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Richard Kain

Member Since 02 Aug 2007
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:17 PM

#13906340 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 14 December 2017 - 09:56 PM

It might as well just have been a book.


You've just described the vast majority of visual novels. Games like the Zero Escape series and Danganronpa are the exception, not the rule. If it's not for you, then it's not for you. But you probably should have done a little more research before assuming that it was going to be identical to other experiences that aren't representative of the genre.

#13905017 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 12 December 2017 - 10:12 PM

Isn't the game 720p native tho?


No 3D rendered game has one fixed native resolution. Depending on the platform, it can be rendered at all sorts of different resolutions. I believe the Xbox 360 release for Bayonetta featured 1080p support, while the PS3 version topped out at 720p. The recent PC release of Bayonetta most likely runs at whatever resolution your rig can manage.


Having a Switch release of the game target 720p is not actually unusual. Nor is it really pathetic, as nagpo is attempting to assert. The Switch's base rendering resolution is 720p, as that is the resolution closest to the fixed resolution of its built-in screen. Most Switch games target 720p by default, and will occasionally support 1080p for docked playback. More often than not, they remain at 720p for their base rendering, and simply upscale those graphics to 1080p for docked playback. (which is not as high-quality as native 1080p rendering)


I have no trouble believing that the Bayonetta releases for the Switch will target 720p. The Bayonetta series is an action-focused franchise with extremely tight and responsive twitch controls. It's what it's known for. As such, increased native resolution isn't nearly as important to those games as a smooth framerate is. The Switch is a mobile platform, and has very limited hardware. There's only so much performance to be squeezed out of it. And when push comes to shove, compromises have to be made. Platinum games will definitely choose framerate over resolution if they have to decide between the two.

#13904938 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 12 December 2017 - 08:10 PM

I'm surprised this stuff hasn't been talked about more in gaming news and editorials but then again I'm currently out of the loop. 



It's worth pointing out that Japanese development frequently focuses much more heavily on single-player narrative experiences. Not always, naturally, but I find it does seem to be a common element in many Japanese titles. The Japanese definitely seem to love stories, it helps to explain a lot of their development focus. And narrative experiences do have a tendency to play better with a development cycle that focuses on a completed experience, rather than one that gets rolled out in stages.


Western development over the past decade has shifted HARD towards on-line multiplayer games. And these types of games frequently get rolled out over time, as opposed to a single major release. More often than not an initial "release" of such a game is really just a beta. The first few months on the market involve frequent patching. And we've seen how most major publishers feel about narrative experiences recently. Entire development houses are getting shuttered if they specialize in narrative design.


Of course, much of this is motivated by money. The transition to HD development hit the Japanese game industry hard, and it's only just now beginning to turn things around. Japanese game development hadn't learned the lessons it should have from the Japanese animation industry, and there was a lot of overhead and waste, especially on the technical side of things. Re-making game engines from scratch for every title wasn't a particularly good idea back in the 16-bit era, and is untenable in modern game development. So for a while, Japanese developers were hard-pressed on the financial side of things, unable to adapt rapidly to the changes and demands that the industry was undergoing.


But now many Japanese developers have managed to transition to a more modern approach to development. They have started to adopt more modern engines like Unreal 4 and Unity, and are getting their toolsets and production pipelines streamlined to a point where they can recycle elements between releases. They're also getting better about using art assets more efficiently, and utilizing shaders for stylized rendering that decreases their overall art budgets. And perhaps more importantly, they've discovered the advantages of cross-platform releases. Gone are the days when they would focus solely on the dominant console in Japan. Now Japanese developers release their games on every appropriate platform they can port them to. This increased reach is garnering them a lot more overseas sales, which helps to keep the doors open and the lights on.

#13903696 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 11 December 2017 - 01:42 AM

Day one on that SF collection. Including the first Fighting Street as well as SFA games is beyond sweet.


I'm glad I waited on picking up the HD Turbo release for the Switch. While that game is probably decent, THIS is the Street Fighter release that the fans really want.


In truth, almost no one is going to play the original Street Fighter in this collection. The game just wasn't very good, and has little value aside from being a historical curiosity. But the sheer volume of other content in this collection makes it easy worth it. Especially if they are able to deliver on the quality of emulation they are boasting about. This essentially encompasses the entire Street Fighter II major releases, and all of the Alpha and Street Fighter III releases. That's a very sizeable collection, and should richly serve any of the platforms it's being released on.


I'm tempted to go for the Switch version, as it would be a good fit for local multi-player on the go. But I will need to wait for reviews on the performance. The Street Fighter experience requires silky-smooth frame-rates and uncluttered performance. If the Switch version isn't able to deliver on that front, than it can forget it. I might just get a PS4 copy no matter what. I've got lots of PS4 controllers, and they work fairly well for fighting games.


It's good to see Capcom delivering some anniversary content with some actual meat to it.

#13903610 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 10 December 2017 - 11:12 PM

I guess there are more people that game on the go or make use of undocked mode due to their kids/wife/whoever wanting the TV than I expected because I am surprised how well the Switch is doing.


Yes, that's pretty much exactly why the Switch is doing as well as it is. Lifestyles change. And the sheer bustle and activity of modern life has sapped a lot of people's schedules. Time is at more of a premium than ever before. A lot of people just don't have the time to commit to sitting down in front of a television or a computer monitor. More people are gaming on their laptops or tablets than they are on their personal computers or home consoles. In fact, most people I know now consider me weird for always having a personal computer. All of them just buy laptops, or tablets, or some manner of tablet/laptop hybrid. They don't understand why I insist on maintaining a gaming-capable rig with a dedicated GPU.


And it's people like that who are making the Switch a success. A console that is pick-up-and-play, and is extremely small fits well with the on-the-go lifestyle so many have come to adopt. It gives them a level of flexibility with their gaming, even if they have to sacrifice rendering power to do it. So many of them have become accustomed to just using tablets that the disparity in power barely even comes into the equation. When stacked up next to a capable gaming rig, the Switch is an anachronistic throw-back to yesteryear. Out of date and woefully underpowered. When stacked up to a tablet, though, the Switch looks like a powerhouse. Tablets require general-purpose computing, and have to sacrifice power in order to enable those other functions. Switch's narrow focus allows it to put all of its meager power behind gaming.


And then there's the software line-up for the Switch's first year on the market. It's been excellent. Again, it's a matter of comparison. If your standards are coming from a PC-power background, it's been a trickle. (the average PC gamer's selection has swollen dramatically over the past five years, the PC is usually considered a base-line release platform for most games) But compared to the average console, the Switch has come out swinging, with significant Nintendo first-party support, and a considerable number of third-party titles, largely spear-headed by indie developers.


I will say that the Switch has been a little weak on the Japan-centric side of things, aside from Nintendo's own first-party efforts. The U.S. indie scene has actually been a bigger support of the platform, as well as several European developers. There have been announcements for firmer support going into next year, but for the time being Japan developers and publishers were taking a bit more of a cautious approach on the Switch's launch. I can also appreciate why a PC-focused player might not feel any need for a Switch. Japan has started porting far more of their big titles to the PC over the past few years. Services like Steam and GOG are now fully stocked with high-profile and indie Japan-developed titles, and new releases now come out on the PC almost as a matter of course. So PC gamers are indeed spoiled for choice for most Japanese games. Unless you are just hungry for some Nintendo first-party titles you should be able to get by just fine with a decent gaming PC.

#13902427 Limited Run Games Thread - SteamWorld Dig [Vita] and SteamWorld Heist [Vita]...

Posted by Richard Kain on 08 December 2017 - 11:30 PM

The NES-styled sleeves were tempting, but I held myself back and just picked up the standard editions of both games. I like both series, so it was en easy sell, but I'm holding off on collectors editions for more than just Limited Run Games. I avoid them for normal retail releases as well except in the case of extreme clearance or just ridiculously appealing extras.

#13902362 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 08 December 2017 - 10:13 PM

Like Nami's cup size with each passing story arc?


Yes, but more frequently. (this is the sixth Soul Calibur, after all) Also, until recently Nami actually bothered to wear a full shirt most of the time. It didn't exactly mitigate the cleavage-creep, but it did at least draw less attention to it. Post time-skip, all bets are off in One-Piece.


In Soul Calibur, I think it's becoming a real issue. The preview video they posted didn't even feature Ivy, and I was still getting way too much of a sense of cleavage-creep. While Sophitia has always been reasonably buxom, I never associated her with that particular physical attribute. The level of endowment that they are foisting on her already just seems excessive. They need to exercise a bit more restraint in this department. Bad enough when this effect shows up on dominatrix-whip-sword lady and spandex-ninja lady. Variety is the spice of life, and there are far more female body-types that ought to be represented, especially in a fighting game. Not everyone needs to be smuggling cantaloupes.

#13899125 PS Vita Deals & Discussions Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 04 December 2017 - 10:19 PM

It's awesome and you should buy it.


Yes, this. Odin Sphere is an excellent port of a PS2 game. I personally own the PS4 version, as I wanted it on the big screen with 1080p and 60fps. It is a side-scrolling combat beat-em-up, with some of the best 2D art in gaming. It honestly looks like a hand-painted masterpiece while you're playing it.


On an original-model OLED Vita Odin Sphere especially shines, as the colors and blacks really pop. It comes from the same studio who did Muramasa. If you have played that game on Vita, then you should already know what to expect from Odin Sphere. I would personally say that Odin Sphere feels even larger than Muramasa, as there are several more playable characters and storylines in Odin Sphere. (while Muramasa pretty much just has the two) There is also a "bit" more variety in the environments in Odin Sphere. Murmasa has some variety, but all of it is set in feudal Japan, so the Japanese imagery is prevalent throughout. Odin Sphere is inspired by Norse mythology, so you get a bit more breadth in the environments, everything from European cities, to mountains, to sewers, to fairy forests, to the land of the dead.


So yes, Odin Sphere is an easy recommendation. Bonus points if you manage to get it on sale.

#13899041 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 04 December 2017 - 08:12 PM

Mega Man Legacy 1+2 collection for Switch. Hell yeah!

Mega Man X collection (1-8) for all sorts of current platforms. Oh hell yeah!

Mega Man 11, featuring traditional 2D Mega Man gameplay and level design, with solid-looking 3D graphics. Drooool, gurgle, gurgle.

#13896425 Limited Run Games Thread - SteamWorld Dig [Vita] and SteamWorld Heist [Vita]...

Posted by Richard Kain on 01 December 2017 - 03:03 PM

Another Friday, another lot of LRG entries. Today, I opted for the PS4 version of Windjammers (gotta have that multiplayer) and the PS Vita version of Claire. (single player game with basic graphics, and it runs on the PS TV) Relatively easy choices this time.

#13879766 Limited Run Games Thread - SteamWorld Dig [Vita] and SteamWorld Heist [Vita]...

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 November 2017 - 04:29 PM

Ex Machina may have come from a prominent developer, but it was also a nearly brand-new game, unproven in the marketplace. La Mulana, I'm not sure on that one. It's been out for a while. It doesn't seem to have collected quite as rabid a fanbase as Spelunky. But it is still reasonably well known and popular. But 2064: Read Only Memories has been out for quite some time on PC, and had a well-known presence even before it was released, with a developer who was fairly open about their work during the development process.


What boggles my mind is that so many people seem hungry to get all three covers. I'm a fairly enthusiastic collector, and I still wasn't about to buy 3 copies of the game just to insure that I snagged cover variants. The developer did their job a little too well in this case. All three of the covers they posted look good, so I'm not all that concerned about which one comes with my standard order. I'll be happy with any of them. I don't quite get paying three times as much just for what amounts to alternate paper inserts.

#13878778 Black Friday 2017 - The Epic Master Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 16 November 2017 - 08:34 PM

Possible to price match that PS4 Pro deal from Gamestop at Walmart?


The vast majority of stores refuse to price-match Black Friday deals, especially limited-time doorbuster deals. I would strongly recommend that you not attempt to price-match while in-store. That sort of thing usually takes time, and you would get some real nasty looks from everyone else who is just trying to check out. Trying to get fancy with deals and splitting hairs on a shopping day like Black Friday is a bad idea. You want to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, with as little trouble as possible.


Also, it is worth noting that stores like WalMart only boost inventory on Black Friday for items that they specifically have on sale. Even if they were willing to price-match such a deal, they would only be able to discount the PS4 Pros that they have on-hand. (which typically tends to be a very small number, they don't usually stock-pile that kind of item)

#13877859 Black Friday 2017 - The Epic Master Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 15 November 2017 - 09:55 PM

Probably being re-printed after their whole implosion of the Power Pass earlier this week


This is actually a really good guess. It's likely that they were planning on promoting their Power Pass rental service over the Black Friday weekend. Now that they've pulled the plug on it, it's entirely possible that they're having to pull any reference to it from all of their Black Friday listings. They would have to do this on all of their printed materials, as well as their on-line listings. The logistics for such a turn-around this close to Black Friday are staggering. I don't envy anyone working on that project.

#13873044 Limited Run Games Thread - SteamWorld Dig [Vita] and SteamWorld Heist [Vita]...

Posted by Richard Kain on 09 November 2017 - 09:57 PM

There's also the fact that ESRB ratings are per-submission, not per-game. So if a game doesn't get the rating that a developer feels it should, they have to re-submit it after altering content, and have to pay the same fee again. This is less significant for an indie game being published through a smaller publisher, as they are much more likely to treat the ESRB rating as a formality as opposed to a target that they have to hit. They don't have to be overly concerned with an AO rating if they never intend to sell their game in WalMart.


No, the real onus on the developer comes from the extra work they have to do. ESRB submissions aren't just a matter of providing a copy of a game. You have to put together a presentation package with all sorts of material from your game, including written summaries and even video examples. Not only is there a monetary cost, there is also a cost in time and effort. And perhaps most problematic, an ESRB submission has no guarantees on when it will be completed. The ESRB is already considered to be under-staffed just for standard large-scale game submissions. So it is common for an ESRB submission not to be reviewed for months after the developer has made the submission. The developer essentially can't commit to releasing their physical game AT ALL until after the ESRB submission process comes back with its rating results. It's quite a bit of headache, expense, and delay for what is effectively a rubber stamp.

#13873034 Black Friday 2017 - The Epic Master Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 09 November 2017 - 09:45 PM

Hmmm...What are the chances that Switch will sell out?


I'm not entirely sure. On the one hand, there are basically ZERO deals on the Switch. It's going to be MSRP across the board for the system hardware. Normally, you'd think that would mean less demand for the actual hardware, especially where the deal shoppers are concerned.


On the other hand, Nintendo doesn't have a very good track record of maintaining hardware supply over the holiday season. I remember last year, where it was essentially impossible to find the 3DS in stock for months on end. And that was for all of the multiple versions of that system. (there were at least 3 different hardware configurations, and they all remained unavailable for far too long) The Switch has also been fairly popular in its first year, and they did just release Mario Odysee, which is a great title. So the demand for the Switch could be pretty stiff during the holidays, and I can't say for certain that Nintendo will keep up with supply.


I'd say buy early if you are planning on giving it as a gift, otherwise feel free to wait.