BrunoTheThird's forum posts

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#1 Edited by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

Kamiya is in my top five all day.

Fumito Ueda's work changed my whole perspective back in '05 when I played Ico and Shadow back to back; it made me appreciate the way games can make you care so deeply about collections of polygons as if they were real. Emotional, raw, ambitious creations to say the least. The SotC soundtrack may be the best in all games, also.

Tim Schafer is a close second. Adore every game he's touched, pretty much. Grim, Psycho, Day, Monkey, Brutal, Costume, Broken; it's all stellar work with witty, funny writing and lovable characters.

Patrice Désilets. Assassin's Creed II and Sands of Time are two of my favourite games ever, so he has to be in there.

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#2 Posted by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

The first one is really special to me. The sense of freedom, speed and momentum combined with that amazing Solar Fields soundtrack was a match made in heaven, for me. The sequel gamified too much of what made it special to the point it felt very artificial -- a game designed by committee -- and filled the open world with busy work that stifled the flow. Locking some of the basic freerunning abilities behind a skill tree felt limiting, too; just let me be free! Stop tethering me to your mechanics.

I like the game okay, but it lacked the sweet simplicity and singular vision the original did. Love it or hate it, it was its own thing from start to finish. Catalyst was two different games wrestling with each other for 8 hours, for me, but if a third game managed to unify the action with the freedom in an open world (if they must) more seamlessly, I'd be on board.

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#3 Edited by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -
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#4 Edited by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

@mightyduck: That's really interesting to me. The trilogy's level of difficulty per game goes easiest to hardest in order of release, for me. I can beat the first DS without dying very reliably, but DS2's DLC was nuts, and DS3 was by far the most difficult for me with its enemy transmutations and often unpredictable boss patterns. It has so many more moments of frenzied attack; it's a tough bastard of a game.

DS2 is super underrated. I have to say, I find its unique qualities and colourful, almost Narnian art direction so much more interesting than the endless links and references DS3 has to the original. It almost felt like a re-imagining of it. Great game, though.

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#5 Posted by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

Lara grated on me so much in Shadow. Even Jonah is pretty sick of her whole behaviour and selfishness in this game compared to the first two -- in the first five or so hours, at least -- and the fact she starts murdering so early on really bugged me. I also found the gameplay a bit less polished (the game itself in general, in fact), the underwater stuff super dull, and the story wasn't grabbing me at all. Weak writing. My list of problems with it just started to grow and grow and grow. I think the first two games in this rebooted trilogy are better than most Uncharted games put together, I'm a huge fan, but this is a much weaker game to me, and the most pointless so far. I wouldn't say I hate it, but I can't stand playing it, and wouldn't call it underrated.

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#6 Edited by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

@siroptimusprime: You're right about not necessarily thinking deeply about every market that there could possibly be -- we all do it -- but in yours and others' defenses: why would you? It is pretty strange for old PC games that required so much clicking and quick key-presses to excel at to be converted into console-friendly variants, but there's a decent amount of people who favour controllers for whatever reason and want to play games they've heard are awesome. I doubt this was Beamdog's main reasoning, they're interested in maximizing profits like most companies, but I often benefit from seemingly pointless projects. Will it go gangbusters? No, no way, but I'm sure they'll make some thousands. Even if they don't come half as close to the Diablo 3 console experience in terms of intuitive controls, or if people say they control like shit when they come out, I'll buy all of them, adapt to their shortcomings, and finally experience some important games.

Justin258 mentioned Pinnacle Profiler, and that was my go-to program for enabling controller usage in games like Vampire: the Masquerade, etc., but Steam's native controller configurator has been a godsend. I have finished so many terrific games without controller support in the last couple years, but the classic CRPGs have eluded me like Moby Dick.

@sparky_buzzsaw: Yeah, I'm overjoyed tbh, haha.

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#7 Edited by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

I get severely tired playing these kinds of games with a mouse and keyboard, and I don't have the strength/endurance to use touchscreens for long periods of time due to a wasting disease, so this is kind of a huge deal for me, as controllers require far less effort for me to use. I'm okay with imperfect versions of games if it means I can actually play them comfortably - not every release needs to appeal to the same people. Sometimes niché markets exist that you haven't thought about. This is news I've been hoping for since I first beat Planescape: Torment with agonized upper arms.

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#8 Posted by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

I'm about 8 missions into an earlier Starbreeze game, Enclave. It's a nice mix of exploration and combat, with some decent level design for 2002. I've been playing it in first-person, and it's weird how much it feels like later Starbreeze games, especially the crossbow combat -- even the reticle behaves just like in Riddick and The Darkness, where it reacts to the environment. Your character also adjusts it depending how you're aiming (high, low, etc.), same as later games.

Yeaaah, it's decent. More of an interesting archaeological find than a classic, but I'll finish it.

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#9 Posted by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

@jackv211: I think both MGS and KH can suffer in very similar ways, it's a good comparison. For me it's too many characters (most of whom I love, by the way) to do right by, too many twists to explain neatly, and too many characters suddenly switching sides/changing personalities completely to make something fit. If your writing has just one of those things, or has long scenes where you have to sit your audience down every hour to explain why, how, where, when and who, something is not efficient. It doesn't give the drama room to be drama.

My 4/10 for the story is really harsh, but I love the humble beginnings of this series so deeply. Kids wanting to get off their little island and see the world together; Ansem being just Ansem, a scientist that was lost to the dark; one Kingdom Hearts; one realm of darkness. None of this everyone has three versions of themselves, this one's made of memories, this one's a husk, that guy's undercover, everyone's a keyblade warrior, this old man is that old man, this girl is a nobody but not in the same way as the others, that guy is the negative energy of that guy and looks just like the other guy who looks a bit like that other guy who is the exact image of that other guy and oh god, kill me.

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#10 Edited by BrunoTheThird (824 posts) -

Just finished it. I'm a huge fan of the first game, it means an awful lot to me, and I loved the gameplay in the subsequent entries, but thought the story got too big and silly, so I wasn't coming into this with anything other than neutral expectations. I still ended up being pretty disappointed with that stuff, but the gameplay, graphics, and art direction are simply astounding. I had a blast playing and watching this game's many spectacles play out, so I'm not looking at it like I waited all these years for nothing, I didn't. I got a slick, beautiful experience with fun, snappy combat and some great moments.

Twilight Town is as dreamy as ever. Seeing it represented in such a natural, real way gave me chills. The Tangled world nailed the humor and had the most beautiful level design I've seen in a while. Olympus is fun and exciting, with lots of eye candy and Ancient Greek splendor. The Toy Story world is easily my favourite and feels like one of the TV specials gamified; it works great with the KH angle on friendship. Exploring Monster's Inc in fine detail only reinforced my love for that film, it was fucking rad. San Fransokyo is fun and open and a nice change of pace; it could masquerade as a good super-hero game if you squinted when Donald and Goofy are on-screen. Most surprising to me, though, is how well the Caribbean world comes off despite being the weakest source material to draw from. There's so much depth to its boat combat and exploration, and the boss fights are quite elaborate and jaw-dropping at times, as are the boss fights in this game overall. Some real good shit.

The gameplay additions are all welcome ones, from the deeper keyblade options in terms of unique buffs and moves, to the upgrading, the DDD flowmotion mechanics, the crazy Disney World ride moves, more interesting abilities, etc. All improvements.

The music is generally really good, though I hoped for more original music by Yoko Shimomura as a huge fan of her work in the first game. It's mostly new versions of old themes here, but still good.

What I didn't like:

The voice acting in this series has usually hit a pretty high level of quality with a seasoned cast, but this is all over the place half the time. I'm still stunned. Riku and Mickey sound atrocious for two thirds of the game, then suddenly sound okay after that. The Mickey replacement has tried his best in the more recent games considering the original fellow sadly passed away after KH2, I can't be angry, but David Gallagher forgot how to act. Everyone else involved pulls it together a lot sooner, which is a relief, but even they sound like awkward people at a reunion during the early parts. Kairi's replacement sounds meek and so sickly sweet it's almost inhuman. Hayden Panettiere gave her a nice balance of sweetness and stoicism, but this actress went all the way to the left. Kairi in general is wasted in this game, actually; she's a keyblade-wielding princess of heart ffs, give her some teeth.

Level-wise, Frozen and Winnie the Pooh were the weakest for me, sadly. They're both a bit bland and inconsequential, the latter most of all. The Pooh stuff felt very sweet and relevant in the first two games, with several sweet little stories woven together, but here it's the same minigame three times in one tiny little environment, with two brief conversations that merely retread old stuff and then it's over. Why even bother?

I wish we got to explore more of the world of darkness. It was fascinating in BBS 0.2, this sad, cold dimension where time is cruel and self-doubt feeds on you endlessly. That's way cooler than people gabbing in Yen Sid's tower over and over again, which leads into my and a lot of peoples' biggest issue: the story.

It isn't some incomprehensible and complex thing to get your head around once all the moves have been played, but the way it's told is so convoluted when it doesn't need to be, and buckles under its own weight -- in this game especially -- when trying to tie up all the unnecessary loose ends created by KH2 and the side games. It's inefficient, bloated, and plain long-winded, which are common side effects when converting a comparatively simple story like the non-Final Mix version of KH1 into this galactic saga that spans decades; wants to connect every single plot point and character to everything and everyone else so often that it feels like an infinite regress; abuses time-travel clichés to excuse its greed for Star Wars levels of narrative obesity, and so on, and so on, and so on. It's disingenuous to say it isn't complicated at times, it is, but that's not the issue, it's just not told as well as it could be.

They've bolted so much onto what started as a simple, charming crossover about a boy finding friends and locking out darkness from worlds with a magical key in the most ham-fisted way I've ever seen. It's like slapping fistfuls of clay onto a paper house to make it look like a castle, then fixing x amount of struts to keep what you've added held up instead of taking a step back and simplifying your ideas into a cohesive structure. I like Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop a lot at their most basic -- they added some neat stuff conceptually -- but it all needed to be simpler and subtler, and more carefully integrated into KH3. Otherwise, we end up with this: every cutscene full to the bezel with info dumping to stop itself from capsizing. Even some of the characters keep saying how confusing what's going on is. You know it's bad when the game is nudging and winking at you, like it doesn't really care anyway.

It feels like yet another side game or sequel is teased in the ending, which I guess shouldn't surprise me yet it really does. It's still a great series, and I never have a bad time playing them, so bring it on.

I give it a 9/10 for gameplay, 4/10 for story. It's a hell of a thing, can't deny that.