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Sprite Machine

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  1. It gets better.
  2. *Smirk.* Holy four-year-old-game thread revival, Batman! After deciding my ancient PC will never run this, I opted for the PS4 version. (I take it the game was never 'Pro-enhanced', since the image quality is a bit crap). But it's a pretty solid performance and the graphics are generally excellent. Rocksteady's design work is incredible and I love the detailed nature of the gadgets and mechanical moving parts on everything. A next-gen level of 'business' on everything, maybe it's a tad overdone, but textures and lighting and animations are fantastic. I have some mixed and muddled thoughts on the game, so bear with me. On the whole, I've enjoyed the game a lot but I think the core design is stretched to just about its limit and I'm kind of glad this is the last one. The 'predator' stealth and combat was absolutely mastered in Arkham Asylum, and that game had the wonderful Metroidvania-like structure to go with it. Arkham City added fun flight/grapple traversal as well as an excellent continuation of the story, but lost that focused level design unfortunately. And finally Arkham Knight takes the same unfocused structure and just adds more and more stuff on top. To be sure, it does it very well, and it's fun to navigate the open world, to perch atop high buildings and survey the horizon, drop down from above in a cool fashion, master long glides above the city, then powerslide around the streets, hunt down green glowing perps and pull off crazy Batmobile launches hudreds of feet into the air. But I do miss the tight contraints of the Alysum and feel that everything else added since the original game is less interesting and polished than that core stealth/combat. It's as if they decided (and we, the audience, collectively agreed) that the only type of superhero game must be an open-world superhero game, and therefore this is the final destination. The Batmobile, while a fun way to get around, is overused to the point of tedium. The drone fights are so dull and the Riddler trophies can go to hell. No, you haven't outwitted me, Riddler, you've just bored me into submission. I hope Rocksteady do something new next, but they are mad talented and this game shows that off with some wonderful moments. They've created consistently good-to-great games with the Arkham series and it's a universe that I've become invested in, as someone who hasn't read any Batman comics but used to love the animated series. Aside from some stupid contrivances, the main storyline has been great, the writing and performances excellent, and I love everything they do with hallucinations, dream sequences or bending the fabric of reality around you, mixing up the gameplay unexpectedly. If anyone hasn't played Arkham VR (and is able to), I strongly recommend it, it does this sort of thing fantastically well. So, overall, good show. I finally got around to playing it, and although it has tested my patience in a few places, it's been a heck of a ride. WB can sod off with their DLC rationing / season-pass / retailer exclusive skins / pre-order bonus content bullshit, though. That sort of thing honestly puts me off buying games anywhere near release. Their loss, not mine! Finally, a few bugs took the shine off the experience (not game-breaking, just restart to fix). Two or three times, when coming out of GCPD, the Batmobile vanished so I was trapped in the parking lot. Sometimes drones would fail to spawn during bomb-hacking battles. And on one very strange occasion, I grappled into a Riddler puzzle machine that I don't think I was supposed to and got trapped in a frozen falling animation. I looked more like a Dork Knight. But seriously, what are Rocksteady working on?
  3. Are all versions 30fps?
  4. Well, that's Alundra finished. (That final dungeon and bosses, yeeesh!!! ) It took me over 40 hours all together, and I still probably missed loads of things. Eg. those warp gates scattered around the map - I never activated any of them. I still had a broken armour in my inventory that I never got 'fixed'. And I only upgraded two of my magic scrolls to books (I assume they can all be upgraded) and I only had three magic vessels, which feels a bit stingey, or perhaps the game just has some underdeveloped elements. Still, all in all, it's not a bad game, and I appreciate the darker tone of the story, but it is a very frustrating game with some questionable or flawed design decisions. As I said, it's like a Zelda game that somebody sucked most of the fun out of. Somebody with less patience than I have probably would have given up, but I ploughed on through and extracted as much enjoyment from it as I could. Wouldn't recommend, unfortunately. Nice anime ending video and the music is pretty good throughout.
  5. Nearly at the end now. It's testing my patience at times but occasionally it's very good. I've just cleared a 'mirror' dream dungeon that was quite clever and inventive. But earlier, a puzzle involving sliding icy columns around a room utterly stumped me (you know the ones where you push the blocks and they slide until something stops them and you have to position them into the middle somewhere using other blocks). I'm normally good at these sorts of puzzles, as they crop up in loads of games of this type, but this was something else! You have to slide six columns into such a position that you can cross them like a bridge. Only because of the game's rather woolly collision detection, it's not actually clear where the columns need to be moved to so that you can actually make the jump from one to the next, never mind working out how to get them there. And if you make a mistake (including the heinous mistake of not being perfectly aligned in a gap and accidentally pushing one of the columns you intended to walk past), you have to leave and re-enter to reset the room, because of course you do. It's a shame but I had to look up how to do it. Genuinely the hardest "slidey block" puzzle I've ever encountered and harder than any other puzzles the game has thrown at me so far. And then after that, when I'm supposed to make my way into the volcano dungeon, one of the jets of water that raises a series of platforms to the entrance... didn't engage. For no apparent reason, it just didn't trigger. So I went back and forth to try to find some other way in or some other event to trigger. Eventually it randomly worked, again for no apparent reason. This fucking game, man. Oh, also, I seem to have picked up the best sword in the game accidentally and probably much earlier than I was supposed to, because I can one-hit-kill anything, three-hit-kill most bosses, and I've received at least two additional swords since finding this one that have failed to replace it, presumably because they're not as good. Oh, also:
  6. Submarine or black chocobo will get you there. You're more likely to have the submarine first.
  7. Cactuar Island - you're thinking of FF8. Cactuar isn't even a summon in FF7, nor is there an underwater Bahamut.
  8. I get that, but I did specifically choose Steam as an option when they asked me what version I wanted. They're not legally obligated to offer me a Steam key but there's a reasonable argument that they ought to anyway, or at least let people make the choice again.
  9. Arguing that people are overreacting is one thing (I agree), but arguing that there isn't a problem at all because the "platform isn't the game"... is quite another. The platform is part of the PRODUCT that was offered. I chose "Shenmue on Steam" and I'm not getting "Shenmue on Steam". I'm getting "Shenmue on Epic", which isn't as good. That the "Shenmue" part of the product is the same is besides the point. It's not a big deal and I'm not whining about it, but it could have been handled better. Surely you can see how being blanket dismissive of it being a problem at all is just making more and more people double down and argue that it is a problem. I mean I basically agree with you and you've managed to make me argue with you that it's a problem. Good going! Maybe give it a rest.
  10. Yes, this would be a dramatically satisfying place to end part of the story, and it would make the east continent the entire explorable area of the game, which is more managable a task than doing the entire planet I'm sure. Then followed up by 'The New Continent' in the third game. Trouble with that is there isn't much story between Kalm and Junon, especially if you have the flashback tagged onto the end of the first game. The start of Game2 would be: travel to chocobo farm, Midgar Zolom as an early boss. Could drastically expand the zolom marsh to be an entire massive area to explore? Then it's the encounter with the Turks in the cave (where they just talk, though it could be turned into a battle), a visit to Fort Condor (expand this into a full strategy game?), recruit Yuffie in the forest, and then onto Junon. Junon is massive if you think about it, it's a huge harbour city, but it would have to be similar in size to Midgar to finish the game that early with little plot development having happened along the way. An explorable multi-level city with the sort of complexity of Mass Effect's Citadel could make for a compelling final area if they do it that way. Once you're done sorting out the sea monster in the slummy areas at the bottom (dolphin jumping and CPR minigames to return!), you infiltrate the top levels, take part in the parade and sneak aboard the ship. In the original game, you barely get the chance to explore Junon at this point, as everything is closed for the parade, so this might have to change. I can see it working but it would need a lot of expansion. And the danger is that people would lose interest while not much of the overall plot has happened. No Gold Saucer, no Corel, no Barrett backstory yet, no Cosmo Canyon, Temple of the Ancients, No Rocket Town or Cid or Vincent. As an alternative proposal, perhaps the Nibelheim flashback could be the beginning of the second game and the real Nibelheim is the end, which makes for a satisfying book-end and gets you through a lot of the above, though it would make the game massive! I suspect this is the sort of thing the devs are weighing up now. I don't envy them the task but I look forward to seeing what comes of it.
  11. The original scorpion boss was over in 2 minutes, tops. This one is a ten minute epic slashathon. Do the same for every little moment in Midgar and there's your 20-30 hours!
  12. Pedantically, both versions of the game (PS1 and PC) have been re-issued digitally but not ported. You might call that a re-release but it's not a port because it's just being emulated. Well, the PC version was a port!
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