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Alan Stock

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    Games, Photography, Travelling, Films, Clubbing, Dog's bottoms.

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  1. Yeah but it's no different than your team getting teamwiped in another big ult like a grav, heck even a whole hog can push a whole enemy team off the cart in the final seconds, or a blizzard, etc. Mind you I've yet to be on the receiving end of a mega ult like that so it's probably pretty annoying, what I do know is that feeling of helplessness as you hang in the air from that ult before slamming down to your death, its like being stuck in a grav but with even less chance to survive. In other news I have been trying out the role lock beta and I love it. It basically fixes most of the bullshit you had to live with in ranked before, and replaces it with fairly stable team compositions so you can worry about playing the game instead of who's throwing, or why you have no healers, etc. It's a real breath of fresh air and I've tried out all the roles, although unsurprisingly the damage queue time is a bitch, taking upwards of 10 minutes on PS4 (I usually restart matchmaking once it goes that long). As a tank though its amazing to get heals and have teammates who usually stick by you. So far I'm really enjoying it.
  2. I'm a bit worried about the travelling/survival aspect of the game. It reminds me of MGS Snake Eater which had these cool ideas about camo and wilderness survival, but in practice those were a pain in the arse. Constantly dipping in and out of slow menus, doing tedious things like hunting down animals and so on. We know you'll get vehicles but as there seems to be a lot of walking involved I'm just worried that it looks like a bit of a slog. Hopefully they'll prove me wrong because I love the ideas and setting of this game.
  3. Unfortunately there's a level range for matchmaking. You're probably too high level to match up with many other players who are working their way through the game. For example players from level 20>40 might be able to match up but after level 40 you'll enter a 40>60 bracket (those numbers I've just pulled from thin air), and so on. There are guides online which tell you what the ranges are. The same thing happened to me, after I did the DLC and stuff I was too high level to get summoned anywhere other than the hardest bosses and DLC content. Of course there probably aren't many active players these days but as an experiment why not try starting up a new character? I'm pretty sure though that after a certain level all the levels beyond that are matchmade together, so it seems odd you've not seen anyone of your level out for PVP etc. Have you tried the popular ganking/PVP spots?
  4. I think role lock is going to be great for the game and I can't wait to try it out. I might even get back into Competitive which I haven't played since the first few seasons due to the toxicity and crap team comps. Will be interesting to see how it's received by the more casual players though, in most Quick Play games you have 3 to 4 DPS players (or more). I play a lot of DPS in quick play but honestly if I knew I was getting healing I would play tank a lot more. They really need to make the healers better fun, Lucio and Anna are the only ones which are actually enjoyable these days. Baptiste is a strong character but I don't find him fun to play, Brigitte is ok but hard to get the backup you need, plus she's being nerfed into the ground. The lack of interesting abilities and autoaiming on Mercy and Moira make them pretty boring compared to Lucio and Anna. If there were more healers like Anna you can be sure more players would be willing to play healer. What's people's thoughts on Sigma if you've played him?
  5. Changes sound good so far. What is "pass" for thieves? The unlocked boss movement is probably the best change. It always seems stupid to me that they just sit there whilst you wipe out their minions 2 squares away, and then sit there whilst you surround them. Even at my late stage in the game I've always managed to take down the humanoid bosses in one or two attacks, making them very underwhelming. In fact some of the major story bosses I could just shoot with one arrow, or send in Byleth with a special attack and take them out in 1 hit, that kind of kills the dramatic tension a lot.
  6. Ah I see. Yeah the patches seem to have fixed a lot from what I've read in re-reviews of the game. Basically you get dumped from the cut scene facing in the right direction and just follow the marker straight ahead and you're there. I might look up the old way they had I out of curiosity. Question about Poppy:
  7. That's good news, and thanks for the shipyard tip although I think I already found it without bother unless its another one later on. Just realised I had only upgraded my Arts and character skill trees once so far, so now my guys will be a lot stronger! I also got real lucky with a Common blade Crystal and got one of the unique blades, in only about the 5th crystal I opened. It's a lass called Agate and she seems OP at this stage so I've not been using her much. I also just found out you can swap in New Arts on the Art upgrade screen, so that's nice. I don't seem to be able to set a third blade yet, although the slot for it isn't locked or anything. I tried out playing in combat as the other 2 party members but Rex is way more fun so I'll be sticking with him for now. I also figured out how to get the final stage of blade combos, I didn't realise you already have to have the special attack levelled up to 3 to activate it. And I found out where the tutorial stuff is, you buy documents from the informant characters in the towns. That's a cool idea but they should have started you off with some as there's a lot to take in, in those breif tutorials! Currently in the Aussie belly. Oh one more tip I found online when I was checking if I'd miss rare blade intro animations if I skipped the Awakening. You will skip rare intros this way, but you can play them back in the Theatre anyway, so I'm going to be skipping my Commons from now on.
  8. Is the rewind feature a new concept for Fire Emblem games? I can only imagine how frustrating they would have been without it. It's just too easy to slip up, like not noticing a sinister red line arcing to your mage from 20 squares away. And there's ambushes, unpredictable boss attacks, and so on. Of course the Rewind feature takes away a lot of the tension and arguably diffficulty, but without it people would probably save scum to protect their precious children. Same goes for seeing where enemies will attack. I'm sure that feature wasn't in the DS Fire Emblem I played, but of course in that game I didn't give a damn about the characters so if they died I was like "meh". Wasn't Fire Emblem really unpredictable before they added that? It's still not perfect of course, a lot of times the enemies have betrayed their red lines and instead ganged up on a weaker character during their turn, scuppering the plans. And that's when you feel justified to Rewind.
  9. So I took the plunge yesterday and picked this up. And I'm happy to report I'm really enjoying it! I'm about 9 hours in, and am just on a quest about getting airship parts. It looks fantastic, although I prefer the more realistic looking characters of Xeno 1. The music as has been pointed out on here is very good so far. The voice acting and writing are surprisingly good, it's so refreshing to get characters that talk realistically in an RPG and it's something I'd forgotten about the original. The regional accents are nice too, I think it's quite brave given the international market to voice some of the main characters with strong British accents but it works really well. Gameplay-wise the combat is still great and with some nice added depth to it with the Blade combos and suchlike. I'm still not 100% sure how to trigger Blade combos at third level (I do the corresponding element special attack but it doesn't seem to work). I'm just starting to expand my Blade roster and try out playing as some of the other heroes than Rex. Overall it's still enjoyable and I haven't even started getting into Breaks, knockdowns and all that. On the downside it's still boring at the start of fights whilst your arts charge up which can make it feel grindy - hopefully as I unlock more arts and abilities this "dead time" will cut down. With the addition of Blades combat is also a massive mess to look at, not to mention a horrendous cacophony of repeated voice lines overlapping each other. In the boss fights that I just did, it was so hard to see and hear the enemy - let alone focus on your own character with the sheer amount of effects, numbers, sound effects and voices. I've been trying to focus on just my character but with all the stuff going on mid-battle you actually end up focussing more on your art buttons and combo routes than the battle itself. Not that this is all bad, in fact its great that in the mid/late battle there is enough going on gameplay-wise to keep your attention sharp. I've only scratched the surface of the open world and it feels very Xenoblade 1 in its scale. The first big area that I'm at looks great and has a lot of stuff in it, but again the running speed of the character feels like a drag and the size of the areas can feel a bit exhausting. On the other hand there's lots of mobs and it feels nice and populated. On the story side of things I'm loving it though. The cutscenes are exactly what I'd hoped for, as dymanic and exciting as the ones in Xeno 1. The action scenes really have those wow moments, especially when the incredible music kicks in - and the baddies once again are mysterious and cool. Even though I find the RPG gameplay quite fun in Xenoblade, I am always looking forward to the next big story beat for those epic moments, and it looks like this is going to be no exception. And yes, Rex so far is a much more likeable character than 90% of RPG protagonists. Even the Nopon is actually quite funny and likeable so far, instead of downright cheesy/annoying like Rikku was. I can see there's going to be a lot of depth to the game systems which I'm looking forward to, and once again hats off to Monolith for the accessibility in their game - a good map, dialogue markers showing you who's new to speak to, fast travel, fast to skip dialogue, etc. I just wish there were some ingame manuals to let you read up on if you forgot the tutorials (if there are I haven't found them yet). Most of these features were in the original Xenoblade but they make the experience so much smoother. Really its just the scale of the world and the cities, the feeling of padding, and slow running speed that I have to whinge about. Oh, and that it looks awful in handheld mode. I was watching some of the Xenoblade 1 cutscenes on Youtube to refresh my memory and it reminded me that despite how great that game was, there was a lot of padding and really boring/generic stuff. Like the dreaded Nopon village and the whole forest section. And the imaginationless elves in their shiny generic fantasy city. So far Xeno 2 has done a good job of keeping things rolling along and fingers crossed it doesn't have big downswings like that game. And on that note, I'm off to chop up some baddies in a giant field. Oh, one last thing - this game isn't easy (at least if you don't intentionally grind). I have to be careful not to get killed in fights and already have to think about what blades and setups I need to bring. But this is a good thing, it feels like a fun challenge. Good stuff!
  10. I also picked up Ignatz and he is a pretty dull individual. It pretty much confirmed what you found with Bernadetta Ste, that new recruits are waaay worse initially than the rest of the crew. My Ignatz started off way worse than my other Snipers and it's taken me at least 5 missions to get him anywhere near as good. The death thing is pretty weird. In the first part of the game the characters just drop to their knees and say a generic line like "I've lost". It almost seems like they haven't died at all but I'm assuming once you return to the Monastery they're just missing from proceedings. However in the second part of the game the deaths are way more impactful when they happen, you actually see the characters fall over, sad music plays and they go out with appropriate last words. I haven't lost anyone thanks to Rewind so I haven't seen the impact afterwards. I mean I'm assuming your characters do die in part 1 if you lose them in battle (yes I'm playing permadeath mode), but if so, I don't understand why they wouldn't just have the more dramatic death sequences in part 1. It's much better, although it does get a bit tiresome if you're doing multiple rewinds trying to save a character. I'm ploughing on in Part 2. With no spoilers, its getting quite a lot harder. But really the challenging aspects remain the same - and the biggest threats are usually Pegasus/Wyvern riders and boss characters with potential to one-shot your dudes. A lot of it comes down to staying out of attack range of one-shot enemies or trying to lure them in with tanky characters. I'm up to Master Class now but only have one Master Class dude, Felix who's a grappler. Most of the other Master classes are based around Flying and Riding - and as I only have one Cavalry dude (Ferdinand) I've started to retrain every character to learn stuff like Riding, Flying and Lance in order to get them into Master. Whether I can get there before the end of the game is another matter.... For those of you talking about maxing out classes, or mastering multiple classes within a tier, I'd be surprised if there's actually enough game-time to experiment with that, if you want to get your team to Master. I feel like I'm on the final stretch so even once I get my guys to Master, I doubt I'll have many missions left to enjoy with them at that level. Edit: Just read Ste's latest post. Very strange. Maybe characters can't die in part 1 but maybe you still can't use them for the rest of the game? Has anyone here killed off one of their original crew in Part 1, and what happens then?
  11. Ok, that sounds promising, thanks. In the original it did get a bit grindy with some of the side quests, but I enjoyed the combat so much I rarely minded. In the end it was my completionist mentality that got me bored of the open world stuff. If I get Xeno 2 I'll have to try and reign that in!
  12. So folks, I finally got a Switch and have my eyes on this. I'm a huge fan of the original Xenoblade Chronicles but after reading reviews of XC2 I'm not sure I want to invest the massive time sink into a game that sounds quite grindy and with some flaws. However I've read a couple of recent reviews which say that the free patches since release have improved the game quite a bit. I also see quite a lot of people saying that despite its flaws they like Xeno 2 even more than the original, which is high praise indeed. I'm curious as to the forum's take on it, especially if any of you have played with the latest patches. I'm not planning to get the DLC. Is it still a 7/10 or 8/10 game or have the improvements raised the bar a bit?? Also if anyone knows anywhere that sells it for a good price (or you're thinking of selling), give me a buzz. Cheers!
  13. I agree about the fetch quest stuff, I feel compelled to do it but its a chore. I kind of dread Explore days now because its so repetitive. On the other hand its always nice to get tidbits about the characters and politics and that's what keeps bringing me back to the Monastery. Finally reached the end of Part 1 with just over 50 hours on the clock. The story's got really juicy now and combined with the epic soundtrack I'm feeling that sense of awe just like in the very best JRPGs. Combat continues to get better too, with me having to use Divine Pulse most battles in order to save lives. My troops are around level 25 and I'm just finishing up getting their Advanced Classes rolling. Hoping Part 2 isn't too brief as I'm really enjoying the game now (aside from Monastery sweeps). Reading a bit about the games development, the reason its so different to past Fire Emblem's is that Intelligent Systems teamed up with Koei Tecmo who were resposible for Fire Emblem Warriors and the Dynasty Warrior series. Intelligent put a core staff including gameplay designers together but had Koei make up the rest of the team. It's their experience in RPG stories and characters that helps to make this one so much more in-depth. Apparently Intelligent also wanted this to be their biggest and best Fire Emblem as their first outing on the HD consoles which is why they gave it such an overhaul. In my opinion it was a great call, this is an excellent merger of tactics battles and RPGs in one of the few tactics games I really care about my characters. Good for them for breaking the tired Fire Emblem mould.
  14. Alan Stock


    It's more about recognising patterns. When you're picking it up after an absence, my advice is always start at the beginning of the level instead of your last checkpoint. It will introduce patterns in the early stages which are repeated and built upon right up to the boss. Another tip is to learn to read the distance. It's very easy to focus right in front of you but then get blindsided by a very fast move. As you get better you'll have a focus on what's ahead as well, kind of like in Tetris where you see what blocks are up next. Of course you still have to react to sharp turns and tunnels but it does make life a bit easier. In all honesty I've still never finished it although I'm onto the final levels. For me it requires so much concentration I don't like to play for more than an hour or two, and it gets demoralizing when you get stuck on a bit for ages. It's relentless atmosphere is great but its not something you want to endure for hours on trying to beat an impossibly hard bit.
  15. I'd say you're fine. I'm just a few chapters after you and I have a similar roster and similar levels (most of my team just hit level 20). I'm playing on Hard and the battles are getting tougher, though actually the story missions are much easier than some of the optional side battles at the moment. Amazing that you reached that point after 15 hours by skipping the monastery stuff. I do it all, and I do it thoroughly, like speaking to every character, doing all the fetch quests, tuning all my inventory, upgrading etc. And I must be nearing or above 50 hours by now! But in terms of power level it seems it probably doesn't make too much difference whether you do all the Monastery gubbins. Probably I've got a bunch of nice extra items for my trouble, and I would imagine a lot more support levels than you. Other than that I'm sure you're fine. After all they did design it so you could skip all the Monastery stuff.
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