Rox360's forum posts

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#1 Posted by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

I'm up for this! Jason's the only addition to Giant Bomb that I've had instantly click with me from day one. All my respect to every new recruit of the growing emporium, but from Ben and Abby, to Dan, and even back to Patrick, it always takes me quite a while to warm up to new faces. Maybe it's an extreme introvert thing, heck if I know. But for some magical and/or mystical reason, I've been comfortable with Jason from the first time I saw him on camera and the first time I heard him on the podcast. Guess this is what people mean when they say it's like they know someone from before they met?

Dunno what it is about your vibe, man, but you always seem totally level-headed and trustworthy as a person. I find myself always paying attention to what you have to say even when you're on about stuff I have no personal interest in (like fighting games. And God Eater...) and I have mad respect for the work you do behind the scenes. Especially when you're also working on the scenes at the same time, I mean, how does that even work!?

Keep it up, duder. You're golden.

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#2 Posted by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

3 wins in my book, extremely closely followed by 5, on the merit that 3 might be one of the most interesting, memorable and challenging titles without resorting to endless spike mats or bottomless pits, with just enough mechanics between Rush and the sliding to be interesting and challenging in a new way, but without feeling stuffed with gimmicks and one-shot systems... but unfortunately it has a few very severe problem spots that hold it back a lot. To the point of almost being unforgivable. Almost.

So that lets 5 catch up, and that is, in my opinion, a nearly perfect game. Yes, it's quite easy, but since when is that a bad thing? It's a bright and cheerful game much like 2. It has consistently great music... Not the best of the series, but none of the series' worst tunes, either. I'll gladly hum along to any one of the robot master stage themes, and the Protoman's Castle theme is an underrated gem. And yeah, sure, Charge Man is a train and Stone Man is Hard Man but made out of stone, but I still feel like there's enough personality in there, and most importantly, it's just fun to play all the way through. I also enjoy what they did with the plot, as little of it as there is. Come to think of it, since Proto Man was a big deal in 3, didn't show up in 4, and was made the focus again in 5, I guess it makes sense that I feel like 5 is somehow the true sequel to 3... I'm left wondering if 5 gets consistently rated so low simply because of being such a late entry in the series, and specifically coming out after 4 wore everyone out...

4 and 6 tie for last place in the NES series in my list. 4 feels unusually nonsensical even for a Mega Man game (Toad Man? Pharaoh Man? RING MAN??? Oh yes, ring man, you know, the guy with the rainbows.) and in spite of that, it can't help but reuse gimmicks and boss powers from earlier games, more so than 5 or 6 do. On top of that, there's a very high concentration of insta-death rooms with pits and spikes, and those challenges just don't feel engaging to me. Meanwhile, 6 has arguably better design overall but I guess in an attempt to bring the difficulty curve back up after 5, everything just feels sluggish. Too many enemies take too long to kill, stages go on for longer than they probably should, and none of it just feels very interesting. Uninspired, I suppose. Possibly the blandest game in the series, in spite of solid ideas, gameplay and stage/boss design, so even when it plays well, it just doesn't feel very fun.

Don't ask me about 1 or 2. I can never make up my mind about those.

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#3 Edited by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

I've spent a long time thinking about this. I hate quest markers, but not because the quest markers are doing anything wrong. I will introduce my philosophy by comparing it to something else I've heard:

Ever heard by shoot-em-up fans that games that kill you in one hit, like Gradius or R-Type, are always better than otherwise seemingly identical games that have health bars? The idea is that a game with one-shot-kills must be designed so that it is possible to beat the entire game without getting hit once, whereas games with health bars don't have to be so tightly designed because the developer expects the player to fudge it, anyway. And so you end up with a game that doesn't immediately promise as high a skill ceiling to players that might want that type of challenge, or even the same measure of fairness. You might get hit sometimes, but othertimes not. Who cares. The designers don't.

Quest markers are like health bars. I don't think any game really suffers from having quest markers at all, but if you think about it, quite a few probably purposefully avoid additional world building, NPC dialog or recognizable landmarks because, who cares, there'll be a quest marker to show players the way, anyway. A game built without quest markers in mind would have to be much more tightly designed, and all games would benefit from attempting this.

To me, the first Borderlands a great example of a game that would be impossible to get around in without quest markers, because, unfortunately, the world is bland as hell and does very little to give you any sense of place or direction, in itself. It feels like most of that game's world is there to provide combat spaces, and sufficient distance between these combat spaces so they don't accidently run together.

Shockingly, a game that is very highly playable without any kind of HUD, once you learn the in-universe mechanics of it, is the first Assassin's Creed! It does take a lot of staring at maps and glaring down at the world through eagle vision to actually spot where you need to go, but every city has its landmarks, every assassination comes with some text and a map that you can use to find your way, and many of the side missions can spotted from above and potentially make noise when you get close, even without line of sight. I played through that game twice. The first as normal, and then a second, complete playthrough with ALL HUD elements disabled (thanks for allowing that option, Ubisoft!) and actually had a lot more fun the second time through. Many parts of the HUD becomes obsolete when you realize there's in-universe equivalents for almost everything it told you, and as a result you start to pay closer attention to the beautiful and fairly believable world you're supposed to be in, making it seem even richer than before. As an example, you can tell whether or not you've scaled a viewpoint before because all the ones you haven't used have an eagle circling them, which flies away after your first visit and stays gone for the rest of the game.

In short, clarity is almost never a bad thing. It is very difficult to give a player too much information, and often frustratingly easy to give them too little. But I hate to see interface used as a crutch, or a substitute for making a believable world with believable people giving believable directions to the player. Hey, remember Outcast? Remember how you could ask almost any NPC about almost anything you had in your mission log, and they'd literally get up and point in the direction of the object/person if they had knowledge of what you were looking for? Just that. That's almost literally all you need.

Edit: I managed to forget there's a Game Maker's Toolkit video exactly about handholding versus exploring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzOCkXsyIqo

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#4 Posted by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Literally to the point where a couple of friends suggested we buy it when it came out, and I declined because it reminds me too much of my job. Customer service/tech support call centers, man... Ask what someone sees on their screen, get a completely nonsensical answer back, try to decude what they meant and return an instruction, then listen to them do something completely different, and all the while the clock is ticking. The only real difference is that it was the caller cutting the wires, and me who would risk exploding at the end.

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#5 Edited by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

I can't say I've noticed too much serifs, specifically, but eastern games always do have wonky fonts. They also seem to love gigantic, horizontal bars and lots of numbers. The font choice that honestly bugs me the most (I guess mostly from Korean online games, but Japan doesn't shy away either) is the round, unnecessarily bold font with unnecessarily thick outlines.

You know, this one:

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The only game I can think of off the top of my head that I think takes it too far with the serifs is good ol' new Ninja Gaiden, but you can make a case for that deliberately trying to look both old and European, which reflects the setting. But it does come off as quite Japanese, doesn't it...

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Edit: Whoa, that post formatting got... interesting, once I put the images in... I'm gonna leave it like this, though, it looks rad.

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#6 Posted by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

I would love for a quick look if for no other reason than to spread awareness of this delightful bastard of a game. After all of the wannabes and the almost-theres and the Fast Racing NEOs of the past decade, this is the first game that's actually managed to scratch my futuristic racing itch that F-Zero GX left behind.

I recorded a couple of quick races of my own, if it helps anyone somehow:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xukCFjeqjls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_VdOjx_HX8

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#7 Edited by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

Played the PC version for nine hours the past two days. I skipped TM2 because it looked like a hot mess from the start and I'm enjoying this a ton. It's really sad to see how little love the community aspect seems to have gotten, what with the underdeveloped online multiplayer and lack of options both server and clientside (has anybody found an option to hide player names?) But I'm mostly a single player/track editor kinda guy, myself, so I'm not bothered by that, personally. Still a shame that they seem to have dropped the ball. I wonder if there's any chance of future patches?

Finished getting all silvers or better in the green series in campaign last night, and finished building my first track. It didn't turn out fun to play, but there's so many exciting parts to discover and figure out before the real fun or making an actual, playable track begins! Especially since both Canyon and Valley are brand new to me, on top of Lagoon which is easily the most exciting addition to the series since Island back in Sunrise. Haven't come close to maxing out the "stuff" meter in the editor, either, despite early concerns. Turns out the ground itself takes up a fair chunk of it, and anything that removes or replaces ground, like carving out canyons, can actually refund some of it while adding complexity to the track.

Serverside graphics and music aside, I can confirm that there's still absolutely potential to make completely bonkers tracks. Custom camera angles are still in, on-screen text is still in, and quite a lot more graphical options than I had to toy with in United (that I presume arrived in TM2 since they seem to have reworked the engine with that), like HDR settings, color grading and fog that you can enable and disable mid-race with triggers in the editor. There's even a filter for camera dirt that you can crank up if you really need to. As soon as I get home from work, I shall experiment with making a night track with lower exposure and more bloom than normal and see just how sparkly I can make it look... Fun!

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#8 Posted by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

@sunbrozak said:

Did anyone ever check out the "director's cut" of Human Revolution? I heard they addressed the problems with the boss battles in that version. Seems like the sort of thing worth playing through as a refresher before this game.

Yeah I'd be interested to know this aswell. I *really* liked HR, but one of those boss fights got me to put the game down and I never picked it up again.

Yup. They delivered. They delivered in a way that made some boss fights almost not really even feel like boss fights anymore, but I think I'm saying that just because I actually got used to the jank of the original version. The very first boss, in the original, took place in a room with some cover and your best bet was to spam the bastard with explosives. In Director's Cut, if I remember correctly, there are numerous vents and little hallways to snoop around in where he can't quite get to you, and exploring will lead to a computer that you can hack and make turrets pop up to do most of the work for you until he blows them up. So they did soften up the combat requirements a lot, as promised.

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#9 Posted by Rox360 (1273 posts) -
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#10 Posted by Rox360 (1273 posts) -

These are insanely good. I am so envious that you can pull off that style so damn well. I feel like I'd have to throw up another hundred drawings before I'd have the confidence to handle a marker like that. So bold! So beautiful.