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#3061 Absoul The Reindeer

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 05:36 AM

Digging through my portable hard drive trying to find TF2 i found Mechwarrior Online, so I fired that up.

 

And now I remember why I love mechs. Laser Jenner and the Blackjack with the Lasers and Flamers are pretty much my favorite things ever, although they're the only mechs I've used in more than one match so maybe I'm just biased.

 

Is anyone else still playing this, though? Had to wait fifteen minutes for a match just now, and whilst the mech goodness is totally worth it, its a little annoying.



#3062 Michaelangelo

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 04:03 PM

Arby, I'm not really sure what you're saying with the first part of that post. Are you trying to say that everyone started gaming with fighting games, or that everyone plays fighting games in general? Because I can say "no" to both rather safely.  I mean, I dabbled in Smash Bros a bit with my friends from time to time, but I'd hardly call myself a fighting game player any more than I'd say I'm Solitaire player.  My first glimpses into the word of gaming came from turn-based and real-time strategy. Outpost 2, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Age of Empires, all with a bit of Pokemon, Rollercoaster Tycoon, and MechWarrior on side. I didn't even really consider myself a gamer until I picked up Halo and was instantly drawn in by the gameplay and seemingly massive world it wove. 
 
So, no, I am not "rooted in a fighting game". I will, however, say that my first starter was Bulbasaur :P .

I think what Arby means/implies is that everyone who's played vidya has played a variety of fighting games (big or small variety), and usually most of those folks have one game that's their favorite and it's the one they're the best at. What Arby's trying to say is just that, everyone (or at least most gamers) has a fighting game that they're rooted into that game's particular culture.

I've seen videos on YouTube on the basics of Street Fighter IV and whatever complete with lingo.

Personally, I'm on board with Dead Or Alive, unfortunately, I have not gotten DOA5. :(

Also I'm about to start playing Uncharted 3 since its free for PS+ members and I got a free PS+ 30-day card yesterday at Comic-Con. :P

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#3063 El Taco

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 05:29 AM

Man, I could go on for a good long while about how much better vanilla Battlefront II is than vanilla Battlefront I, but beyond that, Dark Times II: Rising Son is more than enough reason to take the second one anyway. The king of all Battlefront mods (FAR superior to the conversion pack), Rising Son has enough content to be its own game. You basically play it like it is. It's got it's own campaign (better than the origianl BFII campaign, and as such waaaay superior to BFI's pitiful excuse for a 'campaign'), a whole new selection of maps, a beautifully designed new 'era' with a fully re-made cast of units, new lightsaber combat, new approach to space battles, new game modes, and probably more stuff I'm forgetting. It's great. If you have Battlefront II, get Rising Son.

 

The campaign is really the highlight, because not only does it have good objective maps and decent story progression within those maps, it's actually pretty hard. Playing it on normal difficulty, one still finds themselves carrying a real sense of danger while cornered into a little hideaway with no chance escape that really just isn't present in the normal game. You CAN'T just go in guns-a-blazin'. You wind up having to play it like a stealth shooter because some missions give you no alternative to using a (vastly improved) Bothan Spy to sneak around the endless waves of terrifying Imperial troops. Missions limit exactly what troops you can use, and it works well. In instant action mode, the higher-level troops are seemingly randomized from a general pool, as are (I think) the heroes. It varies the game up in a really nice way, as does the night/day randomization that makes for a nice touch on outdoor maps. Speaking of maps, they're great. Really atmospheric and well-polished. Plus one of them is on a train and that's just great. Random little game modes in instant action like 'wave' mode (endless hordes of enemy vs. hero character, usually), and an asteroid field fight with the Millenium Falcon provide relief for when the campaign's difficulty is giving you a hard time.

 

Have I sold you Dark Times II yet? It's a free download, come on. And BFII itself is probably really cheap by this point, so if you must just buy the game FOR Dark Times II.


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#3064 Ocelot

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 05:30 PM

I really loved Dirt 2. I likes me some cars, but I mostly like them driving forwards on tarmac so I've never been much of a Rally guy. Dirt 2 won me over with a combination of the most enjoyable powersliding physics of any racing game I've played, a really lovely lady's voice for my navigator, and the way Ken Block and Tanner Foust and Travis Pastrami would constantly address me by name after everything I did. When you start up the game for the first time it asks you what your name is, and if your name comes up on a list of common ones then every voice in the game will actually read it aloud. My parents were unimaginative enough to name me James, so the game kept saying "Hey James", and "Great job, James!" for everything I did. The constant positive reinforcement was surprisingly effective :P

 

Mostly, though, I just wanted to drift around hairpin corners all day long in that game. The Dirt games don't pretend to be simulators, but with all the assists off the physics strike a perfect balance between being easy enough to get a good controlled powerslide going, but tricky enough that I still feel a sense of accomplishment when I really nail one. When you come up to a corner you give it the ol' Scandinavian Flick to upset the car, maybe a touch of handbrake to get the back end swinging around, then you feather the throttle and work the steering to keep the perfect angle and UUUNNNG I could just do it all day long. I eventually had my fill of the game after the tracks started repeating and I was just racing the same races in the same cars, but that lovely drifting kept me coming back for a long time.

 

Anyway, I bought Dirt 3 during one of the crazy PC Digital sales that I can't keep track of any more, and that game is worse than its predecessor in a lot of ways. It still calls me James all the time, and it even gave me an Australian chief mechanic (played by an actual Australian!). I don't know if that's because I told the game I was Australian or if everyone gets the same guy, but I appreciated it all the same. Unfortunately, none of my voice over people will shut up! I'm still at the point in the game where they're introducing new race types, and every one of them comes with a lengthy, unskippable explanation of all the rules. That might not be so bad if those rules were actually complicated, but rallying isn't rocket surgery. Are you racing against other cars? Come first. Are you racing against the clock? Beat the time. I think I can work it out, game.

 

Even unfortunatelier, there's a worrying dearth of tracks to race on. I've been playing for 7 hours and I can think of five different countries I've raced in, and every country seems to have just one track that gets chopped up into different lengths for you to race along. There are events made up of three races, where all three races are in the same car on the same track. Some events will let you choose cars from different eras of rallying - '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and... S2000, apparently - but older cars don't require different driving styles, they're just worse. And every season of your driving career is split up into four levels of five or six events each, but the last event in every level is just a link to the Xbox Live Marketplace. You have to buy the last races in career mode. With actual money. For reals.

 

But that drifting is still there, and now there are proper Gymkhana events, and GRRRR they're so good! They're like a proper old sports game, complete with score attacks and multipliers and levels with hidden Gaps like Tony Hawk! You maximise your scores by performing all your crazy sideways tricks cleanly, never crashing, keeping your multiplier up by stringing tricks together, and it's so incredibly addictive. It seems like they've tweaked the drifting physics just enough that, with enough practice, you can just drive sideways all day long at whatever speed you like, do sweet donuts all over the place with whatever radius you like, and basically do your best Ken Block impression. The car's engine notes aren't quite as angry and backfire-happy as the real thing, and you can't spin on the spot until your tyres burst, but other than that it's the perfect Gymkhana game.

 

There's this huge, sprawling Gymkhana level in England, full of ramps and things to drift around, that you unlock new areas of whenever you complete a season of rallying, so that's pretty much what's keeping me going at this point. The actual racing is pretty boring and repetitive, but there are enough Gymkhana events peppered throughout to keep it interesting, and I'm always working towards that next part of my big drifting playground.



#3065 Irondrone 4

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 09:40 PM

Fallout: New Vegas, Old World Blues. Oh my God, it's like Bethesda crammed everything I love about early 1900's sci-fi into a single square mile of science. Having built my character to be a repairman/scientist/energy weapons specialist, I'm going berserk with just how much this DLC caters to him. Plus, the DLC gives you, right out of the gate, everything you could ever need in a single building, including a free doctor! The humor present throughout the whole story arc is excellent, including the fact that every appliance in your little base had its own personality. There's several new energy and melee weapons, all of which are very powerful, and you'll be tripping over energy cells once you start fighting the robo-scorpions. Plus, I've gone from level 22 to 27 since I started it, which is great.

 

That being said, you'd best leave all of your non-energy firearms at home; standard weapon ammunition is scarce, and you'll be digging spare energy cells out of everything.


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#3066 Sir_Muffonious

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 09:50 PM

So, I uh, I just *braces for impact* played Bioshock for the first time? Yeah, that game is pretty good. Why didn't anyone tell me? I don't have much to complain about. The atmosphere is incredible, the gameplay is fun, the story is interesting...My biggest issue was the ending. Not the twist, not the final battle, but the actual ending cutscene. The big bad dies, and then there's a twenty second scene to wrap things up...and I got the bad ending, where my guy gets an army of splicers and...takes over the world? Um...I harvested like, four Little Sisters throughout the entire game. I went on a case-by-case basis - if the Big Daddy was especially difficult or annoying to kill, I harvested the girl, whereas if her bodyguard went down easily I rescued her. Tenenbaum sent me a teddy bear fruit basket in every area, so obviously she was happy with me, but in that last cutscene she was talking about me like I was the scum of the earth. Admittedly, I did kill a couple of children, but the transition was just so jarring.

 

Other than that I was only really ticked off by the frequent fetch quests, which weren't so bad because they encouraged me to explore every inch of each area to make sure I got everything. It only really got annoying at the end, when I had to find two samples of the antidote to Fontain's mind control, and then find all of the pieces of the Big Daddy suit to turn myself into a lumbering juggernaut. The game was moving so fast at that point, but the two areas I had to search to find these items were huuuuuuge and it took me what seemed like a relatively long time to find everything. It was the only time when I stopped playing the game because I simply didn't feel like playing, rather than because I had been at it for three hours already.

 

One thing I would have liked to have done differently would be to use more plasmids and use the research feature. After that mission for the guy who was supposed to let me into the fishery, I never used the camera again. It seemed like a nice feature, and useful too, but I just never bothered. Next time, maybe. I also used little other than the Electro Bolt, plasmid-wise. Incinerate was handy for those electric pipe baddies and for melting ice, but the rest of the plasmids (with the exception of the occasional Telekinesis on molotov dudes or the Hypnotize Big Daddy ability) never really did it for me. I loved the idea of SENDING BEES AT MY ENEMIES but that power seemed especially useless.

 

Overall though I loved the game to pieces. The twist at the end was known to me from the beginning, but simply knowing didn't take the awe out of it. The story is executed so well in Bioshock, with the combination of audio logs and survivors to interact with, that it feels almost like a good movie, deep in its own mythology but engaging on a plot point-by-plot point basis. Feels good to finally know what everyone's been going on about.

 

Before that I had a go at The Walking Dead. That game is pretty cool. I'm not usually one for point and clicky games, but this one was relatively simple and more about the story and the characters. I can't say I felt emotionally attached to the characters, but I did care about them. There were people I didn't want to die and people who could go screw off, of course, but everyone felt human. The timed dialogue feature was pretty cool, though I sometimes wished I had enough time to actually read all the options before I had to choose. Even the "combat" felt pretty visceral and real, though obviously it wasn't the focal point of the game.

 

I love games that let me make choices and make me feel like I'm in control of my character's personality. Even if the choices in The Walking Dead don't exactly change the trajectory of the game in the end, they make you feel as if your character is actually someone you can control. It's not about saving those around you, it's about making decisions that demonstrate who Lee is as a person, and this game really lets you do that. I felt attached to Lee because we were both in it together. We both chopped off that dude's leg with an axe. We both let Lilly rot on the side of the road. We both had to say goodbye to our little girl. If nothing else, it was a refreshing, unique gaming experience.


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#3067 Irondrone 4

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 11:02 PM

So, I uh, I just *braces for impact* played Bioshock for the first time?

 

Hey, I watched a girl give a presentation on games in my film class at school, and I was the only other person in the room who'd even heard of it before.

 

For the ending, turns out you have to save EVERY Little Sister to get the good ending, which is easily the best ending, but just harvesting one is enough to eliminate that option. It's interesting that you brought up the camera being useless, because that's not what happened to me. Yes, I didn't like using the camera, but I had no choice but to use it in the final levels because the game starts bumping up the durability of even the most basic enemies. And yes, the bee plasmid is FAR too weak. They didn't even fix that in the second game; I have no idea how useful its crow-based replacement is in Bioshock: Infinite.


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#3068 Sir_Muffonious

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 11:13 PM

I didn't mean the camera was useless, I just didn't feel the need to use it. I'm sure it would have been incredibly helpful if I had. By the end of the game every garden variety enemy was capable of taking two heat-seeking rockets, eight shotgun blasts to the gut, twenty-seven revolver shots or two magazines of machine gun fire before going down, and something tells me the research feature might have alleviated these woes for me. Now that I better understand how the game is supposed to be played, my next go around I plan on using it more often.


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#3069 The Arbiter

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:17 PM

And it's crow replacement in Bioshock is much more effective. It's a stun power mostly but it does its damage too.

 

I picked up Bully to play once again after a very long hiatus but a freak power outage erased my save file so I have to start over. This time however I'm  playing with a 360 controller over a keyboard. The game was originally planned around consoles so it does feel a lot more rounded on a console, especially with movement based or rhythm minigames.

 

I uninstalled Alan Wake. I'm not graphically ready. :(


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#3070 Saber-Scorpion

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:48 PM

Fallout: New Vegas, Old World Blues. Oh my God, it's like Bethesda crammed everything I love about early 1900's sci-fi into a single square mile of science. Having built my character to be a repairman/scientist/energy weapons specialist, I'm going berserk with just how much this DLC caters to him. Plus, the DLC gives you


Fallout: New Vegas, Old World Blues. Oh my God, it's like Bethesda crammed everything I love


Bethesda

 

:mellow: *ahem*

 

I believe you mean

obsidian-entertainment-logo.png

 

;)

 

(sorry, I'm a shameless Obsidian fanboy)


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#3071 Burger Warrior

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 08:52 PM

I picked up the whole Star Wars: Jedi Knight Collection, and started playing Dark Forces I. At first the nostalgia nearly killed me, but now I'm on that darned sewer level and every time one of those frigging sewer monsters pops up, I nearly die from a heart attack as I unload on it with my 'stormtrooper blaster'. Maybe I should just move on to Dark Forces II...


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#3072 The Arbiter

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:11 PM

Nah man. Tough it out and beat it. It's a sucky level but the game gets better. It's a whole different game and sets the motions and motives of Kyle Katarn. You'll appreciate the collection a whole lot more. Not to mention feel a Padawan become a knight and then a master over the course of all these generations.


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#3073 Princess Bacon

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:24 PM

So, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. I was a bit wary going into it because although Bound in Blood had been rather enjoyable, The Cartel was just utter rubbish. But it's actually rather good. Sure it's not revolutionary or anything, but the storytelling is quite interesting, the shooting mechanics are solid and enjoyable, and it looks damn pretty (Even on my PoS computer). For a $20 game, it's definitely worth the price.

Now, onto another $20 game from Ubisoft: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. I can't tell you whether it's any good or not, because I haven't been able to play it. For some reason, Ubisoft's retarded Uplay DRM just decided it didn't want to work on my computer. And no amount of coaxing can seem to change its mind. Dammit Ubisoft, when will you learn? Putting DRM on your games that makes things harder for paying customers, while pirates don't have to deal with it, is completely counter-productive and just plain stupid. Stop it!

#3074 Irondrone 4

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 01:04 AM



 

obsidian-entertainment-logo.png

 

;)

 

 

Please don't hurt me.

 

 

 

Also, Y U MAKE PACIFISM SO HARD, OLD WORLD BLUES? I've had to replay the final confrontation in the DLC twice, and I'm still not high enough in Science to talk my way out of a fight. I'm don't want to give in to my violent urges of violence and let my brain win, but darn it Obsidian you're not making it easy on me!


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#3075 Burger Warrior

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 02:34 AM

Well, thanks to you guys I pulled through the Dark Forces sewer level, admittedly after watching a speed-run video so i knew what to do XP

 

In the meantime, I finally beat Deadlight, and all I can say is... dat twist at the end. Not to mention it's a pretty fun game besides, even if it is a little short (though it doesn't feel like it because you're probably gonna die. A lot.).


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#3076 Night Owl

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:24 AM

Might pick up SMT: Strange Journey on the DS

In the meantime I think I'll replay KOTOR


Edited by Night Owl, 24 July 2013 - 07:25 AM.

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#3077 Ryoma

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:57 AM

Playing Shin Megami Tensei IV. This game is brilliant. It's everything I ever wanted in a JRPG. Good story, challenging and exhilarating battle system, plenty of demons (think pokemon but with less cutesy designs) to collect, and a streamlined interface. :)



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#3078 Sir_Muffonious

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 09:47 PM

I've started playing Metro 2033, haven't finished it yet, but so far me and this game have an unhealthy love-hate thing going. On the one hand I often find it extremely frustrating and lacking in certain areas, but on the other hand every time I sit down to play it I'm stuck there for two to three hours (which is longer than I usually play most games at any given time). Even when it's difficult or annoying and I spend the entire gaming session retrying the same sequence again and again, the game is gripping enough that I don't stop until that damn hurdle is cleared.

 

First of all, the game is entirely different than I expected. I was anticipating cutscenes, a two-gun inventory system, QTEs, and maybe a couple of action sequences where you shoot people while riding a railcar of some sort. To some extent I got what I expected, but for the most part the focus of the game is very different from that of most shooters these days.

 

Probably the most jarring difference for me is the prevalence of stealth in the gameplay. Golly, at least half of every chapter so far has been spent stealthing about, nonchalantly tossing knives into guys' necks and stumbling repeatedly into patrolling guards in the narrow corridors. The sneaking is very much trial and error. It's really hard to figure out a guard's patrol route without getting discovered half a dozen times, and even once you've figured it out you have to try all kinds of ways of dealing with the problem. Sometimes the other guards will easily noticed if you've killed someone, and other times leaving a guard alive will come back to bite you in the butt when they accidentally creep up behind you at the end of their patrol and sound the alarm.

 

The stealth sections have some pretty neat gameplay features, such as tin cans on strings that you can bump into or broken glass on the ground that you might step on to alert the guards. These things can be really irritating if you're not paying attention, but constantly having to watch your step adds another layer of depth to the sneaking. There are also tripwires to trigger if you're not careful, and these are especially annoying because there's no way to deactivate them as far as I can tell, which means you have to vault over them each time you move through a particular hallway. It makes me wish there was a way to deal with all of the potential environmental hazards, such as quietly cutting the cans down or using a dustpan to clean up all of the broken bottles.

 

Despite all this, the stealth sections can be quite satisfying to complete. There are checkpoints throughout the level so if you mess up you never get sent too far back, though an option to save whenever would be incredibly beneficial to my sanity. I'm not sure how optional the stealth missions are. If you're really good at shooters, could you maybe make it through some of these levels without sneaking? Maybe. I'm either really bad at shooters or my computer is really bad at running Metro and lags super hard whenever a big firefight starts because if I try to take on a room of dudes I get vented pretty quickly. My strategy is usually to sneak as much as possible, picking off who I can with throwing knives until sometime near the end when a fight inevitably breaks out and I cower in the corner sniping with my revolver.

 

My experience so far has made me feel very much like I'm getting by on good fortune and grit alone. My gunfights feel tense and hard-fought, with me using lots of ammo and the occasional medkit to scrape by in the face of frightening odds. If a big firefight sits between me and the potential end to the level (a hole in the ground, a door at the end of the hall, a stairway into the earth), I usually run past the baddies and flee for the nearest checkpoint or loading screen.

 

Like I said, I'm pretty bad at shooting in this game so I use the stealth a lot, but the guns are fun too. The enemies' animations are great, so you can do something like shoot a guy in his face and he'll stand there a second trying to fix/adjust/replace his gasmask while you shoot him repeatedly in the gut until he dies (again, not very good at shooters). There's this thing I call "idiot mode" that the enemy AI occasionally gets itself into, where once I've cleared the room of a few opponents and I'm sticking to a cozy corner waiting for people to snipe, the remaining enemies will constantly shout repetitive threats and statements of alarm while running back and forth between the same piece of cover over and over again until I put them out of their misery.

 

If nothing else, Metro feels different to me - different from most shooters and different from most post-apocalyptic settings. There are cool gameplay tidbits here and there that are very much new to me, such as having to charge your flashlight and night vision goggles with a little manual crank type of thing, or pumping up the pressure on your pneumatic weapons to increase their damage and range. The game does its best to remove as much of the HUD as possible, so your waypoint indicator and your journal consist of a little notepad and a compass which you can check by the flame of a lighter. There's no healthbar (but there is regenerating health, feh) and not much of an ammo counter, so to some extent you have to keep track of bullets based on visual indicators on the gun/magazine itself.

 

The setting itself stands out to me as well. Ammunition is used as currency (though there's a difference between "money bullets" - military-grade ammunition - and "shooty bullets" - dirty ammo - so there's almost no point to it in-game) and despite being a post-nuclear setting there are aliens and ghosts involved in the story, which is a little strange but refreshing in a way. My one wish is that the game had more to do in each settlement you visit, because they seem somewhat interesting and the people feel real, but it seems like each place you visit is just one more stop on the grand tour of the post-apocalyptic subway, and no place is particularly memorable or noteworthy.

 

The most disappointing moment of the game so far was when I had to sneak through a Communist and then a Nazi camp in quick succession, and it took me pretty much forever to get through the Nazi lines, and at the end I got captured in a cutscene anyway, and immediately freed by some new NPCs I had never met before. That was the one time I felt as if I had been robbed of all my hard work and perseverance. Another time was when I survived a scrappy bout with a party of Nazis on the surface, probably my finest hour and most memorable moment in the game up until that point, then went walking up the stairs to the area above only to get shot in the face and instakilled by a dude waiting at the top whose presence I had no knowledge of whatsoever. And I hadn't reached the checkpoint yet, so I got to do the whole fight again, lucky me.

 

I just reached the point in the game where you encounter your first librarians. *Sigh* I like the idea of the mechanics for dealing with those guys, but man they can be wonky at times. If you're not looking in their direction the moment they enter the room then you're liable to be ground up into Russian sausage before you can pull out your auto-shotgun, and I encountered quite a few of the nasty beasts that decided to entirely forego the staredown and march up and clobber me no matter how hard I looked at them. It's also quite difficult to maneuver in a tiny room when you're constantly backpedaling away from one of the things. I just hope they're not found too frequently throughout the rest of the game. They seem like the kind of thing that's neat at first but can quickly become annoying.


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#3079 Ocelot

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 06:15 AM

Alright, students, let me pitch a hypothetical at you. You're in charge of developing the PC port of a console game, and you've done all the hard coding work and are now deciding how to package it all up. Menus, launchers, maybe some Steam Achievements, things like that. You've heard it repeated in the faux-upbeat business webinars you've been forced to attend that First Impressions Are Important, so you're concentrating on just what the end consumer will see when they click 'Play' in their Steam library for the very first time. Now, do you:

 

A - Auto-detect the player's monitor resolution and start the game in a borderless window. Make all your Nvidia, RAD Game Tools, Speedtree, blah blah blah logos skippable, so the player can hammer Escape to power through them and get to the Options menu more quickly. Let them choose their graphical settings and turn subtitles on or off before starting the game.

 

or...

 

B - Default to 800x600, which no monitor has used in actual decades, but stretch it so it fills up the whole screen anyway. Make publisher logos unskippable, and have them transition directly into the game's opening cutscene. This cutscene is, of course, available nowhere else, and is totally unwatchable because you haven't let the player turn on V-Sync, fix the resolution, turn on subtitles or change volume levels to lower 'SFX' until dialogue is actually understandable. Ensure the game crashes if the player ever tries to Alt-Tab, and ultra-bonus points if you put the Graphical Options menu in an external launcher so the player has to start up the game seven times (watching all opening splash logos every time, of course) to get their settings dialled in just right.

 

It's an interesting question, to be sure. Personally, I have a theory on the correct answer, but my choice is picked so infrequently that I have to imagine there's something drastically wrong with it. What intrigues me more is how many developers come up with their own unique Option Cs. Take the developers of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, for example. Lemme give you a quick run down of what happened when I clicked 'Play' on this occasion:

 

1 - Installing DirectX whatevs: Step 1 of 376, of course

2 - Installing Uplay (no 'do you wish to install Uplay?', of course)

3 - Updating Uplay

4 - Updating Uplay(but in a different coloured window now)

 

I'll skip a few steps here, because this Uplay updating goes on for a while. Multiple seemingly identical messages ensue, making me think that the game comes with some outdated version of the Uplay client that needs to be patched, but every patch just daisy-chains into the next patch instead of just looking online for the most recent one.

 

9 - Installing Uplay

10 - Please log-in to Uplay. Nope, your log-in ID is your e-mail address. Nope, wrong password (oh right, you made me change it when YOU GOT HACKED LIKE A WEEK AGO)

11 - Updating Uplay some more (seriously?)

 

Skip some more...

 

15 - OK, so the Uplay client I didn't want on my computer after doing a clean Windows install a couple of weeks ago is up and running, bloating my SSD with the forty patches it had to download instead of just installing the current version. I wait a while, thinking my game is probably starting in the background and will pop up any moment. After a little while longer I decide to click the 'Play' icon in Uplay to see what's going on, and it tells me "Launch the game from Steam!"

 

Did I not do that in the first place? I mean, it's been like half an hour, but I'm pretty sure I remember that's how this whole thing started. I clicked the button that I took to mean "Play this Prince of Persia game", and it turned out it actually meant "Install Uplay on your computer". At this point Uplay is like one tiny step above those installers that sneak in a step saying "Would you like to install this awful browser-hijacking toolbar while you're at it? It's totally awesome! Look, we even pre-checked all the 'Yes' options!"

 

Anyway, I've forgotten what step we were up to, but that bit wasn't funny any more anyway. I start the game through Steam again, at which point I'm allowed to start it again through Uplay, and eventually I'm playing the game. It autoplays a pre-rendered CG intro video, of course, but, to my enormous surprise, it actually did auto-detect my resolution! I was so stunned that it took me a minute to realise why: the game doesn't have a Graphical Options menu. Not even a Windowed mode toggle or a V-Sync option. Nothing. I didn't realise it at the time, but this was to become something of a theme for the game.

 

So I decide to get it over with and start a new game. It didn't look terrible, and it survived a couple of worryingly-hitchy Alt-Tabs that let me force V-Sync on through my graphics card drivers, so I forged ahead. I was barely thirty seconds in before hitting a spot where I died about twenty times in a row. The gap between platforms where you perform your first wallrun is just a little bit longer than any other wallrunning gap in the game, so you need to know that you should hold the wallrunning button after your wallrun in order to wallrun straight up the edge of the platform you weren't quite able to reach, but of course the game doesn't tell you that. It's a terrible thing that shows that the developers didn't care enough about their product to even playtest the first moments of it, but at that point I was so happy to actually be playing a game that I ploughed through it.

 

This game's actually pretty good. It's the one that came out at about the same time as the Jake Gyllenhaal movie, but it's actually set in the Sands of Time universe rather than the movie's continuity. I mean the Sands of Time game, not the Sands of Time movie. I think this game, The Forgotten Sands, is meant to slot in between Sands of Time and Warrior Within, acting as the belated explanation for why the happy-go-lucky Prince of the first game transforms into Angsty McBroodersulk in the second. Or... I guess it's now the third. Anyway, it barely matters because this game's story is totally forgettable and laughably predictable. There are exactly three named characters in the whole game, one of whom is an incorporeal exposition lady, so it doesn't take a leap of logic to figure out how things are going to play out.

 

It also doesn't help that they just copied the whole setup of Sands of Time but did a worse job of it. Stop me if this sounds familiar: you castle is being attacked, better jump around a bit! Oh no, somebody unleashed a thing that makes a bunch of sandy monsters appear and grimace at everyone! Luckily you have the power to rewind time when you fall off the things you jump from, and a sexy foreign lady to help you in your adventures. Boy, there sure are a lot of monsters to kill, so why don't you go and find the magic sword that kills them all in one hit near the end of the game, then do one last huge platformy climb and then fight a bad final boss. Forgotten Sands switches it up a bit by having you earn your time-rewinding juice through smashing pottery strewn about the levels, instead of sucking it out of bad guys, so you spend a lot of time just swinging your sword at vases. They also decided to forego the memorable, bittersweet story with clever writing and likeable characters in favour of a generic video game 'save the guy, or whatever, I guess' setup. Oh, and you kill things to earn XP to upgrade your abilities, because this game came out in 2010 :P

 

The part I do like is the platforming, which is a nice mix of the rhythmic nature of the Nolan North Price of Persia and the actual challenge of the old PoPs. You start off just jumping, climbing and wallrunning, but before long the game introduces you to the Water Freezing mechanic. Essentially, the palace is full of waterfalls, fountains and spouts, and when you freeze time these become walls, poles and swingy things for you to leap around on. You just hold the left trigger to freeze and unfreeze time, and it's just a really wonderful addition to the standard PoP platforming. There'll be times when you'll have to let off the trigger between jumps to splash through a waterfall, then get back on it to swing from a spout, then dodge a spiky thing and keep going. A bit later you'll learn a move that warps you to enemies so you can cross large gaps, and another ability to call in destroyed pieces of the environment, so by the end of the game you have these fantastic platforming runs where you're constantly freezing and unfreezing between walljumps, calling platforms into existence moments before you land on them, timing your leaps over traps and blasting around environments with your warp thing.

 

And then, before you even know it, it's all over. This game is four hours long. Maybe you could stretch it to five or six if you played it on Hard, but you'd only be spending more time with the incredibly basic combat. There aren't even 101 collectibles to find to pad things out, just the occasional poorly-hidden glowy thing that's full of XP. There's no multiplayer, nothing to be unlocked by finishing the game (other than an Ezio costume to play it through again with, because this is a Ubisoft game). The 'Challenge mode' option in the menu only leads to a wave-based combat mode (no thanks) and something called Time Trial mode, which was greyed out. I thought it might lead to some more platforming, so I spent the Uplay points to unlock it, but it turned out to just be fighting guys with a time limit. So, again, no thanks. 

 

I did enjoy it for what it was, though. I did only pay $2.49 for it. But, jeez, this game cost sixty dollars when it was new. It feels like it might have been intended to be a proper-sized game at some point, with more powers to unlock and more challenging platforming, maybe more than one five-hit combo to do against what might have been more than a couple of different enemy types, but Ubisoft just pushed it out the door to coincide with the movie release. Ah well, one more game to sort into the 'Played' category of my Steam list. One'a these days I'm going to get on top of this Steam backlog.



#3080 Sir_Muffonious

Sir_Muffonious

    Rock on, gold dust woman.

  • Nova Member
  • 6,893 posts

Posted 27 July 2013 - 05:48 PM

I just finished Metro 2033, and I gotta say, I warmed up to it. At the time of my previous post I was still very skeptical about the game's merits. My experiences up to that point had been very frustrating, but after all of that I can look back and confidently say that my struggles early on were worth it. This is a game I can easily see myself going back to play again. There's another ending, a Ranger mode that sounds really cool, and a growing curiosity inside me that wants to know how the game would be in Russian.

 

At most, I would complain that the game has a somewhat steep learning curve, and that it's probably too short. It took me dozens of tries to get through almost every level (at least the stealth ones, and some of the harder firefights). I spent several hours on each chapter, but the game only took a total of 13 hours to complete. Is that good for an FPS? I don't know. Bioshock took me 15 hours. The difficulty isn't much of a big deal either, since I'm gradually becoming aware that I enjoy games more when they take a bit of work and research to get the hang of.

 

The final push to the D6 station was great. With Miller, Ulman, the scientist guy and the other two dudes fighting through hordes of mutants, I had never spent so much ammo before in the game. It gave me a sort of L4D vibe. I would consider playing a 4 player co-op Metro game if I didn't think it would utterly spoil the atmosphere. The amoebas were a pain in the ass, and by the end of it I was switching to shiny bullets just to get through the onslaught.

 

What I didn't like was everything that came after D6. The push to the tower just didn't do it for me. I couldn't believe that, faced by a literal swarm of mutants on the surface, this group of four or five guys could succeed to the extent that myself and Miller could reach the tower safely. Throughout the rest of the game it was established that the surface was incredibly dangerous, and that if you attracted the attention of the mutants then you were screwed. I would have preferred to see one final stealth level, with Miller and I creeping through the craggy valley and snaking through caves to avoid being detected by mutant scouts.

 

Then the tower itself was just a big ol' first-person platforming bonanza, with lots of QTEs thrown in for good measure. Admittedly, my gas mask did get pretty severely cracked when a mutant barreled into me just outside of the tower, and doing the climby bits with the added touch of desperation that the obscured view communicated was a really nice, coincidental touch. I did believe at that point that Artyom had been through Hell to get there.

 

Overall I ended up enjoying it. I'll play it again. Nothing special, but I'm looking forward to trying Last Light. At the very least, the game made me take an interest in reading a book, which is more than most FPS titles can boast.


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