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Videogames: Spooktober Season


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Have not tried San Andreas of the remaster yet, but have not had many issues with Vice City on Xbox which is what I"ve been playing the most. Did a little on GTA 3. Vice City is just like a cleaned up version of the same thing. It's startling how little has changed, actually. Missions in particular are like the old version. (Just did the riot, Gonzalez, and the French soldiers/courier mission)

Only issue I really saw was possibly more of a pathfinding issue than a bug. Some guy was driving his car into the side of a building, like stuck there. NPC pathfinding in general seems much improved over the old version though. Unlike GTA 3 which was exactly as crazy bad as it was in the old version.

Talk radio seems unchanged which was key for me. That is concerning if the soundtracks were cut up. I haven't noticed yet. Some 80's songs I wanted to hear were still on there. Have not heard Phil Colins yet though and that's unforgivable if they cut Phil out.

One major change, which doesn't really effect much but is nice, you can now order food in Vice City.

In VC at least, they seem to have erred on the side of not changing things for those who don't want them changed. To the point of serious inconvenience to the player. I do find it pretty annoying to have to drive all the way north and go inside the mall just to restore body armor in the early game here.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking the game is overrated. Hunting and fishing is basically a staple of any open world game. I never bothered with it because .. I don’t care about getting some new hat or something. Everything you do in the game is pointless and inconsequential.. including going around murdering people. The only thing to really do in the game is just follow the main story missions. Most NPCs can’t be interacted with, entire towns are  full of lifeless nobodies. It’s boring. There is literally no point exploring or going off to do your own thing 

I fed a member of the KKK to a crocodile, so you're wrong!

ETA: Shit, Mafia remastered is out. Forgot about that. Yes please.

Edited by Tywin et al.
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Like most Rockstar games, RDR2 has some wonderful emergent storylines that emerge when you're just travelling about and fucking around (like the aforementioned KKK-crocodile-feeding stuff, or the time I got into a random gunfight that tore through a town and ended with me hijacking a train to get the hell out of there), but the story missions are so on-rails compared to almost every other open world game, even the Ubisoft production lines, that it feels pretty regressive. When you look at how much freed you have to tackle even the linear main story missions in games like Cyberpunk 2077The Witcher 3 and even Watch_Dogs 2 and 3, RDR2 and GTA5 do feel outdated.

However, it's hard to argue with the incredibly rich atmosphere of RDR2, and the storytelling is really, really good (especially after the meh GTA5, story-wise). There's something to be said for playing a game with production values that ludicrously high and the attention to detail completely outshines any other game probably ever made. The animations for people just hanging out on street corners talking, and the sheer volume of random NPC dialogue and the weird little stories you hear them talking about is remarkable (and puts CP77 firmly in the shade).

I think it comes back to that thing of how open-world RPGs and action games, which are traditionally separate genres, are now merging into the same thing, but aren't quite all the way there yet.

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8 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

I fed a member of the KKK to a crocodile, so you're wrong!

 

Lol, yes that is funny.. it’s just the game didn’t notice and it didn’t matter that you did it. 
 

Quote

I think it comes back to that thing of how open-world RPGs and action games, which are traditionally separate genres, are now merging into the same thing, but aren't quite all the way there yet.

Yes there are a lot of great qualities in Red Dead 2 but it’s not really an open world, even if it gives off the impression that it is. It’s a personal thing but it really bothers me because I can’t really submerge myself into a game if I’m really unable ro make any real important decisions within the game.

Edited by Heartofice
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18 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Have not tried San Andreas of the remaster yet, but have not had many issues with Vice City on Xbox which is what I"ve been playing the most. Did a little on GTA 3. Vice City is just like a cleaned up version of the same thing. It's startling how little has changed, actually. Missions in particular are like the old version. (Just did the riot, Gonzalez, and the French soldiers/courier mission)

Only issue I really saw was possibly more of a pathfinding issue than a bug. Some guy was driving his car into the side of a building, like stuck there. NPC pathfinding in general seems much improved over the old version though. Unlike GTA 3 which was exactly as crazy bad as it was in the old version.

Talk radio seems unchanged which was key for me. That is concerning if the soundtracks were cut up. I haven't noticed yet. Some 80's songs I wanted to hear were still on there. Have not heard Phil Colins yet though and that's unforgivable if they cut Phil out.

One major change, which doesn't really effect much but is nice, you can now order food in Vice City.

In VC at least, they seem to have erred on the side of not changing things for those who don't want them changed. To the point of serious inconvenience to the player. I do find it pretty annoying to have to drive all the way north and go inside the mall just to restore body armor in the early game here.

 

 

Just tell me the auto-aim works and I'm paying the $60 for it.

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Yeah, count me in the "RDR2 is overrated" camp. Solid story (though one that didn't appeal much to me), great visuals, very outdated gameplay mechanics, extremely rough story-gameplay segregation (even worse than most Rockstar games).

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

Nah, Dishonored 2 is a masterpiece and I think it deserves to be up there in an annual list (so it'll certainly be lower next year). In a list of All Time Greats I think there'd be a stronger argument for it not being as high or maybe not on the list at all if a Thief game is on there instead.

I think Dishonored is better than Dishonored 2, so...yeah. 

I'm not saying that it's a bad game or anything, but I think that the main thing it improved on was in the graphics. Some of the levels were as good, and many were interesting - but I don't think that it is nearly as interesting or smart as the first game and it didn't allow for as much freedom in play. 

 

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57 minutes ago, Kalsandra said:

I think Dishonored is better than Dishonored 2, so...yeah. 

I'm not saying that it's a bad game or anything, but I think that the main thing it improved on was in the graphics. Some of the levels were as good, and many were interesting - but I don't think that it is nearly as interesting or smart as the first game and it didn't allow for as much freedom in play. 

 

The main issue with both Dishonored games are how shockingly easy they are if you go loud (either by choice or because you screw up). They have amazing visual design and lore, and the stealth gameplay is fun; but only if you force yourself to reload if you screw up. Once I realized just how low the consequences for getting caught were, which fortunately was on a replay rather than my first time through, it ruined the illusion for me.

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Just tell me the auto-aim works and I'm paying the $60 for it.

Yeah, on GTA Vice City at least, it does. I just tested as I've been using free aim. There's 3 options and what's called aim assist works really well. You can lock on a target, but not only that change targets once locked and you are also locked on the next one. I just tested it by pointing a pistol at a crowd.

There's also classic mode, where you lock on one target. That works as well, but I think it's harder to change targets. I really like that mode though and may switch to that now.

And then free mode is just a crosshairs you move. It's pretty challenging to use when people are getting in your grill. 

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I fed a member of the KKK to a crocodile, so you're wrong!

ETA: Shit, Mafia remastered is out. Forgot about that. Yes please.

Been thinking of trying the Mafia games...there seem to be 3 of them though, should I skip straight to no.3 or start from no.1?

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2 hours ago, Kalsandra said:

I think Dishonored is better than Dishonored 2, so...yeah. 

I'm not saying that it's a bad game or anything, but I think that the main thing it improved on was in the graphics. Some of the levels were as good, and many were interesting - but I don't think that it is nearly as interesting or smart as the first game and it didn't allow for as much freedom in play. 

Crack in the Slab, the Clockwork Mansion and the bank raid in Death of the Outsider (technically a stand-alone game, but effectively an expansion for Dishonored 2) outshine by a considerable margin anything in DH1. Even the Royal Conservatory and the Dust District I think are incredible pieces of level design. And the level design at its best in DH1 is outstanding, DH2 just goes to another planet in taking that up a notch. I also think the storytelling and writing is stronger than DH1, with the caveat if you're playing as Emily. Playing as Corvo in DH2 really doesn't make any goddamn sense, and I think makes the game narratively and thematically a rather boring retread of DH1. Playing as Emily and realising the game is giving Emily a crash-course in how to be a decent ruler by showing her the horrors of being poor or downtrodden in her kingdom is quite a powerful moment. If you're playing Emily as a sociopathic murder-happy monster, the game becomes fairly disturbing, as you realise what kind of ruler that version of Emily is going to be (you'll start getting nostalgic for the Lord Ruler).

There's a few things in DH1 that I don't think have aged well, particularly some of the morality of the decisions you make (the Boyle Mansion moral choice is still weird, especially as it avoids the "have your cake and eat it" stance the franchise takes elsewhere), and the really good level design in a few areas is let down by some really crappy level design elsewhere. Like the game's big finale at the lighthouse falls completely flat because it feels like it was designed in ten minutes at the end of development. DH1 is still outstanding, but DH2 I think just takes everything that works and makes it better, and takes everything that's bad and ignores or removes it.

11 minutes ago, Darryk said:

Been thinking of trying the Mafia games...there seem to be 3 of them though, should I skip straight to no.3 or start from no.1?

Mafia 1 is by far the best of the three, but I think it has an issue in that what set it apart from the pack in 2002 was the amazing voice acting and storytelling focus. But lots of open world game have surpassed the story and the remaster has, for reasons that remain unknown, replaced the voice acting with some much, much poorer choices. In particular, the main character in OG Mafia was sympathetic and the voice actor was outstanding; the replacement in Mafia Remastered is weak and makes the same character comes across as a complete arsehole unworthy of respect. The remastered version also makes some weird choices, including making the Infamous Unskippable Racing Car Mission even harder than it was originally. Still a great game, but I think a lot of what made it special in 2002 has been lost or at least eroded in 2021. It's also short by modern standards (maybe 12 hours or so start to finish, plus however many hours you spend trying to get past the racing mission).

Mafia 2 is meh and Mafia 3 is reasonable, but a bit of a generic open world game, with only the 1960s New Orleans setting making it really interesting.

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8 hours ago, Darryk said:

Well I definitely wouldn't consider myself a hardcore Civ fan, but I guess I do have an attachment to Civ IV because I got so addicted to it when it came out, and I was in Varsity at the time so maybe there's some nostalgia around it too.

Yeah my post was late at night and sounded too much like I was making a statement about everyone, when I was meaning to address a particularly group that I think impacts on the review scores etc. There are components that were handled the best in CivIV, and that still being your preference speaks much more to it being genuine than the people who suddenly liked CivV only when VI came out lol. It was probably clear i find that group frustrating.

7 hours ago, Proudfeet said:

Curious, has the AI ever been good enough? My impression of Civ 5 is that they've given up on the AI which is why the difficulty levels are just a production multiplier. Which is an interesting challenge, but I'd get why people get frustrated. Not sure if that applies throughout the franchise.

This is actually at the core of the complaints about one unit per tile. It's so much easier for the AI to run around with stacks of doom so it posed a larger threat to the player despite the AI being weaker at the time. That's one of the big "complexities" that it's had to handle in V and VI, army composition and positioning. But those same things make combat far more engaging for me and I hated stacks of doom, they encouraged wasting far too much production on units to avoid getting blitzed by the AI. So it was more effective without being better if that makes sense?

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On 11/12/2021 at 8:43 AM, aceluby said:

Been playing a lot of Path of Exile lately, got my Righteous Fire build working really nicely - though I do wish it was tankier, especially as I start the end-game content.  I've been really unlucky with drops, so been trying to balance my defensive stats with the sockets I need for spells.  Scourge has been super fun once I learned how to approach it with my RF build, but even with that I die in there far more often than I do during the regular content.  

After playing a while I'm pretty convinced that while the game is technically free, it's more like you get a free demo with all the content included, but for ~$20 you get a bunch of QOL improvements.  Still not a bad deal given how much I've played it.

I came back to my old faithful PoE for this league. First night I stupidly tried a weak off-meta build (Armageddon Brand ignite chieftain) that was terribly slow and clunky. I didn't build it right - some folk seemed to be zooming but man I thought it was dreadful. Started a dull minion re-hash that've done in the past and binned that before even act 6. A week in I said screw it and went with an overpowered meta build, a trapper - and hilariously 99% of trappers week one were the same build, the new phys/phys DoT Seismic Trap / Exsanguinate Trap Saboteur. I've a lot of experience with sabos as well, so I was able to absolutely zoom with it.

I'm up to 93 and filling out my Awakening and Maven bonuses to really start farmin' currency, and eventually build some silly off-meta mess of a build as i'm wont to do. Still absolutely terrible technically at the true endgame bosses despite thousands of damn hours in the game. Freakin' Awakener I absolutely can't beat, the idiotic arena is all black ground with red stuff, and his ground effects are black stuff with red flashes. I've tried him probably 30 times and won one, and that's not even on full A8 levels. Hate that god damn fight. I did beat Uber Elder on my second set of fragments, that felt great though I got shit for loot and lost a few ex worth from the fragments. Ah well. I could still put many dozens of exalts into this char but I want to save up for my next build.

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6 hours ago, karaddin said:

This is actually at the core of the complaints about one unit per tile. It's so much easier for the AI to run around with stacks of doom so it posed a larger threat to the player despite the AI being weaker at the time. That's one of the big "complexities" that it's had to handle in V and VI, army composition and positioning. But those same things make combat far more engaging for me and I hated stacks of doom, they encouraged wasting far too much production on units to avoid getting blitzed by the AI. So it was more effective without being better if that makes sense?

Thanks. Yeah, I suppose it's less challenging to counter if you can make up for production with positioning, especially when the difficulty levels are based entirely on production multipliers. I think its more of a difference in game design philosophy rather than AI though. Seems like they're barking up the wrong tree if thats the case.

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My favorite Civ was IV. I loved how in-depth and micromanage-y it could get if you wanted. And I really liked how you could brute force your way past penalties if you had the resources. For instance, I still remember one late game where an ally on another continent was getting overrun and nearly destroyed. I airdropped in my forces, turned the tide, and kept a couple cities for myself as a forward operating base. Being so far from my capital, they had a major upkeep drain, were very unhappy, and produced almost nothing. But I could buy airports and use them as logistics hubs for my military. Very expensive, but I could handle it. Whereas in Civ V, because of the penalties additional cities put on science and wonder production this would've been straight up impossible.

And that's just one example. The point being, Civ IV allowed for much more creative gameplay, whereas Civ V had a much narrower band of optimal play (the pinnacle being have exactly 3 mega-cities and destroy everything else) that you had to stay in. It seems like Civ VI opened things up again a bit, but I've just never been able to get fully into the game.

Another benefit of CIv IV was how expansive the modding scene was. In the end I probably put more hours into the Fall From Heaven II total overhaul mod than the original game.

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... can I just admit that I always found the idea of Civ games a lot more engaging than the games themselves? I really would love to simulate some culture from pre-historic times to the modern times and see how different conditions cause my people to evolve differently and develop a culture appropriate to its surroundings. Instead it feels more like an immortal god emperor playing a board game, especially with V and VI. I had a couple attempts dicking around with IV, had maybe three full playthroughs with V and exactly one playthrough with VI. Every time I start out motivated to see this evolution, but somehow end up bored and disappointed.

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Playing through the two 2021 expansions for Age of Empires II and I have to say I'm very impressed. They add a lot of new ideas and even mechanics to the game (at a key moment in a Burgundian campaign, you can hit a button and turn every villager into a soldier, giving you ~20-30 new units at the drop of a hat; just make sure you don't need villagers any more) and the map design is absolutely superb. English longbowmen are pretty ridiculously overpowered though (being able to hit castles from further away then trebuchets), but fun to use. 

18 minutes ago, Toth said:

... can I just admit that I always found the idea of Civ games a lot more engaging than the games themselves? I really would love to simulate some culture from pre-historic times to the modern times and see how different conditions cause my people to evolve differently and develop a culture appropriate to its surroundings. Instead it feels more like an immortal god emperor playing a board game, especially with V and VI. I had a couple attempts dicking around with IV, had maybe three full playthroughs with V and exactly one playthrough with VI. Every time I start out motivated to see this evolution, but somehow end up bored and disappointed.

It sounds like Humankind might do some of that better because it focuses more on the cultural side of things to make your civilisation develop differently rather than just mechanistic details, or so I've heard.

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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

It sounds like Humankind might do some of that better because it focuses more on the cultural side of things to make your civilisation develop differently rather than just mechanistic details, or so I've heard.

Might. I'm very skeptical when I see that you can decide to turn your Egyptians into Romans into Vikings into Australians for the sake of grabbing era specific bonuses. I feel like what I really want is to completely shed that idea to be a historical country and instead just graft different traits together to make something truly unique that may mirror some real life entities or might be something completely alien. Basically the trait system of Stellaris in an even more fluid form.

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35 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

What you're saying is you want Spore 2. >_>

... fuck you are right. XD

But damn, I don't care what everyone else says, I found Spore fun, if shallow. Also I was mostly thinking now of a strategy game about cultural, social and technological traits that can be researched to shape your people according to your situation. So yes, more like Humankind, just with more natural steps.

Does anyone know that Stargate episode where Sheppard and McKay think they play a videogame in which they play two cultures that they were evolving with technologies and (nonsensically personal) decrees until it turns out it was a social experiment of the ancients and these people exist for real? That's kind of what I imagine:

 

Edited by Toth
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