July 23rd, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
Two game developers are influencing the action game market.
In the world of brawler style melee action games, there are many sorts of styles that can be adapted to make the players feel comfortable with the action. With the popularity of two major game developers, it’s pretty cut and dry that there are two methods of designing the playstyle. From Software and Platinum Games are those two developers, and both of their games have a signature style that their studios are notorious for employing. They both also make for great combat. Yet, by and large, they are polar opposites from one another. These prevailing gameplay styles can thus be broken down on a simplified scale from 0-10 with one developer on each side. Let’s talk about those styles for a bit.
Let’s start with From Software. They are notorious for the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne, and in case you’ve been living under a rock, they are quite popular. Indeed, Souls games are known for their difficulty, range of playstyle choices, and thoughtful combat practices. In older times, you could mash a button to attack enemies a la Warriors games until you win, but that discipline is a good way to get yourself killed over and over if you’re playing Souls. Nay, when playing a Souls game, one must exercise caution and patience when playing. If you try to run up to enemies and smack them about as much as you can, you will quickly run out of stamina and get the stuffing beat out of you.
Souls games have the ongoing memes attached to them. There’s “Git Gud,” which implies that if you find the difficulty too hard, tough shit, you just have to get better. This game will not accommodate an easier setting. And of course, the well known “Prepare to Die” also sticks with the games, as the challenge of the combat will find you dying many times as you figure out the best ways to fight. That’s how the games are. Every new enemy encounter is a new experience. You have to take things slow and learn your combatants’ patterns and flows in order to best them. You watch them and you adapt. Soon, you learn that different animations mean different attacks, and you learn how to anticipate them and act accordingly. You can only get by with perseverance, getting to know your enemy’s line of attacks. Once you have them figured out, as long as you stay diligent, you can hold your own. Or at least until a boss shows up.
Before we dive into bosses, let’s talk about the other end of the spectrum. We have Platinum Games, makes of some of the most purely awesome combat encounters. Platinum throws common sense and logic right out the fucking window in favor of a coolness factor. It doesn’t matter how impractical or absurd everything gets, you are there to wreak absolute havoc upon anyone who stands in your way. In stark contrast to the methodical nature of Souls, these games want you to absolutely wreck your opponents. Now, mashing buttons may be the key to these games, but it sure as hell isn’t brainless, instead it is a solid flow. You learn how to take visual cues from the fighting to know when to press dodge, when to fast attack, when to strong attack, and then you sting up that series of button stomping action right on into the latter half of the double digits. Keeping your combos going is key, and any moment you are spending on not attacking your opponents is basically wasted time.
Platinum’s repertoire is vast but often features key similarities. They have a lot of successful releases, like Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance- Lightning Bolt Action, Transformers Devastation, and new critically acclaimed Nier Automata. All of these feature combat based on stringing together tight-knit button combinations while being mindful of visual cues. As long as you’re smashing the dodge button, you’ll get out the way of being hit hard. Enemy attacks are far less telegraphed in these games, as a very short gleam appears on an enemy, giving you a fraction of a second to dodge, and then continue your full frontal assault. You don’t exercise any caution in these games. Instead, as soon as you see a single enemy, your first move will likely be to charge right on into them at full speed to destroy them before they can even sneeze.
Let’s talk about boss fights. When you encounter a boss in a Souls game, there’s a strong chance you were never prepared for it. They will also terrify the everliving hell out of you as they morph and grow before your very eyes and menace you to an extent where you’ve already accepted your fate and thus “prepared to die.” You learn how to fight bosses by dying. These giant, imposing bastards will pound you into the ground over and over until you finally get just the right amount of focus. Once you’re in the zone, you can carefully pay attention to all of their attacks and strike when it’s your turn. You know you’re in for a long fight in these, and learn that getting hasty is a mistake you can’t afford. When you see a boss in a souls game, you’d be lying if your first reaction isn’t “oh shit”.
Contrast this with the aggression that Platinum encourages, and you’re in for a completely different ride. When you encounter a boss in a Platinum game, the mentality isn’t fear. You internally say yourself, “Wow, I cannot wait to fuck that guy up!” and proceed to have at them, even if they are frequently 3-6 times your puny size. Here, you run in and you start beating on them no matter what and you keep the pressure going, never allowing your target to catch their breath. Instead of learning from dying, you simply learn what does and does not work as you fight. Are certain attacks not working? Try others. Are all of your attacks simply chiseling down the boss’s HP? Just keep at it and they’ll go down. You have to be fierce and vicious to win. Don’t think about your attacks, just act and react. Fight, fight and fight, and if the boss hits you hard you just gotta hit them back harder.
And so, the influence of these developers brightly shines through, even as I play more and more games that aren’t made by them. It’s popular for ‘games journalists’ to compare difficult melee games to Souls, but it’s not their fault. Games are starting to borrow elements from the style of this unfathomably popular new game series. Not all games though; while some tend to take a leaf from the Souls book, others lean in on the sharp and fast action of Platinum. I’d like to introduce a scale to rank games based on how similar their fighting styles are to the repertoire of these two developers’ groundbreaking series. It’s called the From Platinum scale, and it goes like this:
It’s 0-10. On the left-hand side, you have From Software occupying the space of 0. Not because it’s bad, think of it as more of a scale of speed and forgiveness. Souls are not forgiving, nor are they expedient, thus the zero. Only a game made by that developer can receive a 0, everything else can get a “1” at best. On the other side, it’s Platinum Games holding up the 10. I chose them for 10 because “platinum” is a precious metal, which implies high monetary value. Only games by that company can get a 10, the rest can only get a “9” at best. How does that factor into games that are recent or popular? Let’s have a look at a few games.
Dark Souls: 0
In case you skipped every paragraph and jumped right here, then listen. Once again, Dark Souls doesn’t get a zero because it’s bad. It gets a zero because the combat gives you ZERO hope. You will die, it is inevitable. No other game can get a zero.
Bloodborne isn’t quite as damning as the Souls games. It also has a faster and more active approach, so it gets a different rating.
Nier: Automata: 10
Nier Automata takes the cake for the most Platinum of Platinum games, being a title that not only has fast-paced combat but also makes you fight while making playing a bullet hell shooter.
Transformers Devastation: 9
The action is fast and furious, but not quite as insane as Platinum’s other titles. Still, it maintains the fury and finesse that makes them so special.
Batman Arkham Series: 5
It strikes the perfect balance between being aggressive to exercising caution. You face enemies head-on or through the shadows, but you must still keep moving, otherwise, you’re a sitting duck.
This game had a very slow and methodical combat system that some Souls veterans found to be not so challenging. The game lacks the depth that Souls has to offer, but if you encounter a boss you’re unprepared for, you’re gonna get wrecked until you either leave completely to level up or just face them and chip away at their health for 20 minutes.
Hyrule Warriors: 7
In Warriors games, you lay the smackdown on waves of enemies, often killing grunts in the higher double digits in single blows. Although you can mash buttons at the base enemies, you’ll encounter miniboss characters who require a nuanced but aggressive approach.
The Surge: 2
What if Dark Souls but sci-fi and shitty?
That is but a few examples. I fully expect to use the From Platinum™ scale of melee gaming for future releases. What do you think? Am I onto something, or full of shit? Tell me in the comments.
Posted in Articles Tagged with: arkham, batman, bayonetta, bloodborne, bosses, brawler, combat, dark souls, editorial, fighting games, from software, git gud, hyrule warriors, melee, metal gear rising, Microsoft, nier automata, platinum games, playstation, ps4, revengeance, Sony, the surge, transformers devasation, vampyr, vanquish, warriors, xbox, xbox one
February 2nd, 2018 by Vega Montanez
To Dy For
Dynasty Warriors 9 is coming to a console near you on February 8th, 2018, which is right around the corner. I figured it would be a little fun to drop a list of 9 reasons I feel you need to be excited about one of my favorite game series of all time. I’ll never forget the first time encountering the mighty Lu-Bu or the sadness I felt watching Zhuge Liang die of illness only to watch Sima Yi take over the world. Aaahhhh good times. Anyway here are 9 reasons to be excited for Dynasty Warriors 9:
With a roster of over 40 unique characters how could you not be excited? Like to play as a guy with a massive sword? Covered! Want to play as a cute girl who clearly isn’t dressed for the battle? Covered! Need to get your fix of playing as a guy who just might be to old for this war but everyone seems to be mega cool with it? You’re covered. Characters galore keeps up fighting games, cause this fighting game is kicking your ass when it comes to character selection.
I think its pretty clear that you’ll be playing this game for a while with over 40 unique characters to play as but the truth is thats just the start. In previous games there have been over 30 unique maps for battles taking place with the option to play on opposite sides of the war. Mathematically that makes 60 different potential missions to play and thats not including the different outcomes on each map based on the incredible (or terrible) decisions you make throughout the battle. Replay Value? Check.
And now the juicy stuff. How many kills do you have in Call of Duty? Oh 300? That’s cute. I’ll rack up 300 in 2 minutes in Dynasty Warriors. Seriously, thats not even a joke! There are missions, challenges, and secret items you can unlock by slaughtering ridiculous amounts of enemies in hilariously short time frames. Take that MLG!
Historical Fiction Realness
I love games with great story lines and whats better than a game with 40 unique story lines that are also rooted in fantastic educational goodness. Historical facts people thats what we’re talking about here. Do you know anything about the three kingdoms period of China. You know back when they had a civil war that lasted longer than how many years America has existed period. Well heres your chance to get your foot in the door. Whether its to make yourself a more knowledgeable person (you go girl) or if you just want to school your modern history teacher next time he gives you an F (sorry your paper sucks); play some damn Dynasty Warriors and get your life together.
Armors, Weapons, & Items Oh My!
Hey, I know what you’re thinking, You don’t need anymore convincing to play this series but you know what? You made it this far so might as well stick it out till the end. Let’s talk about all the armor, weapons, and items you can collect in this amazing game. Each character (remember there’s at least 40 of these guys) has his own super ultra mega rare ultimate weapon and then a bunch of basic weapons we don’t really care about but its there to collect dammit. And its the same for armor and items too. Oh and that reminds me did I mention…
Massive Body Counts
Body Counts! Like massive body counts. I mean I was playing Dynasty Warriors 6 or 7 or something idk maybe it was 5 but anyway I racked like 4000 kills in like an hour. god it was so satisfying! I mean I could have ended the mission as any point but i didn’t I kept one gate open so enemies would keep spewing and i could keep killing.
Epic Strategic (or Brute Force) Battles
What are gates you ask? well thats a great segway to reason number 7. Strategy. every mission has a bunch of soldiers on the map and just as many different ways for you to navigate the map to either end the mission quickly, super effective for doing stupid things like play on chaos mode with a weak character, or you can take your time executing effective strategies that allow you to control the shape of the battle and minimize how many of your partners die.
Name 3 games, with this many characters and weapons, that allow you to ride horses whenever you want. I’ll wait… …didn’t think so, moving on.
Seriously Massive Body Counts!
If you’re still reading this instead of playing a dynasty warriors game, you’re tapped. I mean like full on belong in a loony bin with a straight jacket type crazy. Dynasty Warriors is perfect for letting your inner crazy out as it allows you to rack up tons kills. The body count just grows and its so damn satisfying. If you have stress issues or an awful job where you hate your co workers don’t go crazy and hurt anyone. Just play some dynasty warriors instead.
Those are 9 reasons you need to be excited for Dynasty Warriors 9. Make sure you like and subscribe to our channel for more amazing news, videos, and games you should be excited for! Let me know what I should be excited for in the comments below!
Did we mention there’s 40 characters?
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