Author Topic: Finished playing...  (Read 99463 times)

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #555 on: December 22, 2016, 03:37:31 AM »
Batman: The Telltale Series

Someone might reasonable argue that this isn't a game, but interactive storytelling. As you go through the game, you're offered a series of choices. The consequences of those choices affects what happens later in the game (e.g., if you're seen shaking hands with Carmine Falcone, that will make Gotham think less of you). There's combat, but no tactics: it's all in the form of QTEs, so combat plays out like a game of Simon Says.

With all that said, I enjoyed Batman:TTS. If the story is everything, at least they chose to tell an interesting story. It's set in Batman's early years, when Harvey Dent was still Bruce Wayne's good friend, and Batman meets Catwoman for the first time. A group called "the Children of Arkham" is terrorizing Gotham City, and it's up to Batman to try to stop them. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne learns some uncomfortable realities about his parents and the source of the fortune they left him. 

The game spends a bit more time with Bruce Wayne than as Batman, and in some crucial encounters you can choose to participate as either one. It adds a dimension to the story that's not found in the Arkham series. On the other hand, there's no "open world" or detective puzzles to solve; your crime-scene detection is limited to linking various objects in static environments.

If I'm going to mention the Arkham games, I have to add that Catwoman is the same hyper-sexualized creature in both series. It's a shame, because she is more fully realized in Batman:TTS and this would have been a chance to show her in the same manner as the other female characters in the game (Vicki Vale, Officer Montoya). However, this is Bruce Wayne's story, not Selina Kyle's, and the game is clearly targeted at a male audience. It would have nice to have Batman be more acceptable to a female audience.

At its current price of $25, gamers may feel that the the series is too expensive for 5-6 hours of gameplay (about 60 minutes per episode). If you look at this as a choose-your-own-adventure story, then I think the price is reasonable compared to same amount of time spent in a movie theater. Certainly the story is better than a couple of the Batman movies I've seen.

The game has some replayability, to see what the results were of making different story choices. I've played it through twice, once as "good and noble" Batman, and once as "make every bad choice possible" Batman. I'll probably play it through one more time, to create a game save suitable for any follow-up Telltale seasons of Batman.
Bill Seligman
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Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #556 on: December 24, 2016, 04:56:42 PM »
Pony Island.

Well, that was a trip.  Reminded me a little bit of the old Mac game "3 in 3".

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #557 on: March 13, 2017, 08:15:35 PM »
Lara Craft Go and Deus Ex Go.  These are puzzle games made for touch screen devices, presumably by the same studio.  Both are turn-based, and artistically reflect the theme of the game they are based on.  Some of the mechanical elements are the shared between the games, such as enemies who can be taken out from behind or the side, but will kill you if you step in front of them.  I never got stuck for too long on a puzzle, but plenty of them made me think for a while.  I thought Lara Croft Go was prettier, while Deus Ex Go told more of a story.

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #558 on: March 20, 2017, 10:14:43 AM »
Horizon: Zero Dawn

This is one where you play a savage hunter going after mechanical dinosaurs.

I'll start with what makes this game unique: the encounter mechanics. In H:ZD, you can't go toe-to-toe with a foe unless you're at least 10-15 levels above them, and often not even them. To deal with a given beast, you have scan them to learn their weaknesses (e.g., they have a canister that will explode if hit with fire), and come up with strategies for defeating them. The game does not force you into a particular strategy, it just provides you with a variety of tools, each with ammo of various elemental types (fire, shock, etc.): bows, tripwires, traps, and slings; there's even some machine-gun-like weapon that I never used. You typically sneak around, plant your obstacles, lure a mob to you, do some damage... then run away before it can attack you, wait until it's forgotten you're there, then head back to do more damage.

If you all you want to do is blast away at enemies, this is definitely not the game for you. If you like to play a game that rewards patience and strategy, it's a game to consider. For me, a player who has no twitch reflexes, it was a lot of fun.

This is an open-world game. After some initial tutorial quests, you can go pretty much anywhere you want, though the further you go from the starting areas the tougher the mobs get. There are the usual loads of side quests; I went on every one I found to out-level the main story content. There are also many types of collectables; my favorite was the Vantage, which gave you an overlay of the original high-tech landscape before the fall of civilization.

The graphics: This is a beautiful game on the PS4 (I don't think it's available on other platforms). The landscapes are lush, the details on the characters and the creatures are amazing. More than once I was befuddled by a shadow crossing the sky, then realize it wasn't one of the flying creatures, but the sun rising. The one drag on this realism are the cut-scenes, which occasionally demonstrate some graphics glitches.

The story: You play Aloy, who (after a bit of a tutorial) starts out as a 19-year-old outcast from the Nora tribe. As you proceed in your efforts to be accepted by the tribe, you gradually become aware that there's a destiny in store for Aloy, one that explains the mechanical creatures and the ancient remnants of a technological civilization that are all over the landscape. In the end, I liked the story; it did a good job of rationalizing the environment and tugged on my heartstrings as Aloy learned who she was and where she came from.

Diversity in gaming: Aloy is a 19-year-old woman, but none of her outfits looked anything other than practical gear. Several male characters (and at least one female character) attempt to flirt with her, but she has none of it: she's focused on the task at hand. There's an even blend of different human racial types represented. Aloy's one semi-romantic interest (it goes no farther than "I'd like to show you that cavern someday") is someone with a different skin color than hers. Like the recent Tomb Raider games, this game does well by the female lead (at least, according to this particular cis-gendered white male reviewer).

Final verdict: If you have a PS4, and you value patience in your game-play, this is a "must-have" game.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 12:55:50 PM by Winston »
Bill Seligman
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Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #559 on: August 10, 2017, 06:03:28 PM »
Torment: Tides of Numenera

The story is set roughly a billion years in future. Humanity has spread out to multiple worlds and dimensions; the world is littered with old technologies and magics. You are the Last Castoff, a body that was left behind when the Changing God abandoned your body to move into another. That's "Last" in the sense of the most recent; there are many castoffs left behind by the Changing God. You have a sense that there's something important you must do, but you're not sure what it is or what the consequences might be.

This RPG uses the same engine as Pillars of Eternity (there's a whole topic on PoE else-forum); in other words, it's another modern descendant of Baldur's Gate. However, this is not just a duplicate of PoE. Here are the differences:

Pro:

- The quality of the writing. I originally kickstarted this game because I heard that Patrick Rothfuss had contributed to one part of it.

- There's no "good vs. evil" alignment. Instead there's a five-fold system of "Tides" (blue, red, gold, silver, indigo) each associated with a general pattern of behavior; e.g., the Gold Tide  is associated with doing good for others over their own welfare, which can make you a philanthropist or a crime lord working to help the poor in your community. Your actions determine your dominant tide, which affects how some characters react to you.

- You can get through almost every encounter without fighting. This doesn't mean you won't enter turn-based action mode from time to time, but instead of bashing the NPCs you can choose to have members of your party talk to different people at once.

- Stats are handled differently than other games of this type. There are only three: Might, Speed, and Intellect. These stats improve with experience, but in Torment they represent "pools" from which you can spend point on "effort" to increase your chance at success at various tasks. For example, if you have only a 50% chance of smashing a door down, you have the option of spending Might to increase that to 65% or more. The pools refill whenever the character rests.

- The skill advancement system is atypical, involving "Tiers". Within a given Tier, as you go up in level you only get to improve one of out a set of improvements: stat boosts, new abilities, etc. Once you improve your stats, for example, you have to level up to a brand-new Tier before you can improve your stats again. Of course, you can improve your stats as the last upgrade of a given Tier then improve your stats again as your first update of the next Tier. I found this to be a welcome change from the skill trees that have come to dominate computer RPG gaming.

Con:

- The game world is divided into areas, each with its own set of sub-areas. You can travel between the sub-areas freely (subject to the usual mechanics of "find the solution to the gate's puzzle"). But once you leave an area, you cannot return to it.

This means that if you leave an area with side quests you haven't completed (you can't leave an area without completing its main quests), then you can never complete those quests. In particular, if you leave the first area without filling up your party, you can never get new party members again. You get enough warning that it's not likely you wouldn't have a full party, but it's possible.

- There is no simple, direct way to determine how strong you are in a given Tide. For a stat that has such story importance in the game, it's strange that there isn't some indicator to suggest which Tide is dominant in you.

- The game feels shorter than Pillars of Eternity. This is good if you felt Pillars dragged on, or bad if you feel that it's too short for $60. (Of course, the price will go down with time.)

- The load screens between sub-areas are agonizingly long. There are quests that take you back and forth between areas, and I sometimes felt disinclined to complete the quest simply because I'd have to stare at load screens. (I played on a PS4; it may be different on desktop systems.)

Overall: I enjoyed the game. I became attached to some of the characters (especially Rhin, who is the one that Patrick Rothfuss wrote for). I appreciated the choice of whether to engage in combat or try to solve problems via negotiation or persuasion. I found the choice you face at the end to be interesting, and not a typical simplistic "good vs bad" situation.

Thumbs up if you enjoy Pillars of Eternity / Baldurs Gate style of games.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 07:00:26 AM by Winston »
Bill Seligman
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Gwyddyon

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #560 on: August 14, 2017, 09:47:33 AM »
Prey: 7/10

This is a first person science fiction RPG like System Shock II and Deus Ex, made by the makers of Dishonored. It is just about exactly what you would expect except for the alternate history backstory. It was enjoyable but not revolutionary.

Halcyon 6 Starbase Commander: 8/10

This is a pixel-art olde-timey humorous sci-fi strategy RPG with resource management, worker placement, and turn-based 3-party RPG combat. I very much enjoyed it. They recently released a 'lightspeed' edition that cut the campaign length from about 35 hours to about 15, but you can play either version, basically accelerated or 'Long War' style.
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