• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

ActRaiser Renaissance: nostalgia reborn

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Hey, what if ActRaiser hadn't been left in the 90s? What if they remade it? And what if the remake were -- dare I say it? -- better than the original?

It just might be true! So far, my only complaint is that the game loves to talk to you. Original ActRaiser liked interrupting the angel, but new ActRaiser does it constantly.

But the Master and the Angel both have new moves, and there's a lot more going on in the sim mode. I was ready to replay SNES ActRaiser, but they went all out here. I haven't finished Fillmore yet, but I'm loving what I've played so far.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
This looks incredible. Today too! Unbelievable. I haven't had a chance to get to it yet, but I can't wait.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Played about a half hour of it, and yeah - they added a lot to the sim mode. Seems cool! Music remixes are good, too. I'll dig into this more over the weekend.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Fillmore done.

It's real good! I thought the 2.5D looked kinda stinky in the stills. Happy to report it isn't nearly as bad as that.

If we were to be overly honest, we'd have to admit that the original ActRaiser had fairly unremarkable action sequences paired with fairly unremarkable sim sections: it was the pairing that elevated the game. Renaissance makes both halves more interesting. So far, I could take or leave the added story bits, but the cutscenes are at least skippable.
 

LBD_Nytetrayn

..and his little cat, too
(He/him)
Nadia literally went back in time so she could be the first to buy it when she heard them announce it.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Watched some gameplay footage online, and while I'm not completely sold on the visual style, I can at least now see what they were going for, being a Clash of the Titan-esque stop motion thing.
 

Aleryn

Gravity is overrated.
Just a matter of time for me with this one, oh yes! Hoping the remake handles the surprisingly-empathic writing the game had and further developed in the spiritual sequels along the way. Also that tweet above Kazin referenced from Koshiro about new SNES music - chills!
 
I've been waiting for something like this for SO LONG. The original and 2 are basically the favorite games of a friend of mine but I never had the ability to play them without emulation. I can't play it right away but I am EXCITED
 

4-So

Spicy
I just stopped for the night after finishing Fillmore. The sim parts are definitely fleshed out, with a tower-defense-style element coming in, as well as resource management. At a glance, it reminds me of the city building part of Ni No Kuni 2 although, at least thus far, it is not involved as that, although it does borrow from the game in terms of developmental stages (level 1, level 2, etc.).

The 2D combat parts, where the Lord of Light descends, are...whelming. Not bad, especially since the Master has some new tricks - it actually reminds me a bit of Castlevania - but the graphics are kinda meh. The Master and the enemies have this kind of "digitized" effect, reminding me of certain 16-bit or 32-bit titles, like Diablo or Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen. I can't tell if it's supposed to be like that, perhaps an attempt at a kind of stop-motion effect, or if it's just incongruent with the rest of the game.

If you enjoy the original, I'd say give this one a shot. It's basically Actraiser Plus. It's essentially the same game as before, with a facelift, and they've added to it in ways that augment the game while keeping it fundamentally Actraiser. It also includes auto-saving and a difficulty selection, the kinds of QoL improvements you'd expect to see.

I took a peak at the trophies - I bought this on PSN - and it appears like one entire new area has been added but I'm not far enough to know if this assumption is correct.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I bought it immediately but won’t get a chance to play it until a later today.

BUT ITS ACTRAISER! A NEW ACTRAISER! BUT MOSTLY THE ACTRAISER I ALREADY KNOW I LIKE!

IM GOING TO BE RAISING ACTS!
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Whatever I'm going to say about the remake can be contextualized by my thoughts on the original, as conveyed earlier in the year; I'm not going to dwell on ActRaiser fundamentals in light of that.

I think the absolute shining star of this version are the visuals. This sort of pre-rendered uncanniness and resultant "stiffness" go extremely aptly with the subject matter, and fly in the face of pre-conceived notions of what video games ought to look like in the year 2021. It's a remake of a thirty-year-old game in the first place, and this aesthetic direction further sets it apart from the pack in really good ways.

Where it falters is unfortunately most of the rest of it for me. The music is largely straightforward orchestration and electric guitar waffling that doesn't really do the material favours; Koshiro is extremely good with old, "outdated" chipsets and live instrumentation or approximations thereof tend to fall flatter in his work. The elaboration of the sim sequences with tower defense battles draws out the game length really laboriously, combined with other decisions to that end like having to dip into monster lairs for a few seconds to hack at an orb instead of the process being automated. There's an odd insecurity in the original game's systems being inadequate, and that simply adding more Stuff would elevate the game to its stated promise. Instead, I find it diluted, and the relaxed, meditative exhalation provided by the city-building mostly sabotaged by excessive mechanical fussiness.

The writing probably irks me the most, early on anyway. It's localized consistently well, that's for certain; something the original oscillated back and forth between good and less compelling effect. The issues arise from the profusion and tone of the text, where the original achieved much with a kind of anonymous, endearing sincerity as to its subject matter. In here, the phrasing is more linguistically considered but the characterization afforded to the angel in their new sarcastic and mischievous incarnation, or the more character-focused arcs with the heroes of each realm, turn the atmosphere of the game to a more jovially mortal perspective that I'm not sure it narratively benefits from. There is just so much verbiage afforded to the script now and the quiet little heartaches and solemn morality tales of the original script that are still present are at risk of being drowned out under the rest.

I don't think Actraiser (curiously with an uncapitalized r) in this form is absent of the aspects that make it remarkable, but it is an expansion of the form in ways that don't always gel with the evocative conciseness that powered the original work.
 
Last edited:

madhair60

Video games
Peklo, your post confirms my fear that they have meddled with the glorious, zen-like simplicity of the sim sections. I'm very sceptical that I would enjoy this.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
This is the first I'm hearing about this thing and I'm tentatively excited. I don't think I'm $30 immediately excited, but I'll snag it on the next sale and hope this isn't another SolSeraph debacle.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I liked SolSeraph, but basically no one else did. It was good!

Anyway, if I liked that, I'm sure I'll like this as well. And it's on Steam! That news kind of got buried, given how it was announced, but means that I am far more likely to play it.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
From the description I’m getting more Smelter vibes.

Hopefully less difficult, because that game was just a brick wall when it came to the sim bits
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Fillmore at least is unchallenging in the sim. The tower defense segments -- I didn't want to spoil that aspect, but now that it's out of the bag, I'll agree that they do ruin the pacing. I'm interested to see what they do with them as the game progresses, though.

The most shocking change? The game actually suggests razing your structures after you increase your civilization level! This was a mechanic in the original, too, but since you don't level up with population anymore, there's much less reason to do it in the remake (for homes, at least -- and there's no guarantee they'll replace a farm or workshop). It's made even odder because the angel tells you not to do it when introducing miracles in the first place.
 
Last edited:

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The Master isn’t one of the gentler deities to pray to.

But he will absolutely murder every possible alternative
 
I liked SolSeraph, but basically no one else did. It was good!

Anyway, if I liked that, I'm sure I'll like this as well. And it's on Steam! That news kind of got buried, given how it was announced, but means that I am far more likely to play it.

Hello only other person or earth who liked SolSeraph. I find it interesting that they took the Tower Sim stuff and the going into lairs to close them thing from SolSeraph given how few people played or seemed to enjoy it.
 

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
Population doesn’t level you up? That is sacrilege! It was such a great way of tying the fact you are a god with the game mechanics.

More importantly, I can’t sing the “We Fuck” song when I play this remake cos it won’t be true anymore. : (
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
You still need population, but only because the progression has occasional population gates.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Finished, including the post-game stuff. It comes off as a victory lap for the six heroes and the sim battles, so I'd only recommend doing it if you want more of either, or to hear the couple of new music tracks in it.

My early opinions didn't really change, but I'll amend the music gripes: the existing music is a little shaky in its remix treatment, but the over a dozen new tracks are really, really stellar, either in SNES soundfont or the remake versions, and seamlessly integrate to the game's structure and atmosphere. It's kind of amazing that Koshiro was able to conjure up over thirty-year-old material and pick off right where he left off, and he's specifically echoing the compositional style of the first game and not the sequel which he also did, making it even more impressive of an evocation.

The writing never "recovers" if the particularities of the original game are what you're into, but despite the large character focus it also doesn't fall into anything repellent on that front; its usual mode is mostly pleasantly nondescript in a way that could be exceptional if there wasn't a pedigree at work here. It's a very odd fit for the game no matter what one's takeaway is, anyway; the solitude and inferred narratives are talked into an early grave.

Did the sim battles ever justify themselves? Not that I could judge. I am a fool who cannot virtually strategize my way out of a flower field, and these ones troubled me little; I can only assume they'll be sheer tedium for actually capable sorts. The only justification they could have is as a vehicle for impressing the six heroes as presences in the game outside of dialogue scenes, but that's a lot to bet on a cast this thin, in a game of such a deliberately light touch. It feels like a mismatch, again--like an addendum from some other project entirely.

I have a higher opinion than most of ActRaiser's platforming and combat, so I think for most Renaissance will read as an improvement. There's more jumping control and a sort of slippery feel to everything; the game expects you to kind of just wing it and phase through situations unscathed thanks to the very generous invincibility frames associated with most actions one can do. It's not precise at all in this form, and becomes a giant and flashy melee that's in its own way satisfying if just for the aesthetic crunch of it. Nowhere in it will people be particularly taxed, compared to the original which had the capability to be mean at times.

Even in light of all the criticisms that I have, I still kind of can't help but like the game anyway. Some of it is the residue of the original shining through, but also the way they chose to remake it, equal parts authentic, daring and baffling. Its sheer existence is a weird delight, so I'd rather leave off with that.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
The one complaint I have about the combat in Renaissance so far is one that will only bug people who played a lot of the original: the Master can turn around in midair, and his standard air attack is a lateral slash rather than an overhead swing. Those were core components of the ActRaiser moveset, as far as I'm concerned.

(Master for Smash)
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
A couple of notes on gendered representation (spoiler: it's positive):

i alluded to it but it is sort of interesting how free of Bullshit the writing is
no sex jokes, no harassment for laughs, just nothing of that sort
the character designs themselves even look like some kinda toned-down in sexualization gacha crew
they're basically good, just wandered in from some other game that doesn't exist
there's also gender parity, for both the six heroes, and then with every town's representatives that always come in a wo/man pair, with different portraits for each region
god has they pronouns, too

The only things at odds with that would be some of the townsfolk women bursting out of their clothes a little bit, and one of the heroes having a stock sad dad backstory of revenge for his dead wife and child... which he pursues by dressing up as a cowboy and chasing down a giant pharaoh mask across the world, so that's the kind of tonal jumble at play in fitting new wrinkles to the existing material. Generally it's just weirdly sedate and decent for what it is.
 
Top