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#487979 What Are You Currently Playing?

Posted by Ocelot on 14 October 2018 - 10:58 PM

OK, baby, time for an Assassin's Creed Odyssey update, after about 55 hours. I've finished the main story, and there are a few more juicy questlines I want to chase up on my way to the level cap. I might end up going for the Platinum Trophy if it doesn't turn out to be too much of a grind. I'm happy to say that this is my favourite Assassin's Creed game. If you'd asked me before this I would have told you either Brotherhood (for being, at the time, a fresh new kind of game design that would go on to be Ubisoft's only kind of game, and also having Ezio) or Black Flag (for just being a great pirate game), but Odyssey has a decade's worth of gameplay upgrades, quality of life improvements under its belt, a really enjoyable story that neatly avoids the usual AC problem of Forrest-Gump-ing your character into well-known historical moments at the expense of any kind of continuity, and, without a doubt, the best character in the entire series: Kassandra (and no, I'm not just saying that because her husky voice and big muscles make her Ocelot kryptonite :P).


The game gives you three main paths down which to spec your character: Hunter (bow and arrow stuff), Warrior (fighting guys) and Assassin (stealthy boi), and I went in hard on stealth and then shored myself up on fighting for when I'd inevitably get caught. This is one of those games where certain builds will break the game in disgustingly fun ways, so I ended up with this warping Assassination manoeuvre that I could chain to four guys, and a giant axe special attack that I could chain to another four, with a 50% heal I could pop at any moment and the wonderful Sparta Kick for whenever someone made the mistake of putting their back to a ledge. All the special abilities run off an Adrenaline Bar, so of course the game becomes a matter of spec'ing yourself to maximise Adrenaline build-up while minimising the amount you have to spend. There's an easy re-spec ability, too, which I know RPG purists might baulk at but I always appreciate it. What I would really have enjoyed is a Nier Automata style loadout system, where I could match certain armour sets with certain builds depending on what I'm trying to do, but I suppose we can't have everything.


I can't say the choice and consequence side of the game really holds up its end of the bargain, though. While there is one major moment where you make the choice in Chapter 1 and the consequence only follows up in Chapter 7, and it does have the Witcher 3 style of ending where it collates certain choices you've made over the entire game rather than just at the very end, most of the game is just very shallow, binary choices. None of your character upgrades apply to any kind of charisma or speech ability; it's all "Do you let this guy walk away or kill him?" and  "Will you splash some Drachmae to pay these guys off or kill them?", that kind of thing. Once you have to choose who's more deserving of medical care: the farmer who feeds the whole village, the rich woman who'll pay you, or the mother of two sick kids, but as far as I can tell there's just no followup to any of it. Comparing the ending to Witcher 3's is not quite deserved, either, because Odyssey really just has the one ending and your choices only determine who's alive to see it. I ended up getting two characters killed due to what felt more like a clerical error in the towering system of checks and balances that govern the outcomes than my actual behaviour in the game. Afterwards I looked up exactly what you need to do for the 'best' ending and I would have sworn I'd done all of it, but... apparently not. It's a shame because I don't feel the ending I got reflected the way I'd actually played the game; I feel like one particular dialogue choice is weighted too heavily and I just happened to pick it by accident or something.


There's a lot of hubbub about this game being Ubisoft's newest low in the race to empty gamers' pockets with predatory microtransactions, and that really wasn't my experience at all. It's an enormous game, and a very long one, but I never felt I had to grind just to make the required levels for main story missions. It does seem like you can't stick to only story quests, though. If you're picking up a side quest or two in every new area you'll stay within the recommended level range, but if, for example, you're a game reviewer or shouting Youtube influencer whose livelihood rests on shotgunning through the critical path as quickly as possible so you can produce content, you're probably going to run into level gating problems. I do think the game is probably too big for its own good, and I suppose it's fair enough that not everyone wants to play through side content, but at the same time I think the side content is actually pretty good and well worth seeing. There's probably a happy medium to be struck for future games. Personally I'd happily take a smaller game in terms of overall scope, but a denser game in terms of story branching and player choice. There are only so many times you can be asked to infiltrate a base to retrieve/kill an item/dude before you start longing for a way to talk yourself out of problems. Or maybe play a game of Gwent...


But, like I said, I really like this game, as evidenced by the near-sixty hours I've poured into it in just over a week. It's an extremely smooth, fun, easy game to wile away the hours in, with a slick control scheme and some positively delicious quality of life features. There's a rolling series of autosaves going back every minute for the last five minutes or so, allowing you to go back and redo any given conversation even if you forgot to quick save beforehand. Entering and exiting combat is as easy as locking-on or -off, none of the usual Assassin's Creed misery of trying to leave a fight and not being able to. When you loot a dead body, Kassandra has this kind of 'loot aura' that automatically loots every dead body in like a 10 foot radius, and you can even do it from horseback. And the greatest thing of all? You can't die from falls any more. For the game's opening hours you take fall damage but won't die, but once you hit Lv 20 Kassandra starts casually throwing out a graceful somersault and roll and laughs in the face of certain death. It's bewdiful:



#487968 The Video Game News Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 09 October 2018 - 09:29 PM

Microsoft is throwing some serious money around. Since E3 they now own:


- The Initiative, a new studio

- Undead Labs, the people who made the State of Decay games
- Playground Games, the ones who make Forza Horizon

- Compulsion Games, the We Happy Few people

- Ninja Theory, of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved, DmC and Hellblade fame


...and now Obsidian, apparently. This one is extra surprising since Obsidian had been working on a massive Xbox One launch-ish era exclusive RPG named Stormlands that ended up getting canceled. I guess there's no bad blood between them, though. Hopefully this will mean a secure source of money for them going forward, since it seems like they've been running on fumes the past few years. I'd love to see Microsoft fund some kind of exciting big budget RPG from them. Maybe one where you play as, oh I don't know, some kind of spy, for instance. Something with a lot of player choice and an excellent conversation system and a crazy level of branching to the story paths. Something with a cool espionage-sounding code name for a title, maybe...



#487961 What Are You Currently Playing?

Posted by Ocelot on 06 October 2018 - 07:15 AM

I've played about eight hours of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and I'm really enjoying it so far. Continuing the RPG-ification of Assassin's Creed started with Origins, we've got XP, levels, and a big ol' world full of loot to find, MGSV-style enemy bases to clear out, and scary enemies of varying strengths. But where Origins was all the XP with none of the benefits, Odyssey branches out into a cheeky little bit of choice and consequence, and even has a really interesting optional... kinda sorta difficulty mode? Rather than your standard modern AAA video game thing of having you follow a waypoint at all times, Odyssey has a mode where quest markers are replaced with just listening to the quest giver tell you "I need you to go to this place, it's west of *insert landmark here*, south of *a certain town*", and then you just find it yourself. It's not quite as hands-off as Breath of the Wild was, and it'd be hard to really get lost, but it is a really nice change of pace.


So I'm playing as a muscular Greek lady named Kassandra, who has thick eyebrows, a husky voice and just a liiiittle bit of that good Greek 'ssh' on her 'ss' sounds, and I really like her as an RPG protagonist. Honestly a great video game face and a voice will take me a long way in a game like this, but Kassandra has a really enjoyable wry sense of humour to her, too, and she's just a big ol' bruiser. Her first scene has her getting clocked right in the jaw by a loan shark's cronies, which was a great intro; she reminds me a lot of our ol' pal Xena, to be honest. She also calls anyone she doesn't like "malakes", and I love that :P


I was impressed to see that the skill tree customisation is actually really in-depth this time around, too. It isn't seem like the standard Ubisoft skill tree where you're basically just buying all the abilities you should have had from the beginning and eventually you get them all; here you actually have to spec yourself down certain paths, and the active abilities themselves have to be mapped to hot-keys so you can only have four melee and four ranged ones total. So far I have one ability that lets me permanently destroy an enemy's shield, and one that is just the famous "THIS IS SPARTA" kick from 300 which is absolutely wonderful for knocking people off ledges. You still have the annoying thing where high-level enemies can't be killed in one shot from an Assassination stab, but now there's an ability that lets you hold the button for a more powerful stab, and if you can Sparta kick them off a ledge afterwards you can really turn the tables.


I found a good ol' Assassin's Creed cave full of ancient-past-sci-fi stuff, so that's still there, and all the naval battle stuff is back again so we've basically got a Greatest Hits of Assassin's Creed game here. I had a little look at the overall game map, and I had a moment of existential dread when I had to zoom out one step further than I thought I would to see the whole thing, only to find another zoom out after that. This place is absolutely gigantic, and every quest I've done so far has been pretty in-depth, too; no "fetch 10 things". I'm impressed, and pretty intimidated, too.

#487960 The Video Game News Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 04 October 2018 - 11:20 PM

Depending on which Assassin's Creed you played last, Odyssey might be a real breath of fresh air. They completely overhauled the control scheme in last year's one (the imaginatively-titled Origins), so it plays like a proper action video game instead of Euro Truck Simulator on foot, and they also turned the game into an pseudo-RPG. Unfortunately they only did the number-crunching part of an RPG, i.e. you gained XP and leveled up, and enemies got stronger to the point where you couldn't kill them in one stab to the neck any more so you had to go and level up somewhere else for a while. I wasn't a huge fan of that, but apparently they're bringing in the other part of RPGs for Odyssey: the choices! I only skimmed a couple of reviews but I saw a lot of praise for player choice and good, meaty sidequests and characters, so I'm actually pretty excited for this one.


Also you get to play as a girl with big muscles :P

#487946 Star Wars Movies and Disney Fanfiction Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 30 September 2018 - 11:12 PM

I think those first three are pretty good bets. We already saw Hux ready to merc Kylo at the end of TLJ when he sensed a moment of weakness, so there's definitely going to be an anti-Kylo faction. I can also see the Resistabellion rallying during the time skip and coming up with enough of a fleet for a big ol' space battle at the end.


And, yeah, it's nice to see a big Disney exec admitting fault with the "a new Star Wars every year!" plan that basically everyone in the real world saw the problem with from moment one. I'm sure they'll keep playing with it until they dial in the right balance of Star Wars movies to money. They'll finish this trilogy at the end of 2019 and hopefully do a few years of anthology stuff (perfect time for the Ewan McGregor Obi Wan movie), and then when the hype starts to wane again they can announce the next numbered trilogy.


On a related note, Kathleen Kennedy just had her contract extended for another three years. And, to my unceasing dismay, Youtube's inscrutable algorithm is still trying to get me to watch that one Youtube essay about TLJ being a 'complete cinematic failure' (the one with Admiral Holdo in the thumbnail photoshopped to look like she's smirking at her own movie). I'm never going to watch it, Youtube! Give up already.

#487938 Gwent, Hearthstone, and other silly card games

Posted by Ocelot on 29 September 2018 - 01:21 AM

Did you know about this standalone, singleplayer, story-based Gwent RPG thing they've got going, Scorp?




Because I hadn't heard anything about it until now and apparently it's coming next month:


Thronebreaker is a single player role-playing game set in the world of The Witcher that combines narrative-driven exploration with unique puzzles and card battle mechanics. Crafted by the developers responsible for some of the most iconic moments in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the game spins a truly regal tale of Meve, a war-veteran queen of two Northern Realms — Lyria and Rivia. Facing an imminent Nilfgaardian invasion, Meve is forced to once again enter the warpath, and set out on a dark journey of destruction and revenge.


The official site promises 30+ hours of gameplay, which if it's anything like Witcher 3 proper actually means 60 hours of pure GOATery. Finally the dream of a full on Gwent simulator comes true.

#487928 Death Stranding

Posted by Ocelot on 23 September 2018 - 03:01 AM

Hey guys what is this game?


#487922 The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra

Posted by Ocelot on 21 September 2018 - 03:28 AM

I can hold out hope. If Netflix is getting to do this, this means they might have some claim to the rights. If the ATLA remake is successful, it could fund a 3rd series as a netflix exclusive. They'd be crazy not to given how Voltron has gone for them.


That's a good point; it wouldn't be the first show Netflix has saved. If this is what it takes to bring my beautiful baby back to life, I'll keep paying that Netflix subscription as long as they want. I'll suffer however many live-action remakes they can throw at me if it means I get my glorious Earth Kingdom Avatar who will hopefully be another girl with huge muscles. Just like huuuge, though, because she's Earth Kingdom and they're all super buff. Like BIG. I want her to make Korra look like Aang.


So, given that this is happening now whether we like it or not, what kind of show do you want this thing to be? Do you think they'll cast child actors to match the original characters' ages, or will they age it up a bit? Are they going to change the story, maybe bring in Toph earlier or give us more Azula? I wouldn't mind a few changes here and there, I suppose.



#487919 Devil May Cry 5: Bang Bang Bang

Posted by Ocelot on 19 September 2018 - 09:40 PM







Featuring Kylo Ren from the Star Wars series


They also announced a Deluxe Edition, featuring some extra Devil Breakers, skins, and (most importantly) the option to use all the best battle themes from DMCs 1, 2, 3 and 4:




Also, we God Hand now:



#487914 The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra

Posted by Ocelot on 18 September 2018 - 11:29 PM

Well, this isn't the news I'd hoped to be bumping the Avatar thread with after almost exactly three long years, but here we go:




I don't want to be a negative Nancy, because I love Avatar to death and I still regularly dream about getting rich and personally funding a third series just so I can have more of it, but... this is not what I had hoped for. Live action anime adaptations are a nope, remakes of things barely over a decade old are a nope, so put them together and you achieve the rare double nope. I mean, I'll keep an open mind, but the way Konietzko and DiMartino throw animation under the bus in that quote and continue this cockamamie idea that your stories don't count until they're filmed with real actors is just really disappointing.

#487911 moving Wicktures that you are watching

Posted by Ocelot on 16 September 2018 - 07:44 AM

I've been watching a million things on Netflix lately, including The Good Place (which I really like. Also, ya basic), season 2s of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist (all pretty unremarkable but still watchable), and finally finishing off Orphan Black (that show's great and I'm super in love with Tatiana Maslany), but I want to talk about this new show called The Dragon Prince, because I really like it. It's a CG cartoon show from Aaron Ehasz (one of the people behind Avatars both Aang and Korra) and Justin Richmond (ex-Naughty Dog, director of Uncharted 3):



I'm six episodes in and I feel like it has great potential. Really enjoyable characters (one of them played by Sokka) and great writing, and just a lovely art style. Fantastic character designs, too. There's big internet controversy out there over its very low framerate, which... yeah, it can be pretty distracting. Fast-moving scenes don't suffer so much, but slower scenes can look terribly stuttery. I don't know why they did it like this, since it's not like you have to draw individual frames with CG animation, but, well, there it is. I can't say it really bothers me once I'm actually watching the show, but I hope they'll change it for the second season (hopefully there is one).


Also I saw Hereditary, which is an excellent horror movie that genuinely made me sick. I watch a lot of horror movies, so I feel like I've built up a tolerance to most of the usual tropes. Jump scares don't work on me because I can feel them coming from a mile off, and the usual monsters screaming at the camera with a mouth that opens too wide are just old hat. But Hereditary doesn't use any of the usual, predictable horror tropes, and it goes some places I absolutely was not ready for, and I didn't feel good for days after watching it. This movie got under my skin in that way where I had to try really hard not to think about it when I was going to sleep that night. So if that kind of thing sounds appealing to you then I definitely recommend it.

#487905 What Are You Currently Playing?

Posted by Ocelot on 13 September 2018 - 06:33 AM

So let me tell you guys about a game called Marvel's Spider-Man, or as it may come to be known in a few months' time, Ocelot's 2018 Game of the Year. I've been spending my every waking hour for the last few days up to my elbows in this game, and I need to tell you guys how good it is because it's all I can think about. I'm in the last third of a surprisingly great story, but I have so many genuinely fun side activities pulling me in a dozen different directions that I can't focus on anything. I'm dawdling because I genuinely don't want this game to end. It's brilliant. I love it.


OK, so check this out: this is the best Spider-Man video game ever made. You all know how much I love Spider-Man 2, and while I still love the raw, pure swinging mechanics of that game, Insomniac's 2018 game does every single other thing so well and even has a fantastic swinging system of its own. The new game fudges the physics and automates a lot of what used to take skill and complex inputs in SM2, which I was a little down on at first, but the more I played the more I realised that this new system opened up a whole new realm of gameplay possibilities. So while you no longer need five different buttons and a few dozen hours' practice to pull off a nice flowing wallrun, for example, this keeps you free to concentrate on doing super awesome Spider-Man stuff like firing webs at enemies in mid-air or catapulting yourself over roofs after a vertical wallrun. Changing direction mid-wallrun. Firing out a web behind you to immediately halt your momentum if you overshoot a turn. Stopping to tackle a group of jetpack-clad bad guys and clobbering them all without ever touching the ground. Kicking the hell out of a dude as you swing by. IT FEELS SO GOOD.


And the mission design takes full advantage of your abilities, too. I know you've heard this one before, but Sony's big expensive games this gen have mostly been very well-executed takes on established ideas, and Spider-Man is no different: this is Batman Arkham Knight with webs. A big open world full of side content, great big one-off setpieces, combat and stealth and gadgets and traversal. We're stealthing through interior areas, fighting in arenas, clobbering bosses; it doesn't transcend its genre, by any means, but it is a damn good one of those games, and the wonderful gameplay has kept me ploughing through all that side content no matter how repetitive it might be. There are even some extra characters to play as (and alongside), which come as a nice little change of pace every now and then.


Oh, and I thought the combat system was going to be an Arkham clone, but it really isn't; it borrows a little from Arkham but actually more from Devil May Cry. You can punch, you can web, jump and dodge, and you can hold those buttons to give you launchers, Devil Bringers and Snatches, and you can even knock an enemy into the air and keep them suspended on web shots. Spidey takes big damage from guns and isn't great at crowd control, so the game encourages you to fight in the air as much as possible, and you can stay up there for a long time if you really try. It's a little clunky to switch between gadgets during combat (it's a radial menu), but if you learn to do it while you're doing a pre-canned finishing animation you can really just wreck dudes all day long. It's absolutely fantastic.


I want to finish the story before I talk about it, but what I've played so far has been great. Excellent voice acting, an older, more experienced Spider-Man than I've seen before, and some really good takes on classic Spidey characters. And some absolutely amazing character faces, for what it's worth. Just... man these people have great faces, and great facial animation, too. Between these ultra-high-fidelity mugs and the gorgeous city I'm swinging through, I honestly think this is one of the best-looking games I've ever played. GORE. JUSS. One of the characters licked his lips, and I don't think I've ever seen that in a video game before. Video games look really good, you guys.


OK, enough raving. This game is excellent and I highly recommend it.

#487895 Mission: Impossible - Fallout/Cruise Missile Appreciation Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 05 September 2018 - 12:24 AM

Hah, no, I've never seen the original series. I honestly always forget that Mission: Impossible existed before Tom Cruise until I see the "Original theme composed by Lalo Schifrin" in the opening credits and think, "...Oooooh, right". I'm glad you took the bullet for me, because I can't say I've ever really been interested in finding out for myself. 


I do think the Avengers TV series is pretty watchable, though, as far as spy shows from that era go. The British one with Diana Rigg (a.k.a. Lady Olenna from Game of Thrones). It's extremely camp, very tongue-in-cheek and a lot of fun if you happen to catch a good episode, though to be honest it's less spy-focused and more "A madman has invented a shrinking ray and we must stop him! Oh dear, I've been shrunk and I have to hide behind this giant cup of tea!".


Wonderfully crisp '60s English accents, Diana Rigg dresses exclusively in catsuits, and the action scenes are all either car chases with the film sped up or fights that are 90% karate chop :P

#487884 John Wick News and also Regular Movie/TV News Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 27 August 2018 - 09:37 PM




#487882 Cyberpunk 2077: CD Projekt Red's Next GOAT

Posted by Ocelot on 27 August 2018 - 10:52 AM


I bet you didn't wake up today thinking you'd see a FORTY-EIGHT MINUTE gameplay demo of Cyberpunk, right? Well it's your lucky day!