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Playthrough Topic (Hades)

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Maniac
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« Reply #1560 on: 21 June, 2020, 01:34:15 pm »

naraku is pretty fucking brutal and it's also one of the only dungeons in the game with some actual texture to its design to drag the difficulty out even more. minotaur and medusa are both quite powerful and difficult and they're fought almost back to back, so they leave a pretty big impression on you. but you're about level 15 when you beat medusa, and then you're level 30 the next time you fight a boss with more hp than her (xi wangmu), you're level 45 the next time you fight a boss with three press turns (koga saburo), you're level 60 the next (and last) time you fight a mandatory boss that has any chance of killing you (kenji). like, the difficulty curve of that game even in numbers makes no sense, but it definitely does just completely jump off a cliff after medusa to be certain.

you mentioned the fiends, but probably the thing I enjoyed the most playing that game is how I had to make a party from scratch to beat red rider. it took me a couple of hours of planning, but it was fun to have to adapt to a challenging bonus fight like that and then overcome him. it's genuinely a shame someone was dropped on their head as a child, made their way into the SMT4 dev team and decided "you know how in SMT1, a heretofore 21 year old game that has aged like milk, they had fiends spawn in one place on the map once every 1/256 times you zone into the area they're in? let's do that again in 2013!"

of those three, the one I liked the most was apocalypse. you might like strange journey -- speaking of balancing, I think that game achieves the best balance of fairness and oppressiveness of any game in the franchise, but it has its problems.
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« Reply #1561 on: 21 June, 2020, 02:34:03 pm »

What was your overall impression of Apocalypse compared to IV?
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« Reply #1562 on: 21 June, 2020, 07:09:48 pm »

Apocalypse isn't a significantly more difficult game but it does roughen up the edges a bit more. Dungeons have a bit more going on with them, bosses are generally more effective, etc. The support party member thing that appears every now and then in SMTIV is turned into a permanent mechanic as you accumulate a party of extremely anime characters who all do different things in combat. A lot of people give Apocalypse some grief because of how much more anime it is than the non-Persona SMT games, but I honestly prefer that over the complete, abject nothing that SMTIV brought to the table. I guess it feels like the game has some shard of personality in both its gameplay and its story/characters that I didn't feel was in SMTIV.
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« Reply #1563 on: 21 June, 2020, 09:49:10 pm »

hell yeah man glad you dug it, its one of my all time favorite games and i'll always be grateful for it giving me **** to do after i quit my job for a few weeks, been a real long time since I've played it but you've got me itching to go back and actually finish up (I never did get the White Ending)

Never did the 3DS version of Devil Survivor but the original is good, albeit a little bit slow for my tastes in terms of strategy RPGs. It does some interesting things though and its definitely better than the second game which is my least favorite Megaten game by a sizable margin. Honestly my vote for next is Strange Journey its a trip.
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« Reply #1564 on: 24 June, 2020, 03:13:22 am »

Was going to do Strange Journey to change things up from the press-turn system, but I left it at my apartment. Went for IV:A instead, but I think Iíll do SJ afterwards.

Itís interesting seeing how certain things have changed. I donít really mind the added emphasis on the ďanimeĒ elements. It isnít nearly as terrible as what Xenoblade 2 did to its characters, so thereís that.

The gameplay does feel a bit more refined. I opted for a physical build on Nanashi, vs. the magic build I created for Flynn. Iím also using more of my demons within my stock, so it doesnít really feel like I have a main party anymore. That may be a consequence of the game limiting how many skills your demons get as you level up, vs. in IV where you can just get 8 skills for your demons pretty early in the game.

Iím playing on War difficulty, and it seems like a pretty reasonable challenge so far. Iím using more ailment-based skills this time around, like Poison Breath, Marin Karin, Lullaby, etc. I can only wonder if Tetrakarn and Makarakarn will break the game and trivialize nearly every boss as they did in IV.

I like the Smirk mechanic more in this game as well. It feels more strategic to work with.
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« Reply #1565 on: 21 July, 2020, 02:53:36 pm »

Forgot to post this a week ago.

Finally beat Apocalypse. Clocked in at around 64 hours, or 13 more hours than IV.

Overall a great game, though I think I did have a number of mixed feelings with it. The story is an absolute mess and the characters are just mediocre. I almost wanted to go for Anarachy to kill them off, but Dagda was honestly more insufferable to me than the other characters. Most of the companions are tolerable at best. Navarre and Gaston are the best of them, although Gaston is a terrible companion gameplay-wise. Toki is by far the worst of them. I actually liked her in the beginning, but she turns into such a creep all of a sudden with that Master bullshit. I started to dislike Nozomi after she ratted our Nanashi and Asahi, but then I realized I didnít actually care. Asahi was whatever. Hallelujah was forgettable. I totally hated the Nanashi circlejerk btw. Everyone obsessing over a protagonist is one of my most hated tropes in anything, and itís done excessively in this game. That shit reminded me of Sword Art Online.

They really did amp up the anime in this game. I hated everything about that Mephisto DLC, except for Mephisto himself. And the idea of a bunch of annoying anime teenagers lecturing god on the power of friendship was hilarious to me.

Speaking of the DLC, I only fought Mephisto and Cleopatra. I fused Cleopatra who ended up becoming probably my best demon in a Megaten game period. Thanks to her I defeated Mephisto in a few turns. Cleopatra as a boss herself was difficult though, probably because I didn't have an equivalent to her as when I fought Mephisto. Regardless, I ended the game with Cleopatra, Krishna, and Xi Wangmu. Inanna, Shiva, and Alice also helped out a bit.

Didnít bother with Stephenís DLC. I donít have the patience for that. The game loves throwing obnoxious boss rushes at you, and I didn't want to do another one. The most egregious example was the Merkabah-Lucifer fights in Camp Ichigaya. This is basically where I learned to set my partyís experience to just before they all level up, just so I could get my MP back before the next boss. This whole segment was definitely the worst part of the game for me, and I contemplated taking an extensive break. Things quickly improved when I reached the Cosmic Egg though. Nearly every boss from then onwards was super fun.

There are a lot of things they certainly improved upon. They reworked Smirk and turned light and dark skills into actual elements, which was a huge bonus. I also liked that Tokyoís map wasnít a total clusterfuck like it was in IV. The dungeons had more going on than IV's. I caved and used a guide for the final dungeon because it looked like a disaster to me.

I did not like the app progression much in this game. Limiting my demonsí number of skills until I reached 75 dulled the fun I had with fusing. I donít know, maybe this was a way to balance the gameĎa difficulty, but I didnít like it. Fusing didnít really become that fun for me until after I finally had all 8 slots available. Kind of felt like I was wasting points getting basic features I had in 4 and Nocturne, like fully healing HP and MP after leveling up.

I donít know how to compare this gameís difficulty with IV, because I played IV on Normal and Apocalypse on War. IV gave me a ton of trouble in Naraku, and then it kind of just stopped being hard after I beat Medusa. The difficulty curve in Apocalypse's War mode felt very appropriate throughout. There werenít really any moments where I felt the game was too easy, and aside from the aforementioned boss rushes, I did not feel that the game was difficult to the point of being obnoxious. It was a pretty reasonable challenge throughout.

Few nitpicks, uhh the traps were really stupid and annoying, and I still donít understand their reasoning for putting them in the game. I wish more bosses had close-ups when you fight them. Those felt more intense. The Navarre sword puzzles were lame. I think thatís it.

Overall itís a great game even though all I did was whine in this post.
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« Reply #1566 on: 21 July, 2020, 05:00:19 pm »

I honestly thought Apocalypse's characters and story were "okay" but only because I genuinely hate the characters of SMT IV. Like, SMT loves its "law/chaos hero" dynamic but Jonathan and Walter were sufficiently textureless representations of it that I stopped seeing them as characters and more like boxes on a SMT game checklist. They don't even really have character arcs like the law/chaos heroes of other games do that justifies where they end up by the end of the game so you can actually regard the confrontation with "them" (as much as being eaten by Merkabah and Lucifer really entails you fighting them, which is not really at all) in the endgame as tragic. Meanwhile, the only memorable thing about Isabeau is her reading a reference to Rose of Versailles as opposed to anything she actually does (this is literally the only thing anyone references about any characters in SMT IV at this point, "lol Rose of Versailles reference", that's definitely damnation by faint praise if I ever saw it). Apocalypse is insanely anime and isn't particularly good at it but at least they didn't feel like they were there just to meet some imaginary quota for "things a game needs to be a SMT game". On the other hand, I thought the worst thing about Apocalypse was just how tacked on the YHWH shit was, they clearly just wanted the MT2/SMT2 reference of having Satan and YHWH somewhere.
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« Reply #1567 on: 21 July, 2020, 10:04:00 pm »

I mean, that's a pretty fair critique. I didn't love SMT IV's characters either. Given that this was the first time I played an SMT game with proper Law vs. Chaos alignments, I suppose I was more forgiving of Jonathan and Walter's totally banal presence. In the end, I was more interested in the ideas they represented over the characters themselves, especially as an introduction to how this series likes to deal with alignments. I found that Law vs. Chaos dichotomy more interesting than the Power of Friendship vs. Edgelord the Hedgehog.

That said, I don't know yet how other games tackle the alignment system. I imagine if the characters were more interesting in those games, then Jonathan and Walter would be totally disappointing by comparison. And as much as I dislike Apocalypses' anime nonsense, I can still appreciate and respect that it at least retains its own identity.

Anyways, after finishing Apocalypse I considered taking a pretty long break from SMT. I think since the beginning of 2019, I've played KH3, FF10, Radiant Historia, FF3H, FF14, Nocturne, SMT4, and Apocalypse, so that's kind of a lot of JRPGs or JRPG-esque games. Sekiro too if you want to include Japanese games period. Might need to play a Western game as a buffer, like Doom or Spider-Man or something.
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« Reply #1568 on: 28 October, 2020, 02:25:33 am »

Well I started a new rotation and my boss told me I donít have to show up, so I basically just got an extended vacation. Given that I canít go out and see my friends or be a normal human being that means more single player video games! Hereís what Iíve been playing since around July.

Spider-Man and Horzion Zero Dawn:

Both of these games surprised me in their own ways. I realize Iíve developed a bias against open-world games these past few years, which I think deterred me from checking these out in the first place, but they both independently managed to draw me in and encourage me to explore their worlds through each gameís distinct mechanics.

Spider-Man was especially reminiscent of Spider-Man 2 on the PS2. Swinging was such a core mechanic in this game that I honestly think the game would have been completely lost if Insomniac didnít perfect it. It was was dynamic and fluid, and it made the act of performing menial tasks like the various collectathons actually fun to accomplish. That in and of itself was enough to encourage me to explore the world and have fun doing so. The combat, though reminiscent of the Arkham games (which I do not think have aged well), felt a bit more involved than those games, although it does became repetitive and isnít really the gameís fortť. The story was adequate for a superhero tale, with some interesting characters. Iím looking forward to playing as Miles in the next installment.

Horizon Zero Dawn on the other hand pulled me in with its expansive world. I felt compelled to actually collect all the various items, do the optional dungeons, complete the banditsí camps, etc because I genuinely wanted to see more of the gameís world. These generally encouraged me to explore the world more than its story, which felt rather short for something that takes place in such a massive world. That isnít a drawback either, because the story itself is well-written and engaging.

Whereas Spider-Man enticed me with its controls that made exploration so fun, this gameís imagination and worldbuilding in particular inspired me to search every nook and cranny of the world to understand what happened in the history of this version of humanity. I found the events leading up to humanityís demise to be especially compelling and I want to actually read a book about it now. This gameís backstory reminded me of Soma in a lot of ways, and I love that gameís story.

Both were engaging enough to get the Platinum trophies, and the requirements for said trophies were very reasonable. It isnít something that I usually go for, but I think the trophy requirements for this game were adequately established for me to want to explore enough of each game.

Devil Survivor:

This game honestly broke me. I have such conflicted feelings. On the one hand, itís Megaten and I love the monster designs, the fusions, etc. The story is fairly interesting with a number of interesting characters (except for Midori, who has such an inappropriately large amount of screen time ). The soundtrack is awesome if a bit limited in its track selection. And at times the game did pay off when I came up with the right demon combinations. Thereís a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can do, which I great.

But this game is also so **** hard and can honestly feel like such a slog. I donít often rage-quit single player games, but I did it too often with this game. Sometimes the game would throw in a ton of enemies at me out of nowhere when I thought I was done with a battle. Other times the game would hit me with absurd winning conditions (**** Kudlak). Oftentimes I just didnít feel any payoff at all after defeating a boss because I had to resort to cheesing it. And it all culminated in probably the hardest boss Iíve fought in Megaten so far: Okuninushi. In hindsight, I probably wouldíve had an easier time if I adjusted my team and my monstersí abilities. But I already worked so hard to get the monsters I had, and I think at that point I wanted to just beat the game and move on, so I struggled my way through it, constantly resetting until I had the right RNG to kill him. Not efficient, and definitely not strategic, but I just didnít care anymore. Besides I liked my team of Shiva, Amaterasu, Susano-o, Norn, Fafnir, Lakshmi, Black Maria, and Bishamon.

I enjoyed parts of Devil Survivor, but I also felt imprisoned by the game as a whole. After beating that game I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I will probably play Devil Survivor 2 given that the game has a grinding DLC and I am a total sucker with semi-completionist tendencies (and might be crazy), but that will have to wait a very long time. In fact, Iím taking a break from Megaten because I donít want to get burned out from the series before SMTV and Nocturneís remaster are released.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. I got back into Xenogears and am also playing Hades now. Also dabbled with Parasite Eve to get in the mood of spooky shenanigans for Halloween. All are great games.
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« Reply #1569 on: 12 November, 2020, 06:32:08 pm »

I have been playing Hades and it is just so, so good. So much build variety, and everything just feels fresh every single time I pick it up. The story is entering some interesting territory. If it wasn't for Nocturne, this would be my clear GotY thus far. I've also been reading Circe by Madeline Miller which has been a great complement. I've been learning a lot of Greek mythology this year through video games like SMT and now Hades, and I would like to read more. I was initially indifferent to the subject, and I think that's largely because I had it shoved down my throat because of my high school's curriculum. But it's really fun returning to it on my own accord.

I haven't played the Demon's Souls remake yet, but I've heard the music and seen some of the design changes, and so far I feel mixed. Some of the remixes are excellent (Return to Slumber being a notable one), but some like the Tower Knight just don't do it for me. The monster and enemy design is also a mixed bag. I don't like the change in design to the Fat Officials, who now more closely resemble human sacks of vomit than sinister pieces of shit. I also prefer the original Maiden in Black design. It seems Bluepoint has taken more creative liberties with this game versus their remake of SotC. That is honestly fine in and of itself, because it will never take away from the original in any way. The rest of what I've seen looks very good anyways (character creation, graphics, weapon animation), and I'm excited to return to Demon's Souls. It will be interesting to see differences in Eastern vs. Western design choices with the remake at least, even if I ultimately prefer the original.

Oh and I played like 3 hours of Tales of Berseria lol. It might be a little too anime for me, but the characters are pretty funny at least.
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« Reply #1570 on: 13 November, 2020, 10:06:29 pm »

legit curious what you think of tales, i've never been able to find anything interesting about the series but i have friends who swear by them
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I SERIOUSLY DREAMT OF FLOYD BEING A KILLER CYBORG WHO RAN 10 TIMES FASTER THAN ANY NORMAL HUMAN, AND THEN KILLED MM, TURNED FEMALE, WENT AFTER ME, AND I DROPPED FROM THE SKYSCRAPER! IT HURTED, BUT I AWAKE CALMLY, THINKING I WOULDN'T SEE YOU AGAIN.
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« Reply #1571 on: 23 November, 2020, 10:07:06 am »

holy shit new TWEWY game

I donít think anyone here cared about the first one but I loved that game. This is just surreal.
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« Reply #1572 on: 24 November, 2020, 08:13:28 am »

there were enough here that they turned me off of the game, they're just all gone now
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« Reply #1573 on: 15 December, 2020, 01:04:42 am »

I finished TLoU2 and I was wrong. This game is excellent, especially the second half.
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« Reply #1574 on: 13 January, 2021, 11:35:14 am »

**** Devil Survivor. I played the one on 3DS and quit with no regrets. Itís such a time-sink.

That one map where you have to stop the enemies from escaping and then 2 portals appear with crazy strong enemies popping out of it, I was done. Both that game and Fire Emblem Echoes are bullies.
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