No need for a long-winded intro. I will ramble a bit about some of the roguelikes I've played and why I enjoy them. I've gotten into roguelikes during the time of Risk of Rain 1.
I love Risk of Rain 2, it may be one of the most enjoyable games I've played, and I've sunk a lot of hours into it. When playing other games, I couldn't help but comparing them to RoR2.
Dead Cells had a lot of hype around, and people loved it. When I played it however, I couldn't help but feel how vastly overrated it was. It was beautiful, nice aesthetic and generally fun to play. But I think the main issue was how repetitive it felt.
I cannot deny the good elements of it, such as the plethora of weapons, the generated level schemes each time you play and the randomness of items, but it felt it wasn't enough to deter a certain "staleness". I think this issue is mainly due to two matters; 1) Levels and 2) weapons.
The main issue for levels is how easily you beat the game the first time, causing you get quickly familiar with some of the levels. It was a lot of fun finding them the first time, along with the secondary levels, and finding the abilities/runes. However that part -in the grand scheme of the game- is practically miniscule. You later spend the majority of your gaming playing the same levels, which gets repetitive. It essentially feels like playing one short level and then you keep replaying it on much harder difficulties.
For weapons, I admit there is a higher degree on subjectivity on my part than the previous issue. I find myself gravitating towards certain weapons, and as such it feels that certain weapons are far more effective than others, and for the rest of the "fodder", they rarely play as differently from each other, which dampens the concept of having so many weapons at your disposal. I would add that I think having a high degree of choice with weapons when starting your run doesn't force you to explore and experiment, which is something I can circumvent.
The other minor issues is the difficulty. The game quickly rises from "Challenging" to "A bit Frustrating". Sometimes you may die so many times that you're not getting enough stem cells to justify the higher difficulty, making it feel sometimes pointless (I hear someone in the audience yell "git gud" right about now).
Compare this with RoR2. The game's enemies, numbers and levels doesn't make it feel as repetitive. Even as you get to know the levels, traversing them still feels enjoyable. Items are random so runs can feel less successful than others, but it makes runs different, also items are almost always a positive addition, so you never feel like you're suffering. The only constant positive in Dead Cells are the scrolls, which end up feeling somewhat lifeless.
Another about this game to compare with DC is unlocking abilities/items. The time you can spend unlocking skills, items and characters is not insignificant in the span of the whole game, which can keep that feeling of exploring something new fresh longer.
Another good example for me is Hades. There's enough variety to keep you going, along with the voice acting and story. I don't like Enter the Gungeon as much since it seems to rely heavily on skill on learning and there's less of an emphasis on unlocking stuff.
Apologies if it felt like I was rambling for too long. I talked about these specific games as there are the roguelikes that I played/enjoyed, while also highlighting why and why not. I do feel that -in time- we may come to further invent sub-genres for roguelikes, depending on which elements players enjoy the most. I can already sense a game depending on story (such as Hades), ones that have a lot to unlock (Dead Cells and RoR2) and maybe ones that are highly dependent on skill while keeping it simple (Enter the Gungeon).
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