Archive for the ‘screenshots’ Category

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. :)

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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.

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.

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.

Funny thing is, after playing Torment, I thought why not go back and play Planescape: Torment again? So I installed it, with all the mods and whatnot, approximately 1 day after I did that, this Enhanced Edition was announced. So I was obviously going to wait for it to come out. GOG even gave a discount to everyone who already had PST in their account…

As if that wasn’t a lucky break, it got even much better, because I only played PST once, like 10 years ago and I’ve forgotten A LOT about it. So there I was, playing this game about an amnesiac, who sometimes has flashbacks, as a sort of amnesiac who had flashbacks about his first playthrough. THIS is probably the ideal way to experience this game!

Story, characters, quests – all totally hold up. I can even say, at this point, this game was way ahead of its time, since there are games now which fail to pull off some elements as good as Torment did it 18 years ago.
I can only criticize the ending and the bit leading up to it. The game starts with enormous amounts of text (which is good because the writing is almost always quite remarkable – better than many current games, not kidding) for everything, so much in fact, that the ending just feels rushed in comparison – it might not have been as noticeable in a lesser game. I really wish it could have been elaborated upon a bit more.

Sure, it’s possible to piece the most important parts together, but again, in comparison with the detailed rest of the game, it’s “short”. It really made me wanna read the book, in hopes of reaching a deeper insight, but of course it’s not really available anymore. So scratch that. A nice moment like the one at the ending of Witcher 2 (a huge/long conversation about everything that happened in the game takes place :D), really would have been welcome here.

The EE itself is rather well done, I mean… full text search for the journal? Hello? It’s like a dream come true! It’s amazing (tab-highlighting is the best!). They introduced several features I was hoping for, all without really taking anything away (but to play it safe, they added options to shut down all the new stuff). It’s without a doubt the best way to experience PST now. It always pains me a little to say this, because I don’t want to undermine all the tremendous work all the modders have done over so many years – it’s beyond the shadow of a doubt their merit as well, that these games are still alive after all these years and yet there are just some things even all the mods couldn’t improve.

I had a single issue with this EE, the game would crash when opening the map screen in several locations (thankfully the game auto-saves with every map transition). This is definitely something I hope they can still fix. I could outright reproduce it in the drowned nations and it happened in inner curst and on the baator map too. In the hive, for example, it never happened, although I used the map there a thousand times. Other than that, this thing seemed to be rock-solid.

GOG Galaxy counted 49,5 hours, while Steam counted 63 hours for my Torment: Tides of Numenera playthrough. Of course these numbers aren’t exact, since I sometimes let them running without actively playing, but obviously they aren’t so far off that I could say Tides of Numenera was shorter (something I heard repeatedly which is why I’m considering this as debunked now).

PS: The thing with the screenshots is true about this game too, I was so immersed, that I forgot all about taking any, which is why I now have none of many interesting areas…