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Forums > Submission Feedback > honestgamer's Legasista review

This thread is in response to a review for Legasista on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: August 26, 2012 (09:55 PM)
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Argh, I wish developers would stop trying to use random dungeons. That's pretty much a formula for suck, since intricate design and challenging puzzles aren't something you can randomize. It's a crutch that shows the developers don't know how to create a proper game.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 26, 2012 (10:00 PM)
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I'm typically just fine with random dungeons. I think they can work effectively. They're fine in Disgaea, for example (though that's still a bit different). That's why I spent as much time as I did in this review explaining what makes the random dungeons in Legasista less effective. I have put quite a few hours into the game and I still haven't seen the end of a random dungeon. Almost all of the game's trophies are tied to completing random dungeons and I don't even know how it's possible when I can't even get through a 30-dungeon floor without encountering 200+ level enemies.

I ended the review on a positive note, which the game does deserve, but one thing I didn't have time to delve into is how frustrating it is to spend hours leveling up a character in one class, then start fresh with a new class with lower specs. Not all skills carry over from class to class--only about half of them do--so there's a sense of "one step forward, two steps back" at times. And yet I keep playing it...


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 26, 2012 (11:51 PM)
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I agree with Zig, though I enjoyed the review and was easily able to follow the points made in it about random dungeons. I always look at the Zelda games as the pinacle of dungeon creation. From the very first game they have been immersive puzzlers carefully designed to create a layered experience by staggering difficult rooms and demanding puzzles with breathing space and the occasional balls-tough run of enemies. It's not something that random dungeons can yet achieve. Even simplistic grinders like The Dark Spire are made excellent because of the keen dungeon design.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 27, 2012 (12:04 AM)
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To add to the many, many things I couldn't fit into the review (it already hit the 1500 mark I try to avoid when possible), let me say that the random design here was fairly... well, it's not as varied as you might suppose. Dungeons are basically just around 15 or 20 rooms put together in a random order, but the segments that make up each random dungeon are easily enough identified. I'm not sure what the coding is like behind the scenes, really, but I've put enough hours into the game to recognize definite elements that crop up a lot. That prevents any of the designs from being awful, but it also prevents any of them from having awesome surprises in the way that the Disgaea games occasionally do.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: JoeTheDestroyer
Posted: August 27, 2012 (12:06 AM)
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I actually enjoyed the random dungeons more than most of the story missions, which to me were mostly bland. I did, however, enjoy the later levels.

I think my biggest complaint was the lack of a shop, or at least some way to more easily obtain certain items. I spent three fucking days trying to get a worthwhile piece of armor. In most of my excursions into any dungeon during those three days, I didn't land a single piece. Not even something crappy like leather armor or a sports uniform.


The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 27, 2012 (12:40 AM)
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I'm constantly making runs into dungeons in search of better weapons and armor. I only rarely ever find any. I'll get lots of boots and shields and dirks and such, but they're almost always weaker than whatever I have. I think an in-game store would have removed the main incentive the developers were able to provide players to go into the dungeons, so I would imagine that was a conscious choice. Still, I feel your pain.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: JoeTheDestroyer
Posted: August 27, 2012 (12:56 AM)
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I think the best thing they could have possibly done is balance out the drop rate on certain items, especially armor. That way you aren't leaving a dungeon with fifteen different tomes and tablets that you're just going to discard.


The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 27, 2012 (10:53 AM)
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I definitely agree with Zig on this. I think I only can truly enjoy random dungeons if they're done like in Lufia 2...where the random dungeon is optional and the main reward is just bragging rights (I mean, you do get the best equipment in the game there, but if you need the best equipment in the game to beat Lufia 2, you might have problems...).

Like, Persona 3 is one of those games it seems most everyone loves. I'm in this stretch where I get through a month or two of game-time and then have to put it down for a few months because constant grinding in boring randomly-generated dungeons gets old after a while. I guess in this game, the "puzzles" are figuring out how to fight monsters and deal with their weaknesses and resistances....but still, you're just doing the same floor over and over and over again with different graphics every 30-some floors or so. With almost every enemy being recycled ones with more HP and different strengths/weaknesses. Just seems they created this big sim game with a save-the-world quest...and then added the most generic dungeon ever for you to spend 100 hours grinding characters...strange...makes me think I should have picked SMT: Nocturne to make a legit run at finishing instead.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 27, 2012 (12:10 PM)
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Great example with the persona series, OD! I've had the same experience with each title in the series. I took a six-month break halfway through Persona 1 (the longest I've ever breaked and come back to a game) simply because I got worn out on the dungeons. Persona 4 I've now taken a three year break from... or maybe I should say I just stopped playing it one day. And 4 was infinitely more varied than 3.

It takes me back, in my mind, to the progression of the original RPG: Dungeons and Dragons. When that game came out, it was meant as a game, not a roleplaying experience. All the focus was on traversing dungeons. In my mind, that's still the purest form of the "game"; when there was actually a win-lose scenario. Role playing "games" aren't really games. They are assisted story telling tools, and their success or failure depends not on a condition of a mission but on the interaction between the GM and the PCs.

One of the reasons the progression from dungeon game to role playing game occurred was because the favored dungeons amongst players became those with character: usually involving a lot of traps, story elements, puzzles, and rooms that tied together either in purpose or through theme. Eventually that dungeon building grew into world building and by the time of AD&D we had the basics of what we know think of as the standard RPG.

For me, the same kind of scenario applies to a video game. As early as Zelda, gamers asserted through their buying decisions that they were more drawn to the kind of game where the dungeons had character, and the more story a game had, the more this became pronounced. In other words, the point of having a dungeon in most modern RPGs is not to provide an arena for the fighting system to take place, but to provide a tangential story told in the form of the dungeon's design, inhabitants, and the "experience" offered by that dungeon.

I could point to many many examples of this done well and done poorly, but briefly just to cover three:

1) Ocarina of Time: each dungeon represents an integral part of the history of Hyrule and a unique part of that land. To this day, that game probably has my favorite dungeons of all time. The variance in them is incredible and after each one you feel like you understand Hyrule a little bit more.

2) Metal Gear Solid: MGS is really a dungeon series, whether the dungeon is a Russian jungle or a frozen nuclear disposal facility. MGS1 is a game which takes place entirely within the corridors of a dungeon—even the outdoor areas are confined—and each room is a puzzle asking you to solve it in order to pass. And again, each room has its own personality and is tied in some way to the story of what's going on. It was one of the more brilliant uses of the dungeon concept.

3) Final Fantasy XIII: here's an example which, to me, shows that dungeons are not about how pretty they look but about how well they are designed. FFXIII is one long dungeon with no paths, no puzzles, no decisions, and monster fights set up for you in a straight line. It's not much better than the random dungeons of Persona because it doesn't involve the player in the dungeons: it becomes monotonous. It is essentially a pre-planned walk through an art gallery and if you get tired of the art (or aren't interested in it to begin with) you aren't going to enjoy the stroll.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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