Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: highs and lows

Team Ninja for better and worse

I’m in te second act of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja), and I have to admit, it’s wearing a bit thin. It’s still enjoyable, but by the time I reach the boss (which I have now), I feel beleagured and worn. In the Demon Fort mission, and the level itself is nothing to write home about.

I mentioned this in a prior post, but Team Ninja’s level design primarily consists of burning villages. And, I will say, fortresses. I was watching a video by a guy who likes Team Ninja games despite himself and he’s right on the money with many of his critiques. He also rages much like I do when I play these kinds of games. He does slip into the ‘I’m a hardcore gamer and I hate those filthy scrub n00bs, but his critiques of Team Ninja in general are on point. I have included his review below.(Not the bemoaning of the fact that Wo Long is easier than Nioh 2 in general–that’s a deliberate choice that I can applaud.)

The levels, never the highpoint of the Team Ninja games, are especially uninsipired in this one. Now. I will say that given my spatial issues, some of this is me, but I cannot for the life of me find all the marking flags in the levels. I explore as carefully as I can, and I always end up at the boss with at least two marking flags missing. This time was three of seven. I found one by going up on a roof of a temple and finding the hole (this is often the solution. Get as high as possible and jump down a hole in the buliding you’re on the roof of), but that still left two. I went back through the level and found another by going a different way in yet another cave and jumping down.

By the way, there are so many caves in these games. So. Many. Caves. And forts. And burning villages. I was excited that this game was going to be set in China, but you could not tell that it’s not Japan. The levels feel exactly like Nioh levels. That’s not a compliment.

I cannot for the life of me find the third marking flag I was missing. It was late last night when I was playing, otherwise I would have done what I’m going to do today–open up a walkthrough video and follow it. Look. I spent an hour looking for the flags last night, but still could not find that final flag. I know it’s partly me because I have a hard time with spatial issues, but I never have these problems with From games. I do not get lost  in them the way I do in Team Ninja games. When I look out at the vista in a Team Ninja game, I just sight and resign myself to getting lost.

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That inimical Dark Souls feeling

Dark Souls. That’s it. That’s the whole post. I’m kidding, of course. I have more to say and today, it’s about the feeling I get when I play a Dark Souls* game. There’s the wonder of exploration, the incredulity at how much content there is just casually laid out in a way that makes it difficult to find. I say casually, but it’s very deliberate. There is nothing about their design that is left to chance. I was playing Elden Ring last night because of course I was, and I was looking for a specific item. I had been through the area where it was supposed to be (second legacy dungeon) and beaten both the bosses. In other words, I had reached the end of the dungeon (school) without finding the item. I looked it up online and found out that in a certain part of this area, I had to look back UNDER where I had gone to open a shortcut. Then, I had to jump over a railing to access the rooftops. THEN I had to go through a window and drop down to get the item. Then I could drop down and do the rest of the upper area of the school. I mean….

I like to think I’m thorough, but I never would have found that on my own. I have spatial issues that make it difficult for me to consider everything around me. I tend to get locked into one path and then not looking elsewhere. I have no compunction about Googling this kind of thing because even if I  was the most thorough person ever, I’m still going to miss stuff. One games journalist likes to pride himself on finding everything in the From games, and he did not find Patches in Dark Souls III on his review playthrough. No shade because it’s difficult to find him, but the point is that finding everything is nearly impossible. A YouTuber described trying to find a hidden area in the second DLC of Dark Souls III.  You have to go into the nearby swamp as a humanity and then s-l-o-w-l-y meander your way back into the nearby building (by the big nasty bug unless you kill it first), by the bonfire, and through the unlocked door. Then, you have to approach the wall where there is a saying on it and a ladder will drop. The YouTuber said it took him ten hours to figure it out because he didn’t have a, well, him to show him the way.

In embarking on getting this item, I didn’t realize how big the area was in which it was contained. I just thought it would be a simple little run and a quick nab–not that there was a whole new place to explore. I had thought this dungeon was short compared to the first one, but it’s just that I hadn’t found the new spaces. I don’t think to look up or down, which is on me. Again, it makes me glad that there is a robust community and that I can look stuff up. Is it cheating? Nah. Like I said, it’s nearly impossible to find everything in the games. Another example is Ash Lake in the original Dark Souls. You have to climb down a huge tree to get to it, which is hidden behind TWO illusory walls–in Blighttown.

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