(Archived 2022) The thread in which we talk about games we are currently playing

@billy#15983 Halo 3 and Reach story co-op with 2 or 3 friends is wonderful. Otherwise halo is just kind of ho-hum in my opinion.

I played a little more of that Balan Wonderland demo that I talked about in the New Games thread. I‘m not going to try and defend it or anything, as I imagine a lot of the reasons I’m enjoying the game are why a lot of people aren‘t. Maybe it’s just a matter of expectation. The Naka name brings excitement- action game, but I think this game is more like what Fez was to me. The movement is sluggish. The levels sort unravel in a somewhat disorienting way. The stage layouts are somewhat bland (so far anyway). But it‘s all been very pleasant. Hanging out in this world where ghostly animals are dancing and I’m feeding puff balls the crystals I thought I was just collecting has been a bit incomprehensible yet compelling. I dunno, I'll prolly snag it on release.

@yeso#15990

Wow, I had not heard of this. I'm def going to give it a look.

Zelda 1


  • - Right now some friends and I are concurrently playing through the original Zelda and having a pretty good time with it. We’ve all only ever finished the first dungeon (or « labyrinth » per the manual—I like that this is before the series’ glossary of terms was firmly established). We’re allowing ourselves to read the manual and to ask each other for help, but no looking anything up online. I’m drawing a map!
  • [URL=https://i.imgur.com/MVpGcy1.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/MVpGcy1h.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    Which I know I don’t need to do, since there is a partial map in the manual, but it’s fun. :}
    The Gamecube controller is not the ideal controller for this game! Oh well.

    **Suikoden**

  • - Digging pretty much everything about this. The battles are fast, the music sounds good, the characters are stiffly animated at times but charmingly adult-sized (there do seem to be a lot of unique animations, though). Joining the resistance!! There’s a whole thread for this.
  • **Dusk**

  • -

    The world/pop culture zeitgeist I grew up in made me believe Halo and Call of Duty 4-9 were the only shooters (I’m 24). It makes me kind of mad in retrospect that those games made me think I just didn’t like this entire genre. These past few years I’ve kept saying « Well, maybe I should give Lauded Shooter a shot since people seem to like that thing, » and I’m continually surprised by how much I REALLY REALLY LIKE first-person shooters. I like Halo 3 and had my fun with the multiplayer but it is not my favorite flavor (I share your confusion, @billy). Dusk sure is, though.

  • -

    I probably ought to go and play Quake after this.

  • -

    That G String game looks pretty cool!

  • >

    @captain#16036 Right now some friends and I are concurrently playing through the original Zelda and having a pretty good time with it

    this sounds very fun. i played it for the first time a few years ago and also drew maps, very cool

    @tapevulture#16037 How detailed did you make yours? You wouldn‘t happen to still have a picture around, would you? :o

    Sometimes I lose my sense of discipline and forget to draw a couple screens in a row, but I’d say it's a pretty fulfilling way to play.

    @yeso#15990 I plan to play G String but need to take a breather in these types of games after the trip that was E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy Hopefully, G String seems more straightforward game system wise.

    @setc#16041 it’s totally straightforward half-life style forward momentum. Has as thick an atmosphere as e.y.e. but much leaner experience

    In all my months of hanging around on this forum, I can't really recall anyone ever mentioning the Etrian Odyssey series, except maybe in passing.

    Well, I've sunk a whole bunch of hours into every single one of those EO games, never having completed any of them, and that legacy seems set to continue as I've finally gotten started on Etrian Odyssey Nexus. Returning to this series just feels like coming home, it's so comforting.

    I'm rolling with a pretty standard party so far: Hero, Nightseeker and Harbinger up front, with a Gunner and a Sovereign (Princess!) in back. So far, the default difficulty level feels easiest of in any installment, but I'm cool with that. The grind-your-face-against-a-brick-wall difficulty of earlier entries was always my least favourite element of the series. But the sense of discovery is still there, and I like how many non-battle events now grant EXP to your party.

    It's meant to be a tribute to longtime fans of the series, and since I am one of those, I can't help but feel like I'm just having a low-key chillout party with some old friends. Nice to catch up, you know? Plus, having an excuse to play my 3DS is always welcome. As great as the Switch is, nothing will ever replace the pure joy of Threeds-playing for me.

    I just started playing FROM‘s “Lost Kingdoms II” for Gamecube and I’m having a great time!

    @whatsarobot#16093 What‘s a good Etrian Odyssey game to play? I played through Persona Q and really enjoyed that, I didn’t get too far in PQ2 tho it carried over the problems of P5 (dull characters and too many attack elements).

    @Jax#15915 There are some specific things in VIII I think they could have cut back on but yeah you‘re right, it feels super breezy in comparison to most other games. I’m still trying to come up with the words I‘d use to try to sell these games but it’s sorta just you get one in your hands and feel it and it clicks.

    I'm undecided on whether to play VI before IX or not. It seems like an important one for the entire series. Toshihiro Kondo has said it was the first one to start this kind of modern Ys mythology. But I've heard that it's just kinda rough.

    @setc#15923 The border is definitely dope, it makes the game feel like a piece of artwork lol.

    @yeso#15941 Yeah I'm skipping around just to make sure I don't get too tired of one style of gameplay. So I'm trying to split it up by not playing the same style of game twice in a row. VIII is party style from Seven so I want to try a VI style one next and so on. It also depends on where good versions exist too! Thankfully I can play pretty much everything on either the Vita or Switch. I'm definitely open to going back to some of the older ones too, especially IV since Celceta didn't do a ton for me.

    Question for y'all: did anyone play Tokyo Xanadu? It's Falcom's more directly inspired Persona style game. I never got that far into it but it was pretty cool. The dungeons in it are Ys-ish ARPG affairs but they're score based sorta like a Bayonetta or other character action thing. It's a cool twist. Just not super aesthetically interesting as an entire package since it's another modern Tokyo school JRPG.

    Banging my head against Goonies for the MSX (via MiSTER). Man I really want to like this game as I love the NES version, but it is is brutally hard. Wish MiSTER had save states now. Still of most everything I have tried on MSX this feels completely playable in 2021.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGrKnpzZayc

    @sabertoothalex#16209 I played Tokyo Xanadu a few years ago because it seemed like the Falcom game with the least barriers to entry. It was….good, I guess? It really is more or less Persona with Ys combat. Pacing can feel a little weird (as it certainly can in Persona), and I don‘t think it does characters quite as well as Persona either, but it was a fun time. Not essential by any means, but there’s something there.

    xanadu next is a wonderful game if anyone is looking for falcom from before they caught persona disease

    @yeso#16258 Yeah I‘m making my way deeper into Ys IX and I’m enjoying it quite a bit because the running around and hitting things parts are still fantastic, but the entire vibe continues to drift further away from the earlier entries.

    I‘m sure I’m not the only one but Tim‘s recent video inspired me to pick up the Tokimeki Memorial series. I’m on my first play through of 2 now and having a real nice cosy sort of time with it. I‘d been right in the middle of Death Stranding, which is great, but it’s nice to decompress with something a little more low-stakes. I think I was ready to talk to some nice girls about kotatsus or whatever…

    [URL=https://i.imgur.com/RlybqVf.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/RlybqVf.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    edit: I just finished that playthrough and, er... that final year was definitely not relaxing at all!

    This game probably goes all sorts of different ways depending on which path you choose, but it felt like once the game figured out what I was trying to do it had a counter strategy ready to interfere with my schedule in the most stressful possible way. I definitely earned that ending!

    @robinhoodie#16256 Whenever I hear chiptunes goonies I always think of cLOUDDEAD.

    I read about this game Destropolis on a Giant Bomb GOTY Guest List and bought it pretty quick. It‘s a pretty good isometric twin-stick-but-with-a-mouse shooter. You’re a diamond that gets powerups to destroy red cubes, pyramids, pillars, and other objects and it's just super satisfying to play.

    I really love twin stick shooters in general, and it has some really great game feel. Progression is a little slow, but again, very satisfying to play.

    @Jax#16257 Yeah it seemed neat, might go back to it at some point. It apparently had much higher sales than they anticipated which is nice for them. It does kind of exemplify the position that Falcom is at right now as a developer.

    I look at them and see what they've put out this decade. They've made 7 Trails games, 3 Ys games, a Trails spinoff ARPG, Tokyo Xanadu, and a Power Stone style Trails/Ys arena fighter. Those 7 Trails games were the biggest things they put out and they influenced everything that got made along the way. The changes Trails underwent this decade are also what I consider a core feature of modern Falcom: trend chasing. The first 2 Trails games released this decade, Zero and Ao, stuck pretty closely to the previous games but they added one key feature: bonding events. This is a post-Persona 3/4 world where Social Links introduced something new that would be copied and flipped over the next decade. This change, along with Cold Steel moving to a high school setting, to me shows that Falcom was looking at what was popular and taking their own stab at it to try to cater to what the audiences wanted in a very crowded market.

    I'm not mad at it though! I think one of the things that makes Falcom a special developer is that, even when trend chasing, they manage to make smart improvements that push the trends forward. My favorite example of this is actually the bonding events. In Persona the Social Links are these completely separate stories that happen outside of the view of the main narrative. This leads to some weird narrative funk where in Persona 4 you have characters dying and being kidnapped and then you're like uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh well how about we go talk about stuffed animals or whatever instead of solving the mystery? In Trails of Cold Steel though Falcom took bond events and made them contextually relevant to where the main narrative is at. You're in a new location? Characters' bond events will reference that! Something really big happened in the story? The bond events will address it and let you hear others' perspective on it. I feel they very often do a very good job with these.

    Another thing I see as a core feature of not just this decade is that Falcom operates in these periods of technology and house style that they commit themselves to. For the 00s it was the Ys VI and Trails in the Sky era. All of those games look the same. This decade is the Trails of Cold Steel decade. After a uh growing period with Ys Seven and Memories of Celceta they settled nicely into the house style for the decade. Two unique things happened this decade though: Trails blew up and they had to transition to the PS4. In the 00s Falcom basically stuck completely to the PSP and PC. The Vita was their primary platform near the beginning of this decade(with a side of PS3 here and there). Swapping to the PS4 was unavoidable though as their ambitions didn't match being on on the Vita. That's where Tokyo Xanadu and Ys VIII come in. Those games originally came out on the Vita but then got enhanced PS4 releases ahead of their big boy: Trails of Cold Steel 3. It's really funny to look at TX and Ys VIII and see them experimenting with some presentational stuff that would eventually be in CS3 and become the standard.

    The other thing I mentioned was Trails blowing up. Their gamble kinda worked and Cold Steel became popular. Not like Persona popular or anything but you know, popular for Falcom. This led to them working a more Trails style narrative into the Ys games. Celceta at least was already gesturing in that direction but then full on big boy Ys VIII comes out and it's VERY apparent that they've injected some of that DNA in there. They had something that's popular and wanted to keep it going. And it worked! Ys VIII was incredibly highly regarded. One of the best in the series etc etc. That's basically the long winded take on why I think we've seen these changes to Ys with these new games whereas in the past they kept Trails and Ys as pretty different vibes despite the common looks.

    I lost the thread somewhere in there because I just wanted to talk about Falcom. I just really appreciate what they do, even when it is obvious they willingly drank the Persona koolaid at some point. They're a developer that is somewhat hamstrung by their place in the market and the release schedule that they and their investors keep. They release stuff at such a stupid pace that their games do start to feel homogenous to a certain degree. Yet there is always that special Falcom _something_ in there. You can always see the good ideas even if they're not properly executed because of time, budget, or even talent I guess! Still, I love them.

    Since this is 2021 and they're starting a new arc in the Trails series this year I am very curious to see what Falcom is going to bring this decade.