Discussion in 'Community' started by Ender Sai, Jan 27, 2016.
Ghost of Tsushima looks amazing, will probably be my game for the fall/winter
This is gonna be a sucky day of work waiting to play. When TLOU2 came out, I had a half day at least. Waaaah.
I’m about 20 hours in. Yeah, I’m definitely taking my time with it. As excited as I am for GoT it can wait.
Workshopping a difficulty rating for retro games and am trying to base the scale on NES games, since that would provide a clearer sense of what the steps in the scale represent. I'd be curious what folks think and for any suggestions to add (or revisions to make) to the scale. Though I'd stipulate that any addition suggestions should have a clearly distinct type of difficulty (for instance, Rescue Rangers is pretty easy, but its difficulty isn't very distinct from that of Kirby or the easier parts of SMB3).
10: Some, or Most, Levels Are Nearly Impossible (Battletoads)
9: You Will Die (Ghosts ’N Goblins)
8: Progress Possible But Sadistic to Finish (Ninja Gaiden)
7: Patience and Practice Required, Late Game Very Hard (Zelda II)
6: Consistently Challenging (Castlevania)
5: Some Levels Are Notably Difficult (TMNT)
4: Difficult Without a Code (Contra)
3: Reasonable Challenge Variety But May Need a Warp Zone (SMB3)
1: Puffball Pitfalls (Kirby’s Adventure)
Bought and downloaded Ghosts, not sure when I'm gonna be able to play it because my car got a boo boo and now I don't know what my schedule looks like.
I haz the day off.
Assuming the numbers are supposed to be unambiguously increasing, I think Contra onwards is ordered a bit weird. Ninja Gaiden, Zelda II, and Castlevania have unlimited continues, which to me is automatically a different experience than Contra, GnG, and Battletoads, which did not (I have not nor will I ever play the NES TMNT so no comment on that one). While you can make Contra arguably easier than Ninja Gaiden using the code, I think without the code it's a tougher go just because the margin of error is so thin and you have to start all over to "practice."
Or, to maybe phrase it in a way that makes it a more direct comparison, I'd put Double Dragon over Zelda II and it's hard for me to imagine a scale where no-code Contra is so far under it.
EDIT- Oh, and, yes, the difficulty is supposed to increase as the number gets higher.
Hmm- I hadn't considered the use of continues as a factor. I see Ninja Gaiden as much more unforgiving- the infinitely spawning enemies (particularly those damn birds), absolute-precision-requiring platforming (particularly with those damn birds around) and the sadism of the "beat all three final levels and all three stages of final boss without dying otherwise you are sent back to 8-1" finale (which, I assume, also has some damn birds) lead me to ranking it pretty high on the scale. The infinite continues make progress possible up until that point.
Whereas Contra has a greater margin of error for platforming, evasion, etc. Especially if you factor out two-player-related deaths (such as screen-scrolling issues). True, it is still one-hit kills, but I don't think Contra even needs unlimited continues to beat the game- the Konami Code gives you more than enough (or, even a worst case skill/luck scenario, close to enough) lives to beat the game with. You would easily blow through waaay more than 30x3 lives on NG and not even get close to the final levels. By that metric, I feel that ranks NG higher.
I hadn't considered DD. Haven't played that one in a long time (usually because I want to play co-op and they didn't add it to the NES versions until DD2). What do you feel causes the difficulty in that one?
TMNT is included because of the infamous water level and similar challenges later on. I believe it, too, had infinite continues (but I might be wrong about that). But I know a lot of people who have beaten it.
And that's a perception I think that has influenced my rankings. Almost everyone has beaten Contra. Some people have beaten TMNT (but most get stuck on the water level). Fewer, still, have beaten Castlevania, but it's doable with the right strategies- just hard as hell with some boss fights. Even fewer people have beaten Zelda II (mostly because it takes so long to level up enough to get past some of the earlier challenges before the late game stuff gets crazy; though the super-tight combat skills required can also be a barrier). However, most people have made a good amount of progress in that game, so it still feels doable (though some people may need a Game Genie to do it).
Ninja Gaiden, though, has been beaten by so few people. You really need to be in the 1% of the most elite of gamers to accomplish that. I recall that episode of a Japanese retro gaming show where it took the host 19 hours (with help from three support players to, effectively, restore the state of the game between sessions) to finally beat the game. It's absolutely ridiculous.
GNG then takes a mixture of all of the above- the long, mutliple playthroughs without dying to complete, the finite lives/continues, etc. And then, Battletoads, you can't even beat that thing with a Game Genie.
So, that was sort of my thought process for scaling it. It's tricky, because a lot if people are going to have different histories with the games, but I kind of feel like some of these qualities can be universally agreed upon. The inclusion, or lack thereof, of infinite continues is a valid factor, though. I'll have to think about that.
Basically the same thing that makes Contra without using the code difficult - way, way too few continues for you to be able to practice extensively, although DD is arguably worse given there are also looping mazes and boss rushes in the late game specifically out to eat your lives, and some odd semi-precise platforming moments on top of that. I might actually be inclined to rank it above Ninja Gaiden solely because of the unlimited continues vs limited continues factor giving it an edge.
Now, would I rank it above Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Go **** Yourself For Even Trying? No. But it's tough, and like NGIII it's tough in a way we now rightly consider unacceptable outside of the retro context.
Generically though, Ninja Gaiden is one of those games that 99% of people are never going to finish, because of 6-2. The remainder of the game is wildly disproportional to 6-2 (the worst) and then the remainder of the game after that (less than 6-2 but still harder than the rest of the game).
I understand the "Sadistic to Finish" part but... man...
I still have not beaten either TMNT or Castlevania. From my experience, TMNT is harder. I've gotten to the second last boss in Castlevania so I can see myself one day finally completing it.
TMNT? I'm not sure if I've ever gotten more than halfway through it.
My brother beat Castlevania and I would regularly get deep into the game, despite being a stupid kid. I never got past the water level in TMNT, I couldn't get through those tendril things on the ceiling and floor. My brother got past the water level but he never beat the whole thing. Neither of us found the first TMNT very fun. We played the hell out of TMNT 2, though, which we found a lot more fun, and we did eventually beat it after playing obsessively every day over one summer. Loved the soundtrack on TMNT2.
My brother came close to beating Double Dragon but came up just short. I think he got all the way to...uh, Jimmy? The protagonist's brother. Before losing. I sucked at DD because my brother never told me the proper way to gain experience. My favorite thing was throwing a knife in my brother's back. Every time.
Okay, don't hit me with the knife this time.
Okay, I won't.
*throws knife in brother's back"
Then he would hit me with the baseball bat. Then we would call truce. Then I would throw a knife in his back again and laugh. My hijinks may have been holding us back.
I don't remember GnG being all that hard, other than the stupid length. It wasn't so much that I couldn't do it, it's that I didn't want to.
Battletoads, man. It came out when I was five years old, at the height of TMNT, which I was a huge fan of. I was sooooo hyped for Battletoads. Then I actually played it, and it made me cry, it was so hard and frustrating. It had potential to be so much fun, but it was impossible to enjoy it. They ruined the game and the possibility for a franchise by making a game aimed at the TMNT crowd so damn hard. Seriously, **** that game. Battletoads was like my Prequel Trilogy in terms of letdown and resulting trauma.
Right, let's get straight to it - Ghost of Tsuschima starts badly, very badly, the details I'll spoiler-code but ye gods, I was left wondering if they'd play tested it and, if they did, then clearly their testers were a bunch of bastards.
Initially it starts off very good,
with you and other Samurai storming the Mongul forces. The only flaw here is, like other games, it can be hard to tell friend from foe, but the combat is very smart. You then storm the castle, doing a Standsoff along the way that is pretty cool. I had expected that to be harder, but so far, it works well. One thing that feels odd is the spear enemies having far too high defence and, in the heat of the combat, the standard dodge doesn't work well. It should be single button, hopefully the roll move I've unlocked will be better. Camera really ought to pull out a bit more too.
It then does the unwinnable-boss-fight which would have been better as a cutscene. It also has said boss doing red unblockable attacks. The problem I have with this is that it feels too much like video game artifice. Not least because I'm supposed to buy this 'special attack' can phase right through a ****ing katana? It feels too much like something they felt they had to put in, that it was expected, but it undermines the sense of the world being crafted. It acts as a reminder that yes, you are playing a video game.
After this is where the game near killed itself dishonourably, with a bad, auto-fail stealth / game intro. It indicates where you are to go by a small white circle. Problem is that small, white circle doesn't work as an indicator, it does not say to me 'go here'. When you finally get the sword, after bad directions and delayed prompts, at a point when you're still learning how to play, it starts to get better. Then, it does another stealth sequence that felt very strange. At one point a guy found the bodies, no you can't hide them, expressed alarm, then nothing happened. It was odd.
Once the game became the open-world game it was sold as it started to recover from these self-inflicted disasters. It looks amazing and, to be honest, I don't want to use the horse. Carefully following a fox to a shrine, finding a survivor camp, while the entire time there's wonderfully depicted world of perpetual motion? It's stunning and very satisfying.
The one enduring flaw here, for me, it'll probably work well enough for everyone else, is the whole 'follow the wind' mechanic doesn't work. It's too vague, too ambiguous - wonderfully animated yes, but not so great for indicating where you should be going. The game also seems to think its sound is good enough to indicate directionality - it isn't. A minor flaw is when you are doing missions if you go too far off track, you get told to return to 'Tales area', which assumes you know where the hell it is or you get warped back to the start of the mission!
What do I expect? I expect to not finish this. I expect to keep it because the world is so well depicted, but I expect to get to a point where its video game bull**** overwhelms any desire I have to progress the story.
Talking of lacking desire to play a game, let's move onto the tragedy of No Man's Sky.
Tragedy? Yeah, because the last three updates have been just that - tragic. The first decided that, in a galaxy of interstellar travel, with technology enabling that, of course all bases suddenly need a wired power system! The second decided to strip away the cool-as-**** environmental protections of the exocraft to replace them with finite protection modules to 'encourage' players to build their new, big, slow mech. And the new third one? It gets one thing right - you can have a teleporter on your freighter but the rest? Fails due to them wanting too much grind and I'm someone who maxed out AC Odyssey without an XP booster - grind can be fine, if fun but this one? It's not. Freighter customisation sounds great, the problem? Each colour costs 5000 nanites, most missions pay in the region of 200-250. To get each colour, it's a lot of missions.
This crosses over into what should have been its biggest victory - the abandoned freighters in space. How do they screw this up? First, when you land and exit your craft you are told, on these freighters the game does not save, as it usually should. Not impressed. Then, it inflicts a mechanic where you walk slowly around the wreck while slowly being frozen, yes, yes, it's realism but realism does not make it good. Switching on heat hubs helps but it is still you slowly walking round a frozen wreck. And the final error? The cost of finding them, the first cost me 5m credits, the next one - 10m? My response would have been 'get tae ****' rather than 'leave'. Had they set both of these at a lower price tag it would have made both far more attractive but the prices set deter me from playing.
As I said, tragic.
Now onto the big surprise - Stellaris.
There were some significant hurdles here, the greatest being that the interface has changed but the tutorials have not all been. So when it talks of spaceport it's actually referring to your shipyard - very confusing, very irritating. The other irritation it doesn't seem possible to keep the 'how to' tutorial text up while you are working how to do what it describes.
However, however, if you persist with a dizzying array of options, a ton of menus and a number swarm, gradually, it starts to make a kind of sense this, at one point I had:
One science ship investigating an anomaly in a partially surveyed system
A colony being built in Alpha Centauri
A research station or two
Two to three corvettes under construction
This was then followed by building another starbase elsewhere while sending my only fleet to blast the crap out of an asteroid.
The game has a quite wry sense of humour too when it told me my leader had gained experience, but also developed a drug habit!
It is also very subtly addictive, things keep happening at just the right rate to encourage you to keep playing. So, how engaging can a screen of numbers? Well, if you have some understanding of what they mean, the answer is very.
Stellaris is probably the best of Paradox's 4X games because of its sandbox nature, and while their attention to obscure and very specific details of history serves their other games well, Stellaris draws heavily from pretty much all sci-fi. You can literally create the Empire from Warhammer 40K, you can play as the xenophobic humans from Starship Troopers, you can take on the Great Powers of the Galaxy by uniting the 'younger races' like they did in Babylon 5, you can build a damn Death Star and start blowing up planets.
Fun business, but the end game always slaughters me. The only time I won was when I managed to meet the win conditions before the end game happened.
The only TMNT I had as a kid was the third one..never got anywhere near beating it though.
Gonna start GoT tonight!
Oh weird I've got a casus belli on myron now, time to conquer him spread word of our enlightened protestant values across the land.
But seriously Stellaris is great, I just really like being able to conquer the "real" world for some reason.
I adore Stellaris. @Jedi Ben if you're playing on PC I'd happily recommend some mods for you that might improve the menu and interface issues you had.
Sadly, I'm playing Stellaris on PS4.
That's rough. Not tried the console version myself, but I can imagine the interface to be a bit of a nightmare. I really wish consoles would do more for mod support. Bethesda did a little for the scene with Fallout 4 and Skyrim, but it was only a start.
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Pfft, Protestantism is just Catholicism lite. Bogomilism is best.
It's quite clever - d-pad covers the 4 sets of menus - empire mgmt, outliner, alerts, resources. R3 for zoom out on the map, R1 and L1 for menu navigation.
But if you're playing on PC there's no reason to stop as it's way ahead of the PS4 and the console does hit its limits on running the game.
One thing I didn't expect was to like the soundtrack so much.
The soundtrack is on Spotify btw.
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Oh yeah, good luck organizing a state in line with 19th century ideals of nationhood around anti-ecclesiastical neo-Gnosticism.