Videogame Criticism

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
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Combine Hunter
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Combine Hunter »

This video from Super Bunny Hop analysing the real life history inspirations for Soulcalibur is really fun:


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KSubzero1000
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by KSubzero1000 »

Very interesting video on Overwatch's sound design:



I've always been really impressed by how much relevant information the game somehow manages to convey without becoming too cluttered.

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Michiel K
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Re: Videogame Criticism

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An interesting watch, keeping my 2019 gaming goals in mind. Don't know exactly where to agree and disagree yet, but I'll find out throughout the course of this year.

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Suits
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Suits »

Nice, I’ll watch that later.

Playing/played quite a few MetroidVanias of late.

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Scrustle
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Scrustle »

TheGamingBrit put out a really interesting and thoughtful video on Travis Strikes Again and how it relates to Suda51's career. I found it very enlightening and gave me some stuff to chew on. Spoilers ahead, obviously.


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Michiel K
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Michiel K »

^^^^ Yeah I saw that as well. Actually made me more interested in the game.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by KSubzero1000 »



Mark Brown with another really insightful installment of his Boss Keys series, this time about the ingenuity of Metroid Prime's world design.

With "backtracking" being such a filthy word and "exploration" meaning "wide open spaces with countless loot items and dozens of objective markers" nowadays, the above truly is a lost art of game design.

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Michiel K
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Michiel K »

I don't think so. See games like Hollow Knight and Breath of the Wild.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by KSubzero1000 »

Yes, it's still a thing in the 2D space with all the indie Metroidvanias, but I can't think of many 3D games adopting this type of structure nowadays. Is BotW's level design really this tight? That's wonderful to hear, I was under the impression it had a lot of empty space as well. I need to play it sooner rather than later anyway.

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Michiel K
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Michiel K »

Some people will tell you that it has a lot of empty space, but I strongly disagree. Podcast coming soon!

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Scrustle
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Scrustle »

This reminds me about something I've been thinking about for a while recently. I've been thinking about how there are certain truisms about game design that are relied on way too much these days. So much that people just take them as good by default, without actually examining whether they make sense in a given game. Not that these things are bad all the time. After all, there's a good reason why they become cliche in the first place. But sometimes they end up sounding like buzz words that people trot out because that's just the sort of things people say about games they like. I was actually thinking of bringing it up for my post for the BotW episode, but I decided not to, since that perhaps isn't a good example.

But semi-frequently these days I am questioning whether things like "nonlinear" or "verticality" really deserve the sort of automatic reverence they get. When I was first starting out with BotW and still getting used to how it changed things for the series, I was questioning those things wondering if they were really such a good idea, since that's the sort of thing everyone was praising the game for, and how it was a big departure from the previous games. A departure that I'm not entirely sure was that necessary. Obviously after playing for a while my doubts about BotW were proven unfounded, but I still think it's a relevant thing to consider. The thing with a lot of non-linear games is that they do sacrifice pacing quite a lot. They can feel like a grind through samey content sometimes that doesn't have peaks and valleys of excitement to keep you engaged. That's what I really like about the old 3D Zelda formula that I was worried BotW might be missing. While that didn't end up as a problem there, it definitely does in other games. It can be an issue even if that individual content is good in isolation.

Another one that kind of bothers me is complaints about "bullet sponge" enemies. On the one hand, I can see how that could be an issue in certain types of games, but I also think it's become a problem in that people have this expectation for how much health enemies in all games should have, just because some are built around a very quick time-to-kill. I like it in games where fights feel like proper bouts, where there's a back-and-forth to combat. To do that you need enemies that don't go down almost as soon as you attack them. But with the "bullet sponge = bad" truism, it seems like people forget that way too often. Like if Halo just came out today as a brand new thing, I wouldn't be surprised if loads of people complained about it that way. I've even heard it said about DMC.

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Michiel K
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Michiel K »

Good points, Scrustle. Always question truisms, if you ask me!

rob25X
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by rob25X »

The world of Metroid Prime 1 is a game world I will never forget. There has been only one game which has ever come close to matching the atmosphere and feeling of Metroid Prime 1's game world for me and that would be... Dead Space.

Just the mention of those 2 games makes me want to jump into them again.

I'm going to watch Ksub's Metroid vid thing now, I'm curious what that's about.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Videogame Criticism

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Scrustle wrote: March 14th, 2019, 10:54 pm The thing with a lot of non-linear games is that they do sacrifice pacing quite a lot.
Very true. God of War 2 for example is one of the best paced action-adventure games that I know of, with a wonderful sense of geographical progression and thoughtful drip-feed of weapons, items, cutscenes and bossfights to punctuate the action. The end result feeling like a carefully scripted adventure that organically pushes the player forward, like a novel or a film.

Compare that to the 2018 reboot and its multitude of optional sidequests which are at odds with the basic premise of the plot and sometimes outright clash with the characterizations before and after them, not to mention the balancing issues they create.

But the thing about non-linearity is that it often goes hand-in-hand with heightened player agency, which tends to be a major selling point for a lot of people, and understandably so.

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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by rob25X »

KSubzero1000 wrote: March 14th, 2019, 8:12 pm

Mark Brown with another really insightful installment of his Boss Keys series, this time about the ingenuity of Metroid Prime's world design.

With "backtracking" being such a filthy word and "exploration" meaning "wide open spaces with countless loot items and dozens of objective markers" nowadays, the above truly is a lost art of game design.
The video was very interesting.

I think Prime is possibly the only game I ever got lost and confused in at times but didn't care because the game world was so unique and interesting I wanted to explore it and make progress myself. The part of the video where screenshots of the games areas was blurred out yet still recognisable was interesting.

One the many great things Prime did was the hint system. If you don't progress to the next area after a short time a hint would indicate where you should head allowing for a great mix of self discovery and guidance if it was needed.

It's been over 10 years since I played Prime. I really need to go back to it sometime to compare it with today's games. A lot of pre-HD era classics have aged quite badly but I don't think Prime has at all in either it's visuals or game design.

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Suits
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Re: Videogame Criticism

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So, the latest Pro Evolution Soccer game was globally released yesterday, simply called PES2020 – or eFootball, for some daft eSports reason.

Not for the first time, the game has released without an updated squad list, or Data Pack as Konami prefer to call it.

As it stands, on its release date, all the teams and their respective squads are last season’s, February line ups.

In football there is what’s referred to as transfer window, this is the period within a football season where clubs can buy, sell trade players.

Generally speaking, the European date that the transfer window closes is the 2nd September, which basically means that all clubs must have concluded any transfers by this date. (there are mild exceptions to this, Bulgarian and Romanian leagues are a few days later – but that’s irrelevant in this case as these leagues/clubs are not in the game).

This is an issue because any career mode once started, is unaffected by new Data Pack releases. Meaning, if you start a career mode now, you are locked into what player database the game is currently running.

Last year’s squads, a big, no-no.

It’s as simple as changing a player registered team in a database, something most football fans have been doing since C:CM2/CM9798/edit

Now, Konami have openly apologised to its players/fans about this and have assured that the Data Pack 1, which will include all transfers and squad accurate to the 2nd September will be released on the 12th September – two days after releases.

Also, in a effort to address the issue as known, a message pop’s up explaining that if any modes are started now it will be instantly out of date once Data Pack 1 releases on the 12th September – mildly encouraging players to basically wait a few days.

However, there is one mode that the game offers that is unaffected by data packs and real-life players team registrations – myClub, which is the games card pack mode.

The direct, in game message from Komami encourages you to play this mode now while you wait for the Data Pack to drop.

To apologise for this delay in what is effectively the meatiest part of the game, they are rewarding players with 350 Gold Coins per day(the games, real life, in-game currency), until the data pack arrives.

To cut a long piece by piece explanation of what this means, I will simply say, that is enough gold coins (purchasable currency) for three card pack purchase, which is nine real life players, to include in your online squad to replace ‘fake’, effectively useless players.

Now, the mode, myClub, is actually very good in fact, something I will most certainly play and have done since its very first version, maybe 5 years ago now.

The mode is driven basically by collecting cards, player cards, that you draw at random, blindly.

You earn, or can buy with real life money, opportunities to pull cards from a virtual pack and add players to your squad. You may pull Lionel Messi, you may pull Carl Jenkinson (love you Jenko).

It’s a really popular mode, very addictive and one that I’m sure earns Konami a good few dollars, as it’s the only mode that has any sort of additional monetisation attached to it and offers a good deal of excitement not knowing what player you are going to pull and how they will integrate with your squad.


Now, the cynical side of me, would maybe suggest that this delay was calculated, or at very least a bit of a beautiful accident – in an attempt to get players to begin the long journey of building a dream team pack of cards, within the only monetised mode of the game, like I said, it’s a very good mode.

Two days is nothing, the database I’m sure has been built, maybe its going through cert, I don’t know but this release date has been scheduled for a while – I’ve not seen a genuine reason yet as it why it’s missed release date.

Now, I knew that the data pack was going to be late, I knew that the only mode that would be any good on launch would be the monetised myClub mode so I can’t my knickers in a twist about that – but what has made my eyebrows raise a little is that this is the first time Konami have actively acknowledged it and pointed players towards the myClub mode with a little sweetener to get players started. And addicted.

I’d be calling for VAR if I’m honest.

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Caligulas Horse
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Caligulas Horse »

I think they know exactly what they are doing. My friend admitted to me recently that he spent nearly 400 quid on those cards in Fifa last year, lol I couldn't believe it, I had no idea it could be so costly but I imagine that is particularly bad? The thing he seemed to be most annoyed about was the fact that he's actually doing better this year without buying any lol.

On a side-note it is kind of funny to me reading that and remembering when I was playing PES and they all had fake names. C'mon the Old Firm Green!

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Jobobonobo
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Re: Videogame Criticism

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KSubzero1000 wrote: March 14th, 2019, 8:12 pm

Mark Brown with another really insightful installment of his Boss Keys series, this time about the ingenuity of Metroid Prime's world design.

With "backtracking" being such a filthy word and "exploration" meaning "wide open spaces with countless loot items and dozens of objective markers" nowadays, the above truly is a lost art of game design.
Backtracking the way the Metroid series does it, where you are going back to an old area to unlock new pathways with newly acquired abilities is a very satisfying gameplay loop to me. The feeling when you get a new weapon and your mind races back to that giant door that you can now finally open or that tight space that is now accessible to you is that of utter euphoria. That combined with exploration can really make a game world unforgettable when done right. When you are just going through the same area back and forth where nothing really changes then I can see why some may not care for backtracking (as much as I overall love the game, Chapter 4 of Paper Mario TTYD is especially guilty of this). But yeah, to dismiss backtracking as always bad game design irks me to no end.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by KSubzero1000 »

Exactly. "Cerebral backtracking" that is actually meant to activate the player's sense of direction and to reward memorization and spatial awareness is an absolutely wonderful thing when done right. Metroid will always be the gold standard in that regard but I would argue this is also one of the key aspects of Dark Souls' world traversal, albeit to a much more simplified degree.

We've seen a few 2D games like Hollow Knight come close in recent years but Metroid Prime (and Metroid Prime 2 even more so) still reigns supreme in the 3D space in my opinion.

"Cheap backtracking" which is due to the designers re-using the same levels over and over again for no good design reason (hello, Halo CE) is a completely different (and a much worse) proposition.

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Jobobonobo
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Jobobonobo »

KSubzero1000 wrote: September 11th, 2019, 8:41 pm Exactly. "Cerebral backtracking" that is actually meant to activate the player's sense of direction and to reward memorization and spatial awareness is an absolutely wonderful thing when done right. Metroid will always be the gold standard in that regard but I would argue this is also one of the key aspects of Dark Souls' world traversal, albeit to a much more simplified degree.

We've seen a few 2D games like Hollow Knight come close in recent years but Metroid Prime (and Metroid Prime 2 even more so) still reigns supreme in the 3D space in my opinion.

"Cheap backtracking" which is due to the designers re-using the same levels over and over again for no good design reason (hello, Halo CE) is a completely different (and a much worse) proposition.
"Cerebral backpacking" is a great way to put it. Nice way to distinguish it from the cheap variety that many find annoying. Just a shame that when some hear the word they think it always involve the sloppy kind.

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