The Eternal Castle [Remastered] - a little too far?

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#1 Edited by Humanity (18580 posts) -

(EDIT) The Eternal Castle is a highly stylized (ostensibly) remaster in the likes of Another World/Flashback of a game that may or may not have ever existed in the first place. You run from left to right and figure out "room puzzles" in order to move on to the next scene.

I think a few years ago were this to come out I would think it's really fascinating in terms of presentation. As it stands, my main reaction to this is "what are we even doing anymore?"

There is definitely something to it - the glaring hues and pixelized scanline look is certainly unique. That said, is it too far? Watching some early level playthrough I can barely distinguish what is what. Whenever the character went over to pick an item up off the floor I had no idea something was there to begin with. Several scenes were so devoid of detail that I had a hard time figuring out where the main character was, or any details pertinent to the scene. Plenty of games in recent years have stylized their visuals in unique ways. Most recently Below presented us with an ominously withdrawn camera angle and some really nice light work, that some might say is in detriment to actual gameplay. Is this too far? Is there some boundary where the visuals are taking over the project, leaving other aspects in disarray?

As a designer I love me some radical visual design, but even for me this project seems to have pushed things over the cliff. At some point it still has to be a game.

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#2 Posted by BigSocrates (1961 posts) -

I mean...no? It's trying to do a thing, and that thing is more focused on exploring its aesthetic than anything else. I wouldn't want this to be the standard in games (or even retro remasters) but it's cool to see the acid-drenched visuals of those early games really brought to the forefront and blown out. I'd rather see something funky and weird than just an old gmae like this cleaned up a little and re-released or, worse, remade with mediocre modern graphics and disruptive gameplay changes a la Flashback.

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#3 Posted by Vortextk (930 posts) -

Quick story, it's not exactlyan old game remastered, it's an old game a dev played and loved as a kid but the floppy disk broke and this game is an amalgmation of those memories/detective work plus those old platformer style games(prince of persia, flash back, another world)

Kotaku did a story but you can read the full piece from the dev if you want:

https://steamcommunity.com/games/963450/announcements/detail/1698318436532408775

As far as this thread though, I hope it doesn't making playing it too difficult because that aside, I'm in love with it's look and it instantly went on my wishlist after I read the kotaku article and saw it in action. It's mesmerizing

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#4 Posted by Humanity (18580 posts) -

@bigsocrates: yah but apart from graphics for graphics sake do you think the aesthetic complements the gameplay in a positive way? Authorial intent is one thing and I respect that - I haven’t read the story that was posted above but it is a fascinating idea to reproduce a “flawed” visual distortion. That said, I do think you have to take a step back at some point and wonder if your intent isn’t getting in the way of everything else.

I also love the acid trip look of this. It’s really mesmerizing at times. Nothing about the look actually makes me want to play it, I’d say quite the opposite.

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#5 Posted by BigSocrates (1961 posts) -

@humanity: Do I think the aesthetic complements the gameplay in a positive way?

I have no idea. I haven't played it.

But even if it doesn't, at least it makes this game something different and interesting. I'd rather have a game that offers something unique and cool than a more technically proficient game that's like a dozen other products. I want to see what it's like, find out whether I can still follow the action despite the graphical style. I DO want to play it.

It's not like this is the only game where the style obscures the gameplay. I sometimes lose track of my character in Smash Brothers because of all the flashing lights and effects, but I still like that game and wouldn't want a blander version that's easier to follow.

I get what you're saying, I just feel like this is one game among thousands that will release this year, so it doesn't bother me that this one may be visually confusing.

Have you played Tetris Effect? The visuals are complex and sometimes distracted me. I can play normal Tetris on Puyo Puyo Tetris on my Switch at a higher level than Tetris Effect Tetris on my PSVR, but I vastly prefer the Tetris Effect experience.

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#6 Posted by Relkin (1128 posts) -

I think the thing that matters most here is how well they manage to direct the player's attention. Shot composition, complementary colors, etc. I think someone could definitely execute on this well enough to help player's sort through this intense aesthetic they're going for. I know that I'll need it, if my experience with the trailer you provided is any indication.

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#7 Posted by august (4078 posts) -

I've only played a few screens of it so far but nothing has been confusing when you are controlling the action.

Also: everything about this game being based on an actual old game is a work, brother. But don't expose the business.

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#8 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1955 posts) -

Looks cool to me.

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#9 Posted by Vortextk (930 posts) -

@august said:

Also: everything about this game being based on an actual old game is a work, brother. But don't expose the business.

Ughhhhh. That's annoying. It doesn't make me not want to play it, but I'll just be thinking of that now whenever I do.

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#10 Posted by Humanity (18580 posts) -
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#11 Posted by The_Greg (535 posts) -

I've never heard of this. It looks amazing.

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#12 Posted by august (4078 posts) -

@vortextk: if someone says that they loved a commercially released game as a kid but you can’t download it anywhere and there’s no real evidence of it existing then it should be pretty obvious that shit ain’t real.

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#13 Posted by Vortextk (930 posts) -

@august said:

@vortextk: if someone says that they loved a commercially released game as a kid but you can’t download it anywhere and there’s no real evidence of it existing then it should be pretty obvious that shit ain’t real.

I mean, I didn't look for it or try to download it or try to find evidence. I read a kotaku article and then the same thing on the steam page for a game that looked super interesting regardless. I didn't think I had to fact check the devs.

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#14 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3765 posts) -

@august: There's a game I played on the C64 as a kid. I can't remember it's name. I can't even remember if it's two games I'm mixing together in my head, it's possible I am.

In my head, you controlled a spaceship that you built by painting it on a grid and then attaching weapons. You could aos use pre-built models. You flew around with a birds eye view to different landing pads and when you did, you got out and ran around like you're playing a side-scroller.

I can totally believe that a person played some game or has a memory of a game and then wants to recreate it for people, because short of recreating it I am that person.

However the twee little story they've made up about their game puts me right off ever looking at it again.

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#15 Posted by TheHT (15797 posts) -

Hmm, it's probably too far if it hinders your ability to enjoy the experience (granted that you give em an chance in this hypothetical scenario), but even so, that wouldn't necessarily be a problem if it's still able to etch out their own little niche. So maybe just too far for what you're willing to go in for.

I dunno, I think it looks fantastic, but definitely qualify my expectations of what it would be like to actually play it with the understanding that actually deciphering the visuals will probably be a substantial part of it.

@vortextk said:

Quick story, it's not exactlyan old game remastered, it's an old game a dev played and loved as a kid but the floppy disk broke and this game is an amalgmation of those memories/detective work plus those old platformer style games(prince of persia, flash back, another world)

Kotaku did a story but you can read the full piece from the dev if you want:

https://steamcommunity.com/games/963450/announcements/detail/1698318436532408775

As far as this thread though, I hope it doesn't making playing it too difficult because that aside, I'm in love with it's look and it instantly went on my wishlist after I read the kotaku article and saw it in action. It's mesmerizing

It would be cool if this was true, despite the skepticism here. Sounds like the Miyazaki thing of--oh I'm probably mucking this up but whatever--reading old fantasy stuff but not quite understanding everything because of the language divide, and the Souls games being in the vain of that kind of experience. I'm pretty sure that's a thing with Hidetaka Miyazaki.

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#16 Edited by VergoulasVL (1 posts) -

The art form is very good. A time-out from hi-res? some time-out, early in the day...

No Caption Provided

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#17 Posted by Humanity (18580 posts) -

Reading some of the reviews I'm actually a little surprised by the format. From trailers it looked like a classic take on Out of This World, but it appears to be a lot more modernized in it's approach which is something that has definitely piqued my interest. A lot of these retro projects tend to emulate the harsh difficulty of those times as much as the art style which is not something I enjoy. To hear this actually has checkpointing within the levels is very welcome news.

I still think that at times the artistic direction they chose for this project is overbearing, but it certainly has it's moments.

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#18 Posted by mattack (56 posts) -

It's talked about on episode 190 of the Giant Beastcast.

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