The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (January 2023)

  • Response to @JDINCINERATOR regarding changes in Apex Legends since launch and depth of its characters.

    This will also be a very long response, sorry about that.

    There are lot’s of changes in many different areas, and depending on your interests some may feel more important than others. So let me run through the most significant ones (in my opinion).

    At launch there were 8 Legends and one map, now we have 23 characters, 5 Battle Royale maps and several maps used exclusively in other modes. This may seem like just a number increase, but new maps and new Legends bring significant changes to how you play the game. For example, Storm Point map has PvE areas where you can hunt monsters for loot (or be harassed by them if you passing through) – and it is the only map with such gameplay element. Or addition of Valkyrie to the roster completely changed existing maps as now you can fly over the mountains instead of having to go around them. My favorite Legends and maps are all post-launch additions, and you may easily find something that speaks to you that wasn’t there in 2019.

    There are many changes and additions to game modes. Arenas, a mode where you fight against one team in multiple rounds, was introduced in 2021. Ranked Leagues were added in second half of 2019, but were significantly reworked last year, and those changes enticed me to give this mode a try. New limited-time modes are added each year and at this very moment you can play Control, which is about capturing and holding three zones to earn points. I’ve played it past weekend with folks who don’t play Apex Legends – they loved the mode and thanked me for suggesting playing it. Custom lobbies are also now publicly available, so if you have a lot of friends, you can organize your own private match or a tournament.

    Lot’s of quality of life improvements that may be insignificant on their own but together make for much better experience. Cross-play was added in late 2020. You can reconnect to a match now if your game crashes or your internet stops working for a moment, which wasn’t possible at launch. Last year a lot of new types of combat-related voice lines were added, so battling as a team without voice chat is even easier now.

    For me personally, the most important improvement are character’s stories and interactions. At launch all Legends weren’t very far from stereotypes (which was done intentionally to not overwhelm players of a brand-new game), but with each new season writers were adding more and more layers, so when I jumped into the game in 2021 I’ve discovered a rich world with fully fleshed characters that have attitudes, relationships, fears, who speaks differently depending on whom they talking to. At that time, I wasn’t a multiplayer gamer, I was even convinced that playing against AI is more fun than playing against real people, and I didn’t expect to play Apex Legends for more than one evening (I was just killing time waiting for a new single-player game release). But the narrative grabbed me, I fell in love with the cast and the world and kept playing just for the story. And as I did, I slowly discovered all those things that make PvP games so enticing for so many players, and started to appreciate them too. The lack of such storytelling was the reason why I stopped playing in 2019, and the riches of game’s narrative is the reason why I can’t stop playing it now.

    Which brings us to your second question about the depth of diverse Apex Legends’ cast. First of all, characters aren’t added to the game to check some boxes on a “diversity list” and their origins, genders, sexualities, etc. are presented with a lot of care and sincerity. I’m a straight white guy and surely miss a lot of nuances, but even for me it’s obvious that writers do a lot of research and talk to a lot of people to make sure that they do it right and go beyond the surface. For example, the newest Legend – Catalyst – is a trans woman. There’s a loading screen in the game that comes with a log of her chat with her friends, and in this log she is referred as “he” because this dialog took place before her transition. A small detail but it shows that everyone has a history that shaped them into who they are today.

    Secondly, character’s diversity is only one aspect of who they are and only one of the reasons they have certain relationships. I’ll give you one example to illustrate that: Loba and Valkyrie. Loba is bi-sexual lady and Valkyrie is a lesbian woman, and they currently have very close relationships. Is this in the game just for the sake of having lesbian lovers? Absolutely not.

    Loba’s parents were killed by Revenant when she was a child, and she wanted to avenge them ever since. Years later she discovered a way to kill Revenant for good (he is a simulacrum and his consciousness jumps to another body when his current is destroyed). But right before the opportunity arrived, she learned that he is suffering and wishes to die. So instead of killing Revenant, Loba got rid of the only thing that can destroy him, so that he would keep suffering like she did.

    Valkyrie’s farther was a mercenary and died when she was a child. For years she wanted to avenge him by killing the commander of his unit. But when she met the man and talked to him, she realize that pulling the trigger will make vengeance the defining action of her life, which is not whom her farther wanted her to be. The knowledge that she could was enough for her and she began to live for herself and joined Apex Games.

    The two ladies met and their similar past helped them to bond. Loba kept her distance however as Revenant promised to kill everyone she loves for what she did to him. It took a lot of effort for Valkyrie to ease Loba’s mind and convince her to think about herself instead of the murderer of her parents. They got close, yet Loba was still occupied by the shadow behind her back, making both her and the person who loved her to suffer. Valkyrie tried, but eventually realized that she can’t take it anymore, so she decided to make a deal with the devil – Revenant – behind Loba’s back. And this is where we are now.

    Loba’s and Valkyrie’s relationship is much more that “lesbian lovers”. It’s a story of two women, who were on similar paths and made opposite choices at the most crucial moment. It a tale of revenge and how it can slowly destroy you from inside unless you let it go. It’s about how far we can go for the loved ones and how can we lose ourselves in the process. Yet it also a saga of hope, of how two tortured souls can find piece and support each other though the darkest of times. This is very deep and very emotional narrative, and I literally have tears in my eyes as I’m writing this. And this is just one story of many.

  • Response to @Oscillator regarding what makes Apex Legends its own thing.

    We all have tendencies to categorize things by their looks and put new into familiar boxes. Sometimes this is warranted, as some games are indeed following the footsteps of their predecessors. But sometimes looks can be deceiving and once you play the game you realize that it stands on its own. Apex Legends is without doubt of a second type, it’s a game that is not just is its own thing, but is its own kind of things. And this is the reason why its player base keeps growing and why this game thrives, while many others were relegated to history books, including such juggernaut names like Battlefield V's Firestorm.

    Let’s start with the most obvious comparisons – other popular battle-royale games. Apex Legends is the only one that puts team in the front and center, while Fortnite, Warzone, PUBG and others are designed for solos. Yes, they have modes for duos, trios and four players, but those games are not designed around those modes. For example, in Warzone you go to Gulag when you die, where you fight for your life on your own and earn second chance all by yourself. You may then respawn near your comrades, but you still be just a bunch of solo players who happen to have a voice chat. Fortnite copied respawn mechanic from Apex Legends (as well as many other things, like sliding downhill), but it still remained a game designed for solos, which is proven by the fact that Fortnite e-sport events are for individual players, not for the teams. I’m not saying that you can’t play other battle royale games with your friends and have fun – you absolutely can, but if you want to not just hang together, but be rewarded for playing as a well-oiled team, you should really consider playing Apex Legends.

    It's a bit harder for me to compare Apex Legends to other character-based games as I barely played anything else, and a single play session doesn’t give you a good idea of what game is offering. But what immediately stood out to me is that in Apex Legends is that characters talk differently depending on whom they are interacting with. There are voice lines that you’ll hear only when one particular Legends revives another particular Legend, or when one specific character thanks another specific character for provided loot. Overwatch has many different heroes, but when I played the game, it felt like everyone exist in their own bubbles, like character's dialogs are there only for gameplay purposes. In Apex Legends characters and not just collection of skins and gameplay mechanics – they are fleshed out people that inhabit the same place, have a history and react accordingly to each other both when they are on the same team and on the opposite sides (for example, Bangalore and Newcastle are siblings and there is unique animation and dialog when he finishes her).

    Another differentiating aspect of Apex Legends is movement and mobility. Maybe only Doom Slayer and Faith from Mirror’s Edge can keep up with Legends as they easily climb on building’s roofs, jump across wide gaps and drop down from tall structures without taking any fall damage. Most other games feel slow, even sluggish in comparison – when I’ve played Overwatch 2 I was questioning why it has jump mechanic if even small fences are unsurpassable obstacles.

    You’ve also mentioned the gunplay of Destiny and those are two very different shooters. In Destiny guns have levels that define their performances, so unless you at the right level you’ll either obliterate everyone or be stuck until you’ll realize that it’s time for another grind. In Apex Legends guns are just guns, and there are no better versions of the same gun – attachments can improve handling, give you better optic or magazine, but they will not change bullet’s damage. You have a gun – you have a chance to win, simple as that. Of course, there are shooters with similar weapon systems, but gunplay is the fundamental of the genre, so both on mechanical and tactical levels you can’t change much without becoming Borderlands. The important thing is whether guns feel good to shoot from and in Apex Legends they absolutely do.

    As for art style – this is an incredibly subjective thing, and what looks distinct for some may feel similar to others. So, the only thing I will say here is that Apex Legends’ art style finds perfect balance between being functional and pretty. When I play the game, I have no problem with identifying important elements of my surroundings, like cover and flanking opportunities. When I watch the VOD, I see decorations and environmental details that clearly communicate what was the purpose of this place before it was given to the Apex Games. Was it possible to make each game’s environment look more unique? Probably, but I bet that it would made them harder to play in, so developers made the right call here.

    To summarize, you can absolutely find similarities with other games for each of Apex Legends’ aspects, which may be the reason why game’s footage looks familiar. But a game doesn’t need to assign jumping to unexpected button to be unique as the sum is much more important than individual components. This is hard to show in a short video – you need to play the game yourself or listen to someone you trust. Hopefully, I was convincing enough, and you will take my opinion into consideration.

  • Many apologies for this wall of a post.

    Answering @JDINCINERATOR's question on detractors to the crafting and how to make it more appealing:

    Crafting is a mechanic that I don't see utilized as much (or perhaps it is, but with the games I play/follow/listen about, crafting isn't brought up), and it's a nuance that goes underappreciated. Having to make sure you have the necessary materials to make first-aid kits, shivs, molotovs, and so on puts you in control of how prepared you want to be. Technically you don't HAVE to craft. If you're good enough, you can get by without it. However, I personally feel it feeds into the gameplay loop quite well, because you have to search for very limited ammo and/or weapon parts to make your firearms more powerful, so you're already looking for stuff to begin with. Expanding upon that, having different recipes leveraging the same ingredients gives you pause on what to use. Let's look at two of the examples I provided a second ago: First-Aid kits and Molotovs. They both use alcohol and rags, but one heals you, the other: an offensive area-of-effect attack (that's quite loud I should add). But in that world, rags and alcohol are limited (especially the higher you go on difficulty, the scarcer the supplies), so you have to decide what you value more and what the situation dictates. On top of that, making sure you're in a spot where you can craft to begin with is vital, since it's done in real time. No hard-stop cut to a pause menu to pick your options. Are there still patrolling infected and Clickers? Well you need to hide or stealthily clear out some of the enemies without relying on your equipment, because it's quite frightening as you're deciding what you need when you hear a scream right next to you as you're discovered, interrupting you, causing a commotion, and bringing all kinds of hell upon you. This makes things more believable and engaging, requiring you to always be aware: Of your surroundings, of your supplies, of your strategies.

    Answering @JDINCINERATOR's question on the familiarity of inspirations and other similar games/movies/books/works of fiction:

    Personally, not at all, because aside from Uncharted, I've never experienced any of the examples you gave. Objectively, it would be folly to say the Last of Us is truly unique across any medium before or since. So much out there draws inspiration from something, and The Last of Us is no different. Now, because I have no reference of The Road, never cared to look into The Walking Dead, nor thought about Uncharted when playing The Last of Us (I think the differences far outnumber the similarities), I can't say how close to/far off The Last of Us is from these examples. And conversely, I will not rule out seeing something for the first time (be it a new IP or any of your examples) and think, "Huh, this is like The Last of Us." Ultimately, it comes down to each person's own experience to similar media prior to experiencing the game (or hell, now I can say even the TV show). While I can't say there's a familiarity to those (and other) franchises when I play, I can only speak for me and my interests (and like thereof), whereas using yourself (and PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong) going off your examples, it may be derivative of other things, but that doesn't really mean it's any worse or better, because it's its own thing, and it's critical, commercial, and cross media success speak to that.

    Answering @Oscillator on if The Last of Us is a glorified movie, prioritizing narrative over gameplay lacking complexity/player agency:

    While The Last of Us does stand alongside Uncharted, God of War, Horizon, and others in being Sony first party games with excellent stories, I push back on The Last of Us having a lack of player agency (and I would point out the likes of Horizon, Spider-Man, and modern God of War are not simply following a path with little else as they have large open worlds/zones with many side-quests/activities, but that's another discussion, for another time, in possibly another thread). Looking above to one of my answers to @JDINCINERATOR, I demonstrated above how the crafting system gives you the tools to equip yourself with what you want/need from weapons and healing and it's up to you if you want to kit yourself out or ignore it. Beyond that, in an answer I gave to @ffff0, I touched on several areas in the game where, you can just get from point A to B if you want to, but doing so causes you to miss crucial items from weapon parts to ammo, Supplements to optional conversations, and even collectibles like world building notes, comics, and caches like stuck Shiv doors and safes. Again, bypassing these is NOT recommended, both in terms of gameplay (making sure you're prepared for any situation) and world building (learning more about Ellie and her view of the world), but you have the choice.

    To go even further on an aspect I haven't touched on too much yet is the combat: Stealth is the way to go, because doing so allows you to make sure you're not burning through ammo while making sure you keep yourself healthy. But if you're the type to walk out into a space at the start of a combat encounter and just open fire at the first target you see like an announcement of, "Alright chumps! Come get you some!" then hey, all the more power (and best of luck) to you. The only other thing about linearity is the more frequent level design and while I JUST referenced things like Bill's Town, I do concede there are quite a few segments (the entirety of Boston, Jackson, and Salt Lake City for example) where the paths are many literal corridors, but other places like the University, the Lake Resort, and even some segments of Pittsburgh do have some variety in how you can get through them. But still, as a whole, I'm not thinking about those things as I'm focusing on the enemies and how to get past them.

    Answering @Oscillator how dismal/depressing the narrative is, and if there's ever any hope:

    There's absolutely shades of both, going from the former to the latter. I would say there are three main narrative beats that provide the sense of defeat and a "WTF?!?!" reaction (And because this is cross examination, I feel spoilers are fair game): The opening prologue with the loss of Sarah, the deaths of the brothers Henry and Sam at the radio tower, and Joel murdering Marlene. They serve as reminders, that that world is harsh and dreary, but they sharply contrast excellently with all the light-hearted moments in between. Finding aforementioned collectible comics, and getting to hear Ellie's excitement of wanting to know that story's conclusion. Listening to Ellie through optional conversations as you gain a look through her eyes of the world from a weathered teen movie poster, a long-defunct arcade cabinet, listening to her crack some pretty awful (great) puns, and of course perhaps the most famous scene of the entire game: petting the giraffe, and spending as long as you want staring out at a group of them as they feed on some far trees and walk away. One of the most beautiful things about that moment is it's entirely up to you on how long you want to sit there (tying it back to your first question). Walk up to the ledge, press Triangle, and set the controller down for as long as you like. Soaking in the beauty, and contemplating what you've experienced.

    Which, to that end, the giraffe moment comes right after the showdown with David in the burning steakhouse after some implied AWFUL things David was trying to do, and Ellie absolutely going ape-shit on his face with a machete. In the moment Joel finally reunites her to snap her out of the blood-rage of surviving a horrific experience. I bring this up because you hear Joel call Ellie "baby girl" which comes after such a long journey of growing closer to her and seeing her as a surrogate daughter, as opposed to when they first met when he wanted nothing to do with her. In Ellie, Joel sees a hope to start over: To be a father once more that was robbed from him decades prior. Which brings me back to that moment at the end with Marlene. He dooms the human race (a quite depressing concept), for his selfish hope of not losing someone he grew to love.

    And this ENTIRE time, in both presentation and all the answers I've given so far, I haven't even touched on Left Behind. It's provided completely free as part of the Part I package on PS5, and that short DLC segment is a wonderful microcosm of your question: In the main game, when playing as Ellie, you can open her backpack and take out a Firefly dog tag with her friend Riley's name and get a "I miss you." (Entirely missable by the way) And in the very last cutscene when Ellie is confronting Joel about his decision, she brings up Riley's death as not having any meaning, where Ellie's would have been. In Left Behind (if you played the main game first), you already know Riley's going to die, but the ENTIRE DLC when you're in the flashback sequences up until the very last scene is all about to 14 year old girls finding fun in an abandoned shopping mall and having a good time with another for one last night. Taking silly pictures in a photo booth, riding a merry-go-round, discovering Ellie's love of her pun book, wandering around a Halloween shop trying on different masks and talking about different spooky decorations, having the arcade fighting sequence, the brick throwing contest, and the water gun fight ALL show a sense of joy and companionship excellently written and acted, making you temporarily forget the cruel world you're in, and the inevitability that's to come.

    In short, yes, on its surface, The Last of Us is quite a dreary game, and the biggest plot points are tragic in nature (and as a result stand out more), but all the quiet moments and conversations in between truly shine with their implementation, thus endearing the characters and their story.

    Again, sincerest apologies for how long this got. Many heartfelt and immense thanks for reading if you did.

  • Second question for @Brannox about an The Last of Us Part I.

    In your responses to questions you advocate a lot for the gameplay of The Last of Us Part I. So how do you feel about the fact that this version of the game is missing a huge portion of gameplay that is beloved by many – the multiplayer? And in general, do you agree that it’s a problem that The Last of Us has no definitive version and you will not have the best possible experience no matter which edition you’ll buy?

  • @oscillator In response to Rayman: Legends

    Rayman: Legends is a crazy evolution of what Origins brought to the Rayman franchise. Legends looks marvelous and a is a beautiful visual and artistic upgrade to Origins, but it's also far more exciting and ambitious than Origins was. Go and compare how they both look and witness how ravishing Legends is-it's so gorgeous looking. I feel Origins looks flat next to the liveliness and energy blossoming through Legends-the difference is quite spectacular.

    The platforming gameplay meanwhile, is leaps and bounds ahead of what Origins had to offer, because you bound forward with breakneck momentum and the calamity that can ensue will make levels a thrilling rush to complete. Origins was comparatively slower, even though it still managed to generate some wonderful segments of platforming.

    In Origins there was only a map screen to choose the levels you want to bop your way through, but it Legends you are greeted by this lavish art gallery with many paintings representing the levels and challenges in the game. It's a huge evolution from what Origins did, making navigation more pleasurable and whimsical and not so threadbare and bland like Origins menu navigation was.

    Legends has a wealth of content that Origins can't match. There are so many challenges, teensies to collect and co-op mischievousness to revel in, that Origins is lightweight by comparison. Legends keeps on giving and giving, that's where its strength over Origins truly shines. Oh and you can play Origins levels in Legends too!

    So to wrap it up, Legends has plenty more to offer, looks grander and is more ambitious than Origins was. Origins is a lovely game, but Legends is bursting with content and excellency in platforming level design that I think makes it the superior game.

  • Answering @ffff0 regarding the lack of Factions in this version of the game.

    I actually do not agree there's a lack of a definitive version, for either mode. What I've nominated is the definitive version of the main campaign, as it has updates and improvements the original and Remastered do not have. As far as the multiplayer, the definitive version is coming. If Naughty Dog is to be believed, we'll see/hear about the multiplayer project at some point this year, so that will be its own stand-alone experience for those who have been craving the multiplayer. As someone who has not (and will not) touch the multiplayer, I argue it's a good thing both are their own separate games. And while I would argue the majority who play The Last of Us do so for the main game proper (though I lack quantifiable metrics to support this assumption), the stand-alone multiplayer game will be there for those who are looking for that experience, while those like me can simply choose to not engage with it.

    In summary: The Last of Us Part I via PS5 is the best possible experience for the single player. The coming multiplayer game will be the best possible experience for said multiplayer suite.

  • Just wanted to say that everyone brought excellent games and made strong cases for them. I feel like I will need to re-read every post in this thread to figure out how to vote. GGs!

  • Can I answer someones question as a bystander? I want to hop in so bad on one response haha.

    Nice work everyone. Two of these games are all time classics for me. You all know my #1. I was going to partake but I really didn't have time to make a presentation as I didn't prep ahead.

  • @dipset I knew we were missing one of the key ingredients to this panel.

  • Response to @Brannox and @ffff0 regarding the length of the game.

    I love the fact that Portal's average runtime is under four hours. I play many games and some of them are way longer than they need to be.

    Games like Portal that start, take a little of your time and finish strong are really refreshing. You get a perfect experience without having to spend extra hours doing repetitive side content in order to see the best parts of the game. Portal gives you it's best, without any added filler content. So the shorter runtime isn't a bad thing in this case.

    There's also a modding community that has created some great stuff for those who want more Portal. Some of these mods are practically their own games and are worth checking out.

    Response to @Brannox regarding replayability.

    It's true that Portal doesn't have much replay value after you finish the game. I don't think this is a problem specific to Portal, it's just the way puzzle games are made. Maybe more random elements would've helped but I believe it would also hurt the overall quality of the game. I wouldn't want to sacrifice any of the aspects that make it special only to make it more replayable.

    Response to @JDINCINERATOR regarding The Orange Box.

    I purchased The Orange Box mostly for the Half-Life games so playing Portal was an afterthought for me. Then after playing Portal I was completely blown away by it. I'm not even a big puzzle game guy but it was easily my favorite game in the collection.

    It's possible that Portal not being the main draw of the collection worked to it's benefit. A short new IP puzzle game with little buzz around it at launch probably would've had trouble finding it's audience but The Orange Box allowed it to reach that audience.

    Although it's a well-regarded collection, Portal is the standout game that received the most praise from critics and it's the only one of those games to receive a follow-up sequel. It may have been an afterthought at release but that's definitely changed now.

    Response to @JDINCINERATOR and @Oscillator regarding the visuals and art style.

    The visuals and art style of Portal do a great job to help tell the story. This game doesn't use traditional cut-scenes so the environmental storytelling has to be extra on point. The quiet, clean, clinical look of the test chambers try to hide what's really happening. The claustrophobic areas make you feel uneasy, and the office windows throughout the game make you feel like you're being watched.

    Eventually, you do start to see more of what's hidden and discover areas that are not meant for you to see. Those environments you traverse towards the end of the game are different and look amazing. It also gives you peek behind the curtains of the test chambers you've previously only seen from the inside.

    Also, The overall look of Portal may seem simple but I think it gives the game it's own distinct style.

  • I only have two questions, which are admittedly pretty late into the cross-examination phase so if you are unable to answer them in time, I understand. Was much busier this week than I anticipated, so that's on me. I will answer questions posed to me in a few hours.

    Question for @ffff0:

    I understand that the game is season based, so my question is how do the characters grow and change from season to season? In other words, are there characters who have changed and grown significantly since the game first came out? Have there been any legitimate character arcs, ongoing or otherwise?

    Question for @Shoulderguy:

    I think Portal 2 is one of the greatest games of all time, and yet when I play the first game I find that its scope is severely limited when compared to 2. The second game takes everything the first Portal does and makes it grander and more expansive. Why do you feel like this game is worthy of being entered into the Hall of Greats over its successor?

  • Response to @Capnbobamous regarding character’s growth and stories evolutions from season to season.

    Character’s arcs do evolve from season to season and this story progression is one of the main reasons why I’m playing this game month after month. Firstly, each season introduces new character whose personality or background collides with many members of existing cast. Their interactions often show familiar characters from a different angle or help them realize something about themselves or others. For example, last season Vantage joined the roster. She is a young girl who grew up with her mother on deserted planet, so her social skills are almost non-existent. Her blunt questions and direct observatory comments when she talked with Fuse and Bloodhound helped them realize that both want to be more than just friends but were scared to take the next step first.

    Besides interactions with the newest Legend, many existing storylines and character relationships are also progressing with each new season. For example, Wraith was in the game since launch and her past was a mystery even to her. During season 2 we’ve learned that voices in her head that warns her about the danger are actually other Wraiths from different dimensions. In season 5 she was unwillingly enlisted as group’s way into other dimensions where most of the cast was looking for an artifact that can kill Revenant, and in season 6 other Legends helped her to learn a few things about her past. When season 8 started we’ve learned a lot about her first few days after she arrived in this dimension and how she was desperately trying to figure out who she is. During season 9 she and Bangalore (also in the game since launch) had an honest conversation that helped them to get over their animosity and agree to help each other. In season 12 she obtained evidence suggesting that Bangalore’s brother had died. She brough the news to Bangalore and were there to support her. In season 13 Bangalore’s brother was found to be alive, which also led Wraith to meeting someone who knew her real name. She also discovered that she was in charge of experiment that turned her into who she is today.

    Then I want to mention that some characters had story arcs even before they became playable Legends. For example, simulacrum Ash first appeared in Apex Legends in season 5 as a broken shell, whose head other Legends were assembling to get important intel from her memory. In season 6 she was staying with Pathfinder until Apex Games’ commissioner contacted her. In seasons 7 and 8 we’ve learned a lot about scientist Ashleigh Reid who lived almost 100 years earlier. In season 9 Ash became an overseer of Arenas, and through her interactions with Horizon it became obvious that she knows something about Horizon’s past. In season 10, Horizon cracked Ash’s mind and learned that when Ashleigh Reid was mortally wounded she agreed to transport her mind into simulacrum Ash, but the process caused the split of her personality and her “more evil” side took over. And in season 11 Ash had joined the roster.

    To answer your question about character’s growth – there are many characters who are not the same people we saw initially. Caustic was a sociopath running lethal experiments on human beings, but his continuous interactions with Wattson and his reunion with his mother pushed him significantly towards being humane. Wattson was found by other Legends when she was hiding beneath a table in despair – now she can take a stance and fight hard for what she believes in. It took many seasons for Bangalore to figure out that she is attracted to women, but now she knows. Crypto was paranoic and did everything himself, now he trusts Wattson with his live and relies heavily on her. And relationships change drastically too – Lifeline and Octane were friends since childhood, but their recent actions had burned that bridge.

    One last thing I want to say is that while many story arcs are ongoing, some do reach conclusions and lead to a brand-new narrative adventures. Pathfinder wanted to find out who created him and why since game’s launch – he learned everything in season 8 and is now looking for “his child” - another robot that was created from his spare parts. Bangalore wanted to find her brother and she did it in season 13, but the reunion wasn’t as happy as she hoped. Rampart’s weapon shop was burned down – for a while she had to operate from Mirage’s apartment, but in season 10 she opened up her own place. So while there is a lot of lore and you may not get all reasoning without reading a wiki if you jump into the game today, you will not be completely lost, and should be able to figure out "who is who" pretty quickly.

    To summarize, there are numerous legitimate character arcs both ongoing and completed, and characters and their relationships do evolve from season to season. Many people beg for Apex Legends anime not because they want to get more story, but because what’s already there will make an incredible TV series.

  • Alrighty here are my responses. For the sake of the aggregation list, I am going to answer them each in a separate post.

    Response to @Brannox’s Questions

    1. I think the sports work because they are part of a package deal. I don’t think they would necessarily cut it if they were sold separately. However, I don’t think they should have to. Wii Sports gives you five sports to choose from, each of which are very fun in different and unique ways. They don’t have to stand as individual games because they are designed to be part of a collection. It is that variety that allows Wii Sports to work so well. You’ll do a few rounds of baseball, have a blast, and then switch things up and give golf a shot. None of the sports could possibly overstay their welcome because you can always switch to a new sport, and with each sport comes a new challenge and a new way to have fun. So to answer your question, no they would not work if sold separately, however they make a wonderful game when packaged together.

    2. Wii Sports is a casual game through-and-through. It’s not really designed for three hour long gaming sessions, it’s more designed as something that is really easy to pick up and put down whenever you want, so whilst I understand complaints about it only having five sports, I think that fatigue you mentioned only comes from playing for advanced periods of time. In my opinion, five sports is perfectly adequate for what the game is trying to accomplish, and in fact I think adding more would have possibly lessened their quality. Take Wii Sports Resort, for example. Now, I enjoy Wii Sports Resort quite a bit, however it is bloated with too many sports, and as a result there are quite a few that are forgettable and uninteresting. Wii Sports completely avoids that issue by focusing solely on the five sports, making sure that each one is as fun as possible. Resort sees Nintendo’s attention getting spread too thin, whereas in the original they are able to devote all of their energies into making these five sports great. And they are great. Wii Sports is a smaller package, I admit, however it is because of that that it’s the perfect casual game.

  • Response to @ffff0’s Question

    Great question. I think Wii Sports has plenty to offer to a group of seasoned gamers, and I think it works pretty well as a solo game as well. I truly think Wii Sports can be fun for everybody. It is simple, yes, but it’s far from boring, and it offers an experience that can be just as enjoyable to a hardcore gamer as it is to a grandmother. One of the people that I often played the game with was my older brother, somebody who had been playing games for as long as he remembered. He and I would play it all the time, both of us being well familiar with video games and yet still having a blast with the game’s simple pleasures. So to answer your question, I think a group of seasoned gamers can have a blast with it. It’s just fun, plain and simple.

    As for playing by yourself, I often did that as well! The game’s mechanics are inherently fun regardless of whether or not you have somebody to play with, and I remember being adequately challenged by the AI as well. The game is certainly better with people, I won’t deny that, but it is plenty of fun if you want to tackle it solo. I’ve found that it can also be a very relaxing experience when played solo as well. The stakes are very low, there’s not a lot of buttons or anything like that to worry about, it’s frankly soothing.

  • Response to @JDINCINERATOR's Questions:

    1. Absolutely not. I see nothing wrong with offering games to a wider audience, and I think it’s rather beautiful that the game was able to bring in so many people who had never touched a game before. I fail to see how a longtime Nintendo fan could possibly have been impacted by this. I think games that appeal to more than the hardcore gamer should be applauded. Besides, it’s not as though Wii Sports ushered in a movement where games stopped appealing to gamers. I don’t think there has been another game since Wii Sports that has attracted such a casual crowd. There is a game for everybody, it just so happens that this game appealed to a wider demographic. Nothing wrong with that.

    2. I think I covered a lot of this in my answers to Brannox and ffff0, so I’ll offer a relatively quick response here. I think the game’s appeal is in its lack of complexity. You mention it as having not a lot of meat on its bones, but I think that kind of misses the point of the game. It’s not designed to be a large, expansive game, it’s just meant to be fun, and it is. It’s really fun. So you’re right in that it does not have a lot of mechanical complexity, but I think overcomplicating it would lessen its appeal. Sometimes you want to have a nice, casual game that does not require much of you, and Wii Sports offers just that. It has served as a party game for millions of families because of its simplicity. It has connected with millions upon millions of people for that very reason. For the single mom, who has come home after a long day of work and sought to relax with her kids, Wii Sports’ simplicity gave her that outlet. For the eight year old who seeks to play a video game with her older brother, one in which they are finally on a level playing field, Wii Sports is there. For the grandfather who wants to finally understand his grandson’s favorite hobby, Wii Sports gives him that opportunity. So yes, it’s simple, but it’s that simplicity that allows the game to work. I am a seasoned gamer, and yet there is something remarkable about Wii Sports’ purity. I am drawn to it in the same way the people I mentioned might be drawn to it. I love games that offer a lot of mechanical complexity, but I love that Wii Sports doesn’t. It works because it doesn’t.

  • Alright, it's been a week and so the Cross Examination phase is now over and it is time to DM me your votes! As a reminder, here are the rules you need to follow:

    1. Only those who brought a game can vote.
    2. You must choose your top 3 picks, with your first place game getting three points, second place getting two, and third place getting one.
    3. You may not vote for your own game

    I strongly encourage you to go back and look through everything before you make your decision, and I have updated the aggregation post in the main topic in order to make that easier for you. For the sake of transparency, I have also already voted to make sure I'm not influenced by your picks. I will reveal the winners after I have received all of the votes.

    A sincere thanks to all of you for participating, and I'll see you when I have your winners.

  • Hello everyone. Now that official parts are over, and you’ve submitted your votes I want to tell a story about creation of my presentation.

    I nominated Apex Legends at the very first of our Hall of Greats, and since it wasn’t dead last, I’ve decided to make another attempt sometime in the future. During last summer I’ve started entertaining idea of joining “Play with Us” tier on Patreon which meant that I would be also eligible for “Golden Voice”. I’ve began to think about possible usages of such privilege, and eventually it came to me: I will make a video presentation for Apex Legends for Hall of Greats and let Brandon narrate it. Initially I was planning to do this in spring of 2023, but then I’ve started to worry that I might miss the opportunity if Brandon will stop doing this, so at the very end of September I’ve decided to speed this up and target January’s Hall of Greats.

    “Golden Voice” works very similar to “Community Showcase” – you send your submission, and it gets voiced by the end of the month. You are not there during the recording and can’t provide any input or make any changes. Also my presentation required twice more than the word limit would allow so it would take me two months to get the VO. This meant that I would need to write and submit my script in early October, but I will get full VO only by December and I will not have time to for a second attempt. I never had to lock my scripts months in advance, and I never wrote a script for voice actors to read, so writing it was a completely new experience for me. And it wasn’t just about locking the script – I needed to decide that early on if I’ll be using any in-game voice-over, because those clips would consume my 5-minute budget leaving less room for Brandon’s VO. Plus, I could only guess how slow or fast he’ll read my lines, so I had to either write a script that has cut-able sections, or have another plan to fit everything in 5 minutes. I’ve decided to leave a bit of room (write less) and speed up voice track if that would not be enough (thankfully that was enough).

    At least the writing itself wasn’t that hard. My Apex Legends playtime was approaching 2000 hours mark and I could rely of my previous Hall of Greats submission to determine what I needed to talk about. There definitely was a challenge of how to say it however – I needed to convey my passion for this game though narrator’s voice without making it sound like the narrator is sharing his own experience. And I also needed to keep in mind that I will require to show some footage for every statement I make, some of which may be impossible to capture. Took me a week, but I’ve got the script which I was happy with.

    Then it was a waiting game. Well, not exactly - I knew that certain footage (like limited-time modes) is a missable opportunity, so I kept the script in my head as I was playing the game for fun or to capture clips for the next Community Showcase. I was also listening to game’s soundtrack to pick songs that will be the best fit for each segment (you may not suspect it, but Apex Legends has hours and hours of very good music). For introduction and innovations segments I’ve picked track called “Ascension”, since it’s the theme of the season which introduced Horizon, whose smartness made many lives so much better. Discussion of story and diversity would be accompanied by Loba’s theme, who is my favorite character and is also bisexual. For gameplay I’ve chosen “Boosted” from the season when Rampart was introduced, since she loves fighting. And final paragraph will be scored by “Legacy”, because what else can it be? I knew that no one would notice this, but my love for this game simply required to put that much care into its presentation.

    Then November came and I’ve got a royal present – Brandon said that he liked my script and decided to ignore word limits and read it all in one go. And he did incredible job voicing it. The very next weekend was spent entirely on audio editing. The VO itself wasn’t a problem but editing music to fit the VO it wasn’t written for turned out to be a nearly impossible challenge. Chosen tracks didn’t have loops, yet I needed them to become longer or shorter, grew in scale at the right moment all while keeping them sounding naturally. I’ve timed this after the fact – it took me 11 hours to do so. But I’ve managed to achieve what I was going for, or at least I hope I did. Go back and listen to my presentation and try to guess how many cuts music tracks have. The correct answer is 17, and if you were lower than that – I’m happy.

    The rest of November and most of December where also spent on playing the game and capturing footage. There were easy shots, like illustrations of ping system – I just needed to turn on subtitles and play for a couple of hours. There were lucky opportunities, like in-game tease of a new map that ends with a panoramic shot on a “welcome to the new home of the Apex Games” banner – perfect footage for the “and it’s absolutely deserving to enter Easy Allies forum’s Hall of Greats” finale. I’ve got help from Damiani – our play session gave me footage of assisting new players. And thanks to the large number of attempts, I’ve got combat footage where I’m not looking terrible. The only thing that was missing were the shots of playing in a tournament.

    When I was writing about tournaments in my script I wasn’t even thinking that I will be able to show my gameplay – I planned to use something from the recent world championship. I mean, who am I to dare to compete in the same lobby with truly amazing players. I knew of course that tournaments are not just for the top of the top – for example, PlayStation is running its own competition just for PS4 players – but it still felt like an unreachable thing. But the desire to close this last gap was there, so I’ve started to look for an opportunity.

    In December I’ve learned that one of ex-e-sport players is planning to run a tournament for her Twitch viewers. I’ve decided to apply. To my surprise I’ve got selected to participate. To my shock, I even played decently and thanks to having great teammates we’ve scored a victory in one of the matches and got fourth overall (I’ve also learned that it feels great when the caster says your name and “clutch” in the same sentence). Now I had all the footage I needed.

    January was video editing time. A couple of pick-up shots were required, but they were mostly of menus and took minimal effort. The editing itself was also straightforward as I’ve already assembled everything in my mind. Took me 10-15 hours to complete, but only because I wanted perfection and was spending a lot of time on 100ms adjustments.

    And once the video was rendered, I had my presentation. Was it victorious or not we shall see. But one thing is certain – I’ve put everything into making it and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.

  • @ffff0 Now that's passion. :-)

  • I must say at this point that I thought picking Rayman: Legends would bring some spice to the Hall of Greats. What I didn't know was the level of competition I'd be facing. It's like I went in to give a jet engine a kiss before it blew a fireball in my face-cos that's the sheer power of the competition I'm up against.