As mentioned last time, I was thinking of playing Extreme Mode, which I have now done. It's basically a variant of New Game + where you can play any stage at any time. You can also switch between difficulty modes. It gives it some replay value, but not much.
Venue: Dining Room
Time: ~8:45 AM to ~10:40 AM
Extreme Chapters: 8, 2, 3; Probending Mode: Captain
I decided to start by seeing whether or not unlocking Korra's coat only required defeating Hundun on Extreme as opposed to all stages. I swiftly decided that it wasn't worth even that, at least not at this time. Chapter 2 was a lot less annoying on Extreme, initially not seeming much different, but eventually throwing a few Triads & even some things from the final levels at me. Chapter 3 had a mecha tank & the Bizarro Triads instead of the regulars.
Because I guess they think I hate myself enough to play this without Bending, I'm getting all platinum medals from these levels. I also decided to use this time to farm for Spirit Energy & do some more experimenting. I discovered that moves triggered by dodging are time sensitive, so they actually take a bit of effort to perform, & that's why I couldn't trigger the Air Scooter reliably.
As mentioned previously, I also did Probending on Captain, but I barely noticed a difference, even winning with 4 Round 1 knockouts/platinum medals again, though this time I had to win 2 face-offs to beat the Rabaroos at the end.
Summary: The biggest thing is seeing what Extreme Mode is like. For the most part, it's just that the enemies block more often, hit harder, & are overall harder to bring down. They aren't any smarter, though they're a bit more aggressive. But there's also a fair amount of additional enemies, including enemies from earlier stages.
Next Time: Again, either Probending, Extreme, gameplay experiments, or some combination thereof. I'm not quite out of things to talk about yet, but I'm getting there. I'm probably only doing 1-3 more updates, all on this page. Wish me luck trying to see everything before I move on to another game.
Miscellaneous: Somewhere along the line, my waterbending apparently gained the ability to go through multiple targets. Breath of Fire actually isn't that great. Air Scooter is okay, mostly useful for getting through levels quickly. I only have Firebending left to master.
Before I go into today's update, I should note that there are some things that you unlock through codes. I don't know why they did this, the game doesn't seem to have any hints, I suggest you just look them up.
Venue: Dining Room
Time: ~8:15 AM to 11:37
Extreme Stages: 4, Probending: Ace
Since I never know how long the main game is going to take, that's where I decided to start. I tried to make it a point to experiment with Bending styles & talismans. Having mastered it all, I still feel that the Bending is pretty balanced, with only a few minor complaints. Mostly that they each have a niche & so switching mid-combo doesn't blend very well. It pretty much works out as:
Earth: Heavy damage, guard breaking
Fire: Close-quarters combat with stubborn enemies too fast for Earthbending
All Bending Styles also seem to have Mecha Tank finishers. The talismans are still useful, though you'll want to remember to rotate them as needed. You can even swap them around in the middle of a level. A good combo for Extreme Mode is the talisman that prevents all staggers when your Chi is fully charged & the talisman that fills your Chi at all times. I had the counterattack talisman on for a boss fight or 2, but it didn't activate once as far as I could tell. Extreme Mode also reduces the number of lives you have in Naga Running to 1, so don't hit anything. After finishing such a long chapter, I turned to Pro-Bending to break things up.
Ace is the final difficulty mode here. Just as in Rookie & Captain, Probending Ace consists of 5 individual games, 3 of which I won in Round 1 knockouts. One thing I keep forgetting to mention is that you're shown an explanation of the rules at the start of each Pro-Bending league AND you can access them by pausing in-game. This is a great idea, & it's a shame the first level didn't take this strategy. I have finally noticed the increase in difficulty, losing twice at the 4th round & Vaatu knows how many times at the 5th. Fortunately, you can continue from the round you lose at. Since Probending is its own mode, the difficulty setting doesn't affect it.
Unfortunately, that's basically where the good news ends. The difficulty spike is abrupt & most of it feels cheap. Bolin & Mako hold their own pretty well, but in the end, they're still computers & they still don't really adjust to the situation, which became a HUGE problem in the final round. Not that having to control them all yourself would be any better. Another problem is that Counterattacks become pretty much necessary, but they leave you open to being blindsided by the other players' attacks, which the computer assumes IS a counterattack--meaning you're opening yourself up to be damaged heavily or even blown back a zone every time you try to counter. It also removes your lock-on & I'm not sure why you'd ever want to NOT be locked on in this game. I can't tell you how many times I got hit while fiddling with the lock-on system. It can also be hard to see what's going on with so many attacks flying everywhere, though that's arguably part of Probending. Out of curiosity, I decided to Google what happens if Korra gets knocked back--you lose instantly. Upon reflection, I think this is absolute bollocks, & there's no reason that they can't kick your controls over to Mako or Bolin.
Unfortunately, I think Probending is pretty hard to enjoy. It's a well-made minigame, but by the time it finally starts getting difficult, it mostly just feels cheap. I'm glad they didn't go the easy route & make Face-Off into a Rock, Paper, Scissors mechanic, but you have very few strategies available & they could have easily done more. Most of the buttons aren't doing anything in this minigame, why not use them for grapples? Frustrated with Pro-Bending, I made BLOODY SURE to clear it so that I wouldn't have to start Ace over. Whether or not I'll ever play it again is up in the air. For my trouble, a new talisman was unlocked in the shop.
Summary: If you're going to do Extreme, invest in Full Chi + No Stagger When Chi Is Charged talismans. Don't invest in the Counterattack talisman. I've cleared all of Probending mode, which unlocks a special talisman for you. Rookie & Captain are too easy, while Ace suddenly spikes the difficulty halfway through, but most of it is cheap. The "pro" in Pro-Bending is that it's (mostly) a faithful adaptation of the rules, which it kindly makes available to you, & would be really fun as multiplayer or with a greater variety of bots than "idiots" & "don't have to follow the rules."
Next Time: I'm going to try to make the next update my last & test out the remaining talismans. There will still be things that I haven't done, but I think I'll have covered everything of note. I thought about putting it on here since it will probably be short, but instead I think I'm going to make a final Part 11 & include a part tying everything together.
Miscellaneous: Fire Dash is the more useful Firebending skill & probably the 2nd, if not most useful dash, but it's not good for much besides evasion.