Astral Chain Are Bastards
I guess I’m a cop. I’m all in on this Toku Police craziness.
I hear that mecha game is really good about gender in character creation, so that’s cool
Kind of disappointed to learn that it was mostly of the hunting game mould with a typically light story.
jesus, botw is really good (it runs utterly perfectly in emulation now)
it’s REALLY good. i dunno if i’ll want to spend a billion hours with it, but the sheer awe it inspired just booting it up and fucking off for an hour… that’s rare.
Tried two or three missions of the Mech game on switch. It scratches an itch certainly but I have some issues with the controls. There’s a stickiness to the height/flight controls. From the ground you can jump and then you can hover and gain height with the B button but to desend you can only click the left stick to start falling. You can press B again to start hovering again. This only really becomes a problem when you try to get fancy and fight while controlling your vertical position while aiming with the right thumb on the right stick. You’d only have the option to drop if you are actively aiming. It also has the MHW problem of talking to you alot in the middle of gameplay so you might want to play on a language you can understand if you hear it in the periphery. But it’s almost worth it to hear Char’s voice actor still piloting a red mech.
I stayed up til 2:30 playing Tetris 99 to try to settle my nerves from events mentioned in the Ax. I’m totally more of a marathon player than a sprinter, so I’m not sure if vs mode Tetris will ever fully win me over but it seems alright. Came in 5th in my first game.
I’d be more down with 99 people chilling out for half an hour and seeing how much further they can play Gameboy Tetris past the 200,000 point rocket.
I’m jazzed for this new Link’s Awakening. I’ve started that game on at least 3 systems and never finished it. Not sure what’s wrong with me.
The Switch thing I was most excited about was having both the console and handheld style games on one doohickey and we’re finally doing it.
This looks so my shit, oh my effing gee.
Astral Chain looks to me very much like one of those Transformers/Avatar semi-phoned in B-teamy Platinum games they’ve become fond of putting out but I don’t exactly hate those so I’ll be happier to be wrong but probably down either way!
you’re gonna have to reconsider your “I don’t like modern games” position, this is the second or third thing from the past gen that you’ve finally figured out is great (I know you mentioned hitman recently)
play wreckfest, I know you like systems stuff and racing games
i’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, actually
i think i just really like video games. i’m still very disappointed and turned off by most games coming out now, whereas when i was younger i wanted to consume near-literally everything. i have weird relationships with zeitgeists and hype cycles and critical mass.
i think a more accurate appraisal is that i’m very disappointed in modern consoles because they don’t seem to afford the advantages consoles traditionally did. my PC is a much better platform for playing games than any console i’ve ever owned, and i just struggle finding the value proposition for modern consoles (everything post-360). i mean, they are good values if you don’t also need a powerful computer.
since i do need a powerful computer, it just doesn’t make any sense to me to buy a console. i certainly haven’t felt much compulsion toward any of sony’s exclusive stuff (excepting bloodborne).
part of me feels botw is good because at a macro level i get a feeling like nintendo’s chiding segments of the industry for making exactly the sorts of decisions that turn me off in modern gaming. not saying botw is some kind of panacea, but it definitely thumbs its nose at other development trends here and there
get on my level where you can’t stand to give nintendo credit for anything and you just ignore the ones being chided
anyway I never briefly make my PS4 unbootable because I needed to do a dev thing the way I do my computer and it’s a lot cheaper than modern GPUs so I wouldn’t get too hung up on the value part personally
If they don’t announce some kind of hardware revision this E3 I might finally bite the bullet and buy one of these silly things
i do kinda wanna play this, but literally only because you’ve rec’d it enough times that it sticks in my mind now
at the very least i’ll get a selectbutton post out of it
To round out this Vinegar Tasters of game liking, I just really like video games and I just ignore all the entities who try and tell me how to feel about this or that game, and I just evaluate everything on my own terms, and I come away much happier than most people in vidcon circles tend to seem, in this regard! I think these things are related.
I’ve never understood judging games based on anything but their own merit. Why punish something for not being something it never intended or attempted to be? “X Game Title would be good if Y Game Title didn’t exist” is a real thing I have heard said more than once and it baffles me. It’s like saying “this strawberry ice cream is bad because it doesn’t taste like chocolate”.
So long as something has a clear vision and appears to have been executed solidly, I think it should be given a fair shake.
Oh dang this might be about to turn into a micro-essay, hang on
So back in the “5 games that give a feel for who you are” thread, I listed P.N.03 as one of my five games. This was for a very good reason, though I’m sure many folks either were confused or just thought I was being a weird contrarian poser.
The reason that game is on the list is because it taught me several very important lessons, all of which have stuck with me firmly to this day, all at once. These reasons, in no particular order, include:
#1) “This game is bad” and “I don’t like this game” are not synonyms.
When P.N.03 was first announced, I was a little excited. It was full of things I love, like futuristic settings, sweet suits, mechanical behemoths, LASERS, dancing, LASERS, acrobatic yet precise movement, and LASERS!
Then it came out and I played it, and… it was clear it needed way, way more time in the actual game design part of production. It was janky and messy to play, and it lacked a clear gameplay direction. Your goal was just to get through the level, but it wasn’t challenging to do. It was difficult, but that was because of the jank, not because my skills were being pushed to their limits. Once you got a handle on the controls, getting through to the end of level was almost trivial. It was also really, really unfun.
#2) “This game is bad” and “this game is fun” are not mutually exclusive.
Another game I was having just LOADS of fun with around the exact same time as I had been playing P.N.03 was Strider 2. I put hours and HOURS into Strider 2. Replaying the same level over and over trying for a better score, trying to get through with as little wasted movement as possible, trying to find better boss strategies, I was having a blast.
Strider 2 is not a difficult game. If you were to just casually play through without any specific goal other than to get to the end, you probably wouldn’t really find it challenging at all! In fact, simply getting through to the end of the level is almost trivial!
Wait a minute…
#3) “This game is bad”, “this game is fun”, and “I like this game” can be ANY combination of true or false.
I had an epiphany about P.N.03 while playing Strider 2. Both of them have relatively short stages, both of them will let you just breeze through a level if all you want is to get to the next one without pushing back very hard. Yet I was having a blast with one but not the other. Why?
Because I had been playing P.N.03 wrong.
I had been playing it like a console action game. I had been trying to treat it like Devil May Cry. And I think most people were as well. After all, it LOOKED like a console action game! But I was wrong. P.N.03 is an ARCADE action game. It’s not about getting through to the end, it’s a score attack game.
So I tried it. I popped it back in and tried, for the first time, to get the highest score I possibly could, and suddenly I was having a GREAT time. There were still issues, to be sure, but now the weirdness of the movement made SENSE. I had thought that, because getting hit doesn’t take away much HEALTH, that you just weren’t being punished for running-n-gunning, until I saw what it did to the SCORE. If you get hit, you drop your chain, which means no multiplier, which means a much, much lower score.
Once I started putting priority and effort into dodging incoming fire, efficiently eliminating enemies, and getting to the end as quickly as possible while taking as few hits as possible and eliminating as many enemies as possible, suddenly I was having FUN with P.N.03.
And yet it didn’t change my view on whether it was a “good” game or a “bad” game. I still thought it was, when all was said and done, a bad game. But now I understood why, instead of it just being a vague feeling. It was bad because it communicated its core philosophy terribly. At no point in the game’s marketing or the tutorial or anything did it ever try to impress upon you that it was concerned first and foremost with mastery and execution along the lines of Strider or a shmup, rather than with providing you with challenging spectacle. It was also bad because it was clear that it was rushed. The environments themselves are just boring. It’s all just generic white featureless corridors as far as the eye can see.
It also gives the impression that “rhythm” was supposed to be a core pillar of the game’s identity, but for that to work, all the assets and mechanics need to mesh together into a cohesive whole, and it’s obvious that there just wasn’t enough time to do that. If you stand still, your character dances in place to a beat you can’t hear, because it’s certainly not in time with the music you’re hearing. Movements are all in specific, metered increments, almost all of which take the exact same amount of time. In fact, they’re nearly exactly the tempo of the idle-dance. Maybe I’m reading into this too much, but I think P.N.03 was intended by its creator to be like Rez, in that everything would have been timed to the music. Movement, shots, hits, explosions, all of it synced up into one flowing concerto of combat, a dance of destruction, a ballet of bullets. (a Lambada of Lasers?)
But it wasn’t. It was dry and samey and dull.
…so why was I still having fun with it?
I thought about this for a very, very long time. Years, in fact! It wasn’t until I understood and accepted Lesson #3 that I was able to reconcile the conflicting feelings I was having. It was a bad game, but it was fun, and I liked it. This didn’t have to be a problem! I could just accept its flaws, accept that it’s bad, but still accept that I found something in it to like, and everything would be fine. To test this theory, I thought “are there any good games that I don’t like?” I pondered this for a bit and thought “well, I’m sure Madden must be good, right? It’s probably very well-made, and lets you do all the football things you’d want to do without much hassle. So it’s probably very fun to people who like football, but I don’t like it, so yes, there absolutely can exist games that are good, yet I don’t like them.”
This philosophy has honestly become fairly core to my identity. To evaluate something, you first have to ASK it what it is. Don’t let anyone tell you. Get in there, move stuff around, see how it works, and let IT tell you through its own nature. Think about whether it feels like the creators got to do everything they wanted to do. See the bigger picture. Find the nature of the thing, what it wants to be without influence from preconceptions and outside forces, and its worth will be made clear.
The rumour right now is a somewhat smaller screen, non-detachable joy cons (can still sync more to it), doesn’t come with dock but can dock with existing ones using either a special adapter or extension cable.
That sounds like a downgrade in almost every respect?
Yeah, I hope it’s that cuz then I won’t feel bad about it. I guess it’d basically fit into this classic Nintendo mold of putting out a cheaper and shittier model:
It’s okay to think P.N.03 is good. It is one of my favorite games.
I agree that it doesn’t communicate what it is very well. But I think this is true of most great art as well (not taking a stance on games as art). It is also clearly a low budget game, but it is very effectively designed. The mechanics are unique and sublime. The combo system is perfect. The aesthetics are simple but interesting. Take anything away from P.N. 03 and it is a worse game.