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 Vexx

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Serenity09
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PostSubject: Vexx   Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:22 pm

Vexx is a platforming game originally released in 2003 for the xbox, ps2 and gamecube. It is backwards compatible via the xbox 360 (how I currently play, no compatibility bugs) and, even better, via pcsx2 for the ps2 (an emulator that lets you play ps2 games on the pc -- I have no idea how it performs there)

This trailer isn't very flattering at all but it shows some of the platforming elements (skip to 45s)

try not to judge how it plays / looks from that though, I just added this to show what the platforming-jungle gym-worlds kinda sorta looked like
i don't know what the video maker was thinking for some of the clips he included. he even somehow managed to add shots of all the frustrating areas (like that stupid giant fish)

Vexx is a very simple game that can be very fun, depending on what you want out of it.
The premise is about as familiar as it can get. There are a bunch (9) of worlds that each have their own theme. Within each world are 8-10 wraith-hearts (81 total), your goal is collecting these. Wraith-hearts power the world transit system, allowing you to travel to more worlds to collect more hearts. Your ultimate goal is to collect enough hearts for you to fight the bad guy in his homeworld (60 hearts). Thankfully, the story isn't the highlight of the game.

Story + Plot 6.5/10:
Not that you'll ever know it, but Vexx actually has a decent story line. it's somewhat unique and not hugely predictable. but you'll never know it because of how it's presented. the presentation is so bad that you won't ever pick up on the interesting bits without actively thinking about how they might be interesting (and then you realize that's what they are and you're just like "oh, that's stupid why didn't they present this better")

That said, there isn't much story to start with. Definitely not enough to fuel any interest or excitement in the game.

Dialogue / Characters:
Non existent. Which I actually like, I don't want some stupid back-story explaining God's eclectic interior design choices. Skip all the bull shit, I'm here to climb over worlds

World 9/10:
The worlds are half of the enjoyment of the game. Each is incredibly inviting and alluring. If you like platformers (or exploration themed games) you'll actually be excited to discover each new place.
There are a few really creatively interesting worlds, but most of the creativity is found in the platforming elements. This is an important part of the game though so I'll give it its own section
When you discover a world you're given (and keep) a clue for the location of each heart. Each clue is written as a riddle and is actually really well thought out -- for a 4 line riddle. 90% of the time, you'll just explore the world to find hearts but it's really nice to try and puzzle out the riddle for elusive ones (before just jumping on ign walkthroughs)
Every world has several sub worlds, and they are (mostly) awesome. There's too many for me to remember, but they mostly give a feeling of discovering a ruin or a magical plane within a world. adventures inside of your adventures.

Platforming Elements 10/10:
The skeleton of every world is a traditional platforming playground. You will see it all. For the most part, challenges increase in difficulty in a good way. Very rarely do you find stuff that is hard for stupid reasons

Gameplay Mechanics 7.5/10:
The camera is your enemy... sometimes. Most of the time it's okay, but when it sucks it really fucking sucks.
Fighting is great... once you get the hang of it. Your moves list is a lot more extensive than in a typical platformer. It's also a lot less forgiving -- you can take a lot of damage quickly and it's pretty tempting to get locked into chain combos that lead to frustrating mistakes. After you get the hang of it, it's exactly what you'd want. Most of your key combat moves double as key platforming abilities, making for a very fun and fluid system
Thankfully the game allows you to "skip" hearts. Since you only need 60 hearts and there are 81 available, you effectively get 2.33 skips per world. Personally, I hate water levels, even when they're done well, so this let me enjoy the entire game without having to deal with (for the most part) what I didn't like.

Art 7.5/10:
For a game this old, the art has aged pretty well. Partially due to its style, Vexx aimed for an animated look, the art still adds to the mood.
These images actually don't do the game justice, when you're actually playing, the view always has a lot more depth and vibrancy to it


you can see the portal system in this one. On one side is the "hub" and on the other is the 2nd world "Dragonsreach"

i can't remember a lava world at all so this might be photoshoped




This game thrives when you're looking for an exploration / platforming thrill but don't give a shit about story. It plays best in multi-hour bursts -- but, due to the inherent repetivity / cycles of it, you'll stop enjoying the game if you try to marathon through every world. This remains one of my top 3 favorite platformers, but you definitely need to be in the right mood


Last edited by Serenity09 on Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Pat1487
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PostSubject: Re: Vexx   Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:05 am

I got this working with pcsx2

I got the iso from here: Vexx iso

I got pcsx2 from here: http://pcsx2.net/download/releases/windows/finish/6-windows/120-pcsx2-1-2-1-windows-binary.html

You have to find the bios for ps2 yourself hint: torrent

For the settings i used the plugins that pcsx2 had by default when you first set it up

Change your graphics settings to use Direct3D11 (Hardware), feel free to turn on any of the quality settings like FXAA
Also if your using the mouse/keyboard controls i put below make sure you uncheck "double click to go fullscreen" (use alt and enter to go full screen instead)

Change your sound settings to catmull-rom and Xaudio2 with a latency of 30ms

I mapped my 360 controller to a ps2 layout (just 1:1 the buttons, its easy and works well), i also mapped out a keyboard and mouse config that works pretty well if you dont have a controller to use heres a screenshot of the controls to map for keyboard/mouse:

Click to attack/swim, space to jump, control will slam/uppercut/super jump, wasd to move, mouse will control camera, hit \ (the key above enter) to toggle mouse focus on and off (mouse focus makes the mouse work with the game, it also makes it invisible and, turn down the sensitivity of the mouse (x axis, and y axis) to 0.517 or else the camera will be super sensitive
Navigating the menus is a bit weird, but wasd will highlight stuff, space will select stuff, mouse4 cancels stuff, right click is circle for those rare times it tells you to press circle, the d-pad isnt mapped cause as far as i know this game doesnt need it, if it does need the dpad then you have to use a controller cause theres no way to comfortably use a dpad, the mouse, and wasd at the same time

Everything works perfectly except for 1 game breaking thing that i havent resolved yet (well i have a fix for it but it sucks)
Anytime the camera goes underwater the game cant render the water distortion overlay and effectively makes you blind while under water
The way i worked around it to get through the tutorial (which im glad they had water there for me to find this bug on instead of in the middle of trying to do something important) is to change your graphics settings from direct3d11 (hardware) to direct3d11 (software), software can render underwater properly, but it drops the game from 60fps to 12fps, so i did that to get past the tutorial (and switched it back to hardware asap) and now im just avoiding having to swim but im certain there will be an underwater level at some point which will be unplayable at 12fps (its probably not as bad on newer computers) so im still messing with settings to see if anything will fix it, i tried all the other graphic modes and all the hardware modes have the same problem and all the software modes are very slow
Also having to switch graphics modes when you go underwater is a pain

But as long as you avoid water everything should be fine, and seren said in his post that it should be possible to avoid water for the most part so hopefully its not too much of an issue








As for the game itself, i dislike how the camera controls, it gets stuck on terrain and its really annoying just in general, the combat is good but the enemies arent that tough, probably because i only just started and havent even left the first area after the tutorial yet (ive been trying to fix the water bug before i continue)

I like the platforming mechanics but i keep trying to double jump, idk why but this feels like a game where you would have double jump so i keep trying to do it and am disappointed that i cant, the long jump acts like a double jump but i personally prefer a double jump, i guess ill get used to it after awhile



EDIT: There is no way to fix the underwater thing properly, you can hit F9 to switch between software and hardware mode quickly so any time i hit water i have to hit f9 to see and i just deal with the lag
Its actually not that bad in levels that are fully underwater, like this underwater maze in world 2 that had a heart, i was getting like 40fps there and it was playable, its just in the large areas where you end up underwater is really laggy, im basically acting like water is lava and am avoiding failing a jump that goes over water being much more careful then i normally would be


Also in world 3 theres these totem things that you have to bring the heads to and getting all 3 heads back is the most frustrating thing, 1 was easy, the green 1 is so annoying and i havent even found the last one
I really liked the defeat your demons minigame and the sumo boss though


Last edited by Pat1487 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Vexx   Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:32 am

Quote :
I like the platforming mechanics but i keep trying to double jump, idk why but this feels like a game where you would have double jump so i keep trying to do it and am disappointed that i cant, the long jump acts like a double jump but i personally prefer a double jump, i guess ill get used to it after awhile
there are two ways to sorta double jump. ones good but limited and the other is just bad
the first is a flare kick. you can use 1 (and only 1) flare kick every/any time you are airborn. the move deals one damage, is very quick and gives you a bit of vertical height (it also stops all downward velocity immediately). im not sure what control it is -- on the xbox it's the same control that's used for regular melee attacks ('X'). this works really well when youre hanging on / near a ledge to shoot you over the top of it. i think this move adds a lot to the mechanics
the second is the ground blast move. this stops all vertical movement for ~1s. during that time you can move a tiny bit horizontally. i usually use this one to break falls. this one's a lot less useful than the first

id feel the same way if it was just the high jump. yeah it might get as high as a double jump but its a lot less flexible / fun. like if it was just high jump you'd have just x1 or x2, but with the flare kick you have x1 (x1.5) or x2 (x2.5)

Quote :
Also in world 3 theres these totem things that you have to bring the heads to and getting all 3 heads back is the most frustrating thing, 1 was easy, the green 1 is so annoying and i havent even found the last one
is the green 1 on those cliffs? i hate that one. i kept overthinking the last gap and trying to do a running jump throw. it took me 4 tries before i realized that its actually less effective Sad
it took me awhile to find, so im going to mention it, but in world 3 there's a cool area located immediately behind the entry portal
Quote :
I really liked the defeat your demons minigame and the sumo boss though
i think every world has one of these. i like them too but im really bad at them and always lose on the last round

if you get through a few more worlds, i wanna hear what your favorite has been

i actually started replaying this as well. it's good -- i'm up to the first 5 worlds (but haven't finished any). the camera is even worse than i remember -- i changed my "mechanics" score to a 7.5 just because of how bad the camera is. for some reason it inverts the horizontal axis all of the time EXCEPT for when you're in water. a lot of the time you can't even control the camera and it becomes part of whatever challenge. i don't like when games do that though

there have been a few hearts that have been really, really fun. by and large, theyre all at least pretty good -- except when you die a few times (and then you're annoyed so it's not exactly less fun just that you enjoy it less). the only ones i didnt like, so far, was the 1 pat mentioned and all of the "collect 100 orbs" ones. orb gathering hasn't been anything but tedious... i'll probably skip these ones until way later, if i end up trying to beat it
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PostSubject: Re: Vexx   Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:59 pm

PAT YOU BROKE THE PAGE WITH THAT LINK. IM REPORTING YOU FOR BREAKING DA FORUM RULES.

you're not getting away with this
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PostSubject: Re: Vexx   Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:46 pm

I didnt notice that it broke the page, i fixed it now though



My favorite part so far is going through the clock in world 4
My least favorite part is the totems in world 3:

This was much easier than the green 1 but took me longer because i didnt think to throw it first and than jump to the platform since when i did the green 1 thats the first thing i tried and it didnt work since you dont have enough time to get up to it so my mind was in a state where it wouldnt consider something like that (which is the only way to do the red 1), if i had done red before green i wouldve got it right away (i originally took that screenshot to make a post saying that this was impossible but figured it out soon after taking it)

I ended up doing the green 1 by jumping the gap, throwing the head, kick jumping to the platform under the platform where the head was so i only needed to do 1 jump to get to it which worked, took me like 4 tries though

And i dont considering the kick jump to be a double jump since it slows your forward momentum a bit and isnt as high or as far as the super jump, so its more like a situational jump boost for certain tasks or a way to slightly correct where you land after a jump



I dont like how getting a heart resets your orb count and how is teleports you back to the gate room everytime, i want to keep exploring after i get a heart
Also if you leave an area after unlocking a heart without picking the heart up everything gets reset when you go back there so you cant even leave the heart there to pick up when youre ready


And this game really reminds me of a more open crash bandicoot, it has the same goal and same gate room as that game, as well as many similar mechanics
If you havent played crash, seren, you should check it out, the first 3 games for ps1 are the only good ones, crash 2 is my favorite of those (ive played crash 2 on the ps1 emulator too and it works flawlessly)

If i made a top 10 3d third person platformer list (yes i still think they should be separated based on perspective and graphics) crash 2 would be on there somewhere after the other 3 i said in chat, probably in the middle like at 5
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PostSubject: Re: Vexx   Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:41 pm

Quote :
My favorite part so far is going through the clock in world 4
i really liked the design of world 4 as a whole, i love comparatively gigantic environments. the clock was awesome it was cool that you needed to go back outside afterwards. i think my favorite in world 4 was the piano or just running around the dog on the floor haha

Quote :
And i dont considering the kick jump to be a double jump since it slows your forward momentum a bit and isnt as high or as far as the super jump, so its more like a situational jump boost for certain tasks or a way to slightly correct where you land after a jump
yeah it's not as good as a double jump, i think of it as more of a half jump. it's better than i think you give it credit though, its situationally useful very often

Quote :
I dont like how getting a heart resets your orb count and how is teleports you back to the gate room everytime, i want to keep exploring after i get a heart
Also if you leave an area after unlocking a heart without picking the heart up everything gets reset when you go back there so you cant even leave the heart there to pick up when youre ready
i hate both of these things. especially for the orb hearts, the only time ive gotten an orb heart i also had just gotten to a challenge heart. i wouldnt even mind orb hearts if it was like this. i dont even get why they do it. my guess is they were really lazy and didnt want to code the extra stuff. although, thinking about it, a lot of original xbox games were like this (in that they didn't save/record a lot of the finer game details) so maybe it was partially a hardware thing

Quote :
And this game really reminds me of a more open crash bandicoot, it has the same goal and same gate room as that game, as well as many similar mechanics
If you havent played crash, seren, you should check it out, the first 3 games for ps1 are the only good ones, crash 2 is my favorite of those (ive played crash 2 on the ps1 emulator too and it works flawlessly)
yeah i'll definitely play it once i have a computer again. can i use a 360 controller to play or will i need to pick up a ps3 / use a keyboard?

Quote :
If i made a top 10 3d third person platformer list (yes i still think they should be separated based on perspective and graphics) crash 2 would be on there somewhere after the other 3 i said in chat, probably in the middle like at 5
i love platformers and they come out so infrequently now that it might actually be fun / worth it to make / exchange lists for these

good news:
i was wrong about the total # of hearts -- there's not 8 hearts per world, there's 8-10 hearts (total of 81). that means you get 2.33 skips per world which is a lot better

bad news:
i'd forgotten about the 6th world. "The Below"
it's sorta water themed. basically there's a big water dome near the start and you swim in it (constant swimming) to get to the zones for 6 or so of the world's hearts. exposure is really limited so framerate might be a bit painful for a few seconds but after you get to the connected zones it's back to all land
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PostSubject: Re: Vexx   Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:46 pm

Serenity09 wrote:
yeah i'll definitely play it once i have a computer again. can i use a 360 controller to play or will i need to pick up a ps3 / use a keyboard?
You can use a 360 contoller, i put the keyboard controls there for people who dont have the ability to use a controller, and they are the keys i use when im too lazy to get my controller

Serenity09 wrote:
i love platformers and they come out so infrequently now that it might actually be fun / worth it to make / exchange lists for these
For recent platformers theres trine 1 and 2, super mario galaxy, alice madness returns, braid (this is a must play), megaman 9, cave story (this is also a must play), contrast, giana sisters: twisted dreams, sonic 4, uncharted 1 2 and 3, assasins creed 1 2 and black flag (these only sorta kinda counts as a platformer), portal 1 and 2, perspective, fez, the swapper, vessel, dust: an elysian tale (this is a must play), limbo, thomas was alone, and super meat boy

For older platformers theres
NES: mario 1 2 and 3, metal storm, ducktales 1 and 2, megaman 1-6, metroid, castlevania 1 and 3, blaster master, and ninja gaiden 1 2 and 3
Sega: sonic 1 2 3 and sonic and knuckles, earthworm jim and gunstar heroes (this is a must play)
SNES: super mario world, aladdin, donkey kong country 1 and 2, kirby superstar, megaman 7, X, X2, and X3, pac in time, super castlevania 4, and super metroid
PS1: crash bandicoot 1 2 and 3, and castlevania symphony of the night (this is a must play)
N64: super mario 64, banjo-kazooie, and conkers bad fur day
PS2: prince of persia sands of time and warrior within, devil may cry 1 2 and 3
GC: super mario sunshine
Xbox: jet set radio future


Theres probably a few games i forgot
Tomb raider should be on there some where but i cant remember which ones are good and which ones are bad
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