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PS5/PS4 game impressions!! (Scarlet Nexus, Guilty Gear) [roundtable]
 
I tried to order a PS5 about a month ago, when Walmart was scheduled to drop some. Just as a sheer exercise to see if I could. I kept taking my eye off of the ball and barely missing the drop every ten minutes. So it became a challenge to overcome. And then, finally... the order actually went through.

I had the chance to pre-order before launch, but didn't really have any desire for one. The hard drive capacity seemed untenable, it looks like a life-sized obelisk/monolith, there weren't any exclusives that I really wanted, and $70 games are for the birds.

None of that has really changed since. But the difficulty of scoring one made me more curious, oddly. How green WAS that grass, really? FOMO! Plus, I figured that I could try it out, redeem the PS Plus Collection games, and then pass it along for a profit. Which I still might.

But y'know what I really hate? Like, with the intensity of a thousand suns? My PS4 Pro. Because it sounds like it has a thousand fans. Every time I boot up that clunky piece of shit and am forced to install hours of updates and just... listen to it's dynamo-esque acoustic output, I'm filled with the deepest regret. Plus, they don't sell them anymore! So they're kind of going for a lot on Amazon, seemingly. Except Amazon won't let me sell them?

Anyway, I'm still in the middle of figuring out the most financially rewarding way to kick my PS4 Pro to the curb, but I did try out the PS5. The transfer gave me some issues, but whatevvvs. And I still don't really care about the library (the PS5 library, I mean - real libraries 4 Lyfe!), but just the quiet operation and fast loading almost make it a worthwhile way to play games that I don't really enjoy.

The new Dual Sense features are really cool in Astrobot (which is also cool). The triggers seem a bit gimmicky, but the haptics really are a step up from the Switch's HD Rumble. The position of the thumbsticks is still horrible, though, and it really irritates me that Sony won't let you use DS4 controllers on PS5 games.

Will I keep it? I dunno. I got the disc version, because god(s) bless the library. I rented basically every single PS5 game the day the system arrived, and I don't really plan to buy anything day one (or maybe at all), ever. (I can't try too many at the same time, due to limited hard drive space, though. So far, I've only played Astro Bot and Fenyx Rising, which is a decent BOTW-like, if too repetitive and slavishly devoted to the Ubisoft open world formula.) It basically makes the PS4 obsolete, so if I can get a decent price for mine and keep renting everything, it will be an affordable way to play the ol' AAAAAs. The onboard media decoders stink, but it has 4K Blu Ray capability. Plus, I feel like the demand and resale value will stay high for a while.

To be honest, I was thinking of building a new PC, instead, since mine is 25 years old... but all of the parts are super-expensive right now. I'd also like to reward Xbox for their hardware design and Game Pass ecosystem, which is an insane deal, but the inertia of my existing library makes the PS5 a better choice, even though there's no easy/cheap way to try out indie games on PS5. Those guys could use the buys, anyway, I guess...

Anyway, that's my story! What are your "next-gen" plans (by which I mean modern PC/PS5/Xbox Series)? And if you've already jumped in, what do you think, so far?

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Posted: 03/24/21, 01:06:50  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/21, 02:23:53
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@Zero

I'm on board with you so far...what would you have this new AV team work on? F-Zero, I assume? I would also want them to assemble the developers from Overworks as well. Maybe we can get Skies of Arcadia 2...?

@TheBigG753

Totally on board with Nintendo acquiring Platinum. I think the only reason Nintendo hasn't is because their games...don't sell very well. But they make quality product...!

@Anand

This would make a good roundtable!
Posted: 06/30/21, 22:38:31
As far as Western companies, I might have nominated the old Free Radical guys. But they were already acquired by... a bunch of people.

@TheBigG753
Yeah, Platinum needs to make stuff without worrying about marketability. Marketability does not seem to be their forte. Actually, it might be cool if Nintendo tried to address that by letting them loose on franchises like Star Fox and S&P. And a third-person Captain Falcon vs. Samus Bounty Hunting game!

And Chousoujuu Mecha MG!!

@Zero
It's a good pick, except that's the Yakuza team! Who are not currently too keen on the Big N.
Posted: 07/01/21, 07:30:05  - Edited by 
 on: 07/01/21, 07:31:25
I bought a PS5 game today. Guilty Gear Strive. Havenít fired it up yet but Iím excited for it!

@Anand

Not keen on Nintendo? But why tho...?
Posted: 07/03/21, 07:24:46
@GameDadGrant
Because the Yakuza 1 & 2 Remaster on Wii U flopped in Japan, I think?
Posted: 07/03/21, 15:46:19
@GameDadGrant All I'm reading is that Yakuza 1 and 2 HD flopped on Wii U, and there's a potentially mistranslated quote about the developer saying he thought Switch was for kids and teens. Though looking into it, this quote was attributed to something much older, so I don't know what their current status is with Nintendo. I imagine they just don't want to spend the time/money if they're happy with the game on PC/XBox/PS as it stands already.
Posted: 07/03/21, 15:49:59  - Edited by 
 on: 07/03/21, 15:53:59
@Anand @PogueSquadron

Ah, didnít realize those games released on Wii U! But I mean...everything flopped on Wii U. I donít know why they were surprised?

Also! Even if the Switch was for ďkids and teensĒ ...who do they think the people are that are playing these games?!
Posted: 07/03/21, 17:24:32
GameDadGrant said:

Ah, didnít realize those games released on Wii U! But I mean...everything flopped on Wii U. I donít know why they were surprised?

Also! Even if the Switch was for ďkids and teensĒ ...who do they think the people are that are playing these games?!

Yakuza.
Posted: 07/03/21, 19:07:43
Tried Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS5. Aside from still having forced walking sections, it's pretty enjoyable! I can't yet tell if the combat system is robust, but it's certainly more fun than turn-based.

And the characters (particularly Jessie) have an anime-esque awkward charm. As someone who never played the original, this game has exceeded my expectations.

Takes up a lot of room on the ol' SSD, though... PS5 takes fridge management to a new level.
Posted: 07/08/21, 18:31:49  - Edited by 
 on: 07/08/21, 18:32:21
@Anand

How far did you play? The opening hour or so was fantastic, and then... if you don't like forced walking sections, brace yourself for mandatory cat hide-and-seek sidequests, haha.

But then after that the game goes back to being pretty good. But there's so much filler. We need a remake of the remake that focuses on the amazing combat system and original game's story. I'm playing through the original right now, and man, I'm sick of turn-based combat!
Posted: 07/08/21, 18:47:37
@Secret_Tunnel
Yeah, I did the cat thing, haha. I can definitely see the side quests and "kill/analyze this monster in this tiny monster area" becoming tedious. But then I did the motorbike section. So my current impression is more favorable.

I would definitely love to have a 'no-filler' mode, though.

As far as turn-based combat, I've never been too fond of it, to be honest. Particularly if you can just play on autopilot. Attack, Attack, Magic, Heal, Attack. I only enjoy it when strategy is actually required to stay alive. Like in Etrian Odyssey. I only played a bit of Bravely Default II, but that seemed fairly strategic, as well. The demo freaking kicked my ass.

If you can get by with formulaic actions for every particular group of enemies, then you should just be able to set up a macro to program your characters' behavior. Which is how FF12 worked, I guess? That always seemed interesting to me.
Posted: 07/08/21, 19:27:52
Anand said:
As far as turn-based combat, I've never been too fond of it, to be honest. Particularly if you can just play on autopilot. Attack, Attack, Magic, Heal, Attack. I only enjoy it when strategy is actually required to stay alive.

If you can get by with formulaic actions for every particular group of enemies, then you should just be able to set up a macro to program your characters' behavior. Which is how FF12 worked, I guess? That always seemed interesting to me.

100%, this is exactly what I've been thinking while playing FFVII. My strategy is the same in every single Final Fantasy style turn-based RPG I've ever played, every single battle. And I've heard how in FFXII you can program your strategy in to run automatically, and also that it's open-world with sidequests that escalate in difficulty and require you to change your strategies up... so I kind of wish I was playing that instead! But FFVII is part of the canon. And its story really is interesting.

A buddy was telling me about a game called Rift Wizard on Steam, which sounds like Shiren the Wanderer but with 100 different spells that you can cast at any time with no restrictions, and every spell does something completely different. It needs to come to Switch!
Posted: 07/08/21, 21:03:40
@Anand @Secret_Tunnel From a programmer perspective FF XII is actually kind of interesting. You're basically writing little algorithms for each character. "If health falls below 35%, then heal." Etc. And you chain it all together so it's basically a bunch of if / else if / else statements. It has a lot of choices too (with more unlocking as you get further in), so it feels deep. I don't know if it is the best battle system ever, but it's intriguing in ways a lot of auto systems aren't.

And it also reinforces my belief that serious programming is all about anticipating edge cases. Every time I had to jump in because my algorithms weren't working, I'd question WHY? What am I now doing manually that my algorithms didn't cover, and is it possible to modify my algorithms to cover it in the future? (Usually healing, but why did my algorithms let things get so dire?)

It's probably one of the most programmer-y games I've played that isn't an actual programmer game (like Human Resource Machine, etc.)

Also, because it's complex but automated, I ended up actually using lots of stuff like buffs and such that I'm too lazy to bother with in most RPGs.
Posted: 07/08/21, 22:07:38  - Edited by 
 on: 07/08/21, 22:14:07
Anand said:
@Secret_TunnelIf you can get by with formulaic actions for every particular group of enemies, then you should just be able to set up a macro to program your characters' behavior. Which is how FF12 worked, I guess? That always seemed interesting to me.
I haven't played FF XII, but for an earlier example, Phantasy Star IV did this. There were also some special combos that would activate only if set up as a macro.
Posted: 07/09/21, 02:42:17
@Secret_Tunnel
That sounds awesome. Are the effects of the 100 spells randomized every game, in true Roguelike fashion?

Dungeon Master was a pretty cool game, back in the day. You basically created your own spells by combining runes. So, once you figured out which rune was "fire" and which was "fly", you could make a fireball. And there were other modifiers, too. It really sparked the imagination. Figuring out advanced spells before you found a scroll with the formula felt amazing.

@Zero
Yeah, I need to play FFXII. The story seems so dry, but the gameplay always intrigued me. It seems like the logical step forward for the genre. But then most people hated it, so it was an unfortunate evolutionary dead end, like the Gamecube face button layout, IR pointer control, and automatic acceleration (Kirby Air Ride) in arcade racing games.

Come to think of it, that last one kinda came back in mobile racing games.

@Mop it up
Interesting. Phantasy Star really was crazy advanced for its time. It always felt like it was from the future when I saw my friends playing it. Well... enemies, really.

They were Sega kids.
Posted: 07/09/21, 17:13:42  - Edited by 
 on: 07/09/21, 17:15:58
Tried Vanillaware's latest, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, to see if it lived up to the hype, and... it kinda does?!

13 Sentinels is a really weird mash-up. It seems to be mostly a multi-viewpoint mech vs. kaiju Visual Novel with interludes of turn-based strategy set in overhead urban environments. The strategy bits are interesting and fairly unique, but the real meat appears to be in the visual novel section.

Which is cool! From the description (and the title), it seems like a Pacific Rim-rip, but it has its own Japanese twist, as well. Like the high-school setting, and how all of the pilots are naked in their mechs! Which makes it more like a cheerier version of Evangelion, I guess.With time travel elements. But the characterization is good, and the story has genuinely intrigued me. A rarity, as I think that the stories in most video games are absolute garbage. (I suppose that it's much less rare for Visual Novels or other primarily story-driven genres, though.)

As expected from Vanillaware, the art is super-beautiful, too (except for the strategy interludes, which are pretty ug). And the Visual Novel sections really do have a novel presentation, with tons of little QoL niceties, like having tons of dialogue system customization and being able to eavesdrop on adjacent background conversations while walking by. The story bits are quite frictionless, and, even though you don't have too much real agency, you kind of FEEL like you do.

I've only played through (most of) the lengthy tutorial at this point, but 13 Sentinels is the type of polished Japanese quirkiness that I've been missing in recent years.

As with most VNs, though, I'd really rather play it in handheld. If it came to Switch (which it should), I'd pick it up without hesitation. All of Vanillaware's games would look beautiful on the Switch, but this is one that I would actually want to play.

Oh, and I also tried the PS5 version of Tony Hawk 1 & 2 Remastered I've never quite attained mastery of the controls for this series (specifically, manuals and reverts), but this remaster is fantastically executed. The Switch port is supposed to be good, too, so I'll probably grab that eventually. Seems like a good game to play in spurts.

Oh, and I also played the PS5 remake of that Neptunia game?


Yeahhhh......
Posted: 07/13/21, 00:22:29  - Edited by 
 on: 07/13/21, 00:32:15
I picked up the Switch version of Tony Hawk 1+2. Lots of fun! It's not revolutionary or anything but it delivers pretty much exactly what it promises--an updated version of a great couple games. If that sounds good to you, by all means. I also appreciate the discounted $40 price, especially on the physical release.
Posted: 07/13/21, 02:22:39
Grabbed Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart from the libe. I was really looking forward to trying this one, since I've always enjoyed the series, and this entry was made specifically for PS5. None of those cross-generation shenanigans here!

Gotta say, though, my initial impression was fairly horrible. The graphics were eye-searing, but also brain-searingly busy, to the point of distraction and obfuscation. More importantly, the first cinematic-y tutorial sequence crashed and glitched on me four times. Including one entire system crash that forced a hard reboot. What the hell, Insomniaaaac...

But I kept truckin' along, anyway. The first planet was indeed still too busy, with tons of non-functional NPCs and doo-dads. It was difficult to tell which characters were enemies, at first. Especially since you often get shot seemingly out of nowhere by long-range laser snipers. And, for a pseudo-3D-platformer, there are definitely a ton of invisible walls. And objects that it looks like you can stand on, but you just slide off of them. And ledges that you should be able to reach, Super Mario Odyssey-style, but you can't, for some reason. Except for the ones which randomly lead to secrets! But that's kind of a hallmark of the series, really.

Eventually, though, I started to warm up to the game. The good ol' Ratchet & Clank DNA is still there underneath. I realized that combat encounters are kind of set up like Gears of War, with lots of cover and such. You can't really go in guns-blazing and strafe-jump incoming fire, since it's usually coming from too many angles. So the pacing is different from many of the earlier games. The wrinkle to the Gears-style encounters is that you can use the dimensional grapple to teleport to fixed locations around the arenas and instantly flank enemies. Which is honestly pretty cool.

The map is also handy (if lacking in elevation cues), helping you make sense of the clutter and showing you the location of the main collectibles. A little dumbed-down, perhaps, but a nice QoL feature. And all of that classic Ratchet & Clank weapon-upgradey goodness is here, too. Would it be tighter from a gameplay perspective to just give you each weapon's ultimate form? Maybe, but it sure feels good to power them up!

I liked the more lush, jungle-y environment of the second level, too. Absolutely beautiful stuff, and much less cluttered. It feels weird for a Ratchet game (like a Horizon/Uncharted crossover!), but the central conceit of the game is visiting a potpourri of planets, anyway, so whatevs.

Long story short, it's a Ratchet & Clank game. With outstanding (if occasionally cluttered) presentation, more arena-based combat encounters, and all sorts of spectacle. After a rocky start, I settled into that frictionless R&C groove. It's worth experiencing just for the wow factor, haptic feedback, etc. But it will appeal most to fans of the Ratchet & Clank series.

It definitely doesn't have the bolt-from-the-blue novelty and freshness of Returnal, but it's a decent time!

I like Insomniac a lot, but they definitely find a groove and just work that groove. To be honest, Spider-Man: Miles Morales left me a bit dry with its overly-iterative gameplay, but I am enjoying Rift Apart more.
Posted: 07/14/21, 19:05:58  - Edited by 
 on: 07/14/21, 19:07:04
A few more!

R-Type Final 2 is actually on both Switch and PS4. I was kind of excited about this game, but I find playing it to be ... sort of annoying? It does a lot of cool stuff, with the array of ships and the tweaked enemy/boss behavior on each difficulty level. The graphics are kind of fugly, but I appreciated the artstyle. But, I dunno, the levels seem to lack the flow and style of classic R-Type? Certain enemy/bullet patterns are just irritating(ly difficult). Maybe I'll enjoy it more when I get accustomed to the levels. But it ain't exactly callin' me back.

Scarlet Nexus, the new Action RPG from Namco, was a nice surprise, though! The levels are oddly claustrophobic, and they they cheaped out on the cutscenes, with most of the story told through still frames with voice.

But I'm kind of diggin' that story! When the game started, it seemed like it would be a successor to God Eater, with most of the gameplay consisting of meaningless grindy missions. However, aside from the slowww walking speed, Scarlet Nexus doesn't really waste too much of the players time. Every mission so far has progressed the story.

The art style and the characters are cool, the combat is decent, and I'm actually interested in where everything's going. And there are little bonding bits between characters, too. It's like a decent anime, which is pretty good for a video game!

Guilty Gear Strive is interesting, too. People were really playing up the graphical style, which is cel-shaded 3D, but key framed to look as close to a 2D anime as possible. It's neat, and definitely striking, but, as with Into The Spiderverse, I dunno about the decision to intentionally limit the framerate. I think I'd rather have 60fps.

The fighting seems competent, but the really novel thing about the game is the Story Mode. Instead of a shitty, shoehorned Story Mode where you watch incoherent, loosely-stitched together bits of cutscene, Guilty Gear Strive's Story Mode is a non-interactive anime movie, rendered in the game engine and broken into 20-minute chapters. Such a weird choice, but I think it works! The story is fairly coherent and the flow isn't continually interrupted by, y'know, any gameplay. I'm moderately enjoying it, in concert with the in-game encyclopedia of the story events of the entire Guilty Gear series. I mean, it ain't Shakespeare, but it's sort of neat.

The Virtua Fighter 5 remaster on PS4 is also pretty fun, when playing against someone of a similar skill level (in my case, none). It ain't a looker, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

That's all I can remember for now. Spelunky on Switch tomorrow, baby!
Posted: 08/26/21, 02:20:18  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/21, 02:27:35
@Anand

R-Type Final 2 got more fun for me once I unlocked one of overpowered ships. I want to say it's the Leo II?

But yeah, shooters where dying puts you in an almost impossible to overcome disadvantage are not exactly my kind of shmups.

Play Cotton Reboot instead!
Posted: 08/31/21, 21:18:15
Posted: 09/02/21, 16:28:24
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