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Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Quest XI looks glorious
« Last post by Ranadiel on Today at 09:09:04 AM »
I've had a few days to let my thoughts on this game sit after beating it, and so I am going to post my thoughts. This is a lot more detailed than I would normally do (hell normally I would probably just forget about the game and move on), but the insane amount of love this game has gotten makes me feel it is necessary to at least provide a (hopefully well-reasoned) analysis since I strongly disagree.

TL;DR Executive Summary: I found the game to be incredibly mediocre. There is nothing the game does to make me hate it, but there is nothing it does particularly well (except for maybe puns, but that is not a grading criteria for me).

Graphics
They were fine? I don't really have a lot to say here. I'm just getting the non-spoiler stuff out of the way. I've seen better graphics in other games, but they were not close to being distractingly bad. My one complaint that could go under here (because I don't want to make a section just for it) is that the camera was on occasion bad. I had multiple instances where I would get into a random encounter and a tree branch would be blocking half the screen. I could move the camera, but the moment someone else got a turn, the camera would snap back to having half the screen blocked. Also the camera had issues with trees occasionally while exploring off the beaten path.

Music
I'm sure for some the music was nostalgic, but I was sick of it by the time I got to Gallopolis. The music did not do a good job of setting mood (e.g., a desert having the same music as a tundra) and I have heard all of these songs countless times before even picking this game up.

Voice Acting
I have a negative impression on the VAing in the game, but I can't really think of too many examples of VAing that I disliked beyond Gemma and Serena (plus nearly everyone's pep up screams). So maybe it isn't as bad as I am thinking as I did think some characters like Rab did a decent job.

UI
The menu in this game is incredibly clunky and their is absolutely no reason it has to be as clunky as it was. I found that 70%+ of the time when I went to the menu, I wanted something from the bottom right menu option (Other?) which happened to just be a sequential list of options. This could have been made so much more elegant. I realize that the main menu only has six options out of nostalgia, but there are better ways to organize things than hiding the options that are frequently used. Like have the skill tree being under the attributes menu instead of the quarter of the way down a giant list of options that include some frequently used and some infrequently used. I also found inventory management to be a pain as on occasion I would try to equip something only to be told the character had too much stuff. So I had to go from equipment to items and then select the item, choose who to give it to, and then confirm. Whole thing could have been simplified by either giving me the option to put something away when I tried to equip something beyond what I could carry or better yet make square put things in my bag so it is less tedious to manage the minor drops that you accumulate.

Combat
It is standard turn based combat with no interesting twists to the system. It was a serviceable battle system, but that was about it. Other than when I was metal slime hunting, pepping was just sort of there, being too random to rely on. Really what I will probably remember the longest about the combat is how RNG it felt like it was. Like fighting the same group of enemies, I could either clear them in one turn or spend 5 turns trying to clear them (maybe a slight exaggeration) because they happened to go early and happened to get some turn stealing status effects on all or most of my characters. Never really became a threat, but the whole thing just ended up being tedious whenever I couldn't one round the enemies. Of course if I tried to flee, it would take about 5 attempts even when I was high enough level for the enemy to run on sight from me, so yeah the ocean was fun since I didn't exactly have the option to avoid tedious fights there.

Town Design
I would normally not put a section here on this, but I have seen people gushing over the town design, and well it was incredibly generic. We had a village, a caste town, Japan town, castle town with desert, castle town with snow, etc. They did nothing particularly interesting with their locale and did nothing to imply any sort of scale beyond what we saw...(Act 2 spoilers)
Spoiler: show
Which is sort of a problem when they imply later in the game when they imply that thousands of people died in an event, and well I don't think there are even 200 people alive on the continent.


Story/Characters
This section is going to be a whopper. I don't think there are any problems with the story conceptually. It could have worked, and I am sure I have seen the concepts work in other games, but I think various aspects, especially the characters, hurt their ability to tell this story as effectively as possible. Hard part here is trying to figure out where to even start. For starters, there are some issues relating to writing such as there is one point in the game where you start to look for a McGuffin. When the McGuffin is initially brought up it is in the context of "Well we need to get someplace, we don't don't know how, but this McGuffin is connected to that place so it could be a starting point? Maybe?" Later with no intervening dialogue about the nature of the McGuffin, we have a character screaming about how the McGuffin was going to show us how to get to the place we needed to go to despite no one ever suggesting that before. Before I get into individual characters, I do have to comment about the big bad during Act 2.
Spoiler: show
This big bad is a complete and total mess if you look at everything he did. So after being in hibernation (or w/e) for a ridiculous long period of time (for no known reasons?), he shows up an destroys a nation. Okay. Why? We never got a reason why he destroyed the nation and then didn't go on to destroy the others. There was nothing really indicating that any of the other nations could have stopped his army of monsters back then. But fine, let's say that nation and only that nation was a threat to him. His next action was to attack another nation to try and kill the Luminary. Alright killing the Luminary makes sense as a goal if he thinks the Luminary can stop him. When he fails, he becomes king to influence opinion and set things up so that when the Luminary shows up (either the same or the next generation), the people will kill the Luminary for him. Staying consistent with killing the Luminary. He proceeds to have his minions try to kill the Luminary throughout the game. Okay, and then when you get to the end of Act 1, he steals the mark from the Luminary while he is still alive and that is a necessary step of his plan...WAT? His whole plan to take over the world tree depended on him stealing power from the Luminary, which he could have easily done while the Luminary was a baby without attacking the castle and on gathering the six drago...orbs which he never showed any interest in doing. So he literally only succeeded in his grand vision because of his own incompetence.

Another Act 2 thing to comment on is that they kind of shot themselves in the foot with a lot of Act 2. The mermaid queen sets things up like all of humanity is on the verge of being destroyed. There is just one Last Bastion of humanity that has yet to fall to the darkness. It was an effective set up. And then they fucked it up because it turns out had the people of Last Bastion just gone west for an hour, they would have been in a city that was pretty much untouched by monsters. Oops. Oh and Last Bastion is kind of a wrong name since it turns out only one city was actually destroyed (or really even slightly damaged), so you know there were a bunch of other bastions of humanity just sort of sitting around. Emergency averted! Because the mermaid queen was exaggerating. Good job team!


Oh wait, just thought of another thing I want to touch on before going into individual characters: (Act 2 spoilers)
Spoiler: show
So the Luminary's father storyline...that ending was nowhere near as happy as the game seemed to think it was. You free your father's spirit from being tormented for eternity by a demon and he hears his wife's voice welcoming him back. Problem is that we established that the big bad had ruined the whole natural cycle of life and death and if I recall correctly he was basically absorbing the dead in place of the world tree (and was going out of his way to pick up spirits like Rab's master that were avoiding being absorbed). So when you freed our father from being tormented by the demon, you sent him directly into the belly of the big bad. Oops.
That bit really made me feel like the minor story arcs were written independently of each other with little communication between the writers.

Luminary
We're finally getting to characters! And we start with the worst one. Yes I know DQ does silent protagonists. I don't hate silent protagonists as a concept. As examples, I think Adol and Joker are both silent protagonists done well. The Luminary however did not work for me. I feel the most necessary component for a silent protagonist to work is for there to be some sort of personality behind the character. It doesn't necessarily have to be deep or well developed but something needs to be there. Adol has a love of adventure deeper than the ocean. Joker has a distaste for justice. That's all you really need. The Luminary has none of that, and he is kind of stupid. Really he came off to me as just sort of a piece of cardboard cut into a human shape. (Spoilers including up to Act 3)
Spoiler: show
We see very emoting from him. His home town gets destroyed and possibly everyone he cares about is dead, and he stares blankly on. If the main character, which has spent years in the village doesn't care, I don't see why I should. The one time I can really recall him emoting was when he was on the fishing boat and cried. So he apparently cared more about the Mermaid Queen than he did his own mom? Good thing the Mermaid Queen was perfectly safe and no damage was done to her kingdom at all. Oh right Act 3 stuff. So at the beginning of Act 3, we see multiple instances in which the Luminary basically attempts to have the world destroyed again by giving the main villain a chance to steal the artifact that he knows villain needs to destroy the world. Thankfully the true big bad managed to save the world from his stupidity. Really feels like that would have been resolved hd the Luminary been able to talk and you know explain what was going on.


Erik
I like him a lot more than I probably should because he makes me think of Ban from Seven Deadly Sins who is a much more fun character. I really felt like he had no character worth mentioning during Act 1. His plot in Act 2 was probably one of the better ones?
Spoiler: show
I feel it would have worked better had there been some kind of lead up to it during Act 1 such as him being uncomfortable in the snow castle city or maybe have the priest recognize him during Act 1. The sister plot itself was...fine? It didn't move me because Erik was just kind of there with minimal presence during most of the game, but I can't think of any flaws with the plot itself.


Serena
Despite speaking, I think she might actually be more boring than the cardboard cutout of a main character. (Act 2 spoilers)
Spoiler: show
Thing I will always remember her for is the most poorly done hair cutting scene I have seen in Japanese media. I know it is a trope, but it did not work here. Not at all. Heck, thinking about it, I'm not even really sure there was any sort of change to her personality after that scene. I at least can't remember her acting any differently post-that scene at least. And that would just make the scene even more hilarious since it becomes extra pointless.


Veronica
Probably the most entertaining of the party members? I don't think I have much of anything to complain about regarding her.

Sylvando
I was not looking forward to talking about Sylvando. His backstory is fine (if perhaps a bit...odd). However everytime he was on screen, it felt like it was supposed to be a joke with the punchline of "He's effeminate!" I don't find that funny, and it made me cringe a little every time he had a line as a result.

Rab
I would probably say Rab is the best party member writing wise. I mean the perverted old man joke was old, but he has a well written introduction and his Act 2 quest is probably the best one out of all the characters.
Spoiler: show
A shame the Luminary shows no emotion with regards to Rab as that sort of hurt the Act 1 scenes a bit.


Jade
Like Rab she has an excellent Act 1 introduction. Problem is that unlike Rab she has the worst of the Act 2 quests. Like hers is so bad that it isn't even a contest. It adds nothing to her character, is never brought up again (despite the fact that she should probably have some PTSD from it), and was just poorly thought out from start to finish. Thankfully it is short?

(Act 2 spoilers)
Spoiler: show
Hendrick
So he was alright. His recruitment was fine, but he really doesn't add much post recruitment beyond being there. I know that applies to most of the party, but I don't really have much else to say about him beyond he was there since he only gets his recruitment quest (while most others get two recruitment quests).


So yeah, I think that gets the majority of my thoughts on this game off my chest. I probably could do a lot of additional nitpicking (Act 3 spoiler)
Spoiler: show
Like pointing out how weird it is that the first person that realized they could resurrect Veronica was Hendrick despite her being dead before he changed sides.
But I think I covered most of the major issues I had. Again, overall, the game was fine, just nowhere near the perfect masterpiece that people are painting it as.
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Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« Last post by Der Jermeister on Yesterday at 09:48:41 PM »
I enjoyed Arcadia, but think it would be better with an option to speed up battles and in-game tracking of enemy weaknesses (I remember needing to use the manual constantly to see what enemies were weak against). I've heard some people complain about the soundtrack, but methinks they're just tone-deaf and wouldn't know good RPG music if it bit them in the butt.

I played plenty Toukiden Kiwami on a day-trip, and am still in Chapter 4.
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Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Quest XI looks glorious
« Last post by ironmage on Yesterday at 09:42:58 AM »
I just had a thought.  The PC and Playstation 4 versions of this game have trophy / achievement support.  How much of a task is it to remove that from the Switch version for when it eventually comes over?

Uh... maybe a couple hours for a reasonably bright intern?  Compared to the effort of porting something to different hardware, that doesn't even warrant a line item in the development budget.  PC and PS4 will already have different code for handling trophies, adding a third path for "do nothing" is trivial.
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Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Quest XI looks glorious
« Last post by MonCapitan2002 on Yesterday at 06:13:24 AM »
I just had a thought.  The PC and Playstation 4 versions of this game have trophy / achievement support.  How much of a task is it to remove that from the Switch version for when it eventually comes over?
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Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« Last post by Arvis on September 21, 2018, 11:51:28 AM »
Wow.  Cool, yeah, I'll definitely fast track it then, in that case.
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Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« Last post by Rucks on September 21, 2018, 11:11:25 AM »
Sorry @Rucks , but I do believe I mentioned that it bored me to death.  However, that was after giving it like.... 2 hours?  Maybe slightly less.

I still want to play it again now that my attention span has evened out in my old age.  But I'm not sure what the best way to do that is.

If you still have your Wii, I will send it to you when I'm done.  I bought it off @Frostillicus (he gave me a helluva deal, tbh) and I'm sure he'd want me to do the same.
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Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« Last post by Arvis on September 21, 2018, 09:53:22 AM »
Sorry @Rucks , but I do believe I mentioned that it bored me to death.  However, that was after giving it like.... 2 hours?  Maybe slightly less.

I still want to play it again now that my attention span has evened out in my old age.  But I'm not sure what the best way to do that is.
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General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« Last post by D-Rider on September 21, 2018, 12:12:22 AM »
And I'll admit, after learning about some of Frank Miller's militantly prejudiced sociopolitical views, I sold my copy of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  Despite it being an iconic graphic novel, my visceral gut feeling was that I didn't want a book in my house created by someone who would probably not welcome brown people into his. 

I had a similar realization not too long ago with Batman: Year One.  I saw too many things with my adult eyes and adult knowledge that I didn't care for.

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The Soundroom / Re: Song of the Moment: The Original RPGFan Post Count +1 Megathread
« Last post by D-Rider on September 21, 2018, 12:05:52 AM »
Been listening to a lot of early Opeth lately, up to and including "Blackwater Park".  This is strange, as I have never really given two flying fucks about Opeth.
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General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« Last post by ironmage on September 20, 2018, 09:37:15 PM »
^ Canada's too cold for t-shirts.

In Saskatoon, the average daytime high in summer is 25C (77 F), with this year hitting ~37C (98F) at one point.  We don't all live in Tuktoyaktuk, you know.

I thought it was obvious I was kidding. My fault for not using Facetia font.

Don't worry.
All of this is according to plan.
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