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I’m kinda on Tanaka’s side with this one. Genchu’s doing his best but his credibility here is KINDA SUSPECT! If only he had photo ID or something, I’m sure the dude’s gotta be famous enough to garner some clout!

I generally don’t much care for procedurally generated games because they get very samey very quickly. Whenever a game developer says their procedurally generated worlds will have a hundred trillion combinations and you’ll never see the same thing twice, what they’re really saying is that they have hundreds of variables mixed into thousands or millions of combinations. And, sure, at first each world may look different and unique, but soon you start seeing the same variables pop up over and over again, and once you’ve seen all those variables, seeing their infinite permutations loses its luster.

My SO picked up No Man’s Sky and it’s really got its hooks in her. I’ve seen a fair bit of the game from over her shoulder at this point, and I have to say, it looks repetitive as sin. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the progress you’re making in the game as you play is tangible and constant. I’ve seen a lot of the same variables pop up over and over again on different planets, but so far the variety of randomly generated terrain and alien wild life has managed to produce a steady stream of ‘wow’ moments. There’s a lot of time spent staring at inventory management menus selling goods and keeping your tech fully functional, which I wish was a little more streamlined, but it’s all part of the game’s measured pace. No Man’s Sky is definitely a chill experience. I’ve only played it for an hour, but it seems like a really good podcast or audiobook game.

I downloaded Another Metroid 2 Remake (AM2R), which is a fan game using gameplay from the Metroid GBA games and original, authentic looking pixel art. Thank you, Milton Guasti, for filling the giant hole in my life that was a great new Metroid game. Sure, this is a remake, but I’ve played Metroid 2, and this is far more than just a beautiful upgrade. It’s filled with tense, new boss battles, new and greatly expanded areas, fantastic level design, scripted cinematic events, beautiful art and sound design, and a killer soundtrack! On my list of great 2D Metroids, this may rank just under Super Metroid, but above Zero Mission. No kidding, people, this is a TOP TIER Metroid experience. I’m sure there are a million legal reasons why Nintendo can’t simply pay Guasti for the game, make it official, and slap it on the Nintendo e-shop, but AM2R deserves nothing less. If you’re a starved Metroid fan, you owe it to yourself to play this game! It’s nothing less than the Metroid experience we’ve all been dreaming of for years now.

(I also tried the Federation Force demo on my 3DS and it was butt. Thanks Big N!)

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  • KungFuKlobber

    That’s what the face paint is for, Tanaka: to counter the stupid hats!

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      The strategy, it’s all coming together!

  • endplanets

    “I come bearing vital news that you need to hear about right now. Nataku is bad!
    Also guns.”

    • Kid Chaos

      “Now just watch this; it’ll really blow you away!” 😎

  • leavescat

    Just wanna say, I did play the Federation Force demo at PAX East, and it seemed promising to me. It might be one of those games where you need 3 friends to really enjoy it though.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I’m hoping the single player component in the full game is more enjoyable than the dull demo. I’ll definitely wait for the reviews. I haven’t totally given up on the game! The demo did control well, but it was like a soccer game? And I was, uh, really bad at it.

      • leavescat

        The soccer thing is more of a side-event than the main game.

      • leavescat

        Oh and uh, I played Tri Force Heroes with 2 friends over the internet while talking over Skype and had a blast, and plan to do the same with Federation Force assuming it turns out OK (once I figure out who’s the 4th person). So, you don’t have to play locally to play with only friends. Also if you don’t have 3 friends with the game I’m sure you could enlist readers.

  • Xinef

    About procedurally generated games – I’d say it’s just one factor to making a game with great replayability.

    Some of the most effective ways to make a game that doesn’t get boring even after thousands of hours of gameplay:
    – multiplayer
    – variety of content (developer-generated, randomly-generated and player-generated)
    – variety of content interactions
    – mods
    – available map editors etc.

    Also, there are situations where procedurally generated content IS really useful. Imagine a game where you explore dungeons… if you know the dungeon layout and know where the traps are, or where the boss is, the experience is totally different to the one of exploring the unknown with the constant threat of springing a trap if you’re not careful, or running into the boss too early. I’ve seen (D&D based) games where rogues are the only guys capable of disabling traps, and let’s just say that procedurally generated dungeons would GREATLY improve their usefulness (and probably user experience).

    • clogboy

      What makes a game fun is FUN.
      Right from the world the story plays in, the design language of the world, the characters, the story itself (ofcourse) and the challenges and rewards offered by all the interaction hooks. This is what makes Zelda so very cool consistently. This is what makes Metal Gear Solid epic, and Elder Scrolls legendary. This is what makes gamers want to pay for a good game, for the role they play in that world, in that story, with these characters.

      • Xinef

        Sure, there are plenty of factors that make a game more fun.

        But I personally would pay more for a game that offers thousands of hours of good fun, than for a game that offers several hours of awesome fun. Sure, I wouldn’t mind buying both, but if I had to choose I’d choose the more replayable one…. unless it’s unplayably boring.

        In a way it’s an optimization problem:
        If game A offers 10 fun per hour, 20 hours of gameplay and costs 20 gold coins, while game B offers 5 fun per hour, 100 hours of gameplay and costs 40 gold coins, then:
        Game A = 200 fun / 20 gold = 10 fun / gold
        Game B = 500 fun / 40 gold = 12.5 fun / gold
        Therefore:
        http://dwarffortresswiki.org/images/4/40/FunComic.png

        • clogboy

          I get that :) Uncharted 3 and Far Cry 3 both fell under the Hardcore category for me.

  • clogboy

    Just saying, today’s comic is number 666 minus 1… :)

  • Unhooked

    “Not quite. Your terrible fashion choices aside, these hats are top of the line combat attire. Nataku’s whole army will soon have boosts to their attack and defense stats. Yes, even the horses.”

    • Xinef

      Tanaka will soon see that just wearing a hat like that can make enemies die instantly.

      • Kid Chaos

        He really needs a hat like this… 😎

        • Falling Star

          Enemy forces are Paralyzed!

  • Flaming Squirrel

    Hey Genchu, would you mind not putting Nataku in such heroic lighting during your monologue? Lets get some shadows, a little red tint, and a more broodish pose. We don’t want people getting the wrong idea about him, do we?

    Hoo boy, No Man’s Sky. I started off being incredibly hyped for this game. “18 Quintillion procedurally generated planets THAT ARE ACTUALLY PLANET SIZED?! I’ll be playing this game forever!” But then the initial excitement wore off, and reality set in. The whole idea made me think of Minecraft in Space, minus the building. And as much as I love Minecraft, I’ll be the first to tell you that it gets boring as crap after extended play. It’s procedurally generated, so in theory you can have a brand new adventure every time you boot it up, but in reality you’re doing the exact same things no matter what the world looks like, the only difference being that there’s a mountain HERE instead of THERE and the snow area is behind you instead of to your left. I’ll admit that No Man’s Sky doesn’t fall into exactly the same category, since the goal is to get off of each planet and fly to a new one, with the goal being to get to the center of the galaxy, so if the planets themselves are diverse enough in how they operate (IE, one being stone cold and you have to stay warm, vs another having a ton of predators to fight off), then the repetition might not be so bad. Then again… 18 quintillion planets. Procedurally generate all you want, there is absolutely no way in heaven or hell you’re going to be able to make 18 billion billion planets all feel entirely unique. It all depends on how long it takes you to get to your goal, I guess. I’ve said before that a good idea might be to let us choose how long we want the journey to be. A quick adventure, maybe five or ten hours? You get ten planets between you and the destination. Want a it to last as long as a normal game? You get a hundred planets. If you want a significant investment that could take you months, or even years, to get to the center? It’ll fling you out to the far reaches of the galaxy with hundreds or thousands of planets between you.

    In other words, I was cautiously optimistic about the game, but I wasn’t at all surprised by the end result. I’ll probably still get it, once I finally shell out for a PS4, but… yeah, it’s not “this huge thing that’ll change gaming forever!” like the hype made me think it would be πŸ˜›

    • KaelHyun

      They’re going to patch in the ability to “Next up we’re adding the ability to build bases and own giant space freighters” remember Minecraft when it started was NOTHING like Minecraft as it is today.

      • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

        I think in a year’s time, No Man’s Sky will be a substantially different experience. As it is now, though, it’s a nice eye candy game with a limited set of available actions that gets repetitive faster than I’d prefer.

    • Xinef

      Minecraft… for me vanilla quickly became boring. But with mods, it IS a different experience every time you play, because every time you play you can choose different mods, or focus on different mods even if you play with the same modpack. Then by the time you’re finished with one world, some new mods will appear worth checking out.

      And then someone invented the HQM mod (hardcore questing mod) and this spawned a series of HQM modpacks, each uniquely altering the game to present a unique story… well, I’d say mods turned a boring game into something infinitely replayable, as long as people keep making new stuff.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      If you don’t have a PS4 yet, what are your thoughts on the PS4.5, aka the Neo? If you don’t care about the upgraded specs, I’m sure they’ll do a price drop on the classic PS4 when Neo is released.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Are they making a new one? I don’t follow console news like I do game news so I’ve never heard of it before now lol. Depending on how far off it is, yeah I’ll probably wait for the old model to get a price drop.

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          Yeah, both Microsoft and Sony decided that the Xbox One and PS4 needed iterative versions with more powerful specs. Microsoft has already announced Project Scorpio (http://www.xbox.com/en-US/project-scorpio), and Sony hasn’t officially announced the Neo yet, but every developer and insider has said it’s happening, and there are plenty of leaks too. It’s being announced in September (http://www.techradar.com/us/news/gaming/ps4-5-release-date-news-and-rumors-all-the-latest-on-sony-s-playstation-4-upgrade-1319621).

          It’s all caused a bit of controversy, because these new consoles are not ALL NEW, they’re essentially the same as xbox and ps4 with the same OS but more powerful hardware, so games will perform better on them. At the same time, any game that’s made for these new consoles will also, supposedly, work on the current versions of the xbox one and ps4, leading some people to ask, why bother upgrading? Purely for 60fps instead of 30fps? You could buy a $500 PC that can outperform these consoles easily. Microsoft also recently said that xbox one exclusives from here onward will be available on PC as well, leading a lot of people to ask why we even need the Xbox anymore.

          But I think consoles have become (or maybe always were) all about their own ecosystem and communities. There’s a convenience and a brand loyalty to consoles, which is why I think they can get away with releasing the Scorpio and the Neo, even if there’s technically very little reason over all to purchase them. It’s like iPhones! The trendsetters and mega fans will buy them, for sure. (I will probably buy the Neo >_>).

          • Flaming Squirrel

            I prefer consoles. In fact, I hardly ever play games on my computer. For one thing, I hate keyboard and mouse controls. I don’t care if they’re more accurate, I’ve never been able to get used to them! I prefer the feeling of a controller in my hand. Besides that, I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that my computer is for work, while my consoles are for play- even though, admittedly, I use my computer for YouTube and comic reading more than I actually use it for writing πŸ˜›

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            I totally get that feeling. It’s also nice to know a console’s just going to work like it’s supposed to because it’s a homogeneous device , unlike all the 3rd party software that can muck up a PC.

          • Flaming Squirrel

            Exactly! My computer’s not that great to begin with, and I’m worried that I’ll buy a game, get it installed, and it’ll barely be able to run. At least when I use my PS3 I know everything I put in it is gonna work. That said, I do get on and play Team Fortress 2 every couple months, an I did just beat Fran Bow a couple weeks ago. So I *do* use it for gaming, just not much.

  • Falling Star

    No one is ever prepared for stupid hats.
    It doesn’t matter how you’ve trained your soldiers, if the opposing army walks onto the field with guns, fatigues, and garish floppy wide-brimmed hats:
    The entire army: “AAAUUUUUGGHHH!!!! MY EEEEYYYYYYEEEEEEEESSS!!!!!!”

  • Sunwu

    Ah yes Portuguese the most dangerous language of all

    • EBeth

      I’ll see your Portuguese and raise you Finnish! (I mean, the Finns not only conjugate verbs, but also nouns – 15+ different ways!!)

  • guildsbounty

    I just realized that no one has actually checked to see if Ricardo has any more ammo or powder. It’d be a bit well inline with the luck of most people in this comic if Genchu was like “Ricardo! Shoot a thing!” and he goes “Erm, about that…you pushed all my ammo into the river.”

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      He’s got a pouch of ammo on his belt, he’s had it since they were on the road.

  • Kata-Nah Bruh

    Reading this comic, I could have sworn that this is what Tanaka was going to say. The most dangerous weapon of the era.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Ricardo is destined to be the last samurai.

    • Xinef

      White? You mean gaijin? Other than his clothes, he’s no whiter than the Japanese.

  • SKy

    Ah, the pronoun game… Confusing people since the invention of language…

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