This week I have been mostly playing...

User avatar
The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:13 pm

I wouldn't call SL130 overlevelled; 120 is considered the endgame meta, and that's just a mark in the sand to keep the multiplayer community around one range. Ten more points isn't really a lot of power if you'd already hit your damage softcaps and the diminishing HP returns for Vigor, which most SL120 builds will have unless you're trying to spread yourself across more than two damage stats, or if you heavily invested in Attunement for whatever reason.

I had my problems with Salt & Sanctuary, but it's a fine little game, well worth the time if you're looking to fill that Souls-shaped hole in your heart. And especially if you have a fondness for Metroidvanias, as well. I picked up Nioh recently, but I haven't played it yet and don't know when I'll get around to it.

For my own part, I've been playing Dead Cells, which I picked up in the sale. Dead Cells seems to be one of the many, many games that trace its lineage back to the large influence of Rogue Legacy and Crypt of the Necrodancer on the great resurgence of latter-day roguelikes. It's a 2D Metroidvania affair based around using your characters' unique abilities to fight a host of enemies through several different zones; character death is frequent and expected, and when you die, you lose that character's personal equipment but can permanently unlock things for future characters to gain.

Dead Cells differentiates itself from Rogue Legacy by having emergent playstyles built from varying combinations of randomly-found gear and abilities, rather than set classes with randomly-generated attribute affixes. You have two slots for equipment, which can be anything from melee weapons to shields to bows and thrown weapons to various magical tricks, and two slots for powers, which are cooldown-controlled actions like grenades, magic spells, or autonomous traps. There's no restriction on what you can equip other than the two slots for gear and two for powers, so it greatly encourages you to make do with what you find, forming unconventional build and playstyles on the fly as chance and necessity demand.

There's also one slot for necklaces, which are powerful gear that gives you various unique abilities while giving a bonus to one or more of your attributes; these are mostly either found in hidden platforming challenge rooms or dropped by elites, miniboss versions of standard foes. You have three attributes, and damage for every weapon and power in the game is based off either one of these attributes, or the higher of two of them, making such gear more versatile. You also have three slots for mutations, which are like feats in Dungeons & Dragons. Unlike the rest of your equipment, mutations are freely selected by the player at safe zones between levels. mutations act as passive bonuses used to augment or shore up your playstyle or build, and can be any of various things. Do you have a fire grenade and a sword that poisons enemies? Get the mutation that deals bonus damage to enemies under status effects. Have two grenades, and enjoy them? Get the mutation that roughly halves their cooldown. Deploying lots of traps? Get the mutation that gives you extra damage while near a deployed skill. Favor using a shield and parrying attacks? Get the mutations that deal extra damage to parries enemies and restores your health when you parry. The trick to mutations is that most of them are tied to one of the three attributes, and its power scales with your score in that attribute.

From Crypt of the Necrodancer in particular, the game draws its system of unlocking a larger and larger pool of items to find randomly generated along your future runs. The process is more involved in Dead Cells, though. The game has two currencies: gold and cells. Gold is useful for buying equipment for your current character at shops or behind random gold doors; cells are the currency used to permanently unlock gear, powers, and mutations for subsequent runs. But to spend cells to unlock equipment items and mutations, you'll need to have found its blueprint first. Some blueprints are found in the environment, but the great majority of them are random drops; each enemy type has one to three blueprints it can drop, of varying rarity. Blueprints must be returned to an NPC found in the safe zone between levels to be added to your collection, and you lose any blueprints you've found on death, so finding a blueprint places a heavy thumb on the scales of deciding whether to bow out of a level as soon as you find the exit, rather than pressing on and risking death in search of more gold and gear. The game also has an item you can carry to force a given enemy to drop one of its remaining blueprints, which is a welcome and ingenious invention; using it on an enemy upgrades it to an elite version of that enemy, but the much greater cost is the opportunity cost of taking up one of your two slots for powers. If you want to force a drop from an enemy type only found late in the game, you'll have to make do without that slot for the whole length of your run. I've also both died to the elite created by using the item, and died later in the same level after collecting the blueprint. C'est la vie.

There's also some variety to zone progression. At first, you'll likely only have one route through the game, but as you progress, you'll discover and permanently unlock certain new movement abilities, like being able to smash through floors or wall jump. These are useful not only for reaching areas and treasure previously inaccessible to you in earlier zones, thus getting more profit from each zone as you progress, but for reaching alternate exits from each zone; each zone will have between one and three exits to different zones. For instance, the very first zone, the Prisoner's Quarters, exits to the Promenade of the Condemned, and this is the only exit you will be able to reach until you unlock the ability to grow climbable vines. Once you have that, you can reach the exit to the Toxic Sewers, teeming with enemies (and blueprints!) never before seen. From their, you can exit to the Ramparts zone, or, if you have the ability to smash through weak floors, to the Ancient Sewers, and so on and so forth. These abilities, therefore, are a powerful reward for progress and do a lot to enrich further runs with both wealth and variety.

The only really big problem I have with the game is that I'm not better at it, which is my problem with almost all of these neo-Rogue games. I've only made it to (what I think is) the final boss once, and it wiped the floor with me.

Having played quite a lot of Dead Cells, I also spent a night playing Heat Signature, which I also picked up in the sale. And when I say a I spent a night playing it, I mean that I literally played it non-stop all night until my alarm clock went off and I was a complete wreck at work the following day. More on that as I see more of it.
User avatar
Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Daemian Lucifer » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:00 pm

The Rocketeer wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:13 pm
The game also has an item you can carry to force a given enemy to drop one of its remaining blueprints, which is a welcome and ingenious invention;
That was the best thing they introduced ever.It removed the chore of item hunting from random drops,and instead turned it into a fun game of focusing on just one enemy,getting to them,and defeating them.Having a clear goal of a run(other than reaching the final boss,that is),refreshed the game significantly.
The Rocketeer wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:13 pm
The only really big problem I have with the game is that I'm not better at it, which is my problem with almost all of these neo-Rogue games. I've only made it to (what I think is) the final boss once, and it wiped the floor with me.
But...you are the dark souls guy...I expected you to be one of those guys who film themselves running around the four cell infused dungeon with the cursed sword simply because they can.Come on,you have to at least unlock the first harder difficulty.Even I managed to do that,and you are tougher than me.
User avatar
The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:12 pm

DARK CELLS

That's it, that's all I got
User avatar
SpammyV
Contact:

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by SpammyV » Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:16 am

BLOODSTAINED: HARMONY OF DISSONANCE CIRCLE CURSE OF THE MOON! Man am I just kind of unimpressed with Zangetsu overall as a protagonist. The least capable person in his crew, and every time someone joins its the same song and dance every time of "I should kill you because I'm a hardass!" "Wait! I have an excuse!" "...Fine. I guess I won't kill you. For now." My feelings on the game are still mixed because however technically competent it may be I think that Castlevania 1 was a bad game and we shouldn't kid ourselves about it. Historically significant? Sure. But in the light of technological advancements, bad. Even making it into what I'm guessing is the last level because it's the castle, I'm still meh about the entire experience. Not mention how the boss design is seeming to boil down to "Here's a boss that hovers around an area you can't hit without frame perfect attacks when you jump."

Also this game could use some actual boss-area on-ramps. Having the player mindlessly bash their head against the same room or hallway to get to the boss each time which offers no new experiences or challenges is bad design. It's a boring, inherently unfun loop.

I'll still probably bang my head against this game before I go downloading actual Castlevania ROMs though.

METRO 2033 REDUX! I didn't get the ending I wanted, which was to have access to the secret ending but reject it. If I missed the threshold by two points I know exactly where they were. I may not have connected to the criticisms, but I never really understood the complaints against Metro 2033's secret ending. It digs heavily into player-character separation, but the points are gained by being curious, respectful, merciful. It's a test of would Artyom be the kind of person to realize the truth and act on it. It's not just that Artyom is a good person but that Artyom can rise above the knee-jerk survival focused mindset of the Metro world.

I still love the grim, haunted world of Metro 2033. I enjoy the outright supernatural elements with the ghosts and anomalies, and Khan's musings that souls can't leave the Metro because the nuclear devastation destroyed the afterlife as well (Khan's chapter is basically my single favorite one in the game). And the ambiguity as well. Hansa's greed makes them terrible to deal with. The Rangers don't have a nonviolent solution in their wheelhouse. And a lot of the Red and Nazi soldiers are doing the only thing they can think of to feed themselves or protect their families. Does the world just belong to the Dark Ones? How intelligent are the Librarians? Even when there's only forty thousand humans confirmed alive, the war doesn't stop. The game is dark but doesn't feel completely bleak or hopeless, there are enough moments of humor and humanity that shine through that you don't just completely lose hope or just fail to care about anyone because it's so dark.

I don't know if the gushing is annoying but when I played the original version my basic reaction was, "They gave this away for free?"

So as is my wont I guess now that Metro Exodus has been announced it's time to play Metro Last Light.
User avatar
The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:14 am

Rings true with a lot of what I liked about Metro 2033 as well. And, unfortunately, with what turned out to be my criticisms of Last Light, but I don't want to try and set you against it before you've played it. I do still really like Last Light; the Metro games are unique creatures, and I'm really looking forward to Exodus. And to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, I suppose.
User avatar
Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Daemian Lucifer » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:31 am

The Rocketeer wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:14 am
And to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, I suppose.
Wait,what?But....but that game already something like two sequels....how can the next one be 2?God damn it publishers!Stop naming your games so confusingly!

I slayed some spires last few days.I like a third of it.The robot character is so unique,and so fun to play.The other two are boring,standard "get some energy,play some cards" type.But the robot character is superb.

Ok,you get three slots to invoke orbs above you,and then you play some cards.At the end of your turn,every orb you have does something.Lightning deals small damage to a random enemy,ice gives you a small shield,dark becomes stronger,and plasma gives you more mana.But,if your orb slots are all full and you invoke another one,the rightmost orb gets removed and does a its thing in a stronger fashion(dark deals damage instead of becoming stronger).And its so fun to constantly balance these orbs between their passive and their active damage,and of course balance the cards you have.

There are also daily runs that give you a random buff and a random curse,equip you with a bunch of cards,and send you on your way.Those can be really neat depending on the combinations you get(permanent shield+constantly draining health is very interesting).

So if you arent that fond of ccg games its still worth a try,because you still might like one third of it.Though you have to play through the first two characters at least once in order to access the robot,but its worth it.
User avatar
John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by John » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:00 pm

Still playing Original Sin. Have learned two things. Thing One: I am bad at these puzzles. Thing Two: I hate lava. Resisting urge to look stuff up in FAQs. At least until after I beat the game. Very tired of switches that don't seem to do anything. Would be more annoyed but game throws around magic items and gear almost like it's Diablo. Contents of any particular chest therefore usually less than essential.
User avatar
The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:26 am

But the chests you leave behind are nearly certain to have contained your heart's utmost desire. It's a feature of the Desire Algorithm™ which Capcom insists licensees not alter.
User avatar
John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by John » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:16 pm

The Rocketeer wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:26 am
But the chests you leave behind are nearly certain to have contained your heart's utmost desire. It's a feature of the Desire Algorithm™ which Capcom insists licensees not alter.
Unless I'm in an area for which I am over-levelled, the chests I do open typically contain gear that is at best incrementally better than my existing gear. If I understand you correctly, however, the chests I don't open all contain the only things I really and specifically want: upgrade kits for the upgradeable weapons I bought from the undead magic-item dealer outside the Black Cove. Well, wouldn't that just figure? I've found just two of the things so far, one buried in the snow in the fairy realm of Hiberheim and the other . . . um, I forget where that one was.

The problem with this theory is that every so often I do go back to an unopened chest and open it, usually because I've leveled up and improved my lock picking. When I do, the chest typically contains gear that is worse than my current gear and not those upgrade kits I want. So I'm not too sure about all this, Rocketeer. Unless . . . unless the Desire Algorithm™ is moving the upgrade kits to the next un-opened chest. How devious.
User avatar
Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Daemian Lucifer » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:23 pm

Stupid humiez did not see us coming!
But neither did we.Our steering werent that good
So yeah,Im orking around in a new warhammer 40k game,gladius.Its a tbs.Sleek,easy to learn,and fun so far.If you played endless legend,you know what to expect.Only this time with the charm of 40k.
User avatar
SleepingDragon

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by SleepingDragon » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:30 am

Daemian Lucifer wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:23 pm
So yeah,Im orking around in a new warhammer 40k game,gladius.Its a tbs.Sleek,easy to learn,and fun so far.If you played endless legend,you know what to expect.Only this time with the charm of 40k.
Well I'm sold, I also hear that rather than the sacred four of marines, eldar, chaos and orkz it has crons?
User avatar
Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Daemian Lucifer » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:42 pm

SleepingDragon wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:30 am
Well I'm sold, I also hear that rather than the sacred four of marines, eldar, chaos and orkz it has crons?
Yup.Its marines,orks,necrons and those other humans,the weak ones.Imperial guards?

Check the four intro movies.
User avatar
John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by John » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:33 pm

Yep, still playing Divinity: Original Sin. This week I killed Braccus Rex, the Sourceror (ugh) Tyrant of Ages Past, resurrected by a nefarious cult leader so that she could obtain The Secret Knowledge. For a little while there I thought he might be the final boss. I mean, stop me if you've heard this one before: obnoxious recurring antagonist resurrects Ancient Evil, Ancient Evil kills recurring antagonist to show how powerful it is, party fights Ancient Evil, the end. What's more, the first couple of times I tried to fight him, it ended with a total party wipe in the first round. I'm not sure exactly which Pyromancer spell ol' Braccus was using but ouch. Everybody burned to death pretty much instantly. Discouraged, I took my party and wandered off to explore other areas. Much, much later, after leveling up repeatedly, I began to realize just how big this game is and I was forced to reconsider my Braccus-as-final-boss theory. This week I went back to fight him again. Everyone in my party is Level 13. Braccus, it turns out, is only Level 9. The random monsters and cultists I've been fighting on other maps are tougher than Braccus. This is the ancient evil that terrifies everyone? I'm pretty sure a couple of goblins could take him out. That initial fire spell is still dangerous, but he's got nothing to follow it with.

The thing that amuses me is that the game clearly expected me to kill Braccus much earlier. After the deed was done, an NPC quest-giver named Arhu showed up to thank me for my service. He then urged me to go do a whole bunch of other stuff that he really should know I've already done. He was there for most of it. Arhu is one of those NPCs, the type that tells you to go somewhere hard to access and do something difficult and then, when you get there, he's somehow there already, suddenly a font of information that he really should have told you earlier. Go rescue the White Witch, he says, and off I go. Hours later, having fought and puzzled my way to her prison, there's Arhu. Arhu, buddy, if you knew where she was the whole time, why didn't you tell me? Why did I have to fight the clockwork monstrosities, the cultists, the rogue elementals, and I don't even know what all to discover this place? And if you're such a powerful wizard, why can't you get her out? Why am I the one who has to go fight the mad Faery King of Winter? Huh?
User avatar
Supah Ewok

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Supah Ewok » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:51 pm

John, if you think you're taking a while on a game, I'm still on Tactics Ogre, and I have to have put over a hundred hours into the damn thing by now. God damn JRPG grind-central. I stand by what I said before, that making classes level up instead of individuals cuts down on the worst aspects of this perennial thorn in the side of these games, but unfortunately that is countered by the fact that there's some weird system that caps the amount of XP that you get per battle, so you can't just powergrind up a new class in just a couple hours to bring it up to standard with the party. Oh no, indeed. And the problem gets worse as your main classes progress ever higher, with the cap on XP gain per battle ensuring that any new class will be taking even longer to reach parity. And the really sucky part is that most of the end game classes are unique to certain units, so if you want to use that class, you've only got that 1 unit (sometimes 2) to get that XP, and you're getting them at the end of the game where the gap is the biggest, and... gah.

It's a testament to how much I like this little subgenre's base gameplay that I'm willing to see this through properly. I heard on the internets that you have to get to the bottom of a 100 floor dungeon in order to fight the "real" boss at the end. There are also certain events that trigger in that dungeon that don't trigger in the post-game free travel DLC mode, so even if that rumor is false, I feel obliged to do it anyway to see through the story. There are also very many item drops from enemies in here that you can't craft, and you can't know which enemies drop them where from in-game information. They also aren't guaranteed to drop them, and they aren't guaranteed to even show up on a given level when you enter it. And if you beat the level, it is "cleared" on the map and you can't redo the battle. So what all this means is that you keep a community-compiled Google Spreadsheet open in your second monitor to keep tabs on what you can find on this level, you enter it, you "retreat" out of it if your desired monsters don't spawn (which by the by ruins a certain set of in-game achievements, but I am beyond caring about those). If they do spawn, you hunt them down, but then you have to play around with the RNG to get your desired drop. This typically means having a ranged unit finish off the baddie, somebody else loots the corpse, and if it isn't what you want, you reset back to the ranged unit's turn (I could do it with emulator save-states, but the game has a function that you can wind back turns; doing so also invalidates certain in-game achievements), and then you move them to a different tile to bump the RNG to a different number when you kill the target. Sometimes you get it in one. Sometimes you need about 30 resets, once it becomes apparent that on this turn, the RNG is stuck in a certain area of the loot table, and you need to pass through the entire turn order to scramble it up again.

And even after this whole dungeon, I need to go beat the game, but there's 2 other story branches to play through, one which is about a third of the game, and the other is three quarters. Then I'll have the DLC, in which, to recruit a certain character, I have to go through this 100 level dungeon, again.

I may not be even halfway through on the time investment for a "complete" playthrough.

Oh, look at the time, it's Grind O'Clock again. Gotta get back on that hamster wheel.

I'd take a break on something else, but if I get off this train I'm never getting back on. I really do love the Ren-Fest Olde English political epic that is the main story, and the base gameplay, but oh God the padding and the grind if you want to experience it all.
User avatar
John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by John » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:10 am

Supah Ewok wrote:John, if you think you're taking a while on a game, I'm still on Tactics Ogre, and I have to have put over a hundred hours into the damn thing by now.
Oh my. I had no idea Tactics Ogre was so long. Knight of Lodis can be completed in, I think, 20 to 30 hours. (It's been a while.) Of course it has fewer classes, just the one branching point, mostly non-random loot drops, absolutely no 100 level dungeons, and from the sound of it is all-around just a little simpler. It probably has something to do with the fact that it was made for a cartridge-based hand-held system rather than a disc-based console. I suppose there's only so much content that will fit on a cartridge. If it makes you feel any better, I had to consult the internet and then do a bit of grinding to get the super-secret post-credits cutscene, which it turns out is just the opening cutscene from Tactics Ogre.

In any case, I admire your stick-to-it-iveness. I can't really characterize what I'm doing in Original Sin as grind. (In fact, I'm not sure that grind is possible. There are a fixed number of creatures in the game and when they're gone they're gone.) The game is long mostly because combat and map-traversal are fairly slow. And if I'm taking a long time, it's partly because I play a lot less in the summer than I do at other times of year.
User avatar
The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:44 am

Supah Ewok wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:51 pm
I'm still on Tactics Ogre
teach me, sensei
Ninety-Three

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Ninety-Three » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:42 am

Dead Cells. So the game has a mechanic where if you complete each level fast enough, you get a bonus of precious stat points. This means that the optimal way to play each level is to spend three minutes sprinting past everything, stopping only to loot chests along the way. I don't know what genius decided to incentivize not fighting things in their hack and slash game, but he could have at least made the enemies better at stopping your runbys if that was going to be the gameplay loop. Only in writing this up did I realize just how bad it is that I'll sprint through six levels, spending twenty minutes not really engaging with the videogame in order to get a one minute shot at scrubbing out against the Time Keeper again. Why do I keep playing this game?

Also it has one of those stupid unlock systems where unlocking adds items to the random loot tables which means that you have to carefully manage what you unlock in order to avoid watering down the tables with too much crap. My minmax complaints aside, there's a much bigger problem with these unlock systems. Normally a videogame's answer to "Why can't I just have all the stuff unlocked at the start" is "Difficulty curve" and "To avoid overwhelming you" but those don't apply nearly as much when the items are dropping as loot rather than starting the game on your hotbar. If the game is more fun to play when it sometimes drop mega-grenades and mirror shields and repeating crossbows, why would you make me play a version of the game without those things for a couple hours until I unlock them? Just put them in to start and let me have the fun now.
Post Reply