Post by TheGunheart on Sept 22, 2015 2:31:58 GMT -5
So, since it's Daikatana, I've decided to devote some time to actually using the title weapon.
Well, first of all it does kinda suck. It's very hard to get a feel for its actual range and enemies provide little feedback. It also seems to have like, four different attacks you have no control over with varying animation lengths.
...But getting it to level 2 just now, it's starting to feel vaguely competent. I kinda regret not spending the first mission of Episode 2 upgrading it since I'm no longer sure "power" actually affects its own attack power.
Post by TheGunheart on Sept 22, 2015 16:42:12 GMT -5
Quick rundown on Episode 1.
Marsh: Probably the worst opening level I can think of. Neon green everywhere, tiny, annoying enemies everywhere with obnoxious sound effects, and halfway through is a confusing roadblock in the form of a force field door (that kills you on contact) that looks like the way forward, but isn't. And your only weapons right now are a slow punch and a gun that malfunctions underwater (a real annoyance for the aforementioned roadblock; it's the only area of the level where the water's deep enough for this to be a threat).
Sewer: We've got a grenade launcher now, so that's a plus. Honestly this level is kinda meh overall; it just feels too long for what it is. The trash compacting robots that shoot waste at you are probably the most dangerous variant of the big robot enemies we'll be seeing for the rest of the episode. Also has a weird timed puzzle thing where it's entirely possible to miss the way forward and have to do it all over again.
Solitary: Now we get the most annoying enemy in all of episode 1, the guard. Squishy, but a tiny target armed with hitscan weapons that will utterly disintegrate you if not taken care of quickly. Worse, like most of episode 1, the arenas are pretty claustrophobic and plenty of errant geometry to hang yourself on while dodging. Also has an inexplicable jumping puzzle in a tight area that's much harder than it needs to be thanks to the weird collision detection.
Crematorium: The first level to have a couple of changes of scenery throughout. Also, the single least-dangerous variation on the big robots; slow, melee-only fighters. Unfortunately, the sheer number of guards and difficult-to-spot turrets make up for this. It also just really goes on much longer than it needs to, devolving into a string of corridors with endless numbers of guards past every door. On the plus side, there's a sweet organ rendition of At Doom's Gate that plays in the Crematorium lobby.
Processing: The first "good" level of the game. Short and sweet, with a new enemy, the Death Sphere, that's actually fun to fight; it telegraphs its attack (which is fairly easy to dodge), tries to dodge your own attacks, and isn't a total damage sponge. There are still guards in this level, unfortunately, along with rocket-shooting rats, but otherwise a pretty fun level that doesn't wear out its welcome like al the proceeding ones.
Ice Lab: Another okayish level, now introducing some guys with ice flamethrowers that are hardly worth worrying about. I...can't really seem to remember much about this level besides that.
The Vault: The final exam level of Episode 1. Not much I can really say except lots and lots of enemies in tight spaces and a really hard moving platform sequence that gets outright unfair on Shogun difficulty as it throws some Death Spheres in a location where you're least likely to have time to counter. Also has a three-stage boss fight, with only the third part being of concern as two giant psychic rats are unleashed that STILL will go down with about one punch each from your upgraded power fist.
Hm. While i understand that starting levels may look ugly to you, i think they have pretty nice structure. And secrets, there are always secrets.
My main problem is the prevalence of narrow hallways, actually. No room to really dodge and enemies with hitscan weapons lead to popping explosives through doors and hoping they don't catch on something. By contrast, Ancient Greece has been, mostly, a much better designed episode.
Also, turns out the Daikatana really does continue to sap EXP after it hits max level.
Post by TheGunheart on Sept 23, 2015 17:36:41 GMT -5
Now for an episode 2 rundown.
Daikatana: The game's namesake and arguably the best melee weapon in the game...which doesn't really mean a lot in an FPS. It starts out about on par with the Disruptor Glove and if you kill enough enemies to reach max level, it can kill just about anything in two strikes. You can also "autofire" it for faster swings, the combo getting long with each level up. Unfortunately, you can't earn EXP with it equipped, even at max level, and the fact that this is a Quake 2 Engine game means melee is already unreliable. Jedi Knight, this ain't.
Discus of Daedalus: The best weapon in the game thus far. Theoretically infinite ammo, good damage and fire rate, minor homing properties, and unlike the weapons in Episode 1, it can't kill you. It's so good I barely used anything else this episode!
Venomous: A snake staff that shoots projectiles that slide across the floor and doubles as a melee weapon. I played with it maybe once and just didn't like it. Apparently the projectiles can damage you, too. According to Snarboo it apparently is good against the hoards of tiny spiders that plague this episode since its melee attack strikes a wide area.
Sunflare: Firebombs with a weird trajectory. Used them only once and overshot the target. Didn't use it for the rest of the episode.
Hades Hammer: Tricky but useful. You charge it up, release, and it unleashes a powerful AOE attack...that can still damage you. But not to worry, since if the attack is done in midair, you won't take damage from it while still killing everything around you. I recommend charging it, releasing, then jumping, since the attack animation takes a while.
Trident: It's a rocket launcher. It takes ammo and doesn't really seem to do that much more damage than the Discus. On the plus side, you can breath underwater with it equipped.
Eye of Zeus: I only used this against Medusa and can't really say much about it. Don't bother saving your ammo, though; it can only carry five and there are six right at Medusa's boss door, and it seemed to only take three shots to kill her. It also can't miss.
Lemnos Isle: A massive step up from Episode 1 in ever respect. This stage almost feels like a proto-Painkiller with big open arenas and hoards of enemies to kill. There's a puzzle here and there that's a little obtuse, but otherwise one of the more genuinely fun maps.
Catacombs: And we're back to lots of enemies stuffed into narrow corridors with only a handful of proper arenas. Thankfully, despite the presence of a new ranged fighter, their projectiles can be dodged and they have a low attack rate.
Athens: Easily the best-looking level in the entire game thus far. Again, lots of open arenas that make combat more about dodging than popping in and out of doorways. Puzzles are light and more intuitive than previous stages.
Acropolis: Too long, Clanky! Too long! This stage is ridiculous. It has no fewer than five zones you have to babysit Mikiko through, a fetch quest puzzle, way too many enemies (most of them tiny spiders), and a miniboss with way too much HP in a cave you are bound to end up missing. Hell, you're told the "AEGIS" password might be some sort of clue, and right at the gate for the level's exit are two statues, one of which is holding a shield. They have nothing to do with clearing this final obstacle.
Lair of Medusa: Fairly straightforward gauntlet of enemies. Better than The Vault thanks to the lack of hitscan guards and a practical weapon in your possession. Marred heavily my the toxic pools you have to navigate, though; they require antidote bottles, which deplete only when your in the poisonous water, and you can't refill your antidote until your current bottle runs dry. You're also likely to find an antidote bottle first and have no idea if the green water is merely an aesthetic choice until the damn thing runs out while you're exploring. Thankfully there's not THAT much, but for some reason your armor is drained too, even if the antidote's in effect. Also, Medusa can kill you just as you're walking past the boss door.
I would mention that Discus of Daedalus and Hades Hammer were one of reasons of fun situations in deathmatch multiplayer. Too bad after GameSpy died master servers were shutdown. And while fans of game keep their own, ping is pretty high usually. Still, recommend it to try. People meet up at dm servers from time to time.
Post by TheGunheart on Sept 24, 2015 19:13:19 GMT -5
Time for the Episode 3 rundown! Wow, that was fast.
Silver Claw: Surprisingly, far more useful than that Daikatana. Doesn't eat your EXP, has a consistent attack animation, longer range than you'd expect, and will kill just about anything in two or three hits. It's also required for killing Werewolves; any other weapon will drop 'em to the floor, but you need to finish them with the Silver Claw to keep 'em from getting back up.
Bolter: A rapid-fire crossbow pistol that's just great all around. Great range, accuracy, ammo capacity and fire rate combine with its ability to kill just about anything in three shots or less make this probably the most practical weapon in the game. Good for both meaty monsters and is probably the first weapon that's truly good for dealing with those pesky "critter" type enemies, like the rats and snakes that infest this episode.
Ballista: Bolter's big brother. This pretty much shoots an entire exploding tree at enemies. Also the first "rocket launcher" that won't waste ammo, and it's centered firing position keeps it from catching on level geometry when trying to pop out of corners. It'll tear apart all of the level's mini bosses wieth ease.
Stavros' Staff: Now that we've gotten the good ones out of the way, it's time for the requisite crap guns. This one spawns a huge meteor that explodes into smaller meteors. Seeing how you get it in a level comprised of cramped corridors, this weapon does not make a good first impression. The few times I did use it, it seemed to do way less damage than the Ballista, too.
Wyndrax's Wisp: Deploys some ball lightning to zap everything in sight. Honestly the ammo was so scarce for it I never actually bothered to use it, so I can't really say much.
Nharre's Nightmare: Does this...does this do anything? It takes so long to charge up I can kill whatever I need it for with the Bolter before it actually summons anything.
Plague Village: Honestly, my favorite level of the game. A small but exploration-heavy little adventure in an abandoned town with fully modeled buildings and some nice and squishy enemies to ease you into the episode.
Passage: Almost too short to say anything about. Kinda feels like The Marsh in miniature in that the obvious way forward's a dead end and the actual solution's kinda out of the way. Not bad though, and still has much better enemies than that aforementioned hellscape.
Dungeon: Each episode has one mission that feels much longer than it needs to be, and this is it. An annoying gauntlet of narrow corridors and tiny critters with ammo and armor becoming ridiculously scarce in the final stretch. A stretch I had to run twice because a lever glitched out the first time that was vital to clearing the stage.
Wyndrax Tower: A short and easy stage to make up for the last one. Some straightforward puzzles and key hunts through a fairly well-modeled castle ending with a two-stage (but still easy) fight with a lightning wizard.
Crypt of Nharre: Another ridiculously short level. Some okay platforming and fights ending is the easiest boss fight yet. Oddly, despite being a necromancer and a cutscene devoted to your companions complaining that his castle's haunted, you're mostly fighting dudes with flame swords and lightning mages here instead of more plague zombies.
Gharroth's Throne: Some platforming over lava (with sinking platforms, no less), followed by a tower climb and one last gauntlet of enemies. Probably the best episode finale yet for being short but full of coherent setpieces. Boss is kinda a letdown though; I think he only needed five shots from the Ballista to the face.
So yeah, to be honest, this episode actually felt like a completely different game. Only the Dungeon brought make painful memories of Episode 1 for me, and it's fairly normal weapons that actually work like they're supposed to are a welcome change from all the weirdly designed nonsense of the first two episodes.
Post by TheGunheart on Sept 25, 2015 22:18:46 GMT -5
The Grand Finale! Episode 4 Rundown
Glock: Oh hey, a regular ordinary pistol! Now you too have a hitscan weapon! Unfortunately, in exchange it loses the Bolter's ammo capacity and fire rate, going so far as to have a reload animation every few shots. The enemies this episode can also take a lot of punishment even at max Power, so expect to be low on ammo a lot. It does do a fairly good job of stunlocking the later enemies, though, and at least you can't accidentally shoot yourself with it. Incidentally, I have trouble telling if headshots count because enemies seemed to have really weird hitboxes this episode, moreso than normal.
Slugger: A real shotgun! And it has continuous fire, too! Still has low ammo capacity but it'll kill just about anything in two hits. Also can be set to fire grenades by pressing the "2" key while it's equipped. They're really tricky to aim and the fuse is too long if you miss, but they have really long range and explode on impact with enemies.
Kineticore: The "Ion Blaster Mk 2". It's a ricocheting burst-fire assault rifle that does additional frost damage, meaning it's even more deadly should a stray shot hit you. It's also the episode's rocket jump weapon, though thankfully, firing it at a diagonal tends to spare you from getting hit on the rebound. It's not a terrible weapon, really, but given everything else you get this episode, it's really something you'll only use to conserve ammo for your other weapons.
Ripgun: A minigun that will probably be your main weapon for the latter half of the episode. Not as ammo efficient as I'd like given how many shots it takes to make a kill, but thankfully enemies will be dropping ammo for it. And you can't kill yourself with it, always a plus.
Novabeam: Finally, a BFG that's actually worth something. This gigantic laser will gib just about anything in a single shot, and even has mild auto aim. Not particularly ammo efficient but great for room clearing since one beam will take out anything in a straight line from you. And surprisingly, despite the sheer amount of attack power, it can't actually kill you.
Metamaser: Weird little proximity mines that shoot a laser at anything in range, including you. After a while, it'll explode like some sort of disco bomb, releasing bright shockwaves along the ground and filling the sky with laser beams. Pretty much the only weapon that works reliably against Mishima.
Alcatraz: This level has a major split personality problem. The first half is almost Painkiller-esque, with open arenas and meaty, melee-only bad guys to gib with your new shotgun. But then it turns into a fetch quest that requires navigating some extremely obscure sidepassages and jump puzzles that don't play nice with the game engine. Thankfully, you can park your sidekicks in the level's one loading zone and never worry about taking them with you anywhere.
Beneath the Rock: This level is a confusing mess. Starts as a winding path where you face off against a host of new enemies, but soon you reach a dead end and have to swim your way through a shark-infested river and into a massive cave with no indication where you're supposed to go from there. I even had to finally enable NoClip briefly because a gondola didn't work right. It's thankfully not as long as say, the Acropolis, but it's just such a mess that I can honestly say it's my pick for the worst mission this episode.
Tower of Crime: A fairly short and straight forward level that sees you fighting your way up a dilapidated office building. Some tightly packed enemy fights and an annoying quirk where you have to use the elevator doors instead of the keypad next to them, but otherwise nothing really frustrating or, frankly, exciting.
Mishima Labs: The longest mission of the episode and possibly the best. Easy to navigate, tons of enemies that actually drop ammo, and a generally good flow that previous item hunt stages lacked. Only real issue is a really obtuse "puzzle" at the end that involves using a computer that doesn't really look usable.
Mishima's Hideout: A small but confusing level that puts you on a quest to lower a series of ladders to reach the end. Problem is you have no idea where these ladders are dropping in the first place so I ran around the level for half an hour before finally finding the elevator up to the final area.
SEAL Training Center: A final gauntlet of obstacles and enemies that will make you hope you maxed out Speed and Acro. It's actually easier than one might expect, which is only fitting since the final boss, Mishima, is badly-designed pain that takes a considerably cheap strategy involving standing on top of the submarine in the boss room and tossing down Metamasers.
So, that's it for Daikatana on PC. In the near future I plan to right an episode-by-episode review, since really, each one feels like a completely different game thanks to the different arsenals and enemy types.
Post by TheGunheart on Sept 26, 2015 20:19:06 GMT -5
Final thoughts, for both the PC and GBC versions.
Honestly, I find it hard to rank Daikatana as a single game given how drastically it changes each episode. Having to babysit your companions is really the only consistency. So instead of reviewing the game as a whole, I'm going to break it down per episode.
Episode 1: When people think of Daikatana as a game, they're probably thinking specifically of this. A dull and plodding dump of exposition before dropping you into one of the most annoying levels in all of gaming, the future of Tokyo is just a mess all around. It's here we also contend with something that does persist through the whole game, annoying "critter" enemies that are hard to hit and make up way too much of each episode's enemy count, and just aren't much fun to fight. And the security guards are inexplicably armed with enough firepower to tear you to shreds in seconds. To say nothing of your arsenal: a PvP-focused array of unusual weapons designed to take advantage of Deathmatch's open and vertically oriented terrain that loses any and all tactical purpose against single-player's mindless powerhouses and cramped quarters, where they take far to much precision to avoid killing yourself to be practical. I give this a 4/10, managing to avoid a 1 purely by virtue of Processing and The Vault having some fun moments.
Episode 2: Things pick up in Ancient Greece as the enemy veriety ups significantly and you earn the Discus. Levels are now mostly comprised of larger rooms and outdoor areas that give you room to maneuver during battle, and the terrain changes quite a bit as you progress. Arsenal still feels pretty PvP-focused, though; the Discus is just too powerful against the still brain-dead enemies, making everything else feel more situational; what point is there in covering the floor in light poison damage when two or three strikes from your Discus will kill just about anything? It does suffer a bit towards the end, though; the Acropolis is a maze with too many loading zones to babysit Mikiko through and an obtuse finale. I give it a 7/10. A major improvement over Episode 1, but having one really good weapon doesn't really excuse the poor weapon balancing.
Episode 3: My personal favorite part of the game, an adventure through Medieval Norway, battling plague zombies and slaying evil wizards. Finally you have some weapons that feel like they were balanced for single-player, even if half of them are still more focused on distraction and area denial that just isn't as effective against the AI. Dungeon's on the long side, but for the most part the levels are short and highly explorable, with some surprisingly good platforming here and there. Honestly, with more polish this would've made an okay standalone. 8/10.
Episode 4: 2030 San Fran marks the end of the game, and it's kinda a mixed bag. The first two levels are confusing time wasters and the final boss is everything that could go wrong with a boss in an FPS. It does, however, have some of the most satisfying enemies in the whole game, which are much easier to manage than the guards in episode 1 despite also being armed with hitscan guns. Your arsenal this episode is probably the best balanced of the lot, even if the Glock feels like a step down from last episode's Bolter. Level design is often on the cramped side but oddly more coherent than episode 1's, particularly in the latter half. Another 7/10 for this one; the fight with Mishima and the awkward beginning bringing it down.
I do have to admit I like how the game never runs out of new stuff to put you through, for better or worse. Sadly the first hand it deals is so dreadful that it's unlikely anyone would put up with it after just ten minutes. I GUESS all in all I'd give it a 6 overall, because it's hard to overlook design choices like babysitting your party and the Daikatana's overall lack of utility, but honestly, I've played enough worse to feel it's not quite as bad as the sheer letdown from its ridiculous hype implies.
Now onto the GBC version, a two-hour "greatest hits" take that rather charmingly re-imagines an M-Rated FPS as a cutesy Japanese game, complete with Mikiko now being a long-haired pink princess. Weirdly the presentation is considerably more polished than the PC version; poor translation aside, the story is quite a bit more involved than the original. Cutscenes show events that were only told in passing, skeletons now demand passage from Charon, Medusa petrified the Goddess Athena, who in turn for freeing her powers up your sword for you instead of just finding a well of mystical energy lying around. Norway now has NPCs and the evil wizards are characters with actual dialogue. And the finale at least manages to patch up one plot hole about Mishima's time traveling exploits. And despite the cutesy graphics, it even manages to end on a darker note than the original.
But gameplay wise, it's still decidedly broken. Link's Awakening, this ain't. Your weapons have a wider swing radius when facing to the sides, and enemy knockback is difficult to control properly. Ranged weapons are now almost identical except for a small handful, and there's only a limited amount of ammo for each in the entire game. They also don't have any knockback and likely won't kill most before they get in attack range. You can jump to solve puzzles, but you can't use it to dodge. Boss fights tend to be drawn out affairs, either damage sponges you pour your weapon mindlessly into, or damage sponges that are only vulnerable for brief periods.
And for some reason, you're forced to play as Superfly and Mikiko at certain points, which wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact that their arsenals are far more limited than Hiro's, with little rhyme nor reason. Superfly in particular seems banned from every weapon except from the time periods you don't play as him, which makes them ineffectual against the latest time period's foes.
Puzzles are also on the annoying side. Like its big brother, they often have hard-to-see triggers and obtuse solutions. Some poor graphical choices and largely be blamed, like pushable boxes that don't look different from the non-pushables, or a staircase that still ends up looking like a wall.
Weirdly, it also manages to inherent the best and worst parts of the original game, with the Acropolis being an irritating maze that goes on longer than it should, while Norway manages to be the single best part, this time by being a mini-Zelda.
I've often heard the GBC version described as the "better" game, but honestly, I feel it's only because it's over before it wears out its welcome. There are a lot of boneheaded design decisions that rival the PC version's, but you don't have to put up with them as long.