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Fez

Video Games: Shadow of the Rise of the Live Madden War III- HD Remaster

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23 hours ago, Fez said:

And I've stopped playing Pathfinder: Kingmaker for now. I think there's an incredible foundation there, but there's just too many bugs right and the daily hotfixes they're pushing out are sometimes making new bugs. I'll check back in a couple weeks and hope that things are cleaned up some, because I've really, really enjoyed what I've played so far.

It sounds like this is something to wait on for a bit and enjoy more polished pursuits.

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I finished the Valkaria Chronicles 4 demo. It was fun but really just made me miss Fire Emblem. I may boot up the Gamecube FE game I have and start that over rather than buying Valkaria Chronicles for Switch. 

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I'm replaying Valkyria Chronicles right now. Fantastic game, although to get the most out of it you do have to grind skirmish missions towards the end. Fortunately you can cheese the Windmill Plaza Map to get an A ranking in about 3 minutes, so I'm just doing that a few times to level everyone to 20.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 - which only exists because of the game's success on the One True Format (where it has outsold the original PS3 version about 7-1, apparently) - I really want to get (and fortunately requires no knowledge of the never-released-apart-from-on-the-PSP second and third games), but the price feels a little exorbitent. Also it appears to be very similar to VC1, enough so that I might be able to resist it for a few months until the price drops a little. We'll see.

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The Pathfinder: Kingmaker devs have now put out 6 hotfixes, and every single one has introduced new bugs unrelated to what they're trying to fix (the most recent one deleted all the sound files for the game, that one got an updated hotfix quickly). It's actually pretty impressive, enough that I've seen a fair amount of armchair devs trying to figure out what exactly are the missing from the QA process to allow this. Meantime, the supposed big patch has been pushed back to the end of the month. I really hope they eventually get things sorted out, I want to play that game as it was meant to be played.

Instead, I've been playing Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, and wow do I love it; far more than Origins, which I bounced off of pretty hard. Odyssey isn't The Witcher 3 (or Fallout: New Vegas or Mass Effect, etc.), but they've gotten into the same ballpark, and with a two year break before the next game comes out, that next one might legitimately be there. The core gameplay built from Origins and is now almost a full-blown RPG, the only thing missing at this point is consumables to use in battle (beyond arrows) or pre-combat buffs. And in true Ubisoft fashion, there's a million different open world activities to engage in (even more than Origins), many of which are only loosely connected to each other or the main story (probably the closest parallel to Witcher 3 is that the best way to play the game is to avoid all the bounties, contracts, and ?s on the map that are out of your way; just do the main story, the gold plated side quests, and any other activities you directly run into).

The big change in Odyssey though is having dialog options, which, again, aren't at the level or depth of The Witcher 3 or modern classic Bioware, but are in the ballpark. In many conversations (which are usually pretty short), the only choice is whether to ask a couple questions for more information before having the option to accept or refuse the quest; however, in the 12 hours I've played, I've had probably around two dozen actual choices to make. Many of these only relate to the quest they are in and have no wider impact, so their importance is only due to how they shape your vision of the main character (there's no Bioware-style visible meter, and I don't think there's a hidden one either, so its really just about the roleplaying). I've had at least two though that did impact the wider world in some way, and a couple others that may have as well, but I'm not sure. Also, in the main storyline, I've had one choice so far that clearly will change the story to some degree, and another two that may change things as well (I suspect not, but I've managed to avoid spoilers).

The overall writing quality gets cheesy often, but its usually a lot of fun. Especially playing as Kassandra, whose VA leans into it a lot better and more naturally than Alexios' VA (who sounds like he's on Xena: Warrior Princes or Hercules). The main story is an extremely slowburn so far, and spread out because of how massive the game is (another good reason to skip most of the optional content), but there's been some interesting stuff. So far though, the best writing has generally been in the gold plated side quests. The actual quest design usually boils down to killing some enemies, or stealthing through an area to steal something, or fetching something from somewhere (usually having to use your drone-eagle to figure out where it is); after all, there's only a limited number of ways to actually engage with the game. But the reasons for doing the stuff are fun, and there are quests where the gameplay is very perfunctory; the real point is the dialog choices. Two examples (spoilers just for those quests):

Spoiler

 

I had a quest where after doing some busy work for a doctor, it turns out that the reason he wanted so much of an herb was to poison his grandmother. She had admitted to being a false oracle who lied, hurting a lot of people and disgracing the family. It ends with you having to decide to either let the doctor kill her, killing her yourself, or telling the doctor to let her live.

In another quest, I had to fetch aphrodisiacs for an older woman whose husband couldn't keep up with her anymore (despite her "dozens of lovers"). Turns out, he didn't want the aphrodisiac and is tired of trying to keep up with her. You can either walk away, tell him to take the aphrodisiac, or say you'll satisfy her instead (you can have a lot of sex in this game, Kassandra (and I assume also Alexios) can be a bisexual love god fairly regularly). I chose that last option, which cuts to a short montage of the old man hanging around outside the house entertaining friends and having various conversations while at least a day passes. When it ends, Kassandra steps out of the house, says the older woman should be sated for a little while at least, and the old man thanks her profusely and gives her the quest rewards. Funnily enough, this probably one of the healthiest examples of an open relationship I've ever seen in a video game.

 

Again, its not The Witcher 3, and anyone expecting that probably will be disappointed, but its still a really good open world RPG that I'm having a lot of fun with. And I really hope Ubisoft sticks to this path for the next one in two years.

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I usually try to wait for sales on the Total War DLCs, but I've already gone and pre-ordered this one for Warhammer II. Looks fun.

 

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I'm waiting for a hefty sale, some more full patches and maybe some kind of extended edition for Kingmaker. The game sounds promising, but it's in no fit state for release.

BattleTech expansion next month, which should be good. Just trying to work out what to play next. I had started Dragon Age: Inquisition, but the opening 3 hours of the game were just utter, utter shit. Just mind-bogglingly awful writing and gameplay. I'm not hugely motivated to go back to it. Two Point Hospital was fantastic, but I feel like taking a longer break before heading back into the last few levels, which in classic Bullfrog style sound incredibly tough.

Siege of Dragonspear might be a good choice. Also I keep forgetting I bought Dawn of War III. I know it's supposed to be weak, but I did get it for like £2 in a sale and it might be worth at least that.

Prey is also appealing. Had that for a few months and I want to get to that sooner rather than later.

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Not sure what bugs make Pathfinder unplayable. I'm 40 hours in (allowed myself to binge a videogame for the first time in ages) and this game... It's possibly better than BG2. I really really like it. 

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3 hours ago, Relic said:

Not sure what bugs make Pathfinder unplayable. I'm 40 hours in (allowed myself to binge a videogame for the first time in ages) and this game... It's possibly better than BG2. I really really like it. 

I stopped playing right at the end of Act I after hearing about all the bugs, so I haven't encountered them myself. But from what I've heard the biggest issues are around: bugs making a literally impossible to complete number of kingdom management problems pop off, causing the kingdom to fall and game over; bugs around party members, especially Amari, becoming unplayable; bugs causing some NPC quest givers to become non-interactive; and bugs causing some feats and abilities to just not work.

Beyond that, hotfixes introduced a bunch of other bugs, though at least some have been fixed. For instance, one of the hotfixes caused all spells to disappear from the level up screen, so you couldn't pick new ones. This was updated in a matter of hours, but it was replaced by a new bug causing all spells to be visible on the level up screen, allowing you to pick very high level spells at level 2 (or whenever).

I love what I played of the game and I hope all this gets sorted out.

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Just got into Google's Project Steam beta, which lets me stream the new Assassin's Creed through my browser for free.  I'll post updates for both the game and the service once I get a chance to dig in.

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I played a bit of Titanfall 2 because it was six dollars. Good game. Someone needs to get the licences to Voltron and make a similar game where you start in a robot and the special thing you earn is combining the robots into giant robots.  

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Squadron 42 trailer, featuring Uncanny Valley versions of Gillian Anderson, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davis, Liam Cunningham, Henry Cavill, Gary Oldman and (as an unrecognisable mocapped alien, of course) Andy Serkis.

I don't know if it's just me, but the space combat is very weightless (pun unintended), much more like Freelancer than the weightier combat of say Freespace 2 or Elite: Dangerous. If S42 and Star Citizen come out and people realise they've paid $195 million (and counting) for an arcade-style shooter with a lot of famous actors bolted on top, there's going to be a riot.

Meanwhile, Microsoft are apparently buying Obsidian. I am not cheered by the news, as I suspect it would lead to Microsoft commissioning them to make a Halo RPG which ends up looking really good and is then cancelled and the studio shuttered.

 

 

Edited by Werthead

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Jace been dippin' in dat Kingmaker. Some straight cash, homies shit right there nah mean?

For sure. For sure. Over 5.5 GB update today. Game isn't perfect, but it's fun and challenging. I hope this company is able to straighten everything out and start building on their success.

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52 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Meanwhile, Microsoft are apparently buying Obsidian. I am not cheered by the news, as I suspect it would lead to Microsoft commissioning them to make a Halo RPG which ends up looking really good and is then cancelled and the studio shuttered.

Well, hopefully not that. But I am excited for this news. I've been very underwhelmed by Obsidian's recent output, and I think at least some of that has been from lack of budget. I'd love to see what they can do with some resources behind them. Fallout: New Vegas remains a top-10 game of all time for me.

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I have to call out Firaxis on XCom 2 for one thing that I found to be pretty culturally ignorant, and potentially culturally offensive.

For face tattoos they have 3 (or 4?) patterns called Maori 1, 2, 3, (4?). For one thing none of the patterns look at all Maori. But the other thing is there is a lot of debate about Maori face tattoos (Ta Moko) on non-Maori being a form of cultural appropriation. Ta Moko has more cultural meaning than simple skin art. It's extremely unusual for anyone who isn't Maori to be given permission to have Ta Moko, and even when they are given permission, there are divided (and heated) opinions among Maori on whether permission should have been given. There are a lot of non-Maori New Zealanders who wear a lot of ink, but they would never get Ta Moko.

In the very least, if Firaxis was going to include Maori cultural elements in the game they should have made New Zealand a country of origin for recruits, and considered limiting these so called Maori designs to New Zealand soldiers. Even that is still too broad, but at least it would be something.

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11 hours ago, Fez said:

Well, hopefully not that. But I am excited for this news. I've been very underwhelmed by Obsidian's recent output, and I think at least some of that has been from lack of budget. I'd love to see what they can do with some resources behind them. Fallout: New Vegas remains a top-10 game of all time for me.

I'm cautiously optimistic as well, for the same reasons. Microsoft's track record is better than EA's, and I'm glad that Obsidian will once again become a AAA RPG developer - especially since I expect Bioware will shut down within the next two years.

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About four hours into Odyssey.  This game pretty shamelessly rips off Witcher 3 (even the music is strikingly similar at times), but I really don't have a problem with that.  If you're gonna steal, steal from the best.  They've turned this series into a full-blown RPG.  You level up.  You gain new abilities.  You chase new and better gear.  The game world is designed a lot like Witcher 3's as well, although with the added mobility options of an Assassin's Creed game.  

I'm enjoying it so far.  I'm not very far into the story, as I've been doing side missions, but it's already doing a better job than most of these games have at building up some characters.  I also like that you don't spend the first two hours following people around a city like a lot of the previous games.  You fight part of the battle from 300 as the tutorial, and then the game pretty much just dumps you right into the open world and starts giving you shit to do.  

My main complaint is that I think this really should have just been a new IP.  It feels like they're just shoving Assassin's Creed stuff into a game that could easily stand on its own two feet.  

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1 hour ago, briantw said:

My main complaint is that I think this really should have just been a new IP.  It feels like they're just shoving Assassin's Creed stuff into a game that could easily stand on its own two feet.  

Agreed. On a related note, as someone who skipped most of the AC games since the Ezio trilogy wrapped up, and only played 14 hours of Origins, the modern day story makes zero sense to me, feels totally unnecessary, and is barely in the game anyway so why bother keeping it.

So far that remains my only real complaint though. Well, that, and that at one point my ship and crew magically teleports from one side of Greece to the other (I had crossed the mountains) and no one makes a comment about it. And this wasn't a gameplay fast travel convenience, this was as part of the main story. That broke my immersion.

Other than that, all great. The game has successfully made me feel like a real asshole after finishing some quests, and made me wonder if things could have turned out differently if I made different choices. I really appreciate a game that can do that.

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Yesterday to blow off steam I actually went and continued my Stellaris run with the Star Trek New Horizons mod for an hour or so. Nothing much happened, except me finishing the research on the Souvereign class and continuing my advance into the galactic core while setting up deep space outposts to support my Borg task force.

Oh, and this happened: http://fs1.directupload.net/images/181012/k7crbmoz.jpg

Just... what?!? Okay... so... that's the president of the Federation now...

Should I be surprised that my current main coalition allies, the Sheliak, approached Lore about invading the Breen now? I haven't answered before saving the game and leaving it for the day. But... That sure would be a quite massive diversion from the whole Borg affair.

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