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Offline honk

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #920 on: October 10, 2019, 04:03:56 AM »
Batman: Arkham Knight

After numerous false starts due to an inferior PC build and a faulty PS4, I have finally managed to play through this game. It's good overall, with the same solid combat, stealth, and exploration that the series is known for. As I discussed back in the capeshit thread, Gotham in its entirety is a fantastic setting, and definitely the best depiction of it I've ever seen. It's basically the perfect balance between Tim Burton's industrial dystopia and Joel Schumacher's neon-lit amusement park. Navigating the city by zipping and gliding across the rooftops or racing around on ground level with the Batmobile are both fun, viable options, something that couldn't have been easy to design.

But then then they had to go and make the Batmobile a tank, so you can have tank battles. Lots and lots of tank battles. Who the fuck thought that a Batman game needed tank battles? They're so boring, and they keep going on. The game will not stop sending tanks at you. It's all part of the plot wherein the titular Arkham Knight occupies Gotham with a huge paramilitary force and it's up to you to take out his army. That might sound cool, but it's really not. The Knight is a dull villain, and the game prematurely makes his true identity incredibly obvious, even if you know nothing about Batman lore. Fighting the army isn't much better. Defuse a landmine here. Fight a squad of tanks there. Take over a militia outpost here. It's tedious busy work, and gives the game a very unfortunate Ubisoft-like feel. Why would they do this? It's not like they ran out of classic villains for Batman to fight or anything, far from it. They did include some pretty obscure figures here, which I like, but there was plenty of room for more, and that would have been entirely preferable to a greater quantity of cheap filler missions against an anonymous army.

The lack of proper boss fights was also really disappointing. Yes, Asylum's bosses were kind of lame, but City and Origins had terrific boss fights. Why get rid of them now?
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 06:21:22 AM by honk »
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Offline beardo

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #921 on: October 11, 2019, 08:57:16 AM »
Why get rid of them now?
Maybe they blew the budget on tank battles.
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #922 on: October 25, 2019, 02:17:21 PM »
The RANDOM LOUD NOISES ARE SCARY approach to horror was already wearing kind of thin for me by the time Observer decided to reveal its spoopy monster. I'm not sure I'm going to finish this one.

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Offline honk

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #923 on: November 09, 2019, 02:54:09 AM »
The Outer Worlds

This had been one of my most anticipated upcoming games for months, and for the first week after its release I excitedly played through it, taking only brief breaks to shill for it on IRC. And now that I've beaten it...I have to say that it's really not a great game, and its shortcomings become all the more clear as I continue to think about it. There just isn't that much to it. The main story is very short. There aren't a lot of sidequests, and most of them are fetch quests or dungeon crawls. The planets are all visually distinctive and look great, but there are only a few of them, and what you can explore on each is limited to a very small area. There's one or two small towns on a planet, and the rest of it is wild terrain with enemy creatures (of which there are only a few different types), abandoned buildings to explore (almost all of which are just boring generic offices) and enormous numbers of raiders that dwarf the number of law-abiding citizens in any given area with no plausible context for their presence and no visible means of even surviving. Sounds familiar. The FPS combat that takes up the bulk of the game is dull and uninspired, with the exception of an ability to slow time that feels like a much better version of VATS from Fallout, and it feels like monotonous busy work to spend so much time traipsing around shooting the same enemies and looting the same buildings.

Of course, what most people were expecting Obsidian to really deliver on was the story and writing, not necessarily the gameplay. They're all right. The dialogue is light and quippy, packed full of bathos and corporate satire. The best comparison I can think of would be to the work of Joss Whedon (multiple characters seem to be largely based on characters from Firefly), so your mileage may vary. I got a few chuckles out of it and don't recall cringing at anything, for what it's worth. But again, there just isn't very much of it. Obsidian very heavily leaned on the idea that this was a spiritual successor to New Vegas, but what's the point of doing that with a game that's so much smaller in every way? NV has more characters, more dialogue, more factions, more quests, better-designed quests, longer companion quests, a longer main story, a bigger and more responsive world, and four separate questlines leading to four different endings. Incidentally, that last point was also shared by Obsidian's two most recent games before this one, Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity 2 (PoE2 actually had five). So how does The Outer Worlds top those games? By waiting until almost the very end of the story and letting you choose one of two options: The unambiguously good side or the unambiguously evil side. Yeah, I didn't put that in spoiler text. It doesn't deserve to be in spoiler text. What a joke.

The game is probably better than I'm giving it credit for. I'm just very disappointed. That's what I said about the last Epic exclusive I tried, isn't it? Hmm. Anyway, you might as well just play NV again instead of this.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 06:26:32 AM by honk »
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Offline beardo

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #924 on: November 09, 2019, 03:06:53 AM »
Okay but you failed to mention the biggest problem with the game.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 03:09:17 AM by beardo »
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Offline rooster

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #925 on: December 08, 2019, 02:33:44 AM »
I don't really enjoy that you have to say exactly the right thing in exactly the right order to achieve the right outcome. I've had to re-load my game a couple of times to get it right.

But it does have a lot of feeling to it. For example, I missed out on a side quest to gain someone's trust so I wasn't able to get two factions to compromise because of it. So I ended up having to kill off the other faction which.. really fucking sucked. I don't often feel like I made a really shitty choice in a game so it does have weight to it. So I hated that I messed it up by missing something, but appreciated that it made me at least feel a way.

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Offline honk

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #926 on: December 24, 2019, 05:22:56 AM »
My new thing is Western vidya, inspired by RDR2's recent PC release.

Red Dead Redemption 2

I feel like most people here who would have cared to play this game have probably already done so by now, but I'm still going to share my thoughts on it. RDR2 is largely carried by its two biggest strengths. One is the enormous, beautiful world, packed full of people to meet, animals to hunt, secrets to find, crimes to commit, and all of that other open world shite Rockstar gives us. I really like that the animals behave like actual animals, and that even the predators will usually try to flee rather than attack you. It's a pleasant break from franchises like Far Cry that deliberately make their animals insanely aggressive because they think it's funny. I didn't think I'd like the heavy focus on realism when I first heard about it, but it grew on me, and managing the more realistic needs of your character soon became an interesting new detail to complement my explorations. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I like that you have to eat and sleep, care for your horse, store most of your equipment on your horse, etc.

The other key strength of the game is its writing. It's wonderfully sincere and tragic from start to finish, and it's incredible for me to think that these same writers were just a few years ago churning out shallow, dated, cynical pop culture references with the GTA series when they were capable of this kind of strong dramatic work the whole time. The basic setup is of course that it's a prequel to RDR, focusing on a gang of twenty or so outlaws led by eventual RDR villain Dutch van der Linde. Every one of these characters is distinctive and interesting in their own way, and it's a joy to hang around in the camp to watch them chat, play games, sing songs, party, and plan robberies - and take part in any of these activities yourself. The player character, Arthur Morgan, is the best of them all and the worst of them all. He more than anyone else seems to recognize that no matter what wild promises Dutch makes about their future, the gang's activities just aren't sustainable in the modern world, and yet his life of crime and violence has left him unprepared to do anything other than continue down the same destructive path. If not for a very ill-advised decision to break up the gang in the fifth chapter and put the story on hold for a few action-heavy, plot-light missions, and maybe a couple of nitpicks like the fact that I didn't find Dutch to be even remotely charismatic or compelling, and an unnecessary late-game twist about a traitor in the gang that I felt weakened the thematic clash between Arthur and the game's main antagonist, I'd call RDR2 a narrative masterpiece.

I just wish the rest of the game could have lived up to the strength of the writing and the open world. The biggest flaw for me are the controls. Yes, I know that Rockstar games have never had great controls, but this game feels like a major step backwards from the first RDR and GTA V. The controls aren't just bad, they are buck wild. They feel like they were designed by aliens. Like, the aim button is also the button you have to hold down to non-violently interact with people. That's led to me accidentally threatening innocent people I only wanted to chat with more than a few times. And the fire button can also just be the aim button, depending on the context. How do you do that? Seriously, what is the thought process that leads to such a batshit design scheme? And there's more! What the hell is up with those shitty radial menus for your equipment, where you have to highlight your wanted gear (but don't hit a button), wait as the game does absolutely nothing, and then pull up the menu again to highlight the gear so you can use it? I don't even know if it's just a glitch that the first time you use the menu you can almost never actually activate your equipment. That's how bad it is! Continuing on, why do you have to hold a button for a couple of seconds instead of just tapping it for so many mundane actions? Why do you have to keep tapping a button to sprint or gallop? Why is the reload button the same button you use for melee attacks?

Speaking of the combat, it's not good. It doesn't seem to be any more sophisticated than the first RDR's combat. The cover system still feels very rudimentary and awkward, with your character seemingly confused on a regular basis about what he's supposed to be crouching behind and how to emerge from it, and the aiming is so slow and sluggish that you're pretty much forced to rely on the auto-aim system. "Slow and sluggish" could be applied to the game as a whole, really. Like I mentioned earlier with the inventory, there are a lot of issues with responsiveness, where the game simply does not do what you're telling it do via the controls, and then doesn't bother telling you why either. I'm not the first person to have suggested this, but I honestly think that Rockstar prioritizes its animations remaining smooth and consistent on screen over promptly responding to player input. For example, if you're sprinting past a shopkeeper and you hit the button to interact with them, pretty much any other game made by any other dev would have you stop mid-sprint and begin your transaction, whereas Rockstar will ignore your input and have your character continue their sprint and not let you interact with the shopkeeper until you stop sprinting and stand still in front of him. That sort of design philosophy is frustrating. Yes, there should be a balance between having things make sense on screen and allowing the player a certain level of convenience, but Rockstar leans far too heavily towards the former. The lengthy, elaborate animations for everything, requiring even more precise positioning, don't help on this matter. It's neat the first few times you see your character carefully skinning an animal, looting a corpse, or searching a cupboard. It's not so interesting after you've seen them a hundred times.

Despite its flaws, this is still a terrific game, and one that I would recommend pretty much everyone play. The things it does well, it does arguably better than any other game out there.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

I haven't played the other Call of Juarez games yet, although they're coming up. This one's good, though. It's a fun, stylish Western FPS that encourages you to rack up points by killing enemies in quick succession and in unique ways, and maximizing your score is a lot harder than it seems when you first start playing. The main story is essentially a retired gunslinger entertaining a few people at a bar with a series of tall tales in which he claims to have fought alongside and against pretty much every one of the Wild West's most famous outlaws, with the details of every level changing whenever he remembers new facts or his listeners interject with objections or corrections. It's not a very long game, but it's reasonably-priced to compensate, and I had a blast playing it. This is another one I wholeheartedly recommend.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 04:29:37 AM by honk »
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Offline beardo

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #927 on: December 25, 2019, 12:26:29 AM »
I can't play Gunslinger after Destiny 2 made me get used to toggle aim.
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Offline honk

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #928 on: January 09, 2020, 02:13:37 AM »
A few more thoughts on RDR2: If the abysmal control scheme is its biggest flaw, then the general mission structure is a close second. The story and side missions are all rigidly linear and scripted to a painful degree. You're almost always partnered up with an NPC who's always telling you exactly what to do and when to do it. Switch to your bow. Take out your spyglass. Search that room. And if you want to stop and do something, like loot some bodies, he will continue to nag you until you finally do what you're "supposed" to. I could be wrong, but again, I feel like there wasn't this much scripting in the first RDR and GTA V. It really makes me question how much I'm going to want to play through this game again in the future.

I don't want to end my musings on a negative note, so I'll just return to a subject I touched on above - Arthur is great. Unlike John Marston, who comes across as a decent guy who's put his life of crime behind him from the very beginning of the first RDR, Arthur is seen at some of his lowest, darkest points. His villainy is openly and frankly presented as what it is, and while Arthur is superficially a likable and endearing character (examples of this include his loyalty to the gang, his affection towards his horse, his dorky habit of writing and sketching in a journal, and even how he pronounces the word "sure"), that's never used as an excuse to simply brush off his behavior like it would be for a GTA protagonist. It's only over the course of the story, as Arthur examines his dark life and the legacy he'll leave behind, that he manages to achieve the "redemption" of the title and make it feel truly earned.

GUN

When life robs Colton White of all that matters, the only thing he can trust is his GUN.

I'd probably have liked this game a lot more if I had played it when it came out in 2005. It's an open-world third-person Western shooter, and there is absolutely nothing in it that both RDR titles don't do considerably better. At least the Call of Juarez series is distinguished by being first-person. To look at it more objectively for what it was for its time, it's okay. The run-and-gun action is okay, the story is okay, the voice cast is solid, the soundtrack is actually pretty good, and I enjoyed it well enough. The open world is really lackluster, though. It's very small, with just two tiny towns, and despite the nominal presence of NPCs on the streets, the world feels eerily dead. There's no chatter, no bustle, no energy, no sense that there's a real world you're interacting with. A number of games that came out around that time or even earlier had much better open worlds, like Morrowind, Spider-Man 2, and the three latest GTAs. I guess this game does bear the distinction of being the first open world Western game, but that's not worth much if the world isn't any good.

GUN is an interesting game more for its role in the history of Western vidya than its own qualities. I'm glad I played through it, but I can't really recommend it to anyone when you could just be playing either RDR instead.
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #929 on: January 14, 2020, 08:13:34 AM »
Some disorganised thoughts on Darksiders: Warmastered Edition.

Competent but incredibly boring mindless grindfest in which various voice actors attempt to out-gruff each other in a post-apocalyptic setting. Maybe I'm misremembering the state of gaming in the good old days of 2010 but this is just a bunch of nice-looking but empty areas stuffed in which you fight the same five enemies over and over and clear occasional barrages of arena time trials and I'm kind of surprised it got a sequel, let alone being revived more recently with a third instalment. Mark Hamill voices your Navi-type character, which I guess is neat, but his script is just kind of "I'm sassy and I have a slightly dark sense of humour". I only played a couple of hours so I don't know if the game somehow opens up later, but those two hours were quite a snore/chore to get through.

Also, at least Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition makes use of a pun that kind of works, even if it is terrible.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 08:16:18 AM by Crudblud »

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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #930 on: January 21, 2020, 09:25:08 PM »
Well, today I bought Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice on Steam and I am already hooked. Currently getting my arse kicked repeatedly by the boss past the third bonfire (sorry, old habits die twice hard) but it's the kind of Souls-y arse kicking that encourages you to keep on coming back for more. There's even a resurrection mechanic so you can just stand back up and get your arse kicked again immediately instead of running back from the bonfire. It's a winner!

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Offline honk

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #931 on: January 22, 2020, 01:52:38 AM »
Sekiro is brutal, but you've inspired me to give it another shot. Despite being superficially a Soulslike, you don't have nearly the same number of options to building a character and fighting that you would in those games. You really have to master the system of split-second parries and counterattacks. You can't level yourself up, you can't switch out your equipment, you can only git gud.

The Punisher

GUN wasn't the only third-person shooter released in 2005 with Thomas Jane voicing the main character. This game is dated and janky, with some pretty crappy boss fights and Z-grade writing, but I still enjoyed it. For all its faults, it is entirely unapologetic about what kind of a character the Punisher is, and lets you gruesomely gun down, torture, and creatively execute hundreds of criminals with gleeful abandon. Hilariously, some of the more grisly deaths are crudely censored by quick cutaways or the screen abruptly turning black after the ESRB wet themselves and threatened the game with an AO rating once they saw them. What I'd really love is a modern game as a sort of spiritual successor to this one, one that can do for the Punisher what the Arkham series did for Batman and that PS4 exclusive did for Spidey. But that seems incredibly unlikely now, as such a game would of course become a firestorm of controversy of the kind that Marvel and Disney would be desperate to avoid. Stupid puritans ruining our fun. Anyway, I loved the game, and I'm sure that most Punisher fans would too.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 04:28:17 PM by honk »
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Offline model 29

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #932 on: January 22, 2020, 04:40:27 AM »
Nice, I just got myself a wheel and chair recently to go with my Vive. Playing Project Cars 2 at the moment but I havent found time yet to try it with GT Sport. I really suck at driving powerful rear wheel drive vehicles.  :'(

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/387675660396527627/611620599609163797/image0.jpg[

EDIT: strange that the image is sideways on this forum. o_O
That looks like a decent controller.  I need to get myself a better steering wheel controller (Haven't been on here in some time so this is the first I saw this reply).  It's tempting to get one with that clutch pedal plus a shifter add-on that I could mount down next to the seat like a real manual trans.  Over the last several months, I got Ace Combat 7 (which has VR) and set up a flight controller with the throttle and joystick positioned as they would be in an actual fighter jet.  I built it as a unit that mounts on two studs and is secured with two wingnuts for easy removal/installation.  The steering wheel also quickly attaches, but the pedals are more permanent.  I'll post up a pic in the next few days.  It's ugly, but functional.  The seat is the original driver seat out of my 89 Pontiac Firebird.

Flying in VR is a blast, I can look down at the in-game hands on the controls and it matches my physical positioning nearly exact, but the motion sickness can build up after a while.

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Offline junker

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #933 on: January 22, 2020, 04:55:26 AM »
Star Wars: Fallen Order

Very fun overall but has about the most linear plot and worlds ever. Who cares because lightsabers amirite?  Fantastic story until the absolute garbage ending. I think I now understand how Saddam felt about Rogue One...

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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #934 on: January 22, 2020, 07:56:47 AM »
Sekiro is brutal, but you've inspired me to give it another shot. Despite being superficially a Soulslike, you don't have nearly the same number of options to building a character and fighting that you would in those games. You really have to master the system of split-second parries and counterattacks. You can't level yourself up, you can't switch out your equipment, you can only git gud.

I mean, coming to this one in the middle of my second playthrough of Dark Souls, it's a very different kind of challenge. I've been playing a relatively "naked" dex build for that playthrough, not once levelling vitality, and pretty much only putting points into endurance and dexterity, but in Sekiro I already feel way more exposed even in the Ashina Outskirts area. Also the deflection mechanic is way harder than parrying ever was.

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Offline beardo

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #935 on: January 22, 2020, 04:23:12 PM »
The Punisher
Someone should make a Punisher FPS in idTech.
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Offline rooster

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #936 on: January 25, 2020, 01:25:29 AM »
Finally playing God of War 4. It's great. I'm doing great and almost have total completion (heh). Story wise, I don't think it's better than RDR2 but it's a lot more fun.

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Offline honk

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #937 on: January 25, 2020, 05:42:37 AM »
Star Wars: Fallen Order

Like junker said, the ending of this game is dogshit. It's not quite as bad as, say, Shadow of War or Far Cry 5, but it's up there. There are two main reasons for this.

The first is a gratuitous and entirely random appearance from Darth Vader after the final boss is defeated, resulting in a very brief and not at all challenging sequence where you attack him futilely and then run away. The scene serves absolutely no purpose other than to apparently demonstrate what a badass Vader is and how he's so much tougher and more awesome than the hero and any other character in the game. It's shallow pandering to the Vader fanboys, in other words, and I wouldn't be so concerned if not for the fact that this is the second time this has happened recently - the other example being, of course, the ending to Rogue One. Is this going to continue to be a thing in the future? Pointless Vader cameos where he swoops in and shows everybody up as an ending, all to earn the adulation of idiot dudebros on the Internet screaming, "OMG IT'S VADER HE'S SO BADASS I CAME LOL!" These are supposed to be professionals who write these things, and yet Vader keeps entering stories with all the grace and finesse of a fanfic written by a teenager starring his favorite character as a Mary Sue.

The second problem with the ending, and it's a far more substantive one, concerns the MacGuffin the plot centers around. It's basically an encrypted list of all the Force-sensitive children in the galaxy, and after spending the whole game being motivated by the thought of rebuilding the Jedi Order, and so many solemn conversations about the importance of rebuilding the Jedi Order, the main character ends up nonchalantly smashing the device after a premonition shows him that they could be putting those children in danger from the Empire. And then the game just ends abruptly. Now, I can see where they're coming from, and it's perfectly reasonable for the characters to simply have a change of heart and realize that the best thing to do sometimes is just leave everything alone, but they never really treat the idea of what to do with the list as a dilemma at all, and only vocalize concerns about the danger to the children once or twice before the ending. The way the scene plays out, it looks like it was supposed to be a twist that we didn't see coming, and that just leaves you feeling like everything you did in the game was for nothing. Incidentally, I wonder if concerns about making sure the story stayed faithful to the films' canon played a role in ensuring that nothing really big or galaxy-changing (like, say, founding a new Jedi Order during the reign of the Empire) could happen as a result of the story.


All that aside, the game is pretty good. It's an odd blend of genres, on the one hand being a Soulslike, but on the other being a cinematic, scripted action game in the vein of something like Uncharted, with a heavy emphasis on platforming. There's a lot of cool lightsaber and Force action, where you can throw enemies into each other, toss them off platforms, deflect lasers back at them, hold them in place in front of you and pound them, and so on. The parrying system, and more broadly close combat with enemies you're expected to fence with, doesn't fare so well. It's not broken, far from it, but there's a distinct lack of polish there, especially in comparison with, say, Sekiro. Blows that don't visually connect with your character still do damage, weapons on the other side of the enemy's body to where your blow is landing still somehow manage to block you, along with a few other little quirks of that sort. It gets the job done, though, and you can usually just back up and push them off a ledge anyway.

The story and characters are about what you'd expect from a fairly average Star Wars movie. It's a tired MacGuffin hunt, with all the typical clichés, like villains popping up to predictably reveal that, oh no, you led them to their goal! The main character is bland, but at least he's an endearing kind of bland, and I really do appreciate that he looks nothing like a typical video game hero. There's a mentor character who inevitably reveals her dark origins, because of course that would be a part of her story. There's an adorable droid who steals the show entirely, because I guess creating cute droids is something that all SW creators have prioritized lately. Not complaining. There's one great character who ends up joining your ship's crew - but this is at pretty much the end of the game, so there isn't much point to it. In short, I guess you could say that the game really does feel like the SW experience, for better and for worse. It's hokey as hell, but that's not always a bad thing.

My biggest problem with the game is how cumbersome it is to traverse the levels. Why, oh why, couldn't they have given us some warp/fast-travel points? Just having them in a few key spots in each level would have made exploration so much more bearable. Yes, there are shortcuts you unlock, but they're not usually very convenient ones, and there's still a ton of running and jumping and climbing you have to do to get from one end of a level to another. The game encourages you to return to previous levels to find things that are now available to you because of your new abilities/equipment, but then I'd glance at the map and think, "Oh hell no, I'm not going to go through all that again just to get these new items." A mini-map and compass in the HUD would have been nice to include, too. It's tiresome to always be having to pull out the map in order to get a bearing on where you are and where you're going.

All in all, good game. It killed a couple of days for me, anyway.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 05:10:58 AM by honk »
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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #938 on: March 18, 2020, 02:08:38 PM »
I play skyrim vr during last time. Anyone plays vr or ar game editions? After I started playing such games (virtual and augmented reality video games) I noticed that vr app development companies provide very interesting products and this type of games will be very successful I guess. That's why I am playing skyrim vr and some other similar games.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 05:56:06 PM by mariopepper »

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Offline beardo

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Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« Reply #939 on: March 22, 2020, 12:39:10 AM »
DOOM Eternal 10/10 GOTY 2020
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