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Posted on 18-11-01, 08:30
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I've been following a popular Dungeons & Dragons stream for a while, and right now they're having a cross-promotion with another D&D licencee, the game Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms. Since playing Idle Champions earns resources that my fave D&D players can use in their game, I figured I'd give it a try.

As the name might suggest, it's an idle game: instead of making numbers go up, you're trying to make numbers go up faster. Resources are constantly being generated, but not fast enough to buy all the things you could possibly buy. To gather resources faster, you must spend resources on upgrades... but the further you progress, the more outrageously-expensive upgrades you see. To save up for that next big upgrade, you can try to deploy your resources a little more efficiently, or you can just leave the game running for a while. If leaving the game running overnight doesn't make much practical progress, there's usually a way to "reset" a game, earning a permanent multiplier to resource generation that means your next game will go a little faster than your previous.

The challenge of an idle game comes from the bewildering array of things you can do, each of which have their own byzantine payoff rates, so it's not at all obvious where to allocate resources. For example, each party member in Idle Champions has a "level" which determines their HP and damage output. Levelling up a party member costs gold, and each successive level costs exponentially more... but different characters's levelling costs rise at different rates. The amount of HP and damage they get per level is *also* different per character, so it's very, very difficult to know whether investing X gold in one character or another is a better deal. And then some characters buff other characters, each character has a branching upgrade path, where each branch emphasises different kinds of buffs... it's crazy complex.

The best thing about Idle Champions is that they've managed to make a certain amount of the complexity understandable. For example, with "characters" who have "levels" and "HP". Also each adventure has a fixed formation, and each party member can be placed at any point in the formation. A lot of buffs are of the form "buff allies in the same column" or "buff allies at least two or more positions away" or "buff self if surrounded by at least three allies", so while the buffs and their overlapping effects are complex, you can at least get an idea of what options might be good ideas without having to do all the calculations.

The worst thing about Idle Champions is it feels a bit exploitative. It's fundamentally built on exponentials, a thing that humans are generally bad at, so practise isn't going to make you much better at playing. The only sure-fire way to make progress is to invest time, and humans are notoriously impatient, so the game (of course) has various microtransactions to speed up the waiting process. As far as I can tell, pretty much everything you can buy can also be earned in-game, except that earning an item generally takes more time than it saves, so I'm not sure that actually counts.

The worst thing about me playing Idle Champions is that it's a continual distraction. I could answer an email or work on a project or go for a walk, or I could just tab back to Idle Champions and see if I've earned enough money for the next upgraed yet. If I haven't, maybe I'll just move some characters around the grid a bit to see if I can buff my average DPS without spending anything. Then I'll try to go back to what I was doing, but in a few minutes I'll check again, just in case. It's like the evils of social networking, without even being sociable.

As idle games go, it's got a cool licence and a smooth reward treadmill and maybe kinda supports your favourite D&D streams, but right now an idle game is not a positive addition to my life, and if you're in anything like my situation, I can't recommend it.


The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
Posted on 18-11-01, 09:57
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Having kicked the Clicker Heroes habit(such as it was), I'm playing a game about more direct numerical influence: the Gamecube cult classic P.N.03.


It was one of the five Capcom exclusives that were so hyped back when the 'Cube was a new system(only four were released). It is the only one that wasn't subsequently ported to the PS2 over Shinji Mikami's dead body, because it did remarkably poorly. I think Capcom wants to forget it exists.


The plot is thus: Robots have taken over a colony planet and killed everyone. Enter Vanessa Z. Schneider, a mercenary hired to blow the robots up. End of story.

The surprise twist is that there are no twists. No secret cabal behind the uprising, there is no philosophizing about the situation, or much dialog of any sort.
There's robots to be blown up, and you have a gun. Well, a palm laser anyways. The gun didn't make it out of beta, one of many casualties of a troubled development(allegedly there were problems with the animation, and no time to redo it). The game was developed on a very tight budget and schedule, which likely contributed to the stark minimalism of the finished product.


At release, the game was largely derided for the minimal and largely untextured environments, simplistic enemy AI, straightforward gameplay, limited controls, and limited move set(lacking even the ability to run while firing, the horror). None of which is inherently a PROBLEM, just not at all what people expected.

What few fans the game has found viewed many of these "flaws" to be endearing. The game plays like an old arcade game, with each small room having a handful of enemies with rigid pre-defined behaviors, and you having a small number of things you can do to end them. If you just charge in guns blazing, you will die an embarrassingly incompetent death. But if you stand back for a second and figure out what you are facing and how it behaves, you will get your "no damage clear" bonus when you leave the room.
In a world where most action games descend from the frantic pace of Williams' Robotron and Defender, PN03's heritage was more closely tied to Stern's Berzerk and Taito's Space Invaders with the slower and more methodical approach. It almost feels like Berzerk tripped and fell into the future, with the room-based gameplay and staccato pacing.



As a small bonus, the minimal environments that generated such derision when it was a new game mean that it lends itself VERY well to upscaling in Dolphin, so anyone can make their own HD Remastered version, and I don't have to sit around pretending I think Capcom will touch this one ever again.



In conclusion:


(Some days I am just bad at reviews)

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Posted on 18-11-01, 10:22
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i just finished another run thru dead space, in downsampled 4k. it makes me want a remaster or one more game in the series. 🖕ea.
Posted on 18-11-01, 10:53

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Dunno if I mentioned it before, but I've been playing Super Mario World (MSU-1) and spend quite a lot of time moving around the map to grab power-ups and lives as well going back to the first Ghost House just to rage-save and quit.

I also recently got Burnout Revenge for the Xbox 360. Loving how much better it looks than on the Playstation 2. Kinda pissed Burnout 3 never got ported over to this console in Japan, though.
Posted on 18-11-01, 22:32

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Posted by funkyass
i just finished another run thru dead space, in downsampled 4k. it makes me want a remaster or one more game in the series. 🖕ea.

The original is one of my favorite of the PS360 gen. Resident Evil 4 (in space) basically. The game didn't really put a lot of emphasis on survival (unlike the traditional RE games) but RE4 already scaled that back a lot compared to earlier games so that's to be expected.

Second game was excellent too. Though Isaack went from silent protagonist to non silent for some reason. More varied locations (I loved the mini shopping mall on the station) than the first game.

Third was...ahh, well, it existed. I know I completed it but I honestly don't remember much about it. So, fairly forgettable I'd say.

Last I check the series was pretty much, well, dead and there were no plans for a fourth game. Shame.
Posted on 18-11-02, 15:32
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I've been playing Hollow Knight without using any guides or walkthroughs and it's been pretty fun, but when I watch videos of boss fights on youtube to make sure i'm not just missing something simple, they all seem to have more health and abilities than me... So, I'm clearly missing stuff, but whatever.

As an aside, I really wish people would stop comparing every game with platforming + item-gates to Super Metroid because the games never hold up. In the last 6 months, I've played through Axiom Verge and Hollow Knight, both of which frequently get compared with SM in reviews, and while they're both great games, Super Metroid is just much, much better. The reviews are setting up unrealistic expectations, IMO.
Posted on 18-11-02, 18:34
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Destiny 2 is free to keep, with the offer lasting until November 18th. It will appear as a Gift in the Battle.net application after signing in.

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Posted on 18-11-02, 20:50

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Posted by Nicholas Steel
Destiny 2 is free to keep, with the offer lasting until November 18th. It will appear as a Gift in the Battle.net application after signing in.

What I played of the first game was little more than a glorified skinner box, but I guess it's at least worth a try if it's free.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Screw_Yall
Posted on 18-11-03, 00:19 (revision 1)

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Posted by CaptainJistuce

In a world where most action games descend from the frantic pace of Williams' Robotron and Defender, PN03's heritage was more closely tied to Stern's Berzerk and Taito's Space Invaders with the slower and more methodical approach. It almost feels like Berzerk tripped and fell into the future, with the room-based gameplay and staccato pacing.

If I was to make a comparison to an old game I'd say it was vaguely reminiscent to Atari's Xybots: Enemies with simple, predetermined behaviors, lots of strafing to avoid enemy fire, minimalist design etc.

As a small bonus, the minimal environments that generated such derision when it was a new game mean that it lends itself VERY well to upscaling in Dolphin, so anyone can make their own HD Remastered version, and I don't have to sit around pretending I think Capcom will touch this one ever again.


(Some days I am just bad at reviews)

I'll probably end up emulating it in Dolphin then now that I have a box that can run it and it looks like it runs pretty much perfectly in it.


edit:
Also -and given the title of the thread, if we're on the subject of 6th-7th gen games, if you've not played MG:Revengeance (Final boss video) then you owe it yourself to play the game (or at least watch videos of the game). It has the most awesome cut-scenes and over-the-top dialogues in any games. Oh and the cheesy but effective soundtrack.

Fortunately, there's a Windows port, so no need to hunt down a PS3 or 360 copy.
Posted on 18-11-03, 06:40
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Posted by Covarr
Posted by Nicholas Steel
Destiny 2 is free to keep, with the offer lasting until November 18th. It will appear as a Gift in the Battle.net application after signing in.

What I played of the first game was little more than a glorified skinner box, but I guess it's at least worth a try if it's free.

Destiny was frustrating because the moment-to-moment gameplay was pretty satisfying, but the long-term play was a super-grindy mess.
It was also somewhat obvious that most of the plot was ripped out at the last minute, which was rather irksome as I DID care about the plot and they left a LOT of dangly plot threads behind. And they had a lot of interesting characters that they never DID anything with.
And ultimately, they wanted me to spend a lot more time playing Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, and I wanted to just shoot evil aliens and robots, save the world, and be a hero.

The raid maps looked cool, but I have never played one because they required a team of six players working in moderate coordination for a few hours, and that was incompatible with my "solo gamer dicking about" attitude.



They did a lot over the game's run to make it less offensively grindy, add more plot, and give their characters actual relevance so they aren't just quirky shopkeepers.
And then they forgot why they did most the gameplay changes when Destiny 2 launched, so it was super-grindy at the start. *sigh*
They've been tuning Destiny 2 to make it less grindy, but it is equally parts hilarious and embarrassing how closely it has been following the same evolution the first game did(except for a consistent plot presence in the single-player portions).

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Posted on 18-11-18, 10:32
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I backed the kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, an open-world action-platformer with a gothic-horror theme designed by Koji Igarashi that's legally distinct from Symphony of the Night and other Castlevania games whose intellectual property belongs to Konami. I happened to back at the tier that included beta access, but it was Steam only, which made me sad. Then they added it to GOG too, which made me happy. Then I couldn't download it from the GOG website, then I discovered I could download it with lgogdownloader, then I discovered it wouldn't work in Wine, and then after some Wine updates it *did* work in Wine.

I finally got to play the E3 demo I'd seen so many screenshots of, I wryly noted that since the demo first came out they'd made the first boss' breasts *much* smaller, and I was quite pleased to have completed it.

Then I noticed the game *hadn't* ended, and I could exit through the right-hand-side of the boss arena to a wholly new area, which turned out to be the game's base of operations (like the town in Dawn of Sorrow, where all the merchants hang out), I got to hear some voiced dialog and found a save room and apparently could make my way forward to the castle proper, and was very excited to continue.

Unfortunately, my PC was *also* very excited, and I could hear my CPU and GPU fans screaming and the "CPU overheat" buzzer blaring, so I had to stop playing. So far as I can tell, Bloodstained doesn't have any graphical quality options so I was very sad to think that I might never be able to actually play the game I'd paid for.

Today I dug a little deeper, and discovered an undocumented INI file with settings like "sg.ShadowQuality" and "sg.AntiAliasingQuality". They were all set to 3, so I cranked them down to 0, and also set "sg.ResolutionQuality" from 100 down to 50, which I think means it renders at half-size and scales up the result with a bilinear filter? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to affect UI rendering (thankfully), and although it makes the game look a little worse it also makes my GPU fan much quieter, which is great.

As for the actual game, it definitely feels like Castlevania: The Good Parts so far. Mechanically it's much like Dawn of Sorrow, where killing monsters drops consumables and weapons and armour and abilities, and there's a crafting system to combine and upgrade all of those things. I've found secret rooms and bits of the map I can't quite get to and monsters that throw axes at a particular elevation that boomerang back and it all feels really comfortable. If you've played a bunch of Igavania games before, you know what you're in for, and it really seems like they're aiming for a polished game that does all the old familiar things really well, instead of trying to push the envelope. And really, that's pretty much what I wanted, especially after the declining quality and weird gimmicks of the later DS Castlevania games: just show us that you can cover the basics well, and when the inevitable sequel crops up we'll be much more willing to see what crazy stuff you can come up with.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.
Posted on 18-11-19, 15:27
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Aside from the person misusing the terms Cheat and Cheating to describe this intentional in-game mechanic, this is pretty shitty stuff to be doing in a competitive shooter: https://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/9ygmzy/so_apparently_dice_has_a_builtin_cheat_mechanic/

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Posted on 18-11-19, 18:05

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For casual play, that kind of mechanic is great. It's on par with Mario Kart giving better items to the players in worse positions. It may not make a truly fair game, but it makes for a more exciting and addictive game.

For competitive or tournament play, that's pretty awful. I have trouble taking most popular shooters seriously in any real competitive environment, and this is a good example of why.

So... uh... props to Valve for not pulling any stunts like this with Counter-Strike, I guess?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Screw_Yall
Posted on 18-11-19, 23:45

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I didn't read the thread, but CS does has a bunch of catchup mechanics built in. As does TF2. They're just integrated into the game well. Economy differences for CS, spawn location and time differences for TF2.
Posted on 18-11-20, 00:04
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Posted by Covarr
For casual play, that kind of mechanic is great. It's on par with Mario Kart giving better items to the players in worse positions. It may not make a truly fair game, but it makes for a more exciting and addictive game.

For competitive or tournament play, that's pretty awful. I have trouble taking most popular shooters seriously in any real competitive environment, and this is a good example of why.

So... uh... props to Valve for not pulling any stunts like this with Counter-Strike, I guess?
I'd disagree about it being similar to Mario Kart.
The Mario Kart idea of balancing would be more akin to the winning team's planes starting to spontaneously explode whenever they take off.

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Posted on 18-11-20, 00:13

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The issue isn't the presence of these kinds of systems, but how they're implemented. I think variable spawn timers are a generally good mechanic and a nice way to prevent the FPS equivalent to a neverending combo. It's the faster captures that are a problem. They don't merely protect a losing team from being curbstomped when they can't get out of their spawn. Rather, they give the losing team a substantial competitive advantage away from their spawn. The difference between a faster spawn and a faster flag cap is a big one, IMO, because the latter specifically makes the moment-to-moment gameplay easier.

Thus the Mario Kart comparison. It doesn't just prevent a player from getting farther behind. Rather, it gives enough of an advantage for a player who is significantly behind not just to catch up but get ahead. That's the difference between a spawn timer and a cap timer, and that's the difference between CS:GO's economy system (which notably still gives winning players a higher bonus than losing players unless the losing team is WAYYYY behind) and Battlefield.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Screw_Yall
Posted on 18-11-20, 00:59
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I was just taking a dig at Mario Kart's attitude of punishing the winners more than it actually assists the losers. The blue shell provides no meaningful aid to the guy in last place, just the satisfaction of taking someone else out with him.

Though apparently Battlefield does start extending the spawn timer if your team is very far ahead, it only starts at quite high score differences.

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Posted on 18-11-20, 05:23 (revision 1)
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Worsening the leading teams experience instead of only improving the experience of the losing team will just feel bad for competent players. You get good at the game so the game... makes you take longer to get back to playing the game you're good at (longer respawn)!?

Super Mario Kart reduces the variety of items you can pickup up as you move up in the ranks but it doesn't do something crazy like make your steering worse or acceleration worse etc.

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Posted on 18-11-20, 07:30
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It adjusts the time it takes vehicles to spawn, not players.

And Super Mario Kart is fine, but the later games the "slow driver" inventory is mostly dedicated to fucking over other players(especially the guy in first) instead of actually helping the guy at the back catch up.

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Posted on 18-11-22, 00:03

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New Vegas Modded

Did not actually played because tbh, installing all those mods seems a bit daunting but goddamn that looks great. I wish Bethesda didn't fuck up the Fallout license beyond repair.

Couple of games:

SFC - Panel de Pon (Tetris Attack outside Japan which has nothing to do with Tetris but whatev)

Damn the last boss/stage was tough.

Startropics - NES

One of the better NES game imo. Often overlooked.

Aria of Sorrow and Harmony of Dissonance
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