BigSocrates's forum posts

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#1 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

I've been playing Yoshi's Wooly World on my 3DS while commuting home from work a few days a week and I've really been enjoying it. I generally don't like playing 3DS games but something about the charming visuals, upbeat music, and mellow, simple gameplay is really great for de-stressing on the train on the way home. So I have been looking forward to Yoshi's Crafted World since it was announced. I didn't love the aesthetic (I think the yarn look is both cuddlier and more cohesive than the "crafted" cardboard look) but I figured playing in HD on my Switch would at least be better than the 3DS low res screen and simplified visuals, and I was still excited.

The Demo put the brakes on that. Now I grant you that this is just one level, and probably the first level, so the platforming was much simpler than Wooly World (not that Wooly World is anything but a cakewalk, but it does have some engaging sequences if you try to find everything.) However I didn't like the way the paths took me into and out of the screen, which disrupts the flow of the platforming and makes it more isometric, and means that the egg throwing is now just a cursor instead of a meter that goes up and down. The environmental objects you can hit with eggs are not as clearly defined as the stuff you can hit with yarn balls in Wooly World (which could be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences) and the enemies are much less interesting looking than all the yarn dudes.

Also the music was not good, compared to Wooly World's awesome tunes, and you have to do each level forward, backward, and look for items for a third run if you want to get everything? That seems like a lot.

Maybe I'm just overthinking things and this was a simplified demo level and the full game will be much better, but I'm worried this is going to fall flat, no pun intended. Did anyone else try it? Did you enjoy it? Did you like Wooly World?

This is not like my most anticipated game, but I was legitimately looking forward to it to play on my commute because when I play Wooly World I arrive home relaxed and with a smile on my face, and it's not like there's a ton of games out there that have that effect on me these days.

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#2 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

Yes but for a different reason. Developers. Specifically I have 2 fears:

1) The continued increase in the cost of making games that take advantage of the hardware will only consolidate the worst trends in the industry of consolidation and only betting on "sure thing" big existing franchises. New consoles with more power will mean that it will be even harder for mid-tier developers to make games that don't risk the whole company. I don't really like the model of "huge AAA games as a service franchise or small indie title" and I'm worried that new consoles will only accelerate that. From Software and Platinum Games are hanging in there on current consoles, but what if they need to sell 15-20 million copies to make up costs? Maybe the Switch can be a home for mid-tier games, but we haven't really seen it yet.

2) Developers coming to grips with new hardware don't tend to put out their best work. There's a cliche that launch games are bad, and I don't think that's always true; there are some great launch and launch window games out there. But it's true that the launch window tends to have fewer amazing games, as developers focus on being able to put out a decent product with new hardware rather than telling an amazing story or experimenting with gameplay, or even just polishing something to an incredible sheen. The first games I can say I loved from the 8th gen were Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 (though I did enjoy Titanfall quite a bit), and they came out almost a full year after launch, and even after that things were spotty for a while. I prefer the kind of late console era we're in now, where interesting and polished games are launching every month and 2017 was one of the best years the medium has EVER seen. I don't want to go back to "Here's Plants V. Zombies Garden Warfare and it'll be a surprise hit in part because there just isn't that much to play" mode.

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#3 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

Horizon Zero Dawn is okay as a title because it sort of sounds cool, but it doesn't actually mean anything and is actually an internal reference that only makes sense after you've played the game.

I think that was the main issue actually. The game was supposed to be kind of mysterious as to what was going on, and you aren't supposed to have more knowledge of the world than Aloy does, so many names that make sense in retrospect are kind of spoilers, which Horizon Zero Dawn is not.

I would have called it "Frontier" or "Robot Frontier" because I think those are a little more descriptive titles without being spoilers, but the flip side is that Horizon Zero Dawn had a TON of marketing behind it so it didn't need a memorable or descriptive name because all the customers already knew what it was.

If this had been a small Indie game with no marketing the name would be much worse because it doesn't tell you anything when you're flipping through an online store.

At least it's not El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Now there's a game that could have used a clearer name.

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#4 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

@fnrslvr: So I actually don't need a gentler onramp. I would be happy to buy a much more powerful console tomorrow, mostly because I make good money and video games are one of my primary sources of entertainment so sinking another $500 or $1,000 to improve that experience would be an easy call. Heck I bought both a PS4 and Xbox One at launch and have upgraded to a PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. My issue is more that I think that the Xbox One and PS4 era took longer than usual to actually leverage that hardware into actually superior gaming experiences, and even now I think that there are fewer games that make use of those upgrades than there were in prior eras. I'm a little concerned that the next generation is going to have even fewer games that make use of the hardware and increase the current trend of "1000 indie games that could have been made for the PS2/Xbox era and 50 "modern" games a year." That's an exaggeration but not a huge one.

I also think that some of these answers are pretty telling. I love Zelda: BOTW. I cannot name a single game that I definitively like more. But it ran fine on the Wii U, a system that was substantially underpowered when it was launched in 2012. I wouldn't be shocked if it could have run with few compromises on the PS3 (maybe that's not true because the Wii U had 4 times the RAM.) MGS V, as someone mentioned, did have an Xbox 360/PS3 version. I think it's probably right that Battle Royale games could not have run on the 360/PS3...but they do run okay on smart phones, so they're not necessarily system pushers.

I just think gaming is in an unfamiliar place right now, where hardware has become less of a limitation than the ability to actually generate assets to take advantage of that hardware, and where a large percentage of new games just aren't going to use the new technological headroom. I think the idea of porous generations makes sense here; and Microsoft seems to be planning at least two versions of the new Xbox (with different capacities), which also makes sense. I am just not super excited at the idea of another generation of consoles because I think really more than anything gaming needs better middleware tools to allow smaller teams to take advantage of the capacities we already have, so we're not in this place where we get a few huge budget games a year and a bunch of smaller stuff that just takes no real advantage of the hardware.

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#5 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

I liked the 2012 Need For Speed: Most Wanted game, and if they could make something like that again this would be good news. The 2010 Hot Pursuit was also great. But I don't think EA is that company any more. The developer certainly doesn't exist, but more importantly those games were focused on being fun, exciting, driving games, not on selling microtransactions or some dumb FMV story. EA just doesn't seem to want to sell $60 games that are complete games anymore, and microtransactions tend to be poison for the driving genre (Look at The Crew series for another example.) The need to push you into buying additional crap just makes the racing unfair and unfun, and it doesn't make it MORE fun to pay to win.

The only game series that seems to have bucked this is Forza Horizon, and they do it by focusing the microtransactions on buying new cars, which is nice but requires that the base game have so many cars that it doesn't feel crappy to be restricted to the base unit. Forza pulls it off, but who knows if it actually makes money for Microsoft or if they are willing to take a loss on it because it's their strongest exclusive series this generation and gives the Xbox one genre where it's stronger than PS4.

Basically if EA decides to make a really strong racing game focused on the racing (with a great map) and content to sell for $60, this could be a great thing, but the thing they actually seem to want to make (a skinner box to provoke people to buy microtransactions) just isn't fun, and nobody has pulled off a good or successful version of it yet.

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#6 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

It seems like your tastes have changed more than games have. I'm older than you and have been playing games longer, and none of these complaints register. Perhaps part of it is that I was a PC gamer when I was young, so a lot of these complaints about complex controls and the speed of the game just do not register. I mean have you played the Quake series? Unreal Tournament? They were much faster than modern FPS. As for control complexity...Halo came out (on console) in 2001, and I don't think modern FPS controls are particularly more complicated than the controls in that game. Like Titanfall 2 (to name a modern FPS that I played a substantial amount of) has wall-running and the grappling hook, and then the titan stuff, but Halo had vehicle segments and complex weapons so...

Forced multiplayer just depends on the game you play. There's plenty of singleplayer stuff still out there. Like you complain about FIFA's huge variety of modes AND forced multiplayer. Many of those modes are singleplayer only.

A lot of the added complexity in game design stuff you mention is legitimate. There is a lot more to do in most games, especially open world games, than 15 years ago. But you can also ignore the majority of that stuff. And games tend to be both easier and provide clearer objectives. I don't understand how you could think that Vice City (which did have property management) was easier than GTA V. Vice City had some legitimate difficulty spikes, much less forgiving shooting, and objectives that were much vaguer and more difficult to follow. GTA V shows you exactly where to go and what to do, nothing is particularly difficult in that game and everything feels smooth and refined. Mid-mission checkpoints alone eliminate so much frustration.

As for games "forcing" you to play as a female protagonist or deal with LGBT's 2019. Get over it. Games in 2001 mostly forced you to play as the same gravely voiced 30-something male. There's much more variety these days. And there's plenty of games where you either can or must play as a male. Look at the biggest PS4 games from last year. Red Dead Redemption 2. God of War. Spider-Man. All white male protagonists. This complaint rings extremely hollow. I don't even know what games "force" LGBT content but it's 2019 and there are LGBT people out and about and it just isn't something to be bothered by. In many cases it makes things more interesting or at least a little less cliche.

Games have changed. They've gotten less static and they've integrated microtransactions (something you don't talk about but which I think is actually a huge issue for many games in the way it impacts design) and often have more features, but I think they're generally more accessible than ever. 30 is too young to be baffled by modern video game menus and interfaces, so I think a lot of the change has been you. And if you really want games more like we had in the past there's lots of those games being churned out by the indie scene. Want a simple old-school shooter? Try Immortal Redneck. Simple controls and very straightforward. Want a racing game with less complexity than even the PS1 era? Horizon Chase Turbo is a decent time and an extremely straightforward experience. There's stuff out there for everyone now. You just need to find the stuff that makes you happy.

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#7 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

@lordandrew: Super Star Wars was ported as part of the Darth Vader PS4 bundle, which included Battlefront 2015 and 3 PS4 ports of PS2 Star Wars games back when Sony was making a push to port PS2 games to the PS4. This was part of the big marketing push for Episode 7.

I always assumed the other Super Star Wars games would be ported for episode 8 and episode 9, but with Sony losing interest in PS2 on PS4 and just a general cooling of interest in Star Wars it obviously didn't happen.

As for this topic overall, I'm just sad so much Hudson IP is going to rot in Konami's vault, out of which it seems that only Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood can escape. If Hudson went up for sale today I wonder if Konami would even have interest, or would be outbid by some other company (Microsoft has done a pretty good job with old games/IP and I'd love to see Hudson stuff in their hands, where it would likely get an Xbox/PC compilation.)

I hope Nintendo does SOMETHING with Nintendo Online soon. It's crazy that the state of legal console retro gaming in 2019 is substantially worse than it was in 2009. Even weirder, retro seems to have stopped at the 32/64 bit era for some reason. Nintendo was happy to sell N64 games on the virtual console but they've done nothing with Gamecube games, even though those are now much older than N64 games were when the Wii launched.

I thought the VC signaled a new golden age for legal retro gaming, but instead it was an anomaly. I guess it must not have made them any money? Although with Nintendo who knows.

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#8 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

I would pay up to...$5 for a quick look of this. I loved both the Garfield PS2 game playthroughs and the Tron Legacy runner quick look so this would be the perfect game to really let Jeff shine in frustrated/disgusted Jeff mode, which is my second favorite Jeff mode after "Hey, I'm really surprised to be actually enjoying this" Jeff mode.

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#9 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

I wouldn't be super opposed because others might enjoy it, but I don't feel any great desire for it. The Mass Effect games were great and I even liked 3 (yes the ending was pretty underwhelming but plenty of the stuff up to that point was engaging, even if not as good as what was in 2.) But they're very long games, and I'm happy with how "my" Shepard's story went. I don't feel the need to go back and revisit, especially when much of what made those games great (the characters, the sense of discovery) just wouldn't be as impactfull the second time.

I'd rather they just actually invest into a Mass Effect 4 or another spin-off on new hardware. Hire some great writers and do it right, not like Andromeda (which, to be fair, I have not yet played because I was hoping they'd fix it first, though it seems they never will.) I'm ready for more Mass Effect but if I was going to invest the time to play through 3 lengthy RPGs these days they'd have to be games that I hadn't played before.

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#10 Posted by BigSocrates (1957 posts) -

@ares42 said:

The more interesting question is really why were games priced at $60 back in the day, and why did it take 20ish years before the industry started to realize it was overcharging that badly.

The answer to this is that games weren't necessarily priced at $60 back in the day. Some were more, and the reason was cartridges. Cartridges were expensive to produce so games couldn't be sold cheaply and the biggest games (in terms of memory) cost more than $60 because of the cartridge costs. The CD format changed this quickly, and some games came down in price upon its release, but people were used to paying $60 at that point and anything released at a lower price was perceived as 'bargain' and lesser quality (The NFL 2K series experimented with a $20 release one year, and even though it was better than Madden it was not a successful experiment.) So games kind of got locked in at $60 at first release, and people got used to it, and anyone who deviates in either direction will be perceived as either overcharging or selling an inferior product (Sonic Forces released at $40 and was perceived as an inferior game, though that's also because it wasn't great).

Then there are all kinds of retailers and other parties used to $60, and the console manufacturers want to maintain consistency, and nobody wants to initiate a race to the bottom, etc...

The point is that it got locked in because of costs that are no longer in place, but there's not a lot of incentive to change and there is a fair amount of incentive to keep things as they are. But publishers have effectively raised the price of some games through DLC and cosmetics, even if not everyone buys them. Fighting games definitely cost more than they used to because of those changes, at least if you want the full game.