As noted, I tend to ramble on about it. I'll mostly use this topic to write down some thoughts. I doubled down and decided to ask a writer friend to be my editor at least for the Vanquish article and he agreed. As noted I'm going on a vacation for nearly three weeks in a few days, but after that we'll look at it together while having some food (I hope, I am a man that loves to eat). He was pretty happy to help out since he always loved how passionate I could get on the subject, so there's that.
Right now the article is in a good spot though. I still feel that my articles sometimes lack the personal feel that the one of Ninja Gaiden, Devil's Third and somewhat that of Viewtiful Joe had - but I really have to let that sentiment go and just write what feels right. Anyway that's that. If there are any ideas for articles or w/e post them here, this topic is for that type of discussion.
History piece on the origins of the genre
Fairness in games
Should the highest difficulty setting be unlocked from the start?
Influences of other games in reception of others (like how Nioh got slammed for being a 'Souls clone' etc.)
Regional differences in difficulty settings
History of the Stinger Move (had to haha)
Devil May Cry series
Death by Degrees
Evil Within 1
God of War series
Boss Analysis (Alma, Ornstein&Smough...)
I have my work cut out for me...
Last edited by Royta/Raeng on Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:10 pm; edited 3 times in total
I find that most of my ideas for articles come from debates I've participated in/watched over the years.
The 'not enough weapons' complaint is a good one. God Hand technically only has one weapon, but tons of different moves with various properties.
I've seen the term 'gimmick' used with negative connotation. Blade mode for example. "All MGR has is the blade mode gimmick'. Though maybe this would more likely come under lack of understanding a mechanic.
Maybe one on the difficulty changes in different regions and why this is (if the info is available) or why they might do this.
Origins of action games, maybe a multi part piece since that's a lot of history to cover in some detail. Maybe covering the shooter side of action games(alien soldier,contra,sin & punishment) as well as beat em up types that they evolved from. Fighting games would be intrinsically linked with beat em ups and their evolution into modern action games, fighting games mechanics(combos,cancels,juggles,super moves/states)would foreshadow what action games became.
What are Action games?,examining the term and how it's used. Action game design in general, and how it can be applied to various games not usually called action.
@birdman; GH is a great example of that issue, less is more, more moves not always weapons. souls have tons of weapons but each has a small pool of moves that don't really have various properties to use against foes, so it comes down to damage/damage type,reach, stamina consumption and speed.
Gimmick does tend to be used as an insult sadly, gimmicks(tricks,stratagems) can add a lot to games when done well. say unconventional bosses that have novel tricks to their behavior, move set and arena;souls series I find has leaned increasingly on its action with most bosses seemingly solely dedicated to testing player skill of mechanics as opposed to unique subversive bosses the series used to have(old hero,fools idol,maiden astrea, storm king) that made you approach them with various tactical views of how to exploit a foes weakness using their arena and gimmicks like an adventurer would.
Should be noted that some elements I try to keep in mind for an introduction or combination with a game piece. For instance the Vanquish article is a mixture of 'multiple genres in one game and the concequences' and just a Vanquish review into one. Same as how Viewtiful Joe tackled artistic development and Ninja Gaiden covered the more personal side of development.
Elements like Gimick and Not Enough Weapons aren't enough for a single piece, but I feel they should have a place to be analysed in articles of a game. Gimick could be a nice topic to cover in the eventual MGR:R piece, while Not Enough Weapons can be something to discuss should I ever cover Shinobi (PS2).
Updated the original post with some ideas. Again these aren't final, and I'll just write what comes to mind but it's good to have a pool of ideas somewhere.
From what you wrote for vanquish draft you explain its mix of genres well at the start of the article. That's something most fail to see and examine about vanquish as most saw it as a basic cover shooter rather than action shooter hybrid.
On nioh: I see a lot of attention about it for it being like souls, clearly more than it should have been and in trying to attract souls crowd they upset many as Nioh is not souls, too fast/complex or other what souls fans hate about nioh type stuff.
When is a game considered a clone/rip off or it's own game apart from its influences? You said that already oops.
I believe the subject "Influences of other games in reception of others (like how Nioh got slammed for being a 'Souls clone' etc.)" would fit nicely in the eventual Evil Within article, with Resident Evil 4 having such a large influence on it and its reception.
Vanquish review is nearing completion, every time I write it some more I notice an ommision or try to remove something to add something. Slowly getting there though...
Weird thing to note but, viewership is...up. Way up. I was generally sitting around 500 to 1000 viewers a month depending on article quality etc. But am now at 2000+. The Vanquish piece is already the second most read piece on the site. Guess posting these things on Reddit paid off ha.
I'm really starting to have issues with how much ideas I have for articles but how little I can write them. I have over 20(!!!) documents now with notes and ideas, sketches and concepts for possible stories, articles and interviews. Somehow I wish I could actually get extra writers but I'm too arrogant to actually hire them, nor do I wish to put in more cash than I already have. Still it hurts haha! The site is doing relatively well (around 1500 readers a month and rising) and some articles are doing really well (Vanquish especially).
Got a new interview almost done with a YT'er who has around 7000 subs so that's nice too. Great guy.
Just wish I could dedicate more time to this than I am sometimes haha.
Mostly working on an article of stats in action games, why they are there now and why it's such a dominant feature and how it is misused and should be put to better use. Mostly focusing on the fact that, while they give the feeling, stats don't really add much. It gives you a feeling that you can make all sorts of builds and playstyles, but in the end it all comes down to the same: you deal damage. Doesn't matter if you throw lightning, or have your weapon scale with Faith or Int - it's the same style of play. I want to focus more on having options that are actually different. One example I'm noting is P.N.03 in which each suit has its own strengths, weaknesses and playstyle forth (defensive, offensive, ranged, close up etc).
The article is a bit too 'biased' now though. One rule I put up at the start is that I will always look at both sides and never paint a game as "YOU SHOULD NEVE PLAY THIS IT SUCKS 1/10 IGN", because at the end of the day it's all opinions and taste that add to the whole. So I want to examin the upsides of stats in games (such as allowing more casual players to brute force through the game) too. Any thoughts on the subject?
Other concepts for articles in the pipeline are:
interview with Bick Benedict, Seraphim7, godfatherdictator, bigalski, phandral and maybe going to just try my luck and interview Pewdiepie haha, see if I can get in contact with him. He's a big fan of games like Bayonetta, so who knows.
have to setup a business email (so firstname.lastname@example.org) but keep getting DNS issues. Want to contact some companies for interviews
article on combat mechanics in a non-combat game, mostly focusing on a mini game in Yakuza Zero which is basically a action-game (using tells, reactions, audio cues etc - but is a management game).
narrative in gameplay, mostly focusing on Splinter Cell: Double Agent
boss battle analysis: Ornstein and Smough
fairness in games ( almost done ) - what is fair and should everything be fair?
Yakuza Kiwami article
Yakuza Zero rewrite/ edit
Should the Highest Setting be Unlocked by default? (short article)
History of the attack: Stinger (pretty fun one for the site)
History of the genre (yeah this one will take a while)
shadow of a game (basically how being a spiritual succesor or a sequel can work against you in terms of creativity)
It doesn't help that every day I get new ideas or get into talks that make me think "ooh this will make for a great piece" haha. So my log is filling up pretty hefty. But once my internet is back I'll focus on finishing the three I'm furthest with right now (Devilleon7 interview, Fairness in games and Stats).
Kiwami means extreme in Japanese....Did you do that interview because of Kiwami then? Seems a bit sudden is all haha.
I just always want to contact and interview Youtubers where possible. So while writing I always have a few lines open with people and building a list of questions. It's just something I really like doing since - arrogant alert - I know my stuff so I can really ask some indepth questions.
For boss analysis I'd have to recommend a treasure boss(not sure which one they've made multiple boss fight:the game). I'll have to think of bosses, I love bosses.
Doubt it'll happen unless I play one soon. I really need to have beaten the boss numerous times and with handicaps to get a good grip on them. Boss Analysis articles are pretty rough on me as they are hard to write, but oh so fun!
I still don't think we've discussed this enough I'd like more examples for and against, but the overall sentiment I agree with. Of course i can only speak from experience so I'd not know what an unfair puzzle or point n click game is. I haven't searched deeply but it's hard to find simple discussions on fairness in games that isn't hyperbole or a click bait article.
^that's a bit what I was going for with the article (and I hope it hit that home). Fairness goes both ways, it is not just the director of the game but also us.
Also researching this, as Gabriel noted, was hell. There are VERY few articles on fairness in games (even board games for that matter), just rants and angry reviews. One was on the mathmatical side of things, which games were fair and unfair, some were pretty fun to read but that was more in a multiplayer scenario.
It's a good article, it can be such a complex and subjective issue and you break it down quite well. I'd say there is even a minute amount of bullshit in almost any game, but most games are actually widely in the players favour, and as such the player can exploit that and mitigate that minor bullshit with their own counter bullshit/skillz.
I'd like recommend an interview with Vash the Shell Bullet, he's a fan of action games like dmc and is very good at them, he has some very well made vids also, one breaks down the platinum TMNT game.
TMNT was a huge disappointment, but for all its flaws, it does have some great things about it. Take the blocking/parry mechanics. Only Platinum could come up with something that fits the theme but also has real use. When you hold the block button, the turtle withdraws into their shell and in this state you can still move around. You are completely invincible to any attack in the game but you have a timer. When the gauge depletes you're stunned.
But that's ok because you can retreat, or advance WHILE blocking. To parry, which I found to be the coolest aspect, you release the block button just before the attack connects, and the turtle pops out of their shell, deflecting it.
I think a lot of the issues come from the game being multiplayer focused. Nearly all the enemies have super armor at all times, and the only way to budge them is with Ninjutsu. It seems the devs intended for you to team up and coordinate, and if you can, it works quite well. You can see this with the perfect dodge move, where the turtle dashes behind the enemy and jumps on their back. You then have to mash to punch their heads. This move essentially paralyzes them for a short time while they struggle, and is a prime opportunity for your fellow turtles to lay down a serious beating.
I had a bit of fun with the multiplayer, but that was mostly because one of my friends here was playing too.
You can customize those abilities as well but each turtle has one only they can use. There's also charms, which are pieces of equipment that give you all sorts of attributes. You can actually come up with quite a few builds using these.
The boss fights are all super armor and huge attacks, but I found them decent. On very hard, if you fulfill a condition during the stage, another boss will jump in and it can get pretty crazy.
I'd say play it just to experience the blocking. I've never seen blocking like that in any game.
Also, and I'm not trying to be a dick here, but the TFD video has it all wrong when it comes to guns. This MASSIVE gap in knowledge is probably why he doesn't think it has much depth. Saying the guns are useless and all that is as bad as playing Vanquish and not knowing you can rocket slide, or knowing and saying it's a useless mechanic. But in his playthrough, I see him use it properly a few times. To be fair the review is from 2016 and the playthrough is 2017, but I'd remove the review or change it because it isn't accurate and giving people the wrong idea.
And even then, the review does what I hate which is stating facts that aren't true. It was uploaded in 2016 and the game came out a few months before in 2015. Even a cursory glance at the Gamefaqs forum back then and you'll find a ton of info on how to play.
The camera isn't that bad either. There's no need to keep a constant fix on jet bosses (at least not when you know what they do) because of the arrow signs he mentions next. If you've played the Gundam Vs games you'll be familiar with this.
The orb boss is a joke when you know how to play. You don't need anything close to the best equipment ever. You just need to know how to do shit.
Last edited by Birdman on Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:18 pm; edited 2 times in total
Vash sort of likes to disappear for maybe half a year at a time haha, he's back doing a transformers devastation lp, and recently his nier:automata vid(I posted this in that section).
So the devils third vid is a review? Cool to see you do something new for the channel, I'm down for Roy Reviews.
I can see what they where going for with TMNT and appreciate it despite its failings, but it clearly had a dodgy development cycle so the end result is pretty mediocre, which isn't something PG should be known for. It's sort of a spiritual sequel to max anarchy with its multiplayer emphasis and similar combat, even the mooks in both are pretty brain dead and the big ones tank hits except from special moves. This is getting off topic haha.
Basically I'm going to start turning Stinger articles into videos to promote the site a bit more where possible. So if you've read the piece, there won't be much new ground except it is a re-write with footage. I hope to finish it this month.
I heard from Phandral, a good friend, that TMNT was really fun if done co-op but really sucked solo. Sort of makes sense!
Maybe an article on game length, how much does it matter. I'm more concerned about the quality of mechanics and how well the game makes use of them, along with good enemy and level design to facilitate them. Additional modes add a lot to a games longevity, stuff like bloody palace, vanquish challenge maps and mercenaries modes.
An arcade game wouldn't be 200+ hours that persona or any other rpg would take to beat, it wouldn't be practical as less money would be made per player and hour, they are typically short to keep the audiences interest and so if they win the game ends within 30/40mins and hard to increase the likelihood of players failing so they would pay to play more often.
Gamelength sounds like something I could tackle, but it is again - up to the player. Some really need the end of a stick while others just want gameplay. I have a (good) friend who loves Bloodborne, he loves the atmosphere, the gameplay, but he sold it. Why? He beat it once. He complained that it was over and had beaten it, so I said "beat it again, use another build, have fun" and he said "why...play it again? I beat it".
Game length is all about what you want to get out of a game going in. That said I might tackle it one day in combination with another article. Maybe Metal Gear Rising, as it got slammed hard for being "short".
Someone, I forgot who, said this mentality is like buying a chocolate bar, throwing away the chocolate, and just sniffing the wrapper.
It may have been more directed at those who don't care for gameplay and just want to reach the end credits as fast as possible, or want to be glued to the screen for as many hours as possible doing nothing but collecting, but it works in this case too.
Last edited by Birdman on Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
That's a pretty good statement actually. And one I was researching just now. For the whole stats debacle I decided to jump into sales and achievement rankings and was quite surprised that an equal amount of people got the first and last achievement in Ninja Gaiden 2 and Nioh - both exclusives but the latter more accessible. Did not see that coming, I thought Nioh would blow it out of the water.
I have to say the whole article on Stats in action games is a nightmare. I'm buried in notes and while my intro is solid, I have no real message I feel. Need to dig a bit deeper into this one I feel.
Quick update, sat my ass down and wrote wrote wrote. Finished the first real draft of Stats in action games, and I'm really happy with it. Looking to be a good article! Going to reread it a few more times this week and probably post it along friday.
That said, I am working on a community based God of War piece. Not really sure how to tackle it just yet, but I'm planning on putting emphasis on the community that kept the game alive all these years and still play and discover things in them. Maybe get some quotes in it as well. Will keep you all posted.
All I can say personally, is I don't like heavy RPG elements in action games. Leveling up is ok to a degree. CL, Onimusha, MGR, tons of action games have something to upgrade. It's that Nioh level of neverending levels and loot I can't get into.
I'm not against the existence of these types though. There are people out there who love them and there's nothing wrong with that.
What I think can annoy players of pure action games, is when a company they know and love puts out one of these. I'm sure a lot NG fans would have rather seen NG4 instead of Nioh.
Last edited by Birdman on Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
What birdman said, its that emphasis on stats always serves as a concession on the part of the action for the sake of the role playing that I hate. Stats can be there but I'd appreciate ways to circumvent them with little effort and not be severely handicapped for doing so. It's when I'm forced to pay attention to arbitrary numerical values that kills me, I just wanna hit shit and avoid getting hit so I can hit shit again, the only menu I want to look at is the move list.
Short update, the next article will most probably be by a guest writer. If it will be a 'thing' remains to be seen, just something to try out. He'll - probably - be making an article on the Platinum Games Turtles game. I will of course edit and oversee the writing, to keep it up to Stinger standards.
At the same time I'll be working on a piece on The Evil Within 2. Not truly action, but I dearly wish to cover it.