Author Topic: Touhou 19: 東方獣王園 〜 Unfinished Dream of All Living Ghost (Trial release)  (Read 2296 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

fsvgm777

  • One of the only Touhou fans from Luxembourg... I guess.
  • Oh, I'm just a concerned observer.
    • Twitch
    • YouTube
    • fsvgm777#9370
    • Steam
  • Gender: Female
I tried loading the Steam store page for the demo, but it just boots me back to the Steam store front page. I can load store pages for other Touhou games (e.g. Violet Detector and WBaWC) just fine, so I have no idea what's up.

I assume this is the correct page.

EDIT: Okay, so I got it to install. The app ID for the demo is 2400360.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2023, 04:51:51 PM by fsvgm777 »

Suspicious person

  • Just a fun loving kind of person
  • ... but what is fun ?
  • Gender: Suspicious

All right, took the game out for a spin and man, gotta say, this is the most buggy amongst the Touhou demos I've played in a long while. To illustrate :
- Game consistently crashes when I choose return to screen
- Massive slowdown when the "Let's fire" writing pop out
- Weird occurence such as Seiran boss sprite remaining on my side of the screen as I beat her
- Boss battles making no sense sometimes, for example, Reimu normally going into her spellcard phase after eating some bullets, BUT going back into nonspell phase after I beat her spell card and the explosion pop out and all ???!!!
- Boss battles still making no sense as I swear the stage 3 story mode battle ended much earlier after retrying

And my favorite, which totally caught me by surprise :
- GETTING SENT BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF STORY MODE after a stage 3 draw. This somehow happened after I beat Reimu but lost my last life : game didn't even ask me anything, HOWEVER, it LET ME KEEP THE CARDS I EARNED, and I returned to stage 3 with 4 cards in tow lmao.

So obviously, a bunch of stuff need fixing here. As this is my first time playing a PvP style 2hu game, I'm not so familiar with the mechanisms or the "meta" and way to play the game based off PoDD and PoFV. However, as far as game design goes, it seems it leans heavily towards the side of 100thBM, as we see the return of the slowing effect from the former magic circle mechanism, but also the fact that enemy spawns this time seems to happen in sets of consistent formations that are somewhat chosen randomly.

As far as this game goes, firepower seems to be considerably low. That seems to be a balancing decision ZUN seems to have chosen for ability card games such as UM and 100thBM, as cards gets super powerfull and scale massively well with synergies, so much so that the lack of power get less evident as the game goes on : for example, you have your maximum firepower to go with whatever equipment card you fancy in TH 18, and you could pick 3 cards at a time or even boost the equipment card's firepower with shooting power boosting cards in 100thBM. Weak firepower seems justifiable in consideration of that, but the problem imo is that such design choice is not necessarily pertinent for this game :

You WILL quickly notice that your regular shot is not strong enough to quickly dispatch these buff jojo fairies, and make it obvious that charged attacks is the way to go to fill the lack of firepower : what I'm trying to say here is that you'll be relying on charged attacks to deal damage most of the time this game, so the potential strong cards that the damage is balanced for becomes quite frankly redundant. Heck, there's not even a guarantee that the cards are gonna be super strong in the first place, as the ones we have in this game (besides Marisa's laser) doesn't seem to do a lot of damage AT BEST (Seiran's red ability card is a nerfed version of itself from 100thBM, shooting 2 missiles instead of 4), or are downright useless at worst (Seiran's blue ability card fires 2 random missiles at varied point from the bottom of your screen : it's got low firing rate, low bullet speed, too spread out and random to damage the target you want)

So yeah, I'm not sure why firepower gotta be weak this time. There is a clear imbalance in the value of the cards we see in the demo, where passives cards are probably still gonna be the stronger ones. Still speaking of cards, the demo doesn't give us any active cards, but at the same time it's not confirmed that there won't be any active cards in the full game : 100thBM had two extra keys dedicated to the use of the active cards plus the swapping between them : IF the actives cards are gonna make a return and IF it'll still be possible to equip a lot of these, we will have two extras buttons to consider for this game's controls, which is gonna be tough. I'm looking forwards to see whether ability cards are gonna be in or not, and if they will, how they're gonna play out.

Anyway, still on the topic of the cards and back to the 100thBM inspirations, one thing that absolutely did me dirty in 100thBM is the way randomisation worked : to illustrate, as a chad completionist, I've only played stages over and over until I obtained all the cards (I stopped playing like that by  the third market cuz pain and hearing about final card), and goodness gracious have I NEVER seen a randomisation system as HORRIBLE as in 100thBM : with 25 out of 26 cards in the first market, I would NOT run into the final one for a long time : beating same bosses over and over, getting Nazrin's item over and over, then finally, without anything exceptional done from my part, I ran into the stupid Tewi card, which cannot possibly have some kind of rare value even in an alternate universe. Likewise, for the third market, I had to hunt down Kutaka to get her card. I didn't pick it early on to focus on random card, as I expected to run into her soonish ... over the course of at least 4 LITERAL HOURS, I have LITERALLY run into her ONLY 3 TIMES. That is such an horrible and inconceivable randomisation system. I ABSOLUTELY hope that for this game, ZUN is NOT gonna do the randomisation system the same way he did it for 100thBM.

Randomness is no an issue in the demo, as we have only 5 characters to run into and 11 or so items to find, but come the main game, we're gonna have at least 2 cards per 19 characters, and uncertain numbers of non playable character unrelated cards (returning cards from 100thBM for example), and random character encounters to add to the pool in the story mode : there is nothing good about 100thBM's card randomisation from my experience, and I hope we'll get something reasonable on that front for this game instead of taking inspiration from 100thBM.

After all, for story mode, some encounters seems to be random ones, which is actually quite unique for a mainline Touhou game with a canon story. But I don't even want to imagine missing a certain encounter magically over and over because of some nonsense pertaining to randomisation.



Anyway, cards and randomness aside, as far as characters go, I like the fact that they play and feel differently, but they are definitely not balanced :
Reimu : solid focused shot damage, unimpressive unfocused damage, correct movement speed. her level 1 attack's 4 amulets trail for a bit before going their own way, but they deal damage for as long as enemies are in contact and are pretty much piercing projecting, making it a very reliable source of dps despite not being super bursty. Her pvp attacks are pretty tough as well. She is the ONLY girl (in the demo) with a level 2 that CLEARS BULLETS and deal damage around her, which give her an obvious edge

Marisa : basic shot is decent but not so impressive, very fast unfocused movement. She gets to fire a stationnary piercing laser at any of her charge levels that is very, VERY reliable. The fact that her, huh, zone is as a line that's like her laser gives her an easy time cleaning up spirits too. A bit of a low effort character as what you'll do with her is gonna be pretty much the same every time, as you'll charge and release, charge and release over and over. Her attacks are DANGEROUS as the lasers reduce the manoeuvering room of your opponent.

Aunn : a bit low tier here tbh, her shots are not bad but get cucked by the low firepower and buff enemies of this game. She's got an interesting charge attack that release bullets in a circle around her, but her charge attacks doesn't reach very far and doesn't boast impressive firepower : it's basically a very, very inferior version or Reimu's level 2, except it doesn't clear bullets, and enemies that gets past the killzone that is the perimeter where bullets gather do NOT get hit at all !
Her redeeming trait is that her attacks can prove dangerous against human players, as they force you to do some complex pattern reading in the middle of a hectic mach. But at any rate, uh, she's kinda weak.

Seiran : the surprise of the demo, she's got good firepower, her attacks seems to do splash damage (correct me if i'm wrong), she creates bullets spewing portals on your enemy's side, and she's got correct movement. Her Level 1 charge basically allows you to strafe mobs and can 2 shot a boss if you get a good hit in (I've done so on normal), and her level 2 shoots EVERYWHERE (although is arguably weaker for bursting). She fires huge clumps of bullets in her boss attacks, forcing your opponent to make huge movements and potentially cross though other falling bullets and animals. Pretty strong.

Nazrin : an interesting character, her shot is quite solid, with an aimed component for focus mode. Her level 1 is a powerful burst shot that last quite a bit, and her level 2 removes all spirits that were, uh, popped by her automatically tracking zone (seems situationnal, but there is definitely a niche where it can show its uses). She sends pendulums that not only occupy places in her opponent's territory but also block bullets, and is capable of having longer boss attacks thanks to their protection and also zone opponent out of the middle screen, making her an arguably great matchup against Aunn and a poor one vs Marisa. However, she suffers from a terrible, terrible problem : her focused movement speed is SLOW ! Seiran literally moves twice as fast as her if both were focused. Mobility is important in these dodging games, and focus is good as it gives better control. But her super slow speed make her unable to move away from some bullets. You will NOT be able to outrun Reimu, who is quite frankly Misumaru in disguise, and her huge ying yang bullets as they checkmate you by coming from three sides. Heck, you'll have close calls in plenty other situations ! I myself got hit from the back by one of Marisa's star bullets that spawned from the back in her spell, as it caught up to my Nazrin from behind. Nazrin is interesting and has utilities that other characters do not have, but she is so CRIPPLED from her super slow focused mode speed, I hope this gets corrected / buffed in the full release.



So yeah, from cards to characters, to bugs and design choices, the game has a lot of dangerous issues in its current state. That is the luxury of being a demo. However, there is a point that I'm pretty worried about, and it's pertaining to ZUN's attitude towards his completed games : a great example being Eagle Youmu from WBaWC, who is notorious for being extra weak and supposedly bugged even : to this day, she hasn't been touched by ZUN. Touhou may be very old school in a lot of ways, but we're in 2023, and attitude regarding competitive games has changed a lot, especially regarding the balancing and the meta : I'm worried that for the full game, it's possible that ZUN wouldn't rework characters that are established as bad or low tier by the player community. At the very least, I hope that every girl this time are gonna be correct and do what they're meant to do well, so that even in the case that ZUN neglect the game after release, there won't be an bottom or even unplayable tier of character, like Nazrin is currently.



So yeah, that's that as far as my observations for the substantial parts go. I hope that despite my unusually dark and pessimistic observations, ZUN'll come through and give us another game that future newfriends would come back to from time to time to play and compete in. As far as the more funs parts of the game goes :

Story : Some translations are available right now, although there honestly isn't much to go from. Aside from Aunn being a extra excited, which is honestly not so unusual as far as 2hu incidents goes, I'm much more interested in the jewel that Nazrin is looking for and is (or was) in Seiran's hands. I like it when characters actually play a proper role instead of just being forcefully shoved in the story. One thing I'm not really big on though, is the way ability cards are treated in this game : these are not occult balls obtained from beating people up, they are only acquired through trade : we unlock card as we beat people which is not consistent with UM and even 100thBM : I'm gonna need a proper explanation somewhere down the line, else that'd be propblematic : we can't have previous setting waived at convenience else they'd be pointless.

Music : the arranges are honestly hardly different from their originals, I actually prefer this approach more than the flower mixes from PoFV. I'm a bit disappointed with that Tiny tiny clever commander disrespect tho, I mean, at the end of spring is cool and all, but come on. Also I quite like the new STAGE themes, but a bit bummed that they supposedly doubles as a Reimu theme for one and a Marisa theme for the other. They're too quiet and tame to fit the main girls imo, but still my favorites tracks from this demo. And last but not least, the title screen theme is quite fancy and lengthy, it actually got me wondering whether it was meant to play as some kind of theme elsewhere but got scrapped and got reworked here.

Art : more improvement on the ZUNart side of things. I quite like that dark, green black color scheme plus that golden thingy we get for the title screen. Kinda eerie but not straight up edgy. ZUNart seemed like it has improved yet again, bar suspicious "knees" from Aunn, but the superstar this time obviously have to be the sprite works from Tasofro's Unabara Iruka ! There's plenty of talent in this fandom that are certainly willing to do things with ZUN, but he mainly does things on his own. It's not the first time he is getting help from elsewhere, but definitely a long while as far as a main game goes. I'm kinda hoping that he keeps doing that. I also find it hilarious btw that people's reaction at seeing the sprite are "how pretty, who drew these ?", straight up assuming that it's not ZUN who made them, haha.

Game was more fun than expected, even if there isn't a lot to do in its current demo state. There are a lot of phantasmagoria game inspired mechanisms that I'm not familiar with that might've been used as inspiration by this game, mechanisms that lead me to ask questions like "What's the deal with these white pellets ? What are these spirits for ? What are the levels even ? And so on and so on.

I'm kinda discovering some sub genre or something, and it's pretty interesting. Anyway, as always, looking forwards to the full game and I hope it won't be so riddled with issues nor end up getting neglected when fully released.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2023, 06:21:19 AM by Suspicious person »

Quote
One thing I'm not really big on though, is the way ability cards are treated in this game : these are not occult balls obtained from beating people up, they are only acquired through trade : we unlock card as we beat people which is not consistent with UM and even 100thBM : I'm gonna need a proper explanation somewhere down the line, else that'd be propblematic : we can't have previous setting waived at convenience else they'd be pointless.

I'm not sure there's really a contradiction here. The money exchanging is done off-screen and isn't a gameplay mechanic this time. Since ability cards are still in vogue people know to carry some disposable income by this point, especially if there's an incident. Boom, done.

Anyway to give my own, much more abbreviated thoughts, I'm pleasantly surprised by the changes this game's made to PoFV's system. While it still has that crunchy, overly random feeling to it (holy crap lunatic is dense), it feels like you have far more control over your destiny than before, and the danmaku thrown at you feels a lot more like the normal series fare. The characters are all interesting in their own way, but everyone other than Reimu feels varying shades of weird and slightly off - so business as usual so far as I'm concerned.

I'm very pleased by the new music so far. I'm in the camp that is slightly disappointed Reimu and Marisa don't really get new themes, but general themes with their flavor, but both are quite good. The World Is Made From Cuteness has not left my head all week (and I will insist on that name even if the current one is a more literal translation).

It's hard not to feel sad it will be another two years before a more traditional shmup, but there's a lot to like here. I'm looking forward to how the full version irons out the kinks, expands the roster, and where the story is going.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2023, 11:19:56 AM by nintendonut888 »

Tengukami

  • Crow Tengu Reporter
  • nothing is ever off the record
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • andie.sophia#7946
As someone who has played, and enjoyed, the Phantasmagoria games, I too am really pleasantly surprised with Unfinished Dream thus far.

Echoing Donut, yeah, the randomness is there but you do indeed have a lot more control, it feels, in terms of how things turn out. Thematically I am really loving the animal sprites, not only for what they do in the game but also because of how they tie into the story. And one of my favorite parts of Phantasmagoria games--the shot types--does not disappointment me here.

I am really, really looking forward to seeing the full extent of the cards and playable characters and their shot types. And the story (admittedly always my favorite part of any of these games) has a lot of potential so I'm p excited about the full release for sure!

"Human history and growth are both linked closely to strife. Without conflict, humanity would have no impetus for growth. When humans are satisfied with their present condition, they may as well give up on life."

williewillus

  • Chinese American, programmer, danmaku nerd
    • Twitch
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • williewillus#8490
  • Gender: Male
Seiran : the surprise of the demo, she's got good firepower, her attacks seems to do splash damage (correct me if i'm wrong), she creates bullets spewing portals on your enemy's side, and she's got correct movement. Her Level 1 charge basically allows you to strafe mobs and can 2 shot a boss if you get a good hit in (I've done so on normal), and her level 2 shoots EVERYWHERE (although is arguably weaker for bursting). She fires huge clumps of bullets in her boss attacks, forcing your opponent to make huge movements and potentially cross though other falling bullets and animals. Pretty strong.

One balancing part of Seiran is that the density of her boss attacks supply the opponent with LOTS of not-bullet-money to charge their gauge, it's pretty crazy if you scope with Marisa as Seiran fires, you can basically C3 or C4 endlessly.

But yeah, I'm pretty bullish on the gameplay despite what some other people are feeling. The cards seem to be taking a backseat since in story mode each character only has 2 possible ones and the game randomly gives you one of the two. And it looks like all cards are unlocked by default, so there's no more collecting them all slowly by resetting with the Junko card like in HBM.

All the themes are good, particularly the new ones and the remixed At the End of Spring. The other two remixes are okay I guess.

For balancing, perhaps the competitive scene could separate the shots into tiers like competitive Pokemon does and characters in those tiers compete (and potentially cards can buff a character into another tier but I doubt it)

After some experimentation I definitely feel like Seiran's EX attack needs to be nerfed. It is by far the most random and dense of all EX attacks, and when summoned as an EX storm it can easily turn the entire screen into a solid wall of bullets you have no choice but to level 2 spam or bomb through, especially if it happens during her boss summon. Playing on lunatic I think all the other characters are fine if intense, but Seiran in particular can easily send things into undodgeable territory.

Still, I'm actually playing VS mode for fun - enough to make these kinds of in-depth observations. That is a huge compliment as someone who generally avoids PoFV when possible. I think some tweaking will be needed here and there but the full version definitely has the potential to be something special.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2023, 06:51:34 AM by nintendonut888 »

ThugLoutre

  • Photograph of Wonderland
  • Gender: Male
After some experimentation I definitely feel like Seiran's EX attack needs to be nerfed. It is by far the most random and dense of all EX attacks, and when summoned as an EX storm it can easily turn the entire screen into a solid wall of bullets you have no choice but to level 2 spam or bomb through, especially if it happens during her boss summon. Playing on lunatic I think all the other characters are fine if intense, but Seiran in particular can easily send things into undodgeable territory.

I completely agree with you. That's why I said that, one good thing was that the characters were somehow balanced. Then I played again and, well, I think Reimu and Seiran are the most troublesome of the five. I would say that Marisa and Aunn are hard when the battle is lasting longer. Nazrinn is a little meh to fight, to be honnest. I've played several times against Seiran, I still haven't played as Reimu against her, but still haven't defeated her, while I have defeated the other four. I play on hard mode.

Also, I have played as Seiran and she CLEARLY has a broken ex attack. At first, I thought that Nazrin was the one who had the most broken ex attack of the five.(a little like Ellen in PoDD) But then I played Seiran a little more and was like: "wtf", the bosses are defeated very fastly.

I still have to dig this game more. I had some bug. Like, I was selecting Marisa's laser card as a subweapon, and during the next battle, the card that was selected was automatically the default one. So I had to reselect Marisa's card even though it was already selected...

Nazrin feels hard to play for me, so I have switched for Aunn. I like her gameplay and her moves overall, even though she has a weak shot, I boost it with Marisa's laser and that's it. Playing as Seiran feels a little ridiculous since you litterally crush down the bosses and I don't like fast characters on focus.

williewillus

  • Chinese American, programmer, danmaku nerd
    • Twitch
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • williewillus#8490
  • Gender: Male
netplay has been acknowledged by ZUN! https://touhou-project.news/news/9173/

He says he's working on it but doesn't promise it'll work

Tengukami

  • Crow Tengu Reporter
  • nothing is ever off the record
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • andie.sophia#7946
been playing with vs mode lately!

specifically as aunn just to punish myself lol

vs mode is pretty brutal but for the first time I'm finding playing a touhou game with an xbox controller easier than with a keyboard.

"Human history and growth are both linked closely to strife. Without conflict, humanity would have no impetus for growth. When humans are satisfied with their present condition, they may as well give up on life."

williewillus

  • Chinese American, programmer, danmaku nerd
    • Twitch
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • williewillus#8490
  • Gender: Male
I'm playing Nazrin vs Nazrin and this is surprisingly fun (I feel like ZUN balanced her around playing herself lol)

ThugLoutre

  • Photograph of Wonderland
  • Gender: Male
I think I have come to understand why I am bad at this game, and it's not necessary a criticism for the game but: there's just too much stuff.

Between the animal spirits, then they shoot their own bullets, between the swarm of ennemies(which seems more frequent than in PoFV or more troublesome, somehow), the ex attacks et the boss specllcards, I can't focus.

There's literally chaos everywhere, and that's literally one of the first thing I've said about this game: Gensokyo is in chaos, and I feel it when I am playing the game. Bullets are coming from absolutely everywhere at a certain point(even worse with Seiran), and I can't concentrate. It's not necessary a bad thing, but now, I understand WHY there's less small bullets like in PoFV and why it still feels hard.

Suspicious person

  • Just a fun loving kind of person
  • ... but what is fun ?
  • Gender: Suspicious
There's an additional remark I'd like to put forward regarding the game that I forgot to put in my previous comment, and it's pertaining to the sound design. When you charge, you get the small "dun" noise every time you charge one level before getting a "BWAM" as you fill your meter entirely : with all the bullets noises, charging noises, and mob death throes, you will quickly notice that the "DUN" and "BWAM" noises get drowned quite easily. I can rely on the audio cues to figure out my charge level ONLY when things are pretty quiet, but just don't manage to do so when things get serious.

This got me to send charged skills of 1 level lower than I intended and set my plans back by a bit, and I found myself throwing quick glances at the bottom to compensate, which is an obvious risk when the game gets hectic (got quite a few misses due to this too). I think a bit of effort is needed on the sound front, at the very least it would be convenient if the important sounds gets clearer.

And speaking of sfxes, I hope that one day ZUN'll introduce new ones for bombs / strikes. It might've been a while now, but the Master Spark's distinctive noise getting downgraded to the generic bomb noise ifeels kijda boorish to me. We have new ZUNarts, new music, new backgrounds every new release, EVEN new sprites this time, so I think it would be neat if ZUN decided to add new sound effects sometime.

Tengukami

  • Crow Tengu Reporter
  • nothing is ever off the record
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • andie.sophia#7946
Continuing on Vs Mode and I may be missing something but I feel like Marisa's shot type is pretty weak? At least compared to the others so far anyway; she can barely cut through green fairies for whatever reason. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

EDIT: nvm i'm an idiot lol

no idea why it took me as long as it did to work out how to use marisa effectively but yeah all sorted now  :cirnotan:
« Last Edit: May 20, 2023, 03:56:53 PM by Tengukami »

"Human history and growth are both linked closely to strife. Without conflict, humanity would have no impetus for growth. When humans are satisfied with their present condition, they may as well give up on life."