Casual Players vs Hardcore Players: Gameplay Views.



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jahob000

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Hello all,

I'm late to the party playing 0.2 and just beat it. After that, I looked up different reviews of the series gameplay as a whole and was curious if there are points of agreement between the two player types (not to say that they are completely ad odds with each other). Some say casual players are too enamored with how good games look rather than critically playing. Whereas casual players say hardcore players are too good at the game and may find them boring.

I've always been a casual player, However, I've also always played on Critical Mode for every game (when it was available) but I was so scared of losing, so I'd be hitting buttons in a panic, frantically trying to beat the boss lol. Sometimes I listen to the hardcore players talk about enemy patterns and openings and what not. For the first time, I've tried playing like that and I can see how good it feels to figure these things out.

This is where I think the difference may be for the two players types. As a casual player, if I beat the game on its hardest mode, I'm satisfied. No I might not have exploited weaknesses, or had the best strategy but for some of the games, I had a good time and other games not so much. Hardcore players want to use all of their wit and skills and put it to the test. So they'll do Critical Modes staying at Level 1. I can see where their complaints come from from certain games because obviously everything is so critical. If there is a flaw in the design, then it's an unfair challenge that didn't keep those types of players in mind. So naturally, they will have a different opinion than casual players.

So what do you guys think? Are you a casual player or a hardcore player? How do you view the gameplay of the different games? Do you think this is why some have a grim look at KH3 while others are on the edges of their seats? Are there any points where you see the two are on the same page?
 

Launchpad

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I'm a hardcore player. If a game has flimsy or poorly thought out mechanics and no balance, I consider it a bad game regardless of any aesthetic or story. It might be a good story, or interesting piece of art, but it'll forever be a bad GAME.

0.2 is an okay game, because the combat is pretty decent with some janky enemies, and bad movement.
 

Wallflower3582

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I'm both. I love a good plotline and characters more than good gameplay, but good gameplay is what will keep me coming back over and over again.

I'm not sure if you could say I was hardcore... But maybe in my own weird way. When i first started the KH series i was younger and unused to typical jrpg things like leveling up and grinding (i had basically only played a couple Zelda games) so i didn't stop to fight really any heartless, i just blitzed through to see what happened in the story. As a result, i would go up against bosses that i was waaaaay under-leveled for, but i was too stubborn to go grind and just kept going at them over and over again until i figured out every attack they had and developed a counter for each one. The one i remember doing this most with was Xaldin... I must have replayed him over 25 times trying to find his weaknesses. I eventually won. Since then I've obviously figured out how to play properly, but i love the challenge of learning the villains moveset inside and out before being able to beat them, so i usually play on the hardest modes.

Eraqus: "Let the darkness die!"
Me: Lol joke's on you for yelling that like a crazy person now i know exactly what you're gonna do
 

jahob000

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Here are my thoughts as a casual player (on Critical Modes).

KHI - Sora felt a little slow and clunky but still fun to play with. No real complaints with the gameplay.

KH CoM/Re:CoM - Interesting to try something new, however since Disney worlds are a step down in this game, you blaze through them trying to advance the main story making the fights in the Disney worlds very tedious and repetitive.

KHII - First time through, I thought it was a mindless flashy button masher. However in Final Mix with the addition of Critical Mode. Button mashing would get you nowhere in the optional boss fights. For some casual fans in terms of gameplay, this is a button masher and was a little disappointing. For hardcore players, it was amazing because the battle system allowed you to play any kind of way and still succeed. You control every aspect of how Sora fights.

KH 356/2 Days - I've only played this once and had little interest in the game. I don't even remember the gameplay. I was only playing it keep up with the story.

KH BBS - There were a lot of different ways to fight but I would get frustrated because I would spend so much time leveling up everything only to find that they become irrelevant because there are more powerful moves you could just spam. Not to mention replaying through the same worlds for me three times was tedious. I mean I know it's from different perspectives and you access different areas but since the main characters had LITTLE impact in the worlds, it wasn't fulfilling to replay them. As a casual player for me on this one, this is the game that by far felt like a chore to play through, especially since the story wasn't worth the agonizing playthrough.

KH Coded/Re:Coded - This is the game most casual players I think cared the least about. Mostly because there was nothing new to add to the story other than at the very end. As far as casual gameplay, I remember thinking it was interesting and I could tolerate playing it more than BBS. Again though, I blazed through just to be able to get to story elements.

KH DDD - I was really excited for this one mostly because Sora was back to being the main playable character along with Riku. As far as gameplay, I don't really recall having anything against it at the time. I do remember that I felt the game was going overboard with the dream eaters in terms of getting items and moves from them. I think hardcore players put this in the same category as BBS in terms of poor gameplay balance and control.

KH 0.2 - As a casual player, I was easily blinded by the beautiful graphics. After I started to pay attention to the gameplay, it didn't seem that bad. Then when I played on Critical, I payed more attention to the gameplay as well. I was having a rough time controlling Aqua. I thought that it was just me at first but I saw hardcore players had the same complaints. Aqua has a lot of slow reactions to things when you need her to react so much faster. She's not nearly as versatile as Sora. At first I thought that this was all intentional to show the audience that Aqua is struggling against the darkness and that in KHIII, when we play as Sora who's never tempted by the darkness, we would see the clear difference in strength and abilities. However this is unlikely since this was made to give players a taste of what KHIII would be like.

No matter how much I like something, I'm always willing to get a realistic look at things and not be blinded by aesthetics. I can see the flaws in all of these games and still have attachment to them because I WANT Kingdom Hearts to improve.
 

alexis.anagram

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All stories are only as good as the technical merits of the medium through which they're portrayed, whether that's gaming, or film, or the written or spoken word. I don't see a sharp distinction between "casual" and "hardcore" gamers in their critical approach to the KH series in that sense, moreso a lack of consensus as to what constitutes high technical merit, and how that balances with the foundational narrative ideas at the core of the series in order to convey them in the best manner possible, which is what ultimately makes for good storytelling. In film there's film language, which itself is derived from skills like framing and perspective and the use of color which originate in still forms of art like paintings, and which is also usually (though not necessarily) accompanied by the skillful manipulation of language through the written and spoken word-- video games likewise inherit both cinematic techniques (as a visual art form) and the basic composition of story through the written and spoken word, and although many would argue that the interactive nature of games makes the experience unique, I tend to disagree on the grounds that good films, good paintings, and good books etc. are not passive endeavors but aim to immerse and involve the audience in the artistic process governing them. Video games then are not unique in this regard, they simply follow an existing trend to its natural conclusion by giving the audience some measure of direct input in the progression of the story, which is really just the illusion of control-- functionally no different than a second-person perspective choose-your-adventure story in which, actually, you neither choose the adventure nor the outcome, both of which are predetermined.

As such, the video game genre can really be deconstructed and measured in its virtues through more or less the same methods as any other piece of art, and there's no singular "right" or "wrong" argument to be exercised in aim of that, particularly not one which can be generalized across the entire medium given the diverse nature of artistic intent within any medium. KH, for instance, provides the gaming experience as a vector through which its intended audience can engage with a plot and characters, so it's very different in its objective than a game like Pong or Tetris which don't rationalize their gameplay mechanics through specific narrative elements.

Given that, I prefer KH when its gameplay elements easily cohere with the narrative, because that's what it sets out to do in the first place. Aesthetic choices matter in this regard; whether or not it "feels nice" to play does, too. I think that KH1 and CoM probably best exemplify this coherence, and KH2 isn't too far behind. I also thought 0.2 brought back a lot of that intentional gameplay where it wasn't just arbitrary combat mechanics (I will forever loathe Keyblade transformations), but it felt as though we were actually experiencing the world through the gameplay elements and that they deepened rather than defined the game.
 

DarkGrey Heroine

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Hardcore player here, also a Critical level 1 runs lover, and well, the only thing that comes to mind when asked if casual players miss something that hardcore players don't, it's in the enemy patterns and these kinds of observations, like you mentioned. Any player can access the narrative content of a game, regardless of being a casual or hardcore gamer. But if the game also subtly conveys narrative content through battle design/enemy movements/attack patterns etc., then a hardcore gamer might have just a better chance at finding this content, simply because a hardcore gamer would spend more time (or insane amounts of time) on one boss, one level, one thing until they master the mechanics and environment the game offers, or they feel they have accomplished what they were looking for specifically.

Maybe let's take an example so you can see what I mean in, like, more detail? A game which doesn't give you the narrative content in a traditional way, through cutscenes with dialogue and other such direct means. Dark Souls. Storytelling is definitely done through as little dialogue as possible, item descriptions, item drop places, some scratches on this wall, some blood on that ledge, and, of course, through battles. The battle example I'll take (random choice really) is Knight Artorias, from the DLC. A casual player (but not casual in the infamous sense the Dark Souls fandom created around the term, ugh) will want to get past the boss as quickly as possible to progress the game - nothing bad here, since they find enjoyment in simply progressing through the game and then beating it. If possible, a casual player would want to beat the boss on their first or second try (again, so they can progress the game). But a hardcore gamer might consider letting himself/herself get killed over and over and over even if they WOULD be able to, idk, one-shot Artorias, just because they want to learn all the patterns, all the openings, all the dodging opportunities, all the blockable and non-blockable attacks etc. I did this too, it was an INSANE experience, because I find enjoyment in gaming this way. But the basic end result is the same, the player beats Knight Artorias, and that's all. What is different is the time they spent fighting Knight Artorias. If a hardcore gamer cares for other stuff too, like all the things that can be read through attacks, vulnerabilities, pace or aggressiveness, and if they also are that type of person to contemplate these things, they will notice various details that can be interpreted as rich in information. I'm not talking about observations like "ohhhh this move, Sif used exactly this attack!" (well ok, maybe this too, some casual players might not realize this, but again it's not a crime), I'm talking about more subtle things like just how damaged his arm is (if you watch specifically his broken arm and arm joints when he does specifically one attack), how it seems it's actually his NON-dominant arm that he fights with, when exactly he "screams", how he shakes and trembles and is in pain when calling upon the power of the Abyss (that power-up, you have to be very close and pay attention to his body rather than pay attention to getting as many hits as possible) etc. All these can be interpreted and you can deduce all sorts of things, what horrors he must have been through and just how bad what happened to him was, maybe also what kind of attack could've caused this damage to his arm and also just how strong he once must've been. All this, only from observing the enemy, and this takes time and specifically-aimed attention, but mostly time, and a casual gamer wouldn't necessarily want to spend just so much time on one boss, because that's completely optional after all.

In KH, though it was years ago so I can't bring up specific examples right now :( I had moments when I thought "oh, this looks like Sora's attack movement!" or "oh, this attack is similar to *insert some main character here*, it makes sense now!", but KH does deliver its story mainly directly (subtle interpretable things are found in other stuff, not gameplay as in enemy or boss fights), so these details are not as... important? as in some other games. They become important in silent super-bosses/secret-bosses, when there is nothing else we get the narrative content from, but generally I think KH is very casual- AND hardcore gamer-friendly and not even time becomes a factor for accessing a richer story or a richer experience simply by playing the game in one way or the other.

tl;dr play KH games any way you want, it won't affect how much of the story gets delivered to you

Ah, and even if I'm a "hardcore player", that doesn't influence my hype levels, but that's just my case. And that thing you mentioned, "Whereas casual players say hardcore players are too good at the game and may find them boring", man, if Dark Souls taught me ONE thing xD.... it's that you're NEVER too good at a game, you just learn to use the "tools" it gives you in more efficient ways, but even like that, how can that make the game boring??? I can't imagine. Sure it gets repetitive after a while (especially after completing the game more than once), but that doesn't mean the game itself is boring. Also, honorable mention, I'm a $lut for visuals if the game has even the smallest focus on visuals, hardcore or not, lemme just bathe in beauty when gaming!! T w T
 
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