Archive for the ‘gaming’ Category

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.  

Every single time someone has to fill an “open-world” with meaningless “tasks” in order to make it feel less dead and lifeless than it actually is, they already have all the reason anyone will ever have to not shove an open-world into their game and seriously reconsider.

Really loved this game and enjoyed it tremendously. Also another prime example what incredible mileage one can get out of great voice acting.

Anyway, the game is about teaming up with a ROM (a robot with true AI) in order to find out what happened to its creator. I know, right? SAY NO MORE.

The game has it all, lots of characters, places multiple solutions and several endings. It even has an epilogue. Finally a game where I can’t complain about an ending being to abrupt!

I’m still wondering what Dana Zane was doing in this game, she was a character in another good game I played a while ago – of course I haven’t done any research, but at first glance these games don’t seem to be from the same dev, so I have no idea how that came to be. It’s quite intriguing though, since I tell myself that I play all these games more or less by coincidence.

All screenshots are 1.08.

1.08 is out “now” and it does little to change my opinion that BW never really fixes anything. They take months to release such a patch and the notes then list stuff like “Improved clarity of descriptions”. It’s shocking. With such few fixes and then ones at the aforementioned level, I’d at least expect them to deliver this faster. Sadly I feel much more validated in believing that they primarily fix some superficial stuff, but nothing of true significance.

If that would be the case, the game wouldn’t still have:

– Characters morphing into each other, here we see Cora and Peebee becoming one. :D

– Characters going into t-pose during cut scenes. If they aren’t going to get a handle on this situation after 3 patches (and months after release), chances are they never will and this is just how the game is going to stay.

– Stuff like enemies or objects that should be scannable are inside other objects. This is especially annoying with enemies who are inside walls, because missions don’t progress unless all the enemies are dead.

– Maybe worst of all, even some bugs that are listed in the changelog aren’t actually fixed. I can’t build this Nomad upgrade, nothing happens if I select it. Super frustrating.

The Deadly Tower of Monsters is one of these games, which essentially have only one central narration, but manage to get a lot of mileage out of it regardless. There is even a little bit of Stanley Parable thrown into it here and there. I like it!
The game is built around the idea that a director is recording a commentary track for one of his old movies, which gets a new DVD release.

So this director has a ton of stories to share while playing, but also addresses things the player does. It’s done really well, they have thought of a great many scenarios. While the gameplay and the graphics and the sound are all good, the director and the assistant commenting on everything, is the main event here.

It was actually shocking to me how good the graphics were. Both animation and design were much more imaginative and creative than many AAA games I played in recent history. Finally something that has true memorable and distinctive design and isn’t just some generic outing like a thousand other (therefore) forgettable games.

Without them having to say it outright, I was constantly thinking of Ray Harryhausen, tons of the monsters moved/were animated exactly like beasts from his movies. They nailed that stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone even trying anything like that in a game. I had to wonder if it’s harder to animate something that looks like “stop-motion model animation” in the Unreal engine, than it is to do it like everyone else.
It took me only 5 hours to complete the game and I’m really happy I haven’t missed this fun gem.

Ghost 1.0 has the same name problem, I thought, Dex has. Searching for these games is a nightmare and I can only imagine this hurt their success. They are both really great and I think I’m growing fond of this metroidvania type of game. I can’t say I’ve played many, but pretty much every one I have played was a huge hit to me. Dust comes immediately to mind, which is another of my all time favorites.
Ghost 1.0 has good gameplay, good music, nice graphics, good controls, great story and characters honestly and… Does a good game need anything more? I don’t think so. It’s all here.
I enjoyed the game a lot, although I suck at it. There’s this rescue mission in the game and it took me ages to complete it (I hate that it’s not possible to save during this long mission, it has to be completed in one session). Maybe it’s supposed to be hard, because the menu allows the player to skip it, but geez… I had to do some scenes like 10 times before I was able to pass them. :D In a worse game this might have kept me from finishing it.
The game offers more smaller side-missions after the main story is done. These shorter missions (which have to be unlocked during the main campaign) are also very brutal as far as I’ve played them so far.
The game definitely lacks whatever type of frame-limiter. It runs with ~2700 FPS, which seems like a slight overkill…

Hard West is kind of between XCOM and Valkyria Chronicles, as far as the story (or a story) is concerned and uses a “choose your own adventure” vehicle to tell it, it resembles a little bit the interactive slides in Pillars of Eternity. The gameplay is straight XCOM though. I wish the tactical battles would steal even more from XCOM, since there aren’t that many disruptive events within a mission. While the game has a ton of guns (too many almost), there is little else and the guns don’t really differ much, besides their range and damage – so there are usually ~5 guns that fulfill the exact same role. For all the typical Western tropes, this game has no scenes on trains and there are no Gatling guns. In that regard it’s the opposite of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, which obviously constantly has Gatling guns. :P
The story is told in several loosely connected and separate campaigns. Nothing carries over between those campaigns, so all earned gear is gone again. I mean, ultimately you only need the gun called “the judge”, but still. :P
There is also no leveling for individual characters. All characters can be equipped individually (there are also cards which can buff stats), but all this stuff can be given to whomever.
The graphics are good and the sounds are alright alright alright, but for everyone who likes the old west and XCOM, this doesn’t matter all that much anyway, since there is no competition here. I’m glad I played it and I had fun, but it won’t become an obsession like XCOM 2.

PS: After Mad Max this is only the second game to have darker screenshots for whatever crazy reason. The brightness in the game itself while playing it was ALRIGHT.

ME: AGAIN

What sold Mass Effect 1 (and its world) to me, was that moment on the citadel, still very early in the game. Shepard starts out in the human embassy. All embassies are in the same “wing” of the citadel, so walking into all the other embassies was the first thing I did. Some civilizations were deemed so unimportant, that they were stuffed into the same room even. One of them has the Elcor and Volus in it (I think) and the Volus ambassador complains, because the humans get bigger influence, although they arrived last on the citadel. Whether they are actually getting the short end of the stick wasn’t entirely clear to me, but just knowing that there are several factions with their own agendas, actual politics, made this world work. It gave this universe life. It made it interesting.

ME:A has none of that stuff. The helios cluster is an empty, isolated place in comparison. There are no new places/civilizations/cultures […] to discover. Even the ones brought from the old series were essentially robbed of their culture, because now, they all just blend together as AI members. They are empty faces without meaning now.

This even swaps over to multiplayer. In ME3, most of the maps were very beautiful, incredibly detailed, with many animated objects which made everything feel… if not alive then at least functional. It was always obvious at first glance, if a map was supposed to be on the Asari homeworld or if it was a Cerberus base. Everything was this well established. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the mp maps in ME:A ugly or anything, BUT in comparison they clearly belong in generic, boring categories. There is maybe one map that stands out for me, the rest is just serviceable. This is the complete opposite of ME3, because there they had one map I didn’t like, all the others were good or great.

I don’t want to do the dead horse thing and yet I can’t help to notice, that the faces of some of the mp characters look better than most in the sp campaign. So it’s not like they can’t do them right. The voices on the other hand… The Asari vanguard in ME3 was voiced by Laura Bailey (I’m quite sure) and therefore she sounds great, meanwhile the voices of mp characters in ME:A sound like various people “from around the office” recorded them and they forgot to re-record these placeholders with real voice actors. Charging with the human female vanguard sounds like the Wilhelm scream. I… just don’t know man.

What also let me down a little, is that the enemies were so much more fun to fight in ME3’s mp. The enemies in ME:A’s mp feel as if they just split into easy and hard and that’s it. ME3 had a relatively wide cast of easy, medium, supporting, annoying and hard opponents. For all 4 factions. I still remember the first time I encountered a Cerberus engineer placing his turret. Or how serious fighting phantoms could be (at least if you didn’t have stasis). ME:A can’t compete. Its enemies mostly look/feel same.

Also don’t read:

MP bugs
My main ME:A post
Faces