XCOM 2, 3 months after its release, has finally gotten the second patch. They fixed bugs like the hazmat armor not protecting against acid, stuff that was known since release day and probably took a simple change in one single line of code. :P Congrats.

At the same time it’s instantly obvious that they added some new flaws, the menu (pic above) now features empty boxes. The third slider is probably for the third DLC, Shen’s Last Gift, but it might have been smarter to only add this once the DLC is actually out.

They also didn’t fix lots of other bugs that are in the game since release. For example the empty status boxes above the heads of characters. By now I’m thinking that entire Firaxis consists out of maybe 10 people and only one of them is tasked with fixing the bugs in the game – in their free time.

I guess players have to be happy that they are fixing anything at all. The game feels a little bit more responsive in some areas, but at this point it’s hard to tell if this has even anything to do with the patch, considering there have been like 10 new driver versions for my graphics card since the last patch and naturally those could have smoothed things over a bit too.

At the end of the release notes they are promising that this wasn’t the last patch and that they will continue to fix this thing, but at this point all I’m thinking is, that they should have released this game at least 6 months later than they did. At the speed they are fixing bugs that are known for months, they are more likely to bring an XCOM 3 than get this game polished into a condition it should have been in at release several months ago.

Last but not least, the alien rulers are great fun and challenge the player once again to adapt to the new threat. I guess having alien rulers flee and reappear whenever (with appropriate health left), is the closest we will be getting towards having the nemesis system in XCOM. They round it up with their typical lore breaking inconsistencies, by naming these guys alien rulers, when they are nothing but a failed experiment (by someone who’s not even an alien). They obviously wouldn’t rule other aliens, nor could they be anyone’s king. If those special aliens actually would have wanted to rule over the normal aliens, it should have been the elders who would have fought them first and not XCOM, given that they would never accept such a challenge to their own authority. But once again, XCOM is all about the gameplay and not at all about any kind of story and/or lore, no matter what they end up throwing in there.

I finished my first campaign with the new DLC and now can’t wait to play it once more with the final DLC from the season pass “Shen’s Gift” which is probably coming in the next 2-3 months.

After the last games I had some serious Telltale fatigue. While these games do have different stories and characters, of course, they are still pretty much all the same. Since there is no “real” gameplay to speak of, there can be this almost overwhelming sense of having done all this before.
To make matters worse, there is also always this extremely annoying claim at the beginning, that the story would be shaped by the players choices and whatnot. Everyone who has ever played just one of these Telltale games knows, that the choices barely make a difference, if any – so it’s just so weird they would insist on claiming this at the start of each of their games… I can see how a dev would do that once, but always? It now only serves to create expectations that won’t be met. It seems to remain Telltale’s secret, why they would keep shoving this into the faces of players, who know better by now.

So after not playing one of these games for several months, I decided to give this one a shot again. Time heals all wounds, or something along these lines. While it still doesn’t hold a candle against my favorite Telltale game of all time, The Wolf Among Us (actually on my games list right now), it’s really fun. I especially liked the soundtrack. The game benefits quite a bit from their smart selection.
I’m not really gonna go into this whole thing why the game is worth playing, if it’s for you, the above video will tell you right away. Every episode has such an intro and its own song.

v9.5 20.03.2016
+Recreated Smoke Shop in SM and integrated it into the libray quest.
+Created Coffee Shop in SM and integrated it into the libray quest.
+Restored nine random sounds to Giovanni Mansion and Malkavian Maze.
+Added two new Malkavian Maze areas and riddle, thanks to Psycho-A.
+Improved cook model, oilrig reflection and SDK, thanks to Psycho-A.
+Fixed Patty-turnstile-issue and many map details, thanks Psycho-A.
+Restored four muffled sounds to downtown and two to Hollywood hubs.
+Fixed SPAS secondary fire spread and made Chastity biteable again.
+Added skulls to ritual chamber and fixed Red Spot storage door bug.
+Fixed delayed identification of occult powerups and infobar icons.
+Added new notes to museum outside and to the two Santa Monica hubs.
+Made Edward’s theme play only after the Ocean House has been left.
+Restored two newspaper headers and fixed whispers, thanks Psycho-A.
+Fixed library guard sound group and added post-installation-infos.
+Made male blood doll bi and fixed some other minor dialogue issues.
Fixed Ming temple clipping columns and improved notes readability.
Removed basic maze note, plus emails and ignitions on Fu explosion.
Disabled bad downtown hospital sounds and illogical debris vanish.
Added infos about Auspex auras, Numina and more to the walkthrough.
Removed Malkavian whispers of other clans in tutorial and warrens.
Changed name of combination hunter shield Numina to “Faith Shield”.
Restored Sin Bin machine breaking and adjusted Giovanni door lock.
Corrected netcafe sound schemes switch and fixed many streetlights.
Fixed SM schrecknet door lock and disabled a Venture Tower button.



Out of all the classic LA adventures, DoT was like one of three I never played. So this remastered version was my first contact with the game. Of course I wanted to play it for years, but… the too many games™ issue struck again.
So without the bias of nostalgia I only saw the actual game. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it didn’t dethrone Monkey Island 2 for me. I also don’t know if it was a drawback maybe that it has been 20 years since I played Maniac Mansion (and I barely remember anything about it, I’m ashamed to admit).

On the plus side it is very safe to say, that the whole adventure genre hasn’t really done anything like this again; I’m talking about the various characters who have to interact so much with each other’s respective situations (and in this case timelines). It’s really weird that the oldest adventures have the most innovations in gameplay. You’d expect newer entries to add to the formula (as it is often the case in other genres), not loose as much features as possible to create the lightest version of the classic experience possible.
Day of the Tentacle is actually the perfect example for showing why some people criticized the depth of Broken Age so much. DoT is longer, has more unique locations, more characters, more playable characters, more puzzles, more inventory items, more interaction between the playable characters, […]… And the funny thing is, that DoT, as it stands since its original release, is already a toned down version of its initial design. As the commentary mentions, the game was supposed to have 6 characters, but 3 of them were cut. That really makes sense here though, I don’t see what 3 more characters could have added to the gameplay. It probably would have ended in a situation where the player doesn’t even use several of the characters and they would have offered some variations for additional playthroughs at best.
Whatever the case may be, I really have no idea why these old LA titles are pretty much the sole games in this genre, which managed to pull all of this off. I can’t think of another genre of games that has only taken steps back instead of evolving into something more. While there are countless adventures and tons of good ones among them, I don’t really know any new ones which move beyond the minimalist design of one character and strictly linear puzzle design along the typical inventory. It’s almost strange, why so many games claim to be inspirations of especially these LA games, while consequently ignoring what always set LA adventures apart from the rest. Just think of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis for a second, with its three distinct paths and all that. It’s again basically a unicorn.

So hamster cruelty aside (I thought this puzzle chain was hard to figure out), I think the game holds mostly up, especially the design feels even fresher than that of many adventure games that were made 20 years after DoT… I wish I was kidding. Most of the puzzles are fair, there aren’t really many bad examples here that no one could ever guess and could only solve by sheer coincidence. And looking at the new graphics, I feel like this exactly how the game would have looked, if they would have drawn it today or if they would have had today’s possibilities back then. Whichever.

I’m a huge fan of commentary and additions like concept art in general, so this is working for me here as I expected it would. The only thing I could complain about, is that I would have liked even more.

As I said, MI2 and Indy 4 will remain my LA favorites, but even without strong nostalgic feelings from the last millennium, I can easily see that this is (still) a solid game. I’m glad I bought it, this mechanic of being able to seamlessly switch between the original and the remake works like magic. It is ideal for such a project. What I wouldn’t give for such a remake of Indiana Jones 4 or The Dig, sadly these games don’t seem to have ties to anyone with his own studio like Tim Schafer. That’s why the next remastered version that is supposedly happening, is Full Throttle. IMHO an okay game that I’m not nearly as anxious to experience again in such a remastered version as the other examples I have given. But we can’t always have what we want.



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