay at best.

 

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tl;dr version

  • The bosses are good. They'd be better if they required some use of the Act command
  • The music is good
  • The overworld puzzles are mindless fodder with no challenge
  • The humor falls flat and becomes abrasive as jokes get dragged out
  • Too much of the game's enjoyment involves its sense of humor lining up with your own
  • Most of what the game does well has been done before and done better

Yep.

Just to respond to two small things here, regarding the piano puzzle:

 

The reward for that is tangible, not just a bait-and-switch joke.  The dog leaves behind "dog residue" which can be used to potentially generate infinite healing items if used correctly.  That is the real reward for doing the puzzle.

 

I also feel if you don't bother to reach the true ending you're missing a super important part of the experience, but at the same time if none of the rest of it gelled with you then if I'm honest with myself I'd be surprised if the true ending changed that.  Still, in terms of it's importance in the overall game, not doing the true ending is not so much like beating Sonic 3 & Knuckles without the emeralds but rather playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles up to Lava Reef and just stopping at the end of it.  So if you made it through that far (and played pacifist to a fault on your file so you don't have to restart, can just pick up your pre-final boss save and do the extra stuff from there) definitely at least consider giving it a go if you think something like the S3&K example above would be inexcusable even for someone who simply found the game "fine but mediocre", etc.

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See, I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I found the battle mechanics really fun and creative, and I enjoyed learning how to nonviolently defeat each enemy type. Some were very obvious, but others required a bit more experimentation.

I like the battle mechanics on paper. As a concept they are fun, unique and intriguing. The game just doesn't have the enemy variety to really make it all that exciting tho'. It's also disappointing that none of the bosses require the use of the Act command at all in order to finish the fight non-violently. It's just so strange that the bosses are such a staple as to why that game is worth playing at all, but you don't use one of the core gameplay mechanics that is advertised in order to finish them in a Pacfist playthrough. It might as well not even be there during bosses.

Just to respond to two small things here, regarding the piano puzzle:

Hidden Content

I also feel if you don't bother to reach the true ending you're missing a super important part of the experience, but at the same time if none of the rest of it gelled with you then if I'm honest with myself I'd be surprised if the true ending changed that.  Still, in terms of it's importance in the overall game, not doing the true ending is not so much like beating Sonic 3 & Knuckles without the emeralds but rather playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles up to Lava Reef and just stopping at the end of it.  So if you made it through that far (and played pacifist to a fault on your file so you don't have to restart, can just pick up your pre-final boss save and do the extra stuff from there) definitely at least consider giving it a go if you think something like the S3&K example above would be inexcusable even for someone who simply found the game "fine but mediocre", etc.

Okay, so it's not just a crappy bait and switch joke. It's a crappy bait and switch joke that gives you an item that you assume is a joke item unless you use it in battle. Awesome. :\

It's not really comparable to playing 3 & Knuckles up to Lava Reef and stopping. It's comparable to playing Metal Gear Solid V and seeing fan art / discussion of major plot details before you're halfway done with your own run.

I know Sans is the final boss of the Genocide route. I know who Asriel is. I've seen what they look like and I know their connection to Flowey, Toriel and Asgore. I also know that the name you type at the beginning of the game belongs to a separate human character and that the player character's name is Frisk.

This is all things that I've gathered from people openly discussing things on social media without tagging spoilers. I sincerely doubt it's worth it.

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Yeah, finishing up to the true ending is a must. Whether you've liked the characters or not, there's still some fun battles to be had and a really good final boss theme to go along with it.

I would also encourage finishing the Genocide route because if he liked the boss fights that one's got the very best of the game (I cannot stress this enough) and worth the intentional slouch of the run itself. Some seriously creative uses of the battle screen and a bunch of patterns that, while hard, are definitely learnable.

In its own way, it's only missing the lyrics to kick in to become a MGR-level battle.

edit:

I like the battle mechanics on paper. As a concept they are fun, unique and intriguing. The game just doesn't have the enemy variety to really make it all that exciting tho'. It's also disappointing that none of the bosses require the use of the Act command at all in order to finish the fight non-violently.

The act command does offer some advantages in boss fights though, affecting some attacks. Some bosses will react to certain items as well. Not as much as they should, but it's there.

And it doesn't matter if you know who the boss is, you should really play the fight if you've liked the core touhou-ish mechanics of the game.

 

Edited by Dobkeratops
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Yeah tbh I don't understand the boss complaints that much because the bullet hell gameplay is just as much part of the battle system as anything else.  Acting would kind of just be filler that would either confuse players and cause them to dodge attacks for longer than necessary because they don't realise it's time to act to advance the battle, or on the flipside end them too quickly when the idea of the bosses is to focus on the dodging gameplay.

To be honest I always saw it as an intentional thing that regular enemies = focus on "act" gameplay, bosses = focus on "dodging" gameplay - which is why every boss tends to mix up how you are able to move around - THAT is their gimmick.  Plus, like Dobkeratops said, many bosses have act choices that affect the dodging sections by making them easier or harder, usually with a risk/reward thing going on (especially with Mettaton Ex).

 

Does suck that you had so much of the finale spoiled Chooch.  Shame on whoever spoiled all that for you.

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Not really.

Basically when you "use" the dog residue, it fills all your empty inventory slots up with more, with a good chance of at least one becoming "dog salad", an item that refills either 2 or all your HP.  As long as you never throw away the last dog residue, you can do this as much as you like.  It also means you can sell it at Temmie Village over and over again (though there are faster ways to grind for cash if you really want to for some reason).  Considering you can save right before doing so with any item if you wanted to, it's not unreasonable to expect the player to experiment and see what "using" it does considering it doesn't claim to restore HP.

I guess it also just comes down to you just not being into the game's sense of humour that you're bitter about this though.  I found the artifact scene so absurd and ridiculous that it totally cracked me up and that in itself was a reward for the puzzle.  Besides, like, expecting anything in this game to play out in a normal manner after everything that comes before seems a bit off lol.  Honestly what we got sounds far more entertaining to me than a typical "get artifact, it opens some secret door somewhere etc" scenario, especially since the annoying dog is quite a structured running gag throughout the game.

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I'd still say it's worth it, because the true ending content involves some o the most unique battles in the game, some great atmosphere, and wonderful music.

Also, you do need to Act on some bosses. For example, flirting with Papyrus to get his date scene, the Mettaton EX fight to boost ratings. Mettaton's fight is actually one of the fights that used Act to its fullest, I think, as each option had its own perks.

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I'd still say it's worth it, because the true ending content involves some o the most unique battles in the game, some great atmosphere, and wonderful music.

Also, you do need to Act on some bosses. For example, flirting with Papyrus to get his date scene, the Mettaton EX fight to boost ratings. Mettaton's fight is actually one of the fights that used Act to its fullest, I think, as each option had its own perks.

You can still go on a "date" without flirting, but it's become a hang out and trying to fill the "friendship meter" instead of you know, date power or whatever.

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When novelty of the switcharoo wears off it makes one wonder if this wouldn't have been better executed by actually making the player enjoy those battles, just to pull the rug under his feet later when he realizes just how much he has been loving murdering everyone. 

 You enjoy all the killing, that's why!

Was rather odd when I thought I was on track for the pacifist ending and then the game quits to desktop.  Had to look up what the hell went wrong.  You have to complete true lab, which requires you to go back to someone's house and I forgot where it was and I ended up just youtubing the real ending because I thought I was done with this game at this point.  

And wow but is Undyne's horizontal facing sprite ugly.  

 It's pretty good but I guess Shut up and Jam: Gaiden fits my sense of humor better.  

Edited by Phos
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When the game closes, you're supposed to reopen it so that you can fight another boss. You beat that boss, and THEN you go do the extra stuff in True Lab.



I recommend playing through it because watching it just isn't the same experience. Your call, though!
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That's what I'm tired of, having to read the developer's mind to figure out what I'm supposed to do, and backtracking. I can't remember how to get back to the boat guy. Also, I'm kinda tired of the part where you play it, thanks in no small part to the backtracking. 

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It was almost instinctive for me to open up the game again to see if I could start up my old save file and do something different, and then the game just straight up continued. I do think it does have a completely different effect if you experience it yourself. I mean, it doesn't make the experience, but it's cute how it tries to mess with you and stuff. 

The imagery for Flowey's boss battle was pretty insane too. Didn't surprise me though lol

 

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Yeah tbh I don't understand the boss complaints that much because the bullet hell gameplay is just as much part of the battle system as anything else.  Acting would kind of just be filler that would either confuse players and cause them to dodge attacks for longer than necessary because they don't realise it's time to act to advance the battle, or on the flipside end them too quickly when the idea of the bosses is to focus on the dodging gameplay.

To be honest I always saw it as an intentional thing that regular enemies = focus on "act" gameplay, bosses = focus on "dodging" gameplay - which is why every boss tends to mix up how you are able to move around - THAT is their gimmick.  Plus, like Dobkeratops said, many bosses have act choices that affect the dodging sections by making them easier or harder, usually with a risk/reward thing going on (especially with Mettaton Ex).

[...]

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It's not really a complaint as much as it's just me saying "I personally think the game would be better if it did this." I've said multiple times I think the bosses are the best part of the game. It's just preference. I know it was likely intentional that regular battles and boss battles were structured that way. It doesn't change how I feel about them even if you don't think it would work.

 

I did use the Dog Residue in my playthrough of the game, so I know that it fills all of your empty slots with more. That just gave me more reason to think it was a gag item and prompted me to throw it away immediately. Your explanation of what Dog Residue does in battle honestly makes my opinion of it even worse than it already was. So what if I was curious enough to use the Dog Residue in battle? What if I got 2HP while fighting Undyne and then just died? I'm supposed to use it again out of curiosity? For what reason? The context of you obtaining it does not line up. It's a gag item that relies on an explanation as to what it does before obtaining it or a bunch of random factors to see the true value of it. That's nonsense.

Like Phos said, I get tired of having to read the developer's mind to figure out what I'm supposed to do. I shouldn't be at fault for throwing away the Dog Residue in that context. It's especially worthless to me since I know I can get basic healing items like the Biscicle at the Snowdin shop for cheap and be able to heal over half my HP in a Pacifist run each turn far more consistently with them. This is basically just as ridiculous as hearing from a friend after finishing the Muffet boss fight that I can skip that fight entirely.

That is, I can skip it if I hold on to a healing item I obtained at the beginning of the game and use it four hours later for one specific boss fight. How the hell am I supposed to know that I can do that without someone explaining it to me beforehand? I could have played through this game beginning to end four or five times and never know this. I don't really find mechanics like that interesting or endearing. Just legitimately terrible. Of course not finding the initial joke amusing makes me far more bitter about this than normal, but my point about the Dog Residue still stands. Even if you found the joke amusing, there's absolutely no guarantee you'd find out its true value without a prior hint or explanation.

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It's just a quirky easter egg that the dev hides away like he hid dozens of other things and it's so non-essential to the experience. I'm surprised you're getting as mad about it as you are

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@Phos: Did you kill the Neutral final boss? The game actually tells you what to do if you spare 'em.

As for where to find the boat guy, you go down the elevator in New Home, go down to Left 1 in Hotland, then go directly South. From there, you wanna go to Snowdin. From there, it's pretty self explanatory, but I do understand if you're exhausted.

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I will admit, the neutral ending did trip me up a bit.

After Flowey quit the game to desktop, I too thought that WAS the ending or that the game had legit crashed, and googled it to make sure my game hadn't acted up.  As a result, I had the fact that it was supposed to happen, and the fact that he was about to kill me several times but staying determined would eventually open up the ability for me to fight back, spoiled for me before I played the boss.  Which is a shame.  I'm not sure how this could be "fixed" without breaking the flow of the finale.  The reason I didn't reopen the game was because the Asgore fight was so long I wasn't in the mood to redo it just to check whether the game crash was an intentional thing and that was the end of the game.  At first I thought I had met some strange criteria to reach a weird ending that was not really intended to be easy to get the first time you play etc, and this was not par for the course.

 

Despite this though, complaints about "reading the developer's mind" feels a bit of an overdramatic thing to say about them.  A lot of this stuff I didn't figure out til my second playthrough (hell, didn't even figure out the piano puzzle itself until the second playthrough), but it is a game that encourages (and rewards) multiple playthroughs, and honestly I don't think criticisms about puzzles or quirky items/events being too hard to figure out and "requiring you to read the developer's mind" are fair in the context that - most people who enjoyed the game managed to figure these things out because they enjoyed it on a base level to experiment and try out new things on repeated plays etc.

If you don't enjoy the game on a base level, you're not gonna try these things.  You're just like "oh this dog reisdue is stupid I'm throwing it away" or "oh that was the ending well good I don't have to play anymore" without actually trying much because you're not invested in finding a solution.  A perfectly understandable situation but not really anything that the developer could change considering the reason for your failure stems from not liking the game so I don't think a valid criticism and, as a fan of the game, certainly not something I'd want changed.

I love that even weeks after finishing I learn about some new easter egg or joke near daily because there's so many little hidden secrets.  And honestly?  Stuff like one-off items having an effect on things later is not that unreasonable.  I kept my butterscotch pie to the very end as a momento of Toriel and it ended up having a logical effect on a boss related to her.  Likewise the first weapon, the stick can be used to end any dog-related battle in a single turn, the spider-bake sale is just another example.  Getting annoyed at this seems unreasonable because they are there as logical easter eggs, they add a sense of order and logic to the world that really reduces the amount of times a player could go "hey that makes no sense surely doing this would make that happen" because... well the developer thought of it!  With the Muffet fight, if you were expected to know to bring a bake sale item all the way to her, he wouldn't have programmed an entire sequence of unique attacks to survive with a whole backstory for the spiders revealed to you throughout the fight, or written a 2 minute piece of music to go along with it.  Battle-skipping item situations like that are just him tipping his hat to anyone who is clever enough to make these connections - usually on their entirely-encouraged second playthrough.

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The neutral final boss tripped me up so many times. I legitimately thought I picked the wrong choice when I spared Asgore, and when I loaded the game up and saw that different-looking prologue I had an incredible "...wait a minute" moment instantly before it started glitching and I noticed my fucked up save file. And all the times I kept dying at Flowey's monster form were just "god damn it I'm gonna keep re-doing this boss until I figured it out!!" meaning I was filled with actual IRL determination. It was such a genuinely nervous and shocking part of the game for me because I had no idea what to expect and if what I was doing was even right at all, so glad I went into it completely ignorant and un-spoiled ahhaha

Edited by Sean
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I agree with Sean, I had genuine determination as well. The boss battles always do that for me. 

What happens when you die in the flowey battle though? I made it through the whole game on the nuetral run without dying, even on the battle. I had a sliver of life that kept me alive through all of the crazy shenanigans, so does he glitch the game more and use a savestate or do you legit die and go back to your save?

Also, what happens if you choose to spare flowey? I just straight up killed it at the end and I honestly can't be bothered to do that inane boss battle again :V

[Spoiler/]

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I agree with Sean, I had genuine determination as well. The boss battles always do that for me. 

 

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Flowey just crashes the game and when you open it up again, you are thrown back to the boss. Luckily, each time you die, the boss does get easier so it not like you are stuck there forever if you aren't good at the game.

 

Finally, you weren't a MONSTER AND KILL HIM (>:V), Flowey get confuse to why you spare him and runs off. Sparing him also tells you how to get the better ending 

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Here's the thing about the quitting to desktop: This would be far from the first indie game to that at the end, self serious or otherwise.  Every episode of Kentucky Route Zero ends this way, and  "Game of the Year 420 Blaze it" concludes like this for comedic effect.  This is just a way certain games chose to end.  I took it to mean that I got a shit ending.

 

 

 

The pacifist fight with Toriel requires you to chose spare repeatedly even though it doesn't do anything.  Taking her words at face value, I assume you're meant to weaken her until she relents, but doing that just causes you to unexpectedly empty half her health bar and kill her.  Fast forward, Asgore works the exact opposite way, the way that you expected the fight with toriel to work but didn't.  

For a game so often sited as being spoiler sensitive, you really need to look a bunch of stuff up.  For example, if you go through the game and only kill one creature, just a single damn common enemy, you have to replay the entire game to get either of the important endings.  

But that's not what made me done with the game.  What did the was the third time I got to a boss and had to spend 5 minutes walking back to a shop to refill on healing items again.  

Wow this new editor IP cooked up is quite shit. I cannot figure out how to keep it from removing Jez's post from between those two spoiler blocks.

Edited by Phos
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That isn't really the game's fault that you've been conditioned to think that it's the endgame when it really isn't. Just because plenty of games do things one way, it doesn't necessarily mean that every game will do exactly that.

 

On your first playthrough, yes it is unclear how you're supposed to save her. I killed her on my first run assuming that she'd yield after a while, but she just died. On the second run though, the game literally tells you how to prevent her from dying. As JezMM said earlier. The game wants you to play multiple times, there is absolutely no way you'd get any of this on your first run. That's part of the reason why the game is so short in the first place.

The only boss that I had trouble figuring out was sparing Undyne on my second run. And even then, she straight up tells me (albeit in a cryptic way) how to spare her. By running away. If my memory is right, she says "You can't run away while you're green" which almost immediately made it clear what to do on my second run.

However, I do completely agree that the backtracking is pretty lame to go through. Especially near the endgame. There is so much walking. There should've been a teleport system or something.

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Just got past Papyrus...yea that was a thing. 

 

I do admit, I like the Mercy system as makes the boss fights less "kill until dead" and more of a mini-game......and honestly, he was too pathetic for me to kill....

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Did you figure out how to spare Toriel? :o I'm always curious about that because she's a boss a lot of folks struggle with. I certainly did, and I had to look up how to do it.

I loved the Papyrus fight, though. The platforming elements were really creative!

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I figured it out thankfully since the game mentions earlier you can spare without yellow text. It's a clever battle because it's the only fight in the game that tricks you into believing that attacking is your only option, unless you recall that fundamental rule

Of course, I had no idea that what I was doing was right at all. It was just a gut feeling that I hoped would work out

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