The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2021)



  • T.H.U.G - RESPONSE #1

    Response to @ffff0 question about the addiction-factor and difficulty in T.H.U.G only comes with Mastery of the game.

    --

    Really good question—I wanted to elaborate on this more and was hoping somebody would bring up the "one more try" addiction factor.

    There are two really strong qualities to the "one more try" factor and the first one is exactly as you describe it. Even on Normal mode, there are at least one or two tough goals per level. Your desire to keep going again and again is mostly from small mistakes. Something like a slip of a thumb or not ollieing far enough to reach the next object which might ruin momentum. So it's almost always "Damn—so close! Next one!".

    The goals aren't brutally difficult in the sense you need to have a mastery of the game and score a 2M point combo. It's difficult in the sense that you need to focus and stay precise. Goals are difficult in the sense that they provide a reasonable challenge that you likely won't complete on the very first attempt.

    The other quality to the addiction factor is the snappiness of the <START> <DOWN> <RESET> process. In T.H.U.G, the goal restart is nearly instant. You get back into the action in a blink of an eye. So when you do feel like you absolutely have it the next time, you're right back in there. Bam bam bam. The addiction factor is amplified through the roof by this quick process. It is also significantly more quick and addicting than other sports/arcade games of it's era like SSX or Gran Turismo which take a long time to restart a challenge.


    T.H.U.G RESPONSE #2

    Response to @JDINCINERATOR question if getting off your skateboard in T.H.U.G undermines the arcade nature of the series.

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    Getting off your skateboard in T.H.U.G actually enhances the pre-established combo system by introducing the "Cave Man" mechanic which gives you a short ongoing timer which limits the amount of time you are allowed to be off your board and still keep your combo. It also helps your character level out if you Cave Man in mid-air which I think enhances that pre-existing arcadey combo system.

    That said—I know the spirit of your question was about the overall experience of getting off your board. I really don't think getting off your board is the reason why T.H.U.G feels a lot different than earlier THPS games.

    In Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 you CANNOT get off your board. Yet, it was the sweeping design changes introduced in THPS4 that introduced the open world Career Mode and individual goal structure that carried into T.H.U.G. That specific design decision moved the direction from 2 minute arcade frenzy into more open world sandbox and individual goals. So getting off your board isn't really a factor in the change of direction. Old school arcade THPS is great. I think the open world formula is a bit less arcadey, but better overall.



  • Question to @Capnbobamous about Katamari Damacy

    First of all, I think what you extracted from this game on a personal level is really wonderful. I have a really personal connection to this game as well, but mine is a lot less touching. Regardless, I think the game invites itself to bring a lot of joy and good memories to those who played it, especially when it came out.

    My question:

    There are many Katamari games available across many platforms at this point. My personal favourite is Katamari Forever on PS3 because it packages the best levels across all games, remixes the levels, remixes the music, remasters the graphics to HD, and even contextualizes the remix within the story. So it's something like a "Remaster+" in our modern vernacular.

    Do you think Katamari Damacy is the definitive and greatest game in the series and other than your sentimental attachment, why would you recommend it over a bigger package like Katamari Forever, or some of the other more traditional sequels like We Love Katamari?



  • Question to @Sentinel-Beach about Sands of Time

    It's been a long time since I played this title, but I do remember thinking it's a classic. However, if my memory serves me correctly, I think I found almost everything to be improved upon in it's sequels (mainly the combat). Can you elaborate on why you think Sands of Time is better than the other games in this trilogy?



  • Question to @Oscillator about Majora's Mask

    Firstly, you might be the only person to explain this game in such a way that truly taught me what it's actually about. The main discourse around MM only even mentions it re-using OoT assets but rarely describes the game itself.

    In asking this question, just consider that I've never played Majora's Mask: Can you elaborate more on how the gameplay dramatically differs from prior loops once you get new tools and masks? Or if it's easier, explain how the loops in general differ from one another?



  • Question to @JDINCINERATOR about GTA: Vice City

    The PS2-era GTA trilogy really leans into influences like mafia movies in GTA III, Scarface in Vice City, and West Coast hip hop and films of the 90s in San Andreas. You praise Vice City for it's detail oriented 80s immersion, but do you think it leans too far into capturing a vibe and feeling as opposed to creating great characters and satisfying a plot?

    This question stems from me having a lot more attachment to the characters and story in GTA III and San Andreas while somewhat drawing a blank about most characters and beats in Vice City.



  • Before answering the questions posed to me, I want to give a quick note:

    I will create a massive post with two questions per game in a little bit as I just got off work. I need some time before I can properly ask questions.

    Now on to my answer, which actually (to me) seems like the two posed (so far) are asking the same thing:

    To @JDINCINERATOR, absolutely. Now, if I didn't think was enjoyable at all I wouldn't nominate it in any capacity, but enjoyment really comes down to the individual. Over the years, while there are a variety of reasons I've heard people say they didn't enjoy VII, or bounced off of it after a few hours, the most common complaint I've heard is that people didn't enjoy the turn based battle system. And this could also be for several reasons itself: It maybe paced too slow for some, or the menu based system wasn't as organized as others would have liked. As games have evolved over the last two plus decades, it's evident many, MANY games have adopted an action-first or action-emphasized pace, in battle system, storytelling, etc. But what has made it stand the test of time is at its foundation, it's easy to follow along in all of its mechanics from movement, to inputting commands, character management, and the activities you do from battles to the mini-games I mentioned. And, if you choose to play the PS4 version, by clicking the sticks you activate certain cheats. Don't like grinding or random battles? Turn them off. Want to have Limit Breaks always on to always do the strongest attacks? Turn those on. Want to make the game go at super speed? There's a cheat for that too.

    And all of this actually ties into what you asked @ffff0. To simply ask if something is "Great" is entirely subjective to a person's tastes. If someone struggles with RPGs in how the genre is structured, they're not going to like VII, or any game of its kind, immediately. However, VII became as popular as it did because it made easy to understand, coupled with being a part of a franchise that heralded games on the SNES/Super Famicom in FF II & III (IV & VI in the west). As such, if anyone played the Remake with its action based system and liked it enough to check out the source material, then the original game is easy enough to pick up and enjoyable to play. That is one it's "Great"; it's comprehensive and welcoming design to new players.

    In regards to the storytelling example you gave, that's a very specific example that is inherit to Mass Effect, because heading into that mission, it's already been long established Jack and Miranda hate each other, so taking Miranda on the loyalty mission without comment is odd, but not a guarantee for many players if they chose to take anyone else and they don't have that on their mind, whether they like other crew members or don't like using Miranda. In VII, there are all these little choices throughout that, in the moment, may not seem like much, but over time add up to a big impact. For example, choosing whether or not to give Marlene the flower or pushing the wrong barrel in the church when trying to escape Shinra forces with Aerith adds up (among many other choices) to who you go on a date with much later on. Also, to provide a different kind of storytelling example, there is a place called Gongaga that is the home of a crucial character and if you have Tifa, or Aerith or BOTH of them in your party, you get different dialogue on a scene that's otherwise completely missable, and that's just one example. Now these examples aren't SUPPOSED to be known for first time players, so on the surface, you shouldn't know you need to have specific members at specific times for certain optional dialogue. Taking Tifa into Nibelheim is a GREAT example, as you would have experienced the flashback sequence LONG before arriving, and having that context when you bring Tifa adds more to the narrative and again, is completely missable.

    To close, people's tastes change so if you're someone who doesn't like the aesthetic, gameplay, etc. of the various components of a game, then there really isn't anything that can be said to convince someone their updated tastes retroactively make a game bad. Personally, I didn't play VII for the first time until TEN YEARS after it came out and it was an experience that permanently left a mark. Sure, in many aspects, many other games had better visuals, gameplay structure, etc. the medium had introduced in the intervening time, but VII is "Great" because regardless of the time period, its ingredients are timeless.



  • Question to @Brannox about Final Fantasy VII

    So, I started and half-finished FF7 a few times back in the PS1 Classic's days of the PS3 Store. I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through on Switch right now and I'm starting to hit walls of old game design. For example, not being sure what you are supposed to do when you Save then come back a few days later. Another example would be the overworld not guiding you very much and getting peppered with random encounters, enemies that poison you, don't drop much Gil, and hours of grinding and "exploring".

    To avoid these grievances, can newcomers still appreciate a proper Final Fantasy VII experience if they are using the cheats featured in recent ports like the unlimited health and 3x speed, or do you truly think the game stands on it's own today in it's original intended form?



  • Question to @ffff0 about Apex Legends

    You've done an amazing job of explaining the social and gameplay implications of the PING system and how it invites newcomers to a traditionally social and communicative genre. I think Apex might actually be a pretty inviting game based on your description.

    However, I find the Battle Royale genre intimidating with even more room for accessibility. Even for lifelong multiplayer gamer such as myself. I get overwhelmed with the multitude of objects to pick up, the menu inventory management, what all of the colours mean, the pace of entering a pre-lobby, dropping, dying, and restarting all taking sweet time away from actually playing. It sounds like a class system might complicate things further for me personally.

    Other than the PING system, does Apex Legends do anything to acquaint newcomers to the game / genre such as class specific tutorials?



  • @ffff0 said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2021):

    Question to @Oscillator about The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

    My biggest concern with games with time loop mechanic is that you have to redo a lot of actions over and over, which can be especially unpleasant if you were on the right track and just ran out of time. And one-hour loop seems like a lot of progress ready to be lost. I imagine that the prospect of such significant progression loss will pressure you to skip dialogs, exploration, and experimentation, which are probably the very things that make this game worth playing.

    So, I want to ask you: what positive aspects time loop mechanic bring to this game and what makes drawbacks of having time loop mechanic less dreadful than they seem from the outside?

    When I did my first playthrough of MM, I almost never felt any pressure from the timer because at the beginning of each cycle, I would play a song that made the timer run half as fast. However, this is a hidden song, and not everybody will stumble across it. I used a strategy guide (which as I mentioned, I was very glad to have for the water temple, as well as to help find the optional Stray Fairies in all of the dungeons), which of course clearly pointed it out to me.

    Without the time-slowing song, I can imagine a fair bit of rushing occurring near the end of cycles. However, once you choose what you're going to do during a given cycle (heavy multitasking is a death sentence, even at half-speed), the path to the goal is usually quite clear and well paced, and should only require average skill to complete on time.

    There are a handful of tasks that require efficiency over an entire cycle and/or can be started but not completed depending on what you've unlocked, but unless you have a major lack of patience, you can choose to do simpler things to take your mind off of these more involved tasks until you feel ready to tackle them again.

    The "correct" way to play MM is to do exploration/experimentation and progression on separate cycles. As I said, knowing to do this does require more of the player than a typical adventure, but the way events and information get timestamped in your notebook, as well as encountering typical Zelda "I don't have this item yet" barriers, should be sufficient tipoffs to the player as to how to pace themselves.

    I don't see how you would be pressured to skip dialogs, as the timer pauses during text, cutscenes, and when viewing menus.



  • @dipset To respond simply, then go in depth:

    Both.

    For players (like me) who don't mind grinding, it's an enjoyable time as the difficulty balance is just right, especially if you're a mega-nerd like me and know the best spots to unlock Limit Breaks (as in, the soonest you can fight four or five enemies at once), the leveling and stats, both in materia and characters, puts you ahead of the difficulty pace. But if someone is strapped for time, only cares to see the story, or just wants to feel powerful, then those options are there. It's a choice, to be implemented at a click of a button, at any time. The cheats don't take away from how good it is, it adds to it, providing players different ways to play, and all are strong for each person's preference.

    As far as not being sure what to do, that's a legitimate point. Granted, for me, I've always known what to do, because it wasn't ever really difficult for me to remember my current objective, but again, I can only speak for myself. However, regarding the overworld, I actually disagree, but up to a point. I would say the world has you going in one direction up until the events of Rocket Town, because there's only really two or three areas MAX you can visit at several points, and while some are optional, you always know which area you need to get to. But once you get the Tiny Bronco (and ESPECIALLY the Highwind), I can understand that as the world completely opens, you may lose track where you need to go, but by then most of the locations have already been visited and with the see through map you can bring up while exploring, you'll always know where you are, where you've been, and where you're going. You're constantly being pushed forward until you recruit Cid, then you have the option of going off to Wutai, or proceed with the main story, which at that time, events kick into high gear.



  • @jdincinerator said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2021):

    @oscillator Do you think Majora's Mask does enough to step out of Ocarina of Time's shadow and establish an identity all its own?

    YES.

    The vibe of the game is totally different. OOT is a classical adventure with all the standard trappings. Aside from maybe the central field area, Majora is truly weird. Not weird as in "nonsensical", but as in "unsettling". The writing is quite dark. Not blood, guts, and torture dark (it's still quite Zelda), but sadness, regret, longing, hopelessness, and finality abound.

    Colour plays a huge role in the game's texture. Purple is sort of the main colour, which in of itself is an "odd" colour. Pastel hazes help convey proverbial illness in the various regions. Link and his weapons visually cut through his surroundings, giving a sense that he is the steadiness in a failing world.

    And of course, the timer, notebook, and emphasis on sidequests give the gameplay quite a different flow. The small matters more than the big.



  • @dipset said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2021):

    Question to @Oscillator about Majora's Mask

    Firstly, you might be the only person to explain this game in such a way that truly taught me what it's actually about. The main discourse around MM only even mentions it re-using OoT assets but rarely describes the game itself.

    In asking this question, just consider that I've never played Majora's Mask: Can you elaborate more on how the gameplay dramatically differs from prior loops once you get new tools and masks? Or if it's easier, explain how the loops in general differ from one another?

    In terms of the main path, you typically earn one major item per cycle (like a weapon, song, or transformation mask), which you use to access the next area. Pretty standard Zelda progression. When you start a new cycle, you keep all of these key items, but lose all your rupees (unless you deposit them in the bank - Link's balance gets written on his head :P) and collectables.

    Sidequests earn you non-transformation masks, which you also keep between cycles, and then use to complete other sidequests. These sidequests generally take the form of learning the schedules of NPCs (which gets logged in a notebook) in order to be in the right place at the right time to help them out.

    You don't always have the necessary information/mask/song/tool/amount of progression to finish a sidequest in the cycle you first encounter it, so the notebook is invaluable to keeping track.

    The typical Zelda minigames, heart pieces, and rupee chests are all in place as well. Rupee chests respawn each cycle, but heart pieces and one-of-a-kind items don't, and get rupees put in their places.



  • Okay, before getting to my questions, it's a TOUCH overwhelming to keep track of all that's been asked and I'm going to try to avoid asking duplicates. To cut down on this on my end, I'll just have one mega post with all my questions to keep others from scrolling back and forth as much. Apologies for any potential things that may have already been answered and a massive thanks to all who read and especially those who respond. Let's get to it:

    For @ffff0 in regards to Apex Legends:
    1.) Because I'm someone who avoids Battle Royales on principle as its a mode that introduces too much anxiety for me, does Apex Legends have other ways to play outside of the genre like traditional multiplayer or a training mode of some kind?

    2.) I live in an area that sometimes doesn't have reliable internet if bad weather happens, plus like yourself, I'm someone who is hard out if I'm playing with people I don't trust/know. Is there a way to play Apex offline with bots and without the need of others?

    For @JDINCINERATOR regarding GTA: Vice City:
    1.) If someone isn't a fan of the 80s or 80s aesthetic, does the gameplay of Vice City do enough to overcome what appears to be presented as 80s pop culture, the game?

    2.) As each GTA has exponentially grown with each iteration in what it offers players to do, how it looks, and in scale, what does Vice City do uniquely that other GTAs don't or don't do as well as Vice City that anyone could do in say, San Andreas, IV, or V for example?

    For @DIPSET regarding Tony Hawk's Underground:
    1.) I really enjoyed your video, but there are a couple of things you didn't touch on I was curious about heading in, the one foremost on my mind: Roster, deck selection, and customization. Does THUG have a diverse and plentiful enough roster of skaters that feel different from one another or is this a game that you play as one skater (be it creating your own or a predetermined character) and no matter what, it plays the same regardless of who you play as?

    2.) As someone who played one of the Pro Skaters (I think 4), I remember just going around, doing tricks and creating my own parks to test if they were playable. Does THUG have more to it than accomplishing goals and combos i.e. creating your own park with a diverse amount of options or perhaps a story campaign?

    For @Oscillator regarding The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
    1.) I'm someone who has shied away from the Zelda franchise for the most part because in many cases I feel I get lost pretty easy as to what I need to do. In Majora's Mask's case, after watching a full playthrough of one the Allies, I was struck as to how they knew which NPC/quest was associated with a given mask, and there's nothing (that I saw) the game did to direct the player (without prior knowledge/playthroughs/etc.) as to what to do to get a particular reward. Does MM do a good enough job in demonstrating how to get particular masks/items/etc. outside of a journal of notes the player has already interacted with in prior cycles?

    2.) From what I remember, to tie in with a previous answer you've given, the story is WEIRD. While watching the playthrough, at least at the outset, I felt I could follow along but by the time the four giants (? I think? I'm not sure. Again, I've only watched, not played) were called upon to catch the moon from impacting the town, I felt the story took a hard turn into a different direction. Do you think the events that take place inside the moon are believable in the context of all the events that took place prior?

    For @Sentinel-Beach regarding Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
    1.) From the clip you provided, a lot of the traversal shown was pretty repetitive: Wall run over a switch, land on the activated platform, and move on before the timer runs out. Can you speak to the level design for the game as a whole and is what was shown indicative of the entire game, or are there other platforming mechanics like swimming, climbing, shimmying, rope traversal, etc.?

    2.) The combat seems simple: Attack an enemy enough until you can use your dagger finisher: Are there other combos, abilities, skills, etc. you can implement while fighting, or is it just the mindless dance of out brute-force your opponent until the battle is over?

    For @Capnbobamous regarding Katamari Damacy:
    1.) How is the game structured in terms of length and setup, as in is it mission/level based with a few hours of total playtime, or is it one continuous campaign?

    2.) The gameplay I've seen is just rolling smaller objects into small objects until it's big enough to roll into larger objects until you reach or surpass the size goal. Is there anything else to the game, because in light of your argument of it being simple, I'm concerned the game is too simple, so beyond rolling around and dialogue, is there any jumping, sliding, etc. that adds anything to the gameplay?



  • Before I respond to questions, I want to say that I know the thread is a bit hectic right now, but I'll make a post in a little bit that rounds everything up so that it's easier to find everything. I'll probably end up making a few of those posts throughout the week and then a final one before it's time to vote.

    Alright, now to answer some questions:

    1. Response to @ffff0's question:

    I think regardless of what personal connection I have to the game, Katamari has a joy and wonder that sets it above its peers. I really like a lot of the games you mentioned, but none of them quite get to the level of fun that is Katamari. You mention walking simulators, and while I'm sure many of them have similar themes to Katamari, none of them have the gameplay or design that makes Katamari so great, simply by virtue of being walking simulators. I think a good non-walking sim example is Donut County. Donut County is a fun game, similar to Katamari in many regards, but once you finish it I don't think there's really any reason to go back. The mechanics don't have the same quality and the gameplay loop is not as tight, so I haven't felt the desire to touch it once since I beat it. Katamari just has a tightness that makes it so fun.

    I think another thing that sets Katamari apart is its lack of real narrative. There is a tiny side-story about two kids, but ultimately it's very insignificant and serves more as set-dressing than an actual narrative. By not having a story, Katamari gives you the opportunity to play it simply for the act of playing it, and in doing so you are able to get so much more enraptured in it because the only thing keeping you going is your desire to do so, not that you want to see how a story plays out. It lets you get out of it whatever you want to get out of it, letting you draw your own conclusions about the themes without physically telling you anything. The result is a game that feels so thematically expansive because it's not bound by linear narrative.

    Every game you mentioned is great, but doesn't have the continual draw that Katamari does. Katamari makes you want to play it again, and again, and again.

    1. Response to @JDINCINERATOR's question:

    Thank you for the kind words! To answer your question, absolutely I think it appeals to younger audiences. There's something very childlike about the joy it brings and I think it's something that kids would respond to very well. The environments, the music, I think it's all so fun in a way that I think kids would find fascinating.

    1. Response to @DIPSET's question:

    Great question, and one that I think I have a bit of an odd answer to so bear with me. First of all, I have not played any other Katamari than Damacy. I actually didn't even play this one until Reroll came out, though I had wanted to play it for a long time.

    I really have no desire to play any other Katamari except for We Love Katamari, and the reason for that is that only the first two games were directed by Keita Takahashi. These games feel like such an artistic statement and are imbued with so much of Takahashi's vision that it just feels wrong playing any of the others. To me, it would be like playing a Metal Gear not directed by Kojima, or a Nier not done by Yoko Taro. This is not to invalidate your favorite, just my weird personal take on it.

    So to answer your question, I've only played Damacy, however it feels like lightning caught in a bottle, and aside from perhaps the second game, I don't know if that lightning has been caught again.

    1. Response to @Brannox's first question:

    It's level based. You have a tiny hub that you go to in between levels. I believe that there are ten main levels in total, and then a number of side levels that have different goals, such as only collecting crab or trying to pick up two of everything. The game is probably only like 3-4 hours long, but there is a lot of replay value as you get little bonuses for doing certain things, like getting clothing items for picking up the hidden gifts scattered throughout the level, or a shooting star if you finish the level fast enough.

    1. Response to @Brannox's second question:

    As I mentioned above, there are unique levels that have different goals that do a great job of switching things up. Mechanically you can do a boost if you'd like, and there's a quick turn you can use, but that's really it. That's not a bad thing though. It's hard to get across in video, but the twin-stick controls make the whole thing really active, to the point where it has your whole focus as you try to pick up these items. It's difficult to explain, but there's a heftiness to the way you move that makes every movement feel calculated, so it never gets boring. Watching it and playing it are remarkably different experiences because it looks deceptively easy.



  • Respond to @dipset regarding tutorials and ease of access to newcomers to the game/genre.

    Thanks for the question, I wanted to talk about that! While Apex Legends has only basic tutorial and doesn’t explicitly teach you about every possible move like good fighting games do, it provides several other ways to learn things more naturally. Firstly, there’s Firing Range that has every item, weapon and attachments along with some practice targets to test your aim and a charge tower that instantly charge your ultimate ability. So, if you want to test some specific weapon or ability, try new Legend, check which attachments work with which weapon and what they do, you can do it there without any pressure. Also, you can ping various items playing as Bangalore (a free Legends) – she’s ex-military and besides saying weapon’s or attachment’s name, she describes its properties (like “R-99 here. Good recoil, but it empties fast.” or “Triple Take here. The horizontal spread makes it easier to hit running targets.”).

    Also, game’s HUD clearly tells you what is useful and what’s not. If you look at an item that can work with your current equipment and is better that what you already have, you will see an icon, showing what exactly it will be filling/replacing. You can see this HUD in my video, for example, at 0:20 – there’s an extra panel below item’s description. If you had something useless in your inventory (like ammo after swapping a weapon), it will have a crossed circle sign (0:51 in my video). So, it’s very easy at a glance to decide whether you actually need this item or not. And everything is equipped automatically, so you need to worry about your inventory only if you run out of space.

    Personally, I find the best way to learn this game is just to play with others. Pass jumpmaster role if you happen to get it, follow your teammates’ movements and fighting/avoiding/running away actions, take weapons they are pinging (most likely they will be good ones) and you will learn almost as much as if someone was teaching you personally. When you be killed, watch your teammate’s screens while waiting to be respawned. Many players still ping what they see even if they are the last man standing, so you likely not just see gameplay of experienced player, but also get a clue why certain decisions were made.

    As for Legend’s abilities – yes, it’s true that even remembering to use your abilities in combat may be a lot at first, but there are multiple Legends, which abilities are solely about traversal or looting. Pick such character and you will be able to contribute when enemies aren’t around, and you have time to figure out what to do and how.

    One last thing I want to mention is that I jumped into the game on its 3rd year without any intent to stay for long (I just needed to kill two days before the next game release) and fully expecting to get my ass kicked by veteran players. Yet despite not taking any special effort to learn it, I was still useful and moderately effective with just skills I’ve got from single-player games. I even scored a victory after not so many matches. Probably I got lucky with my teammates, but still it was more that what I was able to achieve in any other battel royale I’ve ever tried.



  • T.H.U.G - RESPONSE #3

    @brannox said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2021):

    For @DIPSET regarding Tony Hawk's Underground:
    1.) I really enjoyed your video, but there are a couple of things you didn't touch on I was curious about heading in, the one foremost on my mind: Roster, deck selection, and customization. Does THUG have a diverse and plentiful enough roster of skaters that feel different from one another or is this a game that you play as one skater (be it creating your own or a predetermined character) and no matter what, it plays the same regardless of who you play as?

    Per the roster:

    You kinda had to be there to truly feel it but 2003-2007 was a magical era of skateboarding. There were legends and future legends like P-Rod, Eric Koston, Guy Mariano, Geoff Rowley, and more, putting out the best work of their entire life. Skate videos like Baker's "Baker 2G" and "Baker 3", GIRL's "Yeah Right", Lakai's "Fully Flared", Flip's "Sorry", or Almost's "Round 3" were era-defining skate videos. We're talking highly influential legendary videos that were pushing boundaries.

    I bring this up because T.H.U.G released in this magical time for skate culture, and as a video game, it paid it's respect to the culture it was simultaneously existing within at that time. I mentioned it in the video, but the original THPS games a side-product of the X-Games boom on TV. They have nods to skateboarding, but they don't really teach you about the culture too deeply (but definitely piques curiosity). But T.H.U.G really emphasized the culture of then and now. The game is a solid representation of what was important in skate culture in 2003.

    So this is preamble for your question about the roster. The game itself has the biggest roster of skaters at the time. The playable pro skaters like Paul Rodriguez really mattered to that era (mid-2000s) while also including series staples from past generations like Hawk, Steve Cab, Mullen, etc. It also added in NEW pro's from the past such as the Godfather himself, Stacey Peralta, as a playable pro skater. Other members of the 80s Bones Brigade team like Mike V were also playable pro skaters. Every skater has different stats, played, and looked differently. BUT most importantly, they had unique SPECIAL tricks.

    For example, Mike V has his signature "Flamingo" trick as a SPECIAL which other pro skaters won't have. Another fun element of the game is unlocking those moves for your Created Skater. You actually have to find Mike V in New Jersey (his home town in real life) and beat a challenge to earn the use of his SPECIAL for your own skater. It's really cool that they have all of these nods to skating in subtle ways that are unique to the pros and their roots.

    --

    2.) As someone who played one of the Pro Skaters (I think 4), I remember just going around, doing tricks and creating my own parks to test if they were playable. Does THUG have more to it than accomplishing goals and combos i.e. creating your own park with a diverse amount of options or perhaps a story campaign?

    Per extra content:

    T.H.U.G has an insane amount of content packed in

    • Full story mode campaign which is a story about going from a skate rat kid in New Jersey to an amateur then finally turning pro. There are RPG mechanics and you improve your skills by playing more as you go along. You cross paths with legends, up n comers, and can even choose which brands you want to represent. And those brands at the time were really all on fire producing great skaters and videos throughout the 2000s (some videos are playable in game).

    • 3-4 bonus levels which you get by finding the Secret Tapes. Other video content unlockable through finding tapes.

    • Online multiplayer with seamless free skate to game mode integration within the lobby. Many modes available like in all entries.

    • 2 player split screen with the same online options.

    • Lots of mini-games like dune buggies in a secret level.

    • The biggest roster of pro skaters up to that point (see answer above) and an insane amount of secret unlockable characters (including Iron Man).

    Per customization:

    • Your Create-A-Skater is extremely in-depth. The PS2-era had a lot of great character editors and this one is right up there. Real skate brands can flesh out your identity as a skate rat kid, but you can also just customize with zany options like wearing a paper bag on your head, and scuba gear for shoes. We're talking hundreds of options to customize per arm, hand, feet, head, tattoos, height, weight, etc. Full RBG / Contrast / Luminance sliders for every single object.

    • NEW feature to customize your board. You're encouraged to use brands that sponsor you but when you turn pro, you get to design your own custom Pro deck. This is actually how it works in real life too. Again, limitless options here. You can use pre-set designs, many letters, numbers, etc. Scale and place them how you want. RGB options for any and all board assets.

    • Create-A-Park returns with even bigger surface area and way more skateable objects to customize levels and play them online.

    • Create-A-Trick is a NEW feature that allows you to link together any type of animation in the game to create a Special Trick. This is completely hilarious for all the right reasons. You can do stuff like 1080 degree spins while grinding.



  • Responds to @brannox regarding other modes and playing without other players.

    Apex Legends has basic training and a Firing Range, but I don’t think you will find those modes appealing on their own – they are just means to learn more before jumping in proper mode (unless you are a speedrunner – there are multiple categories that involve these two modes).

    But Battle Royale isn’t the only proper mode in Apex Legends – there are also Arenas. Here’s how they work: a team of three Legends fight another team of three Legends in multiple rounds. Before each round you can buy any weapon and item you want withing the budget you have. Things you’ve picked aren’t carried over to the next round, but remaining currency does, and you get fixed additional amount with each new round (more in later rounds). Also, all teammates get some currency for looting containers, and you get some extra for killing opponents. Maps are small and ring is also closing, so each round usually takes only a minute or two. Team wins the match if it wins at least 3 rounds and it wins two more rounds than opponents (in other words, winning scores are 3-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3). If it’s 4-4, then next round is sudden death and winner of that round wins the match.

    Arena mode may be not as deep as something like Rainbow Six Siege, but it still provides some room for mind games and different approaches. It’s not my preferred mode, but it’s a solid addition to this game.

    As for playing without other people – technically it’s possible (you can disable filling teammates before the match), but unless you’re a pro, you likely will be killed by the first team of three players you’ll meet. Maybe you’ll have better chances in duos mode (two-players team), but I haven’t tried that mode, because I like 3-man teams. Playing against bots isn’t available.

    As I mentioned in my presentation, I consider lack of any form of solo mode a strength of this game, because it pushes pro players to accept inexperienced teammates and to help them to grow, and pushes you to accept the idea of playing with random people. Also, as I mentioned, net code in Apex Legends is extremely good – of course you will notice 1-second delay and constant 80% packet drops, but random instabilities will be mitigated behind the scenes. Sometimes I see various network problems icons while playing and it’s the only thing I’m noticing when these problems are happening.

    If you try this game and still find that it’s not working for you – that’s fair. But I suspect that you worry a bit more than you really need. It worked for me after all, and I’m the guy, who prefer AI to real people, because it’s more predictable fun.



  • @brannox said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2021):

    For @Oscillator regarding The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
    1.) I'm someone who has shied away from the Zelda franchise for the most part because in many cases I feel I get lost pretty easy as to what I need to do. In Majora's Mask's case, after watching a full playthrough of one the Allies, I was struck as to how they knew which NPC/quest was associated with a given mask, and there's nothing (that I saw) the game did to direct the player (without prior knowledge/playthroughs/etc.) as to what to do to get a particular reward. Does MM do a good enough job in demonstrating how to get particular masks/items/etc. outside of a journal of notes the player has already interacted with in prior cycles?

    2.) From what I remember, to tie in with a previous answer you've given, the story is WEIRD. While watching the playthrough, at least at the outset, I felt I could follow along but by the time the four giants (? I think? I'm not sure. Again, I've only watched, not played) were called upon to catch the moon from impacting the town, I felt the story took a hard turn into a different direction. Do you think the events that take place inside the moon are believable in the context of all the events that took place prior?

    1. On a first playthrough, there's little obvious, immediate indication given as to which non-transformation mask is needed for a given situation, or where to get it, or even if one is necessary. Sometimes when talking to NPCs you'll get a clear tip, but more often than not mask collecting is luck-of-the-draw. But after you get a mask, how it's used is pretty obvious. Where a transformation mask is needed is pretty obvious right away because the task is completely out of Link's skill set (not strong enough, not heavy enough, too heavy, can't swim, can't interact with object).

    2. Well, that's the very end of the game. I think games going all-out at the end is a tried and tested thing. I like how the final boss turns the central villain from something fairly innocuous to having god-tier powers in almost an instant.



  • @dipset I believe that Vice City is able to harness nostalgia and 80s pop culture whilst providing plentiful space for great characters and plot. Vice City is about a man named Tommy Vercetti who is tasked with retrieving a briefcase in a drug deal. The deal is ambushed, the money gets lost, Tommy's boss gets angry and now you have to get to the bottom of who stole that briefcase. The plot lures you into an intrigue of whodunit and along the way you meet some truly memorable characters like the super smooth Lance Vance, the psychotic cocaine-addicted Ricardo Diaz and not forgetting your trusty idiotic cowardly lawyer Ken Rosenberg who likes fishes in bowls and as food on a plate but doesn't want to sleep with them. Oh yeah and Kent Paul and his drunken British idiocy gives the game some true highlights. So to answer your question no, I think Vice City handles all its components in a way that feels like enough is done in every aspect to draw you in. It all complements itself very well.



  • Okay, here is everything we've had so far. Simply click on the highlighted text to go to the referenced post.

    Apex Legends

    Final Fantasy VII

    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

    Tony Hawk's Underground

    The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

    Katamari Damacy

    I have copied this to the original post as well for ease of access. If I missed anything or got something wrong, please let me know. It's a lot of stuff!