The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #331
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    Default Re: Gaming trends that irk you

    Ya'll are letting nostalgia blind you pretty hard here. You can definitely just blindly press X to attack for at least a solid 95% of the gameplay in FF6. A handful of fights where you press the down arrow a couple of times in between pressing X out of 30 hours of content does not make engaging gameplay. Sure, you do have a few other tactical options...but most of them are worse than just attacking anyway and you shouldn't use them. FFVII and FFVIII are the same way.

    Honestly, the existence of the classic JRPG genre at all just proves that good stories can carry brain-dead gameplay.

  2. - Top - End - #332
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    That's nonsense. The only way you can beat any of the FF games (or most jRPGs_) by doing nothing but spam the Attack command is if you're ludicrously overleveled. Reducing the gameplay to "hit X and occasionally down" over and over again is no more accurate than claiming Starcraft gameplay is nothing but "click on good mans, then click on bad mans" over and over again.

  3. - Top - End - #333
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    And this is where I trot out the 'Story doesn't matter' argument. Starcraft, and Blizzard games in general do not rest on the merits of their story. Yes, the story can help with immersion, so you're not just playing hi-res Space Invaders, but at the end of the day, you didn't show up to this game for a 'choose your own adventure' book.
    On the other hand, Starcraft and Blizzard games in general started with a solid story, and every following sequels made pointless retcon and nonsensical decisions that could have been avoided trivially by caring just a tiny bit about continuity. Even a hack writer like me could correct most of the pointless continuity errors while proofreading.
    It's like they're trying their hardest to make the story part stupid. And that's the problem.
    Last edited by Cazero; 2019-07-22 at 02:36 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    That's nonsense. The only way you can beat any of the FF games (or most jRPGs_) by doing nothing but spam the Attack command is if you're ludicrously overleveled. Reducing the gameplay to "hit X and occasionally down" over and over again is no more accurate than claiming Starcraft gameplay is nothing but "click on good mans, then click on bad mans" over and over again.
    Which you will be, unless you're running away from the random encounters for some reason. There's a reason that the ATB system died and they're not even using it for their own remakes. It's awful.

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    The basic turn-based gameplay is still quite common. The fact that Square has decided that it is dead has more to do with the higher-ups being mostly "Kingdom Hearts is the bestest game ever!" types, and has little do to with objective reality. Turn based games (both those from other developers and Square's non-FF properties) still sell very well.

  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Another example, good old Pokémon.

    One of the most popular gaming franchises ever, and always sticking to turn based combat for their main games.

    So did pokémon have a super amazing story all along that keeps people coming for more despite the turn-based gameplay?
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    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  7. - Top - End - #337
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Another example, good old Pokémon.

    One of the most popular gaming franchises ever, and always sticking to turn based combat for their main games.

    So did pokémon have a super amazing story all along that keeps people coming for more despite the turn-based gameplay?
    If you consider the setting as part of the plot? Yes. Absolutely. Duh. The fact that you think Pokemon is popular because of its gameplay is puzzling. People love the series because they enjoy exploring a fantastical world. They enjoy the idea of collecting and raising monsters. The series is decidedly not popular because pressing "tackle" 400,000 times in a row is somehow engaging. The gameplay is easily the weakest part of the series. Which makes sense, because at its core Pokemon is marketed towards 5-10 year olds. This is also why self imposed challenges are so popular for the series since the core gameplay simply isn't enough to challenge an adult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    The basic turn-based gameplay is still quite common. The fact that Square has decided that it is dead has more to do with the higher-ups being mostly "Kingdom Hearts is the bestest game ever!" types, and has little do to with objective reality. Turn based games (both those from other developers and Square's non-FF properties) still sell very well.
    You're misrepresenting my point from "ATB systems in JRPGs were bad and the games were carried by their stories" to "all turn based games are bad". The second thing was never my position. I'm sure it's easier to argue against, but since it wasn't what I was saying I don't really see your point.
    Last edited by Anteros; 2019-07-22 at 03:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Gaming trends that irk you

    I think Bioshock Infinite is also a good example of story lifting up the game. Not that the gameplay was bad or anything, but the story and setting made it much more memorable, at least for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    If you consider the setting as part of the plot? Yes. Absolutely. Duh. The fact that you think Pokemon is popular because of its gameplay is puzzling. People love the series because they enjoy exploring a fantastical world. They enjoy the idea of collecting and raising monsters. The series is decidedly not popular because pressing "tackle" 400,000 times in a row is somehow engaging. The gameplay is easily the weakest part of the series. Which makes sense, because at its core Pokemon is marketed towards 5-10 year olds. This is also why self imposed challenges are so popular for the series since the core gameplay simply isn't enough to challenge an adult.
    That would be why there's extensive dissections on the mechanics (to the point where a mechanical discussion is unintelligible to the outsider because so many acronyms needed developing, guides on how to breed your Pokemon for Maximum Performance, and exhuastive discussions on strategies. From adults. This is totally something that makes sense to exist for mechanics that are terrible and unloved by all.

    You're misrepresenting my point from "ATB systems in JRPGs were bad and the games were carried by their stories" to "all turn based games are bad". The second thing was never my position. I'm sure it's easier to argue against, but since it wasn't what I was saying I don't really see your point.
    Let me rebut that with a direct quote. From you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Honestly, the existence of the classic JRPG genre at all just proves that good stories can carry brain-dead gameplay.

    That is, explicitly, a "all turn based games are bad" statement. Not an "ATB is bad" one. It is a statement that every jRPG game that ever was or ever will be has trash gameplay and are only carried by story. In that same post, you declared that anybody who doesn't agree with that statement is blinded by nostalgia goggles, because your opinion is The One True Objective Truth.


    It is not Objective Truth. It is The Opinion Of Anteros. People would argue with you less if you stopped confusing the two.
    Last edited by Gnoman; 2019-07-22 at 04:22 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Which you will be
    You repeated areas and got overlevelled. Since we're playing absolute statements now, I know that I'm right, because I just do. Even though FF6 is the easiest of the SNES trifecta, it's still not as easy as you're painting it unless you deliberately make it so.

    The point of jRPGs is that you can definitely make the experience easier with the amount of time you spend levelling up your characters, but they're also definitely playable with a "push the envelope" style where you keep probing into areas and using all resources available (magic and consumables) to prevail. Grinding and then complaining the game is too easy even though it doesn't even force you to grind has been a staple complaint since FF1, which is even more limited in consumable and magic options than the other games in the series, yet can be easily played and enjoyed without overlevelling.

    It's funny how the Berserker class in Final Fantasy 5, which can't do anything but spam a (souped up) auto-attack is also the only class that is mathematically highly unlikely if not downright impossible (without emulator fast-forwarding and intense RNG) to solo the game. Gee, I wonder why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullla
    As the final cherry to top this all off, the solo Berserker is not only the class that needed the highest character level to make any progress, it's also the only solo character that was unable to complete the game at all. I never found a solution for Omniscient in Fork Tower, and ditto for the endgame bosses of Necrophobia and Neo Exdeath. My solo Berserker couldn't even defeat one of the four Barriers that make up the first phase of the Necrophobia battle, and while the Exdeath Tree form was readily beatable, it was completely impossible to take down the 220,000 HP of the four Neo Exdeath parts with no access to any sources of healing. A solo Berserker has completed the game before, but only by running millions of repetitions of the final battle with randomized RNG and AI scripts to keep fighting the last boss endlessly. I'm confident that an actual human can't beat the game with a solo Berserker. Since this is the one and only class that finishes the game with its central mission left undone, the Berserker stands alone as the unquestioned worst job in the game.


    It's almost as if the playstyle that is designed entirely around blindly auto-attacking also cannot succeed without excessive level grind! Goddamn those "classic jRPGs", if only they gave me a whole bunch of utility, AoE, and elemental-weakness options that I could supplement my self-imposed boring gameplay with!
    Last edited by Winthur; 2019-07-22 at 04:52 AM.
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  11. - Top - End - #341
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    That is, explicitly, a "all turn based games are bad" statement. Not an "ATB is bad" one. It is a statement that every jRPG game that ever was or ever will be has trash gameplay and are only carried by story. In that same post, you declared that anybody who doesn't agree with that statement is blinded by nostalgia goggles, because your opinion is The One True Objective Truth.
    JRPGs and "all turn based gameplay" are not remotely the same thing. We'll start with how there are multiple turn based games that are both made in Japan and classified as RPGs, but not considered JRPGs, starting with a fairly significant fraction of the SRPG genre. Then there's TBS games, lots of roguelikes, a handful of economy/management games, numerous puzzle games, digitized boardgames, etc.

    The original quote didn't even specify JRPGs as a whole, but instead specifically mentioned classic JRPGs. That's a lot smaller than even "every JRPG game that ever was or ever will be".
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  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    If you consider the setting as part of the plot? Yes. Absolutely. Duh. The fact that you think Pokemon is popular because of its gameplay is puzzling. People love the series because they enjoy exploring a fantastical world.
    Pokémon world is as down to earth as it gets for an RPG, in particular the first games. You're not out to save the world, don't rescue any princess, don't end up participating in high-end politics, no airships (just a simple bycycle, much fantasy), are not the chosen hero of fate, don't kill any gods, don't uncover any ancient lost civilizations, don't explore castles with secret passes, the most dangerous thing you face are the gangster-wannabes Team Rocket that are still nice enough to don't even gank you with superior numbers.

    Quite in the contrary, pokémon fans have been screaming for years to have deeper stories with higher stakes, for the world to be properly fleshed out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    They enjoy the idea of collecting and raising monsters.
    And then using said monsters to beat kids for their lunch money, and any other trainers along the way, all the way up to the elite four.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    The series is decidedly not popular because pressing "tackle" 400,000 times in a row is somehow engaging. The gameplay is easily the weakest part of the series. Which makes sense, because at its core Pokemon is marketed towards 5-10 year olds. This is also why self imposed challenges are so popular for the series since the core gameplay simply isn't enough to challenge an adult.
    Plenty of Dark Souls players impose themselves challenges (including playing with a guitar hero controller). Is Dark Souls marketed towards 5-10 years old, unable to challenge an adult?

    Meanwhile Pokémon has a thriving cutthroat PvP scene. It's not just "tackle 400 000 times" just like Dark Souls isn't "stab 400 000 times", it's "6 slots for pokémon, each with four move slots and one item, figure out the best combinations and then do your best to outthink your opponent during battle".

    There's online sites where people just play pokémon battles. No story, no world, just mon against mon for no reason but the player's amusement of making them fight against each other. So yes, plenty of people do love the gameplay.
    Last edited by deuterio12; 2019-07-22 at 05:03 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  13. - Top - End - #343
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    If you consider the setting as part of the plot? Yes. Absolutely. Duh. The fact that you think Pokemon is popular because of its gameplay is puzzling. People love the series because they enjoy exploring a fantastical world. They enjoy the idea of collecting and raising monsters. The series is decidedly not popular because pressing "tackle" 400,000 times in a row is somehow engaging. The gameplay is easily the weakest part of the series. Which makes sense, because at its core Pokemon is marketed towards 5-10 year olds. This is also why self imposed challenges are so popular for the series since the core gameplay simply isn't enough to challenge an adult.
    As Gnoman pointed out, I'm not sure I'd make the argument that people don't like Pokemon for its gameplay. Smogon is an entire website devoted to the strategy element of the game, and it has very little to do with immersion in the game world. People do get very into the gameplay, and design their teams around it, even if it strikes you as something for children.

    ATB, like any other set of mechanics, has quirks you have to work with. I wouldn't argue they're perfect, but I think reducing their mechanics to "hitting the X button over and over again" misunderstands the appeal of making a party to fight monsters or whatever with mechanics that don't involve tuned motor skills, or advanced button combinations, or precise hand-eye coordination, and so on. There's a reason people get attracted to RPGs, and specifically JRPGs, as opposed to other modern strategy games, and there are mechanical reasons for that. I'm not a fan of the grinding myself, but that tends to be the give-and-take of these games: if you want a challenge, you skip the battles. It may seem implausible to you to play through such games without, say, leveling up your characters, but enough people played FFXII this way that the remake included a special mode that replicated the limits of the challenge. The whole challenge of Nuzlocke runs in Pokemon isn't that different; and no, the ability to win battles under those circumstances doesn't come down to "just spamming the attack button." That's like saying Chess is just putting pieces on a board, when there's clearly more to it than that.

    People find challenge through all kinds of mechanical systems. The relative end of ATB games has more to do with other factors than the system itself. I don't know if Fell Seal uses ATB, but given that it has gotten likened to FF Tactics, I think you'd be surprised by how many people actually do appreciate its gameplay.
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  14. - Top - End - #344
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majin View Post
    I think Bioshock Infinite is also a good example of story lifting up the game. Not that the gameplay was bad or anything, but the story and setting made it much more memorable, at least for me.
    I wanted to talk about this game, too. Bioshock Infinite has very good level design, but it's so absurdly easy on normal difficulty, it runs counter to what one expects from an fps: it just isn't trying to kill you, and, even if you die, it isn't a big deal. So you can beat most of the game with a carbine without dying, which means you can leave the supposedly meaty part of weapons and plasmids almost untouched.
    However, it stays a great game because of its story. It doesn't delude itself into thinking "sure, we need key A to open this door, there, we have a plot". Quests, instead, are an excuse to give you more information about what is going on, or to trigger emotively engaging parts that then may or may not translate into gameplay. You have environmental storytelling (Monolith is also very good at it), and some characters you know from phonograms that you will never meet. You gradually get to know your "sidekick". There also are some 3 points where the game tells you "make a choice between A and B actions". These decision have no bearing on the gameplay, but are very meaningful, in different ways.

    Side note: no Bioshock game uses death (except that little part in BS1 and that DLC). I wonder if the mechanic already was there in System Shock 2, or if it's something Irrational stumbled upon when designing Tribes: Vengeance. Tribes, being a world built for multiplayer, lets you respawn in your base. This means that, in Vengeance, once you had conquered a base, you would respawn when you died. Vengeance, BTW, another game that had a very good story, if of simpler taste than the Bioshocks.
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  15. - Top - End - #345
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Ya'll are letting nostalgia blind you pretty hard here.
    Ah, the old "nostalgia" argument: whenever someone makes a positive remark about some aspect of an older game you disagree with, then it's all blinding nostalgia.

    Completely disregarding
    a) simply diverging playing experiences that are common with all games, old and new, so that nostalgia has nothing to do with it
    b) the possibility the other person may have played the game in question only recently for the first time
    c) the possibility that it is you who is misremembering things.

    But noooo, because it's an older game you can just pull out the completely braindead nostalgia card instead of actually considering what was said.

    Seriously, stop it.

  16. - Top - End - #346
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    I feel like we need to add another law to "the list".

    1) Any OOTS morality thread will inevitably wind up arguing about Miko.
    2) Any discussion which goes on long enough will inevitably wind up turning into a Star Wars argument.
    3) Any time Twilight is mentioned even in passing, the thread will devolve into arguments about whether it's just "bad" or "super-duper extra special bad".
    4) Any time Mass Effect is mentioned, the thread will devolve into arguments about the ending.

    And introducing...

    5) Any general gaming thread that goes on long enough will eventually turn to arguing about whether JRPGs and ATB specifically are a fun mechanic.

    I'm sure there's more I've missed, but those are the ones that immediately came to me.

  17. - Top - End - #347
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    I dislike the loss of ATB, just because I liked the pressure of timing required to best use it

    As for Pokemon, yes you can just spam Tackle, or you can try new things and find out what works. If you don't learn more than tackle, it won't be long before you struggle.

    A prime example being the first proper Gym fight. If you picked Squirtle or Bulbasaur you'd have an easy time. Charmander? Good luck. I've seen people evolve the little bugger before managing to win. On the other hand the bugs you encounter on the way, and the normal types with fighting type moves near Viridian absolutely demolish rock types. (Compared to Charmander) So banging your head against the challenge is always less interesting than thinking your way through it.
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  18. - Top - End - #348
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxx View Post
    I dislike the loss of ATB, just because I liked the pressure of timing required to best use it.
    My favorite memory about that combat system is still loosing the first fight in FF X-2.
    Basically, I just started the game and then it was lunchtime. So I left to eat without pausing the game first.
    The result was twenty minutes later I returned to the game over screen.
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    I did the same in XII. Hadn't played an FF in a while then oh look, everyone is dead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxx View Post
    A prime example being the first proper Gym fight. If you picked Squirtle or Bulbasaur you'd have an easy time. Charmander? Good luck. I've seen people evolve the little bugger before managing to win. On the other hand the bugs you encounter on the way, and the normal types with fighting type moves near Viridian absolutely demolish rock types. (Compared to Charmander) So banging your head against the challenge is always less interesting than thinking your way through it.
    Though Pokemon had bad design back then and it has bad design nowadays as well.

    Gen 1) If you picked Charmander, good luck FINDING something actually good enough vs Brock. Yes Butterfree does the trick as does Mankey. Oh you're playing Fire Red and probably like dragons? Tough luck, you find Caterpie only 5% of the time and NO Mankeys. Good luck beating your head to a pulp with Brock. I hope you know at least is Special stat is garbage and use Ember instead of Scratch!

    Oh and if you didn't pick Charmander, good luck finding a decent fire type. Hint: You have a version exclusive, the rare Magmar, a pony on fire, waste your Eevee to become a Flareon with a garbage move pool or actually find the legendary bird at the end of the second to last dungeon.

    Gen 7) All your starters are incredibly viable, in fact you could solo the games with these, and easily. Keep a backup HM slave for reviving tho so you can dodge Z moves. No thinking required!
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    In an attempt to re-rail the thread, I am irked by buggy games made playable by day-one patches.

    Bandwidth costs aside, this leaves you with a playable game right up until the update servers are shut down and you have to re-install, then you get only the broken game on the disc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arutema View Post
    In an attempt to re-rail the thread, I am irked by buggy games made playable by day-one patches.

    Bandwidth costs aside, this leaves you with a playable game right up until the update servers are shut down and you have to re-install, then you get only the broken game on the disc.
    Not to mention it's plain annoying when you sit down after a day of hard work, start up a game to relax, and then it just goes "lol nope, it's UPDATE TIME!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Not to mention it's plain annoying when you sit down after a day of hard work, start up a game to relax, and then it just goes "lol nope, it's UPDATE TIME!"
    And that's assuming they even roll out updates that patch up the bugs. I loved KOTOR's sequel, but it still confounds me why Bioware not only neglected to address the bugs released at launch, but also stopped the developers from implementing a patch to fix some of the problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Pokémon world is as down to earth as it gets for an RPG, in particular the first games. You're not out to save the world, don't rescue any princess, don't end up participating in high-end politics, no airships (just a simple bycycle, much fantasy), are not the chosen hero of fate, don't kill any gods, don't uncover any ancient lost civilizations, don't explore castles with secret passes, the most dangerous thing you face are the gangster-wannabes Team Rocket that are still nice enough to don't even gank you with superior numbers.
    This gets into the difference between plot and setting. Plot wise you have someone setting out on a pastoral journey, seeking to become the best, and brushing up against organized crime which is generally some variety of nasty in overall goals (Ruby/Sapphire involves literal doomsday cults), but which employ tactics and have characterization befitting the pastoral tone.

    The setting though? The setting is wild, and at the heart of it is a unique fantasy bestiary with a generally cohesive design (with exceptions), generally pretty evocative art, and something pretty unique built up around it. It's incredibly evocative, it's been catching the imaginations of kids with that for a generation now, and that clearly sticks around. And you, the player? Sure, you may move around by bicycle. But you also spend a huge fraction of the gameplay exploring, both a physical map and more importantly the fantasy bestiary expressed on it. Every time you learn a new move for a Pokemon that space gets fleshed out a bit, every time one evolves it gets fleshed out more, and the continuous stream of new ones is the main appeal of those games.

    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Meanwhile Pokémon has a thriving cutthroat PvP scene. It's not just "tackle 400 000 times" just like Dark Souls isn't "stab 400 000 times", it's "6 slots for pokémon, each with four move slots and one item, figure out the best combinations and then do your best to outthink your opponent during battle".

    There's online sites where people just play pokémon battles. No story, no world, just mon against mon for no reason but the player's amusement of making them fight against each other. So yes, plenty of people do love the gameplay.
    In absolute terms, it's thriving. By comparison to the people playing the single player, watching the TV show, reading the manga, or even just enjoying the design of the pokemon themselves? At a conservative estimate it's 2 orders of magnitude smaller. I'd be willing to put money on 4 for the online sites specifically.

    That doesn't even really say much about the mechanics. It just indicates that Pokemon made a fantasy bestiary which a lot of people find really cool. That said, the deep tactics of multiplayer really aren't there for single player. More subtle tactics will get busted out for significant battles, but for every Gym leader there's a bunch of throwaway trainers, and for every throwaway trainer several wild pokemon. The tactics involved there are pretty rote, even for kids - at a mechanical level that's just not that engaging. Strip the flavor out and you've got a really boring abstract strategy game.

    Put the flavor back in though and you've got your stone baby dinosaur shrugging off blasts of fire from a turtle with a shell like a volcano, while elsewhere on the field the sheer emblem of badassitude that is a long clawed spiked shrew burrows underground to avoid the psychic blasts of some sort of avatar of cuteness, given psychic power through exposure to a magic rock. It's ludicrously gonzo, and in a really fun way. Sure, those of us who started in a particular generation might grouse about how it was better in our day, before they added the ridiculous icecream cone, which is somehow different than three magnets stuck together because reasons*. But there's a subset in there that is, for a lot of people, really cool.

    Meanwhile a lot of these other RPGs that are allegedly more fantastic, with their airships and such? A lot of them really come across as samey. It's why you could look at my description above and think "yeah, that's Pokemon", whereas "your swordsman, mage-priest healer, and unarmed warrior monk get in a fight with a small band of elven archers" could be all sorts of things.

    *And let's be clear here, I can recognize this as a ridiculous position but my emotional response to Magneton is still "that's pretty cool, I'm feeling that aesthetic" while my emotional response to Vanillish is still "that's [expletive] stupid, so [expletive] stupid".
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  25. - Top - End - #355
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    This gets into the difference between plot and setting. Plot wise you have someone setting out on a pastoral journey, seeking to become the best, and brushing up against organized crime which is generally some variety of nasty in overall goals (Ruby/Sapphire involves literal doomsday cults), but which employ tactics and have characterization befitting the pastoral tone.

    The setting though? The setting is wild, and at the heart of it is a unique fantasy bestiary with a generally cohesive design (with exceptions), generally pretty evocative art, and something pretty unique built up around it. It's incredibly evocative, it's been catching the imaginations of kids with that for a generation now, and that clearly sticks around. And you, the player? Sure, you may move around by bicycle. But you also spend a huge fraction of the gameplay exploring, both a physical map and more importantly the fantasy bestiary expressed on it. Every time you learn a new move for a Pokemon that space gets fleshed out a bit, every time one evolves it gets fleshed out more, and the continuous stream of new ones is the main appeal of those games.
    Again, I'll point out to the fact that the whole "explore, fight collect monsters" had already been done for a decade before the first pokémon came out, and it had plenty of competition since then. Digimon, Monster Rancher, you name it.

    And in those other monster-collecting RPGs you explore castles full of history and ruins of ancient civilizations with secrets and mystic forests with fey courts and whatnot. In pokémon you explore normal forests with the most exotic residents being bug catchers and normal caves with maybe a rock rolling puzzle here and there.

    So could you please explain me how pokémon's plain forests and caves count as wilder than the places you explore in other games of the genre?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    In absolute terms, it's thriving. By comparison to the people playing the single player, watching the TV show, reading the manga, or even just enjoying the design of the pokemon themselves? At a conservative estimate it's 2 orders of magnitude smaller. I'd be willing to put money on 4 for the online sites specifically.

    That doesn't even really say much about the mechanics. It just indicates that Pokemon made a fantasy bestiary which a lot of people find really cool.
    Tell any digimon fan that and they'll cry tears of rage pointing to all their cyborgs and monsters with guns/exotic weapons and angels/demons and boobies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    That said, the deep tactics of multiplayer really aren't there for single player. More subtle tactics will get busted out for significant battles, but for every Gym leader there's a bunch of throwaway trainers, and for every throwaway trainer several wild pokemon. The tactics involved there are pretty rote, even for kids - at a mechanical level that's just not that engaging. Strip the flavor out and you've got a really boring abstract strategy game.

    Put the flavor back in though and you've got your stone baby dinosaur shrugging off blasts of fire from a turtle with a shell like a volcano, while elsewhere on the field the sheer emblem of badassitude that is a long clawed spiked shrew burrows underground to avoid the psychic blasts of some sort of avatar of cuteness, given psychic power through exposure to a magic rock. It's ludicrously gonzo, and in a really fun way. Sure, those of us who started in a particular generation might grouse about how it was better in our day, before they added the ridiculous icecream cone, which is somehow different than three magnets stuck together because reasons*. But there's a subset in there that is, for a lot of people, really cool.

    Meanwhile a lot of these other RPGs that are allegedly more fantastic, with their airships and such? A lot of them really come across as samey. It's why you could look at my description above and think "yeah, that's Pokemon", whereas "your swordsman, mage-priest healer, and unarmed warrior monk get in a fight with a small band of elven archers" could be all sorts of things.
    Once more, pokémon wasn't the first of its genre. It was just the first of its genre to become wildly succesful. Baby dinossaurs shrugging off blasts of fire from turtles with shells like a volcano and magic rocks that grant psychic powers are a dime the dozen.

    What's really unique about pokémon are the mechanics. The whole "each mon gets 4 attack slots ". "Only one pokémon out at a time". "Only 6 pokémon in the party at a time". Every battle turn, decide whetever to keep the same mon in the field or switch for something else, giving the enemy a free hit. Maybe just let your current mon bite it so the next can fight fully fresh. Oh, and there were a whooping fifteen types of pokémon. And each pokémon can have two types. So it's not really possible to make a team that covers everything, you'll need to pick. Choice. Needing to make decisions. Your pokémon wants to learn a new move, but needs to forget an old one. It really keeps the player engaged. You can never just settle down in a build, your pokémon team is constantly changing. Not just becoming straight stronger with more and more moves, but actually changing letting go of some old things to gain new ones. Those are the details that really stuck with me over the years of playing pokémon. Whereas other "explore, fight, collect" RPGs eventually fell in the classic party scheme where you can deploy multiple monsters simultaneously.

    And yet it's never explained story-wise why. You can only deploy one pokémon at a time damnit, even against wild ones. They eventually added double battles and such, but even then those are situational, you can't just walk to that legendary and throw your whole team at the same time. Alakazam is supposed to be a genius that laughs at puny humie intellect, but is still capped at knowing the same four moves than the most idiot of pokémon. But that's just part of the charm. If you could just gank Mewtwo with your full team, if every pokémon knew all their moves, the game would simply be less engaging.

    And as pointed out by somebody above, Game Freak has been kinda backpedalling in a lot of that, pumping up the starters so you could coast in them from start to finish. And, well, the original games still remain the ones who sold best.

    But the first pokémon, the ones that remain the most popular to today, they were seriously hardcore from a gameplay point of view. You can't coast in your starter. If you pick Charmander Brock becomes a rock wall, but if you didnt't pick charmander, it will be a long while until you can score a fire pokémon. The original Lance will shove a lv.62 Dragonair to your face after you were worn down by 3 trainers in a row with lv50+ ones, and then you fight motherf**** Gary Oak out of nowhere who somehow has all his pokémon at full condition despite technically just arriving a bit before you and you don't even get a pause to use healing items. Oh, and they all have infinite PP while your own pokémon are probably running on fumes. And it was glorious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    *And let's be clear here, I can recognize this as a ridiculous position but my emotional response to Magneton is still "that's pretty cool, I'm feeling that aesthetic" while my emotional response to Vanillish is still "that's [expletive] stupid, so [expletive] stupid".
    I'm still waiting for Game Freaks to explain what exactly Voltorbs are.
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    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  26. - Top - End - #356
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Side note: no Bioshock game uses death (except that little part in BS1 and that DLC). I wonder if the mechanic already was there in System Shock 2, or if it's something Irrational stumbled upon when designing Tribes: Vengeance. Tribes, being a world built for multiplayer, lets you respawn in your base. This means that, in Vengeance, once you had conquered a base, you would respawn when you died. Vengeance, BTW, another game that had a very good story, if of simpler taste than the Bioshocks.
    The mechanic was already there in System Shock 1. Though it held out the resurrection until you found the one chamber per level, which I rather preferred.

  27. - Top - End - #357
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    Or just snag a stupid common Nidoran and double kick your way to victory, which was my actual point. I suspect you are being intentionally over critical.

    On the actual topic: Over-reliance on background events to make set piece's look larger.
    I am trying out LPing. Check out my channel here: Triaxx2

  28. - Top - End - #358
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Again, I'll point out to the fact that the whole "explore, fight collect monsters" had already been done for a decade before the first pokémon came out, and it had plenty of competition since then. Digimon, Monster Rancher, you name it.

    And in those other monster-collecting RPGs you explore castles full of history and ruins of ancient civilizations with secrets and mystic forests with fey courts and whatnot. In pokémon you explore normal forests with the most exotic residents being bug catchers and normal caves with maybe a rock rolling puzzle here and there.

    So could you please explain me how pokémon's plain forests and caves count as wilder than the places you explore in other games of the genre?
    To start with when you can refer to Pokemon on one side and "those other X" on the other it really does imply that Pokemon is the wild one. The pastoral, understated setting combined with the bestiary had a juxtaposition that stood out. The contrast between the fairly understated world when looking at non-Pokemon elements really makes the Pokemon themselves stand out so much more, in a way that generally doesn't apply to these other games.

    Also, while I'm trying to avoid outright saying that the difference between the Pokemon bestiary and those is that the Pokemon bestiary is actually good, that really does bear mention. Monster Rancher is yet another generic fantasy game with yet another set of generic fantasy creatures, Digimon is actually doing pretty well and at least manages a coherent aesthetic, but is still a fair bit weaker. I'm not even getting into the mess that was Telefang. There's just a real inspiration shortage lacking for most of these.

    Even in the cases which managed to get their bestiary together, the rest of the aesthetic was often still pretty generic. Some of this is things like conventionality of tilesets, but even more than tiles you get just aggressively generic art assets. Monster Rancher has buildings. They look just like the rest of the generic fantasy buildings, with the standard names. That's a castle, it looks just like every other castle. Pokemon? The Pokemon center looks distinct, from silhouette to iconography. There's a general competence to the graphic design side, and in a medium this visual that absolutely matters.

    In short, the whole idea that Pokemon must stand on its mechanics because the setting is less "fantasy" is pretty much entirely backwards; it's precisely because it's less "fantasy" that it stands out. Pop in some random cartridge, and oh look, it's a demon general. That bug catcher though? That's Pokemon specifically.

    Which also gets into the whole multimedia aspect. The Pokemon anime at least used to be pretty big, and given the current release schedule and information from people more informed on the technical art side it sounds like it's not exactly struggling financially at the moment either. Gameplay clearly doesn't apply there at all, but the setting is strong enough to make this happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Once more, pokémon wasn't the first of its genre. It was just the first of its genre to become wildly succesful. Baby dinossaurs shrugging off blasts of fire from turtles with shells like a volcano and magic rocks that grant psychic powers are a dime the dozen.

    What's really unique about pokémon are the mechanics. The whole "each mon gets 4 attack slots ". "Only one pokémon out at a time". "Only 6 pokémon in the party at a time". Every battle turn, decide whetever to keep the same mon in the field or switch for something else, giving the enemy a free hit. Maybe just let your current mon bite it so the next can fight fully fresh. Oh, and there were a whooping fifteen types of pokémon. And each pokémon can have two types. So it's not really possible to make a team that covers everything, you'll need to pick. Choice. Needing to make decisions. Your pokémon wants to learn a new move, but needs to forget an old one. It really keeps the player engaged. You can never just settle down in a build, your pokémon team is constantly changing. Not just becoming straight stronger with more and more moves, but actually changing letting go of some old things to gain new ones. Those are the details that really stuck with me over the years of playing pokémon. Whereas other "explore, fight, collect" RPGs eventually fell in the classic party scheme where you can deploy multiple monsters simultaneously.
    A lot of that is more approachability than anything. The party size stays small and approachable, the one pokemon out stays small and approachable, the four moves stays small and approachable, etc. The types are the one exception there, and it's worth remembering that two types wasn't even introduced until Gen 2. All this made the game a lot more manageable as a kid, which is why playing through Pokemon Yellow in 3rd grade was generally easy. That's not to say there isn't a tactical depth there in multiplayer and the like, but you really can just bash your way through pretty easily. More than that, the majority of fights in the game are against 1 enemy you generally slightly outlevel. A damaging attack or two thrown their way is often the optimal tactic, no need to be fancy.

    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    I'm still waiting for Game Freaks to explain what exactly Voltorbs are.
    I almost feel bad for picking on Magneton given Voltorb and Electrode, but even at the time they were a little bit borderline. Still better than Vanilish though, and by "better than" I mean "benefiting from nostalgia more".
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  29. - Top - End - #359
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    I feel like I'm seeing a ridiculous amount of hostility here for daring to criticize a 25 year old video game. Just gonna drop that topic and move on.

  30. - Top - End - #360
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    I feel like I'm seeing a ridiculous amount of hostility here for daring to criticize a 25 year old video game. Just gonna drop that topic and move on.
    "nobody could ever say jarpig gameplay is good if they're not blinded with nostalgia and I say this on the basis of one game, wake up from brain-dead games, sheeple"
    "you likely ruined it for yourself actually, here are examples"
    "wow how rude"
    Last edited by Winthur; 2019-07-23 at 09:06 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Mordekaiser for president.

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