I review shit, I shitpost shit, and I plug my own shit! Please read!
Hylian's Favorite game of every year since 1990Jan 4, 2021
Design Doc just posted a community post where he goes over his favorite game for every year, which made me want to do the same thing. It starts from 1990, since I really don't have much to say from years earlier. Some are from the original release year, some are from the North American one, just whatever one pops in my mind. Re-releases can be included, but the additions/changes have to be significant.
(1990) Super Mario World
(1991) Sonic the Hedgehog
(1992) Sonic the Hedgehog 2
(1993) Kirby's Adventure
(1994) Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
(1995) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
(1996) Super Mario 64
(1997) Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
(1998) Sonic Adventure
(1999) Super Smash Bros
(2000) The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
(2001) Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
(2002) Kingdom Hearts
(2003) Kirby Air Ride
(2004) Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
(2005) Devil May Cry 3
(2006) Kingdom Hearts 2
(2007) Kingdom Hearts 2 - Final Mix -
(2008) Devil May Cry 4
(2010) Super Mario Galaxy 2
(2011) Kirby's Return to Dreamland
(2012) ... I don't fucking know. Lego Batman?
(2013) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
(2014) Kirby Triple Deluxe
(2015) Super Mario Maker
(2016) Kirby: Planet Robobot
(2017) Sonic Mania
(2018) Super Smash Bros Ultimate
(2019) Proooobably Devil May Cry 5 when I get around to it. 95% sure. But for what I actually played... hmmmmm Kingdom Hea-- no.
(2020) DOOM Eternal
NINTENDO EXPOSEDDec 1, 2020
Kingdom Hearts is planning to do something to me...Nov 29, 2020
Kingdom Hearts originally released on the PlayStation 2 in Japan on March 28th, 2002.
Kingdom Hearts 2 released on March 28, 2006 in America.
Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix did not release on the 28th, but March 29th.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance also released on March 29th.
And finally, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix for the PlayStation 4 released on March 28th, 2017.
My birthday is March 28. Help, PLEASE! What is Kingdom Hearts gonna do to me????????????? DOES DARKNESS WITHIN DARKNESS AWAIT ME???
Games I wanna review somedayNov 23, 2020
- The other Klonoa games
- No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
- Silent Hill
- Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
- Megaman X games
- God Hand
- The Ape Escape trilogy
- 3D Mario games
2001 vs 2020Nov 20, 2020
I just realized that both 2001 and 2020 see the launch of two BIG console releases, along with being almost just 20 years later. So let's see what games came out in both years!
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Devil May Cry
- Super Smash Bros Melee
- Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
- Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
- Silent Hill 2
- Serious Sam
- Final Fantasy X
- Grand Theft Auto 3
- Max Payne
- Sonic Adventure 2
- Conker's Bad Fur Day
- Paper Mario
- Shenmue 2
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
- Twisted Metal Black
- Dead or Alive 3
- Klonoa: Empire of Dreams
- Super Monkey Ball
- Megaman X6
- Luigi's Mansion
- DOOM Eternal
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
- Cyberpunk 2077
huhNov 20, 2020
Guess I really was the Klonoa guy.
Examples of Narrative Design - What should developers emphasize, incorporate, and avoid in video game storytelling?Nov 18, 2020
During discussions, journalists tend to only critique or praise storytelling in video games as if it was a film or book. And to be honest, I can't blame them. Video games, as an art form, have never and likely will never be respected like other forms of art. Because of this, many developers and much of the community have tried to make narratives in video games more and more like other forms of art over the course of time. And unfortunately, it seems to be paying off. Unskippable, walkie-talkie, game-less story moments in video games are the only ways developers seem to use to "take advantage" of the interactive nature of games, and it in-itself is very misguided.
But why is this a problem? What can developers do to ACTUALLY take advantage of the medium? A term I've decided to use for this is Narrative Design. Others have used different ones, but they all ultimately mean the same thing. I would explain the definition again, but I think that has been defined. To explain this deeper, I've decided to go over a few good and bad examples of narrative design.
Possibly the greatest and most well known example of good narrative design is Devil May Cry, and most technical action games for that matter. And the reasons for this are pretty simple. This is certainly existent in the first game to some extent, but it never really came into a big part of the experience until Devil May Cry 3. This ties in closely with the protagonist, Dante. Dante is cocky, brash, and self-interested, but not in an obnoxious way (to the audience). This is matched by the action in cutscenes. The amazing motion capture action featured in the cutscenes is, well, amazing! But most importantly, everything he does is possible in gameplay. Slide on enemies: check. Run down walls: check. Fuck around: check. Because of all of this, the player is encouraged to hone their skills and play as stylishly as Dante does in cutscenes, which is the entire vocal point of the game.
Now for a bad example: Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. For a majority of the game, the only motivation for collecting x amounts of y to get z, and for exploring the entire world, is to restore Jak's buddy Daxter, who was turned into a made-up creature known as a Ottsel. This, in theory, is an original and fun plot for a platforming game. Instead of having another quest to save the world, an intimate quest to help a friend out is a fantastic idea. Only one problem: he's an asshole. Beforehand he was loudmouth, but after transforming, the guy is just an asshole to everyone, including Jak. Don't me wrong, his antics are funny in the moment, but they completely remove any player motivation. Most people would say story doesn't matter in a game like this, but I think it very much does. Just telling the player to do a bunch of random stuff to get more arbitrary shit is (obviously) not good, so the best collectathons recontextualize this.
Back to good shit, Megaman X. Well, X1 & X2. Near the beginning of the game, X is shot down by the character Vile, until he is saved by his friend Zero. This immediately establishes a connection between Zero and the player. Zero then tells X to get stronger so he can defeat Vile and Sigma. This immediately builds a connection between X and the game world. Boom. Just like that, the player is IN the game. This recontextualizes gaining upgrades and boss weapons. X2 takes advantage of the first game's events to encourage the player. The game begins with X being challenged by three mavericks, telling him that if he defeats them, he will gain the parts of Zero. This builds upon the player's connection with the Zero from the previous game. Also fantastic.
So, what can we learn from these examples?
I don't fucking know. You just read it. I have to get to bed. It is four in the morning. Good night.
Me Bitching About An Idiot on the InternetNov 16, 2020
I posted a Temp blog post about nitpicking and some guy called me childish because I didn't like a thing on the internet and I recited a Dunkey meme. This is why humanity is doomed to fail. Oh no. So I will now list off all of his comments on that and bitch about why he's an asshole and an idiot. Huh. Also, if anyone makes a comment calling me a hypocrite for "nitpicking", than fuck off. I will delete it.This guy is piratically asking for it. Don't take this down admins.
I guess me mentioning that means that they will take it down. Plleassssee??? I mean, he started this, so do with that as you will. Tell him to stop if you wanna take this down, because I get the impression that he'll keep doing this kinda stuff on my blog posts if he continues reading them.
- The joke? This is childish? Yes, because young children are really concerned about a term people use when criticizing entertainment (and other things). I don't like it when people discount criticisms because they're written off as nitpicks. Something tells me that's not a very popular concern with the youngins' (mayte)
- Its a Dunkey meme. This is a video game forum. If reciting Dunkey memes is a foreign concept to you, you shouldn't be on here in the first place.
- Know Better is a common term, but I have never heard Everything Better. No problem with that inherently, but the term is just hard to read.
- Cringe is a term that is very, VERY commonly used by children. Don't call me one for reciting a Dunkey meme.
- It's a Dunkey meme.
- There should really be a period at the end of Better. This is also hard to read because of it. The sentence is very awkwardly written.
- He uses at least 4 periods for the ellipsis. More than three dots/periods should only be used to contrast with 3. Say you use 3, then to emphasize a longer break for readers you use 5. That works fantastically. I use ellipsis all the time. Most of my new reviews probably have at least one per every paragraph or two. That's just well spaced enough as to not become clunky and repetitive, unlike this, which features 4 uses of ellipsis in one painfully long sentence.
- You are being rude. What you just wrote/said is explicitly rude. That was your entire intent.
- Also, I win, bye bye is not long enough to be a proper sentence. Term would be a much better, well, term.
- No capitalization on I win, bye bye.
- No punctuation.
- Nothing to indicate that I win, bye bye is from another post, aside from the obvious colon, but that in-itself could indicate anything else from the outset. A simple set of quotation mark or italicization would've sufficed.
StrayGuitarist likes this.
- "dude just stop to talk" is so embarrassingly terrible that I almost laughed. What does that even mean? I think he wanted me to stop talking or something, but I legitimately can't tell.
- He used everything better again. It is embarrassing.
- No capitalization on the first sentence of both posts.
- There should've been a comma between what and NITPICKING.
- He used the incorrect punctuation on the second "almost sentence" ("Almost Sentence" is a term I use for when a sentence is, well, ALMOST a sentence, but isn't quite long enough, despite sharing the same purpose and structure. That's not a bad thing.), unless if he really intended on it not supposed to feel like a big statement, which would then make the OBNOXIOUS CAPITALIZATION unjustified.
- I am wrong in so many ways. OK.
- The final sentence on the first post by him lacks punctuation.
- The final sentence on the first post by him does not justify the use of ellipsis.
- Just calling me "brain-ill", or "mental" is one of the laziest insults a person could use.
- Nothing is "wrong with me". I'm making a blog post on a video game forum (again, a BLOG POST, which means it is on MY ACCOUNT and NOBODY ELSE'S) about something that is common in criticism of video games.
- He continues to use "internet abbreviations" like lmao and ppl, which are very commonly used by children. No problem with that inherently, but he's trying to call me out for writing like a child.
- He capitalized Nitpicking for no reason whatsoever. It is very distracting, and not for the right reason(s).
- The first word of the final sentence of the second post is not capitalized.
- "Do that yourself". Yes, I really should burn in hell for writing something on a video game forum. What a monster I am.
Stop bitching about people "nitpicking"Nov 15, 2020
Nitpicking is not real. Everyone who complains when others say the term should burn in fucking hell. Every problem is, well, a PROBLEM. Every single one counts, fuck "nitpicking".
A Full-Scale Modern Spider-Man Game is Inherintly Shallow, Clustered, Frustrating, or All of the Above (kind-of review of Spider-Man for PS4)Nov 14, 2020
The progression of these new Spider-Man games, and nearly every big boy Spider-Man game since 2004, is inherently… flawed. I hate saying terms like that, ones that have been used waaay too many times by rEaL gAmEr cRiTiC dUdEs, but, I mean, that’s what it is. Oh, whatever. You read the title. This also isn’t speaking of Miles Morales. I don’t own a PS4, and while I plan to buy a PS5 soon, I unfortunately lack a house to mortgage. Even if I had a PS4 at the moment, I would just commit withdrawal and wait until I get a PS5 for the higher frame-rate if nothing else.
This problem has more to do with game structure than actual gameplay. The structure of puzzle/waiting game, combat, and an extra thing, such as “collect ten what-the-fucks”, then a section of swinging around the city, which then repeats. That structure I think is what means these games can’t be, at the very least, consistently complex. And to get there I think I should address the depth of each section of a… BIG section, or mission, or whatever, that is currently present, and address the more apparent problems with them.
And by that I only really mean combat and world exploration because there’s nothing to say about necessary objectives that are completely separated from combat and world exploration/swinging. I’m not saying these kinds of distractions are always poor, though.
Hacking mini-games like those featured in Spider-Man, or Insomniac’s other big current franchise, are often shit on, and I don’t necessarily get why. They’re quick and well placed, but also, at least in Spider-Man, feature a competent enough scaling of depth and challenge, with more complex stages and pieces. They’re also skippable, but I don’t really like that. While it may not affect me while playing them, I know some will always ask themselves “why bother?”, because even if they enjoy the mini-game, the fact that it is skippable in the first place just makes it feel very inconsequential. I dunno, maybe that was the intent, but if that is the case, I very much do not agree with it. The other big problem is that it gives players the lingering feeling that the devs weren’t confident with what they were making, which just makes playing it feel much less exciting.
The only other objective type as common as those is the stealth sections, which are under-baked to say the least. Spider-Man can navigate around enemies, distract enemies with weapons, perform stealth takedowns from high platforms, or just engage in normal combat, which is normally met with near immediate death. Shallow stealth mechanics like this are included in most open-world games in the current day, but they’re usually at least less common or can be cheesed faster.
Oh, that’s just talking about the Spider-Man stealth sections, which are at least interwoven into the story and game loop naturally, along with having the mostly great core control that is consistent across a majority of the game. The stealth sections with Mary Jane and Miles, however, do not fare as well. There are only four or five that I can recall off the top of my head, but they are all extremely slow and boring.
The only actions the player can perform with these characters are stealth takedowns (which are just pressing a button), hacking (which is just holding a button), and using a camera, which are all context sensitive. Getting off topic for a second, I’d like to highlight the in-universe camera Spider-Man. Most games only use these kinds of features for taking neat snapshots of Mario’s nipples and such, but Spider-Man actually utilizes it in normal missions. They are in one of two of the Mary Jane missions, and while it is very shallow and also context-sensitive, it is also only used a couple of times in the whole adventure (in those stages), and it is very quick and easy to use. With Spider-Man, however, not only can the player experiment with the photos far more than you can in most games, which usually have very little options at all, but there is also a mission where the player needs to follow a character up a building from the outside and take snapshots for intel. This does an excellent job at both showcasing the technology put to use by Insomniac for this title (and maybe others), but also provides a fun, unique use of the camera for actual gameplay purposes.
OK, on topic. Or, off topic. Not really sure, cause’ they’re is pretty much nothing else to say about these missions.
Combat is without a doubt the highlight of this game. Spider-Man can perform normal punches, slide under enemies, and knock them into the air. Players can string together minor combos with these, but the game doesn’t have a dedicated combo list or anything of the sort. One of the biggest problems with combat is that instead of having normal attacks simply create a hitbox that damages enemies that come in contact with it (like good games), Spider-Man’s attacks are instead strict animations that only influence the direct enemy that Spider-Man interacts with. That sounds minor, but it builds a huge disconnect between the player and the battlefield.
The biggest reason why this is a problem, however, is that because of this system, and also probably for accessibility, Spider-Man’s attacks have context-sensitive magnetization. By this I mean that Spider-Man’s punches move him towards the enemy. And this isn’t just a convenience thing like most games, where they move you forward after attacking so moving targets are easier to hit. No, this is just the same damn thing as a normal attack, but Spider-Man will slide towards the enemy. This makes combat completely mindless for a large chunk of the game, and I don’t think I have to explain why. This kinda shit in action games is completely unacceptable.
The only defense I could see anyone using is that this helps increase the flow of battles. You don’t have to consider the environment here, you just… attack the enemy. Well, considering the environment is a good thing. A brings a huge layer of combat, and the reasons why are self-explanatory. But it isn’t just that. In Kingdom Hearts, Sora (maybe another character depending on the game) will automatically move to match the targeted enemy’s position. Say an enemy is above Sora. Pushing the attack button (if he is locked on, either manually or using the auto lock-on) will have Sora jumping while swinging his Keyblade. Other abilities, both part of Sora’s default moveset or gained via abilities, also influence this. If the player isn’t considering the enemy’s position, either because of the difficulty not demanding it or the player just not caring, the combat flow is very simple and easy, but this doesn’t take away from high-level play on harder difficulties. It just lends a super addictive flow to the combat that simply isn’t present elsewhere in the “action game space”. The restrictions of that system is also circumvented by the fact that the player can go against it if they so choose, either by different direction inputs or by not controlling the lock-on system.
Spider-Man does not have that quality. Controlling the character isn’t natural and smooth, but instead clunky and kinda snappy. By snappy I don’t mean quick, but I mean that the game snaps the player to enemies in a very awkward way. That, and the game implements a hidden auto lock-on system, which can not be manually controlled in any way whatsoever.
The biggest problem with all of this is that the game very easily could’ve avoided this entire issue by just not implementing it. I say that because Spider-Man already has a system in place that allows the player to move directly to the enemy’s position, the Devil Bringer-like Web Zip system. By simply pressing a button, Spider-Man can instantly zip to an enemy via a web. With some refinement and expansion, I think this could’ve been a fantastic system. As it stands, it feels like an unnecessary feature that only makes me think of what could’ve been if the devs just relied on the player to actually use it in creative ways, instead of just making the character snap to enemies awkwardly.
Spider-Man also has a variety of gadgets at his disposal. The main one is the Web Shooter, which is just what it sounds like. He can fire off at least six quickly regenerating webs at a time, and it is a great addition. It isn’t super deep or anything, but it is fun and handy to send off some shots on in-between combos, but unlike the typical projectile weapon in action games, it has very unique effects, such as allowing the player to web enemies up to walls or being able to throw webbed enemies. It brings just that little bit of depth into the combat, and it even requires the player to consider the environment and enemy layouts.
The problem comes in the other gadgets. He has many at his disposal, from a simple bomb to an… electric bomb, to a… big impact web that acts like a bomb. All of them act practically identically. They appear different, but they all serve the same purpose. They damage stuff with webbing, or just act like a normal grenade. Because of the ridiculous amount of these all at your disposal, the stealth missions are rendered completely trivial!The only one I ever experimented with was the Trip Mine, simply because it was just super conthardic zipping enemies together the first few times.
Spider Bots are a little different, but they just attack enemies for you. No more depth than that. Just flies, and shoots. Hmm, a robot in an Insomniac game that attacks enemies for you. Huh. Well, these could’ve talked, so I guess we got lucky!
Another feature in Spider-Man is the Focus Gauge. Basically, by defeating enemies Spider-Man will build up a meter which will either allow him to heal himself or will give him a sUpEr mOvE, which will instantly take out any given enemy (as long as exposed). This brings a cool layer of on-the-fly decision-making to the gameplay. Will you be a pussy and heal up, or will you go in for the takedown and… well, takedown the enemy, thus clearing the area and allowing you to consider your next approach. That also brings a nice risk-reward dynamic. You might fuck up and get hit, either when attacking or after it is done. Will you go in anyways, or go with the safe route but still have to kill--- I mean knock out the enemy?
Spider-Man also has Suit Powers, which the player gains access to after filling up the Gauge at the top-right of the screen (the name of which I do not remember or care to look up). Suit Powers are gained via purchase in the Status Menu with tokens and points (I believe) (EDIT: They come with purchased suits), which are gained from doing activities around the city and defeating enemies. Suit Powers range wildy, from dope-ass robot arms to a simple wide attack.
While cool in theory, the game makes it hard to warrant using them. The game does a terrible job at teaching players how the Gauge fills up. Four playthroughs later and I still don’t know! Please don’t comment telling me that it says in some shitty pop-up message, which are all mostly useless and self-explanatory. That shitty in it’s own right.
The game also only allows you to switch via the shitty Status Menu. WHY??? All the D-Pad is used for is healing and camera short-cuts. Healing could’ve been mapped to an action to an action in the Weapon Wheel, and the camera could’ve easily have been offloaded to the Pause Menu, because most players aren’t going to need to bust it out a bunch. So why not make the D-Pad a shortcut for these? Or maybe, while holding a D-Pad button the player can also hold L1 for a Suit Power Wheel. All of these are better than having to pause the fucking game! I only rarely experimented with different powers on subsequent playthroughs, and instead stuck with the default Devil Trigger. Which is activated by, get this, L3 and R3. I would’ve complained if it wasn’t.
There are also a variety of suits and mods that Spider-Man can equip. Suits are mostly cosmetic, but some come with extra Suit Abilities (EDIT: ALL DO). They’re cool fan-service, if nothing else. There are also a bunch of extra mods that Spider-Man can purchase and equip. These are all mostly just stat increases. What difference is a mild increase in my attack power really going to make? Not much, it just adds a bunch of extra shit to the combat system to give the illusion that it is deep, instead of adding new abilities that will ACTUALLY make it deeper.
In summary, the combat is fun in the sense that it really… ahem, MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE SPIDER-MAN, but it lacks any real mechanical depth, despite some great ideas. It instead pretends it has some through a bunch of unnecessary and fake depth in the menus.
At least it fairs better than world exploration. I say that because… well, I don’t really know what to say about world exploration. I mean, it exists. It is half of the game. Yet it is so shallow that I’m struggling to write a paragraph on it. Direct the camera towards your destination, hold R2, and you’re golden. You could learn all of Spider-Man’s capabilities, but your reward will be being exposed to the… let’s just say clunkier aspects of the web swinging, and a slightly shorter campaign.
Within the world, Spider-Man can find enemy outposts, enemy outposts from a different faction, and enemy outposts from another faction. The only difference is that some of them just throw more shitty hit-sponges at you than others. There are also challenges that require Spider-Man to collect ten what-the-fucks, ones that require him to swing through strict paths full of big, floating rings (hmm, that reminds me of something), and finally, ones that require the player to swing through an obstacle course super quickly. The later two do a fantastic job at showcasing how rough the swinging can become if the game enforces mastery on the player.
Not much more to really say about world exploration. Now, on the reason why I wrote this whole damn thing. I wanted to make the point that an open-world Spider-Man game simply can’t be completely complex for both main pillars of gameplay. Either that, or it will be super frustrating. I say that because no matter how much devs may end up trying to make swinging more complex, it is simply still… well, simple. Very simple.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game made it so the left and right triggers determined which arms Spider-Man would be using to swing from each web, but it barely even made a difference. The only things devs could do is provide strict time limits or decision-making. Say there is both a robbery going on, and Spider-Man has a date planned with Mary Jane in fifteen minutes. So Spider-Man will be given a time limit to make it to the bank robbery in time. If he stops it quick enough, he can also swing back through the city to meet Mary Jane. But he can also choose to go to her first, but then Spider-Man’s street cred’ or whatever will decrease.
The problem with this is that it will have to prevail for an entire mission. That means that either the combat sections be super simple and easy as to avoid the frustration of re-doing ten minutes of gameplay, or the entire game would be very frustrating. If it attempts to balance both, it won’t necessarily boat well with the focus groups that Insomniac always panders--- I mean listens to. What I really mean to say is that the big TECHNOLOGICAL BIG BOY SYSTEM SELLER GAME that Insomniac has wanted EVERY game to be since Tools of Destruction in 07’.
That’s all. Bye bye.
StopJohnWickNov 10, 2020
There's this sick company that's blatantly stealing from Disney's 2009 masterpiece Santa Pups. I shall bring down their regime and restore order to the world. If you have any decency, I suspect you'll help. Its a simple click away. http://chng.it/MDcsgtttHh
Join the movement. Join the revolution. Join StopJohnWick
Blog Post IdeasNov 9, 2020
Just some ideas for blog posts I'd like to write throughout the next month or so.
alexander1970 likes this.
- Analog Control Has Gone Underutilized (And How We Can Fix That)
- Solutions for "Auto-Move/Hit"
- Let's Imagine & Design a (good) 3D Megaman X game!
- Walking Section Alternatives & Analysis - Let's Try to Find What We Gain From Walking!
Why Don't Games Have This Type of Selection Feature?Nov 8, 2020
In Kingdom Hearts (Christ, where are we going now), you can equip four actions to the face buttons, accessed by holding the shortcut button (L1 on PS and LB on XBONE). Well, by actions I mean items or magic, making it easy to quickly access those actions. I don't know why there aren't two, but that's not the point I want to make. I just want to ask: why don't more games implement a system like this? By this, I mostly mean action games. Think, DMC. Instead of slowly cycling through a list via R2/RT, why can't I just hold a button and press another? Hold R2, and press A for Cerberus. Hold L2, press O for the Shotgun. Maybe they can even apply this to style-switching. Hold L1, and press Triangle for Trickster. Obviously DT would have to be reassigned, but I'm sure they could make it work. Seriously though, why don't any games have this sort-of feature? Its very quick and intuitive, far more so than tapping the trigger five fucking times, hoping you don't accidentally select the wrong weapon.
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Review!Nov 5, 2020
Complete list of HylianBran's reviews (HD Remix)Nov 2, 2020
There is an official list on my account, but it is tucked away where nobody would ever notice. Oh well. I'll upload the links to here for now.