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Written by  :  Pagen HD (145)
Written on  :  Oct 22, 2018
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars

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The established idea that video games should be a test of skills

The Good

+ The best controller support I have ever seen in a video game. (With practice) The buttons eventually become a part of you. These are the smoothest and most natural controls I have ever experienced.

RB (R1) button is by default the trigger button -- a rather unique choice, but it fits the shooting style very well.

I would recommend changing the dodge roll button to B(Circle), to be consistent with the Dark Souls series.

+ Hitting an enemy produces a very soothing "bub" sound.

+ Killing an enemy results in a mild "crushing" sound. The sound effects are memorable.

+ Large variety of guns and items. I don't believe there's any other game in which you can carry a missile launcher, a rifle that summons tigers, a shiny laser beam, a car engine, a baseball bat, and a rainbow horn that plays music all at once and use each one of them as weapons. Any type of gun in the video game history, from fast to slow, from heavy to lightweight, from big loud explosions, to silent but deadly -- this game has it covered. This is the one shooter that offers the content of all the shooters in the world that you can imagine.

+ Unlike The Binding of Isaac, there are no "negative" items here. Everything you pick up is beneficial in some way, and you can always drop any item that you don't want the effects of.

+ INFINITE replay value. Currently I have 2,029 hours logged playing this game. Yet I feel that I'm only beginning. I'm only beginning to appreciate the incredibly large variety of item/gun combinations. In all those thousands of hours, some items or events are rare enough to appear only once, and some have yet to appear at all. I'll always keep playing it, because the next run will most certainly be a fresh and different experience, every time.

The Bad

- The music is certainly below average and sounds like a joke. Turn the music off.

- "The Past" is nothing but a tedious boss fight, and it is not Roguelike - You always start the "Past" fight with the same starting equipment. I had hoped that "The Past" would have some rooms and chests to prepare you for the boss fight.

- No online leaderboard of any sort. I know I am one of the top players in the world -- I can beat the secret boss Lich most of the time. I got no leaderboard to prove my abilities!

- The dodge roll is poorly registered, so that you will always get hit by bullets during the first 1/8 of the dodge roll.

- Boss fights don't necessarily give satisfying rewards. In fact, the boss drop is always a random gun or item -- this means that it can be a very weak gun, or an item that's not very useful. I would have hoped that a strong boss should always drop strong items.

The Bottom Line

I first approached the twin-stick shooter Enter the Gungeon knowing it's difficult, many people had said it's difficult and the learning curve was steep (expect at least 50 hours of gameplay before you know what's going on). But after I master the game, I found it to be *significantly easier* than a lot of the other games in its genre -- Nuclear Throne, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Desktop Dungeons, Dead Cells etc. etc..

There is one huge difference between "Enter the Gungeon difficulty" and the usual "difficulty" (as displayed in Dark Souls and other difficult games).

The usual difficulty in video games is that, you need to practice, you need to improve your skills. You need to git gud. You learn enemy patterns, you learn the mechanics, you learn from your previous deaths. That's the formula of all the Souls-like games so far. The player is expected to learn something every time they die, and avoid those mistakes in the future.

And then there came a different school of game design -- the "luck-based" design pioneered by The Binding of Isaac.

In The Binding of Isaac, you could still do all of those things to "git gud". You could still learn mechanics, learn from mistakes, and all that, but you could also just be really lucky and get insanely good items that win the game no matter what you do.

--- Enter the Gungeon is pretty much like that. You could spend 100 hours improving your skills, and defeat the boss, or you could also find the most powerful combo of guns and items during your 10th hour, and defeat the boss with that. Skills are no longer *required*, although they are still nice to have. If you don't have the skills, just play it over and over again, until you get lucky and find super powerful items in a run.

You cannot beat Super Meat Boy or Dark Souls through luck alone. You cannot beat most Roguelike games through luck alone either -- No matter how lucky you get in Crypt of the Necrodancer, you won't get a build that can murder a boss from a safe distance without any worry of taking damage -- because such a build does not exist in that game. It exists in Enter the Gungeon. We say Super Meat Boy is difficult, FTL is difficult and Crypt of the Necrodancer is difficult -- when we say those games are difficult, we are saying, you have no choice but to practice, kid. There is no easy victory in those games. When we say Enter the Gungeon is difficult, we are saying a very different thing. We are saying, practice would certainly make you better, but there is always hope for those who do not want to practice too. This is a game that understands gamers are gamblers, that not everybody wants to earn success the hard way -- some just want to win the lottery.