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Thread: Braid review

  1. #1
    Administrator World's End Supernova Tom Chick's Avatar
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    Braid review

    Braid is an absolutely brilliant game and quite possibly a work of genius. I don't like it one bit.

    Thumbs down....

  2. #2
    World's End Supernova
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    Thanks Tom. That's where I think I'm at as well. I appreciate Braid and I'll play as far as I can but I really am not expecting to finish.

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    Traded Gears for Mario game Social Worker
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    Nicely crafted, Tomasz. Although, you dissed Watchmen too, so you better have on your asbestos undies. Nerd rage incoming!

  4. #4
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    Interesting review. I didn't like Braid either and you even hit upon what I didn't like about it:

    "So I'll just say that once I realized I had to precisely time when I jumped onto a little monster's head to the exact nano-second and the exact pixel, I promptly lost interest and quit out "
    I still think had Braid developed a better platform mechanic instead of create cleaver ways to alter time to get puzzle pieces, it would of been a far better game. It might be mega clever and original in its use of story and time manipulation, but as for a platformer, it's in the same league as Bubsy for the Atari Jaguar.

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    Social Worker Sam Jones's Avatar
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    Quack quack oops!

    I'm not sure I really understood from that review why you didn't like it, other than "I just didn't like it". As Jonathan pointed out (to me, as it happens) in the spoilers thread - if you're relying on pixel-perfect jumps, you've probably not found the best solution to a given puzzle. That's not much of a comfort if you're sat there, frustration slowly boiling your blood because you just can't see the way it should work, but there are actually very few instances where you can "brute force" your way through a puzzle via extra-deft platformer skills as an alternative to a neater, cleverer solution. In this respect, it's not even really a platform game, though it wears the clothes of one.

    Also - the "deconstruction" element. I have no real history with or nostalgia for platformers (except maybe Manic Miner / Jet Set Willy), so whatever passes for this in Braid doesn't speak to me either, but I don't think that it's really key to understanding or appreciating a game which has so many fine feathers in its cap.

    I think you've been too harsh - you've written the review I would have written, had somebody sat me down and forced me to write when I was stuck staring at one of the more fiendish puzzles in the game, and the only thing my brain could come up with is "Nnnnnng!". I certainly don't blame you for that though.

  6. #6
    Battle Dancer How To Go Wholly Schmidt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Merritt View Post
    I still think had Braid developed a better platform mechanic instead of create cleaver ways to alter time to get puzzle pieces, it would of been a far better game. It might be mega clever and original in its use of story and time manipulation, but as for a platformer, it's in the same league as Bubsy for the Atari Jaguar.
    We've been up and down most of this conversation before, but hopefully I'm not repeating myself or asking you to when I inquire: What do you mean by a better platform mechanic? Tom seems to be criticizing this specifically for having some very precise platforming elements he was frustrated with. So you're saying you don't like the time manipulation, but you also don't like having to jump on things precisely? What's left?

    Meanwhile Tom, would you have felt comfortable giving GRID thumbs down if you just weren't very good at driving games and didn't particularly want to be?

  7. #7
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    No, I like the time mechanic but since the platforming is so weak, it hurts the game.

  8. #8
    Battle Dancer How To Go Wholly Schmidt's Avatar
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    Ok, then what exactly do you mean when you say the platforming is so weak? There's not enough of it? There's too much? It's too frustrating? Something else?

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    Tom, did you also write the title of that review? Because I think it would have been more apt if it read: "Braid: brilliant, brainy, and platformers suck."

    Seriously, I'm not sure why you're reviewing this game if you dislike the genre so much. I mean, a lot of great games break out of their genres for some people, and I'm not sure you absolutely need to appreciate the deconstruction of the genre to enjoy Braid, but when one of your complaints is actually "I wish this was an FPS," that's probably a sign that you weren't the best guy to assign this to.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Merritt View Post
    No, I like the time mechanic but since the platforming is so weak, it hurts the game.
    ...

    You know that the time mechanic is part of the platforming, right?

  11. #11
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    I don't have a master's degree in platform theory but I'll do the best i can. All I can say is it just doesn't feel right. The controlling of the little guy on the screen feels off. It feels sloppy and the character in context of what is happening on the screen feels too loose for the pecision the game demands.

  12. #12
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    With this review and Tom's failure to get through After Life for the Movie Club I think he really may need to turn in his beret.

  13. #13
    Battle Dancer How To Go Wholly Schmidt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Merritt View Post
    I don't have a master's degree in platform theory but I'll do the best i can. All I can say is it just doesn't feel right. The controlling of the little guy on the screen feels off. It feels sloppy and the character in context of what is happening on the screen feels too loose for the pecision the game demands.
    Alright, that answers my question at least, whether I agree with it or not. I'm no better at clearly describing the nuances of platforming.

    What threw me was just that you quoted Tom saying "...once I realized I had to precisely time when I jumped onto a little monster's head to the exact nano-second and the exact pixel, I promptly lost interest and quit out" and announced that's exactly what you didn't like, and from the other discussions that didn't sound entirely right to me (and still doesn't). It sounds like your issue is more with the implementation than the demands of the platforming Tom's unhappy with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Merritt View Post
    All I can say is it just doesn't feel right. The controlling of the little guy on the screen feels off. It feels sloppy and the character in context of what is happening on the screen feels too loose for the precision the game demands.
    This can actually be scientifically quantified. I'm sure the results would be of interest for this discussion if someone would go to the trouble of measuring the Braid response time. Mick West wrote a great guide for this in Gamasutra.

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    Quote Originally Posted by extarbags View Post
    ...

    You know that the time mechanic is part of the platforming, right?
    I've collected nearly 40 pieces. I get I have to use time travel in the game. Still time travel is a seperate part of the game.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by forgeforsaken View Post
    With this review and Tom's failure to get through After Life for the Movie Club I think he really may need to turn in his beret.
    Hey, you can't blame him. The Ferrari is in the shop for another clutch replacement and he needed to write a review for a little extra cash! :)

  17. #17
    Social Worker Brakara's Avatar
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    Where in Braid do you need pixel perfect platforming timing? Throughout the game I noticed that the times it looked like it might require that, there was always a more elegant solution available. And the controls where just fine (and that's from someone who sucks at platformers).

  18. #18
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    Yeah, Braid is not intended to require precise jumping, ever. Of course people have different ideas about what "precise" means, but when we start getting into descriptors like "pixel-perfect", it just sounds like someone is pursuing a solution that isn't intended... but I'm going to follow up in a PM to find out which puzzle this is. (Maybe it's something that can be fixed in a patch).

    Not that that will change Tom's opinion of the game -- it's just nice to figure out where this kind of stuff is happening.

  19. #19
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    To me, Leap of Faith in world 2 comes to mind requiring specific timing. I wouldn't say 'pixel perfect' but you do need a modicum of 'skillz'. (edit: or perhaps a use of the time mechanic which is not readily apparent by then)

    Having said that it's the time reversal mechanic that makes the task fairly simple. You can mess up 25-50 times but the speed at which you can return to the precise moment of trying again makes it not a big deal. This is no Ninja Gaiden on the NES which forces you to restart the level or even face game over.

    In addition the main enemy ('goombas') are fairly slow and large and flat. Combine that with the time reversal and I think the platforming elements are very forgiving with a few small exceptions.

    I don't think the game is for super geniuses. This is no NYT crossword. I can't remember the last time I finished an adventure game without looking for hints but in Braid I was able to get all but the final puzzle piece in a few hours over the weekend. The puzzles are tricky but asks for just a few moments of reflection and some trial and error to figure it out. I would put it just a notch above Portal in terms of puzzle difficulty.
    Last edited by Jazar; 08-13-2008 at 07:15 AM.

  20. #20
    Mad Chester
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    I'm more interested in hearing what this part:
    Quote Originally Posted by The article
    (this isn't necessarily true of people who finished Portal, a similarly brilliant and economic work of genius, but one that so leads its players by the nose that any retard can finish it and think he's pretty smart and then go online to make "the cake is a lie" references)
    means. Specifically the "so leads players by the nose..." bit, unless that was just supposed to be sarcastic edgy-in-your-face New Games Journalism.

  21. #21
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    The game might be brilliant, but I hate every platformer but the Castlevania series.

    Should I bother with Braid? I'm NOT a fan of Mario.

  22. #22
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    This review is further proof of Tom's clear anti-retard agenda. What did tards ever do to hurt you, Tom?

  23. #23
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    I was enjoying it but but girlfriend made me turn it off because she said the music was annoying the shit out of her. Specifically, when it played backward and weird when time traveling. I don't think I'm allowed to play it when she's around anymore.

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    The Director of the Special Olympics is on line 1, yelling something about Ben Stiller...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallapuctus View Post
    I was enjoying it but but girlfriend made me turn it off because she said the music was annoying the shit out of her. Specifically, when it played backward and weird when time traveling. I don't think I'm allowed to play it when she's around anymore.

    The sound annoyed me too, really the only complaint I have. I've been hearing those goddamn cat sounds in my sleep...

  26. #26
    New Romantic
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    Perhaps most importantly, I've heard developer Jonathan Blow give a talk in which he explained the ending, which is one of the most brilliant computer game endings I've ever seen.
    Can I get a link to this for easy reference after I finish the game?

  27. #27
    Spinning Toe
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    I found it easier to adapt to the controls than the Flash ports I've played, like Alien Hominid or N+. I think maybe the graphics helped in that area, it was easier for me to visualize the "hitbox" when the pixels are rendered so beautifully, unlike hideously spastic oscillating vector outlines which always give me trouble.

    I don't really understand how anyone can perceive the game as such a disparate experience, once you figure out the time mechanic and the door system everything opens up and the pure puzzle elements take over. It seems to me that you'd have to consciously reinforce the idea that it should be played a certain way to be bewildered to the point of imagining it requires "pixel perfect precision". Personally, this is saying a lot, because I loathe puzzle games and I am probably going to snap this up right quick when I have the time to lay into it.

    It seems that the majority of the pleasantries offered by Braid would be nonexistent were it not for the open atmosphere and the freedom of discovery, none of which are applicable to oldschool platformers - memorize enemy patterns, memorize level layout, repeat, memorize boss patterns, repeat. If you are looking up level guides and playing with your friends chattering in your ear I can understand how you'd perceive that experience as being relatively fruitless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chick
    Braid is a true test. It doesn't come to you. It sits there as indifferent as a cat leaving you with nothing to do but sit and stare until you wise up or quit out.

    Why couldn't developer Jonathan Blow have made a shooter, or an RTS, or an RPG, or a Peggle clone? Or why couldn't the incentive to keep playing appealed more directly to my lizard brain instead of counting on the completionist's mindset that I've spent so many years taming?
    "'I took mushrooms and went to Astroworld and had a really bad time"
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jordan
    unless that was just supposed to be sarcastic edgy-in-your-face New Games Journalism.
    I'm going to consider this whole review as a bit of an exercise in that area. Let a man dream!

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    I needed to hit YouTube up for a walkthrough. Twice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chick
    (this isn't necessarily true of people who finished Portal, a similarly brilliant and economic work of genius, but one that so leads its players by the nose that any retard can finish it and think he's pretty smart and then go online to make "the cake is a lie" references).
    Wow, it's just like having Toddy back.

    P.S. Anyway this cake is great.
    It's so delicious and moist

  29. #29
    Account closed World's End Supernova
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    The closest things I ever found that needed pixel precision were things I was doing slightly wrong.

    edit, since this is a braid review thread, let me throw my own pseudo review in here:

    http://www.bluh.org/?p=23
    Last edited by Charles; 08-13-2008 at 08:35 AM.

  30. #30
    Der Schulde World's End Supernova TurinTur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jordan View Post
    I'm more interested in hearing what this part:

    means. Specifically the "so leads players by the nose..." bit, unless that was just supposed to be sarcastic edgy-in-your-face New Games Journalism.
    I think i understood the quote without problems. Portal has some mind-bending mechanics so a lot of players will feel like he a genius after completing some levels, but really, Portal (at least the 'story mode', the challenge levels are another story) is fucking easy, the first 70% is like an extended tutorial and the rest is more or less also easy. For being a puzzle game (or something like that, first person puzzler platformer?), it wasn't a very cerebral puzzle game, i can't remember any level where i had to sit down and thing for a few minutes and try a few things. The game tries so hard (and have success) to guide the players and show them how it's done to evade frustrations to the average shooter player that while it's a blast to play it for the first time thanks to the humor, the setting and the original portal system, it's not a "hard but rewarding" game.



    PD: Tom didn't lke Watchmen? Wow, he keeps failing. :P

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