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Quintus

Video Game Thread II

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I played through FIREWATCH today.

 

I highly enjoyed it. The setting, environment and story were very immersive, and I thought that the game world was particularly well utilized in the story. Nice soundtrack too. Basically everything I expected it to be. My only real gripe is that, for £15, the game was too short (took me ~3 hours to complete). It does have a kind of staying power, though I can't see myself replaying it any time soon.

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2 hours ago, SzPeti42 said:

Thank you! :)

Nintendo wasn’t really a huge thing in our community, I don’t know if it was a Hungarian thing, or just us. Most of my friends started with the good old Commodore 64. The Disney World game sounds interesting as I haven’t been near to any real world Disney World, our post-communist idea of a theme park was one moderately good ferris-wheel, a slow and old wooden rollercoaster, cheap beer, and the saddest fable-train that I have seen. It was old even in the soviet era, and it has not changed one bit since. The fable part is just some random figurines made from polyurethane foams without much of their paint left. Oh, and the some music. From speakers older than my parents :D Later, they borrowed a Rollercoaster from Scotland that had one loop in it, so my cousin and I visited it once we’ve became 18.The legally drinking beer in a theme park part was the most interesting of all :D

 

This is my favorite post ever.

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Forgot to mention that I finished Rise of the Tomb Raider earlier this week. It starts out great but then gradually becomes samey and repetitive again, exactly like the last game. The MacGuffin was really good as well, so it is was doubly disappointing when it failed to live up to the early premise, they really wasted a fascinating idea. The biggest problem this reboot still has though is the reason the original fans play Tomb Raider in the first place: the tomb raiding. They're tiny, pitiful excuses for tombs compared to the vast labyrinthine chasms of the old Core games, it's bloody irritating actually. But worst of all, they're completely optional -  they have absolutely nothing to do with the main quest, which is cowardly modern development sensibilities BS.

 

Basically, the publisher obviously believes modern punk gamers don't want to be bothered with being forced to spend some extended time exploring and figuring puzzles out. They think the success of Call of Duty dictates that shootouts and set-pieces are never more than 10 minutes away. This mindset changes Tomb Raider into a gameplay experience it never was. 

 

If the next game does not make any attempt to weave the central storyline through the "challenge tombs" (urgh), I'll skip it. 

 

A pity in the end, because there's some really enjoyable time to be had with the latest entry, at least for the first few hours. 

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I'm close to wrapping up AC Syndicate. Been putting in a lot of grind to actually 100% the thing, which would be a first for me since AC II. I bought the Jack The Ripper DLC add-on but I think I've burned my interest in the game's mechanics for the time being. Might break up the mold with a couple smaller titles and then go back for the DLC.

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Got the platinum for Syndicate. Overall it's a solid AC entry, though I'm glad Ubisoft is taking a break to reevaluate the franchise. Just in time for Far Cry Primal, which I'll slot in front of other backlogged open world games. Before that though, I played through:

 

Firewatch

 

This was a really cool little "walking simulator." Some of the actual hiking and traversal was clunky, and the frame rate was quite poor at times, but the wonderful art direction and atmosphere makes up for it in spades. The actors play off each other perfectly and their characters are complex and interesting. Their dynamic carries the whole game, really, and even though it didn't end in the optimistic way I had wanted, it felt real for the characters. The mystery that broods and builds here actually got me really wrapped up and tense towards the end.

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Oh yeah, Nate’s theme at the end (and the beginning)! So they haven’t forgotten about it :)

From this, the story seems to be epic and emotional enough, and it’s always nice to hear Nolan North and Troy Baker together.

I’ve been busy with some stuff, so I haven’t finished RotTR, so I can’t comment on it fully yet.

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I've started 0 on my Gamecube 3 times but never finished it.  Was hoping to play through the series (I own 0,1,2,3,C:V and 4 all on the GC) but I got bored with 0 once I got off the train and into the science lab place and haven't returned to it in months

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Never really joined in on this thread before. Not sure why. After taking a break (of several years) from playing anything, over the better part of the last year I've gotten back into things. I'm one to commit to a single game until I've wrung every last secret and challenge out of it. There's this sense in which, given the time and effort that hundreds of people have put into the thing, I figure someone needs to check out all those details. I'm an open-worlder, too; one of my all-time favorites was Skyrim, which I played to death. I tend to go for as much real-time and complete reality as I can in those sorts of games, too. For instance, I avoid fast-traveling altogether. I want to get to know the world that these designers have put so much time and thought into, the same way I'd have to if I lived there. It's the closest thing to living out Aragorn's life experiences.

 

Since coming back to it, I've focused mainly on the early installments of the Assassin's Creed series, the Uncharted games (I recently finished the second one), and the first three Arkham games, which I felt were a phenomenal experience (particularly the second and third, which really opened the world up). I'm thinking on going after the new Tomb Raider next, although I didn't really enjoy the first in this new series all that much. I cut my teeth on the original Core games; the original TR remains high on my top 10 list. I still play through it every few years, just to remember the amazing feeling we had when it first came out, that sense of being deep underground and exploring all those ancient civilizations. The newer TRs just don't replicate that sensation any more. I like combat, sure, and the way it's handled in the Uncharted games does it pretty well. But TR should have the corner on the exploration thing, and it just doesn't any more. Disappointing. 

 

I may just hit the third Uncharted, then Arkham Knight. I've gotta do something while I kill time until this summer . . . when a new game will hit the shelves that I cannot wait to play. Discussion on that, however, will have to wait for another post. . . .

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The Uncharted games get that the 'exploration/treasure-hunting/action' genre should be fun. something that the 'rebooted' Tomb Raider apparently doesn't. There's something deeply disquieting about seeing a 16 year old girl brutally stabbed if you're not quick enough with a button-press, impaled on a broken tree branch etc. 

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15 hours ago, Quintus said:

Made a good start in Dragon's Dogma on PC. Got a good feeling about this one. 

  it's one of my favorite games after Dark Souls. Just make sure you do the expansion Dark Arisen dungeon

 

unfortunately the sequel will be  online multiplayer only

 

I've finished Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, so I'll move on to kingdom hearts 2,5

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Like some others here I'm a big fan of the original Tomb Raider series. I basically grew up with the classic Core games, TR4 I think being my first video game I ever played and TR3 being near the top of my list of "favourite video games of all time". I also played the early Crystal Dynamics trilogy obsessively (though I eventually ended up preferring the classics).

 

But I knew the rebooted series wasn't going to be for me ever since I saw the Crossroads trailer. Helicopters, explosions, crashing planes and tearing off mercenaries' faces with an axe just didn't ring with my idea of Tomb Raider at all. But as a TR fan, and out of curiosity, I went out and bought the game. 

 

I think my biggest issue with the last two games is the scripted gameplay, in particular where you have the illusion that you're in control when you actually aren't. Some cases in point (warning, minor spoilers):

  • TR2013, crossing the log near the beginning (video). Lara wobbles around and almost falls over, but the player's inputs have nothing to do with it. In fact the wobbling is all scripted, and it's impossible for the player to make Lara fall off the log at all. There is no danger and there is no reward, even though the game tries to make it look like there is.
  • TR2013, climbing up the radio tower (video). It's all well and good for the camera to show how high Lara is and how splattered she would be if she falls off, but you CAN'T fall off. Once again, it's all scripted and completely out of the player's hands. You just press "Up" and Lara climbs (and slips) herself.
  • TR2013, climbing up the Ziggurat (video). When I was playing the game, at precisely 6:59 in the video, I thought I would be able to make the jump up to the ice above Lara, without having to go right. So I tried it...only to see Lara jump to the left into the chasm below. Huh? I must've pressed the left button on my keyboard by mistake when I was meaning to jump up. Oh well. I reloaded the checkpoint and tried again, this time making sure that I was pressing up. But no, Lara jumps to the left again! And what I realised then was that the game had assumed that I would know to jump right and "warped" the controls to favour that jump. It didn't even allow me to try jumping up and seeing for myself that the gap was too big.
  • ROTTR, a good one I can remember is when the player gains control on the ledge right at the beginning of Syria. Before entering the dark pipe a message pops up on the screen saying something like "Press Ctrl to WALK and move Lara more carefully". Well, it turns out that unless you jump, Lara will not fall off the ledge. Whether you're running or walking, it doesn't make a damn difference. So wtf is the game telling me to move Lara more carefully?

These sorts of instances , where the player loses control of the character in favour of story progression, is something I absolutely despise in video games that are supposed to be "action-adventure". Why not just go all the way and make a movie instead? :sarcasm:

 

And another thing I wanted to mention is that, IMO, Core's idea of "exploration" and Crystal's idea of "exploration" are two entirely different thing. For Crystal, "exploration" means scouring huge spaces in order to find maps, documents, relics, deer, cave entrances, tomb entrances, mushrooms, eagle eggs and lanterns to be shot down for no reason whatsoever. For Core, "exploration" means figuring out how to go forward in order to complete the game. This type of exploration is virtually non-existent in the reboot games. For starters, you're always told where to go, either by looking on your map or following the big beacon in Survival Instinct. And getting there is basically no issue at all. It's usually just a matter of running over there, maybe with a bit of climbing, often having to pass through a batch of enemies. In both games there are a couple of puzzles on the main path, and that's the only time when you have to really think how to proceed, but these are fairly simple anyway and there are far too few of them.

 

Someone might say: "Well then don't look on the map and don't use Survival Instinct, if you want to figure out where to go next". But figuring out where to go is not the point. Figuring out how to go forward, is. In TR3, there's a level where you start off in a prison cell, with no weapons. And that's it, there's nothing else the game gives to help you "figure it out". No waypoints. The player of course knows where he/she has to go: out of this place! But the real game aspect comes from figuring out how to get out of this place. How to move forward, essentially. This is something I find extremely lacking in the recent games. At least the LAU trilogy had this element (from what I can remember!)

 

Anyway, there goes my rant. :)

 

When I have more time I'd like to pick up The Witness. I've heard very good things said about it and I'd love to dig my teeth into some puzzle-solving...

 

19 hours ago, Uni said:

I'm an open-worlder, too; one of my all-time favorites was Skyrim, which I played to death. I tend to go for as much real-time and complete reality as I can in those sorts of games, too. For instance, I avoid fast-traveling altogether. I want to get to know the world that these designers have put so much time and thought into, the same way I'd have to if I lived there. It's the closest thing to living out Aragorn's life experiences.

 

Yep, me too. It takes more time, but it makes the game world much more immersive for me. My first TES game was Oblivion, and I fast travelled everywhere. Eventually I came back and replayed it, but I avoided all fast-travelling, and it was a totally different experience!  :up:

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On 2/27/2016 at 2:53 PM, Koray Savas said:

Sorry, but not fast traveling is just stupid, in my opinion.

 

Because we choose a different style of play than you, it's . . . stupid. Okay. I guess. Still wouldn't change it for the world.

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Not being able to fast travel easily is the biggest reason I never finish Morrowind once I start. I don't like spending an entire evening trying to walk a mile. If I'm filling in the map, I won't fast travel, but there is no good reason to not fast travel once I've earned the ability to do so. 

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Truthfully, I think fast travel in games like Skyrim, Fallout 4, and other open world games is a symptom that the maps are too big for the stories they're trying to tell. There's too much empty space in between the places where the action happens. Game makers pride themselves on how big their maps are, as if world size is an indication of game quality. It's not, especially if every location ends up being the same. I understand that walking from Winterhold to Morthal gives great opportunity for random encounters and role playing, but sometimes I don't want to play an uneventful walking simulator. I just want to dump my pockets. 

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3 hours ago, Woj said:

Truthfully, I think fast travel in games like Skyrim, Fallout 4, and other open world games is a symptom that the maps are too big for the stories they're trying to tell. There's too much empty space in between the places where the action happens. Game makers pride themselves on how big their maps are, as if world size is an indication of game quality. It's not, especially if every location ends up being the same. I understand that walking from Winterhold to Morthal gives great opportunity for random encounters and role playing, but sometimes I don't want to play an uneventful walking simulator. I just want to dump my pockets. 

 

And if that's your purpose, then fast traveling is obviously the best option. If you were really there, though--I mean, if it were a real-life thing--and you were in Riften and wanted to travel to Solitude, you'd understand that it was going to take a while to get there, and you'd be ready for plenty of adventures along the way. That's why we play that way; we want the adventures, the time on the road, etc. For us, the maps come to seem too small after a while. We want more world to travel around in.

 

And honestly, it's not even that real a depiction of it. First off, none of us (I assume I can speak for others) actually travel at walking speed. The normal pace when you move forward is a brisk jog. And it's hardly to scale. A run from one end of Skyrim to the other (without stopping) would take no more than 30-45 minutes of real time, which translates to not much more than 24 hours of game time. One day to traverse the entire country. It's the size of a smallish city, really. And we would find it just as boring If there was nothing to do along the way. But they've packed every "mile" with caves, fortresses, ruins, barrows, and all manner of random encounters with creatures ranging from bears to dragons. It's a lot more than a simple "walking simulator" . . . if you choose to see it that way.

 

But that's the beauty of these games in the long run. You have all kinds of different ways to play, something to appeal to everyone. S'what makes it fun for all of us.

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I concur with all that has been said about the tomb raider games. I miss the old 'core' feeling.

 

Though in the new one the graphics are very fancy and the oportunity to use bow and arrows is very cool. But that's it i think.

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So I mentioned in my earlier post that there’s a game coming out this summer that I’m really looking forward to. I did a search to see if anyone’s been talking about it, and was surprised to find it hadn’t come up. There’s been a lot of buzz about it, especially as the release date gets nearer . . . and the more I hear, the more I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

 

It’s called No Man’s Sky, and it’s kinda tough to describe in a short summary. The essentials are simple: you survey different planets in a galaxy, mining and collecting resources in order to upgrade your ship, your suit, and your “multitool” (handgun/scanner/mining device). You can fly in combat against other fighters, set up trade routes, battle sentries and the like, but the primary purpose of the game is to explore. That’s the thing that makes this game extraordinary: it isn’t just open world. It’s open universe. It doesn’t provide a small area (like a country, such as in Skyrim) that you can move around in until you hit the borders and are automatically turned back. When you land on a planet, the entire planet is open to you. You could begin walking in one direction, and eventually—days or weeks later—you’ll come back to the place you started. Along the way you’d see all sorts of exotic alien wildlife that you can catalogue, identify and name yourself, and upload that information to the server so that the next person who visits and scans that planet or wildlife would see them identified by the names you’ve given them. You could become a specialist on one particular system, spending however long you wanted visiting the different planets and naming the hundreds of species you find on land, in the air, or in the oceans. (Whenever you name new planets or lifeforms you earn credits, which is one of the means of accumulating currency to purchase ships, resources, or whatever.) Or you could mine sufficient resources to upgrade your hyperdrive yourself, allowing you to warp to the next system and start exploring there, and so on and so forth.

 

But if there are millions of people playing the game online, how could there possibly be enough worlds to share around? The designers’ approach—using procedural generation, similar to Minecraft—allows all of this to “exist” as mathematical formulas that only render when objects are within the range of the player’s sight. That allowed them to create a galaxy similar in size to our own (with roughly 100 million stars) with one or more planets around every one of those stars. And reportedly there are other galaxies you can eventually reach as well, with millions more stars and planets to find. It’s estimated that the final rendering of the game will feature something in the neighborhood of 450 quadrillion worlds (that’s 450 x 1015, or 450 followed by 15 zeroes)—plenty enough space for everyone to have a corner of the universe to call their own. And all of them are unique, generating lifeforms that don’t exist anywhere else.

 

It’s an astonishing feat of programming and imagination . . . and perhaps the most amazing thing about it is the size of the group that’s done it. Most studios that create open-world games like The Elder Scrolls, Assassins Creed, and the Batman Arkham games employee 700-800 designers, animators, and programmers to create worlds that are limited in scope but replete with detail. Hello Games, the developers of No Man’s Sky, is a studio made up of exactly . . . four people. Four people mapped out and generated the means to fashion an entire universe that replicates itself based on a wide range of consistent variables. I’m not a programmer myself, so that kind of thing is something I find absolutely gobsmacking.

 

So if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to play a game that combines the Star Trek notion of exploring completely (and literally) uncharted worlds with the sort of outer-space battle elements of  Battlestar Galactica in a Star Wars-sized galaxy (with technology design very similar to the last two) . . . looks like this is going to be your game. The video below is my personal favorite of the teasers so far, showing a bit of the scale, the variety of ship designs, and—most significantly—some idea of the breadth of the playing field. Keep in mind as you watch the camera pull out at the 2:22 mark that every star that you see zooming past has its own solar system waiting to be explored. Mind boggling.

 

 

 

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Ah yes, No Man's Sky. As soon as I saw that first reveal in the VGX awards I knew I had to get my hands on this game. But I've been waiting for the release so long now that I've almost completely forgotten about it!

 

By the way, if anybody wants to see what a procedurally-generated universe looks like, I heartily recommend SpaceEngine. It's essentially a piece of software which lets you fly around a huge universe, filled with billions of procedurally-generated galaxies, each filled with billions of star systems, many of which contain procedurally-generated planets. The guy who created it is a physicist and has tried to make the world as scientifically accurate as possible. It's not really a game since it doesn't feature any gameplay, but still it's fun to fly around in (and stunning to look at). I like to use SpaceEngine when I'm listening to a podcast or piece of music for example. And, what's more, it's free to download!

 

 

 

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I think the fact that No Man's Sky is made by such a small studio is its biggest opportunity for failure. This game has been delayed for so long who knows what state it's in. At E3 they said they would announcing the date "soon." It's been 8 months since then.

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