This week I have been mostly playing...

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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:59 pm

I swear, Illwinter could make the Dominions 1000% more accessible if they just put in an in-game wiki that had a detailed description of every unit, spell, and magical artifact. Let me be in-game and look at the in-game blurb for one of my national summoning spells to follow a link that takes me to that unit's stat page. Let me be able to look up the accuracy and damage formulas in game and check the math on a battle spell.
Steve C

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Steve C » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:24 am

They could make it 10000% more accessible if they did that + used the existing graphics for 'under the hood' testing, game balance etc. Then re-skinned the entire game with good graphics made by an art team. I personally believe that most strategy games should be built that way- make a fully functional version that looks like crap (-cough- Illwinter -cough-) then skin it into something beautiful. I'm not a programmer nor game designer though. So what do I know.
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Sudanna

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Sudanna » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:16 am

i think dominions looks neat and pretty :(

the ui is what i can only call brutalist and it's all lo-fi, but i don't mind lo-fi-ness as a style and the actual pixel art and maps are good. and in what other game can i be a fountain??

the placeholder graphics thing is a pretty widespread normal game dev practice, though.
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grahams_xwing
Location: Mansfield, UK

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby grahams_xwing » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:29 pm

Still playing Unepic - which is laced with pop culture references. Some are funny or unexpected and some are telegraphed so far away that you groan inwardly....
For example....Dr Zoidberg running across the screen past the character with no comment raised a chuckle, but later on there's a Ackbar 'It's a trap' gag which might have worked at the first trap in the opening area but half way through the game its bemusing. It's as if it got turned down as lame in a team meeting then the guy who came up with it sidled up to a level programmer half way through the dev cycle and got it snuck in.

However, the back and forth between the protagonist and his possesor mentor is very funny - your character does a good job of being an immature 17 year old sex obsessed nerd which infuriates your mentor to no end.

About half of the way through now. Weird difficulty levels in what is a very linear game. 1st 1/4 is simple enough, teaches you mechanics then adds in mini bosses and boss mechanics, then the 2nd 1/4 throws loads of poisoning enemies at you with almost impossible to avoid poison clouds and archers picking you off at range if you try to use your own ranged abilities. Now moved on to the 3rd 1/4 and it's a procession - no challenge at all, aside from a clever mechanic where vampire bats invade your inventory if they hit you and drain your HP from there. Weird game
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SleepingDragon

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SleepingDragon » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:59 am

@Steve C: Appealing perhaps, not accessinble. The thing is I'm pretty sure the devs don't want to aim for broader appeal, they're making games for a niche of aficionados and there is nothing wrong in playing to your strengths if you ask me.

I'm actually somewhat between games right now, Might and Magic X is broken, not sure I want to get into Shadow of Mordor yet.
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Charnel Mouse
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Charnel Mouse » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:30 am

SleepingDragon wrote:The thing is I'm pretty sure the devs don't want to aim for broader appeal, they're making games for a niche of aficionados and there is nothing wrong in playing to your strengths if you ask me.

Pretty much. As far as I can tell, Illwinter is two guys making games for themselves in their spare time, mass appeal just isn't on the radar. You might as well tell a wargame designer that hexes aren't eye-catching enough.

Personally, I like the graphical style, and Dominions 3's music, by Dråm, was really good.
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lurkey

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby lurkey » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:55 pm

Found "Symphony" in my GOG catalogue. Kind of like "Audiosurf", only you get a shooty ship shooting at annoyances instead of driving. Very much not a genre I like, but all all you need is to load up your Rammstein library and crack open a cold one and great time absolutely happens. Yay!
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Humanoid

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Humanoid » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:13 am

Finished Fire Emblem 7 ("Fire Emblem"). Overall pretty solid entry, definitely enjoyed it more than the damp squib that was Echoes. The writing, while fairly formulaic, at least doesn't suffer from the cheese-grater plotholeyness of Echoes or the sheer contrived idiocy of Fates. None of the maps will I remember as particularly rage-inducing (with the qualification that I did abuse save-states a number of times and that I read up on any potential gotchas before tackling each chapter).

My issues with it are generally issues that I have with the entire series as opposed to any specific shortcoming of this particular entry. Things like "ally" AI that is actively designed to troll you, weapon durability (which finally has been consigned to the trash heap over a decade later), reinforcement positioning that can't be reasonably anticipated, obscure "guide dang it" requirements to unlock bonus chapters and extra characters. The FE series has ton of cruft like this that the game succeeds in spite of, and the series would benefit immensely from a top-to-bottom review of its legacy mechanics which have been slavishly carried over from game to game seemingly for tradition's sake alone.

That said, I do have some specific complaints. The UI for these GBA-era games are pretty crappy, and only some of the UI issues can be explained by technological limitations. The combat preview pane is awkwardly laid out (I understand it's an artifact of Japan reading right-to-left but still, it could have been mirrored for the western release) There's no indication in-combat of when someone will be doubling, which is an issue for any combat you don't initiate (and in arenas). Worst though is the pre-battle preparations UI which turns a chore into an almighty struggle. Hell, pressing the down button when at the bottom of a list doesn't even take you back to the top of the list.

Furthermore, the support system is so impractical that it may as well not exist. To exhaust your conversation options you end up having to stand characters next to each other and then just spam the end turn button for 100+ turns (and then the game has the temerity to punish your "tactics" rating for it, because you're judged on how long it takes you to finish each map). I ended up getting exactly zero people past the "C" tier supports. Then there's the affinity system which isn't explained at all in the game, you need to look up the wiki to figure it out (and even then it's nigh-incomprehensible). Invisible "secret shops" which you access by standing on an arbitrary regular tile on the map. Being arbitrarily denied convoy access on certain maps, forcing you to destroy items if your inventory of five items is full.

Anyway, as is usual for me, I only tend to nitpick to this extent to games I've gotten properly invested in, so as I said before, my overall feeling on it is fairly positive. I'll definitely go on to play FE8 at the very least, but first, DOS2 awaits.
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Retsam

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Retsam » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:28 am

I've dabbled in a lot of Fire Emblems, but FE7 is definitely my favorite, and the only one I've technically finished. I basically finished 8, too, but got stuck in grinding (and then my GBA lost a fight with a bowling ball... while playing FE8).

The story is pretty solid; it's not an amazing fantasy story, but particularly by video game standards I thought it was pretty strong: it had some likable and memorable characters and had enough complexity that the world felt "lived in", (though not to the extreme of, say Final Fantasy Tactics).

And, I know it's sort of a controversial aspect, but I like that EXP is a serious commodity in the game; that you can't just replay levels until everyone is maxed out and you need to actually choose carefully who to level. It adds to the overall strategic aspect of the game: you've got to decide who you're going to level and how to divide up EXP, and you've got to find a balance in which units you pick: bring enough strong units to win, but enough weaker units so they don't fall too far behind in level. And it even has tactical ramifications: sometimes I'd make a riskier move in order to get a particular unit some extra EXP, a choice I wouldn't make in a game with grinding. It's not everyone's favorite feature, but it's fairly rare among games I've played, and I dug it.

---

Though I don't particularly disagree with any of the complains; I didn't have as much issue with the supports or the UI, but it was my first Fire Emblem, and yeah, there's a lot of "guide dang it". (The Fire Emblem classic of "these characters look identical, but secretly one of them has way better stats than the other, choose wisely", for example).

One bit I will disagree with is "None of the maps will I remember as particularly rage-inducing", because screw that desert level.
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Humanoid

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Humanoid » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:23 am

Yeah, that's a situation where the wiki saved me, such that I was able to simply fly down and kidnap the NPC then methodically clear the map. Desert movement sucks, yeah, but I'm a naturally a very slow and methodical player (as my 1-star rating on tactics attests to, and that's without arena abuse). Echoes' desert maps, where mages are still subject to the movement penalties, felt much worse.

EDIT: And of course I consulted the wiki for the map of all the buried treasure too.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Trix2000 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:28 am

Yeah, I'd put FE7 as one of my favorites, if only because Lyn is awesome. DODGE. EVERYTHING.

Retsam wrote:And, I know it's sort of a controversial aspect, but I like that EXP is a serious commodity in the game; that you can't just replay levels until everyone is maxed out and you need to actually choose carefully who to level. It adds to the overall strategic aspect of the game: you've got to decide who you're going to level and how to divide up EXP, and you've got to find a balance in which units you pick: bring enough strong units to win, but enough weaker units so they don't fall too far behind in level. And it even has tactical ramifications: sometimes I'd make a riskier move in order to get a particular unit some extra EXP, a choice I wouldn't make in a game with grinding. It's not everyone's favorite feature, but it's fairly rare among games I've played, and I dug it.
Yeah, I actually like it too, though I liked it a lot more in Path of Radiance when they also had some bonus EXP you could divvy out as you liked. Made it not so painful to raise certain characters, and it gave a little more leeway on that allocation without removing the limiting aspect.

As much as the ability to grind in 8 is kind-of nice, it does make the game a little easy after a while. I always felt like FE7 was particularly well-balanced and weighty, while FE8 didn't have quite the same impact (particularly with the final boss).
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Humanoid

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Humanoid » Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:51 am

I mostly had no issue with the way the game handled XP and I certainly didn't miss being able to grind. The game had enough of an inverse difficulty curve anyway and at the end it, all the mooks were rather trivial. This was on the default Eliwood normal mode of course, the locking of the player into a single difficulty setting until later replays being another questionable design choice.

I do note however that a lot of the boss fights were easily cheeseable and that the predominant strategy for handling them was to move a unit up next to them without attacking. Obviously this situation comes about because generally speaking your units cannot take more than one hit from the boss, but it just seems kinda wrong to be basically forced to just rely on retaliation to kill. I mean. it kind of undermines the gravity of the situation where you're meant to have some sort of epic confrontation but proceed to just stand next to the boss taking no action and then moving one tile away to complete safety in order to heal up should he hit you. The final boss ended up a complete anti-climax because of this.

Late, plot-driven promotions are another recurring issue with the games. It should never really happen that you're placed in a situation where, playing normally, you're incentivised to stop using your main unit because they're maxed out on XP and can't go any further until you pass a certain plot point.
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John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby John » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:34 am

Fire Emblem 7 was my introduction to the series. I played that game over and over again, to the point that I more or less burned myself out on the series. I got The Sacred Stones not long after and could only bring myself to beat it once, even though it fixed several things that annoyed me about the previous game. The support system has never particularly bothered me. It's kind of dumb, yes, but it's also inessential. The biggest problem is that it's just way too much effort for a couple of lines of dialog. Do supports even have mechanical effects? I can no longer remember. If there were mechanical effects, then they must have been pretty underwhelming. As for items/weapons in Fire Emblem, well, they don't make a lot of sense either, do they? I mean, I can easily believe that a silver weapon would break faster than steel one. The thing I can't understand is why it would do more damage. There's a reason that no non-decorative weapon in human history has ever been made of silver. In principle, I sort of like the resource-management aspects of the item system. "I'll use my regular weapon on these mooks and save the fancy one for that boss over there." In practice it was pretty annoying. The fact that you could only shop during combat drove me nuts. It successfully adds tension to the game, but it makes no kind of sense otherwise. If my characters have all this time to chat and whatnot between combats, then why can't one of them pop over to the store real quick-like? And for that matter what kind of responsible tactician would send one of his soldiers off to fight in the gladiators' arena while the rest of his troops are fighting for their lives? Yeah. So, um, in conclusion Fire Emblem 7 is a deeply compelling game with some really immersion-damaging systems.
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Humanoid

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Humanoid » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:17 pm

Yeah you get stat bonuses for being adjacent to your buddy. But who's going to even remember who's buddies with who and take that into account when positioning people every turn? At least in the newer games there's a visual indicator of supports when you have someone selected and are about to move them. Plus you can be buddies with a lot more people.

And yeah, the shopping system is ridiculous. Particularly notable is during the boat map, where the ship you're on has shops on it for some reason. Shops which are only open WHILE THE SHIP IS BEING BOARDED. And to make it even more convenient to shop there, the map has a time limit.
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JadedDM

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby JadedDM » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:22 pm

I just finished Final Fantasy 15. It was...surprisingly bleak and dark for a game that was initially about four boys on a road trip. Even the ending was kind of a downer.

Namely that Luna (the love interest) is killed off, Ignis (one of your party members) is permanently blinded and the game ends with the hero, Noctis, sacrificing himself. But this is after the world had already pretty much ended, a la FF6 (they even call it the World of Ruin).

Beyond that, I had fun with the game. I think I was seriously over-leveled by the end (64) because the final boss was no issue at all. I didn't even do 100% completion, not by a long shot, because there were a lot of quests that were super monotonous (especially ones that required you to do a hunt to get a drop, but the drop only appears 10% of the time).

Story wise, it was okay. Kind of disjointed. NPCs are introduced and then exit stage left and are never seen again. The big plotwist of Prompto's backstory just kind of came out of nowhere and then was promptly dropped and I'm still not even sure I understand it. He's a Magitek Robot? Huh? A lot of big and important events happen off-screen and we just hear about them later. I suppose that's to be expected in a game with such a troubled development period. It was probably a miracle this game got made at all, much less is as good as it is.

The summons were cool, but I only saw Shiva twice, Titan once, and Bahamut once (and that was a cutscene). I never summoned Leviathan and every other time it was just Ramuh. (Not even sure if you even can summon Ifrit.)

Still, in the end, it was a Final Fantasy game. So all the same tropes. Evil Empire, Good Kingdom, the second in command of the Empire is the true villain who is only using the empire to achieve his own nefarious goals, etc., etc. Kind of wish they'd try something else once in awhile.

Also, and this is totally just me nitpicking, but everytime someone said Iris' name, it bugged me. Why did they pronounce it so weird? (Ear-iss instead of Eye-riss.)
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Trix2000 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:47 pm

Humanoid wrote:Yeah you get stat bonuses for being adjacent to your buddy. But who's going to even remember who's buddies with who and take that into account when positioning people every turn? At least in the newer games there's a visual indicator of supports when you have someone selected and are about to move them. Plus you can be buddies with a lot more people.

The bonuses can actually be pretty useful, particularly those that boost avoid/hit. I think they were more noticeable in later games, but they were not insignificant bonuses.

That said, actually building them up in 7 was annoying because you had to keep people together (which it never tells you) and then have them talk when they happen to be ready (which it also doesn't indicate). So... it did need work, sure.

And yeah, the shopping system is ridiculous. Particularly notable is during the boat map, where the ship you're on has shops on it for some reason. Shops which are only open WHILE THE SHIP IS BEING BOARDED. And to make it even more convenient to shop there, the map has a time limit.

Even better, there are several secret shops that A) you need a certain item to even enter and B) are invisible on the map. They've got some great stuff, but good luck finding them all on your own.

Thankfully later games made this much less of an issue, up until they just decided "screw it" on durability in general.
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:45 pm

POKEMON SUN! Finally. I've named my main character Gai Shishioh so I can live out my GaoGaiGar dreams. However, I can't help but note as I go through the early bits, that the Fio idea is in serious danger of making too much sense. Damn you, Rocketeer, The.

Also it turns out I still don't grind much and blunder headfirst into plot battles I should have gotten a level or two more for.
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John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby John » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:55 am

. . . XCOM: Enemy Within. So I built some MECs (and also a SHIV, but that's much less interesting) and it's official: I love MECs. I'm still not convinced that MECs are essential or even necessarily all that good, but I don't care. I love big, stompy robots. I have always loved big, stompy robots, and MECs are big and stompy in ways that please me greatly. I love destroying cover. I love punching aliens to death. I love setting aliens on fire. I love jet boots so, so much. (They're wonderful. They're so wonderful I could cry. Why can't the stupid Archangel armor work this well?) I even love that MECs all sound like RoboCop.

MECs do have their drawbacks, though. The most serious of these is that they have terrible aim. I guess that's a balance thing. They're like Assaults with shotguns or Heavies in that you need to get them in close in order to take advantage of their high-damage weapons. (You'd think that they'd have better aim than their fatigue-able meatbag team-mates, but whatever. ) Fortunately, they also have several ways of dealing guaranteed damage, although most of these--the lone exception being the grenade launcher--also require them to get in close. As I said, I like the flamethrower and the big robot fist--excuse me, the "kinetic strike module"--but the electro pulse really let me down. That thing does not work as advertised. Not only did it not stun the sectopod, it didn't even do any damage! (Possibly the sectopod was out of range. I thought it was highlighted in red, but it was standing on a slope and XCOM doesn't always handle slopes very well.) I'll have to try the proximity mine launcher next time.

Speaking of sectopods, I HATE SECTOPODS. Did they get buffed for Enemy Within? Friend Google suggests that they did and now take 50% less damage. Brother, I believe it. In Enemy Unkown I was sometimes able to kill a sectopod in a single turn. Those days are long gone. I'm going to try an Ironman campaign soon, but the thought of going up against a sectopod without the ability to reload and try another set of tactics is rather terrifying. It does not help that the Hyperwave Relay is a FILTHY LIAR and almost always fails to mention that there will be a sectopod waiting to kill me.
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Humanoid

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Humanoid » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:55 pm

MEC aim progression per level is fixed, but they retain aim from their previous class. All classes except the Heavy have better aim progression than MECs. Consequently it's theoretically ideal to promote soldiers into MECs at high ranks, unless they're Heavies in which case a rank of Lieutenant or lower is preferred.

Any yeah, Sectopods were given 50% damage reduction. The Hyperwave Relay lies because of a limitation where it'd show, at most, seven different alien types. If more than that are present, then some will not be listed.
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John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby John » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:18 pm

Humanoid wrote:MEC aim progression per level is fixed, but they retain aim from their previous class. All classes except the Heavy have better aim progression than MECs. Consequently it's theoretically ideal to promote soldiers into MECs at high ranks, unless they're Heavies in which case a rank of Lieutenant or lower is preferred.

As luck would have it, the first two soldiers I augmented were a couple of Heavy squaddies. So that's nice. I wish I could claim it was deliberate min-maxing, but the truth is that I just had extra Heavies relative to the other the other classes.

Humanoid wrote:The Hyperwave Relay lies because of a limitation where it'd show, at most, seven different alien types. If more than that are present, then some will not be listed.

I did not know that. Thanks. It's taken me a while to figure out that the Hyperwave Relay output is sometimes less than complete because, uh, I usually forget to look at it.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:39 pm

Ive decided to go with waring some chosen.Its better than the vanilla xcom 2,but I still dont like it.The added options on strategic map are great.The bonds are also nice.The heroes you get from other "human" factions are great,and its nice how they arent quite the replacement of some units,but rather a mix of some of them.The improved leveling system is also a great addition,especially how you now CAN take those two useful things you wanted and completely skip the useless perk.Also zombies.You cant not like zombies.

But,with all that said,it still has the tactical combat of nu xcom,which I tolerated at first,but actively loathe now.And the zombies just amplify why I loathe it so.The mechanics they introduced with zombies is headshot,which allows you another action if you kill a zombie with a targeted attack.But then if you just wound them,you waste your chain.If you use a grenade,you waste your chain.So that chain can go from one shot to two whole magazines of your weapon.So they introduced this system of only two actions per each turn because "it was better than TUs of the old",and now they have introduced an enemy that not only completely negates their "better system",but goes to a ridiculous extreme.Ugh!If I didnt like these guys Id call them idiots.

Also,the new story and factions just makes me wonder even more why this game is on earth and not on the planet of the aliens.Because it would make much more sense if this was some other planet and you actually won the first game.
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Narratorway
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Narratorway » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:04 pm

So I finished the Lester Missions in GTAV last week and all three characters got in the high side of the hundred millionaire's club and just as I was about to start buying up shit...turns out there was one more mission I'd forgotten about.

GTA V has a bunch of 'random encounter' missions that aren't much more than picking up a random stranger and driving them to some destination while you have a conversation with 'em. That's it. One of these missions ends with said stranger giving you stock advice...and it turns out that even though I thought I'd already done it...I hadn't. Which means I still had one more shot to invest er'bodies now multi millions of dollars in one last slip of insider trading. This finally got me to break the 1 bil ceiling for one character:

Image

I would have figured Michael for a shoe-in to hit the top end, but unfortunately I already had him spending his dough on property before I realized I still had more cash to rake in. Not that it wasn't moot anyway. Once the money game was over, I instantly started a spending spree buying up all da properties, all da clothes, guns, cars, etc. And now...I'm finally playing the game the way it was intended.

Image

Doin dumb shit and causing chaos. Getting bored though. I wish I knew a crew to try the online game with, otherwise this'll prolly be going back into the ether soon to make way for Mordor.
Steve C

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Steve C » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:37 pm

I played Amazing Eternals. Despite the lackluster name* is actually pretty good. It's not my thing. It's game like Team Fortress 2 or Overwatch. It's free and worth checking out if you like that gameplay.

* (Another terribly named game from the makers of Warframe. Why do they suck so bad at names?)
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JadedDM

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby JadedDM » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:16 am

I just finished up Pokemon Gold. I've had it forever, but I never actually finished it before. I made it all the way to the end, even beating Red, despite my party only being level 48 (Red's party was in the late 70s). It took two tries to beat Red, which honestly is way less than I would have expected. I thought I was going to have to grind for weeks or just give up there and then, but a really good strategy and a well balanced team was all I needed: Meganium, Noctowl, Ampharos, Quagsire, Sudowoodo and Houndoom.

This now makes two Pokemon games I've played and completed (the other being Red version, which I've beaten several times now).
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Ringwraith

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Ringwraith » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:34 am

Red's certainly unexpected but exploitable if you know what's coming.
The remakes made him a much tougher customer, although Blue is also an absolute nightmare in that one too, befitting of his well-roundedness.

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