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Old 10-02-2010, 11:44 AM   #61
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I really liked the demo when I finally tried it a couple days ago. Very nice. A little animation heavy, but the only time it really bothered me was when I started moving from standing still, since he wouldn't just go where I was pointing. Comes into play in the platforming sections as well, but it's not a big deal.

Combat was fun and very cinematic, which I love. From what I hear in reviews (which are all over the place now) the combat system never gets too much depth to it, but that's okay since I think this plays to different strengths; the story's supposed to be very good. Will absolutely pick it up, but I don't know when I'll have a chance to.

As for DmC, I never had any doubts that refreshing the combat would be good for that game--and Enslaved certainly reinforces that--I just really don't like Dante's new character design. Seeing character design that I actually like and think looks great in Enslaved makes me even more sad. Bah, I just sound like a bitter old man, now.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:45 AM   #62
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I really need to find some money so I can at least rent this game, I loved the demo to death and I really want to play this. Hmmm....
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:43 AM   #63
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I got to fool around with the final game today at a friend's place.

A little more polish would have done wonders for this. I like the tone, style and pacing of the game a lot. The story presentation and writing is a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

The controls were something I struggled with. This obviously tries to marry Prince of Persia with a toned-down God of War, but it didn't have the fluidity of either of those series. The characters look great, and the voice-acting is pitch-perfect, but they don't move believably or naturally. For no particular reason, Monkey is sometimes unable to run. The narrowest gaps cause him to lose his stride while in full sprint. The tiniest elevation or stone in his path creates an invisible wall. Other times, while jumping vertically to grab purchase, you'll yourself having to back away from the wall and step towards it a second to make Monkey magically make the exact same jump he failed at.

And as a result, the controls frustrate the experience. For very brief stretches, Monkey moves like you want him to - the way Dastan or Altair move - seamlessly creating a path at full speed where almost none seems to exist. But the rest of the time, you have to wrestle with him and the environments, because every other step is clunky, unresponsive or counterintuitive.

Still, I think I'm going to get my copy and play through it just I'm enjoying the characters and how every cut-scene does such a great job of making them seem vulnerable. That is the most refreshing and enjoyable aspect of the game.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:05 AM   #64
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Just a personal pet peeve of mine: if something has light and heavy attacks that doesn't make it resemble God of War. In the realm of character action games, GoW has always been defined (for me) by the way the Chains behave, with the game, mobs and encounters built around that. It's like saying they went for a Double Dragon style game (which might be more accurate to the combat). I mean, this didn't have the fluidity of GoW's combat because it wasn't trying to emulate it. The weird running, though, yeah.

But that's just me nit-picking action game terminology.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:28 AM   #65
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Just a personal pet peeve of mine: if something has light and heavy attacks that doesn't make it resemble God of War. In the realm of character action games, GoW has always been defined (for me) by the way the Chains behave, with the game, mobs and encounters built around that. It's like saying they went for a Double Dragon style game (which might be more accurate to the combat). I mean, this didn't have the fluidity of GoW's combat because it wasn't trying to emulate it. The weird running, though, yeah.

But that's just me nit-picking action game terminology.
I guess I see what you're saying...

But Enslaved has all the GOW pieces, without the combos and combo rewards. It's the same mechanics, he same functions (with blocks and stuns) and the same upgrade system. I'd say letting the chains define GOW is defining it too narrowly. Ninja Gaiden would be the GOW predecessor to me.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:29 AM   #66
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I guess I see what you're saying...

But Enslaved has all the GOW pieces, without the combos and combo rewards. It's the same mechanics, he same functions (with blocks and stuns) and the same upgrade system. I'd say letting the chains define GOW is defining it too narrowly. Ninja Gaiden would be the GOW predecessor to me.
Given, this is just from the demo, but the weapons, combos, timing, enemies, controls and camera were nothing like GoW, so why would you compair it directly? I suppose they're both buton-mashy, but the deliberate pace of the combat in the Enslaved demo already mitigated that a little compaired to GoW. The similar functions like blocks and stuns are just parts of the genre. And Ninja Gaiden is far, far deeper and more intense than God of War ever dreamed of being (not that it was trying to be that type of game, though).

But action games are just more in my wheel house than most other games, so I tend to be picky with how I decribe them. I certainly can't say you're wrong for feeling a certain way, since it obviously makes sense to you, and it's much more GoW than, say, DMC. =]

If I had to compair, I'd say the platforming = Uncharted is pretty spot on, and for me the combat feels closer to Darksiders than anything else I can currently think of.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:00 PM   #67
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There is a tendency to lump all action games that feature melee combat in together. This sounds pretty reasonable, until you compare it with lumping all action games that feature shooting together.

The way I see it (and this is purely a gut-instinct way of classifying things, I know it wouldn't stand up to close inspection) there are three rough categories of third-person melee combat games.

The first is the GoW brawler, which contains stuff like Conan and Dante's Inferno. They're direct descendants of Double Dragon and Golden Axe. Note the slightly more zoomed out perspective and light platforming elements.

Then there is DMC and its imitators, stuff like Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta. The camera is often closer in to the main character, the combat is highly technical and there is a distinctly Japanese feel to the presentation and cutscenes; you can see a distant kinship with the earlier Resident Evil titles.

Last comes the Zelda-esque "action adventure" game. Okami and Darksiders would fit into this category. Yes, you beat stuff up and upgrade your combat abilities, but exploring the world, solving puzzles and getting new non-combat items and upgrades are just as, if not more, important than the fighting.

That said, Enslaved is a funny one. I've only played the demo, but I'd definitely describe it as Uncharted with the shooting replaced with fighting. It's one of those odd games where it feels closer to a game in a different genre to the one most people would place it in.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:43 PM   #68
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This is on my Gamefly queue, and it BETTER ship this week. I will wind up beating it in a weekend, so I have given up buying games that will be 1-2 day sessions, and this looks like a really great title. I have never played a Ninja Theory game, but I plan on playing through Heavenly Sword in the next month or so.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:55 PM   #69
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Enslaved is playing out fairly predictably as far as the overall story goes. But the character interactions (especially facial animations and body language) are fantastic.

6 Chapters in, and I'd only classify one of them as being weak in how it was conceived. The gameplay isn't any worse - it just demands too much disbelief being suspended.

I feel the Uncharted comparisons have more to do with the lush environments, chatty repartee and the actual pace than what the designers originally hoped for. This has to do with my stated complaints about the controls. It follows that the the camera is also going to struggle to action adequately if your character's movement itself is herky-jerky.

I think Ninja Theory was hoping to make players think more of Prince of Persia than Nathan Drake. But Monkey rarely moves at the speed you want him to move at, and the speed you think the designers were hoping he would move at given his animations. The way the little tech orbs are spread out (reflecting an awful design decision) also becomes a chore that reinforces this. Rather than have a character sprinting, flipping, somersaulting and lunging seamlessly and swooping for orbs with minimal effort, Monkey's clunkiness is highlighted because the designers consistently put the orbs on the four corners of a single platform, so Monkey clumsily drags himself along an invisible to grab them all. A little polish would have made monkey graceful and subtle...but alas.

And I think I'd like to see designers start to rubberband AI when it comes to combat in these games. Once you power Monkey up, the enemies begin to fall a little too easily. It's fun to use his entire arsenal/repertoire, but it's not fun to turn enemies into fodder. I think if you activate certain power-ups, enemies should become a little harder automatically. That way, a fight is still a fight, and combat isn't something used as filler between platforming - you still fear dying, and it's a more satisfying experience to kill enemies using stuns, parries and evades.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:23 PM   #70
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Just heard about this game from the review on Destructoid and now I must have it. I'll probably wait until it drops in price a bit, but it will eventually be mine. The whole presentation of the game just shouts "Uncharted" to me and that's never a bad thing.

Has this been getting much press? I can't believe I'm only hearing about it 2 days before it comes out, but I have been pretty busy lately. This has got me wondering what else I'm not privy too.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:24 PM   #71
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As a rule, I think rubberbanding AI is one of those things that developers get sent to hell for. Making an existing foe stronger or quicker isn't a good idea. It's shitty, lazy programming that almost actively discourages getting all the upgrades.

If a dev makes NEW enemies show up, with NEW abilities and required strategies to win, requiring the player to think about combat instead of just hitting them more and harder, then that's fine.

Yeah, for me, rubberbanding is up there with the nefarious infinite spawn.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:54 PM   #72
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Rubber Band AI is alright so long as you allow the players to realize how far they've come.

I'd be playing this game but it was my mummas birthday and I've been avoiding famille for most of the year. Tomorrow is all about Castlevania: LOS. After that I'll enjoy this game.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:19 PM   #73
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If a dev makes NEW enemies show up, with NEW abilities and required strategies to win, requiring the player to think about combat instead of just hitting them more and harder, then that's fine.

Yeah, for me, rubberbanding is up there with the nefarious infinite spawn.
Fair enough, but in games like Enslaved, I feel powering does more than just giving you access to new and different combos (which I feel is the main thrust in GOW) to keep the combat fresh 8 hours in.

In this situation, where we only have a half dozen different enemies, which are all generic and hardly distinguish themselves from one another, the designer is showing a different kind of laziness. It's one thing to be so lazy as so not create new enemies for later parts in the game that demand power-ups be used.

It's another to not at least put in the effort to rubberband those generic enemies so combat is anything more than a Press-Y-as-fast-as-you-can exercise.
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:12 AM   #74
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Out of all the brawlers I've played, Conan got had the best sense of combo/enemy progression. The game starts of with big guys and little guys and you soon figure out which techniques are best to dispatch them quickly. After a while, you'll come across new enemies in those categories that can counter the techniques you were using before. It's okay, because you'll unlock new combos that allow you to defeat them with ease.

It goes back and forth like that the whole game, so by the end, you can still take out loads of bad guys quickly and you feel more powerful, but it requires a higher level of player skill.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:07 AM   #75
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@Urizen

Yeah, I think there is a definite balance that can be difficult to find in that. On one hand, I like getting beefed up and just tearing through enemies sometimes, but on the other I still want to be a little challenged. With a game that simply makes you more powerful--as opposed to unlocking a deeper fighting system as you go on vis a vie DMC or Bayonetta--I think you need a bigger variety of enemies to compensate. Stuff like that is probably in response to trying to appeal to a wider audience and not locking out someone not willing to put in extra time to learn all the subtleties in combat by making it easier. But I'll still get it and play on a high difficulty.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:05 PM   #76
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Stuff like that is probably in response to trying to appeal to a wider audience and not locking out someone not willing to put in extra time to learn all the subtleties in combat by making it easier. But I'll still get it and play on a high difficulty.
I suppose.

I always play on Normal difficulty on principle. That's what the designers intended to be true reach of the game. That's where the designers spent hours arguing over how much damage a certain boss should take, and how long you'll be able to use your shield before it breaks. Every decision about the true pace of the game was made for Normal difficulty.

Playing on Easy or Hard only takes those decisions and slides them 30% one way or the other. It's lazy and artificial. I want to experience what the designer thought was a good balance, and not some handicap on that.

If a game turns out easy, so be it. If a games turns out hard, so be it. If a game turns out boring, so be it. If a game turns out frustrating, so be it. But I don't go to restaurants to order off the menu.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:17 PM   #77
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I suppose.

I always play on Normal difficulty on principle. That's what the designers intended to be true reach of the game. That's where the designers spent hours arguing over how much damage a certain boss should take, and how long you'll be able to use your shield before it breaks. Every decision about the true pace of the game was made for Normal difficulty.

Playing on Easy or Hard only takes those decisions and slides them 30% one way or the other. It's lazy and artificial. I want to experience what the designer thought was a good balance, and not some handicap on that.

If a game turns out easy, so be it. If a games turns out hard, so be it. If a game turns out boring, so be it. If a game turns out frustrating, so be it. But I don't go to restaurants to order off the menu.
Meh, personally I like difficulty in games that require twitch. You are only limited by how fast you can think. Starcraft, Bayonetta, DMC, Ninja Gaiden it's all the same. It's for all of us a.d.h.d. kids. Designer intention is simply another way of saying what's enough to make sure these people won't cry about it.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:25 PM   #78
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@Urizen

But then you get cases of designing to the lowest common denominator. If they're trying to appeal to more people, they're going to make it easier, plain and simple. Expecting to play games designed for your skill level on the default setting means you'd enjoy very few games, I think; that's why different difficulties exist, after all.

If you're biggest complaint is that you found it too easy to dispatch enemies, why wouldn't you just kick up the setting and make it harder to dispatch enemies? The skill level of the people picking up this game will vary wildly, so maybe you're just a notch above what they determined to be the average.

Also, Halo, at least, suggests the level higher than normal is how it's "meant to be played." Not all games design around a single difficulty.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:25 PM   #79
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Menage sold me on this game in another thread. I instantly put it on my Gamefly Q and it should be here on Wednesday. I can't wait.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:33 PM   #80
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Designer intention is simply another way of saying what's enough to make sure these people won't cry about it.
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But then you get cases of designing to the lowest common denominator. If they're trying to appeal to more people, they're going to make it easier, plain and simple.
Looks like you two agree and I understand from lots of conversations that I'm in the minority. I wish designers didn't have the different difficulties to rely on as a crutch. It's one thing I appreciate a lot about Nintendo-published games. Inflating a game's length or replayability with multiple difficulties is supremely lazy in my book.

But I know lots of people appreciate this 'feature', so I'm not going to take to the streets.

If we're really worried about the lowest common denominator, then we would just have Wii Sports and Sports Champions, and nothing else. I think you're putting too much stock in this LCD theory. Does Bayonetta appeal to some LCD? Does Uncharted? Does God of War?

The industry is big enough at this point, I feel, that there is enough of a market for virtually every genre created. I don't think someone creates a game like Dead Space or Mirror's Edge, and thinks, "How can I water this down?"
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