The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2022)

  • Response to @JDINCINERATOR questions about Forza Horizon 5’s differences from 4, location diversity and comparison to other racing games.

    Forza Horizon 4 is a great game and 5 doesn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken, so the sense of familiarity is not unwarranted. But at the same time, there’s more to Forza Horizon 5 than repletion of the same formula. Events Lab (custom tracks creator) is a brand-new feature, and if you’re interested in user-generated content, that’s a huge deal. Expeditions are also new, and I find this form of single-player progression much more engaging than accumulation of points to buy new festival’s location in prior games. There’s much more variety in missions and much more unique events, like driving a parade float. While the map in Forza Horizon 4 looked very similar throughout, in Forza Horizon 5 you don’t need to wait a week for season’s change to get new environments as raining forest is just 1-minute away from scorching desert. And this entry was developed for current gen, so visuals were improved significantly. On its own each of these additions may sound insignificant, but they all add up to much smoother and welcoming experience. Also, I feel like Forza Horizon 5 managed to capture completely new audiences (biggest Forza game launch ever sales wise despite being on Game Pass), which is another reason why I’m nomination this game over other entries in the series.

    As for comparison with other racing games, it’s a bit of “apples and oranges” since every series is doing its own thing. But I can highlight one advantage of Forza Horizon 5 – it doesn’t create a feeling of “playing wrong” even if you tuned the difficulty and assists to easily win every race. I mean, when I’m skipping qualification in F1 games and then get from last to first on the first lap, it doesn’t feel like a proper F1 experience. While in Forza Horizon 5 whatever and however I chose to do feels like intended way to play.

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

    @Oscillator regarding Star Fox 64

    1. Do you feel that Star Fox 64 deserves more credit for what it has achieved considering your personal experiences with it?

    2. Looking at the footage, is it accurate to assume there’s too much going on at one time visuals that you could be distracted momentarily and your ship could careen into an obstruction?

    1. I think it's gotten all the credit it can, considering when it released, where it released, and where the series went. It released in close proximity to Super Mario 64 and Wave Race 64, which revolutionized 3D platforming and water physics respectively, then the next year Ocarina of Time became the platform's killer app by a country mile. It's similar to how Perfect Dark did so much, but not only struggled underneath Goldeneye's huge shadow, it was then overshadowed again by Halo a year-and-a-half later. And both Star Fox 64 and Perfect Dark then received total flops for sequels in Star Fox Adventures and Perfect Dark Zero, helping people forget even more easily. Still, Star Fox 64 is considered the definitive 3D on-rails shooter, easily a top 10 Nintendo 64 game, and a distinguished member of Nintendo's canon of classics. Its lack of broader notoriety is no knock whatsoever against its sheer level of quality and incredibly distinctive presentation.

    2. Star Fox 64 isn't really an obstacle course game. Things are occasionally put in your way, but there's almost always plenty of room to move. I recall hitting passing enemies way more often than parts of the map. The art style is also very clean and well defined, making both enemies and obstacles very prominent.

  • Question for @Capnbobamous

    How do you feel about the ships’ controls when the game asks you to be as stealthily moving as possible? One area that I had trouble with was one where you need to make as little sound as possible, but if you do make noise you basically need to restart the whole day over.

    Question for @Oscillator

    How do you feel Star Fox 64 stands against its predecessor (official) in Star Fox on the SNES besides the better graphics of course?

    Question for @ffff0
    Do you think the core tenants of Forza Horizon 5 are the best, as a whole, in the series?

    Question for @Brannox
    How do you feel about the level of difficulty ramping up through the game? Do you think it paces out well in that regard?

    Question for @DIPSET
    Does the gameplay evolve enough throughout the game in the way it handles stealth, or is it just sort of the same way to handle each situation?

  • This post is deleted!

  • Also, I am gonna try and answer my questions, as of right now, by tonight! As I'm going on a trip tomorrow and might not have ample enough time!

  • @bruno_saurus said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2022):

    Question for @Oscillator

    How do you feel Star Fox 64 stands against its predecessor (official) in Star Fox on the SNES besides the better graphics of course?

    I wouldn't say it's better graphics than it actually HAS graphics. :P Star Fox SNES is immensely primitive in comparison, with polygons you can just about count on both hands, painfully slow framerate, virtually no textures, gibberish for voices, and very basic gameplay. You shoot stuff, but you don't feel rewarded for it. Still, it's very impressive for the hardware, the ship and enemy designs are memorable, and the soundtrack is solid; it's a shame its themes weren't remixed for 64.

    Star Fox 64 is the full realization of what Star Fox SNES wanted to do. You actually feel like you're flying a space fighter rather than a distant, abstract representation.

  • Response to @bruno_saurus question about core tenants of Forza Horizon 5 being the best in the series.

    Sorry for my bad English, I don’t know what “tenants” mean in this context. I assumed it means “aspects”, but if I’m wrong, please correct me and I’ll re-answer this question.

    I’ve played only Forza Horizon 3, 4 and 5 and among those three the latest entry definitely feels the most polished and fun to play. I’m not an expert on racing games and I don’t have a driver license, so it hard for me to state something like “handling on mud is better here” or “track design is more competitive here”, but as a casual player I see no reasons to recommend any entry instead of Forza Horizon 5.

  • Questions for @Brannox :

    1. I haven't played Doom II in a very, very long time, so perhaps I just wasn't any good at it back then, but I feel like it was very difficult right off the bat, with just a couple waves of basic enemies making me desperate for health, and a larger enemy mowing me down mercilessly every time. Does Doom II ease you in or does it immediately assault you like I seem to remember?

    2. Have the pseudo-3D, heavily pixelated visuals harmed how it stands up against later entries in the genre, in particular id Software's very next major release, Quake?

  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

    Answer # 4


    @DIPSET regarding The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
    Do you think Escape From Butcher Bay languishes in the past two much to be any significant to the here and now?

    While I think history and context is really important in analyzing older games, I think Escape From Butcher Bay is still relevant today both historically and from a game design standpoint. In terms of the here and now, we live in an era of pretty quality licensed video games.

    I feel like ambitious licensed games like Riddick walked so Batman Arkham Asylum can run. I guess Escape From Butcher Bay isn't at the top of most gamers heads when we talk about modern gaming, but I think it definitely paved the way for Machine Games to be successful and significant mainstream AAA developer.


    Answer #5

    Is there anything from Butcher Bay that you feel today’s shooters could do with implementing?

    Escape With Butcher Bay was made with love and wasn't trend chasing. The game design compliments the source material to a tee. The premise of escaping from a prison compliments the film Pitch Black (the game used to be called Pitch Black FYI) where people needed to survive on an alien planet before all hell breaks loose. Take a core concept and go crazy with the game design.

    So if I have one takeaway, it's that not every shooter needs to worry about TTK and slide canceling. Riddick and it's contemporaries all had their own spin on the core gameplay being outside of just shooting. Riddick seamlessly blended stealth, melee, and gunplay.

    Modern games should really consider how hegemonized they've become with the same controls, same jump height, same ADS, same menu's. Devs should look to Escape From Butcher Bay and get creative with it and pave your own path.

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

    @Shoulderguy regarding X-COM: Enemy Unknown

    I suck at strategy games and I find many of them difficult to grasp and enjoy. How could you ease me into X-COM: Enemy Unknown without tuning out?

    Do you think X-COM: Enemy Unknown is largely overlooked for a great game?

    1.) I get that, I'm the same way but for fighting games. There are some strategy games like Total War that I'm hesitant to recommend to people who are new to the series. Though In my opinion, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of the friendliest to newcomers. I had never played an XCOM style game before this game and now I'm huge fan of them.

    2.) I don't think it's overlooked. When it released in 2012 it won many GOTY awards from different media outlets and received much praise from fans. Since that time, XCOM-like games have become more common. We have Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope releasing next month, Marvel's Midnight Suns releasing in December and there are more games in development. That style of strategy game existed before XCOM: Enemy Unknown but it's recognized by most people as the game that boosted their popularity.

  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

    Answer #6


    Question for @DIPSET
    Does the gameplay evolve enough throughout the game in the way it handles stealth, or is it just sort of the same way to handle each situation?

    Without getting into spoiler territory, let's just say your stealth abilities dramatically improve in Act II after your escape kicks into gear. This means the Intro / Act I plays similar, but your power as a player has some limitations which get easier later on.

    I'd say the game pace overall sort of fluctuates what you're doing. If I had to pick ONE easy way of describing the game, think of it like an action-adventure. In, say, Uncharted, you aren't always in gunfights. Sometimes you are walking and talking, sometimes you're sneaking around, sometimes you are climbing. Escape From Butcher Bay is like that.

    Some of the stealth is Point A --> Point B sneaking around going from shadows and ledges above enemies or platforming around (kinda like Splinter Cell), but sometimes the stealth is active combat where you're closing the gap and trying to shank a guard in the back of his neck and dragging the bodies into shadows.

    Sometimes the Point A --> Point B has a lot of verticality and sometimes it's has seriously deadly mech suit guards all in a confined space on the same floor as you and sneaking is a tight squeeze.

  • @ffff0 regarding FORZA HORIZON 5

    I read your answer to @JDINCINERATOR so I hate to double down on this, but FH4 was my first Forza Horizon game in 2018. I put in around 40ish hours before moving on and completed a lot of the activities. Since you brough FH5, I figured I'd finally give it a try and I put a few hours in so far. And I have to say, I feel like I'm playing the exact same game that I played as recently as 2 years ago with no deviation.

    So my question is this - YOU are in charge for making Forza Horizon 6. What needs to be added or changed to make the series stay fresh?

    We need to get a racing game into our Hall of Greats and FH5 is genuinely a great candidate but I want to compare it to other potential great's as well. If we go back to the original racing festival video game series, Motorstorm, there is a distinct attention to thrilling track design. In FH5, the circuits are small and samey. The rally style tracks take place in the same open world that you drive around normally, but this time there are a few flag marker checkpoints. Nothing is bespoke.

    So my question is this - Is the lack of great or even good track design not a major knock against Forza Horizon 5? If not, what qualities do you think the game brings to table to nullify this shortcoming?



    @Brannox regarding DOOM II

    So I need to preface this by letting people know that if they have any questions about newcomers to DOOM II, I only played DOOM II for the first time in my life this weekend. It's my first DOOM game in the OG series and I am completely blown away by it. I have had more fun in the first hour of DOOM II than I did for the entirety of DOOM 2016. [RHETORICAL] Why do people not talk about OG DOOM series enough?! Haha

    I told some friends how I finally tried DOOM II and how blown away I was and they asked me which version I was playing. In which I replied, "Dunno — whatever is on Game Pass". In which they said, "The PSX version is way better and has a completely different tone, atmosphere, and music"

    So I looked up the PSX music and I was pretty shocked at how different it is. It makes the version I was playing feel cartoony and whimsical by comparison.

    So my question is this - Do the distinctions in the various versions of DOOM II make it hard to discuss the game as one whole? I ask because it seems like different people had dramatically different experiences with the same game.

    Tell me about the modding in DOOM II. On cursory research, it seems like this game has had community support for the entirety of my life. Some of these mods looks nuts. How does it impact your personal experience with the game?


    Thanks to both of you!

  • FYI I know there's a lot going on in this thread right now, so I'll make an aggregation of all of the questions and answers before the end of the day.

  • Answering @ffff0's Question regarding the Single-Take Camera

    I personally love the One-Shot Take. I can see where you’re coming from with performance wise, but another game in around the same time frame, Horizon Zero Dawn a game I love, load times were pretty long. At least in regards to God of War, when you do have those interstitial moments of traveling between realms, you have a tad more engagement with Mimir talking and you’re walking with Atreus. And the areas of Yggdrasil, the life tree are wonderful looking.

    At least as well you have areas you can go. To and from with these doors, which are loading screens, but you do get interesting conversations with Mimir which I do appreciate. And early on without Mimir, you have talks with Atreus to at least showcase some stuff without silence in the tree.

    It also brings you closer to Kratos and see the emotions he’s having through that closeness which I highly appreciate after the Greek Mythology saga!

  • Answering @Phbz questions regarding Atreus's mood change & Extra Worlds in regards to Cut Content

    While that moment is sort of sudden, narratively it still makes sense to me. He just learned that he’s part God, and we already know from previous context he gets “sick”, which seems to basically be just him going in a rage and blacking out, so there’s potential that he has of being rageful in the past. So him learning he's part God basically gets him to be non-caring about his own actions as if they have any consequence. Power hungry type of thing. So sure it could’ve been smoothed over a lot, but contextually it makes sense still even if it was intended to be a longer section.

    In regards to cut content with worlds like Musphelheim and Niflheim, these two realms I enjoyed how they varied exploration and combat in different ways. Musphelheim was basically the traditional God of War Trial of the Gods stuff that was optional in the Greek mythology games, just more directly in the game's story this time.

    Niflheim wise, it feels like a good puzzle area of death traps and trying to manage the mist and what areas you want to explore first. I recall it being confusing at times, but rewarding when you finish it all. They might’ve had set in stone what realms were in the game at the start, and we’ll cut stuff from there if needed (which obviously happened).

    In connection with your question about Atreus himself, they might’ve just wanted to have some more varied stuff in the entirety of the game. But I feel they’re valid to be there and in a Niflheim sense, you get context to show how ruthless Odin can be, in this case with Ivaldi!

  • Answering @Brannox's Questions Regarding Labors and Gear Layouts/Tactics

    While you do get a lot of XP from these, not all of them are combat based. Some are exploration based encouraging you to find Myths, Armor, and such! Which adds to the lore you discover throughout the world. They can definitely be better integrated into Ragnarok, but at that initial glance, it can be seen as just busy work with the enemies. You do learn about the world and your enemies at least!

    I feel like the game justifies attempting to have the player switch loadouts and tactics. You might want to pair up your Talismans or Enchantments with what arrows you like with Atreus to maximize the effectiveness of those types of arrows. With Runics I love how they each look and they have different types of effects like freezing enemies or pushing them back.

    In fights against Travelers, you do just bash them with your axe or Blades, yes but it varies in ways in maneuvering. If a Traveler is holding up an orb, you better throw your axe at it or you’ll lose a lot of health. Or if a Traveler has a shield at its back, that presents more of a tactic change within just how you use your axe and Atreus as a tandem. Then, Ancients aren’t affected by your axe until you throw one of their projectiles back at them, so there’s variety at least there. However, yes the tactic is throw the projectile and then use your axe.

    Loadout wise think that’s just the choice of the player how deep they wanna dive into all of that. I think with the amount of great options it does give, that incentivizes myself enough to switch up some stuff leading into finishing the game.

  • Response to @DIPSET questions about what should be changed in Forza Horizon 6 and lack of great track design in Forza Horizon 5.

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to answer your first question, because I don’t feel like anything is lacking in Forza Horizon 5. I mean, I can name a few things that can be better, like character animations during mission introductions, but then I take those ideas back, because I realize that they will not improve the game (this is not a character-driven game, it’s a game about cars). I’m sure developers will come up with something interesting, but that’s why they are making games and I’m only playing them. And, by the way, initially I had similar “more of the same” feeling regarding Forza Horizon 5, but the game grew on me eventually.

    As for the lack of great tracks – yes, rooting routes in open-world environments require some compromises and games that feature actual racing tracks will always win in this regard. However dedicated tracks mean lesser number of tracks in the game, which means that you’ll be either done with the game relatively quickly, or you’ll be driving the same laps. This isn’t quality over quantity argument, this is just two different styles on racing games (like arcade racers and driving sims), and each style speaks to different audiences. I don’t think we should debate which style is more deserving to be in Hall of Greats, just like we didn’t debate whether we should have a JRPG or western-RPG. We picked both.

  • Apologies for the late responses, but now I've got some time. Onto it then:

    From @bruno_saurus regarding ramping up difficulty and it being paced well:

    Yes I do, because of a mixture of the weapons you're given (and when you get them), the types of enemies you go against (and the increasing amount), and the difficulty modes. In the first level, you go up against zombie soldiers and imps, but eventually, it progressively gives you more variety until a boss level. At which point, they're supposed to be the most challenging moments by introducing a unique looking and quite powerful creature, and if you best them, the following level or two is a step below as a means to give you an opportunity to regroup, before steadily ramping up again, all culminating with the Icon of Sin, which throws SO MANY demons at you (and they never stop respawning). Think of difficulty in numerical terms: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 7, 8, 9, and so on)

    From @Oscillator regarding difficulty right at the start:

    This kind of ties into my answer to @bruno_saurus above, but unless you pick one of the highest difficulty levels, the first few levels are quite nice in giving you a manageable amount of demons and plenty of ammo to take them down. As I said in my presentation, the first room gives you just two enemies, the hallway has one or two more, the room to the left has an additional two, and the large room has about four (and the exit room has one final imp dependent on your chosen difficulty). The next level has quite a few more enemies, but not any different types, so it's a progression.

    From @Oscillator regarding it's visuals harming it and it standing up to modern games and contemporaries:

    Absolutely I believe it stands up today, but that comes down to the caveat of 1.) All art is subjective and 2.) Different art design showcases different preferences of different people. To use your example of Quake, I only played that for the first time in the last year or two, and I really enjoy it's design of more modern architecture and external environments. But even still, the demonic style of DOOM is more my jam, especially considering (for me), I never struggle in discerning what I'm looking at. I can tell what kind of enemy is on screen, what kind of texture is on a wall, what kind of weapon is on the ground, etc., all with a glance, as opposed to taking a second of looking at the screen and thinking, "What in the world is... Oooohhh." I had a time or two in Quake. DOOM as a whole also stands out because of its ability to be played on practically anything with a screen (more on that in my answer to @DIPSET below), and it's really easy to know what your looking at. Overall one of DOOM II's defining qualities is how it looks to the point of being iconic.

    From @DIPSET regarding distinctions between different versions (ports?) of DOOM II:

    Potentially, because unlike the first DOOM where I know of many versions (OG DOOM, Brutal DOOM, Ultimate DOOM, etc.), I only know of the OG PC version, which I thought was the version ported to 360, and that's what I've been referencing (Not the DOOM 3 BFG Edition or the version in DOOM: Eternal). To the point I didn't know of the PSX version. HOWEVER, I don't think it really takes away from any version, nor does it make it difficult to discuss, because it's practically the same levels/enemies/weapons/etc. All that said, the fact you say it blew you away and had so much fun... I don't need it to be nominated to begin with, but I'm even more OK with it not getting in now (and would be fine with a ban) because it fills me with so much joy to know one person gave a game I love a shot and found value in it. And if you find a way to give the PSX version a shot and prefer to it to the Game Pass version, then fantastic.

    From @DIPSET regarding about the modding community:

    Modding and UGC has been a massive reason why it's endured for so long. The ability for people to create their own stuff on such a simple but immensely satisfying gameplay loop has been a hallmark of the DOOM community and id has leaned into it HARD. When they rebooted the series and opened Bethesda's first ever E3 press conference (my personal favorite presentation of Bethesda's by the by), there's a reason they spent a third of their slot on SnapMap. Because the ability to open up creation tools to the community can provide endless replay value. But back to DOOM II. Personally: I've always played on my 360 (that I remember. My Dad says the first two DOOMs and Wolfenstein 3D were my first games but I highly doubt that), so for not playing on PC, I personally haven't had the experience with mods, but the knowledge PC players have that option and opening up a whole new world of possibilities further showcases how much of an excellent game it is. And DOOM is FAMOUS of being up on EVERYTHING: Printers, graphic calculators, refrigerators, and even PREGNANCY TESTS for God's sake. So many modders out there are way too creative. Or have way too much time on their hands. Or both. Yeah. Both.

  • Okay folks, here is an aggregation of all of the questions and answers. I have updated the original post to include this as well for ease of access, and I will continue to update that throughout the week as necessary. If there are any mistakes here, let me know.

    Forza Horizon 5

    God of War (2018)


    What Remains of Edith Finch

    The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown

    Outer Wilds

    Star Fox 64

    I also plan on responding to questions tomorrow, as well as formulating my own.

  • I honestly don't know how I can be expected to choose a top 3 games. You all did a sublime job of presenting the games you brought-makes me wish I can enter them all into the Hall of Greats. I really enjoyed what you all contributed and the fact this edition is packed with 8 panelists-this is one juicy Hall of Greats indeed. I did tell @Capnbobamous that if there are more panelists then the cross-examination period could be extended, and perhaps the presentation period too. Anyway once again, hats off to every single one of you who presented.