EcoShifter

Member
 PSN Profile
  • Content count

    855
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

805 Excellent

About EcoShifter

  • Rank
    Truth Seeker

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Recent Profile Visitors

5,104 profile views
  1. Finally beat The Last of Us: Part II, despite the fact I've had the game since day one (gift). Don't know the exact total number of collectibles, but i'm only missing 21 now. That's much less than I somewhat theorized. Thankfully, because the amount of walking and generally slowed-down segments, among other things, in this game is extremely abundant. Although, I'll have to deal with it all again for the 100% completion anyway :\

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. starcrunch061

      starcrunch061

      Did you like the game itself?

    3. EcoShifter

      EcoShifter

      @IntroPhenom That's something that can also be done entirely on your own when a game gives you the freedom to move as fast or slow as you want. If you want to take your time you can choose to move slowly or even stop in place yourself. Games have allowed players those for a long time without forcing it upon the player, even games with expository dialogue. But when a game forces the players to slow down, that is equally bad, if not worse, than the opposite. It's generally more tolerable on a first playthrough when everything is completely fresh, but it ages worse upon every subsequent playthrough, especially on a permadeath type setting when dying makes the player have to relive it to progress. There's additional faults to this type of game design too, such as artificially extending a game's length, just like unskippable cutscenes which this game also has some of.

       

      @starcrunch061 Parts of it (mainly gameplay related). Overall? No.

    4. IntroPhenom

      IntroPhenom

      Interesting.  No cut scene or any other pause in the action of a game ever crossed my mind as being a forced slow down, more just part of the intended flow.  They weren't a bother to me, at least.  Or, if they were a bother...trying to think of the last game I played where I skipped dialogue (which I almost never do), maybe it was towards the conclusion of Dragon Quest XI...they weren't disruptive enough to turn my opinion of the game.  Permadeath sounds like it sucks regardless.

  2. JC2 actually has a weird variety of things that have aged well and things that haven't. It's aged well in considerable areas, like physics (mostly), explosions (more important back then than today), graphics, diverse environments via multiple biomes and industrial locations, etc, especially on PC (a lot of games have generally aged better on it than consoles, which people often don't take into account), while the sequels have been doing a great job at refining past issues or limitations with things like the grappling hook's strength with heavier objects, A.I. behavior, checkpoints, driving and character controls, etc. While at this point I still would not agree with it being the best JC game, there is some merit to its still prominent popularity and praise today, similar to why Crysis and Far Cry 3 (not just because of Vaas) are still praised today, too. Noone is calling the stories in JC games masterpieces or excellently written, but there are some quality aspects to the story and definitely improvements each release, and it's been getting less goofy and more grounded, as the developers have specifically spoken about in interviews. It's definitely not on par with the first two games.' Things like character interactions and line deliveries are often not just better but well done too. Chaos is changed every installment. JC3 had already revamped "Chaos" by making it an optional system that not only isn't tied to story progression anymore but also the means to unlock other items. JC4 continues JC3 change but makes chaos important again to the story progression in the form of squad reserves, whom do the liberating after sufficient chaos is caused. I've seen your posts around regarding multiple openworld games. You've expressed not finding them engaging or particularly good, yet you keep playing them. Even as a persistent trophy hunter you should be aware you can't complete every series, so I don't see why you constantly put up with the series that have proven time and time again aren't to your personal liking. Sure, some series greatly revamp their formula, which is rare, but series like the aforementioned are already deeply defined by what they have been. I've already considered that. But something else to consider is that later generations of people, like in their 20s, are also part of the side criticizing the formula. But when you have such a large group of people defending and wanting more series like Uncharted, including those who not only played the four major games but Golden Abyss and Lost Legacy in addition, a strongly formulaic (and scripted) series in both story construction and gameplay, it's hard to take relevant formula based topics seriously.
  3. Looking at your profile, did you even start the game yet? There's only 8 missable orbs that can be gotten very easily. The first one is in the sewers (only missable because it's bugged), to the left immediately after a certain drop, while the remaining seven are all in the last level.
  4. You can't just bring up any game series that suits your point, it needs to be a valid comparison. For x reason, some formulas work well enough to be used over and over. Others either don't work well enough or are in need of major changes. With Pokemon's mainline game series, older fans (20s, 30s, etc) have gotten tired of the same similar formula since the first of what is now eight generations. The reason the series sells so well is primarily because of kids. Now Call of Duty is an especially poor comparison because a large part of its demographic are a special group of kids/teens who don't mind the repetition within the series as much as older players. Plus, there's statistical evidence proving a weird bias for the shooting genre; something about shooting and killing that just never gets old, especially since CoD particularly has among the most refined shooting mechanics in the FPS genre. The series has also actually mixed things up a few times to say the least, with abilities like wall running and exosuits and whatever else I've possibly missed. You've also ignored the appeal the series has because of very popular features likes zombies, especially with how much it's been innovating since its debut in WaW (better easter eggs, story, level design, etc). Haven't played B3 yet, but the Borderland series is another weird example. Between the first game's limitations in how much greater the series could have been, the various quality game design systems (world, soundtrack, humor, RPG gameplay, coop gameplay, looting, content, characters, etc), and the fact that there hasn't been exactly a lot of installments, it's too soon for people to be burnt out from the series. The Pre-sequel installment may be a full standalone game, but it's not a full scale Borderlands game and was in-part made to buy time for B3 which was already in development. As stated before, Borderlands was basically groundbreaking when it first released but there was room for improvement; B2 took it to another level, but it's also only the first sequel at this point. The series in general just particularly does a lot right and has a lot going on, is ridiculously fun, clearly has a lot of effort put into it, and had its third major installment recently released under two years ago. But the main point with JC is repetition, not precisely the way that JC has gone about executing its progression system since JC2. Even if it were the point, JC4's progression is a hybrid of JC2 and JC3; chaos and missions both progress the story. The freedom to tackle settlements/bases in desired order and the liberation system are still a core part of the gameplay, too (as well as the stunts, hijacking, etc, that the series has been known for). So it is more of JC2 and JC3, just with less focus on destroying the red colored government property.
  5. Jak X: Combat Racing Grip: Combat Racing Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 Wipeout Omega Collection Team Sonic Racing (mainly if you have friends, as the game is incredible and at its best with real players. CPUs are entertaining enough to have fun but not to the extent of having real players) Would add ModNation Racers, which is amazing even without its online, but the online servers have been shutdown.
  6. Inferior graphics and a lot of missing content aside, Sly Cooper trilogy [PSVita] runs mostly well, enough to recommend performance wise even though PS3 version is the better overall version. Jak and Daxter trilogy [PSVita], however, was optimized poorly. It's objectively the poorest running versions of the series to date. It's not unplayable, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you overclock.
  7. Your question is based on his claim. But before answering that I would have to say the world, generally, isn't that bad. I've seen much worse designed worlds in other games, with little to no verticality, lack of various biomes, weather effects, wildlife, environmental interactivity, temples/caverns, etc. But in comparison to other entries in the JC series, JC3's world is among one of if not the weakest, though. Each of the three packs brings at least one new location to the sky, sea, and ground. It technically adds to the world, visually and physically and you can visit them seamlessly, but it's not a new game or a map—it just adds more to the already existing world, so despite what it does it still won't be enough for a player not even interested in what the base world has to offer. I wasn't trying to encourage you to check out JC3, though. I don't think I can even recommend it because of the serious framerate inconsistencies. I've been informed of the other two DLCs, but I didn't know one of them had aliens. That'll be interesting. When I get them, I'll definitely provide some brief thoughts at least. The driving is competent and refined enough in JC4 to the point where I can call it fun, especially since the physics with cars aren't crazy when you collide into things like rocks or sliding/turn over from free stunts and accidents. (Very well balanced. So many times I expected the cars I drove to just keep moving forward when drove off high points/steep slopes or to dramatically turn over repeatedly from certain things, but it didn't happen). So I expect to have fun with the vehicle based DLC.
  8. Trophies aren't part of the topic. But to add my two cent, JC4's platinum is tedious to get just like JC3's. I don't think I can say I enjoyed platinum hunting in JC4, but that doesn't affect the game's actual quality. And with how flexible trophy design can be, any decent sized game, of any quality, can easily become insanely repetitive for trophy hunters if designed so. In terms of other gameplay features, I am aware that the stunts are somewhat inferior in JC4 (even though there's no interrupting loading screen in-between and they're easier to transition into from free-roaming), which might have been a decision based on fan feedback from JC3. Tying trophies to doing them all is a terrible idea, one bad enough to likely prevent me from getting platinum again on another account, though. Missions is a complicated topic. There's an actual good amount of variety (there's a lot of different objectives and even the same types don't always function the same) when looked at as a whole system. To save a lot of text, if all the missions were able to be tackled at any point in the game and in any order, the variety would be more apparent (yet at the sametime the player would be overwhelmed from such a large list). Similar mechanics used throughout multiple missions types, like flipping a breaker or a background timer, also (likely) adds to the delusion that missions have little variety. From time to time missions are spiced up with things like unique level design and/or interrupting weather mechanics, such as that one base with multiple inclined ramps spaced between gaps, with the player having to move a guy using them before protecting him during his panel hacks, or the devastating weather storms appearing during your car stunts with Garland or ones taking place in them like the Sargento training mission with the immobile trainees trapped in the middle of a sandstorm and surrounded by snipers, respectively. DLC. Haven't played that yet. I'll get around to it in the not too distant future. I figure since it'll likely be easy enough that I can hold off on it until a later point in time. I also expect it to be a fun distraction/break away from whatever demanding games I completed prior to it. I know. That's part of why I commented. Unfortunately, trophy collecting is always a chore with the the JC series in general. JC is a series for gameplay enthusiast, with active experimentation, who truly enjoy openworld sandbox-based games. It's made for a certain audience and it in fact good for what it sets out to be. JC2 was great for its time, but at this point it can't be considered a good or exceptional "physics-based sandbox game" like the series is advertised as when directly compared to its sequels. The gameplay has just been improved too much.
  9. The chaos is not useless. It has less impact simply because of the game's new progression system, which makes absolute sense. On the contrary, the action is better in JC4, especially with it having the strongest heat system in the series. Explosions are visual effects and nothing more, so it being toned down, which was clearly necessary for a better performing and more innovative game via the multi-weather system, is a minor complaint at best not at all worth blowing out of proportion and calling JC4 a huge step back over. Most of what makes Just Cause what it is is still very much intact in JC4. Rico controls better then ever and the core mechanics and physics are still at a high(er) level, which is important for a physics based sandbox game. The funny thing about your repetition point is that JC4 would be more repetitive if it kept the same formula as JC2. Some people call JC3 JC2.5, despite destruction of government property no longer being the sole key to story progression. Same remarks would probably be made for JC4 if the main thing was to yet again spend a double or higher numerical amount of time liberating base after base after base with chaotic actions again, like in JC2.
  10. Yes, it's my specialty, but not all at once. Instead, I simply aim to complete series at my own pace or upon new installment releases. Of course because of how gigantic the gaming media is, there are some series I simply will never fully complete, not due to lack of skill but other things. I always do all the Naruto games, Dragon Ball games, Dead Space games, Crysis games, Killzone games, Resistance games, Uncharted games, inFAMOUS games, Jak and Daxter games, Sonic games, and Shantae games and several other series, but there's simply no way I can do this task for other series, like Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, and Call of Duty. It's too much, with or without time. Some series I get into to experiment with or because I like a particular thing it does differently. Despite series being my specialty, I will never attempt or succeed in trying to complete every single series I put on my profile, because that's insanity. But my actual favorite series are always prioritized.
  11. Piece of Cake Award Not a 0/10 in difficulty but among the easiest. Unlike other games that people deem easy without factoring in the necessity of a guide, for this game no guide is needed to achieve its platinum, which largely contributes to this game being listed here. It's Like Dark Souls (The title of this award should receive a name change) Simply both the hardest game and platinum trophy received, especially since I've had nearly no experience from the last generation installments. The WipEout series is known for its infamous difficulty within the racing genre. Bad Ass Award The series already naturally embodies the player being a badass, allowing nearly anything the mind can think of. It's the culmination of multiple badass moments in this game that puts it above anything else. Grind of the Year The grind is so awful that I needed a couple of the free Zeni (game's currency) giveaways from the game devs to receive the related trophy for the platinum. And I don't feel bad about it because in addition to doing most of the work, the $20,000,000 requirement is incredibly absurd. King of the Internet The is the most positive experience I've had with online gaming during the year, due not only to non-toxic, reliable, and helpful online players but also the least amount of connection issues like lag and forceful exited sessions. Worst Online Experience . There is no better game for this award than this specific Naruto game, and that probably won't change even to deathbed. The community, general balancing, community, recurring unsuccessful dev fixes, community, netcode, community, pay to gain significant advantage, community, bugs/glitches, community, lack of quality of life features, community and whatever else exceeds not only anything I played during the year but in my life as a whole, across games of any genre and any platform. The colossal amount of disrespect, cowardliness, pettiness, and uselessness from players (e.g., highly excessive teabagging, rage-quitting, legitimate cheating, camping, running away entire matches, other unsportsmanship behavior, and teammates who lack fundamental knowledge, common sense, and teamwork), the recurring game-breaking and game-changing bugs, and so much more, was immensely disgusting, pathetic, and exasperating. Sleeper Hit of the Year Part of my experience with this game was already described recently. Biggest Bomb of the Year Despite the increase in terror that makes the game feel closer inline with popular survival-horror ones and the gameplay finally being at least up to modern standards—with stealth mechanics here seen in prior stealth games, like moving through tight spaces and hiding in foliage, combat mechanics previously seen in Tomb Raider and Dead Space, like stagger animations from precise limb attacks, and some more—the plot and cast and many aspects included under those areas has just been boring and unmotivating, especially for an adamantly story driven game. Things like the game's bleakness and grim tone haven't been the issues (if so, little in comparison), it's just the unengaging plot and character moments. Despite my latest criticisms with Shantae's m.recent installment, it is not chosen over TLOU:P2 because I still relatively enjoyed the game while just deeming it as inferior to past releases in a lot of cases. Best Trophy Image Typically, I wouldn't list a platinum trophy that uses a PlayStation platinum icon, but this differs from usual and is at least one of the better looking images that especially doesn't use an in-game graphic for its platinum trophy image (as far as im aware), from the year. It's also awesome how 1:1 the design of this image is to the game's art-style. Worst Trophy Image As bad as logo/title based images, constantly reused images, non-creative images, etc, are, at least they're visually clear from a presentation point of view. But this image here is suppose to depict a mine that was shot in midair, and it doesn't do a good job at that. Best Female Character Aloy Best Male Character Peter Parker/Spider-Man Best Platinum of the Year Ultimate Shifter Favorite enough to have been carefully saved as a future milestone at a previous point in time. Worst Platinum of the Year Master of All The quality of the game itself + its Emblem collectible bug that requires a complete progress reset—btw i'm aware of the video guide that glosses over one of the twenty emblems and instead shows 19/20, but that legitimately was not my actual problem; one emblem was simply non-existent (I went through each level three times at least to make sure)—that makes this the worst platinum of the year. Most Anticipated *Game* of 2021 Dying Light 2 (if it releases) or Horizon Forbidden West (incase DL2 doesn't release) - - - The beginning of 2020 was ground-breaking, between actually starting off with a new Q1 game (first month of the year), got what is probably my hardest platinum trophy of a different game (within the same month), and ended up completing some notoriously difficult games that I had given up on/or taken multi-years long break from ([Prototype]'s and Call of Duty Classic's and Uncharted 4's 100%). While I did get a decent amount of more platinums after all the ones I had gotten early in the year, the rest of the year was padded by procrastination and return to old games for their multiplayer/pure fun, which was regressive and counterproductive. This is one of my weirdest years, especially considering I didn't obtain even a fair amount of 2020 games but only a few. Although, Dying Light 2 was suppose to release this year, and it would have added to my platinum/game count. So I could have had a much, much better second half/finale if I hadn't kept neglecting my backlog.
  12. . . . Neither of those are officially the fourth title; there can still be a "Spyro 4" and "Jak 4".
  13. Sorry for the late reply. If only you had asked this much sooner when a lot of the problems were fresh in my mind and before a thread on the Telltale The Walking Dead forums full of detailed problems listed by people was removed. The collection's immense issues varies across many areas in game design, but personally I can't give you too many elaborate examples. There's some audio and especially graphical bugs, some missing conversations (the most common brought up is one between Clem and Christy by the train tracks), a nasty save bug, another nasty bug with the game altering past choices you already made and giving you different ones you didn't make (and btw attempting to fix the issue via restarting episodes will not always works. It can causes an endless loop of choices that you didn't make across multiple episodes. Some things I won't forget is how I wasted time replaying past episodes in S2 to try and fix choices that were changed outside my control, with the end result having required me to start from EP1 to avoid more past-episode alterations. It happened again in the following season, ANF, in which I replayed some middle episode three times in a row because my choices would not stay and I didn't want to start all over), removal of features like "next time on The Walking Dead" (episodes just transition into the next after a black screen) and rewinding—etc—absent music from the credit scenes of multiple episodes, and more. Wish I could do a better job explaining, but I simply can't. It's too exhausting because of the overwhelmingly sheer variety of problems in the collection and because a lot of them I can't specify due to memory loss of precise matters, as I mostly remember the topics the issues fall under instead. I did manage to find a small selection of examples, though these are mostly kinda under the graphics category (the missing glass shard and stranger's car have been among the most popular discussed ones, even in general conv.): But yeah, the problems I listed and alluded too are very common. It's not one of those situations where I or a few people got super unlucky with some rare bugs. The collection is objectively, pathetically, unbelievably, tremendously, and unforgivably flawed, to the point where it's a complete and utter pass without question or argument, even if given free (which is how I got mine). You simply either. . . play the original games or the definitive collection. The original collection should be treated as non-existent, especially since it was actually delisted. Is this a separate point? It's always been 4 games+400 Days DLC. The only "valuable" aspect of this collection is that it can be exploited for yet another among the many TWD platinums, but it is not worth even being used for so. The other (vastly superior) collection gives you all 5 games, which is all the games and anything else released before, plus brand new bonus content, like a music player, graphic filters, and more.
  14. At the time of writing Rico was Here Earn all Just Cause 4 Trophies This installment (on its latest patch but without any DLC) did not disappoint me anywhere to the level others who've played this claimed. Graphic related issues aside, which applies in only certain areas (like say pop-in and water texture but not the beauty of the world and the detail gone into the environments), I can't see how Just Cause 3 is supposedly better than this (that's including its season pass content. . . vs base JC4, which is interesting). The framerate is better and actually stable this time around, which is one of the biggest deciding factors. For some strange reason, people exempt this game from the framerate>graphics matter. Other things this installment does better than its predecessor includes, much better driving (with things like better handling and drifting, though motorcycles still need work), much better shooting system—thanks to aiming down the sight finally being a mechanic now (it makes the game feel more inline with a modern shooter) and a secondary fire mechanic for weapons now—not only more tethers but a much better grappling hook system too (with better mods, like power yanking for the retract tether, and multiple customizable loudouts to make ultimate tether builds to one's personal liking), better weapons (there's literally a wind gun, two of them actually, an electrical weapon that causes thunderstorms, a cow gun that turns people into cows, etc) and vehicles (snowmobile, blimp, special ones with ramps and cranes, etc), no fisticuffs but a still improved melee attack which also deflects grenades (very useful), aesthetically customizable wingsuit and parachute, a more visually varied openworld than JC3's, improved A.I. and new realistic hit-reaction animations (like NPCs kneeling or stumbling over when getting shot in the leg), a better heat system even despite the removal of set levels, and more. The new weather system and innovation is also incredible and at least on par with their Mad Max game (thankfully). All the things to expect from dangerous weather storms like thunderstorms, blizzards, sandstorms, and tornados, in a video game are here: thunderstorms strike the highest living/non-living thing, blizzards and sandstorms decrease visibility, and tornados engulf everything within its proximity, all while having their own impact on wind pressure as well. Certain weather combinations can even be made thanks to the electric gun (which name's eludes me), like creating basically that chaotic and violent electrical sandstorm in Mad Max by using the electric gun's insanely fun secondary fire mechanic to create a temporary thunderstorm during a sandstorm. With a tone shift for this game, it also benefits Rico in having made him a more grounded character, from design to characterization. His new voice actor is even better than his previous. (Hopefully this one stays.) And the manipulated weather storms being his biggest enemy and being too much for even Rico to handle initially, is good and one supportive way for the more grounded take in this installment. So, of course not everything is an improvement; no decently sized series just only improves things without there being some setbacks. Among the most obvious, which everyone complains about (i.e., graphics), the U.I. is weirdly designed and while not a gigantic deal it sucks that there's no longer stats listed for the weapons and vehicles under their menu. There may also be a bit too many timed missions during the main story. Overall, however, this is a more cohesive JC game than JC3 (and the other installments), getting ever so closing to full dream, which hopefully is not compromised too much in JC5 because of the weaker sale performance of JC4. And with all the games pros and cons, i'm almost certain I have more hours in JC3 (given I have those DLC expansions and that the time required for platinum is suppose to be longer), yet I was able to be more creative than ever in JC4 with less hours (and had more fun). The gameplay has never been any better in the series, even while JC4 ditches the focus on taking over every single kind of settlement and base through (mindless) property destruction.
  15. Answered the Siren's Call Obtain all trophies in "Shantae and the Seven Sirens". Platinum Image: The latest and fifth installment in the Shantae series. For all purposes, the only game in the series I will not compare this to is the first game, Shantae. Because I didn't play it. RR = Risky's Revenge (second title) PC = Pirate's Curse (third title) HGH = ½ (/Half) Genie Hero (fourth title) Seven Sirens is similar to the Pirate Curse's installment in that it changes up the series formula but just not as much. Technically transformations are indeed still tied to dancing, but they're environmental/screen-based, while the controllable ones are now instantaneous due to the game's setting exclusive items called fusion stones. Graphics I highly enjoy both 2D or 3D art and perspective in side-scroller based games (Sonic the Hedgehog, Unravel, INSIDE, OutLand, etc), but while Shantae did start out as a 2D game with pixelated art and remained so until the third installment PC, SS's predecessor Half Gene Hero did a phenomenal job with its 3D art. Rather than continue under that new direction, SS actually takes a step back and returns to 2D (though this time with vector graphics), even though it's also the only title in the series to support 4K resolution. Additionally, background detail can often be very weak in general and compared to past titles, like less/little scenery/environment depth and props and less animated objects, at times making it the worse looking Shantae game in terms of background detail, especially the major boss rooms. Soundtrack Have been handled by new people this time around instead of the legendary Jake Kaufman, who composed for every other Shantae game. The difference in quality is extremely apparent, even though it's alluded to that the composing for this game was more team oriented than all past titles. "Bad" is not a term I'd associate with its overall quality, but it's heavily reliant on chiptune usage, by default making it less varied and audibly the most repetitive soundtrack in the series. There's never anything like "Risky's Song" and "The Sky Bridge" from HGH, "Scorching Dunes" and "Trip through Sequin land" from PC, or "Days travel" from RR . And even SS's best genuinely doesn't hit as high as its predecessors' best. I'd say SS's soundtrack ranges across mediocre, average, good and sometimes very good and is the weakest in the series. Gameplay & Difficulty The core gameplay remains the same as it's been throughout the series: Shantae uses her hair and magic to defeat enemies and interact with numerous things in the world, while also using her animal transformations to clear obstacles and explore (the returning) labyrinths, all with a mixture of platforming and puzzle solving. One notable change includes instant controllable animal transformations (highly requested by fans) that doesn't require Shantae's dancing anymore, very similar to the pirate weapons from PC. The environment based transformations are something new, allowing Shantae to manipulate the environment, like using Refresh Dance to cure contaminated water or Spark Dance activate or deactivate machines. Another new mechanic is the Monster Card system, which are cards of enemies with one of their abilities. Pre-release I was skeptical on this feature, but while some abilities decreases the game's difficulty it is still a fun mechanic, especially for allowing variations of a customized Shantae. HGH's (end-game) Magical Tiara item ridiculousness aside, SS is definitely the easiest Shantae game. Starting with the most simplest, Shantae starts off with three hearts of health, which hasn't been a thing since RR. Next, there is more health-based food items than PC and HGH individually and almost combined. One of those items includes auto-potions, introduced in PC but didn't return even in HGH. In addition, the foods' drop rate is the strongest in the series, even to the point where casuals and newcomers have frequently complained about or acknowledged it. Moreover, multiple food items now replenish magic along with the health. Shantae herself also eventually learns a magic ability very similar to HGH's Revive Dance called Refresh Dance, but there's some notable differences: the Revive Dance in HGH is completely optional, has to be paid for, and consumes a great chunk of magic, while the Refresh Dance in SS is mandatory for story progression and consumes much less magic. In extension, a few of SS's stronger enemies can be defeated by a single use of the dance, and there's a couple of monster cards that can make the attack even more effective such as less magic consumption specifically for that attack and also more hearts restored. There's another very similar parallel with a move from both games, Obliterate in HGH and Quake Dance in SS. It's exactly the same exact situation, mandatory item, ability cards that make it more effective, etc. Gem acquisition is also easier—much—easier in this installment. Normally it's at least slightly more abundant than HGH's. Then with alterations, such as once again equipping a card that increases number of dropped gems and even worse a move called the Seer Dance that reveals hidden-to-the-naked-eye statue heads with gems inside littered throughout the entire world, it's in a whole dimension of its own. Obviously this means you can buy anything from hair upgrades to potions to magic not only faster but in more supply—combine that realization with the game's food item drop rate—because, no, prices does not accommodate for the generous gem collecting. Dash Newt's exploits. Dash Newt is a new controllable animal transformation of Shantae, reminiscent of Shantae's iconic Monkey form, and the very first Shantae gets. The difference between the two gameplay wise, however, is Newt can perform dashes on the spot, and that's part of the problem. Its instantaneous dash with invincibility allows Shantae to do two big things that contributes to the easier difficulty: allows Shantae to pass through all enemies (including those infamous Pincher enemies people seem to hate and even bosses and attacks) and move throughout levels at abnormal rate, (the latter) like the backdash in RR. (There's controversy and sort of proof that the devs have been catering to speedrunners in at least some way since the previous installment, and this mechanic is likely one supportive instance.) The moment Shantae lands after each dash it can be used again. Obviously it has its convenient moments at times, but it breaks the balance between combat and platforming overall by literally zooming through any enemy upon encounter. There's also some ability cards that makes it better. Naturally this all makes the speedrun related rewards (trophies/wallpaper) easier. Relics, such as shampoo, armor and more, cannot be toggled on or off. HGH implemented that feature, but it's absent in SS. This means when you buy certain relics, you keep their beneficial upgrade and remain as powerful as it makes you, indefinitely. No Hardcore Mode. This difficulty mode made its debut, post-launch, in HGH, but it's non-existent in SS. Story There's a few good plot twists, as usual, but whatever quality there may be in the story is hindered greatly by the series's most disappointing use of the cast and some of the weakest dialogue. The interactions with Squid Baron and Risky Boots are about on par with past titles, which is good (and expected with the consistency in attention that are given to them time and time again), while the rest range between ok and below ok. But the worse part about the story is probably how both Shantae's friends (Rottytops, Bolo, and Sky) and the brand new supportive characters (who will be named later) have either little involvement or no meaningful role throughout. Shantae is invited to an island, Paradise Island, in appreciation of Half Genie Heroes and to participate in the Half Genie Festival, and Sky intends and is adamant on using the opportunity to enjoy the vacation there. It's all around underwhelming utilization and wasted potential for what is suppose to be the game's most important and prominent characters, especially with how good their designs are. There is also an oddly disappointing reuse of multiple voiced lines through the story based interactions from Shantae, such as "Risky Boots. So" when Shantae confronts Risky, "I feel like dancing" when she gets a new magic power, and a few more. This post is still incomplete, being about 80% done. But it is almost finished. Promise.