Author Topic: Finished playing...  (Read 145249 times)

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #660 on: December 27, 2019, 01:58:58 PM »
SOMA, a sci-fi/horror game.  The story of this game is quite good; as video game writing goes, I'd put it up there with Horizon: Zero Dawn (although it's smaller in scope).  The sound design and visual design create an immersive atmosphere akin to Subnautica's.

The gameplay is pretty minimal, a small step up from a walking simulator like Firewatch.  There are mechanical elements you can get stuck on, but they're not really puzzles in the sense of a point-and-click adventure; it's just sometimes hard to find the right pixels to interact with to move the plot forward.  There are enemies you have to hide from or flee from (you can't fight them), but although they contribute to the atmosphere, they don't really create much of a game.  These enemies also arise from an underdeveloped side of the story; although they contribute to the oppressive atmosphere, they felt a bit tacked-on to me.

erstyx

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #661 on: January 02, 2020, 09:13:33 AM »
Note that there's a mode (patched in at some point on PC; might not be available on other platforms) that effectively turns the monsters off (they're there, but they don't chase you).

Leah

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #662 on: January 05, 2020, 10:46:48 AM »
Resident Evil 2 Remake

I played, and commented on, the one-shot demo last year and had decided to pass on the full experience but then my wife got it for me for Christmas so huzzah! I'm still a big wussy pants when it comes to tension and jump scares, so it's not exactly my type of game. I got through the Leon A scenario in one day because I don't think my nerves would've permitted taking a break and then going back to it. To be fair, the tension dials down dramatically once you move past the first setting due to a certain mechanic essentially going away. After that it's mainly jump scares and lots of "run back to retrieve item b for puzzle a" mechanics.

I will say that the game is absolutely gorgeous and it cracks me up to go back and look at old screenshots of the original (one of my favorite games of all time) to see how much has changed. The sound is amazing too, although that's usually to my detriment. Interestingly enough, the soundtrack is fairly muted, only coming alive for a few things but mostly staying quiet to set the atmosphere.

So yeah, overall, fun enough game and if you're able to handle the scares, it's probably really enjoyable. I just don't think I can ratchet up the nerve for a second playthrough.

Leah

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #663 on: January 23, 2020, 02:19:53 PM »
The Microsoft Store is also have a Lunar Sale as well as an Adventure Game sale.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #664 on: March 02, 2020, 09:18:48 PM »
The Division 2.  This is a looter-shooter MMO-lite, along the same general lines as Destiny 2--although I pretty much never saw other players except in safehouses.  The visuals are quite good, and the cover mechanics are very crisp.  The gameplay can get samey--there's really nothing to do but shoot at badly behaving humans--but I did play it for a lot of hours.  I'm not a fan of the storyline; it has no humor in it and I generally prefer less realism in my shooters.  (It's also a post-plague-apocalypse setting, which might not be great to play during the looming threat of COVID-19, but that didn't really bother me.)  I thought the gear stat system was kind of messy with too many stats, but it was just completely overhauled with the release of an expansion, and is probably more reasonable now.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #665 on: March 26, 2020, 09:19:36 AM »
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair.  This is a side-scrolling platformer intended to evoke Donkey Kong Country (with some residual style elements of Banjo-Kazooie), with a side 3D exploration/puzzle game.  The bulk of the game consists of 40 smallish levels, which you can run at will just for completion, or for five collectible coins per level (typically requiring a bit of sleuthing or a mild challenge).  The difficulty of these levels varies, but can be adjusted using "tonics" to make them easier or harder in specific ways.  Checkpoints are reasonably frequent, and you are allowed to skip to the next checkpoint after enough failures.

There is also a longer and more difficult "Impossible Lair" challenge.  This level contains no checkpoints and the difficulty cannot be adjusted, but you can accumulate up to 48 points of armor (basically screwup allowances), mostly by completing the aforementioned small levels.  I tried this a few times with 45 armor and got about 35% of the way through on my best try.  It's likely that I could get through this with enough practice, but I lost motivation.

The game is visually attractive and has decent music.  There isn't normal voice acting; instead there are these stylized noises that characters make when they speak as in Banjo-Kazooie.  The general tone of the game is comical but there weren't any laugh-out-loud moments.  Overall, I found the game pretty enjoyable for the 35 hours I played it.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #666 on: April 04, 2020, 07:45:58 PM »
Figment.  This is an indie game combining a puzzle adventure with a bit of action combat, with a strong narrative.  I'd rate the game better on its artistic merits than its gameplay; it has beautiful hand-drawn art and some compelling (though uneven) voiceover work.  The puzzles begin very easy and slowly progress to what I'd consider a moderate difficulty, sometimes relying on timing elements to provide a greater challenge.  The combat sequences tend to be a bit ponderous; most of them are fairly easy since you can take a fair amount of beating before dying.

The game engine crashed on me a few times near the end, sometimes forcing me to replay a fair amount.  I also got stuck (like, under stairs or something) once or twice, or had enemies move out of bounds during combat so that I had to move away and wait for them to come back into range.

Kolo

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #667 on: April 12, 2020, 03:33:04 PM »
The Division 2.  This is a looter-shooter MMO-lite, along the same general lines as Destiny 2--although I pretty much never saw other players except in safehouses.  The visuals are quite good, and the cover mechanics are very crisp.  The gameplay can get samey--there's really nothing to do but shoot at badly behaving humans--but I did play it for a lot of hours.  I'm not a fan of the storyline; it has no humor in it and I generally prefer less realism in my shooters.  (It's also a post-plague-apocalypse setting, which might not be great to play during the looming threat of COVID-19, but that didn't really bother me.)  I thought the gear stat system was kind of messy with too many stats, but it was just completely overhauled with the release of an expansion, and is probably more reasonable now.

I've got this one. The expansion has been somewhat negatively received. I'm waiting for a while to see if they smooth it out with patches before trying it again.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #668 on: April 15, 2020, 09:33:51 AM »
Hob.  I really liked this game.  It's primarily about solving puzzles through exploration, with a bit of combat and platforming.  Like Dark Souls, you form connections between parts of the world as you play.  Even more so than Dark Souls, the storytelling in the game is wordless, sometimes managing to convey a lot of emotion.  (Unlike Dark Souls, there is no focus on difficult combat or grinding for upgrades, and the atmosphere isn't quite as grimdark.)  The score was clearly written by a fan of Pink Floyd instrumentals.  The visual design isn't especially high-resolution but it's very pretty.

There are some imperfections.  There's one point early in the game where it sometimes crashes.  The game's commitment to not using language can leave the player lost at times.  (The map does provide some direction for the main plot and some help in finding secrets, but it's limited.)  The combat system and upgrade economy is okay but not amazing.

Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #669 on: April 28, 2020, 03:36:19 PM »
Wolfenstein: The New Order

I picked this up on a sale a couple years ago. FPS aren't my usual thing, but murdering a whole bunch of Nazis seemed like a good idea. I put it down because the game has a force-choice mechanic I found particularly frustrating. I won't spoiler specifics, but there are several points where you just have to play the way the game designers want you to. Like, one minute you're doing all your clever stealth things and the next you're in a massive gun battle. I finished it today because Reasons.

I resorted to spoilers/playthroughs a lot because otherwise it would've taken me endless hours wandering around to find the doodads. Some of them are worthwhile (increase max health) but most are just tickboxes that don't mean anything. Several of the fights are gimmicks where you have to do something that, as far as I could see, was completely non-obvious. Clearly other people figured it out so maybe it's just me.

Beyond the specific annoyance I found that the game had a number of things that would've been fun to do/explore except when there's a bullet storm heading your way it's a particularly bad time to, say, work on your headshots. The answer is always "more DPS".
« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 03:38:23 PM by Snique »

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #670 on: May 02, 2020, 08:45:15 AM »
Journey.  Another game committed to wordless storytelling.  It's a short, artistic experience, taking just a few hours to play.  The gameplay is almost purely focused on wanting to fly, making this perhaps the most beautiful rendition of the Pathfinder achievement ever.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #671 on: May 08, 2020, 02:27:21 PM »
Just Cause 4.  This seemed about as good as Just Cause 3, and I'm not sure why the reception was so mixed relative to 2 and 3.  The gameplay has been reshuffled a little bit.  Territory liberation happens through missions (which all follow a  templates) instead of destroying anything with a red stripe on it as it was in 3.  The bulk of the optional objectives in 4 are stunts, such as wing-suiting through three rings or passing through a ring in a vehicle at a certain minimum speed.  These are a little repetitive, but so was the endless cycle of liberating settlements by destroying all of the billboards and loudspeakers and fuel tanks in 3.

The main storyline was pure pulp as usual, but I thought it was decently executed.  There's a bit of an arc plot to Rico's serial revolutions, lending a tiny amount of depth to his character.  This installment didn't do anything to develop the enemy like they did with the Di Ravello tapes or propaganda broadcasts in 3; Espinosa appears only briefly in the game at the beginning and the end, as does his Black Hand henchwoman.

The game crashed maybe a dozen times while I played it, sometimes forcing replays of some missions.  It's hard to know whether that's a bug or a hardware problem (like a bad RAM area or something), since my rig is getting old.  One of the liberation missions (Robotica Raid) was too difficult, but I got it eventually.  Fundamentally, the core gameplay is fun for me, so I had fun playing the game.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #672 on: May 15, 2020, 01:13:14 PM »
Rime, a puzzle 3D adventure.  There are puzzles and climbing elements; there is no fighting, although there is sometimes danger.  The puzzles and climbing are all pretty simple, so this isn't too far removed from a walking simulator.  It's very pretty; the visual style reminds me of Ico (an old PS2 game).  There are a few supporting characters who are really nicely animated.  This game, like many in its subgenre, is too cool for anything so pedestrian as words, so I named the fox Yips, the big camera-with-legs Stompy, and the asshole bird Asshole Bird.  There isn't really a story, but there is an emotional arc to the game.  I didn't like it as much as Hob, but it was still pretty good.

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #673 on: June 28, 2020, 03:05:05 AM »
Greedfall

This is another essay copied-and-pasted from my blog.

Right now, the PS4 game that everyone is talking about is The Last of Us, Part II.

So I’m going to talk about GreedFall.

GreedFall, published by the French game company Spiders, is a story-based role-playing game in the same vein as Bioware’s Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises. The flow of GreedFall is the same:

– The game is story-driven, and you make decisions that affect the outcome of the story.

– The story is quest-driven, with both main-story quests and plenty of side quests.

– As you progress in the main story, you unlock sections of the world map. You can return to any section you’ve previously visited if you choose.

– In classic RPG fashion, you go up in level as you accumulate experience points from completing quests and defeating enemies. As you go up in level you gain points that you can spend on skill and talents.

– There are several skill trees from which you can choose abilities. You can specialize in one or two, or spread out your skill points. You can respec if you choose.

– You are introduced to a set of companions, from which you can select two to go along with you on your adventures.

– Each companion has two or three quests of their own. Completing those quests improves the companion’s relationship to you. You can establish a romantic relationship with one of your companions if you choose to pursue one. After completing a companion’s quest chain, they boost one of your talents if they’re in your party; this can be very useful.

– At the time you create your character, you have control over your character’s gender and appearance. Neither has any effect on game-play, except that some companions may have gender-based preferences for romantic relationships.

The story: You play De Sardet, a legate from the Merchant Congregation. The Congregation is one of the continental factions trying to exploit the resources and natives of the island of Teer Fradee. Your job is to balance the needs of the different factions (including those of natives, who have factions of their own). However, your primary goal is find the cure for a plague that’s ravaging the continent; since none of the natives contract it, the hope is that the island holds the key.

As you might guess from the name GreedFall, the spine of the story is the needs of colonizers versus the needs of the natives. The way the story is presented is… OK. It’s pretty easy to always choose the natives’ side, and that leads to generally favorable outcomes. That made the story fairly predictable, though there were occasional surprises.

One bonus in the story implementation is that each of your companions is associated with a different faction. If you think a bit about a mission, you can determine which companions might provide diplomatic solutions or additional options; e.g., bring Kurt of the Coin Guard if you’re on a mission that involves the Coin Guard. I don’t recall the Bioware games offering this benefit if you weren’t specifically on a companions’ particular quest.

I’ll idly note that if you choose to romance one of your companions, the resulting “bed scene” is rated PG. This contrasts with the soft-core porn of the romance scenes in Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Who would have suspected that a French game developer would be more restrained than a Canadian one?

At the start of the game, when you create your version of De Sardet, you get to choose an initial skill path: Melee combat, Magic, or Technology. I chose the last one, and gained some starting expertise in traps and rifles. This was a bit rough at the start, since those skills involve consumables (compounds and bullets) that I had to purchase. But as usual for these types of games, after a while the money started flowing and the defeated enemies dropped better stuff to sell.

By the end of the game, I had increased my skills and gear to the point where I was tossing long-distance large-area multi-effect grenades in battle. Not too shabby!

Companions in combat: The companions automatically level up as you do. You can improve their gear, but you can’t select the skills they have. You also have no way to control their tactics; they simply rush into battle and use whatever skills they’ve got. In Mass Effect and Dragon Age, you can coordinate your companions’ skills with your own to deliver combos; in GreedFall there are no combo effects.

As usual, I played the game on its easiest setting. As a result, I rarely had any serious difficulty getting through any of the combats. I explored every side quest I could, in an effort to level up and see as much as I could. It took me 62 hours to complete the game. I just hit level 37 at the very end, when the game concluded and the consequences of my story choices were revealed.

The end of the story does not suffer from the controversy of Mass Effect 3. In my game, all the factions liked me (and the companion I romanced (Siora, of course) loved me); I got the best possible ending or darned close to it. A few glances at YouTube videos shows a wide range of possible endings depending on your choices.

Overall: the next game in the Mass Effect or Dragon Age franchises is years away, if there will even be any more. GreedFall provides a reasonable light-weight substitute while we wait.
Bill Seligman
Alliance: Winston, Yungi, Pellinore, Tebyalyublyu, Theadora, Vasili, Winella, Winstonia
Horde: Grotar, Swiftslice