Fundamentally yes, it will always be shooty jumpy, but what else could it be?
I really dont know why anyone thinks it needs to BE something other than this.
It'd be like firing up Contra, and expecting it to be this complicated festival of complexity like some sort of deranged trading card game. No. It's freaking Contra. You jump around, and you shoot the bad guys. Jump, dodge, shoot. Jump, dodge, shoot. Why in the hell would it NEED more than that? Hint, it doesnt.
This game doesnt really need it either. The challenge of the combat is all in learning enemy patterns, and figuring out what works best on different foes, or in different situations. There are ALOT of "shooty" attacks in the game, and that's pretty much as it should be. The nice thing is, there's ALSO alot of crazy "utility" spells and stuff like that to use that adds more than JUST the shooting elements. Wether or not you USE them..... is entirely up to you. I find myself using them alot, actually. If you're running around JUST using one spell, well.... that's just your way of playing it. Not everyone is gonna do that. And even among the many ranged spells, there's variety. Dont like the fireball spell? You dont have to use it! Find the ones that YOU like, and stick with them. There's no one strategy that's like the bestest thing ever that everyone has to use. You're free to come up with your own playstyle, and I think that's something the game does very, very well.
The difference between this game and Contra, however, is that Contra was designed from the ground up to provide an engaging combat experience. The levels are designed just so, and the enemies placed carefully in order to keep the player on his toes constantly. Plus, the different weapons and enemy types are purposefully implemented in a way that makes them feel integral to the game.
Compare that near-perfection of design to AVWW. With procedural generation, level design goes out the window. All levels look and play exactly the same. Same thing with enemy placement, and enemy design; 50389283 different espers do not a good game make. Even player weapon choice is absurdly two-dimensional... don't like fireball? Well, sure, you don't have to use it, you could always use lightning balls, or light balls, or earth beams... but wait. These are all exactly the same damn things. There's no choice in playstyle. There's choice in what you want your projectile to look like, sure, but combat is ALWAYS going to devolve into hitting tab and mashing your projectile spell of choice. There's no variety, strategy, or difficulty. (Turning up the difficulty so enemies deal more damage is not good difficulty, it's an easy way to make the game seem difficult.)
I mean, hell, even Metroid and Castlevania (probably the two largest inspirations) manage to make combat and exploration far more rewarding than anything in this game. Granted, it's largely because they're not procedurally generated and therefore more attention can be paid to level design, but they show quite clearly that "jump and shoot" can be engaging in a Metroidvania. AVWW just... isn't.
Even that though, is totally subjective. I mention Contra *only* as an example because it randomly popped into my mind. In all honestly I'm not a big Contra fan.
And as for the Metroidvania games... Now, I love the older Metroid games (NOT the Prime games), and the 2D Castlevanias. But what has ALWAYS bothered me about them is the combat. Why? Because it's RIDICULOUSLY EASY. Look at the original Metroid. Once you have a single Energy Tank and the Varia suit, you are basically invincible. The only two things in the entire game that remain a threat at this point are Kraid, and the actual Metroids, and that's *it*. The game is super easy. It does not scale with your power level whatsoever. This applies to the Castlevania games as well. I love Symphony of the Night, but there's absolutely zero challenge to it, for the exact same reasons. I dont think I've EVER come close to dying even once while playing that. Ever.
Also...... there isnt any weapon variety in THOSE games much more than this one. Metroid is ENTIRELY straight beam attacks and the extremely overpowered Screw Attack, and while Castlevania HAS subweapons, you dont NEED them for anything because the games (the Metroid-style ones anyway, not the original quartet) are hyper-easy. Just whip (or whatever basic attack the central character has) things over and over again, and you're good to go.
THIS game though is providing me with an honest challenge. Oh, it wont throw much challenge at tier 1, but it doesnt take long to get going. It is actually capable of causing me to lose, and THAT means I can actually pay attention to it because I'm not bored due to a lack of challenge.
Now I'll be the first to agree that the game spawns WAY TOO MANY FREAKING ESPERS. They need to work on that. But still, even those can be a danger in various situations. Those blasted ice espers for instance.... those guys REALLY DONT HELP when I'm trying to fight one of those awful crashed ships on some screwed up hill on the surface. But yes, it'll be nice when the game isnt quite as obsessed with spawning espers.
Beyond that though...... really, if you dont like the game, just dont play it. It's not gonna be for everyone. There isnt a game out there that IS for everyone. That happens. Or you can wait till a few updates happen, and more monster types are added and spells are added/rebalanced.
Anyway, Misery said: " I'm the explorer type, very much so..... playing something like Minecraft, I'll see some cave or other, and it's like "ooooooh a cave I gotta see what's in it""
I don't understand that at all. I mean, I'm not disrespecting your opinion. Seriously, it's cool that you enjoy that. But for whatever reason, I'm not engaged with the exploration in AVWW at all. I think I've been to all the different places and once you seen them once, that's about it. It's not really exciting to me at all. Maybe it's the fact it's 2D since I know that I find MineCraft to be far more interesting than Terraria <shrug>
I'm the type of guy that likes to just explore in Skyrim. It's something I do. Yet I have no desire to do so in AVWW.
I dont think there's any real way to make it make sense..... it's the sort of thing where, either it works for you from the start, or it doesnt.
Skyrim, for me, honestly wasnt all that great for exploration. Dont ask me why, it just wasnt. In all honesty I dont focus too well on that game (one reason being that there's waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much talky in it and I have the attention span of a.... a.... bah, I cant be bothered to finish that sentence). But for whatever reason, it didnt do it for me, for exploration.
Minecraft though.... I loooove Minecraft, and I can spend stupid amounts of time exploring even the Nether. It doesnt matter that *every* area is "red, fiery, has screaming ghasts". I'll still end up with the desire to see just what's over the next.... er.... lava lake, even if it's just more of the red and fiery with ghasts. It's hard to explain WHY. That whole game can do it to me though, and so can this one. It just "clicks" with me, I guess. I think it's not going to click with everyone. Just how it goes, I think.
I will say though, the cave areas specifically could do with some differences between each other. Buildings are fine..... for example "ruins" are usually filled with mazes, sheds/shacks often just one huge open room..... outdoor areas are also (mostly) fine, grasslands for instance are flat and very open, but often with acid lakes, while the forest areas are crazy and filled with floating islands, stuff like that. Caves though dont differentiate enough between time shards, though I hear they ARE working on that, so that's good.