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Thread: NOW what are you playing?

  1. #12651
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Landahn
    Well what!?! Don't leave us hanging like that!!!!

  2. #12652
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Let's put it like that: I'll get an opportunity to replay all those screens again and possibly die a bit less in the process. Yay.

  3. #12653
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Just finished Subnautica, aka the most engaging, most terrifying, most fun survival game of them all. Highly recommended even if you're not usually too keen on survival games - the survival aspect is fairly forgiving, and the main draw is the excellent sci-fi story and setting. Just be prepared for bowel-loosening terror if you're even a little uncomfortable with deep water.

    Now moving onto Doom (2016), which is great so far - just fun, fast, challenging combat encounters without much of anything else slowing it down.

  4. #12654
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Quote Originally Posted by Thirith View Post
    Let's put it like that: I'll get an opportunity to replay all those screens again and possibly die a bit less in the process. Yay.
    Ah, but everyone is dying a little more with each passing minute, so in the end that's a net gain towards entropy, no?

    Aside: I finished Unavowed a while ago. It's a lovely throwback adventure game, it's smart, streamlined and obviously had a lot of love poured into its creation.

    It's good. I wasn't thrilled by it for the most part.

    The things it does well relate to removing the interface noise from oldschool adventure gaming. Multiple verbs and mouse button usage, inventory juggling, pixel hunting - all dealt with by streamlining the fuck out of it. Mousing over something gives you a brief description of it. Clicking on something or someone uses it or talks to them. Your inventory appears when you flit your cursor onto the upper bit of the screen, and no part of the game has hotspots in that area. Use an item in your inventory by clicking on it, then clicking on the thing you want to use it with. People in your... party are represented by an icon in your inventory, and you can use them the same as inventory objects. It's smart, clever, and zero fuss.

    This streamlined nature expands to the rest of the design. The game's neatly portioned off into missions that take place in a self-contained space with the party you've assembled, and everything you need to finish a mission is available within that space. There's no need to traipse through multiple locations across the game and amass a stupidly large persistent inventory of things in the opening that you forget about, then need in some random late-game screen hours later, because no one actually likes that shit. There's no rubber chicken moon logic stupidity for the most part: a little bit of attention and a little bit of thought go a long way towards wrapping up most cases with ease. Important objects are either foregrounded or stand out ever so slightly so you're primed to notice them. Your party is also a built-in hint system. And I suspect the episodic narrative stems from exactly this thought process of streamlining and making things accessible, because Unavowed is a game that recognises some perennial adventure game trappings are bullshit, and disposes of them by being smart about its story and general construction.

    And there's the late-game twist which brought a smile to my face. It was something I've been contemplating doing in some IF in a far more confrontational manner, but seeing the organic way with which it was delivered was a pretty great moment.

    Unfortunately, this eager to please mentality is also why it's not so grand. There's something about the Blackwell games (the two I've played) and this one that boils down to a feeling, but it's persistent, and it never goes away: for all the love of NYC and noir-soaked retropixel adventuring they have, Gilbert's games reduce to a sort of... sanitised incompleteness. Like they're always two steps shy of greatness: there's always something missing. With Unavowed, it's easy to point out: the 'companions' have just enough character to exist within their pulpy archetypes - the conflicted Vulcan, the irascible hothead, the distant mentor, the... er, indolent regretter, and one or two bust out of those roles given the opportunity, but more often than not they settle into a sort of entertaining blandness (however, I'd be remiss in not mentioning that the best character in the game is one whom you nominally can't interact with in the usual ways).

    This extends to all the characters: the antagonists have just enough justification to make you conflicted about the choices you make, but the follow-through isn't deep enough to stick, and neither are the antagonists' (and the main villain's) motivations. No one really does anything you can't see from a mile off (except, again, for that twist), and if you play as a miming goody two-shoes - my default tack - then your good intentions generally pay you back in the end with kindness. The ending does attempt to illustrate that your ostensibly good actions had consequences, but it's nothing that actually affects the core dynamic of your group during the game, unlike some of the Bioware RPGs this was influenced by.

    Which is a problem, that's not how the world or people or even fairy tales work: there's not always a moral economy of kindness repaid with kindness or vice-versa. Unavowed, though, has a safety net at play that ensures you always have the group come through in the end, and I suspect this is also where that desire for accessibility, ease of play, and episodic structure ended up sanding away the rough edges. As a consequence, it's lacking in punch, and it's lacking in depth. I was never not entertained, but I almost always found myself wishing it took more risks or tried to make its characters truly memorable. But that's just me.

    If what you're looking for is a tightly designed piece of entertainment that cleverly streamlines retro adventure gaming into something actually pleasurable -- well, Jesus, Unavowed is exactly that. Just don't look for anything more.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 8th Jan 2019 at 05:11.

  5. #12655
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I'm with you on Unavowed. I enjoyed it, but I was somewhat non-plussed by some of the superlative praise it garnered. I liked the twist and the ways in which it was meta without being Meta(tm), but I found the big moral choices to be mostly samey and no more interesting than those in one of the more generic Bioware games. All in all, I liked the game a lot, but I never came particularly close to loving it.

  6. #12656
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Yeah, it's not the second coming of the adventure game, if that's what people were calling it. And I find that there's nothing to really dislike or any interesting flaws in the companions, which means the interplay between them and you and the choices being made deflate into this general aura of unremarkability. For a game that depicts violence in so many ways, its heroes are inoffensively bland - not that that's a bad thing, but it feeds into that sense of incompleteness I mentioned.

  7. #12657
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I also agree with you on Unavowed. Now, I loved the Blackwell series, even though it has some serious flaws, but I have played through the whole series twice. I was really looking forward to Unavowed, and I did enjoy it, but have no desire to play it again ever. I think the Blackwell games episodic nature developed the characters more, and just something about them, the atmosphere maybe, its hard to put my finger on, but those games have stayed with me in a way Unavowed didnt.
    Oh and Sulphur, that character you mentioned, I'm assuming the ghost girl, is actually from the last episode of Blackwell, and it hit me a little hard when she was introduced in Unavowed, as her story was incredibly tragic. Also the ending of the Blackwell series has a major twist, and is very poignant. When I first finished I just sat there for about 10 minutes, having feels.

  8. #12658
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Since they brought up the Bioware comparison in most of the Unavowed reviews I read: it's a nice enough starting point, but next time round I hope they move more towards Obsidian in terms of their characters and writing. More proper grey areas, more "damned if you, damned if you don't".

    Which makes me think that someone should try their hand at making a game that has the sensibilities of a David Simon TV series. Not sure if the medium would support that kind of storytelling, but I'd like to see them try.

  9. #12659
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Landahn
    Quote Originally Posted by Thirith View Post
    Which makes me think that someone should try their hand at making a game that has the sensibilities of a David Simon TV series. Not sure if the medium would support that kind of storytelling, but I'd like to see them try.
    The conversation trees should be quite simple, at least.

    1: Fuck.
    2: Fuck.
    3: Fuck.
    4: Fuck.

  10. #12660
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    ^ I'd play anything that riffs off of one of the best scenes from The Wire's first season.

    @PigLick: I did mean her indeed. I didn't know there was a link between the series, and now that makes me want to take Blackwell off the back-burner, so I'm going to give the last few entries a spin in due course.

  11. #12661
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by N'Al View Post
    The conversation trees should be quite simple, at least.

    1: Fuck.
    2: Fuck.
    3: ... fuck.
    4: Fuck.
    Fixed that for you.

  12. #12662
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    "This is my surprised face."



    Beat the Invisible Inc. extended DLC campaign on Expert Plus difficulty! Not easy. Well, really tough to get started, not too bad once you've got a nice crew assembled. The last mission ended up being pretty epic, a whole pile of guards descending on Monst3r, I had to make a bunch of noise to lure them off to a corner with Derek (who then teleported away) so Monst3r could get from objective 1 to objective 2.

    I found "Endless" mode boring, so hopefully I can finally put this particular addiction to rest.

  13. #12663
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    The second game by contrast is a LOT better to play; sure, playing it immediately after finishing the first one, so knowing how combat works, helps with this. But controls feel snappier, the instakill QTEs have been completely excised, and the level design and camera are just downright better. It feels slightly more like it's pandering to the male gaze, rather than the first game's knowing wink to the player, but overall it's just easier to like.

    I think it loses some of the first game's burlesque and rebellious attitude, which makes the story a bit blander, but I'll take that over the sadomasochistic difficulty.
    Okay, having finished Bayonetta 2, I can safely say that if you own a Switch and like Platinum games, you owe it to yourself to get this one. It's excellent.
    Story? Schmory.
    It's all about the fighting, and boy have they nailed it. Still not quite sure it replaces Metal Gear Rising as my favourite spectacle fighter / Platinum game, but it's pretty damn close.
    Now if only Platinum could rescue Viewtiful Joe from the clutches of Capcom. That'd be perfect for Switch.

  14. #12664
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I know I'm about a page late to the Far Cry 2 discussion but I just stumbled across a pile of QUALITY TENT* that I had to share.

    First, the FC2 mobile port I never knew existed. I remember all phone games from this era being more or less unplayable messes(except Snake, natch), but this looks surprisingly feature-rich.



    Second, FC2-designer Clint Hocking's interviews on the Designer Notes podcast.

    Part 1 - About his early days, it gets good at around 1:20 when they get to his first job at Ubisoft, working on Splinter Cell. I thought the most interesting part was when he describes a divide in the development team where "half of the team wanted to make a MGS-killer, the other half wanted to make the next Thief".

    Part 2 - Covers SC:Chaos Theory, SC:Pandora Tomorrow, and Far Cry 2. I haven't listened to this part yet.

    *content

  15. #12665
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Thanks for the links! Sounds good, and similar in terms of the ground covered to Steve Gaynor's Tone Control, where he also talked to Clint Hocking. In general, there's a lot of very good material in those Tone Control episodes; it's a shame that Gaynor brought it to an end.

  16. #12666
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ooooh yes, now that you mention it I'm pretty sure I've listened to the Tone Control episode as well.

  17. #12667
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    Okay, having finished Bayonetta 2, I can safely say that if you own a Switch and like Platinum games, you owe it to yourself to get this one. It's excellent.
    Story? Schmory.
    It's all about the fighting, and boy have they nailed it. Still not quite sure it replaces Metal Gear Rising as my favourite spectacle fighter / Platinum game, but it's pretty damn close.
    Now if only Platinum could rescue Viewtiful Joe from the clutches of Capcom. That'd be perfect for Switch.
    Really? Metal Gear Rising and not Devil May Cry 3?


  18. #12668
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I've never played DMC3. And I wasn't commenting on what's the best spectacle fighter as agreed by everyone. Merely stating my preference given the ones I've played.

  19. #12669
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I do believe Tony was making a joke

  20. #12670
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    I do believe Tony was making a joke
    Yes.

    But I also do seriously believe that DMC 3 is the best spectacle fighter game to date. To no small extent it ushered in the whole "over the top cool" genre that led to titles like Metal Gear Rising existing.

    At least until DMC 5 releases in two months. That one looks to be the best entry in the series to date.

  21. #12671
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I have to say that although I like Red Dead Redemption 2 a lot, it was something of a mistake to start replaying Hollow Knight in parallel. The latter is better at providing short-term goals and challenges, so if I just have half an hour or so to play on the PS4 I'm currently spending this exploring Hallownest. Yesterday I made it from Crystal Peak to the Resting Grounds, where I promptly overlooked the Stag Station, didn't save and lost all my accumulated Geo. It was just ~700, so that's not the problem, but the short bit from Crystal Peak to the Resting Grounds is pretty frustrating thanks to those evil, evil fuckers, the Crystal Hunters.

  22. #12672
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    At least until DMC 5 releases in two months. That one looks to be the best entry in the series to date.
    Looks insane.



    That's a goth crew I can get behind.

  23. #12673
    Quote Originally Posted by SubJeff View Post
    Looks insane.



    That's a goth crew I can get behind.
    Look up Nero's battle theme from the new game. That piece hit #1 on the UK Rock charts.


  24. #12674
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Yesterday finally gave Phantasy Star IV a proper try. I've seen the starting bit a few times, but never really sat down and played it properly. The first game on the Sega Master System is an absolute masterpiece, with a great difficulty curve + the 3D dungeons. It wasn't until the early 2000s (I think) when I played the second game, which is ok. It's not terrible, but it's really average. Difficulty is fine. Played that to the end, and will never play it again. Third is just bad. Can't stand it.

    PSIV looks nice, but the overworld is just a maze, and has some pretty massive difficulty jumps. At the start everything was quite easy, and you proceed fine for a while. But then I got to this dungeon where I had to recover some medicine, and the difficulty was just stupid. Like you'd go into the dungeon and very soon after need to scale out of there quick, due to a dead (or in PSIV's terminology "DYIN") party member. This happened quite often, but in the end I got through it, but it was just a slog.



    I'm sure it's nostalgia completely biasing me against all other games in the series, but they were never able to match that lightning in a bottle that the first game has. Story seems good, and at least the environment based battle backgrounds (present in the first game, and not in the 2nd game) are back and look excellent. Combat visually looks and plays super similar to the second game, and they definitely re-used some enemy sprites from the 2nd game + brought back some of the enemies from the first one. Being able to setup battle macros is quite handy. Not seen that in a JRPG before. I'm still quite early in the game so can't give it a full judgement. Game could REALLY use a mini-map or even just a big map you could look to from the menu. All the games could have really. Just much easier to get lost in this one so far.

    Must play some more, to get a better feel for it. Likely need to grind, as that was essential in the first and second games. Just like the other games, you gain spells on leveling up, with no way of seeing a description of what they do. That's annoying. Atleast in the first game they'd have descriptive names which made working out what they did easy like "Heal, Raise, Wind" etc. In this one it's stuff like "Res, Zan" etc. Now when you buy gear you see the stat change it will do on equipping it. That's a great change that was missing from the others. And you see exactly who can use what before you buy it. Again great change. Much less guess work / save state needing.

  25. #12675
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Oof, I've put about 100hrs into Hitman in the H2 client. It's addictive as all hell. Classics are all done. If you'd told me beforehand that a game existed that would make me want to put that much time into 8 levels, I'd have told you you're crazy.
    Last edited by froghawk; 19th Jan 2019 at 20:08.

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