CrossCode catch-all

I picked up CrossCode based on an offhand comment from Cory Banks on the podcast a few weeks ago and the strength of the premise.

CrossCode is a strange little beast. The premise is that you are a player in an MMORPG. But this is an MMORPG in the far future, and while it holds a lot of the same conceits as a present-day MMORPG, it takes place in "the real world", using a form of matter to instantly construct and deconstruct environments and objects. It also takes place another planet. That's not the setting, this is all being done on the actual surface of an actual planet in some far flung solar system. And it's honestly a bit of a mindf*ck. You are a player, logged into a character, constructed in the real world, taking part in a fictional world. Also, there are real live people walking around in this world (the simple matter used to create the game world is incapable of generating much in the way of weight or force), and it's unclear how much of the environment is the game's setting and how much is the ancient ruins of a long-dead alien race. It's probably the most creative setting I've come across in video games in a long time.

The gameplay is along the lines of a top down ARPG, a little like the old Secret of Mana games, with a touch of the newer Supergiant games (Bastion, Transistor). This frenetic action is interspersed with a large number of puzzles, usually around the lines of jumping on things to shoot switches to open other things so that you can jump on them. So far, I've found these puzzles to be incredibly satisfying, but I can definitely see the potential for some people to get frustrated with some of the more timing based setups.

I'm approximately halfway through this game, and I've been utterly charmed by it the entire time. The writing is deceptively good. It plays with the simplicity of JRPG-style speech patterns and online conversation in a way that disguises some fairly weighty emotions and ideas. As of right now, I think it's my game of the year.

Anyways, don't take my word for it, Rock Paper Shotgun loves it too:

This game does look pretty incredible both in production and mechanics.

The only thing holding me back is that it looks like it might be a bit too frenetic for my tired old bones.

Do they have a Casual/Easy mode for the geriatric set?

Seconding what Aaron said. Just looking at the gameplay, I get a Link to the Past meets the Ys: Oath in Felghana sort of vibe with a lot more numbers, which could be fantastic or frustrating depending on my mood at the end of a day. Can you give us a gauge on how difficult the combat actually is, or does it just look intense?

I had the same concern when I bought it, but so far it's felt pretty manageable. It's a lot less frenetic playing than watching. You're rarely dealing with more than one or two enemies at a time, and you have ai controlled party members dealing damage and drawing aggro. Thinking about it, at least one of the boss battles gave me fits.

I will say that I'm not usually a big fan of old school gameplay like this. I have zero tolerance for bullet hell games. That said, I'm either better than average at twitch gaming, or I don't get as frustrated by it, based on my experience with similar games. So poke around to see what let people think. Vector was talking about it a bit in the indy games thread.

I'll have more to post later but it feels like a much easier Hyper Light Drifter. I don't like bullet-hell games or anything that requires precise reflexes. CrossCode's combat is much more puzzle-focused. Overworld enemies have one or two signature moves, rarely do enough damage to matter, and only a few of these enemies will even engage the player in combat. Boss battles do require properly timed dodges or blocks but are almost entirely puzzle focused. Every time I've figured out the solution to the boss, they've gone down incredibly quickly too.

Cross(Code) posting for another thread.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

I've been watching a LP of CrossCode, mostly because I've not been buying games lately. The one thing that bothers me is how long it took to get to a dungeon. with 30-something minute episodes, the first dungeon is done after almost 20 episodes. That's nearly 12 hours. Then again, I think the dungeons seem like major milestones to the tune of 1/4 of the game.

Time to kill on enemies seemed really high in the beginning, but seems less after the first ability. It seemed to take so long, that it was annoy enough to the point that I was thinking the game would not be worth my time. Item collection quests seemed on the edge of grindy- but possibly because I wasn't watching too closely.

The rest of the game looks pretty fun.

Think of it as a Zelda-style game in that the dungeons (I've only been in 3 dungeon-like scenarios) are big set pieces and a big part of the game is exploring the areas to get to the next town and dungeon.

Very early in the game it takes a bit to kill some enemies but once you upgrade your skills once or twice overworld enemies become easy fodder.

Item collection quests really aren't grindy since you will, almost always, receive those items just through normal exploration and dungeons. There is one quest where you are meant to "scan" vegetation and that can take time as it's completely reliant on drop rates.

Finished last night with 71 hours of game time. Personally, it should probably be about 20 hours shorter than that. There's also a big in-game push for you to grind materials to prepare for the end boss. It's not necessary, I found.

I didn't have the patience to figure out the end puzzle dungeon and end boss so I basically consulted a guide whenever I got stuck. I was kind of just bored of the mechanics at that point.

There are two endings; a good and bad ending. Which you get is determined on whether you complete a small sidequest that doesn't show up in your quest log. I missed this quest and got the bad ending. However, you can go back right before the "point of no return" and do this quest while keeping the levels you gained on your first run through the end, and have the option of skipping the last dungeon and boss. Doing that gives you the true ending. Unfortunately it's basically just a screen that says "We'll release post-game DLC soon!". All the story stuff before that was very well done and satisfying.

I'm kinda surprised that this game isn't getting more attention. I bought it during the Steam sale and dropped 6 hours into it in a flash. What a charming game, with super tight controls. Going by some of the posts above, I recognize that it may overstay its welcome, but the early game is really fantastic.

Agreed - grossly overlooked. Glad some more folks are finding it!

I started playing this last night and I am enjoying it minus the puzzles. I hate puzzles. I have less than zero problem-solving skills and puzzles just make me feel stupid, which I am, but I don't want to feel it, too, lol. Otherwise, I am enjoying the gameplay and story! Lovely looking game as well.

If you're struggling with the puzzles, don't hesitate to consult a faq or youtube video. I'd basically give every puzzle a few tries and once I felt I was losing my limited time, I'd look up the solution. Often times, I found I was extremely close to figuring it out just needed a few more trial an error. Sometimes I would just forget mechanics that I'd learned earlier.

BoogtehWoog wrote:

I started playing this last night and I am enjoying it minus the puzzles. I hate puzzles. I have less than zero problem-solving skills and puzzles just make me feel stupid, which I am, but I don't want to feel it, too, lol. Otherwise, I am enjoying the gameplay and story! Lovely looking game as well.

i watched a good deal of the game. You're in for a world of disappointment. It's got tons of puzzles.

Yeah, Vector! That's exactly what I did.

I'll just consult videos for 'em, mrtomaytohead. It is unfortunate the game relies so much on puzzles, but if the story can stay interesting, I'll keep it up.

Good luck. Looks like I the type of game I would enjoy for about 25% of it's length. And I really want to love it, but i'm not sure it would be worth just doing some of it.