Should Stray have used more player controlled platforming when jumping on obstacles?

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Topcyclist

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Poll Should Stray have used more player controlled platforming when jumping on obstacles? (60 votes)

yes 20%
no 70%
none of the above 10%

Stray is getting a lot of criticism for the almost assassin creed-like jumping. So the consensus for those who don't have the game, well it's considered overrated and flawed. Bases on it being too hand holding and you should have to constantly control and gauge your jumps.

Others think it's fine and makes for the chiller experience they were going for.

Personally, I think people forget how much people threw a fit when they press the wrong button or didn't make a jump they wanted in an assassin's creed game. Heck even platformers like crash bandicoot, etc. So I think the best option was to make it how they decided, very contextual.

It also seems near impossible to make all the animations look good with a cat who's constantly able to jump like a platforming mascot in a realistic world while also over jumping and missing objects, making for less of a mainstream appeal for such a mainstream game. SO what do the people think?

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Brendan

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I haven't played the game but when I think of more control in a jump heavy game, I think of mid-air control that would be immersion breaking when the style attempted is that of natural cat movements.

The reflexes of cats exceed that of humans, making a game that offers fine control, and a natural look seemingly at odds in my mind.

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Efesell

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#2  Edited By Efesell

I don't know if this is a common complaint, Stray seems pretty beloved, or a random reddit post you found but regardless... no? It would sort of defeat the intent of the game and also look pretty stupid if the game controlled like some extremely precise platformers.

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noboners

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I don't think so, and mostly because you're making jumps of varying heights and distances. They would have to change platform distances to match your maximum jump distance and I think that would take away from the cat experience.

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BisonHero

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#4  Edited By BisonHero

So the consensus for those who don't have the game, well it's considered overrated and flawed. Bases on it being too hand holding and you should have to constantly control and gauge your jumps.

Everyone has their own opinion, and some of us hang out in different gaming communities, but I question if that is anywhere close to a consensus opinion on the game.

I'd almost make the opposite complaint: for Stray presenting itself as a pretty chill, low-stakes easy game to play, the later parts sure do require that you are very good at whipping the camera around with the right analog stick so you can blast bugs with UV light.

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ZombiePie

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@topcyclist: I'm going to request receipts on which community or source you are consulting or relying on when you say "So the consensus for those who don't have the game, well it's considered overrated and flawed. Bases on it being too hand holding and you should have to constantly control and gauge your jumps," as an objective fact, only because I can't find it.

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glots

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I was sort of worried about the jumping before release, like I mentioned in the other thread, but I became fine with it with very quickly. The game still allows you a lot of freedom with where you're allowed to jump, so I really didn't feel being restricted at any point of it. I also didn't even consider it before others pointed it out, but with how lovingly they've animated the cat, allowing you to just bounce your way everywhere probably would've ended up making the jumping look kinda jarring in comparison to everything else.

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permanentsigh

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I turned off the button prompts, it helped.

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Junpei

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I was actually thinking about this a bit earlier today and I think they made the right choice to limit the players control over jumping. The whole fantasy of being a cat is to be nimble enough to gracefully balance and navigate effortlessly. That's not to say the solution they came up with doesn't occasionally get mixed up, but the thought of having full control and trying to consistently land on thin planks and railings seems like it could get super frustrating when you miss. Maybe there is a middle ground with more control and then just magneting the cat to the perceived destination, but that could get cumbersome too if the game misinterprets what you are trying to do and keeps overcorrecting.

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ThePanzini

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#9  Edited By ThePanzini

Unless I'm in a different universe the consensus around Stray is nowhere near it being overrated or flawed the user scores are through the roof.

Stray is a narrative focused title it's not a platformer the player having more control over jumping wouldn't make for a better game, it'd probably be for the worse as the devs would have to limit where the player can't go and prevent the player falling to their death.

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monkeyking1969

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I never though of STRAY in my mind as a platformer...it seemed like a wandering puzzle game. Gamers want everything gamified and everything seemingly in their control. Until the moment they are out of their element like actually flying a plane...actually firing a gun...or actually climbing up a wall!!!! LOL

Someone should make a demo of Uncharted where they recreate in the real world a 1 to 1 level of the game with physical metal, stone, brick and wood. Hand the player a IR sensor gun and they tell them to run, jump, parkour, and shot for the next 30 min. "Yeah, bud you cannot do that so don't complain about a gaming 'doing too much'; all games do to much and all games are "babying you".

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TheRealTurk

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Yes and no. I think it's fine for about 95% of the game. Cats are supposed to be careful and considered animals, so it makes sense that they would only jump at points they had already calculated they could make. For the most part, that works really well.

Having said that, the chase sequences can get frustrating when it feels like you should be able to jump but can't because you are not 100% perfectly positioned in the spot the game has decided you can.

The solution, as I have said elsewhere, is to remove the chase sequences. It would make for a better game overall and remove whatever minor complaints I have about the jumping.

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Retris

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@therealturk: The chase sequences are kinda dull too, which is kind of the opposite of what they think they're trying to achieve with them.

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TheRealTurk

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@retris: My main problem with them is that it's the one part of the game where I feel nothing like a cat. As numerous trips to the vet have proven, my cat is significantly faster and more agile than the one in the game when she's being chased. She's not making these big looping turns, she's making 180s on a dime. If you haven't achieved total strategic surprise before she sees the cat carrier . . . good luck.

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Daveydave

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Not at all. It controls fine for what it is going for.

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Nodima

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I never cared one way or the other. I was more concerned with the boilerplate themes and remarkably retro game design.

I enjoyed myself / played it in a single five hour session / but being a PS+ game contributed pretty significantly to that baseline satisfaction.

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Justin258

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People seem to like Stray. It looks like the devs very much wanted a directed, on-rails kind of experience, at least from what I've seen of it. Apparently it opens up later in the game, but it still doesn't seem like it has much going on mechanically.

Which means that, yes, I personally am not as interested in it as I was when I first saw it. A game focused on using the reflexes and jumping abilities of a cat to navigate a cyberpunk world populated by robots trying to act human for whatever reason? Yes, please, that sounds cool! But Stray doesn't seem terribly interested in the part where I would like a platforming playground where you run around as a realistic-looking cat and is instead very intent on showing players all the cool set pieces and animations and stuff they have.

But other people like it and some seem way into it so I'm not sure where the "overrated and flawed" sentiment comes in. Do you have any example articles/videos/discussions?

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cikame

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#18  Edited By cikame

I don't get this weird little reaction to Stray, like it either has to be the best game of all time or some kind of weirdly flawed experience, i'm seeing it everywhere.

I liked the jumping, similar to Assassin's Creed as you say where you can hold the platform button and it'll do the work for you, but with less options because you're not on open world rooftops choosing where to go and positioning for stealth kills, as a slinky little cat there's a lot of small objects and spaces you can jump on or in so it's basically a requirement that there would be some kind of jumping assistance, trying to climb up onto a shelf would look really stupid if you were jumping and smashing yourself into a wall until you got the angle right, this isn't the game to give me the challenge of jumping pin point accurately onto a hand rail or missing and falling to my death, it's a narrative experience with a cute cat.

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SethMode

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#19  Edited By SethMode

The question is a little odd to begin with, because I feel like its premise is incredibly.....naive, I guess is the best word I can think of. It's essentially asking the devs to make an incredibly different, larger, more expensive, and even more time consuming game. It's similar to when game players go on the internet and say something like "did they even test this" or "I would have done this" as they all show a misunderstanding of how a lot of games are made, and how difficult they are to make. I have only tinkered in my free time with some things for fun, and even then the idea of changing something fixed (in this case, the intractable locations) to something free where every object on screen has to then be coded and tested around even more than previously in order to account for the who, what, where, when and how that can constantly be changing when they player has more freedom in general, and particularly if they are free to run and jump as they please. Decisions then have to be made on an even more detailed level, increasing dev time for everything. What can the cat interact with? What can't it? Both have to be determined, and both then have to be determined what that means. Does interacting with something mean knocking it over or standing on it? The cat movement is integral to what makes the game unique, so with completely free interactivity, does it make more sense to create a physics engine and build from there?

Anyway, I'm probably talking too much at this point, but this was sort of what bombarded my brain when I read what was essentially this question: should the devs have made a different game?

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AV_Gamer

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I know Jeff Gerstmann decided he doesn't like Stray because he wanted a Cat Simulator game and not the awesome adventure game we got. One of his major complains was about the controls and it being too animation heavy for his taste, comparing it to Red Dead II and Uncharted. Personally, I had no issues at all with the controls from what I've played of it. In fact, Stray will easily be on my Top 10 for GOTY and I hope they make a sequel. I also like that a good portion of the money off of the game will go to charity's that take care of stray cats. Thumbs up to the developers.

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AlexW00d

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It's an adventure game, not a platformer, so no.

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SethMode

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#22  Edited By SethMode
@therealturk said:

@retris: My main problem with them is that it's the one part of the game where I feel nothing like a cat. As numerous trips to the vet have proven, my cat is significantly faster and more agile than the one in the game when she's being chased. She's not making these big looping turns, she's making 180s on a dime. If you haven't achieved total strategic surprise before she sees the cat carrier . . . good luck.

If she's anything like my two cats, it's all of this plus they're sprinkling pee in different places because they're scared out of their minds. Where is the unashamed, incontrollable fear urination that cats do sometimes because they're so scared BlueTwelve!? (I'm kidding, but maybe it's in there -- I haven't finished the game yet, so...)

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peffy

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@av_gamer said:

One of his major complains was about the controls and it being too animation heavy for his taste, comparing it to Red Dead II and Uncharted.

Oh god, really? *roll eyes* I haven't listened to Jeff's latest podcast yet, now I'm dreading it. (tbh his tastes really don't line up with mine at all, so I don't know why I bother listening)

The animations are probably the #1 thing I liked about Stray. They are good enough to fool some real cats into thinking they're looking at a real cat. Stray is not an action game or a platformer, so there's no need to have free-form jumping or extremely responsive controls. The point is that it looks like real cat doing stuff.

While I haven't played RDR2, I imagine people complained about the animations because it's a long game and there are actions that you have to do repeatedly (like looting a corpse) that take forever to animate. That doesn't compare at all to the cat's jump taking half a second to animate, plus the animation is such a pleasure to look at.

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BladeOfCreation

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Precise platforming control makes sense in games that are primarily platformers, especially the ones that are marketed as being difficult.

In narrative-driven games (usually with a human protagonist, although Stray is an exception), "realistic" platforming fucking sucks. It feels bad. It makes no sense. Nathan Drake is an expert at free climbing. It feels bad to me, the player, when I go to make a jump and he propels himself directly off of a cliff to his death 300 feet below just because I wasn't aiming the analog stick at the precise point that I was supposed to. Games try to mitigate this in various ways (through the use of colored handholds, by having a character reach towards the proper path, etc.), but they're not perfect and these nonsensical deaths happen. They always feel bad.

Cats are excellent jumpers in the real world. For a game about a realistic cat, it makes perfect sense to limit the player's input to make that cat seem more adept at jumping.

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ThePanzini

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#26  Edited By ThePanzini

@topcyclist: That's not the develper hand holding the player, in those early Tomb Raider games and Mario the jumps are designed so the player can fail and its baked throughout the enviroment in its design.

People often get frustrated with missing jumps in other titles because the same level of care and throught isn't put into them like Mario, Game Makers Toolkit has done a few vids on the design within Mario.

Mario environments are built with strong visual cues indicating the harzards and provide the players with safe spaces to learn, Stray on the other hand its environments are noisy used to enhance its world building with a lot more visual storytelling. More control over the jump in Stray would likely be far more frustrating given how its world is built.

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dijidiji

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@peffy: I think it's a fair criticism. Gerstmann is generally more focused on the gameplay side of things rather than narrative stuff. I totally understand him seeing a game with a cat as the protagonist and expecting the gameplay to "make you feel like a cat", y'know?

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cikame

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@peffy: I'm the same with Jeff, i think he's great but i usually disagree with his opinion on games, but what really riled me up when he was talking about it was that while the points he made were totally valid he concluded by calling it "largely insignificant", in the context of not having massively interactive gameplay and not being blown away by its story.

At which point i have to step in and suggest not everything needs to be or can be the most amazing thing ever made and should be enjoyed on its own merits, and i think using the word insignificant for a game as good as this is disgusting.

I'd like to think if he had a 2nd take maybe he'd choose a different word.

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beggary

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@cikame: Brad at Nextlander was talking about the same thing and acting like everyone hated the game. Where are they getting this? Must be some forum or site I’m not on because I see almost universal praise. And I say this as someone who isn’t even that excited to play it (also no WAY to play it).

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bybeach

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I'm playing it right now, and I am having a good time. It is neither lacking in ambition or over the top hipster. The controls seem fine, and I personally like the story and what it seems to be commenting on, but that's me.

Gamers seem to have, when in bulk, inclinations to viewpoints and then causally, backlashes. A lot of times, it does seem understandable, but other times it's like some kind of reaction then re-reaction is already in place, Kind of a social edifice.

As for Jeff, he is a pretty damned good talking head. As for Brad and what he thinks of Stray, I think Brad breathes rarer air then I do. I remember Brad getting real short and curt about Valve ever doing another Half life game. Then a few years later Alyx came out for VR, and seemingly not missing a beat on atmosphere or quality, despite the time past and ppl. moving on. But I still listen to Brad, he is a smart dude.

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Nodima

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#34  Edited By Nodima

I think this is the weirdest thing about Stray. It's not really a cat game, it's an "are robots people?" game in which you control a cat, but the cat part only matters in terms of the scale of the environments. Most of the cat activities in the game are completely frivolous, which is a thing cat freaks adore about cats but can make for a game that feels really slight aside from the Slums area if you aren't the sort of person inclined to think everything in life would be 1,000% better with cats involved.

I think Nextlander's conversation was the most sober I've heard on the subject so far, even if I agree that Brad must be in some really specific corners of the internet to be seeing much backlash to this game. I feel like I'm the only one who came away from Stray thinking it was a well made homage to the best aspects of games made around the time of character platformers like Jeff Gerstmann's Garfield: Lasagna World Tour (I'm only bringing this up for the "play as a cat" aspect, obviously Stray is an exponentially better one of those) married to incredible art direction, but a far, far, far cry from the GotY contender praise the cat perverts have wedged it into.

@topcyclist said:

Others knew it was a nice cat game. Personally think it's cool but haven't seen much.