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Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (no not X)
« Last post by Grainofariver on Today at 04:58:15 AM »
I feel like this game is proof that I'm a masochist. I just passed the 70 hour mark, and I have no clue what keeps me going. I mean, it must be a good game, right? Why else would I sink so much time into something that's not good? And yet, multiple times I find myself frustrated at the game. I wouldn't even recommend this game to anyone just to save them the inevitable headache. Nevermind the story, there's so many little problems that, had the studio not been so busy with Zelda, I'm SURE would have been caught. Stuff like:

Why do items disappear so quickly after killing an enemy? If there's more than one enemy, you're bound to have at least something disappear.
Similarly, with how many enemies hover over a cliff or abyss, why aren't items that fall off automatically grabbed and put in your inventory?
Why doesn't the gather symbol change to indicate the type of material you're gathering (mineral, fish, tree, etc.)?
Why, in a game with so much verticality, does the map not have layers?
Why does the game have to stop every time a blade uses its ability? (I've actually stopped gathering because of this)
And much, much more!

This, of course, is all without getting into some of the bigger gameplay problems, such as the lack of any control over AI behaviour or positioning removing any kind of tactical depth from combat and occasionally turning easily winnable fights into nearly-impossible slogs. Or, the constant shuffling through menus to set up the right composition of blades to clear a field check, only to have to go back in and revert everything to normal (and often times, change it up again two steps later for an entirely different field check). Etcetra, etcetera.

Yet, for all my complaints, here I am at 70 hours, and unless the remainder of chapter 8, 9 and 10 are all super short, I'll likely hit 80 before the credits roll. Why? Am I insane? Is it the video-game form of Stockholm Syndrome? Are the environments just THAT freaking good? When it works, there's a wonderful sense to exploration, and the environments are a little bit more fantastical/alien than something like BotW (which otherwise beats out Xenoblade in every open-world aspect). Even the characters have moments where they show signs of something engaging. Rex's comments on first seeing the refugees in Arcadia/Indol* are actually quite mature, and come from a character I'd like to learn more about. Too bad it only takes a few steps before the shounen-boy trope re-asserts its control, and the 'words won't fix everything' comment comes off like a bad joke.

I think, maybe, a lot of my frustration stems for the feeling that, if they'd just taken a bit more time to really test and reflect on the systems, this could be a really amazing game. It feels sooooo close, like a jigsaw that you can see clearly in your head, but the pieces just aren't quite coming together right. The result is something where I get a sense of what it could be -- and am really enchanted by it -- but am constantly tripped up by what it is. I'm glad I don't have to put a number to this game. Despite what I said earlier, I don't really buy into numbers as an accurate summation of an opinion (feel free to think of me as a hypocrite, I deserve it for trying to simplify my opinion). I would be at an utter loss for what to assign this game. Nonetheless, I'm curious what we'll see next. I see so much potential here, and I'd love to see it actualised.

Also, Aeolus, nothing on Xenoblade X? It's just the best RPG with mechs and a strong desire for bigger guns?

*I will never understand changing proper nouns in localisations. Playing with the Japanese voices, some names are just ingrained in my head from hearing them so many times. It's so jarring when I go to talk to other people about it, and I can't see what is gained from the changes.
Single-Player RPGs / Re: Secret of Mana: The Remake!
« Last post by Aeolus on Today at 02:23:37 AM »
I take back anything nice I've said about this remake/port/bare naked nostalgia cashgrab. It takes an almost dedicated level of phoned-in effort to make a notoriously buggy game even more busted and unstable. Christ almighty, the goddamn overworld music cuts out when you go to take a screengrab of the face and it has yet to come back for me. Not that I'm missing much as the remixed music has been far more miss than hit (I'll admit to liking the redux'd Desert music, but buttrock Matango, "no we are going to include the roars when using Angel's Fears and thus not actually get a chance to listen to the damn song" White Dragon legend bit, the lighthouse theme abortion, and about a dozen other overdone tracks (like Scorpion Army's theme), really drag the whole experience down; thankfully Crystal Forest and Ice Palace managed to break even, but it really doesn't salvage the rest of the experience). And that's on top of the five crashes I've experienced so far, shit like spell animations getting so queried up that I step back into a room I had left earlier only to have said spell fire off out of loving nowhere, both enemies and AI allies getting pushed out of bounds on a regular basis, casting a Fire Bouquet and having Analyzer come out, and hilariously awful (if at all) voice direction at times.

The added scenes or the ninja'd in Pukka reference (hell, I've been hitting references that I don't even recognize like the doll in Todo or the picture Mandala) do not make up for all of the instability I've seen thus far. This is just a really lazy port and I'd advise people to stay away from this or any other Squeenix 'remake' in the future.

Also, I love how much nicer the weapon redesigns are, except for the poor whip which only got pallet swaps even though we're in Flail territory dammit. The Axes aren't getting much love either, but at least there's actual visual differences between them versus the three different Black Leather Whips.

...okay. I'll admit it. I kinda do like how much easier it is to grind Weapon/Spell Skill levels are in this game. Especially since the changes made are both simple and utterly mindbogglingly obvious these changes are. The first is the obvious change to the Girl and Sprite's weapon level growth not being half of the Boy's rate, while the second is simply allow MP to also be restored upon leveling up (even if it makes getting to those added scenes even stupider since there's almost no reason to ever stay at an Inn or even revisit the Wind/Water Palaces for their free healing).
Hi! I am following up on this thread. I still have a spot open for the Bastion game club discussion. Please let me know if you or someone you know would be interested. Thanks.
Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« Last post by Dincrest on Yesterday at 09:47:31 PM »
I finished the first half of Return of the King, which was all about The Fellowship gearing up for their last stand.  I also just started the second half of it (which focuses on Frodo's errand) and hopefully finish Lord of the Rings before spring. 
General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« Last post by Dincrest on Yesterday at 09:21:36 PM »
If we're going to go there, I think the most attractive Winter Olympics athletes are the alpine skiers.  In womens' super-G skiing, all three who medaled were quite striking, especially bronze medalist Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein.  And it's no surprise that snowboarders Chloe Kim and Red Gerard are popular among the high school students I teach. 

Aside: Sledding events (e.g. luge, skeleton, bobsled) and alpine skiing events (e.g. slalom, super g, downhill) are my favorite Winter Olympic events to watch. 
General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« Last post by Agent D. on Yesterday at 07:29:46 PM »
I like curling because the girls teams are pretty!
Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« Last post by Rucks on Yesterday at 02:27:49 PM »
Resonance of Fate is still weird
Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« Last post by MeshGearFox on Yesterday at 02:16:26 PM »
So I got a Nintendo 64 recently and I have some thoughts on it.

In terms of games, though, been playing the Rush series, Pilotwings 64, Beetle Adventure Racing, Nushi Tsuri 64, and Body Harvest, and I've been enjoying all of them immensely. Aaat the same time most of them have really bad framerate issues when you run them on actual hardware that aren't there when you run them on not-actual-hardware (such as the VC) so it's a bit vexing. (Also I guess with Rush 2049 I could've just gotten the Dreamcast version but I like the music in the N64 one more).

Beyond that, playing some Fur Fighters and Toy Commander (and VOOT a little but I can't get past Dordray :B I need to learn how to reduce V. Armor apparently). Also discovered that I like the original SNES Star Fox after all.
Expanded my list of slow, "pretend I'm smart" scifi movies with The Martian and Ex Machina. Funny I watch these two so close together because they came out in the same year and the two have something of opposite attitudes about technology- one has a general "science is teh awesome" message, and the other one has sort of a "science will screw us over" attitude.

They were both great, but I will say I'm a bigger sucker for space exploration than AI, so points to The Martian for me. I like that for once, there's a movie of this kind which focuses on the problem-solving abilities that the scientific method can bring and envisions a future of global cooperation as in the ideal of space exploration, rather than using space exploration as a vehicle to explore pseudophilosophical/spiritual gobbledygook which happens so often in these kinds of movies. Also I learned a lot about potatoes and human poop via tangential learning, so there was that too.

Also saw Gerald's Game, Stephen King adaptation number 5 or so in 2017 alone. This was a pretty good one though, after being underwhelmed by the It remake and The Dark Tower being...what it was. Interesting to see where these movies on direct-to-Netflix or other such streaming services will go- if I had the space I imagine a good long-term investment would be to just get a hugh jazz TV and watch movies like this at home instead of needing to drive/walk to a theater like a healthy functioning adult.

On the other end of the spectrum, I watched the Evil Dead trilogy. Funny seeing a series realize how ridiculous it is and becoming more and more self-parody over time, yet somehow still working as good movies.

But I guess more topically, I got back from seeing the latest installment of Disney’s plot to dictate global pop culture. I’d say Black Panther is one of the best MCU movies so far though. For reference, my favorite so far is probably The Winter Soldier, and I think I’d put this one just below that one.

I was already pretty interested in seeing the movie before it came out simply because of the unique visuals it promised, so I would’ve enjoyed the movie purely on that alone, but thankfully the plot/characters were pretty good too. Most notably, the villain Killmonger (yes, really) is probably the most well-developed and sympathetic villain in the MCU thus far. I was surprised that the movie decided to take the unfortunate implications that its premise had and decided to basically make the movie about that, something that could just as easily blow up in their faces if not handled correctly.

I will say that if you don’t like superhero movies, this one probably won’t change your mind. It still very predictably follows a three-act structure, and there’s really not any surprises along the way even within that framework. It has quite a few “that was clearly inserted later” type jokes the Disney movies are known for now, and while the side characters are a bit more well-developed than typical Marvel fare, they’re still pretty thin.

oh right i also saw justice league at some point and it was terrible
General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« Last post by ironmage on Yesterday at 11:15:53 AM »
I always thought people "enjoyed" curling due to it being so different from most of the other events, and so people who weren't so into sports would be into it ironically.  I have absolutely no idea if that's true or not.
I find curling interesting because it alternates a tactical element with a skill-based element.  In the planning stage, you try to figure out how best to get your stones into scoring position, while blocking your opponent from doing the same thing on their turn.  In the execution stage, you throw the stone as accurately as possible...and then desperately try to fine-tune its trajectory without touching it.

Since I live in a part of Canada where curling rinks are as plentiful as bowling alleys, I went on a curling field trip in elementary school.  It's not really the sort of thing I'd do for recreation, but I got enough of an appreciation for it to enjoy watching it occasionally.

So curling is a "hipster" sport then.
Curling is about as hipster as golf.
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