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PS+ February (Feb 4th): Apotheon, Transistor (PS4) Thief, Yakuza 4 (PS3), Kick and Fennick (Vita) Rogue Legacy (All)


TehStu
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Yes.

EDIT: in reply to deKay. It's a game where the grind mechanics are explicitly laid bare for all to see, so you're fully aware that all you're doing in the current run is playing long enough to get enough numbers to fill an arbitrary quota. So you can do it again and again. Binding of Isaac and Spelunky do a similar thing, but at least with those two there's enough 'game' and charm there to disguise the fact you're grinding over and over, and at least with BoI there's a big chance you'll see the later levels of the game in your first play through. It's satisfying. Rogue Legacy is just... eurgh. Like even the running animation is eurgh.

EDIT 2: And as Stanley says, actually playing a proper Castlevania does whatever the hell RL is trying to loads better minus the shitty restrictive mechanics.

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Isaac and Spelunky are great examples. They work because the bottom line is they are enjoyable to actually play. Isaac is so basic but at the same time so tightly designed. It takes the basic Zelda dungeon as its blueprint and then reduces it down to the richest flavours. The guy who made it understands, fundamentally, the enjoyment of up,down,left,right & fire - and the delicate nuances of altering the variables slightly. He gets that right THEN overlays it with the random level generator.

Rogue Legacy is the opposite. It starts with random levels and the gameplay is an afterthought.

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... in reply to deKay. It's a game where the grind mechanics are explicitly laid bare for all to see, so you're fully aware that all you're doing in the current run is playing long enough to get enough numbers to fill an arbitrary quota. So you can do it again and again. Binding of Isaac and Spelunky do a similar thing, but at least with those two there's enough 'game' and charm there to disguise the fact you're grinding over and over, and at least with BoI there's a big chance you'll see the later levels of the game in your first play through. It's satisfying. Rogue Legacy is just... eurgh. Like even the running animation is eurgh.

Spelunky does nothing of the sort. Beyond being a 2D platformer with different layouts every time you play, it has nothing in common with Rogue Legacy.

There's no grind in Spelunky, literally nothing you do in a run will carry over to the next run, ever.* So the only way to get further is to get better. Playing a game a lot of times is not in itself "grinding."

Rogue Legacy is a grind, the more you play it, the stronger your character gets, and so the way to get further is to just carry on playing it over and over and dying and eventually you'll beat it without even needing to be that good at it, probably. Obviously it could be beaten quicker by a skilled player, but it's so fundamentally different to Spelunky that the comparison is not worth making.

(*Save maybe for Tunnel Man, if you want to be pedantic, but that's not really the same thing.)

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Managed to spend some time with both Rogue Legacy and Apotheon yesterday and quite enjoyed them both! Rogue Legacy is a bit grindy but it made me laugh a good few times and I definitely feel like I am making progress with the unlocks. Some of the castle versions I got were insanely tricky in comparison with the others, but overall I quite liked it.

Apotheon was really cool - I can understand why some don't like the combat but I found it easy enough to get on with. The music and the visuals are awesome, the story seems really interesting and I found navigating around finding secrets and throwing spears into peoples' faces really satisfying. I've been saving frequently though, as I have heard that it's a bit unstable.

Can honestly say I am enjoying both more than I enjoyed Transistor (bought on launch last year), which I ended up completing but didn't enjoy half as much as I had Bastion.

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Yep, Rogue Legacy is crap but Transistor is a great thing to get for 'free'. The plot and combat are frustratingly opaque early on but the atmosphere kept me going long enough for everything else to click, and now, knowing what I know, I'm probably going to replay it.

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Well this is good. If I try to go into the store on my PS3 I get told there's an update, and then my PS3 turns off. When I turn it back on it says that updates are automatically enabled (or words to that effect) and then if I try to go into the store it does the same thing again.

My Vita won't go online at all.

Yay PSN!

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Rogue Legacy seems crap at first but when you start getting a few upgrades it improves dramatically.

Apotheon is good but a bit difficult. I'm stuck at a bit where I have to hunt a deer of sorts.

Transistor - just had a quick go on this and can tell I'm going to like it. I loved Bastion but wasn't so sure about this and to be honest I had loads to play and was positive it was coming to Plus.

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Rogue Legacy seems to be coming under a lot of flak in here, but I'm loving it. I'm enjoying it far more than both Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac, anyway. It's kept me away from the other PS3 and Vita offerings this month, anyway.

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Spelunky does nothing of the sort. Beyond being a 2D platformer with different layouts every time you play, it has nothing in common with Rogue Legacy.

There's no grind in Spelunky, literally nothing you do in a run will carry over to the next run, ever.* So the only way to get further is to get better. Playing a game a lot of times is not in itself "grinding."

Rogue Legacy is a grind, the more you play it, the stronger your character gets, and so the way to get further is to just carry on playing it over and over and dying and eventually you'll beat it without even needing to be that good at it, probably. Obviously it could be beaten quicker by a skilled player, but it's so fundamentally different to Spelunky that the comparison is not worth making.

(*Save maybe for Tunnel Man, if you want to be pedantic, but that's not really the same thing.)

No, you're right, Spelunky was a bad comparison. I agree that Spelunky is mostly skill and a bit of luck though, as opposed to RL which doesn't seem to rely on skill much at all.

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I just finished my disc copy of Yakuza 4 and I wrote a bit about it in the 'Games You've Completed' thread so I'll copy it in here too. So if you think you've read this before, you have. In that other thread.

Yakuza 4, then. It's an odd duck. Occasionally glacially paced, sometimes frantically tense, often ludicrous and yet oddly emotional in parts, Yakuza 4 manages to pack all these in to its curious adventure.

You control one of four available characters as you run around the streets of a Tokyo district, following that character's own story but picking up side-quests (or 'substories' in the game's vernacular) as you progress to the final chapter where all the characters converge into tying up the overall main story thread. The main story itself isn't a bad one, dealing with the fallout and betrayal of a famous Yakuza hit from 25 year's past where 18 men, including a high ranking Yakuza, were shot and killed. You'll play as former Yakuza, a policeman and the escaped murderer himself as you uncover conspiracy and follow a story that leads to corruption in the highest ranks of the criminal and government alike.

The main meat of the story is running around Kamuroto, talking to people and getting substories, following the main quest and the multitude of side objectives (finding locker keys, eating at restaurants, arcade high score challenges, gambling, drinking, ping pong, batting in a baseball cage, training martial artists and, erm, dressing up hostesses). Each character has a multitude of side stories plus at least one significant side chapter that is unfolded over the course of several missions. Completing these substories, and the main missions earns experience points which can be used to unlock abilities.

Fighting abilities.

A lot of Yakuza 4 is your playable character running through the streets to be randomly stopped by 'Street Punks' who demand your money for various nonsensical reasons. You will respond by beating them, and their mates, thoroughly up and then they'll give you some money or an item as a reward. The fights are relatively simple affairs. Light and hard hit buttons, simple combos and 'heat' finishing moves and the vast majority of fights offer almost no challenge at all (I played through the whole on 'Normal') as enemies line up against you but rarely use an offensive move or block, just wait to be hit. This, strangely, doesn't work against it. There are some boss fights that do offer more of a challenge but the main challenge is to complete the substories, find the keys, learn the map, etc. The fun in the fights is found by getting into 'heat' mode with a few normal punches and kicks and then watch the over the top 'heat' finishers that see your character leap five feet into the air to land two footed onto your downed foe's face. This is one of the less extreme moves and finding them all is the fun of the fight.

Speaking of that this is a lot more violent that I remember 3 being. I don't really remember anyone in Yakuza 3 actually getting killed (although there probably was one or two) but this story takes a bold move in making you play a mass murderer, and forcing you to witness the slaughter at the start of his story, leaving you in doubt he did in fact take six guns and shoot 18 men. Most Yakuza playable characters are reformed, or follow a code of honour that the player can empathise with, but there doesn't seem to be much for the player to latch on to with Saejima when you are fist introduced. The other characters are all interesting in their own way and the main character from three makes a return.

Yakuza 4, the Shemue 3 that never was? Kind of. Maybe. In a way. In any way, it's worth your time to play as it's a competent rpg / adventure / fighter with a structure and playstyle that you won't find anywhere else so you have to really play it to see if it's going to be your thing. It is my thing and I will probably go back to the game to hoover up the substories and collectables I missed post endgame (I put 30 hours into the game and have a completion percentage of 18.84%), and there's not many games I want to do that with.

tl; dr version: Give Yakuza 4 a play. It's good!

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tl; dr version: Give Yakuza 4 a play. It's good!

Only be sure to realise that there's no auto-save before you play a load of it then casually switch-off like I did. :doh: Also, for when you forget this and have to start again, don't overlook that the option for cut-scene skipping is off by default, then you won't have to watch the massive intro guff twice... like I did. :facepalm:

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Yeah, I never expected RL to get quite such a harsh response, even though it's not going to everyone's cup of tea. It absolutely does reward skilful play, though it can take a while to get to that point. With a few enchantments applied the 'clear the room' fights can be balletic and rewarding - just double jump and the backwards dash are enough to create some enjoyable scrums in my experience. It was one of my most played games of last year on Steam - I think it'd be a real shame if the overall reaction to its PS+ appearance was negative.

Ah well. I'm enjoying Transistor, especially because turn-based games are a bit lacking on the PS4 and it kind of fits the bill in a way. The PS+ sub for this month is easily justified.

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The people hating on Rogue Legacy simply haven't played it for more than a handful of runs. As Harry said, it gets better after getting upgrades. When you first start playing, your character feels heavy, slow and unwieldy. After a few upgrades you can literally fly across the map if you want to.

Patronising much? I actually really liked Rogue Legacy to begin with and was very much taken with it. It lost its appeal very quickly once I'd unlocked everything, and all that I was upgrading was my damage. I said something very similar in the Destiny thread, and you can actually compare Spelunky and Rogue Legacy in the same way you can compare Halo and Destiny. The first games give you all the tools straight away to be as powerful as you ever will be, the only thing improving over time being player skill. The second games have arbitrary damage increases, meaning that someone who has played for longer will hit harder. It's empty progression and the absolute worst thing any game can steal from RPGs. Real time games and levelling are a terrible mix. Dark Souls gets away with it by being clever but other games aren't up to it.

I know that I can complete Rogue Legacy at level 1, but it's a bit like taking down an elephant with a water pistol.

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The thing with Rogue Legacy is you can just brute force it, though this requires a silly amount of grinding. If you play it with attention and care, treating each unique room like a puzzle, you can totally get through the game with a tiny amount of upgrades. It all depends how you approach it.

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The people hating on Rogue Legacy simply haven't played it for more than a handful of runs

I've played it plenty, explored the different environments, killed several bosses, experimented with equipment and abilities, and still thought it was crap.

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I'm enjoying Thief quite a bit. It is a bit closed in level design wise, with quite laughable AI, but the atmosphere and overall sneakiness are enough to keep me going.

Transistor and Kick & Fennick are the two standout titles this month though.

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I adored RL for the first few hours, then the dawning realisation of tedium ahead of me quickly dampen my enthusiasm to what now borders on active dislike.

I think I'm so adamant about my dislike because it is very close to greatness. It's in an uncanny valley of fun.

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Like Spelunky and Dark Souls and lots of other games, the more you play the more you learn the enemies and their attacks and how to deal with what the game throws at you and you improve.

Personally the appeal of Rogue Legacy outlasted the "grind" and I continued playing long after I'd unlocked everything on the skill tree, but obviously there's no point continuing to play a game you don't enjoy.

Plus, for smug points

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I had a few issues with apothean crashing out but lost very little progress as it saves all the time. Anyway I've played it to the end and I really enjoyed it. The combat falls apart near the end - too many bad guys coming from all directions does not make for good tactical combat but the puzzles and bosses are nicely done.

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