I just have to ask – has Square money troubles? It seems like they have all their games on sale like every week right now. I just bought this for -80% on Steam and now it’s on Humble. Well played guys!

HA opens up right away very triple a-ish, everything and especially the cutscenes look rather impressive and are generally fun to watch. There are several levels that take place in larger areas amongst crowds of people. You literally don’t see that in many such 3D games. This is so rare! Even true open world games (GTA/Sleeping Dogs) usually don’t have so many character models walking around simultaneously.
The level of detail is also very intense, in all the missions/levels/areas. The graphics have so many, even tiny, details, that the player can always catch at least the glimpse of something. Not many games pull this off.
The rest of the content made me sometimes feel a little let down, because there isn’t really much of a story or anything else going on. This clearly isn’t Deus Ex with its emails and news bits and pieces everywhere, that also tell stories to complement the world the player is in. No, HA is not that type of game at all, but it doesn’t want to be. Here the pure game mechanics are the main event. Sneaking, being stealth, finding the smartest way to complete the mission. This is where players will be divided. I personally prefer much more the Deus Ex type of experience. The game mechanics are robust enough and are appropriate for the HA gaming experience the devs must have intended, but I can’t keep myself from thinking that the game could have been a lot better, if the levels would have contained more than just hostiles to evade or take down. The only thing except that, is to collect “evidence”, but this will only grant points and not even have a short text giving an idea of what this evidence might have contained. It’s a mere gameplay device and collecting one single piece of evidence therefore doesn’t differ from collecting any other – nothing can be learned from them, or done with them.
The campaign has a decent length of about 20 hours and I haven’t played any of the contracts so far. I feel like I have to try this at least once before uninstalling. All the ~100 DLCs sold for this game are also only available for the contract part of the game and are absent from the campaign completely – as I had to find out when I started playing.
I have never played another Hitman game, so I unfortunately cannot compare, I only heard this one played somehow different than the earlier titles.
It’s also another case where I’m seriously asking myself if some of the Steam features aren’t going too far, because the game displays the scores of other people from a player’s friends list at the beginning of every mission. I don’t want to know that other people have 10 times the score in the same mission! :P Besides, I bet no one was aware that it would be handled this way. It’s probably deep inside the user agreements somewhere, but obviously no one ever reads those. ;)

The Brave New World

That sure is definitive. :D

The telltalization of such games cannot be stopped! Grrr! Argh! Anyways, I liked this game, it almost felt as if actual humans with emotions made it. That IS strange! SO strange!
I had more fun playing this game than I had with any of the last typical Telltales, because it comes without ridiculous, artificial tension and annoying button mashing… The Wolf Among Us was the only of these Telltales that I was into a lot anyway (naturally there is no Season 2 in sight…) and it certainly wasn’t because of killing input devices under duress – I guess I’m supposed to go and read the comics as consolation, but that’s another story.
In Life is Strange™ players are allowed to explore and enjoy everything at their own pace. This way everyone can finish this game as fast or slow as they want, which makes it less guided than these quick time event combats are.

I was previously sharing my thoughts on “decisions” in games of these formats because of Dreamfall Chapters, so it comes as a relief that they too have a little different, maybe more interesting approach here (btw: collectible mode is a nice touch). It might not have been on purpose (probably wasn’t), but the rewind mechanic made it seem as if someone was winking at me the whole time at how “important” decisions really are (and I mean by that, that I took it as humor, not something negative). Then again, there seemed to be a nice mix of player actions that would have immediate consequences and those that seemed to set up ones which would only matter long term.

When I was playing Remember Me (their previous game) I already thought that it was such a waste, to simply run past such massive amounts of beautiful and noteworthy artwork and another type of game might make better use of it and they sure as hell aren’t making this mistake this time, so I was instantly curious about LiS™, just for that.
Now I guess there are a lot of not so positive things that could be said about either such interactive stories or the episodic format or even both, but for the sake of this text it will be enough to point out that it is very hard to judge a story by only it’s first part. This first of five episodes seems to lay a lot of solid groundwork for possibly awesome future-stuff, but knowing nothing as to its actual direction, it all could still go tits up just as well. Seriously hoping for the former, of course, I’m definitely looking forward to the next episode/continuation of this adventure.

PS: Yes, they seriously put a ™ next to the name, but other than in Monkey Island™, it’s apparently not meant as a joke. :P

PPS: Where’s the soundtrack at?!?

Finally finished my run through all the Enhanced Editions. I was already done with Baldur’s Gate EE and started II months ago, when I learned that they were working on patch 1.3, so I decided to stop playing until it came out. Although waiting is always somewhat unpleasant, it was the best decision. I mean, 37 pages of changes
Anyways, at several points I found myself unable to progress in the game at all, without further work. In Watcher’s Keep, the level with the last seal has 3 paths/tests behind a ghost and the cursor just never changed into the enter/door symbol. I couldn’t enter any of those 3 rooms (I have a very dark memory of this already being the case in the original, all those eons ago). I could only progress by using an older savegame, then the rooms were accessible. Lucky.
During Hexxat’s quest, the lich didn’t die, which again, made completion impossible (in this instance it’s not even possible to go somewhere else and continue playing there – not that this would be a good, satisfying idea). Thankfully enough people were suffering from this, so there was already a file available for the override folder.
I ran into the next wall when I tried to follow Melissan to the Throne, thus ending the game. The necessary option just wasn’t there. After some desperate searching for a possible solution, I found out that Neera‘s quest regularly doesn’t complete properly (and this keeps the option from showing). To circumvent this, I had to activate the console and

if this C:GetGlobal(“OHN_TOB_PLOT”,”GLOBAL”) returns 14, then it’s the Neera quest bug and entering C:SetGlobal(“OHN_TOB_PLOT”,”GLOBAL”,15) sets the quest to completed

http://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/38199/11141-neeras-tob-quest-should-not-prevent-travel-to-the-throne-of-bhaal#latest

I could end the game. Honestly, I expected better after the massive 1.3 patch, but at the same time all the show stoppers were solvable without too much trouble. I also had the feeling that all banter stopped triggering at some point. In one scene Imoen talked about her situation as a Bhaalspawn and I had to reload shortly after, but then this scene never “repeated”, nor did subsequent conversations appear. That’s really sad, given how much flavor this adds.

“The rest” of the games was also rather solid. Given how much content they have, some trouble is easy to forgive (then again, it’s now 16 years after BG’s release!).
Overall it felt as if these games never ran better. I’m trying to say I’d still prefer the Enhanced Editions. Unless there are some very specific mods, that won’t work with them, that someone absolutely wants, they are the better choice to experience the entirety of Baldur’s Gate again.

PS: What happens to poor Cespenar, when the pocket plane stops existing at the end of ToB? No one even says goodbye to him, that’s just rude!

PPS: Steam tells me I had it running for 136 hours (I know, right?) and although I’m sure lots of it must have been moments when I just alt-tabbed out of the game (it takes like 1/100 of the resources Firefox needs :P), I’m astonished at how this game managed to reach this length without having players collect stuff like shards and mosaics. Oh right, with quests, story, loot and characters… :) Now I couldn’t be more ready for Pillars of Eternity!

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