Was it just me, or did any of you guys kind of want Clay to be the phantom (maybe have his death be a fake or an assassination)? It'd certainly write the characters into a corner, but that's the kind of situation where I feel the series shines the most.
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I'd love to see Riff Raff's game get made, but who would publish it? If only there were some sort of company that was dedicated to making and publishing dumb games... If only there were a game company run by some sort of deranged yet somehow charming madman...
I think you really nailed it, especially with the examples you gave. The bosses in DmC were a treat because they felt like the natural climax of the previous chapters' steadily growing insanity. Plus, they generally weren't so difficult that they ever felt like impassible roadblocks (at least on normal difficulty). The bosses in Dark Souls all spectacularly designed and (with a few exceptions) are actually pretty fair, in their own fucked up Dark Souls sort of way.
A Penny Arcade strip a while back summed up the problem with Deus Ex: Human Revolution's bosses pretty well by basically saying "up until the boss fights, you're able (and sometimes encouraged) to get through the game as Adam Jensen: Computer Science Professor, rather than Adam Jensen: Cybernetic Badass Supercop."
As for FF9 and Persona 4, I think the problem is really that they're turn-based (well, active turn in FF9's case) RPGs. There's certainly room for strategy and tactics, but at a certain point you simply can't proceed without high enough stats. A boss that can kill you in 1 or 2 hits is a lot harder to deal with in a game where your characters have to stand there and take the hits.
*edit: I'm not sure why that first part is bolded, but I can't unbold it for whatever reason*
Agreed with everything - glad someone else is going through it for the first time now, going through Anor Londo myself. I tried Demon Souls though never liked it, but everyone was spot on about how awesome this game is. The quasi-platforming is kind of annoying, but the difficulty, combat, exploration, and character/player skill development are all miles above any game I've played in years.
And I'm actually liking the multiplayer, despite having misgivings about it. Makes walking around as human add even more tension to an already tense game. I've been invaded twice, almost fought off the first guy, second guy tried to push me into some basilisks to get cursed but I killed them and him - extremely satisfying. And the notes add a level of community interaction without ruining the experience. Seeing messages about great views, praising the sun, and "I did it!" after each boss is great.
As someone who started playing a few months ago (inspired by Load Our Last Souls) and just got through Anor Londo with my second character, I think you should know something. You shouldn't feel bad if Anor Londo makes you want to stop playing. I'm not suggesting by any means that you should stop playing, but if there was any point (other than the last boss) that made me want to just cut my losses and uninstall the game, it was Anor Londo.
It is awfully pretty, though.
What if that isn't enough? Resident Evil Chibi?
The makers of Etrian Odyssey present Resident Evil Q!
This is one of my favorite posts.
Once you start getting into NG+3/4/5/etc, Liches with Crow Storm are tremendously useful. The biggest drawback of that spell is that it needs a lot of MP to cast, but by that point you've (probably) got a huge starting mana pool, your magic damage has been upgraded (so you don't need to cast it as many times), and you've got enough magic drain/vampirism to keeps your MP stocked almost indefinitely.