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Critique for
Not ND suffering from genre fatigue, the platformer consumer. Very few early 3D platformers were linear except Crash and it's well documented why and how the collect-a-thon died out due to oversaturation.
In hindsight, debatable that an interconnected world 'reinvigorates' the collect-a-thon - fair point.
I think it's a bit reaching to say that naughty dog suffered from genre fatigue. The concept of needing to do something to "reinvigorate the genre" seems more than a bit fuzzy to me.
Fair point that the player still has to wait even if it's not a load screen. As an aside, I like the R&C transitions, but that's a nostalgic thing.
If the level transitions can't be skipped, then it's a load screen. Avoiding loading screens is an impressive technical feat, but what really matters is avoiding making the player wait for things. Loading screens are kind of unavoidable and common, so I think there's not much that can be done but to view them as a necessary evil where they pop up. On that note, the unskippable scene of the rocket ship going to a planet every time in Ratchet and Clank drove me nuts.
Fair point about blue eco vents - the player isn't actually *taught* here, but later.
Don't care about the story.
I too think I am reaching with the floor sound effect - did I not make that as clear as I remember?
Sum-up of the tutorial is alright, doesn't go over how it specifically teaches.
Variety is something I'll really need to consider when writing for Jak 2. I think that everything in that game meets par, but also that the game is actually worse than the sum of its' parts, so it's something I'll be thinking about.
Don't care about daxter. As an aside I like him.
Agreed that a collect-a-thon where you have to collect everything would be flawed - a point implicit in that discussion. Glad you found that digression interesting.
Okay, Blue Eco Vent. This is a trend I see a lot, where a dude points out the first time something appears in a game, then says that it "teaches players" about that element. The Vent here doesn't really teach them anything. It's just a distinctive shape on the ground. It's not teaching them that they need to come back here. It's just a thing they might see, and later on when blue Eco vents are activated, they might remember that they saw one here, which, if they remember successfully, will teach them to check back after activating vents of a certain color.
There is not a single point in the game where so many power cells are required that you need to buy some with orbs or collect any scout flies. Given what you've said here and your affinity for speedruns, it seems like you enjoy being able to blast through levels as fast as possible, and you dislike collect-a-thons because they run counter to that, obligating you to slow down, explore and collect. Just my conjecture, obviously I don't know you better than you know yourself, but is that something you'd agree with?
I would like a demonstration of how the enemies work relative to Jak's abilities honestly. They, and the platforming near them, act in tandem to deliver challenges and bar progression. Instead there's just a remark that the area is a bit harder and that there's no bottomless pits, so you have to climb up, which is its own sort of punishment (which importantly means you need to jump across correctly, developing jumping skill)
Roll jumping is not a fundamental part of movement, because it's never taught or required at all, and never useful outside of those few specific power cells and getting around faster. Is rolling to get across Hyrule Field slightly faster a fundamental part of movement?
I think you're reaching a bit with the sound effect for precursor flooring, but it is a nice sound effect. Having unique sound effects for different flooring is a neat touch in terms of feedback. More important in games with full noise propagation engines that are factored into enemy AI, like Thief.
I'd say spin jumping is a more fundamental part of movement. It's not taught either, but is absolutely required. This raises its' own questions about how much the player should have to figure out for themselves, but that's a different debate.
I think the boss is basic reinforcement of your ability to move and jump. And I think the idea you were searching for was if a vine had gone limp while the boss was still attacking you, so you need to find a point between the boss's attacks to attack it, opening up the leaves, then the boss would feel less condescending and maybe a bit more back-and-forth, like you're fighting it as it fights you, rather than simply cycling phases.
Fair point about ice buttons. It's more that the ice *feels* like an inconvenience because the player knows how much easier it would be with the standard movement, and is therefore aggravating in context, regardless of whether the challenge it creates is a well-implemented one in a vacuum. There's this readily apparent point of comparison, leading to "ugh, this would be SO MUCH EASIER with the standard controls!", even if the button challenge wouldn't be here without ice physics. 
I think the suggestion I made wouldn't have this same problem because jumping that distance wouldn't be possible at all with the standard physics, so the player wouldn't have that point of comparison, or at least not obviously.
Funny that you say variety can make something more than the sum of its parts given my recent criticism of how variety making it so every part needs to stand on its own more than being able to rest on others. I think variety adds exactly what it adds and nothing else. The strength of adding a new mode is that it's a new mode with a unique strategic space to explore, so it can help keep players engaged by turning them onto a new task. The weakness is that it's segregated from the rest of the game and doesn't build on or take from the existing strengths of the game. Also in a developmental sense it can strain dev time and end up half baked, which is a problem by itself that can simply be called out for what it is.
By "decent test of skill" I guess I meant "decent test of skill *at using the base mechanics*". I thought that came across in the context of what I was talking about, but maybe not as clearly as in my own head. Could have flipped the sentence around.
Is there really a lack of acceleration on the net in the fishing minigame? Or is it that it accelerates on a funny curve, moving between low speed and high speed over a short period of time, so if you try to tap it, you go nowhere, but if you try to hold it, you go way too far? Added to that, a slight deceleration curve so it continues moving after you let go? The motion doesn't look instant from the footage. I'm just guessing. I played about half of Jak 1 before declaring, "fuck this shit" to all the collectathon nonsense, so I don't really remember.
Actually already talked with someone about the Jak v Mario 64 statement - I could have phrased it as "*If you ask me*, ND outdid them all on their very first try" instead of stating my opinion factually, considering that I never directly compared the two games factually.
Hmmmmmm, your discussion on how power cells are the core progression metric, yet are also partially optional is interesting. You bring up a good point and concern as a reviewer. As an aside, I'd say that a collectathon style game where collecting every single collectible was mandatory would be a flaw. There needs to be a suitable amount of leniency. I don't really know how to resolve the dilemma you've brought up here, except by saying that all the content should be reviewed as if it were required instead of potentially optional, but that doesn't really seem like the correct answer either. Simply put, by reviewing everything, everything can individually be declared good or bad and worrying about the sum total is easier, since most games have good and bad levels anyway.
Yep, we're going to disagree greatly about Jak 2. The last couple of paragraphs is the best basis for what I said earlier about you maybe feeling 'obligated' by collect-a-thons.
Fair statement on the driller enemy and drop out floor combination. I don't think that the combat mechanics and 1 hit enemies necessarily prevent them from combining platforming and combat challenges, I think they just failed to integrate them.
I'm going to call this one a win, if only because it didn't make me feel like my entire approach was terrible.
I think they made the punch the way they did intentionally. I think they didn't want the player to chain the lunge punch into itself and zip across the levels that way, rather they wanted player to use the roll jump. Also canceling the punch into the spin is kinda technical.
You are ass-blastingly harsh, Chris, and I thank you for it. Ever seen the movie Whiplash?