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Member Since 07 Apr 2008
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In Topic: What Are You Currently Playing?

13 October 2019 - 03:38 PM

OK, look, I'm an old man now, and when two games called "The Outer W___lds" release in the same year it's hard for my addled brain to keep them straight :P


The Outer Wilds is the little spaceship exploration one about unraveling a mystery left behind by aliens.


The Outer Worlds is the RPG from Obsidian coming out in a couple of weeks


EDIT - I just got up to Chapter 13 in Fire Emblem Three Houses. Spoilers:




As someone who really had no idea what Fire Emblem... was, at all, before playing this game, learning about Fire Emblem lore on the job is WILD. Like, I thought it was just fairly mundane Western medieval fantasy through the lens of Japanese anime boys, but then people started teleporting, evil wizards showed up, and one time I just got straight up SENT TO THE SHADOW REALM or something. My guy went Super Saiyan and his hair changed colour. A lady just turned into a dragon like it wasn't even a big deal. I love it. At this point I wouldn't even be surprised if someone pulls out a behelit and the world ends.


I've started thinking that maybe I should go back and play some more of these Fire Emblems, but then I realise that I'm essentially only halfway through one of FOUR possible playthrough paths in Three Houses and I could potentially just be playing this game for the rest of my life.

In Topic: What Are You Currently Playing?

12 October 2019 - 07:42 PM

Do you like The Witness? Fez? Maybe even Myst (although I haven't played that one myself so I'm just taking other people's word for it)? Well, if so, you might be interested in a little game called The Outer Worlds. I really had no idea what to expect from this game before starting it up, and at first I thought it was just a nice little exploration game set in a cute miniature solar system. You have a little spaceship, a handful of planetoids to explore, and very little in the way of guidance or handholding. The game begins with an entirely skippable tutorial designed only to bring you up to speed with the basic mechanics, then gives you a cheeky little hint about maybe digging into this weird trail of ancient technology and peculiar hieroglyphics left behind by a mysterious visiting alien race... but doesn't try to force anything on you. If you just want to wander around a pleasant little toy universe and have some fun with the surprisingly realistic spaceflight and orbital mechanics, you're free to knock yourself out.


But if you do want to jump in on the trail of this mystery, BOY is there a great puzzle waiting for you to piece together! No matter where you go in this solar system, you're going to stumble across cryptic messages, ancient ruins and artefacts, and with a bit of ingenuity and a handy little machine that translates the alien language, you're going to be zipping back and forth from planet to planet finding new stuff, thinking up ingenious ways to access areas you couldn't work out how to get into before, and generally having a 20-ish hour procession of those wonderful "Oh... OOOOOOH!" moments as a spark of inspiration hits you and you just have to dash back to the game to try it out and see if you're as clever as you think you are.


For example, one planet, Giant's Deep, is surrounded by a constant storm of green gas, and punching through that outer atmosphere will reveal a planet entirely covered by ocean and furious tornadoes with just a few tiny islands dotted here and there. The trail of clues from other planets points towards there being a hugely important research lab on a large island at the north pole, but it's surrounded by a giant tornado making it inaccessible. A fellow traveller on the planet hints that you might be able to go under the tornado, but there are strong ocean currents making it impossible to get too deep underwater. So... well, there's not much you can do for now. But poking around on some of the other islands, you'll find a note left behind by one of the alien scientists asking one of their colleagues on a different planet to look into a incident they had where one of their science experiment components inexplicably sank right through the underwater current. Following up on that lead means a trip to another planet, opening up a whole new chapter of your investigation, but eventually you'll learn the secret of breaking through that ocean current, and once you do... MORE MYSTERIES! You can get to the research lab at the north pole, but on your way there you can't help but notice that Giant's Deep's planet core is surrounded by some kind of electrical field that you can't penetrate, and didn't you hear about some component that fell all the way into the core, and aren't you suddenly fascinated by the puzzle of getting down in there?


Ooh it's good. It's just a wonderful exercise in following a trail of clues, coming up with brilliant, lateral-thinking solutions to interesting problems, skirting environmental obstacles, using all the tools you have at your disposal in interesting ways. Like, you have a small gun that launches a camera-equipped probe, which you can use to see what's inside an otherwise inaccessible area. But the probe also has a strong floodlight on it, which can be invaluable in dark spots. But also, the probe has its own HUD element always marking its spot, so maybe if you're in a system of caves and you can't figure out how to get into one particular chamber, you could fire a probe in there and then use that HUD element to keep track of it as you explore other paths. But ALSO ALSO, maybe you could fire that probe into, let's say, some kind of weird gravitational anomaly and see what happens...


My only problem with The Outer Wilds, which is unfortunately a pretty big one for me, is that it can be very finicky and irritating. I like my puzzle games to be all about that breakthrough when you finally work out what you need to do, and less about the actual execution of the puzzle solution being difficult, and Outer Wilds moves towards the latter too often for me. Like there's one planet which is a hollow crust with a big old black hole at the centre, and a few stages of the mystery involve doing some precarious platforming with your spacesuit jump jets where one misstep means falling into the black hole and a lengthy trip back to your starting point again. It's also a game that, for reasons I won't spoil, always has a sense of time pressure to it, so you never feel like you can take your time with it. Some areas of the game are very difficult to get to and will have a huge lore payoff, but you can never spend too long absorbing the information because you always feel hurried. I've ended up referring to walkthroughs pretty often just to check whether I've done everything I can do in a given place because it was really frustrating to get there and I don't want to have to do it again.


But anyway, I really like it all the same. It's going to end up being on my Top 9 Games of 2019 Since DMC5 is Obviously Number 1 list, because even if I don't love it love it, it's still just such a wonderful, clever, creative game and I've really enjoyed my time with it.


Speaking of games I didn't expect to love so much, would you believe it, it's Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I really, really like this game, you guys. I'm up to Chapter 9 now and I finally feel like I'm making good progress and I know what all these systems are about. I looked through all my characters' future classes to see how I want to level them up and I have them all studying the right subjects to get them where I want them, I'm cruising through most battles without too much trouble, and the story is starting to pick up into something really interesting. In the early hours of the game I came very close to just calling it a day and telling myself the game wasn't for me, but I'm so glad I stuck at it. I'm going to try and knock out at least one Chapter a night from here on, because it's taken me way too long to get this far and apparently this is the longest game ever made so I would like to finish it before I die :P


EDIT - YOOOO Three Houses Chapter 10. We Super Saiyan now!

In Topic: Scorp's RPG Corner - Pathfinder: Kingmaker is here

12 October 2019 - 04:49 AM

Has anyone been keeping an eye on Disco Elysium? It sounds pretty incredible:



It's a dialogue-focused detective RPG where you play as one guy, but your stats take the form of personality traits, and each one of those traits is treated like a traditional RPG party member that lives inside your head. Conversation skill checks are governed by your Lizard Brain, your Empathy, and this video even mentions esoteric stuff like 'Horrific Neck Tie' as a potential character skill. But, digging further down, your STATS HAVE PERSONALITIES, their own likes and dislikes, and will argue with eachother as you're trying to get your RPGing done.


It comes out on October 15th and I'm really interested to hear some impressions of the full game, because it seems like the most interesting take on RPG-ery in a while.

In Topic: The Video Game News Thread

08 October 2019 - 10:47 PM

OK, to start with, in the kind of news we don't often hear any more, Doom Eternal is getting a massive delay into March 2020. I feel like we went through a loooong period a few years ago where every big game was getting delayed (the Wii U and Soony Delaystation era), but I feel like devs and publishers probably learnt not to announce release dates until they were absolutely sure they could hit them. The last major game delay I can remember was... what, Final Fantasy XV?


To make sure we’re delivering the best experience—for DOOM Eternal to live up to our standards of speed and polish—we’ve made the decision to extend our launch date by a few months to March 20, 2020. We know many fans will be disappointed by this delay, but we are confident that DOOM Eternal will deliver a gaming experience that is well worth the wait.


They also talk about how the Switch version is going to come even later, and their Invasion multiplayer mode (where you could take the role of a demon and invade another player's game to try and kill them) isn't going to be there at launch. Oh well, that's a shame, but there are plenty of other games coming out between now and then to keep us happy. I mean, Doom Eternal was originally coming out the same day as Jedi Fallen Order and Pokemon Sword/Shield.


And in other news, Sony has dropped a new chunk of information about what is now officially called the Playstation 5:


- Hardware ray-tracing

- 100GB discs and a 4K Blu Ray drive. They also talk about more granular options for installing games, so you'll be able to install only the singleplayer campaign and save some space by ignoring the multiplayer, for example, or vice versa.

- You'll be able to 'see what's up' in games without actually having to boot the app. So if you just want to get into a Call of Duty match, for example, you can load straight into one from the console's dashboard, rather than having to boot the game, go into multiplayer and find one.

- The new controller looks much like the Dual Shock 4, but with 'adaptive triggers', meaning the controller can change the resistance of the triggers on the fly. Pulling back a bow string will feel like it has different tension compared to firing a shotgun, for example. They also mention what sounds much like the Switch's HD rumble or the Xbox One's rumble triggers.


Anyway, it sounds pretty neato, and there's more in the article. As always, though, take these pre-launch console promises with a grain of salt. Think about how much Nintendo hyped up HD Rumble, only to deliver what is basically a tinny cellphone buzz.

In Topic: The Video Game News Thread

05 October 2019 - 04:28 PM

Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to PC on November 5th, to be available on the new Rockstar Games Launcher, the Epic Games Store and a bunch of other digital storefronts, with a Steam release coming later in December for some reason. Should be another few hundred million in Rockstar's coffers, then. At least they won't go hungry.


And Kamala Khan is confirmed as one of the main characters of Crystal Dynamics' Avengers game:



I actually didn't know she had stretchy powers until just now :P