This week I have been mostly playing...

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John

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

Postby John » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:42 am

Humanoid wrote:That, and by ignoring Vahlen's advice, and abusing explosives to ensure kills instead of gambling on those 80-90% shots you would otherwise take on Normal.

Yes, this. Grenades are life-savers in the early game. You better believe that I went for Alien Grenades and Tactical Rigging at the first opportunity once I built a Foundry. Classic Difficulty has also taught me the True Meaning of Rockets. I mean, I don't feel the need to resort to rockets too often in Normal, but in Classic I weep manly tears of joy whenever two or three aliens are stupid enough to bunch up within range of a Heavy. I have likewise learned the True Meaning of MECs. I liked MECs before, but they work wonders in the early game on Classic because they can tank a couple of shots if they have to and Kinetic Strike is a always a sure kill.
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Daemian Lucifer

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

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:26 pm

John wrote: Perhaps it suggests something to veterans of the 90s game?


Yes.It suggests that this game is nothing like the 90s game.For example,the whole cover thing.In the old game,putting a soldier behind low cover meant that you were protected from ~50% of the shots,until the cover was destroyed,and high cover was complete immunity from that direction,until it got destroyed.There was no need to roll dice around cover,because the game was drawing lines from the gun to what it hit,and hitting a wall meant you were safe.Distance was also very helpful,because small deviations from the origin meant a huge spread at the target.But here,even at huge distances from the enemy,even behind a big ass wall,you can still have your dudes hit ~50-75% of the time,because its all just rng.It just baffles me how an older game has much deeper mechanics than the newer one.

That said,I am actually enjoying war of the chosen.All the stuff they added has made me tolerate the base game a lot more,and actually enjoy it.And thats why I like firaxis,they always make expansions that improve the vanilla experience immensely.
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:39 pm

Probably because while it's a really nice thing to show, besides knocking random holes in walls what really is the point of tracking every missed shot to its ending point? Missing and hitting the wrong alien didn't happen that much, and a distance modifier to the hit chance would cover just as much. The biggest thing that bothered me about XnohyphenCOM was the pod system, where many aliens on the map just took no action and didn't exist until you found them. I mean I made peace with it enough to get through Enemy Within, and XCOM 2 from everything I've seen has the majority of aliens physically moving and patrolling, so good on Firaxis I guess. And speaking of War of the Chosen...

In the command room of the Avenger, Bradford's phone began to ring. He just stared at the headset for a time, wondering if it was worth risking annoying Q just to let it ring. But with a sigh of extreme reluctance, he picked up the phone: "Yes?"

"IS THIS THE FOOLS OF XCOM?"

"...How did you get this number again?"

"IS YOUR REFRIGERATOR RUNNING? THEN IT IS SMARTER THAN YOU ARE! BUT TELL IT THAT IT SHALL ONLY DIE TIRED FOR NONE CAN ESCAPE THE JUST WRATH OF THE ELDERS, AND I AM THEIR SWORD! AHHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
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The Rocketeer

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

Postby The Rocketeer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:17 pm

So I have finished up Mad Max.

Mad Max may be the most miserable end-of-the-world scenario I've seen in any game. After thinking about it, I kinda reasoned that Metro was probably the runner-up, but in Metro the average person seems to have reasonable access to water and shelter, such as they are, and the farming of food sources like pigs and fungus is common. Metro has enterprise, commerce, and society as we would recognize them. Throw in Last Light, and you have the whole "nuclear spring" theme, with the very beginnings of a possible re-emergence of life beginning to show. But Mad Max is totally, 100% committed to a bleak reality beyond any recovery, and a nihilism beyond rehabilitation. Death in the fall was unquestionably preferable to life in the aftermath, and the world is now hell.

Mad Max is relentless in drilling in the message, again and again, that civilization is done, that there is no chance the old world or anything like it will or could rise again. There's nothing left for humankind but dust, rust, and scooping the maggots out of rotting human torsos and eating them, forever. Beauty, love, hope, family, faith, trust, stability, safety, joy, all gone and never coming back, ever, for anyone. Max himself ends the story exactly where he began, having learned and accomplished nothing, except perhaps that there is nothing to learn and accomplish, and everyone he linked up with in the interim ends up dead. There is no salvation for Max, and none for mankind.

Which means that, thematically, this game might actually have more in common with the first Mad Max movie than any of the others, especially Fury Road, which was probably the one with the brightest outlook. It's closer to Road Warrior in the sense that the world has already fallen and new generations are rising/have risen without knowing the old world at all, but then Road Warrior never matched that bleak, empty feeling of Max leaving a hacksaw for Johnny's leg and driving indifferently away. The game, meanwhile, pretty much lives in that moment through its entire runtime, conspicuously reprising Max's fall into hollow, bitter derangement from the first movie despite already starting at that point, on purpose.

Which leads me to my number one, maximum, cowboy-cut, extra premium deee-lux meaningless nitpicks of the day: how old is Max supposed to be anyway? Max looks like he's always looked in the movies, a scruffy guy probably somewhere in his twenties or thirties, which works because Max is basically a cipher without much of a character or role of his own in every movie except the first. But then the game goes out of its way to set up this idea of the dying memory of the old world, and the fast-dwindling remnant of anyone anywhere who didn't just grow up in the wasteland never knowing a different mode of existence had ever been. But Max certainly remembers the old world, and must have lived through all the changes. So it's unclear how long ago things really finally collapsed, especially the drastic environmental changes. Chum, your sidekick, seems not to remember civilization in any capacity and regards the ocean as a myth, yet he seems to be older than Max. It's hard to tell, since Chumbucket is a deformed hunchback with a burned head, and you can't really peg down his age just by looking. Hardly anyone specifically mentions recalling the old world, but lots of people let on that they don't remember it, and they all seem to be around Max's age. So is Max, like, a really youthful 60 year old or what? Part of this is down to the confusion caused by probably-misguided attempts to "age up" and "modernize" the Mad Max backstory; things didn't end in the near-future of 1979's Mad Max movie, they seem to have ended in the near-future of the 2015 Mad Max game, with at least one of the photos of the old world showing a smartphone. With that, they also screwed with the nature of the cataclysm itself. It's one of those very well-known little-known facts that insufferable people love to point out that Mad Max (1979, movie)'s future isn't post-nuclear like a lot of end-of-the-world fiction in the Cold War era, it's just a worldwide societal collapse triggered by the collapse of the global oil market, among other things. I don't think Road Warrior ever referenced nukes, either. But then Beyond Thunderdome, I think, specifically introduced the idea that a global nuclear exchange had also taken place sometime during the collapse. Then in Mad Max (2015, game) the state of the world is also heavily implied to be the result of global warming, specifically the ocean's recession, and also also some sort of plague affected (all of?) mankind at one point, especially children. So the world of Mad Max (2015, game) is post-market-collapse, post-nuclear, post-climate change, and post-plague? Did the fucking Rapture happen, too? Are the Tripods on their way from Mars? On one hand, the "every apocalypse at once" angle helps to sell the absolute bleakness of the setting; the idea that we managed to permanently screw ourselves every way that we could, mostly without even noticing, fits right in with the game. But I think continuing in Beyond Thunderdome's tradition of trying to progress or modernize the apocalypse as time goes on is not really advisable, just as I don't think following Beyond Thunderdome in any way is really advisable. Mostly because it doesn't actually matter; the fall of mankind itself only really mattered in the first movie, in which the decay of civilization into the wasteland was at the forefront, and for which the slow, unglamorous, anticlimactic decline of humankind depicted therein was most appropriate thematically. From there on out, we've already got the wasteland; no need to dwell on the irrelevant past, just have Max inadvertently steer the Black-on-Black headlong into some sort of bizarre wasteland trouble and deal with the complications for 120 minutes. Also, I have this visceral, venomous hatred of the idea of a "sliding backstory" that's always the same distance behind/ahead, a la comics dyscanon; kindly fuck off with that. They want smartphones in their backstory, but they still want an automobile-centric future based entirely around cars from the '70's or earlier? Pah. They're inviting a vision of Mad Max in which Max drives a riced-out Dodge Magnum, being chased by raiders in spiked Hyundai Santa Fes and PT Cruisers with barbed cow-catchers, and no one wants to see that. Thankfully, none of that managed to infect Fury Road, and probably won't make its way into the cinema until George Miller dies, Roberto Orci writes a soft reboot for the franchise, and Zack Snyder directs it. We all know it's comingm, we all hate it, but we can't stop it, just like our excruciating deaths in the imminent multi-pocalypse.
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Narratorway
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Narratorway » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:06 pm

That's...kinda always been the point of Mad Max. That's what makes him 'Mad'. He's the only one holding on to a long dead world even though there's no sane reason to and all it does is cause him anguish. Everyone else has moved on and created a new sanity for a new world and he's just wandering around mumbling about made up shit like 'supermarkets' and 'day care centers' as if it matters.

Also holy fuck, I forgot how purty this game is!
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John

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

Postby John » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:23 pm

Daemian Lucifer wrote: . . . Yes.It suggests that this game is nothing like the 90s game.For example,the whole cover thing.In the old game,putting a soldier behind low cover meant that you were protected from ~50% of the shots,until the cover was destroyed,and high cover was complete immunity from that direction,until it got destroyed.There was no need to roll dice around cover,because the game was drawing lines from the gun to what it hit,and hitting a wall meant you were safe.Distance was also very helpful,because small deviations from the origin meant a huge spread at the target.But here,even at huge distances from the enemy,even behind a big ass wall,you can still have your dudes hit ~50-75% of the time,because its all just rng.It just baffles me how an older game has much deeper mechanics than the newer one.

Please tell me you have this in a file somewhere and you're just copy-pasting. I hate to think that you're typing it from scratch every single time.

Two things:

  1. The odds you have given are not at all typical for the situation you describe. I can only assume that this is hyperbole.
  2. The word you are looking for is different, not deeper.
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The Rocketeer

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

Postby The Rocketeer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:41 pm

Narratorway wrote:That's...kinda always been the point of Mad Max.
It kinda hasn't been the point of Mad Max for any movie after the first one; Road Warrior, Thunderdome, and Fury Road all shared a point of being wasteland action-adventure stories first and foremost. Specifically, I would deny that any of those three movies were nihilistic, with Road Warrior coming closest and Fury Road being furthest from it. Partly, they're all more concerned with having a sense of fun and giving the audience something to invest their hopes in— and, crucially, paying those hopes off, too. Thunderdome and Fury Road, in the end, both leave open an implication that some semblance of society (meaning safety, stability, access to resources, etc.) is re-emerging, and in hands other than those of despotic psychopaths like Humungus or Joe.

And most importantly, Max's character or personal growth isn't the core of any of those movies. To the extent that he matters to them, it always takes the same form: he initially resists getting involved physically or emotionally before being moved by his better nature and helping win the day in the end. But always as a character in some other group's story. Mad Max 2015: The Video Game: Not Fury Road not only is principally about Max himself, it defies those predecessors very keenly and unequivocally. In the game, Max, in a story centered entirely on his own desire for a better car (this is literally the central conflict of the game), reluctantly has his better nature appealed to, fails to win the day, suffers the losses of his past all over again, comes out even more embittered and nihilistic than before, and leaves literally in the exact same place he started: behind the wheel of the Interceptor, headed for the Plains of Silence. Now, in the movies, he does tend to end the way he started, but in the manner of a Western hero riding into the sunset, a larger-than-life figure leaving the way he came in after the day is saved. The bookends of the game aren't like that; the clear message is that none of the interceding events had any point and may as well not have happened. Sure, Max rarely ever benefits personally from the events of the movie, and you could argue that, just as a byproduct of killing Scrotus as part of his feud, he's freed the wastes around Gastown of his tyranny and provided the possibility of a better life for the inhabitants of the area... but the game has already been so thorough and unrelenting in establishing that even the best possible life in the wastes is factually, inarguably worse than death. And, if, like me, you take the Plains of Silence as a metaphor for death, then the entire game emphasizes that everything Max experiences over the course of the game (and, by extension, all of life for everyone left in the wasteland) is just an agonizing prolongation of their own meaningless suffering before the relief of demise. Max's own words emphasize again and again that there isn't any meaning or purpose to his reflexive survival; it's just the inertia of animal instinct, training, and wrath, keeping him from death at any cost despite having nothing to gain ever again, and so it is for everyone in the wastes. That's kind not ever been the point of any of the movies; I'd say it's in a different league than even the first.
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:53 pm

"How old is Max anyway" is kind of a problem with Fury Road. I, the audience member, know that Max is supposed to be from before the fall but he only looks Male Action Lead aged instead of the clearly old Immortan Joe and his buddies and maybe that one Battle Granny.

Also, while Mad Max (the movie) ends with him walking away leaving the man to die, a key point in Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome is that Max chooses not to go with the people attempting to rebuild society. He has the ability to join the others in Road Warrior, but does not. In Beyond Thunderdome, he gets off the plane to make room for it to take off, knowing he won't be able to get back on. In Fury Road, he willingly walks away from Furiosa. So his riding off into the sunset is more of a Shane type thing where he believes he has no place among those trying to rebuild and better the world.

Also, there is a subtle implication in Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome that what we're being shown is not the events as they happened, but the legend of those events. Road Warrior is framed by the Feral Child and Beyond Thunderdome one of the Lord of the Flies kids. In that sense it would make sense that Mad Max's age is indistinct. We're not seeing the man, but the legend. But then Fury Road screwed that by having Max narrate when having Furiosa narrate would make it fit the pattern, but oh well.

Also what are you talking about calling Humungus a psychotic despot? He's a capable leader who is willing to deal and negotiate and attempts to limit violence.
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The Rocketeer

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

Postby The Rocketeer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:36 pm

I don't see that much of a problem with Max's age in Fury Road; even without some sort of framing device, I take the movies after the first as pretty much like fables, and don't see much point trying to establish much of a timeline for them. It's like asking how old James Bond is supposed to be.

Even then, if you reason that Max is about the same age as the actor playing him, then he was 23 in Mad Max and 38 in Fury Road. If you assume that Max looks young for his age and is around 45 in Fury Road (or even if you don't), then that's 20 or so years out from the fall, enough time for a generation that never knew the old world to be born, grow, and have kids of their own. People who were middle-aged around the time of the fall like Immortan Joe and the Mothers should still be around in pretty good (but dwindling) supply, but waste-bred youngsters like Nux would pretty much be the norm. (Actually, I just checked and I'm shocked that the actor that played Nux was 25 at the time; I take it that Nux is supposed to be 17-ish. Especially since he looks just like an airman I served with who was 18, and looked young for his age.)

And with apologies to the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah, I no longer extend good faith to anyone that leads a gang called the Smegma Crazies.
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Daemian Lucifer

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

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:39 pm

SpammyV wrote:Probably because while it's a really nice thing to show, besides knocking random holes in walls what really is the point of tracking every missed shot to its ending point?


More end results,and thus more tactical options.Heck,xcom 2 already did it when it (re)introduced destructible terrain.Its not as good as in the original,but it is better than in the first remake.As for hitting an unintended target,it actually did happen much when the targets were clustered.Like if they were in a spaceship,for example.It meant that grenades werent the only things deadly for a cluster of targets.Also,you had to be careful if you wanted to send someone in melee while shooting with someone else.

And that was back then,when the models werent as detailed,and computers werent as powerful.Modern xcom had the potential to greatly expand on that.

John wrote:The odds you have given are not at all typical for the situation you describe. I can only assume that this is hyperbole.


Positioning did influence the odds,but if you were behind a full wall and the enemy was on the other side,you couldnt have been hit unless the cover was destroyed(or a bug occurred).As for low walls,fences and windows,Im not sure how high they actually are compared to the models,but 50% is not an unreasonable approximation.

John wrote:The word you are looking for is different, not deeper.[/list]


No,I do mean deeper*.But I admit that deeper is not automatically better,and my preference for the deeper system in this case is just my preference.

*Ive listed once how just the number of options tracking the shots makes the number of tactics greater and thus the system deeper,so I can repeat that if you wish.
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Trix2000
Location: California

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

Postby Trix2000 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:45 pm

Daemian Lucifer wrote:Yes.It suggests that this game is nothing like the 90s game.For example,the whole cover thing.In the old game,putting a soldier behind low cover meant that you were protected from ~50% of the shots,until the cover was destroyed,and high cover was complete immunity from that direction,until it got destroyed.There was no need to roll dice around cover,because the game was drawing lines from the gun to what it hit,and hitting a wall meant you were safe.

You know what's kind-of strange? Mario and Rabbids does this exact same thing. You have 50% shots at half cover, no shots at full cover, and many types of cover are destructible if they get hit enough (though some are indestructable).

I guess I forgot to mention I'd played that somewhat recently, so maybe now's a good time for me to comment on Mario XCOM... because that is literally what it is, only it's somehow so much more.

Seriously, I don't know how the game is so good, particularly on the tactical end. You'd think only having a couple options and three characters would limit things, but the degree of freedom you have over when you can take actions and the movement mechanics just open up an entire world of possibilities. This game somehow got me thinking more about my moves than I think Enemy Unknown did, though I suppose that's hard to judge.

It's not an easy game, either! Although I got through it without significant issues (and no real gameovers, but a number of restarts), almost every map felt like a challenge that I wasn't sure I could handle. That feeling of actually handling it with minimal health loss feels so good. Some of the challenge levels are beastly.

The RNG aspect is much improved, in that generally you don't worry about it with regular shots. Sure, half cover is 50% to hit, but if you're playing well you can almost always secure a flank instead... with the 50% being a last resort or potshot at worst. You're encouraged to experiment moving people around to secure these shots, which with the crazy movement mechanics leads to where much of the tactical depth comes from. So there's a lot less unpredictability...

...until you get into some of the special effects, which are both really good (when they proc and send an enemy right off the map!) and occasionally surprisingly bad (bouncing that melee enemy off the wall into your face so that he can immediately smack you). Some of the moments that result from these are pretty awesome, though, like when you proc a bounce that sends an enemy flying into the air... only for Mario to take a reaction shot to take them out like skeet. Soooo satisfying when that happens.

I could gush more about it, as the game's pretty wonderful on almost every aspect - down to the art, music, and even the writing and comedy. The game is very on-the-nose about things, and there's hardly a dull moment. Heck, even the Rabbids, which I initially was hesitant about, really feel like they work in this game... though YMMV.

So if you like XCOM and happen to have a Switch, I HIGHLY recommend picking that game up. I have no idea how the heck the game got made, no idea how it's as good as it is... but I'm so very happy that both are the case.
Steve C

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

Postby Steve C » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:44 pm

SpammyV wrote:Probably because while it's a really nice thing to show, besides knocking random holes in walls what really is the point of tracking every missed shot to its ending point? Missing and hitting the wrong alien didn't happen that much, and a distance modifier to the hit chance would cover just as much.

Tracking each shot to it's end point meant that each shot either went off the map or it was guaranteed to hit something. You're right in that missed shots rarely hit an alien. That would be a happy unlikely accident. Missed shots often hit your own guys though.

It was a major part of the tactics to position your guys so that they didn't accidentally shoot each other. That's how new alien groups would often be found-- missing and blowing open a new line of sight where you didn't want one. This happened all the time in buildings and alien ships. The floor/ceiling would get shot out and surprise alien right next to you. Missed shots on the bridge of a ship was likely going to hit something that would blow up. Creating a chain reaction of explosions that destroys all the good loot... and opens up new lines of sight that you don't want. It made overwatch with it's reduced accuracy much more interesting.

Tracking every missed shot made the original X-Com a lot of fun in interesting and unexpected ways. Hitting end turn meant that the environment could change in ways that just aren't possible in the reboots.
Steve C

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

Postby Steve C » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:59 pm

Trix2000 wrote:I guess I forgot to mention I'd played that somewhat recently, so maybe now's a good time for me to comment on Mario XCOM... because that is literally what it is, only it's somehow so much more.

Seriously, I don't know how the game is so good, particularly on the tactical end. You'd think only having a couple options and three characters would limit things, but the degree of freedom you have over when you can take actions and the movement mechanics just open up an entire world of possibilities. This game somehow got me thinking more about my moves than I think Enemy Unknown did, though I suppose that's hard to judge.

That sounds good and interesting in a way that the Xcom reboots weren't. I might like it and would really like to try it. I won't though because I have no intention of buying a Switch.
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Daemian Lucifer

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

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:06 am

Steve C wrote:Hitting end turn meant that the environment could change in ways that just aren't possible in the reboots.


Xcom 2 actually did bring that back,though in a limited way.I activated a pod once when I accidentally destroyed a part of a roof(floor) and they saw me.It was a cool,though rare,moment.
Steve C

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

Postby Steve C » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:55 am

I activated a pod
Pods.
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Wide And Nerdy

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

Postby Wide And Nerdy » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:36 pm

Still playing Divinity OS2. I can't help but notice that there's a trend in RPGs of late where the story goes like this.

1 There's a goal.
2 You're not strong enough to achieve it You need to get stronger.
3 Do all this stuff in our sandbox, each thing makes you stronger so no matter what you're doing, you'll collect your main plot token and when you have enough main plot tokens, you can pursue the goal.

It can be divine power like in Div OS2, strength like in Zelda Breath of the Wild, Power (Influence) like in Dragon Age Inquisition, Military like in Mass Effect 3.

Of course every rpg you're building up your wealth and power and you'll need that against the final bad guy, but the story isn't about that. You're following a plot and incidentally getting stronger. But lately getting stronger is the plot. I think its fine to have a few games like that but I hope that people aren't going to use it as a substitute for an engaging running plot (I feel Inquisition and ME3 are guilty of falling back on this structure so they don't have to make their nuggets of plot fit into a larger whole in a satisfying way.) In Zelda it probably works because the plot was never anything more than an excuse to string you through some dungeons, so giving you the freedom to explore is a win.
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Ringwraith

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

Postby Ringwraith » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:49 pm

That reminds me that Chrono Trigger is entirely that, even to the extent you can fight the final boss whenever you like.
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Trix2000
Location: California

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

Postby Trix2000 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:09 pm

Ringwraith wrote:That reminds me that Chrono Trigger is entirely that, even to the extent you can fight the final boss whenever you like.
Maybe in terms of gameplay, but the writing/narrative didn't really suggest that line of thinking as much. It actually had an established progression of events.

I think the concept in question is more about when the story itself is just "We need to recruit allies/train/seek artifacts of power to make us able to win" which is a lot more simplistic and MacGuffiny. Maybe there's some interesting writing in there still in the subplots that the player can choose to do, but the overarching narrative is just "we can't beat the bad guy yet, so let's faff around doing other things until we do have the means to do it".

And I agree it can work fine in certain contexts, though personally it's not my favorite kind of story. I prefer something a bit more involved and less game-y, or at least something that hides that aspect behind a wall of character motivations and more interesting "if-then" narrative progression. Too little of that and it just feels like a weird form of custom 'grinding for levels'.

I mean, I like building up my party/character as much as anyone, but I prefer when it meshes well with the narrative so it doesn't feel as arbitrary.
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Narratorway
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Narratorway » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:09 pm

The Rocketeer wrote:That's kind [of] not ever been the point of any of the movies; I'd say it's in a different league than even the first.


I agree wholeheartedly, but I wasn't talking about the movies. I was talking about the character. I was saying that's what makes him 'Mad', what makes him effectively insane and the Outsider in all the films...except the first one. It's the reason the world is the way you described it, because that is how he sees it. That's not even subtext. They literally personify hope and he rejects it, because he can't let go and move on like everyone else has. That's the whole point. The reason the movies were never about that was because the movies were never about Max...except the first one.

Now that's not to say that Mad Max: da vid'jagame is the Pinnacle of Storytelling or anything. I'm just saying everything fits from where I'm looking.
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bitterpark

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

Postby bitterpark » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:26 pm

Darkwood is an amazing survival horror game.

I want to say it's like a mixture of Stalker and Silent Hill, but that just feels reductive because the game is not trying to imitate either and has a strong identity of its own.
I bring up the Stalker comparison, not because of the Eastern-European vibe, but because the nature of the horror is a strange mixture of mystical and technogenic. Also similar to Stalker, Darkwood is all about exploring completely mundane, even dull, environments turned into a dangerous frontier of the unknown by some anomalous force.

In Darkwood's case, the premise is that a portion of Polish countryside has been completely cut off from the outside world by an inexplicable overgrowth of trees, which have rapidly expanded swallowing up roads, houses, and people. Like in Stalker, you scavenge the dangerous woods and ruined houses, meet and barter with sketchy characters, encounter anomalies and malformed creatures, most of whom are territorial but otherwise happy to leave you alone.

Unlike Stalker, however, you are not armed with tweaked-out assault rifles, exoskeleton armor, and cutting-edge detector gear. If you're really lucky, you'll have a shovel.
This is where the Silent Hill analogy comes to mind: you are scared, weak and ill-suited for battle. The combat system is deliberately clunky and awkward, it's a brawl of slow-moving characters shuffling around and trading hefty blows. Fighting is treated as a crapshoot and a waste of resources, and the game encourages you to avoid it whenever possible.

Like Silent Hill, Darkwood's horror builds up an atmosphere of dread and suspense, it doesn't jump out at you screaming boo so much as it slowly crushes you with a sickening uncertainty that seems to possess a will of its own, somehow both indifferent and actively spiteful towards you. The characters you meet are few, strange, reluctant to explain things, and seemingly off in a world of their own.

Unlike Silent Hill, Darkwood's creeping dread is sometimes punctuated by a much more intense and primal fear for survival and safety. The gameplay is split into two phases: you have a limited time to explore and scavenge during the day and must return to your hideout before dark or face certain death. At night you start the generators, barricade the doors and windows and wait. You don't do anything because there is nothing you can do, just double and triple-check your emergency supplies, stare at the light of the old, blinking lamps praying they don't go out during the night. Every night is somehow different: sometimes you see shadows lurking just beyond the reach of the lamps, sometimes the outside fills with strange, twisting fog, sometimes spots of bright, inexplicable light appear outside of your vision, not seen but felt through several walls, dissipating as quickly as they came.

And all you can do is sit in your hidey-hole, wait and listen. Listen to the shuffling outside, crackling of twigs underfoot as something scurries about just outside your house, moving back and forth seemingly at random. You don't know what it wants, you just know it's right there and it probably knows you're there too. And sometimes, it comes straight for you. It pushes furniture barricades out of the way as you desperately try to push back, it wails and smashes boarded-up doors and windows, for hours, as the night outside twists and churns and you wonder if those wooden planks will last, the planks that are the only thing stopping the outside from spilling in. You hope and you stare at the watch until the hour of salvation comes at 8 am, the terrors retreat and you can finally feel safe again (and this is another point in the game's favor: it gives you one merciful period of guaranteed safety, just after the harrowing night, allowing you to cool down and setting a much better pace).

Here's how I spent the first night in this game: I had forgotten to turn on the generator and the lights, and didn't have enough resources to put up any defences, all I could do was fashion a shoddy nailboard as my only means of fighting (you can't fight without a weapon in this game, and weapons slowly break), find a spot to cower in, and wait. I'd picked the corner between the front door and the broken doorway leading into the rest of the house, about a meter away from both, ensuring I could watch both entrances at once. Moreover, I could focus on watching the doorway, as the front door would creak and alert me if opened. Or so I thought.

A few hours into the night and without a light source, the darkness had become so permeating I couldn't see further than an arm's reach. At some point, I heard a door open. I couldn't tell if it was the front door, or one of the doors further in the house. I didn't dare to check. I just shoved myself into that corner, raised my weapon and clutched the mouse in numbing hands, as the madness unfolded around me. The front door was open come morning, and whatever had opened it must have shuffled right past me in that deep darkness.

By night two I had filled up the generator and barricaded a portion of the house with planks (closing off the whole house was a luxury I couldn't afford), leaving only a large open gap in the wall to enter and exit through. I dragged a heavy wardrobe in front of the hole at night, settled in and waited.

During night three, I saw the wardrobe start to move. I dashed to it and desperately pressed against it, trying to hold it in place. We had wrestled like this for hours until it had gotten shoved completely aside with a sudden push of inhuman strength, I raised my weapon preparing to face whatever was on the other side, but dawn had come just before I could see it. I still have no idea what it was...

So yeah, go play this game, the devs even put it out on the torrents for people to download if they are poor, the music and sound engineering is incredible, the atmosphere is amazing, the visual direction is great (especially for a top-down indie game), I don't think I've ever played a game that instilled within me such a sense of pulse-pounding, deep terror, and yet I want to play more because the narrative is so intriguing. Play it, play it, play it.
Last edited by bitterpark on Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:11 am

bitterpark wrote:Unlike Silent Hill, Darkwood's creeping dread is sometimes punctuated by a much more intense and primal fear for survival and safety.


That actually was one of the things that I liked about Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (the game that I loved that I think a lot of people didn't). Most of the time the game is oppressively cold and menacing. You feel like you don't belong, that you're constantly intruding on private memories that moments that you shouldn't be seeing. The world is broken and twisted and alone. But then you get to a running stage and that primal fear hits as now you have to run and avoid getting killed. And that mix of cold, oppressive atmosphere with sudden bursts of tension and panic really worked, at least for m e.
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Daemian Lucifer

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

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:08 pm

Played some cuphead.Love the style,love the fights,not a fan of run n guns.Basically the same thing youve heard from everyone and their mom.

But,I really hate that "review" that came about it.Not because the "journalist" in question was so bad,but because his "review" overshadowed everything about the game.For example,that tutorial is horrible.It doesnt teach you anything youd actually find useful.For example,how slapping thing actually works.It doesnt make you invulnerable,so you cant really jump into a pink thing to slap it,but rather have to be slightly away from it.The tutorial also doesnt show you that your hitbox is slightly smaller than your model,or that you arent invulnerable during special moves.

The game isnt super difficult if you plan to only finish it.Its challenging,but if you devote some time to it youll manage to beat any stage if you have played platformers or bullet hells before.It only gets really hard if you gun for the A score.

By the way,Ive noticed one interesting thing about this game:The installation is over 10gb.And I wager most of that went on the pretty drawings.I usually dont care for games that blow all their resources on graphics,but this one justifies that 100%.Everything is just so wonderful,emulating the style of old cartoons perfectly.Its gorgeous.
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John

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

Postby John » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:52 pm

I finished my Classic campaign in XCOM: Enemy Within. It ended somewhat anticlimactically. Most of the tension went out of the game after the base defense mission. The final mission turned out to be the same on Classic as it is on Normal and I beat it in exactly the same way. I suppose that this is the point at which a lot of people turn to the Long War mod, but I think that might be a step too far for me. I think I'm done with XCOM for a while.

Since then, I've been dabbling in Civilization V and Endless Sky. If my old posts in this thread are to be believed, I first got into Endless Sky about two years ago. The thing that I'm enjoying most about the game right now is the fact that it's easy to pick up, play, and put down. In the space of, say, a half-hour I can run a whole bunch of missions and buy a whole bunch of upgrades. I can do the same thing the next day, the next week, or even the next month and I never have to worry about remembering what I was trying to do the last time I played. (It helps that I'm deliberately avoiding the story missions.) That said, I do have a sort of a goal in mind. You see, the other nifty thing about Endless Sky is the tremendous potential for min-maxing. I ultimately want to build myself a super-efficient little anti-pirate fleet. One of the game's quirks is that your ships don't seem to require maintenance. They never get damaged unless they get shot and they're automatically repaired--for free!--every time they land on a friendly planet. You do, however, have to pay your crew. Every time you jump from one system the next or take off from a planet or station your bank account gets dinged. Once I get a few more kills in and I start getting offered bounty missions I am going to spreadsheet--spreadsheet is a verb now, shut up--the heck out of this game.

Sometimes . . . sometimes a man just wants to shoot some space pirates, y'know?
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:18 pm

Well, I can say that the final mission of EW is absolute hell if you're doing an Ultiduo run. The Muton Rush was challenging, but the two Sectopods were actually the near impossible part. It turns out they can mortar you without LOS. The only way I got through the Sectopod Gatekeepers was to mind-control the Muton Berserker and have her distract them so I didn't get annihilated by robots. I couldn't bring a MEC either to try to stun the 'Pods. I have no idea if it was possible to do the final room in a "proper" way without cheesing it.

Man Ultiduo was fun.

POKEMON SUN! So it turns out that when a Berry pile has a Crabrawler in it, if you run from the encounter it doesn't remove the Crabrawler. I think that's one of the first or only times that a fixed encounter with a wild Pokemon doesn't get cleared when you run. And it generates a new Crabrawler every time so I think you could cheese yourself a shiny by just hitting the same berry pile over and over.

Also, while the Ride Pokemon are interesting, I feel like it misses the point of Pokemon a bit. At least for myself. They do make for decent replacements for HMs and the bike, but here's the thing: I don't want to ride on some service Pokemon. I want to ride on my Pokemon. Why am I calling for a Mudsdale or a Tauros when I have a Mudsdale and a Tauros? I'm not sure if the games have enough room to cover checking every Pokemon available for a ride or task and giving the player the choice of which one they use for it, but it feels off to be calling for Ride Pokemon.

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