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Fabulously Olivier

What are your guilty pleasures?

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As a counterpoint to my other topic on 'popular franchises that you dislike', this one is all about the opposite side of the coin. What unpopular or disliked franchises, games, or genres (critically or commercially) do you love?

 

Mine:

Musou/Warriors games

This entire genre has been critically panned for being repetitive. I've never viewed that as valid criticism, given that the most popular genre in gaming (shooters) can be accurately summed up with the words "center your screen on your foe before they can center theirs on you." There is something cathartic to the power fantasy of a Warriors game, and I enjoy them for it.

Diablo 3

With the caveat that this game couldn't hold my long term attention due to lack of content, I did really enjoy it. Compared to the more well-regarded Path of Exile (which I also enjoy), Diablo 3 has far more polished combat and animations.

I may also be the only person out there that loves the rune system and passives of Diablo 3. I would much rather make a few difficult, tangible choices than many arbitrary, intangible stat selections.

Edited by Etheus

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I'm gonna avoid obvious answers like Fire Emblem Fates and whatnot.

Resident Evil Outbreak

Both File 1 and 2.  Bombed pretty hard, as it was one of those attempts to do online for PS2 and they made that their focus.  They were the last games in the series to use the cinematic camera angles from the first three games, but the controls were better.  It does have a cult following, but it's just one of those games in the series that never became all that popular.  But I mean... how could you not like being able to play as a waitress, a Japanese-American school girl, not!Tom Cruise cop, or not!self-hating Dennis Rodman wielding assault rifles and rocket launchers in a B-horror game?  This was also the last game that had that B-horror vibe to it, and I just love soaking in that cheese.

Mass Effect 3

Seems to be the least favored Mass Effect before Andromeda came around.  And with... that garbage ending, not even the Extended Cut could make it that much better.  But you know what I'd say, the journey beats the destination.  And everything leading up to the finale in ME3 is pretty great, imo.  My only gripes outside the ending are how Jacob just outright cheats on you for no reason if you got with him (Kaden at least thought you were dead, so he had justification) and that the morality system became less about "being peaceful or aggressive", and more just "good or evil".  But again, I still liked it.

Fallout 4

This feels like one of those games where it was successful but got a ton of criticism levied against it.  People hated the settlement system, I liked where they were going with it.  People hated the crafting, I liked it.  People hated the watered down faction conflicts, I'm just glad we still have factions and reputation for them.  People hated Father... well, okay, I didn't really like him much either (alt-start mods for days, boi), but at least I get to join the main antagonistic faction proper instead of just being a helping hand.  It's not quite like Fallout 3 or New Vegas - the latter is still my favorite in the series - but I actually enjoyed FO4.

Valkyria Chronicles 2

Awful story, annoying characters... solid enough gameplay.  For all the bad this game did, at least it innovated the series a bit.  If nothing else, it was better balanced than the first game... and possibly VC4, which is quite baffling for me to be totally honest.  But anyway, I just went in with cheat code characters almost right away, yet again tackling the fiery fields of Gallia with Team Darcsen.

 

I realize most of these games don't have outright negative reception, but they're the best examples I can think of.

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I think AdventureQuest Worlds has deteriorated to the point that I may cite it for this. Initially a solid and fun game that held my ADHD-shot attention span for hours(back when Kitsune was first added, it's been a while), the introduction of Classes with Soloing capabilities combined with a combat system not designed to promote such Classes while still being fun ended with the game devolving from an enjoyable MMO full of fairly decent and helpful people to a game where you might as well be playing alone for all the help the people you see will give you(at least in my experience), since the basic idea most players appear to subscribe to is if you don't have a solo Class by now you deserve to lose. I ended up having to make multiple accounts and training all of them to the point where I could play alone yet still actually get stuff done at the cost of trying to run three separate players at the same time. In spite of this(and a LOT of other issues it's had coughGravelyn'ssluttyarmorrevampcough), I still gotta say I love the game - it remains to this day the only place I've ever been able to be a PaladinSlayer or a Pumpkin Lord(except I actually can't be a Pumpkin Lord because SCREW PAID ONLINE SUBSCRIPTIONS), or find an entire area using background music based on 'What does the Fox say?"(Hint the real answer is either 'Ooh-de-lally' or 'TORYAHHAHFIYAAAAMISHUNCOMPRETE'), and it's definitely the only place I've ever saved the Dragon from the Princess.

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My favorite Final Fantasy is 15, get at me.  While I think it did well commercially, it's a sore spot among FF fans.  One of my other favorites is 13.

I also have a huge soft spot for the Agarest series, despite its generation system.  It made me think way too hard about positioning, but catching a bunch of enemies in something like Angelic Howl made it worth it (some enemies dodge magic or physical when they get low on health - Angelic Howl is both magical and physical, thus trolling the everliving daylights out of said enemies).

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Rabi-Ribi. I mean, the game is great gameplay and soundtrack-wise, but...... well, just take a look at its cover.

Other than that, Megaman Battle Chip Challenge. It's the only Battle Network game I've managed to play that didn't bore me to death, and I enjoy planning the chip orders and maximizing the chances that the RNG can favor me. I admit the BN series is good, but its gameplay is not for me.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories has great visuals and soundtrack, but its gameplay is simplistic and rustic (its rule system is basically that of Yu-Gi-Oh! Season 1 but with free fusions among random monsters), they never reveal you which fusions are possible through cards, it requires a lot of grinding to get good cards, the AI cheats and so on.

Megaman X6. It's not a favorite of mine, but I can enjoy playing it after years of masochism dying because of its bullshit level design.

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"Car Combat" - for many people Twisted Metal is the only game in its genre, but there a handful of other things, some with a unique approach, some trying the same thing as TM... The main ones I use are Cel Damage - which is mostly for a little post-mario party splitscreen, and Vigilante 8, which IMO beat PS1 Twisted Metal in its heyday (I'm not a fan of pre-Black TM games) 

"Racing platformers" - The main ones being Rayman Arena and Ape Escape: Pumped and Primed... generally, these things are condemned to be spin offs, and have a rough time getting traction compared to normal racing games because, typically being platformers causes them to be less intuitive and ultimately they lack the excitement of racing games, not because of their own faults, but because whoever in the family played the regular platform games will have a massive advantage. However I think the idea could work and in the meantime I'm usually happy to 100% the singleplayer content of the few I end up finding.

Steambot Chronicles : Sandbox game with tank controls and heavy slowdown - and yet, something draws me to the game.. maybe it's just the industrial revolution steampunk setting, or the massive side-content to help avoid the main vehicle stuff.

Future Tactics: The Uprising - The "artillery" genre is dominated by a single, monolithic game, one that makes any positive comment about any competition seem like a waste of effort. Now I do love Worms Armageddon, but I think that it doesn't mean that other artillery games aren't fun in their own way (wouldn't go so far as to recomend Hogs of War or anything). The most prominent failures in the genre (critically) are the 3D artillery games... Future Tactics though is a game .. it is loaded with quirky charm and makes an admiral attempt at keeping the terrain deformable with only minor "skeleton/setpiece" objects kept intact. It also has some of my favorite music in any videogame ever made.

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Hyperdimension Neptunia

While (from what i've seen), the fanbase is very passionate about the games, the games have recieved mixed to poor reviews critically, at least here in the West (don't know any sales numbers but it must be doing decently enough to have four main games, three of which have remakes, and a bunch of spin-offs). Long story short, all the critics pan the series for being way too anime and also the fanservice (which i guess is a valid complaint). And that's one of the reasons i love the series (though it's not the main reason). I love how self-aware it is and how it makes fun of both video game and anime tropes. One sidequest in Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth 3 makes fun of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and that's hilarious. While the stories themselves are pretty dumb, the true highlight is the amazing characters and their wacky dialouge. Every character is some sort of trope and they all make fun of each other for it. My favorite story has to be from Mk2/Rebirth 2, where it's essentially a war on game piracy and emulation. And because of stuff like this, very rarely do the stories take itself seriously, which is why it's so great. 

The gameplay is pretty mindless at first but it gets really fun and while the soundtrack ranges from average to good, the OPs are really good.

My only complaint with the series, at least with the Rebirth trilogy, is that dungeon design is extremely lazy. Oh and manipulating Shares to get the true ending (or any other ending) can be a pain but that's really only an issue in Mk2/Rebirth 2, where there's 9 endings and i only care about the true ending anyway. Also the English voice acting being too normal and quiet. Japanese voices fit the characters way more.

Hyperdimension Neptunia is one giant meme and i love it. So much so that it ranks 3rd on my favorite JRPG series list and 6th on my favroite video game series list. I never not have a fun time playing these games (mostly) and I look forward to Super Neptunia RPG releasing on the Switch next year.

Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse 

Considered to be the worst game in the Xeno series by many fans....and i don't really get why. Yes, battles can drag on. Yes, it killed the original plans for Xenosaga but that can be blamed on Namco's interference (Namco removed series creator Tetsuya Takahashi from his own project, for some reason), yes Takahashi actually had to remake the game to fix it (and this version only released in Japan on the DS). Yes, it sold like shit (and the trilogy in general underpreformed commercially). But honestly, i found it to be a better game than Xenosaga Episode I. Not that Episode I is bad by any means, i just personally consider it to be the weakest Xeno game.

Episode II fixed a lot of Episode I's flaws for me. Combat is better, music actually exists (Episode I barely had music and while it did have the amazing Albedo's theme as well as the two beauitful ending songs, most of the game's soundtrack was just slience, Mitsuda why) and the story isn't an glorified prolouge. It also kept what made Xenosaga Episode I good. Good characters, the philosiphy and Albedo. Albedo is amazing, best villain in the Xenosaga trilogy and fourth best villain in the overall Xeno series.

Episode II is on the lower end of the Xeno ranking for me but it's not the worst game in the series like many fans say it is.

 

Edited by Armagon

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Resident Evil 5 - and by extension any co-op game I can convince a friend to play with me, but 5 is the textbook example of everything I want in such a game. Controls that ask a lot out of the player, QTEs with death cutscenes, larger than life yet campy villains, cool secrets, and being able to shout things at each other in-game. Dead Rising 2 is another good example of what I'm looking for, but it lacks the QTEs in its cutscenes

Fallout - I don't think I can rate any game in this series at least an 8 out of 10 objectively but they have captivated my imagination for years. At any time of year I'm in the mood to give these a replay. I may have complicated opinions on each one, but I'm down to play them all.

Punch Out! - Although I don't really consider this a guilty pleasure as in there's something wrong with liking them. I think the reason this never catches on with most people is because they start with the first game. The worst one. The one that isn't even beatable on modern TV displays. If more people started on Super or the Wii one then they'd see what I see in these games. 

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Devil May Cry 4

Actually my favorite Devil May Cry. Yes, its content is shamelessly recycled several times over. It felt like a 3-5 hour game repeated several times. But if it had been a 3-5 hour budget title with the ability to play through as multiple characters, it would have been pretty much flawless. Combat feels better than ever, and, in my opinion, Nero's unique Devil Bringer and sword mechanics make him even more fun to play than Dante himself.

 

DmC Devil May Cry

The most divisive Devil May Cry is still not the worst by far. That belongs to DMC2. While I didn't appreciate how DmC retconned, redesigned, and recharacterized Dante and Vergil, the gameplay was fun, the boss encounters were among some of the series' best, and it fleshed out the story in some interesting ways. Had this not carried the DMC brand, it would have been received much better. 

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1 hour ago, Glennstavos said:

Fallout - I don't think I can rate any game in this series at least an 8 out of 10 objectively

Apparently Fallout 3 is a 90 on Metacritic.

And every other game in the series is somewhere in the 80s.

The only Fallout games I have complicated feelings on are 3 and 4.  Though I haven't given Tactics or Shelter a try yet, in spite of the fact that both are readily available to me.

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Does using the Taguel simply because they're shapeshifting warrior bunnies count? I'd also say knights, but I do find a legitimate tactical use for them, even if I have a soft spot for their often ridiculously designed armor.

3 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

Punch Out! - Although I don't really consider this a guilty pleasure as in there's something wrong with liking them. I think the reason this never catches on with most people is because they start with the first game. The worst one. The one that isn't even beatable on modern TV displays. If more people started on Super or the Wii one then they'd see what I see in these games. 

The original Punch Out! is still playable. A little aged in some places, yes, but it's still enjoyable. With that said, Punch Out! Wii is definitely the best version, and the one I'd recommend the most.

1 hour ago, Ertrick36 said:

Though I haven't given Tactics or Shelter a try yet, in spite of the fact that both are readily available to me.

Tactics would be fun if it didn't have the real time function as the default, but I haven't tried the game in years, so there may be a few options I need to mess with to see if it has the normal turn-based system. I haven't really gotten into the Fallout series, but I know that Tactics is basically an expanded version of the first two games combat systems... and little else, which may or may not be a bad thing depending on what you're looking for. That, and getting the best ending is a pain, as you basically have to abuse splash damage on a specific "innocent" enemy.

Now that I think about it, I really need to try the original fallout games again. I never got very far, but it's been a while since I've last tried them.

...

As for the topic itself, I'm not a really person that has guilty pleasures. If I feel guilty or embarrassed over enjoyment of playing or watching something, I see that as more of a warning sign that I should step back and think twice about the product in question. Besides, I will often be the first person to admit that a game is average or even bad, but that I legitimately enjoyed parts or aspects of it.

With that said, I do have a soft spot for several Atari 2600 games:

  • Pitfall is by no means an embarrassing game. Going the opposite direction to reap the rewards earlier and skipping whatever challenge kills you when you die probably is.
  • The original port of Pac-Man is infamous. The port of Ms. Pac-Man is not.
  • The Empire Strikes Back doesn't have the famous tow cables from the movie. Instead, you have to take down multiple AT-ATs in a time limit using only the snow-speeders blaster... which if you really think about it, is even more bada--.
  • Robot Tank has a day and night system, and if you get hit, you don't die immediately, but you do loose a part of your tank (such as your visibility, radar, tracks, and something else I've forgotten). In practice, this means that for the most of the game, you can't actually see the enemy, and have to rely on barely visible silhouettes or your radar is to tell where they are. That, and for some reason your shots track with which direction you're pointing, meaning that if you shoot and turn, the bullet will remain in front of you, meaning you can re-align a shot even if it would have missed in a different game. With all that said, I find it fun to see how many days I can last in this game, as well as how many enemy squadrons I can destroy before succumbing myself. Oh, and you can shoot enemy and dodge bullets, so it can occasionally feel like Matrix with tanks.
  • Berserk is a game where the enemy is dumb enough to walk into the hazardous walls and shoot each other. It can also show that a player can be just as stupid, and the box art for the game is actually kind of cool.
  • Spider-Man can't web sling off windows for some reason, and the Green Goblins movements make it kinda difficult to beat the level. Still, playing an early Spiderman game is pretty cool, and there's something darkly humorous about mistiming a web shot and having Spidey fall several stories to the ground with a splat.
  • E.T. Because the game itself... well, sucks, but it's still playable, and I still remember seeing this game beaten in front of my eyes. I'm still still kinda surprised when people call this the worse game of all time, because I can think of several more broken games than this one.
  • And finally, Space Shuttle, because on the easiest difficulty, all you really need to do is press left and right every so often to keep your alignment in check, and the game handles pretty much everything else. And in truth, all the game really does is shake the screen, have the sound affects of a rocket blasting off, and darken the background as you reach space. But gosh dang, is it surprisingly effective! And having every button on the Atari actually effect something in-game is also still pretty cool.

And just like that I went from the guy who almost has no guilty pleasures to the guy that listed the most. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to replug in my Atari and replay some of these games.

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I'mma be that guy and say that I don't have any, because I don't feel guilty about the things I like.

If I had to name one it'd probably be the games that have copious amounts of fanservice and get panned for that among communities, despite the game underneath all that being very, very good (in my opinion, at least). And no, I don't mean Dead or Alive, since I've never even played that. Though I hear it's pretty competent as far as fighting games go, though I suck at fighting games, so I'll probably never know.

Specific examples would be: Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars, Nights of Azure, and Nights of Azure 2.

I'm also weird in that I tend to enjoy games which the community of the franchise at large tends to collectively defecate on for one reason or another.
Examples include, but are possibly not limited to: Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Warriors All-Stars, Atelier Sophie, and Tales of Xillia 2 (the best one after Berseria in my opinion).
Even weirder that the opposite also holds true in at least two cases that I'm aware of.

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On 9/20/2018 at 11:11 AM, Ertrick36 said:

Apparently Fallout 3 is a 90 on Metacritic.

And every other game in the series is somewhere in the 80s.

Well no offense to Metacritic but if I was reviewing games retrospectively I wouldn't be in that "7.5 is an inoffensive video game that proves playable enough to reach the end if you have nothing better to do with your time" mindset that all major review outlets are stuck in. When you're talking about an older game, people are more inclined to see what you wrote rather than scroll down to the score, you know?

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1 hour ago, DragonFlames said:

I'mma be that guy and say that I don't have any, because I don't feel guilty about the things I like.

Same deal. I just wanted to talk about Atari games.

But on a more serious note, just about every game I enjoy has a legitimate reasoning behind it. Heck, I even tend to agree with several criticisms against a game, yet I'll keep playing it if I find something to enjoy.

On a different note, I do have a question to ask: What do you call something that you're surprised you enjoyed, and it could qualify as a "guilty pleasure", but kinda doesn't because you've only played/watched/read it only once, and don't plan to do so again?

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5 minutes ago, Hawkwing said:

Same deal. I just wanted to talk about Atari games.

But on a more serious note, just about every game I enjoy has a legitimate reasoning behind it. Heck, I even tend to agree with several criticisms against a game, yet I'll keep playing it if I find something to enjoy.

On a different note, I do have a question to ask: What do you call something that you're surprised you enjoyed, and it could qualify as a "guilty pleasure", but kinda doesn't because you've only played/watched/read it only once, and don't plan to do so again?

I don't think of a "guilty pleasure" as something you feel guilty about. You could very well view the perceived majority opinion as being wrong or ill-informed and still count something as a guilty pleasure if you like it despite that reputation. 

 

And yes, I do consider things you enjoyed but only intend to experience once as a pleasure. Not everything is meant to be infinitely reexperienced, and that shouldn't take away from the quality of that experience.

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3 hours ago, Etheus said:

I don't think of a "guilty pleasure" as something you feel guilty about. You could very well view the perceived majority opinion as being wrong or ill-informed and still count something as a guilty pleasure if you like it despite that reputation. 

Well, the thing is, I know full well that some things are of average (or less) quality, but I never once felt guilty about enjoying it. Especially since I can provide legitimate reasons for why I keep playing a game.

Taking The Force Unleashed 2 as an example, a universal complaint is that the game is short. I agree, but that just means I can pick it up at any time, play a few hours, and come close to beating it again. I don't need to invest hours upon hours into the game. The game is easy? That just means that there are  very few frustrating moments and hard sections to deal with. The story isn't as good as the first one? Agreed. I would also say that there are still parts of it I like. See what I mean?

The other thing, though, is that if I feel guilty or embarrassed over enjoying something, I see that as a sign to step back and observe why I feel this way. Sometimes, is as simple as the videogame, movie or show being cheesy and/or “kiddie” and learning that I don't need to be ashamed over liking it. Other times, though, it's a serious sign that I need to stop watching or playing something, as it crossed some personal line(s) without me realizing it.

3 hours ago, Etheus said:

And yes, I do consider things you enjoyed but only intend to experience once as a pleasure. Not everything is meant to be infinitely reexperienced, and that shouldn't take away from the quality of that experience.

Thing is, the two games in question were Princess Maker 2 and a visual novel called Seasons of Sakura. Saw them both on a DOS games emulator site, and decided "Why not?" Found the former to be a surprisingly deep and unique strategy game with quite a bit of replay value, and I'm still surprised I played the latter for three hours straight because I was  interested in what would happen next. Thing is, I only played the former... thrice? Maybe two or four times? And the latter I have no idea what the quality is, as its minimalist mention on TV Tropes called it a bad game because it based its characters off those from popular anime at the time, it had almost no choices, and the protagonist was a mary sue, while the website description said it was popular for some of those reasons. Not helping is that I know that my lack of knowledge and experience with visual novel and anime tropes no undoubtedly affected things, and I actually gave the protagonist a chance, and personally found him to be an interesting deconstruction of a mary sue. And with all that said, I've only played the game once.

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Godzilla (PS4) - I have an absolute blast playing this game turning it on every time.  I love Godzilla and the gameplay just fits great for me.  I had a perfect grasp of the controls the first time I played it and smashing cities as monsters just doesn't get old.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (X360) - I can fully admit this game has its fair share of flaws... okay a good, sizable number of flaws.  I have a serious soft spot for the Sonic Adventure style gameplay though, I like the levels and the inclusion of the new characters, and I LOVE the soundtrack.  I honestly believe that if the game had at least another month or two in development, this game (and potentially the franchise) wouldn't be as looked down on as it is now.

Spyro: Shadow Legacy (NDS) - I loved the idea of a Spyro game with RPG elements and taking advantage of the DS functions, sadly this game was Glitch City 2005.  Basically a good idea that deserved better execution.

Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly (GC) - It plays like a Spyro game which is a big part of the appeal for me.  Sad to say that the game itself is a poorly optimized piece of software though, it's almost like Sonic '06 before Sonic '06 in a way.  And I'm only talking about the Gamecube version where it's supposed to be the better version, I'm afraid to touch the PS2 version.

Independence Day (Sega Saturn) - What can I say?  I loved the movie too much as a kid.

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5 hours ago, Etheus said:

I don't think of a "guilty pleasure" as something you feel guilty about. You could very well view the perceived majority opinion as being wrong or ill-informed and still count something as a guilty pleasure if you like it despite that reputation. 

If I'm going by that I would just mention that I consider puzzle games to be the absolute best genre. That said it's terrible reputation exists for a good reason - budget/bad puzzle games absolutely drown out the market, especially when it comes to block action. The other thing is that when non-puzzle games want to add a little variety with their puzzles they are of necessity, very, very simple, further worsening the impression of the puzzle genre. This is less malicious, but many (still great) RPGs and adventure games do this.

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On 9/21/2018 at 9:17 PM, Emperor_Siegfried said:

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (X360) - . . . I honestly believe that if the game had at least another month or two in development, this game (and potentially the franchise) wouldn't be as looked down on as it is now.

Given realistic game development and Sonic Team's record, it needed at least a full year.

I don't have guilty pleasures because I only play quality games. :^_^:

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I'm not sure that there are any games that I like that I feel "guilty" about.

On 9/20/2018 at 11:31 AM, Glennstavos said:

Fallout - I don't think I can rate any game in this series at least an 8 out of 10 objectively but they have captivated my imagination for years. At any time of year I'm in the mood to give these a replay. I may have complicated opinions on each one, but I'm down to play them all.

Not even 2? 2 has possibly the best video game writing ever, and is a relatively good game to boot.

1, 3, NV and 4 all have some noticeable flaws(1 and 3 being barebones and kinda, with 3 having just a dogshit reinterpreting of 1's story and some smatterings of 2's story, New Vegas had basically no QA, and 4 just having completely ass-backwards priorities and terrible writing throughout the whole game), but 2 I struggle to think of anything that really holds it back as a game.

EDIT: Oh wait

Star Ocean 3. There's so much wrong with this game, but the things it does right make it just fun to play through. Every few years I get the urge out of the blue to replay it. And even though I like 2 more and think it's objectively a much, much better game, 3 is the one I ALWAYS come back to. It's in the small handful of JRPGs that I don't really get tired of playing.

Edited by Slumber

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30 minutes ago, Slumber said:

Not even 2? 2 has possibly the best video game writing ever, and is a relatively good game to boot.

1, 3, NV and 4 all have some noticeable flaws(1 and 3 being barebones and kinda, with 3 having just a dogshit reinterpreting of 1's story and some smatterings of 2's story, New Vegas had basically no QA, and 4 just having completely ass-backwards priorities and terrible writing throughout the whole game), but 2 I struggle to think of anything that really holds it back as a game.

Honestly the writing in 2 is one of the points I hold against it. It still has 1's issue of sectioning off most dialogue choices based on the player's already excellent Intelligence stat. Those extra dialogue options shouldn't routinely be the means to acquire and complete quests in non-lethal ways. Low intelligence characters aren't even fun since their solution to each quest is always to just kill everybody. 2 also follows closely to 1's repetitive dialogue structure:

  1. Please give me a quest. 
  2. Can I ask you another question?
  3. Can you kindly fuck off? [attack]
  4. I have no more questions. Goodbye.

But what really sets me off about 2 in particular is the inconsistency in world building and scenarios. An inconsistency I later had explained to me (though unfortunately don't have a source for) as the writing staff dispersing the game's various towns among individual writers for expediency. Each town has a wildly unique tone for its quests, its npcs, its joke delivery with seemingly no communication about the narrative they wanted to tell and little connection or repercussions between towns that the player has changed through quest decisions. Each faction often exists only in the confines of one area. The pop culture references run especially rampant in 2. And one particular Monty Python reference you can randomly encounter at the start of the game gives you a late game piece of armor that breaks the game's difficulty in half. All for the sake of a joke.

And the rest of my complaints about two are surface level stuff that can be quite common among the series. Numerous, constant bugs that the fanbase have graciously created hot fixes for. 2, like NV, is an undercooked game that needed more time in the oven than the eight months it got. Or at least enough time to work out the kinks in Fallout 1's engine. Imagine being in full development for 2 while still fixing laundry lists of bugs for 1.  Numerous skills and perks go unused since their corresponding mechanics were not fully featured. Like the NPC Disposition feature that was supposed to make Charisma relevant but never finalized for the game's release. So Charisma is a worthless stat in 1 and only useful in 2 for upping your max party size. Unused stats were fine in 1987's Final Fantasy, but not so much in 1997's Fallout.

Also I should clarify that the reason I wouldn't give any of these games an 8 out of 10 is because when I assign a number to games retrospectively my rating for an "average, playable, unambitious experience" is a 5 out of 10 rather than the 7.5 major review outlets have conditioned us to think in terms of. In fact, only one of my top ten favorite games of all time would easily score at least an 8 and that's Paper Mario 2. Incidentally, Fallout New Vegas does make the list. But if you asked me which Fallout game is objectively the best for the average player, I'd have to say 4. It's got the best controls, The quest progression is streamlined to a fault so that the player has to do as little critical thinking as possible, the Minecraft elements can be engaging if you don't care about anything else, the radiant quests always give you something to do because they will never end. It sucks as a roleplaying game, but as a post apocalyptic app with inflated play time features I can definitely see the broad appeal of that game. It also received the most post-release support for bug fixes, I'm pretty sure. Also the Survival mode got me playing the game again at all while Far Harbor I remember declaring to be better than most of 3 and NV's individual expansions. 4 may not be a game I think about often, but I think it's the easiest to come back to and recommend to people who wouldn't normally play a Fallout game. 

This wall of text has gone on for long enough but hopefully I've given you the major impressions on my thought process for the series.

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4 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

Honestly the writing in 2 is one of the points I hold against it. It still has 1's issue of sectioning off most dialogue choices based on the player's already excellent Intelligence stat. Those extra dialogue options shouldn't routinely be the means to acquire and complete quests in non-lethal ways. Low intelligence characters aren't even fun since their solution to each quest is always to just kill everybody. 2 also follows closely to 1's repetitive dialogue structure:

  1. Please give me a quest. 
  2. Can I ask you another question?
  3. Can you kindly fuck off? [attack]
  4. I have no more questions. Goodbye.

But what really sets me off about 2 in particular is the inconsistency in world building and scenarios. An inconsistency I later had explained to me (though unfortunately don't have a source for) as the writing staff dispersing the game's various towns among individual writers for expediency. Each town has a wildly unique tone for its quests, its npcs, its joke delivery with seemingly no communication about the narrative they wanted to tell and little connection or repercussions between towns that the player has changed through quest decisions. Each faction often exists only in the confines of one area. The pop culture references run especially rampant in 2. And one particular Monty Python reference you can randomly encounter at the start of the game gives you a late game piece of armor that breaks the game's difficulty in half. All for the sake of a joke.

And the rest of my complaints about two are surface level stuff that can be quite common among the series. Numerous, constant bugs that the fanbase have graciously created hot fixes for. 2, like NV, is an undercooked game that needed more time in the oven than the eight months it got. Or at least enough time to work out the kinks in Fallout 1's engine. Imagine being in full development for 2 while still fixing laundry lists of bugs for 1.  Numerous skills and perks go unused since their corresponding mechanics were not fully featured. Like the NPC Disposition feature that was supposed to make Charisma relevant but never finalized for the game's release. So Charisma is a worthless stat in 1 and only useful in 2 for upping your max party size. Unused stats were fine in 1987's Final Fantasy, but not so much in 1997's Fallout.

Also I should clarify that the reason I wouldn't give any of these games an 8 out of 10 is because when I assign a number to games retrospectively my rating for an "average, playable, unambitious experience" is a 5 out of 10 rather than the 7.5 major review outlets have conditioned us to think in terms of. In fact, only one of my top ten favorite games of all time would easily score at least an 8 and that's Paper Mario 2. Incidentally, Fallout New Vegas does make the list. But if you asked me which Fallout game is objectively the best for the average player, I'd have to say 4. It's got the best controls, The quest progression is streamlined to a fault so that the player has to do as little critical thinking as possible, the Minecraft elements can be engaging if you don't care about anything else, the radiant quests always give you something to do because they will never end. It sucks as a roleplaying game, but as a post apocalyptic app with inflated play time features I can definitely see the broad appeal of that game. It also received the most post-release support for bug fixes, I'm pretty sure. Also the Survival mode got me playing the game again at all while Far Harbor I remember declaring to be better than most of 3 and NV's individual expansions. 4 may not be a game I think about often, but I think it's the easiest to come back to and recommend to people who wouldn't normally play a Fallout game. 

This wall of text has gone on for long enough but hopefully I've given you the major impressions on my thought process for the series.

Fair enough on the dominance of Intelligence. The game in the series that did this the best was probably New Vegas, where any number of your stats could come in handy in dialogue, and Intelligence was just one of them. The variety of skills coming into effect is still something present, though, and a large number of your stats can even alter the quests that get offered to you in 2. Without certain stats and skill levels, you can't get certain titles. Without certain titles, whole portions of the game can be obscured from you without it being obvious that you're missing anything. It's one of the most varied and replayable games I've played, because it really is one of those cases where you can play in two different styles and get two WILDLY different experiences in the game.

How many people do you think knew that you could become a pornstar based on a high charisma score and high sex appeal? I mean, prior to it becoming one of the most infamous questlines in the game. I played through the game at least 3 times before I realized that.

As for the tonal consistency/inconsistency of the tones of the towns, I feel like that's something the makes the game work well. While you don't get the baseline quality that you'd get with a single team doing it all, the idea of every down being wildly different seems like something that'd happen in a post-apocalypse. Some places would end up being way more closed off and broken, some would be more of a "Yee-haw, this is the wild west again" kind of criminality and insanity. The Oregon wasteland is as dangerous as anywhere else in the Fallout world. Unless you're a merchant caravan, a wanderer(Who almost all universally die in this series beyond the main characters), or belong to a criminal/military organization, NOBODY leaves their towns in these games. These towns are all going to develop in highly unique ways, contributing to their unique tones and feels. I still feel that the world is overall cohesive and has its own identity. It still largely retains the feeling of "What would the world be like if the America started taking different aspects of 1950s suburbia and developed them to their logical extremes?"

And the references... It's kind of something I accept as a product of the time. Nerd jokes and references were all over the place in 90s game development. It's not as bad as something like we got with Fire Emblem Awakening, where there were a shit ton of references from The Lord of the Rings to Mystery Science Theater 3000 simply because the localizers, not the original writers, simply wanted them in the game.

Plus, Fallout, at its heart is a comedic satire. I'll take a killer rabbit and eventually the Holy Hand Grenade being in the game because it's absurd.

...

Anyway, back to the topic.

I remembered that I'm also a big fan of the original The Evil Within, despite that game having a lot of problems. It wouldn't be so guilty of a pleasure if it wasn't for the bad boss fights and the complete shitshow that is the last few chapters of the game. It's one of those games where, especially when the sequel is discussed, I have a hard time going "Yeah I really liked the first game."

Edited by Slumber

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2 hours ago, Slumber said:

Fair enough on the dominance of Intelligence. The game in the series that did this the best was probably New Vegas, where any number of your stats could come in handy in dialogue, and Intelligence was just one of them. The variety of skills coming into effect is still something present, though, and a large number of your stats can even alter the quests that get offered to you in 2. Without certain stats and skill levels, you can't get certain titles. Without certain titles, whole portions of the game can be obscured from you without it being obvious that you're missing anything. It's one of the most varied and replayable games I've played, because it really is one of those cases where you can play in two different styles and get two WILDLY different experiences in the game.

How many people do you think knew that you could become a pornstar based on a high charisma score and high sex appeal? I mean, prior to it becoming one of the most infamous questlines in the game. I played through the game at least 3 times before I realized that.

As for the tonal consistency/inconsistency of the tones of the towns, I feel like that's something the makes the game work well. While you don't get the baseline quality that you'd get with a single team doing it all, the idea of every down being wildly different seems like something that'd happen in a post-apocalypse. Some places would end up being way more closed off and broken, some would be more of a "Yee-haw, this is the wild west again" kind of criminality and insanity. The Oregon wasteland is as dangerous as anywhere else in the Fallout world. Unless you're a merchant caravan, a wanderer(Who almost all universally die in this series beyond the main characters), or belong to a criminal/military organization, NOBODY leaves their towns in these games. These towns are all going to develop in highly unique ways, contributing to their unique tones and feels. I still feel that the world is very unique and has its own identity. It still largely retains the feeling of "What would the world be like if the America started taking different aspects of 1950s suburbia and developed them to their logical extremes?"

And the references... It's kind of something I accept as a product of the time. Nerd jokes and references were all over the place in 90s game development. It's not as bad as something like we got with Fire Emblem Awakening, where there were a shit ton of references from The Lord of the Rings to Mystery Science Theater 3000 simply because the localizers, not the original writers, simply wanted them in the game.

Plus, Fallout, at its heart is a comedic satire. I'll take a killer rabbit and eventually the Holy Hand Grenade being in the game because it's absurd.

I played Fallout 1 and 2 in their entirety pretty recently. Compared to Fallout 1, it seemed a lot more... methodical - like you were just going place to place without the most predefined goal at times (despite the GECK being the "main objective"). Some of the locations felt rather strange like the first time arriving in New Reno. There is a definite shift in the tone to black comedy in 2, whereas Fallout 1 was far more serious - I like both, but the dark comedy (or at least the attempt at such) is the thing that stuck around after.

And unfortunately Frank can't really live up to The Master as a final encounter in my mind.

The Temple of Trials is also the worst tutorial level I've ever seen in a game.

I did like it a lot, especially for a lot of the improvements it made over 1, but I could kind of understand why people might prefer 1.

If you have the time for it (and the ability to ignore anemic gameplay), I would recommend checking out Planescape: Torment if you haven't. It gets a lot of praise rightfully so for the writing it has since we're talking about that.

 

My pick is going to be the Gauntlet series, specifically Legends and Dark Legacy. While the series did get some acclaim, Legends and Dark Legacy got middling reviews at best despite being some of the more enjoyable hack n' slash games I've played.

Though I'm not going to defend Seven Sorrows - that game was bad.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic is definitely a really uninspired mmo in the gameplay department and it's graphics are having trouble keeping up to modern standards, but the delightful feeling of taking a role in one of media's biggest names combined with some fun characters and a dialogue system, I just love spending time in this version of a galaxy far far away. It's also one of the most economical mmos on the market at free to play through all launch content, and subscribing for one month nets you all the released expansion content forever, meaning you only really have to subscribe if a new expansion is coming out or if you like raids. Also it's the only Bioware game you can play in front of your mom (and thus the only one I've played).

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