"Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Respawn / EA, 2019)"
I really like it, but don't love it. The game I can't help but keep thinking about - partially because of the environment art, partially because of the combat style - is God of War, and everything this game does just fine that game does exquisitely. I'll get back to that in a bit. As for positive impressions? The game has a strong sense of wonder, the sound design is expectedly awesome and they really have, mostly, made it feel like I'm a Star Wars Man wandering around a Star Wars world. It's clear this is a direct tie-in to the wider world of Star Wars, and while I'm lukewarm on both the prequels and the modern trilogy for different reasons I can't help but get drawn into a star war.
So, I appreciated my first four-ish hours with the game. I felt like I was coming close to falling in love with it at various points. The Uncharted bits are big, but it's also been done enough I get why someone would resist those amusement park qualities coming from another franchise. The Tomb Raider bits seem very involved, but I find a lot of fault in the environment design there. I was scrambling in circles at certain points and I wasn't ever certain whether it was expected of me or the level just wasn't funneling me well. Those moments were particular strange feeling because at other points, Respawn's done such a good job of angling the camera or creating minor environmental movement like a pack of rats to indicate the path you're expected to go down.
I worry its ambitions are capable of getting the better of this game. You'd hit deadends in God of War or Tomb Raider but those games didn't ever make you feel dumb for hitting roadblocks, instead you'd just sort of bookmark the thing for later in your mind and move on. Fallen Order doesn't seem to want you to do that, though. Partially it's because the map is a DOOM-like tough read as a 3D AR interface, partially because there's no fast travel which makes you feel like being there is the whole thing. This is where the Dark Souls influence comes in strongest - people will compare the combat to Souls or Sekiro because of its unforgiving difficulty and parry-heavy tutorial, but it's really in the meta design of the game - and also feels like one of the game's weaker nods to the generation's biggest influences. If Control's reliance on the bonfire system felt a little tacked on, Fallen Order's feels entirely superfluous so far. I don't mind the enemy respawn stuff, other than it seems like skill points aren't going to be so damn hard to come by that it needs to happen, but failing a task only to have to do a "boss run" afterward in this game just doesn't feel right, even more than Control.
I also find the enemy tells a little hard to read, not always intentionally like Sekiro either. The enemies just move very deliberately, as does Kal, and so I often find myself ramming my head against when I think I should press a button and when the game expects me to. Explosive projectiles are also universally shit IMO so far, whether rockets or bombs. They just feel unmanageable.
I started on the Hard difficulty, but like God of War I found myself knocking it down after a few bad encounters to Normal so I could just enjoy the story (thinking I may come back to the game if the story is good and I've fully understood it, like God of War, on the harder difficulty)...and this game is still harder than God of War was on normal. I'm not often a Hard guy, but when I really click with a game like God of War, Spider-Man, Horizon, DOOM or something I'm always game; Fallen Order doesn't make me feel like it's worth it to be game.
The nail in the coffin for this playthrough - and despite all the complaining/sour language, let me reiterate I really enjoyed my night with this because it turns out I just love this type of game (and I'm glad I skipped Shadow of the Tomb Raider so it'd feel a little more fresh) - was when I came to a wind puzzle consisting of two rooms, and I kept scrambling between the two rooms trying to figure out what I was missing only to get fed up with it and want to get back to my ship to continue the story...and I absolutely could not find my way out of those two rooms, couldn't follow the map to find my way out, and couldn't just fast travel back to my ship. That moment emphasized for me that maybe this game wants a little too badly to be considered a Hard Game, that it was 3:30AM and I was tired after a 7-hour bartending shift and that this game feels like it's biting off a lot.
This is what I was referring to at the beginning with God of War; that game always made you feel like you were learning, discovering, participating in and with it. Bloodborne, too (I'm not too experienced with the other Souls games), it would let you get lost but only so lost as to find a shortcut at the most desperate moment and get back on track. Even that game, you could zip around zones once you knew you had specific but far away goals; the lack of fast travel in this game is pretty wild. In this game, if you lose the plot it threatens to be lost forever, or at least until such time that you're just worn down by its obtusities. That's...not ideal.
Hopefully I can figure it out quickly tomorrow, I'd like to see some other ways this game opens up - or gets weirdly difficult - again before work tomorrow night.
1. "it looks like a general audience-friendly take on the souls games" In response to Reply # 0
i was watching the giant bomb quick look and was getting legit excited at the prospect of a sci-fi souls-like game with disney money behind it but as the video progressed it was evident that the game lacked all of the depth, difficulty, and nuance of a souls game. it's not for me but i think folks will get behind it because a more accessible version of that kind of game design should be pretty appealing to a wide audience
2. "I'd say God of War was more GA-friendly. This game is truly DS-style har..." In response to Reply # 1 Sat Nov-16-19 04:17 PM by Nodima
In that enemies are hiding around corners, leaping out of holes in the ground, right behind doors in relatively peaceful environments, and the most vicious enemy you'll ever meet sometimes is a murderous goat on a bridge that has the most obvious tells. God of War started super hard but quickly gave you tools to mash through that game if you really wanted to; this game gets so annoyed by you not approaching every encounter with utmost concern that some enemies seem designed to one-hit kill you if you aren't engaging with the game design.
Edit: Since you referenced Giant Bomb specifically, I'll also say that the story is...interesting, in the sense that I don't not care about it, but I finished up the other night at exactly the point Brad refers to as a "wait, what just happened to me?" moment and I have to say I've felt that way most of the game. I'm not seeing the brave storytelling he referred to so far; this feels slapped together like it came from the Uncharted 1 era, rather than a post-Uncharted 4 era if you get my meaning. I'll also say the game is Control-level framey on a base PS4, but that kind of stuff never bothers me and otherwise I've experienced zero technical issues, but I'm also the "unlucky" guy who obsessively played GTA III and never, ever saw a funny or terrible glitch. I'm "cursed" to always miss that stuff. This game runs competently aside from the framerate and just some general sloppy animation work in cutscenes.
That said, all the Dark Souls influence on this game (and there are a lot of influences beyond that, Dark Souls is probably the lightest influence on how the game actually feels) is arguably the worst bits. I don't care so much about the enemy respawning, but it does feel superfluous and out of touch with the game they made. The environments also don't feel meticulously designed enough for the boss runs to invoke that same sense of pride/indignant determination, and especially on more platforming (and platforming puzzle) heavy runs, it's hard to find the good in there. Being able to just run up and slap an enemy then dip out with your old XP is a friendlier way of going about THAT piece, but the Sony Exclusive feel of this game makes it hard to recognize this game is clearly designed for you to Bloodborne your way through levels at a certain point, ignoring everything but your endgoal.
Overall, it's pretty much every game I've liked this generation rolled into one and done slightly less polished. It has Tomb Raider, it has Dark Souls, it has God of War, it has Control, and that's not all I've thought of while playing it. If you like Them Star Warses, I'd say this is easily a must play, and if you're the sort of person who gets super nostalgic for the middle sections of games like Tomb Raider where you're using tools to open up all kinds of shortcuts and hidden locations, it's that with way cooler sounds and noises and whatnots.
3. "lol on that wind/sphere puzzle level I spent more time trying to get" In response to Reply # 0
back to my ship than I did actually going into the tomb and solving the puzzle. Kept going around in circles trying to follow that confusing map - even without fast travel I expected there to be some shortcut back the ship, but nope...
That being said, I'm loving the game so far.
>was when I came to >a wind puzzle consisting of two rooms, and I kept scrambling >between the two rooms trying to figure out what I was missing >only to get fed up with it and want to get back to my ship to >continue the story...and I absolutely could not find my way >out of those two rooms, couldn't follow the map to find my way >out, and couldn't just fast travel back to my ship.
4. "It feels like super-difficult Force Unleashed." In response to Reply # 0
I feel like I'm getting my ass beat because I'm trying to play it like Force Unleashed because I'm not fully versed on the Souls games (Other than DarkSiders 3 being a fake Souls-like). I think the Skill Tree is useless, too. Like, if I can get pick-ups/collectibles during the game that boost my max Force and health, why do I also have to waste skill points on those things? Going back to DarkSiders, I'd prefer if there was just an in-game dude selling me advanced moves that I can test in a wide-enough space on the ship or wait to put them to use in combat.
On some crybaby shit, I was hoping there'd be my favorite black Kyber crystal like Force Unleashed.
5. "I don't think the game signals its difficulty well." In response to Reply # 4
Something about its layout, its enemy design, some combination of the two, just feels like a game where you clear the area, gain the XP and move on. It never feels right when enemies have returned to an area you cleared thirty minutes ago, especially given their tells feel just obtuse enough that you can enter one encounter and finish it in thirty seconds, only to struggle through it for five minutes shortly after in the same play session.
Plus, once you realize how the force powers can interact with each other, let alone the environment, it feels pretty limiting how quickly the force meter drains. I bet somebody will master this game and have some pro-level, DMC S-rank type videos on Youtube before long showing off how you're supposed to balance attacks, parries, force powers and dodges, but the game fought against my inputs a little too often for me to care enough to invest the time; it had a Witcher 3 problem in that regard.
6. "It gets more fun as the powers develop." In response to Reply # 0
Combat is still difficult and inconsistent, especially when there's not a cliff to push niggas off of. Kinda wish the saber customization wasn't just cosmetic. I need some damage and XP buffs and health regen coming from somewhere.
I had to turn the difficulty down on the final battle because I kept getting fucked. I could stand some story DLC, if they could make it not be too fan-servicey, but still butt it up against Rogue One or Episode 4. Unless you're grinding, there's still powers on the tree to unlock before you do the final battle.
13. "It was a pretty genius way of having the player's skill develop..." In response to Reply # 12
>and im struck by the overarching theme of processing trauma
In most games like this the main character learns powers n a way that wouldn't make sense in "real life" or in whatever universe the setting is. Because you wouldn't go from complete novice to some special master over the course of the story. But having the main character here be someone who'd previously had all of that skill but repressed it because of trauma and had to work through that while relearning everything made it feel so much more realistic.
14. "I'm excited to replay whenever I get a PS5" In response to Reply # 12 Mon Mar-01-21 04:45 PM by Nodima
Sekiro didn't click with me at all (or, it did in the moment to moment combat but flopped at the bosses) but I loved the combat in this game. The last true boss fight was one of my favorites of the entire generation. But the janky framerate made certain bits a little harder than they needed to be.
And now I know I don't NEED to find every poncho because they all suck, lol.
18. "I fought Madame Butterfly over 50 times" In response to Reply # 17
I'm just not precise enough for that game. I still tap out the block block block attack block attack attack rhythm on my controller from time to time lol. Ultimately I respect what their vision was but I was only able to beat Bloodborne thanks to overpowering HP and strength and it really sucks that Sekiro is completely disinterested in giving less skilled (or maybe iron hearted - I've never been more stressed playing a game!) players an out.
For a while I figured maybe it was just my old ass TV having some bad latency issues, but I upgraded this past summer to a TV highly recommended for gaming and it didn't help much.
(I know she's technically optional, too, but it was a personal vendetta at some point!)
19. "fuckin Lady B, man. only controller i have EVER broken " In response to Reply # 18
she was definitely the biggest wall in the entire game for me and i struggled beating the rest of the game too but the NG+'s were a blast and i decided i REALLY like torturing myself and managed a Charmless run somehow. the game is simply you must memorize the bosses moveset,dance the dance, die a bunch, and have enough discipline to not have a meltdown when you reach stage 3 Genichiro and he annihilates you from stress.
i think i wildly persevered in Sekiro bc of the thrills it provides. may as well be on the worlds scariest fastest tallest roller coaster while fighting the bosses.