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EMarley

Brütal Legend or Massive Chalice: which is better for a strategy n00b?

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I've never played a strategy game before. It's something to do with placing flags, right? I'm only half-kidding. I know Brütal Legend has RTS and Massive Chalice has turn-based strategy, so which of the two games would you recommend me to try out first? Thank you.

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I'm not sure I'd recommend either for someone wanting to get into those kinds of games. My go-to recommendation would be Final Fantasy Tactics.

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I don't own FF Tactics, though! I do own the two I mention, and I want to play them, I'm just a bit intimidated by the prospect.

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Umm... well I have to be honest that both games are a pretty hardcore place to start and they are both very different kinds of strategy. If it's your first strategy game experience, you're kinda skipping ahead a couple of grades with these two games, I would think.

Massive Chalice is arguably an easier place to start because everything is very turn-based, so you have time to really stop and think about your choices and strategy. On the other hand, the game is very brutal when it comes to things based on lucky die rolls. Brad was/is a huge fan of XCOM, which are famous for being games that will eff you over and drink your tears. In other words, both XCOM and Massive Chalice are strategy games, but they are a specific hardcore sub-variety of strategy game that deliberately stacks the deck VERY HEAVILY against the player. And also both games have various systems and things in them that you don't really understand the first time you play, so you end up making a lot of bad choices and things, so the expectation is that you will lose a lot before you start to understand. I helped fund Massive Chalice and don't regret it, but these are not really my type of games. I don't need my games to be super easy or anything, but I don't like games that are kinda mean-spirited on purpose.

Brutal Legend is arguably an easier place to start, though, because it has elements that are a little more accessible. The included action adventure is loads of fun and does a so-so job of schooling you in the game's battle system. The thing about Brutal Legend, though, is that first it has to teach you how RTS games work, but then it has to immediately tell you to not play it like an RTS, because Brutal Legend is a hybrid spin on the RTS. This game is really fun and action-packed and hectic, but the thing is that it is SO hectic that it is hard to keep track of everything that is going on, and you can get overwhelmed very quickly. That's one of the challenges of real-time strategy anway is the idea that you don't have time to pause and stop and think like in turn-based strategy. But Brutal Legend makes that even MORE hectic, because it is not possible to win by just hovering high above the map and giving commands like in a normal RTS game. In order to win, you have to jump down into the action and do some fighting yourself. It's like trying to be the manager of a factory, but you also have to jump on the assembly line every time it starts to fall behind, but while you are on the assembly line, it's hard to see if there is anything ELSE going wrong somewhere else, you know? So it gets very hectic. It is a very demanding game in terms of both real-time strategy and action. I've never played the actual multiplayer deathmatches, but I imagine the hardcore BL multi people are a nightmare. (As in they will probably destroy you to death.)

I'm tempted to say BL just because it's more my kinda game.

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Thank you so much for explaining, Anemone. That understanding of what the games are like will be helpful for me to keep in mind when I play.

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In my opinion, Massive Chalice would be WAY harder to get into, because if you aren't REALLY good at strategy then you might make too many bad planning decisions and doom yourself down the road, or lose too many characters or battles and quickly reach a point that you can't hope to recover from... although, I guess if you aren't ashamed to play on the lowest difficulty and save / load often, then you could still enjoy the game?

But Brutal Legend? Even if you absolutely suck at the RTS segments you can very easily cheese your way through the stage battles by doing most of the fighting yourself and relying heavily on the team-up moves, the car, animals, and songs, to the point where you only have to do the most basic / occasional unit commanding. If you want to do the online competitive multiplayer it would be a different story, but the single-player game you can enjoy 100% with no RTS skills.

Trust me on that one, because I am like the worst RTS player and I love both of these games. The strategic element of RTSes I can handle, but the lightning-fast micromanagement and focusing on twelve different things simultaneously are beyond me. :I

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Brutal Legend by a country mile! Massive Chalice is much more difficult/ a completely different game style.

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Brutal Legend has a great world, characters and story... and only a tiny portion of it is RTS. The problem is that it never really teaches you how to play the RTS elements. You're just thrown in the deep end and hopefully win out of luck. I would not recommend Brutal Legend for its RTS elements, sadly.

Massive Chalice on the other hand is pure strategy. It's very much like X-Com. The world, characters and story are nowhere as amazing as Brutal Legend, but you are playing a strategy game that does focus on making the strategy work.

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I suppose I could agree with the reasoning that massive chalice is a better choice since it is actually much more of a strategy game, whereas BL leans more heavily on action than strategy. To the extent that BL has strategy, it's more about rushing around and putting out fires before they get too big than it is like gaining advantage via very precise and intentional planning. BL battles are a tug of war game more than anything. Which is fine! It's fun! But the actual strategizing is not very sophisticated (unless maybe you are playing multi and both you and your human opponent are both masters of the game, then things might get interesting).

Massive Chalice could be a better game, then, if you actually want to do strategy. But in my opinion, choosing a game like Massive Chalice or the game it pays homage to (XCOM) is veering off in the complete opposite direction for a strategy newbie. Yeah, now you have more actual strategy, but it's a very specific, masochistic, and meticulous kind of strategy that a certain kind of gamer loves but is, IMO, not very newbie friendly.

Asking, "I'm new to strategy: BL or MC?" is sort of like asking "I'm new to sims. Should I start with Farmville or Galactic Civilization 3?"

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Thank you everyone for your input! Here are the conclusions I'm drawing, let's see if I'm right:

Brütal Legend's RTS elements won't be too punishing for a newbie in the sense that they're a small part of the game, which is mostly story/character/action-focused, but I'll probably have to look at some guides because the game doesn't explain them too well. I plan to check out the multiplayer by playing against a friend who's just as useless as me, so that should be fine, but I'll probably get wrecked otherwise.

I've heard some of the Steam achievements for this game are really hard, anyone want to comment on that?

Massive Chalice as a strategy game is a bit punishing for newbies in the sense that making wrong decisions at the start will probably doom you and the RNG can stack against you pretty badly, but saving/loading can safeguard you somewhat against the latter, and there's an easy mode which should help too. Being turn-based, the player can play at their own pace and take time to think things through if they want.

So there's good arguments for both and all this info makes me more confident about trying them out. Thanks again.

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I would disagree with the input you've been given:

Brutal Legend can be insanely frustrating because it never really teaches you how to play. I pretty much won all my battles through sheer luck. Strategy is hard to come by.

Massive Chalice is designed to be a strategy game, and I disagree that it's "punishing for newbies". It's no more difficult than a modern strategy game if you ask me.

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I would disagree with the input you've been given:

Brutal Legend can be insanely frustrating because it never really teaches you how to play. I pretty much won all my battles through sheer luck. Strategy is hard to come by.

Massive Chalice is designed to be a strategy game, and I disagree that it's "punishing for newbies". It's no more difficult than a modern strategy game if you ask me.

Not punishing as in "difficult to learn" or even "difficult to play", but punishing as in highly punitive in ways that other classic tactics/strategy games like FF Tactics or Disgaea etc are not. It is a very specific taste that desires punitive design (indeed it is highly popular with the core PC crowd and is enjoying something of a renaissance right now). I think if a person is new to the genre, they should go for a less punitive example of that type of game first. But of course, if you really super enjoy how MC/XCOM do things, you're having a great time and will not see it this way, but that's my honest opinion.

Also, I think BL does an okay job of teaching you the basics of how RTS works. What it doesn't do a good job of teaching you is how to use your units / abilities effectively in the hybrid RTS context it creates.

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I think Emarley understands it perfectly (and I hope they wind up enjoying both games!)

Seriously, even if Brutal Legend doesn't explain the RTS elements, it at least tells you what the objectives are, and from that you can get by with just A) Leave some of your dudes near the things they told you to defend and B) bring the rest with you to attack the things they tell you to attack. For everything else.... you upgrade the car and you run **** over. >:D

Like oh my god, go to the effort of upgrading the car. It will practically win stage battles for you if you do. (though again, that will NOT work in competitive online multiplayer because while you get to have a car it will be in its completely default, no-upgrades form, and thus far less game-breaking)

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I think Emarley understands it perfectly (and I hope they wind up enjoying both games!)

Seriously, even if Brutal Legend doesn't explain the RTS elements, it at least tells you what the objectives are, and from that you can get by with just A) Leave some of your dudes near the things they told you to defend and B) bring the rest with you to attack the things they tell you to attack. For everything else.... you upgrade the car and you run **** over. >:D

Like oh my god, go to the effort of upgrading the car. It will practically win stage battles for you if you do. (though again, that will NOT work in competitive online multiplayer because while you get to have a car it will be in its completely default, no-upgrades form, and thus far less game-breaking)

You wouldn't believe how long I played BL until I realized "Wait a minute... I CAN SUMMON MY CAR IN BATTLES...!!!!"

It was a serious epiphany.

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You can play Massive Chalice on Normal, and you can enjoy the game without punishment.

Smiles

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Yes, I was going to say. I wasn't aware of Massive Chalice having a "punitive design"...? I haven't played it a huge amount, but it seemed fine to me so far. (I know there's an Iron Man style mode which is high punitive, right?) Anyways, I defer to who know has the most experience with the game... the OP could have gotten pretty far into it by now :)

Also: WHAT? I CAN SUMMON MY CAR IN BATTLES IN BL...??

How did I not know this.

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Yes, I was going to say. I wasn't aware of Massive Chalice having a "punitive design"...? I haven't played it a huge amount, but it seemed fine to me so far. (I know there's an Iron Man style mode which is high punitive, right?) Anyways, I defer to who know has the most experience with the game... the OP could have gotten pretty far into it by now :)

Also: WHAT? I CAN SUMMON MY CAR IN BATTLES IN BL...??

How did I not know this.

Right? I think this is one of those situations where people who have been playing video games so much for so long that there are just certain types of things they come to expect and take for granted. Like, the car solo is right there on the menu, but you might just disregard it because "Oh, it'll probably just tell me I can't do that here or jack black doesn't want to right now or something".

But no. You can. YOU CAN.

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Massive Chalice is awesome. It makes me really sad people were not into that game at all. Its fantastic. Look, if you ever liked Game of Thrones, you'll enjoy Massive Chalice even more because you can kinda channel this fun you get of watching families and who marries who and whatnot into the game and sometimes the game gives you great random non-scripted narratives by itself. The gameplay and the universe is really cool and original. I finished that game twice now, its not that hard and I keep coming back to it every 6 months or so. I cannot believe there will never be a sequel or an expansion to that.

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Braid Muir cited GOT as part of the game's inspiration, so you're right on the nose. ;-)

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I know, it took me 2 seconds to back that thing when it was announced it was right up my alley and still, to this day, my favorite DF game.

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