The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2021)



  • 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!



  • @brannox In answers to your questions:

    1.) Vice City has the GTA formula underpinning its sandbox, the 80s veneer just dresses GTA up stylishly. If you don't like the 80s there's still plenty to enjoy thanks to an excellent emphasis on destruction and many diverse diversions that will keep players busy.

    2.) No other GTA feels as immersed in a time period like Vice City. Besides that though you can brandish all manner of DIY equipment and use it as weaponry, I haven't seen another GTA give you hammers, machetes or cleavers as weapons. There's also a focus in Vice City that the other games lack because you have the story's ultimate goal of tracking down who stole Sonny Forelli's money, whereas other GTA games you have to venture far and the ultimate goal is lost thanks to divergent storylines. As for what Vice City does better than all other GTA games-it puts the focus on mayhem, the aspect where GTA thrives most. In GTA 3 you're basically a bitch boy running errands, in San Andreas personal motivations take you to new cities and away from the core storyline problems, in IV there isn't a clear main villain and in V there isn't an established villain from the beginning of the game, you spend time with three wildly different protagonists and while there is an emphasis on destruction en masse, it bundles a lot in that the destructiveness can be overshadowed by many other things.



  • Sorry people for not responding yet to anything. I'll do my best by the weekend. (And if not, there'll go my points, which is fair.)



  • @sentinel-beach Take your time! You've still got almost a week.



  • Question for @ffff0 @Brannox @JDINCINERATOR @DIPSET @Oscillator @Sentinel-Beach @Capnbobamous : Tell me about the Shotgun?



  • @shoulderguy There is a shotgun in Vice City and it has the blast of a 5 volcanic explosions going off at the same time right into the target's face.



  • Respond to @Shoulderguy about shotguns in Apex Legends.

    I prefer automatic weapons and fighting at mid-distance, so my experience with shotguns is mostly on receiving end. There are 4 shotguns in the game: one automatic shotgun pistol, one automatic shotgun and two non-automatic shotguns. They all shoot different amount of pellets arranged in different shape with different spread, so each one requires slightly different handling to be the most effective. In experienced hands 2-3 shotguns shot will down fully healed and fully shielded Legend that was foolish enough to get too close. And just like with any other in-game weapon, sound and feedback are very good.



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

    Question for @ffff0 @Brannox @JDINCINERATOR @DIPSET @Oscillator @Sentinel-Beach @Capnbobamous : Tell me about the Shotgun?

    There are no guns in Majora's Mask. The closest thing to a shotgun is probably the Deku Scrub's bubble (the weakest projectile weapon in the game), which has to be charged, consumes a bit of magic, moves kind of slow, and does as much damage as expected of a magic spitball.

    If you want to blow stuff up, there are regular bombs, the Bombchu which runs straight and sticks to any angle of terrain until the fuse runs out, the Blast Mask which gives Link the power of one bomb (with a short recharge) at any time, though it does a bit of damage to him (which gets negated if you raise your shield, somehow), and the biggest blast comes from the Powder Keg, which you can only carry one of at a time, is expensive, and can only be used by the Goron. It has a long fuse, but can be set off by shooting it with something. Its limitations mean you're likely to only ever use it for an objective that requires it rather than attacking enemies.



  • @shoulderguy I've gotta level with you dude I'm quite disappointed you didn't ask about handguns, because if you did I'd have explained the power they had and mentioned how Ricardo Diaz used his to mess up his VCR because it wouldn't eject although it wasn't plugged in. Gotta sympathise with him though he couldn't watch his favourite El Burro movie.



  • @Shoulderguy regarding Final Fantasy VII's Shotgun:

    The Shotgun is the first weapon you can buy and the second weapon you can find for Vincent (you can happen across a gun for Vincent MANY hours before you even reach him by opening a particular chest in Kalm). It has a decent attack stat (48), high hit percentage (112%), and a terrible magic stat (12). It has only two linked materia slots with an average materia growth rate. It's located in Rocket Town, for sale for 3,100 gil, and is one of the few weapons across the entire game where if you choose to not buy it, it becomes permanently inaccessible. Overall, it's only better than Vincent's starting weapon and dependent on your playstyle, maybe obsolete by the time you can get to it.



  • @Shoulderguy I edited my response to your question, as I remembered that the Slingshot from Ocarina of Time is not in Majora's Mask.



  • Follow-up question to @Oscillator about The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

    Previously I’ve asked 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? You’ve explained why this mechanic is less stressful than it seems, but you haven’t said what presence of this mechanic adds to the game. Can you talk about that?



  • @Shoulderguy

    There isn’t a shotgun in THUG but there is a mode where you kick flip to shoot a fireball at your friend who then gets knocked down and spills blood.

    And you can grind Russian tanks in the Moscow level or add them to your created park.



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

    Follow-up question to @Oscillator about The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

    Previously I’ve asked 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? You’ve explained why this mechanic is less stressful than it seems, but you haven’t said what presence of this mechanic adds to the game. Can you talk about that?

    Most of the NPCs in the game have their own personal schedule. They open up their businesses, go to meetings, make deliveries, and generally move around, usually just within the central hub of Clock Town, but sometimes in to/out of the outer regions as well, with their dialogue changing depending on where they are/what they're doing/what day it is. Learning these schedules to earn masks is the other half of the game aside from the main adventure.

    The time loop also adds constant meaning to Link's adventure, as the moon gets physically closer each day, the music in Clock Town gets more intense, and NPCs panic more. The most atmospheric part of the game is the final hours of the last day each cycle, where a special countdown timer appears, the music changes through the entire world, the rumbling caused by the gravity of the moon is almost constant, and the NPCs reach the end of their schedules, hide in their homes, and enter peak acceptance/denial/fatalism/regret. Then Link goes back to the start of the cycle, and everything's bright and sunny again.

    These schedules and waves of emotions are almost unique in the Zelda series. Breath of the Wild does have daily schedules for some NPCs, and strong emotions attached to the memories and some sidequests, but these elements are FAR more pronounced in Majora's Mask.

    The time loop also gives a fresh feeling to the progression of the main adventure. It isn't a huge difference from other Zelda games, but clearing a lengthy pre-dungeon quest or dungeon close to the end of a cycle, getting a new key item, then starting a new cycle and using the key item to access the next area has a really nice rhythm.

    There aren't many moments like this, but one of the best expressions of the time loop is the ranch where you find your horse. For the first third of the game, you can't get into the ranch until the third day because a giant rock is blocking the way and a man is slowly chipping away at it. But by the third day, something has happened to a young girl at the ranch, leaving her in a catatonic state, devastating her older sister, and stopping you from getting your horse. But then you get the ability to blow up the giant rock on the first day, and get to experience and help prevent the event that caused the travesty.