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Old 7th Nov 2011, 08:48   #1
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Sequence Review

Buy this now, says Joe. Read on to find out why, say we.

http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/pc/20...uence-review/1
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 09:30   #2
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Wow. I would be interested to know what difficulty you played it at and whether you went for 100% item unlocks. This game had great ideas, and executed fairly well for the most part, but in my experience has obvious flaws. The biggest of which, battles near the end that were literally impossible to win without leveling more. This wasn't because I ran out of HP (which never happened to me despite stacking my items more towards attack and mana bonuses rather than HP and practically ignoring the defense panel on HARD, wtf?) but because the song timer would run out. I would get all my attacks in, be regenerating mana constantly (like I said, ignoring defense) and even be getting a few crits. Song ends, I lose.

Leveling up 1 level changed those very battles from impossible to easy, winning with time to spare. I was never challenged on a basis of skill, whether I won or not 99% of the time was based on how much time I spent grinding.

I get that the leveling significantly increased your stats in order to reduce the time needed to grind, but for me it backfired because the difficulty skipped over the range required for me to be excited. I also get that the songs have short timers in order to add pressure to attack, but again this backfires because constant attacking was too weak and I felt like it was the games fault I lost, not my own. I'm not sure why the enemy attacks themselves were so weak, perhaps the designer didn't want players to be frustrated while they were casting spells, but it made shields and healing spells a waste of a spell slot.

For me a games critic should look past the surface and to the gameplay itself. The characters were too sarcastic for my taste and the music good rather than great, but I can appreciate that there is an audience that would find those aspects perfect (such as yourself Joe). But the gameplay? Terribly unbalanced in my experience, and I find it odd that you could have such an opposite experience than me.
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 09:54   #3
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jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!jezmck - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!
100%?! How un-British.
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 10:16   #4
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After reading the review, it sounds like you loved it, but I'm still not compelled to try it... not sure why! Just doesnt sound like my kind of game...
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 10:24   #5
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Being an indie game developer myself, I tend to appreciate praise regarding the underdogs in gaming. This game, however, does not seem to trigger much of an interest from my part. I feel that the reviewer, in his personal excitement regarding his experience with the game, left out some core details while trying to review his perception of the game. I personally would expect the review to be much more in-depth if it were to be given the score of a 100.

ex) elements such as graphics, interface design, and animation were not given even a sentence of description.
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 10:42   #6
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"but to spend any time weighing or discussing those few, tiny flaws would be to reduce the gestalt to its individual components"

No that's called writing a review!
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 10:53   #7
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Any game with music by Ronald Jenkees should always get 100%.

Also, if you put this review out earlier, you could've been in this video.
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 11:08   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentai
The characters were too sarcastic for my taste and the music good rather than great, but I can appreciate that there is an audience that would find those aspects perfect (such as yourself Joe). But the gameplay? Terribly unbalanced in my experience, and I find it odd that you could have such an opposite experience than me.
Personally, I loved the sarcasm - constant little references to the pointlessness of scoring systems, the arbitrary numbers driving Ky's levelling and the bickering between Jane and Ky was part of what elevated the game beyond it's core parts in my opinion.

Granted, there is some grind. It hasn't been excessive for me playing on Normal skill and it mainly comes into play on the last two levels of the tower (even then, I've only struggled to defeat the toughest monsters). To me the grind itself isn't the issue though (unless you're trying to unlock every item); one of the few problems I have with the game is that I simply want more enemies to fight, more songs to fight with.

Then again, the game only costs 3.99 and that's even before it goes to Steam sale. So I don't think saying that you want more music is really all that legitimate. Even at it's worse the grind isn't enough to ruin the game in my opinion, especially as you continue to gain experience from lost fights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mongpong
"but to spend any time weighing or discussing those few, tiny flaws would be to reduce the gestalt to its individual components"

No that's called writing a review!
Apologies if you thought I was scrimping on details - the impression I meant to give is that these flaws are so small as to be inconsiderable - like the fact that the tutorial only references keypresses, when you can actually use the mouse to navigate menus.

I also felt that Sequence's strength comes from the personal excitement it gives players; the trance you sink into and the exultant joy you feel when you win a battle - there's so much more to winning a battle in sequence than you might get from scoring a headshot. The actual core functionality of the game is easily expressed in the DDR comparison and, I felt, didn't require much more explanation - which is why I wrote the review in this tone.

I'd be interested to know how people think a score of 100 per cent (our current score system) differs from a score of 10/10 (the old one), by the way. I thought Chime (which scored 10/10) was an interesting comparison too.
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 12:35   #9
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*blinks* But...but...you can't give anything 100%! That's like... sacrilege!

I'll go and put this on my ever increasing to play list then, because stuff that Joe *obviously* dislikes is good for me!
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 16:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I'd be interested to know how people think a score of 100 per cent (our current score system) differs from a score of 10/10 (the old one), by the way. I thought Chime (which scored 10/10) was an interesting comparison too.
In simplified maths, remember a 10/10 in percentages is 95% - 100%. A game that scores 100% is therefore in the top 20% of 10/10 games, so it is a much better score than 10/10.

100% is a tricky score to justify, because it implies the game is perfect. I.e. there is no aspect that could be improved. However, you say yourself there are small flaws. Out of interest, had the game had a better tutorial (for example), would you have given it 101%?

I expect you might counter by saying the slightly underweight tutorial is irrelevent to the actual enjoyment of the game, but then you're going down the slippery slope of only acknowledging the aspects of a game you enjoy and ignoring the bits you don't. If it's in the game, it should be judged in my opinion.

I'm not against using 100% per se, but to effectively say "This game has flaws, but I say it's perfect" is a difficult viewpoint to maintain under scrutiny.
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 16:23   #11
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[QUOTE=Bauul]
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
I'm not against using 100% per se, but to effectively say "This game has flaws, but I say it's perfect" is a difficult viewpoint to maintain under scrutiny.
I don't say it's perfect though; because to judge something against perfection is a faulty comparison. Nothing is perfect - even if you hypothetically imagine such a thing then you'd always be able to improve it by saying "I wish it was cheaper/longer".

If there's no such thing as a perfect game then you'd never give a score of 100 per cent...which would mean you aren't scoring out of 100, which would invalidate your entire system. 49 would have to be average, not 50 and you'd have to clarify that you're only scoring out of 98 or 99.
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 17:10   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
I'm not against using 100% per se, but to effectively say "This game has flaws, but I say it's perfect" is a difficult viewpoint to maintain under scrutiny.
I don't say it's perfect though; because to judge something against perfection is a faulty comparison. Nothing is perfect - even if you hypothetically imagine such a thing then you'd always be able to improve it by saying "I wish it was cheaper/longer".

If there's no such thing as a perfect game then you'd never give a score of 100 per cent...which would mean you aren't scoring out of 100, which would invalidate your entire system. 49 would have to be average, not 50 and you'd have to clarify that you're only scoring out of 98 or 99.
Although arguably saying "I wish it was cheaper/longer" is judging the game on something that isn't there, and doesn't actually need to be there. That's like marking a game down because it didn't come with a free copy of Deus Ex.

You can mark a game down on things that are there though, things that are not as good as they could be. That fact that you mentioned there are obvious things that could be improved about Sequence (no matter how small) implies something less than 100%.

The way I see it, and I'm going to get a bit abstract here, is along similar lines to the evolutionary peaks idea. This idea (if I remember it correctly) states every creature is climbing a peak towards evolutionary perfection, but that there are many different peaks. Evolutionary perfection for a star-fish is very different to a penguin, for instance. For a penguin to progress up the star-fish peak, it would have to "de-evolve" to the bottom of the penguin peak first, which doesn't happen.

Games are the same - some peaks are very crowded, others are more empty, and I imagine Sequence is pretty much on its own peak. To achieve "percetion", i.e. 100%, a game must reach the top of its peak. In other words, there's no way it can get better without getting worse in other ways. (In the evoluationary sense, that'd be like adding legs to a shark. Yes it could run on land, but would be a worse swimmer).

I can recall perhaps one game that I can think of no way to add to it without also taking something away, and that's Braid. But the question is, could you add to Sequence without taking away? If that answer is "yes, quite easily, a better tutorial amongst other things", then surely it shouldn't have gotten 100%?
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 17:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Although arguably saying "I wish it was cheaper/longer" is judging the game on something that isn't there, and doesn't actually need to be there. That's like marking a game down because it didn't come with a free copy of Deus Ex.
...You're right. I'll lower this to 99 per cent immediately!

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Old 7th Nov 2011, 18:20   #14
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 19:24   #15
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..the developer of this game gave away a free copy to every member of the NeoGaf forum....of which im a member...)

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=449033
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 21:26   #16
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I liked the review, and although this sort of genre doesn't normally interest me, for such a good price I'm going to go out and buy this game.

Quote:
So, 99 per cent is a score for cowards, for those who want to obscure matters with discussion about hypothetical perfection in a medium defined by subjectivity. There are no perfect games suitable for all audiences; but there are those worth 100 per cent.
Joe did make it clear in the article that 100% doesn't represent perfection in absolute standards, but in relative standards- this is as good as any game is realistically ever going to be. I personally feel this makes more sense that a platonic 100%, what's the point of having a scale with an unobtainable peak?
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Old 7th Nov 2011, 21:39   #17
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All I have to say is, bravo Joe on a great review!

Gave me a smile.
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Old 8th Nov 2011, 00:35   #18
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Yeah... um... don't think this game would make me happy.
The mechanics just seem a bit like something from a JRPG with a musical twist. :/
And the sarcasm seems like it might be less witty than kind of try-hard.
Mind you, happiness is not the feeling I associate with leaning in for a first kiss either - so maybe I'm just immune!
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Old 9th Nov 2011, 15:15   #19
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Pint of what he's had please.
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Old 9th Nov 2011, 16:05   #20
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Any review that uses the word "gestalt" deserves to be praised, even if the game itself is under question.

It's priced right, and a rave review like this one indicates the game deserves attention. Not because graphics or interface or control sequences are perfect, but because the game elicited such an interesting reaction from the reviewer. That alone means the game has significant potential, and that the reviewer was able to slip into the world of belief, ignoring the limitations of the imperfect reality provided by a machine.
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