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Member Since 07 Apr 2008
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:53 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: The Video Game News Thread

Yesterday, 06:15 PM

Aaaand here it is:




Nintendo has announced a new revision of the Switch which seems basically identical to the original except that the battery life is now significantly better. Going from 2.5 - 6 hours of play time for the original to 4.5 - 9 hours with this new one. The official specs they've released say that the new model is still using the same 4310mAh battery as the original model, which means that extra battery life comes from more power efficient internals. Chances are that there won't be any significant performance upgrades with this new Switch, but, y'know, maybe.


It'll be out in September, presumably at the same time as the Switch Lite.

In Topic: What Are You Currently Playing?

16 July 2019 - 04:50 AM

In general I always want to give developers the benefit of the doubt when they're remastering another developer's game. I always think it must be such a nightmare to just be given this massive codebase written by a whole different team of people and have to work out how to get it running on an entirely different console and make it look better than the original. I don't know a thing about how code works or how to do anything with... anything. And then you figure that they probably don't get huge budgets to work with, and they probably have to do it all under strict time limits, and at the end of the day it's no wonder you see so many problems with remasters.


But then I think about Elena's face in Uncharted 2 in the Nathan Drake Collection and I just think... why did you do that, though?




Intrepid foreign correspondent Elena Fisher, best female character in gaming on the left, some lady who wore a full face of makeup into a warzone on the right. Who is that? Is that Elena's cousin? Is that Helena Fincher? I don't know her. Why have you done this? That's a deliberate change from the original game that just looks straight up worse. Even being as generous and understanding as you can be about the reality of porting a game... how does something like that happen? It's such a shame, too, because as time goes on the PS4 version will end up being the version most people play, and they'll look at those faces and think, "hoo boy, these old games from the PS3 days before developers had worked out how to do good faces", and the actually excellent PS3 faces will be lost to time.


But you know what doesn't have a laundry list of problems? Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. I just went back and replayed it, then replayed the first half again, and then replayed the full thing again on Crushing, and I just love this game so much. It actually has a really fun Trophy list full of interesting little challenges for each specific setpiece, and one that asks you to play the first half of the game without ever firing a gun, and it's just a great way of playing the game. I used a guide to find all the neat hiding places for treasures and listen to all the optional conversations, and even on the Crushing difficulty run (which is usually a nightmare for me because I'm a huge scrub :P), they let you brazenly cheat your way through it with the in-game bonuses like bullet time and weapon select, so I had a lot of fun.


Ah, Uncharted. Replaying all these games really has me feeling the absence of Sony from E3 this year, because there was no mindblowing on-stage demo from a Naughty Dog game. I need to see some more from The Last of Us 2, post haste.

In Topic: What Are You Currently Playing?

12 July 2019 - 05:12 AM

I hope you guys like nostalgia, because I've been playing some re-masters/makes.


Shadow of the Colossus: This is the same playthrough I started back in 2018 when the PS4 remake came out. I smoked the first eight colossi, and then something must have come up because I dropped the game, but I went back this week and smoked the remaining eight. My thoughts on this game haven't really changed: I still think it's an excellent remake of an excellent game, and I still enjoy thinking about Shadow of the Colossus more than I do actually playing it. It's just such an exquisitely frustrating game when you're there in the moment, and the rose-tinted glasses smooth out all the infuriating bumps along the road. I prefer to remember the incredible first time I shot the big airbags under Colossus 13's flying body to pull him down out of the sky so I could jump from horseback to his wing that drags in the sand, and forget the two consecutive times you have to repeat the exact same task during that same fight because it's a video game and everything has to be done three times.


Uncharted 2: I replayed the first game in the Nathan Drake Collection on PS4 a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it, but I had a really tough time playing through Uncharted 2 again. It is difficult. Brutally, punishingly difficult, in a way that I just didn't remember at all. From about mid-Nepal onwards it becomes a gauntlet where the air is just full of lead at all times, poking your head out from cover is death, and your screen is desaturated more often than not. I had so many one-shot insta-deaths in the late game, either from armoured shotgun guys appearing from around a corner and blowing me away, or grenade launcher guys either landing pineapples right on me or just getting them close enough to knock me out of cover so the regular dudes could eviscerate me. And, God, the final boss was an absolute nightmare.


I honestly wondered if I hadn't accidentally set the difficulty to Hard, because the game felt genuinely broken at some points. I felt like there was just no room for error; if I accidentally took cover on the wrong side of a pillar and spent half a second longer than I should have exposed to gunfire, that was it. No opportunity to recover from a mistake, just do the fight perfectly or you're dead. Even sections that I remember loving back on the PS3, like the bit right before the train station where you do a whole fight hanging from that one billboard and clambering around it as guys spawn in from different directions. When I hit that part in this playthrough and couldn't remember where the dudes spawned in from, I just died. I literally couldn't spot the guys and climb to a safe spot in time. I almost wonder if they tweaked the difficulty level for the PS4 remaster or something, because I just don't remember the original game being so difficult. It definitely wouldn't be the only thing they tweaked for the remaster, because Uncharted 2's remaster really screws up the characters' faces. It's the worst of the three games in the Collection, and Elena looks the worst out of everyone. It's a real shame.


Uncharted 3: So this is my first time replaying this game since it launched back in 2011. I really just never liked Uncharted 3 back in the day, and a lot of the problems I remember having with it are still plain as day. The story is all over the place, lousy with convenient plot contrivances and villains that don't really make sense. The melee combat is ludicrously repetitive, forcing you to fight the same heavy enemy with the same moves like five times over the course of the game, and it just does not work at all during gunfights. Any time an enemy comes close to you during a gunfight you get magnetised into brawl mode, and you can't even dodge out of it because suddenly your dodge button is now a grab button; you're just locked into punching and countering until the enemy dies or, far more likely, you die from the  dozen other enemies shooting at you. And the game still has so many scripted action sequences that just aren't telegraphed to the player well enough; it's such a hassle having to repeat an exciting, breakneck chase scene two, three or four times because the camera swung around you and you didn't know where to go and there's absolutely no room for hesitation. Oops, they caught you. Do it again. No, go the other way next time. No, you should have jumped over there. Do it again.


But, I don't know, I still had fun with it. It still has some amazing setpieces, and the old Uncharted formula of platforming your way into a gorgeously-rendered ancient city or temple and then shooting your way out as you somehow manage to make it crumble to dust around you is such a lot of fun. It's still a beautiful game, too, and I think it might have the best soundtrack of all the Uncharted games. I love Charlie Cutter, and I still think the subtle, understated storytelling they do with Nate and Elena's rocky relationship is so good. Amy Hennig is has such an incredible talent for writing, character development and storytelling, and it's a tragedy that Uncharted 3 is still the last game she's actually been able to release as writer and creative director.

In Topic: The Video Game News Thread

11 July 2019 - 08:36 PM

The Switch Lite is officially unveiled:



Aaaaand they Nintendo'd it. It doesn't dock. You can't connect it to a TV. It's a Switch that doesn't switch. It took them exactly one revision to remove the best feature of the console.


Oh well, there's still another Switch revision to set my hopes on, though rumours of a 'Switch Pro' may have been greatly exaggerated. Right now it's looking like there's a minor internal upgrade coming to the original Switch model. Think something along the lines of the Xbox One to Xbox One S upgrade; just a slight change to more power-efficient internals, maybe more storage, nothing really significant to the end product of playing video games but it'll probably make it cheaper for Nintendo to manufacture. Hopefully that one isn't too far away, because I want a Switch but I still need it to dock.

In Topic: The New! HALO Thread - Hosted by Spark

02 July 2019 - 11:21 PM

Well, I don't necessarily mean it as a bad thing when I call Chief shallow. I feel like Halo is a universe where all the characters are soldiers and everyone has been at war constantly throughout all of recorded history, and even among that crowd Chief sticks out to the people around him as being single-mindedly obsessed with fighting bad guys. When I think about a character with some depth, I think about whether I can imagine that character on an off day, when they aren't at their day job. I can imagine, say, Nathan Drake when he isn't on an adventure. I can imagine Old Lara Croft when she's just relaxing around the manor, but I can't imagine Nu Lara Croft that way. I can imagine the Solid Snake of MGS1 and 2 as a regular man, but I can't do it for MGS4's Snake; I guess it's a quality of writing and characterization that I can't really put into words, but I know it when I see it.


When it comes to Master Chief, I absolutely can't imagine him doing anything but shooting guys, but, like you said, the canon of Halo more or less categorically states that he doesn't do anything but shoot guys. He basically doesn't even get to take a shower from the opening of Halo 1 to the end of Halo 4, right? And then at the beginning of 5 his buds mention under their breath that he's been running missions non-stop since the last game. And I think that's totally fine. That's what Halo is; the fiction is all about Chief being a manmade supersoldier who doesn't stop, and I think it'd be a mistake to start depicting Chief sitting on the space couch watching football or whatever. He doesn't need to be a deep character. You mention Doomguy, and I'd argue that 2016's Doomguy carved out more of a personality for himself from that miracle-energy-source destroying scene in Doom 2016 alone than Chief has in like five games (I will give him points for jumping through space all those times, though). Anyway, I'm still fine with him being shallow.


It is why the emotional Cortana/Chief stuff in 4 just didn't work for me at all, though. Chief isn't a character I can imagine being sad about things, or forming any kind of emotional bond beyond a Chris Redfield RE5-style "she's my partner" kind of thing, which I'm fine with, but it really puts a limit on the kinds of stories you can tell with the guy. On a pure gut reaction level, I just didn't buy Halo 4's relationship between the green deathbot and the blue sexbot. This shot of him just standing there at the end really put the capper on the whole thing. I just don't know what they were thinking with this. He just stands there. Have him drop his gun. Put his hands on his head or something. Drop to his knees. Melodramatic, sure, but it'd be something. He doesn't have a face, he doesn't move, he doesn't express any emotion vocally, he just stands there.




To be fair, I think Halo 5's story worked a lot better. I found Chief's voice actor a lot more convincing, and I think the premise of "we're trying to stop Cortana being evil" worked a lot better for Chief's limitations than "she's dying because lore and the emotional crux rests on Chief being sad". And 5 had some other characters and subplots going, too, so Chief didn't have to pull all that weight himself. And also Cortana had some clothes on this time :P


Anyway, I think that's pretty much how I feel about these Halos. I don't want to say they shouldn't ever try anything more with Chief's character, I just... hated it when they did it. They could always try again. I'd like to see it. I'm still looking forward to Halo Infinite.