Author Topic: Finished playing...  (Read 124317 times)

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #615 on: January 02, 2019, 10:11:44 AM »
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 ReMIX

I'm laid up for a while due to a medical problem, so I'm looking for interesting console games to play. A friend of mine suggested Kingdom Hearts, since she was looking forward to KH3 coming out soon. I asked her if it was a platformer. She said no, it was an RPG.

She was mistaken. KH is a platformer; at least, it contains enough platform antics to be frustrating. (Reminder for scale: I couldn't play Little Big Planet for more than 15 minutes before giving up.)

What's more, it's a dull and tedious game. Both KH1 and KH2 begin with long and largely pointless cinematics. In the first half-hour of play, you're given perhaps two minutes of agency; everything else is hitting dialog or tutorial acknowledgements. KH1 then proceeds to give you two "find the foo" quests, each duller than the last. Eventually I got to the action parts of KH1, but that leads to the dull world-travel portion of the game. Finally, in the middle of Tarzan's Jungle, I gave up on platforming between hippos. I tried KH2, but after a half-hour I was once again forced into a choice between three different platform challenges.

I know Kingdom Hearts is popular, but honestly I don't see the appeal. Maybe young children like the tedious and predictable dialogs, and have the reflexes for the platforming. As a clumsy adult, I feel like I wasted my money.
Bill Seligman
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Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #616 on: January 03, 2019, 06:45:16 AM »
Destiny 2

Dear Winston: Avoid this game.

OK, two qualifiers: I finished the storyline portion of Destiny 2, which is essentially an extended promo for the expansion, including the ominous cinematic ender. I got the game for free via the launcher and it's not a bad game. I'm just not motivated to spend lots of hours jumping around and shooting things, which is pretty much the entirety of the game at max level. Actually, it's most of the game before that, too.

There are loots. Mostly guns. LOTS of guns (reminds me of Borderlands) and a few swords, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and similar. You get armor and some of it can have perks that make some of your invisible stats invisibly better. But mostly it's about the weapons. I still love sniper rifles and the mobs' heads explode in remarkably satisfying ways in Destiny 2, given that it's pretty PG-13 rated and there's no actual blood anywhere. The personal spaceships are pretty, too, and there are some fun cosmetics you can apply to them. But since you only use them as pretty loading-screen fillers it doesn't amount to much.

The game has classes, but they're all pretty similar. Some classes are better at close stuff, some at range. But since you're going to get dailies (yes, the game has dailies - lots of them) that want you to get sword kills it doesn't matter what your class is. You're going to run in and hack at things. Since there's no true tanking you can't really be a "ranged DPS" in the sense that other games have that.

The loot system is personalized so everything that drops is yours and you don't have to race other players to things. Loots that get left behind (or you didn't notice because 50 mooks were trying to blow you up) will show up in your mailbox later. At later stages you can take apart unwanted loots for pieces you can use to make your preferred loots better. Did I mention there are a lot of guns?

The game has side quests (I forget what they're called) and 3-person scenarios. It has matchmaking for those but not for the 6-person raids. It has PvP but I avoided that. It has factions, each with its own rep, and you turn in specific foos to the rep vendors to get better guns. It has a Big Story that you sort of participate in but that happens at least half in cutscenes and has a pretty dumb ending. If this is all sounding remarkably similar, it is. Destiny doesn't innovate anything I can see. It picks-and-chooses bits from other games (Borderlands, Diablo, Warcraft, other FPS) put some nice graphics over it, and calls that a game.

I'm not sorry I played but if I'd paid AAA prices for this I'd be pretty unhappy.

Kharvek

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #617 on: January 03, 2019, 11:48:40 AM »
Destiny 2: Forsaken

I played through the story of this pretty recently and Snique's review of the base game reminded me about it.  I'd previously played through D2 when it came out and did some group stuff with Tom, Jeff and Johnny.  Forsaken adds more end game stuff to do, but leaves what I think is their most frustrating decision which I don't ever see changing. 

Story: The story in Destiny has never, ever been good, however it's now hitting that part of being so bad it's kinda good.  I think it's a little self-aware of how it's bad, but it still plays it straight enough I sorta enjoyed the story of Forsaken and it'shyper dramatic and serious tone.  It reminds me a lot of Star Trek: TNG in terms of 'so badly complicated it's good again'.  Every character is basically just one note and most of them are all super serious, dramatic and self-important...but it all works.  It just gets funny hearing them all interact with all the super bizarre complicated lore behind everything you can barely understand and them pulling stuff outta nowhere with even more random explanations that...it's starting to find it's own vibe and it's clicking.  It's not good, but...I sorta started to care about the story again because I wanted to see how bad and off the rails it was going to get.

The Dreaming City at the end is a genuinely cool idea where every week things are a bit different there and it's Bungie's attempt at sort of evolving story telling as it has cycles, but they can change things on their end at will to start a sort of "Why the fuck is that thing there?" style story that Fortnight has been playing with.  It's actually a pretty cool area and if they build upon that sorta thing I think that's sorta the next evolution of how to tell stories in online games.  You plop a mystery and see players pull together to come up with theories and try to solve it and slighty change it week to week and have it affect the area it's in gradually and in interesting ways and come up with ways for players to interact with it.  So...there's potential for legit interesting storytelling there, but the rest of it?  Squarely falls in the 'so bad it's good'

Gameplay: When it comes to shooting monsters, nobody does it better than Destiny 2.  Well.  That's wrong.  Doom does.  Doom is the best at shooting monsters.  Destiny 2 is second though.  The act of getting into a fight in this game has always been good and the expansion offers enough interesting new enemies to keep it fresh, and some genuinely cool set piece moments during the missions.  They add bows to the game, which felt way better than I anticipated they would and add enough variety in the existing kit of guns to keep it interesting to keep finding new stuff as you play through the story.  The bows sort of act as precision rifles that shoot even slower and hit even harder, but...it's just how they feel that works.  That's the thing that's always been about this game is it's hard to sometimes put into words, but they make everything just feel right.  When you start playing and using this stuff it all behaves and acts like you'd expect so when you anticipate how something should behave and you do something and it all jsut fits?  It...feels good.  Everything looks interesting, the audio for it backs up the visuals and the effects on when you pull the trigger and when you hit something?  It's all cohesive and spot on.

Progression: ...and here's where this game loses it for me in terms of being another MMO I could play.  Progression in this game, particularly the end game?  Is terrible.  How the numbers work make it hard to really put a finger on how I'm getting more powerful and how the game chooses to scale certain things removes one of the more silly, yet fun ways you can measure how powerful you are.  The game effectively has a limit on how hard you can steamroll old content as a result.  It does mean you can 'always play with friends', but I think the price they pay for that hurts the overall experience.  The worst offender is the method you get higher ilvl.  (I think they just call it power now, but it's the same principle as ilvl, just without raw numbers increasing, everything is more relational based on your level and the level of what you're fighting)

In WoW, WQs ilvl rewards scale to your own ilvl, slowly increasing as yours does and hitting a cap based on the zone/patch/etch.  Things like dungeons, events, raids and PvP offer static ilvl rewards based on the content and difficulty with chances to forge higher.  In Desinty?  EVERYTHING behaves like WQs do in WoW.  No matter what content you do, with some VERY rare exceptions, the loot you get will always be a little higher power level than your last piece...so you slowly inch forward in power at the same rate no matter what content you do.  There's a variety of things that offer this 'powerful' loot that'll inch you forward, and it rotates a bit throughout the week on what the dailies and weekly challenges are to keep you doing a variety of things.  What Forsaken improves upon over the base game is this variety.  There are a lot more things you can do now to earn this stuff so you'll inch forward quicker, but doing something extra difficult like the equivalent of a mythic will still just earn you the regular inch forward like anything else will.  It is not at all satisfying and given the nature of how loot works in the game, at end game it's really hard to notice yourself getting more powerful.  It really does make me miss more traditional hard numbers/stats and how WoW handles things since so much else in the game is genuinely a lot of fun to play.

Modes: I dabbled with some PvP, gambit and strikes.  I didn't raid...which is a shame since universally everyone I talk to raves about Destiny raiding.  The lack of traditional MMO classes has made them create some genuinely interesting encounters it sounds like where it's less "you're the tank" and more like...the fight determines the roles and players on the fly sorta determine who is doing what in a given fight at a given time, which is pretty cool sounding.

Gambit is probably the best new mode. It's a sorta PvE/PvP hybrid where each team is in their own level trying to kill monsters and collect motes. You bank the motes in a central location and once you bank enough, you summon a boss to kill.  Whoever summons and kills their boss first wins.  There's ways you can screw with the other team however.  Banking a bunch of motes in one big drop will block the other team's bank and summon adds they need to kill to access their bank again.  Several times throughout portals will open where you can invade the other team's space and try to kill them.  (When one team summons a boss, the portal to that team just basically stays open and any kills the opposing team makes will heal the boss)  It's a lot of fun and if you don't like PvP, I'd still recommend it since there's a tension to trying to kill monsters quickly and get motes back.

They've added FFA back too, which I sorely missed.  I don't like team deathmatch or team modes.  I just want to kill everyone I see and it's just as silly and chaotic as I remember it being when I played stuff like that in the 90's.  More shooters need FFA.  They lend themselves well to random match making too since you don't have to worry about team communication when it's everyone for themselves. :)

In closing, they've made the game better, but the basic concept of how Destiny handles progression just makes me not want to engage with their end game.  Which sucks since I genuinely am very curious about their raids since they sound like a lot of fun, but the act of gearing up to raid just seems to freaking awful based on the slow inching forward in ilvl without being able to "Okay sweet, now I can hit mythics up and get some really great upgrades"  I'm stuck inching forward and hoping the piece I get is in a slot that's a low ilvl and it's a piece in a style that I like playing with in the case of the weapons.

I hope Anthem solves this and scratches that itch.  ...it'll be a bad Bioware game, but I'm hoping it'll be a good shooter MMO.

Piralyn

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #618 on: January 03, 2019, 08:22:42 PM »

Progression: ...and here's where this game loses it for me in terms of being another MMO I could play.  Progression in this game, particularly the end game?  Is terrible.  How the numbers work make it hard to really put a finger on how I'm getting more powerful and how the game chooses to scale certain things removes one of the more silly, yet fun ways you can measure how powerful you are.  The game effectively has a limit on how hard you can steamroll old content as a result.  It does mean you can 'always play with friends', but I think the price they pay for that hurts the overall experience.  The worst offender is the method you get higher ilvl.  (I think they just call it power now, but it's the same principle as ilvl, just without raw numbers increasing, everything is more relational based on your level and the level of what you're fighting)

This was the killer for me for D2. I would love a shooter RPG I could just drop in and play--like, shit, I probably have like 400+ hours in Borderlands 2, but once you hit max level--and to a lesser extent before that--you basically never feel more powerful. You have a number that goes up, but it's just some vague number with no relation to reality.

WoW paring down the character sheet from all your various stats, dodge chance on non-tanks, etc. to just your primary stat, stamina, and role related secondaries was pretty shitty, but Destiny 2 is like everything except your item level is wiped out and all the mobs scale like the first day of Broken Shore/Legionfall until they changed their mind.

If they'd just embrace a little more in the way of RPG tropes and have some visible stats and bonuses, man, it'd be like a whole new game.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #619 on: January 05, 2019, 12:14:32 PM »
Subnautica.  I'll give this game top marks for visual and sound design, and I think the base-building mechanics and story are good.  I think the early game is likely appealing to a broad audience(*), but as the storyline goes on, the game starts demanding a tolerance for inventory management and mostly-undirected exploration.  I have a great deal of patience for the former, but not a lot for the latter, so I was ready to be done a bit before I actually finished.

You are given an option at game start whether or not to have hunger/thirst mechanics.  Having them turned on fills out the gameplay loop a bit, but limits exploration time by requiring periodic returns to a base.  I think it's fine to play either way.

(*) Except for people who get stressed out by time limits and haven't been told that there are no time limits in Subnautica.  The storyline presents the illusion of a deadline on four separate occasions, sometimes with a big countdown timer.

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #620 on: January 05, 2019, 06:42:53 PM »
The Witness

I'm declaring "finished playing" on this one, because even through I may fiddle with it in the future, it will only be with a solution/walkthrough by my side.

This is a puzzle game for the PS4 (and possibly other systems as well; I did not check). The puzzles begin simply enough, and gradually ramp up in difficulty. They all take the form of drawing lines on computer panels located in the environment. Finally the puzzles get to the brain-burner stage. I've played puzzle games before (I have a review of The Talos Principle elsethread), but never one that became this difficult.

To give you some idea, at the risk of a mild spoiler: There was one puzzle (the first of a class of similar puzzles) where the only way to determine the solution was to position your character at just the right angle so that the in-game sunlight reflected off the surface of a panel. Since the game comes with no explicit instructions of any sort, to solve this puzzle you had to be either extremely lucky, observant beyond all reason, or consult a hint guide.

If you like a challenging brain-smashing puzzle game, you'll enjoy The Witness. As for me, I concede defeat.
Bill Seligman
Alliance: Winston, Yungi, Pellinore, Tebyalyublyu, Theadora, Vasili, Winella, Winstonia
Horde: Grotar, Swiftslice