I had made so many awesome screenshots (stop laughing!) for this game, or so I thought, then I found out that my screenshot tool doesn’t make screenshots for DX12 games but, of course, also doesn’t say so. At least I learned that Steam can screenshot DX12 (so I still managed to make some during the last half of the game). It’s kinda disappointing though, that an extra tool would fail at it.

Anyway, overall I very much welcome the TR reboot, the gameplay is a lot of fun, the level design is usually rather sweet and this package makes the game really motivating to me. I was especially in favor of the many “realistic” animations they put in for LC – loved those. I didn’t have to make myself finish it, I wanted to.

I thought now might be the ideal time to start playing it, because I’d noticed that the tenth patch was released only a few weeks prior. This sounded like the game should be in a rather pristine condition by now. So my surprise couldn’t have been bigger, that this game is still riddled with bugs which are impossible to overlook.
I have the “20th b-day celebration/complete edition” and the game throws out a ton of screens for every installed DLC at the beginning. These messages are clearly supposed to pop up only once during the first start, but they always appear, forcing me to click them away each time (the same goes for the Square Enix account the game wants me to log into – has to be skipped at each start, despite an extra screen suggesting it too will only appear once).

No settings in the audio/languages section of the options are saved, all of them reset each time the game is closed. So each start of the game is a small nightmare, before playing the game can begin.

It happened a few times to me, that I couldn’t activate the survival mode (think Batman Arkham Detective Vision), nothing would happen. But it would always work again if I restarted the game. There was another issue with one of the tutorial screens popping up again and again, although I wasn’t performing the action it was for. As if the countless DLC messages at each start weren’t bad enough, the game additionally forced me to endure this as often as possible.

As mentioned I played the game in its DX12 mode, which worked really well, except for the last campaign cutscene. Every single time this soldier was stabbed, the game would crash. Easy to reproduce. To watch the final scene of the game, I had to switch to DX11, for the first time.

As we all know, LC has never been a deep character or anything like that and none of the previous TR games were ever known for a good or even memorable story, but this is 2016 and stuff I would have overlooked in 1996, do disappoint me now. The story, if one can call it that, is entirely forgettable and doesn’t even reach the level I would call “serviceable”. Movies like “Die Hard” don’t have a deep story either, but it’s well presented, give us SOMETHING.

While the cool gameplay makes me usually forget how terribly disappointing every story bit is, I still couldn’t overlook some truly cringe-worthy scenes (and believe me I tried). Out of the ~4 named characters this game has (besides LC), one of them is supposedly friends with LC, this character gets hurt bad and is about to die (he’s maybe minutes from kicking the bucket) – but luckily LC is after a gadget that can heal/give immortality to people (a much lamer and less interesting version of the holy grail from last crusade basically). So I obviously expected LC to find it and heal her friend with this thing, saving him last second. But no, the first thing LC does, once she finds the MacGuffin, is to destroy it and the next time she sees her friend, he’s completely healthy and healed up again anyway, as if he was never hurt… How?!? Could it be worse? Probably, but still… I just can’t understand how it is possible that we still have to put up with crap like this in 2016. And this game is a major blockbuster, there should be some sort of QA for the story bits. Low budget indie games often do it so much better! Games such as RotTR should be able to do at least as much. I only had to laugh a few times when someone told me, that this friend actually was a recurring character from TR 2013 – zero memory of this guy.

Who knows how awesome these games could be, if they would put in more than just fun gameplay and awesome animations for LC!

The same continues with these logs that are spread throughout the world. They even got actors to read all of those texts, but none of them contain any information I am interested in. None of them reveal anything of value. You’d hope they’d shine some new light on things, add to the experience, but no. They are literally nothing but sheer collectibles. As another element that was taken straight from the Batman Arkham games, this too could have been so much better. So to get at least something out of it and to keep my mind occupied and not just my hands, I role-played the whole game as the Cerys an Craite spin-off, CDP would never make. Lara wears almost the same armor after all.

The additional “story” DLC in Croft Manor only further points out that LC isn’t a real character. Like James Bond she’s rebooted every few years in story and looks (which also makes no sense whatsoever). Since the series started in 1996, this is at least the third incarnation now. I’m still hoping they’ll never do this to Indiana Jones, but since Star Trek and Star Wars I should probably accept that it’s going to happen sooner or later. Member Berries and all that.

All in all the game is better even than the first of the reboot and current survivor-series. It’s obviously been a while since I played Tomb Raider, but I remember extremely annoying bits with QTE’s they thankfully scaled back to a healthy amount in RotTR. Those were pure evil. :P

I still would like them to fix all these bugs, but after one year and 10 already released patches, it’s most likely crazy to still expect anything.

Bye Bye Voices of Nerat!

I’m one of these people who really liked Pillars too. I also had no problems with the companions. They might not have felt as legendary as the group from Baldur’s Gate II, but… Let’s just say this doesn’t make them bad in my book. Not even close.
So I was looking forward to Tyranny as well, the only reservation I held, was that it might be too similar to Pillars. Same engine and all that.
All of these doubts went away rather quickly, once I started playing. Sure, it’s the same engine, but these games are primarily about story, characters […] anyway. Despite the same engine, this game really isn’t anywhere near to being a clone of Pillars. In fact so many details appear to be different, that it might be something the devs were worried about as well. Even the GUI is another one and the changes are almost deep enough to maybe even alter gameplay a bit.
Parties now consist of 4 people, instead of 6. While I do have the drive to drag along as many of the companions as possible, to not miss their unique dialogs (at the very least), in a game like this there is still enough micromanaging to do with just 4 characters. It made me curious if they are going to keep this refined design for future titles, or if this was just something to make Tyranny more unique.
In a way this game reminded me of Witcher 2, because some decisions in W2 have such deep consequences, that the player ultimately needs another playthrough to experience the other half of the game. Tyranny offers a shorter campaign (“shorter” in comparison to Pillars), but has a lot more variables. Again, I can’t say if it was their goal to make people happy who want shorter games AND those players who like spending lots of time with the same title. If it was, they came as close to this as possible.
At first I had real problems understanding who all the various factions were (I thought there was so much lore right away, it was much harder to get into than Pillars) and what their goals were, but ultimately Tyranny did a good job at explaining it. Not every game makes me learn/remember all the names and little stories behind them. At the end of the game I knew almost everything the game had to say about groups like the Scarlet Chorus. I was really down with the motivations of all of these groups. A huge part, of why I was able to remember it so well, was probably that I actually got to meet most of these groups and had to actually “deal” with them eventually. Pillars on the other hand only mentioned lots of factions as part of the lore and worldbuilding, but they had no further relevance to the story, they remained something abstract.
So once again, Obsidian has learned from their previous game and did not merely introduce changes, but improvements.
The ending had me wondering if they are going to add to it (maybe even in the form of an expansion) or if this is supposed to be a one-off. I have to say it would work either way. The ending doesn’t necessarily “demand” a sequel, it just allows one.

Firaxis released a new patch for XCOM 2. The major change in it was that controller support was added, “only” 9 months after release of the game. I’m personally a keyboard/mouse player, but I still welcome any addition, many other players seemed to want it. Sadly, this update also added some bugs, which weren’t in the game before.

The weapon screen now has several weird buttons at the bottom, obviously belonging to the controller support – even if the player is only using kb+m. Another button which would allow switching to the next soldier’s weapon, has vanished. It really doesn’t look like this is how it’s intended to work.

The next “impossible to miss”-bug is on the squad loadout screen. Two of the buttons on the bottom have visually “merged”, although a bit is still visible – so it’s at least still usable.

I even deleted my config folder and ran yet another verify on the game, but the glitches persist.

While they are seemingly moving stuff around constantly, it doesn’t look like this will be fixed soon, or maybe even ever.

Another bug that annoys me, but was already present before this patch, is that the Alien Hunter DLC doesn’t trigger anymore for me. I still get the scanning option for the new weapons, but that’s it. Nothing else follows. Apparently there is another bug which can prevent Alien Hunter from triggering, namely if Shen’s Last Gift DLC is played before it, but I’m quite sure this isn’t the reason in my case. I’ve waited many ingame weeks (before starting Shen’s Last Gift), without results.

Dex was awesome. Loved it. I was as hooked and entertained for the whole duration, maybe even a little bit more than I was with the last few AAA games I finished, because if you play enough e.g. cover shooters in whichever 3D engine, they can start to feel generic/same. Dex, as a 2D side-scroller (for one), obviously didn’t have that problem.

The only thing I didn’t like about this game was that the/”my” ending felt rushed (the game has several). It didn’t feel fleshed out enough. But then again, this is a common problem with games, I’ve read a theory a while back, which was based on (yeah yeah, keep laughing) a metric, saying that most gamers never finish whichever game they are playing, therefore devs wouldn’t put as much work in endings “no one” would ever see anyway. Of course I have no idea if this is true and even if it is, I don’t know if this played a role in the development of this game.

It remains a fact however, that several of the side quests (of which this game has many – yay) had better written and more interesting story bits than large stretches of the supposed main plot. What I played was already called the Enhanced Edition, so I have to say a few slides at the ending could have been a really good addition. During the last stages of the game the player has to make several decisions which are probably supposed to be difficult, but without enough context, I had a hard time making these decisions with much confidence. Even the ending I got didn’t clear up the uncertainty.

I’ve played this game for almost 20 hours (tried to do absolutely everything), the game world is relatively big for a game of this type. At some point I started to use the fast travel option, because running from one end of the city to the other took to long, after I already had explored everything. So again, in these regards there is a lot of good content here. I’ll try to see it as just another positive aspect, that I was left wanting more instead of being glad it was finally over. :)

The game is out for over a year at this point and that too seems to be a good thing because I’ve read about all kinds of bugs, while I didn’t encounter a single one in my playthrough. So obviously those were patched out in the meantime – might be time for people to give this another chance who might have been put off before. It’s kinda funny that these smaller budget indie titles like Dex and Technobabylon engaged me even more than Deus Ex could. But sadly, in the end, it’s still mostly the marketing budget which makes the crowd (also having named the game merely Dex probably didn’t help visibility much – just try to find wallpapers on Google and you’ll see what I’m talking about). ;)

With the release of the 1.30 patch I started playing this game again from the very beginning. Since many thought this would be the final patch for the game (I have no idea if that’s true, it’s possible I guess) there was no reason to wait with another playthrough.

Under this premise, it was especially disappointing to see that “all” the little bugs are still there like they were in the release version even (some of them). I even encountered a few new ones. Now, none of them are game breaking, it’s not like that, it doesn’t even detract (much) from the glorious masterpiece this game is, but if you love a game this much, some sort of final polish would have been very welcome.

All screenshots are 1.30.

It happened to me for the very first time that an opponent had 2 Villentretenmerth cards, when there should be just one in each deck. Part of the fun playing a computer in cards, is that there is no cheating!

They still didn’t translate/remove debug messages from several of the texts, especially in Toussaint. I guess they think no one is reading these anyway. :P Often boards in Toussaint have several of such messages.

A similar bug is on the character screen. Some abilities display their variables instead of a value. I suppose this is cosmetic only and actually works in the game.

On the Kaer Morhen map, right outside of the bastion, I always have this wolf, who has fallen through the map.

During one of the possible endings, the game doesn’t display the dialog options anymore, when talking to the innkeep, right after checking out his store inventory – which makes it hard to end the dialog with him without ending the game via Task Manager and reloading a savegame.

One of the inns in Velen has an herbalist sitting right next to the door, forgot the name (Cunny of the Goose? Inn at the Crossroads? One of those I think), but after returning to him after the first encounter, it is no longer possible to access his shop. “Let me see your wares” only returns to the dialog options. There is at least one other vendor who has this problem. I also remember one of the traveling vendors can have this bug.

One of the abandoned sites in Velen (sadly forgot which one exactly, but there aren’t this many) can trigger the famous message “new marker added to the map” – but there won’t be a marker on the map! Damn, let me fast travel please! :P

Normally I can play this game for hours without any sort of crashes and the like, but if traveling from Toussaint to Velen, the game often ends up crashing to desktop. I guess most bugs appear in and around the latest/last expansion.

Keira Metz is still standing around on the Kaer Morhen map, after she should be gone. This has been the case since… release?

Sometimes there are empty containers, that still allow you to open them.

Another one in since the release version, is the issue with the bolts. The crossbow has standard infinite bolts, but other finite variants can be equipped. It happens all the time, that the infinite bolts are moved over into the inventory. That’s not supposed to happen, since any other bolt variant is supposed to override the infinite ones, not replace them as an equippable (that’s not a word, is it?) item.

As always I’m sure I have forgotten something, so I’ll try to add/correct this list while I play along.

//Update 2016/09/12

They just released a new patch, which funnily enough, doesn’t touch any of the things I mentioned here. But at least the question if they were going to release another one has been answered.

Full Changelog:

– Corrects Arabic text in the expansions.
– Corrects Turkish text.
– Repairs holes in Vimme Vivaldi’s new clothes.
– Fixes long loading times in dialogues in the vicinity of Hierarch Square.
– Fixes infinite loading screen occurring during the “Pyres of Novigrad” quest when following the thief.
– Corrects credits.
– (Origin) Fixes NPC lipsync issues.

http://thewitcher.com/en/news/view/2501/

What is it about Dan Aykroyd’s crystal skull vodka popping up everywhere lately?!? EVERYWHERE!
Anyway, I just finished Deus Ex: Jensen’s Stories – Desperate Measures. :D The mission itself is solid and offers a lot of the strengths the Deus Ex franchise is loved for. Here too, the mission can be won in several ways and even then there is more than one path to complete most of them.
What bothered me a little bit about this mission, is that it obviously was meant to be part of the game, but was cut out so they would have some dumb DLC pre-order shit available. It’s literally a part of the main story missing. And it’s stupid to experience after being done with the main campaign. It just doesn’t feel that relevant anymore – you know where all of this is going. What makes it even more obvious, is that the player is given a Praxis kit at the very end of the mission, right before the ending credits start rolling – this is absolutely pointless, unless, of course, it (at some point) was part of the main game and you could have used this Praxis kit in the following missions…
They pulled this crap in Deus Ex: Human Revolution as well, but at least then the additional mission appeared during the campaign itself, if you had it. It wasn’t entirely set apart.
This isn’t the only thing they’ve done to break your immersion. There are also these “hidden” collectible triangles during the main campaign, you are supposed to take a picture of with an android/iOS app. WTF? Why wasn’t that labeled “Desperate Measures”?
The breach mode is next for me (I don’t fully understand what it is yet). I have only played the first mission so far and the woman seems to be voiced by Tali’Zorah from Mass Effect (doesn’t show on imdb though, not sure). That leaves a good first impression, I guess.

Hey I had no idea Squeenix adapted Telltale’s episodic format! Can’t wait for episode 2 to come out! :P But seriously: Just finished it – took me 46 hours (according to Steam) and the ending credits were like 20 minutes of that. :D I loved it. The only thing that annoyed me, is that the story isn’t nearly done. The last mission doesn’t feel like the final one and more like a point at which everything seriously starts to kick off. It’s designed in a way, other games handle their middle.

Usually this is a “feature” which I strongly dislike in a game, the reason I love this latest Deus Ex anyway, is because they still did pretty much everything else very right and I loved every second of playing it. The world building is tremendous (even better than in Deus Ex: Human Revolution) and even the side quests are usually very good. They all have something memorable to offer. Maybe that’s even the reason the main story came short, because they build such a massive hub (Prague – the city consists of five separate maps), that they had to stop somewhere, to finally have a shippable game. At some point each dev has to polish their product into something that can be released at a realistic date and it’s often done by cutting.

I could be wrong, but Mankind Divided might be the first game I ever played that didn’t have any noticeable clones. In fact I dare to claim, that there is no other game, which has such a diverse cast of characters. Even in games which care about that, we usually see NPCs with clothing only in different colors, which are otherwise the same nonetheless. You know what I’m talking about. Eidos Montreal however, went completely nuts here. The characters have different faces, hair cuts, clothing, they wear glasses, have dirty faces, are having various augments installed… It’s so incredible. I’m not usually one to look for such stuff, this is how much effort was made here, that even I had to notice this.

Seriously, which game has even minor side characters change their clothing?

Another thing that I had never seen like this in a game before was, when Jensen met a contact in a club and agreed to see the same person a little later, this person was then wearing different clothes! Completely crazy! Usually there’s only one model per character (unless it’s the main character or some other special case) and it’s used for the whole game, but here a minor side character got this treatment. I’ll never forget this, the amount of work put into this single aspect of the game must be insane!

Thief 2014

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 2016

I should mention though, that they did reuse some assets from other games like Thief.

I guess this could be interpreted as a reference, like the one for Hitman. Before I forget it, the facial expressions and animations are usually also super awesome. They are so good, they often appear seamless, it’s like not noticing a special effect in a movie because it’s done so well you don’t recognize it as an effect.

So coming back to the story and its abrupt end, I’m forced to keep wondering if they will just drop it, make a sequel, or publish “appropriate” DLC for this game. There is a season pass for this game, which I obviously didn’t buy (especially not since it’s almost the same price as the ), but even so it is very doubtful that the 2 (shorter?) missions in it are supposed to give closure to this 40 hour game. But even if they did, it would only leave a very bad taste, that you couldn’t experience the story fully without paying extra.

The game is so glorious, that I don’t even have to think about playing it again. It’s only a matter of when.

Oh and because I read on Steam other people have bugs/technical issues with this game, I really didn’t except for the glitches I will describe in a moment. I’m not writing this to say that I’m one of these crazy assholes who think that a game can’t have issues just because they didn’t run into any.
I played it for 46 hours, in that time it crashed once to desktop, once the textures glitched out into some dark mess and in one hacking minigame, I just couldn’t click on any nodes. Nothing would happen. It was so broken, that I had to use a multitool to get into this specific computer.
The only bug (?) that really annoyed me in this game, was that reloading a save was only possible by pressing space at the end. Sadly space is also the key for all kinds of stuff in the game. And – get this – Deus Ex executes the button for reloading a savegame in game, as if you had pressed it twice. That got me into all kinds of trouble, because space would sometimes make Jensen jump in front of enemies or something equally crazy. At some point I would just force myself to put Jensen somewhere “safe”, so that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I had to reload a quicksave (or any save). I seriously hope they will fix that.
A last ugly thing I noticed, is that they got this disturbing relic still active (I already hated that with a passion in Human Revolution and Mankind Divided inherited it), of the game pulling the last equipped item after hacking a computer for instance. In case someone doesn’t know what I’m talking about, every time the player ends hacking a computer with clicking on the exit button (instead of using the escape key for example), Jensen will draw the last equipped item, usually a weapon, without the player wanting him to do that. It’s less fatal than the aforementioned savegame issue, but as annoying.
Since they haven’t fixed this for a solid 5 years now, maybe Eidos Montreal thinks it’s a feature? One last thing that I wish would work differently, is some shop owners repeat their intial greeting phrases after every mission. Usually I love ranting about Dragon Age Inquisition (because I hate games that betray their potential more than anything :P), but for once this game has something which is a good idea, namely every shop allows to either talk to the owner, or just open the shop. Having to endure these long winded talks when I just want to sell some stuff cluttering my inventory, I’m constantly missing this feature.

PS: I appropriately praised all the awesome stuff in this game right? Because it deserves praise, how they designed everything so there are always numerous ways of doing something. Many games struggle with getting one way to barely work out. When playing this game, it’s always obvious why it took them 5 years to make it. Unless devs are willing to put this much time and effort into a game, such incredible blockbusters like Deus Ex would be impossible to even remotely pull off. I’m so happy that there are still some who are willing and able to do just that.

v9.6 04.08.2016
—-
+Fixed warform-weapons bug, moved Yugo to pier and limo onto street.
+Adjusted some weapon damages for plus and restored some for basic.
+Added shake to forklift hit and improved two friend emails timings.
+Fixed museum areaportal and small texture issues, thanks Psycho-A.
+Added door to SM haven bathroom and masquerade area outside museum.
+Mentioned Clan Lasombra in the world loading tips, thanks to IanW.
Corrected bad elevator light at Red Dragon and Jezebel’s door lock.
Fixed decapitation shot and restored basic drugbox value and rain.
Unified keypad sounds and fixed wrong detection and sounds on Dane.
Fixed museum door not being locked and some minor dialogue issues.
Lowered Asylum music volume after loading and fixed minor map bugs.
Added original Japanese and Russian words to translated subtitles.
Fixed Society of Leopold map hole and reduced artefacts over beach.
Updated SDK and fixed audio loop at Fu Syndicate, thanks Psycho-A.
Made manholes in Venture Tower cellar and Ocean House sewers close.
Fixed bad Kerri dialogue start and delayed Jeanette and Ming ones.
Used autoexec.cfg to fix talk dsp sound and frame rate door issues.
Enhanced some areaportals at Leopold Society and Giovanni Mansion.
Recompiled Kamikaze Zen and Zhao’s Warehouse maps to fix some bugs.
Fixed Nosferatu causing Masquerade violations exiting Luckee Star.
Made Chunk not attack you if you convinced him thus in the endgame.
Fixed some Ocean House rails, areaportals, shadows and a map hole.
Adjusted volume of some NPC lines and removed doubled pier effects.

https://forums.planetvampire.com/bloodlines-tech-support/unofficial-patch-9-6-beta-released!/

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