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Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
While I appreciate that they did their own thing with the partner system, a lot of things are hardly adapted to having said partner. I had a good success rate using parries and drain attacks during the mandatory alone section in the first dungeon. Once I got a partner again, I found those moves hard to pull of. The partner will repeatedly disrupt my timing by staggering, killing or just aggroing an enemy I had plans for. On the other hand, backstabbing is often easier than it should be since you can easily backstab an enemy who's aggroed to your partner, as long as said partner doesn't kill it too quickly that is. My opinion is that once they made the decision to give the player a partner, the game developers needed to make more changes to adapt the soulslike formula thereafter.


I would agree with everything you said if it weren't for the fact that partners are optional. Because they are, all design decisions had to account for players going through the game both with and without partners. Gonna brush up against danger here and make some assumptions about designer intent: Assuming there were no technical/time constraints preventing the work needed to flesh out partner gameplay, I would say the reason those changes weren't in place was to appeal to both Souls vets and newcomers put off by the Souls' trademark difficulty. A newcomer to Soulslikes won't have the practice from prior games to really concern themselves with precise actions like parrying, while a Souls purist may choose to forgo partners entirely to replicate a Soulslike game. As long as those two extremes were accounted for, wierdo centrists like me who played every Souls game but still take partners along can adapt their playstyle accordingly.

author=Crystalgate
There is no reason to have roll, guar and parry on three separate buttons. Dark Souls had to do it that way because the existence of parry and guard is bound to your equipment. However, this is not the case in Code Vein, there's no reason not to do it like Kingdom Hearts and bind both roll and guard to the same button.


If dodge and guard were mapped to the same button, how would you account for situations were you wanted to use one over the other?
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13715
Little Wing Guy
I am also playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and when I say "playing" I mean I am displaying unhealthy obsessive behaviour.

I also started Black Eagles, but I feel like Hubert is going to stab me in the back (literally). I made Edelgard my tank which is hilarious to me as you can't even see her face behind her gigantic shield.

Caspar is a Brawler and believe me when I say I have zero regrets.


marry me
@LWG

Seems you and I had similar choices. I made Edelgard my tank queen, while Caspar is my axe boi. For punching I recruited Sylvain. He's... not as good as Caspar would have been, but too late! I gave his lances to Ferdy who does the good work on his horse and Bernie shoots things from far, far away. Hubert is truly terrifying with his magic. He doesn't need a knife to stab you in the back, he's got long range magic to cast death on you ;.;.

If you're a girl he has some interesting bonding lines. I might go for him as main husbando ("If I had a second life, I would choose to have dedicated it to you") IDK, I like his aesthetic a lot even if he's a little creepster.

Edelgard is definitely a teachers' pet. I love her.

I hate people who say she's Hitler incarnate. They're idiots. Get the fuck away from my precious Eagle kids, at least she lets the enemy leave alive ffs. She had a hard childhood and needs a stable person in her life, and that person ended up being teacher. She latched on to the caring professor who gave her love and listened when she needed someone to care. Take teacher away and of course she's going to go a bit unhinged. Ugh, people are morons.


Aaaanyway, I love the game already. I'm looking forward to seeing how the other houses play out, story-wise. I heard someone say that Eagles is the shortest story so it'll be interesting to see why that is.
Got sick and decided to get a blanket, some cough drops, honey tea and resume Dragon Quest 11. I'm glad the game has a really good summary and objective system, because I completely forgot the sub-plot I was even following (the mermaid/fisherman one). I'm on the Mini Medal Academy story and just think it's perfect that there's lore dedicated to the collectibles you've been getting in every DQ.

Some reason I'm just not in the Halloween playing mood, I've avoided horror games and batman arkham hasn't been hooking me in much.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13715
libby, they mean in terms of CG shots and cutscenes and stuff. the others are less rushed -- edie got the most unique maps/content, at the cost of polish

also punchy sylv?? sylvain is my dancer :3
I finished Edie's route last night. I had to marry freaking Hubert for the lols factor because how could I not?! It was a toss-up between he and Ferdie, but c'mon, Hubert being all blushy? Why would I choose Ferdie over that? XD

My one annoyance is how hard that last battle was and that your choice was made before it so I'd have to play the battle again in order to explore other choices. orz
Screw me for playing mad to start with. I've learned from my mistake, though. Normal all the way for my replays (this time going Gold Deer house because I'm fixing to woo Leonie - if she's too boring then I'll pull in one of the girls from Black. Not really a fan of what I saw of Lys and Hilda so far, though they might grow on me. I like Bernie but not enough to get between her and her other beaus. Dorothea is, hm... maybe Petra? She really grew on me.)
Hexatona
JESEUS MIMLLION SPOLERS
3787
Man, I'd love to get a hold on FETH. I had the op to get one like 20 bucks cheaper but lost out and bought Dragon Quest Builders II instead. I think it was also a great purchase.

Anyway, right now I'm playing Conception II and Star Ocean First Departure.

For Star Ocean, I've beaten it before, but it's a shitload of fun. I thought it was way longer, but it's actually in the 15-25 hour range, depending on how obsessive you wanna get. This one has Not one, but TWO secret characters added, AND it added some actual content to a third character. I think there's more of a branching path with who you take and when, in this game, vs Second Evolution. Grab it on the switch if you didn't see it on PSP!

As For Conception II, I'm getting to the part of the story where it's less all sunshine and rainbows, and all the girls are getting some actual backstory and foreshadowing. The #1 saving grace of this game is that the autobattle AI is really competent, so you on;y really need to pay attention in the boss battles. It's very much a 'come for the story' games, but it's quite fun. The Music in the game is really great too.

...And having all those kids is so adorable.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
Finally made it past the crash in Code Vein. Apparently the cause was due to Blood Veils that look like long coats not being able to reposition themselves after a certain number of camera angle switches, as I changed to a Claw type veil and didn't crash.

For those who are about to fight the second boss in Crypt Spire, make sure NOT to equip a Stinger type Blood Veil.



Also, Fire Emblem 3 Houses has been getting an incredible amount of praise both here and on Twitter that now I feel peer pressured to save up for a Switch and get it. You all think FE is a system seller or not?
unity
You're magical to me.
11833
author=Red_Nova
Also, Fire Emblem 3 Houses has been getting an incredible amount of praise both here and on Twitter that now I feel peer pressured to save up for a Switch and get it. You all think FE is a system seller or not?


Are you cool with Fire Emblem's gameplay? Also do you have other switch games that are tempting you? If so, I'd get a Switch.

I can't say that FE is a system seller but I was really impressed with it and it's got loads of content so you'll be playing for awhile. The fact that you choose a house means that there are lots of routes to go thru and New Game+ adds a lot. I personally think you'd enjoy it.

Also, I really want Code Vein. I enjoy Bloodborne/Dark Souls games (tho I'm not great at them XDXD) and the anime aesthetics plus the detailed character creator really have me tempted.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
Having played every FE game that came stateside except Shadow Dragon, I like to think I'm tolerant of FE's gameplay, haha. However, the praise you gave for the ability to choose from 3 houses is exactly what is giving me pause.

I'm a massive nerd and went through all 3 routes in Fates. I was incredibly let doan to see that all 3 routeshad nearly the exact same story beats to tbem, different only in the characters you chose. For anyone who played thrkugh at least two houses, is that still the case with tbis? I'd be really miffed if I went through the exact same story three different times.

As for Code Vein, I can definitely recommend it on the gameplay alone. I'll save my tboughts for when I actually finish it, but if you liked the Souls gameplay, Code Vein will take that base game loop and put so many new spins on it that it can stand on its own, rather than as an "Anime Souls" game in my opinion.
So I was about to go ahead and play Golden Deer house but then I remembered there was that choice in the middle of Eagles and made the other choice. It's changed what happened completely.

The three houses are each filled with different characters. You can get most of them to join other houses, but I've been restricting myself to only picking 1-2 from the other houses to join mine, and only those I want to see interact with my current house group.

The basics are, without spoilers as much as possible:
- you get to be the leader of one of three houses
- each house has a different group of characters with different strengths and abilities
- you can bond and enhance skills outside of battles, and there's a lot of talking but every line is voiced, even NPC ones, and each character can interact/bond with most other characters allowing for a hell of a lot of interaction and bonding.

- if you want to play female or male, you will have to restart at some point. I recommend doing that anyway since new game + is worth getting, and there are gender-only based relationships for s-rank (there are some characters who will be gay for teacher)
- the first part of the game is basically the same, just with different groups of characters to fight with and some extra paralogue battles based around who is in your group (not the same maps or enemies in these cases)
- past a certain point the stories are all completely different. one route I know for sure has two separate routes in it.


I highly recommend getting it, playing through whichever house appeals most to you first, then using new game+ and making a save at the house choice point so that you can go back and choose the third house once you get to the end so you can skip the tutorial battle at least. Not sure if there's a new game ++ tho. If there is, might be worth doing that.

I know that I'll probably do a secondary run of one house (whichever appeals most to me after checking them all out) in order to do maddening mode on classic (I'm being a filthy casual and not having to restart battles every chapter) just to try and get everyone to join my house (let's see how many people I can steal for my house) and see how terribly I kill everyone.


Currently I'm doing the second choice in Black Eagle house - the one that opens up when you don't go with Edelgard to see her father.

But yeah, up to a point the stories are pretty much the same, then the fire nation attacks shit changes up completely. Like I said, even within one route, there's a choice that basically lets you play a fourth route that is very different to the first route I played through. Not sure about the other houses yet, but I'd see them being quite different based on what I know of the Eagle house route I picked to go through first.
author=unity
Also, I really want Code Vein. I enjoy Bloodborne/Dark Souls games (tho I'm not great at them XDXD) and the anime aesthetics plus the detailed character creator really have me tempted.
The character creator is not as detailed as one may think. The big extra compared to Dark Souls, is the ability to customize clothes. However, you get seven base clothes per gender and most of the detailed clothing customization options are to remove superfluous belts or other accessories. Still, if you enjoy the soulsborne games and anime aesthetic, I'd reccomned Code Vein.

Anyway...
author=Red_Nova
I would agree with everything you said if it weren't for the fact that partners are optional. Because they are, all design decisions had to account for players going through the game both with and without partners. Gonna brush up against danger here and make some assumptions about designer intent: Assuming there were no technical/time constraints preventing the work needed to flesh out partner gameplay, I would say the reason those changes weren't in place was to appeal to both Souls vets and newcomers put off by the Souls' trademark difficulty. A newcomer to Soulslikes won't have the practice from prior games to really concern themselves with precise actions like parrying, while a Souls purist may choose to forgo partners entirely to replicate a Soulslike game. As long as those two extremes were accounted for, wierdo centrists like me who played every Souls game but still take partners along can adapt their playstyle accordingly.
Not sure I buy that. Souls purists will probably complain about the bland level design anyway. The game is also very much balanced for having a partner, including details like how many blows it takes to stun an enemy. Finally, I don't think you can write of soulsborne players who choose to use a partner as weirdos, those seem to be very many, maybe even more than those who choose not to take a partner.

author=Red_Nova
If dodge and guard were mapped to the same button, how would you account for situations were you wanted to use one over the other?
I'm assuming you haven't played Kingdom Hearts. You guard if the left joystick is in neutral position and dodge if it is tilted in any direction.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
Thanks for the explanation, Liberty! Yours and unity's explanations convinced me to give it a shot once I've saved the cash.

author=Crystalgate
Not sure I buy that. Souls purists will probably complain about the bland level design anyway. The game is also very much balanced for having a partner, including details like how many blows it takes to stun an enemy. Finally, I don't think you can write of soulsborne players who choose to use a partner as weirdos, those seem to be very many, maybe even more than those who choose not to take a partner.


I used the label "weirdo" as a sort of hyperbolic self-deprecating term because a vocal minority of Souls vets (referred to as the "purists" in my posts) will compare every Souls-like to Dark Souls and count even slight deviations from the formula as an objectively worse implementation. My bad for any misunderstanding; that term wasn't supposed to have been taken too seriously.

Anyway, bland level design and control unfamiliarity are two different things, so I'm not sure how those are related to designing partners. If the game was balanced for having a partner along, then going solo for the challenge seems to be exactly what a souls purist would do.

Again, my assumption was based on the idea that there was no time/technical restraints and everything in the game is exactly as intended. However, this is simply not true. What I always keep in mind whenever I have a criticism of the game is the fact that it had been delayed for about a year. Clearly it wasn't ready to come out in Sept 2018, so there's no doubt in my mind that there was plenty more that they wanted to do with partners but didn't have time.


I'm assuming you haven't played Kingdom Hearts. You guard if the left joystick is in neutral position and dodge if it is tilted in any direction.


You're correct in that I haven't played Kingdom Hearts, so forgive me if what I'm about to say isn't true: The way you described it would mean that dodge and guard could be mapped to the same button, yes, but it sounds like guarding would require the player to be at a standstill and that backstepping would no longer be possible. Would advancing guard and backstepping still be doable with this new control scheme?
I just beat Inazuma Eleven 2 and I loved it. It's so ridiculous and funny and charming.

Now I'm playing Indivisible. I backed that game so long ago, and I can't wait... It doesn't look amazing, but it just hits everything I wanted...
author=Red_Nova
You're correct in that I haven't played Kingdom Hearts, so forgive me if what I'm about to say isn't true: The way you described it would mean that dodge and guard could be mapped to the same button, yes, but it sounds like guarding would require the player to be at a standstill and that backstepping would no longer be possible. Would advancing guard and backstepping still be doable with this new control scheme?
Advancing guards would require you to first stand still, guard and then move, so while still possible, it would be more awkward. Backstepping is already possible without standstill in this game. AFAIK, there is no backstep the same way as in Dark Souls, there is just dodging backwards. Try pressing backwards and then quickly pressing dodge, you will make the same move as if you're standing still and dodging.

That said, I realized that in Kingdom Hearts, guarding is more like parrying in Code Vein than actually guarding. So, mapping parry and dodge to the same button probably makes more sense than guard and dodge. It's also more intuitive since you're always moving in a direction while dodging and not moving while parrying. It works great in KH, I've never seen people complaining about accidentally using the wrong move.

Anyway, just got Mio and tried her out. I don't think she's good for my character though since she's also a bayonet user. The temple of a crapton of stairs is not a fun one. Other areas have been fun though, bland design aside.
author=unity
Still, if you enjoy the soulsborne games and anime aesthetic, I'd reccomned Code Vein.

I really enjoy Dark Souls type games and their ilk. But I am really not enjoying Code Vein as much as everyone else seems to. I mean the combat is fine. It's functional. I don't mind the level design that much nor do I mind the monster design. But there are a number of other things that really stop me from enjoying the game as much as I should.

After fighting I think it was the 3rd or 4th boss(which gave me a hard time) I just wanted to move onto the next area and see what else was in store, but the game had about 4 separate cutscenes before I was handed back control, at which point I stopped caring about the story and now just skip all cutscenes and memories.

The memories. While a nice idea I hate the fact that you're reduced to a slow walk and have nothing to do in the memories except listen to the dialogue. Dark Souls 2 had memories but you were actively involved in them and they were pretty fun.

Speaking of involvement. After beating the Anor Londo boss there was a fight in a cutscene, which would have made a great boss. But instead we had to sit and watch the characters do all their cool things. And that was the point I really stopped caring about Code Vein and I just want to finish it just so that I can say I have.

I'll probably get a lot of flak for not liking Dark Souls With Tits. But as someone who lives for the next Souls-like game Code Vein has left me very disappointed so far.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
Nah, you shouldn't get any heat for not liking Code Vein (that was Crystalgate you meant to quote, btw). If anything, it just reinforces my dislike of calling it a Soulslike. I finished the game a week back, and I feel very strongly that comparing anything beyond the core combat loop does Code Vein a huge disservice.

Anyway, Code Vein has been completed (I got the "To Eternity" ending), and my overall thoughts are: It's a solid starting point. I could definitely feel where development hit rough patches, such as sudden and massive frame rate drops in certain locations, the lack of enemy variety, etc., but for a first attempt at the Souls formula, I think they did pretty well. If they took another crack at it with a sequel, I'd definitely be there.

The last level (the Provisional Government Center) is where I feel the game really hits its stride, because it encapsulates everything I had wanted to see. The level was nice and open without being confusing, the companion actually had unique things to say about the environment and their own backstory without being too intrusive (though I may have gotten lucky bringing Io along), and there was a mid boss that was surprising and interesting to see. The whole time I was kinda on the fence about how much I enjoyed it, but that level alone finally won me over.

If there's one thing I completely and thoroughly disliked, it's the Depths. I didn't find all the maps since I didn't get the trophy, but every map I did play after the first one was an absolute slog. Unless someone spotted something I didn't, I'd say the sparse few vestiges you can only get from there are the only things making the Depths worth anyone's time.

Despite this and a few other gripes I have with the story, I still enjoyed it enough to recommend it. Just be aware that the game will try to take an identity of its own apart from Dark Souls, whether you want it to or not.
I beat Code Vein and got the To Eternity ending. The game is fun, yet I have a hard time to think of it as anything else than Dark Souls/Bloodborne minus.

The game uses Dark Souls like core combat, but goes in it's own direction in several areas. The problem I have is that the game does not take good advantage of what it has.

The storytelling is more JRPG like than soulslike. It has a lot of cutscenes and talky talky bits. However, the story and plot itself is way to soulslike for having such a cutscene heavy storytelling. Dark Souls plot is basically following; escape undead asylum, ring two bells of awakening, find Lordvessel, acquire the lord souls and finally beat Lord Gwyn. Code Vein's plot is the same except you replace escape undead asylum with escape blood bead slavery, ring bells of awakening is replaced by revive magical blood treas and so on. The story is also way too similar, instead of undead who eventually goes hollow we have anime vampires who eventually goes lost.

The problem is that Dark Souls (and Demon Souls and Bloodborne) had their stories designed with the idea that the games would be very light on cutscenes. They were not meant to be cutscene heavy. If Code Vein wants to go cutscene heavy, it needs a plot and story suitable for this kind of story telling.

The characters are also not that interesting. They do not really justify all the talky talky the game uses to tell their stories.

Code Vein has the partner system. I claimed earlier that it was balanced around you using a partner. I'm retracting that and I'll instead state that the game is balanced for neither. I noticed problems both when I tried to play with and without a partner. If you don't use a partner, you have too little healing and sometimes you get swarmed by more enemies than the combat engine is designed for you to handle. You can probably handle those situations with the correct gift optimization, but the core combat is not designed for those numbers. If you do use partners, a lot of fights, including most bosses, become too easy. Maybe the game was balanced for in-between those options?

The areas are rather bland. There's few landmarks and they are very large and samey.

Character creation is much better. You get far more options, especially once you realize that the accessory option actually lets you adds things that aren't really accessories, such a pony tails and pig tails to your hair. This gives you great control over hairstyle and to a limited extent over clothes. There are improvements to be made here though. The base clothes are way too restrictive. Males have rather bland options and female clothes are instead too exotic. A lot of the blood Veils also cover up too much of the clothes you designed and there's a lack of a "hide bloodveils unless used" option.

All in all though, the combat works, fights are fun and you can make fun builds. A Code Vein 2 that irons out the problems and takes better advantage of the opportunities granted when you deviate from the Dark Souls formula would be welcome.

I'm now trying a new character. The plans is to go mostly heavy weapons and dark gifts since I ended up doing to opposite with the first character. I think I am going to need Bridge to Glory though.
Isrieri
"My father told me this would happen."
6470
==Breath of Fire II==

Just finished this yesterday and my strongest impression was; "I used to think Final Fantasy games were the template that the RPG Makers were working off of, but now that I've played BOF I think I'm convinced otherwise." Pretty much everything about that game can be recreated pretty easily with the systems that are already set up. Except maybe the hunting scenes and the battle formations which would need a little coding but it actually wouldn't be too hard to do.

I really liked it! It was a cute game with a lot of charm. I tried playing this way back in 2004 but the bad translation and weird opening made it hard to get into. Returning to it with a translation patch makes a huge difference. Also I want to talk about the opening for a sec, because it is super weird and I appreciate it a lot more having played through a little more:

The intro starts you off in a pretty big way with this badass demonic eye and foreboding message (way to make an impression, game!). The town you start off in seems pretty normal till you head into the backyard and see a huge dragon covering these ominous doors behind this tiny village. You're like 'okay this is pretty interesting' but then you go back into town and your family has disappeared, and no one remembers who you are. You set off with a new friend and get your balls rocked by a nightmare monster, and then there's a 10 year time-gap! And they don't mention this entire prologue for like the first 3/5ths of the game!

Seems really weird and random, but I kinda like it more now. Once you get caught up on the present-day adventures the prologue may well be completely forgotten by most players, so even though its not something that's fresh in your memory you might have lingering memories of what happened, kinda your hero like Ryu in the game. I forgot all about it myself until the second third of the game began.

The game's plot is pretty weak overall - most of it is spent meandering from one town to another with a vague goal, first to clear your friends name, then to find out why the trees are dying. The backtracking is obscene. I've never played a game that was this blatant about it: You've got this bit where you reach a town where you need to ferry across a channel, and you have to trek up and down the continent like two or three times in a row before you meet the prerequisites to venture forward. A bit strange considering the real 'meat' of the plot as set up by the prologue happens in the third act, where things start getting real juicy. It more than makes up for that with some pretty compelling characters for your party.

I'll say this - I liked the 'twist' if you can call it a twist. I think it was just subtle enough without being too blatant that even if you suspect something, it'll still be a terrible gut punch despite seeing it coming.

Each character has a little mini-adventure you undergo when you first recruit them, and then a second one on down the road to flesh out their characters a little more. Nina, Sten, and Ray are my favorites. No classes in Breath of Fire - each character is what they are, so that means you're getting a magic bird-lady and a ninja monkey-man. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? Figure it out! Nina's story in particular is really crushing, especially if you can relate to being an outcast in your own home. The adventure is a lot more about the journey of each of these people than it is about saving the world.

I'm a bit mixed on the bosses because most of the challenging bosses didn't have anything too interesting going on, and the memorable fights were pretty simple and end without much fuss. My favorite boss was actually the first one - the three harpy sisters. They're just there as an intro boss and to check if players understand how to defend and get the hang of how combat flows, but they also bicker with each other during the fight and will start smacking each other to get the 'good meat'! That's not just decent boss design for the early game but also super endearing.

The music is serviceable where the meat and potatoes of the game is - the towns and combat, but the cutscenes and poignant moments is where the ost hits the mark (like all good SNES rpgs the string samples are *chef kiss*). The battle and overworld themes will change to reflect the changes in the plot and mood which is a great touch that I wish appeared more often.

One more negative thing I can say is: Random battles aren't the problem, high-encounter rates are. The encounter rate is off the chain. They were really nervous that players would get through this game too fast. The final dungeon is really a slog because of this. Beating the final boss though? So satisfying. AUUUGH THE ENDING AUUUUGH. I do recommend giving it a shot, but not unless you have a lot of time to kill. If you're gonna be stuck in the house for a few days, bust it out and have some fun.


Final score - Megaman X Guitar Samples / Breath of Backtracking
OMG WHICH ENDING DID YOU GET?
...yes there's more than one.

There's one when you are first asked if you want to go into the last dungeon. Saying no leads to an ending.

There's the one where you, uh, take the position your mother had.

And there's the one where you save your father and he saves you right back.


If you want the best ending, you have to make the choice not long after the last appearance of Ray. The machines with the guy? Remember that? You need him and you need a secret character (not Bleu) that is hidden behind a bookshelf in the Ox town.