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Unread 11-14-2016, 06:15 AM   #31
Ryong
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I've beaten Trails in the Sky FC again, now on PC, because I got gifted Trails in the Sky SC, so now I've been playing:

PC:
- FF13-2 ( more than halfway done with that, I believe )
- Trails in the Sky SC ( which has been REALLY TOUGH so far )

Vita:
- Sword Art Online Hollow Realization ( a terrific game with some controls that could be slightly better )
- Natural Doctrine ( sort of on the backburner; I got it for cheap, but the game is extremely complex to get into )
- Grand Kingdom ( also on the backburner; I finished the "main" part of the storyline, but there's four more storylines just as big as it, but I feel like I've already seen all the game has to give and the online, while fun, almost requires me to have a perfect, maximum level party, which I do not have )
- Sword Art Online Lost Song ( have some post-game content to do, but don't much care about it other than easy trophies )

On the subject of Sword Art Online games as a whole, too:

Hollow Fragment, while suffering from a terrible translation ( on the original version, the Re: Hollow Fragment version seems to be better ), some rather stiff controls during combat, it does everything else much, much better than the actual series; every girl gets fleshed out much better and some of them aren't crazy about Kirito in the way you'd expect from, well, a harem series, which is already much better writing than anything else SAO-related. The game has hundreds of different weapons and armor pieces and a lot of these have very unique effects - for example, I had a two-handed sword which had Breath Immune, which meant any time a dragon did a breath attack, normally extremely dangerous, it did absolutely nothing. There's some 15 weapon skills per weapon type and a simply absurd amount of different buffs and debuffs; something around 80 or so. The game also has an absurd amount of content to do, to the point where either it or Hollow Realization are the games with the most content I've ever played on the Vita; I played over 100 hours of it and there was still content I hadn't bumped into yet. Also, while everyone calls you Kirito, you don't have to look like Kirito at all; in Re: Hollow Fragment I believe you can even be a girl.

But then, Hollow Fragment had a sequel - Lost Song. It was a trainwreck. The first game had a Action MMO-esque combat system which, sure, was very stiff, but this one went full cookie cutter ARPG. Combat is either spamming your strongest skill and then using your normal attacks until you can use skills again, you can run - and should - through most of the game and the flight controls are horrible. Big bosses have multiple parts to hit, each with different defense values, but when you lock-on to them and you're in a midair battle, you always automatically move towards their center of mass when attacking, but the bosses move far too fast for you to reliably hit their weak parts; this is also caused because it seems like the bosses also lock-on to you, which means when they attack, they adjust their altitude to yours too.
But enough about the combat; the writing, except for a single cutscene early on, is terrible here and everyone is extremely generic and/or have a lot of flanderization going on. The plot is also not good, unless maybe for people who are into idols; very Japanese plot. Unlike the previous game, each character is limited to three weapon types and some 6 weapon skills per and then their fairy race determines their magic skills; there's not that much actual variety and since the game forces you to use Kirito during several parts of the game - and any side events only happen when you're playing as him - you'll end up playing Kirito anyway. Armor consists of 3 or 4 outfits for Kirito and then every girl has 2 outfits, 3 or 4 fanservice outfits and then some of them get one extra - like Sinon.

Hollow Realization, however, seems to follow Hollow Fragment's systems and feels a lot less clunky and they expanded on some Hollow Fragment stuff and there were some changes overall, which makes it feel like a more polished reimagining of the same game, gameplay-wise.

THE OTHER THING about these games is that they don't follow the canon storyline, which gets rid of things such as Asuna going from strong girl to completely powerless girl who's constantly about to be raped unless she's saved by her incredible amazing husband who has powers he shouldn't have at all. While the games certainly have "fanservice" scenes with tentacled and/or slimy things grabbing girls, these are always cut short very quickly and they're not "extremely creepy dude who specifically requested to be a slime monster with multiple appendages for the express purpose of touching girls sexually". They're just "oh look at this giant octopus who grabbed this girl because she got close to him" or "look at this monster who happened to spew clothing-dissolving acid at this girl".

TL;DR the first and third games are amazing and the second is extremely cookie cutter and on no budget whatsoever, but at least the worst parts of the canon storyline are fucking gone.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 11:47 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by pochercoaster View Post
I watched Erick play some of Sleeping Dogs awhile back and really enjoyed its humor and aesthetic. I should probably try to play it myself sometime :/
I remember being really mesmerized by Sleeping Dogs when I first played it. (Enough so that I actually wrote a long spiel on Hong Kong on SexayPartay back in the day.) It isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination and a couple of the characters will annoy you with their stereotypes (I was not very fond of Emma Stone's VA cameo, which is odd because I love Emma Stone in nearly everything else), but the vast majority of the characters are well written and it's a fascinating look into a very different culture. Also, some of the car-hijacking and martial arts mechanics are so good they'll make GTAV feel like a gameplay downgrade.

While the main character definitely straddles two worlds (law enforcement and criminal) that are dominated by men, there are also a few very strong women in the cast, which I remember appreciating.

---------- Post added at 12:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:22 PM ----------

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Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
Mass Effect Stuff
I'll concede we probably have different standards for our preferences in storytelling, but my biggest problem with ME3 has nothing to do with the ending or its war effort mechanics and everything to do with those two moments in the story that you feel are 'great;' the Quarians and Geth, and Mordin with the Krogans.

Now, let me be clear: Those moments were excellent! In terms of narrative both conflicts were compelling, ME1 and ME2 both laid the groundwork, there were some interesting payoffs.
But the prior two Mass Effects understood that the heart of the series was in presenting Shepard with difficult choices, and then ensuring replay value by encouraging players to witness different possibilities that encompassed various shades of grey.

The issue with ME3's major conflicts is that there's only one right answer to every problem.
Whether you're Paragon or Renegade, if you screw over the Krogans you're a terrible person. It's not even a choice that's justified in terms of war effort score, there's virtually no difference there. So there's no pragmatic reason for a renegade to screw over a friend. And there's no likable character who's a counterweight to both Wrex and Mordin, who are on the same side. It makes sense for Wrex and Mordin to be on the same side given what they've gone through before ME3, but if your choices are "Side with all your friends, make the ethically correct decision, face no negative consequences" or "Piss off all your friends for no discernible reason, watch a much worse sequence of events go down, feel awful" you're going to choose the first option every time no matter what your Shepard is like in terms of his/her personality.

It's even worse with the Geth and the Quarians because if your Paragon or Renegade points are high enough you can choose the option that's objectively better and avoid alienating either side of the conflict. Which, again, kills the game's replay value because you're going to make that choice every time unless you're deliberately playing your Shepard as an asshole. It's not even a very hard threshold of Paragon or Renegade points to reach, particularly if you're importing an ME2 save. Basically, imagine if ME1 had the option to save both Kaidan and Ashley if your Paragon or Renegade score was high enough. Why would you ever let either die? And wouldn't it hurt the replay value if you never experienced either dying?

So the problem with ME3 isn't that its main story is bad, but rather that the main story betrays the core value of ME1 and ME2 that established the tone of the series; in the previous games you were confronted with difficult choices without easy answers or obvious solutions, every choice you made felt like it had a tradeoff, and the value of said approach was that encouraged you to roleplay as several different Shepards with very different values and watch different and distinct series of events unfold. Fundamentally good Shepards still differed insofar as they could be more idealistic or more pragmatic, more tolerant or more xenophobic, and the diversity of options presented you with opportunities to experiment. In ME1, there's no objectively 'correct' answer as to who to sacrifice on Virmire, so there's two playthroughs right there: One where you choose Kaidan and the other where you choose Ashley. Even shooting Wrex was a more ambiguous choice in the heat of that moment (and I actually did try it, in one of my playthroughs where I had romanced Ashley and wasn't going to tolerate anyone threatening her for a moment.)

In ME2, it's more about the different options you have to ensure the loyalty of your followers and different choices you can make when bonding with them that had subtle effects on their character development; that and whether you side with Cerberus or against them, which felt much more morally nebulous before you knew what would happen to the organization in ME3. Again, moral ambiguity is a great thing in the ME universe, and when that's stripped away, and the Illusive Man just becomes a possessed jackass, you're robbed of depth and complexity.

As for ME2's characters, my biggest disappointment there is how many of the interesting ones are completely relegated to single mission cameos in ME3. If that cast is going to drop everything to help you against the Collectors, they sure as hell won't run away once the Reapers show up and start destroying everything in sight. ME3 felt like an exercise in favoritism -- the developers basically said "We like Garrus, Tali and Liara more than the rest of your potential love interests so you're going to get much more exciting content if you romanced those three." (Thane did pretty well too, I guess.) And while I can't complain about Jacob and Miranda getting shoddy treatment, Jack deserved so much better. I romanced her in an ME1 --> ME2 playthrough series with a character I'll probably never import into ME3 because, what's the point?

So yeah, the main story of ME3 actually probably is better than ME2's if you're analyzing it as a linear narrative, akin to a novel. More exciting things happen in ME3, and it's more relevant to the broader plot with the Reapers. But, the Mass Effect series was never supposed to play out like a linear novel. The nonlinear nature of branching possibilities was the key feature of Mass Effect and it just disappears when you reach ME3 and there's no more complexity to the decisions you're making and no replay value because every Shepard you'll ever roleplay will make the same decisions at the same major plot events. The shades of grey are compressed to simple black and white, right and wrong, and formerly ambiguous plot points like the Rachni suddenly have objective 'right' and 'wrong' answers.

ME3 is basically the anti-Fallout New Vegas. Fallout New Vegas was all about the subtle complexity of multitudes of intertwining factions where you could barely tell right from wrong and where every quest was a referendum on your character's backstory, morality, personality. ME3 is just like, no, fuck that, here's some cheap emotional moments that are very simplistic and there's no depth.

I'm really just miffed because so many people respond to ME3 criticism with "I know the ending sucked, but you gotta admit everything else was phenomenal!" and I just shake my head because, there were so many problems with ME3 before you even reached the ending, it was a terrible experience for me long before I even reached the last conveniently color-coded choice.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 11:58 AM   #33
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I'm just gonna say that generally speaking I think the problem ME3 had was that the writers were used to the idea of creating consequences that were far away, and thus were able to seem more ambiguous than they became in practice.

Should you keep the collector base or destroy it? At the time it's a tough choice. You don't completely trust the illusive man, but you've seen that he puts practical work in to stop the reapers... but then you've also seen that they can screw the hell up while working, a lot.

But then ME3 rolls around, and you know no matter what you did TIM was going to be a reaper puppet. There goes the ambiguity.
They were suddenly confronted with the absence of a fallback, the consequences had to be real, in a here and now sense, because from their perspective there was no more Mass Effect to tell, and nowhere else to push the eventual consequences TO without abandoning their resolution entirely.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 12:03 PM   #34
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Man, I loved Trails in the Sky characters and the little plot that I saw(Steam says I played for 13 hours) but man, I can't stand that combat. I will definitely give it another chance one day but maybe with CheatEngine or something like that.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 12:27 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Gregness View Post
I'm, uh, really NOT gonna trust you on that one since Valk's one of my most played frames. You should REALLY dig into the specifics of how the powers work before you dismiss them. The energy drain on Hysteria scales to both efficiency AND duration. You can mod it such that the drain is slow enough that just the energy drops from enemies will let you stay in it constantly. In the event before last (Rathuum, the grineer arena one) I soloed the achievement to get the 100 rathuum point clan trophy by just perma-raging through it.

I mean, Nullifier bubbles and stalker blasts and what have you will still knock you out of it but frankly, if you're dying easily as Valkyr, git gud.

Edit: To bring this down from 'more abrasive than I intended starting out', I basically stopped modding Valk for efficiency entirely. I mod for duration and power, and after all's said and done I end up with 163% power strength, 58% range, 65% efficiency, and 191% duration. This ends up getting a hysteria power drain of a little over 1.75 per second, which is enough to keep it up for quite a long time with orb drops. I also use the Rage mod, so even when I run out, one hit gets me enough energy to hulk right back out if I want. Dumping range doesn't hurt that much, because grapple's really the only one that needs it and it has a long range to begin with.
I know all of this. I know very well how her powers work, I've been playing her since last year up until, as I said, a few months ago when she got nerfed, hard. I too was able to solo a lot of tough events with perma hysteria on, but you just can't now, unless like I said, there's some specific mod I'm missing (I forget now what Rage does, perhaps that's it, since I don't think I ever got that one).

But unless they've more recently un-nerfed her back to what she was,last time I played her the energy drain accelerated over time for the first minute and the range on her aura increased to a massive area over the same time, which meant an ill timed interruption would likely leave you with enemies still in range and taking damage. And there ARE more enemies now that can affect her, or even drain her energy faster, whereas before she was immune to such things; it's not just Corpus nullifers and Stalker who can take her out of Hyst.

I would love to be able to do shit like this and this again, but the last time I played, this was no longer the case.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 12:30 PM   #36
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Hey, uh, could we maybe put spoiler tags on things, especially in an open vg thread where you have no idea what games will be discussed?
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Unread 11-14-2016, 02:08 PM   #37
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(I forget now what Rage does, perhaps that's it, since I don't think I ever got that one).
This is probably one of the issues. Rage is the mod that gives you energy back whenever you take health damage, so even if you run completely out of hysteria, getting shot pops your energy back up, then a spin attack with the innate lifesteal tops your health off again. Combine with Quick Thinking for extra insurance against late game burst.

As an aside, DE trying to kill the perma-hysteria monofocussed Valkyr builds doesn't really bother me all that much. I love the berserker theme, but 'press 4 for invulnerability' made for unhealthy gameplay when Trinity used to do it, and though it's less offensive on Valkyr, it's still not super inspiring design. I'd much rather they just scrap the invulnerability and find a more interesting direction. Just off the top of my head, Tryndamere from League of Legends has kind of a similar gimmick, but rather than being straight-up immune to damage, he simply makes himself unable to drop below 1hp for the duration of his ult. For Valkyr, maybe that could translate as a timed ability instead of a channel that prevents you from dropping below 1hp, and extra damage beyond that is what gets 'banked' as per the current ability. Kills and losing hp (so, damage before the 1hp threshold) give some amount of extra time on the transformation. The 'banked' damage, instead of killing you when you turn off the ability, instead maybe inflicts some kind of self-inflicted crowd control once the power ends to still give that 'you should find a good place to power down' tension without it being all or nothing.

That was long. The point is, binary gameplay could stand to be improved.

I'd also like to see Warcry adjusted to make it a more useful team buff. Valkyr loves the stats it gives her, but what the hell is a Volt or a Mag supposed to do with an X% armor boost? they start with 15.

Change the armor boost from X%, to a flat number boost. For extra spice, make it count as a base armor boost if you want to still reward modding for armor above even the normal boost. Like, changing it to a 300 base armor boost still ends up equaling the current percentage boost once you take Steel Fiber into account, while making far more of a difference to squishy frames you're running with. Then, instead of attack speed, what about extra crit chance? It still fits the RIP AND TEAR theme while distinguishing it more from Volt's speed. Make that crit chance apply to whatever weapon people are using rather than just melee. VALKYR TURNS SQUISHY WIMPS INTO WARRIORS!
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Unread 11-14-2016, 04:25 PM   #38
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Valkyr was my favorite warframe back when I played, but she relied completely on her ultimate and the only other good thing about her was her armor, gameplay-wise. There's a lot of other, much better warframes that don't have to rely on becoming completely immune to damage in order to be relevant. There's also the fact that her damage ceiling is much lower than a lot of other warframes because melee weapons are very powerful early on or with a sufficiently gigantic combo, but primary weapons outclass them most of the time in all aspects other than, y'know, infinite melee "ammo". The other thing is that, since the damage that Valkyr does with her melee attacks during Hysteria gains damage bonuses from her actual melee weapon but completely ignores attack speed means that only a subset of weapons are efficient for her; those which are only strong because they have a crippling slow attack speed.

Valkyr, as a whole, is a warframe for solo play, that's why War Cry is like that, that's why she becomes immune to damage.

I'd say she needs a hard limit on how long her ultimate can last, but is dramatically stronger during it, as melee weapons do not scale that well to damage.

MORE THAN ANYTHING THOUGH

I want to see a "Valkyr Prime" who's just Valkyr before all the shit happened to her, so she's less wildcat and more valkyrie; maker her ultimate give her a sword and a shield and change ripline into some sort of smite ability or the like, everything else can be kept.

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Unread 11-14-2016, 04:44 PM   #39
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*snip*

The other thing is that, since the damage that Valkyr does with her melee attacks during Hysteria gains damage bonuses from her actual melee weapon but completely ignores attack speed means that only a subset of weapons are efficient for her; those which are only strong because they have a crippling slow attack speed.
The Hysteria buff Hawk and I mentioned offhand changed that some time ago. It now works like Excalibur's Exalted Blade in that the weapon stats are irrelevant to Hysteria, but it now scales based on what melee mods you have equipped.

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I want to see a "Valkyr Prime" who's just Valkyr before all the shit happened to her, so she's less wildcat and more valkyrie; maker her ultimate give her a sword and a shield and change ripline into some sort of smite ability or the like, everything else can be kept.
Valkyr Prime looks like it's gonna be the next one on the list, but I doubt they'll actually change any abilities around.
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Last edited by Gregness; 11-14-2016 at 05:55 PM.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 07:40 PM   #40
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I have a question to ask, what's everyone's thoughts on NES Mini? Anyone bought one and has opinions to share? It's a heck of a lot more popular than I thought it would be, apparently it's sold out pretty much everywhere already- even people with pre-orders are having to wait.

It's a good sign, because the thought of a follow-up SNES Mini makes me excited.
I didn't think much of it, so I looked at the official site. The game selection is good (though why Star Tropics, a game that requires the manual?). It really should come with two controllers by default (though, most of the games are one-player, so eh), but otherwise a physical artifact that hooks up to the TV to play NES games seems to me a better value proposition than ROMs tied to a Nintendo account that go poof with said account and also cost more, collectively, than the physical plastic box which can be used as a bludgeon or door stop and doesn't go away until it is used as a bludgeon/door stop.

Now, if a hypothetical N64 mini comes with 30 N64 games, that's just straight up awesome. If it has Sin and Punishment, I might even buy one to play it with a proper N64 controller.

A SNES mini runs into the difficultly of curating 30 games out of a much larger library of good games, even if we cut out licensed games. Personally, I think they should translate Talking Parodius. System seller if I ever played one.
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