The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (January 2022)

  • @jdincinerator said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (January 2022):

    1.Feeling overloaded in a game you’re starting is quite intimidating. How does Oblivion soothe you into its world and make players relaxed?
    2.Is Oblivion a case of quantity over quality?

    1. The big thing is that after the starting area (which is very simple), you're only given a single prompt, to go to a certain location. Then you can immediately ignore that if you want, and the game will never bug you about anything ever again (until you install DLC). The map screen only shows one objective marker (your active quest) without any text.

    Also, major locations in the game are very spread out, and enemy encounters are quite easy to run away from if you want. It's an incredibly laid-back world - even dungeon interiors are kind of relaxing in-between enemy encounters.

    Quest givers also typically aren't begging to be noticed - most quests are found by you choosing to talk to someone that is just behaving casually.

    1. Some areas and quests certainly stand out from the bulk. And while you can pick up and move any object, the majority of them are useless clutter, which tends to clog up the screen when you're searching containers/bodies.

    However, I've never felt that the game has any absolute filler. That clutter really makes the world feel lived in, and makes the real valuables feel more satisfying when you come across them. Same with locations and quests - the plain stuff makes the special stuff 'pop' more, and adds nuance to the world.

    And in-between all of the objectives/enemies/marked locations/items, there are subtle details that help you forget the 'gameiness'. Things like a burned down shop that nobody talks about, dead bodies with notes on them not linked to quests, guards suddenly getting into battles with criminals, people sitting down to eat or going to bed, overhearing gossip by chance that triggers a new location marker or conversation option.

  • @brunojoey

    For me, the music was a very important component of Gold/Silver/Crystal's charm. IMO, the more advanced music orchestrations in HG/SS degrade the original music rather than enhancing it, making the game feel less special as a result. The simple, clear melodies are made busy ( Vs. Rival NEW/OLD, Kanto Gym Leader NEW/OLD ), 'fatter'/'woodier' sounds take the edge away ( Vs. Legendary Beast NEW/OLD ), more 'ordinary', less 'spacey' sounds make it less atmospheric ( Dark Cave NEW/OLD ), cheesy samples give it less weight ( Champion Battle NEW/OLD ).

    And even when you do finally unlock the 'original' music in the postgame, it too has been made more complex ( Johto Wild Pokemon Battle THEN/NOW ), again, IMO, taking the edge off.

    Do you think this has some merit, or are these just purist nitpickings?

    EDIT: Links fixed!

  • Response to @JDINCINERATOR's first question:

    I think The Sims is remarkably accessible to newcomers. The controls are quite simple and intuitive, and I think the game's history of attracting a crowd that wouldn't normally play games speaks for itself.

    If you don't enjoy the genre, I don't think there's much I can say to convince you to play it. All I can say is I think the game has a little bit for everybody, and hope you give it a try. Ultimately it all comes down to personal preference though, and if your preference doesn't align with what The Sims offers, then there's nothing wrong with that. It's very easy to pick up and play so I encourage those who don't think they'll like it to at least give it a try, but if it's not for you it's not for you.

    Response to @JDINCINERATOR's second question:

    Yeah so if you just want to watch them without having any sort of input yourself, The Sims will handle most situations pretty well. They'll have interactions with each other and build unique relationships, they'll do an okay enough job at maintaining their needs, though admittedly not as well as if you were in control, and they'll spend a lot of time engaging in their hobbies.

    There are, however, a few limitations. For one, A Sim will never opt to leave its home unless you tell them to, so unique lots are inaccessible without your input. Another thing is that they are very inept at handling crises. For instance, in the fire in my video, without your input they will just stand there and panic about the flames without actually doing anything to stop them. Any sort of crisis like that will turn out poorly for the Sims without your help.

    I don't think any of the things I just mentioned are a big deal though. The Sims is still a game, and encourages interactivity, I just figured I'd mention that you can sit back and watch if you so desire, that The Sims have a level of autonomy that not even modern AI tend to have. Most people would opt to play the game and control the sims, it's just possible not to.

  • Hey folks I updated the original post with easy links to see all of the presentations and cross-examination questions/responses. I'll continue to update it as more stuff gets in.

  • @Brannox
    Response 1: Most of the secrets are not too difficult to discover. Every level on the map will have a yellow or red dot. Yellow dotted levels only have one exit, while red dotted levels have multiple exits. Unfortunately, Ghost Houses sometimes do have multiple exits, but they don’t have a colored marker. Those ones will either need to be discovered or cross referenced. Once you finish a level you can go back to look for the other exit, and you can simply hold start and press select to instantly return to the world map while playing a level you've already beaten.

    There are a handful of obscure level exits, like one exit that involves going under the Goal Poles at the end of a level to discover a second set of Goal Poles. But with enough effort and a keen eye, most secrets can be discovered without using any help outside the game.

    Response 2: I praised the controls in my presentation because I think it's impressive that they perfected the controls so long ago. You don't need to make any changes to the controls when playing it today because it feels like a modern game. And that's not the case for many games around that era.

    Response: There's definitely a case that can be made for some of the other Super Mario games and I don't have a problem with multiple games from the same series getting voted into the Hall of Greats. The Easy Allies HOG currently has 3 Super Mario games including Super Mario World and they are all deserving.

    Response 1: I recommend Super Mario World because it's the culmination of the 2D Super Mario games in terms of technology and game design that started with Super Mario Bros on NES. The later 2D New Super Mario Bros series of games are not better games in my opinion. They simplified the world map, becoming much more linear with less secret levels and paths, and did away with flying almost entirely. The 3D Super Mario games are very different so it's harder for me to recommend Super Mario World over Super Mario Odyssey for example. It comes down to personal preference, or treat yourself to both styles of Super Mario!

    Response 2: For Super Mario World, it's simple in the way it gives you an enjoyable experience from beginning to end, without a bunch of half-baked gameplay ideas. There's no frustrating or boring parts, the whole game is the best part of the game.

  • @Capnbobamous
    How would you compare the expansions of The Sims to The Sims 2 that had a University, Business, and Vacation expansions? I remember I was much more enthralled with the expansions for 2, but that might have been more of an age thing on my end for not diving into The Sims expansion packs. Do the expansion packs for the first game expand on the reasons you love it to this day?

  • @Shoulderguy
    What do the bosses in Super Mario World do well compared to others in the platforming genre in general?

  • @Oscillator
    Question 1: What do you believe Oblivion expanded upon well from Morrowind?

    Question 2: Do you think Oblivion could have been improved upon with anything to learn from in that era of RPG games?

  • @brunojoey

    1. All technical aspects. Full vs. limited voice acting, a much more advanced lighting engine, way greater draw distance, way better textures, smoother character animation. Also less clunky combat, a higher fidelity and more emotional soundtrack, and of course, a bigger and more detailed world.

    I understand why some people prefer Morrowind. The world is more exotic, the story is deeper, the mechanics are deeper in some ways. But this is all hidden behind a proverbial layer of fuzz. Oblivion may be more shallow in a few respects, but what it does have (and it has PLENTY) has been FULLY realized. Aside from some janky AI, a limited pool of voice actors, and a relatively small amount of content cut (arenas in every town) due to running out of disc space, almost nothing in Oblivion feels like it has an artificial limit placed on it. It's the freest and broadest game I've ever played (including Skyrim and Breath of the Wild) that wasn't super procedural, a simulator, or sprite-based.

    1. Skyrim had a lot of quality-of-life fixes. The biggest improvement was to combat. which felt a lot more impactful and tactical. While it's not bad, Oblivion's combat sometimes feels like you're swinging a big stick at a tree or flinging around little wisps of fire instead of powerful magic. Also, walking around feels more grounded/natural, the character animations are more realistic, atmospherics like fog, snowfall, and fire are much better realized, and the hud is cleaner (if more sterile, aside from the magnificent perks menu). As a whole, though, Skyrim is overly streamlined, a much steeper simplification than from Morrowind to Oblivion.

  • @brunojoey
    Response: The boss battles are typical of most games in the 2D platforming genre and of the Super Mario series. The boss battles provide a greater challenge to test your platforming skills and they are satisfying final levels to each world you visit.

  • Response to @brunojoey's question:

    Sure, the expansions are very valuable to the experience I think, however many of them introduced features that would go on to be commonplace in later Sims games, so I can see how they don't seem as impressive now. For instance, Hot Date introduced the concept of community lots, Makin' Magic introduced the supernatural elements of the series, and House Party introduced social gatherings.

    I think something that the first Sims has over later games is that at this point I think it's harder to get the game without the expansions than it is to get it with them. The expansions are so ingrained in the game's DNA that most versions you would buy (or more likely, download, as the game is not available on digital storefronts) come with all of the expansions, so there's never the feeling that you have to buy extra stuff in order to have the full experience.

  • Response to @Brannox's Questions:

    Response 1:

    • So, I believe these games are better than the originals due to the previous mentions, but also a few more.
    • They add a customizable Safari Zone to Johto that allows you to get Larvitar and others much earlier than you could in the original, in Mt. Silver which you need all 18 badges to get into. Whereas the Safari Zone unlocks right after the beating the Elite Four. And for lore purposes, this was the Fuchsia City Safari Zone that was closed in the originals, which is a nifty addition! Now, you do need the right configuration for some Pokemon, but it’s just a fun way to have a personal Safari Zone.
    • An addition for gameplay was Abilities. These weren’t in Generation 2, but were introduced in Generation 3. If you wanted, you could use a Ground type and Earthquake against Morty, the Ghost Gym Leader in Ecruteak City, since Ghost Pokemon didn’t have the Levitate ability in Generation 2. That strategy will get you destroyed now. So this did just add a bit more strategy to the games compared to the originals.
    • An addition that does not change the game dramatically, but that I love is having all Pokemon available to follow you through your journey, which just personalizes your journey a bit more than Gold and Silver, while also being able to see the Pokemon you are growing attached to is following you around.
    • A minor aspect of the story that was added to these were the focus for the Kimono Girls being connected to Lugia or Ho-Oh. You must defeat them all in order to obtain the tool to summon the game’s respective legendary. While they are all sprinkled into the story as you progress in the game as well, so their appearance isn’t sudden or shoe-horned in.
    • Another story addition that was exclusive to Japan through a special event was a special Celebi event. But, if you emulate the game, or use an Action Replay, you are able to get this event. That does add a bit of backstory to the rival and Giovanni who turns out he is your rival’s father and Giovanni basically berates him since he doesn’t want to be part of Team Rocket. You learn why your rival is cold-hearted. This adds an extra fight with Giovanni and he says that you remind him of a trainer he faced three years ago, referencing Red himself. So, lore wise this is a nifty addition! That I wish was more accessible.

    Response 2:

    • You do get to face the Elite Four again with brand new teams after defeating them which offers a different challenge. Same with the Gym Leaders which you did not get to reface in the originals. They are limited to the new Pokemon they get, or if a Pokemon they had, received an evolution, they would now use that Pokemon. Which does make sense in the grand scheme of things. You would want these rematches to be the best teams they can do.
    • I do agree, I do not like the addition of the adding Pokemon past Generation 2 that does not include an evolution because it does not make sense in a geographical sense since we only know Johto and Kanto connect. However, the way you obtain them is completely optional and there are only 33 of the added 142 since Generation 2, so it isn’t a ton compared to the grand majority of the new Pokemon.
    • After doing a few side-by-side comparisons to the trainers, I can say that the trainers are roughly similar to their Crystal counterparts. Except the rematches that are optional. Some of the rematches do build to high levels for some trainers into the 40's and 50's. Trainers in the SS Aqua are also tougher compared to the Crystal versions of themselves. So you can find extra challenge in those regards!

  • Response to @Shoulderguy's Question:

    • I definitely do believe this generation brought in enough new quality Pokemon that aren’t connected to a previous Pokemon. While Heracross has a lot of type disadvantages, it is one of my favorite Generation 2 Pokemon because of how well it’s designed from the inspiration, the Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle, while also being a viable Pokemon. I also enjoy the idea that Ampharos acts as a hopeful light beacon to lost ocean travelers who need guidance. Others I love are: the Starters and their evolutions, Lanturn, Houndoom, Azumarill, Donphan, Celebi, Ho-Oh and Lugia, Xatu, and Tyranitar. I do love Gligar, Togepi, Swinub, Sneasel, Misdreavus, and Murkrow, but all for their eventual evolutions introduced in Generation 4 itself.
    • Pokemon that are evolutions to previous Pokemon that are really great evolutions besides Steelix and Crobat are Porygon2, Kingdra, Slowking, Espeon, and Umbreon. These all are great evolutions because they stay true to their previous evolutions, but expand on them in logical and smart ways. Not too crazy in their designs as well.
    • The Pokemon you listed do have some uniqueness about them that make them at least interesting in that way specifically. Delibird is the only non-legendary that is an Ice/Flying type. Smeargle can learn any move in battle with his own move, Sketch. Shuckle is also unique in its typing sharing it only with two other Pokemon lines, and an upcoming Scyther evolution, while also having incredible Defense and Special Defense, which you can use to heal your other Pokemon if needed. Now, there is real no defense for Qwilfish or Dunsparce. They both are not good Pokemon, nor have been loved by Game Freak all that much. When Drampa was revealed not to be a Dunsparce evolution, a lot of people were confused, because it was basically a perfect Dunsparce evolution. So, Game Freak, do something with Dunsparce please. Tangent, sorry!

  • Response to @JDINCINERATOR's Questions:

    Response 1:
    I do wholeheartedly believe that these are the best ways to play Gold & Silver today. They introduce enough to make it more keen to the overall series, especially the Generation 4/5 era. Like Abilities, Battle Frontier, and the Physical/Special Split which makes it difficult for me to go back to those early Pokemon games and using a diverse team in each playthrough.

    Response 2:
    So, I never got to use the PokeWalker myself. But, from my own understanding this does let you move a Pokemon to it and walk to level up your selected Pokemon! You can also catch Pokemon exclusive to it that are only available in the games themselves. It is a peripheral that is not needed for the games at all, but it does add a bit of interaction with your Pokemon before Pokemon Go was a thing.

  • Response to @ffff0's Question:
    So, to do that, one part of my answer would have to be why Gold & Silver are so well regarded in the series. Gold & Silver is the only game to feature two regions with Johto & Kanto. It was a mix between technological amazement and nostalgia. Like I said in a previous question, most of the new Pokemon added were grand and are still well regarded today! Now, I believe HeartGold & SoulSilver do enough to make the remakes more streamlined and more accessible for newer players (except the egregious price now), while still adding a lot of cool additions!

  • Response to @Oscillator's Question:
    It can definitely have some merit at certain points, like the Kanto Gym Leader theme is quite more busy and less grand in that feeling of fighting Kanto gym leaders again. However, I do believe that the new versions do not degrade the whole music experience. All of the melodies are still there prevalently and not being lost in general. In my own thoughts of course. I think they hold restraint enough at certain songs and points in those certain songs, like the beginning of the Champion theme.

  • Question for @ffff0

    A major point of the game seems to be going back and exploring different story-routes that you missed in order to get new information so that you may progress. Does the game offer any narrative reason for this to make sense? Obviously limit spoilers if you can, but without a story reason doesn't that create a disconnect between the narrative and gameplay?

    Question for @brannox

    You mention Dark Aeons in your presentation a couple of times and how you don't like them, but I'm not entirely sure what they are. Would you mind explaining them to me? How intrusive are they?

    Question(s) for @JDINCINERATOR

    1. In most Rockstar games the narrative is very wishy-washy. I find that often characters just drift from one mission to the next with little through-line connecting them, and as a result I find myself not really caring about the characters or story. Does Bully follow this sort of structure?

    2. Are you able to choose which factions to align yourself with, or does the game force you to befriend them all? For instance, if I only wanted to side with the nerds, is that an option, and if so how does it affect the narrative?

    Question for @Oscillator

    I hold this game close to my heart, but there is a blemish that I think is worth discussing. You've mentioned it already but I feel I have to bring it up: the leveling system is deeply flawed. If you choose an easy skill as one of your main ones, like Acrobatics, you will level up far too fast and the enemies will scale too early, thus making the game insanely difficult. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the game is easier if you choose never to level up at all. Do you agree with my complaints, and if so how negatively does it affect the experience?

  • @capnbobamous

    1. Jimmy is very connected to the characters around him because he is part of the school and looks to solve the huge problems the school faces with bullying. This isn't like GTA where you're a gun for hire, though admittedly you do work for these cliques, but you're doing so to please them in an overall effort to make everybody happy and to stop the fighting amongst them sort of; but there's still a lot of fighting between cliques and general discord. GTA games nor Red Dead have these altruistic themes streaming through them.

    2. The way Bully's story goes in my mind is that Jimmy is a boy who wants to help the cliques whereas the antagonist Gary wants to corrupt them. You have to work for each clique, carrying out missions to curry favor with them and keeping them happy. Yet the way in which things pan out makes the game more exciting, it's not an RPG where you pick a side, it's an open-world where you see from every angle. So no you can't choose to side with the Nerds exclusively but the way the story is structured and how it plays out has nothing to do with picking a side-though the Nerds are mostly your allies anyway.

  • Response to @Capnbobamous about narrative reason for jumping between different timelines.

    The game not just offers a narrative reason for such gameplay – the narrative is the reason why Virtue's Last Reward should be played this way and not any other way. I would even say that taking this story to other medium (a book or a movie) will ruin it, because of how essential the gameplay is as a narrative tool. And it’s not like you need to reach the credits to see it – the main character starts questioning how he can possibly know something that never happened as soon as you start applying knowledge from other timelines. This makes pretty obvious that such structure is not just a gimmick, but yet another narrative puzzle, waiting to be solved.

  • @capnbobamous said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (January 2022):

    Question for @Oscillator

    I hold this game close to my heart, but there is a blemish that I think is worth discussing. You've mentioned it already but I feel I have to bring it up: the leveling system is deeply flawed. If you choose an easy skill as one of your main ones, like Acrobatics, you will level up far too fast and the enemies will scale too early, thus making the game insanely difficult. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the game is easier if you choose never to level up at all. Do you agree with my complaints, and if so how negatively does it affect the experience?

    I can't speak to this very in-depth, as I've only ever played Oblivion with a single save file/character, and the build I used felt decently balanced. The class I used was Barbarian, with major skills of Armorer, Athletics, Blade, Block, Blunt, Hand to Hand, and Light Armor.

    As they are central to combat, Armorer and Blade leveled up the quickest, along with Athletics, which is just walking. I utilized the others less, including barely touching Hand to Hand. My main level increased at a comfortable pace until my most used skills maxed out, slowing main levelling to a crawl.

    I had three constantly used major skills, so having just one like in your example wouldn't cause what I would personally consider to be rapid levelling. edit - upon research, it seems Acrobatics is easily manipulated (read: cheesed) to level quickly, so having it as a major skill CAN induce rapid main levelling, IF you want it to - at least in my experience, bending/breaking the game like this has to be done intentionally. Another example is full invisibility, which requires 5 expensive enchantments not available right at the start or dangled right in front of the player.

    If I'd chosen, say, the Crusader class, which also has Armorer/Blade/Athletics major skills along with Heavy Armor, which I used much more than Light Armor, and Restoration, which is very commonly used, I would've levelled much faster for longer.

    However, I suspect I wouldn't have minded, and may have actually preferred that. While enemies scale with your level, so does loot and store stock, meaning you're given the chance to be as equipped as the enemies you're facing. I think I would've personally enjoyed unlocking cooler enemies and equipment faster.

    What critics like least about Oblivion's levelling system is levelling in unison with enemies, meaning without heavy buffs like fortifying spells, potions, and enchantments that are time consuming to gather, you not only never get to an all-powerful state where you can mush even the toughest enemies, but minor enemies also become tougher. This was intentional by the developers to keep the gameplay consistent over time, and I personally thought it was a good mechanic.

    That said, Skyrim's more traditional levelling system, where if you encounter a super tough enemy, you can eventually come back to it later and breeze through it without needing complex buffs, IS more satisfying.