Yumil Posted November 17, 2020 Share Posted November 17, 2020 Huh. Seems no one else has done it at the time of this writing, so I guess I'll open up the thread for people to post their opinions and feedback on Starlight Divide's demo. So, uh, for starters, Congrats to you guys for making this demo, since from what i've followed, it means a lot to you guys. I was mostly only in it in a "let's see what they've been putting Reborn on hold for" way, but I've had a pleasant surprise and I'll probably follow starlight's development from there. This post is probably going to end up resembling a doorstopper's worth of nitpicks by the time I'm done writing so here's the TL;DR : I liked it and there's a lot of potential there, but it's still rough on some pretty important aspects of the gameplay. Here's the detailed version more or less sorted in bullet points. -Aesthetic and Music : great job on those fonts, pretty much nothing to complain about. You've hit it out of the park as far as i'm concerned. -Gameplay : I think you've had a really great idea for the concept of this game. I've been playing quite the dose of fire emblem and X-COM games over the years and the premise of a t-rpg that throws away everything involving dice rolls to replace it with a rythm game mechanics is REALLY SOLID. Like. I'm kinda surprised it has taken this long for someone to come up with the idea, in hindsight, because it has the potential to solve SO MANY frustrations people have been having for years with RNGesus. As for the execution of the premise, I think you have something pretty solid in the core ideas. I like that your units can take quite a beating thanks to the mechanics, as it encourage you to not turtle up and rewards you for being agressive but not reckless, and that even though perfectly blocking attacks in the back seems basically impossible, putting some effort in the dodge really makes the difference between taking chip damage and losing half of your health. I'm overall positive on the huge chasm there can be between trying to brute-force your way out of some situations and making smart use of your units - I've had an overall dreadful time dealing with the two beast ennemies in a timely fashion, probably because I didn't approach the situation the right way, but then I put Karus in a chokepoint to prevent the other enemies from pitching in and HOLY SHIT THIS MAN JUST KILLED THREE PEOPLE JUST BY PARRYING. and then again on to the next turn. I also really liked taking a look at the stats of the boss and going "wait a second, what's up with the piss poor magical defense, what happens if I use Ice Sha- OH HE FUCKING DIES, THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS". Making use of the positionning and the specialities of the characters feels very rewarding, and combined with the lot of different mechanics in the rythm game it already makes the game feels very rich in situations and depths, and that's really great. Although, it might be a bit TOO rich for an intro. Of course, this is a demo so it makes sense to want to showcase a lot of things, but for a tutorial I felt a bit overwhelmed by how much stuff was thrown my way. But that aside, On that font, that's about as close to a straight bullseye as I could honestly think of. So. Congrats for that. I do however have a lot more nitpicks in the technical aspects of things. So, for starters, I've encountered this graphic bug you can see in the attached image, where the menu opens up mid-cutscene and overlaps on the text. I'm pretty sure it comes from me closing the menu too fast and exiting the map immediately after, or something to that effect, but it doesn't want to go away, so my only option to not miss 70% of the dialogue of the cutscene was to kill and reload the game. Nothing very problematic, happened once in like my two hours of playtime, probably easy to fix. I do take a bigger gripe against the framerate, or rather the stuterring, though. It runs smooth for the most part, but you can really feel it stuterring at various points, be it opening the menu/loading a save, finishing one character's action and trying to move to the next too fast, or even sometimes during battles, and I probably don't have to explain why something that's timing-based like a rythm game absolutely needs to be as spotless as possible on the framerate, lest it becomes an endless source of frustration for the player. For the record, my computer isn't a toaster. It's a laptop with an I5 8th gen, a 1050X and 8 gigs of ram, and everything's on a SSD. I don't think I'm being unreasonable in saying something like that ought to be able to get a flawless framerate on the game considering it's scope. I'm guessing this is a lingering problem from rpg maker's terrible-ass performance due to being a very old engine, and I understand very well this is probably going to be an absolute pain of a problem to fix, not something easy, buuuut I really hope you'll be able to fix it over time or it probably is going to hold the game back in it's quality. (To your defense, I realized after playing the game that I was running it with integrated graphics rather than through the graphic processor, so maybe that explains it. But on the other hand, while I don't feel like replaying the whole demo to see if it significantly improves the stuttering, I've played a couple turns just to check and found it didn't solved the problem, and I'm guessing the problem is more on the processor side, but that's just my guess.) For that matter, I seem to have noticed than unlike landing hits, which seemingly doesn't have this, missing a hit seems to prevent you from hitting the button back again immediately, which tends to mean in practice that missing a strike often means missing the next, whic aggravates the occasionnal stutter A LOT. i'm not sure if this is intended or not, I'm guessing it is, but just in case I'm putting it there. Which leads me to another thing, which might just be me overthinking it, but I feel like it's not a super good idea to have the beat start at the other end of the screen, have it fast forwards toward you really quick and then slowing down for the rythm section, because it tends to throw off my timing on the second strike. Maybe I'm just bad and making up excuse for that, it's a pretty real possibility considering I couldn't be good at Crypt of the Necrodancer to save a life, but. I feel like just making the beat start at the middle of the screen would be a better way of handling it. It would also give you a preview of what you should expect for the timing, which would save us an instant of thinking about it mid-rythm. I have a more minor nitpick to pick with the preview system. Imo, it kinda falls under the same problem Codename S.T.E.A.M., another tactical game made by the devs of Fire Emblem, encountered with it's gameplay. The preview does tell you how many hits you can get in and how many damage they will inflict, but the problem is that those numbers are then modified by several factors it doesn't take into consideration, which quickly renders the preview a very obsolete way to estimate the damage you will inflict. Critical hits are the most obvious one, since landing those is semi-reliable, but there's also Star's damage incrementing on each consecutive hit on Ice shard and shoooting, and I think it's possible to get in scenarios where you attack, the enemy retaliates, but you get a parry, so you get additionnal damage. Obviously fixing this is a non-trivial problem, but I think there's pretty simple ways to convey way more useful info to the player for not too much effort than currently : notifying the player on whether or not there's a chance to get parries during your attack, whether you have a specific modifier for this move like the increasing damage of Star seems like no-brainers. I'm not sure of how feasible it is for the next one, but a thing that at least sounds very smart in my head would be : store how often the player manages to land a critical hit for each different possible critical timing / how many time they missed so far, so you can give them an estimate of whether or not relying on critical in a given situation is a good idea or not. It might also be a fun incentive at improving on the timing, but I'm probably getting ahead of myself. On a different matter, I appreciate giving the button prompts, but I assume they're based on an XBOX controller and they don't seem to recognize I'm not playing with that. I've had a mildly terrible time looking at my ps4 controller and speding several seconds wondering to myself which button was X and Y whenever I tried to use an Art. We could really use button prompts that match the controller you're using, or at least something more generic. Although, I've been able to play the game pretty much without issues with a ps4 controller without having to plug in the thing that makes my computer believe it's an xbox controller in the first place, so props to you for supporting the controller in the first place. Last nitpick, in a "we REALLY need this feature in PLEASE" way : please let us toggle the aggro range of the enemies like in Fire Emblem. I assume you guys are familiar with the idea since I feel a couple of interface elements feel straight out of fire emblem, but frequenting Pokemon Desolation's Discord has taught me to not assume something isn't a coincidence, soooo just in case, modern games of the FE series let you toggle the aggro range of all the enemies at the press of a button, and highlighting specific enemies let you toggle their specific aggro range independently of the overall aggro range, and it's a bit of a godsend to help positionning your units when preparing for an attack. I'm not joking in saying that not having this here already caused me a couple of fumble on positionning because I assumed the aggro range was further than it actually was despite double-checking and wasted a couple turns in the demo. Alright, that's it for the gameplay. Last thing, in the plot department : While I like it, I really like the dialogue writing you have going there, and the plot concepts seem pretty promising, the mood of the game felt a bit too... Forceful, maybe, for an introduction ? That's not necessarily the right word, but, like, between the rapist misoginyst guard and the embodiment of lust who's throwing around lines that would definitely be right at home in hentai, it feels a bit too much. I've kept that for last because I'm pretty aware it's a very subjective and minor thing compared to the rest, and that I can't quite put the right words in what exactly I'm thinking, and it's not like I'm against the overall premise of the characters either, but I can't help but think it could use just being a tad less... straw-man-y ? I dunno, that's probably not the right word, either. Unidimensionnal ? Eh. I keep going back at Forceful, but I'm not sure if it is veyr clear either. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that I'm not against talking about sexual violence in games, but throwing this much at me as the game's first impression is mildly off-putting. But yeah, that aside, pretty curious to see where the plot is going, and the cast seems likeable enough to me, although i'm getting Titania vibes from Star in the "one day you're gonna have to learn that shooting at your problems isn't going to solve them" way. Then again, I loved Titania's arc overall, so I'm not complaining. Best of luck for future development, in any case, and thanks again for your work ! 5 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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