Simple changes that could've made this more tolerable

#1MagnemightPosted 3/4/2013 10:13:22 PM
Sticker Star is a poor Paper Mario game, and you'd need some pretty darn massive changes to change that. But to treat it as a game in its own right, taking advantage of its unique traits, I think a few small changes could improve the game without changing its core concepts.

Combat

1. Eliminate Fling-a-Thing. Instead of backtracking to Fling-a-Thing to use a Thing, Things could be used through a system akin to Star Power in the first two games: a resource that constantly regenerates through battle, regenerating faster if the player uses proper Action Commands.
Addendum: To solve the issue of pointless battles, allow the capacity of the Thing-resource system to increases with battles.

2. Reduce the health of major bosses, as well as the effect of Thing stickers upon them. Chapter Boss fights should be similar to General Guy and Lava Piranha in that using the appropriate Thing, rather like using Watt and Sushie, respectively, should greatly reduce the difficulty of the boss, but allow for the boss to be perfectly acceptable without the counter -technique.

Puzzles

3. A paid fortune teller, with the ability to specify Worlds. A standard puzzle would be given a blatantly-obvious solution, whereas a solution involving a Thing (including boss battles) provides an obvious hint as to the location of the Thing and a minor hint about the purpose of the Thing.

4. Whenever the Paperization button is pressed in an area with no Paperization locations, it simply emits a beep.

5. When an incorrect sticker is used in paperization, the sticker is not removed from the Sticker Album.

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Outside of story, what problems would remain if these changes were implemented?
#2StephenYap3Posted 3/5/2013 7:12:52 AM
Agreed with 1, 3, and 5.
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#3avengahPosted 3/5/2013 8:49:26 AM(edited)
4 is bad, because it would encourage people to press it every two seconds, and you'd be like step, step, beep, step, step, beep. That's what people would do; abuse it. The way paperisation works now, there are often little clues like stumps and pink flowers, and if 4 was implemented, people wouldn't even realise that pink flower often means upgrade box, because they'd be too busy just repeatedly tapping away and they'd find everything without even trying.

I'm in two minds with 5. The thing is, you can always quit and restart if you waste the wrong stickers. If you aren't even sure which stickers you're going to need, you can copy your file. I think simply eliminating the autosave feature, or at least making it an option that can be turned off, would solve that problem, since copying is clunky and not always possible if all the slots are in use. Without autosave, you could try as many things as you want without having to worry. But the way it is now, clunky though it may be, copying your save will let you try things, helping you to not waste stickers.

3 may work, but only if it's done right. I never got stuck, but I know people do - for it to work and be appreciated, it'd need to give hints without being seen as hand-holding.
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#4SullyTheStrangePosted 3/5/2013 3:27:06 PM
avengah posted...
I'm in two minds with 5. The thing is, you can always quit and restart if you waste the wrong stickers. If you aren't even sure which stickers you're going to need, you can copy your file. I think simply eliminating the autosave feature, or at least making it an option that can be turned off, would solve that problem, since copying is clunky and not always possible if all the slots are in use. Without autosave, you could try as many things as you want without having to worry. But the way it is now, clunky though it may be, copying your save will let you try things, helping you to not waste stickers.

That's a horrible reason to not include it. If you have to go through that much trouble to not be screwed over by the game then it's not a well designed game.
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#5avengahPosted 3/5/2013 5:51:29 PM(edited)
No, what I mean is that I don't think you should necessarily get stickers back if you use them in the wrong place - stickers are one use only, right place or wrong place, and that's the way the whole game works with stickers - but I do think you should be able to experiment more without having to copy your file. So asking whether you want to save instead of saving automatically would solve the problem without changing the very way stickers work, because then you'd be free to experiment more - e.g. you could try out all those Things whenever you want.

There is something, though. Once you open a certain secret door in the second half of the game, you can get from Decalburg to a place with enemies directly without going through the world map. This means the game doesn't save. And, as a special bonus, the door comes out right next to the Thing Flinging place. So you can start testing your stickers on enemies at this point. It doesn't help with puzzles in other levels, though; you'll still have to make a copy if you're not sure which Thing to use, or even if several Things work and you want to see the different animations for each one.

Finally, I have to say that an unfortunate consequence of the autosave feature does not a badly-designed game make. It's just an inconvenience, and you're blowing it out of proportion. Yes, it's annoying but it's not a game-breaker. I've copied my file many times to try things.
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My Pre-Hooktail Pit Run of Paper Mario: TTYD without Mega Rush P!
Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5045EE00B4B9581F
#6Magnemight(Topic Creator)Posted 3/5/2013 8:47:23 PM(edited)
Honestly, the primary reason I slapped 4 down was due to my recent runthrough of Enigmansion. I hated hearing the beginning of the Paperization theme cancel out the fantastic background music. Not that the paperization theme is particularly bad, it's just that one hears the beginning of the song so many dang times.

On the subject of 2, though: I wouldn't actually want the boss health to be lowered if the Things were altered to a Star Power system, as that'd actually make the battles more climactic, as one would have to generate the Star Power to actually use the appropriate counter-Thing during the fight.

But there is one problem I don't quite see as a problem: the value of battles. I've seen people complain all over the place about how the removal of experience and level ups makes battles pointless, but I don't see why the battles need to have a point. Perhaps this is just a remnant from me trying to Level Zero run TTYD (oh god the Shadow Queen), but I've noticed that enemies are generally placed in a fashion that is challenging to avoid. Getting the First Strike on a Piranha Plant in the first two games, for example, isn't too difficult, as they pop up directly in front of you, right in hammer range. But getting around them without combat usually requires a bit of prediction.

In Sticker Star, enemies are placed to harass you. It's quite common in each level to encounter an area where one has keep wandering through it to progress. Fighting the enemies is a sacrifice of time and stickers (moreso time, based on my experiences. I always found my Sticker Album to be overflowing) to navigate an area faster, without dodging around them. The removal of enemy First Strikes gives the player another question: do I dodge the annoying projectiles this enemy throws, or do I fight the enemy to cease the endless barrage? There's quite a few moments in Sticker Star (caution: slight spoilers) where the game asks the player to fight enemies in exchange for goodies, like the Piranha Plants directly under the ? Blocks in Rumble Volcano. It even uses forced combat as a form of punishment in the ski lift level and Snifit or Whiffit.

As for leveling up, the famous aspect of almost any RPG...well, how is Mario not leveling up? His maximum hitpoints increases through the game. He gets more and more varied attacks as he progresses (BP) and the abundance of more unique attack stickers increases as he progresses (FP). His regular attacks (Jump and Hammer) get stronger as the shinier versions become more common over the course of the game. The only Paper Mario power-increasing-as-the-game-progresses things that don't get carried over are the partners and star power, which the Things -occasionally- stand in for.

Outside of the things, the combat doesn't really need to be changed.

EDIT: Completely forgot to reply to the argument about 5. avenguh, I understand why you want the stickers to stay gone-you want the player to be punished for doing the "use everything with everything" method instead of thinking through what stickers should be used, with that punishment being either reloading an earlier save or backtracking to Fling a Thing. Problem is, some of the Thing usages are a bit, well...there are a bit too many theoretical solutions. I had missed the Light Bulb on the first time through, so when I hit the darkened room in the harbor, I tried to light a fire to illuminate the area, and, after that failed to work, I tried to power the flickering bulb with batteries. That was quite a few coins down the drain, despite the (well, in my opinion) feasible solutions to the puzzle.

And it seems doubtworthy that Intelligent Systems intended us to use said secret door for Thing testing. They've never promoted resetting in any of their other games, as far as I know...not counting restarts in Fire Emblem as resetting, anyway.

EDIT 2: I'd also like to point out that I do like the battle system. I prefer the first two's, but it's still fun.
#7CubeTVPosted 3/5/2013 11:09:34 PM
I think the game would work better if it was more like Kingdom Hearts for GBA. Once you find a sticker, you keep it but can lose it in battle but get it back after it.
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#8avengahPosted 3/6/2013 4:45:17 AM(edited)
The Bulb is missable if you're not observant, but a Toad in Decalburg does give you a hint for it.

There are several ways an enemy can get a First Strike that I've seen. One is when a Piranha Plant comes up underneath you; the game treats it as if you tried to jump on it. Another is if an enemy touches you while you're frozen. 4-5 is a good place for this. Finally, some Koopas, Paratroopas, Buzzy Beetles and Spike Tops etc. can get a First Strike on you.
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My Pre-Hooktail Pit Run of Paper Mario: TTYD without Mega Rush P!
Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5045EE00B4B9581F
#9wiiking96Posted 3/6/2013 5:27:18 AM
Magnemight posted...
As for leveling up, the famous aspect of almost any RPG...well, how is Mario not leveling up? His maximum hitpoints increases through the game.

But not due to battling.

He gets more and more varied attacks as he progresses (BP) and the abundance of more unique attack stickers increases as he progresses (FP). His regular attacks (Jump and Hammer) get stronger as the shinier versions become more common over the course of the game.

You do not get more varied attacks as you progress. You may get a handful of artificially "new" attacks, but nothing truly varied after the first world.

Outside of the things, the combat doesn't really need to be changed.

Oh heck yes it does. I'll just quote my own review:

First of all, battles have little variety. It’s not noticeable till late in the game, but trust me, battles will get repetitive. The primary reason for this is because of the lackluster attack options and enemy selection. The game boasts 96 different basic stickers to use, but the stickers are so un-diverse that it is meaningless. Over half of the stickers are mere variations on other stickers, and the variations for the most part only have a difference in attack power. Even when stickers should logically provide different uses, they still are far too similar. For example: The Throwing Star, Bone, Wrench, and Barrel Stickers all behave identically aside from attack power.

Another major issue is the Battle Spinner. As Mario is alone in battle, fighting multiple enemies will present a problem. The developers, to compensate, introduced a new mechanic: The Battle Spinner. With coins, you can spin slots to gain more attacks; paying more coins with make it easier to get matches. Getting two like icons will let you use two stickers in a single turn, while getting three like icons will let you use three. The problem with this is that it’s far too easy to break. Getting the timing down is much easier than you might think, and there’s a trick that will basically guarantee that you’ll always get at least two like icons. All non-boss battles will become a cake walk once you get the hang of it.

Compounding on the above issue is the perfect bonus system. In order to get a perfect bonus, you must win a battle without taking any damage; you get a bunch of coins in reward.The easiest way to do this is by using the Battle Spinner and plowing through the enemies. The problem with this is that getting a perfect bonus completely nullifies the cost of using the Battle Spinner, meaning you’ll never have to worry about running out of coins. You can’t get a bonus by any other means, so battles will generally all play out the same. It would have worked a lot better if you get a perfect bonus if you get all the action commands perfectly in the battle, and lesser bonuses depending on how well you do otherwise.

The most obvious issue of the entire battle system is balance. There’s a serious imbalance in usefulness among different stickers, meaning you’ll rarely use the vast majority of them if you want to be most efficient. “Thing” Stickers really highlight this problem. “Thing” Stickers are your super moves of this game, and they are also consumable. They are much more powerful than normal stickers, and they are the only stickers that have a real effect on bosses.

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#10avengahPosted 3/6/2013 6:32:17 AM
The Battle Spinner is completely broken, yes; I can match pretty much any three symbols I want for just 3 coins. Only Mushroom gives me a little trouble, but when you're low on health, sometimes the coins and mushrooms switch places on the reels.

The designers seemingly intended the Battle Spinner to be as broken as it is, given the bookcase that gives you hints for it. For some people, especially those who've practised the TTYD Bingo and Pianta Slots, the Battle Spinner will take much less time to learn than, say, a new player who's never practised this sort of thing. But eventually, most people should be good enough to get a jackpot for 3 coins.

I wonder why they went with this system of enhancing your battle turns. The fact is, with the Perfect Bonus system, there is every incentive to win the battle in one turn without taking damage, so you'll rarely get to see the enemies even attack if you're good. Enemies that don't attack might as well be all the same (apart from spikes and HP etc.), so I don't think Perfect Bonuses are necessarily a good thing, even though I enjoy the battles.
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My Pre-Hooktail Pit Run of Paper Mario: TTYD without Mega Rush P!
Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5045EE00B4B9581F