Central Impulse

Discussion in 'Completed Games' started by Matseb2611, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member Developer

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    Congrats on finishing this game :D
     
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  2. itokengroup

    itokengroup iTOKEN Veteran

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    "That's my plasma extractor!" -- Ma Hui

    Hehe, will download on the weekend and play.
     
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  3. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Thank you and enjoy! :D

    Ma Hui was too kind to part with his plasma extractor. Hehe.  
     
    #23
  4. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    So I finally stopped being lazy and decided to make a gameplay trailer. Enjoy!
     
    #24
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  5. itokengroup

    itokengroup iTOKEN Veteran

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    Hi,

    As a sci-fi fan myself, I really like the cast and setting. Story is original and so is the overall flow and atmosphere of the game. Its a new refreshing scene, because as you know, these rpg type genre is bombarded by magic, wizards, castles and summons.

    Puzzles are interesting, and so are the dialogue. My only gripe with the game is that characters somewhat lack depth.

    Overall, a very good game. Hope you can create a new one with a different setting.

    Cheers!

    iTOKEN
     
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  6. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Thank you Itoken and it's awesome to hear you liked the game. By a new one with a different setting, did you mean a sequel involving these characters or an altogether new game with a new concept?  
     
    #26
  7. itokengroup

    itokengroup iTOKEN Veteran

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    A different new game, I am curious of what kind of story you come up with next.
     
    #27
  8. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    I see, thanks. Well I am currently working on another sci-fi series, Incitement. I released the first game just before Central Impulse and now I am doing a sequel, Incitement 2, which I am hoping to make much better than the first.  
     
    #28
  9. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Many thanks to Redweaver for a great video review of the game:





    Also thought I'd link here the first episode of Deathspark's Let's Play of the game in case anyone is interested to see the gameplay:
     
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  10. Alkorri

    Alkorri Proofreading Penguin Veteran

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    Just wanted to say I finished this game after six hours. Brilliant premise! I had an absolute blast playing even if I did have to grind for an hour to beat the last boss. I probably overdid it, because I'm a completionist. But believe me, at the end of it, the victory was utterly satisfying.

    This game has also one of the best credits cutscenes I ever had the pleasure to sit through.

    It's not often you find a rare balance of puzzles, combat, exploration done well.

    If you love scifi, humour, depth in your stories, unconventional party members, then give this a try! :)
     
    #30
  11. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Thank you so much for your kind words, Alkorri, and thanks once again for the detailed feedback in the PM. It's been very helpful and I'll be sure to keep it in mind for my future game projects.    
     
    #31
  12. Hahn Deathspark

    Hahn Deathspark Deathspark Veteran

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    Nya, just here to say congratulations on reaching 10 stars, great game! Feel free to add this to your post! :)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Tired of lame save the princess RPGs? Try this for a change! :)
    You can choose not to, but I thought it shows how well made the game is! :)
     
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  13. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Hehe, thanks man. I'll definitely add it to the post. Thanks for the LP again. 
     
    #33
  14. Zevia

    Zevia Veteran Veteran

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    I started off with Central Impulse as my first Let's Play over at the Let's Play Hub, and I thought I'd drop by and post my review. If you're curious to see the videos, you can find them over here.

    Review For Central Impulse (spoilers)

    Central Impulse is a game that sets out to examine the human condition through the trappings of robots - certainly a theme that has been tackled by many a writer, to varying degrees of success. There are some obvious threads to pursue that robots might have an easier time answering than humans - "What is my purpose?" "Why are we, collectively, here?" "Why do we behave the way we do?" "What does it mean to exist?" The game even starts with the metaphysical quote from Descartes, "I think, therefore I am." They're interesting philosophical topics, and leave a lot of room for some serious complexity.

    Matthew Ashworth, the game's creator, tackles these topics with a sort of light glossing-over. While I think he does a fine job looking at issues of questioning existence and trying to examine the various shades of gray on the scale of morality, it felt more like bringing up the point without delving too terribly deep into it.

    E1 and H6 are two robots that have a strong emotional connection to one another, though neither is particularly sure why. When the administrator of the station all the robots in the game are on starts sending for various robot workers to be disposed of or relocated, H6 is swept away to another sector. E1 decides his existence is better when it's spent in the company of H6, and so, with the help of his flying, tinier friend X3, he sets out through the station to find H6.

    In the process, he starts to discover a darker secret. Hadron, the administrator, seems to be sending an excessive amount of bots to disposal for no discernible reason. The station is becoming totalitarian, under ruthless rule. Most of the bots are unaware of what's going on, and those that are prefer to simply go on about their business without getting involved. The ones who do get involved are taken away and destroyed.

    The first big climactic moment in the story is the encounter with the Central AI, who reveals that the station and robots' creators died long ago, leaving all they know behind in the form of sentient robots capable of feeling emotion and having personalities. However, it seems a rogue member of the creators implanted a virus, known as Saf, that would corrupt and eventually destroy the robots - for reasons unknown, but with the hypothesis that, "Maybe one of them didn't want their legacy to be left behind."

    The second climax is the actual battle with Saf, who insists that he is only fulfilling his purpose. To fight him is to argue against their own existence, because they are not fulfilling their intended purpose. It's a literal fight between the ideas of free will and fate, with Saf representing the deterministic point of view and E1 and company raising the banner of choice.

    The parallel between Saf's mid-battle conversation with E1 et al and Kefka's musings against Terra and crew were not lost on this reviewer, even if it was not an intentional nod.

    None of the characters really jump too far into the pool of trying to figure out the meaning of their existence, nor are there are any particularly insightful statements about the human condition made that wouldn't be immediately obvious at first glance. If you like metaphors about humans as non-human objects, you'll probably dig the story. It will carry you from start to finish with a clear enough purpose for why you're aiming to get from point A to point B. If you're hoping for a deeply philosophical launchpad, you'll probably have to look elsewhere.

    That isn't to say the game isn't fun - the various "platformer" elements in the game, particularly dodging multi-colored balls of fire and gathering up the items that float around on the ground, are surprisingly entertaining for how simple they are. The more immediate reward of an item being deposited directly into your inventory after touching it operates well in the realm of dodging electric plates and fire minions. There's even a chase sequence for you more twitchy-minded fellows who want to maybe relive a little Battletoads action (you know which level I mean, though it's not nearly as frustrating).

    It's interesting that half the "big bads" you fight aren't actually your menu-and-go battles, too. Some of them are just reaction checks or puzzles you have to pass through before the boss meets an untimely demise of one sort or another. The most entertaining of which is, of course, when K2 decides to LAY DOWN THE LAW. MY FISTS, THEY ARE MADE OF STEEEEEL!

    The atmosphere of the game is well-done, too. I'm really not nitpicky when it comes to mapping, so I don't know if there are shadows that are one pixel off or levels that aren't perfectly coordinated, but I enjoyed the layout of the levels. The music, especially, really helps make the game. Matthew appears to have enlisted the help of many different composers, who either were very good at producing what he needed for pretty much every situation, or he has a good ear for picking the right music to fit a scene. The whole game has a sort of clinical feel to its design in the sanctuary areas, and scrap heap grittiness to the areas that are still under construction or are in total disarray. When you're sent down to the disposal area, you really get the sense that this is a place the cleaning bots don't venture to.

    The game does have some shortcomings, as most are wont to have. The battle system is incredibly simple and base, and you really won't spend any time strategizing or trying to decide the best course of action. While the idea of having new abilities attached to weapon upgrades is nice, it ultimately made leveling feel kind of pointless. You get a little bit of extra health and energy, but it really felt like I probably could've killed each boss with a minimal of random encounters. The random encounters will take a bit longer to get through if you just spam attack, but that's only because your special abilities simply do more damage and the enemies have enough health that one round of selecting "attack" won't quite do it most of the time. Since the experience gained isn't really all that necessary to succeed, anyway, I ended up starting to just run from most battles by the second half of the game because I didn't see the point. As soon as I got an Add-On that reduced the encounter rate in half, I took it and kept it on until I knew a boss battle was coming (which was thankfully indicated by a full-restore terminal and a save terminal next to each other).

    There's a bit of rock-paper-scissors in the game from physical, fire, and plasma attacks on your weapons, but they're so incredibly expensive at the shop that you will only have enough money to upgrade one weapon per party member - and even then, you will probably end up having to sell many of the items that you went out of your way to pick up while browsing through the "dungeons." There's also not much hint about what kind of attack a particular boss is going to use until you've already fought it, and since you can't switch equipment out mid-battle, you're better off just getting the generic armor upgrades and ignoring the ones that give you 30% resistance to one type or another.

    The Add-Ons in the game are great, with one major gripe on my behalf - the status resistance ones are garbage. After losing on my first attempt to the Central AI because of the incredibly fiendish nature of combining both confuse and charm, I decided to go pick up some accessories to defend against confuse. Unfortunately, they only provide a 50% resistance to it, so I was still getting confused plenty of the time, thereby disabling my party nonetheless. You could get lucky and resist it all, or you might just get so unfortunate that you wouldn't even know you had status-resisting Add-Ons to begin with. My battle against Saf was equally frustrating - even with the confuse-resisting Add-Ons, I was still getting confused more often than not, leading me to wonder why I'd even bothered giving up slots that could've provided some combat benefits to try and protect against something that was ultimately going to hit me anyway, whether I liked it or not.

    Speaking of status effects, they kind of suffer the same problem as many RPGs did back in the day and for which there's really not much excuse any more - the random enemies don't last long enough to get use out of them, and the bosses are all immune to all status effects. Even the stuff that lowered enemy defense didn't work against the bosses. Similarly, many of the tier 3 and tier 4 weapon upgrades provided special abilities that inflicted status effects or attacked multiple enemies - not much help against a single-target, totally immune boss. I ended up using the special abilities I'd had at tier 2 for pretty much all my attacking party members when it came to boss fights. It felt a little underwhelming to take some upgrades and gain access to these new abilities, only to discover that they were basically worthless when I wanted to use them the most.

    Really, combat and equipment is where the game falls flat. I think it actually would've been better to just take out all random encounters or non-boss fights and just make the game a primarily story-driven affair with a few boss battles - or take them out entirely and just make it a puzzle/platformer game with an interesting story.

    The game really shines when it comes to the screens for which random encounters are disabled and you're just trying to get across the room using jump pads, switches that spawn bridges, solving box puzzles to get at optional items, attempting to figure out switch-and-magnet problems, etc. These are all a lot of fun, and would actually be enjoyable to play through again - but the battle system is kind of a turn-off to repeat playthroughs.

    Which is really a shame, since the characters have their quirky sense of humor and it would be nice to go back and experience some of the conversations again after knowing the whole story to see how it might change the player's outlook on the philosophical topics brought up through the two climactic boss battles.

    I think it's pretty clear why so many LPers around the community have picked up and played Central Impulse to its conclusion. It's a good game that's certainly outside the norm of medieval fantasy and jumpscare survival games that's just marred by a very simple and unappealing combat system. The game should only take a few hours to beat, and there are many areas that don't have random battles, so it really won't wear on you enough that I wouldn't recommend beating the game. Everything else about it - especially the music, which is my favorite part of the whole experience - is absolutely worth an afternoon or evening of your time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2014
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  15. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Wow, thank you very much for this in-depth review, Zevia, and choosing Central Impulse for a Let's Play. I'm going to be watching that this weekend as it's always interesting to see how other people would play through the game.

    I can very much understand your critiques in regard to the combat system. I was even considering of removing it altogether at one stage, but then I figured I'd better keep it so not to make majority of the items and gear to be useless, and hence to give the players more incentive to want to pick up all the items they see when solving the puzzles. Perhaps I should've just made the battles to be fewer in number but more challenging.

    But, having said that, I am glad you liked everything else about the game and had a blast through it. I'll keep the points you raised in mind for my future projects and will make sure to comment on your LP thread once I've watched those.
     
    #35
  16. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    I made a video about the Saf fight more than a month ago. At first I thought it was so easy that uploading it seems pointless to me, but after I while I changed my mind as some might find it useful at the end(but then I forgot to upload uptil now):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxKmlyX2y5I&feature=youtu.be

    I didn't do much analysis this time as I think it's pretty obvious that the only thing governing party's setup is the party members' stats and passive abilities, causing the party setup to be really straightforward.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2014
    #36
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  17. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Ah, good job. And you did it at lvl 12-13. Woot! When Zevia did this boss fight at lvl 14 in his Let's Play, I thought that was crazy already, but 12-13 is even crazier. Normally when I playtested this fight, I was around lvl 17. So really good job there. It helps to use as many skills and upgrades as possible here.

    And lol. You have F9 at the front of your party (I think he's most people's least used character). Glad you've found him useful.
     
    #37
  18. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    My core strategy is to maximize the overall damage output and the only thing I've to consider is party member's stats and passive abilities as every other things are interchangeable among party members. Therefore:

    1. The most damaging skills to a single target are Flame barrage and Electrify as they delivers 4 hits to that single target, meaning Torch m4 and Spark m4 must be used and thus those with the highest C-ATK must be included.

    2. K2 and F9 are must have as their C-ATK stats are the highest(the former has 41 at Lvl 12 and the latter has 33 at Lvl 13). Also, K2's 2x aggro and high MHP, C-DEF and L_DEF(all are the highest) makes it the best meat shield.

    (Maybe it's better for K2 to use Torch m4 and F9 to use Spark m4 instead as Flame barrage is 1 tier higher than Electrify and K2 has a bit more E than F9)

    3. The other damaging skills to a single target are Double trouble and Two down, followed by Shock bolt which is followed by Burst shot. These mean Hammer m4 and Cannon m4 are preferred over Stormbolt m4 which is preferred over Fireball m4.

    4. Among the remaining party members, H6 is must have as its atk stats are the highest(44 L-ATK at Lvl 13), making it the best one to use Cannon m4. However, now there's only 1 slot left and fighting Saf needs 1 party member playing the support role.

    5. X3 has the 2nd highest atk stats(38 L-ATK at Lvl 12), making it the best one to use Stormbolt m4. Now only E1 and B5 are left.

    6. The former is a better damage dealer as its atk stats are 1 point higher than those of the latter(32 C-ATK at Lvl 12 vs 31 L-ATK at Lvl 12) while the latter is a best support member as its E and AGI are the highest.

    (Maybe it's better for E1 to use Hammer m4 and B5 to use Fireball m4 instead)

    All these mean that K2 and F9 should be the main damage dealers(the former also being the meat shield) and H6 should be the auxiliary damage dealer. B5 should be the sole supporter while X3 and E1 should be the backups.

    Regarding why I'd want to maximize damage output, it's because I don't want to use any item in battle nor any party member dying. The comparison between Saf's damage output and party's limited resources means that I've to end the battle as quickly as possible before Saf eventually overwhelms the party by its unlimited resources.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2014
    #38
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  19. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    Yeah, that sounds about right, hehe. I think some skills were a bit badly balanced though in the game overall. Like Electrify is tier 4 and Repealer is tier 5, yet Electrify is way better and more useful. I had some people mention even that many of the tier 5 skills are useless as the the earlier skills outdo them in many regards. I think flame barrage might be the only one that's worth being tier 5. Finisher (in Hammer m4) is not too bad either I guess, especially if you get a critical with it.

    But yeah, this is a good strategy. If you had to rank this boss fight and the last boss fights of the Incitement games (all the ones you did videos of) in order from hardest to easiest, how would you place them?
     
    #39
  20. DoubleX

    DoubleX Just a nameless weakling Veteran

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    (Assuming players know how to play their cards well under any possible situation)

    Under the following constraints:

    1. Minimal leveling

    2. Not using items

    3. Not allowing any party member die

    I'd say:

    1. Jorgen's fight's significantly harder than Cadmoralus's fight

    2. Cadmoralus's fight's slightly harder than Heliros's fight in Challenging mode

    3. Heliros's fight's in Challenging mode is incredibly harder than Saf's fight

    But with the above constraints removed, I'd say:

    1. Heliros' fight in Challenging mode is significantly harder than Cadmoralus's fight

    2. Cadmoralus's fight's slightly harder than Jorgen's fight

    3. Jorgen's fight's incredibly harder than Saf's fight
     
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