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Slag

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Edited By Slag

Great article @austin_walker !

In regards to your question.

There is perhaps only one time I can think of where Giant Bomb Quick coverage ever really led me away from a game I ended up really enjoying.

When it came out, Jeff was really vocally down on Double Dragon Neon. Having been a big fan of the originals he had a really strong preconception for what a Double Dragon game "should be" so to speak. Having loved the old Arcade/NES games myself though not nearly to the same degree he apparently was and knowing how deeply he understands those games, I figured he had it pegged for I would feel if I played it. So I didn't buy it for some time. I did download a demo of it off the PSN store, just because I still wanted to see for myself. While I did play through the entire demo, I just never really gave the game a fair shot as I had already determined that I wasn't going to like it.

But eventually a steep Steam sale happened and I thought, eh why not. Even though I had already played the demo and had decided it was bad, Jake Kaufman's tracks really really stuck with me to the point that I'd catch myself listening to them while doing work. I just wanted to hear them again in context. In particular this one, which I believe Ryan Davis noted enthusiastically in the Quick look for being a great song.

Loading Video...

Really the whole Soundtrack is available for purchase on Jake Kaufman's bandcamp page if people are interested (along with Shovel Knight's and other great chiptune jams).

http://virt.bandcamp.com/album/double-dragon-neon

I don't know if enough time had passed or I was just feeling more open minded, but I decided to give the game another shot. If for no other reason to hear the music in the environment in which they were meant to be experienced.

But this time I tried to engage the game more on its own terms. And once I let go of those preconceptions I had of what a "Double Dragon" game should be, something happened. I stopped worrying so much about if the physics & controls truly captured the feel of the original (they definitely don't, but I think that's intentional). I stopped worrying about If RPG elements ruined a beat 'em ups difficulty balancing. I stopped worrying about whether DD:Neon's jocular tone itself was mocking the original DD games or just having a laugh with the player. And this time it really clicked for whatever reason and I really enjoyed it. The combat while deliberate definitely had a decent pace to it, the RPG elements eventually started to make their presence feel worthwhile but unlocking moves, and the game's silliness eventually won me over.

In fact I'd say it might now be my favorite Side Scrolling Beat 'em Up since maybe the 90's (not that there is a lot of those these days). That's something I never thought I'd ever say.

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@moonlightmoth: definitely, variety is essential to keeping a format viable. I feel the same way about Advneture games. The variety of stories is definitely the hook for me there as often the gameplay, especially in point and click games, is pretty rote.

I don't have much hope for any of the existing franchises you mentioned outside of maybe Final Fantasy ever shaking it up, but you would think it wouldn't be too hard to make a new IP that is mechanically similar to the existing ones with a radically different plot and story. Just use the same engine and such, but create new assets and story conceits, which is something they have to do to even make a sequel anyway.

I dunno, guess we'll see. Hopefully the new Nier games dwill do well, maybe that will convince Square etc to break out a bit more.

re: Adventure games- yeah that's a definitely a thing that genre has been good at for decades. But I also think developers of those games view the story/characters as the primary draw of their games whereas the rest of the industry views Story as a secondary aspect of the game.

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Really great review MoonlightMoth as always. As a prospective XBCX buyer it bummed out me a bit, but the game is what it is.

I thought this was a very valid point about JRPGs in general (as a sidenote I've long felt the term JRPG itself is a bad one as that implies a geographical limitation that I don't think should necessarily should be true for what I call Console Style RPGs)

Will JRPGs ever grow up? Will we ever see a great flowing of diversity in plot, in theme, or in characters?

That is a terrible bummer to hear a Xeno series game fell into this trap. That is one the one major franchise outside of Persona that seems to aim for something different

I'm 100% with you there. I love basic format and playstyle of a JRPG and think it is a very viable one in today's world, but the way way overused tropes and character arechtypes really hold this genre back so badly. And could kill it altogether if someone doesn't take some greater risks here at some point. Tomorrow's gamers are growing up on touch screen devices and don't have the same exposure to the tentpole franchises as the current generations do. So the existing big names aren't going to be able to cost on Brand recognition and shoddy iOS ports alone forever.

I think part of why you see such passion for games like South park : Stick of Truth, Undertale and Persona 4 is because they do break traditional JRPG narrative conventions. Even if those breaks aren't nearly as drastic as maybe typical for another. It really is peculiar how rigidly these games tend to cling to Young Boy Hero's Journey thing when such a large part of the core appeal of these games is the story telling potential.

I really believe people want to like these games and continue to like them as they grow older, but that this extremely misguided notion that the JRPG market is perpetually and only for Boys aged 8-14 ( a belief I know Square Enix has explicitly stated several times in regards to their business plans for Final Fantasy series) really is damaging to the diversity of stories and product for players.

JRPGs badly need need a Telltale type disruptor to shake up the conventions of the genre. Say what you will about the quality of Telltale games, but I think there is no question they have revitalized the adventure game genre and expanded it for the better.

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You know what, I honestly think December releases should count to the following year's GoTY. E.g. I feel Xenoblade Chronicles X has zero chance because of the size of the game and the scheduling realities of the major sites producing their GotY stuff.

Same thing happened with Talos Principle

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The Xeno games have always been crazy dense with systems and just really long slow moving games.

XBC X looks totally awesome to me, but I think the sheer time investment to play it is a major turn off to most gamers today. Games like Skyrim are kind of the exception rather than the rule. Is what it is man.

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@kherven said:

I've put a ton of hours into this game. I NEVER play multiplayer alone. I only play when I have at least two friends with me and I really only have the most fun when we have all 5.

I feel like that says a lot about the game.

So it's DOTA basically.

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I'm amazed. I thought you didn't actually like Xiii-2 very much.

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Final Fantasy

Town->Overworld->Dungeon->Overworld->New Town

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@jasonr86: Ah ok, That was the better way to do it. Yeah totally with you, some of the puzzles in Act 2 were old school in perhaps a not so good way.

As I'm sure you surmised, I played Act 1 well before Act 2 was out .What I found for myself anyway, was that the cliffhanger ending of Act 1 was so effective (probably unintentionally so) that it created in my mind some pretty high (and probably unfair) expectations for Act 2. When it turned out that it was mostly revisiting the same areas and a story that kind of handwaved away a few key narrative components of Act 1, it made a little hard to not feel a bit let down.

But man we don't get many Adventure games of that production value level anymore, so it was definitely nice to have a decent one to play.

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You are a saint for continuing to do this for three years @blacklagoon. These games get so little visibility there is so many I'd never knew existed if it weren't for your lists. As a PS TV owner this is really appreciated!