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70 comments

  • SpadesSlick - February 6, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    Completely agree. I have never minded linearity in games as I find I enjoy the direction and purpose it gives you. Probably the reason I didn't mind FF 13 while the rest of the internet did. Open world is best to dick around in, but I have so many games I want to tackle I just like to experience the main features and get on to the next one.
  • Tyrlanae - February 6, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    I concur. While I may not always want to just bang one game out to get to the next I do appreciate the powerful narrative that linearity is capable of providing. It does, indeed, give you direction and purpose and makes in game events have the potential to feel more impactful. I like non-linear open worlds as well, but like you said I tend to play them to screw around in. I love me some Red Dead Redemption and inFAMOUS and I love the freedom to just do... whatever. At the same time though sometimes I want a structured experience to really immerse me in the narrative. Given the choice I do prefer linear narratives, however. I don't mind non-linear gameplay but even then I prefer a strong linear narrative to back it up, like RDR. Very few non-linear narratives have left any sort of impression on me at all spare The Witcher.
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    Cliques and tropes aren't in itself bad. What is bad is the excess and lack of identity media tends to fall when relying to much in them. This generation was surely more cinematic oriented and I agree that a linear progression gives more consistency and structure when telling a story (which is what most games are marketed today). However I hope this generation we get more risks and out of the box thinking, maybe like how history was told us, embracing old ideas and put a new spin to them. (Hey wouldn't that be a good article?) For example how about a COD game that let's you choose a mission like a Megaman game does, going straight to a guerrilla zona in south america or to a secret operative in the Middle East or stopping a riot in the US. Finally Castlevania is not a good example of a great game of last generation, presentation wise I give it credit in that regard, but the game dragged and had annoying moments of not knowing what to do (these moments weren't the puzzle sections). Ambitious but a unpolished in regards to gameplay.
  • Tyrlanae - February 6, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    Going to have to come out in defense of Castlevania for a moment. I'm inclined to agree it was one of the better games of the last generation. From the more refined God of War-esque combat that rewarded patience and skill and punished greed and sloppiness to the stunning visuals and amazingly well paced narrative the game excelled in almost every area. I took the 20 hour playtime not as dragging but as an epic story for a game genre that typically only lasts 10 hours and has a paper thin narrative. I... also have to admit I don't remember ever being frustratingly stuck, the levels were laid out in a fairly linear and obvious fashion. There were a few twisting paths to get pickups but I don't ever recall being lost.
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    Presentation wise yes. But I will debate that game was enjoyable (didn't seem like the developers wanted to make that kind of experience). I would not debate the God of War mechanics since I think the game did a good job in that regard (I'm more a Ninja Gaiden fan). I disagree the game had good pace, the section with the werewolves took a lot of time and some levels where just going from point A to B just bragging about the presentation (it's nice but is also kind of pointless). The section with the werewolves dragged a LOT, making the following sections fill a bit rush in hindsight. The final boss came out of left field ("because the twist about Zobek being the final Lord of Shadow wasn't interesting" ), the master mind revelation came out of nowhere and I think it was unneeded, it also doesn't make the return of that bad guy more interesting (ah and also Patrick Stewart being hammy, WTF ). In regards to the frustrating parts: the Chupacabra, the music box, the traversal sections with random limits in regards to jumps and reactions (sometimes Gabriel didn't reach a wall that wasn't very far), the crank in the ClockTower, the boss finishers being QTE that kill you if you fail them and personally for in the music box that section in which you had yo roll (this being the only section in which you need to roll to progress) make me felt the developers where adding things as they move along, that is not good game design, I also got lost in the necromancer world (right after the music box) because the camera angles didn't showed clearly where I was supposed to go, but I admit that was the only level where that happened.
  • Tyrlanae - February 6, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    I actually felt you spent far more time in the realm of the vampires than you did in the realm of the lycans. The lycan territory was kind of the calm before the storm; I think the lycan territory was deliberately paced slower to build up to your first confrontation with a Lord of Shadow. After that point the pacing picks up and inevitably spirals out of control, mimicking Gabriel's own mental state as events unfold and he slips deeper into madness and despair. I also only remember one A to B level and that was very early in the game, and it was Pan's forest. The necromancer territory was definitely the fastest of the three and I wasn't massively surprised by the twist. However, it didn't come out of left field; they more or less forecasted it with Zobek's inter-level narrative. I loved the level design of the necromancer's lands but also admit its labyrinthine structure did make it one of the more frustrating areas to navigate. Because of that, however, I believe it was a smart move to also make it the shortest. Now, you said the game had annoying moments of not knowing what to do. I can give you the necromancer's lands, but the music box and the chupacabra, though? I felt those sections were fairly straightforward and hard to get lost in, i t was just a matter of execution not direction. I don't remember the QTE's killing you if you fail... punishing you yes, but not outright killing you. Regardless they made it possible to turn them off entirely in LoS2 it seems so there's that. Not everything is always perfect on the first go. It kind of sounds like you had a few nit picky things you didn't like about the game and are decrying the entire experience because of it. Maybe it just wasn't your type of game, but that doesn't make it a bad game. Finally, regarding Zobek's return in LoS2, that isn't really relevant to a discussion of the first game but I'll indulge. Essentially Zobek is a kindred spirit for Gabriel. He also cannot die, and he was a sort of mentor and friend for Gabriel who betrayed him at the end so there's a personal connection. Additionally they share a common foe in Satan. That's what makes him an interesting character to have around and they seem to be elaborating on their complex relationship in LoS2.
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    Ok fine I'll put a point because evidently it wasn't my cup of tea. I liked all the Castlevanias previous to this one (yes, even the N64 ones). But I don't feel this one was as enjoyable, it could be like what happens with some characters like Superman fans and Man of Steel fans, their is a breach because their not the same thing. I'll give LoS 2 a chance, even though I'm bias that it'll be a mess due to Mirror of Fate. But in the end I think it's just this not being my type of Castlevania. Although the art is awesome, I just wish the gameplay I could have had more fun with this series, gameplay design choices.
  • BladedFalcon - February 6, 2014 12:44 p.m.

    ...Yeah, if you honestly liked Castlevania 64 over Lords of Shadow, then the problem here isn't the game's, it's yours :P
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    Also I wasn't referring to Zobek, but Satan, he was such a wimp and that voice also makes him sound like a wimp. I didn't like him as a villain.
  • BladedFalcon - February 6, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    Just because the werewolves section was longer than other chapters, it doesn't meant it dragged. It was done this way because it was the initial section and it allowed players to get a proper sense of the combat and game mechanics before switching up the enemies and setting later. And that chapter had plenty of variety in itself, taking you underground, then meeting Claudia than having that puzzles with the purple lightstone. Other stages focused on mounted combat and so on. Your opinion of the final boss has nothing to do with the pacing either. Wether your final opponent was Zobek or not, it was regardless clear that this was the final part of the game. And once again, that was your opinion, but the final revelation was pretty cool for most (myself included) And Patrick Stewart having fun makes it a bad thing? ...What's your problem with the music box? that part was pretty delightful IMO. Sure, it was hard, but not frustrating if you were patient and paid attention to the timing, same thing with the clock tower. I will agree that the chupacabra sections were more annoying than fun, but they still are a very small section of the game. as for the QTEs... no offense, but if you weren't able to pull them off, you deserved to start over, they didn't even demand a specific button prompt, just timing.
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 11:44 a.m.

    Ok, ok, I just didn't like it. Makes me wonder why I liked more Dante's Inferno when that game shares similarities, I suppose I can't stand that this doesn't feel like Castlevania and doesn't fit with the rest of the games. I'll leave my case here, since I already said my "complaints" with the game. Patrick Stewart sounding hammy felt out of place in that scene, being how MercurySteam was serious all the way through it comes off, because it's the freaking climax. But oh well just my opinion.
  • BladedFalcon - February 6, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    Yeah, honestly at this point it's clear that your distaste for the game comes more from your own bias, and personal mind-frame of what a Castlevania game should be like, and not so much about the game's actual quality. And one could argue that precisely because it was the climax, he gave taht performance, Zobek acted out that way because he was delirious with having achieved his goal, and you could also argue that he sounded different than before because of him being influenced by the Devil.
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    Yeah it most be a fanboy gripe. Still I'll play LoS 2 for the art style, that's the best merit I'll give it, IMO. Also yeah that was a minor nitpick, it wasn't as much of a bother, but truth be told, that was awkward. Can't recall any other time I've seen Patrick Stewart going hammy over the top.
  • Moondoggie1157 - February 6, 2014 10:55 p.m.

    Haven't seen Patrick Stewart go over the top? Have you seen American Dad or Extras? That's all I have to add to this great discussion, I havent played LoS.
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 11:23 p.m.

    I wasn't aware he did VA in American Dad, I haven't watched many episodes.
  • Vonter - February 6, 2014 11:26 p.m.

    Oooooh it was that guy, that changes everything LOL.
  • Moondoggie1157 - February 7, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    He's the only reason I started watching the show, listening to Patrick Stewart talk about dead hookers and blow is too damn funny.
  • Tyrlanae - February 6, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    Now I feel like we sort of inadvertently bullied you about the game. >.< More so I think it's your prerogative to not like the game, but that doesn't necessarily deem it a bad game. A lot of fans were decidedly on the fence because it didn't fit with the rest of the games, but that was the idea. It was a reboot, and an entirely new retelling of the Castlevania lore because the original timeline had become so bloated. I don't think Sir Patrick was being hammy so much as he was having fun with it, he legitimately seemed to be enjoying himself and I think he might have intentionally gone over the top a bit in the attempt. Interestingly enough Dante's Inferno is more or less a direct rip-off of God of War with very little innovation; whereas Castlevania tastefully took from other games and made all of the concepts its own in a unique or at least polished way. It sounds like the gameplay isn't the issue here and, as you said, it's more the disconnect between this game and the rest of the Castlevania franchise. Satan was also kind of supposed to be a wimp. He didn't expect any legitimate challenge on Earth and he kind of got facerolled by the empowered Gabriel for it. If you look at his model and voice in LoS2 it's evident that he learned from his mistakes as he's a beefed up beast this time around. He's ready to fight Dracula now, he wasn't before - that was the whole idea. Zobek guided him through the motions to gain all of the Lords of Shadow's power so he could kill Gabriel and take it for himself in order to defy Satan, who was his ruler. Zobek, or Death, knew he couldn't fight Satan as he was, so he used Gabriel as an instrument of defiance. Only Gabriel became far more powerful than Death imagined through the help of God. Ultimately with Gabriel's transformation into Dracula following the events of LoS it also set up nicely the persistent relationship between Dracula and Death that has existed all throughout the franchise.
  • Tyrlanae - February 6, 2014 1 p.m.

    The hell took you so long, Bladed? lol I knew I had a kindred LoS fan in you, I'm surprised you didn't beat me to this one. :P
  • BladedFalcon - February 6, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    Haha, well, as much as it seems I have way too much free time in my hands, sometimes I DO have to work, lol :P I'm really glad you stepped in as well though, you tend to be better at wording things more tactfully than me, and an alternate point of view never hurts either ;)
  • Bansheebot - February 6, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    Linearity doesn't mean specifically imply structure though. The Crysis games, specifically C2 are completely linear games, but the games aren't linear in the sense that the game is saying "This is what we want to happen in this level" like CoD does. In a game like Crysis, you're given a setpiece and tasked with approaching it as you see fit based on what *you* think is the best way to handle it. In a game like CoD and other typical M-Fps, the way you approach the setpiece is predetermined, and you're often outright punished for straying from the dev-intended railroad tracks. I can think of numerous highly linear games (RE4, L4D2, Crysis WH, to name a few) that did not suffer for it just because the games allow a degree of fluidity, rather than the stonecold preset of a typical codlike singleplayer mode.

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