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Messages - pacovf

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Other Games / Re: Outer Wilds
« on: December 11, 2021, 07:13:21 am »
Necro: They released a DLC for Outer Wilds a few months ago, Echoes of the Eye. It honestly could have been a standalone expansion, it's roughly half as much content as the base game. If you liked the base game, then I definitely recommend it. It's almost as good as the base game, which means it's still fantastic...

...although with one snag. Towards the end, the DLC ramps up the "spook" factor up to eleven. It's objectively not *scary*, but to me it felt extremely anxiety-inducing anyway, where the "spook" factor of the base game was well within my tolerance. I ended up looking up online how to beat those sections because they were sapping all the fun for me. Unfortunately, while there are legitimate ways to avoid those sections if you're observant/patient, I got stuff spoiled that I shouldn't have known and didn't need to know, marring my enjoyment of the final act. So if you play the DLC and want some non-spoilery tips, ask here. There is also an option in the menu that significantly drops the difficulty of the relevant sections, so you can just brute force them instead.

Other Games / Re: Hollow Knight
« on: December 07, 2021, 09:00:38 pm »
Oh, I had forgotten that Zote is in the 3rd pantheon, I thought that was in the 4th (though in hindsight I'm glad it wasn't). Yeah, that automatically makes it a hard pantheon too. I'm... not a huge fan of that fight.

Other Games / Re: Hollow Knight
« on: December 01, 2021, 06:55:40 pm »
For what it's worth, that's what the Hall of Gods is good for. Just practice the bosses you struggle with until you can beat them in Ascended, they'll feel easy in the pantheon afterwards. I found that to be less frustrating than grinding the pantheon itself.

By the way, did you find the uh secret "pantheon"?

EDIT: Oh, just saw they were complaining about the *colosseum*, not the pantheons. Yeah, the third one is a bit frustrating in that sense, and probably why most people just end up "cheesing" it.

Rules Questions / Re: Coffers Rules Change
« on: November 26, 2021, 02:57:45 pm »
"While in play" is confusing in a way that "this turn" is not. That's what it comes down to.

I am amused by this. If I remember correctly, "while in play" was introduced because "this turn" was confusing (as in, harder to track). See Highway vs Bridge. Life twists and turns :p

Other Games / Re: Hollow Knight
« on: November 25, 2021, 04:17:01 am »
The pantheons unlock 4 new bosses and remixes of many others. First three pantheons are honestly not too bad (but unlikely to beat them first try just due to how theyíre structured), so I would say try those and see. Fourth is hard but unlocks arguably the best boss in the game. Fifth is an insane time commitment, but itís not like you have to do it to enjoy the others.

Other Games / Re: Hollow Knight
« on: November 12, 2021, 08:25:01 am »
I have to assume LFN's comment about the shard was a bait to get you to fall into the Deepnest. One of the most memorable parts of the game for me was getting there a bit early (before crystal mines) and unprepared (nail 2 at most), and having to do a really, really long treck back to civilization (through the tram to the ancient basin, then Kingdom edge and finally eastern City of Tears before the next stag station, if you don't think to go to the distant village)

Other Games / Re: Metroid Dread
« on: November 05, 2021, 09:55:58 pm »
No, I meant that before Hollow Knight, new games in the genre were compared to Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night, which were tough games to match but still achievable. Now new games have to be compared to Hollow Knight too, which is incredibly ambitious, extremely well realized, ridiculously cheap, and somehow developed by only a three-man team... You just can't measure up. I don't even think Silksong will be able to, but I am willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Other Games / Re: Metroid Dread
« on: November 05, 2021, 07:27:59 pm »
Yeah, sorry, I realize now that was phrased weird. It was meant to say that if you haven't played Hollow Knight yet and you like Metroidvanias, you really really should (unless you hate hard bosses I guess?). It's just on a completely different level, and for better or worse it's going to be a while before we can talk about a new entry in the genre without mentioning it. It would be better "value" than Dread even if it cost the same.

More reasonable comparisons are with stuff like Ori (Dread is better but considerably more expensive). I don't regret paying 60 bucks for it either, but it's a fact that there are cheaper recent alternatives out there, and I believe that part of the reason why those alternatives are cheaper is because Hollow Knight exists and set the bar where it did.

Other Games / Re: Metroid Dread
« on: November 03, 2021, 07:45:55 pm »
To be fair, Hollow Knight has way fewer upgrades than the average Metroid, and the main ones are frontloaded at the beginning of the game. Without detracting from how good of a game it is, it's easier to make for a satisfying world to explore when there's only a handful of movement upgrades, and 90% of the world is accessible with just the first two. Movement upgrades that change the way you interact with the world just aren't the focus. That being said, the beginning of Hollow Knight, where you're railroaded a bit more, is still way more open than Dread. Maybe Metroid should add light RPG elements to its gameplay loop too :p

But hey, if this approach to Metroid means more sales for what has always been an underperforming franchise for Nintendo, maybe that increases the chances for an exploration-heavy Metroid down the line.

Other Games / Re: Metroid Dread
« on: November 03, 2021, 05:52:47 am »
Yeah, I saw that. I agree with the final take that it's a strike against the game, though my overall opinion is more positive than theirs.

I was checking the map right after I got every upgrade, and you're actually very restricted in where you can go for like 80% of the game. It's only after you get the screw attack that the game lets you backtrack anywhere you want, and that's the second-to-last upgrade unless you've sequence-break'd. Before then, whole areas you've already been to can't be revisited, even if they sometimes do give you the freedom to double-check the area you are currently in (not always). Coupled with the path forward being fairly linear, there's just not that much exploration.

It's actually on the longer end of 2D Metroid standards, but those are short games as a general rule. Hard to rank it compared to Zero Mission or Super Metroid, with their stronger emphasis on exploration, but it's better than Fusion, which is the closest one in what it was trying to do.

Other Games / Metroid Dread
« on: November 01, 2021, 09:16:38 pm »
So "the first new metroid 2D game in 19 years" came out a few weeks ago. Of course, since Metroid Fusion, we've had Metroid Prime 2 and 3, Hunters, Other M, Federation Force and the remake of Metroid 2, so it's not like nothing has happened with the franchise since then... but it's still a very meaningful addition. I have played through the game three times now. Once normally, getting 100% after beating the final boss, once again looking for places to "sequence break", and a casual speedrun on hard difficulty. And I have some thoughts that I need to get out.

Main one is that Dread is a sequel to Fusion in more ways than one. The emphasis is not really on exploration anymore. While the game doesn't spell out for you where you have to go, it has a tendency to close paths behind you as you go and leave very few options open at any given time. I don't mind that much that there's rarely more than one unopened door (or equivalent) at any given time, heavily pushing you towards The One True Path, but locking your options to backtrack for collectibles or just to check if you missed anything else than the obvious path in front of you is super annoying, especially when the "locking" comes unexpectedly, such as "random" pitfall blocks. The game only really lets you explore towards the end of the game. There are some occasions in which you can sequence break with clever/skillful platforming, placed there by the devs, but most are curiosities that don't last long before you're forced back to the main path. Some glitches allow further sequence breaking, but I don't know much about them.

That being said, movement is a joy. Controlling Samus has never felt better, you're zipping around at light speed, jumping, bouncing, sliding, etc., and it only gets better with additional upgrades. I believe it's this expanded mobility that really let MercurySteam go wild with the (few "true") bosses in the game, which are hands down the best in the whole series. Previous 2D Metroid games mostly had you trading blows with bosses, and while skill was still involved, it was mostly a check for how many missiles/energy tanks you had collected. In Dread, all boss attacks can be dodged, and with a bit of practice bosses can be beat without ever getting hit (the flipside, of course, is that any hit *hurts*, so you'll likely die a few times to each boss).

The EMMIs are fine. They're overall better than the SA-X, from a gameplay perspective, expecting quick planning and actual reactivity from the player, but they can also feel a bit unfair in that their placement is somewhat randomized. Luckily Dread checkpoints often, so they fact they instakill you is not too frustrating. They mostly test your capacity to exploit the level design to avoid them, so some feel more fun than others depending on how interesting the "platforming" around them is. I thought they were fun my first time around the game (though they seem to be polarizing online) as an occasional break of the usual gameplay, but on replays they get a bit boring since they're a bit too linear and there is very little you can do to optimize their sections. Maybe if their areas were a bit more open that would have alleviated the problem, but alas (check Rainworld if you want to see this concept pushed into a fullscale game).

For more general stuff, the game is obviously the best looking Metroid to date, by far. Music is just fine, not memorable but not bad. The plot (there is one!) is good enough with a couple of twists, and mostly references Fusion and (I think) M:SR. Loading screens between areas are long. One particular returning upgrade (grapple beam) gets some cool additional tricks, but unfortunately suffers from horrible inputs, often requiring 4 (!!!!) simultaneous inputs to use - I think the devs were aware of the issue, because you rarely need to use it precisely and quickly, but still, a different scheme would have allowed additional puzzles and platforming with it. The map is particularly useful this time around, quick check will usually tell you where to go if you've ever played a Metroid game before. Lots of hidden breakable blocks stopping progression, I only had to check a guide twice in Dread (even while getting 100%), and both were early on due to this problem, before I got in the habit of missile-ing and bomb-ing everything; I am very iffy about this.

Anyhoo, overall Dread is still a really good Metroid game, I would argue almost strictly better than Fusion. The fact that it's rather linear is more than made up for the fluidity of its movement and the quality of the bosses. Really the main issue with Dread is the price compared to indie alternatives (there is a before and an after Hollow Knight), but if the main thing you want from it is the progression from acquiring upgrades or want to know the next episode in the Metroid story, this is still a very worthwhile investment. I played AM2R right after (never had before, turns out I should have), and it's definitely a very different feel in terms of exploration even though it's somewhat linear itself; hopefully the next (?) Metroid game MercurySteam develops can capture that too.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: June 04, 2021, 06:33:46 am »
So, after all these years... What is, in fact, the question you've been asked the most in interviews?

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: March 28, 2021, 06:09:10 pm »
Been playing some more Noita and... it's such a weird game. It's combining genres in odd ways. Like, it's a Falling Sand game, mixed with a roguelike a la DCSS... mixed with Worms, of all things? DCSS and Falling Sand is a great mix, makes it much more immersive than pretty much any other roguelike I have ever played. Worms and Falling Sand is also a great mix, things get silly and out of hand very easy. But Worms and DCSS are just... fundamentally opposed.

There's two ways to play the game. The first one is a straight action roguelike that takes maybe 2-3 hours per run, with a fair amount of chaos from the way the physics, the wand/spell crafting, and the "perks" combine with each other. You will likely end up killing yourself all on your own, and that's ok. I recommend just playing the Daily Practice Run (after you've tried the default mode a few times), which starts you deeper in the mountain. You will skipp the first one or two biomes, which are kind of repetitive.

Then there's the "long run" approach, in which you spend 2-3 hours "farming" the main path until you become a minor god, then you "sequence break" and go explore a world that is ridiculously large compared to the default areas, with secrets laying on secrets everywhere. The exploration is genuinely fun and inventive, forcing you to exploit the perks and spellcrafting to its limits, and rewarding the observing player. The problem is that the reward for exploration is death way too frequently. You will often unlock spells and perks (for that run and all future ones) that will kill you if you don't know ahead of time what to expect. Or you will find monsters with "cheap" skills that will kill you out of nowhere. Bam, you just lost a ten hour run. Want to explore some more? Gotta grind for a few hours before you can try again. You can check the wiki ahead of time to make sure you avoid the most common pitfalls, but that just kills the desire to explore.

Anyway, I currently have a love/hate relationship with this game.

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: March 11, 2021, 08:54:24 pm »
There is a thread specifically about Hades. Hades is great, although itís a rogue-lite more than a roguelike, with heavy focus on the story. If you enjoy Dead Cells, you will likely enjoy Hades too. I think it is overall the better game, but itís definitely easier and less wacky.

General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: March 11, 2021, 04:18:31 pm »
I have tried a couple of roguelikes lately, so it is time to bring this thread back!

The first one is Dead Cells. I thought they oversell the "metroidvania" part of the game. You unlock the mobility abilities relatively fast, they persist across runs, and for the most part none of them change the way you approach combat, which is the main draw of the game.

The combat itself is pretty good though, and the variety of weapons with their movesets, combos, and critical conditions is remarkable. While some are just slight variations on one another (e.g. slightly slower but stronger weapon, or changing the critical condition from attacking enemies with this or that status effect), some drastically change the way you approach combat (e.g. a sword that teleports you to the other side of the enemy you attack, or sandals that deal massive damage when you push enemies against a wall, and that's before looking into ranged weapons or skills). It really puts other ARPGs to shame in that department. An interesting thing it does is that the game drops weapons with higher stats as the run goes on, so you have to choose whether you would rather keep the weapon you already have, whose moveset you might prefer or that comboes with the rest of your equipment, or the new stronger weapon.

I am not a huge fan of the artstyle, but that might be because I am playing on the Swith in handheld mode. The artstyle is just not very clear, which is bad in a game that is balanced around the player never getting hit. They try to fix that by putting a giant exclamation mark on top of enemies right before they attack, but it's not an ideal solution either.

A couple more interesting things they do is that you have a lot of control over which biomes you visit on your way to the final boss. You can even choose the bosses you fight on your way there, although they are tied to the biomes you visit. That means you can avoid areas when your gear just isn't adapted to the enemies there. This is not something modern roguelikes do very often, it changes the way you approach the game. On the other hand, you unlock new equipment for future runs as drops from specific enemies, so you are still encouraged to visit all biomes regularly.

Another interesting concept is that the game rewards you for clearing areas quickly. This works great to give players an incentive not to comb every inch of every level, so the game keeps running at a brisk pace... or would, if it weren't because the rewards for combing every level are stat increases which boost your damage exponentially with each one you find, while the reward for clearing levels quickly is equipment which will likely be obsolete by the time you reach the final boss. It's a shame they didn't commit to the concept a bit more fully.

Has anyone tried Noita yet? It sounds interesting, I can't justify buying it yet but it's on my radar.

Tried Noita. It's... interesting. It's the least roguelike-feeling roguelike I have ever tried. I think they came up with the systems first, and the gameloop after. As I said in my earlier comment, the spell-crafting is fundamentally broken, so the only way to keep the player "honest" is by killing them often, so they are forced to make-do with new spells.

The reason why I say it feels un-roguelike is because of how... unfair (?) it feels. Stuff will kill you from the edge of the screen, explosives are sometimes hard to tell from the background, and there is a general chaotic energy to the whole proceedings that makes it so that your death is not always really your fault. You will rarely get one-shot (except for some moments where the devs are clearly trolling you), but situations in which you lose 30-50% of your health without much you can do about it are frequent. Especially when you are going straight down into unknown territory - your horizontal mobility is pretty bad, so it is hard to dodge enemies shooting at you from below. Or maybe I am just bad, I don't know.

That being said, trying to make OP spells is fun, the spell variety is astonishing, and there is a genuine sense of exploration to the game that I haven't seen in any other roguelike. I would recommend going in as blind as possible for that reason, although some mechanics are not explained very well, if at all. I just wish it took less time in every run to reach the point where you start having enough spell components and good enough wands to really start spellcrafting. The first 3 biomes or so, in which your spell options are rather limited, are fairly repetitive, and it makes experimenting with the many spells that come with "side effects" a much less appealing proposition when you're risking losing an hour or more of progress from some unexpectedly lethal combination of effects.

Other Games / Re: In defense of Monopoly
« on: March 08, 2021, 04:56:40 pm »
Yup. Could even say 12pm forum time.

What time zone is that? I have everything set to local time right now.

I believe it is EST? At time of writing this, forum says it's 4:56pm.

Other Games / Re: In defense of Monopoly
« on: March 07, 2021, 03:22:42 pm »
Yup. Could even say 12pm forum time.

Other Games / Re: In defense of Monopoly
« on: March 07, 2021, 10:30:27 am »
Someone rename this thread:  "The Necro Wars".  Then everyone immediately shut up and let the games begin.  See you in 2 years.

I shall reclaim my title.

*marks March 7th 2018 on Google Calendar*

pacovf, you joked about doing it.

I actually did.

Man, imagine if I had actually noted it down on my calendar, then missed posting on the thread long enough that someone else managed to ninja me. That would be stupid.

...see you March 7th, 2021.

Nothing I could say today would change the meaning (if there is any) of this post. So I will say nothing.

General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: February 23, 2021, 08:15:32 pm »
What I was trying to convey (and, I believe, what Cuzz tried to convey earlier) is exactly the same as what ConMan said. We are discussing notation only, not what the statements refer to. I did not have to look up anything, I was describing common usage in which "f(x)" is often used in the place of "f" because it can be useful to do so (as you have done yourself in some of your posts and ConMan demonstrated in his). Math is written by humans for humans [citation needed], abuses of notation are bound to happen even in the most rigorous of proofs as long as the meaning remains clear in context.

I did point out that I did not know if the common usage had been formalized, because it is important to distinguish between proper notation and shorthand for when shorthand becomes ambiguous. One example of shorthand that ended up formalized is the Einstein summation convention. It seems you have encountered a shorthand you're not used to, and are naturally confused. But the meaning in the examples you gave is absolutely clear from context.

General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: February 23, 2021, 05:04:36 pm »
I donít like ďthe graph of f(x)Ē either, but in most cases itís clear what they mean. Itís the same as when someone says ďthe graph of x^2Ē, for example, which is also iffy notation but saves a lot of words / formulas.

I find the other example you bring up much more clear cut though. While ideally we would write f=O(g), the truth is that very often g ends up being something like x^2 or n*ln(n) or whatever. I find it nicer to write f(x) = O(x^2) than f = O(x^2), although in both cases the intent of the writer is completely clear. Specifying the variable is even better when you have functions of two or more variables, as Cuzz brought up earlier.

Ultimately, when enough people use a given shorthand, then you just end up having to learn it. This is not the worst case of notation abuse by a long shot. However, I would expect the writer to become more rigorous for contexts in which the distinction between the function and its output is not obvious, such as if you have functions of functions or whatnot.

General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: February 23, 2021, 01:07:04 pm »
Well, if you want to be super rigorous with notation, then f(x) = x^2-25 is not a function definition either, itís an equation for variable x, which you might be able to solve if f was defined earlier. The notation for defining functions is different (and clunkier). f(x) for f is a frequent abuse of notation where it avoids more cumbersome notation, although it is true that it is used unnecessarily in some cases.

Itís been a while since Iíve had to do super formal maths, but maybe part of the confusion comes from thinking that ďxĒ necessarily refers to some specific number/object. Thatís only sometimes true, for example in a set of equations. Maybe the concept of ďdependent variableĒ, as Cuzz puts it, is the right term when ďxĒ is not meant to represent a specific object, but rather to let you speak about rules that convert other from a given category. I do not know how formalised that notation approach is, but in effect is what people do in most of the cases youíre complaining about.

Other Games / Re: Celeste
« on: January 31, 2021, 06:19:21 pm »
Ah yes, the well-known adage that al games are made better with a hookshot. Hence why I expect great things from Silksong too.

Other Games / Re: Hades
« on: December 22, 2020, 06:56:48 pm »
Kinda hard to talk about the game without spoiling things. Half the fun is discovering the plot, and the new mechanics that keep being revealed surprisingly far into the game.

The only thing I was disappointed by was that it was so good during the "main game", my expectations for the post-credits content was similarly sky-high, but then it was just more of a slow drip. Which would have actually been pretty good if I had played some more after credits just for the fun of it, discovering the few things still hidden as cool small additions.

Other Games / Re: Hollow Knight
« on: December 08, 2020, 02:59:35 pm »
I started the Path of Pain and though it wasn't too bad. Then I got to one specific corridor and now I'm on my 286th death.

Were you just keeping track of this? That would be so demoralizing to me.

Other Games / Re: New Paper Mario announced!
« on: October 28, 2020, 01:24:05 pm »
Got it and played through it. Overall I think it has some really strong points (mainly humour, charm, boss battles), but it is dragged down by a combat system that gets old halfway through Chapter 1.

The "sad" part is that the battle system would have been enjoyable if it was a bit less puzzle-like and a bit more RPG-like. The fun part of boss battles is that you're trying to figure out a way through the battle space that maximises damage to the boss, minimises damage to you (for some fights), and sets up the next turn. Because you're not certain you can do all, you have to choose what is more important, and there's a risk-reward aspect in how much time you want to spend looking for an optimal solution risking that the time runs out and you end up doing nothing at all. It's great, and I wouldn't mind seeing something similar in other games in a more mature form. By comparison, regular battles *always" have a perfect solution, and they are balanced around that. Missing the solution doesn't just mean you can't clear the battle (meaning you will be taking damage, and a hefty amount at that), but also reduces the damage you deal and the money you get at the end of the battle! If it was balanced around the idea that you're not expected to perfect-clear every encounter, because there isn't always a solution, you would reproduce some of what makes the boss battles fun.

Sort of related to the battle issue, it would have been nice if the accessory system was deeper, a la TTYD. How about choosing between an accessory that gives you extra ring moves, or another one that reduces damage from enemies in the farther rings? Or between an accessory that stuns foes that are moved 2 or more times, or another one that increases the damage of your attacks depending on how much time you had left? There's a world of possibilities there, and experimenting with accessory combinations would have helped keep battles fresh throughout the game. Not to mention they would have been a great reward for exploration, which is essentially non-existent in Origami King (the game is very linear and has essentially no sidequests). I mean, I enjoyed finding Toads more than I though I would, but the only gameplay rewards for exploration are consumables and a handful of HP up upgrades.

There are other comparatively minor things I could complain about, like the lack of interesting puzzles (mostly due to Mario's very limited moveset; only one chapter even attemps to have good puzzles, although even there the game is quick to point out the solutions), fixing Not-Bottomless Holes being pure busywork, Olivia not being a great choice for main companion, or the hamstrung structure of most chapters (compared to the wacky variety in TTYD or SPM). Chapter 1 in particular was so boring I was tempted to abandon the game altogether; luckily it picks up towards the end and stays engaging after that point.

Anyway, I am sounding very negative, but that's only because the bad parts (mostly the battle system) really hurt what would have otherwise been an amazing game. 

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