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Posts posted by Sno

  1. Strange, I feel like everyone has something negative to say about those two games. I haven't played them yet, really behind on my Zelda, so that kind of helps me look more forward to them.


    Personally, i have a very strong dislike of the DS games. It's been much too long since i played those games to drop some articulate argument about why i think they're shit, but it definitely starts with the control scheme not really being able to do the things it's tasked with. I'm sure my argument would also go out into a lot of complaints with how the quests and environments in those games are designed.


    A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS though? That's a terrific game, one of the best 2D Zelda's, especially if the player is familiar with A Link to the Past and is in on how it's cleverly subverting said game's design. It so easily could have just been a nostalgia play, but Nintendo does some really, really cool stuff with ALBW.



    I am trying to play again Morrowind.... I had first played Daggerfall, but I skipped to Oblivion and Skyrim, since Morrowind wasn´t distribuited in Brazil on the time of launch, so I could only pick it up with Steam.


    But the your character moves so slow (and keep in mind, even in running speed you still go very slow), that I find myself in this strange conflict, part of me want to explore the world, but the other hand part of my refuse to do it, because of how slow moving is and the risk of wasting a good time for nothing (like one time I by accident find a wraith in a tomb and got killed). I don´t mean the character should move at light speed, but only slight faster because right now I feel like this is almost counter intuitive to the exploration. Right now I got a quest to find some thiefs inside a salt mine and the perspective of going very slow inside isn´t encouraging.


    But despite this and the vague quests, I am enjoying it a lot.


    We both started TES games with Daggerfall, i guess, and Morrowind is a bit of an odd man out in how it is the only one that lacks a player-friendly fast travel system. It's also an odd implementation of the stamina system, not in that running around everywhere bottoms out your Stamina, but that being low on stamina makes you so completely worthless in combat. (Missing all of your attacks?) If you just want to play the game straight and without mods, i'd recommend going into alchemy and keeping stamina restores on hand. Sprint everywhere, get your athletics up, and use a restore when going into a fight.


    I do think Morrowind really wants you to sort of dwell on its environments though, and i think the game is immensely enjoyable if you take it up on that. Look at the way it guides you towards quests, you follow literal road directions instead of a hud beacon. It wants you to be intensely familiar with its world and pay attention to the details its populated with, which then eventually rewards you with an understanding of the various interlocking fast travel networks in the game.


    Just make sure you have some intervention scrolls to get you out of nasty situations.

  2. Game Boy Advance: Game Boy, only used "Game Boy Advance" when explaining to my parents what games I wanted for Christmas

    It was just the GBA to me.



    I'd love to get another Nintendo thing so I can play Splatoon, the new Zelda games, Bravely Default, and Bayonetta though. Does that mean I'd have to get a WiiU or is the DS series fine for those games?


    Bravely Default is a 3DS game, Splatoon and Bayonetta 2 are Wii U games.

  3. I'm very surprised to see a lot of people really down on how this year went for games.

    If nothing else, the broad range of picks present in this thread seem to indicate that there were a whole lot of different kinds of games for a whole lot of different kinds of gamers.

  4. So i have some big gaps in what i played this year, i ended up skipping over both Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 for example, but both are games i'll probably eventually get around to. What i did play this year was a whole lot of Nintendo-system games, with more draw and focus than usual, and while i find Nintendo usually has one or two games that feel like they could contend for being my personal game of the year, i feel like they've actually had an unusually excellent year. Particularly, while the 3DS has been reasonably strong as it often is, i feel like this was actually the year that finally justified the Wii U's existence, and that it did it in a way that is easy to push and recommend.

    So yeah, I'll do a list of five.

    5 - Xenoblade Chronicles X / Wii U - Xenoblade Cross is very much a game that is in progress for me, i'm still making my way through it, but i've already played a significant deal of it and like what i've played enough to guarantee at least this spot on the list. Not all of its systems work out, but most of them do, and its environments are gorgeous, diverse, and densely populated with things to be engaged by. Compared to its predecessor, a game i would count among my favorite RPG's, i think Cross is a messier and less charismatic production, but it's unrestrained and enormous on such an astronomical scale that it's hard to believe it exists at all. Xenoblade Cross possesses kind of an undeniable attraction in its boundless ambition, it's a game that at times makes even Bethesda's efforts seem small and constrained.

    4 - Soma / Steam - Most of the PC games i did play this year haven't stuck with me the way Soma has. It's disruptive, upsetting and ambitious as a narrative, while showing tremendous restraint as a horror game, presenting actually an almost adventure-game like focus in its mechanics and presentation, pacing itself so that you're forced to dwell on the conversation it wants to have. I think it's a brilliant little piece of sci-fi horror and i can't recommend it enough.

    3 - Super Mario Maker / Wii U - Super Mario Maker is brilliant. Nintendo has cleanly avoided the pitfalls of similar products not just by couching it in time-tested Nintendo know-how regarding its Mario franchise, but in presenting a set of level construction tools that is almost primal in its simplicity, and irresistible in its ability to engage a creative drive. I'm also quite impressed to see Nintendo actively pursuing solutions for the package's few lingering failings, especially concerning discoverability.

    2 - Splatoon / Wii U - I honestly wasn't expecting anything out of this, it was not the game i bought a Wii U to play, and it was not even a game i thought Nintendo could really deliver on. I decided to give it a chance though, i enjoyed the demo with some reservations, and the overall buzz around the game was kind of tepidly positive. So i started playing it, and then i kept playing it, and i'm still playing it. I think Splatoon is the most fun i've had with a competitive shooter since Halo 3, there is an incredibly strong core here. Splatoon still wouldn't be up this far on this list though, if it wasn't for the outright strange amount of free post-release support Nintendo has done for the game, far beyond what was allegedly just on the disc waiting to be unlocked. Splatoon has grown out into an absolutely terrific, enormous game beyond what could have been realistically expected from it at its release.

    1 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate / 3DS - I still don't know if what changed was Monster Hunter or me, my ultimate suspicion is that it's a bit of both. I feel like MH4u is the game that has most fully realized its own insane design ideals, while western players in a post-Dark Souls world are more understanding of the pace and flow its combat is meant to move with and how that active combat plays off of other systems in the game. Regardless of whether my time with the game was a product of refinement or zeitgeist, MH4u was an incredible experience. It was one of the most thoroughly engaging and engrossing action RPG's i've ever played, and after a few prior false starts, i think i'm now fully on board for the future of this series.

    Looking at all of what came out, including things i played and did not play, i can't help but feel like 2015 was a pretty damn spectacular year for video games.

    A few honorable mentions:

    Fast Racing Neo / Wii U - Now this is more like it, this is the kind of ridiculous arcade racing i've been losing my mind waiting for. FRN is sexy, so fast, and goddamned hard. Please, everybody buy this, i would like to see this particular genre return.

    Grey Goo / Steam - Grey Goo kind of got a raw deal when it came out, it had some issues at first, but it didn't really even get rattled for that. The game was simply met with apathy, despite being a pretty genuinely terrific RTS throwback for the neglected C&C crowd.

    Majora's Mask 3D / 3DS - The most interesting Zelda game got a pretty damn solid port. I don't think there's much more to say here, everybody's already made up their mind on this game. (It's awesome.)

    Zenzizenzic / Steam - A really pretty ace bullet hell shooter that is tightly designed and incredibly stylish in equal measure. There's a roguelite mode in there too, but it was kind of busted, and the score attack is the thing you're there for anyways.

    The 2014 game of 2015:

    D4 / Steam - The PC port came out earlier this year and i liked it quite an awful lot, it felt like a pretty worthy follow-up to Deadly Premonition's brand of zaniness, so i will be intensely sad if the subsequent episodes don't ever happen.


    Game of the forever:


    Dota 2 / Steam - Dota 2, oh how i can't stop hating you.


    My favorite piece of DLC:


    The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna / Steam - It can come across as more of the same, and it honestly would be if not for how it uses a distinctly different narrative style and an eminently familiar context to explore the themes of the core game from new angles. In doing that, it stands pretty tall, i think. I really loved it.

    Things i wish weren't exclusive:

    Bloodborne / PS4
    Halo 5 / XBO


    Anyways, so how about all of you?

  5. I've been seeing some discussion around the game regarding some potentially game breaking issues. I guess there's a few affinity quests in particular that can be especially problematic, but it doesn't sound like there's any consistent causes or solutions, and it sounds like it can actually happen almost anywhere in the game. It seems like the game just sometimes fails to properly load in quest triggers. The advice i've seen going around is simply to save before starting an affinity quest and to then not save again until it's done. (So you can save scum out if there's an issue.) If a normal/basic quest breaks, it's an annoyance. If an affinity or story quest breaks, it ends your game. The issues sound fairly rare, at least, and apparently fast-traveling away and back to an area can right things some times. (Completely resetting the game apparently sometimes does the trick too for people who had already saved past a point of no return.) It sounds like it's more of an issue with the way the game streams in content than any actual quest scripting. (There also seem to be a fair number of quests with some really obtuse conditions that are causing people to freak out, but are not broken, just confusing.)


    It is terrible for long RPG's to give you only one save slot.

  6. I'm not part of this conversation, but i'll jump in and also say that i think Skullgirls is both pretty great and relatively accessible. (As fighting games go, at least, there's still a seriously high ceiling there. Try to find a group of friends to learn the game with.) The PC version is super good too, that GGPO netcode is ace.


    I will say though, Skullgirls tries really hard to present a good-for-beginners tutorial, but i know a lot of people who could not complete more than a handful of the tutorial tasks.


    Edit: Also, as a person who has played a whole lot of BlazBlue, i will say the Continuum Shift Extend port up on Steam is pretty solid, and it's a terrific game, one of my favorite fighters. It's a more complicated game than Skullgirls, it's got buckets of incredibly diverse characters each with their own specific systems to wrap your brain around, but i think Arc Sys does really good tutorials. (Fair warning: Last i played, the PC port had a weird issue where you couldn't disable the in-game voice chat online. If you have a mic, you're always broadcasting to your party. That was the only real problem to speak of though.)

    CSE, like Skullgirls, also has excellent netcode, maybe better.


    (BTW: Calamity Trigger is also on Steam and Chrono Phantasma Extend will be on Steam in January. Calamity Trigger was the first game, it's not worth going back to and the port was terrible. Chrono Phantasma Extend is the newest game, and i'm a little out of the loop on the series, but i think it was in general not as well liked as the Continuum Shift iterations were, but maybe you'd want to wait for that port instead if you're interested in BlazBlue.)

  7. So i like to take open-world games pretty slow, i'm not one of those people who fast travels everywhere, racing from objective marker to objective marker.

    As such, i'm fifty hours into this game, i still don't have a skell, but i understand i'm close since i'm looking for my way into... Chapter 6, i think? and i think my world survey rate was somebody absurdly low number like 10%. I mean, and it's not like i've just been sitting around doing nothing. I think i'm level 24, i have a build i really liked sorted out and have been trying to keep my party up to pace despite how awkward managing more than just a few of them is. I've been doing affinity quests, and i've done so many NPC quests. (Don't worry, i know that most of the ones on the BLADE board are repeatables.)


    It's just starting to click with me how astronomically enormous this thing Monolith has created is. The main quest path seems relatively short, i totally believe people finished this game in 50 hours, but... That so dramatically undersells how much is going on here.


    You look at that map and you see five areas with distinct biomes and your brain reads that as "Okay, yeah, grassland area/desert area/jungle area etc." So pretty early on you end up feeling like you've come to a confident understanding of what each area's geography is, and you look at your map again and you see that there's two thirds of whatever given continent you're on that you haven't explored, so you go over in that direction and find radically different terrain upsetting the understanding you had with the game.


    I mean, and okay, so it's big and filled with diverse terrain, but it must all be pretty empty, right? Except it kind of isn't, the game is this constant deluge of shit being thrown your way. It's impressively populated with things to do.


    You know, and i'm starting to see quests with choices that actually shift their outcomes, and conversations start popping up that clearly indicate that the affinity web is starting to spiral out in different directions based on how i'm interacting with NPC's.


    I also love the battle system, i think it perfectly builds on what the first Xenoblade was doing. I kind of wish the premonition thing was still in there in some way, and i'm not sure i understand the overdrive system at all, but on the whole it's a deeper and more active set of mechanics. (Protip: Staggers guarantee that a topple succeeds. It's the remaining vestige of the break/topple/daze system from the first game. Staggers apparently guarantee skell binds too.)


    I'm also seeing faults.

    Some of their online stuff is really cool, but i think the division stuff is kind of broken, right now it massively favors prospectors and now everybody is dog piling in with that faction to get easy salvage tickets, which just exacerbates the issue. The miiverse stuff on the other hand is a total nonstarter. I think the way it's supposed to work is that if you post a message while there's a little prompt on the screen telling you to make a report, it's supposed to file it away and send it out accordingly, but nobody engages with it like that, and even if they did it seems like it would still only send out ad infinitum whatever small pool of messages have some community traction.


    I... Think i might have had a couple of non-essential NPC's glitch out of existence? I talked to one, got its first response, and before i could go back and chose the second topic, it... Disappeared and has not come back. I've seen NPC's move around after certain lines of dialogue go out, but i don't think that was the case here, i looked around. (It also wasn't the game shifting between the day/night cycle.) As it is, i'm just hoping that when all the city stuff shuffles around with the next story chapter, that will right things. It probably doesn't even matter, outside of potentially interfering with the affinity grid.


    It does raise a light on the fact that this game only gives you one save slot, which always, always seriously unnerves me in big RPG's. I know the game is going to break in some weird way at some point, give me the tools so that i can at least save scum out of it.


    THOSE PLOT HOLES THOUGH. It feels like whoever wrote the side quests wasn't entirely aware of what the main story was going to be. There's a lot of side quests of people mourning their comrades fallen to indigens and things like that, when the main story pretty clearly establishes that nobody in NLA can actually die, at least not until that clock tower ticks down.


    One last thing: Let the game sit on the title screen for a while, there's one hell of an attract mode in there. Come on, you know you want sweeping camera views of the game's various environments.

  8. I'd be open to play some multiplayer if something gets organized at a reasonable west coast hour.


    Weird--this is made in Germany?


    Why is that weird?


    Also: Patch confirmed for January. Sounds like they'll be fixing the occasional soft lock/crash issues in the multiplayer, on top of adding "online tags" and a track mini-map.

  9. That stuff is all kind of still in Cross, but greatly simplified, unfortunately.


    NPC's don't have routines anymore, there's just a day/night phase change, and where the affinity web in Xenoblade was this big growing thing that was shaped by choices you made in various side quests, such choices do not appear to happen in Cross. You're sort of just filling out the chart as you go. Branching quests might appear further into the game, but as far as i've seen, any choices Cross presents you with only have the affect of providing affinity bonuses with certain immediate party members. (It's a bit of a Dragon Age-esque system.)


    There's something like close to 20 possible party members though, and they all seem to have their own major side quests.

  10. Beat it. Sort of. Four golds in subsonic, two golds and two silvers in supersonic, and three golds and one silver in hypersonic. Unlocked the music jukebox. Will probably go and try to get the rest of those golds.

    Weird thing is, once i got into hypersonic, the game got way easier again. Those three golds all came on the first try. (Fuck the titanium cup.) Supersonic was by far the most difficult stretch. I mean, and on some of my silvers i am apparently in the top 100 championship times for the game. If i can't land first place finishes when i'm up that high on the leaderboard times, it seems to me like the game has some difficulty tuning problems. I mean, i used to be able to snag reliable first place master class finishes on every course in F-Zero's GX Grand Prix mode.


    Hypersonic is wild though, it is SO fast. You're going so fast that there's a few spots where boosting at the right time can play hell with the game's physics, just lauching you way into the air.


    I didn't realize it until playing on hypersonic, but holding the lean while turning is actually kind of counter-productive, it makes you lose grip and go into a larger slide than just turning would on its own. If you repeatedly tap the lean input while in that turn though, you don't slide and still turn tighter. It's kind of like the blast turning trick from the early F-Zero games.


    Some other things:

    Save your metered boosts to accelerate out of any particularly rough landings on tracks with jumps. (Or to attack other racers, if you're a dick, because being a dick is fun.)

    At race start, hold your accelerator down when the two is about half counted to do a boost start. (This is such a common mechanic that i assumed it would be common knowledge, but i've seen virtually nobody else do it online.) 

    Also, I'm still not totally clear on it because i haven't really been able to bring myself to pay attention to the speedometer, but i don't think metered boosts and pad boosts stack, so i've just been spacing them apart.


    This game is just terrific though, might be my favorite arcade racer since... Shit, Wipeout Pure, maybe? Maybe even since F-Zero GX itself.

    I hope Shin'en fixes up some of the issues with the online and maybe retunes a few things.


    Also, Digital Foundry had an interesting piece on the game:

  11. Bayonetta is someone i literally never expected to actually see show up in Smash. I mean, i guess there's a precedent for M-rated characters with Snake, but this is Bayonetta. Also seriously impressed at how many of her native game systems are being preserved for her appearance in Smash, she looks like a ton of fun. I need that Bayonetta amiibo.


    Corrin, on the other hand, has a really goofy looking character design, but he seems to have some interesting mechanics. I think Smash is reaching critical mass on FE characters though, he's number six.

  12. I have Chibi-Robo for GC, but never played more than an hour of it. Is it the best Chibi-Robo game?


    It's absolutely the best Chibi-Robo game, and i would argue it's also one of the best games on the Gamecube. It is a relentlessly charming delight of a game.

  13. So right now i'm sitting at all golds on subsonic, and two silvers on supersonic. Still feeling kind of salty at how ruthless the AI is, especially on supersonic where a single mistake can bone an entire run. Kinda wish the game had F-Zero style retries or something. (Hell, off-track deaths instantly ending a run would also be preferable to the game expecting me to keep playing when the run is obviously wrecked.) Also, I had asserted that i thought the tracks were remixed a bit between subsonic and supersonic, but upon closer inspection, that assertion is incorrect. Supersonic is just much more difficult.


    I also put some time in with the online, and while it's definitely wonky in a lot of small ways, it's largely playable, i've been having a good deal of fun with it. Strangely though, while there seems to be a fair number of people playing, the game doesn't really seem like it wants to maximize player counts in individual lobbies. If you back out of the matchmaking hopper, you'll find yourself being put into different lobbies each time you enter back in, but they're all around 3-5 people. I have not once seen a full lobby. I've also had the online error out twice and actually even hardlock my Wii U once.


    It also only supports the subsonic speed, and the netcode is pretty borked. It's a pretty laggy prediction model with lots of cars exploding into obstacles and instantly appearing unharmed afterwards as the game syncs back up. I've also found the game pretty inconsistent on the boost hits, properly registering maybe a little over half of them on the target, the other half visibly spinning out and not slowing or showing no visible affect at all. I've heard the game kind of throws up its hand and gives everybody 1st place if people cross finish near-simultaneously. (I have also seen game completely collapse in on itself with a care just sort of glitching all over the place, but that... That was probably just that one individual on a spectacularly bad connection.) Your own vehicle handling is clearly client side though, and for that reason it's basically playable and fun, and so i'm probably going to end up spending some more time with it. Racing games aren't especially demanding of low latency netcode after all, the wobbly online performance doesn't take away from you going faster than the other guy.


    Also, the Spaarc is the best racer. BEST.

  14. I want to complain about a few things for a bit.

    First, the Wii U:

    The way the Wii U seems to generally need more than twice a file's actual footprint in storage space to download and install something? That really, really freaking sucks, and the way that information is surfaced in the eShop is incredibly confusing and opaque. So yeah, when i first got Cross, i thought: i should need about ten gigs of space to download and install Cross's datapacks for the disc version. Well great, i have 17 gigs available. So that stuff all started downloading and downloading and apparently maxed out my Wii's storage and errored out and then vanished. Took me a bit of digging to realize what happened. Didn't feel like doing it again at the time so i just started playing the game off the disc.

    Honestly, the load times didn't really bother me, nor did the pop-in, but the game seemed to be causing some considerable distress to my Wii U's disc drive, so i go back into the eshop store to download just one of those data packs. The basic pack just by itself apparently still makes a huge difference in load times and should ease up on and preserve the lifespan of my Wii U's disc drive. I pay closer attention while downloading just that one pack, and it presents two filesizes when i'm getting to ready to download. It says it's 2 gigs, but that it needs around 4.5 gigs. Okay, whatever.

    Then the store insists to me that it's already downloaded and on my Wii U. (It's not. What it would be occupying was definitely free space.) I tell the store to download it anyways and now i'm a little worried that i'm going to get a weird error at some point in the process. More than half an hour later it's downloaded and installed and seems to work fine. The game loads significantly faster and isn't causing my Wii U to yowel with pain anymore.

    I think there's two things to take from this: The Wii U's OS is a bit of a hot mess, and if any of you are playing Xenoblade on disc and don't think you have room for the data packs, go ahead and grab the basic pack that contains the environments just by itself. It's apparently the important one, it's only 2 gigs, and it made a huge difference.


    The other thing i want to bitch about is how affinity quests, especially the ones that were DLC in japan, are magnitudes more difficult than any other level appropriate quests you find in the game. Getting locked into a DLC affinity quest just barely at its required level and with an underleveled party has been holy-shit miserable. Try to be over-leveled before committing to those is my advice.



    I really enjoy that you can just change class without worrying about anything. 


    Take care with your BP though, it's a single semi-finite resource you share between skills and arts upgrades. (The way i've heard it, you should have enough to max out 2 or 3 hotbars worth of arts by the end of the game.)


    But as you note, the initial unlocks to make use of those skills and arts have no associated resource cost, so the game really does let you play around before you decide where you need to focus your efforts.

  15. So i've been looking to find F-Zero's replacement goldfish for a long, long time, and this might be the closest i've ever come to having a satisfactory one.


    Here, have a trailer:



    So it's worth pointing out that this game is actually a sequel to another racing game Shin'en made for the Wii. The thing is, i played that game, and i did not like that game. I thought it controlled poorly, had a relatively unimpressive sense of speed, and overly busy courses that felt like they belonged in one of those vehicular autorunners.


    I think Shin'en has seriously stepped their shit up here, and though i still have a few issues with it, i'm just going to get it out of the way: If you have twenty bucks to throw around and enjoy having your ass kicked by well-made arcade racers, you should probably play this.


    The physics feel like they're occupying a mid point between F-Zero and Wipeout, without the immediate responsiveness of the former or the excessively loose traction of the latter. I'd say it feels like an F-Zero that has bigger, heavier vehicles. The game definitely leans towards F-Zero in nearly everything it does, and though it touts a central mechanic of polarity switching where you have to make sure you're properly aligned with jump plates and boost strips, it feels like dressing on what is fundamentally a solidly built F-Zero clone. Here, the runway strips on the track give you boost, while collectible pellets fill up your boost meter. There's no power = health mechanic here like in F-Zero, and running off course resets you like it would in Wipeout. There's also no explicit mechanisms for attack, though you can attack. If a boosting vehicle collides with one that is not boosting, the recipient of that collision spins out. As a result, your metered boost still ends up serving several different functions. There's also a lean mechanic on the triggers as you would probably expect there to be in a racing game like this, and you can rock back and forth in the air to control your angle of descent off of a jump. Pretty basic tech, though i haven't yet discerned if there's anything more than those tricks.


    Barring any stealthy unlocks, the game has sixteen courses across four cups, and four difficulty levels. (The last difficulty mode makes the game play even more like F-Zero.) There's also four player splitscreen and online play, though the buzz is that the online might be a bit borked. It's a pretty spartan package, but there's more here than i was expecting in a 20 dollar Wii U game. The game is also gorgeous and runs at a solid 60fps, has a great techno ost that includes remixes from some of Shin'en's past games, and they even hired F-Zero GX's announcer for this damn game.


    I do have a few issues with it though, mainly that the AI seems to aggressively rubberband. (Though while holding first place can be very tough, getting enough points to win the cup is actually not, especially if you take care to be aggressive to your points rival. The game would actually really benefit from an F-Zero style "rival" marker. As it is, you just have to pay attention on your own terms.)


    I also have some concerns with the level of difficulty. I've gone all golds in the first difficulty setting, but i'm not so sure about the second difficulty setting quite yet, i was getting pretty thoroughly destroyed. It seemed to me that the courses had been slightly remixed? I don't know if i was imagining it, but something was throwing me way off and i felt like i was learning the game again from scratch. I hope that's all it is, i would be supremely bummed out to hit an early ceiling with this game.


    Also, even though i'm couching almost every comment about this game in how it relates to F-Zero, it's also kind of not F-Zero... But that's only because it's kind of also Wipeout, just minus the weapons. As noted above, it sort of sits somewhere in the middle, pulling bits and pieces from each as a game that clearly has a great deal of reverence for both franchises. To the point though, there's much smaller racer counts than F-Zero, and it's built around narrow courses that feel more akin to those in Wipeout. Visually, it's also obviously much more in love with the Wipeout aesthetic.


    I like it a lot, on the whole, even if i'm a little concerned about that rubberband AI and how it may end up interacting with the steep difficulty curve.

  16. Some details i've gleaned from the internet and some observations i've personally had about the game that all might not be outwardly evident on their own:

    - You have separate cooldowns that can run simultaneously for your ranged and melee attacks. So by stowing the weapon that's in cooldown, you get to cycle two autoattacks during combat and essentially double your DPS.


    - When a party member, whether it's an AI or a live player, successfully triggers a soul voice prompt that requires an action from another party member, the appropriate skills will flash on your hotbar. (They will flash in their own color-coded color, a white flash just means its cooldown has completed.) This is usually a significant boost in power, to the extent that you might want to keep the skill available so you can use it for soul voice combos.


    - While your walking speed is reduced in combat, you can still sprint and jump at full speed without exiting the combat state. Use these for positioning.


    - Good soul voice setups kind of nudge your party along the right direction in terms of tactics and strategy, but sometimes you need more. Holding the right bumper will bring up a list of basic commands for AI party members like focusing attacks or regrouping on you. Hitting start while in combat also opens up a much more elaborate command menu, but i'm honestly not clear quite yet if the AI actually listens to those advanced commands, or if they're for the co-op. (Which turns out to be much more fun than i was expecting, i encourage trying to find some matches.)


    - Some of your hotbar skills, ones for stealth as an example, are useful even outside of combat. If you lock onto an enemy but don't hit the big button to start your auto-attacks, you can use some of these more passive abilities without engaging in a fight. (I'll concede that i keep forgetting to test this one myself, but i've seen a few people vouch for it.)


    I think i'm enjoying the combat in Xenoblade Cross a lot more than i enjoyed the combat in the first game. The systems are a little more standardized, there seemingly isn't as much variety among the various classes as there was amongst the first game's characters, and i find myself missing a few mechanics such as Shulk's premonitions, but everything in Cross feels much more active and it all moves with much more momentum.


    Also, just... God damn, those environments are incredibly gorgeous. This game is so gorgeous. (Also: Right bumper and up on the d-pad when out of combat for drone camera!)

  17. My big issue with the Wii U is that most of it's games are ones I've played before. Mario Kart 8 may be the best Mario Kart but it is just another Mario Kart. And the same can be said for 3D world, Smash Brothers, Pikmin, Woolly World, and even Splatoon doesn't really feel all that different to me from most other online shooters. So all I'm left with is a console with one game I really love (Bayonetta 2) a bunch I've basically played before and Wind Waker. Which I'm not sure time has been especially kind to, but I imagine that's just me. I honestly think I may have gotten more use out of the thing as a way to play old GBA games then anything else.


    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?

  18. 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.)

  19. 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:


    You can, for example, create doors. With clever use of bob-ombs or shells or whatever else you can use to break terrain blocks, you can set up challenges or mechanisms that have bullet bill launchers slam into place as a gate that stays permanently shut, or does the exact opposite in a scenario where it drops out of the way. Maybe you could do both!

    In addition to the above, i've also used bullet bill launchers on breakable blocks and an endless supply of thrown shells to create mechanical physics-driven boss fights.


    Keep in mind that bullet bill launchers require a one block opening at the mouth of the launcher to actually fire, but after that, normal bullet bills can pass through terrain. If you obstruct the tube, you can create a non-firing bullet bill launcher as a gate. Or you could just slot in something harmless as its projectile, make it a coin launcher or something.


    In one of my levels, i also have cloud blocks behind the bullet bill launchers to grab trampolines sitting on their top as they fall from their base block being broken by a shell, setting up a shifting trampoline chain to move around shells inside of a larger "boss" construct.

    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.

  20. 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.