Forums

Topic: User Impressions/Reviews Thread

Posts 681 to 700 of 713

RogerRoger

@Thrillho @KratosMD Thanks for the recommendations on racing games, folks (and to @nessisonett for confirming that Forza Horizon 4 is currently on PC). I'd been jealous of Xbox owners for the James Bond DLC added to the latest game, so it might be something I look into when I get the itch again. I'd also been considering some of the old Need for Speed games, so plenty to keep in mind, thanks!

***

@Rudy_Manchego Great review, although I'm not exactly gothic horror's biggest fan, so I doubt I'd be adding it to my PSVR wish list come the day. Glad you enjoyed it, though!

One question I do have; doesn't teleporting around in VR games shatter your immersion?

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Rudy_Manchego

@RogerRoger Thanks for reading! I wouldn’t call it gothic horror per se but defo elements of it.

As for teleportation, it is tough. It fit into this game because it worked thematically since you are otherworldly but to be honest you get used to it (and in my case, I want to vom without it!)

Now I may be an idiot, but there's one thing I am not sir, and that sir, is an idiot

https://jambags.co.uk

PSN: Rudy_Manchego | Twitter:

RogerRoger

@Rudy_Manchego Thanks for your answer; I guess it'd depend on each game but yeah, I can see the logic in these early days of VR. You don't want half your early adopters keeling over, only getting back up to tell everybody that it made them keel over.

Guess I'll have to try it for myself someday, as I've always thought it'd ruin the flow.

Edited on by RogerRoger

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Time to Completion: 36 hours

Platform: Nintendo GameCube

Untitled

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is the first sequel to Nintendo's N64 Mario-themed JRPG Paper Mario, developed by Intelligent Systems, which others might know primarily as the developers of beloved Nintendo-exclusive strategy games in the Fire Emblem and Advance Wars series.

In TTYD, you play as Paper Mario, who travels to Rogueport, a rough-and-tumble 'hive of scum and villainy' that is infested with thieves, brutes, and is controlled by a local crime organization loosely styled after the American Mafia after Princess Peach writes him a letter telling him about a treasure map she bought. Princess Peach is kidnapped by a mysterious group of villains called the X-Nauts, and Mario is swept up into a globe-trotting adventure as he seeks to rescue Princess Peach and find a group of ancient artifacts called "crystal stars" that are used to unlock the ancient Thousand Year Door nestled within the depth's of Rogueport's sewers.

Untitled

As should be immediately apparent from my description, the world of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is one rife with far more danger and filled with far more personality than is typical of most games associated with Nintendo's famous plumber. This game is full-to-overflowing with new and unique characters, most of whom are reasonably fleshed out and either motivated by some form of past trauma or who are enmeshed in the Indiana Jones-style adventure narrative that spans the game's various episodes.

Another atypical element of this game is the environment diversity. Mario games often tend to be set in very... samey locales, but TTYD features a new and usually very creative environment to explore every time the player progresses into a new chapter: standouts include Twilight Town, a 'cursed' place whose residents are transforming into pigs (with all of the accompanying existential dread one would expect from the people waiting to turn) as a result of some unknown paranormal force; Glitzville, a town built around a massive battle arena; and Keelhaul Key, an isolated island hiding a pirate treasure trove.

Untitled

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, like the N64 original before it, is a linear, story-driven JRPG. As such, Mario gains experience points when he levels up, although the way in which the game allows you to power up Mario is interesting. Every time Mario gains 100 experience points, he is allowed to power up his character in one of three ways: increase Mario's HP, his flower points (flower points, like mana points in other JRPGs, are used to perform special moves), and his badge points. In TTYD, badges function a bit like a combination between normal equipment in JRPGs and Materia in Final Fantasy VII; it takes a certain number of badge points to equip a given badge,and badges can do anything from increase the player's HP/FP total to granting them immunities, damage bonuses, or allowing them to use special moves. One's badge loadout, as such, will have a dramatic impact on how well one fares across the game's various turn-based battles.

Mario is never alone in battle. Alongside him, he'll almost always battle with one of a variety of partners throughout the game, who are also fully controllable by the player, and who can also be customized via badge points to some extent. These partners can easily be rotated in and out of active use at any time, as they're all traveling in Mario's party. The use of partners outside of battle is mandatory to progress in the gain, as they each have special abilities that the player needs to use to uncover more of the environment. For example, one of your partners is a bob-omb who can be used to blow holes in structurally weak parts of the environment. Additionally, hidden collectibles called Shrine Sprites are hidden throughout the game, and these can be used to further upgrade your partners and give them access to more powerful hidden abilities.

Untitled

The signature and defining innovation of the Paper Mario series is its approach to turn-based battles. After the player selects an action for a character to perform in battle, there is always some sort of skill-based input required from them afterward. This can be anything from timing button presses to pull of multiple attacks when Mario bounces on an enemy's head to inputting long strings of button commands to properly pull of a particular skill. When Mario uses his hammer to attack an enemy, the player physically pulls back on the GameCube's springy analog stick and then lets go at exactly the right moment to maximize damage.

There is more to it, though. Battles in this game are contextualized as performances, akin to something you'd see in a stage play. As such, you're always playing to an audience. Throughout the game, the size of your audience will increase, and interaction with them will become particularly important in some of the game's lengthy and moderately punishing boss battles. Audience members will frequently attempt to throw objects on stage; sometimes, they're hostile and will throw objects that damage Mario. Other times, they're friendly and will throw helpful items to aid you in winning the fight. The player is prompted to press a button on their controller any time this is about to happen in order to have Mario, or one of his partners, rush out into the audience and attack the offending culprit. This can happen regardless of what the audience member is about to throw, though, meaning that carelessly pushing the prompt any time it pops up can prevent you from obtaining much needed health restoration items, or items that boost your abilities somehow. The player manages a star meter in battle, which fills when Mario and his partner pull off attacks particularly well via timed button prompts, appeal to the crowd directly, or otherwise get their audience pumped, and this meter is used to pull off a variety of special skills that tend to be extremely powerful and will often swing the tide of a losing battle when timed correctly.

In these ways, the battle system does an amazing job of making each encounter feel unique and fresh, and it's, quite honestly, one of the most engaging turn-based battle systems I've ever engaged with in a JRPG.

Untitled

I already mentioned how partners can be used to help the player progress further in the game, but Mario also find upgrades throughout the game that allow him to assume new forms and travel to locations that were previously impossible to access. This world being made of paper, these upgrades usually turn Mario in some variant of paper object, such as a paper airplane, or a rolled up sleeve of paper. Each of these transformations is typically acquired in a new dungeon or area and is often needed to locate the dungeon or area's primary boss. Additionally, these transformations allow for an increased amount of possible exploration when the player is backtracking through the game's connected world. This incredibly Zelda-esque nest of lock-and-key game design makes it where the player is constantly incentivized to revisit locations they previously traveled through.

Another incentive to backtrack is that NPCs frequently change their dialogue in response to story events. I often find myself skipping optional dialogue in many older turn-based JRPGs, but I went out of my way to frequently speak to everyone I encountered in this game. Going along with the atypical flavor of TTYD, character dialogue is often snarky, disarmingly somber (I did a double take the first time I ran across a Toad pondering why he was even bothering to continue living his life), or even riotously funny. I don't think I've ever laughed this much when playing a game before. The superb writing in TTYD extends to both surprisingly nuanced characterizations of its main cast as well as witty banter, recalling a time when Nintendo's localizers knew how to flavor the writing in a game without adding doge memes.

Untitled

Paper Mario's unique combination of flat, 2-Dimensional character models with 3D environments has always been incredibly striking, and it's not uncommon for these games to be the best-looking titles on their respective Nintendo systems. While the GameCube plays host to a variety of attractive games that have aged rather well over the years, almost nothing else on the system has aged as well as this game. The art design works so well that Nintendo could literally boost the resolution, change a few of the game's environmental models, and sell this as a brand new Switch game. It's flat out gorgeous. These screenshots aren't doing it justice, frankly.

Musically, the game has a decent amount of range, and tracks often suit the environments or situations they appear in. Apart from the final boss' theme (which I'm not going to link, because spoilers), none of the music in this game really stood out as something I'd want to listen to outside of the game. It's a decent OST, but in a game with so many excellent qualities, it stands out a bit as a weak point.

Every game has flaws, and TTYD is no exception to this truth. With that said, I really don't have a ton to complain about. I only have two major complaints. My first issue is with the side-quests in this game. In the hub city of Rogueport, there's a "trouble center" where people will commission you to help them out with a problem. Invariably, this involves backtracking to some previous location and finding or doing something. These quickly become monotonous, though, both because the majority of them don't yield amazing rewards, and because the side-quests themselves don't have properly engaging gameplay or narrative elements to make them feel worth while. Aside from one or two, they're a waste of time, frankly.

This kind of leads into my other complaint: backtracking sucks in this game. Granted, you'll eventually open shortcuts that make the various parts of the connected world easier to get to, but it can still take an uncomfortably long time to go back to previous areas in side-quests or even when you're just hunting around for missing collectibles in order to 100% the game (which I don't recommend, frankly). A big part of my issue with it is that these shortcuts are accessed via Rogueport's sewer system, and this environment is large and complex enough that I often found myself getting lost when trying to find something.

Untitled

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was a pleasant surprise. My first experience with the series, via the Nintendo 3DS' Paper Mario: Sticker Star, was negative enough that I was dissuaded from engaging with other games in the series for years. But, while it's not perfect, TTYD is one of the most compelling and consistently delightful JRPGs I've played in a long time, with awesome writing, a huge cast of lovable personalities, reasonably engaging storytelling, RPG mechanics that strike a balance between depth and approachability, and a fantastically quirky sense of humor and saturates the entire experience with personality.

Untitled

Misc. notes:

  • I was surprised by how decent the dungeon design was in this game, and how frequently I encountered puzzles in them. They're not quite as fleshed out as something like your standard Legend of Zelda dungeon, but they're still quite good.
  • While the actual locations are often quite large and complex, the environments connecting unique locations are so linear that they feel like themed hallways. It's not a big deal, though, as these are often no more than a few screens long, and are used to add a sense of distance between locations. I do wish there had been more secrets in some of these connecting environments, though.
  • I love how even several of the antagonists in this game have compelling character arcs.
  • Some of the special abilities you can activate via the star meter are quite creative. One involves clicking on tiles that pop up with alarming speed in order to buff your attack and defense stats. Another, which feels like something ripped straight out of Okami, tasks you with free-drawing circles around groups of enemies to damage them. The larger your circle, the more enemies you can potentially damage; these also take longer to draw, however, so it often makes more sense to limit your circles to smaller groups of enemies that you do more damage to.
  • Vivian is best girl. TEC is best boy. End of story.
  • The player frequently receives emails from previously encountered characters, news updates on developing events in various locations, etc. These are sometimes informative and almost always extremely funny
  • Luigi apparently goes on his own adventure, parallel to your own, and, if queried, he'll describe events that happen and people he encounters in often excruciating detail. It's a small, purely optional thing, but it's just another aspect of this game where the designers went above and beyond with the writing. There are even post-game biographies you can buy in item shops discussing the significance of Luigi's exploits.

Edited on by Ralizah

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

nessisonett

@Ralizah Great write-up on one of my favourite games of all time! I agree about the trouble centre being rather annoying at times and some of the design is slightly obtuse but it’s a brilliant game. I love some of the music like Rogueport’s theme but I don’t think it’s one of the game’s strong points either. It’s such a shame the series hasn’t lived up to the same standard ever since, although Super Paper Mario isn’t terrible.

Socks before or after trousers, but never socks before pants, that's the rule. Makes a man look scary, like a chicken.

Ralizah

@nessisonett Thanks!

The new game seems like it's going to be more story driven than SS/CS, so I'm hoping for good things. I'm not expecting it to be an RPG, though. I think Paper Mario's RPG days are done.

I finally understand why Paper Mario fans are so angry, though. The dip in quality from this to Sticker Star is... pretty incredible, honestly.

I'm really eager to play the other two parts of the original trilogy, though. I didn't give the N64 one long enough to grab me, but I think I'll be more willing to persist past the slow opening now.

Edited on by Ralizah

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Nice one @Ralizah! (I'm sure I've missed a few reviews on the previous page but they'll have to wait til tomorrow when I'm not so knackered)

Thousand Year Door was one of those games I always saw in the shops and was always interested in playing it but I never had a gamecube so I unfortunately couldn't.

By the time the wii came around and I actually could've rectified not playing it I'd kinda forgotten about it. It's probably stupid expensive now too 😂

It sounds really inventive and fun, especially with the battles sounding quite engaging. I'm glad you enjoyed your time with it Ralizah!

And I see what you mean about the music not particularly standing out either

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

mookysam

Great review @Ralizah and nice screenshots! It really is gorgeous. I'm really glad you enjoyed it so much. How much did you play with your nephew? It's arguably one of the best Japanese RPGs ever made; absolutely bursting with character, creativity and humour, yet beneath all that its core gameplay foundations are fundamentally solid. Intelligent Systems absolutely nailed it. The backtracking is a problem, but I didn't mind too much blat the time because the environments are so visually appealing.

It's such a shame that the series is now very much treated as B-tier schedule filler when it should have remained Nintendo's top RPG franchise. Super Paper Mario is decent and many fans do like the story, but other than a few nice gameplay ideas I found it somewhat bland overall. It was apparently originally intended to be a spinoff for the GameCube, but the system's quick death led to it being moved over to the Wii.

Thank you NHS

PSN: mookysam

KratosMD

I hope I get to play TTYD one day. It's one of the few GameCube games Nintendo still hasn't remastered/remade on modern systems, not to mention that there isn't a GameCube Virtual Console and buying a physical copy of the GC version is stupidly expensive. I might give Paper Mario on N64 a try in the meanwhile since I have it on Wii U.

My favourite PM though is Super Paper Mario. Mostly since it's one of the few PM games I've actually played through, but also because the story and the characters were so freaking good and the gameplay was fun as well even though it wasn't turn-based. You would still level up based on EXP points you get from defeating enemies. Moreover, the music was absolutely phenomenal. It was so good that I remember as a kid, I would keep my computer on at night just to have the soundtrack on in the background.

I've also heard that the story in SPM is even better than the one in TTYD, which wouldn't surprise me at all. I still remember how emotional the story was and the characters were really memorable. Man I miss this game..

KratosMD

Ralizah

@mookysam It's funny: didn't Nintendo say something about not needing two Mario RPG series? Well, the developer of the Mario and Luigi games is out of business now, which makes me wonder if they'll change their approach to Paper Mario over time. Or maybe they'll continue relying on the increasingly successful Xenoblade Chronicles games as their marquee first-party RPG franchise, although you'd think they'd see the appeal of continuing Mario-themed RPGs.

I don't know that their view of the series' importance has shifted, though. It'd be easy enough to churn out half-hearted Paper Mario JRPGs on the regular. They're experimenting and mixing up elements of the series, and are doubling down on stuff that fans clearly don't want, which makes me think Nintendo doesn't understand the appeal of the series at all. Well, I can't speak for the newest game, but I feel like Nintendo is trying to pull in bigger numbers by making the series more 'approachable,' in their minds, to newcomers. As I recall, Sticker Star did very well.

I remember reading that Nintendo decided against focusing on narrative elements in this series after conducting some sort of polling and discovering that almost nobody who responded cared about the story in Super Paper Mario

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy Thanks. I've actually noticed that, in a lot of older Nintendo games, the music is... passable at best. Most of their best soundtracks have been in games released since the start of the Wii era, IMO.

And yeah, it's a uniquely difficult Nintendo game to find. Paper Mario N64, Super Paper Mario, and Paper Mario: Color Splash are all playable on Wii U. And a few of their GameCube-era games like Twilight Princess, The Wind Waker, the first two Metroid Prime games, Resident Evil 4, etc. were made playable on later systems as well. But TTYD was never re-released, and second-hand copies are expensive, to say the least. Granted, one could fairly easily... erm... sail the high seas and experience it that way, but I get the desire to play games on their native hardware. It looked great on my CRT set.

Good fun, though. I obviously wouldn't put it up against the best Square Enix or Atlus JRPGs, but it's hard to imagine someone playing it and walking away unsatisfied.

Edited on by Ralizah

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

Kidfried

@KratosMD I don't know if the story in SPM is better than TYD. I think TYD has more memorable moments, story wise too, but SPM is definitely great.

If I would rank the Mario RPGs and make a top 5, I think I would end up with something like

1 Super Mario RPG
2 Paper Mario TYD
3 Super Paper Mario
4 Paper Mario 64
5 Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga

And I agree that it feels like Nintendo doesn't understand what makes a game like Thousand Year Door great, looking at their most recent output.

Kidfried

nessisonett

@Ralizah You’re definitely right about TTYD being expensive, I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to sell my copy of a few of my Cube games. They seem to have just shot up in price, TTYD, Path of Radiance, Pokemon XD and Skies of Arcadia Legends can fetch up to £100 now. I disagree with you about Nintendo’s soundtracks being better since the Wii era though, imo they peaked in the N64 and Cube days. Zelda OoT, MM and WW all had great soundtracks and there’s a few tunes off TP that I really loved too. Mario 64 is fantastic, I think we probably take the music for granted because it’s just so iconic. Now that you mention it though, I actually do get what you mean to be honest, I don’t think any of my favourite OSTs are from Ninty first party games. My favourite tracks ever probably are though, I love OoT’s title theme, Dire Dire Docks from Mario 64 and Stickerbush Symphony from DKC2.

Socks before or after trousers, but never socks before pants, that's the rule. Makes a man look scary, like a chicken.

Ralizah

@nessisonett Some of it might be the improving technology allowing for richer soundscapes (I'm especially fond of the games where Nintendo employs a full blown orchestra), but, if we're just talking their Mario games (I think it applies to most of the games they internally publish, though), the music in a lot of their more recent games is more complex and sounds more like... actual music. Stuff I'd listen to for enjoyment. Which isn't to say that they haven't obviously created very iconic tunes in the past, or the occasional beautiful track (actually just listened to Dire Dire Docks recently, and it is, indeed, a beautiful track), but it's mostly very basic. That isn't the case for other companies. I'd say, for example, that most of Square-Enix's best soundtracks were in older games of theirs (mostly; I really liked the music in FF7R, although so much of that is grounded in the original game's melodies that, more than anything, it just showcases how amazing FF7's OST was). Many older companies had games with amazing chiptune soundtracks, and their more modern games can't really measure up in the sound department.

Matter of opinion, I guess. Maybe some of it goes to how I didn't really grow up with Nintendo beyond the NES (I was primarily a Sega and Sony kid, and I loved my PS1, PS2, Genesis, Dreamcast, etc.), and so I really have no nostalgia for their older soundtracks. I can think of quite a few Wii-era and beyond Nintendo games where I genuinely adore the soundtrack, but I struggle to do the same for almost anything older developed by them.

Edited on by Ralizah

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

nessisonett

@Ralizah Yeah, I’m not a massive fan of the orchestra stuff outside Galaxy’s OST and even then, I prefer the tracks that are quite mellow like the Space Junk Galaxy and Freezeburn Galaxy. Odyssey did have some great tracks but I dunno, I really like the N64’s sound font and I think Sunshine also had catchier tunes that totally suited the setting.

Socks before or after trousers, but never socks before pants, that's the rule. Makes a man look scary, like a chicken.

Thrillho

@Ralizah Nice write up. I only played Super Paper Mario which I loved (and I read up on the plot for that game and I forgot how bonkers it was).

The battle system with the audience is a cool touch and reminds me of Puppeteer in that regards.

Thrillho

Ralizah

@Thrillho Man, lots of love for SPM around here. I'm definitely going to be playing that game sooner than later.

Interestingly, the new PM game is going back to the concept of performing in front of an audience (at least aesthetically; I don't know if it'll be mechanically integrated into the gameplay like it was in TTYD), although the stage looks more like something from a Greek open air theater as opposed to the more familiar enclosed theater in TTYD.

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

PSN: Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Ya know I'd completely forgotten that Déraciné was a thing @Rudy_Manchego?

Granted I don't a VR headset but it'd completely slipped my mind From Software had done this anyway.

It sounds rather interesting though, and without any screenshots and only your description to go on i'm only more intrigued by the prospect... Maybe I'll take a peek at a youtube playthrough or something?

Nice little write up! 👍


Quite late (Fashionably late maybe?) but congrats @KratosMD on beating Hollow Knight

I went through it last year before I'd joined PushSquare on PS4 in... Ooh maybe 50 hours? It was actually my first Metroidvania ever, I thoroughly enjoyed it to bits, particularly being sucked in by the Dark Souls like atmosphere and world building.

I hope it hasn't ruined other Metroidvania's for me though starting with one of the best!

Can't wait for SilkSong too... That trailer they released ages ago for it looked so good!


Ralizah wrote:

Granted, one could fairly easily... erm... sail the high seas and experience it that way

I love how you phrased that Ral 😂

And those musical tracks are so good @Ralizah! The World Bowser track from 3D World in particular made me smile (I love how Jazzy that and Hisstocrat are)

The Super Mario Galaxy 2 track was rather pleasant too!

Though now to awkwardly segway to your Animal Crossing review from the previous page...

... What a review!

There's just something about games that are so open ended and essentially telling you to just make your own fun and faff about that... just don't sadly work for me no matter how cutesy and adorable it may look 😅

Some really lovely screenshots and as always you're ever the wordsmith Ral!

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Thrillho

@Ralizah The Wii is the only Ninetendo console I’ve owned (other than the Game Boy) so that will partly be why it’s the only one I’ll mention. From what I remember, the combat sticks to just bouncing off heads rather than turn based but they certainly make the most of it.

Thrillho

KratosMD

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy I mean I recently played Shantae: Risky's Revenge and that game was so underwhelming compared to Hollow Knight. So I do think playing HK has made me set much higher expectations for Metroidvania games in general, lol.

KratosMD

Top

Please login or sign up to reply to this topic