Friday, April 12, 2019

HoB, btw.

I've been fascinated by HoB's design since the first trailers I've seen. I collected as many wallpapers as possible, I've done style analysis, but unfortunately, I had no hardware compatible with the game ... that is, until I logged in the Nintendo shop last week and discovered a promo on HoB definitive edition!

That was the best possible conditions to play it. I could drop the adventure at any time, and resume exactly at that point. I hadn't to fight against "where is [] again?" because I've trained myself to the ABXY with the Mario & Luigi series. I wasn't fighting against my glasses because I could just keep the console in my hands. I'm even surprised I am not feeling any eye strain despite I added about 2 or 3 hours of play every evening in addition to my work hours, but it lasted only for one week...

I think I haven't played a game that intensely since Fez! About every moment in the day, I could feel slight excitation about getting back to the game when I'll be done with the day's tasks, exactly the same way you feel excited about continuing to read a Harry Potter book for the first time. The core difference with Fez is that I had no need for a journey log nor to scribble everything I encountered.

As surprising as it is, I could keep all I had to know about HoB's world in my head -- partly thanks to the icons feature on the map that will automatically pinpoint collectibles the minute you have them onscreen, so that you can track and collect them later on. I should mention that I played the game in "normal" mode, not in "definitive mode" (which would have provided more signposting and hints about quests, if I'm correct). I used the map a lot, and I found it interesting that only the overworld has a map, and that I got a different feeling when entering a cave where I would have to rely solely on my brain to know whether I've visited a room already and never know how far away I was from the exit.

I'll keep the game design analysis for other posts. I must confess that I did encountered some glitches while playing: mostly walls disappearing when the camera angle got too extreme, but also getting stuck into trees where I wasn't supposed to be ... The game even crashed once, which I really wasn't expecting on a console system. But let's be honest: compared to the huge amount of bugs PS and PC users reported at game launch, that Switch version is clearly much cleaner. I was also stunned to see the game lagging that much on earlier releases. The switch port seemed to run at full frame rate most of the time. I don't recall I had to blame lagging for any missed jump or failed fight.

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