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


Gorn
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1 hour ago, Caligula_K3 said:

I finally finished the Mass Effect Legendary Edition playthrough. Clones were killed, a giant party was had (Citadel DLC is so good), and the Reapers were destroyed (I ain't turning everyone in the galaxy into some magic half machine/half organic thing using stupid space magic).

It's interesting coming back to this ending. I still don't think it's good, even with the added lore from the Leviathan DLC and the expanded cut. There's still something dumb about the underlying logic of

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machines and organics will always fight so we built machines to kill advanced organics before it happens. It'd be one thing if this were properly set up throughout all three games, except it isn't at all. The only major AI rebellion in this cycle is Geth vs. Quarians, and we learn that the Geth were content to just hide away from everyone else until the Reapers come around; there's no sense that they would have ever exterminated all organic life. Plus of course in Mass Effect 3 you can even end the conflict, as my Shepherd did, and you're hanging out with a friendly AI all the time.

But even though the ending still doesn't make much sense and feels pretty unsatisfying, with all the DLC it at least is a lot more coherent. If I'm remembering right, they also made a major change, which makes me happy:

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the mass effect relays are damaged, not destroyed. This was one of my least favourite things about the original ending, since it essentially invalidated all the choices that you'd made and meant that every species was now going to die post-Reaper invasion.

All in all, the trilogy is still a pretty incredible and ambitious achievement. And the fact that so much of the first 2/3rds of Mass Effect 3 does feel like a culmination of your choices and journey makes up for the weaker ending.

(Though I just realized... my game not only somehow missed out on Thane even though he was alive, but even more importantly, Conrad Werner!)

I've come to the conclusion, reluctantly, that Control is the only ending that makes sense. Synthesis is dumb and Destroy is psychotic, to the point that I don't think a Paragon Shepard should even consider it as an option. Control I think works because Shepard survives (kind of), the Reapers repair all the damage they've done and it has a more open-ended feel from that, you can headcanon that the Reapers then all jump in the sun on Shepard's say so or they go off to explore another galaxy (not Andromeda, that's being taken care of).

It is amusing that Andromeda does decanonise the Refuse ending, since the arks in Andromeda do pick up the energy signature of the Mass Relays firing. Since the Mass Relays don't fire in Refuse, that ending definitely doesn't happen. Mind you, that shouldn't shock anyone since Refuse was added in the DLC to merely let frustrated players blow off steam.

As for the Reapers' arguments, I think they do make some sense in that sense: it is indicated that the Reapers have seen synthetic-organic alliances take place before and that's nice, but inevitably another synthetic race arises which is hostile to all organics and organic-sympathising synthetics and destroys them. Since the Reapers have been through the process 20,000 times they have seen almost every possible variant of the outcome and their conclusion is that organic-synthetic alliances are simply statistical outliers in the grand scheme of things.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

I've come to the conclusion, reluctantly, that Control is the only ending that makes sense. Synthesis is dumb and Destroy is psychotic, to the point that I don't think a Paragon Shepard should even consider it as an option. Control I think works because Shepard survives (kind of), the Reapers repair all the damage they've done and it has a more open-ended feel from that, you can headcanon that the Reapers then all jump in the sun on Shepard's say so or they go off to explore another galaxy (not Andromeda, that's being taken care of).

 

As for the Reapers' arguments, I think they do make some sense in that sense: it is indicated that the Reapers have seen synthetic-organic alliances take place before and that's nice, but inevitably another synthetic race arises which is hostile to all organics and organic-sympathising synthetics and destroys them. Since the Reapers have been through the process 20,000 times they have seen almost every possible variant of the outcome and their conclusion is that organic-synthetic alliances are simply statistical outliers in the grand scheme of things.

Meanwhile to me, Destroy has always seemed the only reasonable option! Maybe it helps that I always play mainly as a Renegade, but destroying the Reapers has always been Shepherd's goal. The thing that makes it psychotic is that it kills all the Geth, which is a twist I didn't remember. But considering that the Reapers will wipe out every race if they're not dealt with and the Geth, I could see it as a choice even a Paragon Shepherd would make.

Meanwhile, you keep on getting told the whole game that Control is a fantasy and that the Illusive Man is crazy for thinking about it, that it's too much power for any one person, etc.... But I'd say each of their endings has their problems.

For the Reaper's arguments, the problem for me is that it's still a lot of telling and not showing at the end of 90+ hours of playing. "By the way, this always happens and is the core conflict of all life, even though all your experience so far has suggested otherwise. Trust me - I'm a creepy AI child developed by some squids." It's not thematically coherent, in the same way it was weird when suddenly at the end of BSG the entire message of the show was distilled down to "technology is evil and we should abandon it."

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Posted (edited)


Yeah, I always liked the fan theory that Shepard was in early stages of indoctrination, and that Control and Synthesis endings are her/him succumbing, and Destroy rejecting it.

Like Caligula said, it simply doesn't make sense for Shepard to suddenly drop their goal for the entire trilogy just because a creepy AI said "trust me bro".

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Grounded by Obsidian Entertainment is being released next month.

It is definitely different, but I feel no desire to play it whatsoever. The target audience seem to be superfans of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, all three of them.

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For the ME endings, I agree that Synthesis is a cop out, and I like that both Destroy and Control have some grey areas. It makes sense for Shep to consider the Destroy option, but that kills off the Geth and EDI. So at full paragon, this certainly present a great moral dilemma, while if you're full renegade it's the only option that makes sense. Control validates the Illusive Man's idea (if not the execution of it) and ends with an ominous ending - Shep is basically a god and the Reapers are still around; Control makes sense in terms of how the galaxy fares from the paragon perspective, but would a true paragon choose it given the potential risks in the long term? A renegade may, though.

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18 hours ago, Caligula_K3 said:

For the Reaper's arguments, the problem for me is that it's still a lot of telling and not showing at the end of 90+ hours of playing. "By the way, this always happens and is the core conflict of all life, even though all your experience so far has suggested otherwise. Trust me - I'm a creepy AI child developed by some squids." It's not thematically coherent, in the same way it was weird when suddenly at the end of BSG the entire message of the show was distilled down to "technology is evil and we should abandon it."

Throughout the trilogy we are seeing the remnants of the previous cycles, the Protheans arising from the ruins of the Inusannon, the Protheans having to unite the galaxy to destroy their own synthetic enemy, the Metacon, and so on. And the Reapers saying they've been through this 20,000 times over 1 billion years and seeing the pattern repeat far beyond anything required to get a baseline of predictability: humanity building EDI, a friendly AI, and the Quarians and Geth reconnecting are all great, but such events are the exception, statistical quirks, and are eventually overcome by a hostile AI arising that is implacable.

That point could have been made more forcefully, of course, because I don't think it is presented with conviction in the games as is.

What is odd is the absence of a race that has already achieved synthesis. Where are the Borg of the setting?

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This is sobering. Out of the 43 video games Rock Paper Shotgun previewed as 2022 releases back at the start of the year, only 27 have come out or are still scheduled to come out this year. This is pretty much only PC releases, so it makes me wonder what the figure would be with Switch, PS and XB releases included.

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5 minutes ago, Werthead said:

This is sobering. Out of the 43 video games Rock Paper Shotgun previewed as 2022 releases back at the start of the year, only 27 have come out or are still scheduled to come out this year. This is pretty much only PC releases, so it makes me wonder what the figure would be with Switch, PS and XB releases included.

Yeah, it's been pretty much the worst year for delays that I can remember. The impact of COVID finally fully hitting the game development cycle. I suspect the "on-the-ground" developers for most of these delayed games knew as far back as the start of the year that they wouldn't be able to hit 2022 release dates; but that management insisted on keeping the dates until the last possible minute.

It's not just the AAA games either. I've also got dozens of indie games on my steam 'following' page that had a vague '2022' as their release date at the start of the year and no updated news since then, still just saying '2022' (and these are all games where there are dev update blog posts at least every few months; they aren't abandonware). I assume most will switch to saying '2023' in the next few months.

Even the games that are coming out often feel like they aren't quite ready; like 'Cult of the Lamb' with the devs saying they plan on adding more content in the next several months to build out the game further.

It makes Elden Ring even more remarkable. Although who knows how much of the work was actually already done pre-COVID. And even it feels a bit rushed in some of the later map areas, and had issues with broken quests (like Kenneth Haight) that had to get fixed in the first patches.

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3 hours ago, Fez said:

It makes Elden Ring even more remarkable. Although who knows how much of the work was actually already done pre-COVID. And even it feels a bit rushed in some of the later map areas, and had issues with broken quests (like Kenneth Haight) that had to get fixed in the first patches.

Elden Ring was fortunate enough to have an engine already built pre covid and then reused a ton of assets from Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne.

I would guess its the reason Rockstar has to devote everything to GTA 6 now because covid pushed everything back and they want to meet their date.

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11 hours ago, Gorn said:


Yeah, I always liked the fan theory that Shepard was in early stages of indoctrination, and that Control and Synthesis endings are her/him succumbing, and Destroy rejecting it.

Like Caligula said, it simply doesn't make sense for Shepard to suddenly drop their goal for the entire trilogy just because a creepy AI said "trust me bro".

I really thought that they should have just gone with that theory when they patched the endings originally. Fans had already connected a bunch of non-existent dots. You just needed to actually put some evidence in there to confirm the much better ending idea. Say that was always the ending, it was an experimental puzzle piece.

Folks are dumb, they'd buy it 

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Day 60 of Jaime Lannister in Calradia.

So, despite all the wars going on, one of my main realizations had been how awesome tourneys are. Oddly enough, the first one I entered in my first weeks was somehow only a team melee afoot where I ended up fighting three dudes at once because my team sucked. Now somehow every tourney... is still a team melee, but at horseback, which makes things drastically easier. Managed to win three tourneys in a row now, making thousands of gold each time.

I also tried to approach a couple more difficult quests. I got the favor of a lady by dueling some other lord who didn't have any chance against me whatsover. I also collected 6 Swadian militiamen for a hostage exchange, as well well as capturing two Swadian lords and ransoming them. The war is going good, with Vaegyr taking a couple more Swadian castles after making peace with the Khanate, so all attention is now on only one front. The only quest that proved somewhat frustrating now is one where I have to deliver 7 Vaegyr knights of the highest level. I managed to get 6 at most, but somehow there is always a difficult battle where some of these idiots get themselves killed.

Oddly enough, I'm already thinking that in a second run it would be funny to declare my allegiance for Lady Isolla and try to let her usurp Swadia instead of conquering it. Their knights feel a little more sturdy than mine...

Can't complain about my remaining Nord huscarls though. Those guys are pretty much invincible.

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On 8/18/2022 at 9:41 PM, Werthead said:

As for the Reapers' arguments, I think they do make some sense in that sense: it is indicated that the Reapers have seen synthetic-organic alliances take place before and that's nice, but inevitably another synthetic race arises which is hostile to all organics and organic-sympathising synthetics and destroys them. Since the Reapers have been through the process 20,000 times they have seen almost every possible variant of the outcome and their conclusion is that organic-synthetic alliances are simply statistical outliers in the grand scheme of things.

But maybe it could actually work if the Reapers are still around, still as powerful as ever, and on the side of the synth-meatbags alliance?

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Homeworld 3 looking mighty fine. Was sceptical about the addition of "space scenery" but they don't seem to have gone overboard with it, and it looks like you could do this mission by overpowering the enemy in an open space battle but you can use the scenery to pull off a victory with far fewer resources.

The whole Homeworld IP is on a 90% deal on Steam at the moment, which is pretty absurd.

 

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Moobreaker, Atlas Fallen, and Scars Above are the games I've got my eyes on from Gamescom opening night. Nothing else peaked my interest much, except 40k Darktide, which has been long-known.

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Day 80ish of Jaime Lannister in Calradia.

To a degree it now feels like I'm being Sisiphus rolling that stone up the hill and watching it hurtle down again every time it reaches the top. I did manage to take three castles with varying difficulty level and therefore varying losses. Admittedly, I did manage to finish my 7 Vaegyr knights quest just before I started going on the offensive, so I was somewhat weakened anyway, but not by too much. However every single castle that I or King Yaroglek's main force takes gets instantly counter-sieged and re-taken. This is seriously not funny anymore and I wonder whether it's even possible to paint the map in your color given how aggressive the AI is at taking its territory back and how inept the AI is at preventing that from happening.

Unfortunately I got myself caught up in this bullshit. After another deep dive bordergore campaign Yaroglek decided to give me (against my wishes) Ergellon Castle that belonged to Rhodoks, got conquered by Swadia and now by us. So... it's on the other end of the Swadian kingdom, far away from any Vaegyr settlements. Fuck. But... I somehow feel responsible now. So... well, when it got sieged, I beelined down to it and knocked away the attacker. Then went to the nearby friendly Rhodoks territory to sell my captives and stock up and... it got immediately sieged again. I then went to the Nord territory to get some leftover quests done... aaaaand sieged again. I then checked up with my old village and immediately had to abort the trek and come back, because Ergellion got sieged again. Unfortunately each battle gave me quite a lot of losses, especially caused by those damn Swadian knights who take a ridiculous amount of punishment and wreak havoc behind your lines if you leave them be. I'm really not able to train up my replacements as fast as the next major battle happens and therefore each battle just becomes more devastating. Oh and that moron Yaroglek now declared war on Rhodoks, so Ergellon is now surrounded on all sides by enemy territory.

On the plus side, I have now 29.000 gold and don't really know what to do with it. I could buy ridiculously heavy armor, but as I am right now I am already pretty much invincible with just heavy heraldic mail armor. I could try to play around some more with different weapon loadouts. Right now I am only using a war spear and saber. Initially I had a bow as a side weapon, but horse archery sucked and I realized that the spear gets extremely ineffective in the close-quarters fighting of sieges. So I bought a sword again, though I wonder whether thrusting weapons are more effective at penetrating armor despite the saber having higher stats than any arming sword or war hammer. If the game truly tries to be realistic about combat, there should be a different weapon for any different type of opponent. Speaking of which, I also feel somewhat uncivilized for using a spear instead of a lance, but all lances I had seen so far were quite unwieldy and had abysmal stats. I do prefer the spear anyway because it's also usable when briefly trapped in a melee and having no time to switch to the sword, I doubt I can do that with a lance, but for that disadvantage the lance should at least do massive damage in a charge. Unfortunately the tooltip doesn't say anything about that.

Oddly enough, I have seen some videos on Youtube and noticed that most content creators aren't font of spears at all. Or shields, for that matter. Somehow I see them all fight on horseback with double-handed weapons. Strange. Granted, I really just use the shield in sieges and when trapped in melee and my armor makes me essentially invincible, so now I'm wondering whether I should fool around with a bastard- or greatsword. Mmmh...

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