Zero Punctuation: Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami

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Nice nod to FTL

When are you going to get a Vita Yahtzee? I don't mind if it counts as a retro review by the time you get around to Gravity Rush, as long as you actually do at some point.

Another great episode, Yahtzee! shame about Suda51's latest not being up to snuff, even with the Monty Python-esque animation quality. Speak of the devil, did you watch that episode of Fringe where Walter had an acid induced, Terry Gilliam-animated dream sequence?

It's a shame that YZ didn't realize Hotline Miami was basically telling him to go fuck himself for expecting a satisfying plot. I think it would've been interesting to hear his thoughts on the idea.

Astro:
It's a shame that YZ didn't realize Hotline Miami was basically telling him to go fuck himself for expecting a satisfying plot. I think it would've been interesting to hear his thoughts on the idea.

That whole idea of "creator inside joke making fun of the audience" is getting a little stale. We've seen it with Cabin in the Woods and Sucker Punch in movies. Some ideas just need to die long before they become cliche.

I must eat some fantastic drugs at the moment to counteract some sickens my weak human body stupidly decided to attract.. But I'm pretty sure I remember that little horrid 16bit era game on that console, ehm not that I played it but the cover of it.. and I have a horrid memory this sure does not work out... Brains hurting again...

And I do believe FTL is right up Yathzees alley, die, die again, die, die, get super stuff then die becuse you don't find anywhere to repair the hull, die, die, of last "level" die..., die die die, o my good is it 4 o'clock in th morning I need to go up in 2h today is going to be f*cked at work, just one more time, die....(oh btw that did happen the first time I played FTL...)

Wait... wasn't Purple Monkey Dishwasher another name for Red Dead Redemption?

Carnagath:

Simca:

thanatos388:
Has he played FTL? That game was great.

Yeah, I can't wait for a review of FTL, mostly because I'm sure he will hate it and it will be hilarious (even though I love it).

Not much to say about FTL really, unless he does a Demon's Souls style video. It's a roguelike, it's ok, the luck factor is too high like playing a slot machine that either produces crewmembers or punches you in the gut... that's pretty much it.

Not much to say about one of the few recent games that truly feels fresh and new while also having excellent execution? Why would you say that? :(

Also, the slot machine comment is just silly. You can always react to the randomness. It's simply a test of your adaptability, so you can never just find a 'safe' strategy and use that over and over again. It keeps the game tense and exciting for players who can more or less routinely beat the game.

C117:
I've actually played a lot of Hotline Miami recently, and it pleases me that Yahtzee decided to do a review of it. It sits firmly in the same seat as Super Meat Bot and I Wanna Be The Guy as "difficult games that are still oddly forgiving", which I find I am quite fond of.

I have to agree though, that the hospital level was bad. Especially after I had spent the first 50 or so attempts sneaking into the managers office from the other way, before I finally succeeded... only to discover that the door was locked, and I was supposed to go find the keycard, then go through the office and adjacent rooms the opposite way I had went, before darting into the elevator.

I just felt exasperated after that level...

IWBTG does *not* fit that cast.

Super Meat boy's all execution, IWBTG's apples fall upwards just to fuck with you and various other cruelties too horrific to mention ("You jumped into a sword, retard!")

Remus:

Astro:
It's a shame that YZ didn't realize Hotline Miami was basically telling him to go fuck himself for expecting a satisfying plot. I think it would've been interesting to hear his thoughts on the idea.

That whole idea of "creator inside joke making fun of the audience" is getting a little stale. We've seen it with Cabin in the Woods and Sucker Punch in movies. Some ideas just need to die long before they become cliche.

Yeah, it's normally smug and stupid as well when you deconstruct their subtext.

The amount Yahtzee bangs on about cricket these days has made me realise that he must be a bit of a fan himself. So Yahtzee, can you play? And more importantly, are you up for returning to Blighty this summer to see us crush the old enemy?

Without having played Hotline: Miami (I'm poor. Poor enough that 10 bucks is too much for me) the graphics remind me of The Bilestoad, an old Apple II game.

TheNarrator:
You can always react to the randomness. It's simply a test of your adaptability, so you can never just find a 'safe' strategy and use that over and over again. It keeps the game tense and exciting for players who can more or less routinely beat the game.

As much as I like FTL, the randomness really can make some trips neckbreakingly unfair and others breezes where everyone and their cat keeps throwing goodies at you. It's not exactly balanced or fair, but that's part of the appeal of roguelikes and winning against improbable odds. You just need to strike a certain sweet spot where it doesn't feel unfair. XCOM Enemy Unknown hit that sweet spot for me for example. FTL, I'm not so sure.

But it's still fun to play and exciting to fight for every crewmember once shit hits the fan.

I loved Hotline Miami in the same way I liked Spec Ops, and that's by making you feel guilty. In Hotline Miami especially it goes something like this:

'Alright buddy, it's cool, kill all those people. Hey yeah, there you go! See that glowing multiplier above their heads?! Yeah that's awesome right?! let's keep this good feeling going! Just listen to this awesome synth music and don't think, just kill.'

Then at the end of the level it's like:

'Oh you bastard. Reflect on this. Reflect on the horror you have brough upon these pixels!'

And each time I fell for it. The end of the game was especially heavy to me, it really made me think about why I play violent games:

It was easily the best 7 bucks I spent and is one of my all time favourite games.

TheNarrator:

Carnagath:

Simca:

Yeah, I can't wait for a review of FTL, mostly because I'm sure he will hate it and it will be hilarious (even though I love it).

Not much to say about FTL really, unless he does a Demon's Souls style video. It's a roguelike, it's ok, the luck factor is too high like playing a slot machine that either produces crewmembers or punches you in the gut... that's pretty much it.

Not much to say about one of the few recent games that truly feels fresh and new while also having excellent execution? Why would you say that? :(

Also, the slot machine comment is just silly. You can always react to the randomness. It's simply a test of your adaptability, so you can never just find a 'safe' strategy and use that over and over again. It keeps the game tense and exciting for players who can more or less routinely beat the game.

No, no, sorry. I think the game is interesting, I like it, but there have been many occasions where I lost 2 of my 3 crew members on the very first sector due to random encounters. There is no adapting to that, you just die. Unless you always ignore all events, which is dumb, turns the game into a glorified free flash game and should not be a valid strategy to begin with. They really need to tone that shit down, it would masively improve the game.

something I've noticed is, for all of Yahtzee's claims that he doesn't hate Nintendo, he has jumped at every chance to bash on the 3DS' 3D gimmick, but hasn't dropped so much as a word on the Vita's back touchpad.
I wonder why that is.
is he jealous of how much money the 3DS is printing for Nintendo? or perhaps he is getting weak in his old age and found some sliver of pity in the dark recesses of his secretly-FF13-loving mind? or perhaps Yahtzee forgot the Vita existed at all because Sony seems to have, too?
take your pick and place your bets!

Baneat:

C117:
I've actually played a lot of Hotline Miami recently, and it pleases me that Yahtzee decided to do a review of it. It sits firmly in the same seat as Super Meat Bot and I Wanna Be The Guy as "difficult games that are still oddly forgiving", which I find I am quite fond of.

I have to agree though, that the hospital level was bad. Especially after I had spent the first 50 or so attempts sneaking into the managers office from the other way, before I finally succeeded... only to discover that the door was locked, and I was supposed to go find the keycard, then go through the office and adjacent rooms the opposite way I had went, before darting into the elevator.

I just felt exasperated after that level...

IWBTG does *not* fit that cast.

Super Meat boy's all execution, IWBTG's apples fall upwards just to fuck with you and various other cruelties too horrific to mention ("You jumped into a sword, retard!")

Not exactly. IWBTG is basically a game that constantly throws you a curveball in it's constant attempts to catch you off-guard, however there's no real punishment for failing beyond having to retrace the last couple of hazard all over again (and, well, if you die in any videogame, that is the least you can be expected to do).

Now, I admit, I play IWBTG on "Normal" so that there are basically a new checkpoint every other room, but what I really meant with my previous post is that IWBTG, Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami are all games that have an overall difficulty level that varies between "teeth grinding", to "sadistic", while at the same time not punishing you too much for your screw-ups. You die, you get a quick reminder that you are, in fact, dead, and one second later you're free to try again (pressing of the R button optional) without any penalty (unless you're going for a no-death run, in which case you're already bonkers), as many times as you want to. Compare this with something like, say, the first Super Mario Bros., where you have 5 lives (possibly more if you know where the 1-ups are hidden), and if you run out you have to start over from the beginning of a world, forcing you to fight all your way to back where you got killed before you can even try again (maybe not the best example, but it's the best one I can think of off the top of my head).

Granted, I do see what you mean. IWBTG isn't exactly known for its fairness, and it often throws new stuff your way that you couldn't have possibly seen coming unless you had played that particular section before. But let me tell you, more than one time in Hotline Miami I got blasted to pieces by a guy with a shotgun that I couldn't see myself, who had spotted me through a pane of glass from 900 yards away the moment I entered the room. There's a lot of trial-and-error in all three above-said games, and it is only when you've played a stage numerous times that you know of all the hazards and are ready to plow through it.

But that's just my opinion. And I am quite the masochist...

Purple Monkey Dishwasher. I'm really liking the new descriptive system Yahtzee is creating.

Aww, I liked Cool Spot on the Genesis. It was no first rate title or anything but it was decent fun and competently made.

II2:
Good Reviews, as usual. Laughed.

To Yahtzee or anyone else interested, Errant Signal covered HL:M (with SPOILERS) in a rather interesting, if somewhat hyper-academic video:

It's an interesting look at the game and more importantly, it's relationship to the warring spouses of narrative and gameplay. You'll either find it deeply interesting, so deep it's navel gazing out it's own bum, or just a good, academic, compliment to Yahtzee's humorous review.

----

To anyone who is watching these videos or reading this post without having played Hotline: Miami... GO PLAY IT, it's great fun, and incredibly cheap on budget and system requirements.

I have to second this. This is the best analysis of the game that I've seen.

It also explains the crappy stealth chapter. And the ending. And the second ending. And the third ending. But it didn't explain the manhole cover behind the building in 'Full House' dammit.

What does it mean? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!!!!!!???!!!!?!!!!!!?!?!!!!?!!!!!?!!!!

I came for the video, and stayed for the post-video FTL discussion. It's kinda of like being in an abusive co-dependent relationship. I just can't quit you FTL!

For each Sector 8 run I have, there is a random run in with an over-shielded Mantis Fighter. My best run so far has been round 2 with the Flagship. At which point it ate my lunch. People complain that the game is unfair, but the random number generator goes both ways. All you can do is swear at the screen, put on your big boy pants, and get back in there.

Death to the Rebellion. Long live the Federation.

I'd play Orange Nerd Crowbar.

Hotline Miami:

GTA: Vice City fan-fiction on digital shrooms; a C=64 game sent through the time machine, being extended in terms of aural stimuli and the hypnotoad visuals that will send a certain part of the demographic into throwing epileptic fits while biting off their tongues. Super violent pixels, super fun for realsies.

I love it.

Black Sword Knight Sword:

Suda51's comment on having ragequit Dark Souls for the umpteenth time because he doesn't get it. Maybe, just maybe, it's an homage, a hat tip to the very same Dark Souls and all those games we old farts played when we were young. Also, Bastion. Also, Akira Yamaoka. It's artsy.

I love it.

Couldn't remember Bastion's name, which is, of course, Bastion. Fired up google, search term: 'isometric view narrator indie', bingo, first result. Hooray!

If the game has to BLOAD your manual saves from the main menu, do you have to BRUN the game to play it?

Carnagath:
No, no, sorry. I think the game is interesting, I like it, but there have been many occasions where I lost 2 of my 3 crew members on the very first sector due to random encounters. There is no adapting to that, you just die. Unless you always ignore all events, which is dumb, turns the game into a glorified free flash game and should not be a valid strategy to begin with. They really need to tone that shit down, it would masively improve the game.

Alright, I shouldn't have written that you can *always* react to the randomness, that was a mistake. Some ships suffer more because of randomness than others. The Stealth Cruiser, for example, is very fun to play with but very susceptible to bad luck. If the first enemy you encounter has two attack drones you might just as well restart. Or if you can't find or purchase a decent extra weapon by the time the average enemy gets triple shield layers, all you can do is pray your FTL drive charges quickly enough. Nonetheless, I find that the randomness of the game only makes it more interesting. I rarely have the feeling that the game doesn't give me a fair chance, and when I do, it's usually quite early in the game (and almost invariably in the form of not finding decent weaponry or drones anywhere) so it's not a disaster if I have to restart. I like the idea that I have to adapt to what the game throws at me. You can start the game with an idea of how you want to play, but often it'll turn out very differently and I like that. If you're going for an ion weapons + drones approach, but you happen to find 2 Mantis early on and get to a store that has a crew teleporter, you can (and probably should) completely turn around your strategy.

You don't have to ignore all random encounters (you will probably end up with too few resources to win the game if you do that), but would advise caution with them. I used to just try them all and it resulted in failure. Then I learned to estimate which ones are worth the risk and which aren't. I NEVER risk crew, for example. Giant alien spiders? No thanks. Encounters where the only risk is suffering hull damage are usually worth it, imo (though in my experience the haywire defense system encounter has a very low success chance if you don't have a blue option).

The ship that probably suffers the least from bad luck is, I believe, the Type A Engi Cruiser "The Torus" (of the ships that I've unlocked, I don't have the Rock, Mantis, Slug or Unidentified Cruisers). It starts out with a drone system, which means extra versatility because random early drone finds can immediately be useful. But most importantly, its starting weapon, the Ion Blast Mk II, is magnificent. It's not the best weapon in the early game, but it remains very useful throughout the entire game: it can take out a max level shield completely by itself (if you survive long enough, of course), meaning that you're never extremely hard-pressed to get extra weaponry. The only weapon that grants even more certainty of dealing damage is the Artillery Beam (because a Defense Drone Mk II can shoot down ion blasts). The downside is that you can't tell your drone what to attack, so your inability to completely suppress the enemy weapons system with one or two volleys (a strategy the Stealth Cruiser excels at) probably means you'll eat the occasional rocket in the early game (if you don't find any defense drones).

DrunkOnEstus:
I really wanted to like Black Knight Sword. The team that brought us the wonderful Sine Mora, with a platformer reminiscent of Castlevania? Checkpoints aside, I felt that the movement and jumping was pretty clunky and the "wackyness" was rather tacked-on and not a core of the experience. I guess the day has passed where "Suda 51" means "automatic purchase".

To be honest I think "Suda 51" is simply overrated and always has been. Overall he did two utterly insane games "Killer 7" and "No More Heroes" which were successful within a certain market due to their insanity and being fairly good games overall. Other than that, just about everything he's done has been mediocre at best. I think it would be wiser in general to only mention his involvement if a game is really good at this point, rather than assuming his involvement is supposed to be some kind of assurance of quality. He hasn't had a flop quite like "Daikatana" yet, but I think he's had enough "meh" games recently where the cumulatively amount to the same thing.

Other than that I get tired of Yahtzee's recurring claims of racist shooters (CoD, Uncharted, etc...) and really think he should drop that schtick.

TheNarrator:
Alright, I shouldn't have written that you can *always* react to the randomness, that was a mistake. Some ships suffer more because of randomness than others. The Stealth Cruiser, for example, is very fun to play with but very susceptible to bad luck. If the first enemy you encounter has two attack drones you might just as well restart. Or if you can't find or purchase a decent extra weapon by the time the average enemy gets triple shield layers, all you can do is pray your FTL drive charges quickly enough. Nonetheless, I find that the randomness of the game only makes it more interesting. I rarely have the feeling that the game doesn't give me a fair chance, and when I do, it's usually quite early in the game (and almost invariably in the form of not finding decent weaponry or drones anywhere) so it's not a disaster if I have to restart. I like the idea that I have to adapt to what the game throws at me. You can start the game with an idea of how you want to play, but often it'll turn out very differently and I like that. If you're going for an ion weapons + drones approach, but you happen to find 2 Mantis early on and get to a store that has a crew teleporter, you can (and probably should) completely turn around your strategy.

You don't have to ignore all random encounters (you will probably end up with too few resources to win the game if you do that), but would advise caution with them. I used to just try them all and it resulted in failure. Then I learned to estimate which ones are worth the risk and which aren't. I NEVER risk crew, for example. Giant alien spiders? No thanks. Encounters where the only risk is suffering hull damage are usually worth it, imo (though in my experience the haywire defense system encounter has a very low success chance if you don't have a blue option).

The ship that probably suffers the least from bad luck is, I believe, the Type A Engi Cruiser "The Torus" (of the ships that I've unlocked, I don't have the Rock, Mantis, Slug or Unidentified Cruisers). It starts out with a drone system, which means extra versatility because random early drone finds can immediately be useful. But most importantly, its starting weapon, the Ion Blast Mk II, is magnificent. It's not the best weapon in the early game, but it remains very useful throughout the entire game: it can take out a max level shield completely by itself (if you survive long enough, of course), meaning that you're never extremely hard-pressed to get extra weaponry. The only weapon that grants even more certainty of dealing damage is the Artillery Beam (because a Defense Drone Mk II can shoot down ion blasts). The downside is that you can't tell your drone what to attack, so your inability to completely suppress the enemy weapons system with one or two volleys (a strategy the Stealth Cruiser excels at) probably means you'll eat the occasional rocket in the early game (if you don't find any defense drones).

I agree with most of your points. Those are, however, exactly the reasons why I said that many things about this game need to be either completely reworked or seriously toned down, in order for it to become better.

I know that a game like FTL cannot be completely scripted and "balanced", since its major selling point is replayability and a certain amount of RNG goes well with that. But there are areas in the game where the devs just got lazy. Example: Here is one thing that I really love about the game: If the fleet catches up with you in the first couple of sectors, where your ship will most likely be completely unupgraded, what do you have? A fist-clenching battle ahead of you. I'd say that 3 out of 4 times that this has happened to me, I died. The enemy hit too many vital sectors too early on and I was unable to come back. A few times however, I managed to get away, and a few other times I even managed to DESTROY the enemy ship, and escape with a sliver of health and a seriously battered ship.

This is something that adds to the game. Having encounters where you can't react, and where the risk is never worth it, does not. It is just lazy, frustrating bullshit. Whenever an encounter "fails" due to RNG, they could have had something like that happen, where you at least have a chance to ATTEMPT to do something about it. Instead, they have a text window, which basically says "O hai friend, welcome to Planet X, we would like to inform you that half your shit is dead. Click OK to go fuck yourself." If only they worked on that a bit, toning down the bullshit, the game would be pretty much perfect for its genre.

but what I really meant with my previous post is that IWBTG, Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami are all games that have an overall difficulty level that varies between "teeth grinding", to "sadistic", while at the same time not punishing you too much for your screw-ups.

But let me tell you, more than one time in Hotline Miami I got blasted to pieces by a guy with a shotgun that I couldn't see myself, who had spotted me through a pane of glass from 900 yards away the moment I entered the room..
[/quote]

There's even an article on the escapist which serves to distinguish SMB from games that punish you unfairly. And by unfairly I mean shit like getting killed through a pane of glass 900 yards away. That's false difficulty. SMB's difficulty is high but it is always entirely fair. IWBTG's difficulty is high and not-false but it is unfair.

3 different things grouped together by the fact that they're difficult (But not the same difficult!)

I loved his review as always and was wondering if there was a way to email him directly.

Black Knight Sword sounds like a bad 2D rip-off of Dark Souls.

The poetry part of this video had my flashing back to the beatnik bit of Grim Fandango.

What the shit Yahtzee? You were incredibly funny during the Hotline Miami review... Sorry about the confusing criticism but I was used to just tuning into your vids and getting minor smurks here and there at the various comments. You actually made me laugh out loud like when I did when I watched your old vids. O_o

TLDR: This review, I like it... ANOTHER!

JackGruff:
Black Knight Sword sounds like a bad 2D rip-off of Dark Souls.

The only thing Black Knight Sword and Dark Souls share is the presence of a dark theme (hardly what I'd call a rip-off) and the fact that the name happens to be the name of a weapon in DS.

Black Knight Sword would have been firmly in my top top 30 if it wasn't for the awful check point system. I found the theme an astonishment, one of the most creative I've seen in a while.

I've always wanted to try a Suda 51 game, but something tells me I shouldn't start with Black Knight Sword.

Yes, Hotline Miami is indeed quite fun. I tried it at a friends house and I actually got a bit sick from all the synth music, the bright colours and the crazy effects/filters. It was awesome.

"Black Knight Sword" sounds more like a porno than a videogame with an accurate title.

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