Game Reviews

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c_nordlander
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Sep 11, 2021 8:55 am

It's just some sand in my eye, is all...
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SirMustapha
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Fri Nov 12, 2021 7:16 pm

This isn't a proper review, because I haven't played the game anywhere near enough to have a fleshed out opinion, but I'm quite hooked on Dyson Sphere Program.

I find it most unfortunate that, since the game is clearly inspired by Factorio, it's too tempting to talk about the game entirely in terms of comparisons, because I usually dislike comparisons. I prefer to talk about something in its own terms, rather than "how much this thing is not that other thing". But I really like the look and atmosphere of the game, its more relaxed pace, the space exploration element (which I just barely got into at the moment), and just the style of construction and development that the game determines. There's this balance between how daunting to road ahead of you is, and the satisfaction of getting every new bit done. I think the element of challenge is pretty spot on, and there were just a few things that got me puzzled for a moment before figuring it out eventually. I still have trouble controlling the robot in sail mode, but I'm hoping it's just a matter of getting used to it.

For a game that's in early access, it's extremely playable and robust. The most lacking aspect is the English localisation, which has clear flaws, but is still mostly understandable. So far I wasn't utterly stumped because of a grammar problem, but I do wish they put in the resources to iron those issues out and make the texts shine.

The best part of playing this game is that it actually makes me appreciate some things about Factorio that I took for granted. At this stage in the game, my factory in DSP hasn't grown that much in sheer scale, but it gets quite convoluted quite quickly because of the amount of resources and products that are needed, so it still requires a lot of planning and rethinking. Also, because you already start off with building drones and there's less micromanagement (the sorters are more simple and flexible than inserters, for example), the beginning of the game feels more welcoming and less foreboding; after all, it's not a survival game, and more of a peaceful 4X game (... uh, wouldn't that make it 3X, then, since there's no eXterminate?). Like I said, it's a very different game, and I like it for what it is. And looking back at Factorio, the way that you start off mining rocks with an axe and evolve to build those humongous factories with trains and whatever else, it makes me enjoy how cool that is too. So I really love how these two games actually make each other look really good. It's like adopting a second cat, and watching them become best buddies and look really cool when hanging out together.

Also, for months now, I've been kinda unable to get into gaming because of a weird feeling of remorse for "wasting my time," or for fear of getting addicted and unable to the "productive" things like music what others. However, I just felt great playing this game. It was quite therapeutic in a way. I'm just really eager to see how the game evolves from here, and I hope it has a very successful path.
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c_nordlander
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by c_nordlander » Fri Nov 12, 2021 8:17 pm

Sounds like a fun game, and I enjoyed reading your mini-review.
SirMustapha wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 7:16 pm after all, it's not a survival game, and more of a peaceful 4X game (... uh, wouldn't that make it 3X, then, since there's no eXterminate?).
*LOL* I can see game companies getting in trouble with parents if they marketed their games as triple-X.
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by gkscotty » Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:58 pm

I enjoyed the game, but felt it started to drag too much once flying through space became a thing. It's a lengthy trip and not one made lightly, which isn't great for how often I needed to transfer between planets.
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It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by Meteorite » Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:23 pm

Hi, hello, I just need to let out some ranting. So, here I go.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl are poor remakes. Remasters. Whatever you wanna call them. Point is, they're not good.

...Okay, maybe a little harsh. The main game itself is fine I suppose, but there's just a lot of disappointment strewn through it.
  • The experience system is flawed. Experience gaining has changed in recent Pokémon games. Instead of experience being doled out to whoever took part in the battle, now the entire party gets experience, just by being there. While I (and many others) would appreciate the option to revert to the old-style experience system, at least the new games were built around this. Diamond & Pearl were not, and if you don't just immediately plow through the story, you'll quickly over-level your entire team. The post-game ramps up rematch fights, but by that point... ehhh okay? I've already beaten the game. I shouldn't have to wait until now to feel challenged.
  • Several features of the original games are just gone, or poorly implemented. I can accept some retooling of things for quality of life, but these feel gutted of their original charm.
  • The Pokémon Contests have been simplified into a one-button rhythm game instead of having to have a pokémon with moves wholly unsuitable for battling, but perfect for showmanship.
  • The player-built Secret Bases are no longer able to be decorated with furniture, in favour of being filled with statues to alter pokémon availability in the vastly expanded Underground.
  • The Pokétch, which sat nicely on the touch screen of the original DS, now occupies the upper right corner of your screen, and cannot even be interacted with unless you bring it up to fullscreen mode, which renders features like the Itemfinder (which requires repeated tapping after moving to pinpoint hidden items) incredibly frustrating to use.
  • Making poffins, which again utilises the DS's touch screen by spinning your stylus around it, now requires you to manhandle your joycon's stick with the same ferocity (so that's sure to help matters with joycon drift issues...) and the touch screen of the Switch isn't even an option for some godforsaken reason.
  • The Pokéradar is genuinely bugged. The original Pokéradar allowed you to chain pokémon encounters of the same pokémon, gradually increasing how good the pokémon's stats will be, and odds of it being shiny. It wasn't perfect, but generally you had a 40% chance of making it to encounter #40 (ideal shiny odds) without any problems. In the remakes however, you have a 5.5% chance of making it to encounter 40. And those improved stats? Only at every tenth encounter will you get improved stats; every other encounter in-between will be garbage.
  • The game is poorly put-together. Yeah, I'm just gonna say it. There's softlocks (thanks to the new 8-directional movement), glitches, and just outright crashes. Most of it has been patched, but it still feels like I've bought a knock-off Pokémon game. Some features just aren't in the game yet, like the global trading service, or even trading from your other games, due to be put in early 2022. I've started noticing little things, like a window that was placed off-centre (which of course, wasn't off-centre in the originals). It feels like a game they've rushed out, and it shows.
...I dunno man. I mean, it's still Pokémon, and I'm still enjoying parts of it, but it honestly could've been a lot better. It should've been.

...but hey, at least the casino was replaced with a clothing shop. Yaaay.
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<gkscotty|drawing> most people play Pokemon games with GameFAQs or a Pokéwiki open
<gkscotty|drawing> you seem to have TVTRopes :P


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c_nordlander
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:44 pm

Yeah, that sounds incredibly shoddy. Not a way to treat fans; here's hoping you'll get a better game in the future.
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Sat Dec 18, 2021 4:44 am

A few updates on my journey with Dyson Sphere Program:

I have come quite a long way since my first "review" of sorts, to the point that, today, I have actually started building my Dyson sphere around my home system. To give you some context: before you start working on the sphere, you can shoot solar sails to orbit the star and form a Dyson swarm. The usefulness of the swarm is that it generates energy, which you can then use in every planet in that system. The problem with the swarm is that the solar sails disintegrate over time, so you have to keep shooting them into the swarm to keep the power output stable. Later on, you can start building the Dyson shell, which then drags in in the sails from the swarm to form the Dyson sphere proper. And the sails in the sphere don't disintegrate, so there's no waste, and the power output just keeps steadily increasing as you shoot more sails. So it's a pretty exciting moment in the game.

So, other things that have happened since then: I've unlocked planetary logistics, which uses drones to transport goods between planetary stations. They're expensive, but extremely worth it, as you can really spread out and expand production over the surface of a planet. Also, I've unlocked interstellar logistics, which allows transport between different planets. This (along with upgrades) drastically reduces the boredom and wasted time of travels between planets, and the pace of the game really takes off at this point. From here on, the chain of production just keeps getting more and more convoluted, with more and more balancing problems to sort out (especially with hydrogen, which is always one of the weak links of the production chain) and more problems designing the layout of the factories. The good part is that, with faster space exploration, you can branch out to other planets and systems, outsource production and build better layouts on larger planets. To sum it all up, there's a lot to do in this game.

Also, to me, is maddening how the game can compute so much stuff: you're on the surface of a planets, watching the assemblers and belts and sorters working, drones delivering cargo everywhere, and you look up and you see the Dyson swarm, each individual solar sail orbiting the sun. And then, you see other planets, as well as distant stars, and then you take off and you can go to those stars, nearly seamlessly. I'm honestly baffled that the game runs and looks so smooth with so much stuff going on. It's crazy.

Overall, I find that, when I was a kid, I often had these pipe dreams that maybe in the future a game like this could exist. I created these huge, fancy concepts in my head, and said to myself, "ooh, wouldn't it be cool if something like this existed?" Well, this game exists. It's no longer a pipe dream. My inner child is seeing a dream come true.
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Dec 18, 2021 6:24 pm

Doesn't seem like my kind of genre, but that does sound amazing.
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Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Sat Jan 08, 2022 2:38 am

So yeah, I just completed my first playthrough of Dyson Sphere Program. My first completed mission.

Of course, the game doesn't stop once you do that: you can just keep on playing ad infinitum if you want it. Also, what counts as "completing the mission" is that you have to research one final tech, which requires "universe matrices". Those matrices, however, require antimatter, which can only be produced once you have a sufficiently large Dyson sphere. This can be achieved with a relatively small sphere.

In other words, I did not build a complete sphere in this playthrough, as that would take way too much time. Also, my productivity really suffers from bad design and a severe underestimation of how much the factory would grow, so I'd need to do way too much stuff to get the construction up to a decent pace. So, what I'm just going to do is, well, play the game again from the start. I'm gonna do the whole thing again, incorporating the lessons I've learnt, trying to plan things better and making better designs. It's essentially how it happened with Factorio: my first attempt was an awful mess, so I just kept replaying and replaying until I became, well, okay at it, I guess.

And this is such a satisfying game to play! It's complex, it's challenging, it's even infuriating at times, but it feels so good to play. Time just flies by. I loved every second of it, and I'm already looking forward to trying it again.
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