Archive for the ‘gaming’ Category

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Most companies manage/intend to improve their games in some way over time, so I absolutely wanted to play Transistor because I thought Bastion was interesting. For whatever reason, I have to say I liked Transistor less than Bastion. The great graphics are back, but everything else feels almost like a step back. They definitely tried to do something here, there are a lot of powers that can be used as active or passive abilities and the mix is up to the player, but it didn’t engage me much. I just picked some combo that seemed to work and stuck with it for the entire game.

What I couldn’t get into at all was the story (although I really wanted to – at first when it still showed promise), which probably explains my lack of motivation to get through this. I don’t think I would have finished it, if it wasn’t relatively short. Even now I have no idea what it was supposed to be about. I waited for some twist or explanation that never came. The characters are (trapped?) in a seemingly digital world, but how they got there, or what their origins are, remained a mystery. I tried to come up with explanations of my own, to make some sense of this at least, but I never like it, if something has so many holes, that the story will only work if I fill in all the blanks myself. I’m not willing to tell a story to the storyteller who I’ve paid to tell me a story. :P

Anyway, the game goes into its version of NG+ right away after finishing and all I thought was HELL NO. The game really overestimates how good its gameplay actually is (this ain’t XCOM). And I think I’ve said enough about the story (I don’t care if there is a super-awesome fan explanation somewhere that elaborates on everything).

So yeah, I wouldn’t buy it again. Sorry. Their new game is a party based RPG as far as I know, this already sounds so much more to my liking. :)

Prey

I liked Prey a lot, I especially enjoyed it more than the last Deus Ex (although that one wasn’t a bad game either) – this is the kind of game this Prey is most similar to. It has such an odd genesis, resulting in having nothing in common with the other Prey, which is fine, I guess.

Prey is an unrelenting exploration game (is the term metroidvania applicable here?). It has a ton of gameplay systems and most of them are working very well, most other games don’t even have half as many. Inventory, hacking, repairing, recycling, crafting, turrets, sneaking, gunplay, zero gravity, scanning device, accessible computers, toy gun, upgradeable suit, upgradeable scanner, multiple supernatural abilities, countless objects are movable/destructible, character progression through neuromods and probably more I’ve forgotten.
I cannot even imagine how one would pitch this. It sounds like someone just trying to throw in all the buzz words. But they actually delivered on all of it. Quite rare. And it’s still fun too. :D

The ending made me mad at first, but there was “another ending” after the ending credits, which redeemed the game. :P If the first stop would have been the actual ending, this would have sucked so hard. :D I don’t know if they intended to mess with the player this way. Probably.

Because I’m so slow it took me 52 hours to complete this (according to Steam at least).
Honestly the game was great, I can only complain about the bugged Kirk Remmer quest. This bug is in the game since release and they should have fixed this by now.

PS: The player can somewhat protect turrets with the GLOO cannon and I feel like an idiot for not realizing this during my playthrough. It says everything about this game that there always is another way to do something. :)

I already thought during playing Mars: War Logs, that their games are essentially like RPGs BioWare would have done 10 years ago, before they “pivoted” towards a focus on DLC, microtransactions and tacked on multiplayer – just on a smaller budget. That’s not even saying that everything in this game necessarily feels “cheap” or “small”. There are a lot of solid RPG systems in this (fighting especially has improved since MWL) and they obviously did motion capture. The movement of the characters ingame, but also especially during fights in cut scenes, look rather impressive at times (or maybe even all the time). IMHO this is done better than what e.g. MEA had to offer – a game which probably cost a thousand times more money. :P

The “cuts” are once again most noticeable wherever it comes to the story and the characters. While I’m usually not looking for mere padding in games, elaborating on a few things here and there really could have helped Bound by Flame. Too often, developments between characters are so sparse, it’s hard to overlook how abrupt e.g. companions jump through “the motions” that are typical for games of this genre.
The game is very detailed in other areas. All the numerous weapons (swords, axes, hammers, daggers, crossbows) look fairly distinct, unique even.

This is also why I was never a huge fan of enormous game worlds. It can work out (of course), but all too often a bigger game world only creates the problem of having to fill it with something (which in turn will too often lead to garbage/filler content) or there will be only this giant dead space for the player to be bored in.
If I would have been involved in this game’s development, I would have opted for a smaller game world. Bound by Flame doesn’t really allow for much in its areas except for killing enemies and finding some loot here and there. There is a lot of traversing through huge areas in this game. Thankfully the ability to run really fast was included. It would have been so much worse without this.

In the end I enjoyed this game a lot more than MEA (having already mentioned it and all), because at least the world felt original and their heart seems to be in the right place. Who knows how great this game could have been, with more quests/side-quests and more depth for its characters (it’s not like they can’t do good/memorable characters, Fatso comes to mind). Oh and I would have been okay with a lower difficulty level. I’m not one of these Dark Souls masochists and Bound by Flame can get relatively hard in some areas. I wouldn’t want to play this on its highest difficulty setting. But people are different, naturally. I can imagine some people would like to check this out because of that.

I really want to play Technomancer now. I heard it still has some of the same problems of their other two games, but since I can live with them, I’m almost certain that I would have fun with that game too. Maybe I also should check out if they are working on a new title. :)

Ever since I first played Baldur’s Gate I and II (which was roughly a 1000 years ago, I believe), I thought there was this weird disconnect between the ending of BGI and the beginning of BGII. I ends on a high with Sarevok defeated and being a hero and all, then II just has you waking up in a dungeon. Now I perfectly understand that the show must go on and all, but it felt like something was missing there. And why was Imoen a mage now? So when Siege of Dragonspear was announced, aiming at telling what went on between the 2 games, all I thought was FINALLY. This made so much sense to me. The only thing I haven’t learned during Siege of Dragonspear, was why Jaheira has a different character portrait in BGII. Clearly being a widow doesn’t become her.

Despite my interest, I managed to hold off on playing SoD until now. The campaign is pretty good and it’s weird to play a new infinity engine game after a whole lifetime. I still had my BGEE saves so I could jump right in. The game itself has gotten at least one new patch in the meantime as well, so it looks a little bit more modern now than it did last time I played. The new journal is probably the biggest difference. It even has a text search now. That’s really cool.

The campaign kept me interested the whole time, I didn’t play any other games until I completed it. I especially liked that they made it matter a lot which characters were in the party. They didn’t just make remarks this time or had a lot of banter, they could also offer their respective skills in dialogs. It makes so much sense, why wouldn’t a party with a specific cleric/healer be able to offer better help than one without?

Other than that it’s mostly what one would expect, but who cares, as long as its told well? And it does do a good job of answering all these questions I had. Mostly. At the very least it wraps things up much more nicely than the original releases did. That by itself is all the reason one needs to play this.

I finished this game (and several others I apparently couldn’t be bothered to add here) like 6 months ago after stopping to play it for almost a year because my PC (or its mainboard) died and for whatever reason I wouldn’t continue right away after replacing my faulty hardware. I even added Blackgate months ago, despite playing it after Arkham Knight.
All the technical difficulties really threw a heavy shadow over my experience with this game. And technically I played this game after it would do little more on PC than this, this or this.

It’s too bad really, because BAK doesn’t deserve a negative view anymore (the production maybe might still, but no longer the actual game and content). The game runs really smooth now and is less buggy than Origins, which received even less love long term. In Origins they never even bothered to fix the buggy cape.

The entire Arkham series might just be a singular extravaganza. At least for me. I’m sure other players can come up with other long-running game series which might qualify/compare, but these have been stellar since the beginning. I’m not surprised that problems arose when they were trying to go THIS big. It’s the curse of the sequel, that no one ever tries to go smaller and be more focused.

Despite this being rather saturated at this point, I still hope the Arkham fighting style and exploration isn’t going to vanish. It’s a damn shame no one considers catwoman a strong enough license to give her her own game. This would also be the ideal scenario in which they could go smaller. Just do a heist game with various missions. It wouldn’t even require a large open world. Building several solid missions would do it for me.

The bat tank/mobile was the target of a lot of criticism and ridicule. I liked driving it. Of course it was stupid that every riddler-room suddenly required it, but at least they tried to properly integrate it into the game. They made it more than just a stupid gimmick and I appreciate that, I have seen games do a lot worse in this regard.

The graphics are amazing, to this day I think this is the most detailed and beautiful open world city every created (for a game). This is probably a huge part of why Telltale Batman looks so horrible. In comparison, one might think there are at least 10 years between those games, although Telltale Batman was released after BAK. Telltale seriously should have used THIS engine for their game. Since both of them had the Batman license, this should have been possible somehow.

Although the Arkham games sadly never were as strong story-wise as I would have wanted them to be (they didn’t even bring back Dini for BAK), it was still very cool that they tried hard to give everything an ending that they ever touched in the prior games. This sure as hell was yet another tremendous task. In gaming, even big franchises usually get shitty endings or even none (if this makes much of a difference). So I’m happy for every exception.

The super short DLC story bits taking place before or after the main story of BAK IMHO only demonstrate, how they could have done significantly more with this engine and world. Why not add a bigger adventure with another character? It seems like a waste. This game would have warranted a proper expansion, think Witcher 3 – Blood & Wine. Actually, now I’m wondering why they didn’t do just that. Even with the debacle of the initial PC release, their cred on the console versions should have been high enough to keep going.

Sefton Hill did confirm they are working on a new project, but there’s no information at this point what this project might be and yet it seems plausible that it will have little to do with the Arkham games. That’s okay though, they deserve a break after developing 3 of them in a row. ;)

PS: BAK probably marks the last game for which I can upload screenshots (or anything), because after all these years my WP space is finally full. :) Glad I didn’t delete all too much just to keep pushing this moment.

Changelog:

v9.9 24.10.2017
—-
+Provided shortcuts to skip most endgame fighting, see walkthrough.
+Added beheading blood and restored props to Chateau and junkyard.
+Improved rotate camera movement setup and SDK, thanks to Psycho-A.
+Restored Vision of Death and Suicide damages and Aggravated Soak.
+Added door trap to warrens shortcut and improved museum fire exit.
+Fixed casting hands, feeding histories and Pearl of Dubai effect.
+Restored Yukie animations, missing ambient schemes and Chang jump.
+Fixed bugs with Trip’s drug and Gary’s fleshy ball poster quests.
+Improved title menu and character sheet clan symbols, thanks IanW.
Fixed Hannah’s appointment book date and more minor text details.
Restored basic pistol ammos and fixed tutorial bug, thanks Malkav.
Hid map bugs in SM hubs, clinic, museum, Society and Luckee Star.
Fixed blueblood, Bertram and Yukie dialogues and some map details.
Corrected hand and sound in Nines intro cutscene, thanks DLLullu.

Source

Blackgate is the very last Batman game of the unparalleled Arkham series I have played/finished. And I’m really glad I did. It was a lot better than I expected it to be. Somehow the first impression can be that it might be kind of a half-assed effort, but I would have to disagree with this sentiment. The graphics, backgrounds and animations are mostly very well done. Them branching out a little from the typical Arkham formula makes it even more interesting to me. It really makes me wish they would have dared to pull more stunts like this. Who knows what types of Batman games they could have produced. Just imagine Telltale Batman with Arkham Knight level graphics…

There was really only one single thing in this game I honestly hated and that’s the backtracking. There were way too many situations in which one solved mission objective would lead to another one that required running 15 minutes back the way I just came. This game would have needed fast travel so bad. The maps are super-complex too (as far as modern games go) so on top of it all, it can be necessary to search for the correct (or at least shortest) path.

The rest can be pretty satisfying. It’s just another solid Batman adventure. The numerous boss battles play differently and require various tricks for successful completion. It could be more diverse than the boss battles in the bigger Arkham titles. The game also reminded me how sad it is, that Catwoman didn’t get her own Arkham-style game.

I also can’t remember a single bug from my playthrough. This always helps me enjoy a game more.

I’ve often seen this thing lately, where people are feeling sorry for BW now, after learning how “troubled” the development of MEA apparently was. Apparently people are supposed to be cool with a disappointing storyline now, because the whole game was done in 18 months instead of 5 years (=they were just dicking around the other 3,5 years) and the reason for the state the story is in, is, that it was one of the last things they shoved in there. This is all a little bit weird to me, since this is all a result of internal decisions, it’s nothing that was done to them, not even bad luck or anything that could inspire much sympathy.

I find it much more interesting, how little story and characters matter to them after all, no matter what the marketing tries to convey. If story/characters would really matter so much, then this should the very first thing that is created and everything else in the game should then be build around that. The first action can’t be to start cooking up some algorithm/tool to randomly generate as many locations as possible – this can only be the action of someone who wants to create something soulless and generic, something that is forgotten fairly quickly.

Another really dumb argument I hear a lot, is that people should be happy about shitty facial animations regardless, if the face of the PC can be user-generated. In that case, all faces in the game would have to be shitty, in comparison to games that have a PC with a unique face. Even if this would hold any water, how obvious is it, that even in this case, only the face/facial animations of the PC should be shitty. All other faces in the game would still be unique just like in the game with the unique PC face. Seriously? This whole line of arguing is pathetic and intellectually disingenuous. That doesn’t even cover, that the craziest face in the game was default Sara Ryder, who obviously wasn’t a user-generated face…

If someone dislikes the reactions of some crazy assholes who went totally nuts that is perfectly fine, but they still should find a better way to express this, then praising even the shittiest stuff, just to spite these assholes.