General Games Discussion

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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Sat Mar 19, 2022 6:03 pm

Looks fantastic, my main concern of the combat is the AI looked very your turn my turn.

I'm hoping that was done to show off the game, fingers crossed.

But even if it isn't there seems to be a lot going on which i can i have fun with.

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Post by Lord Spencer Sat Mar 26, 2022 2:58 pm

#A43

Game: Shadow Madness:-
Year: 1999.
Genre: JRPG.
Publisher: Crave Entertainment.
Developer: Craveyward Studios, Lobotomy Studios.


General Games Discussion - Page 12 239584-shadow-madness-playstation-front-cover

Made by a number of ex-Squaresoft US employees, including the influential Ted Woolsey (whose localizations of Final Fantasy IV & VI were the best possible localizations given the constraints, fight me!), Shadow Madness was a Western attempt at making a JRPG like Final Fantasy VII.

In a way, the team succeeded in emulating their inspiration a tad too closely. It aims to look and feel like Cloud's adventure, but it misses the mark and ends up looking much worse while not playing as tightly despite being two years older. Unfortunately, the small team at Craveyard Studios just couldn't give justice to the interesting idea that they had.

"An unknown entity was attacking. It used mystic forces to wreak havoc across the land"

Unconstrained by the need for localization, the team at Craveyard Studios, including Ted Woolsey, must have been ecstatic at writing the game's story. That's evident in the dialogue, which flows naturally between characters through their conversations, and allows exposition to flow clearly and dramatically throughout the text.

It's one of the smoothest written dialogue I have seen in a JRPG, and it flows consistently while giving nuance and character to the text. Yet, the quality of dialogue shouldn't be conflated with the quality of the story and characters.

The main thrust of Shadow Madness's story is an interesting cataclysmic event that is wreaking havoc across the land as well as spreading a state of madness to the people. This cataclysm, which starts off as a mystery as the group of heroes survive through the wreckage of their homes and travel for answers, is rooted in the interesting lore of the world.

Unfortunately, while the story is intriguing and there is no fault in the dialogue, I didn't come to care much about the characters except in regards to their humorous banter. I suspect that is due to both their one-dimensional nature as well as some exceptionally ugly character design (except for Godhead, which is just a floating disembodied head that was rocking that looks before Mimir made it cool) isn't helped by the game's ugly graphics.

Say what you well about the generic design of JRPG characters, but they are at least made to be interesting and appealing in some way. Like the world, it's set in, which despite being interesting from a lot and writing point of view is just a bunch of ugly masses, the characters in Shadow Madness are such one-dimensional masses.

"Keerg's blood! Our towns are gone... We have no one left... The dead MUST be avenged!"

Other than its sub-par graphics, Shadow Madness's greatest weakness is its battle system and general gameplay loop. Nominally inspired by the team's previous connection to the Final Fantasy VI Active-Time battle system and Super Mario RPG's action inputs, Shadow Madness somehow manages to mess up both.

In battle, both the enemy and player characters operate on an invisible timer that never stops, even when you are making strategic decisions in your turn. The issue is that enemy and player timers seem to be independent. This means that your player character's timers don't advance while you choose your actions. With a very fast timer, the enemy can hit you three to four times while you are looking for specific magic or item to use.

Frustratingly, this leaves basic attacks as your best option most of the time, which come in different flavors from ranged to aggressive attacks. Ranged attacks use resources, and I didn't figure out any disadvantage to using aggressive attacks in lieu of normal ones. Now, in theory, you could augment your physical attacks by pressing the action button as your attack lands, but I found that the game gives you poor indication on timing, and rarely did see much difference and felt it more as an illusion rather than fact.

Naturally, you would think that these limitations would lead to a difficult and unfair time with the game. Yet, here is where the game's biggest issue becomes obvious, it's extremely and insultingly easy. When enemies don't whiff their attacks, they make single-digit damage unless they use magic (rarely), and I rarely had to heal or use magic at all.

Thankfully, with battles being extremely boring and inconsequential, the game has a reliable method to avoid random encounters, which is to duck whenever you hear monster roars. This won't pull back your experience growth, since you gain enough of it through occasional and mandatory battles.

It's rarely a compliment that the best thing about a game is that it allows you not to play it.

"Listen well, young visitors. I speak for the Greater Body... For all that has come, for all that follow"

Outside of battle, there isn't much to do except going from one place to another. Generally, the game is pretty linear, including its dungeons. The challenge is mostly figuring out what constitutes a path or a doorway in the game's painted background or navigating through the invisible edges of some of the environment's polygons.

Given the game's simplicity, you won't need much preparation before battles other than buying and equipping the latest defensive gear, and there isn't much to do anyway. There is no skill-learning system, crafting, or any other staples of good JRPGs.

Which is just as well given the game's limited inventory room, which would make a crating system a nightmare, and already is in a way. For some reason, there are hundreds of items that you can find and pick up, but the majority of them are completely useless and should be discarded right away.

As for side-quests, there aren't many interesting ones to speak off. However, it should be noted that the NPCs you meet and the books you read in towns are really interesting. These side stories and characters are often really interesting, especially when the characters react to them with some great dialogue.

"In the name of the One Head! Curse this foul, wooden demon! Aaaiiieee!!! We are undone!"

Sometimes, a game takes its inspiration too literally. In this case, it appears like Shadow Madness tries extremely hard to imitate Final Fantasy VII, it somehow ended up with worse versions of its ugly polygonal graphics, both inside and outside of battles.

Outside of battle, super-deformed polygonal creatures greet each other in front of hand-painted backgrounds. They don't look cute or interesting and do a poor job of imitating the newspaper-style comics of their portraits. It's frankly an achievement that a 1999 PS1 game manages to have worse polygonal models than a 1997 Saturn game would.

Inside battle, the character proportions and animations are better, but it is still a far cry from the standards of the day (or just common artistic sense) and is compounded by the poor and ugly art design throughout the whole game.

It appears that the world design was going for an Eldritch horror kind of thing, but it achieves being horrifying for all the wrong reasons.

One thing that isn't horrifying (unless it intends to be) is the game's soundtrack, which finally shows a degree of competency absent from the rest of the game besides its writing. It is moody and atmospheric where it needs to be, but also has some upbeat battle music and interesting jazzy town themes, making sure the game sounds much better than it looks.

In Conclusion:

As a freshman effort by a small team, there is much to be proud of about Shadow Madness. It has an interesting story, excellent dialogue, and good music. Yet, it shows a lack of competency (and budget) in the craft of its gameplay system and graphics.

In a way, it reminds me of the interesting experiment that was Secret of Evermore on the SNES. Except, given the generational difference, the lack of competency on the SNES didn't lead to the creation of an ugly and unpleasant game like it would have on the PS1.

Unfortunately, the graphical and gameplay shortcomings in Shadow Madness are so severe that they smother any of its better aspects.

Final: 7/10

Pros:
  • Great dialogue and script with humor and consistency.
  • Interesting story concept and lore.
  • The ability to avoid random encounters.
  • NPCs and books have interesting stories.
  • Good soundtrack.


Cons:
  • Characters are one-dimensional and have poor designs.
  • The battle system is poorly implemented and mechanically flawed.
  • The game is ridiculously easy and lacks any challenge.
  • Nothing to do outside of battle and clumsy map and dungeon designs.
  • Extremely ugly graphics both inside and outside of battle.
  • Unflattering combination of polygonal graphics and painted backgrounds.


"Tips"
1-Hold the shoulder button to duck when you hear monster roars if you want to avoid random encounters.
2-For ranged characters, choose the engage command for melee attacks without using arrows.
3-Throw away most of the useless junk you pick up (things without value or that heals little HP).
4-In Karillon city, there are thugs you could fight for huge experience boost repeatedly.
5-Don't bother much with using magic, you will rarely need it.

"Next Game"

I always hope to enjoy these little-known JRPGs, and Shadow Madness had its heart in the right place. However, the execution was aggressively off.

Now I am going back to the main Top 100 PS1 Games list by Retro Sanctuary, directly to Dino Crisis 2 at #44. However, before that, I will play and review the first Dino Crisis game. Hope it still holds up.

Stay Tuned
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Post by RealGunner Tue Apr 05, 2022 11:19 pm

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Post by Lord Spencer Wed Apr 13, 2022 11:16 pm

#44(S)

Game: Dino Crisis:-
Year: 1999.
Genre: Survival Horror.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.


General Games Discussion - Page 12 240

What would Resident Evil play like if all the enemies in the game were mobile and aggressive dinosaurs? Not very differently, as the first Dino Crisis game demonstrates. If you were not aware that the game was actually made by Capcom, you would be forgiven to think that this is the most blatant Resident Evil clone that ever existed.

Since it was made by Capcom, it survives the sin of unoriginality through experience and provides a really solid PS1 Survival Horror experience, but it suffers from lacking the trapping and atmosphere of the Resident Evil locations.

"I must discover the true purpose of this project, before irreparable harm is done"

The game begins with a squad of special operation agents infiltrating an island to extract a presumably dead genius scientist, Dr. Kirk of the famed "Third Energy" theory, a gibberish concept that is used as an excuse to bring dinosaurs into the game.

When reaching the island, a member of the team lands awkwardly, and then in a scene right out of Jurassic Park (expertly rendered through the technology of the time), is gobbled up by a T-Rex. Soon, the rest of the team realizes something is terribly wrong on the island, and find themselves under threat by carnivorous dinosaurs.

Controlling the rookie of the team, Regina, you search through the island's research headquarters for Dr. Kirk, as well as a way out of the island while trying to survive being devoured by pre-historic beasts. It's supposedly riveting and tense stuff, except when the characters converse with ridiculously cheesy quips (that are not as ridiculous as the first Resident Evil game though).

The game progresses similar to the other more famous Capcom games, by finding clues, and codes, and slowly uncovering what happened on the island while nearing your escape. What holds Dino Crisis back is that the story and lore are just not as interesting, and the stakes are more minimal as well. Dinosaurs, no matter how frightening at the moment, do not have the same viral and societal fear factors as zombies, and the sterile research station doesn't do the heavy narrative work that the mansions did in Resident Evil.

One thing that the game does well though is incorporate the rest of your team in a meaningful way, offering you choices in how to tackle key points in the story, even affecting the ending at the final juncture of the game.

"This wasn't much of a fight. I don't think the guards hit anything before getting sliced and diced"

While the game's story doesn't have the same interesting trappings of the Resident Evil franchise, it sure does copy its gameplay to a tee, which is a disappointment when you consider the fact that you are dealing with supposedly deadlier enemies.

Due to the PS1's technical limitations, the dino enemies are mostly trapped in individual rooms, which makes the most efficient strategy to run through the game is to run and dodge the enemies while going from to room. However, it should be noted that sometimes, the dinos will suddenly rush into the room or corridor you escaped into (showing up in a minor cut-scene), and that can escalate into a deadly battle soon.

That's because you are outclassed in your fight against these beasts, lacking in ammo and firepower, you cannot hope to kill every enemy you face. Still, when cornered, you can always trust the little ammo you have to dispatch a dino or three, and then heal up the damage, but don't expect to survive long if you try and kill every enemy.

To be fair, even though the game functions mechanically the same as its zombified inspiration, with solid but rigid tank controls, auto-aiming, and the ever-handy quick turn button, the game does move at a slightly faster pace. This leads to some exciting chases where you can also use the environment, closing laser gates behind you, to impede the scaly predators.

Still, if you imagined that having faster and stronger enemies being the default will fundamentally shake up Capcom's PS1 Survival Horror formula, then you will be disappointed by the result here.

"I'm in... This place is so deserted. I have a bad feeling about this!"

With its slow and clunky gameplay, fixed camera angles, and fixation on puzzles, I have always argued that the Survival Horror genre is simply a more action-oriented form of Point-and-Click Adventure games. Think about it, you run around rooms, gathering clues and items, and then using them in other rooms to solve puzzles. All the while, the action is intermittent and your best option is almost always to flee.

In Dino Crisis, the puzzles are really good and fit the location and theme of the game much better than the nonsensical puzzles of the Arkley Mansion. Attempting to fix a generator, hack into a system, reformat an idea, or formulate a scientific McGuffin.

These are objectives that make sense within the context of the game, and it feels fair in how you are supposed to figure them out. Clues are accessible in books and charts visible in the environment, and hints are not too obvious to spoil the solution.

Ultimately, the majority of your experience would be running around the island's research base, trying to figure out how to get deeper into it, and resolving the obstacles in your path. Rarely was I frustrated by this part of the game, and rather enjoyed the puzzles, which didn't require much backtracking to deal with.

"This isn't a joke you idiot. We were just attacked by a big ass lizard!!"

Releasing at the tail end of the PS1's cycle, Dino Crisis came at a point where developers had a better grasp of 3D graphics, which shows in Capcom's dedication to making all environments and characters with polygons.

As expected from a game its age, the character models lack detail and have mushy faces, but the enemy models, while limited in numbers, look good and menacing. What's more disappointing are the environments, which while sterile by design, lack the beauty and detail of pre-rendered backgrounds.

Of course, this was mainly due to the PS1's lack of power, which wasn't as much of a concern with occasional expertly done CGI scenes. Those were well done and clearly were influenced by Jurassic Park in more ways than one.

It should be noted that the excellent direction of the CGI scenes extends to the in-game scenes, which made for some memorable encounters with the dinosaurs, especially the mighty T-Rex. Some of those scenes even had an early form of quick-time events, where you need to mash the buttons to escape from a dangerous situation.

As for the game's soundtrack, it's atmospheric most of the time but does have the occasional suitably epic or tense track. It doesn't stick to the memory and doesn't have the same evocative feeling as other games in the genre. The same can be said about the voice acting which is solid, which is better than being memorable for the wrong reasons.

In Conclusion:

Here is a case where a game is being judged in comparison to its peers and inspiration. I imagine if it was released before Resident Evil, then it would have rightly been celebrated as a revolutionary game. Instead, we are left with a minor mechanical step forward that misses some of the unique pulling factors of the original.

Still, this was Capcom's first attempt at making a Resident Evil clone and they stuck too close to the source material. I wonder what they have done with the sequel of this game.

Final: 7/10

Pros:
  • Occassional choice-driven sections.
  • Solid and enjoyable puzzles.
  • Great scene direction.
  • The dinosaurs look good



Cons:
  • The narrative and location aren't very interesting.
  • The game plays almost exactly like its more prestigious inspiration.
  • Polygonal graphics show their age.
  • The 3D environment is not as beautiful or evocative as pre-rendered backdrops.



"Tips"
1- Learn to utilize the map and make sense of the directions.
2- You can investigate equipment, signs, books, shelves, and other environmental objects for clues.
3- Avoid shooting dinosaurs and focus on dodging them instead.
4- Save some plugs (that are used to open ammo boxes) for the end-game.
5- You can push shelves and cabinets to expose some stuff.
6- Press R2 for a full 180 degrees turn.
7- Use environmental switches to stop or trip-up chasing dinosaurs.
8- When encountering a "danger" situation, just mash all buttons to escape.


"Next Game"

I didn't expect to enjoy a PS1 Survival Horror game at all, so I am pleasantly glad that I did end up liking Dino Crisis.

Now, I am looking forward more to playing its sequel, which is the one that sits at #44 on the Top 100 PS1 games list by Retro Sanctuary. I should note that I have a very interesting personal story with that game which I will share in my review of it.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer Sat Apr 23, 2022 1:18 pm

#44

Game: Dino Crisis 2:-
Year: 2000.
Genre: Action-Horror.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.


General Games Discussion - Page 12 190092-dino-crisis-2-playstation-front-cover

Moving away from aping the Survival Horror formula of Resident Evil like the first game did, Dino Crisis instead crafts its own identity as an Action-heavy take on the genre, giving justice to the concept of fighting dinosaurs for survival.

This is simply a much better sequel, and probably one of the best Action games on the PS1. Now it makes sense why my cousin was so addicted to the game when it was first released, but more on that later.

"This time, the entire research base, military institution, and a small town close-by has disappeared. In their place no lies a jungle from another time"

The first game introduced the concept of "Third Energy", which when generated somehow creates time travel portals. These portals are what introduced dinosaurs to the island in the first game. Now, an experiment with Third Energy went wrong and en entire base and neighboring town were apparently transported to the Cretaceous era where dinosaurs existed.

An elite army of soldiers, including the heroine of the first game, Regina, are transported to the period to save the transported people and bring back the date of the experiment. However, immediately in a technically impressive CGI scene, the entire army is attacked by a horde of dinosaurs, leaving only Regina and two new characters, Dylan and a surfer cowboy dude who is only memorable by how many cliches he embodies.

Inexplicably, the characters split up often, causing you to alternate between controlling Regina and Dylan as you go through the mission of finding survivors and coming back to your own time. As expected from a Capcom game from that era, the dialogue is hilariously bad, if more competent than in earlier games. Which is charming in a B-Movie kind of way.

Yet, I find the actual story and overarching story a little interesting. An entire society was transported to an era where they needed to deal with weirdly aggressive lizards, and you see the remnants of that struggle to a degree while uncovering some interesting ramifications of the time travel shenanigans.

"Come for more, huh... You one-eyed menace!!"

The first Dino Crisis game copied the Resident Evil formula almost exactly. As such, you were encouraged to avoid fighting the dinosaurs to conserve ammo, and it felt like a lesser Resident Evil game.

Dino Crisis 2 completely upends the formula, somehow creating an Action game within the same engine. Characters still have tank control, but their movement is faster and more fluid. Gunplay is faster, without any need to worry about ammo, and that's the only way to deal with hordes of dinosaurs that will attack you.

Seriously, dinosaurs come in a nearly endless supply, so much that there is a combo system of killing them rapidly without being hit. There is a system of experience points (EXP) that can be earned by performing higher combos and not getting hit within an area.

Areas are a bunch of Resident Evil like corridors with fixed camera angles that are connected to each other without any loading zones. This allows the dinosaurs to chase you as you span, and is a central reason why the game mechanically works. You are actually being actively chased by the enemy. At least, you are being chased when some enemies don't randomly spawn at the border of screen transitions (which can get annoying when it breaks your combs)

It is difficult to accurately state how good the action gameplay feels; I can only say that it feels like a proper arcade system. Each character has different weapons, with Dylan focusing on single-shot power while Regina used more rapid-fire weapons, and the battles against both hordes of raptors as well as the bigger dinosaurs (especially the Allosaurus) are really fun and satisfying.

"Okay, we will have to look for something in this world in order to get us back to our original time"

When you are not shooting dinosaurs, you are usually running from one area to another looking for a key card or a key person. Unlike the first game, there aren't many puzzles to shake things up or information to gather from the environment. You basically go from point A to B, fighting dinosaurs along the way, and buying ammunition and items in save points. Whatever information you gather from the environment is just there to give context (you can find logs and dino files to read).

Instead of puzzles, the game shakes things up with different kinds of action. For example, there are one-off mini-games where you are in a first-person Rail Gun game, one time you control a tank, and other situations that shake up the regular action of the game.

While none of these elements add greatly to the game's already excellent gameplay mechanics, they do help keep things fresh and are surprisingly decent additions to an already solid package.

One rather extensive section is an interesting underwater section that is surprisingly not too bad. Thanks to a jet button, it introduces a verticality that works really well, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. It even has one cool boss battle against an enemy that was pitifully weak above water but is suddenly extremely dangerous under it.

Speaking of boss battles, there are several of them here, and they are mostly fun even if most are a bit too easy. In fact, the game is a bit too easy in general, with only one situation in the last boss battle that I think is unfairly hard.

"I knew it would all come down to this. There's no way humans and dinosaurs could ever coexist"

One of the major advancements made in the first Dino Crisis was the deployment of fully polygonal graphics for both the characters and the environment. It taxed the console's memory, which perhaps explains the limited size of rooms and corridors, and didn't look particularly interesting.

Dino Crisis 2 goes back to Caomco's use of pre-rendered 2D background, which works much better. Depicting the lush jungle environments of the period, as well as wreck of base overgrown by said jungle, these backgrounds are beautiful and effective at creating the atmosphere of the game. Somehow, that also allows the polygonal characters, both the low-res main heroes and the detailed dinosaurs, to pop out much better. They actually look quite decent.

Of course, this does mean that the camera angles for each screen are fixed (like in a Resident Evil game), but that was true of the first game as well. Anyways, this quick of this type of game is something you can get used to and is helped by having an auto-aim function.

Special mention to the CGI scenes, which are some of the best of their time. The in-game scenes are also really good, but sometimes, the slow-motion effect is a tad overdone to the determinant of the scenes.

Something else that helps the atmosphere is the ambient soundtrack and immersive sound effects of both jungle and beasts. There is extensive use of music with natural sounds, which swells into epic or tense tunes at the right moments, including a really good credits song.

One interesting element regarding sound is that it helps to listen to the sound effects to figure out the number of dinosaurs that spawned and their relative location, which helps alleviate the enemy spawning issue I mentioned earlier.

In Conclusion:

Now I understand why my 13-year-old cousin was so addicted to this game, which is as fun to play as is interesting to look at and watch. This brings me back to the conclusion of the story. After beating the game, he still wanted to play it and finish it in less time, which he did several times.

This culminated in an all-nighter just before school started and even missing the first day of school. When his mother knew about that, she threw the PS1 (I remember that it was the small white one) down the stairs. I distinctly remember coming into their house just as the console hit the ground.

To my knowledge, my cousin (who grew up to be a normal person) rarely if ever played video games after this. In that case, he did sign off the hobby with one hell of a game.

Final: 9/10

Pros:
  • An interesting background story and some charming B-Movies stuff.
  • The Arcade-Action gameplay is very good and engaging.
  • A good weapon variety, and a fun combo system.
  • Several sections shake up the gameplay formula.
  • Replayable due to how snappy and fun the combat is.
  • The pre-rendered backgrounds are lush and suitable.
  • Good atmospheric sounds and sights.


Cons:
  • No matter how you slice it, the dialogue and voice acting is cheesy and awkward.
  • Sometimes enemies spawn unfairly in screen transitions.
  • Can be considered too easy most of the time.


"Tips"
1- Learn to utilize the map and make sense of the directions, it is much improved from the first game and pretty detailed.
2- Enable step commands, which allow you to use Triangle to jump backward or sideways to dodge enemy attacks.
3- Taking no damage in any area is the best way, along with chaining combos, to rack up a lot of exp.
4- Be careful standing next to the level boundaries, because raptors can jump at any second.
5- There is never a need to buy recovery items since there should be more than enough for your use.
6- You can find files containing information about the world by searching cabinets, thrown-around files, and computer screens.
7- Regina's dual gun may look weak, but it is very good at handling multiple enemies.
8- Flying dinosaurs are annoying to deal with without Regina's rapid-fire weapons.
9- You will need to buy the strong weapon in the underwater section to proceed, it is not expensive so you shouldn't have any issues there.


"Next Game"

When I played the first Dino Crisis game, I was skeptical if it was worth having his mother break the console over it for my cousin. While Dino Crisis 2 may not be so fun that it is worth breaking a console for, it did justify why he became so addicted to it in the first place.

I am not sure if the #42 game, Valkyrie Profile, would be as addicting, but I am sure it's going to be a lot of fun. This is a cult-favorite Action-RPG that people still remember fondly today, and I am sure I am going to like it. It's only a question of how much?

Stay Tuned
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Post by Myesyats Mon May 16, 2022 6:13 pm

Guys I have a question (gift advice). Whats the best FPS currently with local split-screen for ps4? battlefield 2042?
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Post by Pedram Thu Jun 02, 2022 11:35 pm











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Post by RealGunner Fri Jun 03, 2022 4:48 pm

look at all that shite no one cares about

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Post by Thimmy Fri Jun 03, 2022 5:03 pm

Not gonna lie, I'm actually excited for that RE4 remake. I thought that game was very good when it was first released, and I imagine it would be even better with some upgrades to it's graphics and gameplay mechanics.
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Post by Pedram Fri Jun 03, 2022 5:45 pm

RealGunner wrote:look at all that shite no one cares about


The fuck you talking about mate? RE4 Remake and Spiderman on PC was genuine "holy shit" for me.
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Post by Myesyats Fri Jun 03, 2022 6:48 pm

RE4 is the only one worth a 2nd look, dont know who makes all these boring games and what drives them to do it
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Post by Thimmy Fri Jun 03, 2022 7:22 pm

Pedram wrote:


This is off-topic, but the music in the intro to that video reminded me of this collaboration between probably my favorite guitarist and a Polish guitarist. I've been really into this kind of stuff lately.

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Post by M99 Fri Jun 03, 2022 8:16 pm

Callisto Protocol is worth getting hyped up about. From the maker of Dead Space and it looks great. RG won't get hyped about anything that's not Soulsborne tbh.
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Post by RealGunner Fri Jun 03, 2022 11:55 pm

lol i am messing. I am sure they are all great reveals.

I don't think we are going to get a big reveal for a while. The Witcher 4 might be the next huge reveal but obviously not by sony.
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Post by M99 Sat Jun 04, 2022 11:21 am

GTA 6 is much closer to reveal than Witcher 4 I think. CDPR came out and said majority of their team is working on Cyberpunk DLC which is slated for release next year. I expect GTA to be announced next year and released in 2025.

Other games rumored to be in development but unannounced include MGS 3 remake, inFamous 4, BioShock 4. Then there are the obvious ones like FF7 Remake II and Ghost of Tsushima 2.
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Post by RealGunner Tue Jun 07, 2022 5:09 pm

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Post by Lord Spencer Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:16 pm

#42

Game: Valkyrie Profile:-
Year: 1999, 2000.
Genre: Action RPG.
Publisher: Enix.
Developer: Tri-Ace.


General Games Discussion - Page 12 196742-valkyrie-profile-playstation-front-cover

Valkyrie Profile is just the type of game that is typical of the many hidden gems in the PS1 library. Experimental in every way, both trying to expand the genres before it and forge its own path, it ends up becoming an entirely unique game.

Not all of those experimental games succeeded, but Valkyrie Profile pulls it off extremely well. It's a game with unique and engaging gameplay, brilliant graphics and music, and a pretty good story and characters. Rarely putting a foot wrong, it fully justifies its reputation as a cult-favorite title.

"Lenneth the Valkyrie. I would not summon you, the greatest of the three Goddesses who govern destiny, without good cause. The head of Mimir told me that Ragnarok, the end of the world is drawing near"

As you may guess from the game's name, the story of Valkyrie Profile is heavily inspired by Norse mythology, with the Valkyrie, Lenneth, being your main character. At the start of the game, Lenneth is informed by the leader of the Aesir Gods, Odin, of the impending war of Ragnarok. She is then tasked by him to visit the human realm and collect the souls of dead warriors to recruit for the war.

Collecting these warriors, called Einherjars, and then training them in dungeons is the crux of this game. Each Einherjar starts with their own story, which naturally involves their tragic death, and then they join your crew as playable characters. There are about 24 characters to recruit, each with a widely different personality and story that is terrific on its own.

Unfortunately, these characters are then rarely involved with the bigger narrative, and in fact, have little to say after their initial reveal. I feel that there should have been more story sequences that involved more characters, which could have been sacrificed thanks to the sheer number of characters.

Thankfully, thanks to the excellent sprite work, character design, and voice work, each character perfectly showcases their personality in battle. For example, Kashel's arrogance is perfectly captured by his battle pose and quotes, while Jayle is clearly a more elegant knight than most, fitting her personality.

Initially, these micro-stories, both of the characters and the dungeons you go through, may seem like the only story the game has to offer, a fact that may feel more substantial if you didn't watch the optional prologue on the title screen (seriously). In that prologue, you learn of Lenneth's origin, which comes into play in optional story segments that are needed to unlock the true ending.

Only in the last two chapters does the story resolve into a cohesive whole, but I didn't feel disappointed by that. Actually, I found the central theme of the end-game to have been ever-present throughout the game, with how much care and compassion Lenneth started to show to the souls she recruited.

Still, it would have been great if the many interesting characters had more to say.

"That is your power. The power to hear the sorrow, anger, and hopes of humans near death. The power to hear their souls cry out"

In line with her job in the human world, Lenneth's task is very clear. Find the souls of dead and worthy warriors to recruit, train them in battle, and then send them to Valhalla in preparation for Ragnarok. The game is divided into eight chapters, each with 20-28 time periods to do what you need.

Typically, you start the chapter uncovering the locations of dungeons and recruitable characters (spending periods) before heading off to recruit and then train. The game has multiple difficulty levels, with more periods but harder conditions for the higher difficulty settings. I think that you should go for Normal at least since you otherwise don't have access to some characters and the true ending.

Anyways, at this stage, all you are doing is advancing text boxes, and maybe fiddling with menus. The true gameplay starts once you enter a dungeon. Here, you will notice one of the game's most defining features.

It's all in a 2D plane.

Yes, the dungeon design, and indeed the entire game's presentation, are laid out like an action platformer. You can fully control Lenneth as if in a particularly stiff Castlevania game, except that you go into another screen for a fight when attacking enemies, which I will expand on later. Everything besides battle is handled like a basic platforming game.

You have access to crystal mechanics, which can create platforms as well as do various other things (like freeze objects). Using this one skill, as well as a generous jump distance, you will traverse dungeons of increasing complexity.

From a purely technical perspective, the game's platforming is merely passable, but the dungeon designs are varied and quite fun if a bit confusing. It's a unique take for any RPG, but it works well thanks to the beautiful sprite work and background art.

However, one egregious mistake is that in most dungeons, you are required to track back to the entrance once you defeat the final boss and in effect complete the dungeon.

"In this line of work, I know there are times when you have to just grit your teeth and face death! But, that doesn't mean you should throw your life away"

While its unique take on dungeon traversal is refreshing, Valkyrie Profile only truly stretches its wings once you get into battles, which are a unique mosh of Action RPG and fighting game ideas. You control a party of four, with each character assigned to a different face button. By pressing the face buttons, you are ordering the corresponding characters to attacks, and your timing is the difference between whiffing your attacks or building a combo that obliterates your foes.

Characters come into two flavors: mages that are almost all interchangeable, and melee/ranged characters that each have a unique way of attacking and building a combo. For instance, Arngrim, one of the first characters you get, has a large sword that hits hard but does little to build a combo or launch an enemy to the air. In contrast, Jayle hits multiple times with her rapier and has a nice launching maneuver.

Doing an effective combo not only increases your damage potential but also knocks out crystals that can increase your energy or exp. Also, it builds up a meter to unleash Super Attacks. These attacks, called Purify Wierd Soul attacks (?) are flashy spectacles that do a lot of damage and can be chained to each other.

However, no matter how good you are at combos, you won't do much damage if you are party is not leveled up or equipped properly. Here, you must look at what is honestly a little bit overwhelming menu management. With hundreds of items, dozens of skills, and multiple characters, it is a bit difficult to figure out how to best upgrade your characters.

Later, it becomes obvious that you get more skill points than you can effectively use, and you will know which skills to prioritize. Also, you should be able to find good weapons to use in dungeons, and will soon learn to buy the equipment you need. It's intimidating at first, but you should eventually get the hang of it even if you don't fully grasp it.

Once you level up characters, including improving their best traits and increasing their heroism value, you are expected to transfer at least some characters back to Valhalla. This decision will ensure your party keeps getting refreshed (since it forces you to train other characters) and is not honestly as hard as I thought it would be.

"To my side my noble Einherjar"

Valkyria Profile has some of the best sprite work and 2D background art on the PS1. That should be enough qualifier to suggest that it is still one of the best-looking PS1 games, one that didn't age one bit.

The playable characters are the highlight of the bunch, and I already described how their animations, stances, and overall design suggest much more character than they ever convey in-game. This is doubly true when you consider the absolutely gorgeous portraits for each character, which both have a unique style that I didn't find anywhere else, and conveys so much about each character.

Initially, it seemed like the world's design is similarly rich. However, the greyish color palette starts becoming more obvious, and other than some brilliant locations everywhere else blends a little bit too much. The same can be said about the relative scarcity of enemy designs.

Another aspect that provides as much personality as the graphics is the voice acting (when it's there), which is surprisingly good. In a way, it also helps convey the personality of the Einherjar in the absence of much story dialogue.

What's never absent is Motoi Sakuraba's great soundtrack, which surely ranks among his best. Mysterious and haunting tunes such as "Requiem to a Predicament" and "Night to the Twilight of Everything" provides a prevailing mood that is specific to the game.

It is then doubly amazing when Sakuraba brings in one of his rapidly changing battle tracks to the mix, with both the main battle and boss battle tracks being absolute winners. Many people discount Sakuraba's work due to the similarities between his Tales albums, but his talents can't be ignored here.

In Conclusion:

As far as cult favorites go, I doubt many games would give as convincing and strong an argument for the title as Valkria Profile. This is one of the most unique and ambitious JRPGs on the PS1, and it frankly deserves much more attention than it initially got.

With excellent graphics and great sound, a bloody good and unique battle system as well as a unique mature story and setting, it is just a damn good game. It's a testament to how good this game is that I powered through without getting much bored even when I started feeling that it was a little longer than it should. Only now, at the end of the review, do I remember a feeling of impatience as the game extended for a chapter or two more than it should have.

Regardless, I am extremely glad that I finally played this game, and I hope we continue to see more of the series as I hope the latest releases succeed in some way.

Final: 8/10

Pros:
  • An interesting world and premise.
  • Many interesting characters with great backstories.
  • The character's personalities are perfectly showcased through visual and audio design.
  • Time limit creates an interesting tension.
  • Intresting and unique take on RPG dungeons.
  • Incredibly unique and engaging battle system.
  • Most characters have a varied way of attacking that shakes things up.
  • Great Sprite work and animation.
  • Excellent Character art.
  • Great soundtrack.


Cons:
  • Once recruited, the characters have little story impact.
  • No overarching story until the end of the game.
  • Time limits may mean you never know if you did all you needed to do.
  • After finishing most dungeons, you are required to track back to the entrance (WTF).
  • Complicated and labyrinthian upgrade and preparation system.
  • Limited color palette and repetitive enemy designs.
  • The game is a little longer than it should be.


"Tips"
1- Choose normal difficulty at least, don't choose easy or you unlock yourself from the true ending and many interesting dungeons and characters.
2- At the end of each dungeon, there are artifacts that you can either take or donate to Odin. Taking too many artifacts can lose you the game, so be careful.
3- Unlike regular breakable weapons, breakable magic staffs only break if you use their Super Attack.
4- To avoid weapons breaking (which sounds like a bigger issue than it really is), defeat enemies in one turn (easier said than done).
5- Status altering magic, such as Sap Guard and Reinforce Might are extremely useful in the end game. You can easily change your mage's spells at the end if you need to.
6- Some types of weapons instantly kill some type of enemies, which is incredibly useful.
7- Combos not only build the special meter, they also knock out experience crystals and items.
8- Learning to use the properties of your ice crystal spell in platforming is essential in some later dungeons. For example, you can shoot a crystal twice to break it, which creates a small slowly falling platform that you can actually use for a short while.
9- Equipe status boosting items, such as Bracelet of Zoe, when leveling up for tremendous benefits.
10- Just check the internet for the best strategy to get the true ending.


"Next Game"

I expected to like Valkyrie Profile, after all, it's known as a solid PS1 RPG with excellent sprite work, but I didn't expect to like it as much as I did now. However, in the end, I think I docked it a point due to how long it felt to finish. This is probably going to be the highest 8 I give in the PS1.

Next on the list is a game that shouldn't take as much to beat, at least not if you don't count all three games as one. I am talking about the incredibly iconic Tomb Raider. If you check the Retro Sanctuary list, you will actually see Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation at #41. However, the Dreamcast version of that game is known to be vastly superior, so I am just going to play the first three PS1 Tomb Raider games instead.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Pedram Thu Jun 09, 2022 5:59 pm



The Last of Us coming to PC bounce
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Post by The Demon of Carthage Thu Jun 09, 2022 8:41 pm

Pedram wrote:

The Last of Us coming to PC bounce

If you still haven't played it, you are gonna love it.

By the way, you don't need to wait until it's released on PC. It's available on Playstation Now which is a cloud-gaming service. I recommend Google Stadia personally because it's way more stable.

Both need very good high-speed connection to function properly though, preferably fiber.
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Post by Harmonica Mon Jun 13, 2022 8:43 am



Looks stunning. :bow: Fcking finally an actual game from Bethesda, what's it now 8 years from release of FO4.
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Post by Arquitecto Mon Jun 13, 2022 4:23 pm

Gee look at Starfield basically looking like a re-skinned Fallout.

Insane how far back their graphics and animations are compared to current-gen games.
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Post by Harmonica Mon Jun 13, 2022 4:52 pm

It's basically No Man's Daggerfallout, which definitely isn't a bad thing. Graphics aren't the best, but engine is still more dynamic than even UE5 which is far more important.
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Post by M99 Mon Jun 13, 2022 5:18 pm

Environment variety and roleplaying mechanics look promising.

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General Games Discussion - Page 12 6c9xrwssk8591
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Post by Lord Spencer Sat Jun 18, 2022 9:57 am

#41(S1)

Game: Tomb Raider:-
Year: 1996.
Genre: 3D Action-Platformer Adventure.
Publisher: Eidos Interactive.
Developer: Core Design


General Games Discussion - Page 12 16220-tomb-raider-playstation-front-cover

There is no doubt that the first Tomb Raider is an absolutely iconic game. Not only was it a pioneering title at the start of the 3D era, but it also introduced the iconic character of Lara Croft, one of gaming's most famous leading ladies.

However, like many trailblazing games of that era, time wasn't kind to it, and I found playing it today to be excruciatingly stiff and boring. This iconic game is best left in museums along with the artifacts Lara casually raids.

"There's this little trinket. An age-old artifact of mystical power buried in the unfound tomb of Qualapec"

Typical to games of the era, there is little to the game's story other than introducing the setting. Lara Croft is a wealthy English adventurer that enjoys nothing more than a hobbyist, and potentially destructive, archeological adventures. Not too dissimilar to a certain Indian Jones, but with more sass, shorter shorts, and a prominent bust.

Other than that, there is a vague story about powerful artifacts that you are trying to find before a certain unethical rival, and a lot of action scenes detailing how much of an action hero Lara is. These scenes do a good job at showcasing both Lara's character, and her many, err assets.

In-game, I feel that the team did their best with the technology of the time in creating unique tombs and place to discover, but they are not particularly impressive today. For comparison, many games featuring ancient ruins on the SNES crafted better worlds with 2D drawings and sprites.

"I'm sorry. I only play for sport"

Without much of a story, a game like this one depends entirely on its gameplay. In theory, exploring tombs, jumping around to avoid dangers and cross massive chasms, and fighting monsters with dual guns should be a fun experience, and I don't doubt that it once was. However, 3D gameplay has advanced drastically since that time, and I think the many flaws of this game can no longer be tolerated.

To put it simply, Lara's movements are stiff at best and cadaveric most of the time. Without analog controls, you are forced to use some of the more obtuse tank controls in a 3D game. However, unlike with slower-paced titles like Resident Evil, you are expected to be fast and precise with your movements here.

This becomes obvious with the jumping system, where distances, jumping arcs, and timings need to perfect for Lara to grab a ledge with no level of adjustments made by the game. Otherwise, the idiot hits the wall, or the ledge, or the roof and gives off that annoying grunt sound. A sound you are expected to hear over and over again.

Of course, the nightmare doesn't stop with that. No, you must also contend with a poor camera and an even poorer fighting system. Get this scenario. You are in a square pool of water and a stupid bear is in the room. In order to fight the bear, you need to emerge from the pool at the opposite ledge and shoot at it. However, thanks to the bear's flawless tracking accuracy and speed and Lara's slow emerging speed, you are immediately mauled by the bear as you get out of the water.

At least the swimming mechanics are fine. This is the first game I played where the water mechanics are better than the ones on land.

"Vast mountains ranges to cover. Sheer walls of ice. Rocky crags and savage winds"

As one of the first 3D games in the market, Tomb Raider is both impressive and lackluster. It's impressive from a historical point of view, but is extremely barren and poorly designed even to the standards of the time. At least when it comes to the environment, since Lara's character model is pretty decent.

On the other hand, the CGI cut-scenes are really solid, with good scene direction, character acting work, and decent graphics. They are not along with the best on the PS1 but showcase the title's pioneering work in that direction.

Musically, the game is silent most of the time but plays some great music when the situation calls for it. Normally, that should happen more often as you advance through the stage, but thanks to the stiff gameplay, only silence would greet Lara's grunts of failure.

A special mention should be given to Lara's voice though, which is ironically haughty (besides those grunts) and builds the character even more so than the words themselves.

In Conclusion:

As I prefaced this review at the beginning, there is no doubting this game's iconic legacy, and after a long while, I remember my uncle mastered the game's stiff controls and was able to have Lara move semi-fluidly for a moment. That is until he screamed with rage at an unexpected camera shift that had her tumbling to her doom.

This is just a game that didn't age well, and consequently is no longer fun to play.

Final: 4/10

Pros:

  • Iconic character.
  • Expressive cut-scenes.
  • Very good underwater mechanics.
  • Very good CGI scenes.


Cons:

  • Empty and lifeless world.
  • Stiff movements make puzzle-solving excruciating.
  • Poor platforming mechanics.
  • Poor camera design.
  • Terrible fighting gameplay.
  • Lifeless and barren world.


"Tips"
1- Make sure to play the tutorial level in Lara's Mansion to learn the controls.
2- Pull out your weapons and randomly shoot whenever you go into a new area.
3- Press "Circle" for a 180 degree.
4- Jump and hit the grab button always.

"Next Game"

I half expected the first Tomb Raider to age like milk, as has happened with many of its 3D peers.

What I am now afraid of, given the rapid release of the second and third Tomb Raider games, is that no extensive improvements were made to this franchise. Oh well, if the next two games in the franchise which I should review recycled much from the first game, then I will probably recycle much from this review as well.

Stay Tuned
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Post by El Gunner Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:47 pm

what's up lads... trying to get back into gaming full-time. But i've been absent for so long i don't know what's good and cool these days.

So i was pondering getting a gaming PC. I already need a new laptop too, so i thought i'd just save up enough and get a two-in-one with the gaming PC.

But was just casually browsing around online now to look at the prices in Namibia. It seems like the best core i7 gaming PCs go for around N$40 000.

Then I saw PS5 is going for around N$20 000 including game bundles. And I can get a decent TV for around N$5 000. So I can save around N$ 15 000 with this option.

So my question: why should I get a gaming PC over a console such as PS5 or XBOX? Give me all the pros and cons for both options. Money really isn't an issue, I am patient enough to save up for either option.
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Post by Thimmy Sun Jun 19, 2022 8:16 pm

The way I see it, the argument for getting a computer is that it's simply more powerful. It can run most games on graphical settings that are higher than what the max quality settings on consoles are capped at, and often times you even have the option of higher FPS. I will always prefer a mouse and keyboard, but that's just my personal preference. It's just a better experience, in general. And of course, a computer can be used for other things than just gaming. It's also much easier to find cheap games on sale for PC compared to consoles. You can even pirate them, if you're willing to risk doing so. Oh, and mods. Mods add a huge amount of content to certain games.

Consoles are typically cheaper, have more of a plug and play appeal to them in the sense that you don't need to worry about keeping up with the ever evolving computer specs and requirements, or even having any knowledge about what those specs mean. One thing I like about playing on my console, is that I can lay down on my couch while doing so, as opposed to sitting in a chair. I think Harmonica argued that you can simply plug the PC up to your TV, but my girlfriend would absolutely not have accepted that.

I personally think that the best argument for consoles is that they have exclusive games that aren't available on PC. Also, this may be a subjective opinion, but I appreciate the fact that I can watch sports with friends on my TV, and then seamlessly switch over to my recently acquired PS5 to play FIFA. I should probably mention that consoles are much more convenient when it comes to playing with multiple people in the same room as well. Some of my most immersive gaming experiences are on PC, but my most memorable, social moments were in games like, Guitar Hero, FIFA and Call of Duty where we were playing in the same room on a console. Hell, I'd add games like wii bowling to that list. It's not necessarily better, but definitely a different experience compared to having a LAN party where everyone brings their own computers General Games Discussion - Page 12 1f605
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