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Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Brother None, Oct 22, 2009.
Hell yeah, now we're cooking. I'm actually surprised this didn't make it into the top 10.
Agreed but I'm surprised that you didn't mention the music. One thing that always leaped out at me with Diablo was it's soundtrack which put the crowning touch on building a good atmosphere. Another thing that I liked about Diablo more than Diablo 2 was going down through the cathedral into hell, it's stolen from Rouge and it doesn't necessarily offer more visual variety but it always grabbed me more (I guess this is part of atmosphere and story).
All that said, Diablo 2 is the better game as it's improvements, such as unique skill trees for different classes and the ability to run, were hugely beneficial to the gameplay but I'd agree that Diablo hits something emotionally which Diablo 2 never touched (except in Tristram where the music always sends a shiver of excitement through me).
Good list so far.
I have seen you bash the Baldur's Gate series as one of the factors that led to the demise of cRPG's but I never understood why you felt this way...
Isn't Baldur's Gate 2 up there with Fallout 2 as the one of the greatest cRPG games out there?
I don't have any problem with Diablo being in your list. I generally prefer games that aim high even if they fall a bit short of the mark, but there's a good argument for taking a simple concept and executing it more-or-less flawlessly. Unlike some games we know all too well, Diablo also never claims to be anything it's not (virtual reality realized! - the greatest cRPG ever! - a true sequel!).
I'm glad this pick is over though. It's not as interesting as the first three.
I had a friend a while back trying to get me to play the Diablo games. Never got around to it... perhaps I should check them out.
Hard to argue with Diablo. If you ask me, its main draw was the atmosphere. It did everything extremely well though. And like someone mentioned here, the music is just amazing. I actually put the Tristram theme in my Ipod and give it a listen from time to time.
I totally understand the Diablo choice. For me, the main reason to choose this one would be the graphics, which I find much more fine-grained. And probably simplicity (of locations, of character progression).
I've always felt somewhat strange, like if I was too zoomed-up, when playing the Diablo II.
Speaking of Tristram theme. This music always reminded me of it, for obvious reasons.
You should replay Diablo if you think D2 is low resolution because Diablo was worse. D2 was (if I remember right) 640x480 with the expansion adding 800x600. Diablo was always 640x480 and had a zoom feature which made it worse. I also think that Diablo may have been 8-bit color with D2 being 16, but I'm not positive. Both were behind the times graphically when they were released and it wouldn't surprise me if D2 was more so due to the number of delays.
Blizzard releases all of it's games with about a 4 years delay on graphics technology because of their ideal of not giving people with better systems preference or an advantage online.
The 800x600 D2 resolution still annoys the hell out of me.
Ah, fresh meat!
It's a mystery why Diablo was so addictive, i always thought someone at Blizzard sold their soul and/or their anal virginity to satan. Or something.
That and the random maps, most of the game's levels changed between playthroughs, so you could never remember what's around the corner... brilliant. Does anyone know of any other RPG that featured so many randomly generated locations?
Diablo 2 was way better in terms of design and gameplay, but the cheap platformer "desert level"/ "swamp level" / "snow level" thing broke the atmosphere I think.
Anyway what's really important about this post is that it proves something i've long suspected:
3 out of 3 NMA admins are Diablo fanbois.
Daggerfall is king of randomization I think.
Indeed, Diablo is not even close to Daggerfalls randomization.
Interesting how? Obscure? The fact is obscure games are usually obscure for a reason, so expect quite a few more predictable picks in the rest of my list. I don't feel like bumping up obscure games just for being obscure.
Ratty's not an admin.
No, not really.
And even given that it might be, or is in many people's opinions, that has nothing to do with its impact on the industry. I don't think Wizardry 6 is a bad game, but its introduction of mini-games into the genre is something I'm not particularly fond of.
People need to differentiate between a game's quality and impact.
Never played Diablo. thought about it....just never played it.
Well Kharn I wanted to hate you for putting a hack n' slash RPG in your list, but I can't. Fact is Diablo is so well-made at what it does it deserves to be there. In fact with its randomly chosen quests and incredible atmosphere it does bear enough RPG weight to more than justify playing it the monster slaying/item collecting aside.
You've impressed me (maybe I shouldn't feel that way since you've done it often) for picking games that really don't have to appeal to everyone and in fact are giving those people who don't like it a chance to change their minds. I might have to make one of these lists one day.
yup, what great times we had... i played that thing to shreds.
it also features the only poem i know by heart: Halls of the Blind.
Diablo definitely holds a special place. I remember getting myself out of bed at 2:30-3:00 AM before primary school started at 8AM so I could play for a few hours on battle.net with my duped Godly Plate of the Whale and King's Sword of Haste. On dial up no less.
I'm also surprised the music didn't get a mention as it was also a huge part of the atmosphere. It was ambient and isn't much to listen to on it's own, but it also didn't wear itself out and added a major creepy factor to the rest of the game. I never did like Diablo 2 much, and I couldn't tell you a thing about the music in that game.
Just recalling the Hell music is giving me chills and making me want to go back to when the game was new and mysterious.
Diablo and Daggerfall are two games that are ALWAYS on my harddrive. Two games with incredibly immersive and intimidating atmospheres.
EDIT: And there are some killer mods out for the game that add a whole new range of playstyles and extreme difficulties that continue to keep the game very playable over 10 years after its primetime.
10. Psychonauts - Double Fine Productions (Windows, 2005)
Haha, what's with this mainstream casual horseshit? I mean, yawn-o, how predictable a pick can you get? Friggin' Psychonauts? Puh-lease.
Well, I make no excuses as we finally dive into the Noughties, a decade we'll be staying in for the next few titles. I did not pick up Psychonauts until 2 or 3 years after its release. I was peripherally aware of the buzz surrounding it from the gaming media but - as with most gaming media buzz - didn't really care, instead going on personal recommendations, and I never looked back. I know I won't be making many friends by picking this one out of all the games Tim Schafer wrote for, but screw you (also I still haven't played Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle or Grim Fandango).
First, let's get the predictable negative out of the way: Psychonauts' gameplay isn't very good. It's not terrible either, but in what seems set to become a habit for Double Fine, the gameplay comes across as tepid wrapping for the game's world and writing. It is an ok platformer with some problems, noticeably in controls, and some fun stuff it does well, such as the progression of powers Raz unlocks. The game isn't particularly clever in how and when you use your powers (unlike, say, Psi-Ops), but they're still varied and useful enough. The scavenger hunting part of gameplay just isn't for me, though I realise a lot of people get quite a bit of joy from running around collecting random shit.
And one other thing. I don't really mind the general switch from ink-to-CGI made by animation studios, especially since the CGI era has come close to finding its answer to the Lion King in Finding Nemo. But I'm more than fed up with the predictability of the CGI era, the fact that the animations frameworks are eerily similar in every film. I'm especially tired of the predictable way human-skeleton CGI figures all have the same facial expressions and body language when talking. CGI films desperately needs its Don Bluth or Ralph Bakshi.
Psychonauts falls straight into that death trap, offering absolutely nothing new to the already-tepid CGI animating school. "It doesn't innovate a school of animation" is not really much of criticism of the game, but that doesn't stop it from being an annoyance, albeit a minor one.
Of course, Pixar is what comes to mind when playing this game anyway. It looks and feels like a Pixar film, only a lot more inventive and - at times - slightly darker. Its storytelling and writing is superior to the average Disney-Pixar film, and it's not often that games outpace their film counterparts like that.
So what are we about, for those of you who have yet to play this game? Well, the game's story deals with Raz, a young goggle-wearing (why the goggles? You'll find out) boy who escapes the circus to join a summer camp for prospective psychonauts. After managing to join the camp and start his psychonaut training, Raz soon uncovers a conspiracy hidden under the camp's surface, and will have to fight to save the brains of his campmates and - naturally - the world.
The game is filled with a variety of archetypes, and a noticeable dearth of inventive characters. Sasha Nein is the typical cool, calculating, rational agent, Milla Vodello his typical fun-loving counterpart, Morceau Oleander the stereotypical coach. Even the camp kids, while funny, are predictable as hell, including a tinfoil-wearing paranoid kid, a wiseguy obsessed with girls, two bullies and a Russian looking to wrestle bears. Even the love interest is there in Lili, which is somewhat disturbing since I can't figure out what species all these people are supposed to be and hence don't know if Lili and Raz are of the same species.
Archetypes are always a useful tool for writers, and generally the quality of their usage depends on how the writer uses the fact that the consumer will have certain built-in expectations of said archetype, either by building on them and deepening them out or by going in against them. Psychonauts does the former, and it does it rather well, explaining why it opts to lean so much on archetypes in the first place. A lot of the game takes place in the real world, but probably the bigger part takes place in people's minds, as Raz enters them through his little door-tool.
It's here where the game shines. The "mind worlds" are endlessly inventive, both in how much gameplay differs per world - from the combat-heavy mind of Sasha to the jumping puzzle-focused mind of Milla - and in their concept and design. Games don't often give me those "boy, that's clever"-moments in design. Planescape: Torment did it with the way death is integrated in some minor quests, Vampire - The Masquerade: Bloodlines did it with its Malkavian dialogue, the Secret of Monkey Island did it with insult fighting, and Psychonauts did it with the design of quite a few of its worlds.
Don't get me wrong, a few are flat-out misses, Milla's mind just bored me to tears, and Oleander's mind is nice enough but not the best introduction to the concept. Sasha Nein's mind is already quite good, but it's later on, as the game grows into its own, when it really had me shaking my head at the inventiveness of it all. Napoleon's mind is quite good, but its the Milkman's mind and Lynda's mind (Goggalor) that really cemented this concept and game as instant classics.
There's no denying there's quite a bit wrong with Psychonauts. In particular, many find its creativeness and humour doesn't hold its pace throughout the later parts of the game, and the difficulty spike at the later Meat Circus level turns a lot of people off. Personally, I feel like the creativity just grows a bit more subtle rather than in-your-face later on, and I quite like the difficulty spike in the final parts in an otherwise overly easy game, even if it can grow slightly frustrating. Psychonauts could no doubt have been a better game, but it would have a hard time being more inventive and charming, which is why it opens up my top 10.
i was 16, i think, when Earthworm Jim came out. god that game was brilliant.
*Sanitarium is brilliant. god i loved all those ol' PnC adventure games.
*Grim Fandango is great, but i couldn't get through it because it's limited engine/shitty controls frustrated me to no end. i'd love to see a remake of that game (using the same audio, of course).
I haven't played Psycho, Throttle or Tentacle, but Fandango is awesome.
I haven't seen Finding Nemo, but The Lion King is awesome.
What, there's a dearth of bad pretentious CGI films?