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Thread: Night in the Woods

  1. #26
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I finished it! Overall I thought it was excellent. I was particularly disturbed by how the game depicted Mae's psychotic break and subsequent depression. In fact, playing it late at night was kind of a mistake because it kept me up thinking about losing the ability to feel and the world being reduced to shapes and colours..

    The ending was maybe a little abrupt, but it got realer than I was anticipating while still remaining open to interpretation, a balance that stories like this don't always achieve. After reading the microfiche articles, I was half-convinced that Mae was suffering from gas poisoning, but in retrospect I think that that tidbit along with lots of the other tidbits you find if you search everywhere exist more to establish the inter-relatedness of the town and its inhabitants rather than give clues as to what actually happened. I was sort of expecting a kind of Murikami-esque ending where all of the clues that have accumulated throughout the story amount to mostly window dressing and red herrings, the way his novels build up such a sense of mystery but then don't know what to do with it. But Night in the Woods is clever in that its story is both metaphorical and literal, and it makes sense on both levels. Maybe that's giving it too much praise, but I did feel that the ending was satisfying and about as clear as it could be given the tone they were going for.

    The writing was some of the best I've seen in a game, and while the humour occasionally grated, tending toward a specific style no matter which character was talking, it was mostly hilarious and heartfelt, and I always felt invested in the world and its characters. It's a bit of a historical artifact in the way that it depicts the speech style of people my age when we were in our early 20s. So while Mae's immaturity could be annoying at times, it was always believable, as were the conversations with her friends. I played through Bea's story this time, and now I'd like to go back to see Gregg's. It sounds like you get to keep your journal, which is good, although I'm not looking forward to scouring the entire town every day again. It was fun the first time, but I wish I could've seen everything in one playthrough.

    Anyway, if I had made a list in 2017, like Sulphur I would've put this near the top. Now I'm moving on to Oxenfree, which some say is better, some worse, but right away I see that it was actual voice acting, and I dunno how I feel about that.

  2. #27
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I bounced right off Oxenfree. I can see why people might like it, but I found its tone grating.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I tried it for a couple minutes, and after Night in the Woods I found the voice acting jarring. I considered playing it with subtitles only, but I realize that with games like this it usually takes a while to get accustomed, so I'll probably give it a couple hours first. John Walker said it was superior to NITW, but I think I enjoyed NITW more than he did.

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: state of quantum entanglement
    I have spent a ridiculously large amount of time playing Night in the Woods, in both 2017 and 2018 (I blame the Weird Autumn edition). In fact, according to my Steam stats I have so far played it for almost 60 hours - the second largest number for my whole library, after Brutal Legend (almost 70 hours - not really surprising given that game too hasn't got fast travel and that even if it did, I spent quite a while simply driving around in the Druid Plow with the volume cranked up to as high as I could get it without the neighbours complaining) and in the same ballpark as Atom Zombie Smasher and Bastion. This is of course somewhat inaccurate because it doesn't take into account endless hours I have spent on certain non-Steam games such as T/T2 (which I am positive are high in the lead even considering them independently and without counting the time I spent on fan missions), SS/SS2, the first Deus Ex, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (which I replay with amazing regularity), or Super Meat Boy - but it is quite something, especially considering we are talking about a game that features an overall quite small world, is almost completely linear, and is more of a walking-around simulator than a full-fledged adventure game with complex puzzles. Why have I spent so much time on this game? I must say it is quite hard for me to say for sure but I would say this is because of two things.

    One, it really rewards you for exploring. An extra collectible for Mae to place in her room here, a couple of extra lines of witty dialogue there, another sketch in the diary - to me it has been more than enough to make me want to keep on searching for them. It also helps that that what you can find changes from game day to game day. Which reminds me - those of you who haven't seen the tram-tunnel section added by the Weird Autumn edition, go find it! It might be my favourite part of the game.

    Two, the game world might be small but it is far from being bland. All those characters you get to interact with, all the glimpses into their lives, all the places you can visit... Somewhat ironically, even though in-game Possum Springs is supposed to be a dying town the game world feels very much alive. And you know what else it feels like? Home. I have just realised it. I was going to only say that for all the decay, human sacrifice, Mae's condition and so on I perceive the overall tone of Night in the Woods as somewhat optimistic - but it is more than that. It feels familiar. Peaceful. Not sure if anyone else feels this way about it or if I am even making sense here - but that's what it feels like to me.

    Incidentally, the more I think about it the less convinced I am that the Great Old One in the mine is real. Okay, scratch that; what I really want to say is that it doesn't really matter if it is real or not. To me, it is really about the cultists believing that by throwing people in they prevented Possum Springs from dying. And that in the end, schizophrenic Mae and her outlook on life turn out saner than they are.

    As for Oxenfree, I like it. It is nowhere near as good as Night in the Woods and it definitely says something about the main characters that I have found them considerably less memorable than the submarine ghosts as a whole - but it really gets to me emotionally. In fact, I feel more sad for than scared by the aforementioned ghosts, especially since I heard Clarissa say in the final cave why they hadn't moved on... Plus I really love a) the pacing of the story as a whole, b) the small but significant differences between the first play-through and subsequent ones (like what happens if you sit on the chair - you know which one I mean), and c) the whole meta-game / large time loop / the only way to win is not to play at all thing. I've got no opinion about the voice acting, telling the truth this is something I pay very little attention to in video games.
    Last edited by Marecki; 18th Jan 2019 at 11:50. Reason: Bite my entire butt.

  5. #30
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I remember playing Lost Constellation right when it came out because it popped up when I visited Itch. I went in just thinking it was another Itch game, and on those grounds I was impressed that it was a cut above most Itch adventure games, with pretty graphics and whimsical writing... It reminded me of a Nifflas game on those grounds (with a slightly different tone).

    That said, it didn't really speak to me at the time. The story didn't really gel, and to me it boiled down to a game of mini-games, which is always a risk. But, probably largely, it has a tone that's speaking more in the voice of the generation after me than mine. I liked it enough to finish it and see where it was going, and there were individual scenes and dialogs I liked, but later NITW came out and was getting rave reviews, and I probably held off on it as long as I have from that experience with LC. I still eventually got it on sale and will get around to playing it.

    Reading other people's reviews and my own experience with LC, it's making me think about the idea of a game "speaking to people", since that's a common feature I'll read about NITW and the vibe I got from LC. I'm trying now to think of a game that really spoke to me to offer a contrast. What's coming to mind first are the interactive fictions that came around the early 2000s (Get a Grip, Edifice, Photopia), characters that are more stoic and taking things as they come without being nearly as opinionated or feeling the need to voice some dismissive or irreverent aside. There's a generational difference there, I don't doubt, but really at the root is my whole way of design thinking... I largely just trust a world & god-of-the-game that's agnostic to me and doesn't really care whether I'm there or not, and the systems just agnostically react to me, and the character to them, without editorializing what I or the world ought to be.

  6. #31
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    For what it's worth, I didn't really feel that Lost Constellation was much more than a nice aside for the main game, though it does resonate a little better after you've played NitW and have some familiarity with it. I don't think you're going to have a problem with finding the game's agnosticism towards the main character, but it is a story that has something to say about navigating the world whilst facing demons from within and without, which you may or may not take to. I think it's a universal enough tale, though I suppose the generational tilt could be an issue if you're looking for immediate relatability. I think the writing's strong and funny enough that it stands on its own regardless of millenial affectations, but that's just my opinion as someone who finds the term 'millenial' quizzical in the first place.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 21st Jan 2019 at 02:59.

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    At least this 43-year-old dude found Night in the Woods entirely relatable, for what it’s worth.

  8. #33
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I wrote that rather quickly and the wording is kind of weird, even for me! But I don't want to be the grouch that dismiss something that's obviously connected with a lot of people because the makers or characters aren't just like me either. Like I said I'll get to it at some point. I'm usually not one to presume anything about a game or show before I've seen it too, but you know, it's a slow work day and easy to type away. I'll give my official opinion after I've played it. But it's still true that LC didn't speak to me, and the game mechanics didn't do much for me, although I still liked it more than not all things considered. (I liked the cat.) But I'm willing to go into NITW fresh since I've read a few times now that they're rather different beasts.

  9. #34
    Member
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: state of quantum entanglement
    Do give it a try, demagogue. Lost Constellation is very different from NitW proper, and come to think of it I could see how playing the former first could discourage one from playing the latter (I've begun with NitW and only played LC once the Weird Autumn edition bundled it in).

    Moreover, I really wouldn't say NitW is aimed at millenials. It is to a large degree a game about adult fears and that is, regrettably, something very universal; indeed Mae's dad (quite possibly the most likeable character in the game, if you take a moment to think about his life story) says at one point something quite along these lines. Not to mention that it the older generation who have been sacrificing people in fear of Possum Springs dying if they do not.

  10. #35
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I also, as a 43 year old man found quite a lot of NitW that resonated

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I didn't care much for Lost Constellation, for what it's worth. It had clever moments, but it didn't make a lot of sense to me as a whole, and it was tedious.

    NITW has a similar style and structure, but it's more refined and aesthetically coherent. As a small example, the devs already created a pretty smooth movement system, but if you're going to be jumping and climbing all over town, it makes sense that you're a sly cat. When I'd leave my house each day, the first thing I'd do is hop around on the mailboxes and trash cans, which is fun, but it also in a subtle way helps to establish Mae's character. NITW is full of details like this.

  12. #37
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Good to know. I'll be 43 later this year so ... evidently I'll come around & it'll be the right time to play it then too.

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    For the record, I also liked Lost Constellation - I remember playing it around Christmas after it'd come out, and the tone and atmosphere just clicked. If those don't work for you, it's probably better to give it a miss. It has Mae's snarkiness, and in the main game she's called out for her attitude and her thoughtlessness, which is missing in LC. At the same time, as the plot progresses there's more there that isn't just snark, and I remember finding a scene late in the game absolutely pitch-perfect. Also, the title tune is one of my favourite pieces of music in everything NITW.

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