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Beast Breaker (and 'fluff' storylines)

Started by droqen, October 09, 2021, 09:31:56 PM

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P.S. If you're reading this and you worked on Beast Breaker, please don't take it personally. This is my personal notebook for gushing about things that bugged me while I was playing the game, which means this is me unburdening myself of VIDEOGAME PROBLEMS IN GENERAL, not indicative of qualities problematic about BB specifically

Beast Breaker (played on Epic, Mac; it didn't work right with my tablet; i submitted a bug report. kinda hoping it gets fixed.)

The basic gameplay is kinda neat. You bounce off stuff and deal damage. I liked unlocking the bow - it's a very different weapon! I'm excited to see if there are other types of weapons. (I'm also not a very patient person; I prefer Monster Hunter's approach even though it's TOTALLY OVERWHELMING.)

I don't like the world or its characters at all, really. Part of that is: I don't like the experience of plodding my way through the UI, and part of that is: I wish the game supported my tablet. :/

Okay, concrete conclusions?

Beast Breaker has a wholesome-cutesy story. There is a bit of darkness going on at the edges, hinting at a darker backstory, but on the whole the vibe is very cartoony, sweet, nice. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm not really enjoying any of the story elements.

Another feather in the hat of me not enjoying prose in games, though I will say I don't think the issue is just my hangup with text, it's also just tonally not what I'm looking for, and it so far is only dancing delicately around the idea of there being deeper themes. I dunno. I don't know what I'm expecting, but it is not for me.

It has a grind and unlock treadmill, and I'm not about that. The things I'm unlocking seem like they could be cool, but so far they really aren't. I had a similar issue with Card of Darkness... the stuff that I'm getting dealt up front is just too tame to grab me. Maybe later there will be cool stuff for 'expert players,' but I don't have the patience to get through the tame stuff to get there.

The gameplay is pretty low-key, minimal, undemanding and unrewarding. Related to the above, but while I do feel like my actions make a difference, I do feel like there's a heavy heaping of luck and just... hmm... I dunno, inevitability? Like, there's a strict ceiling on how much I can accomplish.


So far the characters don't seem like they're going to change.

Going back to the beginning of a game is not like going back to the beginning of a book; the characters in a game often can't, or don't, grow. Meaningful change is strangled by the need to support the rest of the loop. Characters are texture, not people.


Everything that surrounds the core gameplay is kind of... I think it's just not to my taste. I've already written this but revisiting is important, right? I don't dislike a grind-and-unlock treadmill, I'm just picky*. Grinding and unlocking is GREAT when I LIKE it. Same with prose (those, man, that's hard to find), and story. The stories that games are telling are often not to my taste.

So what is?

* Right, the answer to "So what is?" will not be found through vague dismissals of my taste! So let's get into it. That's what this subforum is for!

1. Unlocking is slow. Yeah, we know that one.

2. The interface for unlocking is unclear. I DO NOT FEEL AS THOUGH I HAVE AGENCY. There isn't much for me to look forward to, since all I can see is the next quest. I can look at the UI and suppose that I will be able to

3. There is not much 'play' in the unlocking, though I have started to discover that the weapons have depths. I really like Electric Pulse or whatever it's called! But... hmm... I need to think about Beast Breaker vs. Into the Breach. I have similar reservations about ItB. I also don't really like unlock schemes such as SNKRX's or Roguelite ones, where you're struggling to cobble together a build from nothing. Do I ever like an unlock scheme? I liked System Shock 2...

4. It's turn based. That's a negative for me? I'm still trying to figure out why. It's quite random, and I don't really feel 'in control'. But think about Etrian Odyssey: that game was great! (Was EO great because of its more 'real-time' drawing minigame though? Hmmmm)


"So what is my taste?" - Stories, characters

I like villains.

I like characters who learn and change.

BB's NPCs seem constantly engaged in smalltalk. In contrast to "I like villains" which still isn't really the whole story, I find BB's characters... maybe I should indicate them separately... to be attempts to portray "characters who have some minor quirks but who are ultimately good". Is that really the problem? I have to think about this more. What kind of characters do I love? Is it more about their place in the story?

Characters in BB don't make mistakes that matter. There's a little scene where the bird guy is freaking out because he's done something that will upset grandma, but... why do I care? It will never come up again. It doesn't matter. It's a detour. All the writing is just filler!!!


There's something interesting, but also frustrating, about building up combos that might go to waste because of a bad pool shot.


Quote from: droqen, paradisei figured it out. the thing they all have in common is that they're all games i think are sort of compelling/entertaining but not great, but i keep playing them because if i play for another [duration] i will get another tiny unlock that might make the game way better! a skinner box, but not of extrinsic rewards -- a skinner box of intrinsic rewards.

this is huge.


The main storyline... with the black goopy creature... it's setup without being a good story. Patterns made me realize this - there's nothing wrong with foreshadowing, but the foreshadowing itself also has to be enjoyable writing on its own. Nothing is ever good enough to only be itself, or only be context. It has to feel right in itself, as well as feel good in context, and finally provide good context all the way down.