General Games Discussion

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Post by Babun Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:48 am

@RealGunner wrote:Does anyone here play as consistently anymore? feels like gaming is going through its worse phase or is it just me?






Not really, I had Legacy of The Void installed forever (4-5 years ago). During Xmas lockdown, I finally played through all of the missions in brutal difficulty (real time strategy on lower difficulties isn't fun Very Happy). The experience was a blast, one of best games of the decade.

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Post by Harmonica Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:53 am

@RealGunner wrote:Does anyone here play as consistently anymore? feels like gaming is going through its worse phase or is it just me?
About 200 hours of ultra modded Skyrim since November, with 300 mods, and loving it. Again completely different approach.
General Games Discussion - Page 38 IssVAXM

I think gaming in general has risen a lot since Covid because people are more at home, but the quality of game development has plummeted.
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Post by Firenze Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:03 pm

@RealGunner wrote:Does anyone here play as consistently anymore? feels like gaming is going through its worse phase or is it just me?







2020 was the most I've gamed since 2017 tbh

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Post by Arquitecto Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:18 pm

RG, you've generally grown fatigued of games its been going on for years. I feel the completionism side of you for trophies etc or just growing out of it has slowly set in.


It has happened to me long ago. I suggest stay away from Open world games and more into shorter linear games with less option and "filler" and ones that aren't a timesink or wean off the habit of completing quests or trophies. Too much of a good thing etc etc.
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Post by Lord Spencer Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:08 pm

#65

Game: Vanguard Bandits.
Year: 1998, 2000.
Genre: TRPG.
Publisher: Human Entertainment.
Developer: Working Designs.

General Games Discussion - Page 38 61PUN%2B9M3aL._SX342_

Vanguard Bandits, known as Epica Stella in Japan, is one of those obscure quintessential Japanese games that would have never been released West if not for companies such as Working Designs which thrived on porting them. It's a Tactical RPG (already a niche genre) featuring Mechs in a medieval setting (a niche within a niche) with plenty of story and character.

As a game, this is probably one of Working Designs better porting choices, but that's not the case for the localization itself which is hindered by the company's usual liberty with translation. While this doesn't irreparably ruin the game, it does hinder what otherwise could have been a solid very good game.

"I just want to end the war and stop the senseless suffering and death years of war has brought to us"

The story begins with an old man, Kamorge, and his son, Bastion, running away from imperial soldiers, not for the first time. This time, however, looks to be a concluding chapter for all the running that they did, and the fate of the continent will irreversibly start to change.

In what is immediately obvious, Bastion is revealed not to be a regular boy, and the conflict between the Empire and the Kingdom comes to a head. Yet, it is not all black and white, as there are several neutral actors throughout the continent as well as independent actors within each political faction.

The world in which this political landscape is revealed is, at first glance, a medieval world with knights and castles. However, all of the fighting is done with Mechs who look like giant armored warriors duking it out with swords and spears. These Mechs are more than window dressing though, as their power is intrinsically linked to the power struggles in the continent.

From the third chapter, where Bastion's world comes crashing down, the story can branch into two distinct paths, with a third available after clearing the game once.

Overall, the story in either branch is quite good. There is some interesting political intrigue and machinations, several plot twists, and a colorful cast of varied characters with distinct motivations.

However, the dialogue, whether it is due to the original script or purely due to Working Designs' usual liberty, is extremely distracting. Attempts at humor fail miserably, female characters are inexplicable horny towards Bastion, adult humor is awkwardly spliced in, overdramatic sentence structure, run-off sentences, and dozens of other such infractions. This may be the best worst localization job I have ever seen.

The dialogue, in my opinion, does a lot to cheapen what otherwise could have been genuinely compelling heroes and villains. This is made the most obvious in the third path, which I actively recommend that you do not pursue, as I found it a complete disservice to all of the characters in the game.

"Excellent. We can strike against the Empire on their own wretched turf"

Being a TRPG, the gameplay loop of Vanguard Bandits is quite predictable. Chapters are divided into briefing, battle, and story sequences, and so on. During the briefing stage, you can check through the map of the coming battle, change the equipment of your characters, and interview some of them to raise morale (which drops if any character is defeated during battle).

The battles themselves are where the majority of the gameplay is. Set in a typical square grid map, you control up to seven or eight characters, each riding their own Mech into battle. Turns are given based on the agility stat, and that means that enemy and allied turns can directly follow each other.

Each character has to gauges to worry about. First is the Movement Points, which are exhausted as you move and attack. For instance, some attacks will use 50 points while weaker attacks will only use 20. The second gauge is for Fatigue Points, which increase when you attack or defend. If your FP reaches 100, your character faints and becomes vulnerable to enemy attacks as they cool down. You can recover FP by not using MP.

This dual gauge system introduces a welcome level of strategy, as it means you are forced to actually strategize your moves instead of wailing at the enemy with your strongest attacks.

The second strategic aspect of combat is the high importance of positioning. Attacking an enemy from behind limits their defensive options and increases your damage. The same is the case for you, as ensuring the enemy can only hit you from the front means you can use a cheap counter move.

Outside of attacking the enemy, you can use skills to boos your characters for a turn, heal, or do some debuffs on the enemy.

My main problem with the combat is that percentages are deceiving, which means I always gravitated towards the safer and slower combat strategies in order to conserve my troops. Still, the gameplay is mostly fun even if a little bit slow.

"Butchers are butchers, regardless of the crest under which they shed innocent blood"

Unfortunately, while the core battle system in Vanguard Bandits is pretty good, there is a serious lack of customization and agency involved.

First, every path has a fixed and limited number of characters, many of which end up leaving early on or joining quite late. This means that you end up with no strategic choices regarding character development or deployment.

Second, it is usually expected that there are a lot of customization options in a Mech strategy game. However, the Mechs (called ATACs here) are limited in number, and you basically can influence the choice of two or three characters at most.

In fact, the only strategic choice you make is the choice of elemental gems for each pilot, as that influences their support skills in battle. Also, you need to make sure that the points you add as they level up end up unlocking their secret moves (which are not available for every character).

On the face of it, the lack of customization options means that replaying the game for three paths can become a chore. That is certainly the case if you are going for all third paths, as both the gameplay and map designs do not deviate much at all.

However, despite the repetition, the combat is still engaging and the story is fun enough to plow through levels unless you are on the "Ruin" path, which just plain sucks.

"It is my wife's blood that stains your hand, and it is your blue blood that shall adorn my sword"

Graphically, the game is a mixture of your typical TRPG Isometric sprites and some admittedly cool 3D polygonal battle scenes in fights.

The character and Mech sprites are well-detailed but not mind-blowing, with equally adequate character portraits with varied expressions. These expressions actually betray the fact that Working Designs may not have actually deviated from the spirit of the text too much, as there are multiple cases where the characters are clearly making fun of each other as they would in 80's Shonen anime.

However, during the battle, whenever an engagement happens, the camera quickly transitions into a 3D fighting scene between the two mechs. These are honestly impressive, mirroring the graphics of a fighting game like Tekken 3 of Virtua Fighter 2. Both in design and animations, these Mech fights look really cool, and the loading is quick enough that they don't drag the battle down (you can also choose to skip all animations).

Also having the spirit of the 80s is the soundtrack, which is filled with light techno beats and electronic guitar riffs. It is a decent soundtrack that repeats itself too often, and the number of ridiculous tracks (as well as the number of times you hear them) is a tad too much. I can't understand how a reviewer from RPGFan.com thought this soundtrack is better than Final Fantasy VII's.

As for the sound effects, luckily, the Japanese effects are conserved, so we don't get any weird English yelps on a different frequency to the clashes of steel and metal during a fight.

In Conclusion:

Overall, I think that Vanguard Bandits is indeed a hidden PS1 gem. It has a core of solid gameplay and story ideas in an interesting world. Also, it has some replayability factor due to its multiple routes.

However, due to the colorful localization of Working Designs, the dialogue is childish and juvenile on many occasions. In fact, it is downright cringy in many character interactions and interview moments.

If you can ignore that part of the game and maybe imagine a better dialogue that fits the story, then maybe you can see Vanguard Bandits as the truly very good game it was meant to be.

Final: 7/10

Pros:

  • Very good graphical presentation
  • The core combat is really tactical and fun
  • There are multiple story paths to go through


Cons:

  • Relatively bad localization and dialogue that cheapens an otherwise good story
  • Limited customization option for your team
  • The music is repetitive despite being decent


"Tips"
1-Whenever a shop screen is available, buy everything you need right away.
2-Position is key in battles.
3-Concentrate on a single enemy to make them faint.
4-Some attacks cause a "Knockdown" effect which means the enemy will not attempt to counter.
5-Focus on the Fatigue Gauge, which can cause you to faint and become defenseless.
6-If your Fatigue Points are about to reach a 100, simply counter with your strongest move (unless the enemy uses a Knockdown or Collision move).
7-To get the "Ruin" path, you must complete the game once.
8-To get the "Empire" path, you must be at least Level 8 by the end of Chapter 3 and choose the second option.
9-During the "Empire Path", if you want a certain ending with one of the two possible love interests, then DON'T TALK TO THE OTHER ONE AT ALL. Also, it might pay to let the other one die in one or two battles.


"Next Game"

Usually, I am more tolerant towards Working Designs localization, but they really dropped the ball here in what should have been a very solid story. Still, Vanguard Bandits managed to rise beyond that serious flaw.

The next game in the additional list is another RPG, Thousand Arms, which also has some dating sim elements. Since it is developed by Atlus, I have some good expectations for the game, but not too much given the genre.

Stay Tuned
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Post by RealGunner Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:29 pm



Wonder how much Uncharted it will have in it

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Post by Pedram Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:09 pm

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Post by RealGunner Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:20 pm

Not surprised. Game looks quite ambitious.

Hope they delay it as much as they need to
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Post by RealGunner Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:22 pm

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Post by rincon Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:18 pm

@Arquitecto wrote:RG, you've generally grown fatigued of games its been going on for years. I feel the completionism side of you for trophies etc or just growing out of it has slowly set in.


It has happened to me long ago. I suggest stay away from Open world games and more into shorter linear games with less option and "filler" and ones that aren't a timesink or wean off the habit of completing quests or trophies. Too much of a good thing etc etc.

Basically why I don't play Assassin's Creed anymore. If I'm gonna play an open world game I need to really be into it, otherwise I'm going for the more linear game 90% of the time.

I think the only open world games I played on PS4 have been Horizon, FFXV, and Cyberpunk. Witcher 3 will be the next one at some point.
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Post by rincon Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:21 pm

@RealGunner wrote:


Wonder how much Uncharted it will have in it


All of it I guess. A great Indiana Jones game is basically Uncharted with less shooting.

I guess this will be Xbox's Uncharted.
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Post by RealGunner Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:00 pm

So is it 100% confirmed exclusive?
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Post by rincon Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:02 pm

No, but isn't it Bethesda? Don't see Microsoft throwing many games to playstation, especially not "new" IPs.
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Post by Arquitecto Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:32 pm

@rincon wrote:
@Arquitecto wrote:RG, you've generally grown fatigued of games its been going on for years. I feel the completionism side of you for trophies etc or just growing out of it has slowly set in.


It has happened to me long ago. I suggest stay away from Open world games and more into shorter linear games with less option and "filler" and ones that aren't a timesink or wean off the habit of completing quests or trophies. Too much of a good thing etc etc.

Basically why I don't play Assassin's Creed anymore. If I'm gonna play an open world game I need to really be into it, otherwise I'm going for the more linear game 90% of the time.

I think the only open world games I played on PS4 have been Horizon, FFXV, and Cyberpunk. Witcher 3 will be the next one at some point.



Indeed, as I post about Witcher 3 often but lets admit that is such an exception given they have the best side-quests of all time and a world worth exploring.


Linear games just have more substance to them. Option is nice but only when it subsists on depth.
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Post by Arquitecto Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:34 pm

On that note RIP to Star Wars in games by making the switch to Ubisoft.

Ubisoft I rant often about, Ubisoft Montreal once one of my fave developers but so far down they have gone we know how this will be.

EA is better by a mile. Their Frostbite engine is great, their production values unrivalled and Ubisoft is the absolute worst in licensing and production value and generally stick to one clear format.

Its made by the makers of Division 2 to which I hear little good about.

It'll be Assasins Creed re-skinned.
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:58 pm

I think you misunderstand Arq, they aren't switching to Ubisoft.

It's just for the one game, Star Wars games won't be exclusive to one company anymore.

Which is a great thing.
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Post by RealGunner Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:43 pm

@Great Leader Sprucenuce wrote:I think you misunderstand Arq, they aren't switching to Ubisoft.

It's just for the one game, Star Wars games won't be exclusive to one company anymore.

Which is a great thing.


It's a fantastic thing.

EA didn't even want to do star war games anymore but were obliged to do so. It's a win for everyone.

Ubisoft will do well. I imagine they'll make a 'The division' style star wars game. Would be a good idea to link it with Mandalorian somehow
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:55 pm

Absolutely, It's just stupid to tie your entire franchise to one company.

If someone has a good idea and has talent to pull it off give them a chance to make a game then do it.

It's so unbelievably simple.
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Post by RealGunner Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:14 pm

In other news, EA are about to buy Codemasters...

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Post by Babun Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:45 pm

@RealGunner wrote:In other news, EA are about to buy Codemasters...


Nooooooo!
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Post by Harmonica Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:01 pm

Is Colin McRae Rally the only great game Codemasters ever did?
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Post by Arquitecto Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:08 pm

Ah my bad Mole.

In that case it most definitely is a good thing given I am a firm believer in competition and the fruits it yields and no doubt EA will step up its game with Ubisoft creating their own SW project.

(still will be shit though)
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Post by RealGunner Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:30 pm

@Harmonica wrote:Is Colin McRae Rally the only great game Codemasters ever did?


Brian Lara Cricket '99 and Ashes Cricket 199 if you are into cricket
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Post by RealGunner Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:54 pm



What do we say? 2022? 2023?

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Post by Pedram Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:03 pm

@Harmonica wrote:Is Colin McRae Rally the only great game Codemasters ever did?

I used to play their Dirt series but yeah they are pretty limited in terms of what they make.

@RealGunner wrote:

What do we say? 2022? 2023?


Last i heard they're in the early production phase, don't expect anything until 2024.

Venturebeat article about this: https://venturebeat.com/2020/05/26/grand-theft-auto-vi-in-2023-take-two-sec-filing-hints-at-release-date/

Take-Two expects to spend $89 million on marketing during the 12-month period ending March 31, 2024. That is more than twice the marketing budget for any other fiscal year over the next half-decade, according to the company’s recent 10-K SEC filing. Why is Take-Two planning to spend that much more on marketing in fiscal 2024? One of the most likely explanations is that is when the publisher expects to release Grand Theft Auto VI, according to analyst Jeff Cohen of investment firm Stephens.

Also note how this spike in spending originally occurred in the 2023 financial year, so it looks like GTA6 was internally delayed:

Each year, Take-Two files a 10-K with numerous financial details, including its plans for marketing spend for each year for the next five years. In its previous 10-K, Take-Two notified investors of a spike in marketing costs for fiscal 2023. But that spending has now shifted to fiscal 2024. This movement in spending likely reflects developer Rockstar Games’ current plans for the release of Grand Theft Auto VI.

Looking at Take-Two's expected marketing expenses also correctly predicted the launch window for Red Dead Redemption 2

“We are not sure how much we should be reading into this shift, but we would note that this disclosure accurately predicted the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 prior to that game’s announcement,” Cohen wrote in a note to investors. “[Take-Two management] has spoken very confidently about the pipeline over the next five years and existing live services execution has been excellent. However, the timing of the next Grand Theft Auto remains top-of-mind for investors, particularly with the stock near all-time-highs.”

https://www.reddit.com/r/GamingLeaksAndRumours/comments/gr2vub/gta_vi_likely_to_launch_in_fy2024_april_1st_2023/
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Post by Nishankly Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:20 am

Need GL among us content as we get rich
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