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Easy entry points into specific genres


Jamie John
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42 minutes ago, Scribblor said:

I thought Bloodstained: Ritual of the Moon would be a good entry point into Metroidvanias, but it's actually a dreadful one. It's such an amazing, accessible game that it runs the genre because nothing else is half as good.

 

I thought it was completely mediocre, especially compared to Hollow Knight.

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I love Hollow Knight too, but it lacks the gleeful sense of batshit escalation in powers that Bloodstained has, the brilliance of the level design (though HK is still excellent in that regard), the plethora of other systems, weapons, ways to spec your character, and sheer exuberance of Bloodstained.

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For an intro to fighting games, Fantasy Strike does a pretty damn good job. Mechanics are boiled down the basics, execution is simple, movelists are short, but the basic fundamentals of fighting games are all there.

 

It even has tutorial videos for each character that explain the pros and cons on their moves and general gameplay.  Things like frame advantage and player states (invincible, super armour, parrying) are displayed through colour coding and hit markers. 

 

Importantly, it drastically cuts down the time between picking up the game (or new character) for the first time to being competent enough to fight strategically.

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Maybe there's four people in the world that have never got into a first person shooter? The perfect entry point is Titanfall 2. It's short but it's tuned to absolute perfection and is incredibly fun throughout. It's also about £4 in any sale. I've played it through about five times and it still feels fresh to me.

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Unfortunately the most modern platform it exists on is the GBA (unless you emulate) but International Karate is a solid intro to fighting games. The movelist is nice and basic, there’s no character selection and success is based on traditional karate-style scoring: you earn a point, or half a point, for landing an attack successfully. This means that it’s less about going in and performing combos to drain a lifebar; more about movement, spacing and finding opportunities. In other words, genre fundamentals.

 

(That said, the AI is probably a bit dumb so a second player is recommended...)

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16 hours ago, Jamie John said:

Fighting: Guilty Gear Xrd; Fantasy Strike; Killer Instinct; Mortal Kombat XI; Streetfighter II

I would add Injustice 2 to this list. Its essentially Mortal Kombat without the gore and more simple controls - high, medium and low attacks and a character specific power, a button to block and a button to add turn special moves into supers. And it uses MK's Xray mechanic, again, without the gore. Really good tutorials, loads of content... this, and the first one on ps360, got me back into fighting games. 

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For visual novels I agree Phoenix Wright (starting with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attourney) is a good shout as a starting point. Heck, I even got my mum into visual novels with Phoenix Wright! At the moment you can buy an HD remaster triple pack of the first three games on most systems, which I'd highly recommend.

 

I've been recommending people the Zero Escape series (starting with 999) - which are amazing games and even better than Phoenix Wright in my opinion. They have some of the best stories in gaming, full of mysteries and twists. If you are completely new to visual novels they do have some downsides: the structure is not well explained and there are repeated dialogue/sections on multiple playthroughs that have to be skipped through. I would still highly recommend it with the caveat that after your first playthrough read up on the skip text functions, and how to use the game's flowchart. You can get the first two Zero Escape games in a multipack called 'The Nonary Games'. Be sure to play them in order as the plot continues from game to game. 

 

AI: The Somnium Files (by the same creators as 999) isn't as good a story or gameplay but is the best presented of the bunch and has better characters. I'd still play 999 first though.

 

Danganronpa is definitely a good route into more traditional style visual novels, its longer than the other two games and has a slower pace with more filler. Its also bonkers, its funny and has a great storyline and characters. Lots of good twists as well. Start with the first Danganronpa (Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc) and stick with it for the first few hours for the plot to get moving.

 

One more fantastic visual novel/puzzle game in the vein of Phoenix Wright (and by the same studio) that's very accessible is Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (only available on iOS or Nintendo DS). This often overlooked gem is a lot more puzzle focused but has a banging storyline, a very original concept, cool visuals and an excellent soundtrack.

 

To anyone who hasn't played these games, I'm jealous! 

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12 hours ago, Timmo said:

 

I thought it was completely mediocre, especially compared to Hollow Knight.

Personally, I thought Bloodstained was excellent. Loads of extra content has been added for free since launch. It's the game I spent the most time on ever and the only game I ever bothered platinum-ing. 

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Updated the OP with people's recommendations. I'm assuming you meant Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, @Scribblor (the modern-looking one), as opposed to Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (the old-school one)?

 

I've also added two more of my own:

 

For Metroidvania, I've added the first Ori game, Ori and the Blind Forest because, as well as being an excellent game, it's less than 10 hours long, looks and plays beautifully and is available on a range of formats. There are some tricky bits that might put people off, but while these are eased to an extent in the second game, I think it lacks the focus and drive of the first. 

 

I've also added Gone Home for Walking Simulator. What Remains of Edith Finch is probably the high point of the genre as a whole, but Gone Home is shorter, less complex and provides an easier way in, I feel.

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19 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

Updated the OP with people's recommendations. I'm assuming you meant Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, @Scribblor (the modern-looking one), as opposed to Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (the old-school one)?


Nah, Scribblor was right. Ritual is the modern one, Curse 1 & 2 are in the retro style.

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52 minutes ago, GamesGamesGames said:

Roguelike: Noita. All you need.

 

I have to disagree with this I'm afraid. It's a great game, but it's not at all an easy or friendly entry point into Roguelikes. It's about as obtuse and unforgiving as they get (but not a bad thing in itself).

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I see nobody has mentioned Nex Machina for shmups yet. It can be a tough game, but the easy difficulties are much slower paced and there's a real feeling of getting very strong as you gain powerups. Plus it looks incredible.

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15 minutes ago, Benny said:

 

I have to disagree with this I'm afraid. It's a great game, but it's not at all an easy or friendly entry point into Roguelikes. It's about as obtuse and unforgiving as they get (but not a bad thing in itself).

 

Didn't really think of it that way. More that if it doesn't click then the genre as a whole may not be for you. That said, I play any roguelike with the attitude of 'winning' being a bonus, and I guess that's not the case across the board.

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5 hours ago, Benny said:

I see nobody has mentioned Nex Machina for shmups yet. It can be a tough game, but the easy difficulties are much slower paced and there's a real feeling of getting very strong as you gain powerups. Plus it looks incredible.

 

Good call. Even I played that, and enjoyed it. Assault Android Cactus+ is also pretty accessible. I guess I just didn't think of those two as they're 3D.

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1 hour ago, GamesGamesGames said:

I'd be interested in recommendations for games that build motor skills. I have a friend who loves games but is almost fearful of picking up a joypad, and sticks to turn-based stuff as a consequence. I reckon The Witness (for the most part) is good in this regard but am looking for others.

Do you mean games which teach you how to use both analog sticks at one, for example? Something in a 3D world with limited threat might work well. The Witness is a good one (although some of the puzzles are pretty fiendish later on and sort of require a knowledge of how videogames work). What about Journey or Abzu? Maybe a walking simulator?

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Yeah for first person controls The Witness, Talos Principle or Return of the Obra Dinn are good shouts (all puzzle/detective games). If they're into sci-fi I'd recommend Observation; that game has static camera controls as well as a first person drone you fly around using all axis'. Although urgency is implied in the gameplay, in fact there's no time limits or game over states so it could be a good intro to more complex controls. My sister learned basic Fps controls by playing Overwatch with bots (do this in the custom game menu).

 

As for other games we'd need a bit more direction on kinds of skills they're lacking and whether its controller or mouse and keyboard. I know some people who have got into real time gaming through games like Animal Crossing or Mario games as player 2. My mum was able to handle Mario Galaxy and Rayman 2 with some help with the hard bits, the great thing about 3d Mario games is there isn't usually a time limit and plenty of world to just play around in and get the hang of controls. Even although there I'll be some stars/moons that will be beyond their reach, there is plenty that doesn't require much mechanical skill and rewards exploration and puzzle solving.

 

Another good shout is RPG series like Baldurs Gate or Divinity Original Sin where combat can either be paused or is turn based. Heck if controlling a character in real time without pressure of death is the goal, how about Ps1 onwards Final Fantasy games, or even FFVII remake on classic mode.

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On 29/01/2021 at 18:23, Calashnikov said:

 

Since Earthbound I’ve played Mother 3, O.G. Final Fantasy VII, FF VI (my favourite in the genre I’ve played so far)

FF VI is by far my favourite JRPG of all time.

 

 

On 30/01/2021 at 08:53, Qazimod said:

Unfortunately the most modern platform it exists on is the GBA (unless you emulate) but International Karate is a solid intro to fighting games.

Can you type in NOPANTS whilst playing bouts still?

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