Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 14, 2018

Email: Doom Eternal Switch

Greetings Master Malstrom,

Doom Eternal looks really good, and I noticed that the game was also announced for the Switch. Not only that, but Bethesda is aiming for the Switch version to launch at the same time as the other consoles. The developer said they were committed to treating the Switch as “a first class citizen”.

It’s nice that Bethesda isn’t giving us “sloppy seconds” with this Switch port.

Shit, I still need to play DOOM for Switch.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 14, 2018

Email: Your Sakamoto “translation”

Longtime reader, first time writer. I’ll jump straight to the point: You’ve lost it, Malstrom. You’ve always seemed a little delusional when it comes to Sakamoto, but that last post of yours was just straight up insane and had no basis in reality (or maybe it does, but you certainly didn’t cite any reasons for your crazy assumptions about the guy).

FACT #1: Yoshio Sakamoto has been with Nintendo since 1982. His long tenure with the company means that has more leeway than a lot of younger developers and could probably work on any series he wanted to.

FACT #2: Other M was a huge misstep for the Metroid series.

FACT #3: Sakamoto still chooses to involve himself with the series.

Somehow from these facts you get the idea that he is a megalomaniac who “hates 8-bit and 16-bit Metroid” and wants Metroid to be about “ninjas” (because he worked with Team Ninja once?). For years now you’ve painted a picture of him as a man who is obsessed with his own self-professed game godhood, constantly referring to that quote where he mentioned Samus’ “maternal instincts”, each time straying further from its context and distorting into something that it’s not clear he ever even said. We’re so far removed from that quote now–almost a decade–that I doubt you even remember what he said or why.

Still, you have this sick obsession with propping up this strawman you’ve built of Sakamoto and periodically beating the tar out of it. As someone who’s been a fan of Metroid since the original and has been part of the online fandom since the early days of the internet, I can state unequivocally that you don’t speak for everyone when you say things like:

“No one cares about this shit [referring to the lore surrounding the Chozos], but Sakamoto will keep pushing it to make it seem like the Metroid games have some sort of narrative point (they don’t).”

All you have to do is go on the Metroid Database forum, or any gaming forum that talks about Metroid, really, and you’d have to be blind not to see that these people who actually support this small, niche series with their wallets and aren’t only fans of the original game–that THEY do care about the series story! Somehow you’ve gotten into your head that the only people whose opinion counts are your fellow Malstroms, people who appreciate a good “pew pew” open world spaceshooter where they don’t have to read or feel anything.

I have a feeling you’re not going to even print this letter, so I’ll conclude by saying I am a fan of your commentary on other topics such as Zelda and Mario. But when it comes to Metroid you seem to be overflowing with the most irrational vitriol I’ve ever seen, directed at a version of Sakamoto that doesn’t seem to have any basis in the realm of fact–a Strawman Sakamoto.

Your email tells me my post was a grand hit if it provokes such a response.

Iwata once said that consumer disinterest needs to be analyzed. Why is this? They can see the sales and/or social phenomena decline, but they do not understand why. The ‘haters’ give a clue as to why.

I remember starting criticizing over Mario games and the outcry was enormous. Nintendo hadn’t made a 2d Mario in DECADES. Why? It was because Miyamoto was a moron and bet the soul of gaming on 3d. He was wrong. (The premier holiday game for Switch in 2018 is a 2d game, Smash Brothers Ultimate). The sales of the 2d Marios clearly shows Miyamoto and his teams were very wrong.

Look at Zelda games. Ever since Aonuma took over, Zelda just went to shit. We could have had many GLORIOUS and amazing Breath of the Wild type quality games had it not been Aonuma and his stupid dogma. What was the dogma? It was that Zelda had to be ‘story’ with tutorials and all that jazz. How lame. Aonuma would even put messages in the game to his son and even define a game based on what his son would do (my son playing with trains? OK. Next Zelda is about trains!). It’s just stupid. This ‘Game God’ developer is not helping Nintendo at all. Instead of looking at Nintendo IPs as just characters and settings, look at the original games that created those IPs. The IP didn’t create the gameplay phenomena, it was the gameplay phenomena that created the IP. No one would care about Megaman ‘lore’ if the games were a standard platformer where you couldn’t select stages. Why do we have to remind Nintendo that they are in the games business and not the IP business. Mario isn’t great because he is a wonderful IP, he is great because his games were great. Since Tetris is such an amazing game, we can even imagine a Tetris IP of the blocks as characters. It is how the human mind works.

Writing about Sakamoto is like shooting fish in the barrel. Sakamoto is someone whose ‘fame’ sprung almost clearly out of nowhere a couple generations ago because Nintendo marketing machine was pushing ‘Game God’. So we have this long haired Italian movie watching ‘game god’ put on us. Why? Well, the reason why is because all the other Metroid developers are dead or retired.

I judge Sakamoto based on his work. When Sakamoto is in control, everything goes to shit. You want to talk about ‘narrative continuity’? Sakamoto ruined it with Metroid Fusion. After that game, every Metroid game since has been a ‘prequel’ somewhere, somehow.

Metroid Prime developers complained about Sakamoto. One of the proposals for Metroid Prime 3 was to have Samus Aran go around doing missions for money as she was a bounty hunter (like Boba Fett). Sakamoto got on the phone and told them no, yelling, screaming, “SHE IS A HERO!!!!” Metroid Prime developers were very confused by Sakamoto’s insane reactions. In the manual and lore, Samus Aran was always a bounty hunter. The Metroid Prime developers have drifted away and left Retro. There are many reasons why they did, but remember: they would have to work with Sakamoto and get his ‘approval’ on things. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had enough of him. Hell, I’ve had enough of him, and I’m a consumer.

What about Metroid Zero Mission? I’m not impressed by it. One thing everyone agrees on is that it was a ‘remake’ of the first game. This limits Sakamoto’s agency. Yet, he put in weird shit like stealth missions. It was a complete waste of money and time as the proper remake of NES Metroid was SNES Super Metroid. I’m suspicious that Sakamoto wants to ‘remake Metroid’ into his bizarre image. The Metroid 2 remake is, again, more waste of money and time because Sakamoto had NOTHING to do with Metroid 2. If you are going to remake a game, why not bring in some of the original developers? Nope. What I see is not Nintendo ‘remaking’ classic games, what I see is Sakamoto bulldozing Metroid games that he had very little involvement and remaking them in his image. Prediction: One day, Sakamoto will ‘remake’ Metroid Prime, and he will make it in his image. The Metroid Prime remake will have all the past Sakamoto-isms of ‘maternal instincts’ and ‘hey, remember me?’ dude. This is all based off of Sakamoto’s history with the Metroid series. If he has remade two games which he had little to no involvement, why not a third? And the next Metroid game everyone wants a remake of is Metroid Prime.

Then, of course, there is the Metroid: Other M game which was soooo bad, not even the Sakamoto acolytes can defend that steaming piece of trash. But we all know that game was bad, let’s move on.

Samus Returns on the 3DS is … another remake. Because it is a remake, this is Sakamoto contained. He can’t be all wild like in Fusion or Other M. But did anyone ask for ‘melee attacks’? I don’t see anyone talk about this game after its first month. I certainly don’t see anything in the sales after that first month either.

Let me put the Sakamoto stuff another way…

Look at Metroid as its genre

Once upon a time, there was this game called Metroid. It was very difficult, very obtuse, and high challenge gamers loved it. It may or may not have been the first game of its kind, but it was popular enough to label a new genre of video games (like Mario games or Zelda games). Metroid, by and large, defines that genre.

Metroid 2 comes out on the Gameboy. While it is backwards of the original game, Metroid 2 is incredible for putting that Metroid experience on the Gameboy which is extremely primitive hardware even in the late 1980s.

So now we get Super Metroid. Did Super Metroid advance the Metroid genre? Many people would argue that it did. Super Metroid remains the most accessible Metroid game. OK.

Now we go to the N64 era. Where is Metroid? ”

Sakamoto whines that ‘I couldn’t imagine how it could be used to move Samus around’.

Luckily, someone DID know how to make Metroid for the N64 era:

Image result for castlevania symphony of the night box

Sakamoto’s failure of non-action and non-imagination (“I cannot imagine how to make a Metroid game! Deeerpp. Derp.) allowed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night come around and literally rename the genre to ‘Metroidvania’.

Why did Castlevania move the genre forward while Sakamoto didn’t? Castlevania stayed with 2d (which Sony didn’t like). There was NO REASON why a ‘better’ 2d Metroid couldn’t be made for the N64.

What I like during the Gamecube era was that Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion were launched simultaneously. Surely, everyone would acknowledge the genius of Sakamoto and go with his version of Metroid, yes? No. Metroid Prime remains the best selling Metroid by far. Nintendo buys Retro. Retro makes several more Metroid Prime games. Meanwhile, our game god of Sakamoto is stuck with ‘fan criticism’ over Fusion’s ‘weirdness’ and ‘too much damn dialogue’. When Sakamoto actually has to compete, he fails.

What about the DS? When DS came out, everyone said it was the PERFECT PLATFORM for Metroid. We got Metroid Pinball and Metroid Prime Hunters. What about 2d Metroid? The rumors of Metroid Dread were big (but the game was dropped for whatever reason).

But we DID have 2d Metroid type games on the DS. Castlevania did it! We had three Castlevania ‘metroidvania’ games (and some on the GBA too). They still sell at a premium today because people want to play them.

Why Nintendo allowed Metroid: Other M, I have no idea. Apparently, Sakamoto got it in his head that the only reason why Metroid Prime sold was because it was 3d while his games were 2d. Sakamoto does not just make a 3d Metroid, he makes it in such a way to be DIFFERENT from Metroid Prime intentionally because ‘he is a genius’. Despite Wii’s huge install base, the game was a disaster. Apparently, that disaster has Nintendo grounded Sakamoto to just 2d Metroids.

So here’s my beef: I see many games advancing the ‘Metroid’ genre that are selling like hotcakes today (such as Hollow Knight). Castlevania has entered demise due to Konami, but indies love making Metroid type games. Clearly, there is a huge market audience for them. Yet, Sakamoto has no idea how to capitalize on this. If anything, modern Metroid should THE TOP Metroid genre game.

Breath of the Wild shows the error. Nintendo thought Zelda was popular because of the IP, because of Link, Zelda, and Hyrule, and shit. So they would put this IP into different types of gameplay. Yet, Zelda sales kept getting more tepid. Then Breath of the Wild hits and BOOM, twenty million. BOOM, it even sells uncontinued Wii U systems.

What did Breath of the Wild do? It went back to the original game and focused on that gameplay to bring to the modern day. They even CHANGED the IP such as Link wearing blue and not having that stupid hat.

When I say, “No one cares about he Chozu… etc.”, I mean people want Metroid GAME, not Metroid IP. Metroid was a game before it was an IP. No one cares about Samus Aran’s feelings. No one cares about the lore of Mother Brain. This is not why we buy the game. We buy the game because of the game.

Sakamoto is interested in the Metroid IP, wants to expand it, but he has zero interest in the game. Fusion was criticized for being linear (i.e. not Metroid game). Other M, the same. The remakes are confusing to people about Sakamoto’s intentions because he cannot remake the original game to be something completely different.

In game developer terms, Sakamoto is a parasite. He can only claim competency when he remakes a Metroid game. Yet, he is standing on someone else’s shoulders when he remakes someone else’s video game. When you look at Sakamoto’s original Metroids, they are all disasters. They are not just disasters of gameplay, they are disasters of IP. This Sakamoto guy clearly doesn’t know what he is doing. He has no business being involved with anything Metroid at this point.

Speaking of ‘I’m a Creative God’ syndrome, look what happened to Ridley Scott. Yes, this is very relevant since Metroid is largely inspired from Alien. Ridley Scott said he didn’t like the public being fascinated with the xenomorph and wanted to put focus on the space jockey. So he makes Prometheus which wasn’t that great, but people could tolerate it. But with Alien Covenant, not even fans could tolerate that. As such, Fox or whatever company yanked Ridley Scott from the stage.

I just want to know why Sakamoto gets passes that not even the great Ridley Scott doesn’t get. The only contributions Sakamoto has made to Metroid IP is that of disaster (Fusion, Other M, etc.). As far as Metroid gameplay, Sakamoto avoids it every chance he gets: linearity in Fusion, stealth gameplay in Zero Mission, and who-the-hell-knows in Other M. Sakamoto is not a fan of Metroid gameplay. To him, the gameplay is an obstacle to his ‘narrative genius’. You will never get a great Metroid from Sakamoto.  The best you will ever get is when he remakes someone else’s game.

Nintendo, get Sakamoto off Metroid before it is too late. Give 2d Metroid to someone else, and you will see big selling results.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 13, 2018

Malstrom translates Crazy Sakamoto

Image result for sakamoto metroid

“Hello! I am Sakamoto! Here is a link to my fabulous interview!”

Image result for most interesting man in the world

Hello. I am The Malstrom. I will be translating Sakamoto from PR speak to Real Gamer Speak.

– Sakamoto says the biggest challenge was overcoming the reputation of previous entries in the series and fans’ memories of them

“Fucking fans think they know Metroid. They don’t! Only I know Metroid. Metroid is MY definition. Fuck what you think the game should be. Your ‘memories’ are obstacles I have combat. And fuck that guy, Malstrom!”

– This was also the first new 2D Metroid on 3DS

“I didn’t make the Crappy Metroid this time around. That is Federation Force, not Samus Returns!”

– There were also the regular difficulties one encounters during game development

“There were regular difficulties that occurred during game development which surprised me…. because I am a genius. Geniuses do not have ‘regular difficulties’. Someone must be plotting against me!!!”

– Sakamoto says Metroid has evolved in all areas, be it gameplay, graphics, etc.

Metroid is changing to something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than what you think it should be. This is because Metroid has changed before, therefore all future changes are legitimate because I am a genius.

– Sakamoto thanks the fans for allowing Metroid to evolve

Thank you fans for not allowing the 3DS Metroid to bomb. Clearly, this means you want ‘Metroid to evolve’. Hahaha! I am a genius! Watch me do whatever I want now!!!!

– On whether he looked at the Prime series when developing the Metroid 2 remake: “Absolutely.”

“We had to save money on the budget.”

– Samus Returns reuses sounds from Metroid Prime and songs from Super Metroid; Sakamoto feels there are certain sounds that fit well with certain things, so it was inevitable that the same sounds and melodies were used; they weren’t just reused for the sake of it

“I’m completely bullshitting you guys. Nintendo commonly re-uses assets to save money. Hahaha. You guys are so STUPID you will believe my spiel.”

– There was never a Metroid on DS due to its tech specs, so it sounds like Sakamoto felt the system wouldn’t be able to realize his vision

“DS wouldn’t allow my ‘vision’ of Metroid. Yet, somehow, GBA, Super Nintendo, NES, and even the freaking Gameboy had Metroids that were well received. But the DS? Oh ho ho. DS was ‘too weak’.

“The real reason was that my DS Metroid would have to compete against Metroid Prime Hunters and would lose because I suck at Metroid. Even Metroid Prime Pinball (which is really fun) would beat out my visionary DS Metroid because I don’t know Metroid.”

– It took awhile for a Metroid to appear on 3DS due to various circumstances like not being able to have the right team

“The right team is needed. Remember, the only developer that matters is myself. The team complements ME, blessed me, and amplifies MY GLORIOUS VISION.”

– Samus Returns was on 3DS instead of Switch to take advantage of stereoscopic 3D and dual screens

Malstrom snorks and bursts out laughing.

This is insane. Samus Returns was put on 3DS because it was cheaper to do so, and the 3DS had a larger install base. You think we’ll ever launch another Metroid on a small install base like the Switch at the time? There will never be a launch Metroid for that reason!

– Sakamoto has long been interested in a user interface in which a map can always be displayed and using the touch screen

Sakamoto is interested in things we were interested in fifteen years ago (such as when the DS launched). Sakamoto is trying hard to catch up with the times He is still a few generations back.

– Sakamoto says Switch is an attractive piece of hardware, and there various possibilities

Sakamoto praises his company’s console. News at eleven.

– He can’t say anything about developing a new Metroid for Switch, but he’s always aware about potential options

Sakamoto says nothing.

– Regarding breaking the conventions of Metroid like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Sakamoto is always trying to find new ways of approaching games no matter the title he’s working on

Zelda broke conventions because conventional Zelda sucked. Aonuma Zelda sucked. Breath of the Wild was a spiritual successor to the open world of NES Zelda.

Sakamoto hates 8-bit and 16-bit Metroid. He wants 3d and ninjas. He wants Samus Aran to turn into a Ninja Gaiden… with some soap operas.

– Sakamoto wanted to remake Metroid 2 since it tells an important part of the series, and he wanted more fans to be aware of the story since it’s been roughly 20 years since the original release

Metroid 2 was the only classic Metroid that Sakamoto had nothing to do with it. Sakamoto remade this game because he wants to define everything with Metroid like a tyrant. “I’m a genius!” When will this guy retire?

– MercurySteam gave a proposal, and thought it was interesting to work with them on the remake

MercurySteam likes easy money.

– There weren’t difficulties with MercurySteam being in Spain since the two sides talked regularly and progress continued 24 hours a day as one side could work while the other slept

If Donkey Kong Country could be developed around the world back in the 1990s, games can be developed this way today. Nonstory.

– Samus doesn’t speak in Samus Returns because she didn’t need to

Sakamoto got his ass handed to him with how terrible Metroid: Other M was so he tried to avoid a repeat.

– On Samus’ role, Sakamoto says it changes depending on the concept and theme of the game

“Fuck you! Only I say what Samus’s role is. You…. gamers… don’t have ANY SAY! I don’t care if you are the customers and paying the money. IT IS MY VISION! MY VISION! MY VISION!”

– The same also goes for the approach to narrative style

“Fuck you! Metroid is mine to do with how I please!”

– The images you can unlock in Samus, featuring the Chozo and the final scene, seem to imply something about the tribe; Sakamoto only says that it does indeed imply something, but wants fans to try and figure out what’s meant by it

No one cares about this shit, but Sakamoto will keep pushing it to make it seem like the Metroid games have some sort of narrative point (they don’t).

– MercurySteam had the idea to make Ridley the final boss of Samus Returns

“It was their fault!”

– Sakamoto thought this would surprise the fans and they would enjoy it, so he approved the idea

“I love shitting on classics.”

– Sakamoto says the 2D Metroids he’s working on and the Prime games are different series and there is no direct link between their stories

“I totally botched Other M that Nintendo won’t let me try 3d Metroid again! Wah!”

– When the Prime series started, he agreed with its producers that they should try to preserve the timelines and a minimum level of consistency, but also to be free to create the games that they considered appropriate and avoid doing anything that would severely impact the other

“And this is why I made Metroid Fusion where Samus TOTALLY CHANGES due to the X virus and has a new biological suit! I JUST LIE TO THE GAMERS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUPID SHITS. WHO CARES ABOUT METROID FANS. I AM A FAN OF SAKAMOTO. HE IS THE GENIUS. FANS NEED TO GO AWAY… but buy the games anyway.”

– Sakamoto is most proud of Samus Returns for having launched a new 2D Metroid that was well-received and working with a great team

“It didn’t bomb! I’m so happy!”

And there you go, ladies and gentlemen. Translating Sakamoto is easier than you think!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 12, 2018

Even more Octopath progress

I got the Runeblade job. This puts me with three of the four ‘secret’ (soooo secret OMG) jobs (don’t have Warbringer yet).

Completed Olberic Chapter 4

I have one non-spoiler comment:

Where’d the hell did that horse come from!?

Completed Alfyn Chapter 4

I think I liked this one the least. Laying the moral on a little too thick. Poor birdy.

Completed Therion Chapter 4

This one was more interesting of the other two I played. I felt Therion’s Chapter 4 city was far more sinister and hostile while Olberic’s Chapter 4 city felt cliched. Hey, I guess something for everyone.

I still need to do Chapter 4s for H’aanit and Primrose.

When I complete the chapter 4s, I also do the post sidequests. Some of them are simple, some of them are downright obtuse.

Another thing that holds me back is running back into the completed dungeon with Therion so I can pick up that cursed purple chest. So annoying! Therion’s steal is good enough, let alone this lock picking.

One surprise I had was how difficult a side quest boss was. It was a Victor Hollow sidequest where you go into the forest to defeat DEVOURER OF MAN. The monster spawns two adds which, even if you kill the adds, they will come back. But worse is that the monster ‘spits’ away a party member at a time(!!!). Remember the ‘SNEEZE’ in Final Fantasy 6? Yep. so it was just one character versus boss for a while.

Fun, fun, but I wish this game wasn’t so dense to progress. Maybe this week I can complete the other two chapter 4s and get done with Warbringer ‘secret job’. Then next weekend I can prepare for End Dungeon.

All my characters are 50+. A few are 66+.

92 hours in….

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 12, 2018

Email: Congrats on finishing Ophelia

I haven’t picked her up yet. I finished my solo Primrose run and ran into a bit of trouble at the end that required better planning (I won’t spoil that).

You’re right, this game feels a lot like a play at times. The last time I got this feeling from an RPG is when I played Baten Kaitos (nice, niche GameCube RPG; extremely campy/bad voice acting but fun and extremely well placed). I’ve picked up everyone from the Path part of Octopath and am working on the Octo portion. I spent about 85 hours on Primrose’s run, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve actual played even a quarter of that. The gameplay itself was pretty engaging. I enjoy how I’m allowed to dictate my playthrough. Even know, having a level 65 (finished at 59, but finally got a x100 exp multiplier on the way to H’aanit) Primrose is helping to speed up the pacing for everyone else. I’m liking may more people’s openings and I’ve changed my focus to just enjoying the stories now. It’s also great that I can actually complete many more side stories now.

Why can’t I steal from someone that I’ve beaten up with provoke? I don’t believe Therion is that honorable or cares too much about what others would think in that realm. Oh, it’s great finally opening all of the chests that I’ve had to leave behind. I’m also looking forward to getting my revenge on the Warmaster. She was the only enemy that I encountered and knew that I could not beat alone. She started each battle with three back to back turns and killed me on either the second or third one. She will fall by next weekend.

I haven’t returned to Sonic Mania yet. I’m hungering for it, but it’s hard to go to when Octopath is still waiting to be devoured. I only spent $80 on Octopath and I’ve already received more than my money’s worth despite consuming only less than an eighth of the game so far. It’s not even possible to complete all that a single character can do with just that one character. There are many mysteries and people to explore. The last time I was this happy with an RPG was either for most of my first run of Bravely Default or The Last Story. It’s nice that this game draws from a gameplay and literary well that we don’t see combined this well often.

I’ve spent $$$ to buy the Wayfarer’s Edition of Octopath and $$$ for the soundtrack (which had to be shipped from Japan). I’ve spent over TWICE the amount for a Switch $60 game, and I still feel happy.

I just remember back when the Super Nintendo came out and seeing ‘Final Fantasy II’ there for $90 (when SNES games were cheaper) and going, “DAMN.” The game was so worth it. I bought FF 6 when it came out too, still have original box work, map, and all. And I bought FF6’s soundtrack.

OK, I’m tired. If I didn’t get to an email, I will get to it. I think I am getting close to completing Octopath Traveler and 100%ing it. Perhaps next weekend it will be that.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 12, 2018

Email: Regarding Smash Bros Ultimate

Greetings Master Malstrom,

One thing I noticed about the Smash Direct was the level of customization that is being built into the game. They seem to be trying hard to give options for every kind of Smash fan, the competitive and non-competitive fans.

All the modes, rules, characters, music, and stages being put in makes me think that with the Smash Bros title of “Ultimate” they’re trying hard to outdo themselves from previous outings. They’re certainly trying to make Ultimate the biggest Smash game.

My first Smash was buying the Smash Brothers Melee version for like $5 used from Gamecrazy when the Wii was coming out. Yeah, that copy has increased in its value! (haha) I was surprised how much I liked the game despite not having many people to play it with. I bought Brawl when it came out and was extremely disapointed with it. While I enjoyed going through the single player, the game felt ‘off’. Melee was more fun. I didn’t bother with 3DS or Wii U smash.

I’m hoping Switch Smash is as fun as Melee.

Remember when Iwata announced the sequel to Melee? Sakurai didn’t know until that announcement! Sakurai then approached Iwata on how he was going to make a sequel. Iwata said, “We’ll just take Melee and give it online multiplayer.” That caused Sakurai to go, “No, no, I will come back and make you a proper sequel.” This was Iwata’s intention.

But I think Melee with online doesn’t sound too bad… considering how Brawl came out.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 12, 2018

More Octopath progress

I completed Ophilia’s Chapter 4 last sunday. Today, I was able to get two hidden jobs (Sorcerer and Starseer) and complete several more Chapter 4s.


I liked this one. I’m beginning to think these Chapter 4s are hammering a philosophical point. If so, then this will age extremely well. If you want philosophy in a RPG, you have to go to Ultima (and not much else I can remember). I suspected that these characters would become embodiments of some philosophical trait. [I cannot get out of my mind that Ultima games tend to be a party of eight, from eight different cities, each representing a virtue, going and traveling around].

Cyrus loves his books. There is no spoiler in that! Cyrus reminds me of myself the most… including not noticing the fawning women.


Image result for octopath traveler tressa wiki

I heard some rumblings over the Internet that hated this Chapter 4. I actually loved it. Tressa discovered ‘market disruption’ at the Grand Fair! hahahahaha.

Shit, do I have five more of these Chapter 4s to go? Well then, better be off. I still do sidequests and post-game quests after each Chapter 4 which is why it is taking a while.

BTW, I am 80+ hours in.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 10, 2018

Email: Dead Cells Frame Rate

Honestly, the devs admitted to it. They seem very sincere, but it will require an update. You could wait until it’s updated to buy it, but if you feel they’re both sincere and capable I’d still keep the pre-order. Especially if you aren’t able to feel/see the difference at the level it’s happening at. Below is a link to their response:

Thank you emailer. I very much appreciate this. I suppose I’ll keep it for now.

How about that Smash direct, eh? I’m hoping Nintendo got serious about competing with Melee. Remember that the excellent Mario Kart DS was made because the developer ‘wanted to beat Super Mario Kart for SNES’. Let’s see if they can beat Melee.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 9, 2018

Email: Dead Cells

Here’s a game I can recommend:

I’ve played the PC version, and I had a lot of fun. I only stopped playing it cause there was one level that was really annoying, which they apparently tweaked in the final release.

And yes, there is a physical version.

How do I know this email isn’t plagiarized? I’m on to you emailers! What do you think I am? IGN? Come, come!

I actually have the physical version pre-ordered. However, I am worried.

“Why are you worried, Malstrom?”

I hear the Switch version of Dead Cells has bad frame issues. Is this true? Or is this message forum hype? Should I cancel my pre-order?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 8, 2018

Octopath Traveler Official Soundtrack

Nearly a quarter century ago, I did something I never do: I bought a soundtrack to a video game. This simply wasn’t done back in the 16-bit era. The soundtrack was three CDs so it was substantial in cost. The price was about the same as a new video game. It was the soundtrack to Final Fantasy 6.

Over the years, I felt I got as much value from the soundtrack as I did the video game itself. I could listen to the music in my car. I could rip it. The music never got old. The CDs are in my car to this day.

A hardcore gamer appears. “But Malstrom,” he says. “Why didn’t you just rip the songs from Youtube? Hur hur hurrr.”

In 1994, there was no Youtube, dumbass. All we had were modems. We could get The Hamster Dance and that is about it.

So with Octopath Traveler hitting that Final Fantasy 6 itch, I decided to retrace my steps and order the soundtrack. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, it came straight from Japan. And yes, the soundtrack, like the game, is sold out in Japan.

Above: I’m clearly no photographer as I seemed to have taken the photo in my shadow! Nice cover of the characters relaxing where I’ve never seen anything else. H’aanits snow leopard is being scratched, Alfyn and Olberic are drinking together, etc. Octopath is causing me to buy stuff lately such as the Bravely Default and Radiant Historia games that recently came in.

Above: I like the artwork on the discs. 4 disks!!!

Above: It comes with a little booklet that interviews the sound composer. There is a Japanese version and an English version! There is a philosophy to how he composes the music. Example:

“The key concept that we conveyed to Mr. Nishiki was that we wanted all the songs to feature prominent, memorable melodies. Tunes with catchy melodies- like classics from the Super NES era- are what we think players expect from a Square Enix pixel-art RPG. We made a conscious decision to avoid the more ambient, movie-like soundtracks commonly found in recent blockbusters.

-Masashi Takahashi- Producer of Octopath Traveler. Soundtrack Interview (Emphasis is Malstrom’s.)

Did you hear that, reader? Octopath Traveler was designed to intentionally steer AWAY from cinematic design. Final Fantasy 6 steered TOWARD cinematic design. Yet, it was so deep in 16-bit that 16-bit is where it stayed. But Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and so on became cinematic… and the series lost its way.

In the interview, he goes into detail about the music. For each eight character, he associates a particular instrument with each one. Ophilia has the flute. H’aanit has the piano. He actually plays the game, goes through their stories, and uses that to determine their musical themes (!).

In the final theme, the producers made the composer put the motifs in OCTOPATH order… hahahahaha “We didn’t make it easy on him!”

These young thirty somethings talk just like we do, and they think like we do if we had the technical talents to make a video game.

Now, go away reader, I want to listen to my Octopath Soundtrack (though I’m saving Disc 4 for when I finish the game. I’m only 80s in… it can’t last much longer… right…? [gulp])

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