Game Reviews

Talk about whatever you like here!
Post Reply
User avatar
gkscotty
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer
Posts: 5981
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:45 pm
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by gkscotty » Sat May 26, 2018 2:19 am

aaaaaaaaaa Nier: Automata is so good!

Full review some day. I just had to let it be known!

(edit: make no mistake, it's not perfect and there is much to fault it on. But it's great)
Image

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
User avatar
SirMustapha
Junior Secretariat
Junior Secretariat
Posts: 4428
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:20 pm
Location: South of South America
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:17 pm

I must say I'm really hooked into Factorio. Having finished my second freeplay mode match and having a slightly better grasp on how to organise bases, I find this is the ideal kind of game for me to spend dozens of hours getting better and bigger and more exciting. Also, the 0.16 release added a lot of new features that could only be achieved before via mods, and which make the playing experience a lot smoother. One of the things this version promised was a much better map generation algorithm.

IT SUCKS.

And I'm not the only one saying it. The new algorithm is a mess. The maps look "prettier" than the old ones, but they're far, far worse in terms of the gaming experience, especially in terms of water placement. Also, resource placement is extremely stingy and unbalanced. I really looked forwards to getting a map decently rich in resources in which I could expand to my heart's content, but even with all resource settings set to the max, the result is "fuck you". A lot of players are making the same complaints, and that's a huge shame, as the devs definitely had their hearts in the right place. They just messed it up big time.

I'm hoping they fix this soon.
"I know that the bourgeoisie stinks, but it has money to buy perfume."
-- Falcão
User avatar
gkscotty
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer
Posts: 5981
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:45 pm
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by gkscotty » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:32 pm

XCOM 2's photo propoganda mode is rather wonderful!
Poster_010.png
Poster_012.png
Poster_009.png
Poster_013.png
Image

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
User avatar
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 12805
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: future Neuralink chassis
Location: not a place of honour

Re: Game Reviews

Post by c_nordlander » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:03 am

Kill the aliens... WITH YOUR MEMES!
I stole all my stories from an old man named ChatGPT and I have finally decided to tell everything.

Now offering writing commissions! Fanfiction or original, PM me for more information.
Nidotamer
Sub-sector Control Officer's Assistant
Sub-sector Control Officer's Assistant
Posts: 1238
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:12 am

Re: Game Reviews

Post by Nidotamer » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:07 pm

Pretty sure god has a bigger kill count than that!

Also we need propaganda for you-know-who.
Image
------
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
User avatar
SirMustapha
Junior Secretariat
Junior Secretariat
Posts: 4428
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:20 pm
Location: South of South America
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:41 pm

Hlambdalf-Life 2 episodes 1 & 2

No, that's not a typo in the title. That's just how I'm going to refer to this game from now on.

Well, it seems like, after two years, I was able to play the two "episodes" of our favourite game series that will never, ever be finished. And all this time I took is not out of indifference, mind you: I loved the second game, and I was hoping to go back to that "action hero" mood that it put me. ... and, well, I didn't get exactly that.

Episode one starts on a really slow tone, and it seems like they were trying to go towards the mood of the first game rather than the second--which, to me, is an instant failure. The emphasis on confined environments and incessant "puzzles" reminded me of the things I like the least about this series, and the way they keep pushing the story and characters just reinforced how dumb this whole story is. Another thing that I found very annoying is that, very often, I slammed headfirst into what seemed to be dead ends, and I had no idea if 1. I just had to wait for a cutscene; 2. there was a "physical puzzle" I had to solve, or 3. there was an obscure, almost invisible, but otherwise open passageway into the next section. And it's not that i find it wrong to be presented with a problem to solve, but in a game that's absolute linear all the way through, very often, those situations just felt like lazy design.

After the game throws you into more open space, the action picks up a bit, but then, it grinds to a halt with the final mission. In that, you have to help a group of survivors go from a building to a train station to escape the city. And then, another group. And another. And another, ad nauseam, while the game just throws more difficult enemies in your path to give you the false illusion that the game is progressing. It was a boring, irritating, anti-climactic way to end the episode, and it already put me in a bad mood for the second episode.

Episode two was... a really goddamn mixed bag. It started out on a strong note, but then sinks into a "Alyx Vance is dying, find alien extract to save her life" cliche. From then on, the game follows a really awful pattern: boring plot development, random action sequence, boring plot development, random action sequence, repeat until fade out. The sensation I got is that the developers were fully aware that they could shoot any crap towards us and we'd gobble it up without a thought; and, judging by the rave reviews, that's exactly what we did. Also, the way the game is still so impressed by its physics engine and still trying to show it off at every turn got on my nerves very fast. And also, I don't care about the goddamn crowbar. I found it a little odd how it was introduced in the beginning of the second game, until I read online that the crowbar is supposed to be "iconic". What the hell? I don't even remember using the crowbar even once in the first game. There's nothing special about a crowbar, it's still to try to sell a crowbar as something memorable, goddamit why am I so pissed off.

... oh, yes, episode two ends with what's possibly the worst mission in the entire series so far: destroying to striders. Not fun, not satisfying, just a very long, dull exercise in trial and error; all this followed by a cliffhanger ending that will never be continued.

In short, I think the "episodic" structure is garbage. It just made the games feel tiny, limited, and unsatisfying on their own. Each one is just a trailer to the next one, there's no sense of closure, and the narrative is too fragmented and crumbly to sustain the epic feel of the second game. Hlambdalf-Life 2 made me feel like I had the entire world ahead of me, while these episodes just made me jump from sandbox to sandbox, with a bad storyline connecting them. To be brutally honest, I regret playing these "episodes". It would've been better to remain with the memory of the second game. Also, the awareness that we haven't had a continuation in more than 10 years just makes me feel like this whole series is weak and unsustainable, both in terms of game mechanics (physics puzzles get old, guys!) and story (what story??). By this point, Gordon Freeman is just this generic dumbass who's sent into every ridiculous errand imaginable because everyone's aware that nothing wrong could happen to him, so how the fuck can you develop a character like that? Both episodes started out with him devoid of weapons, and having to use only the gravity gun for a while. By this point, even the "getting captured and having to escape" would feel even more cliched and redundant than it usually is whenever it shows up in other games. I don't think there's anywhere to go, really.

The second game is still a great game, and one I might play again in the future. These episodes are nasty little appendages that, in the long run, lead nowhere. A very melancholic non-ending to a series that's begging for a mercy kill. I'm sorry to be so negative, but I'm honestly disappointed.
"I know that the bourgeoisie stinks, but it has money to buy perfume."
-- Falcão
User avatar
gkscotty
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer
Posts: 5981
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:45 pm
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by gkscotty » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:40 pm

Image

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
User avatar
SirMustapha
Junior Secretariat
Junior Secretariat
Posts: 4428
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:20 pm
Location: South of South America
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:52 pm

The Talos Principle

Imagine you're playing Minesweeper, and, every time you lose, you get a lecture on pre-elementary philosophy.

So, in another installment of "game designers desperately try to be taken seriously", here's The Talos Principle, an epic tale of lasers, robots and tetrominos.

... yeah, I kinda wish I could just talk about the puzzle elements of the game (which is the one and sole reason I play puzzle games, for a start), but the game just insistently shoves its storyline in your face at every point, yelling and jumping up and down like a pretentious hipster Pinkie Pie with none of the charisma. So there. You're a robot, and you wake up in a peaceful garden, and a voice in the sky called Elohim guides you and calls you "my child". He tells you it's your duty to solve his trials and collect "sigils" (a.k.a. tetrominos) so that you can join him and gain eternal life, but he warns you to never climb the tower, because that would "break the covenant". So yeah, just within minutes of the game, the game's already shoving biblical references up every orifice of you body, but with none of the mockery or scatology of The Binding of Isaac. This is every bit as serious and deep as a film by a Hollywood filmmaker who just read his first Nietzsche.

... okay, so the story does get deeper than that. You start collecting pieces of the story mainly by collecting audio recordings by a researcher, or by reading fragments of text from some "library" through computer terminals spread around the levels. This library is controlled by a service called Milton, who soon displays a personality of his own and start discussing morals and ethics all the while trying to be as cynical as I am (and failing, naturally). I swear I did collect all the recordings and read the texts the first time I encountered them, but very soon, they just bored me out of my skull, and the amount of reading just made me think that maybe I should've just picked up a book to read instead. Also, I really hate how these dialogues with Milton are designed: these dialogues all force you to "lose" by giving you limited responses to the questions he makes, all of which are either dumb or wrong. And, of course, if you end up in one of those dialogues, you can't just quickly skip it and get back into the proper game, oh, no. You have to talk to the computer until the game judges that you've had enough.

I admit, the premise and the actual design of the game are pretty cool indeed, and I guess most of you guys would probably guess what the whole story is about very quickly. I think the experience of being inside this world, which you learn pretty quickly is a computer simulation, can be very eerie and instigating, but I think the game just doesn't explore that in the best way. I mean, the story as a whole is relatively simple, and the ideal choice here is to go with as much visual storytelling as possible, and provide small, but sufficient amounts of information to keep the mystery and the interest. Instead, there's pretty much no visual storytelling at all, and only these blocks of text, narration and text dialogue that left me less and less interested in what's going on. And the thing is, even though I had already stopped caring about the "narrative", I understood the story just fine through the few minutes of the "correct" ending. ... okay, part of it, but I got enough.

The puzzles themselves were kind of a mixed bag. For one, I don't like tetrominos, I really don't. Not only that, but I think it's very cheesy to use these mini-puzzles in this way; inside a game that's all about spacial awareness and physics, these tetromino puzzles just felt like a pebble in my shoe. And they were just unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. The actual puzzles, for the most part, were pretty interesting. In large part, they involve using "jammers" to open up laser walls and disable hostile bots and turrets, as well as "connectors" that you use to lead laser beams from emitters to receivers. Later on, you also find boxes that you can use to put connectors atop, or to trigger pressure plates, block bots, etc, and then you discover fans, that push you as well as objects in many directions, and which can be triggered through lasers, pressure plates or switches. I found these the most interesting puzzles by far, and they usually kept me entertained. Unfortunately, at one point, you discover the "recording" mechanism, which allows you to record your actions to play them again, creating parallel versions of the world which interact with each other. It sounds cool in theory, but I despised this mechanism. It was just not fun, and the finnicky controls meant I would be redoing things over and over, trying to get it right, and eventually getting stuck and having to reset the whole level. It also doesn't help that, once you record your actions, you have to immediately replay them, and only once. And to make matters worse, later on, you have a "platform" that your recorded self can hold over your head and your real self can step on, or stack objects. Urgh, I hated these puzzles.

I confess I cheesed the last dozen puzzles or so by looking at walkthroughs, because I hated the recording mechanism, and I was already so impatient that I was missing visual cues and elements that were required to beat the levels (I contend that some of these weren't my fault, but meh, I don't care to argue). All things considered, this game really tested my patience, but there were good things in it, and before the storytelling and the philosophy started to bore me, I was enjoying it. And if you do decide to climb the tower at the end, that's a really cool sequence, and saved the game from total frustration. So, do I recommend it? Well, if you're able to enjoy the story, or if you're better at ignoring it, you might enjoy it a lot more than I did. I don't say it's a bad game.
"I know that the bourgeoisie stinks, but it has money to buy perfume."
-- Falcão
Nidotamer
Sub-sector Control Officer's Assistant
Sub-sector Control Officer's Assistant
Posts: 1238
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:12 am

Re: Game Reviews

Post by Nidotamer » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:08 am

The *Talos* Principal?

Sure it wasn't that sneaky Todd Howard tricking you into playing Skyrim? Is that the twist? :D
Image
------
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
User avatar
SirMustapha
Junior Secretariat
Junior Secretariat
Posts: 4428
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:20 pm
Location: South of South America
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:48 pm

In retrospect, that was one unnecessarily mean review for a game that ain't even that bad. I guess I just have this thing against puzzle games that need bloated and overly serious storylines to compensate the fact that they are, well, puzzle games. It's like, after Portal, it's shameful for puzzle games to just be good ol' puzzle games, y'know. Even Zachtronics games like Spacechem and Infinifactory need those, but in those cases you can pretty much ignore them (and I'm honest enough to say I'm not good enough to beat them).

In other news, I'm playing Psychonauts now. What a cool game.
"I know that the bourgeoisie stinks, but it has money to buy perfume."
-- Falcão
User avatar
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 12805
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: future Neuralink chassis
Location: not a place of honour

Re: Game Reviews

Post by c_nordlander » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:28 pm

Fernie no. Fernie y u no worship Talos.

Sounds like good puzzles, obnoxious story. And yes, I'm one of those people who think it's fine for a game to have no plot at all, as long as the gameplay is good.

Do tell us what you think about Psychonauts. It struck me as one game that actually integrate the plot and the gameplay well (without spoiling too much, most of the minds you enter have a unique aesthetic and gameplay that are connected to that character's mental problem).
I stole all my stories from an old man named ChatGPT and I have finally decided to tell everything.

Now offering writing commissions! Fanfiction or original, PM me for more information.
Nidotamer
Sub-sector Control Officer's Assistant
Sub-sector Control Officer's Assistant
Posts: 1238
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:12 am

Re: Game Reviews

Post by Nidotamer » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:47 pm

Because Fernie is a filthy imperial, obviously! Damn the empire and their lists!

Admittedly, I don't tend to play puzzle games much. I'm way too dumb for them. See: above comment.
Image
------
"Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest. Voldemort raised his eyebrows at Harry, who could not see anything at the moment."
---- Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash
User avatar
SirMustapha
Junior Secretariat
Junior Secretariat
Posts: 4428
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:20 pm
Location: South of South America
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:37 pm

c_nordlander wrote:Sounds like good puzzles, obnoxious story. And yes, I'm one of those people who think it's fine for a game to have no plot at all, as long as the gameplay is good.
That's what I remember of The Witness, when I played it back in 2016. For some weird reason I ended up not buying it... Also, the problem with Talos is not the story itself, but the way it's told: exclusively through narration and text, and without any form of visual storytelling whatsoever. It could've been handled so, so much better.

Psychonauts, so far, is the complete opposite of that. Okay, there's plenty of dialogue and cutscenes to explain the story (which is in line with the cartoon aesthetic), but there's loads of visual storytelling as well. And not only the plot works as a justification for the extreme diversity in level design and style, but the way the game integrates simple psychological concepts with the gameplay mechanics is ingenious and very, very entertaining. ... okay, I admit I cheesed some of the puzzles, mostly in the Milkman level, but I'm trying to work it on my own.

... also, I think the best part of the game is the emotional baggage animations. I juts love them.
"I know that the bourgeoisie stinks, but it has money to buy perfume."
-- Falcão
User avatar
c_nordlander
Insane Underling
Insane Underling
Posts: 12805
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 2:00 pm
Custom Title: future Neuralink chassis
Location: not a place of honour

Re: Game Reviews

Post by c_nordlander » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:08 pm

SirMustapha wrote:Also, the problem with Talos is not the story itself, but the way it's told: exclusively through narration and text, and without any form of visual storytelling whatsoever. It could've been handled so, so much better.
That sounds like a really bad way to do narration in a game (or any visual medium). Come to think of it, that seems to be the problem you and other reviewers had with Braid, too: that the actual plot was told too much through the narration and the books in the end. Though Braid did integrate its plot with the gameplay in some aspects.
I stole all my stories from an old man named ChatGPT and I have finally decided to tell everything.

Now offering writing commissions! Fanfiction or original, PM me for more information.
User avatar
SirMustapha
Junior Secretariat
Junior Secretariat
Posts: 4428
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:20 pm
Location: South of South America
Contact:

Re: Game Reviews

Post by SirMustapha » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:53 pm

c_nordlander wrote:Come to think of it, that seems to be the problem you and other reviewers had with Braid, too: that the actual plot was told too much through the narration and the books in the end.
Yeah, I did have that problem. And that's even more reason for me to go and grab The Witness soon, because it's a very cool and bold move to go from that literary story-driven style into something that features no narration whatsoever.

... also, I forgot to mention this before, but I had completely forgotten about Talos from Skyrim, and it took me a long while to get May's joke. Ouch. And yeah, in this game, Talos refers to the Greek myth. This is explicitly mentioned in one of the in-game texts.
"I know that the bourgeoisie stinks, but it has money to buy perfume."
-- Falcão
Post Reply