By MKnightDH 0 Comments
I had hoped that KIU would prove to be balanced, GDC 2012 even raised my hopes because I could even fight back using a club. But as it turns out, there are too many problems, such that it's a necessity to ban WEAPON TYPES just to have a functioning metagame that won't suffer a bad sense of variety.
What could have happened? Let's go into review:
Keep in mind that I'm not talking about the cramp issues I hear about from holding the 3DS with one hand. I'm actually a lefty, but I'm not really complaining here. However, I have OTHER issues with the controls. Namely the freaking power management. If you have more than 3 powers available, you have to either slide the power palette, or tap the power you want. Here's the thing: this method is incredibly dumb. Sometimes when I try to trigger a power, it simply isn't showing. When it is, I sometimes either tap the wrong power by accident or simply slide and either tap the wrong power as a result or trigger nothing. This can cost me precious momentum just because apparently I didn't have the dexterity to handle the freaking 3DS. But let's see.
*Kid Icarus Uprising, 3DS - You can do only 4 things at a time. You can use the L button function, typically fire; move with the control stick OR use the D-Pad function; use the touch screen to aim OR use powers; and maybe the R button for its own function. And yes, I tried remapping controls, anything I can think of still requires too much dexterity. Even using the R button is already a pain.
*Battalion Wars, GameCube or Wii - You can do 5 things at a time. In BW1, L button for locking onto an enemy; Control Stick for mobility; C-Stick to change the highlighted unit type; A/B for combat maneuvers; and X/Y for ordering troops. BW2, Control Stick for mobility; Z for locking on; B for firing; D-Pad or A button for troop management; Wiichuck for combat rolls; and Wiimote for aiming.
Battalion Wars 1 and 2 have better controls, clearly. While you can't remap them, you don't need to, because they're intuitive enough as a result of being on the GCN/Wii. BW1's has issues, but they didn't stop me from all the Perfect S Ranks that you'd see on my LP. BW2 plain mocks both BW1 and KIU for controls, the Wiichucks giving more for the left hand to do--up to 4 things too, all can be done at the same time without ridiculous effort.
Oh, and guess what? BW1 and BW2 show up to 6 available unit types at a time without trouble. It's not stupidly hard to pick the one you want.
Kid Icarus Uprising has NO excuse for making sure that 8 powers could be shown at a time. Even 6 would have been a vast improvement, as long as having a surplus wouldn't be harshly punished with counterintuitive control issues.
Messed up punishment for using higher Value weapons
The Value system is designed like this: the stronger your weapon, the higher the Value, but you don't want Value too high if you are worried about being KOed. This would be to deter n00bs from abusing high Value weapons, because players will just get annoyed with them for getting the TLG destroyed.
It doesn't work in practice. Everybody flocks to the 300 Value weapons for one reason or another. If you're using anything below 250, you're just guaranteed to be a walking target unless the weapon is ridiculously efficient. And being KOed reduces the TLG by the EXACT VALUE OF YOUR TEAM LIFE GAUGE. But you're only KOed if you lose all your health. This applies for the opponent too, and they're going to be hiding behind all those traits. If you can't break through because your weapon is sub-optimal, you're simply going to lose. This only encourages n00bs, who think they're hot stuff to begin with such that they'll rush everything they can like the idiots they are, to use the high value weapons. And the actually competent players can't respond by using lower Value weapons because they'll just get pwned too. So much for rewarding actual skill.
(Dark) Pit Slippery Slope
Let's face it: if one team's Pit comes out earlier by even a halfway considerable amount, it has as good as lost. Said Pit gets hunted down easily, and against all the high value weapon abusers, he/she is a walking target. Picking off opponents won't even work because the opposing team can just as easily group to mock that, and they WILL group because they only have to kill said Pit to win. (Dark) Pit doesn't even lose much health whenever a teammate is killed.
The only real way to combat this is to play defense, using defensive powers if you have them. At that point, it just becomes a battle of attrition. You will ultimately lose said battle because the opposing Pit won't come out soon enough. It's slippery slope with no suitable way to stop it.
1 Hit Kills. These appeal to people because you kill the opponent, you win, and the 1HK is the quickest way to do so. But the inherent concept is so cheap in duels that a site about a different game saw fit to make a rule of no KOing the opponent when they're above a certain percentage of health to shut it out. When you have to make a freaking rule that can be abused, you know there's a problem with the concept. And yet the KIU programmers didn't think that people would just flock to the 1HK weapons.
For God's sake, 1HKing is only good in an army game, and even then requires caution. Even Game Boy Wars 3 remembers to be wary, having matchup 1HKs on Roads not be so loose, when the game actually bothers to balance around property defense. Anything that even gets 1HKed on a City tends to deserve it. Keep in mind that an army game at least gets a pass with 1HKs because a single unit loss isn't crippling unless it was some key unit that should already be protected well in the first place.
I could go on FOREVER about how 1HKing in KIU is bad, but needless to say, anybody who hides behind it is a COWARD. And as I've been called one not even without reason, take it as a sign that you just suck if you are doing so. I would work with defense, I'll admit, but at least that provides a better sense of tactics than all powerful offense ever will.
The Invincibility Trinity
I am referring to Brief Invincibility, Playing Dead, and Trade-Off. Any of these are overpowered on their own. But you can easily combine all 3 for a SICKENINGLY POWERFUL combination.
Brief Invincibility makes you invincible for only a few seconds. This doesn't seem to mean anything, until you realize how quickly people die. Somebody abuses this with a Glass Cannon weapon, you're going to have a VERY miserable time. Brief Invincibility should have been either a free escape power or a chokepoint breaker. Nothing more. No, instead, you retain attack power and watch the opponent be helpless against you except by doing evades that ultimately get punished.
Playing Dead is thankfully an immobile defense, though the abuser can move and stay under it for a few extra seconds instead of the ridiculous timeframe it has for the invincibility it provides. What makes it a problem, however, is that it provides lengthy invincibility in the first place. Sure it's called Playing Dead for a reason, but when you're attacking, YOU ARE CLEARLY NOT DEAD! Worse is when the abuser can use it as the freaking angel. If you kill somebody with Playing Dead and it turns them into the team's Pit, you have just given the opposing team 20 free seconds, quite possibly more if they have 2 charges. And the abuser can actually abuse this by intentionally forcing you to kill them just to retain ANY semblance of momentum.
Finally, Trade-Off. Good heavens, Trade-Off. When you use it, your health is reduced to 1 HP, but you get insane power boosts. Oh, and you get invincibility for the duration. It's a stupidly long 20 seconds, which is more than enough to munch a couple of players for free damage to the opposing team's TLG unless EVERYBODY is a freaking evasion freakjob, in which case, just play passive. People recommend to save it for Pit, simply to end the match quickly, but Pit inherently sucks. Even if he didn't, when you combine this with Playing Dead, you can not only survive aftermath easily, you can choose when to die so that you can intentionally become your team's Pit and then cause the opposing team to suffer having to deal with Playing Dead on the valid target.
The dumb thing about the invincibility powers is that in order to combat them or use them keeping countermeasures in mind, you have to be so passive that you couldn't get away with it in SUPER FAMICOM WARS. That is a cardinal sin of game balance. Sadly, it's not even the worst one Uprising commits, believe me. I'll get to that when I do. But the invincibility powers aren't bad for that reason bad alone. They're also bad because if you are relying on defensive power, YOU ARE A WALKING TARGET. No. Just no. That's two cardinal sins of game balance commited with one balance problem.
Statuses' bad handling
Now statuses have their place in a good game, but the problem is when they're executed poorly. And by God is it handled poorly.
Poison is useless. I don't need to explain why. Burning isn't considerably better.
Stone and Freeze, though, are worth my contempt. If you get hit by either, you are immobilized, and there is NOTHING you can do to shake off free attacks. Unless you can use Effect Recovery. Here's a problem already: having to devote power space to get rid of statuses before they give you an early demise, as the game will not let you simply overome them AT ALL. This alone earns Interference its ban, as an inexpensive support power for Freeze Attack, making Freeze hits an effective 1HK unconditionally. (Otherwise, Interference would be at most L1 as a simple stationary defense.)
Here's the funny thing: Effect Recovery is only 3 spaces for 3 uses. 3 spaces for effective immunity to statuses. What is this, Super Mario RPG? Why should there be an inexpensive equivalent of the Safety Ring? Why not just make the statuses plausible to fight off without giving the opponent a ridiculous momentum swing just because you didn't use particular powers?
Yes, that's right, punishing the player so much in multiplayer for not using particular powers is BAD GAME DESIGN.
This brings me to anti-melee options. Now I do complain because my club and cannon power sets don't have many anti-melee options. But here's the annoying thing: I would have another anti-melee option if, oh right, I didn't need Effect Recovery to shut out statuses. It gets aggravating when having to deal with a pest with more net attack than me at melee range, since he'd be kicking my butt at my own strength and I'd rather have a way of dealing with that nonsense.
Unfortunately, KIU just doesn't provide enough options for that. If you're trapped in melee combat with somebody with a net attack advantage, you can't expect to knock them back, they're guaranteed to proc Super or Aries Armor. (Aries Armor provides better defensive power, by the way, so dumb.) While I am NOT supporting SSB's stupid unconditional flinching, the problem arises that you must have either a speed advantage, or a power that can let you escape, which typically comes at the cost of too much space on the power box to consider as just an emergency power, or is just too ineffective at ending a melee skirmish.
Arms have too much power
Ending melee skirmishes is hard enough, but arms by themselves have too much attack power. The arms' dash attack base damage outpaces the clubs': 64 to 60. This is already a problem because arms are considerably more mobile than clubs. Clubs still have better melee combo damage? Not a useful strength. Clubs having projectiles? They're trapping tools, and having clearly inferior melee defeats the point of trapping.
Of course, inevitably, I'd have to bring up the culprit of bringing this up: the Taurus Arm. It has a base dash attack damage value of about 87.6. Even the Hewdraw Club manages only 78. Does the Hewdraw Club beat the Taurus Arm in combo damage? Not by enough: 93.6 to Taurus's 86.8. It's a problem when an arm manages to be faster than the Magnus Club AND can easily outdo clubs in melee damage. This is just so wrong it's ridiculous.
Slip and Invisible Shot
Both of these make projectiles stupid strong. Both have problems. I will talk about each one individually.
First off, Slip Shot. This power IGNORES TERRAIN ALTOGETHER. It mocks a freaking basic tactic needed to combat projectiles. While the abuser is hiding behind mobility obstacles. If it needs to exist to mock people who get complacent with defilade, it STILL should provide a high attack power penalty, simply because terrain cover is NEEDED to deal with projectiles.
Invisible shots is also bad because the attacks are invisible and you can't tell if they're fired until it's too late to try dodging. It's particularly egregious with clubs, which have their projectiles balanced by being easier to dodge. Instead, big and strong hitboxes you can't even see result. What, players can't even think to use the shots to TRAP? Again, needs an attack power penalty.
Bad teammates plague any game, but it gets aggravating when they gimp the actually good players SO BADLY. People think they should just rush and rush, which is why all the 1HK weapons exist in the first place. This is shallow logic. While being passive shouldn't be rewarded so well at all, being aggressive is incredibly dumb. Two people think they can take on three people ridiculously easily. They apparently haven't heard that net attack is an important factor for how easily 3 people can rip them to shreds. I myself favor defense and I'm potentially still target practice if I get mobbed. They will simply die in half a second if they try to bum rush.
Worse yet, Light VS Dark's inherent setup makes sure that if you don't have good teammates, tough luck, you better hope the opposing team doesn't have multiple vicious players. Every time the bad teammates freaking die, the TLG suffers. The value system makes it even worse, as the n00bs will even pick high value weapons since they think they'll pwn everything in their path, God forbid they actually *GASP* die. Newsflash, n00bs: I use freaking high defense clubs and cannons, I still use caution to avoid being kited for extended periods and whatnot. The game, unfortunately, doesn't think Value should be high enough to be worth caring about. And, of course, because they rush, I would have to skew my tactics in completely unfavorable ways. Which is an inherent problem because everybody flocks to the 1HK weapons as it is.
Oh, and guess who gets no or the fewest points? I do, even when I do such incredible damage that I only lose having the opposing team DEAD TO RIGHTS, just because the teammates are THAT HORRIBLE, and it's all because because I get no KOs. That's absolutely ridiculous. Now argue that I didn't plan around protecting my teammates? Why should I need to protect awful teammates who not only don't deserve it but make it pointless to even bother. I'm rewarded for not bothering anyway by me not dying, which means the TLG doesn't even suffer as a result. That's right: I'm rewarded for ABANDONING TEAMMATES! What the Link?
And yes, Battalion Wars 2's Co-Op has problems, but it's mainly the lack of emergency units for either player that I have issue with. However, at least in BW2 I can support my teammate with a good manual unit to prolong their survival. Not only can I survive easily with it, but if the manual unit is replaceable enough, dying doesn't punish me by any considerable amount.
Even without that comparison, you can see it's stupid.
Kid Icarus Uprising. You have disappointed me with your sense of balance.
(And there may be more I had forgotten. I'd have to check later.)