Sunday, July 23, 2017

Monday Musings 3

Dark Souls 3 Progress
I've only Grand Archives and Archdragon Peak to memorize, and made save files for those 2 areas. I'm debating whether I should also memorize the DLC maps and items. I'm leaning towards yes, b/c even though I don't quite like the DLC, I love the boss battles. Slave Knight Gael, our last ever SoulsBorne boss, is one of the best bosses I have ever faced, on par with Sir Alonne, Fume Knight, Ivory King, Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower and Martyr Logarius (note how all my favorite bosses somehow came from the SoulsBorne series). Furthermore, it's easy and quick to make save files for these DLC areas (i.e. I use a mule to level up my character in the 450s, lol), and it's my nature to be completionist. Once I memorize all these areas and items, the next goal is to get to NG+7 without using a mule, like I've done with DS1, DS2 and Bloodborne.

Knowing My Limitations 
Although I appreciate the sentiment, "Anything's possible", in gaming, I find that knowing my limits is important in some cases. As I was upset with the lack of sophisticated dungeon design in Breath of the Wild, I turned my attention to Skyward Sword as it has been noted to have some of the best dungeon designs of the series.

However, my friend kept telling me how bad the controls are, and that I should watch the game, which would count as completing the game, and clearing out the backlog. If that sounds unsatisfying to you, it was doubly so for me. Further, I thought he was exaggerating, because after all, I beat TWO Dark Souls 2 no death runs, pre- and post-patch 1.08, so I was feeling quite smug and satisfied. Lightning miracles were nerfed post-patch 1.08, so I completed a second no death run using a different, more difficult build. I thought that since I have the video game street cred with 2 no death runs under my belt, I won't have any problems with Skyward Sword.

Already the game hooked me in, because, yes I DID wonder why Link's bird isn't with him, so at least the game has an intriguing story. The first quest I did was returning a cat to his or her owner. Unfortunately, I dropped the cat which made me shriek, because it took me 10 minutes just to get to the cat in the first place, due to the extremely difficult controls. What that means is that I have to press, I believe, the trigger button, AND wave the Wii-Mote control around to move the camera to find where the cat is, at every step of the way.

What that made me realize is, how am I supposed to go through even more complicated areas if it's so difficult to move the camera, which is such a basic mechanic? I quit after 1 hour of struggling with the motion controls, but was proud that I was able to return the cat to the owner. After that experience, I feel that the best gamers tend to be speed-runners, and anyone who was able to beat Skyward Sword!

Crash Bandicoot--An Ophthalmologist's Nightmare
I was also intrigued with the new Crash Bandicoot trilogy remake since the marsupial is absolutely adorable and completely wild and zonkers. I thought, well even though it's a platform game, a genre that I tend to avoid, it has a story and Crash is a fun character, so it could transcend the genre like Ori and the Blind Forest. Further, everyone on Twitch was playing the game and it looked intriguing due to the bright colors and fun sound effects. 

Luckily, I saw DelinquentMuse play the game, and she was struggling during the notorious "High Road" level. I can see myself getting easily angered, dying and struggling so much, with the flute music taunting you. At the same time, that also spurred me on, that maybe I should accept the challenge. However, coming back to reality, I realize that if DelinquentMuse, who is one of those rare gamers who can beat those ridiculous Dark Souls SL1, no death challenges with her eyes closed, is struggling with Crash, that I don't think I'll be able to get through these levels.

I also learned from my Skyward Sword lesson to recognize my limitations, so I fought the urge to get this game, saving $40! Though, every time I peek at the game, the bright and fun colors kind of lure me in...hopefully I can continue to resist.

PS4 Controllers Revisited
Visiting with my friend, I was horrified when I realized I forgot to bring the Cronus Max so I can use the XBox One Pro Elite controller with the PS4. Upset, I was forced to use the DS4 and/or the Nacon Pro Revolution, a third party controller made for the PS4 that I gave to my friend after seeing how bad it was when I first got it. Trying to see the positives of this over-sight, I thought to myself, that this is all for the best since I can see if I exaggerated and worse yet, misrepresented to my dear blog readers, just how uncomfortable these controllers are. So it's good to verify if these controllers truly are as ghastly as I thought they were.

After adjusting to the controls of the Nacon, I thought, "this isn't that bad" and I appreciated how light it was, and how it has offset analog sticks, with the preferred left analog stick being convex with small circumference (so you can roll your fingers around the top of the left analog stick with more control), and the right stick being dome shaped.

Come to find out, after an extra hour of use, the Nacon became extremely uncomfortable and then intolerable. The problem with the Nacon is that the controller doesn't fit my hand shape, so it doesn't feel natural like the XBox One controllers. The other problem is that between the trigger buttons and where you naturally rest your index fingers, there's a vertical wall that forces your index fingers to be in one place, and one place only. Whenever your fingers are locked and forced into one position and ONLY one position (where there's literally no wiggle room), it becomes extremely uncomfortable.

Per Nacon, they said they received input from professional gamers, which they probably did, but also most likely didn't listen to them, or misinterpreted what they had to say, coming up with such an atrocious scheme. No professional or non-professional gamer, for that matter, would feel comfortable with this controller.

After experiencing discomfort, I then switched to the DS4. I also felt it was pretty decent and found that it was comfortable being light, and was wondering why I complained about it in the first place. However, after 30 minutes, the feelings I've had for it came rudely to the surface. Because it's made out of very hard, smooth plastic, your hands slide all over the controller, and the hardness of the controller felt like it was bruising my hand. This is in stark contrast to the soft, rubberized texture of the brilliant XBox One Pro Elite controller, the rubberized skin acts like a cushion, and the shape of the controller fits my hands perfectly.

The DS4's analog stick tops are the worst of BOTH worlds, neither being convex nor concave, but flat. The fact that the tops of the sticks are wide, you don't get the tight control of the more narrow left analog stick of the One controller.

The other major issue is that the sticks are symmetric, so the left analog stick is NOT near the L1/L2 triggers. The most used controls are the left analog stick and the left triggers, so you want to place them close together. The rationale is that your hand's natural resting state is your thumb and index fingers together, rather than forced apart in an awkward C-shape, which is what the DS4 left analog stick forces you to do. I'm sure you've never rested or seen another person rest their hands with their thumbs and index fingers forced apart in a wide C-shape?!??

I actually became angered and frustrated with Sony for making such a bad and cheap controller. First, they are getting all the exclusive deals for the AAA FPS shooters, and yet, they still cling to the symmetric controls layout. This is a fetish that Sony has to get over. If the PS5 becomes just as successful as the PS4, and Sony wants to monopolize all the exclusive FPS deals for the next generation, in order to truly become the King of the FPS, they MUST make the analog sticks off-set. For now, despite all of Sony's FPS deals, Microsoft still remains the King of the FPS.

Further, Sony needs to make the controller larger and shaped like the XBox One, which seems to fit all hand shapes and sizes. I have extremely small hands (significantly smaller than Donald Trump's), so I really don't know how people can even use the tiny DS4 controller.

If I were Sony's CEO, I would strike a deal with Microsoft that if I allow for cross-platform online play (which is what Microsoft wants), they have to allow me to make an exact replica of the XBox One Pro Elite for all future PlayStations. Further, the Microsoft engineers will further design the DS4 Elite (as I would call it) to make it lighter (and balanced if you want to add weights to make it heavier). Also, instead of micro-usb connection, make it mini-usb or lightning connection for more stability.

So, yes, my impression of the DS4 and Nacon holds true, they are both hot garbage!

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I agree it's important to know your limit's, however I consider it for a completely different reason. I don't think that limit is a static thing. I think it's important to know your limit's so you can stretch them and push them, not going to learn to swim from diving in the deep end, but you can improve through practice. I'd use the example of myself playing Osu! A rhythm game on the PC that I used to practice my reaction times and mouse accuracy. I started off so far away from where I am now, when friends watch me play now their eye's can't follow, never mind their hands, yet I started out just as slow and inaccurate as everyone else does. Yet by pushing my boundaries and forcing myself to keep at it, I improved far beyond what I was capable of before.

    -CheesusAlmighty

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  3. That's actually really cool! It seems that you actually enjoyed Osu! though, so the practice isn't so tedious?

    I'm afraid with Crash, I won't enjoy it since I don't really like platforming elements. As for Skyward Sword, the game was NOT fun at all as the controls made it impossible. All the time, when I was fighting the controls, I'm thinking, I can be playing DS 3 that has modern controls, or hell, for that matter, its competitor at that time, Skyrim (even though I don't like Elder Scrolls)!

    The DS2 No death run was a huge challenge, and I thought I couldn't do it, hitting a wall with Freja. But I persevered and became successful because it was such an enjoyable process. I think if I hated the game, I'd never have been able to accomplish this goal, if that makes sense.

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  4. I didn't so much enjoy Osu! at first, I thought it was a really useful exercise for practice at first, but I quickly found the songs I first started with became easy for me, I needed something new to fail at so I had a new goal to reach, this repeated itself for a little while and the challenge itself, knowing that I could do it and that I was getting close each time, pushed me forward to achieve higher and higher goals, into it kind've hit me a year and a bit ago where I finished a song I thought impossible when I first started. I never thought I'd ever be able to beat it, it was so fast, the note's were so small and disappeared so quickly, how could I possibly do it right? Well spoiler alert, I beat it. I got good enough, fast enough, that I was able to keep up and that song, finishing it for the first time, it was nerve wracking. That feeling, was one of the best feeling's I've ever had with games, it's a feeling I hope I never forget. To give you a little insight into what I'm talking about regarding how far I've come, I recorded this 10 minute's ago: https://youtu.be/c0Li6nytcEU

    I get what you're saying about Crash and Skyward Sword, you do still need to get something out of challenging yourself, otherwise if you do see it as a waste, it might as well be so. Crash Bandicoot is a relic of it's time, great game when it was released all those years ago, nostalgic and interesting for people nowadays, but the standards of gaming have risen significantly since then. And Skyward Sword, IIRC there's a dolphin mod that people use for it to play it with an Xinput (xbox or equivalent) controller on PC, it was very heavily criticised on console's and sadly rightfully so. I remember a lesson I got off my tutor, talking about difficulty in game's vs challenge in games. We were discussing the like's of dodgy control's, ridiculous numbers (healthbar's, damage numbers, number of mob's, etc), find the invisible object puzzle's and such make the game more difficult, but not necessarily more enjoyable or challenging, whereas tightening reaction window's, giving more power to the player but making them use it more, makes it more challenging and enjoyable, whilst also simultaneously making it more difficult.

    Grats on Dark Souls 2 no death's, Taken me age's to get those ring's. Believe it or not I actually found the no bonfire ring harder than the no death's one, you don't realise how much you rely on them until you can't use them. I think you still would've been able to accomplish it, however I don't think you would've considered it to be worth the time investment anymore, and you would've gave up. Unless the goal means something to you, you simply aren't going to try for it, like me trying for an olympic medal or something.

    -CheesusAlmighty

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    Replies
    1. I must commend you on your pursuing mastery of Osu!, because I think I would've quit! I completely forgot about emulation! Since I have the Wii and Skyward Sword, it's not "unethical" or "illegal" to play the emulator. I think I'll see if I can manage to get that to work! I played a bit of Skyrim, which I didn't enjoy due to the poor melee combat, but I can tell right away that Skyrim is just better quality. I really don't see how anyone can say that Skyward Sword is "clearly" better than Skyrim, when, if anything, Skyrim is a higher quality game!

      I completely agree with you about how to make games both fun and challenging, b/c the WORST is to make controls random, so you can't tell when to dodge, whereas, with Bayonetta, I can always tell if I'm going to pull of Witch time, b/c the controls are so accurate and precise. I think that's the problem I had with Breath of the Wild, thinking that it'll be like Bayonetta (since the dodge/flurry looked like Witch time), come to find out, it's not at all with very dodgy controls.

      Indeed, I hate artificial difficulty--I feel that's why Dark Souls 1 has the best balance, where if you fail, it's always my fault, and if I can't beat a boss, I just have to learn the patterns and/or level up. More games should be like that!

      Also congrats on your Dark Souls 2 no death and no bonfire rings. I was the exact opposite, b/c you just kill yourself if you want to repair weapons, which is very easy to do, lol!

      Well, I think I might get Crash Bandicoot b/c my friend, whom I trust, said it was such an epic game!

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    2. Cheers, I'm still far from perfect (Dear lord if you'd seen what some people are capable of, it's actually inhuman) But I've come a long way, and developing my mouse skill control has had a huge impact on my play in other games too. I'd recommend Dolphin specifically, I've used it to play a bunch of old Fire Emblem games in the past with no trouble using Xinput or DirectInput controllers, I would purchase them legally, but I can't justify £200 (about $225) on a gamecube game.

      I often felt with Skyrim, it's often best experienced if you ignore fighting things in a way. Where Skyrim succeeds is as a choose your own adventure book. You make a character you wish to role play as for the experience, then start of the game happens, you wake up on a cart and stuff is happening, you make it to the first town, tutorial island take you through some of the basic's, control's, mechanic's, what have you, then they leave you before the first chunk of main story to do whatever the hell you want. They will give you some suggesion's, go to this place, to fulfil this quest you need to go to this town and that opens up more paths for you to explore, you might hear about the mages college from a bartender, or the Dark Brotherhood from gossiping civilian's. You are introduced to these branching paths which are for you to decide whether you want to do go down those paths, or if they don't interest you. Fighting things isn't a selling point for the game, that I will agree with you on, in fact it's more of a chore at times (using only heavy weapons helped make it a bit more challenging and a bit more difficult for me... a bit.) But if you can look past that, you get to some really cool stories in a massive expansive world in Skyrim and it's inhabitant's.

      I think a great example of difficulty vs challenge, is looking at the Diablo style Action RPG's that are coming out in recent years. Diablo, Path of Exile, Torchlight, ETC. Not to bash those games, they are good fun in their own way with large playerbases (mostly) but I could never enjoy them because every room felt like I was just stat checking it. If I had the damage and lifesteal I could proceed, if I didn't I needed to farm until I could, and that felt bad. Really really bad. I remember asking a friend to sell the game to me, debunk some of my criticism's, "You walk into a room, use the same ability twice with no resource cost because you get it all back, then move onto the next room and repeat" and he couldn't answer. He brought up how difficult the bosses were because they oneshot you and your characters are often hardcore permadeath characters so you gotta start over, but that doesn't sound like you're matching wits with an AI, that doesn't sound like your skill's are being tested, rather your patience and willingness to read a guide beforehand. And without trying to be harsh on the developers, actually talked to one of the artist's they're wonderful people, it's isn't challenging in the slightest. You don't feel like you lose because you're a bad player or you made a mistake, rather you lose because the game didn't want you to succeed yet.

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    3. (2 replies so blogger doesn't rut out of memory)

      For Dark Souls 2, no death's wasn't too hard. Without trying to sound bigheaded I'm pretty good at the game, (or I was, dunno about now haven't played in a while.) However No bonfire's was another story, because majority of the no bonfires run was preparation and planning, going in with a strategy and knowing how to execute it. I didn't have any of that, I suffered immensely for it. The run from Crypt to Majula and back without and checkpoints or healing items was brutal, and it taken me a long time to get past it.

      I don't know whether I would recommend Crash, it's a great game don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of valuable lesson's a game like Crash Bandicoot can teach us, how important it is to get the foundation of the game solid and the rest doesn't really matter after that for example. But considering the remaster is a fully priced game on PS4, and to be real it is a remaster of a couple PS1 games when we have a lot of arguable better games today, more polished and up to date, Yooka Laylee comes to mind as a recent example from the same genre, it would be hard for me to justify at full price, however I won't lie they did a fantastic job with the remaster and I do feel like they've brought it up to scratch, at least on the technical side of things.

      -CheesusAlmighty

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Monday Musings 14

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