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Thread: I just played..

  1. #1
    Member Stigmata's Avatar
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    I just played..

    TaleTell's The Walking Dead season 2

    Never before has there been so many feels in such a short time-frame.
    Last edited by Stigmata; 12-22-2013 at 05:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    I've been revisiting Vagrant Story.

    Have you ever gone back to play a game and marveled that you were able to play it? The graphics just seem crude, murky and untenable? Or the controls and interface seem unpolished and poorly thought out? The end result is you sigh and say, "I guess you can't go home again", some similar pithy statement to express your dismay?

    Vagrant Story is sufficiently awesome it rises above that. It's definitely on my short list of games I would love to see given a graphical overhaul, but the design and gameplay (for all it's minor shortcomings) overshadow the fact that it's obviously a PS1 action game. The models are crude, the textures a pixel laden and largely murky, the sound is gloriously typical of Square for that time--I think this was pre-Enix merger. But the combat system is very satisfying and leads you to appreciate grinding again--both to gain new abilities and to get better at the ones you have.

    Here's the combat in a nutshell so you can appreciate what I'm driving at:

    You have a bajillion different weapons sprawling across a dozen or so different major categories. I can't be arsed to count at the moment, but it's more than you'd think. Each weapon category earns it's own special awesome spell-like attacks that use HP instead of MP. You learn these "Break Arts" by killing creatures with the weapon you want to learn the Break Art for. Unarmed is a valid weapon category... schwing!

    In addition to this, you have what are called Chain Attacks. They are so named because you can string them together. You assign your chosen chain attacks to the three upper face buttons (square, triangle, circle) and you must cycle between them in some way to keep the chain going. Triggering chain attacks requires you to hit one of the chain triggers at the moment the current attack actually does damage. As the chain gets longer, the timings get tighter. With good timing, you could chain attacks indefinitely--but each successful attack increases you Risk which increases damage taken, likelihood of getting hit, and chance of critical hit while reducing your likelihood of successfully hitting anything.

    You also have Defense Arts, which are set up like the Chain Attacks, but are triggered for defense at the moment your enemy's attack hits you. But they are one offs as enemy's don't get strings of attacks.

    All the abilities are pretty unique but not all of them are always useful--which is why being able to swap out your entire loadout mid-battle is so frickin' awesome.

    The combat itself is an interesting mix of real-time and turn-based. There is some obvious turn taking of sorts taking place and the combat pacing and overarching play is much like the Parasite Eve games. While your attack opportunities (and those of the enemies) are on a timer, your spells, Break Arts, Loadout Management, and item use are not, so you can spam those functions pretty well if need be. About the only thing that stops you from using those functions is if an enemy attack sequence has initiated.

    Here's the kicker: each Chain Attack has a unique animation with a different timing for when to trigger the next chain attack, and because you have to keep changing which Chain Attack you are using, you are mixing up the timing for each successive attack. Some attacks hit quickly, others hit later, and some hit well after you would think based on the animation. Furthermore, each weapon type moves a bit differently and has different timings because of that. Keeps it challenging and engaging because switching to a more effective Chain Attack (based on secondary effects like stealing life, inflicting poison, silencing casters, extra damage etc.) means you have fundamentally altered the timings of your attack pattern. Same is true for swapping to a weapon with greater affinity for the creature type you are facing, or with better reach because your tired of the fuckers dancing at the edge of your range.

    There's more nuance to the game than this--that's just the broad strokes. One last broad stroke: you can disassemble and remake your weapons, swapping out hilts blades and gems to maximize your offensive potential. You can also use a type of fusion on arms and armor.

    It's a very deep game with what now seems a crude appearance. It's on my top ten list of games I think should be remade, but only if all they do is modernize the visuals and don't fuck with anything else.

  3. #3
    asl? ;] JollyBard's Avatar
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    ^What about the storyline? Any puzzles? Personally, in an RPG, I don't care about the combat mechanics. I'm the guy who insists Morrowind is much better than Skyrim.

    I'm playing the original Legend of Zelda, on NES, and it's actually a very good game! I like the arcade difficulty, the open world, the puzzles... Sure, some mechanics are frustrating, such as when enemies don't bounce off when you hit them (and instead continue walking straight into you), and you really had to have the game manual to know what to do and where to go, but overall it's a pretty satisfying game.

    EDIT: Also, this might be the only Zelda game where you actually have to grind for rupies to buy equipment. Which sucks.
    Last edited by JollyBard; 12-22-2013 at 06:33 PM.

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    The storyline is solid and engaging, puzzles are mostly block puzzles using a couple of different types of blocks.

    Morrowind was much better than Skyrim, and had better combat to boot. I have Bloodmoon and Tribunal as well.

    Zelda didn't tell you where to go or what to do btw. It was something learned by exploration and sharing lore with other players (pre-internet). If you're playing on an NES, I'm impressed the battery in that cartridge is still working for you. Though I suppose with the right knowhow that could be user serviceable. I remember it being a common point of fear among my friends who had Zelda, or when looking at purchasing a used copy of Zelda.

  5. #5
    asl? ;] JollyBard's Avatar
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    Oh no, I'm playing on an emulator. And you've really got me interested in Vagrant Story, the reviews are very favorable. It's weird how I've never heard of it before.

    Really? You liked the combat system in Morrowind? Don't get me wrong, it's an awesome game, maybe my all-time favourite, but the combat wasn't very engaging. Especially when you had the Boots of Blinding speed and could just run around and never get hit.

  6. #6
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    It might be more accurate to say that the combat system didn't get in my way. I spent more time exploring than looking to fight--and honestly, Bethesda's approach leveling and game balance bothered me more than the combat system. I speak of vanilla play without resorting to game-breaking alchemy/enchantment exploits.

    Vagrant Story is among a handful of great games that never managed to take off. It informed the development of the more popular Parasite Eve series.

    My top ten wish list of games for graphics only overhauls:

    1. Blackthorne
    2. Vagrant Story
    3. Sunsoft's Batman (NES, and needs almost nothing honestly--brilliant spritework)
    4. Xcom (some interface tweaks might be useful, but mostly meta changes to bring in line with contemporary ideas about application interfaces--nothing that changes the core gameplay or tactical options)
    5. Xenogears (again, little work needed as the spritework is excellent--it's the 3d models that drag it down)
    6. Bushido Blade
    7. Ancient Art of War at Sea (a lot of modern games are trying to recreate what this title did masterfully--and failing)
    8. Planescape: Torment (again, I'd like some meta tweaks to unify its behavior as an application)
    9. Three Vikings (Mostly I want it re-released--Blizzard's lost masterpiece)
    10. Front Mission 3/4 (Mostly I lust for re-release on a platform I have)
    Last edited by Hephaestus; 12-23-2013 at 12:53 AM.

  7. #7
    asl? ;] JollyBard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    It might be more accurate to say that the combat system didn't get in my way. I spent more time exploring than looking to fight--and honestly, Bethesda's approach leveling and game balance bothered me more than the combat system. I speak of vanilla play without resorting to game-breaking alchemy/enchantment exploits.
    Yeah, I had an alchemy-focused character and discovered the whole Fortify Intelligence loop. Was fun for a while, but not for long.

  8. #8
    Member Stigmata's Avatar
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    This latest steam sale extending to the 3rd of January has really got my debit card by the balls. I know I'll never play half these games, but I sell myself on the hypothetical entertainment value that games hold, and in reality I just end up collecting them like little mounds of foreign, exquisite cheeses held in airtight vacuum freezer bags that'll never know the delight they present to the human taste bud.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Stigmata View Post
    This latest steam sale extending to the 3rd of January has really got my debit card by the balls. I know I'll never play half these games, but I sell myself on the hypothetical entertainment value that games hold, and in reality I just end up collecting them like little mounds of foreign, exquisite cheeses held in airtight vacuum freezer bags that'll never know the delight they present to the human taste bud.
    I used to do that too, and I've really had to stop myself because it's such a waste, especially because then I'll feel obligated to play them even when I never really want to, or after I play them for a few minutes and realize I don't want to. I have 84 games in my steam library and maybe 25% of those I would choose to buy again.

  10. #10
    Ciao for now jamesgold's Avatar
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    tf2 has provided infinite value to me in that it cost $0 and returned over 1000 hours of hot, multiplayer action.

    oh wait no I spent $5 on a hat

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