Give Me A Hot Take About Video Games


#565

I’m all for accessibility options in games, but to alter the difficulty is to alter the text itself, just as much as the “for kids” versions of classic novels with easier diction are different works from their source material; even if the central narrative, characters, and themes are the exact same.

Celeste is actually a really interesting example of difficulty and difficulty settings being an almost explicit part of the central metaphor of the game. The game asks you to start with the base difficulty but it fundamentally doesn’t care if you finish that way, because hey, it’s important to get help if you need it.


#566

Games since 2003 have made a huge mistake by not taking enough lessons from Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. It’s held the industry back as a whole.


#567

Ugh, maybe, but did Darksiders really have to go from a wellcrafted little package to an open (largely empty) world with tons of forgettable loot that you would discard moments later as something else dropped between 1 and 2?


#568

I’ve slept on it and wonder whether I should play all the Dead Space games again.


#569

Thanks for enabling my (mostly serious hot take): Celeste’s approach to difficulty, whilst well-intentioned, fundamentally doesn’t work, on two levels - the “accessibility options” don’t address what makes most of the platforming hard (it’s mostly not reaction time, for example); and enabling them does undermine the narrative payoff / metaphor, in that it makes it too easy to achieve the ending.

(and I say this as someone Celeste was too hard for, and therefore someone who has not completed the game)


#570

I’ve not played Celeste, but I do agree with the general sentiment about accessibility where it pertains to difficulty. So much goes into designing a game so that it functions in a specific way to achieve what the designers set out to create, which sometimes, is involves making the game difficult. Removing barriers of entry is nice but it shouldn’t be incumbent on the designer to cater to everyone.

Right now I’m working my way through Rain World in the normal “Survivor” mode and it is sloooow going. In a recent update they added an easier “Monk” mode which decreases the need to gather food and eliminates some of the more difficult enemies. I appreciate the idea of adding a more welcoming mode to the game, but I also think some of the discussion around the game’s design kind of missed the point many aspects of the game which led people to call it too hard. People complained a lot about the “Karma Gate” system which blocks off sections of the game until you’ve hibernated through a certain number of cycles to achieve the right level, with each death knocking you back down a level. That sounds punishing, but it seems like it is there to force you to move more cautiously and spend some cycles just finding the food you need and playing it safe. That play style feeds perfectly into the designers stated intent of simulating being a small creature near the bottom of the food chain. Maybe that experience isn’t for you, but the calls to remove that system in favor of ease of use disregard the intention of the game design…


#571

isn’t that up to the designer’s what they want? When they put options in their game that alter the experience, then maybe they are fine with people playing it differently? Not that they can control it anyway, considering that folks are able to mod games/use external programs to alter them themselves.

It’s also easy to say “difficulty should be excluded from accessiblity discussions” when you’re not affected by this kind of stuff.

(Apologies for doing the actual debate thing in a jokey thread, but this take just drives me up the wall.)


#572

The PS3 Ratchet & Clank games are better than any Mario game since World

Nintendo does not have any characters it just has interchangeable brands. Except Eevee who is all of those things but also cute

The reason Wargroove isn’t considered the greatest thing ever is that the Advanced Wars formula is boring from the start and only lends it self to glorified crossword puzzles

Starbound was a good game

Ludo Narrative Dissonance is the most over hyped problem in game narratives. If you can look past the fact you are controlling a tiny person on a screen you can overlook the absurd death counts and pulling hot dogs out of trash cans for health


#573

There’s a point where arguments about games needing to maintain a level of difficulty for an “authentic” so-to-speak experience just become gatekeeping, and I think we need to consider that there are multiple valid ways to appreciate or experience a game. (This is coming from someone who has finished Celeste’s C-sides, 100%ed Hollow Knight twice, and generally loves stereotypically difficult games).

Celeste might have its difficulty as its main point, but there are a lot of elements to its experience (art, music, dialogue, etc.) that are not impacted by its difficulty, and the attitude that a game like that is just a house of cards—where every piece needs to be perfectly aligned for an optimal experience—really discounts the value of those individual pieces. I’m not a fan of arguments about fidelity in other media—e.g. analog vs digital formats for music—and I don’t see a significant difference between that debate and questions about difficulty settings in games.


#574

I guess I wasn’t very clear: I think it’s up to the designers to add options around difficulty if they choose to, I just don’t think it makes sense to say that they SHOULD. It’s an elective experience and if they are choosing to limit their market because of their own design choices I think that is fine.

What I meant by the Rain World example is that many people were calling for the removal of a system for the sake of accessibility, which the new easy mode does not do. Instead they cut out a few of the tougher creatures and made gathering food a little more forgiving but kept what a lot of reviews cited as punitive system in place because it seems like a core aspect of the game’s intended design.

Edit: also apologies for being too serious.


#575

Hollow Knight is itself a hollow rehash of ideas from other older and sometimes better games like Symphony Of The Night in a pretty package that itself can’t help but feel like an imitation of something greater. Also exaggerated hot take aside like a good chunk of that games plot is just Dark Souls? like, a lot of it. And Dark Souls is not the most original tale in gaming to be fair but like, damn y’all


#576

better get those takes in!!


#577

Well I’ll just leave this here with 18 hours left:

I refuse to play games with unstable frame-rates. I loved the aesthetic and story of Bloodborne but I’ll never play it again because I was constantly motion sick from all the frame drops.


#578

The mods are tired of all this hot takery


#579

Eh, when it comes to ludo narrative dissonance, I think there are things you can wave off and things things that are less forgivable especially when the things that don’t line up are perfectly within the control of the designers/writers.

Yeah, it makes little to no sense that Solid Snake is a master of infiltration when in my hands he’s blundering about Shadow Moses and murdering every guard in a panic because he’s been spotted yet again. There is a narrative version that erases my ineptitude and presents a “perfect” playthrough, much like Hitman, Zelda, or whatever.

A game like GTAIV or RDR on the other hand present me with men who desperately want to leave this life behind them in cutscenes, and then proceed from one mass murder to another with some halfhearted resistance. Even a similarly perfect playthrough involves the main character sitting on a mountain of cash, complaining about their lot in life while they murder yet another dozen people.


#580

Well A: You’re not wrong, and B: I would say that’s really just shitty writing


#581

Gah I want to actually discuss this because I want to learn why I’m wrong, but this thread closes so dang soon. But anyway—

Hollow Knight may not feel like an imitation to me because it was largely my introduction to the genre (I did not own a machine capable of any 3D Soulsborne game until very recently), and yeah the plot is basically just Dark Souls. But I think Hollow Knight’s world is more engaging because it actually has some variety and moments of levity and contrast and characters who are like, not all different versions of the same archetypal guys, which I couldn’t say for either Dark Souls and Bloodborne. But going backwards so-to-speak after playing HK has instead made most other soulslikes I’ve played feel dated. It’s an iteration but I disagree that it’s a rehash; I have not yet played any games, either direct soulslikes or metroidvanias, that made me feel like there was something greater that came before.

In my actual rational and not joked-up hot takey form I honestly think it comes down to whether a player prefers 2D or 3D combat, and character simplicity vs. builds and stats. Platformers and metroidvanias are my favorite genre and I’m predisposed to prefer something like Hollow Knight over Bloodborne. Hollow Knight’s combat felt more precise and less RPG-ish, which I like a lot more than being given a bunch of weapons and stats (again that’s very much a me thing).

But I’m also near the end of playing Bloodborne for the first time (after having played Dark Souls for the first time last month) and, again not being takey anymore, I honestly haven’t found much to appreciate outside of the cosmic horror stuff (which is truly excellent, and the reason I didn’t put it down twenty hours ago). Most of the level design and gameplay feels crushingly mediocre even just compared to Dark Souls (which I do think holds up and ultimately really loved on my playthrough). To call back to this thread’s original hot take, I can only count a small number of bosses that didn’t seem to rely on cheap gimmicks or a player not knowing their weaknesses to be challenging, which is super artificial. Parrying is great and the bosses that use it—Gascogine, the Shadows, Logaruis—felt fantastic. And, like with Dark Souls, the DLC ones (aptly named Living Failures aside) seem just on a higher level. But those are heavily outnumbered by ones who were either super easy (Emissary, Rom, Mergo’s Wet Nurse, Micolash, Witches), or tedious for various reasons (One Reborn, BSB, Ebrietas). That’s a ridiculous ratio of bosses that either felt like speed bumps or made me want to stop playing out of tedium. Hollow Knight did not have that; after a couple of full playthroughs I can count the bosses I disliked in that game on one hand (Flukemarm… pre-DLC Nosk… maybe Traitor Lord?). It felt leaner and better for it.

I want to be open to this game being as great as I’ve been told, but at this point I literally just have the last bit of DLC and the final fight(s) left, so I think I just won’t end up with that relationship to it, which is fine. Sorry for the novel on the joke thread.


#582

Your favorite game is really good. It must be if it left such an impact that you call it your favorite. (hugs)


#583

I think you are largely right in that it is likely due to it being your introduction to the format (there is a better way to put this I am sure but I am only still awake due to waiting for bread to rise so this is the best I can give) but maybe not in the way you think. You talk about the the contrast in Hollow VS Souls but that’s an experience that was not the one you would have had if you’d played DS when it first came out. It’s hard to believe now but I know all too well but back in my day when the snow was barefoot uphill both ways the community around Demon’s and Dark Souls was very welcoming to new people and the vibe you would get from any summon was joy at someone who just wanted to help. I would hang out at bosses with my shirty internet connection and help people out and get thank you messages over PSN. I got thanks you’s from all over the world from people over joyed to have someone, anyone to help! And there were a ton of people around to do it. It was only really with the PC version that things changed with the tagline of Prepare To Die. As while it had it’s reputation as being a very hard game the git gud mentality had not yet been cemented into the playerbase the way it is now. I also think that Dark Souls does have a lot of that same levity in it it’s just that the way the game is structured means you are unlikely to see it without looking it up. Which at one time was a great boon to the series and if anything to my eye added to it’s thematic depth in the way you’d have to go out of your way to connect with others to ever meet say, Solarie more than once. And while those NPC plots more often than not end in tragedy so do most in Hollow Knight as I recall. And the ones that don’t I either just don’t like as with Zote who I just find an obnoxious attempt at humor that I will give credit for trying to be a take down of the git gud thing as I read it (though a vapid one given the games own lack of accessibility options and oblique nature) or find something off about like with Bretta who’s fan girl plot strike me as rather MRA-esque in effect if not intent (I know little about the devs and am not trying to accuse them of anything here, again likely a better way to phrase this). All told I think my real issue is that Team Cherry can make something great with the skills they have but the thing they made can only ever live in the shadows of something already made making it as often as not feel like a waste to me. They can make something better than just Dark Souls by way of Symphony Of The Night with bugs and I wish they made it

Also Hot Take: Symphony Of The Night is not a very good game and the metroidvania genre is plagued by an inability to branch out an be anything other that the overly specific thing it is

Also The Souls games should not have multiplayer anymore it does more harm than good. Also the PVP always kinda sucked I always just ran off cliffs when I was invaded it was faster


#584

I hadn’t thought about the Bretta plot in that way; I think I can see that interpretation but I’m not sure that I agree with it? I would need to go back and watch some of those scenes.

I really do wish I’d been able to play these games back then, but all I had in high school was a 3DS and a laptop that could run basically nothing newer than Half-Life 2. I definitely feel like playing them now is missing out on something that I just wouldn’t be able to experience without a time machine, and I love hearing stuff like this about people’s experiences with these games when they were working the way they were… built to work, I guess? At the same time, I’ve always been a very solitary player and I don’t know how engaged I would have been with the multiplayer aspects even when the community was that welcoming, since I tend to shy away from playing any type of game with people I don’t know. It might have just not been for me.

I also didn’t mean to give the impression that I dislike Dark Souls 1—I love that game, though I think we like it for different reasons (I know you are decidedly not a Legend of Zelda fan, and I like it in large part because of how it improves on that formula). Bloodborne (except the cosmic horror) is really what I’m sour on, and playing them back-to-back may have been part of that. I still think Hollow Knight has tighter level design and better boss design, and I prefer the lack of leveling/builds/stats/etc. Compared to DS1, the one I really like, it came with the benefit of its second half not feeling a bit haphazard and rushed (and I do hate how that game mires both Solaire and Siegmeyer’s climactic moments in Lost Izalith because god that area sucked). I’m sure some of that is just because I prefer 2D Castlevania-y (Castleveiny?) combat, but still, that can’t be everything, because I’ve tried Salt & Sanctuary too and thought it was pretty terrible.

I’m sort of with you on the metroidvania thing? Because I think part of its problem is that games that do experiment with its formula just never get called metroidvanias, because most people have that overly specific image in mind of “2D platformer with upgrading movement mechanics and backtracking in an interlocking world” and nothing else ever gets discussed as a more experimental version. Beyond just calling the Souls games 3D metroidvanias, which has been done to death, I would hot take that God of War 2018 was pretty clearly a metroidvania and not an open-world game, since it was completely built around unlocking new abilities and backtracking to new areas upon finding those upgrades or items. Not saying it did anything particularly interesting with the formula, but more as an example that the genre can be wider than generally gets pointed out.

Edit: to give credit where credit is due, because I just finished it, wow Lady Maria was a great fight.