Monday, August 31, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 19: That's So Watch_Dogs

I really can't stress enough how absolutely silly it is for Damien to out Aiden Pearce as The Vigilante at the beginning of the episode. There are two big reasons for this:

1.) Aiden Pearce's identity as The Vigilante is public knowledge.
As we've seen repeatedly over the course of this Let's Play, countless news reports have referred to Aiden Pearce by name when speaking of The Vigilante. I would guess that one draft of the script had it where nobody except for his closest allies knew who we was. However, this is no longer the case. Even discounting the incidental, background radio and news reports as not part of the story, T-Bone knows who Aiden Pearce because of the news reports, which is why he didn't trust Pearce at first. When Damien tells the world who The Vigilante is, the world should shrug with indifference, because they already had a face and a name.

2.) Damien has no reason to oust Aiden Pearce.
As Aiden Pearce correctly deduced, Damien's deal with Blume means that he's reliant of Pearce to give him the data. Otherwise, he's royally screwed out of the CTOS hacks, and could possibly get a hit taken out on him. If Aiden got arrested because of what Damien did, Damien would be in arguably a worse position than Aiden Pearce. Aiden Pearce will eventually break out of jail, and Damien will have several people coming after him from all sides.
Even if Damien doesn't like Aiden Pearce (and to be fair, who would?), he'd still need him out and about in order to stay afloat.

Next time, I get to complain about Defalt.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 18: Inaccuracies

We've gotten to the point where neither Sam nor I care about this game anymore. As a result, we paid less and less attention to the story. You can probably spot some of the times when that happened, like our surprise at the electronic door, despite T-Bone literally just saying that he was hacking in for that express reason. I'll own up to the fact that parts of this episode were phoned in, but I'd argue that it's the game's fault for wearing us down so heavily.

I want to point out that we really didn't need to storm Iraq's compound. It wasn't important to our objective. When we made our first hack, Carla and Aiden were already able to figure out that it was blackmail data (despite not being able to read it because it's encrypted). From there, it would have simple to deduce that the hacker, likely Iraq, was after blackmail information. Then, we could have skipped most of the game and gotten that much closer to the true culprit behind the accidental death of Aiden Pearce's niece.

Next week, this game shows that it is not done with the filler content. You've only gotten a short glimpse of the irritation that is "Defalt". There's not much left of the game at this point, which Sam and I are both pretty happy about.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 17: Choo-Choo Fuck

Apparently I was wrong again. Forensic Technologist is an actual title.

This episode just makes me wonder what the hell Damien's deal is. They never explain what his motivation is for wanting the CTOS hacks. It seems like he's only doing it because he's one of the designated villains of the story. In that sense, he's almost like a cartoon character.

Despite his leg injury, and his inability to be reasonable in any circumstance, he's appears to be pretty successful given steady employment with a great salary. By all accounts he's doing alright. That's not to say that I don't understand why he's going after the second hacker: He wants revenge over his broken leg. That's basically what Aiden Pearce is doing, so it's par for the course.

But they didn't really establish why he desires the CTOS access. He's a good hacker, from what we see in the story. If he wanted to, he could probably get in without any deals whatsoever. You'd think that a hacker like Damien would appreciate that kind of challenge. Instead, we see him pointlessly selling us out for no real reason.

I just don't get it.

I hate this game.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 16: The Titular Words Are Hard

First off, I actually made a mistake in this episode. "Titular" is a word meaning "in the title". For example, Garrett the Master Thief is the titular "Thief" of that franchise. However, "eponymous" is the other way around. It is used to describe a thing named after an individual. For example, "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" is Tony Hawk's eponymous game franchise.

What that cleared up, this episode is another one where neither Sam nor I have much to say about Watch_Dogs. This is where we basically give up and do a podcast in the middle of our Let's Play series.

Lastly, since one of my favorite pass-times is pointing out how far down the rabbit hole this filler crap goes:
  • Aiden Pearce's main objective is to find the person who ordered the hit that resulted in the death of his niece. He has already deduced that it has something to do with his last big heist: The Merlaut job.
  • To that end, he traced the IP address of the other person who hacked into the hotel's systems that day. It led him to Iraq's compound.
  • Aiden Pearce hacks server in Iraq's compound and partially downloads the data that was stolen, because that will apparently help us track the person who ordered the hit?
  • Clara gets the data, but can't hack it because it's encrypted. Instead of relying on her friends at Anonymous HQ, she figures that the only person who can break the encryption is Raymond Kenney, who created it.
  • Aiden Pearce goes out to the middle of nowhere to find Kenney, and gets beat up in a bar. :)
  • Kenney, now T-Bone, will only break the encryption if we do him a solid and hack into Blume's systems.
  • We have to acquire the materials and the access codes to break into Blume, to help Kenney, so that he will decrypt the data, so that we can read the data, and HOPEFULLY get one step closer to the man who ordered the hit on Aiden Pearce that accidentally killed his niece.
We are so far down the rabbit hole that we can't even the opening we fell through. These missions are so far separated from our main objective that Aiden Pearce might as well be on a tropical vacation for all the good this is doing him.

I hate pointless wastes of time, and I hate this game.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 15: Hope Is A Sad Thing

Now that I'm watching Sam play through this game again, I'm only now realizing just how much pointless fluff is in this story.

At this point in the story, we have acquired a part of the data located in Iraq's compound. Unfortunately, it's encrypted with a special encryption that can only be broken by the person who developed it: A former Blume employee named Raymond Kenney. (Blume is the company that made CTOS. Since this rarely comes up, you can be forgiven for not knowing that.)

Ignoring the fact that this data really isn't that important to our overall objective of figuring out who killed our dead nice, and further ignoring the fact that Clara should be able to get her hacker friends in on breaking the encryption, Aiden Pearce decides he needs to recruit Raymond Kenney to the cause in order to crack it.

At least the prostitution filler had the absolute mercy of being short. This is a entire act, consisting of 6 missions, dedicated to recruiting this guy to crack a code that doesn't need to be cracked, when should already have the resources required to do it ourselves.

I hate this game.

But on a more positive note, since we mention each of these guys early in the episode, it's worth linking to them here for your viewing pleasure.
John Green's Moral Story Through Grand Theft Auto 5
GoldVision's Grand Theft Auto Pacifist Series

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Texture Pop: Watch_Dogs: Episode 14: Puzzle Quest

I like the scene at the start of this episode, where Jacks watches Aiden Pearce slaughter several groups of armed men. It pretty subtle compared to many of the other scenes in game, yet that's what gives it power. Jacks doesn't need to say anything, just the simple act of pulling away from his Uncle Aiden is enough to convey everything that needs to be said. The psychologist's threat was just icing on the cake.

And then we get to Bedbug. I strongly suspect that the conversation between Bedbug and Aiden Pearce is meant to humanize Pearce a little bit. However, I personally found that it added more to Bedbug's character than Aiden Pearce's. He's not a bad person. He's just caught in a very bad situation. It's very telling that even after Aiden Pearce led Bedbug into a death trap, he still gave Pearce the information that he needed.

Unfortunately, neither of these people are the protagonist. Aiden Pearce is, much to my dismay.

I hate this game.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 13: Detour

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. I present to you the most uncomfortable part of the game.

I still don't honestly know why this needed to be a part of the game. There's nothing wrong with video games trying to make some sort of point about sex trafficking. However, Watch_Dogs doesn't really say anything about it beyond "sex trafficking is wrong." Of course sex trafficking is wrong. What else do you have to say?

This scene didn't have the power for me that it clearly had on Sam. I thought it was a cheap way to make Lucky Quinn out to be unambiguously evil (and Iraq, by association).

There's also the fact that it's just so segregated from the rest of the plot. Remember, this story is about finding out who killed Aiden Pearce's niece and taking revenge. We know that it is likely the Merlaut job that gave this person motivation to assign the hit. Damien "gave" us the IP of the second hacker present during the Merlaut job, so we traced it to Iraq's compound.

And now, he need to corner Iraq at this slave auction, because of reasons that still never got explained. Since this part is to tertiary to the experience, we don't have time to delve into it. In terms of Aiden Pearce's story, it's not important. It's filler.

To me, the fact that someone so heavy and relevant is just relegated to filler content is unacceptable. If you want to include this kind of stuff, make it important. Make it a more core part of the narrative. If there's nothing to say about it, then why is it being brought up in the first place?

Evidently, whatever they had to say wasn't important to them, because it's relegated to a mere side-quest once this mission is over.

Sex trafficking: The Side Quest

I hate this game.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Texture Pop: Episode 50: Poppin' Off

This is it, ladies and gentleman. After over two years of podcasting, The Texture Pop's crew has decided to shut our virtual office doors.

As much as we all enjoy doing it (and make no mistake, we ALL enjoy doing this and this is more painful than any of us expected), the simple fact is that we're all really getting busy with our lives. It's been hectic for each one of us, and since we aren't getting paid for this podcast, it's even more difficult to justify the time we spend on it.

Now, this isn't to say that this is the last you'll see of us. Nor is it the last time we'll all get together for a production. Once we all settle into our respective routines, it's likely that we'll reunite for something new.

On top of that, we all have our own projects we'll be working on. Garrett is starting up his Twitch stream. He'll also be joining Chris and number of our old, mutual friends in another video game related project. As for Sam and I, we each have our own blogs and Interactive Friction will continue as normal.

So while The Texture Pop may be over, we're all just getting started! :)

#96: Final Fantasy Type-0: Experience of the Sidelines

I've played a great many RPGs throughout the years. In that time, I have seen many design decisions constantly repeated and reiterated across various different games. Often it makes sense to reuse these tropes. For example, leveling up is such a core concept in RPGs that it would be strange to have no form of character development. However, some of these same choices come back for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
Recently, I beat Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, victim to one of the latter design choices. Taking place in a steampunk/fantasy setting, Type-0 is a war story following the exploits of Class Zero, a group of cadets at the military academy in one of the four great nations in the world. There are 14 members of Class Zero, all playable characters in the game. The player can have, at most, 3 of the classmates deployed at the same time, with other members on standby. When an enemy is defeated, only the 3 deployed classmates gain experience, while every other character gets nothing. And while Final Fantasy Type-0 is hardly the first RPG to make this choice, it’s the one I can best use to explain the problems inherent to it.

Depriving non-participants of experience discourages players from experimenting with their party formation and character selection. When Final Fantasy Type-0 first introduces the player to the full cast, it makes the recommendation to "try to level every character evenly". This, as is the case with most games where members on standby don't gain experience, is a terrible idea. Following this advice will have one of two possible outcomes: Either the party will be so under-leveled that playing through main story missions is an exercise in frustration, or so much time will be spent grinding for experience that the player will completely forget the main story. Raising a character by a single-level takes a great many battles. With 14 playable characters, bringing them up to each missions recommended level would take several hours of tedious grinding. At the same time, missions at a much higher level pit the player against enemies that can and will annihilate a single character in one or two attacks. For this reason, most players will ultimately decided on 3 or 4 characters that they will focus their experience on, and largely ignore the rest of the them.
Part of the draw of a large pool of playable characters is that there is a variety in the archetypes and playstyles. Under the restriction that party members only level up when they actively partake in battle, this variety is stifled by practicality. For instance: there might be circumstances where it would make more sense to use a long-range party of King the duel-pistol wielder, Cater the magic-gunslinger, and Trey the archer, like when a mission is packed with flying enemies out of melee range. However, most people will likely only have one of them leveled enough to use in that mission. While it may make more sense to use that particular party against ranged enemies, it makes no sense to use it in any other circumstance.
Since it's only sensible to train up about 4 people, most players will have a strong melee-character, a good ranged character, and a support, with a possible backup character in the event one of the first three dies. Any thought of changing up the party to suit a new situation, or experimenting to find a formation that may work better, is thrown to the wayside in favor of sticking with the old and familiar.

On top of that, games with sufficiently large casts nearly always have scenes where the party has to divide itself into multiple groups, and Final Fantasy Type-0 is no exception. Several missions have the player form 2 groups of three cadets each. Since the odds are that most players will only have enough characters leveled up for one full battle party, this section is significantly worse than it should be. Practicality, it ensures that one team will be vastly inferior to the other, or that both teams will have one under-leveled character dragging them down. In either case, battle ability is severely reduced because the player has done exactly what the game's systems have incentivized them to do.
In my playthrough, during the first of these missions, both of the parties had two characters that were Level 30, and one trailing far behind at Level 15. Unsurprisingly, the weak one in each party did hardly any damage, spending most of the mission as a corpse. With two characters left to pick up the slack of a three-person job, I didn't have as much fun with these missions as did with the others in the game. I had to restart this mission several times because, with the addition of my undue handicap, the enemies were just strong enough that my two level 30s in one team taking much more damage any dying more than they had in other missions. At one point, I even had to give up, go into a previous save, and rethink who I sent with which team. Needless to say, I was fairly unhappy with the game for crippling me like that.

Even though it’s extremely clear that this one concept hurts the games that use it, it is unlikely to get phased out anytime soon. As a genre, RPGs are soaked in tradition, making it difficult to weed out overused design cliches. Even worse, this is one that appears frequently, even in many of the greats like Persona 4 and Valkyrie Profile. Knowing this, I still think it's healthy to evaluate these game design tropes to see if they're still worth maintaining. Though it's common for the reserve party to not gain experience, this trope does more harm than good.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 12: Something Deeply Wrong

In this episode, we delve head-long into the sex trafficking side-plot. As I've said in previous posts, I find this to be one of the most disturbing arcs in the game.

I'm not necessarily against having a video game comment on heavy topics like sex trafficking. My issue with this subplot is that Watch_Dogs wants to use this topic, but doesn't want to provide any commentary for it. Yes, of course it's disgusting that women are bought, transported, and sold against their will for a profit. Nobody in their right mind would argue otherwise. However, the apolitical nature of the story leaves makes this segment milquetoast.

We'll get into more detail about this in the next episode, but I have the same problem with Watch_Dogs that I do about many of the sex-trafficking episodes of crime-serials like CSI. It's only purpose is to be used as a shorthand for "Yes, this obviously evil bad-guy is evil." In fact, Watch_Dogs is even worse than those shows. Most of those episodes take the time to follow the personal story of one of the victims so that we can somewhat understand how a young woman could find themselves in that situation. It's rarely ever a great attempt, but it's something. As you'll soon see, Watch_Dogs doesn't really put in a token effort. Given that the game is about this world where everyone and everything is monitored and connected, that's such a wasted opportunity.

I hate this game.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 11: Copyright Ruins Everything Around Me

This episode was supposed to go up yesterday. However, when I went to view it and start writing the post for it, we found that there was a copyright claim on our Unlisted video. The reason for this is that a segment of the game uses "C.R.E.A.M" by the Wu Tang Clan. Considering the theme of that song, there is some deep irony.

Having said that:

There is a large section of this video where both Sam and myself are legitimately unsure of what the point of this plot is. Now that I've had the luxury of watching the episodes, let me summarize what happened.

  • Aiden Pearce needs to get into the Viceroy compound in order to identify the second hacker during the Merlaut job.
  • Aiden Pearce identifies Bedbug as a weak-link in the gang's chain-of-command, and decides to use him as his way in.
  • Aiden Pearce follows Bedbug in order to find some sort of blackmail evidence, and records him making deals behind Iraq's back.
  • Meanwhile, Iraq is getting sick of Bedbug costing him business due to his ineptitude. Because he is a basket-case, he opts to have his cousin killed instead of just kicking him out of the gang.
  • Aiden Pearce deduces that Iraq will have Bedbug killed, because he is apparently psychic. This magical foresight extends to the conclusion that if Bedbug can survive the assassination attempt, Iraq will welcome him back with open arms to save face.
  • Armed with these deductions, Aiden Pearce kills off the Viceroys assigned to the hit job: All of them. This will help him move Bedbug into a position where he can aid Aiden Pearce.
  • Back in a position of power, Bedbug walks the park peacefully until Aiden Pearce shatters his world in an instant, promising to being him low if he doesn't do exactly as Aiden Pearce says.
  • Extracting information from Bedbug, we learn that Iraq will be at a "private" auction run by Lucky Quinn. We need to infiltrate the auction in order to get close to Iraq, for reason that nobody adequately explains.
This is one of those plot-driven doors Shamus Young talks about frequently. We have deviated so far from the original goal of finding out who the second hacker is that it seems like it would be easier to do an old-fashioned stealth mission in the compound. This is such a roundabout way to solve an otherwise simple problem.

In other words, this is the worst part of the game, and it's all filler.

I hate this game.

And I hate YouTube's copyright bullshit.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 10: Ultimate Cyber-Vigilante

And now we've gotten to it. Goddamn Iraq and Bedbug. This is easily one of the worst parts of the game. Not the worst, (Dear god. It gets much worse from here.), but it demonstrates how the writers took all of these elements and melded them together without really understanding the subtext and implications behind that particular combination.

Again, I know that people like Iraq do exist out there. There are gang members who go join the army for the sole purpose of learning their tactics and bringing them back home. However, that still raises the question of why the writers made the choice to use these tropes. Perhaps they simply wanted to justify having military-grade enemies to fight, but we already have no-face fixers for that. If they were trying to make some commentary about gangs and/or poor sections of the city, then that was gutted out at some point in a misguided attempt to be apolitical.

Bedbug is another problem, but for a completely different reason. He is a criminal, sure. But I get the distinct impression that he's only that way because Iraq is that way. As uncomfortable as it sounds, he seems to be like Lenny from Of Mice and Men. And that's on top of the fact that he's clearly in the lower-income level. In different circumstances, he could've been a good kid. Knowing that these same circumstances make Bedbug very easy to manipulate, Aiden Pearce decides that he needs to get blackmail him in order to get access to the Viceroy compound.

Aiden Pearce has not been someone I'd like to root for since the very start of the game, but this is a real low. Remember, Ubisoft wants us to root for this guy. Despite spending all of this time beating up criminals (an enterprise funded by theft), and having no redeeming qualities whatsoever, we're supposed to treat him as a hero.

I hate this game.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 9: Towers of Annoyed

First off, I am very aware of how awful the audio quality was for this session. Sam's equipment started acting up, and there's not much we could've done to fix it.

You're not supposed to think about the logistics of having an army of underprivileged, troubled youths in full military gear. However, I think that's a good question to bring up. Not just because it's implausible, but because it also raises to subsequent question of why did Ubisoft do this. We already have a group of mercenaries called fixers, so we didn't need another excuse to have armed and armored enemies. On top of that, it's downright painful to see these tropes and stereotypes invoked without any real attention being called to them.

Strap in and buckle up, ladies and gentleman, because this is only going to get worse. Just wait until we actually start talking about Iraq. I'm genuinely impressed at how awful this upcoming section of the game is.

I hate this game.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

#95: Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Missteps

As you may be aware, I have recently began exploring the Souls games, starting with Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. My opinions on both games are largely positive. My playthrough of Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First was informed by these experiences, which explained why I did not like the game as much. It was not a bad game. However, the game betrays a lack of understanding as to why many of the choices in the original Dark Souls were made. This manifests in design changes that cause a number of problems throughout the game.

The first of these changes is the resurrection of consumable healing items. As I said before in my article about the Estus Flasks in the first Dark Souls, removing the ability to grind for recovery items was a drastic improvement from Demon's Souls to Dark Souls. Rather than reiterate points than I spent an entirely separate article making, I just want to comment on how strange it is to go back to using these items when they already had such an elegant solution in place.To make this worse, the imbalance caused by these items is exacerbated by the fact that the Estus Flask also made its return. It is given to them right after the tutorial is completed. With the reusable Estus Flask ever present in the inventory, players are encouraged to amass large stockpiles of items which they will rarely, if ever, use. I, personally, only used these Lifegems myself when I was absolutely out of Estus and in the middle of a boss fight. Otherwise, I would just hoof it back to the bonfire and try again to maintain my stockpile.

Another alteration to the game is in the way enemies respawn after being killed. In the original Dark Souls, returning to a bonfire revived every enemy that had been defeated, barring a few special exceptions. This is no longer the case in Dark Souls 2, as each enemy will only respawn a finite number of times before they will no longer appear (until the next playthrough). Two major problems arise from this change. First, like the addition of consumable items, it throws off the balance between the urge to continue on and the need to rest and replenish your inventory that I wrote about previously. Making a series of suicide runs in order to eliminate opponents has now become a perfectly valid tactic for making it through areas. Rather than continue to encourage that agonizing decision-making its predecessor was so famous for, Dark Souls 2 transforms every stage into a battle of attrition, as each run slowly depletes the enemy forces. I myself did this a number of time in stages like the Iron Keep and Shulva, Sanctum City.
And second, because there are only a finite number of enemies in the game, souls are also a finite resource. Players receive souls from defeated enemies, which they can use to purchase items/weapon upgrades and strengthen their characters. However, should they die, any unspent souls will be lost. In order to reclaim them, they need to return to the where they died and touch their bloodstain. Failure to do so before the next death will result in the permanent loss of those souls. Since enemies in Dark Souls never stop spawning, there is always a way to acquire more souls even in the event of heavy losses. Once an enemy stops appearing in Dark Souls 2, it is impossible to claim their souls by defeating them. Though I never reached a point where I couldn't obtain the souls I needed, the knowledge that my deaths were depleting the world's supply made each one much harder to swallow.
In the original Dark Souls, I have a very clear memory of exploring the Tomb of the Giants and amassing over 70000 souls. Just as I was about to return to the bonfire, my game was invaded by another player, who killed me in an instant with her barrage of magic and lag. As I attempted to reach my bloodstain, I was ambushed by a horde of giant skeletons. I had made a mistake in fighting them, and that mistake meant that those 70000 souls were gone. My anger at the loss was assuaged by the knowledge that it would be quite possible to replace those lost Soul by grinding later on if I had the desire.
During my adventures in Dark Souls 2, I had similar tales of losses, yet none exceeding 35000 souls at any one time. But even if the losses were momentarily lower, the knowledge that my ineptitude caused a decrease in not just the number of souls I had, but also the net total of possible souls in the game, made those losses sting a lot more. Enemies provide far more than enough souls for a given playthrough, yet just knowing than there is only a finite supply makes even small losses feel wasteful.

The biggest negative change that Dark Souls 2 made was in the way that foes attack. When an enemy attacked the player in either Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, they had to commit to both the attack and the direction in which they were attacking. Since the player was also bound by these same rules, fights were often fair. The best way to fight would be to stay on the defensive and look for openings in enemy attack patterns that could be exploited. Though some of the strongest enemies did have tracking attacks, it was only up to the point where they began to strike, and only to compensate for how slow the windup was for those particular moves.
In the sequel, they made a bizarre decision that I still don't entirely understand. Almost every enemy has an uncanny ability to track the player while they are attacking. This has an adverse effect on the combat, making it easier for them to land blows and conversely more difficult for the player to do the same. When I was exploring the Iron Keep in Dark Souls 2, I encountered an enemy that best demonstrates the problem. The Ironclad Soldiers held therein are particularly vicious foes with powerful attacks and decent armor. One of the advantages they have over the player is that when they wind up to unleash their overhead smash, they can hold their club in position over their head until the player is in range. Then, the portion of the move the inflicts damage will kick in quickly. They are also able to turn and face a strafing player while actively swinging the club horizontally. No opponent from previous Souls games have these same advantages to these degrees, and there is a very good reason for that. When the enemies are bound to the same rules as the player is, there is a sense of fairness born from that. The presence of that fairness means that most failures and deaths in combat can be directly attributed to the player. Taking it away leaves a sense that game is cheating in order to win, like a cruel, obstinate dungeon master in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Again, I do not want to give off the impression that Dark Souls 2 is a bad game. Rather, it is a poor continuation of an excellent franchise. Though I believe that the director of Dark Souls 2 was a fan of the franchise, the changes made from one project to the next belie a lack of understanding as to what made the first Dark Souls, and Demon's Souls, such gems. The guidance of Hidetaka Miyazaki, who directed the earlier Souls games, was not needed to gain this insight. Taking a moment to see what worked with those two games, what needed improvement, and the trade-offs of each change would have been a boon to the production. Such analysis would have prevented many of the mistakes made in Dark Souls 2.