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Video Games - Waiting for a New AAA Game (that isn't Elden Ring)


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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

Returned to Subnautica. Reached the Lava Zone for the first time and immediately had to deal with power-sucking leeches (argh) and what I am informed is a Sea Dragon Leviathan, which is different from regular Leviathans in that it literally shits lava at you. Tempted to engage it in battle, now I have an upgraded Prawn Suit with the drill arm, or as I like to call it, the "Leviathan Skull Excavator." Apparently dispatching it allows you to build a base in the Lava Zone, although I'm not sure it's necessary if you have a base in the Tree Cove above, which is only about 3 minutes away. I think I'm quite close to the endgame now.

Subnautica is such a gem of a game and a good example of why you dont need AAA budgets to produce something great.  The ambience just got better and better (the starting reef was probably the least interesting to me, though pretty, and I almost bailed on the game at that point) and the music nails the terror of the deep.  The 'heartbeat' soundtrack as you are taking the Cyclops down into the midnight zone, not knowing whats lurking around you is paranoia inducing.  One of the rare games I've played start to finish.  My first play through on hardcore I made the mistake of going AFK in the Cyclops in a safe area but forgot to surface completely and ended up suffocating :D.

I was able to cram a small base into the lava area right before the mountain where the Sea Dragon swims around which remained unmolested so long as you don't train the dragon back to it on a return run.

I should give the sequel a try here sometime, but heard it doesnt live up to the original in terms of story and ambiance, which, if true, is  a shame.

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2 hours ago, horangi said:

I should give the sequel a try here sometime, but heard it doesnt live up to the original in terms of story and ambiance, which, if true, is  a shame.

I think the sequel much more ramps up the story content compared to the original game. There are actual NPC humans hanging around and you have a "man in a van" AI that talks to you and you talk back (unlike the passive AI in the first game). I also understand that the sequel takes place much more on land (something like 70-30 in favour of being underwater, whilst the original game was more like 95-5, if that) and some people weren't keen on that, especially as you have a whole other system for survival on land, since it's freezing.

I think the game is also shorter and the map is smaller, although it's also more dense (the zones aren't as huge and sprawling), because so many players of the original got lost, bored and gave up, or mainllined the main story and ended up not seeing half the zones. Also, the new game does not (I believe) have a Cyclops and the "Sea Truck" replacement becomes quite unwieldy quite quickly.

Against that, the base-building is apparently far superior (complete with 100% on-land bases) with more rooms and more ways of doing things, the UI is much better (you can pin "here's what I need" notes to the UI when you go out scavenging) and the game is much less buggy. In fact, Subnautica is currently being upgraded to the Below Zero version of the engine, with apparently all its building and UI upgrades coming with it. They're calling that Subnautica 2.0 and it should be out in a couple of months.

I'm certainly going to check out Below Zero but will probably play a few other things first.

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Wartales has had several updates since its EA release late last year, so I decided to jump back in. The game could still benefit from some quality of life features, but there have been improvements.

If you like a modicum of realism in your fantasy RPG game, then this is it. This is a game that forces you to unlock a skill to be able to place markers on the map for better guidance, instead of just having it as an auto feature.

Characters have been improved by adding relationships between them, which I don't know exactly what they do. It could benefit from having a wider variety of customization to really make the characters more unique in both looks and traits.

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Just finished Psychonauts 2, and for the amount of time since the first one they've really managed to retain the aesthetic of the original. Worth playing if you enjoyed the first one, even if none of the individual levels are as batshit as Lungfishopolis or The Milkman Conspiracy.

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Hard West 2 is out in a week and looks like an enticing Western XCOM-'em-up. The original Hard West was a really solid game, but a bit underrated, so this going further and looking better is promising.

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55 minutes ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Kotor remake on hold :(

Unsurprising. Aspyr have never made a new game before - which this effectively is, it wasn't a simple remaster - and were never geared up for this kind of project.

I do wonder if their original plan was more of a remaster and the more they looked at the game, the more they realised it wouldn't wash for modern gamers, so it morphed over time into a Final Fantasy VII Remake/Resident Evil 2 kind of project and they realised they just didn't have the experience or money to achieve that.

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A major report on Rockstar Games and GTA6.

Apparently Rockstar has undergone a massive transformation since the departure of much of the old guard and management in 2019. Mandatory overtime and crunch has been curtailed, the company has fired abusive or problematic managers and they have instituted new structures to review policies and content. Some of the series' edgelord humour has been toned down and some of the dodgier jokes and stereotypes have been reviewed in the writing for the next game. Apparently even before these changes, the early work on GTA6 was already losing some of the satirical edges, since it was now impossible to satirise what was happening in real life.

As for the game itself, work started on it in 2013 but really spooled up after RDR2 launched in 2018, as you'd expect. One early idea was called "Project Americas" and would have the game taking place across multiple cities in the southern United States and Mexico. However, that scope was later telescoped down to focus on Vice City and a surrounding area, modelled after Florida. The game also abandoned the three-character focus of GTA5 to focus on two lead characters, one of whom is the first female protagonist in a GTA game (not counting the optional protagonists in GTA1).

Apparently at launch GTA6 will be the biggest GTA game ever, with more interiors than any other game and we can assume a huge map, but GTA6 is also designed to be modular and have new cities and areas bolted on afterwards in expansions. It sounds like these will factory heavily into the version of GTA Online that launches with the game and may also provide a platform for getting content out faster in future. So rather than a GTA7, we might get a pretty big expansion within the same engine that bolts onto the GTA6 tech bed, so creating content within the same framework rather than rebuilding the framework every time.

At the moment, the game looks to be targeting a 2024 release and maybe 2025.

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Started playing Druidstone: The Secret of Menhir Forest after seeing it highly rated on a list of great XCOM-alikes, and I already had it from a Steam sale yonks ago. It's very linear, except you can replay missions you've already completed for extra XP, gold and bonus objectives (the amount of XP and gold you get from each mission drops each time you replay it though). The story is okay, and the game feels like a nice XCOM/JRPG hybrid, with some weird but entertaining tonal variation and solid combat and abilities.

No great shakes but a decently entertaining game anyway.

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Urbek City Builder is a promising city game. It's voxel based so looks a bit Minecraft, but it's quite powerful, allowing you to eventually build sprawling cities. Being able to walk around the city at any time in full 3D is quite cool. It even has a free demo on Steam, called a Prologue, which gives you a good feel for the full game.

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I've been chugging along slowly in the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition playthrough. I recently finished Mass Effect 2 and all its DLC. What a game. Say what you will about some overall plot decisions, like killing and bringing back Shepherd in the first ten minutes of the game, but this is still an incredible game. It has one of the best cast of characters that Bioware ever developed, if not the best. It gives you fantastic opportunities for role-playing: the renegade/paragon system works perfectly in this game, since the choices become less about "do I save the orphanage or commit genocide?" than smaller scale character choices, including the ever important "do I play by the book or be an 80s action hero?" Having Shepherd work for a sketchy organization and person is a great narrative choice.  The game also just does a good job of grounding the world. Mass Effect 1 has lots of interesting setup for the different races and the state of the galaxy, but Mass Effect 2 makes the galaxy feel like a lived-in-place and the conflicts feel reel, especially through its character writing.

Also, I know that some people criticize the game for removing the RPG systems of ME1, and I'll agree that they went too far, but it is just so much more fun to play. I've gone as Vanguard on this playthrough and I love charging around the battlefield.

Of the DLC, most of it hasn't aged well. Lair of the Shadow Broker is great, even if it makes no sense that Liara becomes an information mobster, and Kasumi is a fun character. But Zaaed is a collection of edgy cliches, Firewalker was so boring I didn't finish it, and Overlord relies on some pretty offensive stereotypes about autistic people. Of all of them, though, I was most disappointed by Arrival - I'd remembered that it was pretty good. But you're railroaded down a pretty implausible story, combat without companions is less fun, and you're given no choices at all.

Now I'm a little bit into Mass Effect 3. It's been a long time since I played this one. My initial impressions are pretty good: the combat is definitely the most fun of the three, and I'm getting lots of nostalgia for all the time I put into multiplayer back in the day. The game opens powerfully with the destruction of earth. But there's also something a little hokey about the game? The companions you begin with don't make a great impression (I have to say, I'm surprised by how much I've found Liara to be an inconsistent and boring character on this playthrough), and I really dislike that Cerberus become all out villains from the very beginning, jettisoning a lot of the interesting setup from Mass Effect 2. The missions are fun, and I know I have some good ones coming up, but Admiral Hackett is also such a boring mission giver: it's tough going from post-mission arguments with the Illusive Man to "I hope this helps us fight the Reapers, Shepherd. Hackett out!"

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29 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

I really dislike that Cerberus become all out villains from the very beginning, jettisoning a lot of the interesting setup from Mass Effect 2

Worth noting: they were [clearly] sign-posted as villains in ME 1 in several side-missions that involved them. 

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56 minutes ago, IlyaP said:

Worth noting: they were [clearly] sign-posted as villains in ME 1 in several side-missions that involved them. 

For sure, and I have no problem with them ultimately being villains in ME3. But you really don't learn too much about Cerberus in those ME1 side missions, and it was a pretty easy shift to go from those side-missions to Cerberus' role in Mass Effect 2. It's less easy to go from the complexities of Cerberus in Mass Effect 2 to the pure antagonism you begin with in Mass Effect 3, especially if you give Illusive Man the Collector Base, as my Shepherd did.

It's also pretty ridiculous that when you question unshackled EDI about Cerberus in Mass Effect 2, she claims that Cerberus is only composed of a few hundred people - in the first few hours of Mass Effect 3, I've probably already killed a couple hundred Cerberus troopers. They manage to go from a small organization to a full blown army very quickly...

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44 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

For sure, and I have no problem with them ultimately being villains in ME3. But you really don't learn too much about Cerberus in those ME1 side missions, and it was a pretty easy shift to go from those side-missions to Cerberus' role in Mass Effect 2. It's less easy to go from the complexities of Cerberus in Mass Effect 2 to the pure antagonism you begin with in Mass Effect 3, especially if you give Illusive Man the Collector Base, as my Shepherd did.

It's also pretty ridiculous that when you question unshackled EDI about Cerberus in Mass Effect 2, she claims that Cerberus is only composed of a few hundred people - in the first few hours of Mass Effect 3, I've probably already killed a couple hundred Cerberus troopers. They manage to go from a small organization to a full blown army very quickly...

I'm pretty sure this is explained as you go along in ME3. Especially once you do the Sanctuary mission. But yeah, some additional lines of dialogue in the beginning would have been nice about how the hell did Cerberus acquire a private army infected with Reaper tech in the span of a few months.

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Grounded is leaving Early Access on 27 September, so I'll probably give it whirl at that point. Another survival game with a storyline and definitive ending, made by one of my favourite developers? Will definitely give that a go.

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On 7/28/2022 at 1:56 PM, Corvinus85 said:

I'm pretty sure this is explained as you go along in ME3. Especially once you do the Sanctuary mission. But yeah, some additional lines of dialogue in the beginning would have been nice about how the hell did Cerberus acquire a private army infected with Reaper tech in the span of a few months.

That makes sense. I think this also might just be a game that gets better as it goes along (minus the ending). Now that I'm past Palaven, have a few more companions, and am starting to get into some of the sidequests (including the incredible "you big stupid jellyfish" sidequest), I'm having a much better time. I also spent a good fifteen minutes listening to the Blasto movie, which is incredible.

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Saw a Starship Troopers RTS pop up in my feed on Steam the other day.  Anyone have any idea if its good or not?

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1 hour ago, Rhom said:

Saw a Starship Troopers RTS pop up in my feed on Steam the other day.  Anyone have any idea if its good or not?

I've seen solid but unspectacular reviews. A wait for a Steam sale kind of deal.

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I played the first level in Rogue Squadron last night for the first time in decades. The N64 version wouldn't run on emulators for years but I guess they got it working. On a whim I clicked it on the steam deck last night and was shocked to see the "expansion pack detected" screen pop up.

That distance fog is rough though. I wonder if it's any better on the PC version. I tried that years ago and it ran like shit but I should try on the steam deck 

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