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RF Generation Message Board | Gaming | Community Playthroughs (Moderators: techwizard, singlebanana, wildbil52, GrayGhost81, Disposed Hero, MetalFRO) | May 2021 Playthrough - Axiom Verge 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: May 2021 Playthrough - Axiom Verge  (Read 4793 times)
Mr_Stubbes
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« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2021, 02:18:01 PM »

Like Last month, I've been a bit hesitant to start playing the monthly playthrough. I'm not really a fan of Metriodvania style games, mainly due their item based progression and sprawling labyrinthesque dungeons which can result in you easily missing an important item resulting in extra backtracking, in a type of game where you'll have to backtrack normally. Guides are available, but I feel that just looking at a guide to tell you where to go and get everything or strategies on what enemies and bosses you will face can take a lot of the fun out of a game. So I've created, what I feel, is a good balance between the two. I am using a guide, but instead of reading the entire walkthrough I am only using the provided maps to make my way through the game. While the maps show the locations of save/egg rooms, boss rooms, and rooms that contain items, they don't provide details on what is exactly in the room resulting in me have to explore those rooms to find power ups and key items. While the key items are fairly easy to find the extra power ups require a bit more exploration and puzzle/problem solving. And If I am unable to find the extra items on my own, I'll just pass them up. While this may come back to haunt me later on, I figure I wouldn't have known the item was in there anyways if I wasn't using a guide, so skipping the item would be the same result. I've also decided to go into boss fights blind. So far I've beaten four of them and I only died once on the 2nd and 3rd boss (and on the 3rd boss it was my bad platforming that got me killed). For the most part the fights have been fairly easy to learn. The attack patterns are simple and strategies are easy to pick up where you can avoid most if not all damage. I'm assuming the fights will get harder as I progress, but for now I'm enjoying my victories.
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MetalFRO
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2021, 01:18:12 PM »

Here's part 2 of my Axiom Verge run:


I made pretty significant progress this last time, and managed to unlock a couple new areas, and get a couple of the more important upgrades in the game, those being the extended drone launch, the trench coat, and perhaps most importantly, the glitch bombs. Aside from a few silly or needless deaths, usually me making dumb mistakes, I'm really enjoying this play-through so far. I had forgotten the locations of some stuff, but I'm finding my way relatively well, and the backtracking isn't tedious, the way it can be in some games like this, with this style of exploration. The areas are all still visually interesting, and it just highlights now good pixel art can really work to bolster a game's atmosphere.
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MaterialHandlerMike
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2021, 05:54:50 PM »

I was struggling with the third boss, but I finally realized the strategy needed, and defeated him to move on. I really enjoy this genre of game.
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Disposed Hero
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« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2021, 09:16:21 AM »

I finished the game the other day and really enjoyed it overall. I made the comment on Twitter that I had more issues with getting stuck in this game than other comparable games I've played, which Rich questioned me about, so I'll elaborate on that a bit further here.

I think the root of these issues is that nothing ever gets marked on your map, so if you have a terrible short-term memory like I do, you're not going to remember where all those single-tiled walls are to use your fancy new lab coat ability, where the small spaces are to use your drone, etc. Every time I gained a new ability, I'd have to explore the entire game world over again, sometimes multiple times, before I found the specific route that leads to progress. Granted, all this exploration was great for finding non-essential upgrades that helped make the combat easier, but it was a little frustrating when I was at my wit's end and grasping at straws. Contrast this with something like Metroid where all locked doors appear on your map, so when you get a new beam to open said doors, you already have a bunch of leads marked for you. I was really hoping the game would introduce some sort of fast travel/teleport between save points similar to the Castlevania games as this would have made it a lot easier to check specific doors and incomplete areas on my map whenever I gained a new upgrade instead of backtracking through the whole game.

Maybe these issues are more of a 'me' thing and most people won't have as many issues remembering where everything is, but this was my experience with it. I know the traversal abilities are the crux of the game and don't really lend themselves to being marked on a map when they can be used, so I'm not sure what they could have done differently. I really enjoyed the general gameplay and the nice variety of interesting weapons and abilities, I just got a little frustrated at times whenever I hit a wall.

That being said, great pick guys! I really enjoyed it overall and am glad to have knocked it off my backlog!

Endgame stats for funsies:

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MetalFRO
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« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2021, 01:02:09 PM »

The closest equivalent to fast travel is the giant Rusalki head that you float on through that long corridor. But I think that's a good point, and I'll be curious to know if Thomas plans to implement a fast travel system in the prequel, since it will be from the perspective of a world that is not post-apocalyptic, but is still in working order, one assumes. But I think that's a legitimate gripe, given that specific travel points in Symphony of the Night had been a thing nearly 2 years prior to the release of Axiom Verge, it does feel like a bit of an oversight.
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Disposed Hero
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« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2021, 01:34:55 PM »

Ha, now that you mention it, I didn't know that the giant head would carry you through that long corridor my first time through, so I went completely on foot, totally confused as to why there was this huge corridor with pretty much nothing in it. I think I accidentally jumped on the head on a later visit and was caught off guard by the fast travel, but it was definitely welcome! But yeah, that may have mitigated some of my backtracking issues had I known about it earlier on.
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MetalFRO
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« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2021, 06:57:42 PM »

Axiom Verge complete! It took me less than half of the time than the 1st time I ran through the game, though I didn't get quite as much map completion, and only slightly more items. Someone in my stream told me at the end, there's an incentive to get 80% items, because you get an extra scene at the end of the game. I may end up using a guide the next time I decide to run through the game, to help me find what I didn't. I also might try and play it on a harder setting, to see what that's like. Such a great game, though. Once I get my 3rd stream video exported to YouTube and it's processed, I'll link it here.


* Axiom Verge final stats_small.jpg (88.61 KB, 500x375 - viewed 121 times.)
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singlebanana
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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2021, 10:41:36 AM »

I finished the game the other day and really enjoyed it overall. I made the comment on Twitter that I had more issues with getting stuck in this game than other comparable games I've played, which Rich questioned me about, so I'll elaborate on that a bit further here.

I think the root of these issues is that nothing ever gets marked on your map, so if you have a terrible short-term memory like I do, you're not going to remember where all those single-tiled walls are to use your fancy new lab coat ability, where the small spaces are to use your drone, etc. Every time I gained a new ability, I'd have to explore the entire game world over again, sometimes multiple times, before I found the specific route that leads to progress. Granted, all this exploration was great for finding non-essential upgrades that helped make the combat easier, but it was a little frustrating when I was at my wit's end and grasping at straws. Contrast this with something like Metroid where all locked doors appear on your map, so when you get a new beam to open said doors, you already have a bunch of leads marked for you. I was really hoping the game would introduce some sort of fast travel/teleport between save points similar to the Castlevania games as this would have made it a lot easier to check specific doors and incomplete areas on my map whenever I gained a new upgrade instead of backtracking through the whole game.

Maybe these issues are more of a 'me' thing and most people won't have as many issues remembering where everything is, but this was my experience with it. I know the traversal abilities are the crux of the game and don't really lend themselves to being marked on a map when they can be used, so I'm not sure what they could have done differently. I really enjoyed the general gameplay and the nice variety of interesting weapons and abilities, I just got a little frustrated at times whenever I hit a wall.

I'm not sure which version you played, but on PC and Switch, you can individually mark places on your map on the map screen. I believe this feature was added later and not available on PS ports. I'll need to verify though. I know this isn't the same as the way Metroid marks unexplored doors for you, but in some versions,, AV allows you to more personalize your experience. AV also marks doors and if you look at the map, you can see where a room with door access has not been explored as it is not filled in. Additionally, save rooms, boss rooms, and the transport areas are color-coded.

I understand the frustration a little, but also feel like the lack of handholding with the map forces you to explore more and find more goodies. Additionally, the game is about 75% linear in that you move through the levels in a counter-clockwise manner, with very little backtracking (basically until you get the grapple & upgraded drone and can get to the transport). I think the first playthrough of the game can be a bit daunting, but with my second play and having a better of where things were located, it was a lot less rigorous and extremely smooth in terms of its layout. I think SotN is fairly smooth, but Metroid and Super Metroid are far more rigid mapwise.
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Disposed Hero
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« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2021, 12:21:17 PM »

Yeah, I played on PC and maybe about halfway through the game noticed there was a method for placing markers on the map, but admittedly I never used it. Many of the upgrades in the game are so unconventional (which is something I really appreciate about the game) that I never would have thought to make markers for certain areas until after getting the appropriate upgrade. I also noticed that doors and unexplored areas were apparent on the map, but these often ended up being red herrings for me as I would check them after getting a new upgrade and they would usually still be inaccessible for me. Again, my memory is terrible for these types of things so I would never remember what types of obstacles were in these places.

I don't really disagree about the lack of handholding and exploring to find more upgrades. I tend to play these types of games this way anyway because I like finding everything I can, and the rewards really pay off in the long run. You may be right about progression being mostly linear, but as this was my first playthrough, I wasn't aware of this and was just checking every unexplored area until I found a lead, and this resulted in a ton of backtracking from one dead end to another. Again, maybe this was purely my fault for playing the game this way, but that was my experience with it.

I think you hit the nail on the head though. From what I've seen, it sounds like first-timers are having issues with getting stuck while those who have played the game before are having a smoother experience. Despite any frustrations I had, I still really enjoyed the game and will likely revisit it in the future, and I suspect that a repeat playthrough will be a much smoother experience for me also.
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MetalFRO
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« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2021, 07:39:38 AM »

Here's part 3 of my Axiom Verge run, and my final stream of the game this time, since I managed to finish it out.
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MetalFRO
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« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2021, 10:45:37 AM »

I'll offer some final thoughts on the game, now that the month is over:

Axiom Verge is probably my 2nd favorite exploration action game (Metroidvania, if you prefer), only behind Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. My very first RF Gen community play-through was Super Metroid, which I also hold in very high regard, but I feel like this game spoke to me more. The atmosphere of this game is so alien and otherworldly, the enemies are varied and interesting, and often are a much greater threat than most of what Super Metroid offered, so there's a greater sense of tension with enemy encounters. The upgrades in the game are a lot of fun, and some of the weapons are extremely satisfying to use. Picking off an enemy through a barrier with the Kilver, or tagging a foe from a distance with the Voranj shows that there's more strategy involved, besides just mindless blasting, but you still get some of that run & gun action game feeling, and I think it's well balanced. The boss encounters are interesting, and most require a bit of thought as to how to best approach them. A couple of the boss fights can get pretty hectic as well, so you still have those white-knuckle moments we often crave.

The atmosphere of the game is incredible, from the organic, pulsating alien environments (usually to the music's beat!), to the cold and desolate spots, such as the Rusalki graveyard. The music is highly atmospheric as well, conveying different moods for different areas, and running the gamut from the uneasy foreboding of "The Axiom" (title screen music), to the mid-tempo tension of "Trace Awakens", the high energy "Trace Rising" boss fight track, to the eerie vocalizations and electro beats of "Inexorable". The vague nature of the protagonist's origins, how he came to be in the alien world, and the way he sort of has to just go along with what's happening to him all help to build the world in a way that reveals itself in layers. The Rusalki are an interesting race of aliens, and their H.R. Giger-inspired look helps maintain a certain air of mystery about them, and whether or not they're truly the victims in the story, or if perhaps it's more complicated than that. The diary entries, scattered throughout Sudra, help give further context to the villain, and point to clues about his origins as well, and again, the entries that are in different languages just make the mystery behind it all that much more interesting.

Playing through on the Wii U again, I'm reminded about how good that initial experience was, when I first played it in 2017. Instant access to the map, items, and options, really helps to keep the flow of the game going. While it may be missing a couple quality of life features, such as the map markers, it's still a great way to experience this game. Disposed Hero's point about the lack of fast travel is valid, but I have so much fun running through this alien world that I don't mind the back-tracking as much, and since there's a lot to uncover, in terms of hidden upgrades, diary entries, and secrets, it's worth spending more time in the world anyway. Comparing my previous save file, I see that this run took a little less than half the time to get through than my 1st run, and I got roughly the same amount of items and map completion, though slightly more. Next time I play, I'll probably go back to the Switch version again, and take my time with it, to try and see if I can reach a 100% item and map completion rate.

All in all, this is a fantastic game, and I'm waiting with baited breath for the sequel. There's a reason I own the physical Multiverse Edition on Switch, Wii U, and Vita, and own the vinyl soundtrack release. This game got its hooks in me right away, and hasn't quite let go. It's probably one of my favorite indie games of the last decade, and I'm still blown away by the fact that it was designed, programmed, scored, and had graphics all done by just 1 person. Thomas Happ is a genius, apparently, and I can't thank him enough for a gaming experience that has become one of my favorites in recent years. Here's hoping the sequel is at least on par with the original!
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GrayGhost81
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« Reply #41 on: June 15, 2021, 04:35:47 PM »

QUESTION OF THE MONTH FOR AXIOM VERGE

If you had an article of clothing that could give you a special power, what would the article be and what power would it give you?


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Rich let me know that we have missed some responses posted in the threads recently. I am sorry about that and will make sure to capture them going forward. Thanks!
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MetalFRO
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« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2021, 11:04:09 AM »

QUESTION OF THE MONTH FOR AXIOM VERGE

If you had an article of clothing that could give you a special power, what would the article be and what power would it give you?


___________________________
Rich let me know that we have missed some responses posted in the threads recently. I am sorry about that and will make sure to capture them going forward. Thanks!

A magical pair of underwear that would allow me to lose weight by just thinking about it.
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Mr_Stubbes
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« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2021, 01:17:59 PM »

QUESTION OF THE MONTH FOR AXIOM VERGE

If you had an article of clothing that could give you a special power, what would the article be and what power would it give you?
___________________________
Rich let me know that we have missed some responses posted in the threads recently. I am sorry about that and will make sure to capture them going forward. Thanks!

A pair of shoe's that would allow me to teleport. My working from home stint is about to end and I am not looking forward to commuting through Atlanta traffic.....  
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Mr_Stubbes
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« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2021, 08:17:57 PM »

I just realized I never posted my results. Had I realized # of deaths was added to the final statistics I probably wouldnít have just run through the game guns blazing. I donít normally like to use guides when playing games, but I feel that I would have had a hard time with this one had I not used a guide, especially since Iíve never played Axiom Verge before. I really enjoyed all the different weapons in this game. While I didnít have a particular favorite I found that by switch between multiple of them I could kill enemies for the most part unscathed. The music was great and I really liked the whole past/present self has to defeat an alternate time line future self. Overall I really enjoyed this one and Iím excited to see what happens in the sequel.

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