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#4381 Ocelot

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 04:56 AM

Oh, hey guys. Didn't see you there. Hm? Me? Oh, nothing, just finished a little game by the name of... Bloodborne!

 

Remember when I said I got it earlier? Well, I now know that I didn't get it back then, but now? I get it. I didn't just finish Bloodborne, I explored every optional area, beat every optional boss, learnt how to use all the save data utilities on my PS4 so I could back up an endgame save to a USB drive and see all three endings, and now I'm thinking really hard about going for the Platinum Trophy.

 

I had some problems with Bloodborne's Blood Vial system at the start, where healing items are a limited consumable item that do not replenish when you spawn back at the bonfire. It reminded me of the Nintendo platformers that insist on giving you a limited pool of Lives, and then every time you die your Life counter comes up and ticks down by one, with the implication being that you'd better start getting better at the game real quick because if you run out of these things, who knows what will happen. I hate it. I honestly think that's the reason I just can't play those games; I just find that Life counter ticking down to be so stressful. But Bloodborne's system kind of sorted itself out over time, and around the middle of the game I realised that by playing a little conservatively I'd built up such a stock of spare Blood Vials that I never once had to actually farm for them. In fact, I kind of over-corrected on the game's entire difficulty curve, and eventually it became clear that I had over-leveled my character and was smoking endgame bosses in just a couple of attempts. Oh well, something to keep in mind for the next playthrough :P

 

The Sekiroulsborne series gets so much effusive praise that I suppose it's easy to just tune it out, and all the gatekeeping, "git gud, an Easy mode would ruin everything" rubbish is so obnoxious that you want to tune it out, but they really are some pretty special games. I really liked Sekiro, I really liked Bloodborne, and now it's become clear that I'm going to have to play every single one of these bad boys so I'm going to go back and restart Dark Souls 1 when I can tear myself away from BB. I don't think they're going to be all-time favourites for me, since they still do a lot of stuff I'm not really crazy about. I like my games to have a story, and the Souls approach of having snippets of lore strewn about at random that might piece together into something semi-coherent (if you gather it all into a wiki and make some guesses) doesn't do it for me at all. I like quests you can follow without having to use a guide to even find them, and I like a little more of a driving impetus than "Well, I explored the whole level and found a boss, and if it's there I suppose I should probably kill it...?". I honestly have absolutely no idea why I did any of the things I did in Bloodborne. I'm pretty sure I went and hunted down all the safeguards that protect the world from an evil beast that lives inside the moon. y tho?

 

Anyway, I'll look up some story explanation videos down the line, but I'm really in it for the gameplay. From Software's approach to level design is second to none, and their combat ain't half bad neither, and exploring all these meaty levels and killing all the horrible beasts that live in them is more than enough to keep me interested. I'm going to start delving into Bloodborne's Chalice Dungeons now, and I still haven't touched the DLC yet, and then once I can tear myself away from this bad boy I have three entire Dark Souls games to play. And then Elden Ring!

 

I leave you with this live performance of some Bloodborne music, which is still one of the chill-down-my-spine-iest things I've ever seen:

 



#4382 Nightstalker

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 03:10 AM

While I usually don't find myself posting here ever, I'll just say enjoy the Dark Souls series! Truth be told, they aren't as hard as anyone makes them out to be.


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#4383 Ocelot

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 03:39 AM

While I usually don't find myself posting here ever, I'll just say enjoy the Dark Souls series! Truth be told, they aren't as hard as anyone makes them out to be.

 

Oh, I don't know about that. I tend to think they're pretty much exactly as hard as people make them out to be. I'm playing through the Bloodborne DLC right now with my character that was comfortably overlevelled by the end of the main game, and the last few DLC bosses are absolutely stomping me flat. The last few regular enemies, too, for that matter. There's this big bipedal sharky boi who lives in the eldritch fishing hamlet full of Lovecraft fish people who is just an absolute nightmare, and to unlock one of the last weapons I need I have to fight two of them at once.

 

But, for the most part, it's a kind of difficulty you can learn how to deal with, and once you go through the absolutely brutal crucible that is getting used to how these games work, they aren't quite so intimidating any more. You learn to spot the obvious traps (like when a little scuttling loot demon runs through a doorway begging you to chase it into a suspiciously empty room, you just know it's bad news in there), and you really internalise the lesson that everything in the game can kill you if you let your guard down, and eventually you realise that you're no longer dying dying dying every five minutes like you were at the start of the game and you're actually having a pretty good time.

 

winter_lantern.jpg

 

Some of it still feels a little too punishing, though, particularly that handsome woman up there^. She's called a Winter Lantern, and she slowly wanders around the nightmare castle that serves as the main game's final level. When she hears or sees you she snaps to attention, starts glowing a warm orange, and inflicts you with a status called Frenzy which, to put it simply... kills you. Unlike your standard status afflictions like Poison, which merely makes your health drop slowly, Frenzy just instantly wipes out about 90% of your health bar, and if you don't do something about it immediately you just die. But, even then, you can do something about it. You can sneak up behind Winter Lanterns and kill them before they spot you, and there is an item that can counteract the effects of Frenzy if you pop it quickly enough, and if all else fails you can just top your health up to maximum before Frenzy hits, kill the Winter Lantern without taking any damage, let Frenzy get you and wipe out 90% of your health and then just heal back up again. It's an agonizing waste of resources and really brutal enemy design, but, y'know, that's Souls for you.

 

So, I'm still thinking I might go for this Platinum Trophy in Bloodborne. I just have to finish the DLC, go into New Game + to pick up the last weapon I'm missing (from a quest that didn't trigger properly in my first playthrough), and then I'll have nothing left but... the most difficult and time-consuming Trophy of all, which requires you to blow through like seven dungeons full of stronger versions of all the main game's bosses. Oh and one of those dungeons curses you with half your normal health bar. And it's all balanced for endgame character builds, so my big boi overlevelling won't help me. Oh well, I'm still not sick of the game yet, so I'm at least going to try it.

 

EDIT - OK, kiddoes, I think we're doing this. I think it might be happening. I beat the Bloodborne DLC today, which I really enjoyed. Three really nicely-designed levels full of horrible monsters to explore, five great bosses to bang my head against, and probably a story in there somewhere for the people who like to go looking for that kind of thing (it's all Greek to me, though :P). Now I just have one more Trophy, and I'm already making progress towards it. The Chalice Dungeons in these games are three to four semi-randomly-generated floors where you first have to look for a lever that opens a door, and then go through that door to fight a boss and unlock the elevator to the next floor down. If you're playing properly you'll be diligently exploring every last nook and cranny to kill every monster and find all the loot, but you don't have to. You can just blaze through all the levels at a hundred miles an hour, taking turns at random until you find the big purple lever that unlocks the boss gate, and basically turn the dungeon into a boss rush with some light racing in between.

 

This strategy is serving me well now that I'm in the Defiled Chalice Dungeon, where my health is cut in half and which I have to beat to unlock the final dungeon where Queen Yarnham awaits. Unfortunately, there's no way to cheese the bossfights themselves, which are pretty brutal with half a health bar. I've beaten the first of three (a fire boi) in this hellhole and now I'm steadily working out the second (a fire doggo). He's reasonably predictable, but he has at least three attacks that are tricky to dodge and can basically one-shot me, so it might take a while. But once he's done there's only one more half-health bossfight, and then three more bosses in the final dungeon (but I'll be back to full health for those), and then we're done with Bloodborne, boyeee!

 

EDIT AGAIN - We are doing this, baby! IT. IS. HAPPENING. I beat the Defiled Chalice Dungeon and all its ghastly bosses with my tiny health bar, and I unlocked the final dungeon, and I beat the first boss, and then I tried for like forty-five minutes and didn't end up beating the second one. But tomorrow is the day! I'm going to beat this horrible giant monster with no head and a giant worm that grows out of his neck stump, and then there's just one more floor after him and the very last boss is a wailing woman in a bridal gown. How hard could she be?

 

WE'RE DOING IT!



#4384 Ocelot

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 12:28 AM

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

 

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I couldn't have done it without you guys (also don't ask me why my guy turned into a monster man because I have no idea).

 

Seriously, though, I know Trophies are stupid and everything but I'm really proud of this. I've found these games incredibly intimidating all these years, thinking I'd like to try them but being so trepidatious about the infamous difficulty and the thought of losing so much progress every time I died. You can't swing a cat in the video game community without hearing about a Souls/Borne/Ekiro, and I knew I'd have to try them one day if only to see what all the fuss was about, but I'd put it off and put it off. I started playing Bloodborne earlier this month thinking I'd just dip a toe in, and if it wasn't for me I could always just put it down again with the knowledge that I'd given it my best shot. I never ever thought I'd end up not just finishing it, not just doing the DLC too, but getting that hot, shiny, lustrous PUH-LATINUM TROFE. But here we are!

 

Phew, but now I'm looking forward to playing some other stuff, because Bloodborne has been living in my head rent-free for like three weeks straight now. I'm going to catch up with some of the Game Pass games Microsoft's been showering me with.



#4385 Ocelot

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 05:12 AM

I hope you guys like nostalgia, because I've been playing some re-masters/makes.

 

Shadow of the Colossus: This is the same playthrough I started back in 2018 when the PS4 remake came out. I smoked the first eight colossi, and then something must have come up because I dropped the game, but I went back this week and smoked the remaining eight. My thoughts on this game haven't really changed: I still think it's an excellent remake of an excellent game, and I still enjoy thinking about Shadow of the Colossus more than I do actually playing it. It's just such an exquisitely frustrating game when you're there in the moment, and the rose-tinted glasses smooth out all the infuriating bumps along the road. I prefer to remember the incredible first time I shot the big airbags under Colossus 13's flying body to pull him down out of the sky so I could jump from horseback to his wing that drags in the sand, and forget the two consecutive times you have to repeat the exact same task during that same fight because it's a video game and everything has to be done three times.

 

Uncharted 2: I replayed the first game in the Nathan Drake Collection on PS4 a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it, but I had a really tough time playing through Uncharted 2 again. It is difficult. Brutally, punishingly difficult, in a way that I just didn't remember at all. From about mid-Nepal onwards it becomes a gauntlet where the air is just full of lead at all times, poking your head out from cover is death, and your screen is desaturated more often than not. I had so many one-shot insta-deaths in the late game, either from armoured shotgun guys appearing from around a corner and blowing me away, or grenade launcher guys either landing pineapples right on me or just getting them close enough to knock me out of cover so the regular dudes could eviscerate me. And, God, the final boss was an absolute nightmare.

 

I honestly wondered if I hadn't accidentally set the difficulty to Hard, because the game felt genuinely broken at some points. I felt like there was just no room for error; if I accidentally took cover on the wrong side of a pillar and spent half a second longer than I should have exposed to gunfire, that was it. No opportunity to recover from a mistake, just do the fight perfectly or you're dead. Even sections that I remember loving back on the PS3, like the bit right before the train station where you do a whole fight hanging from that one billboard and clambering around it as guys spawn in from different directions. When I hit that part in this playthrough and couldn't remember where the dudes spawned in from, I just died. I literally couldn't spot the guys and climb to a safe spot in time. I almost wonder if they tweaked the difficulty level for the PS4 remaster or something, because I just don't remember the original game being so difficult. It definitely wouldn't be the only thing they tweaked for the remaster, because Uncharted 2's remaster really screws up the characters' faces. It's the worst of the three games in the Collection, and Elena looks the worst out of everyone. It's a real shame.

 

Uncharted 3: So this is my first time replaying this game since it launched back in 2011. I really just never liked Uncharted 3 back in the day, and a lot of the problems I remember having with it are still plain as day. The story is all over the place, lousy with convenient plot contrivances and villains that don't really make sense. The melee combat is ludicrously repetitive, forcing you to fight the same heavy enemy with the same moves like five times over the course of the game, and it just does not work at all during gunfights. Any time an enemy comes close to you during a gunfight you get magnetised into brawl mode, and you can't even dodge out of it because suddenly your dodge button is now a grab button; you're just locked into punching and countering until the enemy dies or, far more likely, you die from the  dozen other enemies shooting at you. And the game still has so many scripted action sequences that just aren't telegraphed to the player well enough; it's such a hassle having to repeat an exciting, breakneck chase scene two, three or four times because the camera swung around you and you didn't know where to go and there's absolutely no room for hesitation. Oops, they caught you. Do it again. No, go the other way next time. No, you should have jumped over there. Do it again.

 

But, I don't know, I still had fun with it. It still has some amazing setpieces, and the old Uncharted formula of platforming your way into a gorgeously-rendered ancient city or temple and then shooting your way out as you somehow manage to make it crumble to dust around you is such a lot of fun. It's still a beautiful game, too, and I think it might have the best soundtrack of all the Uncharted games. I love Charlie Cutter, and I still think the subtle, understated storytelling they do with Nate and Elena's rocky relationship is so good. Amy Hennig is has such an incredible talent for writing, character development and storytelling, and it's a tragedy that Uncharted 3 is still the last game she's actually been able to release as writer and creative director.



#4386 Nightstalker

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 08:29 AM

Classics indeed!

 

I'm still happily stuck in Monster Hunter World (PC).

 

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Just recently passed my TES: Skyrim playtime with this game, and still have plenty of things to do!


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#4387 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 13 July 2019 - 11:20 AM

Oh man, Ocey. If I had the time and energy right now (I don't, I feel very weird rn actually), I could go into so much detail about just how much the "Nathan Drake collection" broke every single one of the Uncharted games into tiny pieces and only very vaguely attempted to glue them back together. Everything. All of it. From the gameplay to the lightning (they completely screwed the color keys of every level), every aspect of the artistry, how the AI works, how the cover systems work, how the melee systems work, how the triggers work (entire sections of dialogue and music are just gone because the triggers to cue them were REMOVED and sometimes sections glitch out that never, ever had trouble before in all my 450+ gameplay hours of single player experience in UC2 alone), and gosh don't even get me started on the character models and how they completely effed Nate's model all to hell and back using the lowest quality crunch time unfinished thing from UC3 and porting it into every other game and thus removing not only how beautiful his models were but how he progressed artistically and characteristically through the series (looking older, and how his model was altered based on each game's art style, etc), and just...

 

Ugh. I want to write a giant, giant post on it someday. That collection makes me the saddest person on the planet.


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#4388 Ocelot

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Posted Yesterday, 04:50 AM

In general I always want to give developers the benefit of the doubt when they're remastering another developer's game. I always think it must be such a nightmare to just be given this massive codebase written by a whole different team of people and have to work out how to get it running on an entirely different console and make it look better than the original. I don't know a thing about how code works or how to do anything with... anything. And then you figure that they probably don't get huge budgets to work with, and they probably have to do it all under strict time limits, and at the end of the day it's no wonder you see so many problems with remasters.

 

But then I think about Elena's face in Uncharted 2 in the Nathan Drake Collection and I just think... why did you do that, though?

 

elenaface7fjxq.jpg

 

Intrepid foreign correspondent Elena Fisher, best female character in gaming on the left, some lady who wore a full face of makeup into a warzone on the right. Who is that? Is that Elena's cousin? Is that Helena Fincher? I don't know her. Why have you done this? That's a deliberate change from the original game that just looks straight up worse. Even being as generous and understanding as you can be about the reality of porting a game... how does something like that happen? It's such a shame, too, because as time goes on the PS4 version will end up being the version most people play, and they'll look at those faces and think, "hoo boy, these old games from the PS3 days before developers had worked out how to do good faces", and the actually excellent PS3 faces will be lost to time.

 

But you know what doesn't have a laundry list of problems? Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. I just went back and replayed it, then replayed the first half again, and then replayed the full thing again on Crushing, and I just love this game so much. It actually has a really fun Trophy list full of interesting little challenges for each specific setpiece, and one that asks you to play the first half of the game without ever firing a gun, and it's just a great way of playing the game. I used a guide to find all the neat hiding places for treasures and listen to all the optional conversations, and even on the Crushing difficulty run (which is usually a nightmare for me because I'm a huge scrub :P), they let you brazenly cheat your way through it with the in-game bonuses like bullet time and weapon select, so I had a lot of fun.

 

Ah, Uncharted. Replaying all these games really has me feeling the absence of Sony from E3 this year, because there was no mindblowing on-stage demo from a Naughty Dog game. I need to see some more from The Last of Us 2, post haste.






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