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Topic: The Nintendo Switch Thread

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Ralizah

Oh, I have hundreds of games on Steam, but I don't really count that, as an ever-growing Steam library seems almost like an inevitable law of nature. It's just what Steam accounts do, in the same way that disconnected wires, given time, will inevitably snake and tangle around one-another if they're close enough.

@NEStalgia Plenty of fantastic games don't have physical options, and plenty of terrible ones do. You're free to have your opinion, but that level of gatekeeping regarding what you consider to be "real games" doesn't seem to reflect the true nature of the industry today.

Of course, digital-only indies are usually low-budget affairs, but I've never been keen on measuring the worth of a game based on how expensive it was to produce.

Don't get me wrong: I get what you're saying. Being a long-time user of Steam, it's impossible not to have noticed how an enormous tide of low-effort shovelware and early access garbage has flooded the store. Games that only really exist to be played by YouTube LPers are a thing as well, and they make parsing out the legitimately good horror games on Steam difficult at times.

Ralizah

NEStalgia

@link3710 Ok, we'll exempt licensed/sports games from the mix. They're a different kind of special.

I don't disagree and that's where I was headed with "low budget games." Yoku, Brutale, definitely have "normal budgets". Normal through absurd budget seems to be one tier. Low budget another tier. Hyper Light Drifter and Celeste are among the very few exceptions of ultra-low budget bargain basement type games that turn out to be gems despite their problems. We'll have to disagree on Death Squared though. I got it for free and it feels overpriced

@Ralizah Again, perhaps the "retail" aspect blurred the real commentary, but at what point did we stop treating budget software as budget software. Occasionally that stuff had something that "went viral" (before that phrase existed) through word of mouth but was usually filler if you can't afford the quality stuff. Budget isn't always a guarantee, and you can't evaluate a game by it's budget, but an actual low budget offering is generally going to feel low budget. And yes, that includes the beloved Undertale. I get the IDEA of what the game wanted to do and what some liked about it. And with a proper budget it could have been amazing. But as is it feels and plays like a bargain basement reject of the lowest of budgets and I don't feel it deserves half the praise it gets. It's a garbage game with a great concept that was unfortunately not possible to realize properly with the available budget. Kind of like Zelda II (ducks).

NEStalgia

Ralizah

@NEStalgia Strongly disagree. Undertale's quirky vision didn't necessitate a large budget, and it's perfect the way it is. Throwing more money at it, if anything, would have made it worse, because unless you're some beloved auteur who gets his or her way all the time, lots of money comes with terms and conditions and committees and handlers and that sort of normie noise would have disrupted the singular vision of the game's creator.

Also, Undertale is a small-scope affair. Better graphics or whatever would have extended development time and pumped more effort into aspects of the game that aren't as important as its clever satirical writing and construction.

It's OK to not like Undertale, or low budget pixel art games, or whatever, but, in my opinion, it's an important addition to the industry and is twice the game that most cookie-cutter AAA titles are.

Regarding something as lesser because of the lack of money involved just comes off, as I said, as out-of-touch gatekeeping. You can still enjoy your big-budget games without solely worshiping at the altar of the mainstream.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

link3710

@NEStalgia I'm fine with disagreeing on Death Squared (and on Undertale). It's one of my favorite puzzle games, but I can see that it's not for everyone. But yeah, what Ralizah said made a lot of sense. Obviously the lower budget you go, the more clutter there will be trying to find the good games, but I think sometimes the experience they deliver is well worth the time. Generally speaking, a game made on a small budget like that needs to keep it's scope small (aka be short), to make the time you play worth it. And the other big thing about games with small budgets is they tend to have appeal to very specific audiences. So if the game does the one thing you really like (Death Squared is that for me), you'll find more enjoyment from it than a big name release, but that audience is typically tiny compared to a mainstream audience.

link3710

JaxonH

I agree indie games can be incredible, BUT, alot of good indie games still feel budget and cheap. Very rarely does a great indie game escape that feeling of "cheap budget game". But the ones that do... wow. Amazing

Unravel 2 escapes that feeling. It honestly feels on par with any full retail release, quality wise. Steamworld Dig 2 and Hollow Knight escape that feeling. Stuff like Undertale though... great game, no doubt, but it does not escape that feeling.

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NintendoByNature

Wow April is so packed. I've been eyeing Aggelos and it's dropping on April 25th

NintendoByNature

NEStalgia

@Ralizah Playing Undertale is like like watching Citizen Kane, if Citizen Kane was made entirely using sock puppets and subtitles. The base material and concept may be the best thing ever, but if the implementation is so poor and low budget it's continuously distracting, it doesn't really matter that it's the best written film of all time. If Undertale came out in 1987 we could fondly think upon it as amazing for its time, but limited by the technology of the era. Many would be for a modern remake. But it didn't release in 1987. It released in the 2010's. I find it impossible to forgive a product released at a particular time that doesn't maintain its standards for that particular time. Particularly not a technology product, which a game is. I won't argue the CONCEPT of the game and the writing, that was indeed great, but the actual implementation is just utterly horrible. It belongs on the App Store next to Angry Birds.

I disagree on your analysis though. Undertale is a game, not a short story or animated short. Perhaps it really wanted to be the latter. But it instead tried to be a game, and it should have lived up to that. It had graphics that barely cut it for a 1993 SNES game. It had a UI that really wouldn't even cut it for an SNES game. The result was a primitive outing that could have been better, deserved to be better, and was hampered because of it. Fortunately for the developer the pinky-up Venti Mocha Latte sipping internet gaming culture, ironically, accepted it. However I don't feel that's a good thing at large.

However you're falling into the fallacy that we're comparing budget games to AAA games again. Every such discussion on the internet degenerates into that. We're not comparing AAA games. We're comparing to games with a proper budget for making an acceptable working, looking, and playing game for 2019's overall trajectory, even if we pretend the AAA movie-style conglomerate movement never happened and follow on from where PSX development was back in 1997. Most of these "indie" games are subpar even for 22 years ago in overall quality/polish/budget. A product is either of sufficient quality for the standards of the era or it isn't. Low budget games are specifically lacking in that quality. We're not comparing to Assassin's Creed here. We're comparing to Ori, Steamworld, Bloodstained, Cuphead, Monster Boy, Banner Saga. Unraveled for that matter at the higher end.) Undertale...is not that. And it even has a retail release. With a collectors bundle. Though the other mentioned games except Unraveled and maybe Bloodstained do as well.)

I'd reverse your statement ad say it's ok to like Undertale and low budget pixel art games. Some people like supermarket brand cheese curls. But given their clear and obvious reduction in quality compared to even games a decade or more out of date, that it's damaging to the industry to not to properly label budget offerings as just that, and not dilute the output of those that have spent the proper time and resources developing higher quality products by going full hipster and pretending it's all the same, or even better. Again, we're not talking blockbuster $100M+ movie games.

Also, to be clear, hopefully all the sarcasm makes it through, I'm not attacking you. Most of the time I agree with most of your gaming opinions (controller choice aside) I'm making a general argument on the topic, nothing targeted negatively at you or your comments/opinions. And trying to keep it humorously sarcastic, as always.

P.S. Regarding undertale the sad thing is I should be the target audience. I love RPGs, I love great stories, and I love games all about the dialog in text boxes. But the production quality combined with even low budget gameplay was so distressingly obnoxious I found the writing unable to make up for the miserable game itself. I suffered through lengths of "gameplay" just to get to the next cutscene. It was like a Naughty Dog game, but with less fun gameplay.

Edit: @JaxonH gets it! ^^

Edited on by NEStalgia

NEStalgia

RedderRugfish

The thing I've never understood is how people can overlook bad, shallow gameplay if the story is good.

Undertale is arguably a mediocre game, loved mostly for its story/writing. But it's not a great story. It's not John Steinbeck. It's not JRR Tolkien. It's not Shakespeare. You can go to the library and easily find a book with a much better story than Undertale. One with more thought provoking text, one with better fleshed out characters, one that captures your imagination better, one where almost every other sentence has a deeper meaning than it appears at first read. And you won't have to deal with any of the tedious busywork that comes with playing a boring game.

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SamusLv7

@Magician Speaking of Metroid, there hasn't been known anything about MercuryStream right? Perhaps this year Nintendo would announce a 2D Metroid game to make up for the delay of Prime 4. It has been almost two years since Samus Returns and 2D Metroids aren't very long games, so they could have one planned for this year.

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link3710

@ReaderRagfish @NEStalgia Personally, I found the gameplay to be a breath of fresh air in the realm of JRPGs I was starting to be jaded by, and it didn't last long enough to outlive it's welcome. And I think that's the difference here, is that I found both the gameplay and story good enough to be worth playing through, despite the graphics.

In some ways, I'd say it was better than XC2. At least it respected my time and didn't take 10s of hours for the gameplay to start impressing me. Obviously it had plenty of shortcomings, and it definitely could have used a better budget (seriously, just look at how much better Deltarune feels and plays despite using the same aesthetic, it's not even funny.)

And yeah, sometimes a game can be played for it's story. Otherwise, why bother playing well... any Visual Novel out there. Certainly not the gameplay. Undertale told a story that resonated with certain people (myself included), and helped me through a difficult time in my life. And from what I've seen from other fans, it's that capacity the story had to resonate emotionally (even if from a technical standpoint the writing is clearly easily surpassed) is what got it as far as it did.

But again, that's the difference. I found the gameplay serviceable at worst, and interesting at best (my lack of experience in shoot 'em ups prior to that game helped a lot in that matter, it's what got me into the genre at all).

link3710

Ralizah

@NEStalgia You don't need to keep telling me that you're not attacking me. I'm not the easily offended type, and, if you're actually not "attacking" me (which I'd associate with ad hominem insults and name-calling), your posts will speak for themselves, so to speak. I don't have to hate people just because I vehemently disagree with them about something. I trust you're the same way.

It's difficult to take you seriously when you try and compare a game like Undertale to a game like Angry Birds, or imply that they're of a similar quality. Undertale has excellent, chiptune-inspired music. It has great writing and its subversive, bitingly satirical take on the JRPG genre utilizes the interactive nature of the medium in unique ways to bring attention to interesting themes about the normalized role of violence in our entertainment. It has interesting, fun characters. A wildly creative battle system that successfully mixes together real time, twitchy danmaku inspired enemy attacks with turn-based combat and a comedic twist on SMT's enemy negotiation mechanics. Multiple, wildly different routes depending on how you play, which all come together thematically to form one cohesive experience. The fact that you're willing to dismiss all of that, which certainly elevates it beyond what the majority of video games, regardless of budget, have ever managed to accomplish because of its low budget presentation and distinctive, retro-inspired artstyle (say what you want about its presentation, but it'd be difficult to take a screen from Undertale and mistake it for almost any other game out there) and compare it to a flash game where you slingshot birds across a screen tells me that you're either not arguing in good faith or from a place of ignorance. Or that we have diametrically opposing viewpoints about what is actually of value in a video game, although we've talked enough that I don't think that's true.

Again, I have no issue with you being unable to enjoy the game because of the "primitive" style of the presentation. Everyone enjoys games for different reasons and holds different standards about what is important in a game. I don't think emphasizing the importance of factors other than a game's visual presentation when considering its importance to the medium makes me a 'latte-sipping hipster,' though.

Video games are an incredibly diverse medium, and I fundamentally disagree that they should all have similar standards of presentation. Retro-inspired pixel art games can and do sit quite nicely alongside more expensive productions. I also disagree that cheap indie games are necessarily "lower quality products" than more expensive productions.

I'll grant, of course, that your average indie is probably worse than your average AAA game. There are a lot more of them, for one thing, and with less money on the line comes less fallout if you happen to produce a complete dud.

None of this, by the way, changes my assertion that trying to create this arbitrary distinction between games based on the amount of money involved in their production is out-of-touch gatekeeping.

Ralizah

NEStalgia

@subpopz True, though I sometimes find a Nintendo-only audience has this weird bias against big budget games simply because they're big budget but not sufficient experience with the games, and relies on group-think to determine "AAA 4k games are shallow and boring" when in most cases that's not true. There are strengths and weaknesses to them. I'll mock Naughty Dog's walking simulators with everyone else, even if I guiltily enjoy the Uncharted games as popcorn entertainment, but I understand, fully their flaws. And your average "online shooter" isn't my cup of tea no matter the budget. But even big budget games, this gen, have been very experimental. Sure they iterate on past designs, but they haven't shied away from trying new things and generally involving fun gameplay. I think the AAA myth got started with the truly bland "everything is an on rails shooter" 7th generation and never went away even when companies learned and adapted from that. The low budget games have the opposite problem of being "something for everyone" the mainstream games have....they tend to dial in so tightly on a particular niche, it's not enjoyable by anyone even slightly outside that particular game's niche.

@link3710 Well if you enjoyed the gameplay I can't take that away from you. I'll simply never understand how. If I could "skip random encounters" I would have...anything to not suffer through the miserable gameplay. But I can't tell you you didn't enjoy it if you did!

Though be glad EvilLucario isn't here....that XC2 comment would start a war

In terms of emotional resonance, I still feel Undertale would have had much MORE resonance with a proper storybook art design, level design, and budget. And interface that didn't look like it came from an Apple IIe game. The limitations of 8-bit and early computer games hinder the mood and feel of what they were trying to do greatly, IMO.

NEStalgia

EvilLucario

Undertale's biggest strength is that it's a successful way of telling a story using video games as an interactive medium by making game mechanics part of the actual story. That's how games like Dark Souls and Ocarina of Time also get heaps of praise for their stories by successfully making a story tailor-made for video games.

Also who said Xenoblade combat was not top dog?????????????????????????????????????????

Untitled

Edited on by EvilLucario

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Ralizah

@EvilLucario Dark Souls' and Bloodborne's particular form of emergent and freeform storytelling (I'm being kind here, as it's incredibly tempting to call them plotless, semi-open world romps that fool people with heavy doses of suggestion, vague dialogue, and cryptic lore, but I digress) might suit video games, but I don't see how Ocarina of Time (or most pre-BotW Zelda games) has a story tailor-made for video games. The stories in those games usually boil down to mcguffin hunts. "Find the seven things to save the world!" It's the laziest possible approach to storytelling, and Nintendo only really gets away with it because narrative elements in their internally-developed games rarely matter.

Undertale couldn't have been anything else and had the effect it did, though, because the way the player interacts with the game is itself factored into the themes and structure of the product (this is, ostensibly, why the game didn't have achievements on Steam; playing the game itself was a process of discovery, and there's no right way to go about that). Very few games have accomplished anything similar in a way that is significant (most games in this vein take the "lol we're clever and post-modern" approach, or blatantly, boorishly, artlessly break the fourth wall as a sort of gimmick). Granted, Undertale does occasionally break the fourth wall in gimmicky ways (the neutral route final boss comes to mind, especially on PC, where he actually closes the application, forcing you to re-open it yourself), but it doesn't rely on this exclusively or even primarily to drive interest in the experience proper.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

EvilLucario

@Ralizah Ocarina of Time is a lot more subtle than Dark Souls (which is saying a HELL of a lot, I realize, but bear with me here), but a big theme of OoT is losing your childhood since Link was forced to grow up too quickly as an adult. Navi leaving Link at the end of OoT represents that lost childhood, and Link spends the rest of his life looking for Navi but never ends up finding her, which leads into the Hero's Shade in Twilight Princess.

It may not be the best example but it was one of the first that came to my head after Undertale and Dark Souls.

(By the way, on PS4, all the Trophies in Undertale are just jokes because Toby hates achivements, which I find hilarious.)

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Ralizah

@EvilLucario The OoT trilogy as a depressing metaphor for someone trying and failing to recapture the innocence of their youth? Today I learned.

I do find it amusing when developers find ways to riff on system-wide achievement systems. NieR: Automata is another example. You can just outright buy trophies in that with in-game credits, which gives you a sense of exactly how much importance Yoko Taro assigns to the idea.

Virtue's Last Reward is another one of those games that factors the agency of the player into the structure of the experience to tell a story unique to that medium.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

Octane

I've been playing Baba is You; and that's a great example of a "simple" game done right. It just wouldn't work any other way, and more complex visuals would just distract from the game itself imo.

Octane

EvilLucario

@Ralizah Oh yeah, I do not care for achievements in almost every game. They're just padding or useless things.

@subpopz For me it's half-and-half. I did not really enjoy my time with The Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn, because Geralt controlled like **** and the combat in both games were also doo-doo. But Doom 2016, Bloodborne, and Dark Souls all look fabulous AND also play beautifully too. Doom 2016 in particular is one of the only FPS games that I can absolutely adore.

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RedderRugfish

I'm really picky these days. It's been a while since I've enjoyed a modern "AAA" game. And I think I've played a grand total of 2 indie games that I wasn't disappointed with.

With a few exceptions like Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, pretty much the only modern games I truly enjoy are ones developed by Nintendo. There are a grand total of 3 upcoming games I plan on buying this year, which is probably a new record for me.

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Ralizah

@EvilLucario I've enjoyed a number of first-person shooters (Wolfenstein: The New Order; the Bioshock trilogy; Far Cry 4; etc.), but DOOM 2016 is the only one I'd almost unreservedly call a masterpiece. It's pure, unbridled gameplay-centric bliss. A perfect mix of high-octane action, great pacing, kinetic moving and platforming, amazing visuals, and a throbbing score that perfectly accentuates the on-screen action.

Re: achievements... I'm very mixed on the things. Like, I can totally get hung up on the idea of collecting all the achievements for a game (PS trophies, actually; I couldn't care less about Steam or Xbox achievements, for whatever reason). But it got to the point where I was almost choosing to play the Playstation version of a game purely for the trophy support, even when I knew I'd enjoy another version more. I ALMOST forewent portable Valkyria 4 because of the lack of trophy support, even though, when playing Valkyria 1, all I could think about was how cool it would be to have a fully portable version of the game. And portable Valkyria 4 was every bit as cool and convenient as I was hoping it'd be. But a little voice in the back of my mind kept saying: "All this work is pointless on Switch; you can't get a platinum trophy." Which is absurd, of course, because playing the game is its own reward, and people shouldn't need a meaningless digital trinket for completing a game to feel like a worthy task. That, combined with my observation that many younger gamers even question the value of playing older games due to the lack of trophy support, led me to disable trophy notifications on my PS4/Vita.

On the other hand, I do think they provide an interesting incentive to play further into a game than you might otherwise. I also think it's cool to have a permanent mark on your account for going above and beyond to really complete a game. For those reasons, I do still wish Nintendo had an achievement system of sorts. I'd be partial to unlockable stickers or badges of varying rarity that you can attach to your dashboard.

Ralizah

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