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Thread: What are you playing in 2021?

  1. #276
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    I never finished D2 either. Got pretty close to the end, I think, and just burned out. As with D1, I really disliked how the game's overt morality system discourages you from using most of the weapons and abilities. It made me feel like stealth was less about avoiding danger, since it was a lot easier to kill enemies than to sneak around them, and more about protecting the enemies from me so I could get moral brownie points. Maybe it would have been better if I played on higher difficulty.

  2. #277
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    As with D1, I really disliked how the game's overt morality system discourages you from using most of the weapons and abilities. It made me feel like stealth was less about avoiding danger, since it was a lot easier to kill enemies than to sneak around them, and more about protecting the enemies from me so I could get moral brownie points.
    This is basically why I never got very far in D1 before dropping it.

    "Here have all these toys, just don't use them or we'll call you evil."

  3. #278
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    In D2 I played much more of an in-your-face non-lethal style than was ever possible in D1, so I appreciated that. But I, too, burned out, in my case from feeling the need to hunt down all the runes and whalebone thingies and stuff, while not really enjoying the exploration.

  4. #279
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    I played Tell Me Why, it was free on Pride month. Like Dontnod's other games Life Is Strange 1 and 2, this is very sincere and wholesome. It touches on LGBTQIA issues, mental health issues and indigenous people issues. I don't know, this is not for everyone, some will think this is too on-the-nose and might cringe a little at some points. It's also simply not as good as the Life is Strange games, the story isn't as captivating and it's a little too preachy sometimes. But personally I prefer sincere stuff like this to, for example, the nihilism of Rockstar's games. What spoke to me most was the theme about having unresolved issues with a person's behavior and not getting the answers, and the person's no longer with us so you won't get all the answers you seek and that keeps eating at you. Anyway, the voice acting's good, the writing is decent and it looks good in its own lo-fi way. Episode 1 is still free so couldn't hurt to check it out if you seek an interactive story that makes you a little more sensitive to minority issues.

    EDIT: oh yeah, I also played Telling Lies, a game from the maker of and similar to Her Story, but I really hated that I couldn't watch all the videos I wanted at my leisure because of a time limit. I had fun piecing the mystery together until I realized I was on the clock. I don't like the time limit mechanic in a game like this (after which you have to start all over from the beginning) and I hated it enough to stop playing.
    Last edited by Harvester; 28th Jul 2021 at 17:38.

  5. #280
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    What strikes me is how great the contrast is to the original, which completely absorbed me start to finish... Like I think I was already replaying some levels before I'd even finished it, which is a rare thing by itself. The levels were just a lot of fun to plan out, which is what I didn't feel with 2. I might even be hard pressed to think of a game that's absorbed me like DH1 since then ... the first half of Prey maybe?

    I played both Dishonored 1 and Prey and enjoyed those a lot. I think Prey did a much better job of making me find myself in the space. The whole design was just a bit clearer and it communicated the layout early (like first time you get to the lobby, you quickly see what is where, and the different wings make logical sense). With D2, you're presented with a huge-ass building(s) without any clear layout or even entrances, you have no idea what to expect inside, and every room looks kind of same-y.

    I think Prey also did a better job contrasting enemies. The black mimics just stood out from everything else, and getting close to one would always make an audible sound. With D2, a lot of the guards just blend into the background at a distance. I feel like I need to constantly squint and stare for a few seconds to make out the guards. And it doesn't help the game mixes non-violent NPCs which don't stand out enough, so I'm never entirely sure if the new person I'm approaching is an enemy or not...


    Quote Originally Posted by Thirith View Post
    BTW, Yakoob, if I'm not mistaken Hypatia doesn't have a literal sister. It's the two sides of the character, and one refers to the other as her sister in the phonograph you're talking about, as part of the whole Jekyll/Hyde thing.

    Aaah, that makes sense. That would be a cool twist... if it actually worked. Maybe I'm just obtuse or missed some important plot items, but all of this felt like it came out of nowhere, and went from 0 to 100 in like 3 minutes.

    So I'm going to the whole place to... I'm not entirely sure why, but I guess Hypatia is the evil mad psychologist lady (at least the intro made it sound like Emily didn't like her). But then you meet her and she's sweet and crazy, a victim more than anything. But then literally in the next room you find an audio recording from her "sister" and suddenly I get objective to kill the Crown Killer and she has the objective marker on her. I seriously had no idea what the fuck just happened, and I felt like the plot jumped 3 twists in the past minute alone.

  6. #281
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    You go there because you're trailing the Crown Killer and looking for Sokolov, who was last seen being taken there. In the mission you deal with the Crown Killer and find out where Sokolov is (which is the objective of the next/best mission).

  7. #282
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I have to say that I never had the problems you mentioned with respect to the locations, Yakoob. I found the environmental design to be exceptional - these are places that felt real to me, yet I also felt that they were learnable. One thing I had to unlearn very quickly, mind you, was a ground-focused mindset: whenever possible, I'd get to higher ground, awnings and the like while outside, furniture and lamps while inside. This would allow me to get close to people without risking being detected. I ended up playing both Dishonored games much more vertically, so to speak, than Thief, for instance, and it completely changed these games for me.

    I also thought that the Crown Killer/Hypatia was signaled quite clearly, but it may well be that depending on what sequence you find the clues in, you either get it pretty much immediately - or not at all. Or perhaps there are one or two documents that you didn't find which clarified the situation for me.

  8. #283
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Anyway, Dishonoured 2 sucks -- we all agree -- but recently I had a hankering for some Gears of War. I haven't played it in years, my XBox 360 is at my parents' house, and the only way to play it seems to be the Ultimate Edition, which serendipitously was on sale for half price. The Microsoft store is a piece of garbage, it took forever to get my controller working, and on a couple occasions the game got stuck at the intro "Contacting Gears of War Services", whatever the hell that is, but I've now managed to play through most of it, and... it's so damn good.

    I remember it feeling weighty and chunky and satisfying, and it still absolutely is. I remember the locations being beautiful and interesting, and they are. And I remember folks here complaining about Cliff Bleszinski infusing the game with too much bro-ness, and they're still wrong about that. The dialogue is hilarious and well-voiced, and the story simmers without ever getting in the way. It also has a kind of mystery to it in the way that it hints a deeper backstory than it outright tells you. It reminds me a bit of the way From Software games tell stories.

    The Ultimate Edition version is basically as I remember the original although I think the low-res version had a few graphical touches that, while designed around limited GPU power, were actually aesthetically superior. But that's a nitpick. And the game's only like eight hours long; perfect. In fact, Gears comes pretty close to being a perfect game. But next time I'll drag out and hook up the ol' 360 for the authentic experience.

  9. #284
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    I've spent most of this year replaying BL1 + 2 (and just enough of TPS to realize it sucks). I took all 4 characters in 1 to the level cap, Maya in 2 to the cap, and Zer0 to level 50-something in UVHM. Of the two, I think BL1 is my favorite because I like the subtler humor and the wasteland/mad max vibe, plus I think the second playthrough is less annoying because a.) you can stay on level for the main quests without doing much if any side stuff b.) gear levels are less important than they are in 2 so you aren't getting your ass kicked constantly if you get unlucky finding new gear (not an issue on NVHM in BL2, but by level 30 or so the level scaling is so bad that it's usually better to have a white rarity item that's your level than a legendary or purple or unique item that's one or two levels below your level c.) the in-your-face humor in BL2 is funny if you haven't played it before or in awhile, but is grating when you're just trying to quest and find cool shit (BL1 was smart in the way it didn't let the story get in the way of that).

    Both games have shitty end-game content, for different reasons. BL1's difficulty is a joke because until you beat the main bosses of the main storyline and knoxx dlc in the second playthrough, nothing scales to your level and it's super easy to be way over-levelled for the entirety of your journey from level 0 to 69. It's also impossible (without save editing, which is risky) to reset the campaign to do a third or fourth playthrough with the world scaled, which would be nice once you hit the level cap because you could get higher-level quest rewards (you can grind respawnable stuff which is the only real endgame). BL2 is mostly fun through playthrough 2, even with the exponential damage scaling starting to get out of hand, but the third playthrough absolutely requires that you slag all but the weakest of enemies and most of the characters don't have a skill that accomplishes that, so the most common strategies end up involving complete cheese (like getting a slag gun from a dlc quest and never turning it in). With Maya, I had fun throughout the entire game because her skill is still useful (and actually, even more useful) at the endgame as it's bith powerful and can slag a crowd of enemies. With Zer0 I went back to the first playthrough and over-level cheesed through the Tina DLC to get a specific piece of gear (magic missile grenade) so I could slag shit, then I sat back and hoped the homing grenades hit the thing I wanted to kill or I'd have to toss more out, then eventually sit for awhile to let the grenades auto-regenerate. After doing that for a few levels and wanting to kill myself, I said fuck that and uninstalled it.

    Now I'm finally playing Outer Worlds, what with it being delayed by a year on Steam and all that. I'm enjoying it immensely through what I assume is most of the first planet.

  10. #285
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    I continued my journey through the Assassin's Creed franchise with Unity, and after an hour or so I was already in love with it. I think the world the devs created here is amazing. It's not just the clothes, the architecture, the detailed building interiors that are impressive, but the extremely varied NPC animations and interactions give this a very lifelike feeling. Walking the streets of Paris and Versailles is just so immersive and believable. I loved it. I played the game with French dub for extra immersion which made the atmosphere even better. I don't speak French though, so I don't know how good the dub is, but it made the game feel more authentic. Last time I could play an AC game with native dub was with AC2 and Brotherhood in Italian.

    So, great immersion and all, but what about the gameplay? IMO this is Unity's strong point. Compared to previous games we have the parkour up and down function which adds much needed control to movement. Now we can also crouch on demand, which was sorely needed. There also a cover system now, which aids stealth nicely - unfortunately it's the glitchiest thing ever. It's nice though, when you don't get stuck face first in a wall. These and some other fine tuning of the controls made movement much better than in previous games, but it still has the occasionaly jank, like when you press forward+high profile+jump and Arno jumps 90 degrees to the left. This is one of the main things Origins was better at. Climbing might be way too easy in there, but the parkour is much more reliable.

    But at least the moving around in Unity looks good, and by good, I mean damn amazing. The character animations are stunningly good, with lots of variations, almost all of which looks believable and humanlike. It's just a joy to just parkour around the rooftops of Paris. The assassination animations are great too, and swordfighting too is a joy to look at too, though the many fancy animations make the combat a bit too slow paced. It is still better than in the previous games, and also harder, which was a welcome change, but in the end the optimal play is the same as in Black Flag: 1. throw smoke bomb 2. kill 2-3 enemies as fast as possible 3. repeat until victory. Apart from that now we also have the option to do non lethal take downs, but the animation is longer and it's louder than assassination, so I don't understand what's the point of it. Looks cool though.

    At the core, the gameplay is the same as in the previous titles (minus the ship stuff, thankfully), though since the combat is harder, there is more emphasis on stealth, which is a welcome change. This is still not a good stealth game, and often the situations devolve into combat, but still an improvement. There some wicked fun in killing a target, running away, turning a corner and blending in the crowd. The mission design is also much better. There are often multiple ways to kill a target, and there are side objectives to make infiltration, or the kill itself, easier. Apart from that, there are lots of other missions to do, and the generally great gameplay make even random side quests fun too.

    The weak point of the game, I think, is the story. It had potential though, the revolution could have been an interesting backdrop, and the whole Romeo and Juliet idea had potential, but nothing interesting came of it. The whole story was dull, and Arno was largely a forgettable character. The depiction of the revolution was weird too, as it did little to give context to the events, and the whole thing had a sort of counter-revolutionary vibe. Because of these, this game works less as edutainment than previous titles IMO. I found an interesting youtube video, analysing these aspects of the story and generally the historical accuracy of the game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r47yZIYBUzc.

    But even with all these shortcomings, the game was very memorable and fun. The gameplay, and the world are so good, they carry the experience. Definitely a high point in the series IMO.
    Last edited by Malleus; 29th Jul 2021 at 16:46.

  11. #286
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakoob View Post
    I never know where the guards are and what their patrols route are (no minimap, no echolocation, no nothing).
    It's been a while since I played the game, but isn't there an ability that lets you see through walls?

  12. #287
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    Quote Originally Posted by Malleus View Post
    It's been a while since I played the game, but isn't there an ability that lets you see through walls?
    https://dishonored.fandom.com/wiki/D...n#Dishonored_2

  13. #288
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Yup, I just got the Dark Vision ability + the "see items" upgrade and it makes the game infinitely more playable. I can actually walk into a cluttered room and see what the pickups are (except keys, keys are still nearly impossible to spot in some cases). Except now I'm basically constantly spamming this ability every 30 seconds.

    In any case, I played next two missions and I'm finally starting to get in the groove and enjoy the game. I was a bit underwhelmed by the Clockwork Mansion given how much crazy hype I heard (it felt like a super cool idea that lasted about two rooms before going back to regular sneaking thru a base full of guards. I almost thought I did something wrong when I ran into and killed Jindosh like 10 minutes after his introduction), but the Conservatory was the first level I truly enjoyed. The space actually felt like a logical space so I had a much easier time orienting myself in, and it was fun jumping around between the levels.

    Also, watching the guards have little conversations, chill on a bed or have little tea-party dates is definitely the high point of the game. Probably the best humanization of "average grunt" I've seen in a game.
    Last edited by Yakoob; 30th Jul 2021 at 05:02.

  14. #289
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    I have mixed feelings about Dark Vision. On the one hand it's kinda indispensable, but on the other it's so indispensable that I just end up running through the game with it on and it takes a lot of the challenge out of the sneaking aspect, turns the pretty environments into dull monochrome, and the whispering gets a bit old too. I guess not exercising restraint is my own fault though.

  15. #290
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    I've done full stealth/non-lethal playthroughs without powers (i.e. blink and dark vision) and it isn't bad. Actually, I think I've done almost every playstyle imaginable (including no-crouching-full-agression/non-lethal, which is nuts) and enjoyed all of them.

  16. #291
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    (including no-crouching-full-agression/non-lethal, which is nuts)
    Also known as "stop shooting the person I'm choking" mode.

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