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Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sat May 01, 2021 1:07 pm
by Ack
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Welcome, fellow Racketeers, to the May 2021 Together Retro - The Riddle of Steel!

For this month, instead of looking at a specific era, genre, format, or series, we will be studying and celebrating the mechanics of sword combat in video games. The games we play for this require some kind of swordsmanship. Genre doesn't matter; platformers, action games, hack and slash, fighting games, first person shooters, point-and-click adventures, all are welcome so long as the player focuses their time and effort into studying how the game utilizes sword combat, how it controls, and how it shapes the game. Prepare yourself, draw your blade, and remember that the pointy end goes in the other man!

As this leads to a variety of game types available, I am going to list some possible options for you to consider playing:

Barbarian
Battle Blaze
Bushido Blade series
Conan
Devil May Cry
Die by the Sword
Elder Scrolls series
First Samurai series
Kengo: Master of Bushido
Kings Field series
Last Blade series
Last Bronx
Mace: The Dark Age
Mark of Kri
Ninja Gaiden
Onimusha series
Red Steel series
Rising Zan
Samurai Shodown series
Samurai Warriors series
Shadow Tower series
Soul Edge/Soul Calibur
Soul of the Samurai
Souls series
Sword of the Berserk
Tenchu series
Ultima Underworld series
Way of the Samurai series
Weaponlord

Please note, this list is in no way exhaustive; you have numerous options. The goal here isn't to focus on the nitty gritty of the games' plot or the overall adventure but on how they handle their combat and their approach to the sword.

Hell, I wouldn't care if you played Monkey Island, so long as you made it a point to focus your time, energy, and thoughts for this TR into the insult-based sword combat, which would be appropriate because you fight like a cow.

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sat May 01, 2021 2:14 pm
by lordb0rb4
Bushido Blade 2 was a revelation when i discovered it back in the day, it's been AGES since i played it and i'm enjoying getting back on it, no HUD and the "Kurosawa" filter give the game an eerie mood for sure:
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The game feels very RNG but satisfying as hell at the same time.
Way of the samurai is another serie i'm thinking about tackling this month too, i just remembered Samurai Western (Way of the Samurai spinoff i believe) that has amazing gameplay and customization, do not sleep on this one guys!


Edit:On the pool topic i saw plenty users point out Reed Steel, i'd like to suggest Onechanbara as well on Wii, very obscure game on the platform.

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sat May 01, 2021 2:50 pm
by marurun
Don’t forget the classic Prince of Persia. It was mostly platforming, but sword combat had that neat parry counter flow.

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sat May 01, 2021 6:58 pm
by alienjesus
Looking forward to this.

I was planning to play Metal Gear Rising.as my game, but because I'm worried about spoilers I'm going to play through Metal Gear Solid 4 first.

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sat May 01, 2021 7:13 pm
by lordb0rb4
alienjesus wrote:Looking forward to this.

I was planning to play Metal Gear Rising.as my game, but because I'm worried about spoilers I'm going to play through Metal Gear Solid 4 first.


Oh boy, one of THE most badass moments in gaming awaits you in MGS 4, MGS Rising has almost no connection with MGS 4 imo besides Rayden. :roll:

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 12:58 am
by MrPopo
Screw it, let's finally get through the old Elder Scrolls games.

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 1:17 am
by Ack
MrPopo wrote:Screw it, let's finally get through the old Elder Scrolls games.

Yep. You're hitting up Arena, and I have gotten into Battlespire.

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 6:41 pm
by Ack
Well, after a few false starts to get the hang of character creation and controls, I have officially started my run through An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire. The plot involves an apprentice entering the Battlespire, home to the Imperial Battlemages, only to discover the Daedra have overrun it. Trapped inside and with few other options, you must press forward to try and defeat the Daedra, escape, and potentially rescue your partner/friend/significant other, I'm not really sure.

In practice, Battlespire is a first person dungeon crawler. The game requires traversal of 7 levels to reach the end, complete with a mixture of melee, range, and magic combat. It being Riddle of Steel month, I have chosen to play as a Redguard specializing in Long Blade to help min/max myself a little. Elder Scrolls games use skills and stats to influence your attacks, but they also relied on dice rolls through Morrowind, so just because I swing doesn't mean I hit...though Bethesda still wanted me to swing.

Yes, dice rolls complicate things, and there are a lot of aspects of combat I have no control over, but one thing I do is my weapon swings. To attack, I must hold down the corresponding button and then flick the computer mouse. Depending on how I move it, I can perform swings in various directions or even a direct stab; there is also an overhead attack, but I have yet to understand how I differentiate between it and the stab. Despite the large number of unknown dice rolls behind the scenes, I still feel like an active participant in combat, and when I hit or miss, further things can happen. I'll post again later about further components of the combat system, as it's not all entirely intuitive or under my control, but with some patience, there are tricks and techniques to better handling a blade in the game.

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 8:24 pm
by PretentiousHipster
I'll do my best to make a new video on it by the end of the month. It's actually a very simple process to (mostly) fix Blade of Darkness, and I gotta say, the combat of it is second to none. It's considered a precursor to the Souls series. Imagine that but with more complex sword combat. One of the only games that really makes you feel the danger of it. Hit the enemies shield? You've opened yourself up for a few seconds. Lost your hand? Too bad you can't use your weapon anymore.

You can see my old review if you are curious BUT IT IS TERRIBLE lol. One of my first videos, but it should at least give you some sense of how it is: https://youtu.be/K89hZsRYO2I

Re: Together Retro May 2021 - The Riddle of Steel

Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 12:16 am
by MrPopo
Battlespire gets the swinging thing originally from Arena. The thing I haven't yet figured out is if the swings actually matter. I know they did in Morrowind; every weapon had a damage range that depended on swing type (though you could turn on in the options to always use the optimal type). But Arena just has a single damage range for a given weapon, so it's unclear whether the swings actually matter or if it's just a visual thing.