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?



  • @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.



  • @shoulderguy There is no shotgun per se, but the game does frequently shoot you with love.



  • Gonna separate my questions into two games a post.

    Question for @ffff0 regarding Apex Legends:

    You mention that there is a story and that characters have interactions with each other, but since this is a multiplayer only game clearly that can't be the focus. Is there enough narrative there to make you truly interested in what happens next, or is the narrative completely unrelated to your enjoyment of the game?

    Question for @Brannox regarding FF7:

    Final Fantasy VII is one of those games that has been frequently lauded as one of the best of all time, and Square Enix knows this. It's been rereleased a thousand times, there is a CGI anime movie, spinoff games, and now a remake. Do you think FF7 suffers because of this over-saturation, because as a property it has to now carry all of this extra weight?



  • Question for @JDINCINERATOR regarding GTA Vice City:

    Grand Theft Auto has a habit of leaning far too heavily into immature, on-the-nose humor, to the point where I think a lot of the neat world-building is somewhat invalidated by the jokes. How do you feel about the humor and the way in which it is integrated into the game?

    Regarding T.H.U.G.

    Rather than desperately trying to find a question to ask, I'm just gonna say I don't have one. Got no burning questions that need answering. Good presentation Dipset!



  • Question for @Oscillator regarding Majora's Mask:

    You mention in your response to ffff0 that your enjoyment of the game increased a lot with the use of a guide. Do you think the game is a worse experience if you play it blind?

    Question for @Sentinel-Beach regarding Sands of Time:

    How's the difficulty? I know the whole gimmick of the series is that you can rewind time, but does this make the combat and traversal too easy? Are the stakes still there?



  • @capnbobamous Vice City's humor is what give it it's zest as GTA game. All the parodying and immature jokes might seem like it could crack the 80s flavour of Vice City but I think it coincides wonderfully with it. Just take the band Love Fist-a five-piece Scottish metal band where each of the five members' names are slang for the word "penis". Yes it's very immature and on-the-nose, but the flare presented by the band and the lunacy that ensues when you do missions for them are perfect for a GTA game. I think what makes GTA is the immaturity and stupidity, without it there's not so much of a direct contrast to the real world and therefore not so much parody. The directness is what can make the humor in GTA so enjoyable I find, yes it's very often crude but GTA revels in that and I love that Vice City is the first GTA game to truly capture it.



  • Respond to @capnbobamous question about investment to the narrative in Apex Legends.

    I think there’s more than enough narrative in Apex Legends, but since game never pushes it into your face, the level of investment will be different depending on whether you are interested in this stuff. For me personally, this level is pretty high, and it only grew over time. When I’ve started playing Apex Legends, heroes were just appearances and sets of abilities. Then I’ve noticed that each character not just have multiple unique voice lines for each action, but also several versions of each voice line (variations in intonation, an extra word, a pause – stuff like that). This sold me an idea that these characters aren’t just player’s obedient avatars – they are real people that react differently, depending on what’s going on around them. Then, as I was playing more and saw more character interactions, I’ve started to discover different layers of their personalities, histories, and relationships. Eventually my investment became so deep, that I’ve took effort to read entire Apex Legends wiki to learn about earlier seasons’ events that I’ve missed.

    So, to answer your question, yes, narrative is an important part of my enjoyment of this game, and I do care what happen next with my favorite characters. For example, a couple of seasons ago Revenant secretly swore to annihilate anyone whom Loba may eventually love with all her heart. So, when I saw that in current season Loba’s relationships with Valkyrie evolved from mutual interest to publicly expressed affection, my immediate reaction was “Oh no, keep it quiet girls! This will end poorly for both of you!”



  • @capnbobamous Regarding FF VII and oversaturation:

    Honestly, my answer is likely biased because it's my favorite game of all time, but I personally don't think so. Primarily, VII has three stretches of time in which it's in the major zeitgeist: The explosion of its initial release, the 10 year anniversary with the compilation of FF VII, and now. As you reference with the movies and a couple of spin-off games, while they do exist, they are 14 years old, and they aren't necessary to watch/play respectively to enjoy VII as it is. In the current day, with the Remake project, it has (so far) handled referencing Compilation events well without being too overt or in your face EXCEPT for the final segment of the main game and like, half of the Yuffie DLC. And since the Remake project will be years between installments (this IS Square-Enix we're talking about here), there should be enough time in-between for it to not matter. Sure, there's the Battle Royale First Soldier, but I haven't heard anything about it since the Beta and it doesn't look like it'll stick around long enough to matter, and there's Ever Crisis, which if I'm understanding it correctly, will be a chapter based "highlight reel" of many of the major story moments across the entire VII timeline, which looks to serve as a compliment to the main Remake.

    And ALL of that being said, I don't think it impacts the actual game in itself, but I do enjoy going in depth about that world. VII is a strong enough game to stand and be enjoyed on its own and while there's a lot of material and games surrounding that universe, the same could be said for many other properties, both in and out of games like Marvel, Star Wars, Call of Duty, Pokemon, etc.



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

    Question for @Oscillator regarding Majora's Mask:

    You mention in your response to ffff0 that your enjoyment of the game increased a lot with the use of a guide. Do you think the game is a worse experience if you play it blind?

    Yes. It would still be a great experience because of the world and characters, but there are several parts of the game that are confusing and/or stressful. I know some people have quit pretty much right out of the gate because they couldn't figure out how to complete the first mission - parts of it are kind of vague. Once you get past it though, the main quest feels just like Ocarina of Time, just with the time loop mechanic. Confusing stuff doesn't really appear again until the back half of the game.

    What would definitely cause the most stress without a guide is not finding the hidden song to slow time down. In particular, the apex of the ranch quest I mentioned in my previous post can be failed with the slightest mistake at regular speed. Kyle said he quit the game at that part. :P There are also a pair of indoor Skulltula hunts that are pretty frustrating at any speed, the latter of which gives you different rewards depending on which day you complete it. >_< Finally, there is a mini dungeon right at the end of the game that is extremely difficult even WITH a guide. I think it took me something like 200 attempts. It's untimed, at least. Everything in this paragraph is optional though, so non-completionists will have a better time.



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

    Question to @Sentinel-Beach about Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

    In gameplay video that you’ve presented, camera was seamless during traversal, but there were a lot of perspective shifts during combat. Having two different camera behaviors seem odd on its own, but it’s especially strange when the more “chaotic” version is allocated to fighting enemies. This was a very simple environment, yet I was disoriented and confused to the point that I initially thought that some portion of gameplay was cut for the interest of time.

    How camera feels when you play the game? Is it more, or less a hurdle than when you watch someone else playing it?

    You are correct that there are basically two camera systems in the game. You control the camera most of the time with the right stick like in most games, but there are also fixed angles that are usually tied to some traversal parts. In that regard this clip from the Prison was not the best it could have been. Plus, I think that because that's such a tight interior the camera struggles a bit during that fight and ends up "jumping" from time to time, trying to find the best angle. And also because the player is turning it at the same time.

    My video quota is full, otherwise I would've linked another clip from more open areas. But to answer your question, the camera doesn't feel like a hurdle when playing the game. Most of the time. :) Yes, sometimes in areas like the Prison, or when a fixed angle suddenly pops up guiding you through a traversal section. That can be a little disorientating for a second.



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

    @sentinel-beach How do you feel Prince of Persia has inspired other games in its genre and do you hold it up as a trailblazer of sorts?

    This is a tough question to answer. The game came out in 2003 so there'd been games that had done lot of the things Sands of Time presents - even the rewind mechanic (Blinx etc.) - but it's the flawless combination of all of those that made me fall in love with the game.

    What I do think the game has that's pretty seldom used is the feeling of one continuous journey/path/escape, whatever you call it. The time frame is kept tight and everything happens one scene after the other. There aren't any cutscenes that place the Prince and Farah suddenly days ahead or miles away. That helps a lot to make the game feel really personal. You're helping the pair run through the palace, trying to undo the awful events that are constantly all around you. I think this is one aspect that some later games have used afterwards. Or at least they should! It's awesome.



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

    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?

    Oh man. You went there. :) I've also played the whole trilogy multiple times and like it a lot, but they're all three so different games! You're right that specifically the combat was much improved and made way more diverse in Warrior Within, but that game's just soooo dark! In many ways, both thematically and literally. So much brown and black. It's a cool story and scenario with the Dahaka and all, but I much prefer the fairytale-like nature of Sands of Time. Easier for my mind, eyes and senses.

    The Two Thrones then again is like a hybrid of the first two games. It plays well, but it somehow lacks the soul or that certain feel of both the previous games. Whether it's the Arabian Nights or grimdark.



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

    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?

    1. So no, the Prison level does not show the nature of the entire game. That descent is really repetitive, no doubt about it. Usually, however, the Prince is going upwards or through some huge areas in a very elaborate way. Both outdoors and indoors. There's no swimming, but a lot of climbing, wall-running, swinging on poles, jumping, ducking from blades etc. The whole is basically full of environmental puzzles one after another, some smaller, some way bigger. There's even "laser puzzles" in the Library with light and mirrors. And you get to ascend the palace towers on the outside at a few points which are really memorable to play through. Hundreds of feet in the air, swinging and jumping there.

    2. The combat is perhaps the weakest link here, but it still feels very good. There's a certain umpf to your sword hits and you just don't grow tired to sucking the sands away into the Dagger. The combat is a lot somersaults and backflips, being on your guard, too. You can springboard from a wall with your sword first into the enemies in a devastating fashion. You also get the ability to basically turn an enemy into a vulnerable state in which they slowdown and turn "half-sand", waiting for your decisive strike. One super ability allows you to freeze all the enemies into that state and then you zap around super fast slicing them in half in one strike. That drains up all your power storage. And also, there are a couple of new swords you get through the game. The final one is really OP and basically let's you slice the enemies up with just the normal swings.



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

    Question for @Sentinel-Beach : Tell me about the Shotgun?

    No shotgun for the Prince. :/
    Did they ever do a game for The Mummy. I could see Brendan Fraser blasting mummies and sand creatures in an environment like this.



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

    Question for @Sentinel-Beach regarding Sands of Time:

    How's the difficulty? I know the whole gimmick of the series is that you can rewind time, but does this make the combat and traversal too easy? Are the stakes still there?

    That's a good question. You can't rewind the time endlessly, because you have these "sand slots" in the Dagger that allow for a few rewinds. The longer you hold down the button the further away in time the game let's you go. In some dire situations you only have sand left for literally a second, but that can still safe you from that lethat enemy strike that just killed you. You just have to be really quick right after the rewind this time around!

    But all in all the game isn't too hard, no. The most difficult sections are usually some of the biggest enemy encounters when the game just keeps teleporting more and more of those SOBs and you need to be careful the whole time or you'll easily end up having to start the whole encounter all over again. The traversal's much more easier in that regard. A few missed jumps are allowed because of the Dagger, but usually you just need to keep your eyes open and concentrate taking on every jump and obstacle one at a time. Satisfying moments to clear many of the longer trials/pathways.



  • @sentinel-beach

    I appreciate that answer. If I recall, I also liked the tone of Sands of Time above the sequels.

    One more question (I think we're allowed to ask two questions, right?).

    I have Sands of Time on GC. I haven't played it in years. Do you think the combat holds up in general and is generally enjoyable by today's standards?



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

    @sentinel-beach
    I have Sands of Time on GC. I haven't played it in years. Do you think the combat holds up in general and is generally enjoyable by today's standards?

    I'd say that it's still solid. There are many games with worse combat system and many with better, but in Sands of Time it suits the tone and story of the game. The Prince can get overwhelmed by the enemies but he also has a fighting chance with his acrobatics and sword skills. I do have to admit that I haven't played the game in years, either, but with around dozen playthroughs behind me I want to believe that my memory still serves.



  • @DIPSET I'm a BIG fan of the original THPS trilogy. I enjoyed THUG, but had no desire to replay it. I thought the characters were all right, the soundtrack was all right, and the mechanics were all right. But I thought the level design was where it fell flat. The way I see it, is that starting with THPS 4, the series' level design switched from tight and flowing to big and ungainly.

    I have two questions stemming from this:

    1. Do you think the larger levels of those later titles, THUG included, hold up against or exceed the smaller levels of old, and if so, why?

    2. For a less apples-and-oranges comparison, there is Project 8, which I enjoyed the most out of all the later titles. Coming a few entries after THUG, it has generally the same objective system and mechanics, but uses a hybrid of the early and later level design style by stitching together many smaller, tighter areas to make one large open world. How do you think the level design philosophy of 4, THUG, et al compares against Project 8's?