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Play for the laughs, leave for the combat

  • Marrend
  • 06/16/2010 12:43 PM
  • 1298 views
Background:
I have no knowledge on the anime this game is obviously based on. It was, mostly, the tongue-in-cheek humor that the game seemed to present that quirked my eyebrow.

I know other people have reviewed this game, and I might have even read those reviews. However, I'm reviewing this game based on the experience I had.


Why this game is BAD:

The combat engine is a huge barrier to my enjoyment of this game. At first, I had trouble recognizing which graphics on the screen were indicative of having my party being hit and which graphics on the screen were indicative of hitting the "boss". Granted, having the screen suddenly turn red (indicative of a character dying) is a good indication that I was doing something wrong, but I was fighting the "tutorial" fight. The tutorial fight! While the point of a tutorial fight is to get the player used to the combat engine, I got two Game Over screens before I was competent with the system enough to be victorious. Even then, half my party was dead. Not a good sign, I'd say.

When I finally won the tutorial fight, I earned 10 experience. 10 experience might have been a proper reward if the fight was on the scale of a tutorial fight. However, that fight was not on the scale of a tutorial fight. Not even close. To be perfectly frank, I felt like I should have earned five levels from it. So yeah, game balance is way off-kilter on this title.

There's a "1-directional" battle system, where the in-battle control scheme turns into tank-like controls. Left and Right turn the character, while Up and Down move the character forward and backward based on the direction that is faced. This system sounds so convoluted and anti-intuitive, I question why it was even included. No, I take that back. I can kind of see why it was included. See, most characters need to face the monster to attack. Using Down to move away from the enemy while still facing it means you can mash the "attack" button more efficiently. That seriously what the system amounts to, from my perspective. Out of sheer curiosity, I enabled it, just do see how effective it was. Turns out the code hasn't been implemented yet. Was the text, "The maker of the game himself doesn't know how to use it effectively!" supposed to clue me off to the fact that it wasn't implemented? Kinda missed that, with the hilarity of the previous scene...

I mention in my review of Super RMN Bros. that I enjoy going from point A to point B in the fastest way possible. So when I found that dash was disabled on the overworld map, it frustrated me greatly. It might make sense to have dash disabled, but it also shouldn't matter that it would make sense.

What's with the words with asterisks? How are those words pronounced, even? Obviously, they're rather distracting to me. They seem to be references to games, or perhaps other anime. I can guess some references, but others are just one big question mark. Do away with them, or make them easier to guess.

Actually, the worse offender in the writing category is the interspersed Japanese words. Fans of the anime might fall head over heals by seeing the terms the anime uses for their favorite characters. Everyone else (like me) will just be plain turned off. "Look this up on Wikipedia what this term means" should never, ever be an answer. On this front, I'm glad at least the term "ojou-sama" was discussed on the RMN boards before I came into this game. Anyway, either have a translator's note in-game (such as explaining the term "gokiburi" in relation to Maria's aversion to cockroaches), have a miniature translation guide in the manual, or ditch the Japanese entirely.

I get that Nagi is essentially a rich, spoiled brat, and that starting with max money makes way to much sense. However, when the game says that Gyen is the monetary unit, and says that 1 Gyen is 9,999,999 Yen, I start to wonder. Then I check my status screen, and it says that I have 1 Gyen instead of having 9,999,999 Yen. That's just plain terrible. Here's my suggestion. Only bother with Gyen. Sure, Nagi can have her millions of Yen. She can even flaunt her wealth in random cut-scenes for all I care. However, shops will still only take Gyen.


Why this game is GOOD:

Outside of the problems with the writing I mentioned above, it's as tongue-and-cheek as I expected. The fourth wall is broken in several places, and is hilarious ways. This is done mostly by the narration, but the characters themselves break it with snide commentary about cliche video games.

The characters themselves are hilarious. They are on a crusade to create a video game adventure with a non-cliched video game plot. While I never quite finished the demo to it's most complete point (read the blat on the combat engine), I think it would be terribly ironic if their adventure hits all the video game cliches known to man. If written properly, and the writing seems to be very capable, it could make for some serious laugh-out-loud times.

I could be wrong, but the entire OST of the source anime is in the BGM directory. I've gotta respect that kind of devotion from a fan game, even if it makes the download larger than I'd like an RPGM game to be.


Summary:

The combat engine makes this game unplayable for me. Personally, I'd like to see damage numbers when damage occurs. If that's not feasible, then at least have a health bar for the "boss" foe so I can see which characters are most effective against him/her/it.

What I'd like to see happen is instead of having the option of "1-directional" vs. "direct control" is the ability to switch between the two on the fly. I have no idea what kind of mess this would make, code-wise, but there are situations where running around dodging things has priority to defeating monsters and visa-versa.

Pandering to the fan-base (such as using the Japanese terminology) is important, but it should never come at the cost of alienating non-fans. If the terms are left in-game, there should be some kind of explanation for them somewhere. In-game is preferable, but putting them into the manual is also acceptable.

The humor is awesome! I have high hopes that it will be consistently so for future updates. Failing to choose Nagi as a party member is the most epic way to get a Game Over screen. Ever. I mean, how obvious can you get?

If this game is supposed to relay the feel of an episode of Hayate no Gotoku!, then don't mess with the music. Otherwise, I'd get rid of some of it, just to make the game smaller, and therefore more accessible. Actually, I'd get rid of some of the tunes anyway, just to make the game smaller. However, I have no clue which songs are "necessary", as I have no knowledge about the source material.

I usually review completed projects, but this game seemed just up my alley. Since the project isn't complete, and the programmer is still working on polishing out the game, I feel inclined to not rate this game. Perhaps when the project is complete, I shall re-visit this game and revise this review accordingly.


BOTTOM LINE: Not Applicable!

Posts

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Haha, so much has changed since the demo that is provided by this website, but thanks for reviewing anyway ^_^
You even mentioned the fact that this game will be improved upon in the future, and it has, hopefully.


...but I was fighting the "tutorial" fight. The tutorial fight! While the point of a tutorial fight is to get the player used to the combat engine, I got two Game Over screens before I was competent with the system enough to be victorious. Even then, half my party was dead. Not a good sign, I'd say.

Three reviewers of this game, and none of them finished this game due to the difficulty. It doesn't take a genius to figure out there is some serious issues going on. I have since done extensive balancing/easing the difficulty on this game to make this more suitable for... playing. For one, you no longer get trapped by the enemy, I'm sure you've been through that (You now get invincibility/through frames whenever you get hit), I've slowed down the enemy movements, and of course, balanced their parameters and such.

There's a "1-directional" battle system...

This has long been scrapped. Though I do need to a script that make it so that if you press a direction, the character simply turn that direction as oppose to going that direction. And the blockiness of the movements... that doesn't work with the action-rpg genre, but it is sadly something that I'm going to have to bear with considering how deep I'm already in this project.

So when I found that dash was disabled on the overworld map, it frustrated me greatly. It might make sense to have dash disabled, but it also shouldn't matter that it would make sense.

Dashing... on the world map, just doesn't seem right to me. Luckily, the world map will prove to be very small relative to your average JRPG, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I might even make a joke out of it. (I'm already planning a really elaborate joke on why you are so freaking enormous on the world map.)

What's with the words with asterisks? How are those words pronounced, even?
This is an in-joke of the series. I'm not surprised you don't get it. There will be a way in which I'll try to solve this problem for ppl who are not familiar with the source material. I'll explain later below.

Actually, the worse offender in the writing category is the interspersed Japanese words. Fans of the anime might fall head over heals by seeing the terms the anime uses for their favorite characters. Everyone else (like me) will just be plain turned off. "Look this up on Wikipedia what this term means" should never, ever be an answer.

I am always fond of non-Hayate no Gotoku fans playing my game, because if they found it to be worth their time, it means that I've done something right as a game designer/writer. But despite this fact, you have to understand that my main intention of making this game was for the fans of the manga to have a fun experience while at the same time be able to control their favorite HnG characters and be immersed in it's themes/jokes/etc. In order to fix the problem of alienating outsiders, I've decided to put a Library area in the mansion in which the player can look up information about the series and hopefully learn some of the reaccuring jokes that might be a little obscure. Again, those "Japanese words" and in-jokes are necessary because they cater toward a vast majority of ppl who actually play this game and because they help illustrate the atmosphere of Hayate no Gotoku better. But I will provide information via the library to those who might be confused if they are willing to look.

Outside of the problems with the writing I mentioned above, it's as tongue-and-cheek as I expected. The fourth wall is broken in several places, and is hilarious ways. This is done mostly by the narration, but the characters themselves break it with snide commentary about cliche video games.

The characters themselves are hilarious. They are on a crusade to create a video game adventure with a non-cliched video game plot. While I never quite finished the demo to it's most complete point (read the blat on the combat engine), I think it would be terribly ironic if their adventure hits all the video game cliches known to man. If written properly, and the writing seems to be very capable, it could make for some serious laugh-out-loud times.


Thank you for your kind compliments. One of my goals in this game is to make fun of as much JRPG cliches as possible in a tasteful manner. Humor that we can all relate too in this community.

I could be wrong, but the entire OST of the source anime is in the BGM directory. I've gotta respect that kind of devotion from a fan game, even if it makes the download larger than I'd like an RPGM game to be.


The demo that is out now has songs from the OST, albeit not the entire OST, I know better to not include songs in the download to jack up it's size if I'm not going to use them. However, the sound files are in their original quality/bit rate, which is the primary culprit for making the download so huge. I've remedied this in future releases, by reducing the bit rate of all the soundfiles enough that they can be at a reasonable size and not lose much in sound quality.

Again, thank you for your enthusiasm and your review. It is always nice to see non-fans playing this game, because to be honest, fans all adore this game, but for real veteran RMers and ppl who've never heard of the series, it's different, there is a much higher bar for things. And if they like it/praise certain aspects of it, then I at least know I've done something right in terms of designing games.
Marrend
Guardian Ghost of the Description Thread
17371
{1-direction movement} has long been scrapped.

I'm glad to hear that it's been tossed out the window in favor of balancing the combat engine.

Dashing... on the world map, just doesn't seem right to me.

That's just a personal tripe. If you feel having dash disabled on the world map is the way to go, so be it.

I'm already planning a really elaborate joke on why you are so freaking enormous on the world map.

Sweet! I'm looking forward to that!

In order to fix the problem of alienating outsiders, I've decided to put a Library area in the mansion in which the player can look up information about the series and hopefully learn some of the reoccurring jokes that might be a little obscure.

Frankly, I didn't explore the mansion much. If I found that library you're talking about, I would have given you props for trying to connect to the non-fans.


This game has some serious potential, sunshinesan. Keep up the good work!
I wish more people would rate N/A for their reviews, it's only fair if you haven't played a finished product. This is a very informative review!
Marrend
Guardian Ghost of the Description Thread
17371
The reason I gave an "N/A" is because the game isn't finished. I don't think it's fair to give out a review score to a game that's still in-progress. I'm not gong to call out VideoWizard or Slashandz for improper reviewing, tough. They have their styles and techniques, and I have mine.


As a total incongruous side-note, the song that I presume to be the title song for Hayate no Gotoku! is running in my head with impunity. :p
I have one review on this website, and now that I think about it, I should have totally gave it a N/A score. It never occurred to me, unfortunately.

and lol, the song itself is called "Hayate no Gotoku" and it is highly catchy. It translate to something like, "Like the Wind". "Hayate no Gotoku" itself is a play on words with the name of the main character.
Marrend
Guardian Ghost of the Description Thread
17371
I have one review on this website, and now that I think about it, I should have totally gave it a N/A score. It never occurred to me, unfortunately.


One learns by doing, and by observing others. That's how this place is supposed to work!
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