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28 July 2012 @ 02:13 am
Dungeon Fighter Meh  
Finally tried the demo for Dungeon Fighter Live, the Xbox 360 port of Dungeon Fighter Online.

It was fairly disappointing. Very disappointing, when you consider that DFO felt like it wanted to be a console game. A friend described DFL as a bad SNES game.

Action felt sluggish. Maybe it was because we were in the non-challenging starter area with low level characters that had no skills, but it just felt slow and dull.

The screen felt small, giving the player less room to maneuver. Comparing screenshots of DFL to DFO, they appear similar. I guess the crowded feeling comes from local multiplayer. With DFO, even in a group, your screen only cared about following your actions. With DFL's local multiplayer, a single screen has to keep all the players visible, which means players spend much of their time near an edge. For local multiplayer, it isn't enough to have the camera comparable to DFO's camera. It needs to be pulled back further.

Some things have been streamlined, and menus have been designed to allow four players to do their own management simultaneously, but there are things that still feel clunky. Town has been streamlined to effectively be a single screen menu, but you still have to talk to all the different NPCs to pick up all your quests. Changing equipment seems clunky. Equipment has an optional "scroll text with right stick" function, because the text doesn't fit in its tiny window. We spend several minutes trying to figure out how to break pots, only to find the ability was apparently buried in the skill hotkey assignment tab? When learning skills, you can't immediately see the required character level, you only see the skill point cost. If you want to see when a greyed-out skill becomes available (which you'd want to do to manage your skill points), you have to click on it to get a pop up display.

DFL has only three characters. Neither the Witch nor Female Gunner made it into the game. (Strangely, you appear to get five character slots.)

I didn't notice if it kept DFO's terrible Rank system to unlock higher difficulties. (DFO's Rank system fell apart if you ever managed to out-level an area, and had various other annoyances as well.) I also didn't notice if it kept DFO's multiple Difficulty/Rank-based quests, which eventually got quite annoying for the same reason the Rank unlocking was annoying.

For DFL's various shortcomings, I'm not really sure why it took so long to be released. When they went through such effort to accommodate four player local play, I'm not sure why they didn't just completely overhaul some areas, or at least overhaul them more.

All in all, I'd rather just play the PC version, if I felt like playing at all.
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
underthepale: UnderThePailunderthepale on July 28th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
As it turns out, even DFO thought its rank system was terrible, given it was nearly impossible to get the much-needed S-Rank or higher, and eventually threw it out... For a system that makes it nearly impossible to NOT get an S-Rank if you're even vaguely of the level for the area. Likewise, most of the rank-based quests were first streamlined (in or around last year's Rebirth update) and then later removed (during this year's Revolution update).

So it's very likely it uses the new system. That's probably one of the few good things one can say about it.
Baines: Nakbaines on July 28th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
So how do you get access to the higher difficulty versions of a stage? Just beat the current difficulty? That's what I think it should have been from the start, if you want to force people to unlock it at all.

We didn't play enough of DFL to notice whether it was just unlocking the next difficulty through completion alone. It might have been. It didn't seem to make a big deal about Rank.
underthepale: UnderThePailunderthepale on July 28th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
Well the RANKS remain, they're just tied solely to Combo now. Combo is killing monsters via combo hits. The old requirements rermain (Expert, one clear; Master, Clear Expert with A or better, King, clear Master with S or better) but they're MUCH easier without those ridiclous Hit, Technical and Aerial stats that made the system impossible to comprehend.

Also there's difficulty sharing via account now. Has been for at least a year actually. It's quite nice.
Baines: Nakbaines on July 29th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
So if you get too strong, you might still need to equip an underpowered weapon (so stuff doesn't die too fast), but you don't have all the ridiculous other stuff to worry about?

The most annoying for me was that a solo player couldn't get more than 85%, as 15% of the final score came from team combos. That severely limited a solo player's room for mistakes. I personally preferred to solo, but there were some areas where it was difficult to find a group even if you wanted to (like the Apostasy(?) and sometimes even the ice mountains). Then you run across enemies that are immune to certain attacks (hard to juggle enemies that couldn't be launched), or you'd run into enemies that seem designed entirely around the concept of destroying score (like ones that used multi-hit moves that didn't actually do much damage), and you had to fight tooth and nail to make a high score.
underthepale: UnderThePailunderthepale on July 29th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
Oh it gets worse as S-ranks needed 90% or higher meaning a solo player could never get S ranks.

They realized that at some point (over a year in...) and made S ranks FAR easier to get. To give you an idea, unless you skip sungeons completely or grind for an idiotic ammount of time, you're unlikely to both, fail to get King's Road, and have that hurt you. (It was over a year before I got King's Road on all the Lorien Hollow dungeons. Not that this matters at all.)

More, in Revolution, they fixed a lot of things that... Weren't broken. Like removing or changing a lot of quests (prior to 50, at least) that require King's Road. They're still THERE, just far fewer of them.

I can't really call it a BETTER game, but it makes you hate yourself far, far less.
Baines: Nakbaines on July 29th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
No, you could get an SSS Rank playing solo, but you had to pretty much maximize everything else to manage it. I unlocked Kings Road solo on I think everything before the Apostasy, though some areas were extremely annoying because of the things you had to do to maximize points (setting aside enemies to trap in extra long juggles, arranging a room of enemies for a high combo flamethrower to pad various counts, etc) and the attacks you had to avoid (though you could also cheat the hit counter by dying and continuing, if you did take a lot of hits.) You did end up over-leveled a bit, though. I don't know how many times I played some of the Behemoth and Tower stages to finally squeeze by, Tower in particular.

The Kings Road quests got annoying just for existing. There were so many of the things. And you had them and rank quests, which were pretty much the same thing (since rank unlocked them). It is like they ran out of imagination after making the first third of the game, and were just looking to pad the quest counts. (Not that the quests in the first third of the game were imaginative, either.)

Edited at 2012-07-29 10:55 pm (UTC)
underthepale: UnderThePailunderthepale on July 30th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
I know, drove me out of the game too (and earlier than you left, no less). But they've fixed a lot of that. Wasn't enough for me to play to 70 twice... But it was enough to do it once, I guess.