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Member Since 07 Apr 2008
Offline Last Active Today, 05:08 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: UNCHARTED: A thief's end to a series he didn't create

16 July 2018 - 08:29 AM

I have no idea where this came from, but it's great!


In Topic: What Are You Currently Playing?

16 July 2018 - 01:46 AM

So I'm playing Octopath Traveler.


Me too! I've only just started too, though. I started as H'aa'ani't, or however you spell her name, and I've just met up with Ophelia. I'm looking forward to getting further in, though. It's a gorgeous game, and the Switch is the perfect platform to play a big long JRPG like this. For some reason I always find it really hard to put serious time into a JRPG on a console (as evidenced by my half-abandoned Persona 5 playthrough that I swear I'm going to get back to :P). On a handheld you can just chip away at a game like this whenever you have a spare moment.


I've also been playing:


Layton's Mystery Journey: I'm really disappointed with this game. We're playing as Professor Layton's daughter Katrielle, who runs her own Detective Agency in London, and rather than having one long story the game is split up into shorter cases (somewhat like an Ace Attorney). I think it's a good setup, and I quite like the way Katrielle is written. The problem is that, despite this being a game where you play as a Detective, you do not play as a Detective. You just don't. You don't solve anything. Katrielle finds clues and Katrielle solves cases, and you just press the A button to advance dialogue. It's just so incredibly unsatisfying. At the end of an investigation you literally press a button on the touch screen to watch a cutscene of your character solving the mystery!


I find the standard Layton puzzling to be fairly lacking, too. There's too much reliance on riddles rather than puzzles; things which follow a very particular subjective kind of logic. One asked me to pick which one out of three paints a painter could use to "depict something you can see every day": blue, white or black. The answer was black, because you can't necessarily see blue sky on a cloudy day or white clouds on a sunny day, but you can always see a black sky at night, right? Imagine my reaction as I played that puzzle on a cloudy night. But that was nothing compared to Puzzle 007, which I am convinced is the worst-written, most ill-conceived puzzle I've ever seen in a Layton game, and I've played every single one of these bad boys. Try it for yourself:



Detroit: Become Human: a.k.a. the new David Cage emotions-'em'up. Detroit is a near-future story about androids becoming human, and also it's set in Detroit. If you caught the trailers they showed at the last few Sony E3 shows you'll know that it's also an extremely on-the-nose metaphor for civil rights and race relations, and if you're a little bit trepidatious about that subject matter being tackled by a white French guy who's go-to plot twist is almost always "It was ghosts", then you're not alone. You play as three different characters this time, a nanny-boy named Kara who just wants to take care of a kid, a Detective-bot named Connor who's hunting down rogue androids, and Markus, the heterochromatic black man leading the android revolution. And just so you know what you're getting in for, this game doesn't last twenty minutes before it makes Markus stand in an androids-only glass case at the back of the bus. This game is not subtle. At one point you're forced to walk directly into an obvious trap set by a grown up Sid from Toy Story who delights in turning rogue androids into Frankensteins, and when you talk to one of said Frankensteins it says "He turns us into monsters. But who's the real monster?"

But at the same time, I actually really liked this game. It's the best representation of the movie/game hybrid David Cage has wanted to make all these years, wonderfully polished and almost entirely free of any jank or uncanny-valley-ness. A very small number of the character models look weird (Lance Henriksen's every wrinkle is modeled to an incredibly high fidelity, but then they use the same rosy baby's bottom skin texture as all the young characters so he looks like a weird young/old baby/man :P), and the hair and beards aren't great (particularly Clancy Brown's), but the vast majority of the time this game looks flat out incredible. I think I pressed my DS4's Share button more often than anything else while playing. The writing has very little of that tin-eared David Cage quality, too, ranging from generically passable to honestly pretty great, particularly whenever Clancy Brown is on screen. There are low points in all three of the characters' stories, particularly with Markus (to be honest, I don't think the actor who plays him is very good. He just kind of recites his lines like he's reading them off the page, and his supporting cast doesn't pick up the slack), but I liked Kara and I loved the buddy cop fun between stuck-up robot Connor and classic burnt-out drunken Lieutenant Clancy Brown. Clancy Brown should win a Geoff Keighley Award for his performance in this game.
I think the gameplay side of things is actually pretty good, too. I adore playing as a Detective in games, so I was in heaven investigating crime scenes and analyzing everything as Connor. The fight scenes are much the same as Heavy Rain's, but I really like that (thank goodness they ditched the unsatisfying 'point the stick in the right direction' rubbish from Beyond), and there's one footchase across futuristic rooftops, jumping onto elevated trains and bursting through bustling rooftop gardens that's just amazing. The way the androids' software serves double duty as your in-game HUD leads to some really great design moments, like deciding which paths to take during the chase or preconstructing your sick parkour routes. Early in Markus' uprising the androids seem to suggest that they don't really have any combat abilities, and then within hours your John-Wick-ing your way through entire platoons, but I really enjoy fight scenes so I'm willing to forgive them :P
I didn't love the game at the end of my first playthrough, since I just went for a generically happy ending that was all too easy to choose, but after having gone back and seen all the different ways the story can branch and a few really great scenes I missed, I think it's pretty great. The Super Best Friends did an LP of it with each of the three of them playing a different character, and they ended up with a completely different game by the end of it. I don't know if the game is amazing start to finish, but there are certain chapters that are just flat out incredible and they elevate the whole thing. It ranges from having you play through really fun Hollywood tropes, like having a cop invite himself in to scope out your house while you have to act casual even though you're hiding illegal androids in the next room, to a fun little "No I'm the real one!" moment when a robo clone of your character shows up, to this one punch-in-the-guts chapter when you wake up in an android junkyard and have to scavenge new parts from half-dead androids to replace your broken parts and climb out.
I feel like there are a few missed opportunities with the story and the kinds of choices you're forced to make, though. For example, it's made abundantly clear that androids are real people with real sapience, so while you are given the option to play the detective Connor as anti-android, you'd have to be a monster to actually do it. You're given the option to be callously mean to the helpless little girl you protect as Kara, too, but you aren't given the option to not walk into the extremely obvious trap laid by a creepy guy in a scary mansion. The most interesting choices in video games aren't "Do you want to do the right thing or be pointlessly evil?", they're in the shades of grey, and this game has a lot of objective right answers, unfortunately. I still think it's a great game, though. It's the first David Cage game where I feel totally comfortable recommending it without having to give a laundry list of caveats.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker on Switch: Well, it's the same game as it was on the Wii U, alright, only this time at 1080p and unfortunately with a worse control scheme. In condensing the original dual-screen setup onto a single screen, Nintendo had to make some choices, and I feel like they went with the worst one every time. Captain Toad is all about exploring these little dollhouse-style levels, moving the camera this way and that to peek from every angle and find new paths, but the original game had a heaping helping of Wii-U-specific touch and motion controls just to fill Nintendo's quota of annoying design quirks. Large wheels you had to spin by drawing swirls on the touch screen with your finger, mobile blocks you could move back and forth by poking at them, platforms you could propel up and down by blowing on your Wii U's mic. You know, Nintendo stuff.
Well the Switch doesn't have any touch functionality when you're playing on your TV, so Nintendo did the obvious thing and just converted all the motion/touch controls to regular buttons. Oh, no, wait, did I say Nintendo did the obvious thing? No, sorry, what I meant was Nintendo kept all the motion/touch controls in and forced you to play the game with an big, obnoxious, blue gyro-aiming cursor on your screen at all times so you can pretend to poke things and draw imaginary swirls to spin wheels. And for some reason they changed all the controls around between Docked and Undocked mode for good measure. They even changed the Pause button! In handheld mode it's + (i.e. Start), but on your TV it's - (i.e. Select). And the game has these on-rails shooter levels, but it turns off motion-control aiming for those when you're playing on your TV and it honestly just baffles me. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS NINTENDO?
But Captain Toad is still a great game. Don't get too excited about the added Super Mario Odyssey levels that the game's box makes a big deal of, because there are only four of them (they are really good, though), but it's definitely worth playing if you didn't play the Wii U version.
EDIT - I also just played the game of "Let's hook up my Xbox 360 again and see if it still works", because I'm playing through the Resident Evil series and that's the console I own Code Veronica on. Turns out my 360 is still going fine, or actually better than fine, because this baby flies. I loaded up my PS3 recently and that thing is still just sooooo sluggish, but the 360's menus just go bam bam bam like a brand new device. And also I apparently own a bunch of games on the 360 that I have absolutely no memory of ever acquiring. I vaguely remember they gave away Lost Odyssey for free a few years ago, but I also have the original Prey, Perfect Dark Zero and Dead Rising 2, and I have no idea why! And Halo Reach and Hitman Absolution, too!

In Topic: Star Wars Movies and Positivity Thread

15 July 2018 - 01:08 AM

Did somebody say Episode IX hopes and wishes?




- Ghost Luke is a 100%, done deal, sure thing, supermax prison electronic LOCK, and it always has been. I don't know how anyone could think otherwise, to be honest. That's what Jedi do, they turn into ghosts and give fatherly advice. Or, in Kylo's case, salt in the wound from beyond the grave. "Strike me down in anger and I'll always be with you". Luke's going to be flitting between imparting knowledge to Rey on one side of the galaxy and roasting Kylo from beyond the grave on the other. 


- Rey makes a cool new lightsabre. Maybe it's a new colour, maybe she builds it into the end of her staff, I don't know, but it's Star Wars law that she has to have a cool new one. Also she needs a cool new Jedi Knight outfit. And a new hairstyle. 


- Supreme Leader Kylo Ren sits on his throne, totally unsatisfied with power, hated by his underlings, fending off constant assassination and coup attempts, growing ever more angry, petulant and unstable. He's made his bed and now he has to sleep in it. Stew in it. He won't admit it to himself, but it needs to be clear that he made the wrong choice by not going with Rey in TLJ.


- More Porgs.


- The legend of Luke Skywalker facing down the First Order all by his lonesome spreads throughout the galaxy, the Rebellion is born again, meaning lots of new soldiers and spaceships for big pew pew space battles. Finn and Rose are big heroes, Finn's leading a troop of commandos or something, Poe's grown a cool beard and is one of the Generals leading everything.


- I don't know what I want them to do with the Knights of Ren, other than a cool fight scene. I've seen suggestions that maybe Rey will train her own little group of young Jedi to go toe-to-toe with them, but I don't really like that because it'd be too many new characters to introduce in the last movie of a trilogy (it could still work, though). I kind of like imagining Rey just cutting them all down in a glorious one-shot fight scene, but then we're getting back to the idea of Jedi not being about carving dudes up. Yeah, I don't know. As long as they actually show up and there's a cool fight, I'll be happy :P


- I don't know what I want them to do with Kylo in the end, either, but I can't wait to see it. The thing is, Rey has to at least try to turn him good. If Darth Vader wasn't beyond redemption then Kylo can't be either. Rey wouldn't be doing her Jedi job if she just showed up spoiling for a fight; she's seen the good in him. But I think it would be interesting if it was actually Kylo who came to her, or at least wasn't just sitting on his throne waiting for a fight when she walks in the door.


OK, y'know what, I just thought of something. Imagine Kylo at the bridge of his Super Mega Star Destroyer, the last of the Rebel fleet on the ropes, and he's ready to push the big red button that blows them all up once and for all. But the emotions we've seen him struggle with all through the movie have reached fever pitch (maybe he met Rey earlier and she said something that stuck with him). He doesn't press the button. His men turn on him once and for all. He cuts down Hux and whatever other officers are in the room, but then the Knights of Ren come running and he has to fight them himself. And then, I don't know, maybe Rey bursts in the room and understands that he's turned good, but she arrives just in time to see him take a mortal blow as he kills his last Knight. We get a scene that mirrors the "Come with me" scene from TLJ, only this time Kylo wants to go with her but he can't because he's about to die in a pool of his own blood. Poetic irony, reap what you sow, all that good stuff. Rey is overcome with complex feelings, because she knows he could have been good in another life, but at the same time he 100% deserves this.


- Right before Rey's story ends, Darth Maul's Force Ghost shows up via hologram and calls her away

In Topic: The Resident Evil Appreciation/Replay Thread

14 July 2018 - 02:03 AM

OK boyeez, it's time for the big one: Resident Evil 2. The directorial debut of a young Hideki Kamiya. He's my favourite game developer of'em all, and RE2 is the only game of his I've never played, so this is laaaawng overdue for me.
I almost immediately fell in love with this brilliant game. From the moment I started a new game and had a big scary voice shout "RESIDENT EVIL 2" at me from the title screen, all the way to the wonderful dumbass metal song that plays over the credits of the game's second ending, I adored it all. You can almost feel a young Kamiya-kun coming into his own as the uncontested world's greatest video game director over the course of the game, starting off following his senpai Mikami's same RE1 spookhouse formula in the Police Station, but then finding his own action-flavoured style in the later areas. You can see the genesis of all the Kamiya-isms we know and love today in this game. I said in my last LTTP that I was a little disappointed with RE1's Tyrant only showing up for a measly two bossfights, and I guess Kamiya felt the same way because I'm pretty sure you fight Birkin like SEVEN times across both characters' campaigns, each more ridiculous than the last, until finally you're just DUUUUUMPing ammo into a giant TANK OF MEAT AND TEETH. Oh my God what a game.
RE2 makes its mark from moment one when, rather than gradually easing you into the zombie routine in a safe area of the mansion, it explodes Leon and Claire into the middle of two separate swarms of zombies and says, hey, work it out, buddy. I died before I even reached the Police Station on my first try, forcing a shameful trip back to the main menu to start all over again, but on the second go I had the bright idea to mow down all the zombies attacking the Kendo gun store guy so I could take his shotgun and things went a lot better from there. Once I set up base in the Station's first saferoom, unlocked a few shortcuts and kicked down that ladder to the second floor I thought I was on top of things, but then the game threw the sewers at me, and when I thought I had those worked out it was off on a train ride to Shadow Moses. And all the while I was picking up cool new guns, fighting new enemies, blasting bosses, dropping one liners... That moment when you use the key you found by lighting off a flare and find a bunch of Magnum parts to turn Leon's Magnum into AN EVEN MAGNUM-ER MAGNUM? 10/10. GOATest of all time.
So I played Leon A/Claire B, which I understand is maybe a little less canon-y than the reverse, to the extent that either of them can be said to be canon. I actually meant to start as Claire, because I've never played as her in an RE game, but I was playing the PS One Classic version on PS3 which defaults to Leon's disc, and I actually didn't even realise it was a two-disc game until I'd finished Leon's story and had to Google how to start up Claire's. Oh well. I'm kind of tempted to play it all over again the other way, but I don't want to RE myself out before I get to 3 so I'm going to leave it there for now.
Though I can't help but dream about that gorgeous new REmake coming next year. I went back and watched the new trailers with RE2 fresh in my mind and that game just shot up my most anticipated list. I can't wait to see how they're going to handle certain areas, and play with the expectations of the fans of the original. There's a lot of room to flesh out certain parts of the original, like the sections where you play as Ada or Sherry but really only push some boxes, or that one underground tunnel with two giant spiders that only takes like seven seconds to run through, and some parts of this game are just going to look incredible in the RE Engine. Although I see they've given Mr X the fedora that DmC Vergil lost when he moved to the Definitive Edition, which is an interesting choice :P
In conclusion, Kamiya is six for six on masterpieces, fite me irl if u disagree

In Topic: Star Wars Movies and Positivity Thread

14 July 2018 - 01:59 AM

One nice idea I saw somewhere was having the movie open with Lando delivering Leia's eulogy at a funeral with all the Rebels attending, and then they could cut to Supreme Leader Kylo across the galaxy struggling with his emotions.


And, yeah, it seems really likely they'll do some kind of significant time skip between VIII and IX. TLJ ends with Rey having no lightsabre, but a drawer full of the sacred texts that she can study Jedi-ing from.