Author Topic: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread

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Kevadu

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #105 on: June 29, 2018, 03:04:28 AM »
Going to have to completely disagree with you there.

First of all Graces and Berseria (I didn't play Zesteria so I won't comment on it) may both have 'stamina meters' (except not really) but they play completely differently so I wouldn't group them together like that.   I am going to focus on Graces because it actually did this system well... unfortunately strictly in terms of the battle system at least Berseria was a big step backwards.

I take issue with the very premise of your argument that stringing together long combos is somehow the defining characteristic of what makes a good action game, or that they are somehow necessary for the player to dictate the flow of the game.  BS.  One of my favorite 'fighting games' (using that term loosely) of all time, Virtual On, didn't even have combos.  Seriously, if your oponent takes more than a minor hit they would be knocked down and made temporarily invulnerable.  There was literally no way to pull off combos in that game.  Must be hard to dictate the flow of battle, right?  Far from it, that game was entirely about battle flow.  Being able to herd your opponent, anticipate their moves, feints, etc.  It was actually quite intense even when not a single hit was landing.

But let's get back to Tales of Graces.  Yes it has combos (and they could actually be rather long combos if you did it right) but it also has some of the elements I appreciated in a game like Virtual On.  Not a lot of faking out an opponent when you're fighting an AI I'm afraid but there still was a good amount of trying to read their moves and counter and punish them.  Sorry but the Tales games you praise such as Vesperia just felt like button mashers to me.  Graces was much more precise and technical.

And the CC meter fits nicely into that.  It was never difficult to recover CC and if you played the game correctly it really didn't slow things down.  But it did force you to have to play the game correctly.  Dodging, countering, exploiting weaknesses, etc.  If you did things right you got your CC back almost immediately.  If you screwed up...well, then you had to wait a bit for it to recharge.  But I think that's a fair penalty for screwing up.

This is also where Berseria unfortunately screwed up I think.  I spent vastly more time in Berseria waiting for SG to recharge than I ever waited for CC in Graces.  In Graces getting CC was a natural part of the flow in combat.  In Berseria it just isn't...all it does is slow things down.  So I can get your complaint if you were just talking about Berseria.  But you had to lump Graces in with it...no.  Just no.

Grainofariver

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #106 on: June 29, 2018, 04:10:29 AM »
I take issue with the very premise of your argument that stringing together long combos is somehow the defining characteristic of what makes a good action game, or that they are somehow necessary for the player to dictate the flow of the game.
I never said that. I said that Tales was moving toward a combo-heavy styled action game. The emphasis on combos in Tales has grown ever since Symphonia (excluding Rebirth). This is obvious not only by the addition of mechanics which allow more freedom for comboing (Team Symphonia's gradual combo-extension skills, Xillia's free-chaining, etc.), but also the fact that the game literally gives you bonus experience based on your combo. Even grade rewards you for bigger combos.

Also I also never said that combos are necessary to dictating the flow of the game, only that a stamina meter inhibits it, which it inevitably does. Run out of CC/SC/SG and you are forced to go on the defensive. No amount of skill or technique will ever allow you to permanently remain on the offense. Ergo the flow of battle is not dictated by the player, but by the stamina bar.
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BS.  One of my favorite 'fighting games' (using that term loosely) of all time, Virtual On, didn't even have combos.  Seriously, if your oponent takes more than a minor hit they would be knocked down and made temporarily invulnerable.  There was literally no way to pull off combos in that game.  Must be hard to dictate the flow of battle, right?  Far from it, that game was entirely about battle flow.  Being able to herd your opponent, anticipate their moves, feints, etc.  It was actually quite intense even when not a single hit was landing.
So it's not a combo heavy action game. That's fine. There are tons of games like that. Heck, Dark Souls is like that, and I love that game. But again, this is Tales, and Tales has been pushing more combo-heavy play for the past several games.
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But let's get back to Tales of Graces.  Yes it has combos (and they could actually be rather long combos if you did it right) but it also has some of the elements I appreciated in a game like Virtual On.  Not a lot of faking out an opponent when you're fighting an AI I'm afraid but there still was a good amount of trying to read their moves and counter and punish them.  Sorry but the Tales games you praise such as Vesperia just felt like button mashers to me.  Graces was much more precise and technical.
But that's the problem: only the defensive aspect is more precise and technical. If you dodge every single attack perfectly, you can be literally invincible. In other words, the only limit to your defensive capabilities is your skill (as I said).  Your offensive capability, on the other hand, is not equally rewarded. Rather, no matter how well you play offensively, you will inevitably run out of stamina , ending your combo and putting you on the defensive. No amount of skill can prevent this.
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And the CC meter fits nicely into that.  It was never difficult to recover CC and if you played the game correctly it really didn't slow things down.  But it did force you to have to play the game correctly.  Dodging, countering, exploiting weaknesses, etc.  If you did things right you got your CC back almost immediately.  If you screwed up...well, then you had to wait a bit for it to recharge.  But I think that's a fair penalty for screwing up.
This is where I call BS. No matter how well you played, you inevitably had to wait for CC to recharge. It was not a penalty, it was forced on the player regardless of what they did, which is my overall problem. I think if there was a system by which skilled OFFENSIVE play COULD consistently and reliably regenerate stamina, I might not take so much issue with it (though I'd definitely question why you'd even bother with stamina at this point).
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 07:07:02 AM by Grainofariver »
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Aeolus

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #107 on: June 29, 2018, 03:23:27 PM »
Oh hey, its the TP or not TP debate again.

I should note that TP was also a combo limiting factor, but that TP was originally treated like MP in DQ games which can let you go whole hog, but typically balanced it in a longer term capacity by forcing you to carry supplies or go back to town to resupply.

Its a matter of battle wide resource management or dungeon wide resource management.

But yeah, Berseria had the added issue of making it so that you really wanted at least 3 SG at all times to keep the Velveteen Blender running (of course, like so much of the rest of Berseria, while a neat idea on paper, the devs aren't willing to give you the tools to really leverage their system until the very tail end of the game, wherein they immediately tune everything to expect that you've fully utilized said tools, at which point you go "Why bother?").
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Grainofariver

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #108 on: June 29, 2018, 05:11:21 PM »
Oh hey, its the TP or not TP debate again.
Noooooooooooooo! I specifically mentioned that it was not this because I don't want this to devolve into another TS v TD argument! I mention Abyss and Vesperia ONLY as references to how the series was once more reliant on stats and traditional JRPG mechanics, not as comparisons of their resource systems. You can look at past TD games for more RPG heavy systems too, but as none of them were translated, I haven't been able to play them (aside from about 5 hours of Rebirth), and therefor am not able to include them in this analysis.

FWIW I genuinely miss the old-school fighting-game styled camera more than the resource associated with it, but I think that's another thing that we'll never see again.

(I'm not really upset, I just greatly fear this would get turned into a TS v TD debate when that's absolutely not what I'm trying to say)

But let's get back to Tales of Graces.  Yes it has combos (and they could actually be rather long combos if you did it right) but it also has some of the elements I appreciated in a game like Virtual On.  Not a lot of faking out an opponent when you're fighting an AI I'm afraid but there still was a good amount of trying to read their moves and counter and punish them. 
The more I read this and think about it, the less I see it as a counter to my point. My post was never against the defensive half of Graces (or Zesteria/Berseria), but rather how the reactive-based defensive half didn't mesh with the RPG-based offensive one. I wasn't suggesting that they go back to the old way. In fact, I made no suggestions whatsoever other than the removal of stamina and to prop up Nier: Automata as an example of a better mesh of this type of hybrid gameplay.

If they DO opt to continue with this reactive-style defense, they absolutely should keep these elements -- in fact they should improve on them, because I feel enemy AI is severely lacking. However it needs to be accompanied by a complementary offensive system which isn't so rigidly limited by RPG mechanics.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 04:27:34 AM by Grainofariver »
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Grainofariver

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #109 on: July 07, 2018, 12:50:26 PM »
Okay Kevadu, I think I had a massive revelation, so hear me out.

I don't mean to suggest that all action games should be combo-centric, but for Tales combos are the bread-and-butter of your offense. They are really the only way to deal damage to an enemy, so the longer the combo, the more damage is done. This especially true in Graces, Zestiria and Berseria, where the damage bonuses for hitting weaknesses becomes a necessity on higher difficulties. If you can't string together a decent combo that hits all of those weaknesses, you're gonna have a bad time.

But here's the thing I realised -- the thing I kinda kept hinting at, but doing so clumsily because I didn't fully understand it: a 'combo' in Tales and a 'combo' in most action games are not the same thing. In most action games, a 'combo' only ends if you stop attacking for an extended period of time or you take damage. In Tales, a combo is defined exclusively by whether or not an enemy is stunned.

I think this is because the limited mobility in older games meant that the player needed more time to react to enemies. Since there was no intended way to cancel out of attack animations, sending a clear message to the player that the enemy was able to attack became really important. Stunned, keep attacking. Not stunned, attack at your own risk.

But with side-stepping, mobility has greatly improved. This sharp contrast between attack and defense is, in my opinion, no longer necessary. Some hit-stun is expected, but an enemy should be able to break out of it and retaliate. If the player reads this and side-steps at the right time, they can avoid damage and position themselves to resume their 'combo' (a.k.a. offense).

 CC/SC/SG (and other limits) exist because Tales is so reliant on hit-stun to define 'combos' (and thus the player's offense), but this way you don't need them: the better you can read and react to enemies, the longer you can maintain your combo. The precision you talk about still exists, and the player is still rewarded for skilled defensive play. It seems to me a much more natural way of merging the defensive/offensive sides of battle.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 12:53:52 PM by Grainofariver »
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bigdeath

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #110 on: July 10, 2018, 02:29:48 PM »
I'll just say that I'm terrible at reading opponents moves, getting proper timing and countering enemy moves. Its why I suck at fighting games and avoid them so I'm quite happy to see tales games move away from that. Yeah, Beseria is quite a button masher but theres still depth to the gameplay on higher difficulty. The less I have to worry about proper timing the better.

The big downside for me with Beseria is the Dungeon design. Very bland with too many enemies, I don't bother to fight everything. Theres not much reward in doing so either. Its just a waste of time.

As for Velvet's design, I have no problem with it. *looks at avatar Err, if you couldn't tell already. I really don't mind fan service designs. :P
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 02:50:37 PM by bigdeath »

Grainofariver

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #111 on: July 11, 2018, 07:39:49 PM »
I'll just say that I'm terrible at reading opponents moves, getting proper timing and countering enemy moves. Its why I suck at fighting games and avoid them so I'm quite happy to see tales games move away from that. Yeah, Beseria is quite a button masher but theres still depth to the gameplay on higher difficulty. The less I have to worry about proper timing the better.
Thing is, on harder difficulties you kinda HAVE to be able to side-step and dodge. Healing is so reliant on break souls that you're gonna get annihilated if you don't avoid a healthy number of attacks. Given Graces' and Berseria's popularity I don't think this is the direction they're moving away from, but rather something we're gonna be seeing a lot more of. Personally I don't care: I like JRPGs and action games, so I'm fine either way. What bothers me is this in-between where neither aspect feels rewarding.

For example, party composition in Berseria was a complete joke. Since every character was designed to be competent on their own (a good trait from an action perspective!), it also means that the only character that matters is the one you chose. I played Berseria cycling party members out with each dungeon just to see different post-battle skits, and never noticed a difference in combat. Combined with the reduced significance of levels and skills/stats being tied to a god-awful equipment system (nevermind the RNG of random skills, why the HELL do I want to invest in upgrading a weapon a bunch of times when I know I'll find a new one in the next friggin' town!), it just felt really lame as an RPG

Unfortunately it didn't fare much better as an action game. All the environments are empty squares and circles, combos are limited by a stupid resource system, teammates can distract half the enemies in a battle, and this system of 'comboing' turns most enemies into sand-bags. Action-games are all about finding unique ways of challenging the player, but these elements -- inherited from older games -- keeps Berseria from providing the kind of engaging encounters I've come to expect from the best in the genre.

I don't care if they go back to the older style or not: I just want them to create something that can make combat feel rewarding again. Nier: Automata, Ys, Dark Souls 1... each of these games took a different approach to balancing their action elements and RPG elements, and in my opinion each one did so in a much, much better way than modern Tales.

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The big downside for me with Beseria is the Dungeon design. Very bland with too many enemies, I don't bother to fight everything. Theres not much reward in doing so either. Its just a waste of time.
With you 100% there. This is my single biggest problem with the post-Xillia games. I complain about the combat, but I'd much rather see this fixed. Contrary to what I've typed up here, Berseria really is my third favourite in the series due mostly to the characters, but it might be higher if not for the terrible environments. The thing I enjoy most about Tales is the adventure, so when that takes you through bland field and bland cave, it's a bit of a damper on the overall experience.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 07:44:11 PM by Grainofariver »
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bigdeath

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #112 on: July 11, 2018, 08:08:47 PM »
I always up the difficulty of Beseria and I didn't have much a problem. And I'm terrible at timing. I'm not good at using Rokurou's counter though. lol

Grainofariver

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #113 on: July 11, 2018, 10:54:11 PM »
Maybe you're better than you think you are. No need for humility here friend: god knows I have none.

Excepting a few choice battles Tales has never been the most challenging of series, even on higher difficulties. I'm okay with that: just as a hard game shouldn't need to compromise its difficulty for the sake of accessibility, nor should every game need to demand my very best. I don't want Tales to be 'hard' in the sense that I die several times, but to be 'challenging' in the sense that I can feel some kind of satisfaction for winning battles.

On a side note, difficulty settings that do more than just give enemies more health would be neat. Lower difficulties make for slower enemies and longer hit-stun. The more you up the difficulty, the more aggressive enemies get and the shorter they remain stunned. And while I'm dreaming, throw a turbo mode that speeds everything up by 20%, because none of this will happen anyway.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 10:55:43 PM by Grainofariver »
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bigdeath

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Re: Tales of Discussion 2: Dawn of the New Megathread
« Reply #114 on: July 12, 2018, 12:20:49 AM »
It might have to do with Velvet being OP. The game is much more challanging for me with some other characters on high difficulty.