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Undertale is a game that nobody understands how to talk about without spoiling. I'm making this thread now to encourage you not to read it or anything else about the game until you're done.
Undertale has a lot of secrets. Some of these secrets might seem hard to get to; do it anyway, the payoffs are worth it. As long as you have questions, keep playing. Don't use a guide. Experiment.
When you're finally fully satisfied with the game and feel that you've seen all it has to offer: start up a new game and grind for XP in the starting area as long as you can, not letting a single monster get away alive. After a while, something cool will happen; stick with it no matter what.
Sooo...I'm a little mixed on this one. I've been trying to divorce myself from the hype and the fanbase so as not to let it color my perception of the game and just enjoy it on its own merits. And I did enjoy a good number of things about the game: its soundtrack, the general cleverness and level of surprise, the nonviolent themes, the fourth-wall poking and the general pacing and punchiness of everything.
At the same time, I feel that a lot of elements of Undertale bother me more than it did other fans and reviewers. The battle system never felt great to me; if you're going for killing stuff, you really have a single attack option at your disposal. If you're Mercy-ing things, there are some funny actions you can take, but it often feels like a crap-shoot regardless and doesn't really have any more strategy than, say, choosing which dialogue to pick first when chatting to a character in an Ace Attorney game. And re-fighting the same enemy multiple times on a Pacifist Run just feels like busywork; I think the game might've worked best with simply a single enemy of each type existing (and it'd reinforce their lives being valued). Maybe with Chrono Trigger's type of encounters instead of random (that's more of a nitpick). I do like the shmup-style dodging because it continues to provide variety, and it gives me something to focus on since my turns are generally just picking from a menu and seeing what sticks.
I also never could shake the claustrophobic feeling. The world feels pretty tiny, and while there are a couple really small sidequests to do, the lack of a world map or more open type areas (combined with the simple combat and minimal inventory) meant I never really got that great "thirsty for adventure" feel when good RPGs really get going. Undertale played more like an odd Adventure-(i.e. King's Quest style)-slash-RPG combination. This isn't inherently a bad thing and the dialogue was generally solid, but it did lack some of the elements that make RPGs great IMO.
So it was up to the story and characters to really pull the weight. I liked them well enough, but...I'm not really sure what it was exactly, but I didn't really fall in love with them. Maybe it was one too many oddball "dating sequences," maybe it was the too on-the-nose internet-anxiety-girl personality of Alphys, but I found the cast kinda hit-or-miss. My favorite character (and probably the most emotionally-resonant sequence for me) was Toriel. She kicked the game off in an endearing way and the skeletons brought the laughs immediately afterward, but I think the storytelling sort of dipped after that. The ending was pretty cool in how thorough it was, and I enjoyed the large scale of the final battles. I also appreciate how earnest the final moments of the game are, but I feel the emotional moments didn't quite hit because we barely knew anything of Asriel beforehand, so it came across as somewhat maudlin to me. Maybe I'm the one who needs a SOUL!
Sorry if this sounds too negative. I'm focusing more on the elements that didn't work for me both because I posted earlier about what I liked and mainly because everyone and their mother just LOVED this game and its cast. I still found it compelling enough to complete twice in just over a week, the music was strong and I enjoyed it overall. But it's kind of an eight-point-something for me rather than a nine-point-something. Still worth playing for how creative it is!
...Is this how EarthBound latecomers feel after playing EB for the first time...?
The first time I played through Undertale, I thought, "Hey, that was a fun little RPG! Cool game, I'm not amazed but that was pretty creative."
The second time, I understood where everyone was coming from putting this up there with the SNES greats. Still didn't resonate with me as much as others, but I got it.
The third time... it blew my mind and I loved it, and it's now one of my favorite games ever. Your mileage may vary on it--I'm a huge sucker for the type of storytelling it dishes out in that playthrough--but if you don't do the Genocide Run, you're really only getting 2/3 of the story. To me, Undertale is so amazing because it exists perfectly well on its own as a solid RPG, but then went above and beyond and added an extra thing to totally subvert and undo that.
Like I said in the OP: start up a new game and grind for XP in the starting area as long as you can, not letting a single monster get away alive. After a while, something cool will happen; stick with it no matter what.
I finally "cracked open" the copy I bought of Steam a couple years ago.
I dunno how I feel so far, maybe an hour in (I just made it to goat lady's house). I think this game's reputation is making me paranoid. For instance, when she tells you at the start to stay where you are. I did that. Until it got too boring. She gives you a phone, and I admit I didn't use it before moving forward, I don't know if it's important or not. That's kind of where my paranoia comes from: I want to play this game right, but I don't know what that means.
I also tried the Pacifist thing, but I've already accidentally killed some critter, so. And I can't say I'm enjoying the "combat", taking this route. It's very repetitive and boring. I wish this game didn't have random encounters. Facing enemy types once or twice should be enough.
I dunno. I'm feeling very ambivalent, and haven't picked up the game in a week.
As far as I know, it's impossible to get the best ending the first time through anyway, so I wouldn't sweat the details too much. Just play in the way that feels best for you, then take a peek at some hints (if you wish) after finishing the game once. You're still kind of in the tutorial area (although it's not an insignificant percentage of the game), so I'd press forward a bit more before giving up. That said, I feel that I'm also in the minority in that I wasn't entirely blown away by the game, but there were several things I really enjoyed about it.
I remember playing the demo a couple years before the game came out and having no idea what I was playing or why people cared about it. Then when the full game finally released and I saw people raving about it, I was like... "Oh, that game?"
Took me a few months to get motivation to try it again, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I did when I played the demo (though I had heard that there was "more to it," so that might've colored my experience).
Ideally you shouldn't even know that there are different endings going into the game or what a "Pacifist route" even is, but, yeah, people don't know how to talk about stuff without spoiling it. I feel the same way about games like 999--knowing that you have to play through the game at least twice to get the true ending is a big deal, there's a lot you can extrapolate from that little bit of information! Obviously time travel is involved, and normally that would've been a huge twist.
@Guillaume I don't think it even matters too much what you do right away though I've heard you CAN get the best ending first time through maybe?! just play it however you want. Once it starts to matter basically once you start the second playthrough the game makes it pretty clear what to do next as far as I recall? It's not a secret or anything?!
I played Undertale on PC a few months after it came out, and I looooooooooooved it. I've been a big EarthBound fan for awhile, but honestly I think I might like Undertale even more than EarthBound. It's really a brilliant game, and among my favorite games I've ever played. It definitely takes a lot of influence from EarthBound, but it manages to have enough of its own sort of flavor, so that it ends up feeling unique.
Some of the stuff Undertale fans come up with is weird.
People found out about Gaster by messing around with the game's save file and finding secret rooms and characters that there's no way to access through playing the game normally. He's supposed to have been the royal scientist before Alphys and was "split across time and space" when he fell into the Core, which he invented. He's a skeleton that speaks in Wingdings, implying that he's related to Sans and Papyrus somehow, which explains how Sans knows so much about the weird nature of Undertale's reality.
So yeah I'm about a half hour in (started playing LATE last night, had to get to bed) and yeah, this is definitely... I won't spoil it but Undertale fans should be doing this! Minor spoilers: It's basically more Undertale.
Hmm... so now Toby Fox is posting screenshots on Twitter showing that he started working on Deltarune around the same time he started working on Undertale. If the entirety of one of the greatest games ever was just a test run for something bigger, this man's even more of a genius than we thought.
I wouldn't say I was blown away by the demo, but it's only Chapter 1 in the story, and if it can continue to become more involved as it goes on then I've got high hopes for this--the boss at the end was already really cool. It seems to more obviously play up the whole violence vs. pacifism thing than Undertale did, and the story is a little more tropey too, which makes me think it's setting up for some crazy subversion later on.
So a little ahead of Indiecember, I've finally started a run at Undertale.
How long did it take you all? HowLongToBeat.com says 6-6.5 hours or so. I should be able to manage that at my Mac. I don't do a lot of gaming on it but after Firewatch just kept running like shit, I wanted to boot something else up. I've been wanting to play this for a while. Man it's weird. I've heard a lot about how you don't have to fight but can instead appeal to them and then Mercy them, so that's what I'm doing.
Any reason I should fight? Any reason I shouldn't? Does it somehow skew the experience to know either way?