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Love Live! Superstar!!
Love Live! Superstar!!
Aug 8, 2022 5:01 PM
Completed 12/12 · Scored 2
Shion no Ou
Shion no Ou
Jul 17, 2021 7:06 AM
Watching 4/22 · Scored -
May 22, 2021 10:45 AM
Completed 23/23 · Scored 7
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Jan 27, 2021 4:11 AM
Completed 1/? · Scored 4
Guren 5
Guren 5
Jan 26, 2021 2:42 AM
Completed 14/14 · Scored 5
Haruka na Machi e
Haruka na Machi e
Jan 21, 2021 3:50 PM
Completed 16/16 · Scored 9

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Plasmatize Jun 6, 4:51 PM
I’m avoiding Frontiers speedruns for spoiler reasons, but I’ll consider checking one out after I’ve played it. Always interesting to see Sonic games pushed like that.
And yeah, some truly great sequels have come out by expanding/refining/going all in on the prior framework! On topic, Tears of the Kingdom at this point has become one of my favourite examples of that, as of about 3/4 through (I think). Some others that really stood out to me were Metroid vs Super Metroid, and recently, Uncharted 1 vs 2.

BotW really is just that uneven, and therefore divisive. It’s that 10/10 parts vs 4/10 parts thing, where it can legit be anywhere from someone’s best gaming experience ever, to completely failing to grab them, or anywhere between, purely from how much those parts matter to the person. Maybe the label “demo” is too harsh though. For clarity, I meant it more in a “final game vs first draft” way, since IMO there’s already way too much work and content put into BotW to call it a pure tech demo. That work is just EXTREMELY skewed in favour of certain parts, at the cost of others that could have far further elevated it, as proven by Tears.
But go ahead and play BotW first if it suits you; I don’t unrecommend it, it’s just a lot of time to commit to both games, so don’t burn yourself out. Hopefully you’ll be on the positive end of BotW experiences!

Yeah, those “console gimmick” mechanics did often feel like silly marketing tactics to feign innovation, or just get the press talking, rather than having compelling experiences in mind that could only be properly realized with the tech. It didn’t usually bother me as long as it functioned, although I will never forget that time Microsoft dedicated 2 big E3 conferences in a row to actors badly pretending to have fun with barely working Kinect demos. The secondhand embarrassment was real, lol.

I will say for Subnautica, I think it takes a dip in gameplay quality very near the end, but thankfully by then you’re invested in seeing the story come to a close, so it gets away with it. Still a great experience overall, and one of the most unique I’ve had. That point about having a memorable adventure every session is so true! I think everyone playing that game is going to come away with both shared and unique stories of crazy moments or situations they got themselves in! (Btw, if you enjoy that sort of thing, all the more reason to play BotW/TotK, because they are all about player-driven stories and adventures!)
The sequel Below Zero isn’t bad either - still Subnautica gameplay with some cool additions and new stuff to discover, but I have to admit some parts feel a lot more phoned in, less ambitious, or are changed at the cost of certain things that make the original work so well. I won’t say they “missed the point”, because I could sort of see what different direction they were trying to take, but the end result couldn’t quite do that direction justice.
Plasmatize May 27, 3:14 PM
Whoa, congrats on finishing your master’s thesis dude!! I can only imagine the feeling!

Oh for sure, I think level-based Sonic still has its place, and I believe Frontiers even incorporates that by having separate linear stages you can find in the overworld. So it’s more like a huge open hub or hubs that you can traverse Sonic-style, but that also have their own stuff to do, like light puzzles or boss fights. I do get some of that “first attempt” feeling from looking at the game though, mainly from some clashing visual elements and pop-in.
“with the Sonic team you just never know.”
Well, I at least admire their willingness to experiment; even if many of them don’t pan out as well, a few do. They should learn to write down all the good ideas though, so they can build on them more!

Well, you can probably add Tears of the Kingdom as another successful reinvention, ‘cause it’s also really good! Although as I suspected, it does kinda feel like “Breath of the Wild, but for REAL this time!” Like it’s closer to the game they always wanted to make with that, but needed 12 years to finish. It improves greatly on some (though not all) of BotW’s biggest problems, and goes all-in on the more creative/sandboxy/immersive sim aspects, both via the tools it gives you and an even more intuitively interactive world! That was always the most interesting part of BotW to me, but it’s much better realized here. I’m less than halfway through the content I want to do, but I’ve been having a great time so far and think that’ll continue for a while yet. The only self-imposed rule I’m using is no consuming food in the middle of battle, though it’s not necessary to enjoy the experience, just my preference based on experiences with late-game BotW balancing.
But now I’m in a position where I wonder if it’s even worth recommending BotW anymore. Maybe if you just rush through the main quest stuff/leave a multi-year gap, but otherwise, I feel like playing it first would in some ways take away from the novelty of TotK, while playing TotK first would just reveal BotW for the demo it was by comparison. Definitely play Tears if you can though; I think you’ll like it!

Yeah, it’s easy to miss the second lap thing the first time through. I only found it by chance because I tried to get the Chef’s Tasks for the first stage, and saw this extra portal. It’s a great inclusion though, not least because once you know what you’re doing to speed through the escapes smoothly, it gives the perfect amount of leeway on each stage! It's like what I said before about demanding general mastery, but not crazy/grindy perfection... usually!
Oh right, thanks for reminding me I was gonna try the Megaman Battle Network stuff! So many games to play man...

To be fair, Nintendo tech is very cool, although some of it does potentially get in the way of just getting immersed in games, or 3rd parties trying to port stuff to a completely different control scheme. That’s why I like the Switch so much - it pulls off the hybrid idea without sacrificing just working as a console to plug in and play with a controller (though the weaker hardware still creates some limitations/porting challenges). And of course, everyone’s boarding that train just like their last runawii success. Though I have to admit the Steam Deck looks pretty great for what it is! PS5’s Project Q... not so much.

Glad to see you liked Subnautica btw! I loved that game’s world, my time exploring it, how the way it and its creatures were designed served the story, and got super into the fabrication loop with all the cool, helpful tech you could make! Not to mention the OST/sound design! That game was legit spooky, even terrifying at points in a very organic way. I can never unhear those creature roars...
Plasmatize May 1, 2:53 PM
Agree about the need for a high speed cap and the thrill it can bring to something as simple as crossing an overworld. It's actually one of the reasons I'm so fond of the idea of an open world Sonic game that just lets you go nuts! Assuming, of course, Sonic Team can overcome the technical hurdle of rendering a seamless 3D world at such a high speed cap. Even with current tech you'd probably need a simplified/stylized art style to fully achieve what I have in my head. I bought Sonic Frontiers though, so we'll see how that one goes. It might just use the speed cap approach, or confine the top speeds to on-rails booster sections or separate levels.

Yeah, you're right actually, there are defining pieces and interactions for Zelda. Things that, when used by other games, get called "Zelda inspired" or "Zelda dungeons", etc. I just wonder if it's really the literal pieces that define it, or broader ideas and feelings that these pieces facilitate so well. Maybe it's the flow you mentioned, although that's been played with somewhat without killing the Zelda vibe (I'd add all the bite-sized combat encounters and little "click" moments from puzzles around clever use of items and environments. Those are kinda defining for me). Again, probably a discussion for another day, but for now, I guess I don't have a clear answer, and that's ok - I love what Zelda offers regardless!
"I do wonder if in my time playing I'll find a title that really nails those aspects"
For what it's worth, A Link Between Worlds probably comes closest for me to perfecting all those things you mentioned within one game. It's a pseudo-reimagining-successor kinda thing of A Link to the Past, but remixed so extensively it feels fresh throughout; it's really a separate game and experience, and one of the more unique Zeldas at that, yet is still so definitively Zelda, and gets so much of it right! In particular, it has, hands down, my favourite overworld and exploration of any Zelda, with a super cool traversal mechanic that gets used to the fullest both in and out of dungeons! It's great! Also, the item rental system adds so much freedom of progression without compromising on world/dungeon design. The challenge curve is still a little off, but never quite crossed the line from empowering into trivializing, at least for me. I highly recommend it; just saying all this makes me want to revisit it!

As someone who took the time to try and P rank some of the levels in PT, I can say that doing so has, in some cases, been the most fun I've had with the game! They're more about overall mastery than pixel precision, and the levels that are speedy throughout can be such a rush! However, that's been more inconsistent than I expected from when I initially mastered the first level. So much so, it might actually have lowered my opinion of the game (from astronomical levels to sky high levels, granted, but still). To quickly summarize, once the initial novelty of all the gimmicks and visuals wears off, a lot of the transformations with their limited movement options just feel like they slow things down. They become stop-and-start routine sections that you autopilot through, which isn't ideal when you're replaying levels to try and pull off a P rank run. The ghost and spicy chicken wing sections were especially jarring. Also, for several compounding reasons that I'll skip for brevity, Gnome Forest was such an annoying task to P rank that it kinda put me off the whole thing for a while. Thankfully, I suspect that one's an outlier.
None of this diminishes that first time experience though, and even with some limitations, I still think it'll have some longevity as a speedrun platformer.

I can definitely see where you're coming from regarding game toys; living with the artist's vision and all that. It's just that in the Zelda cases, it's either minimal or gimmicky usage, with developer approved controller-only alternatives (with the Switch release of SS). Even disregarding that, I guess my perspective is that you should be allowed to engage with a product whichever way you prefer, and artists should try to respect that, just as a consumer might respect what the artist was trying to bring across, whether or not they choose to embrace it. It's perfectly fine (and inevitable) for artists and consumers to place different value on something. I'm not a therapist though, so this advice is free, haha.
Plasmatize Apr 13, 5:22 PM
Oh hey, you’re actually one of the few other people I’ve heard who prefers 3D Sonic like I do. Certainly when it’s being a speed platformer, I just find the 3D perspective a much more natural fit for the series. In theory it makes it easier to mix the more automatic spectacle sequences (the Sonic Adventure whale is indeed cool and crazy! Shoutout to Adventure 2’s ginormous truck chase on a snowboard too) with more dynamic speed sections, where you can see far ahead to the horizon and not have things be so stop-and-start. The better parts of the Adventure games offered plenty of both, and I’ve heard similar things about several others like Colors, Generations, and most recently Frontiers.
Not to say 2D sonic can’t work - in fact, Pizza Tower is, among many things, pretty close to my ideal 2D Sonic game (more on that later). I think I may have inadvertently spoiled 2D sonic for myself by playing it, although I’ll give Spark the Electric Jester a try as well.

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to really consider what the “Zelda formula” is, specifically, or why it works, so here’s my first stab at it: it’s not really defined by one specific game mechanic (although IMO the dungeon design probably could carry the experience in many cases), nor an attempt to have every system interact with all others at all times. It’s moreso a methodology for achieving an ebb and flow between a curated variety of things, that purposefully span several genres and differ from each other. Like a meal made more exciting with contrasting but not incompatible flavours. If there’s any common goal behind all the ingredients, I’d point to a broader, childlike spirit of adventure/discovery, achieved in part by constantly revolving between different types of gameplay to heighten spontaneity. Zelda’s lengthy history is defined to me by several initial titles of experimentation to discover and settle on something that lets it reliably achieve this cycle between many now-staple elements and bite-sized experiences, that individually range from really good, to “workable enough that most didn’t complain”... and uh, the occasional Water Temple. Then, ever since, finding new spins on the baseline formula to try and avoid getting stale (like Majora’s 3-day cycle or Skyward Sword’s directional swordplay), before finally reexamining the fundamentals entirely with the most recent games. I hope this makes sense... it's hard for me to pin this down further without just listing Zelda tropes lol.

...With that said, while I think the formula works well enough, it’s had some recurring weaknesses over the years. Beyond the things you mentioned about health or the obscurity level balancing act, there’s also another general balancing issue mid- to late-game, where the enemies/dangers don’t keep up with your ridiculous supply of hearts, bottled refills, powerful items, and supply of those items, until suddenly most survival related stuff becomes completely trivial and cheeseable compared to the early game (empowering, sure, but there are ways to achieve that while still offering more actual challenges). Or a similar thing with rupees and eventually having little to spend them on. Not every Zelda has these problems, but they and others were shockingly persistent for the longest time.
It’s issues like these, and the increasing predictability of the format, that make me glad some of the recent titles have been trying more radical shake-ups and seeing how well the series’ spirit and many trademark elements can be applied to them. I really enjoyed both A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild for their respective spins on it, with ALBW being a series favourite of mine, and BotW being... a good and ambitious game that I can totally understand why many consider a masterpiece (though I do wonder if Tears of the Kingdom will render much of it obsolete... and I typed that before seeing today’s trailer!)

Now, Pizza Tower... what an outstanding game! It’s rare to see a title offer such a potent and infectious combination of visceral junk food catharsis and fine dining finesse! It’s a game that draws inspiration from a ton of genre contemporaries, and quite a few outside sources, and not only clearly understands and admires what made them appealing, but found ways to refine and combine them in just the right ways to make an even greater dish. Manic, expressive, eccentric, off-model 90s cartoon energy, with great visual contrast and clear communication of key info, even at speed. Weird and wacky designs aplenty. Numerous unexpected references/parodies that can still stand on their own. A blood-pumping soundtrack. Fantastic versatile and responsive movement. Ludicrous speed of both traversal and inputs adding to the sense of refined chaos. Game mechanics and level structure that strongly and successfully nudge you to pursue and experience such speed (yeah, take notes Sonic the Dredgebog!) Wario Land 4’s race-backtrack level format that’s a perfect match for all this. Multiple new, surprising and well-realized ideas in every. single. stage. Great level design taking advantage of everything the game has to offer, with several layers of engagement that start fun and only get MORE ultra-fun with increasing mastery. It’s all. so. GOOD!

There’s such a barrage of good stuff on display, that I know I’d need to spend a lot more time with the game to fully soak it all in, either by replaying it, or going for better rankings on some more levels. Currently I’ve only done that with the first level, and you know what? It was the most exhilarating time I’ve spent with the game so far! Snarky Sonic jabs aside, I can see how some of old school Sonic might achieve a similar kind of appeal at a certain point, it’s just... PT seems to do such a vastly better job of making the actual process of getting there exciting as well, and I fear I might struggle to go back now. PT works at all speeds, not just top speeds, but I also really admire how it completely subverts the genre-baked idea of limited hit points. It just makes knockback/lost momentum the primary consequence and, in timed sequences or combo pursuits, an actual threat. Like Sonic’s ring system taken to a logical extreme. It’s bold, but in this case, it really, really works!

...And I just realized I haven’t responded to any of your flash game or console gimmick stuff! Sorry about that - I'm typed out for now though, so I’ll just quickly add that Breath of the Wild works well when played entirely using a controller. Maybe Skyward Sword too, but Mario Galaxy, less so I’d imagine.
Plasmatize Apr 2, 5:51 PM
Maybe I’ll replay the early Sonic games at some point, since they’re both pretty short. I could easily see Sonic 2 getting much better on replays, though I'm less sure about Sonic 1 (Master System/Game Gear).

S1 is an oddity, and not much like the idea of classic Sonic I had in my head. It's still marketed as a superspeed platformer, but in practice seems forcibly sluggish in many ways. Sonic's default running speed is, like, objectively way slower than even classic Mario, and ways to surpass this speed (spring pads, slopes, timed powerups) are quite rare after the first level or two. Not to mention vertical platforming sections that you can't really speed up, some forced water levels, and even an autoscroller... in a Sonic game! lol. What you're left with, even in the world record speedrun, is generally medium-speed traversal, with a few skips or speed bursts here and there. But even for a "Mario with the camera zoomed in too far" pace, the game isn't designed to let you go that fast on reflexes/skill alone. Said camera and the placement of many obstacles lead to numerous risky blind jumps if you try. This combines with the arcade-style lives system, which encourages making as few mistakes as possible, to strongly incentivize a slow and steady approach, which in itself kind of works against the idea of “learning the level” to find the fun. To do that, you likely need to just accept that you’ll be constantly... comfortable-jogging through trial and error territory, so that you can... comfortable jog more consistently! Also, the ring system is a great-in-theory idea to reduce punishment for recklessly trying to go fast, but it doesn’t work well in S1 because pits are still insta-kills... and guess what there are loads of in S1? Yup.

I actually haven’t tried Sonic 2 with Tails, but from playing as Sonic, it’s... a bit closer to what I’d expect. The addition of the spin dash and greater emphasis on springs and slopes gives way more opportunities to build high speeds. However, there are still many sections that you just straight up can’t traverse quickly, although a few are shortened/skippable via secret paths I’ve since learned about. That aside, the game still demands a choice on early attempts of either slow cautious play, or high-stakes trial-and-error. The game makes the smart choice to have rings also protect from pits, but the system still doesn’t work perfectly, because there are many sections that straight up don’t give you any rings to work with (and they reset every stage... so you just have to play perfectly or else). Still, it seemed like a step in the right direction, but it was in some ways a less good first-time experience, because there are loads of individual moments of trial-and-error design even if you take it slow... and yep, some of those moments are in the ringless stages, or ring-scarce sections of others. This mixes really poorly with the limited lives/continues structure. I ended up cheesing it by grinding umpteen extra lives in a mid-game level, which itself was a pretty boring and time consuming endeavour, and probably not what the designers had in mind.
21st playthroughs of Sonic 2 are probably pretty fun, but my 1st was, at best, enjoyable for mostly the wrong reasons. "Why the heck is this designed this way?" kinda reasons.

Fortunately, the tiny bit of Sonic 3 & Knuckles I’ve played seems MUCH better; exactly what many of its fans sell it as. It’s the one tons of people say is the best, so... fingers crossed! :D

I went through a phase like that with NES games, but it wasn’t until late high school/uni for me. Also went through something similar with free online Flash games as a kid - I played way too many of those to remember and log them all, but I’ve since revisited some of the most noteworthy ones. Honestly? There are loads of enjoyable little time killers there. Guess my childhood taste wasn’t completely shit after all!
Also hot dang, that Link’s Awakening rating! Amazing! I really need to play that and some of the other Zeldas I overlooked, like the Oracle games. So are you hoping to play through the whole/most of the franchise?
Plasmatize Mar 11, 12:38 PM
Good luck in your final semester!

Yep, my thoughts exactly - for whatever rough edges Alien:Isolation may have had, none of them stopped the core experience from being cohesive and effective at what it was going for.

Modernized Wario Land lines up with what I expected Pizza tower to be like, at least as a distant observer of both games. It landed on my radar when it got a bunch of buzz for being a 2D platformer with unique (or at least unconventional) movement and ideas, which is something that tends to catch my attention given the saturated state of that gameplay style. And it’s interesting that you’re comparing the game to Sonic but with quicker momentum building. It’s been AGES since I played any oldschool Sonic, but I vaguely remember them feeling like games that worked against you building momentum (outside the functionally automatic loop-de-loops, bounce pads, etc). Perhaps to make speed a reward of sorts for memorizing levels, but with the caveat that the games only become fun after you’ve already memorized levels. I kinda want to revisit those games and see how I’d feel about them now.

Also, I see Zelda II didn’t do it for you.... totally understandable. Jeez, I’d forgotten just how much cryptic/blind search progression stuff is actually in that game until you reminded me of it. I guess the combat must have hard carried the experience for me, because I remember enjoying the game and even playing randomizers of it for a while... but then again, I’m pretty sure I had a walkthrough on the side for much of my first playthrough, so that should tell you something lol.
Plasmatize Feb 27, 5:46 PM
Thanks! Yeah, it was a lot of fun, although I definitely overestimated what I could get done in 48 hours... I ended up pulling a coffee-fueled all-nighter before the last day, scrambling to at least get something semi-playable together! At least it paid off, lol. Also, as you can probably guess, trying to continue with it while still having a day job and a life is keeping me pretty busy, haha.

All those factors are great for spooks, but it's the atmosphere and stacked odds that really do it for me. Although, we've talked before about how tense stuff like fragile progress or other tangible gameplay stakes can be! But also a really easy technique to screw up, in or out of horror contexts, with awful results, like if the process of regaining losses becomes too pointless or tedious (war flashbacks to Metroid NES energy grinding). I liked how A:I handled it though, slightly annoying waiting periods notwithstanding. The slow-activated save points technically aren't that spaced out, usually, but it feels like a battle to reach them because of the immense, unrelenting threat, and how careful and sneaky you have to be, fighting for every step! It was enough to make me sigh with relief from the save UI popping up, which I'd call a success!

That marked Ripley theory is interesting (maybe a professional writer could work on extracting the corn from the stew haha). Not to overblow the issue; I was content to just suspend my disbelief at the Alien always being nearby for gameplay's sake.

How was Pizza Tower btw?
Plasmatize Feb 13, 6:46 PM
Slow response again! This time it’s ‘cause I was busy participating in this year’s Global Game Jam making a video game prototype in a weekend, which turned out well enough that I’ve decided to keep working on it, and hopefully see it through to a finished game... for once lol. That’s a ways off yet though.

I hope you enjoy your horror game adventures! Seems like there’s some real interesting stuff in that space.
While I don’t personally have any pent up fear over horror games, I’ll say that the few I’ve played tended to get me way more tense/fearful than the average horror movie. Maybe because the protagonist is generally an extension of the player, which is what gets to a lot of people because you’re constantly, automatically put in the character’s shoes on a level beyond what passive media typically achieves. Or maybe it’s because being directly in control makes me feel personally responsible for what happens to my player character/avatar, the fictional universe, and/or others in it. Makes things more organic and unpredictable. Even just not knowing if something in a game is scripted or not can be effective.
Actually, you could say a lot of games use this unpredictability to build narrative tension, whether intentionally or incidentally, just through the understood stakes and likelihood of victory/loss, and it’s one of my favourite things that they’re capable of. Both for the experience, and for all the crazy stories that can come from it!

“with that jumping out mechanic specifically, while it may be intentional it does get tiresome when it just is in the same room as an objective forever”
“Come on, hunt some other guys, they're still around.”
Agreed. Actually, one thing I will say about the first half of the game is it often feels like the Xenomorph has something out for you specifically. You have this massive space station, with a network of transit cars to get from one place to another, and yet this one lone alien always seems to be in your exact location all the time, with few breaks. Same goes for all the perfectly timed accidents that happen to Amanda throughout. Of course, it also kind of had to be this way for the game to be what Creative Assembly wanted, unless they rewrote major parts of the whole story. It's not even that extreme, it's just I think the Cursed Center of the Universe Syndrome was more noticeable in A:I because things are treated more seriously compared to some other, more primarily setpiece-driven games (eg. Bayonetta or the Uncharted series, both of which I’ve been playing through recently).
aoc445 Feb 12, 2:40 PM
Haha, maybe I should consider myself lucky I haven't had any dreams about it?

Honestly, Zubr wasn't that bad. Nothing remarkable, but still drinkable. That's how I feel about all the Polish beers I've tried. I've had Okocim, Zywiec, Kasztelan, and either Tatra or Warka Strong (all I remember is that the label looked very manly). While Germany, Belgium, and the UK are usually my go-to import beer countries, I'd take any Polish beer over American macro beers, which taste like nothing.
Plasmatize Jan 31, 5:57 PM
I’ll hold off on clicking that spoiler tag, just in case.

Glad you liked Alien: Isolation! The game’s devs put a ton of effort into recapturing the atmosphere and aesthetic of the original Alien film, and it really works! I didn’t run into that many bugs thankfully, but I was playing on the Steam version. That said, I did see similar Xenomorph behavior with it jumping in and out of vents, and I actually don’t know if that’s a bug. The game tries to make the creature feel like an actual hunter, rather than a basic, predictable video game AI, and apparently, one of the ways this is done is by having the creature learn and respond to your behavior as a player. Another is having it toy with its prey a bit. So the jumping in and out of vents might be the creature trying to lure you out of hiding before striking again, or something to that effect. I can’t say for certain, but I do agree that in this case, it created some annoying sequences with a lot of waiting around.
Then again, it might have been less of an issue if the game hadn’t gone on a bit long causing it to lose some of its novelty/fear elements. It kinda felt like it was about to end on at least 4 separate occasions before it actually did, and the second half was more uneven in general, but it did have some big highlights! I loved the nest section as well, although my personal favourite bit was still the Medbay escape earlier on.
But yeah, really interesting game! Not perfect, but memorable and worth the investment. Though, that said, I haven’t played many stealth-horror games to compare it with.
aoc445 Jan 24, 9:35 PM
I finally got around to reading The Rings of Saturn. It was quite good! Those cryptic photos really added to the atmosphere, haha. I think I'll try reading The Emigrants next.

Also, I bought a bunch of random beers for my New Year celebrations and one of them was the Polish beer Zubr. Have you ever had it?
Plasmatize Jan 21, 10:20 AM
Yeah, all the statements like “This game is incredible! I can’t tell you why!” are actually true for Outer Wilds, lol. I wondered if even describing the very basic genres/structure at the highest level would be ruining a fun surprise for some people. These... are not questions I have to ask with most games, haha. I don’t know which game you’re referring to from last year, but maybe I’ll run into it at some point.

How goes Alien: Isolation btw? I was curious what you’d think of it, given you seem to be a huge fan of the original film.
Plasmatize Jan 10, 6:27 PM
“the mines are there for the upgrade materials, the first area is for farming grass because a lot of it drops there, the shrine of storms is for farming souls, and the other two areas are for farming pain!”
lol, very true.

I’ll stan for Outer Wilds for as long as people don’t get annoyed with it! I’m really excited for what everyone I recommended it to will think, but so far none of them have started playing. :(
Edit: the next day, one of them started playing. :)

It'll be interesting to see how games take inspiration from Outer Wilds. There's been a mini surge lately in time loop games which it might have something to do with, though there's far more that goes into how great it is, and that could be learned from for any number of genres. So far I can’t think of many other games I’ve played that captured similar feelings to Outer Wilds, but the closest would probably be Return of the Obra Dinn and Subnautica, for different reasons. The former for its connect the dots "understanding=progression" gameplay, if more heavily focused on close-lensed observation/detective work (and of course it's another great, rather unique experience that you can only fully have once). The latter for how exploration feels... sort of. Also a good game if underwater sci-fi survival/exploration with a clearly defined story/progression appeals.
Plasmatize Dec 27, 2022 1:26 PM
“That system certainly didn't lend itself well to that mindset of ‘I wanna beat my head against this boss’ but it is hard for me to fault the game because it seems like they didn't necessarily intend for that to be the playstyle.”
Yeah, I think that was intentionally discouraged, and this to me might be one of the biggest gameplay differences compared to the later games. For pretty much the whole game, Demon’s Souls has more “options” for where to go next to progress than I think any of the others so far (I assume Elden Ring will be the exception) because of the separate kingdoms structure, all equally accessible at all times. And if by “system” you mean things like consumable healing items, then yeah, that’s a factor as well - I recall doing a lot of jumping between kingdoms in my first playthrough, partly because it didn’t make sense to just grind one area and burn through all my moongrass, when chances are there was another, tamer route to try. It seemed to work well enough. Usually.

Outer Wilds... man, what a game. I now understand why so many people wish to forget everything about it just to re-experience it, and why there’s apparently an entire discord server dedicated to finding people streaming it. It’s made me one of THOSE people who begs people to play it but annoyingly refuses to elaborate for fear of spoilers lol. I even gave it to my parents AND my sister as Christmas gifts and recommended it to a few other friends. They certainly won’t be the last. Here’s hoping at least one of them ends up adoring it as much as I do!
I was going to write about it here but my ramblings kept growing, and I just decided to turn them into a backloggd review. So just check that out to see a tiny fraction of my thoughts, and feel free to add to it here or there. The DLC was also excellent, but I’ll save that discussion for later.
Plasmatize Dec 20, 2022 10:00 AM
Another day, another super late reply. Long story short, moving has kept me pretty busy, but I’m now settling into my new place; still got a bit more to do, but mostly I can now just enjoy the holidays spending time with those I’m close to, and indulging in hobbies in between.

I pretty much agree with everything you said about Demon’s Souls, especially the part about it setting its own rules. It’s a very different experience with different goals compared to the other Soulsborne games. In fact, I think starting with it gave me several false expectations about how the rest of the spiritual franchise was going to be, that I didn’t realize until a few games later. So sort of like the reverse of the issue of applying those other games’ mindset to it, although I’d imagine it’s easier to go from a DeS mindset to the others than vice-versa.

And yeah, the logical, once-lived-in feeling of its world was one of the things that stuck with me as well. The other games make an effort, but so far DeS probably did it best (though I haven’t played Sekiro or Elden Ring yet). To me it heightens the sense of tragedy, decay and desperation when you can easily see or imagine how things were before. How things used to operate. How far each part of its world has fallen. Contrast emphasizing the horror of how awful things have become. Kind of makes me want to replay it and dive into these kingdoms’ stories more. Plus it’s just commendable when this realism can be balanced with video game challenges, and I think DeS did pretty well with most of it, though there were exceptions. Most notably, both lead-up paths to Flamelurker were just not interesting to play at all, even the first time around, and I’ve heard many complaints about Valley of the Defiled, which I didn’t find as bad, but it probably doesn’t hold up well against other FromSwamps.

My favourite aspect of DeS (PS3) is still the overall atmosphere, and its commitment to that experience. From the soundtrack/sound design, to the art direction, to the world, to its willingness to defy convention in favour of immersion or specific emotional beats or vibes, it’s all super engrossing. It was so successful for me that I could be a little more forgiving of its less polished “video game” elements, since some of its "stumbles" there served a clear purpose, and the other less successful experiments were mostly one-offs, or in the background enough that you could usually ignore them.

Started Outer Wilds last night btw, and so far it's... *drumroll*
It’s time to ditch the text file.
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