games nobody learned anything from

this is something that crosses my mind particularly often especially at work when I have nothing to think about besides that I Hate Rich People

one of my first thoughts about Videogames as a medium was about like, the action game genre. I remembered a lot about how Shadow of the Colossus was pretty much universally acclaimed everywhere. everyone had all these brilliant ways the game succeeded in doing things other games had tried to pull off in regards to mechanics and atmosphere and storytelling and stuff.

it is the game that when I acquired a poster for it and hung it up above my desk in highschool my art teacher repeatedly asked what book/film it was from because she’d never heard of it before and wanted to read/watch it

it is also the thing that I don’t think any developers actually took from afterwards. if you looked at the slate of action games that came out afterwards really the only trends the games set is that developers figured that after shadow of the colossus, people wanted to climb things and fight Large Bosses They Also Climbed.

maybe this is because of the insular nature of game development. its not like Ueda published a book afterwards on how his development technique created a hit for his studio. most people probably just (especially publishers? maybe??) thought there was a specific geist of nerd that wanted what SotC offered and only in the most superficial of ways


here’s another one that recently crossed my mind:

the gout of action games before Devil May Cry and what they played like and the gout of action games after Devil May Cry and what they played like.
if you looked at maybe the longer running action/platformer series that could be compared to devil may cry it would probably be Legacy of Kain, which always sort of played like its own thing compared to other Sword Guy games of its time (in the 3d) era.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 was released around the same time as Devil May Cry was and still stuck with the whole: camera fixed behind guy, three hit combo. push blocks often, jump platforms often. long corridors. larger enemies are impossible.

then Devil May Cry blows this all to shit and comes out: fixed camera angles, giant cathedrals with small minute details. a fair transliteration of sticky, 2D jumping physics to 3D. combat that felt fun and fresh and expansive. I often forget that even compared to Onimusha of its day that Devil May Cry played Really Really Different from a lot of things.

when Legacy of Kain: Defiance came out it had traded up all of the conventions of previous games in the series for DMC mechanics. gone was the fixed 3D camera, a lot of the block pushing and guy throwing puzzles. Raziel and Kain got elemental swords and picked up glowing things to level themselves up. it functionally played like DMC but also lacked any of the attitude of that game and any of the character that backed it up. Legacy of Kain traded its identity for playability, but also didn’t pull off its combat system with the kind of finesse that Devil May Cry did.

if you look, God of War follows the same path as the Legacy of Kain series, the only different is that God of War never had its own identity to begin with

Nobody learned shit from Lost Planet 2, not even Lost Planet 3

I think those are good examples but I would l o v e to hear more about why you think that! I have some ideas of my own but I have a very limited experience with LP2

Gunvalkyrie. The snap camera on clicking the right thumbstick was amazing and I’ve never seen it again. Nor it’s use of face buttons for item selection

How much of this do you think is derived from the SFX

the only game I can think of that took Ape Escape’s use of the right thumbstick for non-camera purposes would probably be the original Monster Hunter? even then, the series eventually traded that in for face button attacking.

edit: well, aside from twin-stick shooters. I mean more in character-action or what have you. you know what I mean.

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I’m curious to hear elaboration of what other influence you think it should have had? I’m having trouble coming up with a clear example myself. Is it actually that the qualities you like about it can’t easily be imitated and genrified?

I think they mean that the difference between SotC’s external-dungeon puzzle beasts and, for example, Lords of Shadows’ QTE marathons is huge and depressing.

There are two mechanics in JRPGs that I think should’ve become basically universal after they were first introduced, but were totally ignored instead: Chrono Trigger’s fully in-context battles, and FFX’s turn order notification bar. I was particularly sad when Etrian Odyssey didn’t have the latter, since it turns JRPG battles into solvable/minmaximizable little puzzles instead of mindless mashing of attacks, buffs and heals.


wait, what kind of weird country are you in where you had a desk and space to hang shit above it in high school

I guess “looking glass” is the boiler plate answer to this thread isn’t it

FFX would be an example of people learning something from Grandia, as the turn bar originated there. Grandia moved in real time even, and distance from an enemy factored into whether you could effectively interrupt their actions!

I’d say some SotC DNA is in the Souls series, seeing as how well that series has handled fights against giant enemies. Also a lot of the open-world post-SotC movement options (JC2’s glide, Prototype/SR4’s Wall Run, Infamous’s slide) have a lot more versatility than SotC’s climbing, which was mostly a fight against animation timing (Again, the Souls series). Sadly those games rarely ever employ their movement options in combat.


re: EO. a bit of random fuzz in the combat separates ‘rpg’ from ‘puzzle game.’ honestly i feel like they should be more random than they are, rather than less, so that strategizing more resembles wargames in terms of focusing to minimize long-term loss rather than ‘solving’ them. the newer etrian games, especially the Untold series, are very much become more of the puzzle battle type and it’s honestly a bit less interesting for it; kind of glad they’re rolling back character capabilities in EO5

i feel like nobody learned anything from the original X-Com. especially not the new one.


please elaborate

The original game worked far better as a simulation game than as an rpg or a strategy game. It was dense, incomprehensible, and mysterious. You had vague, nonobvious goals pieced together, and it was never really clear how things were going to play out. It’s a very opaque game, probably as a byproduct of the limitations of the times. But it was never really mechanically sound.

The new XCOM plays more like a board game and goes full tilt transparent mechanics, as do most spiritual successors.


The effectiveness of Doom’s shotgun at longer ranges is more caused by enemies not being as much of bullet sponges as lots of things make them now. Just one or two pellets can down former humans/sergeants, a couple more to take down imps. And the spread being a basically straight horizontal line means it remains efficient when you’ve got a group up milling around on a platform, and at medium ranges you can easily down multiple weaker foes in one shot, something that games with SGs that have more circular groupings can’t do as well.

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I still think Anarchy Reigns had certain things down that nobody has done better before or after, but needed a certain post-launch care that I suppose is not very japanese plus went out after things got sour between P* and Sega.

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Some would consider it rash but I’m nominating this for Weirdest SB Opinion 2016

??? Do you mean being able to see opponents before engaging them?

Souls’s giant enemy fights are coherent and engaging. Most other games they’re either incomprehensible, like Bayonetta, or they revolve around you looking at a big thing from cover as you kill the mooks who jump in every 12 seconds.

well the fights also take place in the same field without a transition to a separate battle view