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Everything posted by Sno

  1. The Nintendo Wii U is Great Thread

    Putting aside that i think you're kind of crazy for saying Splatoon feels the same as most other online shooters, what about Xenoblade Cross, or Captain Toad, or Wonderful 101?
  2. Xenoblade Chronicles X - good bye Earth

    The absolute best thing i can say about Xenoblade Cross is that it feels like the kind of unrestrained, ridiculous, impossible ambition my twelve year old self would have tried to envision as a game. It's a messier and less charismatic RPG than Xenoblade Chronicles was, but it's just so monstrously and unrepentanly ambitious in its scope and systems that i can't help but forgive it any of its failings. I think i'm about fifteen hours in, and i'm probably actually not as far into the game as people usually would be at this point, i don't even have a mech yet, i've spent a lot of my time trying to sort out what all the systems mean and do rather than just critical path story quests. The multiplayer component in particular is much more expansive and multi-faceted than i was expecting, and a lot of the core game systems are doing some pretty unusual and interesting things. (Soul voices, in particular, seem to be kind of a way to program character logic into not just AI party members, but into live players by incentivizing coordination with tangible rewards. They can even be both at once, with your own player character possibly being summoned into another player's game as an AI party member via one of the game's many multiplayer systems in a move that seems a little like the pawns from Dragon's Dogma.) Again though, less charismatic. The game features a pretty weird and inconsistent use of the silent protagonist, i also don't think i particularly like or care about any of the other characters, and as much as i am a sucker for mecha anime, the premise is way, way less interesting than that of the first game. The game is coming across as a bit of a beautiful void. Gorgeous environments and densely rich systems, but not much personality to back it up. I'm personally totally okay with that, but people should know what they're getting into. The OST is also kind of all over the place. I don't even know what to say about it. It's not unusual for a JRPG to have a weird and eclectic soundtrack, but there are some real hard swings in quality here. Some of the just come across as comical and out of place in what is on the whole probably one of the better video game OST's i've heard in a long time. I think i'm going to have a lot more to say about this one, but i'm quite in love with it so far. (I'd advise looking through the very comprehensive digital manual. Excepting a few odd omissions, it's very useful.)
  3. Idle Thumbs Makes-a Mario!

    The actual bullet bills just pass through terrain and blocks, the bullet bill launchers themselves will sit on breakable blocks until those blocks are broken by some other force, since their downard force through gravity does not break blocks. Spoilered if you don't want my examples of what you can do with this: Anyways, yeah. I think that's an idea with some cool potential, but it's one i've already built a couple levels around, so anybody else got anything else to stack on that as Miffy was suggesting? Bullet Bill Launchers on breakable blocks is just one suggestion.
  4. Idle Thumbs Makes-a Mario!

    This sounds like fun, i might be on board with this. Ten distinct concepts might be a bit much to try to work into a single level though, i'd say somewhere between 2-5 is probably a better number for a concise, focused level that has enough room to kind of explore a few ideas in iteration. Here's my suggestion for the first level: I've been playing around with bullet bill blasters on breakable blocks. They're affected by gravity, so if what they're sitting on is destroyed they'll fall and lock into place, or fall out of the map if that's how you have it set up.
  5. Super Mario Maker

    New level! C584-0000-00A3-02F9: Rumble in the Sky! Expanding on what i was trying to do with the boss fight in my last upload, but as a more moderately difficult thing in a short and focused level. The way it turned out, i'm pretty pleased with it. (Also, i can't really take full credit, i definitely stole the core idea from another level that's probably still somewhere in my starred levels history.) Also, Synnah gave me a bunch of stars that pushed me into the next rank! Now i have twenty upload slots. Woo!
  6. Splatoon is Ink-redible

    The motion control is great once you make that adjustment, you'll feel like you're playing a PC shooter. Pro-tip: Get used to twisting the pad left and right so you can have some quick horizontal fine-tuning in fights as well. The right stick should be used for navigation and broadly reorienting yourself mid-fight. There's no aim sticky in Splatoon, relying on the stick is a much harder way to play. I didn't even realize another splatfest was going on, i'll have to play tomorrow before it finishes up. General summary of splatfest: It's an intermittent faction metagame where you have a chance to earn super snails based on how many points you earned for your faction and whether or not your faction actually won. Other modes, like ranked parties, are suspended during splatfests. Super snails are then used to upgrade 1 and 2 star gear into 3 star gear, and re-roll sub skills on that gear. (Which you can only do once a piece of gear is maxed out on slots and experience.) And yeah, connectivity tends to crap itself during splatfests.
  7. Super Mario Maker

    New level! 90B0-0000-0097-ABA4: A dangerous town! This one is probably the most difficult level i've made, though in the end i reeled back on the difficulty a bunch while playtesting it and i feel the result is pretty fair. I quite like how certain parts of it turned out though, I think it has a lot of fun sequences that i might split out into their own levels once i've earned enough stars to unlock more upload slots. (I believe i only need a few more? FEED ME STARS.)
  8. SOMA

  9. Super Mario Maker

    Alright, i'm going to go and take some time to do this right: CDE9-0000-002C-E117 : Gosh Darn Bullet Heck! The first thing i did was try to make a scrolling shoot em` up stage and i think it turned out relatively well, i think it's pretty fun. It's a little tricky, hanging back at the far left side of the screen won't work out for you, but it has a surprisingly high completion rate, so i assume i didn't make it too messed up. 505A-0000-0040-0202 : Airship Invasion! It's big and complicated and has the lowest completition rate of any of my levels, which is a tiny bit frustrating to me, because i still think this is probably one of my best levels. It's the one i have the most fun playing through, at least. 9448-0000-0048-F793 : Use that cape! I just wanted to have some data on how many people know how to use the cape. If i am to extrapolate from the small sample size of this level, it's about half of the people playing. 1ACC-0000-004A-2CB3 : Spooky Mine! So here i reeled way back on difficulty after seeing how few people were finishing Airship Invasion, and i also tried to tell a bit of an implied story with the changing geography of the level. I also started playing around with the sound effects in different ways. This seems to be my most popular level at present. 8C83-0000-0055-7F2A: Bridge to a lost land! You'll notice a theme with my levels: i enjoy messing around with thwomps and bob-ombs and koopa wizards, putting them all near breakable bits of terrain. This level is more of that, and a bit of experimentation with the particularly spooky atmosphere of the SMB1 castle set. It's a very simple level, but i think it kind of works. EB5B-0000-005E-691C: Bowser Jr Brawl! I liked the boss fight i concocted for Airship Invasion so much that i stripped it out, made it its own level, and expanded on it. It's ended up being one of my best received levels. I made the arena too wide though, things can despawn and slight weirdness can ensue. Make sure you grab the airship when you defeat Bowser Jr, don't let it go offscreen and despawn, you need it to make your way towards the level exit. E9E9-0000-0066-FF0D: A completely normal day! I'm not going to say anything about this one, just go play it. 0193-0000-0072-52D1: Mario's Spelunking Adventure! I probably spent too much time making this one, every single tile and visual detail is purposefully placed. Lots of little decorations and layered platforms. I sort of wanted to see how far i could push the game in making a visually interesting level. I think it turned out quite nicely, and i think it's fun to play too, if very straightforward. ^ If anybody's curious about how i'm purposefully placing the decorations that randomly spring up from ground tiles: When i start out with a level, i sort of scribble around a lot, move any ground pieces that have the decorations into a little palette, and then copy the tiles from that palette as i make the level. There's a lot of fun tricks you can do with sound effects too, depending on what effect is affixed to which object. I also played through a bunch of the levels you guys uploaded and gave out quite a few stars too, if anybody wants any specific feedback, go ahead and ask. Anyways, I have another level that i'll probably uploaded in a day or two. It's got a lot of fun little tricks going on, but it's probably going to be miserably difficult. I was getting tired of making very easy levels.
  10. Recently completed video games

    Playing Mario Maker has kind of been a weird lesson in how much of what constitutes "good" level design is simply knowing when to have some empty space. There are just so, so, so many levels that seem to think "This spot doesn't have anything in it, what should i put here that will challenge the player?" and those levels often just come across as relentless and unfun. I also generally feel that levels should be designed to be theoretically completable on a first run, that every obstacle should be slightly telegraphed even if they are still significantly challenging. Surprise deaths from bad leaps of faith or enemies in item blocks or invisible blocks positioned above death pits just make me instantly quit out of a level. That's some real disrespect to the player. Lakitus are also terrible. Swarms of RNG enemies are the worst. There are so many terrible Mario Maker levels, even if Mario Maker is itself an awesome thing. ... Oh hey, this is the recently completed thread. Thumbs up to Mario Maker, everybody go play Mario Maker.
  11. I mean, there's a lot of games that try to present to you alternative sinks for currency. I always liked System Shock 2 as an example of this, where your nanites can be used to build supplies in vending machines, or you can use them to conduct repairs, hacks, or upgrades. (And SS2 is balanced so that you basically never have enough currency to do all of these in aggregate, you have to make your choices.) I think the real genius of the system in Metro is that it's presenting a conundrum of a short term crutch versus long term benefit. Use them to overcome a difficult obstacle, essentially spending them on making progress through the game, or hang onto them stubbornly with the hope that at some undetermined interval you'll be able to spend them on a more material and lasting benefit. (Which is quite unlike the above choices in System Shock 2, since all of those avenues for spending generally result in access to more or better tools.) I mean, and it only works because Metro is kind of ruthless, it's a really difficult game. It's a choice that would have no weight if the game was any easier.
  12. SOMA

  13. Given that HBS is shaping up as one of the more dependable indies to utilize kickstarter in its pursuits, I was out of my mind excited when i saw this. I would love seeing a faithful adaptation of original board game, personally.
  14. Recently completed video games

    I've been playing lately and that game is absolutely fucking awesome and people should play it. There's a lot of good subtle mechanical nuance that says to me the designer has a real love the bullet hell genre. For example, you can burst a shield for an area-of-effect offensive attack or manipulate your max-level damage-over-time projectile to move slower across large enemies. (You can also, on the fly, trade score for extra lives if you're struggling.) There's also a roguelite "macro" mode that has a really labyrinthine upgrade system and free-roaming spaces. It... Feels a little janky and unpolished in ways the main modes don't, but it's also been pretty entertaining. The visual style and the soundtrack are pretty terrific too.
  15. It's up and doing pretty good.
  16. SOMA

    I have played and finished this game and... You know, while i was playing it, and after i finished it - finding the game stuck on my mind for several days - i felt like i had a whole lot to say about it, but... A lot of it is about the story, and it doesn't look like anybody here has finished it yet, so i probably won't go too indepth. I thought the voice acting was pretty good, by and large. It's incredibly difficult to do a first-person voiced protagonist and not have it be really, really weird, but i think they got most of the way there, though Simon could probably have stood to be a little more noticeably unnerved during the first couple areas of the game. (Some might take issue with him generally sounding like an awkward, regular ass dude, but that's kind of what makes him work in my opinion. He's kind of a dope.) Really though, i completely loved this game. It's probably another goty contender for me, and maybe one of my favorite horror games ever. I think it's also one of the most committed and unnerving explorations of body horror i've seen in a video game practically since System Shock 2. It commits to the theme instead of just the visual and it's thoroughly upsetting in parts, I think it legitimately works as psychological horror. It does that in part owing to there being precious few jump scares in the game, and they almost never occur in circumstances wherein you are actually open to danger. If there is going to be something that can kill you, the game lets you exist with it, know it's there, and feel all the tension of it being right there in front of you. That said, the game is also relatively simplified in comparison to Amnesia, it lacks that prior game's complicated systems interactions and how those worked to create tension. If Soma has a fault that's where it lies, but Soma still gets pretty much all the way to being scary through its theme and its pacing, which is fairly admirable, i think. Soma is a game that faces you constantly with choices that are in no way systemically reinforced, but still thrive as relentlessly complicated moral quandaries that - as an exploration of the game's themes - pile up on eachother and lead you to question what you've done and what you've come from. It's fantastic, i love the story. (It actually seems to have accidentally had more resonance than the writer even intended, sparking debates and questions that he apparently didn't realize the narrative supported.) In fact, the game is in large part almost an adventure game, with relatively clever puzzles and environmental exploration actually making up the largest chunk of the game, encounters happening relatively intermittently and usually quite briefly, there's much less of an ever present threat than there was in Amnesia. The mechanics of those encounters are also generally more simplistic, and while individual encounters present a lot of variety in how they approach Soma's mechanics, the narrower and more discernable walls on the simulation governing these survival encounters makes it probably a little less scary overall than Amnesia. (Which, hey, isn't necessarily a bad thing.) It's also balanced, definitely, towards the very easy end of the spectrum. I died exactly once in the entire game. (Which i spent 15 hours playing, by the way. That was a playthrough that put emphasis on checking every corner for bits of story, and dealing with encounters in a stealthy and measured fashion.) I was quite surprised to see those two original live action teasers referenced in the story of the game and actually make complete sense in the context of the game. (Frictional is also presently releasing a web series on their youtube channel that also ties in, but a little more tenuously, and the web series proper is also maybe not quite as effective as those original live action teasers were.) On the other end of the spectrum, that first gameplay teaser is almost completely unrecognizable and has virtually nothing in common with the shipping game. There's a locked archive that gets thrown in with the game's install that, if opened, is revealed to contain just buckets and buckets of development materials which imply that the game shifted course wildly possibly several times over the course of its elongated development cycle. As an aside, i think it gets some good mileage from its setting. There's a sequence towards the end that really makes its deep ocean setting seem oppressive and intimidating in a way that i don't think other games set in deep, dark, murky water have ever really achieved. Again though, I think Soma's one of the best horror games i've ever played, kudos to Frictional. I actually like it a whole lot more than i liked Amnesia, though as a piece of game design, i think i still respect Amnesia more, if that makes sense.
  17. Super Mario Maker

    I have been playing this a whole bunch. The tools are easy to use and the fundamentals are all there, i'm really quite in love with it. I do think Nintendo's missing a few crucial things though. (I'd like to see doors and keys, options for enemy facing, slopes, maybe that little wall-run brick from SMW, etc.) I also think it's weird that, you as the creator, only get to see a death heatmap for the main area of an uploaded map and not the sub area. It's a really useful piece of information for refining your maps, and Nintendo's kind of needlessly limited it. Anyways, this is the level of mine that has received the most stars: "1ACC-0000-004A-2CB3" From there, you should be able to click through into my Mario Maker profile from your play history, i think i have some other levels uploaded that are actually much better. I'd appreciate if people would go through what i've uploaded and star whatever they think deserves it, and i will in turn probably go through some of the levels you have all posted as well. (It saddens me that some of my favorite levels have almost no stars! They're tough, sure, but i thought they were pretty fair.) I'm also working on another few levels to upload at some point in the next few days.
  18. Favorite Level in a video game

    A couple MP ones: Quake 3 - The Longest Yard I don't really have any overwrought justification for this one, I just think the map is a ton of fun. It's my favorite map in Q3A, perhaps simply because it was one of the Q3Test maps. Halo 3 - The Pit I think this is the best map in the best Halo game, 4v4 on this is fantastic. So many interesting sight lines, lots of cover to exploit, and probably the most competitive item spawns in Halo 3.
  19. Splatoon is Ink-redible

    Blowing that main entrance into each base wide open and filling it with tons of cover seems like it's just made it harder to defend and easier for enemies to get in. Every Turf War match i've played on the new Urchin Underpass has ended in a shutout for one team or the other, literally every single one, there have been no close games. That does not feel to me like the changes are working as intended. Charger players seem really salty about the changes too, i guess. There's no good sight lines for them anymore.
  20. Recently completed video games

    It's about average duration for this kind of RTS campaign, it's around 15 missions, and it's the sort that delves deep into heavily scripted and puzzle-like scenarios, though with a few randomized elements to keep you on your toes. It took me a few days to finish the campaign, speaking personally. I wasn't expecting to get much out of the campaign, actually, i have generally felt like this style of campaign is something i've had my fill of, but Grey Goo seems like it's just trying so damn hard. The missions seemed pretty well designed to me and the game presents actually a fairly fun sci-fi adventure with some unexpectedly sharp production values. (It's a gorgeous game all around, and has a pretty great soundtrack.) I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, but i definitely found it quite rough difficulty-wise while i was still in the process of figuring out the game. (I'm pretty out of practice with RTS's, to be fair.) The game ramps up quick and kind of throws you into missions that feel like they belong at the end of the game while you're still pretty early in the campaign, it's a game that expects you to know how to get your eco up and running immediately, and will face you with overwhelming odds if you aren't able to act decisively. I felt it was a fun challenge though, i thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm really honestly just happy to see that Petroglyph continued to put work into this game, it had a lot of problems but i felt like there were some good foundations there, and with their continued updates i think it's shaped up into something that's now actually worth checking out. It's probably not for everyone, but it's exactly what i had been looking to get out of an RTS for quite a while. Bit of an oldschool RTS vibe with a slick layer of polish on it. (For example, one of the things that's been pretty divisive is that there are no active abilities on units. You might want to ground fire to lead artillery shots, and you have to manage your air units pretty carefully, but broadly it's not as concerned about the minutia of an individual fight as it is the makeup of the battlefield at large. That will either sound great, or be a big indication that it's not for you.)
  21. Splatoon is Ink-redible

    That last Splatfest went to the Marshmallows. Another loss for me, as i sided with the Hot Dogs. So i am going to say that i have, broadly, had increasingly few problems with Splatoon. I think most of what Nintendo is doing to the game is a step in the right direction, but i think the Urchin Underpass rework has kind of been a disaster and makes me super wary of any other big map reworks they have planned. The map is even more prone to stomps than before, and it has completely lost its simple, competitive flow. I still think Dynamo Rollers need to be nerfed. There's also been a lot of talk in around Splatoon's emerging community of teams getting organized and tournaments being planned. I'm very curious to see what "competitive" Splatoon would look like. Player level really doesn't mean anything, It just tells you roughly how much they've played, not how good they are. As for the repeated losses in ranked, and especially in the case of ranked where people have to at least kind of know what they're doing to get as far as a B rank, i think it just shows how much Splatoon is a design built to reward coordination and teamwork, while not really doing anything to facilitate it. I tend towards feeling that Nintendo made the right choice in not having voice chat, especially having just played a few particularly toxic matches of Dota 2, but they at least needed a more diverse array of pings and barks to allow people to communicate with eachother. If your team isn't gelling, if they aren't just innately all on the same page, it's just not going to happen, that win isn't going to happen. It's not hopeless though, you can help things along by acknowledging that you're part of a team and setting out to actively try to be less of a lone wolf. Try to watch your teammate's back, coordinate fire with them, go for flanking maneuvers, create opportunities for them to escape or approach with explosives and covering fire. Or even just persistently harass the objectives, you don't always need decisive plays and you don't need to be the hero, momentum is real. Constantly contest the hill in splat zone from a safe vantage point or keep the tower pushed in tower control. (Dive up on that thing, back off for safety, go climb back on it. Keep moving, but keep it pushed until friends show back up to help.) You might end up with a bad KDR, but you might also still be the one that won the match. Also, i encourage giving squad battles a shot if you can get some friends on an external voice chat channel. Chaining supers during a tower push is the most amazingly awful thing you can do to somebody in Splatoon. Do it, you'll feel great.
  22. Recently completed video games

    So i sort of mostly like Grey Goo. I really liked what Petroglyph was trying to do with that game and i played a bunch of it when it came out, but the game had some pretty aggravating issues with balance and some pretty fucked performance issues where people experienced varying degrees of sluggish performance approaching almost completely unplayable, and on PC's well above the recommended specs, it's important to note. Everybody i talked to about the game felt it wasn't running as well as it should. It was also missing a sizable number of promised features and there were some other small issues, like the skirmish AI being pretty lame at release. It was a game i couldn't really recommend, it was a pretty deeply flawed product at the time, but i really didn't want to dismiss it out of hand. I waited to see if they would fix the issues and sort of just forgot about it after a while. Seeing several big updates get pulled down recently prompted me to load the game back up and see how its come along, and i've found that it runs much better - though perhaps still not where it seems like it should be - and has seen some pretty comprehensive balance tweaks, though the game still feels recognizable as what i had played initially. There's also a ton of new multiplayer maps, match replays, much improved skirmish AI and... A paid campaign DLC that was apparently given to me for free at some point, i'm assuming because i bought the game around release. I looked into it and there was apparently a window where people could grab it for free, but i didn't do that, so i don't know what's up. Hey though, more is good, the campaign in that game was actually really enjoyable, it has some really elaborate and very challenging missions. (Emphasis on challenging, you will likely replay these missions a few times each and have to think hard about what you need to do to beat them.) I like the game a lot, i think it's probably Petroglyph's best game, and i think it draws some pretty favorable comparisons to Westwood's original C&C games, though with a resource rate economy model and some really interesting factions, one of which kind of completely upends the more traditional elements of the game. (A faction with no structures that forces its opponents to be more proactive about scouting and harassment.) I've seen a lot of Starcraft-types respond pretty negatively to the game for downplaying micro for macro, along with some assertions that there's a low skill ceiling, and... I mean... That it emphasizes broader strategies is something i actually really like about it, and i'm not competitive enough to have anything to say about the skill ceiling. (I'm generally not super competitive with RTS's anymore, i just want to do some bot stomps or play against friends.) The game's mostly just been a ton of fun for me as an old RTS fan that has seen the genre drift further and further in directions i don't really care about. So Grey Goo's a as far as i'm concerned, but people are still pretty divided on it. Check it out during a sale, maybe. To me, it feels like a game that probably has an audience out there that would really appreciate it, but with a rough launch period and divided critical response, has failed to catch the attention of. The huge disparity between what Quake was supposed to be and what it ended up being makes it feel like Id got in over their head and just sort of haphazardly slipped back into doing what they knew best, and amazingly it doesn't even really feel like the stitched together remnants of another game, it kind of feels like nothing. It's so abstract and odd and kind of wonderful for it, and probably far too accidental for Id to have been self-aware enough about it to realize it worked and that they could have run with the ambiguous theming as a strength for other games. Certainly, Quake 2 is much more Doom-like in its theme, just trading cyber demons for... Pretty much just the same thing. On the other hand though, you could probably say Quake 3 was again in line with the original, being a game that stripped away needless context to the point of having floating platforms in a black void. Anyways, I've been playing more of it again, going through it on the hard difficulty, and the layouts tend towards cleverly cruel and are way more enjoyable than the normal playthrough i used to ease myself back into the game. The enemy layouts in hard just seem like they mesh with the levels far better, because instead of a persistent low-level challenge, the game takes you through some big peaks and valleys. It sets up a lot of situations where it feels like Id's trying to lull the person playing into a false sense of security before dumping them into a really horrible situation. Still going to say the fourth episode is a weirdly incongruous and wildly uneven set of levels though. I don't think that ever really registered with me as a kid, but i obviously didn't play it as much as the other episodes given how little of it i was able to remember.
  23. I played this, i... mostly like it? Yeah, i like it. It's a cool thing. The puzzling is very awkward, both the mini-game and the tasks given to you in and around the hut, but it's beautiful and full of extremely cool world-building, and for the price being asked, i think that's probably enough. The ending is definitely not cool though, It kind of comes out of nowhere and sort of tosses everything else its done out the window and leaves you with an ambiguous question that seems to have some pretty lame answers.
  24. Splatoon is Ink-redible

    So they added four new battle themes, they're all pretty great. The new weapons are super interesting and very different, they're going to create some weird new dynamics in the meta, i think. The paint bucket is proving to be a real asshole to fight against, especially. It seemingly suffers no damage penalty during fall-off at max range, so it has a massive advantage with higher elevations or when firing over obstacles. The splatling gun, on the other hand, follows the charger archetype relatively closely, but with a burst of weapons fire instead of a single shot. Terrific range and accuracy, and you retain a good deal of movement speed while charging and firing. (Longer charges make for longer bursts of weapons fire, naturally.) Played a few hours in the doubles pool for squad battles and made pretty steady progress in ranking. Death to the team lottery! Saw an inkling with a branded Famitsu costume and got myself the hat from the Ika Musume set. I hate, hate, hate the redesigned Urchin Underpass. It's way too extensive of an overhaul, it doesn't feel like the same map at all. They took a straightforward and fiercely competitive map and made it wildly convoluted with tons of messy obstructions and elevation changes. Maybe my mind will be changed with further play, but where i'm standing, i think they've ruined one of the best maps in the game.
  25. Halo Wars 2

    Halo Wars was absolutely a blast, very excited to see that it's getting a sequel. I hope they keep to the formula Ensemble established, It was fantastic fun having a streamlined, old-school RTS with modern matchmaking. It's a blissfully back-to-basics design with an appropriately modern makeover.