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Thread: What are you playing in 2021?

  1. #426
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    You know, most people here just ignore me when I make unsound arguments. I'll have to find some other angle to proselytize Outer Wilds.
    I hadn't really looked into the game before this back and worth. I have a bias against the publisher Annapurna since the bulk of their catalogue seems to be interactive movies and walking sims. I watched some gameplay footage and it's definitely on my radar now.

  2. #427
    Registered: Jun 2004
    I'm playing Fallout 4 and close to 10hrs in. It's finally clicking and getting fun, but..... am I doing something wrong, or is the difficulty curve all over the place???

    On two quests now (the Kellog one and the find the railroad), I would be doing fine, then hit an encounter that I have to reload like 10 times to get thru. Then the next one will be fine, then next one will be uber hard again.

    Like the synths in Kellog's base, I was doing fine until I got to one part where they would all swarm me at once (like 5+ of them) and there was nothing I could do to stop it. As soon as I attacked one, all of them would run straight at me from multiple angles, and they'd rip me up in like 4 seconds, barely even had time to use stimpacks.

    Also, fuck raider grenades. They can apparently throw a molotov across 200 feet and hit me right in the fucking face, which is a always an instant-kill.

    Tl;dr the game feels like it goes very "this is fine, this is fine, this is fine, I'm dead" every other encounter. Wtf am I doing wrong?

  3. #428
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Lotsa Metroidvanias last weekend.

    Alwa's Legacy, a sequel to Alwa's Awakening. Its selling point is that its movement upgrades are distinct from your standard dash/doublejump, and it has a system in which you gain further powers via collectables that can be reallocated freely. The difficulty was weird, as the game started hard and ended easy. Also, the game's story seemed to want to throw some kind of gut punch toward the end, only to back off at the last moment.

    Metroid: Dread, in which I'm stuck on a boss that I... dread returning to.

    Escape from Tethys, of middling quality. Its best feature is that half of its optional upgrades provide significant qualitative changes, in contrast to Metroid where the optional stuff is all plus health or plus ammo upgrades. (Heck, its big secret upgrade that requires three well-hidden keys is the Long Beam, a la the original Metroid.) Its boss fights were too easy, but the difficulty of exploration was pitched just right.

    The Messenger, which has superb controls and good (though maybe too easy) level design. I liked it enough to get the optional seals and the resultant upgrade. It reminds me of Timespinners in how little its story does with its central conceit. However, it has a breezy and self-referential tone to its writing that works in its favor. I particularly liked the shopkeeper's stories, which always carried passive-aggressive morals. I've also done most of its bonus content, but I'm stuck on a section that requires speed, in a game that previously emphasized precision.

    Astalon: Tears of the Earth, which I've only started. It's good so far, though. Nothing quite scratches that La Mulana itch I have, though.

    Aside from Metroidvanias, I've started playing the entire Deadly Rooms of Death series, which is tied with Hexcells Infinite for Best Puzzle Game Ever. (Yeah, Portal's great, but the two Portal games have maybe twenty hours of content between them. DROD has roughly infinity hours' worth.) It's a game in which you must clear rooms of monsters using the world's most awkward sword. The various monsters attack (or spawn) in set patterns, their interactions producing novel challenges. Its levels follow a "lynchpin" philosophy, designed to seem hard until you understand their gimmick, and easy afterwards. Also I briefly tried NaissancE, which is me versus evil grayscale architecture?

  4. #429
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I finished The Artful Escape yesterday. The things it does well - tone, style, aesthetics, music - it does well until the end, but it's definitely one of those games that by and large you play in spite of the gameplay. It's basically a coming-of-age story that's told sweetly and inventively in terms of style, but the story itself doesn't go anywhere particularly new. Halfway through, you can mostly anticipate the storybeats to come, even if they are all wrapped in prog rock visuals and therefore might not be immediately recognisable. The game is also very earnest about the story it's telling while having a lightness of touch when it comes to its characters, which works well.

    The gameplay, though, is little more than a means of getting from A to B. There's some ultra-simple platforming that, at its best, builds up a sense of momentum, but it can hardly be described as gameplay, because there's little to no challenge or creativity involved. Then there are Simon Says-style musical sequences, and they're laughably easy at first, then fiddly, because of the controller setup. You can repeat them ad infinitum, though and you'll always get through them sooner or later. These sequences have their function in structuring the story, but by the halfway point I definitely felt that I'd played enough Simon Says. I don't think The Artful Escape necessarily needed tougher challenges, but in terms of the story that's told, it would've been great at least for the musical mini-game to be less rote and allow for more creativity.

    The ending, while sweet enough in the game's own terms, did feel like something of an anticlimax to me. The story hints at more ambivalent elements, but these are never developed, so what we have is your basic story about a young man who feels the burden of living up to expectations that he doesn't want to live up to, and who goes on a fantastic journey to find the courage to be himself instead. Spell it out like that and it feels very trite. The Artful Escape has good enough storytelling chops to make its story feel like more than this synopsis while the game is going on, but in the end it didn't feel like there was all that much more to it after all.

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