Okay, here’s another of these. I did this all stream of consciousness while watching, so sorry if it’s a bit hard to understand without watching the video as you read these.
Gotta say, doing an S rank, no damage, no items run is impressive. After beating Thi4f on similar terms, I know how hard that can be. My recent Mirror’s Edge run has mistakes because it’s goddamn near impossible to avoid fucking up in that game, even if you’re the best in the world, and I only spliced a little, hopefully so little that nobody noticed the more obvious cuts. So yeah, points for that, good way to establish that he’s not a shitter and can’t be dismissed for being bad.
It’s mildly weird that he doesn’t retell the actual history of resi 4 here, about how it was going to star a bioengineered superdude named tony redgrave, but whatever. I don’t think it’s a necessary tangent anyway.
I think there’s a benefit of the fixed camera angles for action games too, considering the issues many action games have with free rotating cameras. Wonderful 101 shows how a fixed isometric camera can help frame everything on the screen. Having a camera stuck in one place at a time and needing to cut to show everything however can be agony.
I would have personally mentioned literally any fighting game other than street fighter 2 for juggling. SF2 didn’t originally have juggling and it has a very limited implementation of juggling in its later editions. Also the entire fighting game renaissance had come and gone by the time DMC1 was out. You literally had GGXX and 3rd Strike by then. This is a nitpick though.
The remark that juggling is similar to grappling in beat em ups is kind of off point. It makes sense from an abstract perspective, but you could actually juggle in those beat em ups. It existed in Alien Versus Predator and Final Fight 3, to list 2 of the best known examples.
I wish he made a more detailed remark on how the style meter works here rather than just stating that you get a second of leniency.
I wish when he skipped the marionettes he made a remark comparing this to 2d action games, such as zelda and ninja gaiden. In 2d beat em ups it’s also easy to skip enemies, which is why they lock you on one screen to fight them, same as locking you in a room in DMC. I don’t think this is just a 3d space issue as he makes it out to be (because otherwise 2d beat em ups wouldn’t do the same thing), I think it’s because of the lack of contact damage and the use of individual attacks that are timed out to be fair to avoid or interrupt, making them trivial to run past before they can get started, where in a lot of 2d games there are ranged attacks they can use instantly or close to instantly at a distance where you can see the projectile coming and avoid that.
Fair remarks on the changes for the higher difficulties.
I’m guessing the gun switching is done through the menu because they didn’t think that people would want to switch guns instantly, and because there’s a lot more guns than melee weapons. We don’t know how this was done or why it was done. I don’t think it makes sense to guess at it. Just remark that it’s cumbersome. He says that originally they could only get 1 weapon working at a time, so maybe they encountered issues here, but my policy is to generally not accept technology compromises. If technological constraints made the game worse, then they made the game worse. It’s an excuse for the developers more than the game itself. They might have done the best they could, but a good game in the vision they imagined might have not been within their skills or the technological constraints of the time.
Also I think he read the book in this section by accident and tried to make a joke about it since he was stuck with the footage and didn’t want to redo the level.
The remark on the timer for the underwater skulls makes sense, but having health decrease also means that you have a drive to kill the enemies to earn back health/time, and that them attacking you is factored into the health/time you have remaining, keeping it one contiguous system rather than 2 independent ones.
Generally fair remark on health and devil trigger, especially that the necessity of devil trigger adds an extra element to make the boss fights more strategic. I think his guessing at what the intended level of health is is reaching, but it is fair to mention that it was balanced very deliberately across difficulties, in contrast to other games.
Fair remark on the scripted sequence with phantom and how you can fight him. Cool to show it off.
Nice jumping on the death scissors. Reasonable remarks on their placement. Sensible remarks on the audio cues and the fairness of the enemy.
The followup on audio cues being faster to react to is factual. I have a bit more information on it personally, like how visual processing is parallel, and audio processing is serial, and the average rate of difference, but whatever. Can’t think of any other older examples to contradict his claim that it’s impressive they thought of audio cues this far back, except that fighting games have used this for a long time, like differentiating zangief’s P and K lariats and Q’s dash punches.
I wish he described his tactics versus Nero Angelo a bit better here rather than just talking about the taunting mechanic. Also described the patterns Vergil throws at you here. He’s clearly doing something odd by going behind him after each hit to finish the combo, but he doesn’t talk about it.
Fair remark on keeping the player busy with the taunt button to fill in the gaps.
Muh ludonarrative dissonance. Muh reward. Muh eventual satisfaction.
At this point fighting the shadows, it occurs to me that it would be nice if he described the patterns of enemies a bit better than he does. He kind of glosses over all of them instead of really getting into their design. Fair remarks on the lacking audio cues. “you end up constantly dodging these massive attacks, which is very satisfying” C’mon, you can do better than that.
Don’t care about the backstory on Shadows, I’d say it’s really lame that they’re only vulnerable to guns initially since guns aren’t very interesting to fight with by themselves. I don’t think the backstory matters this much and if it’s a gameplay contrivance, they could have made the shadows more sensitive to gunfire at certain times or from certain angles to stress skill in another way.
The Plasma strategy is interesting. I don’t think the remark on how economical they were to produce really has a place in this review, especially given they have a unique model, and a unique effect. I think the speculation on bat form is reaching.
Nice that he mentioned pause combos. I’d say he could have been more explicit on how the controls feel right. Specifically, pause combos feel good because you are hitting a tight timing window at a point where there’s a natural feeling of recoil from the move’s animation as it recovers, which translates into the idea he mentions that we’re “building up power as well,” but worded a bit less awkwardly. Hitting tight timing windows with clearly distinguishable visual/auditory feedback is something that intrinsically feels good, like how PM made L cancels feel better by having the white flash, providing more clear visual feedback. Nero in DMC4 would later take this principle to an extreme with his pause combos that could be extended far past their normal length if you keep hitting the attack button at the end of each slash in a faster and faster tempo. The yuganon fight in Zelda ALBW similarly shows off a raise in tempo in one of the magic orb volleys, and it actually will force your sword to miss if you mash off tempo.
Funny, I’d think that timing for the last attack off a pause combo would be hardest, but it really depends on how big the windows are for each possible attack. I’d also add onto his remark that the last hit of a combo doing the most damage is not just a reward, but something that creates risk as well, because you’re stuck in the combo for all that time, and might get interrupted if you stick all the way to the end. Small enemies appear in groups so you cannot attack without another enemy potentially threatening you, and bosses have super armor so they can attack indiscriminately of you hitting them, so you’re always weighing risk and reward.
I also appreciate the remark that the attack button can do so many things by itself. That’s one of the things I like about Devil May Cry versus other beat em up games, it gets a lot of mileage out of individual buttons instead of relying on multiple buttons.
His tactic versus phantom is nice and well explained. His remarks afterwards about satisfaction, and fighting smarter, not harder, are all fluff.
I don’t really care that the crazy key item pickups make more sense in dante’s world than resident evil’s. I think it would make more sense to remark here on their affect on the game’s progression rather than their believability. Not to mention comment on the way the whole world is designed to steadily gate progression this way as opposed to other ways they could have done it. It might be thematically satisfying, but they could have cut down on backtracking and avoided people wandering off into useless areas with other solutions, for whatever reason it’s possible to walk from whatever area of the game you’re on back to the beginning in every DMC game, even though there’s nothing to do there. If you don’t know the way forward, then this can seriously waste your time. I know from doing that by accident in DMC3, and finding a hidden battle at the start of the game, which just confused me even more.
Remarking on the combo staying alive while charging is a decent touch. I don’t think combo scoring systems matter as much in other games as in DMC, and I don’t think they matter much in DMC to begin with. Ifrit attacks being held indefinitely to extend combos forever probably wouldn’t break anything, I don’t think it’s a serious abuse considering you’re motionless during them.
I think remarking on all the polish effects for E&I is a little extraneous, but not completely so. Feedback is important, it can help guide expectations about function and verify that input is registered and having an effect. I think the 2 room comparison is dumb considering one version has more than the other with no tradeoff between them.
I don’t think E&I are actually hitscan, even normally. I’ve taken pictures of the hitboxes for them in DMC4 and they’re definitely hitboxes there, just very quickly moving ones. That MM notices there’s a delay across larger distance lends credance to the idea that they’re not hitscan. It’s nice that he sums up the downside of devil trigger bullets and how they introduce some element of strategy into shooting. I’d like it if he mentioned angles of movement a little to be just slightly more explicit here, like it’s harder to catch Griffin when he moves across, but easier when he moves towards you or stands still.
It’s reasonable to say that having more tension after killing a boss is something that can be exploited. Not much to say about this.
I don’t think the last hit is a tension thing so much as a fairness thing. Bayonetta does this too. I think DMC3 and 4 don’t do it, but I’m not sure offhand. There’s something to be said for having this and not, like it wouldn’t really fit in Dark Souls if you ask me.
I don’t think the remarks on possible influences here is very interesting. I sympathize with thinking that games can be a valuable source of inspiration as opposed to books, but I think this line of commentary is pointless.
I think the remark here on how because enemies can only be 1 per room (or only happen to be 1 type per room) and therefore were designed with both close and far ranging attacks is a great observation, probably the most valuable thing I take away from this video as a whole.
The remark on standing still being fitting for dante is silly.
The explanation of how the devil trigger contextually links encounters is a reasonable observation. I’d have gone into slightly more detail for how it affects the game though.
Commenting on the music of nero angelo is outside my scope.
Makes sense to comment on how the game guides the player through the levels. Especially good observation is the red orb placed in water.
I don’t think the remarks on first person allowing them to avoid animating dante in water are relevant. I wish he commented on the swimming itself instead.
His explanation of smears kind of muddles what smears are versus squash and stretch. A Smear is meant to emulate the way an object in motion blurs as it moves by avoiding changing the proportions and retaining the same overall volume of the object or limb as in traditional squash and stretch, but rather dragging speedlines or an extended version of the object behind the object’s current position. It’s not really possible to do these in 3d games using skeleton animation, you’d need to deform the mesh of the object, which isn’t easily possible. It hasn’t been possible to use smears in 3d animated films until recently (I remember one of the first examples was in Kung Fu Panda) And in games at best they can resize individual bones, as used in smash bros occasionally, or they need to make completely new models to smear properly (see guilty gear Xrd, the first game to really do this type of thing correctly.) In the end though what he was referring to are the fire and electrical effects on ifrit and alastor, which do technically fulfill a similar role to smears, so I’m just confused as to why he’d suggest other 3d games have them. You can see some smears on this blog or in this classic cartoon.
Yup, Dante’s coat is a secondary action.
I think meteors you knock back are kind of uninteresting, considering how often it’s been done and it’s nothing but a timing challenge It’s alright though. I like that the plasmas have friendly fire though. The shadow observation is great too. It’s cool that he mentioned how there are so many ways to use moves back on enemies.
He’s definitely overthinking his commentary on the freebie mission.
Decent reasoning for why they split up the missions, so the backtrack is more obvious.
Slash canceling probably works based on IASA frames (Interruptable As Soon As). Typically followthrough animations (where the sword is sheathed for example) are cancelable by any action including movement in most action games, because having followthrough animations makes the action feel complete when they actually play, but allowing it to be interrupted prevents that awkward feeling when the animation hasn’t totally completed but you’re still not allowed to move. Most action games make use of this to some degree. Oddly fighting games don’t for the most part, except for Smash Bros, which is where the name comes from. In most games there is a separate cancel window for followup moves that comes before the IASA frames, so leading into the next hit of the combo is faster than ending it. This can be seen with every character’s jab combos in smash, and marth’s side B. It’s understandable that this principle wasn’t developed or popularized by the time DMC1 came out.
I totally disagree with MM’s statement that he prefers when glitches are “recognized and canonized as proper gameplay mechanics.” I especially hate the statement that some gameplay mechanics are “proper” while others aren’t, ignoring all the processes in the code that make these things work. Mechanics aren’t something specifically designated as such, they’re the emergent result of whatever tools were used to build the game, be it code or plastic. What’s there is there.
However in single player games specifically, the ontology is a little weird. Playing a singleplayer game is a contract between yourself and the game to use the game software in the way that you see fit to play. To that end, you can deliberately decide to play a certain way, and it’s as legitimate as anyone else’s. Theoretically there could be a tool that completely breaks the game and trivializes the challenge, and you could agree for the sake of your own experience to abstain from using that tool. For example, the Death ring used with the light and dark glyph fusion in Order of Ecclesia. The thing is, this is an arbitrary imposition on the game, as much as choosing to not use a glitch. I don’t think it’s fair to attempt to separate this based on presumed intention or non-intention. I think if you’re going to make an arbitrary ruleset for yourself, you should base it on what you know about the game and the elements you’re setting as off limits. For example, I recommend anyone playing dark messiah bind kick to the opposite end of the keyboard, so the option is there but not incredibly easy to access.
Of course, this attitude that only some functions of the game can be “recognized and canonized as proper gameplay mechanics” is an actively dangerous attitude to take about competitive games. Competitive games are subject to higher standards than single player games, because it’s not a contract subject to the interpretation of an individual, it’s a joint contract between people to compete. To this end, the developers, or the game itself, are to be held at least somewhat liable for anything that is possible in the game, because in a fair competitive environment there is absolutely no restriction on what you’re allowed to do, especially online. If something is in the game, you should use it to pursue victory no matter what it is. The idea that only some of the mechanics are “proper” leads to scrubby behavior, to legitimizing those who would move to ban or patch out glitch elements that define or enrich multiplayer games. There should be no assumption by developers that there will be a central organizing committee of players that can empirically judge the effect of a mechanic over a long period of time to determine whether it should be banned, they should take all appropriate measures to prevent glitches which would lead to tactical degeneracy, because those are always canon in a multiplayer context. This is part of why I fear MM ever reviewing competitive multiplayer games in depth, especially ones like smash, street fighter, or quake. Even CS:GO might be liable.
The point about the boulders is reasonable. Random spawn boulders that fall too fast to react to are kinda sucky. I can imagine that killing a few attempts at this chapter damage-less. I think his statement that unfairness is more tolerable in less challenging games makes sense in a general light, but he could be more specific here as to what type of challenge, because obviously there’s different components of challenge, different levels of punishment for a mistake. Something being unfairly challenging, but only giving you a slap on the wrist is tolerable.
Most games already use windups of 20 frames or so (333ms) for attacks at the minimum, to account not just for input lag and display lag, but also people just having bad/inconsistent reaction times, and most critically because the reaction time test is for a single stimuli with a prepared response. Almost no fighting game has an overhead with a startup of 13 frames (Hi GGXX Sol), because in the middle of battle there’s so many things to look out for that reaction time increases.
Uh, no. If the framerate drops lower it will not reduce the amount of time the player has to react, it will either not affect it, or increase it. All 3d games past the N64 (and a few on the N64) are programmed using Delta Time, a variable that records how long the transition is between one frame and the next, to scale how much things are supposed to move for a given frame, so if the framerate drops in realtime, game time is unaffected. In the older style of game before delta time, if the framerate drops, in-game time will literally become slower, making it easier to react. It’s harder to act during lower framerates because the delay between action and reaction increases, especially for very fine levels of interaction, like carefully positioning a character in a certain spot, or aiming a mouse.
I really wish he used frames here instead of milliseconds. It’s a 60fps game, frames are the standard unit of time measurement for games. If he really wanted to he could even explain the conversion rate. 16.666 milliseonds per frame. 300 milliseconds is about 18 frames
His standard of fairness here is kinda narrow, there’s more to fairness than just startup times of windups. Also he says that blades, “don’t telegraph their attacks well” when he should say that’s the fault of the animation. The enemy’s animation for attacking is not visually distinct.
Then he mixes fairness with good gameplay, seemingly addressing an unspoken statement that fair gameplay is de facto good. This is a weird muddling of two topics, depth and fairness, that don’t have any overlap from a design standpoint. His example is that if there was an enemy that could only be beaten with guns, then it would be fair, but it wouldn’t necessarily make for good gameplay. It’s just the strangest conflation of fairness and good gameplay I’ve ever seen.
The near instant grab doesn’t break the 300 millisecond rule, because the player needs to be close to the marionette before it can use the grab. It will technically be unfair the very first time it happens, before the player knows it exists, since there’s no possible way to avoid it the first time you encounter it, but every time after that it’s fair because you know if you’re close you’ll get grabbed, and you can see yourself getting closer to the marionette outside the 300ms window. I don’t think he considered that the key is having a tell of ANY KIND outside 300ms. Like flashing yellow, then a second later, sucker punching you. Or sucker punching you on regular intervals of 15 seconds.
Dude, you could have just spliced the footage after griffin. The cutscene would make the splice unnoticeable. Also commenting on how you practiced this is not exactly cool.
Shrug, the jump commentary makes sense. So does mentioning that green orbs add exra red orbs if you’re at full health. I like how God Hand does the same thing with fruit.
I don’t really care about the “whoa, below absolute zero!” thing.
Yeah, I’ve written about rewards and so on before. Sensible rant. Not a fan of the unlocking moves as a soft tutorial approach personally, but I don’t see a better alternative. I think in games like this you should be able to do everything from the start if you really want to, but I also know that I was overwhelmed my first time playing on a friend’s finished save file. Actually, one mistake I think DMC makes (among other games) is spacing out the upgrades further and further as you spend more red orbs. If the upgrades are to serve as a soft tutorial, then it would make more sense to space upgrades evenly, or to have them get spaced closer together as you get more advanced at the game and can understand what new upgrades do for you more easily.
Fair description of the nightmare strategy. Funny that he remarks that something might be just a bug, like bugs are totally uncaused. Good notes on the cores.
I wish he explained how jump canceling worked a little better. Also what? He says that jump canceling is almost certainly not intentional. “It only works because a few different mechanics happen to collide with each other” Are you serious? This is like saying that L canceling is almost certainly not intentional. They made a specific animation that jumps off of enemies, they allowed this animation to interrupt the shotgun blast, they made this animation RESTORE YOUR AIR HIKE. They then had this mechanic return in every single sequel, and Kamiya brought it into Bayonetta as well! You might as well argue that dodge offset is unintentional. You can’t really know this stuff.
Yeah, having an enemy attack you just after a transition is some bullshit. I didn’t like it in Bayonetta either.
Fair remark on the T-Rex meteor reflection teaching you about the phantom meteors.
Taunting vergil first or taunting him back “feeding into the story” is silly.
Pointing out that the jump has iframes so it can complement the trickier roll input is a good observation.
Predicting a creature is easier than predicting a floating sword because creatures have a lot more limbs, they can be more expressive and explicit in how they wind up.
Honestly activating and deactivating devil trigger every time you attack would probably be quibbling over so small a resource drain that it’s crazy to bother. Having a definite cost associated with deactivating devil trigger means that you need to get mileage out of it every time you use it and incentivizes draining it to the bottom or recognizing when you won’t be able to get further hits in and cutting your losses. Also later games in the series have DT distortion, activating DT right when you hit boosts damage by a lot, so literally the thing he talked about being bad happened and to greater effect.
I don’t really buy his emotion in game design talk. I don’t buy most emotional theories regarding game design. I think that’s something outside the purview of analysis most of the time.
Oh man, a technical framerate talk. Eh, good enough.
As for the widescreen thing, I don’t think it affects 3d games much. It affects fighting games or other 2d games a lot more, especially those that use the borders of the screen to some effect. Guilty Gear Xrd actually made all the characters wider to compensate.
No, emulation is a perfectly viable alternative. It’s arguably the best alternative, assuming you can emulate accurately. The argument in the GDC talk below is that ports are not the original game, they contain their own quirks, and emulation, barring faults of the emulator, is literally the original game. If the emulation technology is smoothed out, then there’s generally no problem. First party companies, or those with a good relationship with the console manufacturer can usually get good emulators for ports of their games. We saw that happen on the PS4 recently with PS2 titles such as Dark Cloud. Emulators are the only road to flawless preservation. Source ports have as many issues as the originals. Matthew Matosis probably doesn’t know this, but the grapple move on Kalina Ann in the DMC3 port on the HD rerelease he’s playing for this video literally doesn’t work.
Oh god, please not another statement of this, “If it’s always the best option, it should just be automatic instead of manual, the controls shouldn’t be needlessly complex, decisionmaking is what’s most important” argument. I’m tired of hearing this. It’s totally amateur as I’ve been saying for literally years now. Decisions are important. Not everything needs to be a decision. Please never review DMC4’s ACT or MGR’s Blade Mode Canceling, or Smash Bros or any other fighting game for that matter. Please also never review an FPS, since literally aiming accurately at a single target would fall under “needlessly complex controls that lack decisionmaking” If you have a problem with dodge canceling by itself, criticize that. Writing off this entire category of possibilities is bad form, since there are valid implementations and it leads to thinking execution skill is bad in general.
Ninja Gaiden had an online leaderboard, or at least NG2 did.
I don’t think online leaderboards generally turn out the way MM describes. Didn’t Devil Daggers base itself on a leaderboard recently? Also don’t a lot of games with online leaderboards have regional leaderboards or ones among friends so you can get a smaller pool of generally worse people to compete with?
That and does DMC really seem to you like a scoring game? Especially given those points are then spent on items and upgrades? It seems pretty superfluous to me across the franchise.
I’d make my usual argument about linear versus branched stories but I don’t really want to hash that out again. Story choices are shallow.
Yeah, non-deterministic dodging sucks. Especially when there’s really no way to counter it, it just happens. It’s like the enemy just randomly has a lot more health or something. There’s a random chance of enemies blocking in Curse of Issyos and sometimes you need to hit enemies like ten times before they actually die.
Wish he out and out said that if there’s only one enemy, you can stunlock them rather easily, and with two enemies you gotta watch out for at least one.
That’s the simplest argument against Length versus Price? That Price changes over time? How about that Length is not Quality? There are short games that suck and long games that suck. Also judging games by whether they accomplish what they set out to do is a shitty shitty metric. This is exactly what I blasted him for in my original MM article. The developer intention might be garbage, and the game might be great despite that. The developer intention might be garbage, but they accomplish it perfectly, but the game is still garbage. Games shouldn’t be judged relative to intent except in perhaps the most general strokes for non-competitive games.
I don’t know why MM’s expectation would be to go to the menu given the preference for inverted versus noninverted controls wasn’t present there from the start. The commentary on the shmup fight is kinda bland, lacks detail. Doesn’t really explain why it’s good. I think the speculation that challenging people by proving themselves at more than one game type is total grasping at straws on Matt’s part. No founding. Adapting to a shallow set of mechanics for one section doesn’t necessarily make the whole playthrough more impressive. It can split development resources to program an additional segment like that which could be reinvested into the core gameplay, resulting in a more deep game rather than a more “broad” game. Here he praises this segment basically just because it adds to the “experience” in his eyes rather than because it has unique merits.
Good commentary on mundus part 2 and all the abilities he has. Also in noting the layered style of design. I think most of the commentary on remastering is mundane/out of place. It’s worth mentioning faults with the HD release, but the rest of the commentary is not only obvious, but off topic if you ask me.
It’s fair to say that mundus feels the least like a standard enemy encounter, however I wish he attributed the strengths of mundus’s fight less to the spectacle of it. I don’t think mentioning spectacle has a place in a game review.
I’d ignore the “fill your dark soul with light” cutscene personally.
I don’t care about his commentary on the use of the battle themes.
Second encounter with mundus is a way to beat him on the first try after dying to him a lot? Shrug. Whatever. More experiential review. I don’t care for it.
I think a lot of the details he harped on are extraneous personally, except for the gameplay ones of course, which are the only ones he lists here.
I think it’s rather interesting that the game randomly chooses between 2 different enemy placements. That’s not a bad idea honestly.
Shrug, ending comments are alright.
Okay, so overall, lets have a look. A lot of his remarks are just fair commentary. A few are things I didn’t know, like all enemies being designed with close and far ranging attacks because there’s a limitation of only 1 enemy type per room. A few I nitpick for the wrong terminology. I picked on him a lot for covering things that I feel were non-essential to the base game review/commentary. I wish he’d comment on things from a more practical perspective in general. He does do a bunch of practical commentary across this, and that’s pretty alright. I guess it represents a step up for him. He still has stuff to work on clearly, because I still had to make a large number of corrections, but it’s still much more gameplay commentary than his videos have previously contained and in more detail.
So not bad, 7/10 overall. (I’m a harsh grader)