Saturday, September 13, 2008

Infinite Undiscovery: Early Impressions

First impressions [I've learned my lesson from Too Human, so don't take this as a recommendation just yet...]

- The graphics are great, so far. There's this "pause" that happens when you're in combat, but it isn't really framerate stutter; it feels more like that effect in some games to emphasize the action. You know what happens when you hit something in Street Fighter II? The sprites have this odd 'pause' to put emphasis on your hits? Same thing happens in Infinite Undiscovery. I think some might construe it as framerate stutter, when it seems more like a 'special effect'.

At least that's the way I see it. The bottom line is, it didn't have any negative effects on the gameplay. So far, so good (after about 2+ hours of play)

- Great art style, well rendered environments. It has this slightly cartoony look but it's clearly a design choice (Anime-styled look overall, but not cell-shaded.)

- When I left the prison at the start of the game, there's this feeling you get of being lost in the wilderness. The paths are linear but they feel quite wide, much wider than your typical JRPG. I can see a bit of western influence in the design of the levels. It continues on up to the second area where you have to do quite a bit of exploring.

- The first puzzle (after escaping the dungeon and going to the first town).... quite HARD for a player that's new to the game.

I had to consult GameFAQs to solve the first challenge. I didn't know I had to use a certain skill and use it in a certain way to solve it.

- Combat is difficult at first but I think I've figured it out a bit. Basically you're controlling only one guy (the lead guy) and barking orders at everyone else, and this all happens in real time. You CANNOT pause the action!

Heck, the game also doesn't pause if you're in your equipment/stats/items menu. So enemies can (and will) still hit you if you're perusing your items or checking your equipment/upgrades/stats etc. The only way to pause is to either press START (where you can't access your character menus or heal your guys), or to go to the game options screen (for subtitles, controls etc).

The developers of the game were clearly going after making this game a bit more challenging than your typical JRPG. The seemingly open levels (they're linear, but very wide dungeons) make it have this western influence but the art style keeps it still feeling like a Japanese RPG. The NO PAUSING gameplay mechanic, I can imagine some players will have issues with it. So far I haven't had any yet....I did notice that because of this gameplay mechanic I have not been using healing spells/potions during combat. Luckily the AI does a pretty good job of doing the healing for me, so I'm focused on the action itself.

Overall, it seems alright so far. I'll post more impressions as I go through the game.

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