[Bullet Soul Infinite Burst] - Xbox 360

Une sous section consacrée aux concours de scores, aux rankings de malades et autres performances de fous. Règle n°1: on vous fait confiance, ne trichez pas, y'a rien à gagner..
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Radigo
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Il a beau être hyper séduisant je le regarde toujours de travers. Je suis persuadé que la rapport prise de risque / gain de coller les spawner de boulettes est rigolo mais j'ai du mal avec un shmup où 99% des boulettes se font cancel avant de sortir de l'écran. Mais je n'y ai JAMAIS joué alors je veux bien ton avis sur les choix de design douteux...
"HYPER GAGE : 500%"
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M.Knight
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Ca tombe bien, j'avais rédigé un gros pavé (en anglais par contre) sur pourquoi j'aime pas ce jeu alors qu'en théorie j'aurais du le kiffer. :mrgreen:
Spoiler :
Bullet Soul Infinite Burst is a game that on paper has everything to become one of the coolest shmups ever made and a personal favorite. It has a caravan-style scoring system with enemy waves to quick-kill, it has the Dangun Feveron item collection mechanic with falling/bouncing coins to pick up without a miss penalty as massive as in Dangun, it has a fast-paced guitar-based soundtrack that fits the action, it has tons of score bonuses all over the place waiting to be obtained with pleasant jingles every time you get one.

But I hate it. I hate this game despite all those design elements. The only reason I kept playing it is to clear it and be done with it. How is that even possible? How did they mess up such an ideal formula?

Well, the first reason is probably the most obvious one : any time you kill an enemy, all the bullets it fired are instantly canceled. That does not exclusively apply to massive or specific enemies like in a CAVE game nor is it tied to a specific shield/bomb mechanic like in a Milestone game. No, every single enemy cancels its bullets upon death. And the cancelled bullets are useless in the game loop.

The result is that the difficulty curve is all over the place because spending the majority of the run knowing that you are not actually threatened by the bullets on screen makes you easily lose concentration and focus. And then all of a sudden, there will be one stray bullet that magically won't be cancelled because its parent enemy wasn't killed for some obscure reason. The issue is that you no longer track bullets as potential dangers until you suddenly have to, without any real warning.

So you are telling me, duh, an easy fix would be to disable that mechanic and surely the game will be more enjoyable. Unfortunately, it won't. The patterns in that game were not actually designed with dodging in mind, and even though most of them are actually technically dodgable, they feel completely out of place in a game that emphazises fast movement.

In Dangun Feveron, the bullets are relatively sparse but fast, which makes sense as you will be moving a lot. If the patterns were slow and dense, then moving at a high speed is bound to be needlessly difficult and very frustrating if you are not a superplayer. But Bullet Soul's patterns are exactly that, slow and dense. Is it because the devs didn't really understand their game? I think it plays a role, and the bullet cancelling mechanic itself is also a major culprit in this case.

If your enemies only fire a single fast bullet, then cancelling that one bullet when they die won't look impressive on screen. So the devs put dense patterns in the game to justify the bullet cancelling mechanic's visual appeal. There's a huge cloud of bullets coming for you and then, bam! Gone in a flash! Better than just a single stray bullet disappearing.The issue is that not only it exacerbates the feeling of not caring about the bullets, it also extends to boss fights whose bullets are not as easily canceled.

Boss patterns in this game are friggin weird, man. That's one of the places where I feel the devs really don't get what their game is supposedly about. The player ships are rather fast, even in focused mode, and yet the boss patterns are slow, dense, and later on feature gimmicks and organic, curving, zig-zagging bullets that wouldn't be out-of-place in a Touhou game. Touhou patterns in my Dangun-like caravan game? With that ship speed? What the hell? Also, the last boss in Burst Mode has an absolutely ridiculous spiral attack where it sweeps across the entire playfield without any visible gaps between the bullets. Either you stay at the bottom of the screen and gamble your lives or you have to move to the top right or the top left of the screen near the boss even though it spawns other bullets very close in a way that feels like a exploit/safe-spot abuse rather than the intended solution.

This is even more annoying when you realize the Burst mode scoring forces you to clear the game to even have a chance at getting a decent score. The end-game bonus is almost worth the entirety of the rest of the game. Why is that? Why ruin any chance at getting a competitive score if you don't kill the terribly-designed TLB whose opening pattern has no place in a game with ships that fast and whose other patterns involve bullets firing other bullets at you at point-blank range from the bottom of the screen, or the boss itself moving at the bottom of the screen and filling the screen with bullets while you can't hit it? While a decent score bonus of a few million points for a clear would make sense, this is not a checkpoint-based game like R-Type where you should give massive point bonuses for every life remaining on clear to prevent checkpoint milking. Such a concern does not exist in this game, so why did they make the clear bonus so massive? It's very baffling. Wanting to reward the clear is fine but not to the point where value-wise, it is worth as much as the scoring in the rest of the game, especially in a shmup that's supposedly built around scoring tricks.

One other thing that makes some boss bullet patterns harder than they should be for the wrong reasons is the way the bigger bullets look like blurry upscaled versions of smaller sprites. That makes them a lot easier to blend in with the background, harder to read and more annoying to keep track of, even without the smoothing filter that blur stuff even more. It might be due to my (rather standard as of now) 1920x1080 resolution but in any case, that's an issue I never had with any other shmup. Even the classic Taito orange bullets, while not always easy to see, were never blurry the way these bullets here are.

Speaking of bosses, the bullet cancelling that occurs when you destroy a part or a phase is very far from reliable. Sometimes the bullets are cancelled and the boss doesn't fire anything for a few seconds as it staggers, sometimes it fires a new pattern half a second after the cancel, so if you want to grab the coins as soon as possible (to maintain your Burst mode for example), you can be screwed.

On top of all that, another really annoying thing in this game is the level design and the enemy collisions. True, you can lose lives due to a single bullet that somehow wasn't cancelled. But as soon as you try to get into the system, the biggest cause of lost lives are the enemies themselves. Because your shot is gigantic and extremely flashy, it easily obscures enemies and makes it difficult to know where they are. This can cause failures to speedkill a wave as the last enemy is seemingly hidden, and more infuriatingly makes you more likely to collide with them.

Colliding with enemies occurs often as a result of them not being easy to see, but also because of the way they behave. It is far from rare to have enemies spawning from the sides at the speed of light and if your gigantic shot somehow doesn't kill them as soon as they appear, they'll likely hit you without you having the time to process what happened. The absolute worst offender is the big golden enemy that references Star Force/Star Soldier's special bonus. Whereas in those games you would see the regular-sized halves spawn on the sides (and the core to quick-kill in the middle if there's one), here the absolutely gigantic halves spawn at the top and the bottom of the screen with zero warning whatsoever. If you are not in the middle third of the screen when they spawn you'll be inevitably robbed of your lives because the halves cover the bottom and top third of the screen. Yes, they are that huge. Yes, this is total bullshit and you are forced to memorize where they appear after being conned once. So far, I have found them in Stages 1 and 5. And I know from experience that if you play well enough in Stage 1, you can trigger not just one but even two! Joy. The one in Stage 5 is especially insidious because it spawns right after a bunch of easy waves that give you life icons. On your first time, you'll likely be overwhelmed by the sudden amount of items and coins to grab and may have to retreat to the bottom of the screen to get the life icons before they fall off the screen (as those don't bounce back) and bam! You get smashed by the golden enemy. It's as if, in genuine euroshmup design fashion, the devs knew that part was unfair crap so they gave you life points beforehand only as a way to compensate.

The Normal mode's Stage 4 also has a wave after a certain mid-boss with a bunch of enemies coming from all directions (including from the bottom of the screen) towards the middle of a screen in a circle formation. If you don't have a safe position memorized, you'll get robbed of yet another life.

To top it all, enemy collisions in Burst Mode actually damage your hit points even more than bullets. In DeathSmiles or Guwange, enemy/background collisions deal less damage than bullets. Fair enough. In Milestone shmups (Radirgy Noa excluded), enemy collisions are disabled entirely. That improves the game's flow and enjoyability a lot. But here, even though the game is supposedly about point-blanking and staying on top of the screen, the game actively punishes you more if you do that and hit an enemy in the process which is far easier than it seems for the aforementionned reasons. What the hell?

Those issues make really me think that the devs didn't fully understand what made Dangun Feveron, Star Force, or Milestone shmups work, and they just copy-pasted the Dangun mechanics on their shoddy game and vaguely implemented caravan mechanics without thinking about the way they will affect the game's playstyle, the issues that can happen, or the way the patterns should work.

You can defintely see the lack of forethought when thinking about the Burst jauge mechanisms. The Bullet Soul devs introduced the idea that the higher you are on the screen, the more a destroyed enemy or boss part recharges the Burst jauge. I can imagine that the intention behind this is encourage you to take more risks. However, staying at the very top of the screen all the time is actually a design issue in speed-killing shmups that devs should try to alleviate instead of enforcing. If there are some enemies in Radirgy, Illvelo or Karous that come from the sides or the bottom of the screen, it is exactly for that. Always having to be in one part of the screen and neglecting everything else makes the game a bit redundant and repetitive but Bullet Soul always wants you to stay around the same spot whenever you are not Bursting.

The other reason this bothers me is that this mechanic feels completely artificial. The scoring system is about quick-killing waves and timing your bursts to quick-kill even more efficiently. Under those circumstances, there is absolutely no need to force the player to be way up on the screen to get lots of burst meter recharge because if most enemies come from the top of the screen, then the players will naturally move to the top of the screen by themselves just because it kills enemies faster. But in this game, man, enemies also come from the sides, or even from behind as I complained earlier. So what about those enemies? Even if you quick-kill them as the game intends you to do, they are worth less burst jauge recharge for a reason that you have no control over which is their placement on the screen, which was decided by the level-designers. What should have been there instead if they really wanted to give you better burst jauge recharges for quick-killing enemies is simply to have the burst jauge increase more the faster you destroy the enemy, just like Dangun Feveron's enemies can give more discomen if you kill them faster. This way, it still matches the spirit of the scoring system and you don't have to cripple the burst jauge recharge potential of enemies that don't spawn at the very top of the screen.

A minor but striking example of how they didn't think everything through is in Stage 1. There are two destruction bonuses you can get by destroying little yellow blocks on a platform to make a building collapse on a climbing yellow spider mech on a building on the other side of the screen. Yes, it looks cool. Yes, it is a neat idea. What's not neat is that the climbing spiders are actually vulnerable during the whole process and if you are too aggressive you can hit them and kill them before the building does. That means you are forced to restrain your fire, even though there are still enemies from the regular air enemy waves that have to be speed-killed. The devs thought about what looked cool without thinking about how it should be integrated in a caravan-style game without contradictions. An aggression-based game such as Bullet Soul should not punish you for destroying stuff or being on the offensive, yet this score bonus does.

On top of that, the yellow block must be destroyed before a small red spider mecha hops on the platform and takes it away. That isn't an issue per se, but because your shots are super shiny and flashy and obscure everything, it's very difficult to see it in the heat of the action. That means the first time you'll fail to destroy the yellow block in time, the building will not collapse, without the player being told why, and the end result looks like a glitch. I had to purposefully stop firing and let the red spider do its thing to see why the building sometimes refused to collapse.

Another thing that they added that doesn't gel that well are the catterpillar/snake enemies in Stage 3. They just ripped them off from Mushihimesama without properly integrating those enemies into Bullet Soul' pacing. Because those enemies have tons of health and sometimes temporarily leave the screen, they drastically slow down the pace of the level. Plus, they tend to spawn in erratic and poorly telegraphed ways that make them very likely to collide with you if you are in the top two thirds of the screen, which is where the game wants you to be in the first place. And if you want those enemies to spawn coins (and they do spawn a whole lot of coins), you actually have to destroy every single one of their parts before killing the head. This makes killing them in optimal ways take even longer than it already does, and it clashes with the quick-kill based scoring system. It could have actually been a nice risk-reward mechanic to have all the parts spawn bullets instead of only the head and you could decide to focus on the head at the risk of letting more bullets fill the screen as you do that. That would have worked a lot better with the rest of the stage's scoring mechanics.

And then, there's a supposedly important feature they seemingly didn't really think nor care about : TATE mode. While there is TATE and it works, the Infinite Burst mode has this...fucking, huge, ugly-ass HUD bar on the side. Should you play the game in TATE mode for more than 2 seconds, you'll easily notice that it is a big problem and it hinders any chance of enjoyability as an entire fifth of the playfield's horizontal area is obscured by this mostly useless bar. Remove the bars, replace the HP by a number indicator below the Burst rate % and that would work just as well but without constantly having the same annoying feeling of watching a movie in a theater with a giraffe in the seat in front of you that obscures everything.

Sure, you can make the HUD temporarily go away when you move closer to it (and even then, it's pretty finnicky), but the rest of the time, it'll be there and it'll defintely hide enemies, coins and bullets. Remember the issue with enemies coming from the sides or behind and crashing into you without you seeing them properly? This aggravates it. It's absolutely baffling that nobody in the staff team took a look at it and said anything about it being too big and distracting and that it should be fixed in the game's final cut. The Normal Mode bar is much smaller and less intrusive so it's not that much of a problem in that mode, but come on, Burst is supposedly the main mode, so polish it, dammit! Then again, the devs didn't bother adjusting the ending video for that screen rotation mode so maybe this whole TATE thing is an afterthought to them even though it is absolutely essential for the core shmup audience that is the only one who'll want to push this game to its scoring limits.

All those massive flaws are insanely frustrating because there seemingly is a lot of potential in the formula and with devs that had an actual vision of what they wanted to do and properly enforced it in their design choices, then maybe it could have been an excellent shmup. But as it is, it's heavily flawed. Could it even have been good in the first place, though?

The answer comes from the dev interview that Degica translated :

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8cS_V ... BaldB/view


What the interview tells us about Bullet Soul's developement is that it was initially made as a Tatsujin/Truxton sequel, but they then switched to an original game as they couldn't get the rights to the series.

Suddenly it all makes sense.

The fact that shots are extremely large to the point of being distracting no longer seems to come out of nowhere anymore, and the fact that the game's difficulty is all over the place with long sleep-inducing segments and sudden cheap hits interspersed is no longer a surprising thing given the terrible role model the devs had when they made Bullet Soul. If you base your game so heavily on a something as unfun and badly designed as Tatsujin, there was no chance for the game to be enjoyable and balanced in the first place, just like euroshmups whose devs that want to recreate Amiga-style games even though most of them are terrible garbage. This is probably the root issue that permeates all the frustrating quirks in the level design, the pacing, and the enemy waves. What a waste of resources.
C'est possible que je sois bien plus dur avec Bullet Soul que ce j'aurais pu être avec d'autres, mais comme j'ai jamais l'impression que c'est ma faute quand j'perds une vie, ça pousse pas à être clément.
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M.Knight
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Mode: MUSOU MODE
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Commentaire: Yun

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Rââh en fait y avait encore un mode caché à débloquer. C'est comme le mode Normal mais t'as encore plus envie de t'endormir parce que ton tir c'est le Burst méga puissant maintenant.
Bon au moins, c'est fait.
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-S.L-
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Quel bordel a l'écran ce jeu :D
Mais tres fun a jouer :aaah:

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-S.L-
Counter Stop
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Up je passe devant Trizeal :zob:

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raisonnable
King Fossile
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mais...mais...tu es encore vivant S.L?...et tu joues encore aux shoots?

la vie est incroyable quand même
L'environnement en ville, un bruyant ronronnement.


fat cape et prise de Tate
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-S.L-
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et oui mon cher raisonnable, la vie est pleine de surprises :D

mais bon, y'en a qui travaille ici, j'ai plus le temps de me consacrer comme avant, mais ça me manque :ouin:

bon je prends la 3eme place, je pourrai détroner Ezi vu la partie moisie que j'ai faite mais bon, on verra...



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-S.L-
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en attendant.... 2eme :binouze:



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YannHuitNeuf
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Commentaire: Rupu (ducu)
Ca mérite de figurer ici
Quand quarante personnes s'habillent comme un con c'est L'ACADÉMIE FRANÇAISE. Quand mille personnes s'habillent comme un con, c'est l'ARMÉE FRANÇAISE
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