St. Elmo's Fire

  • I don’t know if I’ll do a full post on this eventually, but I just finished Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and it was great, highly recommend. It reminded me a lot of UnderTale with how personalized (and delightfully silly) every enemy was, and I’m impressed by how much strategy they got out of pretty simple mechanics with the three regular…[Read more]

  • So, I think I got the good ending, in that I saved Lapis? Are there any other endings available?

    There’s only one bad ending; it’s a punishment for taking too many bad options during a healing sequence.

    Also, would it be possible to make it so that after I change to one of Stevonnie’s personalities it goes back directly to the action menu,…

    [Read more]

  • Ah, find-and-replace, you give with one hand and take with the other.

    Should be fixed now.

  • Shared Star Points

    Good point. I’ve added an explanation for that in the tutorial message.

    Finding the aggression pane

    Ah, you’re right that I forgot to say what the status button was. I’ve edited the tutorial message to hopefully make that clearer.

    Third, are threat and aggression the same thing?

    Yes. It’s called “threat” as a holdover…[Read more]

  • A feature I stealth-added in the last version had an unexpected interaction with one of Steven’s actions. It should be fixed now.
    re: Confirm phase, the toggle doesn’t always match up with the actual effect if you save and reload. Try turning it off and on again.

  • You are gonna be pretty lost if you haven’t seen at least up to the end of season 3, yeah.

  • Hi all, check out my Steven Universe fangame.

    Yes, fangame. It’s not too impressive; it’s purely text-based since I can’t draw. Still, I put a lot of thought into the mechanics, and I’d appreciate your thoughts.

  • Aquaria was a platformer?

    I would say Cave Story was superior to this. It had better story, atmosphere, and exploration mechanics.

  • A Metroidvania recommended to me by a games rec Tumblr I follow. It main claim to fame is that it was all made by a single person, over the course of a decade.

    This is not a Metroidvania by my definition. It is […]

    • Aquaria was a platformer?

      I would say Cave Story was superior to this. It had better story, atmosphere, and exploration mechanics.

    • MVs are basically about how the game is laid out on a macro level – how are the areas connected, how do you backtrack between them, can you use new abilities in old areas to find new things. Platforming is a mechanic, and it can be the central conceit of the game or just thrown in to spice up a different genre.

      A ‘pure’ platformer would be something like Super Meat Boy, which is nothing but discrete levels of escalating difficulty. Hollow Knight I’d say is about in the middle, where platforming is essential to the exploration of the world, but it competes with many other elements that really tie the game together. Finally on the all-MV end would be, say, the original Dark Souls, which was a big interconnected world with backtracking and the like, but almost no platforming at all, even the 3D kind.

  • This sounds like something which needs collective action to solve, not individual.

    But Spoony, that’s Communism!

  • Huh. SteamWorld Dig looks conceptually very similar to an old Flash game called Motherload. I wonder if it was an inspiration or unrelated? I liked Motherload, so I’ll have to check it out.

  • So I’ve heard, yes. I actually played Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together until the end of chapter 2 where the convoluted class build mechanics finally defeated me, but while I still remember how powerful the end of chapter 1 was, I can barely remember anything of chapter 2 at all. I’m not surprised if it ended up going the same way as Tactics.

  • I cannot understand how anyone likes III. Its only redeeming feature is the class-swapping mechanic, and every other FF did that way better.

  • I just slowly lost interest as it shifted harder towards some weirdo conspiracy plot.

    Ah, but that’s the cleverness: the conspiracy turns out to be irrelevant next to the personal drama that motivates it. The whys are what matter, not the whats. Lorenza and Ortas explicitly say this, even. It’s basically the exact opposite bait-and-switch as in Tactics.

  • Oh, you may also want to check out II if you haven’t already. It’s by the same developer as the SaGa games, I believe.

  • Ahaha… if you can’t get through VII, I’m morbidly curious to see how you’ll take XIIIXIII is really, really terrible.
    You might actually like XII, though. It’s by the same director as Tactics, but is better at following through on the political premise (at least to the point I tapped out, which I believe was more than halfway through at least).…[Read more]

  • Oh, also —

    The guy has too much of his own personality for me to implant my own motivations, but what is there is nonetheless very empty and pretty douchey.

    This is actually intentional. There is what I believe is a legitimately clever twist about Cloud that is a metacommentary on power fantasies and the ways we project ourselves onto video game…[Read more]

  • Not until you get cracking on the rest! We’ve reviewed less than half of the series!

    (I am actually genuinely curious to see if you’ll like X. It’s my favorite in the series and I think it still holds up pretty well.)

  • I just finished watching an LP of Final Fantasy Tactics. I had heard many good things about it, but could never get far in it when it came out, because the actual game is an overdesigned kudzu of a slot machine. […]

    • At this point the tagline of this blog should be, “We have tepid feelings about Final Fantasy. “

      • Not until you get cracking on the rest! We’ve reviewed less than half of the series!

        (I am actually genuinely curious to see if you’ll like X. It’s my favorite in the series and I think it still holds up pretty well.)

        • I’ve never played a single Final Fantasy game to completion. It’s a ding in my nerd cred.

          Edit: Actually, I did beat Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, but that somehow feels like it doesn’t count. It’s a spinoff of a spinoff.

          • I… don’t think I have, either. While I played 6 til the end, I technically never finished it, since I didn’t have the initiative to grind for the final boss.

            • I think what it comes down to for me is that the FF games are my Ori and the Blind Forest. Games that are competently made and written, which I don’t necessarily hate, but don’t spark any strong emotion. Darkest Dungeon, which is basically a JRPG repackaged with Western/Lovecraftian aesthetics, is an even more annoying and unforgiving grind than any FF (it’s another post-Dark Souls game designed to be grimdark and punishing), but I hold it up as a piece of art with an extreme degree of cohesion. It’s hard for me to feel like FF games are trying to be anything but ‘the next FF’.

        • 10 and 13 are both on my to-do list rn! I’ve been on a jRPG kick lately so as soon as I can get my hands on them I’ll probs check them out.

          • Ahaha… if you can’t get through VII, I’m morbidly curious to see how you’ll take XIIIXIII is really, really terrible.

            You might actually like XII, though. It’s by the same director as Tactics, but is better at following through on the political premise (at least to the point I tapped out, which I believe was more than halfway through at least). It’s much more of a wRPG than a jRPG, so I didn’t like it much at all, but if you’re into wRPGs you might have more fun with it.

            (So much grinding, though.)

            • I honestly picked up 13 out of morbid curiosity because people have such extreme opinions on it.

              • Oh, you may also want to check out II if you haven’t already. It’s by the same developer as the SaGa games, I believe.

              • Yeah, I should check out the NES ones at some point. I’m pretty sure in the mid/late 80s everything Square did was mostly the same people; it’d be interesting to see how the FF series and SaGa games differed. (DQ, incidentally, was Enix, so it was completely different people.)

              • Urgh. I liked the story and characters well enough, but II had awful mechanics.

                Mind, people loved III and I think it’s also terrible. The only NES FF which was enjoyable to me was the first one.

              • I cannot understand how anyone likes III. Its only redeeming feature is the class-swapping mechanic, and every other FF did that way better.

              • I’m guessing it’s a mix of the Job system being brand-new at the time, the higher difficulty, and the gimmicky dungeons and fights.

              • Also, the Job system actually isn’t that widespread in older FF titles. It doesn’t exist in 4, 6 and 7 (and I think it doesn’t exist in 8, 9 and 10 either?), for instance.

    • FF Tactics is the one where the protagonist’s role in history is misremembered, right? I swear, time is making a ruin of my mind. I keep thinking the 90’s was ten years ago instead of fucking twenty. I said this about FF7 in Act’s post, but Tactics is another one of those games I couldn’t finish as a kid. It’s so weird, as someone who was reading above their level basically as soon as they could read, to look back and realize how many video games just sailed over my head.

      Last Scenario was good, but I didn’t finish it and read an LP for maybe the last third or so. I will say, the first third was great as a political-thriller-with-fantasy-backdrop. I just slowly lost interest as it shifted harder towards some weirdo conspiracy plot. I was starting to play Dishonored in bits and pieces, and it seems like it’s shaping up the same way, where the Loyalist group that hires you recognizes that their influence isn’t what they’d like and they’re going to need a very good killer to tip the scales. Actual political assassination gets surprisingly little play in video games.

      I’m going to plug Fire Emblem: Three Houses again just to say that it’s also great and ultimately about politics, but more specifically that I love the way the story is structured: in each route, you spend a year as a teacher getting to know the students of your chosen house, learning about the state of their country and family in addition to their own personal issues. Then the Big Plot Twist transitions the game into the second half, a Five Years Later sort of deal where all the simmering tensions have erupted and the continent is now at war. All of your students, as well as the students of the other houses, have picked sides. You’ll actually have to fight and kill people you knew from the school if you didn’t teach them personally. It was pretty dang harsh.

      • I just slowly lost interest as it shifted harder towards some weirdo conspiracy plot.

        Ah, but that’s the cleverness: the conspiracy turns out to be irrelevant next to the personal drama that motivates it. The whys are what matter, not the whats. Lorenza and Ortas explicitly say this, even. It’s basically the exact opposite bait-and-switch as in Tactics.

        • Yeah, that is true. I did like the final boss… Caspar? I think? I’m not so good at names. Nope, Castor. I was actually close. Anyway, anchoring all the drama and weight to his own personal traumas was a lot more effective than the usual nebulous conspiracy. I like it when the villains are people, and making the previous war the root of his trauma does make everything tie back nicely.

    • If I’m not mistaken, the writer (and also director?) for Tactics is the same guy who wrote (and maybe directed?) the earliest Ogre Battle games, and it seems those games had the same issue that what started as a story full of political intrigue and complex, but relatable motivations quickly became a bog-standard fight against dark gods.

      Mind, I’m going off secondhand accounts, but if so, it’s interesting that twice or thrice his games have suffered from that.

      I think the reason the RPG power fantasy tends to fall backward into rote ‘save the world’ plots is, at its heart, because feeling righteous is a good feeling. […] I think what power fantasies really are is the manifestation of a very human desire to be able to have a palpable, positive effect on the world.

      It’s also hella easier to write and design a game around those tropes, particularly when you’re worried about deadlines and profits.

      • So I’ve heard, yes. I actually played Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together until the end of chapter 2 where the convoluted class build mechanics finally defeated me, but while I still remember how powerful the end of chapter 1 was, I can barely remember anything of chapter 2 at all. I’m not surprised if it ended up going the same way as Tactics.

    • I’m guessing it’s a mix of the Job system being brand-new at the time, the increased difficulty, and all the gimmicky dungeons and fights.

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