Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Resonance of Fate - Combat 101

So, Resonance of Fate, and the crazy crazy combat system. In this quick guide, I'm going to talk simply about the very basic attacks - hero attacks and tri attacks. I'm assuming you've done the basic training in the Arena, so you understand the basic concepts. If you haven't done the training (and I only found it after 50 hours of play), go to the Arena, then head to the entrance door, and go left. There's a guy hiding under a girder, who does the basic concept training.

So, first things first. Guns?
Guns and Damage Types
There's really no wrong setup here. You'll start the game with 2 handguns, and 1 machinegun. Later on, you can dual-wield if you like. I've found success with most loadouts, so do what works for you.
I've tried one person with dual machine guns, and 2 handgunners, and also 2 machine gunners going solo, with a dual handgunner.
One thing worth noting - you probably want to keep someone equipped with the first aid kit - just in case -access to escape hexes is never a bad thing.

I'm hoping you understand scratch damage vs direct damage. If not, leave a comment, and I'll do a separate post, but the training should cover it. Which takes us to tactics.

Party order
First, you'll want to go to the character screen and hit (x). This will let you rearrange your party. Put the machine gunner(s) at the top.

For most enemies, you should find you can beat them in under 4 attacks with the following method. Some bosses require a slightly different approach, but this should keep you going. Before each attack, you want to jump, to ensure that damage is spread across the enemy's parts.
Also, note that you can change targets mid-hero attack by using the D-Pad. This is essential.

  1. Run player one back left with a hero attack. Depending on your level, you should be able to get at least one complete bar emptied. Once you've done this, you can switch targets using the dpad, and try to run down another.
    • Res points: 1
  2. Step 2: Run player 2 to the back right. Charge one bar on the fully depleted enemy that your gunner has attacked, and kill it. For the second, pick someone you want to gauge break (stun), and get the biggest charge you can.
    • Res points: 2
  3. Step 3: Run player 3 straight to the back. Gauge break the toughest foe.
    • Res points: 3
  4. Step 4: Run player 3 back to the starting position. Gauge break the toughest foe.
    • Res points: 4
  5. Step 5: Tri-attack. Make sure you've selected the machine gunner as your lead character. Go for maximum charge on each pass. You might need to occasionally change target to make sure you're attack someone you're running towards, and not away from.
  6. For most packs of enemies, that's it. You're done.

In fact, for ever weaker/smaller groups, you can run your MGer front and left, and your second guy front right, and then just start a tri-attack.

Extending your run
Normally, you just run to your destination. Or you jump. You can extend the time spent charging by running for the majority of the path, and then jumping right at the last moment.

Changing targets
When attacking, you can change target with the d-pad. This means, if you've got a very strong machine gunner (or gun), you can reduce many targets to zero in a single hero attack. Using the method above, you might run towards two targets. On the 'run' part, you charge that attack, hit 'a', and do your damage. Then, hit 'x' to jump, push left or right on the d-pad to change targets, and get another big charge on a secondary target.
The next gunner to attack can potentially kill 2 people in a single run, and break the gauge of a third.

Gauge Breaking
The exact method of gauge breaking is a little unclear. Your guns have a gauge break value, but I'm not clear what this does. It seems that you multiply the direct damage you do by the gauge break multiplier from your charge, and if this equals 100% of the creature's health, you break the gauge.
Regardless, a full charge with dual handguns will generally break an enemy pretty effectively.
The reason for gauge breaking is two-fold.
1) It stuns them, meaning they're less likely to attack next round.
2) You earn more bezels, which are key. If you've broken the gauge into 3 parts, say, then killing the enemy will earn 3 bezels instead of just one. Most enemies break to 6 individual parts. Some bosses will break less.

Well, that's all there really is. Get creative. Enjoy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Resonance of Fate - first thoughts

I was in Estonia last week, which is a pretty cool place. Although I was there for a very short time, Tallinn struck me as a cross between Helsinki and Prague. I hope no-one's offended by that. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

On thursday, I had 2 conferences and a flight, and as I left the house in the morning, I saw that the postman had delivered Resonance of Fate. So, I glared at it, and tried to put it out of my mind, knowing that I wouldn't have a chance to play it until I got back. But get back I did, late friday night, thanks to various planes being broken and rescheduled. And I popped it in. What a game.

There's no gentle introduction to the characters. There's no background story on why these 3 are together. But, as time goes on, their friendship becomes clear, and the cutscenes are both well written and well acted, for the most part. I find myself chortling along with many of them, which is quite refreshing. In the first hour or so, the stereotypes are out. Emo boy. Headstrong young man. Childish girl. I figured they were going to be extremely one-dimensional. But they're remarkably likeable.

The actual maps that you explore outside of combat are probably quite beautiful, but I think they've been designed for a 60 inch TV screen. On my measly 40 inch screen, it's pretty hard to pick out details. Maybe I should just sit closer.

But, exploring is only a very small part of the game. The world map is nicely done - you have various shaped hexes you have to fit into the world to explore - you can either just plot the fastest line to each destination, or (if like me you have a bit of the old OCD), you can completely cover each level - which gives you some treasure and a one-way quick travel system (if you totally cover a level). The advantage of the hex system is that you can plan in detail and use the minimum hexes required, or just grind for extra parts and lay them down any old how. It's pleasing, and a nice distraction.

But, onto the combat. The combat starts without any tutorials (unless I missed something, which is entirely possible). But there's a pretty comprehensive in-game manual. The problem (if it is a problem) is that because it's a way of fighting that I've never seen before, the terms quickly became overwhelming in the abstract. That is, there's talk of hero attacks, bezels, tri-attacks, scratch damage, direct damage, knockdowns and so forth.
So, I started slowly. First, just killed a couple of monsters with the standard attack. Then started to understand scratch damage. Then started using hero attacks. Then realised I could jump. Then realised I could air-juggle. Then realised I could switch targets in a single attack. Then started to understand weapons charging (direct damage doesn't increase with charges, scratch damage does) Then realised how tri-attacks work. Then realised how to make them awesome. Then started upgrading weapons with custom parts. Then I learnt about body parts properly. And gauge breaks (although I still don't totally get them). And I've just started playing with double-wielding.

I'm going to write a more in-depth section on the combat, since I haven't managed to find any great sites online yet (I imagine most people are playing final fantasy, for example). But, I've been playing just over 40 hours now (although at least 10 of those are from leaving it on overnight), and almost every time I fight, I find some new nuance to the combat system.

One quick word about the custom parts - they're awesome. Sweet crafting and upgrade system for your guns (I just fitted my third barrel to a gun....)

So, currently, I'm very much enjoying it. Lightly amusing cut-scenes. Pleasing world. Neat exploration mechanic. Cool combat that not only plays nicely, but looks really cool.
Downsides: the town scenes seem a bit last-gen, and some of the lower-level random encounters can start to seem a little repetitive (but you can buy an accessory to remove the chance of these, or just run).

So, yes, on the whole, a good game. If you like RPGs that focus on numbers, this is for you.

In the video above, standard attacks at the beginning. Hero attacks start at around 1.35 and there's a (pretty poor) tri-attack at around 2.30

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dwight David Honeycutt is ace

A friend just sent me this. I still can't work out if it's real or not.
But it IS awesome.