Author Topic: Finished playing...  (Read 132077 times)

HeidiB

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #630 on: April 15, 2019, 02:22:14 PM »
I will never be finished playing this game!  I'm not really interested in playing above King difficulty though.

I've heard that the hardest difficulty has some cheating AI, but haven't heard complaints about lower difficulties.

Regarding balance between cultures:  it seems pretty clear that they're trying to equalize chance of winning, not chance of winning each type of victory.  For example, England, France, and Kongo have big advantages toward a culture victory, while the Zulu have none.  I don't know if it's even possible for Kongo to win a religious victory.

I just bought the Gathering Storm DLC today and I think they've made some improvements on the previous expansion.  The religious sub-game is better integrated in Civ VI than it was in Civ V, but still feels disconnected to me.  (Why am I not alerted when my capital city changes religions?)  And on the iPad, unit management sucks a lot less in Civ VI than it does in Civ Rev.

Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #631 on: April 16, 2019, 05:54:07 AM »
I will probably get some more DLC when I come back to Civ VI (I bought it off a steam bundle that had a couple early DLC included). However, take France as an example: they get benefits on spying and a late-mid game military unit that actually stands up quite well once you build it. However, they have no early advantage, so an aggressive neighbor or a bad barbarian random can set them so far back that by the time their advantages are available it's too late. Compare with ?Sumeria? that has a starting high-power military unit. This thing rolls over early barbarians easily and can take out most hostile neighbors until they develop iron weapons. This means your early cities are protected and quick expansion is viable, which basically paves the path to any kind of victory you like.

All the victory types require you to produce more Type X points (be they production for units, faith for religion, culture, or science) and that's always going to be faster with more cities. If there's a good strategy for coming back from an early setback I haven't found it; please share if you have one.

HeidiB

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #632 on: April 16, 2019, 03:57:33 PM »
If there's a good strategy for coming back from an early setback I haven't found it; please share if you have one.

Nope!  I've made liberal use of the restart button.

It may be that this improves with more DLC.  It feels like I have more early setbacks on the iPad than I do on the PC.

Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #633 on: April 17, 2019, 09:28:41 AM »
Nope!  I've made liberal use of the restart button.

Yeah I flush 3/4 of games early. I just hate getting to that vulnerable point where you have a number of cities but haven't built Ancient Walls yet and you lose one city to an aggressor.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #634 on: April 28, 2019, 09:59:28 AM »
The Witness, mostly--I got to the "ending", but I know there's some stuff I never unlocked.  I've played a fair number of puzzle games, and this was a different experience than most.  The Witness makes you figure out the rules of the game without a lot of explicit guidance--and often when you think you know the rules, the next puzzle throws an additional wrench into the works.

The visuals of the game are crisp, colorful, and at times beautiful.  There isn't really a story or voice acting--you can find audio diaries and a movie theater with some videos, but each bit stands on its own (such as a famous quotation), and doesn't have anything to do with the setting.  There are a few timed elements, but I wouldn't describe any part of the game as twitch gameplay.  I got stuck a lot and had to think, or leave a puzzle area and return to it later, but I was eventually able to reach the ending without any outside hints.  Because the game is so much about building a base of analytical tools to solve puzzles, it isn't really friendly to getting outside hints, and without any narrative rewards, doing a walkthrough wouldn't be very interesting.  By comparison, in a Telltale game, getting a hint would just let you move on to the next part of the story, and wouldn't spoil you on some crucial principle that would make the rest of the game easier.  So I think the game is more susceptible than most to turning away its players.

So I guess, recommended if you're a fan of puzzle games or puzzles in general; not necessarily a good introduction to the genre.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #635 on: May 12, 2019, 07:59:08 AM »
Starbound (in that I got to the end of the main plot).  This is a spiritual successor to Terraria, which is kind of a 2D Minecraft-ish game.  It adds a fair amount in scope to the Terraria formula, including travel to other planets and space combat with mech suits.  It's definitely an indy game, with low-res sprite graphics, no voiceover work, and game systems that don't mesh quite perfectly, but I still happily sunk 50 hours into it.

Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #636 on: May 13, 2019, 05:43:54 AM »
I will never be finished playing this game!  I'm not really interested in playing above King difficulty though.

I've heard that the hardest difficulty has some cheating AI, but haven't heard complaints about lower difficulties.

After about 20 tries I'm giving up on harder difficulties. The AIs have unbeatable cheats built in (e.g. new settlements get instant road connections). I imagine that there's some combination of factors that would let me have a chance against them but when the adjacent AI is building airports and I'm working on getting crossbowmen it just ceases being fun, which is sad but there you are. Time to move on to other games.

Tweed

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #637 on: May 13, 2019, 07:59:27 AM »
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Basically everything that can be said about this game has been said, better, by a legion of reviewers. But I wanted to put my thoughts down somewhere and this place is my somewhere.

I am pretty conflicted about Sekiro. Full disclosure: I have not finished it. I am close to being done, but am not sure I will ever muster the fortitude to get through it. It is extremely difficult. Like, several orders of magnitude more difficult than Dark Souls or Bloodbourne. There are several reasons for that. First, you're locked into a certain playstyle -- parrying -- that requires well-timed reflexes and the ability to memorize enemy patterns. 

Second, you're on your fucking own. In DS and BB you could summon other players or NPCs to help you during certain fights. Here, there is no summoning mechanic. It is you versus the world (except for one fight where an NPC helps but he is sort of worthless).

Third, there is no character building. Your character starts out with certain traits (health, posture, attack power) and you can increase those traits during that game, but there's no means of "leveling up" certain traits to compensate for or better craft your playstyle.

This makes the game punishingly, absolutely devastatingly difficult if you are not the type of person who is good at reflex-based parry builds, or who doesn't have the stamina to grind through one boss dozens of times. If you don't like parrying, you can get through basic enemies fairly well using sneak attacks and dodging, but you will never get through the bosses, all of whom require memorization of several rhythmic parrying patterns. If you're stuck on a boss, well, that's it. You're stuck. There's no one around to help you get through it.

In my playthrough I've killed some bosses legitimately and I've had to cheese a few after a billion tries. I have made it to the final area of the game this weekend and got to a particular boss and was like, "I just cannot with this guy." So I'm calling it quits for now.

That said, the game is stunning in what it does. The art and scenery are great, the lore is amazing, the story is ... interesting but not as good as BB's, I think. And when you do kill a boss it is such a satisfying feeling! Same with getting through a difficult area or stealth-killing a bunch of mobs. But those parts do not make up for the soul-crushing boss grind that the rest of the game revolves around.

All in all, Sekiro is the weakest From Software game I've played. It is a great game but it is not for everyone, and it is mostly not for me because it is so damn hard. I know some people love it and those people are probably a lot better at video games than I am.

HeidiB

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #638 on: May 13, 2019, 04:41:11 PM »
After about 20 tries I'm giving up on harder difficulties. The AIs have unbeatable cheats built in (e.g. new settlements get instant road connections). I imagine that there's some combination of factors that would let me have a chance against them but when the adjacent AI is building airports and I'm working on getting crossbowmen it just ceases being fun, which is sad but there you are. Time to move on to other games.
Did you try tweaking the starting conditions?  I find that changes the difficulty of the game more than it should.

Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #639 on: May 14, 2019, 06:45:07 AM »
Did you try tweaking the starting conditions?  I find that changes the difficulty of the game more than it should.

I'm not sure what you mean. I tend to like to play on larger maps because that gives me more breathing room and the game doesn't so often end in getting squeezed/crushed. Plus it's fun to have a bunch of cities doing things.

I read some strategies online and they all seem to recommend nearly the same very aggressive start so I'm giving that one a try to see if it makes up for the AI's early advantages. The AI's military capabilities are not very good; I can't decide if I'm exploiting by using that weakness.

Edalia

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #640 on: May 15, 2019, 07:22:18 AM »
I think Civ VI (or any Civ) is deep enough that you don't have to up the difficulty if it becomes frustrating. The Civs are different enough these days (playstyles weren't that distinct until V imo) that you'll always have something new to try.

The AI "cheating" is really just the only way they can compete with an actual human brain, and you have to warp your early-game strategy or come up with specific build orders to have a chance on Deity/Immortal. Even with a strong starting strat, being caught near one or two aggressive Civs early will sink a run.

All that said, I don't play on Deity or higher, because I do find it frustrating to get overrun before I am able to get going. I have a hard enough time pulling myself away before 6 AM on difficulty 4 or 5 (forget what they're called).
o/\o

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #641 on: May 19, 2019, 02:26:02 AM »
Final Fantasy X

Disclaimer: I did not play this game to the end, for reasons discussed below. This review is based on what I experienced until I decided to quit playing it.

A few months ago, I posted my review of Final Fantasy XV. I was still looking for something to occupy my time during my convalescence. A friend of mine recommended Final Fantasy X on the basis of its story. I’ll start with my immediate impressions.

It must be said: This is a clunky game. It’s a port of a game published in 2001 to modern gaming systems. It was strange to play a game for which the right knob on my PS4 controller did almost nothing at all. There’s no way to change camera angles; you take the view the game gives you. Switching between targets during combat is not intuitive.

Since it is an old game, I’m willing to let that slide.

In my FFXV review, I made a big deal about the blatant sexism of the character of Cindy. In FFX many of the female characters show a lot of skin, but so do the male characters so I’ll let that part slide as well.

However, I’m not going to give a pass to the character of Lulu. She’s modestly dressed compared to most of the other female characters, except for exposed cleavage. The issue I have is the game’s focus on that cleavage: many of the cutscenes have the camera pointed at Lulu’s chest, cropping out her face; Lulu’s “victory dance” at the end of combat has her flaunting her cleavage at the camera.

Lulu is a popular subject for fan costuming, so I may be overreacting; if female fans have no problem with Lulu, I probably shouldn’t either. Still, it bothered me that one of the most powerful characters in the game is presented as a subject for adolescent ogling.

An observation instead of a criticism: I was startled to see how many of the game elements of FFXV were also present in FFX: chocobos; potions names and effects; victory music at the end of combat. It make it clear that the Final Fantasy series has traditions of its own.

Let’s get to the game itself. You get to choose your viewpoint character’s name; the default is “Tidus” but I picked “Artax” (which in retrospect was a mistake). Tidus is a successful Blitzball player in the city of Zanarkand. After a confusing introduction that reminded me a bit of Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, you find yourself 1000 years in the future. Through a few info dumps, you learn that you’re part of a team of characters whose goal is to defeat the monstrous creature Sin.

There are open-world elements to FFX, but basically it’s a linear story from your arrival in the land of Spira to the final confrontation with Sin. As you engage in combats you gain skills and stats, as is typical games of this genre.

This leads to my first frustration with the game: the Sphere Grid. Instead of the standard skill trees in similar games, the abilities and improvements for your character are unlocked by navigating a visually confusing circular display. As you win combats, you gain different kinds of spheres. You navigate between nodes on this display by gaining “sphere levels”; you activate the nodes by using special spheres dropped by most of the monsters you fight.

Here’s a much better explanation of the system:
https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Sphere_Grid

Even after I understood how to use the Sphere Grid, I had two problems with it. The first is that it was all too easy to “lose your way” among the concentric circles. This cause me to waste sphere levels as I tried to navigate a character’s location on the grid, only to find out that I headed in the wrong direction.

The second problem is that sections of the sphere grid, with more powerful abilities or opportunities to navigate to other character’s skill set, are blocked off by “key spheres”. These are extremely rare and do not drop randomly. By the time I stopped playing FFX, I had activated all the characters’ spheres within their areas of the sphere grid. Without the necessary key spheres, I could not improve them further (not even basic stats like hit points). I accumulated sphere levels with no way to spend them.

Another issue I had with FFX was with the difficulty of the late-game boss combat. I played the game in Easy mode (as always), but there are increasingly more combats as you continue with the game that, realistically, can only be won by consulting a hint guide or by failing a lot until you learn the appropriate strategy.

The latter sounds acceptable; after all, someone must have done this before writing a hint guide in the first place. The problem is that the game punishes failure. If you lose a combat, the game is over. You can always restore to the last save point, and there are save points before every major boss combat. But restoring a game forces you to watch a three-minute unskippable cinematic before you can play again.

This means that, without a hint guide, late-game combat becomes “glasschewing”: You lose, spend minutes restoring the game state, fight the boss to the same point as before (which can take several minutes on its own), only to wipe again if you miss some important strategic concept for that battle.

When you reach a stage where only a hint guide can move you forward, you’re not really playing the game anymore; the hint guide is. That’s when I lose interest. Now that I think of it, that’s when I stopped playing FFXV, when I could only progress using hint guides.

But in FFXV, the Uncharted series, the Tomb Raider series, Horizon: Zero Dawn, even God of War, I didn’t need a hint guide to get to the end of the story. I only needed guides for the optional content, though I may not have realized it at the time. FFX required me to have hints to get to the end of the game’s story.

What of that story? My friend was right to say that FFX’s story is better than FFXV’s, without question. The problem is that while the story is better, the writing is awful. In the cutscenes, characters say the same thing over and over again, they repeatedly state plot points that are painfully obvious even to players unfamiliar to any of the conventions of the fantasy genre, and they whine incessantly and repeatedly about the same issues. I’ll give the game credit: both the male and female characters do the same amount of whining.

Perhaps this dialog sounds better in the original Japanese. Or perhaps it’s pitched to a very young audience. I discount the latter, because of the difficulty of the late-state combat and confusion of the Sphere Grid; I don’t think six-year-olds could deal with those game elements.

Or perhaps I’m underestimating six-year-olds. It would not be the first time!

Final (fantasy) verdict: Final Fantasy X served its purpose, to occupy my time during long stretches when I couldn’t move from my easy chair. At $15, it was priced reasonably for a time-waster. But I can’t give the game an enthusiastic recommendation.

Sometime in the next several months Square Enix will release a remake of Final Fantasy VII. Hopefully by then I won’t need time-wasters. Unless the reviews are glowing beyond measure, I don’t plan to visit the Final Fantasy series again.
Bill Seligman
Alliance: Winston, Yungi, Pellinore, Tebyalyublyu, Theadora, Vasili, Winella, Winstonia
Horde: Grotar, Swiftslice

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #642 on: May 19, 2019, 09:42:26 AM »
Sometime in the next several months Square Enix will release a remake of Final Fantasy VII. Hopefully by then I won’t need time-wasters. Unless the reviews are glowing beyond measure, I don’t plan to visit the Final Fantasy series again.
I'd say the original FF7 dodges most of your criticisms, but the remake sounds like it will change a lot.  The graphics of the day couldn't really communicate oversexualized characters, but the remake has modern visuals.  The story of FF7 was pretty accessible (though it had its cringeworthy moments), but the remake will havepretty rewritten the dialog and added voiceover work.  The mechanics of FF7 were quite easy--or at least contained lots of opportunities to overpower the story fights--but the remake is redesigning the combat system.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #643 on: June 02, 2019, 01:20:07 PM »
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.  This is the third out of 11+ Assassin's Creed games, so I'm a little bit behind.  It had all of the good stuff from Assasin's Creed 2, but some aspects of the game marred the experience.  The storyline is pretty thin.  The climbing controls are not well-designed and can lead to frustration (e.g. using the B button for "drop" and "grab ledge" and making most but not all ledge grabs automatic, so that you have to guess whether pressing or not pressing the B button will lead to a fall).  Some of the "100% sync bonus" requirements are touchy.  Memories can easily be replayed, but is discouraged by the clunky way cut scenes can be skipped (and actually, I didn't realize until just now that you could skip them at all).  The game is buggy here and there, and tends to crash when tabbing back in after tabbing out.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #644 on: June 09, 2019, 04:26:16 PM »
Ori and the Blind Forest.  I've played a few artistic 2D platformers, and this was probably the best so far, with great use of art assets, animation, and music, and polished gameplay with some novel game mechanics.  There is a Metroidvania element to the game, where you can go back to previous areas with your improved movement abilities and uncover power-ups to make the mainline of the game easier.

I played on "normal", and I would say it was pretty hard.  Most controversially, there are a few escape scenes where you have to do a 1-3 minute sequence without making mistakes, with no intermediate checkpoints and no opportunity to give up and come back to it later.  The first of these took me almost an hour to finish.  Some players find this kind of challenge rewarding and some almost certainly gave up the game.  On "easy" difficulty (new in the definitive edition), I believe they add at least one intermediate checkpoint to these sequences.  Despite being a beautiful game with great atmosphere, I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't comfortable with platformer games because of the difficulty.

It's not a long game; it took me 17 hours to finish, with 99-100% completion of most of the game areas.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2019, 04:31:02 PM by Marco »