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Coolness Factor

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1Coolness Factor Empty Coolness Factor on Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:29 am

vert1

vert1
D-Rank
Everything you do in this game looks cool, so what's up with this game contrasting this to the point where its distasteful to act in 'anti-cool' cutscenes? The ending for this game. What the? Couldn't be any more distasteful. I really hope in the sequel they knock it off with the backstory-telling walking sections, disruptive amount of cutscenes, and the flashbacks; simply let the player move forward with the action they create.

Additionally, I'd like to be able to do major decisive story branching choices (yes/no), such as before the Jenna fight. That would have been cool letting you gather information and do things with it during one or two pivotal moments.



Last edited by vert1 on Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:53 am; edited 1 time in total

2Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:26 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
I think it is a thing slowly growing within Platinum. Nier: Tomato was a huge hit for them and it featured a lot of story nonsense, something also present in Bayonetta's lore dumps. I liked Astral Chain's hub and ample content, but the slow walking, investigations, flashbacks - it was all very dull and dry. Not entertaining at all. On subsequent runs they get in the way even more.

Variety is all well and good but when I have to convince other players to 'sit through the first 20 hours to get to the good stuff', it gets hard haha. Feel games like this should rely more on using their core gameplay for variety i.e. RE4 using shooting and its puzzle elements in smart ways. Collecting Red Matter, carrying boxes around, shooting targets - it's all very dull.

> Distasteful ending
In what way? It was a bit dull yes, and the "Yes/no" near the end without any impact didn't help either.

> super boss
You mentioned not doing it yet. It's "okay". Noah Prime is far more interesting of a fight imo.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

3Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:48 pm

vert1

vert1
D-Rank
The scenarios in this game are cool but the story cutscenes are not consistent in maintaining a cool quality; additionally, their chopping up the player's action is bothersome. I wrote on a far more convuluted game plot but it seems that developers think listening to people "lore dump" is desirable; I think it creates an issue with cool action. When you're getting briefed on the hospital that is cool. However...

I liked Astral Chain's hub and ample content, but the slow walking, investigations, flashbacks - it was all very dull and dry. Not entertaining at all. On subsequent runs they get in the way even more.
Yeah, the forced walking sections are varied in a way that makes discussing them require detailed write-ups.

Unlikable parts - I didn't enjoy any of the forced walking sections that "lore dumped".
Likable parts - However, the last stage where you work your way to the big bad guy is well-handled because they keep the action in the right/forward direction.
So-So parts - The hospital scene just needs to have an option to fast-forward the dialogue (this wasn't a problem when characters spoke through text).

Variety is all well and good but when I have to convince other players to 'sit through the first 20 hours to get to the good stuff', it gets hard haha. Feel games like this should rely more on using their core gameplay for variety i.e. RE4 using shooting and its puzzle elements in smart ways. Collecting Red Matter, carrying boxes around, shooting targets - it's all very dull.
Even here I'm not sure I entirely agree about the "good stuff" comment even though I fully agree the game fights get way better later on. The opening part shows promising/enticing material reflective of the overall game experience. I know once I got to HQ, which occurs relatively early in the game, that going into the training room and going through all the programs for learning the new combat system, then performance testing, then just for fun repeatedly beating that one mid-boss enemy was extremely enjoyable -- pretty much forgot about time and ended up playing to 3 AM.

Now the other stuff you mention is also requiring writeups for each part due to overall variety, varied time-length, individual action, and level design.

>Red Matter
This is complicated. The way to collect Red Matter has a pattern that encourages speed in several parts for better rewards (or simply to 'win'; i.e. the cleanup time trial). Some parts being down-time are necessary for pacing issues. Cleaning Red Matter off people also can be a heroic necessity action. (Does that count as collecting?) I think it's a goal issue of having two competing values: stuff to attack and non-attackable stuff to do.
>Carrying Boxes
Split mind of this too. Yeah, this was infuriating with motion controls. Absolutely could not complete it. Hilarious how the Gamecube controller works so much better balancing the boxes giving me the thought that now I can beat this part until realizing there is no button to summon a Legion. So I'm thinking they made this game with a pro controller in mind. Or maybe I really really suck at motion controls. With a pro controller I don't imagine that this 'down-time' activity is detrimental to the game experience.
>Shooting targets
Why not? Essentially a sci-fi RE4 shooting gallery.

> Distasteful ending
In what way? It was a bit dull yes, and the "Yes/no" near the end without any impact didn't help either.
Stabbing your partner/other half isn't a cool/super heroic way to end the game. The family stuff felt forced and uncomfortable and then Platinum ends it by killing the person you were on active duty with!? For a game about performing your own action to slay things to end it in such a 'puzzle' piece way, such a non-choice way is distasteful because the player isn't in control of the action. Take the stealth part in the game: You don't want to stealth, you fight. Want to stealth and get caught, you fight or retreat. But I understand this is all due to establishing a sense of "necessity".



Last edited by vert1 on Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

4Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:17 pm

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
It's difficult to discuss story in games like these, since to some degree it feels like Carmac was right i.e. "story in games is like story in pornography, it is expected to be there but don't put too much time into it". Note that I say "games like these" where gameplay is the main drive. Story can still help to elevate sequence like making a boss feel more epic thanks to the emotional hookin (see also, DMC3 Vergil's final fight), but a game like this can very quickly outstay its welcome with long and convoluted plots. I still think titles like God of War 1 and Devil May Cry 3 did it best. Short clips that give a bit of a watch into the narrative and the character while the plot itself isn't too complex. Lore is either completely absent or only present in clippings if you wish to read them.

Here you're absolutely swarmed by it and it kind of reminds me of a game I'm recently playing, Death Stranding, that absolutely overloads you with information at a near constant basis. I think games like this really should just have a Fire Emblem esque skip system e.g:
A = skip this sentence
B = skip this scene
Start = skip all cutscenes between now and the next gameplay segment.

> good stuff
For me the game was, honestly, a boring title until I beat it. I barely managed to sit through it. It wasn't until I got Fusion that the game suddenly got a bit interesting, only to then throw me into another dull area doing minor quests. The final boss was the first time I felt actually challenged and tested. I think that's mostly because the whole first run through seems to be this huge tutorial. You don't even have your normal moveset until Chapter 3 and the combat is quite lacking in options at first too, not really opening up until later. It isn't until you have all your abilities and Legions that fights get insanely creative, which is practically in the end-game / post-game. Exploration also feels neutered by the knowledge that you'll constantly be faced with "you don't have this Legion ability yet, return in post-game" message.

They did the same thing with the Wonderful 101 and I feel stuff like that is just tiring. You can make a game that's great to replay while still having a game that's highly enjoyable on your first go through.

> red matter
I will give it bonus points for usually using some systems, but most of the time it either isn't challenging or just a waste of time. Sniffing out randomized treasure, doing puzzles where you shift busses and cars around - why should this be here? A legitamate question I have is: does anyone enjoy these things? I don't think there's a soul that boots the Wonderful 101 for the shooting segments, goes swimming in DMC1 or platforming in DMC3, let alone reloads saves to relive the 'grand' puzzles of NG:B.

It isn't detrimental, but it is pointless. The driving minigame at least allows for some legion and chip usage, but even then feels sorely lacking. There is the danger of devolving into a constant combat arena like VJ or NG3:RE, but even games like God Hand or NGII manage to balance this well by just having some harmless walking bits where you can explore like a little bit before you go back to fighting. You only need downtime. You don't need a completely new mini-game inserted in imo.

> killing family
She suddenly returns though in the post-game which I found odd. Is that one of the clones? That said, I admit to not really carrying about story anymore in these games unless it's really good i.e. MGS2 or something.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

5Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:58 pm

vert1

vert1
D-Rank
@Royta/Raeng wrote:It's difficult to discuss story in games like these, since to some degree it feels like Carmac was right i.e. "story in games is like story in pornography, it is expected to be there but don't put too much time into it". Note that I say "games like these" where gameplay is the main drive. Story can still help to elevate sequence like making a boss feel more epic thanks to the emotional hookin (see also, DMC3 Vergil's final fight), but a game like this can very quickly outstay its welcome with long and convoluted plots. I still think titles like God of War 1 and Devil May Cry 3 did it best. Short clips that give a bit of a watch into the narrative and the character while the plot itself isn't too complex. Lore is either completely absent or only present in clippings if you wish to read them.
Complicated situation all-around due to AC's character's occupation/role being so different from those other games. From what I read the game started off with a bigger scope. I'd really like to see them actively reward investigation-decision making outside of pop quizzes. Limited still though.

Here you're absolutely swarmed by it and it kind of reminds me of a game I'm recently playing, Death Stranding, that absolutely overloads you with information at a near constant basis. I think games like this really should just have a Fire Emblem esque skip system e.g:
A = skip this sentence
B = skip this scene
Start = skip all cutscenes between now and the next gameplay segment.
Yeah, at a certain point the player's importance starts to feel like being a commercial break rather than the main program of an anime.

> good stuff
For me the game was, honestly, a boring title until I beat it. I barely managed to sit through it. It wasn't until I got Fusion that the game suddenly got a bit interesting, only to then throw me into another dull area doing minor quests. The final boss was the first time I felt actually challenged and tested. I think that's mostly because the whole first run through seems to be this huge tutorial. You don't even have your normal moveset until Chapter 3 and the combat is quite lacking in options at first too, not really opening up until later. It isn't until you have all your abilities and Legions that fights get insanely creative, which is practically in the end-game / post-game. Exploration also feels neutered by the knowledge that you'll constantly be faced with "you don't have this Legion ability yet, return in post-game" message.
Maybe you've gotten too good with action games. heh. For instance, I had no idea you could command more than one Legion at the same time until I read what you wrote. That obviously took the game to the next level. How did you discover this? (PlatinumGames and their game system explanation issues strikes again.) I found the way several actions are consolidated to an individual button, the uneven ferocity of enemies, and learning the new system of this game kept me interested; at the worst, slightly annoyed or wavering interest. I thought the game got extremely impressive on Jenna fight phase 1 and 2. (Phase 2, after numerous attempts, is where I started using the multiple on-field attacking Legions.) The Noah Prime fight ended up extremely annoying me because I could not beat that fight without using a battery and couldn't be bothered not to do so because of the boss's third (?) "going to the otherside of the map" phase.

> red matter
I will give it bonus points for usually using some systems, but most of the time it either isn't challenging or just a waste of time. Sniffing out randomized treasure, doing puzzles where you shift busses and cars around - why should this be here? A legitamate question I have is: does anyone enjoy these things? I don't think there's a soul that boots the Wonderful 101 for the shooting segments, goes swimming in DMC1 or platforming in DMC3, let alone reloads saves to relive the 'grand' puzzles of NG:B.
Don't really care for the sniffing out of randomized treasure either, but I think it was necessary having that dullness to set the groundwork for a major game moment where you find something truly startling under the earth in one of the HUB worlds; a stark contrast from routine busywork. Car stuff is whatever until it gets difficult then I too ask that "why am I doing this?" question.

I agree that certain diversions from other games mentioned up there are poorly done but swimming in DMC is not one of them.

> killing family
She suddenly returns though in the post-game which I found odd. Is that one of the clones? That said, I admit to not really carrying about story anymore in these games unless it's really good i.e. MGS2 or something.
I don't know.



Last edited by vert1 on Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:59 am; edited 1 time in total

6Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:42 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
First off, finally compiled my Astral Chain tips and tricks together:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tic3Z9zXNBk

Originally had them scattered on my Twitter, should be at least some fun setups/ ideas in here for players.

> being the police
I think it could've been done more fun. Having the only real enemy-type being monsters, with humanoids not really adding much, most police work was just talking and walking. Would've been more interesting if they were chases or just unique fighting scenarios with unique elements to them i.e. protection missions.

Doing a good detective game without becoming a fully functional point-and-click game is difficult though. You played Batman: Origins? That one had pretty decent detective moments imo.

> commercial break
Never heard it be called that, but that really aligns with it almost. When watching most cutscenes it really felt like a commercial break where I had to wait. Especially painful on some replays.

> too good at action games
Hm. I wouldn't say that, but I do fear that it's easier for me to see certain patterns, visions, ideas etc. than someone for whom this is their first title. I immediately noticed juggling wasn't the mainstay here for instance, while I know some kept trying to launch enemies and hated the game for it.

> game explanation

I honestly think their games would be better without any explanation, because at least then you let players experiment because they have to. Their recent games are really 50/50, somethings are explained extremely in depth, but then this one key mechanic is relegated to an off-hand comment that you can never listen to again.

Doesn't help that a ton of the key elements in the combat are behind unlocks. Don't think it was a smart idea to strip Legions from their abilities. Having Sword for instance start with summoned swords would've been excellent, same with the 'cross-over moves' like the grapple, power charge, speed star etc. being a single purchase. Then you can have a dedicated mini tutorial for the move and also balance more around it.

> noah prime
I think he might be one of my favourite final bosses now. Guy is tough, you have to use everything at your disposal and mostly: everything works on him. You can use stuns, items, parries, blade mode, perfect call - it all works. Think that's very cool.

> HUB
Does something like that work here though? Most action games don't use a hub-like enviroment so it was pretty novel to see here, but I do feel there's a lot of room for improvement. Apparently the game was quite a success financially so we can expect some sort of sequel I'd reckon.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

7Coolness Factor Empty choking on your bitter story on Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:47 am

Zenyn

Zenyn
C-Rank
@Royta/Raeng wrote: That said, I admit to not really carrying about story anymore in these games

*getting up and ready to put hands together for an ovation*

@Royta/Raeng wrote: unless it's really good i.e. MGS2 or something.

Shocked

*sits down, pressing hands against forehead, staring at the feet, considering throwing shoe at the speaker*

@vert1 wrote:I agree that certain diversions from other games mentioned up there are poorly done but swimming in DMC is not one of them.

Seconded. It's so short and sweet, how could that offend anybody?

8Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:48 am

Birdman


Moderator
>too good at action games
I am.

9Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:57 am

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
> MGS2 story
It's over the top and the cutscene-gameplay balance is skewed, but there's a lot of good in it imo.

> swimming DMC
My question remains the same: what does it add? I'd rather have seen Dante play under water regularly, or an ice-stage or anything else that uses the core mechanics instead of "we're a bad FPS now". It isn't as terrible as Bayonetta's bike segment but I still don't like it.

> Birdman is too good

I look forward to you playing NGII and teaching us senpai.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

10Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:12 am

Birdman


Moderator
Everything in its time my boy.

11Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:02 pm

vert1

vert1
D-Rank
And I'm back to the "This is Cool" discussion.

@Royta/Raeng wrote:First off, finally compiled my Astral Chain tips and tricks together:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tic3Z9zXNBk
Took a quick look. Looks good. Seeing stuff I didn't think of and will be avoiding spoiling anything more though. (A minor suggestion would be to fade the text out for each part so it doesn't obscure in-game text.) You ever consider making montage footage for the site?

> being the police
I think it could've been done more fun. Having the only real enemy-type being monsters, with humanoids not really adding much, most police work was just talking and walking. Would've been more interesting if they were chases or just unique fighting scenarios with unique elements to them i.e. protection missions.
I haven't gotten around to playing the game on 'Hard Mode' but what was in there for protection missions was light work compared to the regular fighting that I am curious how you think they could improve it? You probably "optimal win stratted" this out immediately but the charging of the core crystal (?) / power grid is quite an engaging affair when you don't detach from the charging stage element. Kinda like a stationary version of the escort scenario having your Legions scattered all over the place fending off the onslaught of enemies. I think it would have been way cooler to force the player to fight this way.

Going further, for a sequel in protection missions it would be cool if you pass/fail rescuing someone they could give you items or fight alongside you, although given how much portal jumping your character does it makes sense they have to item give.

You played Batman: Origins? That one had pretty decent detective moments imo.
Don't think so. What did it do exactly? (I played one of the Batman games for XBOX360 and didn't think that much of it due to the combat system to continue with the franchise. The roof-top running and gliding were pretty sweet though.)

Personally, I think it would be cool if Platinum could build a player profile from the player's actions and design a boss fight (maybe even an arena with certain stage elements) around that.

> noah prime
I think he might be one of my favourite final bosses now. Guy is tough, you have to use everything at your disposal and mostly: everything works on him. You can use stuns, items, parries, blade mode, perfect call - it all works. Think that's very cool.
He is tough... Despite what I focused on in the OP I was really impressed with progression of the stage flux and over-the-top radical changes in completely new fighting patterns for each phase for the boss. And stabbing with the heavy sword + Axe Legion to leave a timed-exploding shard and hitting with a heavy blow right as the explosion goes off to stun him was exceptionally cooler than anything I have seen in the genre this gen.

Gotta reiterate though how the Jenna fight really shines the best with attacks that feel more complimentary to the character like the wing-flapped laser beam rays.

> HUB
Does something like that work here though? Most action games don't use a hub-like enviroment so it was pretty novel to see here, but I do feel there's a lot of room for improvement. Apparently the game was quite a success financially so we can expect some sort of sequel I'd reckon.
For chase sequences and possibly even better for arena ring-style multi-level combat where combatants enter more naturally from the "sides" (i.e. Ninja Gaiden 2's werewolf gladiatorial ring), it can.

AC's File 8 chase sequence being in a more circular-shaped 'open-area' level design allows you to naturally loop back to the scene of the crime, whereas if it was linear you'd fail-safe it. The best I can think of for other examples of chasing are Bloodrayne's and Super Mario Sunshine's chase scenarios: In Bloodrayne you trail a swamp crawler and have to chase after it in a semi-linear path in an outdoors area. You run across rooftops and pole wires; you fall in the water accidentally or even purposefully whereby you incur damage running through it; you can activate heat vision to keep the target in track if your natural line-of-sight gets interrupted -- masterclass stuff. In Super Mario Sunshine in Noki Bay you work your way up a cliff-side of jutting structures of a water fall. You reach the top and jump back down into the water. Repeat.  

Back to AC, it's pretty slick how well-incorporated the IRIS scanner is to help navigate in flames instead of having the 'Point B' marker omnipresent. However, coolness-wise, I thought the excess use of on-fire environments felt emotionally exploitative. For navigating higher ground, I had a few moments where I'd think the Legion could latch onto a higher floor story to pull the player upwards but instead you're stuck on doing flat plane movement.

12Coolness Factor Empty Re: Coolness Factor on Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:31 pm

Royta/Raeng

Royta/Raeng
Admin
> montage footage for the site
I've dabled in this before. The God of War 2018 article has a combat-showcase about midway for example. It takes a lot of time to do well and add something to the article, and I'm slow enough as it is haha.

> Hard Mode
Really fun difficulty imo, lot more dangerous especially.

> How to handle the side stuff
Fair question. Some are handled in a fun way, but generally speaking the detective work was using IRIS paired with dog to sniff things out and get to a fight.

At the end of the day you'll be fighting, though I feel these could be expanded. I'd honestly have added more in-depth humanoid enemies to make fighting them more interesting and have multiple types i.e. grenadiers, gun-wielders, melee dudes etc. This would allow side adventures to feature these. Perhaps have chases while enemies are shooting at you. I certainly would've used the bike-segments more as I feel they are a nice change in combat pace while still allowing legion-usage. Currently there's only two sections of them. Would've been interesting to see more, maybe one where you protect a VIP or where you try to apprehend a drugs-trafficer or something while avoiding innocent cars.

> Batman detective
Mostly point and click, you drag and drop clues together to combine them into 'results' that let batman do commentary. You can also 'rewind time' so to speak to see the murderscene play out and analyze parts. Pretty cool.

> Batman itself
The combat is pretty unique, especially at the time. Once you get into the variation-system, aim for highscores etc it gets pretty brutal. It isn't the most deep system in the world, but there's a lot of merrit to it imo. Always enjoyed my time with the series.

> final boss
One fun technique is to leave a Crash Bomb beneath him when he's firing the ranged projectiles. The second he drops down he crashes into a minefield. Fantastic fun.

https://stinger.actieforum.com

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