Archive for the ‘spoiler’ Category

“Just” finished Torment. The only thing I regret is not playing Planescape: Torment first/again, because it’s like 10 years since I played that game (yeah yeah, uh the irony of my memory being gone…). A closer comparison might have been nice. Anyway, since it’s always easier to talk about the bad stuff, I’ll start with that.
Number one annoyance must be, that the game doesn’t show how far a character can move during a turn, so a lot of moving with the mouse cursor is necessary, to figure out the edges. It’s especially annoying during long crisis moments, in which all characters have to move (e.g. the “heist” on the alien space station…).

Overall this game doesn’t have any big bugs, especially none which would break quests. Okay, I didn’t encounter any. Who knows if quests can’t break, given the many possibilities… Thus, the general high polish of the game makes the peerless dungeon without doubt the buggiest part of the game. I entered it, started fighting drones and “had to” leave again, because all my resources were already drained from previous adventures (and I couldn’t have known that shutting down the consoles would heal me). When I returned after resting, all robots were still dead/destroyed, but their bodies were still moving around a bit, as if they were still alive. When I opened a door after a crisis occurred, the game crashed, which was my sole crash in the entire game. After restarting and reloading I got through this by finishing the crisis first before opening the door again. As soon as I got out of this place, I never encountered such a problem again.
The pathfinding managed to get the last castoff stuck in 2 or 3 places. This too never happened to me again, after leaving the first city.
At one point I had to unequip and re-equip an item, before the effect of my newly selected concentration skill (neutralizes negative effects of bonded items) became active. Pretty sure that’s what happened.
The ending epilogues were the only thing where I outright thought it was done badly. First, the epilogues are displayed simultaneously to the ending credits (who thought that was a good idea) and each text has a “next” button beneath it, which naturally made me think I would have to click this button to move on to the next one. Second, that’s not the case – after some time, the next epilogue will show up without warning (so the next button is ultimately only there to skip text). I couldn’t read one of the texts, because I expected I would have all the time in the world to do it. So for the next bits I speed-read everything, to make sure I wouldn’t miss more info.
But again, all in all incredible polish. They definitely stepped up their QA since Wasteland 2, this game was riddled with bugs on release day.

So on to the actual game then! I don’t think there’s all that much to say, since, once again, I feel confident to state, that they simply delivered the game they promised during their campaign. To this day, not a single crowdfunding campaign, I participated in, disappointed me.
Torment is deep, detailed and interesting. From start to finish. Is it possible to find stuff in it for nitpicking? Sure, but what really matters, is that they got it mostly right most of the time. And they sure did.
I’d like to mention, that Torment: Tides of Numenera is as different from Pillars of Eternity, as Planescape: Torment was from Baldur’s Gate. That alone is another win.
I absolutely expect inXile to throw out some patches/improvements for this in due time and I’m definitely playing the game again in the future. Yay!

PS: It took me 59 hours (says Steam) to complete the game, as far as I know I played all quests in the game and I tried to actually read everything. I didn’t hurry and focused on enjoying myself.

Also:

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Stasis

A lifetime ago I really wanted to play Sanitarium and I even bought it on GOG (years ago), but to this day I haven’t touched it (shocker). So this is the position from which I’m judging that Stasis appears to be kind of similar to it (I swear I had no idea the wiki page even mentions Stasis!). “Nowadays” the majority of games are either first or third person 3D OR outright throwbacks like Thimbleweed Park, who actively try to be reminiscent of games of another era. So by default it’s almost rare to get any game which deviates from these few formulas. Devs only seldomly try to mix genres or apply a genre to any unusual, varying format. Certain top down views are “always” real-time strategy, but rarely action and 2D views from the side are adventures, but not e.g. strategy games.

So here comes Stasis as an isometric adventure game, in a tonally dark science-fiction setting, which could be compared (in the broadest sense) to something like Dead Space. The game has no action sequences, which might be a little odd, given the setting and for some gamers this might even detract from the atmosphere (as it’s supposed to be so dangerous at times), but I prefer no action to action which is implemented poorly, so things could be much worse, as far as I’m concerned.

The only negatives that I have to think of, which definitely should be pointed out, are that there is no reliable consistency between cursor icons. What I mean by that is, that certain actions have their own icon, so obviously a player will just assume without an interaction icon, they won’t be able to interact – WRONG. For no reason whatsoever, the game abandons its logic at several points throughout the game and items with the “look at”-icon can and must be clicked regardless, to progress even. It’s obviously annoying to be stuck because of that. I can also see no reason why this wasn’t fixed in a patch at some point, since this seems to be a good example for something, which should (after all) be relatively easy to fix. I’m curious to find out, if their newer games will be improved in this regard. It is not obvious to me if this is just an oversight or intentional bad game design.

I liked the game more than enough to also start playing Cayne. This game seems to take place in the same universe and I’m eager to learn, if it will shed some light on issues, Stasis remained too ambiguous about.

This game is def one of the craziest titles I’ve ever played, which is – of course – awesome, but then there are the other parts which are just frustrating. These elements further split into bad design and being a bad port. It’s impossible to overlook, that this game wasn’t developed for PC. A menu which can be used with a mouse, is too much to ask. Simple tasks are therefore much more of a hassle than they should be. For general problems, which go beyond the port, there are situations in which the camera isn’t free and is fixed towards a certain path, while there still can be lootable crates on the sides, which isn’t all that much fun to play. The worst crime in this game however is, that there are several boss fights which demand hammering the left mouse key like a madman. This button mashing madness should be banned from all of gaming. But even so, I hardly ever saw such a severe case. At one point, I was about to uninstall the game, because no matter how much I tried to break my mouse, the boss fight wouldn’t continue. I finally got through it after failing like 10 times and I’m sure it was just dumb luck. There are several theories floating around why that is, but nothing definitive. Honestly, this should be patched out (of course I know it won’t be – just saying).

There are problems in the core game as well. What let me down a little, was that several of the episodes (the game consists out of 13 major missions, who are separated from each other like episodes in a TV show) aren’t even embedded in any kind of time frame. What I’m talking about is, that they could be in any order and it wouldn’t matter. So there isn’t even something resembling a coherent story. The story bits that are there, don’t make much sense and it constantly feels like there is something essential missing. I haven’t done any “research”, if there are maybe any “companion pieces”, which might elaborate a little bit on what the game delivers, but even if there are, the consumption of additional material should never be necessary to make a piece of art work. It should be able to stand on its own. I’m not sure if KiD achieves that. Not for people who are looking for more than just a hack’n’slash.

This extends to the characters. Most of them are very unusual, but it’s never explained why they are the way they are, how they got their abilities […] the player learns all of it as a surprise during missions, there aren’t even any hints prior to them doing “it”. None of these things are properly set up or foreshadowed in any way.
This game has aliens, unicorns, trains are coming alive, vampires, cyborgs, magic, people with 16 arms […], all of it without any explanation or introduction. If the handling was much better than it is, this game could be the craziest ride imaginable.
The art style is very noteworthy however and with all the mentioned crazy stuff as a tie-in, Killer is Dead delivers something gamers don’t get to see every day. This is certainly why I finished it, I didn’t do that for the insane button mashing or the general controls.
This game is for everyone who wants to see something different, it delivers that much in massive quantities. I just wish it could have been bundled with better gameplay and a slightly deeper story, then it really could have been something special.

VA-11 Hall-A takes place in (like so many… things) some sort of futuristic dystopia with hackers, artificial intelligence, […] aaand you are a bartender. Other than in the typical game, the player doesn’t explore the world by running around in it, but rather hangs mostly around the bar and the world is experienced by following the stories the guests tell, who walk in from the street. All the player has to do, is to follow these conversations and mix and serve drinks. With this formula, the protagonist’s catchphrase can be fulfilled: “Time to mix drinks and change lives.”
Of course this can fail in a bunch of ways. However, doing it right definitely pays off.
On the surface this might not sound like the game I’d normally wish to play, but I found it to be strangely endearing and relaxing. The real highlight however is, how well pretty much all of the characters are written. Out of the last 10+ games I’ve played, most wouldn’t even try to be anywhere near such well thought-out characters. VA-11 maybe didn’t have a massive budget to blow on big ‘splosions, but it sure became a fine example of what you can do without one regardless.

I’m guessing I’ll play it again soon, because I read there will be a free “expansion” of sorts which will add a prologue. :)

When Ron Gilbert pitched Thimbleweed Park, one of the things he said, was that he wanted it to be, in a way, like a game from the Maniac Mansion days, which was just now discovered. That’s kind of how Mars: War Logs feels. Like a game Obsidian made ~10 years ago on a budget, but only now did someone discover it. So for people like me, who are into such games, this is a good thing, simply because there are no more games like this. I’ve already played most of them. This is a relic of sorts.
There is a lot of potential in this game, lots of great stuff, which is often unpolished or imperfect in a way which can almost feel unfinished. The combat is acceptable, I’ve definitely seen worse over the years. :P
The setting is good (MAAARS), there are some good characters (Roy was badass in a way that wasn’t annoying, Mary was my kind of crazy and Innocence was strangely endearing) and some choices can lead to an ending which I found satisfying. I think I finished all quests which took me 16 hours (according to Steam).
The game really made me want to play Bound by Flame, simply because it’s from the same dev.
I’d really enjoy a direct sequel to MWL, but I don’t think this is in the cards. Also, there is Technomancer, which is seemingly set in the same universe. I should probably check that out as well. :)

Mad Max

Mad Max had the potential to be almost as great as TW3, if they had “just” added a ton of proper story missions. Instead a massive amount of activities was dumped on the wasteland, which are essentially a brutal grind. Another great source of disappointment is the option to build up strongholds into what should be powerful fortresses. Except from the obvious options each upgrade delivers, it’s entirely meaningless. At one point in the story a stronghold is attacked, but whether it has no upgrades or all of them is irrelevant. It really shouldn’t be.
The game is worth playing regardless, because almost everything else is fun. It’s worth noting that this game runs incredibly smooth, it’s almost like watching a video, even on my machine (the typical gamebros on youtube have phones with more power).
The most impressive part was to me, that next to all (I’m especially including and referring to the minor, non-mission sites that only contained some meagre loot) of the countless places throughout the wasteland seemed to be unique locations. This is so very rare. Another reason why I’m so sad they couldn’t get more out of this fantastic framework. It all could have been so glorious.
After the main story was done, I immediately stopped playing the game, because then it made even less sense to continue grinding for anything. So I didn’t use Max’ original leather duster and shotgun once, which only becomes available after completing the campaign.
What is also completely messed up, is that the two characters who are murdered so horribly before the last mission, are alive again when the game “continues” after the ending credits. That’s one of the things I dislike about open-world/sandbox games in general, but it’s of particular bad taste here.
During the game I often wondered, how it would have been, if inXile’s Wasteland 2 would have been done in this engine/world. It could have been a fantastic fit.

PS: Not once did I have to refuel the car, even with 0/10 points in the “save gas” ability. So this one is super important. :P

PPS: I have no idea why the screenshots turned out so dark, the game itself was really bright during my sessions. I don’t think I ever experienced this before. Normally screenshots look exactly like the game did.

While the Batman Arkham games are for everyone, even people who don’t care about Batman, YJL is kind of the opposite. There aren’t any solid reasons for anyone to play this, if they aren’t also into the show.
I’m personally more of a fan of Season 1, simply because Season 2 is 5 years later and lots of stuff happened you know nothing (or at least little) about. It makes it hard to follow all this crazy stuff. YJL however, takes place between the 2 Seasons of the show and shines some light on some minor plot points. I enjoyed that and wish they would have done that a lot more.

What’s so cool about my experience with the game regardless, is that I found out, during playing this, that they are NOW actually doing a Season 3… I was shocked, because when does it actually happen that a show gets a new Season, years after being canceled?!? I guess it’s due to these good news, that it was much easier for me to enjoy the game. It’s one of these weird coincidences.

The games graphics are nothing special and THAT wouldn’t have bothered me at all. The problem with that is, that there’s all kinds of crazy stuff going on. Some people say the FPS in this game are locked to 25, but in my game they were always jumping between 22 and 24. Who configures a game like this?!? There are no options in the game itself and nothing in the accessible config files to change that.
The graphics look and feel like this is an old, early and buggy Unity version maybe (I don’t know which engine it actually is). I read some posts claiming the game would crash a lot, I had trouble with that only once during my entire time with the game, but then it created a bluescreen. The first bluescreen I ever had on my current PC, which I built several months ago. The problem is, when the game does crash, it turns off the Windows cleartype font settings and all fonts look accordingly gruesome. Why the game would do this remains a mystery. Cleartype then has to be enabled manually again.

Overall the game feels a little bit unfinished here and there. Some levels contain crates, which can be opened, but they are all seemingly empty and there is no visual or audio cue that anything happened. I suspect they might contain credits but without the game confirming it in any noticeable way, it’s hard to be sure.

The game contains 16 heroes in total, 4 of them are optional DLC. The heroes aren’t really used in interesting ways. Each team consists out of 3 heroes and the team leader is locked, only the other 2 can be selected. So during all of the missions, only the team leader ever speaks. Everyone else remains mute.
This leads to a lot of missed chances and real disappointments. There are levels in Gotham, but even going there with Batgirl, Robin and Nightwing doesn’t mean anything. It’s the same experience than it is with whomever. The worst moment however was, when the team is supposed to save Dr. Sandsmark and I brought Wonder Girl (Dr. Sandsmark’s daughter). The moment she’s freed, she asks the team who they are, with her daughter standing directly in front of her… :D All I wanted is for her to yell “I’m standing right in front of your face mom!”. Lots of missed chances here, all I’m saying. The strongest parts of this game were, after all, that they had the original voice cast of the show and the soundtrack…

To my knowledge, there is only one single instance in the game, in which an individual skill is actually properly considered. During the Gotham missions, snipers shoot every team member, that’s running around without cover. So the official solution is, to push forklifts towards the snipers until you are close enough for Nightwing to take them down with a batarang. I however had Miss Martian in my team and she can turn invisible, so I thought I’d at least give it a try. To my surprise this actually worked. I had fully expected, that I would get shot just the same and the only way to complete the level would be the official path with pushing the forklifts, but no – thanks to Miss Martian I could skip all that, although the Nightwing sequence was still shown each time, when a sniper was taken out.

The game plays a lot like Knights of the Old Republic or, because of the fighting style, Jade Empire might be an even better comparison. Even the maps look eerily similar

What was entirely unnecessary, was that some of the heroes are only unlocked after finishing the game, but at this point, the motivation to play the same levels again, is… limited. There is lots of unrealized potential here, this game could have been something really solid, the foundation is here, but also the flaws which are hard to overlook. Not everyone will have played this thing while learning that the miracle of a Season 3 just happened. So that’s what I’ll always be remembering about this game. Okay – and the 22-24 FPS. :D Those are unforgettable as well. :D

the-nice-guys-2016

I feel like I’m ruining peoples chances to enjoy this movie the way I did by saying that, because I myself saw it without expecting anything, but The Nice Guys was the best movie I saw in all of 2016. Not kidding. However, it’s not like anyone is reading any of this, so I guess I’m still good.
Now, all I hoped for was some scenes with a bunch of funny characters who were hopefully not too embarrassing/annoying or anything. I didn’t expect much of a plot, let alone one that mattered, but that’s exactly what happened. In fact, I’ve seen “political thrillers” which had less intricate plots. Almost every scene means something and (stuff) a lot of (and) stuff which could be random, isn’t. At the end it all comes together (if one pays attention) and I found it rather impressive. It’s kind of the last type of movie one would expect so much smart writing and yet there it is. The film has a lot of nice little bits which can be easily missed.
Oh, I know Russell Crowe’s character would probably punch me in the face just for saying this, but I really liked the 13 yo daughter, she was supercool – not gonna lie. And I’m not typically a fan of kids in movies. Gosling is outright hilarious in this.
10/10, would enjoy/watch again. :D

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.

Tyranny

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.

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). ;)

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.

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Another huge patch for XCOM 2 was released, of all the patches so far, this is the one I noticed the least differences with. They got rid of that empty slider in the options though.

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Like most other bigger patches, it came along with a DLC, this time the last one from the season pass, Shen’s Last Gift.

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I liked the dynamics the battles against the new boss enemies offered in the last DLC a lot, even if some of the armors you got out of it might have looked a little silly. There is no such thing this time. Pretty much all this DLC does, is add robots. While I usually like robots in such settings, I’d call the sparks: a liability.

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Even fully leveled, they hardly ever hit anything, which makes me feel like I wasted a spot on the team. Especially late game, I can’t afford it anymore, to bring people who won’t perform well. If other soldiers suck, I can always equip them with a superior scope and/or a superior perception PCS (pretty much everyone in my a-team has a 100 aim or even more). After that treatment every soldier becomes a great shot. Sparks however, can use neither. So what good is my big dumb robot, if it doesn’t hit anything?
I just finished my first campaign with this latest DLC and of course I wouldn’t bring a spark on the last mission. This is why I think the last DLC was much better, because it doesn’t just offer some interesting boss fights, but also supplies the player with some useful items one can keep using throughout the whole game.

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So this basically means, that with the end of the one story mission, you are done with this DLC and there aren’t any other gifts it has to offer.

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Am I using sparks wrong? Does anyone find them actually useful/prefers them to other soldiers/classes?

Technobabylon

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This game is just great. It isn’t just one of the best adventures of the last few years, but one of the best overall, since I started playing them 25 years ago. It’s already one of my favorites and I’ll never forget it. I already spoke a little bit about, how especially new adventures usually regressed, in comparison with really old adventures, when I wrote a few lines concerning the Day of Tentacle Remaster. This isn’t the case here. It’s so weird how it’s now necessary to play the low budget indie adventures, to get some features that were normal 25 years ago, but then were dropped from almost all adventures released in the last 15 years. Somebody explain that to me.
Technobabylon is also the best kind of adventure in another very important arena. I’m currently trying to force myself to finish Deponia and those 2 games are polar opposites. Technobabylon has this immersive story and great, interesting characters and there are some puzzles to solve, but these puzzles always serve the story and are always tied to the story. They are not an end in itself. This is exactly how these games should be designed. IMHO, of course. Deponia on the other hand (and in comparison), throws the player on screens that have, what feels like 50 puzzles to solve. And even then there is only a little bit of story happening. The game hardly has any story and every screen is not about discovery or fun or story, it’s about removing all those obstacles on each screen, that then will only thrust the player into the next round of puzzles. Thus it starts to feel like a tedious chore.
Technobabylon never does that, it remained interesting until the end, I never wanted to stop playing because I lost interest, so I guess they also got the length just right.
It’s really these wadjet eye games, that offer the most fun for people who once liked LucasArts adventures. Just like those, these games are often extremely original and vastly different from each other. It’s already a little adventure to learn what the next game is going to be about.
Since this game offers some choices to players here and there, I might even play it again. At the very least I’m asking myself, what would have happened, if I had acted differently. That too, is a very good thing.
I still have tons of these indie adventures ahead of me (claiming that there wouldn’t be adventures anymore is the biggest BS, btw), so I guess I’ll never finish Deponia. :)

I frequently like to complain about XCOM and its story (because it is one of my favorite games), this is basically where Valkyria Chronicles comes in, because it could roughly be described as XCOM with a more fleshed out story and characters. I know right? Why isn’t everyone playing this right now?!? Lack of marketing?
Anyway, I myself discovered it by accident and quickly fell in love with it. Music, story, characters and gameplay are mixed into something that makes a quite solid game. The PC version also comes with all of the DLC.
I liked this setting so much, that after finishing the game, I watched the anime too. It’s roughly the same story with the same people, but with lots of small and some bigger differences. Although I preferred the story version of the game, I still enjoyed the anime quite a bit, it was a good way to “let go” after finishing the game.

One of the few ways how they could have spiced things up even more, would have been to also introduce different outcomes for story and characters (this is supposed to say how good it already is). Pretty much everything else, that is fun in such games, was already there. One unusual and innovative feature the game did include, was a list of all the soldiers names at the end, showing whether they had survived the war or not – reflecting the player’s current playthrough of course…
I also can’t say I encountered any bug in all my time with this game. This is so rare…

So, uhm… go play it, I guess.

Also:

Wot I Think: Valkyria Chronicles