Chasm is a metroidvania. There's no twist or attempt at innovation, and that's fine with me if the game just does a good job just doing the standard things well.
I think a lot of the criticism here will be deflected by "not my experience, you just suck" from people who played the game on normal or easy. I'm playing on hard and that exascerbates every issue with the game because punishment for something that isn't fair is bigger. The more perfection the game expects from the player, the more perfect the game itself should be. The little enjoyment I did get out of the combat was purely because of the difficulty – it feels good to beat a difficult boss even if every single move in its arsenal is complete horseshit.
So, the first issue for me was input latency. The game is a nightmare with Steam Input turned on, for some reason there's tons of lag when it's on. It's okay with it off, but it was annoying before I figured that out on accident, and SI on is the default, so most people will play with the unnecessary latency.
Second, the movement and combat moveset of your character suck. The character has a really awkward jump arc (worse than hollow knight's weirdness), the jump arc off a ledge grab is different than the normal jump for no reason (and even more awkward), the double jump doesn't always trigger at the right time, after you jump it takes way too long for the character to turn around, there's no satisfying way of moving faster than your normal running speed, the slide can move you in the wrong direction despite explicitly requiring a diagonal direction and ignoring just holding down, the jumps are usually pretty unsatisfying because they're poorly calculated, you don't carry momentum from any of your movement abilities after they finish, yada yada. Point is, it's kinda awkward and a little below the quality I'm used to in the genre.
The combat is where the game goes from "I wish this was better" to "why would anyone do this". See, the person responsible for the combat controls thought that the old castlevanias were the peak of fluid combat and decided that it's a good idea to implement all of the most frustrating tropes into this game without questioning a single element of the classics:
– You move pretty slowly
– You can't move while attacking
– You can't move for an hour after attacking
– You dodge backwards, but it's not far enough to avoid any attack on its own, so you have to make sure to only start moving away from the enemy after pressing the dodge
– You can't attack in most directions and most of the usable weapons have a small hitbox rather than a swing
– You can duck, but not low enough to avoid almost any high attacks
– The jump is barely high enough to get around many enemies
– Every movement ability requires you to stop for a moment, either before or after it's used
The enemy design is simple – make everything abuse the hell out of these already frustrating and huge limitations of your moveset.
– Enemies have attacks that move them forwards quickly farther than you can dodge away
– Enemies move around quickly and often unpredictably to hit you with contact damage during the time window where you're the one supposed to be dealing damage
– Enemy windup animations are short and don't convey what the attack is going to be, so any new enemy will almost always hit you the first time around
– Enemies are put in spaces where it's awkward and sometimes nearly impossible to avoid some of their attacks, you need to really cheese the AI to get around this a lot
– Dodging every attack requires changing your positioning before you even react to the move (lots of setup), but the animations are often somewhat ambiguous as to what attack they're actually performing. If you didn't plan the entire encounter ahead of time, you're very likely to be in a situation where damage is unavoidable.
– Later enemies have incredibly diverse movesets with moves for every range
Combine that with no renewable source of healing between sometimes pretty scarcely placed checkpoints, very obscure puzzles (I'm used to googling something maybe once throughout a metroidvania game, but this game's brand is "you just need to know you have to come back to a spot you've already been at because an event will trigger there"), slow saving (you have to go through 3 animations and menus for no reason) and slow backtracking, and you have yourself an exhausting time.
Of course, the core principles of metroidvania level design are still here and it's still pretty satisfying to return to places with more abilities and so on. Sadly it's all a playground for unsatisfying platforming and very frustrating, awkward combat with enemy designs punishing you for limitations of your character's movement more than your own lack of skill, whether it's by damaging you with cheap bullshit or by taking too much fiddling around to kill for the levels to flow well.
TL;DR – If you think fighting medusas was the best part of the Castlevania series, you'll have a blast. If you're normal, you're going to be at least somewhat annoyed by how much less fluid the game is than most modern metroidvanias and sidescrollers/platformers in general, especially during combat, where enemies constantly abuse how stiff your character is.
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