This week I have been mostly playing...

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Ringwraith

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

Postby Ringwraith » Fri May 26, 2017 10:30 am

Because the lightning sword doesn't scale.
It ignores your normal attack value, and because resistance is static, magical attacks hurt.

By the way, if you're worried about it being too easy, there is a map that gives you a bit of a problem to solve later, making it clear this is a Sign of Things to Come.
Actually ends up having two styles by the point I'm at, a mix of the usual slightly more strange Fire Emblem maps and open pitched battles.
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Thomas

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

Postby Thomas » Fri May 26, 2017 1:13 pm

Finished Tales of the Borderlands and my relationship with Telltale is now officially Love-Hate.

First the Love:
Telltale are the most prolific producers in one of my favourite genres.

They introduce me to interesting IPs. I've never played a Borderlands game and I still loved this one.

It was fantastic playing a game that wasn't a bajillion hour open world experience. I finished it before I was tired of it!

TotB is basically Guardians of the Galaxy before Guardians of the Galaxy.

I really enjoyed picking the dialogue options I thought would be funniest rather than dialogue options that lead to Consequence. Picking which action scene looked the coolest is decent, but I could live without it.

A lot of the writing was strong. The end twist got me

The ending was exactly the kind of interesting, but ultimately aesthetic consequence that rewarded me for my relationship with characters but didn't punish me by giving me a rubbish story.

But the hate:
Telltales model of cranking out games continually and relatively cheaply is burning me out and it's preventing their games from having some of the quality I want. It works - they've been reliably independent even when the market has been hostile to it, but the consequences are rubbing.

Telltale games are so tropey, that you begin to feel you are reacting to the Telltale tropes rather than the games themselves.

Telltale games are rubbish at letting you inhabit a character. Most of the time you're watching a film on screen and pressing buttons to make it continue. I don't want more Choice and Consequence, in fact above and below I'm hinting that I could do with a little less. What I want is more chance to actually be in the protagonists shoes. For a walking simulator, there's almost no actual walking in Telltale games. I'm thinking of moments like choosing to sit on a bench and watch the sunset in Life is Strange, or walking through the towns in Dreamfall or waking up in your house in Heavy Rain.

This has actually got worse since The Walking Dead. In that game you spent a lot of time wandering round compounds doing puzzles. When they realised people weren't interested in the puzzles they got rid of the scenes all together instead of _removing the puzzles but keeping the chance to explore your space.

This is hindered by the cheapness of Telltale games. Life is Strange is beautiful and watching the sunset in it is beautiful. Tales of the Borderlands is not beautiful.

But the cheapness even makes the act of walking unpleasant. Your characters move too slowly. When you activate the sonic eye, you're not looking from the position your character is standing. The camera angles are awful and hide the environment. In Tales of the Borderlands they didn't even have an animation for your character walking down stairs so they had to _cut around it_ every time.

I'm also sick of Telltale games killing of their characters. There comes a point where if your stories are just chasing the thrill of a character death, they're not good stories and ultimately they feel pretty meaningless. This has put me off some of the Song of Ice and Fire books somewhat. I don't want to care about Telltale side characters any more just to see them die. I was sad to lose one of the more entertaining villains early on. There was a fakeout death that got me, but backfired because by then I wasn't sad about the character, I was annoyed at the thought of wasting my investment in yet another Telltale character.

On a smaller note, I did not buy into the Sasha romance at all. She's like 15 and Fiona and Rhys being in a position of equal rivals is a way more traditional set-up. Plus Fiona is more interesting and controlling both sides of the relationship would be super unique. One of the great things about games is, if I don't buy something like that, they can switch to a platonic friendship and fit the story to the players engagement. But TotB doesn't do that, right up until the end credits it's going 'Hey, come in, she's in her first prom dress - are you sure you aren't interested?'

Finally, on the smallest note. The customisation options were a neat idea and I'd love a game that went more in on that (They Remembered That And You Get A Hat is a consequence I'm totally down for). They almost got it right, but the lack of flexibility and the fact you don't get to inhabit your characters much hurt.


So I don't know. I want to replay it immediately because it was funny and I want to unlock more characters for my megazord. But I also don't want to touch it again. Love-Hate
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4th Dimension

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

Postby 4th Dimension » Fri May 26, 2017 2:37 pm

Yeah, Tales is LOADS of fun for me, but mechanically it's a mess. I mean there are stupid interface things that have been solved before but this time they just didn't bother. For example there is no way to skip dialouge with can get fucking annoying if you are replaying some section after failing a QTE and simply want to get on with it, or have already heard the conversation.
But for me it was mostly love of characters, to the point when I played the Tales of the Borderlands 2, I actively hated the ones that took a character from us. I didn't give a crap about their stupid problems. They took our, MY team member from me so FUCK THEM and FUUUUUCCCKKKK his stupid bird.

As for Sachsa, I went with it since it's like there, allthough I didn't notice really that she is really young or anything. She seemed couple years younger than Fiona who is in like her 20s?
But I did like Fiona/Rhys relationship where you know that at any moment they are totally down to try to screw the other one over about the big score but still are bound to fight together.

For me it's the Gladys?(little bot we rescue) and Loader Bot ("I will name my first born after him") that took the show.
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Wide And Nerdy

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

Postby Wide And Nerdy » Fri May 26, 2017 4:48 pm

Finished Ori and the Blind Forest. If anything it feels a bit short.

What this needed is some remix of the existing mechanics. Every section was a new mechanic and while there is something to be said for that, I think they went too far in terms of never reusing the same gimmick twice. I'd have liked to revisit some of that stuff remixed with other things.

Tried Mirror's Edge for the second time. I still find the controls cumbersome. I'm not going to bother.
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Narratorway
Contact:

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

Postby Narratorway » Fri May 26, 2017 4:53 pm

Ironically enough took a break from Witcher to install Mirror's Edge again and beat it in like five hours. That game is a loooot shorter than I remember it being...as well as looking damn good for a game made eight years ago.
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bitterpark

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

Postby bitterpark » Fri May 26, 2017 5:27 pm

More JA2 accounts nobody cares about, yay.

Finished off Drassen, and placed an order at Bobby Ray's pretty much the second the last body hit the airstrip: two drums of .45 AP ammo and the all-important crowbar, to ship overnight. Would have been nice to get more, but the shipping costs an arm and a leg, and the selection sucks anyway.

Talked to Carmen and picked up the headhunting side-gig while waiting for the package, which finally delievered just as the army was starting to encircle Drassen, and we were ready to officially abandon the city.

Grabbing the one assault rifle we'd found, every shitty trophy sidearm and mag, all the explosives and medical supplies, and anything else remotely valuable, with soldiers hot on their heels, the guys slipped out of Drassen and started the march West, picking up Dimitri at the rebel base, officially endowing the team with a much-needed mechanic.

Made it to San Mona and immediately encountered one of the terrorists on my bounty list, Annie "Matron of Mayhem" (MOM), just hanging out in the first bar we'd gone to, pretending to be an investigator from Scotland Yard.

The showdown threatened to turn ugly, as she opened up full-auto fire in the enclosed space of the bar (annoyingly, the game makes it near-impossible to get the drop on a terrorist, even if you put a guy right behind the person and order him to fire a burst at their head at point-blank range - they just feel it with their spidey-sense and get to go first). Luckily, she missed most of her shots and didn't kill anyone, and MD got in close and slit her throat, marking the first (and the last) time his Knives skill would be used.

We'd gotten the outlaw's head for the bounty, but the main reward was her gear: a pristine G3A3 assault rifle, to add to the empty one we'd been lugging around since Drassen, but this one had a few 7.62s loaded and a whole spare mag(!) of 20 more ready to take on the world. MOM also had multiple frags, tear and mustard gas grenades I'd given to Sidney to throw with his lacrosse arm - if only we'd had these babies back in Drassen, that battle could have gone very differently.

Hocked all the trophy shit to Tony, admired his fine selection of used Czechoslovakian smgs and non-lethal ammo for guns we don't have, and stopped briefly at the abandoned mine on our way out of town. I'd never actually checked it out in any of my playthroughs, and I figured there must be SOMETHING down there, why would they put a location in their videogame with nothing in it.

And, wouldn't you know it, at the furthest corner of the mine there was $30000, cash, just sitting there, not even locked. Free money. And just when the financial situation was starting to look grim: with a little over 2 days left on the mercs' contracts, and about $5000 on the account, I was starting to worry I couldn't take Chitzena in time. This treasure couldn't have appeared with better timing. There was also a ladder out of the mines nearby, but I didn't really care to check it out, it probably just leads to some outhouse or something, who cares.

Barely giving the team time to rest and heal up after the long trek, I'd finally moved into Chitzena, and it's liberation had highlighted some worrying shortcomings in my setup. The guards were all just redshirts, armed mostly with pistols, and anyone holding anything remotely rifle-shaped was picked off as first target priority. But the game had moved into the stage where all the enemies have body armor forever and AP becomes the default ammo type for everyone.

The main backbone of the team's arsenal was the Tommy Gun: with above average range and a formidable drum mag of 50 bullets, it can almost be used as a baby LMG in the sheer volume of led it spits out. And even Ira can hit her mark if she fires 12-15 rounds a turn.
But all the body armor reduced the impact of those .45 slugs to a gentle tickle, so much so that even burst fire at close range couldn't kill them off, and we'd gotten badly beat up freeing the first sector of Chitzena.

I let the team heal and recover for as long as I could afford before moving on to the next sector, and geared for war, loading those AP drums I'd ordered back in Drassen, as well as all the 9x19mm AP mags we'd salvaged here and there. But the second sector drained nearly all of it up (save for the G3A3 bullets that I'd treasured and only fired when all else failed), and no good replacements turned up, showing the worrying prospect of having to fight an armored force using only smgs with "gray" bullets.

Beaten and underequipped, it was starting to look like I'm in dire straits, and the Chitzena mine only provided $3000 a day, which was less than my mercs' total daily rate. At this point, I was starting to consider going on the defensive: digging in at the town, replacing my top-tier dudes with M.E.R.C. losers and training them up until they could put up a real fight.

But I had a plan to get the edge we desperately needed: use that $30000 we found in a cave to hire a sniper. Charlene "Raven" Higgens was the ideal candidate: affordable, sufficently skilled, and she could bring her own rifle, chambered for the 5.56 caliber - the only rifle caliber we had in abundance. I could hire her, and still have enough left over to sign two of my three mercs on for another week.

With a sniper backing up the team, I could plan to attack further: move south to try taking on the mine in Grumm, or even consider slowly retaking Drassen.

Unfortunately, this was not in the cards: by the time my mercs' current contracts were up for renewal and I was ready to bring in a replacement for one of them, Raven went on another assignment, destroying all my plans. And La Malice refused to sign for another week, leaving me one star player short, with a total team of five.

I needed to find another star killer, and I needed them urgently: San Mona's own Kingpin sent me a friendly mail wondering when I'll be returning his $30000, plus 25%. Apparently, he thinks he's dealing with some kind of a girlscout squad, threatening to send men after me if I don't pay. Fortunately, the old man gave me 48 hours to come see him, which is just enough time to bring in a new merc, heal up and get ready for an assault on his mansion.

Grumm and Drassen will have to wait: if the Kingpin wants to kill us, well, we'll just have to kill him first.
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Trix2000
Location: California

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

Postby Trix2000 » Sat May 27, 2017 6:46 am

Wide And Nerdy wrote:Finished Ori and the Blind Forest. If anything it feels a bit short.

What this needed is some remix of the existing mechanics. Every section was a new mechanic and while there is something to be said for that, I think they went too far in terms of never reusing the same gimmick twice. I'd have liked to revisit some of that stuff remixed with other things.

Did you try going back to collect everything? I feel like it helped me feel like I got plenty out of the experience.
Steve C

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

Postby Steve C » Sat May 27, 2017 9:02 pm

BTW I found out Endless Space 2 fixed the problem. Blockading a system now results in enemy ships being delayed for a turn. They don't have to clear the blockade.
Ninety-Three

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

Postby Ninety-Three » Sun May 28, 2017 12:09 am

I've now played Endless Space 2 for 20 hours. I still don't fully understand it, or even partially enjoy it. In between I've been playing Stellaris and Endless Legend, both of which I have over 200 hours on, and both of which I would rather play instead. Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm pretty sure ES2 is just bad, I've given up and uninstalled.
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Andrew

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

Postby Andrew » Sun May 28, 2017 1:31 am

Ninety-Three wrote:I've now played Endless Space 2 for 20 hours. I still don't fully understand it, or even partially enjoy it. In between I've been playing Stellaris and Endless Legend, both of which I have over 200 hours on, and both of which I would rather play instead. Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm pretty sure ES2 is just bad, I've given up and uninstalled.

Could you elaborate on how you think it might just be a bad game? I've also just bought it and considering a refund (as you'll see in the Video Games in Space thread) so any new perspective will help!!!

Aside from that, I also picked up Planet Coasters over the weekend. I've only played 2 hours but I am loving it. I can easily see myself wasting countless hours dicking around in Sandbox mode, let alone all the Career mode and Challenges they have. It's a hefty investment at 45USD but I think I can make this one work.
Ninety-Three

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

Postby Ninety-Three » Sun May 28, 2017 2:26 am

Andrew wrote:
Ninety-Three wrote:I've now played Endless Space 2 for 20 hours. I still don't fully understand it, or even partially enjoy it. In between I've been playing Stellaris and Endless Legend, both of which I have over 200 hours on, and both of which I would rather play instead. Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm pretty sure ES2 is just bad, I've given up and uninstalled.

Could you elaborate on how you think it might just be a bad game?


For starters, I've played for 20 hours and I still don't understand basic features like "How do I invade planets?" (it seems similar to Stellaris where you have to win the war in space then invade with ground troops, but I don't know and can't find how you invade with more than the paltry amount of ground troops carried as default crew on your military ships) and "What does all this political faction stuff actually do?" (as far as I can tell, it's a hideously elaborate interface for giving you access to new laws, all of which cost way too much influence to actually enact unless you focus heavily on influence production). So it's a monstrous combination of complicated and hard to learn, and I'm saying this as someone who had no complaints about the learning curve on Stellaris.

But even after the learning issues, it's just not good. Combat is literally "Throw your doomstack at their doomstack and press the autoresolve button", there's no manual mode on fights. This means that war pretty much comes down to a contest of "who has more production to pour into shipbuilding?", which is the most boring thing I can imagine. The tech tree also has problems. Most games have a decent number of techs that grant passive bonuses, but in ES2 the main bonus of most techs is "unlocks a new building to build", which means that science-heavy playstyles are actively terrible: if your science outstrips your ability to actually build what you're unlocking, all the extra science is essentially sitting unspent, wasted.

The final issue is half a problem with the game being terribly explained, and half an issue with "I think it's just terrible": Unlike Endless Legend, I don't feel like I'm working towards a goal when I play. It's just "I guess I'm going to unlock and build some more buildings, to have a more powerful economy, to unlock and build even better buildings", I don't feel like I'm really choosing a direction, and it doesn't light up the "Fiddly optimization problem" center of my brain like Stellaris does.
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The Rocketeer

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

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun May 28, 2017 7:34 am

Officially inaugurating my new controller by putting it through its paces with the most blazing, input-demanding title this side of Mushihimesama: Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia. /sarc

I haven't played the game in many, many years, to the point where it's regained a lot of its freshness as an experience. Either it or Atelier Iris was the first Gust title I played after being introduced quite favorably to the brand by Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis. I did, however, play Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica recently enough to have bitched about it here. Which is to say, I basically did nothing but bitch about At II and its shortcomings. Yet I did so from a place of fond, if quite vague, recollections, of its predecessor, which I'm now testing.

So far, I'm finding it somewhat bland, but I'm willing to give it a bit of line. I'm not that far into the game's plot; I'm still in so-called Phase I, in which the game is basically still teaching a lot of mechanics, establishing the setting and threat, and giving you enough exposure to the two female leads to choose which of them you want to go with for the major road cone that kicks off Phase II. Even though I'll probably end up picking Shurelia in the end (and only because Krusche's not an option). I went with Jacqli in Metafalica, too. What can I say? I'm all about that GOD POWER, son. Mechanically speaking, all of these Gust titles tend to start off bland as dry oats and slowly develop into some sort of tight clusterfuck, which makes all of them feel especially damn slow when you can't help but unconsciously compare them to the frantic endgame of a different Gust title. Finally, the game is pretty fucking primitive, but I understand these titles are made on a budget, and I'm pretty easy on production value in general.

The one thing that rankles me is that the protagonist, Lyner Barsett, is about as blandly stereotypical stupid anime protagonist as they come. Not that I'm well-versed in the form, but he may be the stupidest incarnation of this archetype I've ever witnessed, from the very beginning. I couldn't really exaggerate it if I wanted to, and I suspect it's beyond my ability to accurately convey without coming off as hyperbole. More than once, he forgets critically important information the very next line after learning it, or immediately ignores it and has to be saved from getting himself killed by the nearest person with a double-digit IQ. A major part of his dynamic with another character is informed by Lyner apparently having forgotten several years of his own life, as if he were a human Timex Sinclair 1000. Lyner is so braindead that it's doubly surprising when, in exactly the manner these bland, passive fuckup protagonists typically never do, he stands up of his own volition and says, "Whoa, hold up, I'm wasting my goddamn time here! I have an important quest I need to get back to. Peace out."

That actually ties in with one thing I do like about the game so far: it's fairly well-plotted, with each subsequent event being motivated by sensible needs or wants of the characters, rather than by suspending those things or by forcing things along with a series of crises out of left field. Which is why my frustration with Lyner is ultimately pretty negligible: it mostly causes him interpersonal grief, and he manages to stay on the ball when it comes to managing his priorities, chief among which is "the main plot of the game." This is all, of course, in total contrast to At II, which had a narrative like Gogol's diary after a trip through the washing machine.

We'll see how it develops.

I also want to plug the game's music a little. Most of it is typical Gust soundtrack, which tends to all run together, but when they realized they were building a game around the concept of music-as-magic, they must have been stung by the compunction to compose some actual music. The game plays one of its strongest cards right off the bat with the track for the demo. It's very seldom I start the game without listening to the first minute of that track.
Last edited by The Rocketeer on Sun May 28, 2017 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ringwraith

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

Postby Ringwraith » Sun May 28, 2017 8:07 am

Gust's music is really good!
Admittedly, it's quite often when they surprise you by shifting tone quite suddenly or a vocal track of some description pops up that really shows off.
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The Rocketeer

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

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun May 28, 2017 9:58 am

Gust tracks tend to be really catchy in the moment, and disappear from my mind once the game is shut off— with a few exceptions that I can't stop hearing no matter how hard I bang my head on the wall. The Ar tonelico track linked above is unique in that it stuck in my mind with clarity for the better part of a decade. What makes them run together is that Gust pretty clearly has one suite of music creation software that their two composers use for all their games, and, irrespective of their talent for highly hummable ear worms, they stick to a pretty consistent repertoire of tones, styles, and instrumentations. The instrumentation in particular stands out; when you record a given instrument in real life, it can sound any of a multitude of ways at the whim of the musician (us musical types call that 'timbre,' kiddos). But when you're using Gust's bargain-basement "My First Soundtrack" toolset, that goddamn flute sounds the same in every track in every game it's used in over the span of a decade.

But what you say is right on the mark: whenever they splurge on something unique, especially any track with vocal work, they tend to outdo themselves. It really helps to sell the drama of the moment; if Gust coughed up money for it, you know it must be important! Especially in a setting where song itself is a cornerstone of the world and an inherently powerful, symbolic act.
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Ringwraith

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

Postby Ringwraith » Sun May 28, 2017 1:22 pm

Their plot-relevant, constructed-language songs tend to be pretty good in the Ar games, which carried over to spiritual successor Ar nosurge, even when it's not using new fictional languages. Although I quite like large chunks of Ar nosurge's soundtrack, as it leans into setting of an adrift colony ship with the music sometimes, or just really nails the combat tunes when you're cutting through waves of foes.

Of course there's the infamously good Mana Khemia track that keeps coming back as an option for later Atelier games, and sometimes gets an update.
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Humanoid

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

Postby Humanoid » Sun May 28, 2017 3:41 pm

Finished up the first act of Echoes. Safe to say my experiences so far have been ...not good. Whereas the earlier battles had been shallow, repetitive but mercifully short, the climactic battle of the act is shallow, repetitive and torturously long.

The setup to the fight even lies to you, with the pre-fight dialogue suggesting a non-existent enemy counter-charge is happening to start the battle. In the end, instead of some sort of epic castle assault, you end up just creeping around the side, taking fifteen turns to even get within range of the first enemy, then holding off their blob of units (because that's how this game rolls) by standing a your tank on a one-tile chokepoint and waiting ...and waiting ...and waiting. And of course the cacking Dick Dastardly villains escape in a cutscene, because of course they do. The game has a serious pile-up of them, because at this point I count eight active ones.

I want to turn down the difficulty to normal, not because the game is in any way hard, but because it's just so drawn out. But where I could have sworn the option to do so existed in the previous games, I don't see it here.
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Ringwraith

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

Postby Ringwraith » Sun May 28, 2017 5:24 pm

Only in Fates can you change the difficulty down.
That's still basically the tutorial, mind.

Plus you didn't want to fight that bad guy that escaped, did you even see his defence? Good luck doing anything more than one damage, and more than five in a turn.

There's a definite split in styles of fights though, pitched open field mob battles and slightly more esoteric arrangements in tighter quarters.
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Retsam

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

Postby Retsam » Mon May 29, 2017 1:45 am

Ninety-Three wrote:
Andrew wrote:
Ninety-Three wrote:I've now played Endless Space 2 for 20 hours. I still don't fully understand it, or even partially enjoy it. In between I've been playing Stellaris and Endless Legend, both of which I have over 200 hours on, and both of which I would rather play instead. Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm pretty sure ES2 is just bad, I've given up and uninstalled.

Could you elaborate on how you think it might just be a bad game?


For starters, I've played for 20 hours and I still don't understand basic features like "How do I invade planets?" (it seems similar to Stellaris where you have to win the war in space then invade with ground troops, but I don't know and can't find how you invade with more than the paltry amount of ground troops carried as default crew on your military ships) and "What does all this political faction stuff actually do?" (as far as I can tell, it's a hideously elaborate interface for giving you access to new laws, all of which cost way too much influence to actually enact unless you focus heavily on influence production). So it's a monstrous combination of complicated and hard to learn, and I'm saying this as someone who had no complaints about the learning curve on Stellaris.

But even after the learning issues, it's just not good. Combat is literally "Throw your doomstack at their doomstack and press the autoresolve button", there's no manual mode on fights. This means that war pretty much comes down to a contest of "who has more production to pour into shipbuilding?", which is the most boring thing I can imagine. The tech tree also has problems. Most games have a decent number of techs that grant passive bonuses, but in ES2 the main bonus of most techs is "unlocks a new building to build", which means that science-heavy playstyles are actively terrible: if your science outstrips your ability to actually build what you're unlocking, all the extra science is essentially sitting unspent, wasted.

The final issue is half a problem with the game being terribly explained, and half an issue with "I think it's just terrible": Unlike Endless Legend, I don't feel like I'm working towards a goal when I play. It's just "I guess I'm going to unlock and build some more buildings, to have a more powerful economy, to unlock and build even better buildings", I don't feel like I'm really choosing a direction, and it doesn't light up the "Fiddly optimization problem" center of my brain like Stellaris does.



I'm enjoying it quite a bit, as a counter-point to "it's a bad game". It's complicated, but I like that. Part of it is just that learning new systems is a huge part of where I draw my enjoyment from games, so "it's complicated" isn't really a downside to me. I do think their tutorial prompts could use some work; frankly the "explain as you go" method is somewhat questionable in general, and their's seems like it could still use some quirks ironed out.

Your fleet should generally be enough to invade a planet; orbiting your fleet around the planet will wear down their manpower over time, too, but if you've got a decent sized fleet I've skipped that step. If you're having issues, you might check that your fleets are actually full on manpower before you invade; you might have a manpower shortage. (Orbit your fleets around your planets to refill their manpower) You might look up the faction you're attacking; like Endless Legend some of the factions have pretty major quirks to them; I'm not sure if one of them would be inherently tougher to invade.

Combat is pretty automatic, but that's not really a bad thing in my book. I'm pretty sure combat is what turned me off Endless Legend; in theory it was interesting, but in practice I found it to be mostly busywork... but busywork that I felt obligated to do, or else take unnecessary casualties. Even when I really like the combat (e.g. Age of Wonders), manual combat tends to bog the game down.

Politics is interesting for a couple reasons: for one, I think it's the usual "anti-blobbing" mechanism that's a pretty standard 4X practice: politics is easy when everyone is in the same party, but once you get a diverse empire with a bunch of different pops in it, keeping everyone happy is trickier, and I think you'll start having more factional strife once that happens.

But the bit I find more interesting is that politics is driven by your actions. Some of the high level laws are pretty potent, but in order to enact them, that political party needs to maintain control of the senate, and since parties gain or lose power based on your actions, that means that you've got to perform actions that match that party. It's at least an interesting solution to the problem of having, say, pacifist empires. Instead of either hard limits - like pacifist empires can't declare war - or fixed penalties, it's sort of dynamic soft limit. Sure, you can declare war, but if the war runs too long your pacifists might lose power.

And I don't think I've ever played a 4X game where you can just go "straight science" and don't need to balance your science with production so that you can actually build things with your science, especially in the early game. It doesn't have a ton of passive effects, but that's not too out of the ordinary; as I remember it's largely identical in that regard to Endless Legend's research.

Anyway, I'm not really far enough to say that all these systems work together, in practice, but it's kept me interested well enough so far. (I just haven't had much time to dedicate to it)
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Humanoid

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

Postby Humanoid » Mon May 29, 2017 5:21 am

Ringwraith wrote:Only in Fates can you change the difficulty down.
That's still basically the tutorial, mind.

Plus you didn't want to fight that bad guy that escaped, did you even see his defence? Good luck doing anything more than one damage, and more than five in a turn.

There's a definite split in styles of fights though, pitched open field mob battles and slightly more esoteric arrangements in tighter quarters.


Yeah, I get that the unit is obviously not meant to be defeated, but it seems weird to me that with so many villains apparently lined up, they still feel the need to string it out (plus there's a weird blue alien). This is before even bringing in the guy we've now actually defeated twice - managing to escape in a cutscene twice before the end of act 1 is ...impressive?

The situation is especially egregious as both are pretty much on the level of comic-relief joke villains - why are people insisting this is better writing than Fates again? At least Garon had a fig-leaf reasoning to be evilly monologuing to himself, these guys are just ridiculous caricatures.


EDIT: Just learned that the only way to get the turn refresh ability in this game is to promote the one starter girl character into the stereotypical healer class. And the only way to know this in advance (other than lucking out on randomly selecting one of four possibilities) is by consulting the wiki. Thanks again game.
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Mon May 29, 2017 6:07 am

STARDEW VALLEY! Winter descends. The white blanket of mourning and death covers the land. One stalk of corn tried to survive, for a day stood against the chill of the end of life. But it fell too. Not even going into the cave of bats to growl "I'm Batman" can brighten my spirits. I turn to the mine, my claymore rending monsters into pieces as I descend further and further beneath the surface. Away from sunlight. Away from my love. I find more warmth in the distant depths than I do on the surface. I could emerge, but what as? As a man? As myself? Would she even recognize me in this state? I fear the end of the year might be the end of me as well.

But then I get home and play with the dog a bit and everything's okay again. It's fun to throw the ball into a snowbank and watch him plow through to the other side trying to get to it.

STAR WARS: REPUBLIC COMMANDO! I've mentioned before that it feels like the developers wanted to make massive, open levels with a lot of objectives, but ended up having to chop things into loadable segments. Like how in Half-Life 2, the bit with the car, how it feels sometimes that you do one shooting bit to open a gate, then make two really fun max-speed turns and plow into a loading screen. Loading screens, at least to me, always create a sense of separation, each one a little ending. So with so many little endings, the massive Republic Commando levels start to feel a little draining towards the end. Kind of like the end of Return of the King, that "Is this STILL going?" feeling.

That said, looking back on the second level, I'm still kind of surprised at the very gradual transition the level goes through. The squad splits up to investigate an MIA Republic ship, which turns into an extended solo segment to rescue your squadmates, which turns into trying to get to the bridge to solve the mystery, which turns into getting the intruders off the ship, which turns into having to defend the ship.

One thing that I kind of like about the game and wish there was more of is the assignment feature. You get points where you can tell someone to take a sniper position, or a grenadier position, or man a turret. In addition to telling someone to hack a computer or set a demolition charge. It's not a perfect system, sometimes the symbol to assign someone will flash on and off but still let you do it, and it's a pain to get people out because the only way to tell them to leave their post is to look right at them, but I still like how tactical it feels to enter a space and go "You! Sniper position! You! Man that turret!" I just wish there was more. Like maybe if someone had a heavy machine gun they had to deploy on a chest-high wall or something.

But for how stupid the squad can be in running straight at enemies and never focusing their fire unless you order them to, they can still feel smart at times because they seem to naturally gravitate towards cover in any given room. And their banter is still really good.

Also really good? All of the music. The big shootout songs are all in the style big battle music from the prequel movies, so it all feels extremely Star Wars-y and right while still being inspiring and energizing.
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Thomas

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

Postby Thomas » Mon May 29, 2017 8:11 am

Assignment would be a good feature for a Bioware game (maybe a little more rigid). People like choosing squadmates in the suicide mission and combat is the primary way of connecting with the cast (see ME1). I think people also like the idea of fighting in a squad but Bioware games struggle to make that feel important whilst not ruining the gameplay flow.

Having little areas where you can say "Garrus - get in the sniper nest" sounds like a fun solution to all those things. Especially if you can send Wrex instead and watch the ineffectual thunk of his shotgun as you fight.


EDIT: Just learned that the only way to get the turn refresh ability in this game is to promote the one starter girl character into the stereotypical healer class. And the only way to know this in advance (other than lucking out on randomly selecting one of four possibilities) is by consulting the wiki. Thanks again game.
It was nice that a girl wasn't the primary healer in Persona 5. (Although two of the girls had more healing abilities than the guys and one was a mage). It's a trope I'm ready to see die.
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bitterpark

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

Postby bitterpark » Mon May 29, 2017 8:20 am

SpammyV wrote:Also really good? All of the music. The big shootout songs are all in the style big battle music from the prequel movies, so it all feels extremely Star Wars-y and right while still being inspiring and energizing.


I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just say the ending song is an... interesting choice, for a Star Wars property.
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Ringwraith

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

Postby Ringwraith » Mon May 29, 2017 11:48 am

Humanoid wrote:The situation is especially egregious as both are pretty much on the level of comic-relief joke villains - why are people insisting this is better writing than Fates again? At least Garon had a fig-leaf reasoning to be evilly monologuing to himself, these guys are just ridiculous caricatures.


EDIT: Just learned that the only way to get the turn refresh ability in this game is to promote the one starter girl character into the stereotypical healer class. And the only way to know this in advance (other than lucking out on randomly selecting one of four possibilities) is by consulting the wiki. Thanks again game.

As far as I can tell, this is your starter assortment of cackling villains.
Heck, no-one likes the child killer. Not even any of his supposed allies.

Also the turn refresh ability isn't actually that good. You can fix things later anyway (you later get the ability to reset classes somewhat), but it's such an expensive spell to cast you won't be doing it often. Plus said character is new for Echoes anyway and didn't previously exist.
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Humanoid

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

Postby Humanoid » Mon May 29, 2017 4:32 pm

It was kind of amusing to see a boat map with two boarding planks and the AI just queuing at the near one, waiting patiently for their turn to get shot at by my firing squad. Beyond the few that started near the other plank, none of them displayed an interest in going around to flank my mages.

In a bit of positivity, the Act 2 starting characters are way more reasonable in terms of firepower and can actually end fights in a timely fashion. In Act 1, most of my lame excuse for an "army" did about 2-5 damage a turn, which led to a particularly awful time. Most of it would be simply because of mages doing more damage, more reliably, than any physical damage class, but I probably got a bit stat-screwed too in hindsight, getting about 1.5 stat points per level in Act 1, whereas now I'm getting about 2.5. Screw random level-up gains, it's rapidly going to the top of my gaming peeves.
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Ringwraith

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

Postby Ringwraith » Mon May 29, 2017 5:56 pm

At least due to the way classes raise you to a baseline when you promote into them, at least you have somewhat of a minimum level to work with.
You also haven't got access to weapon forging yet, which helps a fair bit.

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