The new controls are, surprisingly, much better. The biggest improvement is that aiming mode no longer swaps look and move on the analog sticks. Jump and duck have been remapped to A and B so strafing no longer leads to accidental leaping and diving which can be annoying during battle, though it didn't happen to often to me.
I'd still like to be able to invert the strafe directions because, as I said, I use them more to adjust the camera than sidestep with my character. It feels like I go one way when strafing but another when looking with the manual aim which can be jarring at times.
It seems like two of the D-pad weapon shortcuts have been removed as left and right no longer jumped to the plasma shotgun and machine gun, respectively. Now those buttons just cycle through my weapons, like X and Y do. Down still got me to the tri-rocket launcher but I didn't check up as I was playing as Vela who hasn't picked up a sniper rifle and I forgot to remap the command to test it.
Sadly, the patch hasn't done much for the frame rate as I found out when I was barraging shielded drones with grenades. The slowdown is more disappointing than annoying as I managed to blast through a few levels without too many problems.
I find that I'm enjoying this a lot more than I anticipated I would, even before the patch. My goal was to just test it out as I wanted to start with something familiar on Monday night so that I wouldn't have to worry about rushing through something that was new to me. Now this has pretty much become the only main game that I'm playing at the moment. All I want to do when I'm free is continue with this and try to finally finish it after over 10 years.
Hopefully people won't be put off by the controls, especially anyone who never played it before. I do think that it requires a bit of patience to play, despite the update, but it's definitely worth it. Exploring each level is rewarding thanks to the Metroidvania structure of unlocking new areas with collected items and the accompanying music is fantastic.
I've now got all three Jet Force members to Mizar's Palace. Funnily enough, I got Lupus down to his last unit of health during his boss battle which I remember doing when I played this on the N64. I didn't know exactly how the health metre worked back then, but it was on the last unit of a ring and I was sure that it was his last ring given how tough the battle was. The boss hasn't let up over all these years and took a lot of firepower to bring down.
Floyd got his first chance to exercise his circuits in his mission on during Lupus' final level. I remember being amazed by the whole set of mini games that Floyd opens up once you rebuild him and take him to the correct pads. The music is still as delightful as ever but it was pretty tricky to control him as he flew around.
The game does feel a bit on the short side as I've managed to get this far in only a few days. though I have kind of raced through and I have played it before. I know that the Tribal quest and ship part search is to follow which does extend the game's length though that isn't the best way to keep things going. That part does remind me of the Triforce quest in Wind Waker but at least here you're using new abilities, like the jet packs, and taking characters to each other's levels so the gameplay is still fresh. Nonetheless, I'm eager to find as much as I can without resorting to a guide, which I did on the N64 but still didn't get everything for some reason. Hopefully it won't be long before I step onto Mizar's asteroid.
I completely forgot that there are still some whole areas that haven't been unlocked after Mizar's Palace. Things like a hidden underwater route actually lead to completely new areas, like Goldwood: Lodge, not just straggling Tribals, which is what I originally thought. This does make the Tribal hunt a little less repetitive as it increases the amount of new content during this part of the game. I even struggled to recall the Abandoned Space Station that Vela visits after the Lodge.
I gave the original N64 version a go to test its controls and, while I adjusted to them relatively quickly, I much prefer the new X1 method. It's not perfect but it feels more natural to look with the right stick and move with the left, even though I spent a lot of time with the N64 game. My old save file has clocked up 26:33 so it'll be interesting to see if I can beat the X1 version quicker than I didn't finish the N64 one.
I was most looking forward to playing JFG, but since I was waiting for the patch I decided to start Blast Corps first (another classic I missed) and I must say I've been really, really enjoying it! It looks really rough these days, but the gameplay still holds up extremely well.
Although I'm now doing the hard missions, and the Backlash ones are really putting me in a spin.
If anyone is up for going through all the missions of Perfect Dark 64 in co-op on Perfect Agent, let me know. I'd like to replay the game and this is the best way of doing so while contributing to my 201% completion target.
The game itself has two control schemes: normal and expert. Before you launch the game, Rare Replay has its own options menu for JFG which you can use to toggle the new controls. I don't know if this creates 3 or 4* configurations for JFG in Rare Replay.
*classic normal, classic expert, new normal and new expert
I remember reading the JFG manual when I was younger, as you do when your parents won't let you play until the weekend, and looking forward to getting the jetpacks as they sounded really cool. I knew that Lupus already had something that would let him hover so I was keen to at least unlock him just so that I could float around until I got the bigger ones. SS Anubis: Passageway reminded me of this as I used the jetpack to carry Juno between platforms. It's a really enjoyable level and I would have loved a sequel with more jetpack platforming and combat action. You can shoot while flying, but not aim, so there isn't much use in trying to attack drones like this but a control system like Splatoon's (with gyro aiming) could have made for some great airborne assaults.
The Tribal hunt has led me to some new areas but it can get annoying when I go back to a planet with the wrong character. Switching between members of the Jet Force team isn't too bad, though it would be nice if the menus were quicker, but getting them back to the right part of a level can take some time. I can see this being made worse if you need a specific character to find some Tribals so you have to make the switch, find the new ones and then go back to get all the others before finishing the level. So far I've only had to swap characters mid-level to find a ship part but I'm worried about ruining a Tribal run with the wrong character.
There was no Metroid game on the N64 but this comes very close to being one thanks to the way areas are unlocked by retreading old ground with new items and abilities. Somehow, I'm experiencing more slowdown in areas that I've already cleared though this may be because I'm more trigger happy and I'm making drones explode quite quickly now. I do wish that this had been completely remade with a new control scheme, maybe even engine, and much better performance. Nonetheless, it's still a very enjoyable space adventure and I'd recommend sticking with it, even if you find it fiddly at first.