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LONG BLOG

Closers Post Wolfgang Update - 9/3/2018 (Spoilers, PC)

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The introduction of Wolfgang as the first of the Wildhuters starts off a new story within the game. Unlike the Black Lambs and Wolf Dogs, this story is not finished yet and deals with two major characters that appears in the other storylines. However, there is a bit of a mess in logic here as there is a major time discrepancy in the events. I'm mainly going to focus on the major changes since the last two months.

Note: This is an update to an update. The previous post is here: https://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Blanchimont/closers-review-post-7-3-update--511256.phtml

Story:

Wolfgang is one of the UNION agents that are deployed to investigate the interdimensional beings. A being called Shub appears, who is fleeing from her masters (later revealed to be Ash and Dust). However, she is later reactivated as a sleeper agent and Wolfgang is the one who has to put her down. This does little but foreshadow what happens later.

The second story arc is the one that matters (this seems to be the pattern with the game for now). It begins at the end of episode 1, where they try to make contact with Jisu Seo, who cuts them off and reveal that she is fighting Ash and Dust. It is during this battle that she is transferred to the Otherworld, which makes little sense since she was supposed to be swapped with Shub, who appeared significantly earlier. 

Little happens until the end, where a clone of Jisu Seo, who calls herself Jisu Black has her dimensional monster half awakened. In exchange for killing Dust, Jisu Black has to fight Wolfgang. However, Dust submits because her master, Azrael would not like what was going on. To everyone's surprise, Jisu Seo sends a message from beyong the gate during the battle, revealing that she is alive and fighting.

The ending of episode 2 for Wolfgang and the Wildhuters ties into the ending of episode 2 for the Wolf Dogs and Black Lambs. There are those who want the phase force and are willing to do whatever means necessary to do it. While David is taken care of, it is revealed that the corruption of Union extends far beyond anyone could suspect and how he was able to get as far as he did without anyone knowing. Dust is in fact, working with the General Secretary of Union.

Gameplay:

Wolfgang presents an interesting problem to the game. A lot of his skills allow him to bypass the conditional damage limitations like Nata does. A variety of his skills give him damage reduction or invincibility and allows him to trigger back attack damage without having to be behind the enemy. The problem with this is that the older characters are starting to be outclassed as their skills have a harder time triggering conditional damage while the effects of conditional aerial and crit damage are continued to be reduced in effectiveness. Aerial loses due to scaling getting worse over time and crit damage is reduced with every new area. As a result, since the International Airport, the characters have not improved much in power despite new gear. The new gear is merely there to offset the crit damage penalties. At this point, the Special Agent/Operative classes are a must because of this design problem as it grants them a passive damage boost that allows the character to max out their conditional damage buff. The worst part about this is that the newer characters just feel like buffed up versions of the previous characters or at least try to be. Instead of fixing older characters, they're just cranking out new ones and that is a serious problem. 

The game has been doing this for a while. Skills that used to make older characters invincibile no longer do so. Some of the newer characters possess their invincibility while others have lost out on it. The result of it is that high duration skills are now just bad if they do not come with damage reduction or invincibility due to one shot mechanics of raids. Some bosses are even able to bypass this invincibility, making it feel like an arms race is taking place. Aerial damage has become the decisive victor in terms of end game due to how easy and reliable it is to trigger. The result of that is that characters like Tina, who triggers chase damage all the time, but cannot trigger chase nor back reliably and has long skill durations without damage mitigation "low tier" compared to the others.

Gradually, the game is becoming more and more imbalanced and unpredictable with each patch. The reason is that warning indicators and invincibility frames are not consistent across characters. Invincibility is sometimes, even on skills that trigger them, but older characters will have their skills canceled while newer ones will not. This power creep is the real problem. The only exception to this right now is Seha, whose passive allows him to benefit from all the other types of bonus damage while allowing him to ignore the bonus defense given to a lot of end game enemies. However, he remains one of the most difficult to play characters. Meanwhile, your defense is useless against most end game bosses who deal percentage based HP damage.

Some things just flat out seem to stop working. For example, if you get chain comboed in the past, you would just fall down and invincibility would trigger. But, that doesn't happen in the later stages. Bosses will never cause your invincibility frames to activate once you get knocked down or hit a certain number of times. Some of them even ignore your recovery animation and just continue to hit you until you die or use cancel.

Sadly, as of writing this, we still have not caught up to where the Korean version of the game was at the time of release. We are currently still three Special Agent/Operative classes behind from that point. Meanwhile, the Korean version of the game already has four of the Wildhuters and Special Agent/Operative classes for them.

Final Score: 6/10

The overall game has taken a turn downwards in terms of design. The game is doubling down on just weakening your character and increasing the HP of enemies to make the game feel challenging. Raids are interesting at first, but the percentage based HP damage has made building up health and defensive stats pretty much pointless. Enemies are now even able to cancel you out of your recovery animation or avoid triggering your invincibility frames from taking too many consecutive hits in a row. 

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About Blanchimontone of us since 10:18 PM on 09.14.2008

I studied to be a teacher, but I only have a tutoring job right now that has very few hours. When I'm not busy, I'm trying out random games that get my interest and writing reviews about them. Keep in mind that these reviews are based on my own opinion and what I think about the game. I generally dislike F2P features that exclude players by making the top items only obtainable with real money or are absurdly expensive and P2P games that limit a player's ability to play with something like fatigue or stamina systems. I also tend to be late with reviews as I only purchase games when I have the time to actually play them.