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6991  Media / General Games / Re: Most under-rated games ever? on: October 22, 2009, 11:10:50 PM
Here's another way of looking at it.

CT actually has a very fun battle system that finally makes proper use of some aspects inherent to ATB. First, there's a meaningful timing element. This stems from A) Having to wait for combo attacks and B) Attacks have different effect areas and as such you sometimes want to rate till more enemies come in range. Additionally, it added in the interesting concept of making everyone a spell-caster and everyone having a specific elemental affinity. This SORT of went a long way to making this probably the first Square game where everyone is actually useful for something.

However, the balance often gets in the way of this. Elemental affinities are rather underused. Combo cost v. effectiveness isn't really on right. And the game, as a whole, is a little too easy for a lot of this hidden depth to come out.

Suppose there was a Hardtype version of the game, where enemies were stronger, tech effectiveness and cost was tweaked, and various other unique features mattered more. Suppose this worked out in such a way that you'd want to play around with techs every battle for the sake of efficiency, so that another level of resource management opened up.

Suppose maybe that there was a hardtype version of the game, and you played it, and after playing it, the flaws in the more familiar version just became a lot more apparent.

Of course, there's no such hardtype version of CT. Just speculatin'.
6992  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Legendary Rpgfan forums discussions... on: October 22, 2009, 01:00:58 PM
Meshy-poo's been around the 'fan long enough that he probably doesn't have to think too hard to infer the "punchline" of the oil of clove story.  It makes my freshman year suitemate's Tiger Balm story seem like "See Spot Run."  

I've been around since 1999. I found the fora* about four years ago. I found the general discussion board like two years ago.

I have a guess what it's about but I'm a bit scared to actually let my mind go there.

... Is it kind of like that porcupine story only with fire?

* I don't even know if this is the singular of forum but I read it somewhere and it sort of reminds me of bacteria (like, .... uh... I'm not sure nevermind bacteria are pretty cool though) so um...
6993  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The PS3 "Yellow Light of Death" on: October 22, 2009, 12:45:26 PM
The PS2 was a pretty damn delicate system so I'm not surprised. OH NO A TINY PIECE OF DUST ON MY LENS!? CRAAAWLING IIIIIIN MY SKIIIIIIIIN. What's this? A CD? BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARFGHFG. No, I'll only work if flipped *upside down*.

Also that hole thing with "you can drop a Gamecube off a fucking building and it won't really be any worse for it."

Seriously though, the worst part is this.

No, you bloody nose-picking, weasel-licking nimrod. As a paying consumer you have certain rights, which assumes that a company will NOT screw you out of money within a reasonable time span. This shoddy workmanship AND anti-consumer attitude is one of the worst things about this generation.

He's absolutely right. The fact that like 90% of gamers are complacent consumer whores now that don't demand exceptionalism or An End To The Bullshit means that we're still going to be seeing a lot of bullshit and not very much exceptionalism.

Same reason Sonic games lately have sucked. If a company can make mediocre products and still sell them just as well, they're going to keep making medicore products.
6994  Media / General Games / Re: Most under-rated games ever? on: October 22, 2009, 12:51:05 AM
It's not irrelevant, I'm genuinely interested in what you consider good design.

I wish I knew. I really genuinely wish I knew. I don't even know if I like CT. You know, I'd seriously have an easier time discussing CT in particular if rom hack discussion wasn't so verboten, because there was a hack that addressed some of my complaints about balance in a really innovative way, but I'm going to shut up about that now.

I have a hard time talking about what I'd call good design in an RPG. I think good design principles sort of go across genres, though.

So let's talk about why I think Quake 3 is well designed. At it's core, it has a surprisingly strong physics ruleset in place, for one thing. Additionally, every weapon has its use, and there's no absolutely super-powerful weapon (except the BFG, of course, but that's more of a reward item) and actually usefulness is really just bounded by player skill with a given weapon. Weapons also have interesting behaviors that you can play around with, and combined with the physics system you get some really neat emergent behaviors. Finally, there's a lot of strategy, both in terms of trick shots and acrobatics, as well as just basic things like resource control. In some regards, it's actually better than Ut99, which doesn't really have acrobatics or as interesting physics.

So let's generalize this. What do I like, in a broader sense?

* Balance (If this isn't obvious by now...)
* Emergent behavior, specifically in the form of lots of different rules that all interact with eachother. I tend to look at rules/mechanics in a very object oriented manner, in that they should all be distinct but freely interacting, I guess?
* INTERESTING behaviors. I can mostly forgive wonky balance if I can play around and experiment with things (See: Why FFV is the only SNES FF I kind of like).
* Strategy. Sort of a factor of all of these. For strategy to really work, you need fairly strong balance. For strategy to be interesting, you need emergent and/or interesting behaviors/options/whatever.
* An emphasis on player skill. As in, if this game uses stats, I want it to matter more how good *I* am at playing the game than what the characters'/units' stats are (the latter scenario leads to grindfests or just Stupid Aggravating Shit, like the uh, combat system in most elder scrolls games).

What is my favorite RPG? Ultima 7. And here's a neat problem, because Ultima 7 doesn't really have any balance, because combat is completely irrelevant and 90% of the spells in the game are literally just for either your convenience or Neat Fun Visual Effects. As such, there's no strategy, because battles are absolutely hands off and inconsequential. So why is Ultima 7 my favorite RPG?

You can fucking bake bread. Seriously. It's not JUST the bread baking, of course, but the entire game is built around this concept of being a sort of virtual world, where everything is interactive and every NPC has a purpose/schedule/home/life. I don't think there's been an RPG since that's actually *been* as interactive or detailed.

And in its own weird way, it DOES emphasize player skill. not in combat, but in problem solving and dealing with the puzzles and just how you interact with the world. It's a story driven game, but unlike XG, the story is driven by you.

Except Ultima 7 is sort of devoid of any real gameplay mechanic so it's probably not a good example here. It's probably not a good example of game design. I'm not sure it's even really a game so much as it is a virtual world. I like virtual worlds, though. I like SimCity and Creatures and Aquanaut's Holiday.

But I digress. You wanted an RPG.

I think what I want the most is a game that I can actually *play*. That I can actually *interact with*. Something where I'm not just strung along on a linear path between a series of puzzle bosses with very little other input which is why, despite like it's battle system and feeling that it was generally pretty well balanced, I can't say I consider FFX to be, as a whole, well designed (and, of course, the camera blew, the dungeons were lacking, and I'm not sure how I feel about the Sphere Grid).

I feel lately like I can't really think of any well-designed RPGs. I can't really think of any that I thought had the same depth and clarity of thought as, say, Crusader Kings (which is kind of an RPG in some sense, but...) or SimCity 4. And I have to admit, I've barely played RPGs at all since, uh, August, just out of a lack of i... ...

Quest for Glory 2 VGA. The combat system is hands on, but still does place an emphasis on your stats (but not so much so that player skill is irrelevant). Each class plays different. There's multiple solutions to every puzzle, some relying on your stats, some not. You have to *play through* various scenes. There's a scheduling system in place. You have to eat. The world is interactive. The characters feel fleshed out even though it's not a very dialogue heavy game. There's this feeling of it having its own internal reality. It's an interesting mix of linear and non-linear in the same way P3 is only it's shorter and there's far less down time. There's lots of exploration. There's lots of experimentation.
6995  Media / General Games / Re: Most under-rated games ever? on: October 21, 2009, 03:12:42 PM
They only had enough resources to put his story or Fuse's story into the game, and they chose HIS...

No, that's the thing. They didn't have enough resources to put fuse's story into the game, so it was axed. Lute was tacked on as a sandbox mode. I think. Also, I rather liked Unlimited (for reasons I'll never explain).

So tell me, what RPGs do you feel are examples of good design?

I'd rather not give you examples of games I thought were well designed as a whole, because it's the same tactic *I* used to use in arguments. "I don't like X." "Well what DO you like?" "I like A, B, and C." "But A, B, and C suck/have such-and-such in common with X! Your opinion is inconsistent/flawed!" And then I do the same thing back to you, endlessly. It quickly gets irrelevant and it's not very interesting, anyway.

However, I will anyway, except I have class in 25 minutes and then I'm going to go buy myself a therapy cactus*.

Also I'll probably just give examples of mechanics I thought were well designed as way, way too many RPGs fall apart in terms of integrating the different gameplay mechanics/systems.

Also, what Gen said. I'm not saying CT is *bad*. I just don't think it's a shining example of game design.

Here's a list restating my previous points.

* CT has very little gameplay outside of the battle system.
* The battle system is ATB, with combos.
* I don't think the combos are particularly well balanced.
* I don't really like ATB anyway.
* CT's dungeons WERE well designed.
* CT didn't have any sort of character building/developing/customization mechanic.

Anyway, class.

---four hours later---

Okay, back.

* Something else I will never explain.
6996  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: October 21, 2009, 02:44:24 PM
I got the kids and I've been wandering around trying to level them up, but with no particular quests to go on yet it's getting kind of boring.

... Why are you grinding in DQ5? Was there some mandatory grind and wait part at the beginning, like with Torneko in DQIV..?
6997  Media / The Soundroom / Re: The Recent Musical Purchases Thread on: October 21, 2009, 03:11:51 AM
Okay, stuff I actually bought.

Wild Beasts - Two Dancers (Downloadable purchase)
Wild Beasts - Limbo, Panto (Found at a Half Price Books and More)
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac (Not really as good as Rumours. McVie's sort of inconsistent. I wonder how Tusk is).
Over the Rhine - Drunkard's Prayer (This is so awesome).
6998  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: October 21, 2009, 02:18:43 AM
After a bit of fiddling, I got Riven working. Beautiful game.

Also my internet seems to be working. Let's see if I can apply to gradschool.
6999  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Legendary Rpgfan forums discussions... on: October 20, 2009, 02:06:29 PM
Vad ar den har "oil of cloves" story about which you speak ???
7000  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: October 20, 2009, 02:02:43 PM
It was harder to figure out where you were last. I remember the game wasn't as good at tracking your progress.

Wait, how does P1 PSP track your progress Does it like light up the path you've been down?

P1 on the PSX had an automap although I seem to be the only person that realized that.

Anyway, to the other guy, do you know what her elemental strengths/weaknesses are? Are what sort of attacks she uses a lot of? Just fuse new personas to counter that I guess.
7001  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: October 19, 2009, 05:39:36 PM
This is exactly where I left off in the original version, but the lack of a good mapping system made this a chore.

What was wrong with the original Persona 1's mapping system?
7002  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Legendary Rpgfan forums discussions... on: October 19, 2009, 05:36:24 PM
Should we be frightened that stuff like animal dildos (i.e. the Thor horse one that's bigger than my forearm), Russian people getting their penises mauled by furry woodland creatures, and eroge recommendations have become so nonchalant at RPGFan?

Well, there's a lot of overlap with the anime watching community. And I think there's far weirder stuff in anime.

Or japanese movies in general. Freaky forest much?
7003  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Which of these SRPGs should I pick up? on: October 19, 2009, 05:22:57 PM
I didn't really care for Odin Sphere much. I think that if you want an RPG/Beat-em-up hybrid, you're better sticking with the old standbies of like, River City Ransom and Dynasty Warriors. Odin Sphere's biggest problem, to me, was sort of those gimmicky stages where you constantly take environmental damage unless you cast some sort of anti-environmental-damage potion. These really only exist to make you grind for potion ingredients. This sort of compounds with the repetition issues somethin' awful.

I didn't like Disgaea when I first played it because it's sort of a grindfest but holy shit that was seven years ago. The battle mechanics I RECALL being pretty strong. Also the levelling was probably pretty fast. I think my issue was I hit some earlyish mission where you had to level up item world things, and some random number generation shit kept fuckin' me over. I don't know. Disgaea's probably good.
7004  Media / General Games / Re: Most under-rated games ever? on: October 19, 2009, 02:22:18 AM
When something about a design is good, that defines it as good design.

Eliminating flaws is a good design *practice* but it does not ensure a good end-product design. If you have a product that consists of nothing but flaws, eliminating all of the flaws leaves you with a flawless batch of nothing, which is essentially what I'd describe CT as. It's flawless strictly on the grounds that it doesn't do very much. It doesn't take risks. It doesn't really do anything new. It's a very standard game that only stands out because it came out in an area of universally sub-standard games.

Chrono Trigger got away from both these problems by not subjecting the player to endless mazes, and also by making world navigation painless.

You mention painless a lot, either directly or by proxy, in comparison to other 16-bit era games. But since when does painless mean fun?

I've played through it maybe three times. The first time I played it, it was my favorite game, and I've been enjoying it less and less ever since. There's very little new to see on repeated playthroughs. I can't replay it and get something new from it. I've seen all... seven or so of the sidequests it has. There aren't anymore of them out there. I've gotten Magus. I did that thing with the locked chest. I haven't seen all the endings, but they're not really worth it and they're mostly just based on when you beat Lavos.

What more am I supposed to get out of it?

When I replay it I get really aware of how painfully short Zeal is, or how small and irrelevant the towns are. There's nothing to explore or really get lost in. Yes, it shuffles you along at a fast pace and there's nothing irrelevant, but... I want to play the goddamn game. I don't want to be pushed along like I'm at some sort of timeshare tour. It's just... there's nothing there anymore except pretty music and nice graphics.
7005  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Which of these SRPGs should I pick up? on: October 19, 2009, 12:20:14 AM
Odin Sphere isn't an SRPG. It's a beat-em-up with some RPGish elements.
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