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eggheaded

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eggheaded

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#1  Edited By eggheaded

@seikenfreak: The 200 crystal door is kind of underwhelming considering the grinding over multiple lives it took, and hate to burst your bubble but the marbles are upgrades to the Pocket (you've probably got the chair or lanterns or the ability to save gems). The geometric doors all require a gimmick to open them (you'll get something on floor 6 to open that hexagonal one so don't waste hours on it).

Which brings me to air out my thoughts on why Below fails (for me) after playing since launch (EDIT: looking now the steam reviews disagree with me, but only 1% of players have beaten the first boss so take those with a grain of salt)...the constraints placed upon the player (i.e. resource and inventory mgmt) run counter to the primary task of exploration/finding out how to progress/make sense of all the Old School Adventure Game level esoterica. Light spoilers, but tl;dr the constraints limit experimentation and the game, and the roguelike elements don't mesh at all with the adventure ones. The degree to which you can be punished for not knowing a crucial gameplay feature or design detail is measured in hours and hours, not minutes:

For instance if you miss the very first shortcut in the game (the gf and I watched Brad do that during UPF, I'm guilty as well) you also miss the opportunity to get the Spear from the equipment chest making food particularly scarce (some say you can get it from the Shipwreck equip chest which is the shortcut most will get first, but in all my runs it *never* showed up only leather armor). Now if you head down lower to floor 3 you can either head down to 4 or 5 (called level 18 for some reason on XBOX) directly. If you hit up 5-7 and Cannibal Land you're gonna learn how scarce food is (while you can kill bat/rat/snake spawns on the first few floors they're dicerolls while stocking up on filets is a 100% guarantee) so you probably won't wanna experiment with the potion system which takes 3 precious ingredients you need later on. If you don't experiment you won't learn about the potion that temporarily freezes your meters. Now what if you went on floor 4? Well you're definitely not gonna want to experiment (with anything) because you're going to be running to pyre to pyre so you won't freeze to death. Protip if you're going to starve on this floor, do it at a fire, because a bad procgen roll can mean that your lantern and body can end up in separate places (a problem that gets worse in the narrow later levels). Oh yeah and if you wasted your mats making an improved torch you're shit outta luck, because for some reason Torches don't actually keep you warm.

And this means when you finally head to the very first boss (or for that matter the maze(s)/trial(s) that await you before you can even fight the boss that will one-shot you) you're probably gonna freeze or get OHKO'd because you likely A) don't know that soup warms you B) you've likely skipped the secret entrance on level 4 you have to blow open to get headgear that keeps you warm and/or C) don't realize you need your lantern on at a certain interval or that's it. And even then, you can die of hunger *while* fighting the boss or right after you've beaten him because you didn't stock up on Meter Freezing Potion before the fight.

There are just so, so many points of failure here, if the Spear is so crucial to avoid a constant death-loop why weren't there more indications that there was a hidden path there (glowing fish heading through the waterfall etc) or given to you like the bow? Why is the hexagon door on level 3 where after 1 and 2 players are taught that methods to open doors exist on those levels when that's not the case there, not to mention the 200 crystal door? Why would you hide the item that helps in the cold environment in that environment when most players are trying to run frantically to stay alive in that area and might not even have the mats to craft a bomb/bomb arrow because they didn't have enough space in their current or also limited backup inventory? So most players are bound to go walkthrough hunting.

Now armed with all this information you can go and get those items, grind for food, appropriate mats, will the game still be fun? I'm sure some people will feel smart intentionally gathering and crafting equipment, making it to the fire closest to a shortcut and waiting til you starve to death to minimize your grinding time. But honestly? It's the worst part of Bloodborne (grinding for vials) but worse (because the combat is minimal and the levels/enemies feel bland and uninspired) combined with the worst part of survival games (the meters are essentially timers and thusly run counter to the overall atmosphere/hamper exploration/skew the pacing). Loved the first 5-6 hours, fan of all the Souls games, but despise this grind and I hate to say it because the art and vibe and music have had serious thought and consideration put into them. Wish I could say the same for the overall game design.

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eggheaded

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#2  Edited By eggheaded

@vinny

Quick Looks:

  • Endless Legend/DLC (4X game that got raving reviews, not much big coverage, worth the time?)
  • Big Pharma (recently released management/Spacechem-like, not sure if it scratches the Theme Hospital itch).
  • Factorio (Steam allowing it to bypass Greenlight points to something potentially special here)
  • Brigador (isometric tanks, looks different)
  • Prison Architect 1.0 (is it worth the buy now?)
  • Caves of Qud (Sci-fi, Post Apocalyptic Roguelike)
  • Cogmind (Good looking particle effects, Roguelike, saw mixed reactions)
  • Master Spy (soundtrack by RAC is great, not sure if it is a standout platformer)
  • Jotun (is it all just pretty animations?)
  • Else Heartbreak (Saw a review that said it was hot garbage, worth a flier on the graphics, city alone?)
  • SpyParty

Potentially funny Retrospective/Playdates:

  • Space Station 13
  • Crusader Kings 2 with the Game of Thrones mod
  • Police Quest 1/2 (the point and click not the terrible SWAT ones)
  • Shadow President (DOS Cold War simulator that refuses to realistically simulate the world)
  • Long Live the Queen
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Alpha Protocol
  • Pathologic
  • Playing through some of the top Procjam or Ludlum Dare games

Kick the Hive:

  • Whatever Star Citizen actually is
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