The Video Game Thread

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Wooley
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:29 pm

Torgo wrote:The spider is no slouch, but it's no Cyberdemon. Man, did that thing make me tear (what little hair I have) out!
As for Fallout, the fourth one has a lot of haters. I've only played it a little while and I like it so far, but man, I'm ready to put the community organizing on hold and go hunting, questing and exploring.
Oh, I loved the fourth one, what on Earth did people not like?!
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Rock » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:58 am

Torgo wrote:The spider is no slouch, but it's no Cyberdemon. Man, did that thing make me tear (what little hair I have) out!
As for Fallout, the fourth one has a lot of haters. I've only played it a little while and I like it so far, but man, I'm ready to put the community organizing on hold and go hunting, questing and exploring.
I've sank like forty or so hours into it so far and I find the settlement stuff kind of blah, but the sheer amount of stuff to do side-quest-wise has kept me from getting remotely bored.
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Wooley
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:35 pm

Torgo wrote: As for Fallout, the fourth one has a lot of haters. I've only played it a little while and I like it so far, but man, I'm ready to put the community organizing on hold and go hunting, questing and exploring.
Sorry, somehow I overlooked that part of your post, but I wanted to respond to it.
What you say here is exactly what I did. After spending certainly less than an hour at the beginning sorting out what this building shit was about, I just hit the fuckin' road and had basically all the experience of Fallout 3 (minus Liam Neeson). Fascinating exploration, even more backstory to the game, all kinda hunting and fighting. But as I went along, I started to learn a little more and a little more about how the community building worked and was able to fashion sustainable outposts really quickly (I mean, in five minutes after a major encounter in a new area, I would have an outpost that could hold its own and I could just come back to whenever I wanted) all over the fucking map which made the game super-awesome. Then, when I actually started to get a little bored of wandering around doing awesome shit, which happens because the game is just SO big, I went back to these outposts and did outpost-building. Eventually I ended up with one that is unassailable and has like a huge sun-deck, I think it has a pool-table, a shit-load of people working it for resources and to be able to build and upgrade things, and it could be that game for a little while. And then I just went back out there and did some more of what the core game is about. Point being, you really don't have to engage that part of the game very much if you don't want to. But when you feel like you want to, as you semi-incidentally discover how it works along the way, then you have the option of doing all that too.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:39 pm

Currently getting into Wolfenstein II, anybody have any opinions?
I am an odd-bird in that my favorite of them (I've played Wolfenstein, The New Order, and The Old Blood) is Wolfenstein, the 2009 version where you have supernatural powers and there are all these supernatural enemies and a sort of phantom-world that you can slip in and out of. I was mightily disappointed by The New Order because it lacked all that, but I got used to it. But the mechanics of these games are just weird to me.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:06 pm

Wooley wrote:Currently getting into Wolfenstein II, anybody have any opinions?
I am an odd-bird in that my favorite of them (I've played Wolfenstein, The New Order, and The Old Blood) is Wolfenstein, the 2009 version where you have supernatural powers and there are all these supernatural enemies and a sort of phantom-world that you can slip in and out of. I was mightily disappointed by The New Order because it lacked all that, but I got used to it. But the mechanics of these games are just weird to me.
Yeah i liked the new Wolfenstein games. Nice throwback to classic FPS while updating graphics story and characters for a very fun experience.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Torgo » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:09 pm

Wooley wrote: Sorry, somehow I overlooked that part of your post, but I wanted to respond to it.
What you say here is exactly what I did. After spending certainly less than an hour at the beginning sorting out what this building shit was about, I just hit the fuckin' road and had basically all the experience of Fallout 3 (minus Liam Neeson). Fascinating exploration, even more backstory to the game, all kinda hunting and fighting. But as I went along, I started to learn a little more and a little more about how the community building worked and was able to fashion sustainable outposts really quickly (I mean, in five minutes after a major encounter in a new area, I would have an outpost that could hold its own and I could just come back to whenever I wanted) all over the fucking map which made the game super-awesome. Then, when I actually started to get a little bored of wandering around doing awesome shit, which happens because the game is just SO big, I went back to these outposts and did outpost-building. Eventually I ended up with one that is unassailable and has like a huge sun-deck, I think it has a pool-table, a shit-load of people working it for resources and to be able to build and upgrade things, and it could be that game for a little while. And then I just went back out there and did some more of what the core game is about. Point being, you really don't have to engage that part of the game very much if you don't want to. But when you feel like you want to, as you semi-incidentally discover how it works along the way, then you have the option of doing all that too.
Nice to know that the game doesn't require you to finish rebuilding Sanctuary before letting you move on to other quests. I need to leave Sanctuary and go exploring anyway because the town doesn't have all of the building components I need.
There's nothing like that feeling of having a new world to explore in a Bethesda RPG. I feel like Tony Montana when he arrives in Miami.

Another game I played recently that I highly recommend is Papers, Please, a puzzle game where you have to verify passports and other documents at a border crossing.
I know that doesn't sound like much fun, but it had me on the edge of my seat. Besides having a family you need to support, there are recurring characters and underlying stories that make things interesting.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:23 am

Torgo wrote:
Another game I played recently that I highly recommend is Papers, Please, a puzzle game where you have to verify passports and other documents at a border crossing.
I know that doesn't sound like much fun, but it had me on the edge of my seat. Besides having a family you need to support, there are recurring characters and underlying stories that make things interesting.
Oh, I'll play something like that. I mean, I love story-based games. I thought What Remains Of Edith Finch was the bees knees, of course, Life Is Strange was just flat-out brilliant, Gone Home is a game that has stuck with me, and of course Firewatch.
Is it available for PS4?
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Macrology » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:37 am

Papers, Please is a great game, but it stresses me out.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Ace » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:17 am

Apex Legends is good stuff.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Torgo » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:04 pm

Wooley wrote: Oh, I'll play something like that. I mean, I love story-based games. I thought What Remains Of Edith Finch was the bees knees, of course, Life Is Strange was just flat-out brilliant, Gone Home is a game that has stuck with me, and of course Firewatch.
Is it available for PS4?
It's more of a puzzle game than a story-based game, but if you like those other games, you'd probably like it.
It's not on PS4, but you can play it on Windows, Mac, iPhone or iPad.
Macrology wrote: Papers, Please is a great game, but it stresses me out.
No kidding. When I miss something, the sound of the printout that reveals my mistake makes my heart clench.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:15 pm

Ace wrote:Apex Legends is good stuff.
Yeah I played a little yesterday and fell assbackwards into a win which was fun. I don’t know how long the game will hold my attention at the moment but I’m excited to see what fun things they’ll add in the future
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Ace » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:32 am

Deschain13 wrote: Yeah I played a little yesterday and fell assbackwards into a win which was fun. I don’t know how long the game will hold my attention at the moment but I’m excited to see what fun things they’ll add in the future
Yep. My Legends are Bangalore and Lifeline. Haven't tried any other ones because their abilities don't appeal to me.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:31 pm

Ace wrote: Yep. My Legends are Bangalore and Lifeline. Haven't tried any other ones because their abilities don't appeal to me.
I’ve been using Wraith a lot, especially as a beginner or if I can’t find a weapon right away. Going invisible really helps me get out of firefights alive.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Ace » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:55 am

Deschain13 wrote: I’ve been using Wraith a lot, especially as a beginner or if I can’t find a weapon right away. Going invisible really helps me get out of firefights alive.
Her Teleport ability really comes in handy in tight spots or as a scouting tool.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:22 pm

Not gonna lie, pretty bored with Wolfenstein II. Just bored. Nothing about it really stands out to me other than some personally powerful back-story elements that aren't really necessary while the main story becomes patently ridiculous and silly kinda ruining everything I have liked about the series for me.
And the gameplay is just not that great.
May bail.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Bandy Greensacks » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:16 pm

Really enjoying Metro Exodus so far. Anyone else playing it?
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Re: The Video Game Thread

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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:50 pm

So far, and I think I'm 20 hours in, Far Cry New Dawn improves on some of the things about the gameplay I didn't like about Far Cry 5 (which I thought was the worst Far Cry game yet), but still has kind of an intrusive story for an open-world game (like 5). I'll have more to report as I get deeper into the story as, as I always end up doing in open-world games, I have been doing so much exploring and improving and side-quests and such that I am way overpowered now for the main storyline and for the level of the game that I'm in.
But I can tell you that the positive aspects of the gameplay, especially the actual mechanics, always a strength of the series, are as good as ever. Perhaps not quite as good as Horizon: Zero Dawn, but pretty close and much better than something like Wolfenstein II, which had the usual clunky Wolfenstein mechanics.

As an abstract aside, I am musing to myself whether the Far Cry series has ever executed a game that wasn't pretty great but also deeply flawed, usually by story.
Admittedly, the first Far Cry was too old by the time I played it for me to judge it fairly.
Far Cry 2 was the best game of the series, IMO, having, by far the best story and setting, but suffered from some gameplay issues like the absurdly rapid re-spawning of enemies in every situation on the map.
Far Cry 3 was pretty great overall on the gameplay and the story seemed to be going well before it infamously turns into a White Savior game with a lot of trippy, forced mini-games that weren't very enjoyable, not to mention that terrible ending.
Far Cry: Blood Dragon is the most flawless and probably the most fun game of the entire series but is just so silly its hard to take it seriously, even as your brain recognizes it is nearly perfect.
Far Cry 4 was fine. Improved on some of the flaws of 3 but was perhaps too much like it and the story was barely compelling. If it was the first one in the series you played, you might think it was great, but it's sort of the most forgettable.
Far Cry: Primal gets us back into near-greatness territory with a totally new way of presenting the game, retaining everything that was good about the previous ones, and putting the player in a fascinating setting. Yet I found that it was too easy. It's a weird complaint, but it is what it is. And part of a problem with these games, really starting with this one, is that it's hard to have a game that's this long and have a really satisfying conclusion to it.
Far Cry 5, as I've said, was the worst in the series with no real notable improvement in gameplay over previous entries, just the best looking game so far, with a very good system for NPC companions, but, by far the most notorious story in gaming in the last few years (I mean, almost everybody hated the story for one reason or another, though I do have a friend and have talked to a couple of people who thought it was awesome). Conservatives (which remember is like 40% of the country) made it their poster-child for "Social Justice Warrior" criticisms of the gaming industry, Christians were deeply offended, rural Americans were offended, and then urban progressives like me loved all those things but ultimately thought it was a good idea that couldn't deliver and so ended up failing kind of spectacularly when it tried to get too cute. I defended it to myself for about 50 hours and then I felt so betrayed by the ending that I just never wanted any part of it again. It also has easily the most boring setting (to an American) of the entire series. No komodo dragons here, the most exciting creatures in the game are things I can run into 50 miles outside of town or closer.

Bringing us to Far Cry: New Dawn, which is unfortunately starting out with the problems of being the direct sequel (a first for the franchise) to the worst game. Why would you choose to make your first direct-sequel to a game that was saddled with such an unpopular narrative and such an unexciting setting? The assumption is that it was easy just to write over an already existing game, having to make only the most minor changes to the existing map, and even use many of the same characters, than to make a new game. Kind of them, then, to offer it for only $39.99.
But, again, the strong gameplay and fun of taking down helicopters and planes with a bow and arrow is hard to pass up, so here I go again.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Torgo » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:23 pm

Is anyone playing Anthem? As much as I love Bioware, its near-universal condemnation means I'll probably give it a pass. It's as if EA assigned them this game so they'd have an excuse to shut the studio down.

Here's one of the more amusing takes on it:

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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Torgo » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:15 pm

The next Wolfenstein game, Youngblood, looks pretty awesome. It has an '80s aesthetic similar to the one in Far Cry: Blood Dragon, which I'm a sucker for.
Here's a Den of Geek site about it.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:11 pm

Torgo wrote:The next Wolfenstein game, Youngblood, looks pretty awesome. It has an '80s aesthetic similar to the one in Far Cry: Blood Dragon, which I'm a sucker for.
Here's a Den of Geek site about it.
Blood Dragon is one of my favorite games ever.
Got to admit though, I quit on the last Wolfenstein game. Just couldn't keep me engaged and I've never loved their gameplay/mechanics.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu May 16, 2019 1:30 am

Since I've played a few horror games with the run and hide mechanic recently, I thought I'd post my reviews of them here.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)

When this game was released, it was met with a great deal of success. It got a ton of attention around the internet and, even today, it's widely considered to be one of the scariest games of all time (sometimes, even topping various lists). This was the game which introduced the run and hide mechanic which many other horror games were influenced by. Since it's nearly a decade old though, does it still maintain this title? Let's discuss.

The game's story is told by collecting various notes and listening to various sound clips from your past as you slowly learn why you woke up in the castle. The story isn't that surprising since it's stated near the beginning of the game that you need to kill a baron named Alexander. Rather, the story remains quite disturbing and tragic due to how the horrors of your past slowly unfold with a mixture of shocking revelations and disturbing set pieces littered throughout the castle. This feeling of uneasiness is what kept me interested in learning more about the story.

The majority of the gameplay consists of you solving relatively simple puzzles and searching for items around the castle so you can move on to the next room. While this isn't that hard as long as you scan each room decently enough, I kind of like how the game does this. As I've said in my past reviews, I sometimes feel like puzzles can break the flow of a horror game if they're too hard/complex. Some critics felt like the puzzles in this game were too easy, but I'd say they were at just the right difficulty level. I also liked how the rooms some of the puzzles were in looked quite intricate in their design such as the Cistern room. The design in this room kept the visuals from getting boring as it brought some variety to the typical stone and brick walls I was accustomed to.

With all said and done though, is this still the scariest game of all time? Personally, I think it's starting to show it's age for two reasons. Firstly, I felt like many enemy encounters were too easy. Sure, the few corridor chases were quite effective, but quite often, an easy solution to avoiding the enemies would be to run to a corner and crouch down for a minute as you'd wait for the enemy to pass. While I was on edge for the first few times I did this, I eventually realized this was basically a surefire way to avoid them. As a result, I didn't feel tense during the majority of these sections. Secondly, I didn't like how the game would get easier after you'd die by making it so that the enemies wouldn't spawn into your area until you'd advance much further or collected more items necessary for completion. I wasn't a fan of this concept, because, not only did this make multiple sections less scary, but completing these sections didn't feel as rewarding as the ones where I didn't die in. In terms of what did work, however, I think the most effective scares in the game was the atmospheric/sound design and the sanity bar as these concepts never got old and consistently had me on edge. I feel like these aspects were part of what made the game stick out so much when it was first released and I was glad to see that they didn't lose their effectiveness.

Overall, while I don't think this is still the scariest game of all time, I still think it's really good as the story and the gameplay are definitely at the forefront of it. For those reasons, I'd gladly recommend it. In terms of the scares, however, I think the best way of putting it is that this game introduced an effective concept, but other horror games went on to perfect it.


Outlast (2013)

When this was game was advertised, Red Barrels said it would be the scariest game of all time. I wasn't quite sure whether it would live up to those huge standards put on the game, but fortunately, I wasn't disappointed. While a couple flaws hold it back from that title, it has so many other strengths that it deserves its place as a modern classic.

After you, an investigative journalist, arrive to a mental asylum due to reports of inhumane experiments conducted on the patients, you find that all the staff members are dead and most of the patients are free to roam the place. You then must find a way to escape, all the while avoiding some of the violent patients and "the Walrider", an entity created by the asylum staff.

This game definitely has a great atmosphere. Every section of the asylum is dark and the corridors are narrow. It's clear that every section of the game is full of vivid details as corpses, decayed sections, and great lighting effects litter the area. When you do encounter enemies, the game allows you to hide in lockers and under beds until they escape. However, this can still be stressful as it isn't always a foolproof way to hide from them since they sometimes check where you're hiding. This can make the sections where you have to avoid them highly stressful. Also, the night vision effect on your camera makes the corridors more unsettling. Even though you can run faster than all of the enemies, there's the looming realization that you'll have to go back their way. In order to get past them, you have to memorize their patterns and find a path you can take to squeeze by them unnoticed. It can be a difficult, but rewarding process.

As for the various characters you encounter, I found a lot of them to be quite memorable. Chris Walker is the main villain as he appears the most. He's bigger than the rest of them and he can also kill you much quicker than any of the other patients can. I especially loved his sound design. Even though you're faster than him, the grunts he makes when he chases you make it appear that he's gaining on you. This can make the sections with him highly stressful as it always feels like he's about to catch you. In addition, I liked Father Martin as he made for a great anti-hero who, while he doesn't want you to die, he wants to show you various events in the asylum before he can allow you to leave. I also found the Rick Trager section to be quite tense and disturbing. Finally, the Walrider, although not in the game that much until the final chapter, can be pretty hard to avoid.

On the surface, however, the game does feel a bit rough. For instance, while I can somewhat excuse writing notes when you're not in danger (even though it's still unwise), writing them after narrowly avoiding an encounter with a patient (with him/them in such close proximity) or even while you're hiding from one can be a bit hard to take seriously. While I think the notes provides you with a personality and makes up for the fact that you're a silent protagonist, they could have refined that concept a bit more. This isn't a major flaw, but something which always struck me as odd.

My issue with the notes, however, is minor compared to my main issue with the game, which is how certain scary moments appear to be telegraphed to the player ahead of time. While some enemy encounters are unexpected and tense, others can be seen coming from a mile away. For instance, every time the game gave the "Find the 2 levers, valves, fuses, etc. and turn this on" tasks, I knew there was going to be an enemy encounter. This diminished the horror for me, because it undermined what could've been effective moments. I find the objectives the game gives you most effective when they remain short and sweet such as saying "Escape this area" as opposed to "Find this/these object/s to escape this area". This way, the game doesn't make it apparent that an enemy is about to appear. Fortunately, Whistleblower is much better in this regard.

In conclusion, this game is worth checking out as it is, indeed, a scary game. There are a few issues which hold it back from the title which Red Barrels advertised it as, but it's still quite good. The brilliant atmosphere and the enemy variety are at the forefront of the game. Therefore, I highly recommend it.


Outlast: Whistleblower (2014)

I was blown away by Outlast. I loved so much about it that it made such a lasting impression on me long after I finished it. With that being said, I was super excited to play this one as well. While it may not be perfect, I think it contains several strengths which the original doesn't have. As of now, I'm not sure whether I prefer it over the original or not, but with another playthrough of both games, that may happen for me.

In this game, you play as a software engineer named Waylon Park, the man who sent the email to Miles Upshur in the original game. After he's caught and detained, he attempts to escape the facility after the Walrider project goes wrong.

Like the original, the atmosphere in this one is great as it contains all the things which made the one in the original memorable such as the intricate design and the impressive graphics of the facility, the lockers and beds which still seem stressful to hide in, and the brilliantly atmospheric night vision feature. Since I already elaborated on these thoughts in my review of the original though, I'd like to elaborate on some other points of discussion, so it doesn't seem like I'm repeating myself.

The main aspect which sets this game above the original are all the memorable villains you encounter. That's not to say that there weren't any in the original game, but they were pretty spread out throughout it. In order to get to the memorable villains in the original, you had to first get through various sections with pretty forgettable villains. Since this game is shorter, it's able to focus more time on the memorable villains and much less time on the forgettable ones.

There are 2 main villains in this game. The first is a cannibal named Frank Manera. He was pretty terrifying due to the unsettling noises the electric bone saw he wielded made. Most of the time with the Outlast villains, the game uses the breathing and talking of the enemies to inform you when they get closer, but by using this instead, they made his section feel even more unsettling. The second villain, who's easily my favorite villain from both this game and the original, is Eddie Gluskin, a serial killer who's obsessed with mutilating his victims' genitals to make them his bride. Everything about him is just terrifying. The great voice acting, his disturbing motivations, and the fact that some of the most memorable scenes in both this game and the original take place during his section make him stick out. I'm not going to spoil the scenes I'm referring to, because they're pretty major surprises, but once you see them, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Also, on a side note, the ending to this game is another example of an incredible sequence which I also won't dare to spoil. It is truly mind-blowing and is, in my opinion, one of the most suspenseful scenes from both this game and the original.

I do have a couple issues with this game though. For instance, like the original, the notes feature could've been refined a bit more. Sometimes, Park writes notes when enemies are either chasing him or are in such close proximity. It's a bit distracting due to how unrealistic it is. In addition, while I'm not going to say exactly what happens due to spoilers, it sometimes seems like the protagonist is invincible since he survives and walks away from a number of things which should kill him.

In conclusion, while this game isn't flawless, I could easily see myself liking it more if I were to replay it. It fixed a couple of the flaws with the original, all the while providing other strengths. It's definitely worth $9 (although, I got it when it was on sale).


Soma (2015)

Frictional Games became famous in the 2010's for creating Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a game which, even today, is often cited as the scariest game of all time. After I played it fairly recently and found it to be an impressive, if slightly dated experience, I was curious to see how they evolved over the years. Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed at all when I played this game, because it excelled in the areas where Amnesia fell flat in, and also succeeded in other areas.

As for the level design, I liked it quite a bit. There's a great variation of level design in this game as the levels range from hallways to wide open areas to underwater levels. Pathos-II never gets tiring as the game manages to keep itself fresh throughout. In addition, I liked the exploration you can do in this game. Many horror games usually put at least a couple of areas for you to explore per room/level, but this game actually had quite a lot of places which you could explore if you were interested (or you could ignore them if you'd rather advance the story instead). These rooms come with a variety of items you can interact with by picking up/reading them. They give you insight towards Pathos-II, the WAU, and the various people who use to work there. Although you can skip most of this if you want to, I found that doing this for a few minutes adds an extra layer of variation to the game for players who want a brief break from the actual objectives of the game. For this reason, I'm glad they included this. My only issue with the level design is that a few sections involved a lot of aimlessly wandering around while you try to find a way to advance the game. For instance, one of the underwater sections required you to summon a zeppelin to transport you to another site. However, the area this section took place in was quite massive and full of several structures to explore. The two objects which were necessary to allow you to move on were so small that finding them was almost like finding a needle in a haystack. This part and a couple others were a bit tedious to get through. For the most part, however, I'd say that most of the areas were fine in this regard.

A common issue I have with survival horror games with the run/hide mechanic is that after you play them enough, you begin to learn more about how to avoid the enemies and the game begins to get less scary the more you play it (I felt this way towards Amnesia to some extent). However, I wouldn't say that applies to this game that much for a couple reasons. Firstly, every enemy you encounter operates slightly differently. Some move faster than others, others have better hearing, and other enemies notice you if you look at them. This means that what you do to deal with one enemy might not work for another. You have to develop new strategies as you go along. For the first part of the game, part of my strategy was to keep a close eye on the enemies to know exactly where they were. However, once I got to a section where the enemy was attracted to making direct eye contact with it, I felt a great deal of terror, and I had never been more relieved once I finally managed to finish the section. Secondly, while this game had the same crouch down in a corner function which Amnesia had, I think this feature was a lot more suspenseful in this game since, in some areas, it's scripted for you to get caught in order to proceed. This establishes a great deal of tension as crouching isn't a sure-fire way to avoid the enemies. There's variation to this technique. For example, the Terry Akers section (which requires a lot of crouching in order to complete it) had me on edge to such great of an extent that I later realized that it might just be the most suspenseful section I've ever come across in a horror game. Even though I noticed that many people who liked this game felt like it wasn't as scary as Amnesia, I actually think this one is the scariest of the two by a pretty decent margin.

Without a doubt though, this game's story is its main selling point. While artificial intelligence has been explored by the science fiction genre in the past, this game had its own unique twist to that concept. It appeared to be making two points. Its first point was on whether or not it matters that you're an AI as long as you have all your prior thoughts and memories. This was represented through a variety of various thought-provoking conversations in addition to a quiz you can take in the game twice - once near the early stages of it and once near the very end of it - which convey this concept quite well. By the end of the game, you start to believe what the characters do. Its second point, which was the most interesting one by far, involves the mind transfers. The game has it so that in order for your mind to be transferred into a new body, you need to make a copy of your conscience, meaning there's a 50/50 chance that you'll either remain in your original body or get transferred into the new body. The point the game makes for this concept is that, from the perspective of those who are left behind, it does matter while, for those who carry over into the new copy, it doesn't matter as much. This is represented extraordinarily well in a number of moments, but it's best for these instances to unfold without knowing much about them beforehand as they work the best this way.

Overall, I found this game to be quite fascinating. I'm glad that Frictional Games perfected the run and hide mechanic they had in Amnesia to make for a more effective experience. This, in addition to the level design and the thought-provoking story, made for a truly compelling experience which sticks out as one of the most interesting games made in recent years.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Thu May 16, 2019 2:30 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:30 am
Since I've played a few horror games with the run and hide mechanic recently, I thought I'd post my reviews of them here.
Have you played Until Dawn?
Maybe my favorite horror game and one of my favorite games period.
If you haven't, try to learn NOTHING about it before you play it, there are at least two massive spoilers that could dramatically effect one's enjoyment of the game.
If you have what did you think?
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu May 16, 2019 3:24 pm

Not yet, although I've heard of it in the past. All I know about it is that its gameplay is similar to that of Heavy Rain. I'll look into it, but since I don't own a PS4, do you know if it's available anywhere else?
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Thu May 16, 2019 11:55 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:24 pm
Not yet, although I've heard of it in the past. All I know about it is that its gameplay is similar to that of Heavy Rain. I'll look into it, but since I don't own a PS4, do you know if it's available anywhere else?
Dunno. Just don't read about the plot.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:18 am

Image

Playdead's INSIDE is one of my favorite games, period. It offers a thought-provoking story, multiple engaging puzzles, and a chillingly creepy atmosphere which stays with you throughout its entirety. I often find myself inclined to replay it every now and then as it never gets tiring. So, for quite a while, I was curious to play this game as I was interested to find out how good their debut work was. While this game isn't flawless, it hits a few areas with such craft to the point that I could see myself replaying it in the future.

In terms of the gameplay, there's a lot to praise it for. For instance, the puzzles are wholly creative since the game doesn't dwell on a certain set piece for either too little or too long. A certain set piece in the game appears for a decent amount of time and before it starts to get boring, the game replaces it with a different set piece. This keeps the puzzles interesting throughout. Speaking of the set pieces, they include bear traps, a giant spider, worms which control where you walk, rising water, shifting gravity, and a whole lot more. There's such an enormous variety of set pieces that many of them are bound to interest you in one way or another. I, for one, was intrigued by everything the game had to offer. If you're talking about the gameplay, however, it's hard not to mention the variety of deaths you can encounter while playing this game. This is definitely home to some of the most diverse and brutal deaths I've ever seen in a game. They include getting caught in bear traps, getting stabbed to death by spiders, getting crushed by various objects, getting electrified, and sliding into hidden spikes. So much creativity clearly went into this aspect and it paid off, because this really adds a lot to the brutality of the game.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Minimalist graphics can be just as effective as highly polished graphics. This game is in black and white wherein a minimal amount of detail is added to the background. In addition, set pieces to the sides of the screen are slightly blurred. Instead of feeling lacking, this choice actually helps the game as it makes the world feel all the more barren and uninviting. The atmosphere also consists of some great sound design. I recommend playing this game with headphones, because it definitely enriches the experience. Some of my favorite sounds this game comes with include the section where you cause it to rain, the spider, the electrified rails, and other such set pieces. There's just no end to it.

With that being said, if there's one area where this game falls short in, it's the story. The few story moments it offers cover such a small portion of it and they really aren't built up to that well as they seemingly come out of nowhere (the ending feels quite abrupt). Concerning this, the story almost felt like it was an after thought. Whereas INSIDE offered some truly immaculate sections of visual story telling, this game almost feels as if the developers programmed the puzzles first, and then decided to throw in a few bits of story to keep people from calling it style over substance.

Overall, this game is quite fantastic as what it lacks in terms of its story, it more than makes up for with some of the best gameplay mechanics I've ever seen in a game to date. I'm glad I got around to playing this and I can't wait to see what Playdead makes next since they've definitely proven themselves to be talented. Although it's going to be hard to top INSIDE, I'll still play their next game regardless.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Stu » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:20 am

Haven't played Inside, but I HAVE watched someone else play it on Youtube... not these guys though, but they are hilarious, so I do need to watch them try it:



Anyway, I have watched a full play-through of it before, and it looked like a gorgeous, unique, incredibly intriguing experience on a visual level, and the gameplay and its various obstacles, puzzles, and set pieces all looked to be pretty simple but consistently ingenious material nonetheless, so I liked your write-up of it a lot, and think you should write more game-focused pieces like it; by the way, have you ever played its spiritual predecessor, Limbo? Again, haven't played it myself, but I did watch part of it, and it looked a lot like Inside, not just visually, but also in how well thought-out it all looked.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:03 pm

Stu wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:20 am
Haven't played Inside, but I HAVE watched someone else play it on Youtube... not these guys though, but they are hilarious, so I do need to watch them try it:



Anyway, I have watched a full play-through of it before, and it looked like a gorgeous, unique, incredibly intriguing experience on a visual level, and the gameplay and its various obstacles, puzzles, and set pieces all looked to be pretty simple but consistently ingenious material nonetheless, so I liked your write-up of it a lot, and think you should write more game-focused pieces like it; by the way, have you ever played its spiritual predecessor, Limbo? Again, haven't played it myself, but I did watch part of it, and it looked a lot like Inside, not just visually, but also in how well thought-out it all looked.
Oh, that actually was a review of Limbo. I mentioned Inside at the beginning to reference how I became acquainted with checking out the game. Overall, while I don't think Limbo is quite as good as Inside, I still liked it a great deal.

Thank you very much by the way. I've written a couple dozen reviews on my Steam page if you're curious with reading them. Some of the earlier ones are shorter though. I'm also working on an in-depth analysis of Half-Life (HL1 that is, because, if I'm being honest, I feel like HL2 is a bit overrated).
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Bandy Greensacks » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:37 pm

I played Steins;Gate Elite and Steins;Gate 0 on PS4, and I really enjoyed them. Surprisingly great storytelling.

I'm starting to get the whole visual novel thing.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Spencie Returns » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:29 pm

I never played the original Castlevania games so I downloaded the PS4 collection. I've only finished the first, and found it to be hard enough even with the added convenience of save states, so I'm not sure how sadists used to beat the original on NES. I'm in a minority who really only grew up with the N64 Castlevania games, which I think are better than they're given credit for.

The Contra Collection also looks pretty dope.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Torgo » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:52 pm

I've been playing Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on Switch and it's good fun so far. With this game and Hollow Knight, I'm very glad that there's been a renaissance in the Metroidvania genre (or Metroidvaniassance, if you will), since it's one of my very favorite. While they're not totally original additions to this genre, they still deliver where it counts.
Last Great Movie Seen
The Return of the Living Dead (O'Bannon, 1985)
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:48 pm

Torgo wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:52 pm
I've been playing Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on Switch and it's good fun so far. With this game and Hollow Knight, I'm very glad that there's been a renaissance in the Metroidvania genre (or Metroidvaniassance, if you will), since it's one of my very favorite. While they're not totally original additions to this genre, they still deliver where it counts.
Haven’t gotten to the new Bloostained yet but Hollow Knight is excellent and I can’t wait for Silkson. Also just beat Guacamelee 2 which is a lighter, shorter Metrodivania but also very fun and challenging.

I just got Inside for free on Xbone so I’ll be playing that soon too.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Spencie Returns » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:19 am

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled has stolen my heart. It's refreshingly difficult and gives Mario Kart a run for its money for its sheer volume of content alone. Just when I thought I was reaching a plateau in the game it suddenly opened a plethora of challenges, incentives and rewards to keep me coming back for more.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:35 pm

Playing original Batman: Arkham Asylum and I gotta say, if this game came out today it would still be a GOTY. I mean, even the graphics wouldn't really need that much updating, but the story, the design, the gameplay, hell the voice-acting, all of it remain top-tier. Really has to be on some list of the best games I've ever played.

In other news, I played Infamous 2, the only one in the series I hadn't played and, while the graphics may be a little dated and the mechanics not quite as smooth as the top games of today, it still held up really well and was a fun playthrough.
I think the whole Infamous series is really nice.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:49 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:35 pm
Playing original Batman: Arkham Asylum and I gotta say, if this game came out today it would still be a GOTY. I mean, even the graphics wouldn't really need that much updating, but the story, the design, the gameplay, hell the voice-acting, all of it remain top-tier. Really has to be on some list of the best games I've ever played.
My older brother recommended it for me, and I really love it. The combat is quite varied as the game slowly introduces new enemies and weapons to master as you progress, the stealth sections are quite enjoyable and tense to play through (stealth can sometimes be hard to pull off in games), and the scarecrow sections are truly marvelous. It's truly a fantastic game. One of my favorites as well.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:55 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:35 pm
while the graphics may be a little dated
As for this though, I don't think it's fair to criticize a game made several years ago for dated graphics. Graphics engines have improved throughout the years, so it goes without saying that it won't look as good as what gets made today. I think what matters is how they held up at the time it was released.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:03 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:55 pm
As for this though, I don't think it's fair to criticize a game made several years ago for dated graphics. Graphics engines have improved throughout the years, so it goes without saying that it won't look as good as what gets made today. I think what matters is how they held up at the time it was released.
Oh, I'm not criticizing the game at all, I think it did a wonderful job most of what it did, I'm just commenting that the graphics are of its time.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:07 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:03 pm
Oh, I'm not criticizing the game at all, I think it did a wonderful job most of what it did, I'm just commenting that the graphics are of its time.
I think I may have misinterpreted you then. Sorry about that.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:08 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:07 pm
I think I may have misinterpreted you then. Sorry about that.
No worries.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:23 pm

I recently wrote a pretty lengthy review/analysis of Valve's original Half-Life. One of my friends on Steam was nice enough to post it to his group, so if you guys are interested, give it a read and tell me what you think of it. Also, the reason it was broken up into 3 parts was due to Steam's word limit.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:25 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:23 pm
I recently wrote a pretty lengthy review/analysis of Valve's original Half-Life. One of my friends on Steam was nice enough to post it to his group, so if you guys are interested, give it a read and tell me what you think of it. Also, the reason it was broken up into 3 parts was due to Steam's word limit.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Ya know, I only ever played the second one, but Jesus was that a good game.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:40 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:25 pm
Ya know, I only ever played the second one, but Jesus was that a good game.
I highly recommend playing HL1 as well as its two expansion packs (Opposing Force and Blue Shift).

I've always been pretty mixed on the second game. It has its strengths such as the Gravity Gun, the world building, and the visual storytelling. It also has one really great chapter and a couple good ones, so I can't say I disliked it by any means. However, I feel like the gimmicks found throughout it have effected how often I go back to it. Some of them are more enjoyable than others to play through, sure, but I also got tired with many of them part of the way through. HL1 has its set pieces of course, but I never got the feeling that they broke the flow of the game that much, if at all. It felt mostly like one central mechanic with a proper difficulty curve. Even the railcar section, which kind of feels like a gimmick, doesn't bug me as much as the vehicle sections in HL2, because most of the combat can be beaten on foot, meaning that the railcar more or less exists to replace walking with riding to the various locations.

I might play it again someday. I just haven't felt inclined to do so for some time.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:44 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:40 pm
I highly recommend playing HL1 as well as its two expansion packs (Opposing Force and Blue Shift).

I've always been pretty mixed on the second game. It has its strengths such as the Gravity Gun, the world building, and the visual storytelling. It also has one really great chapter and a couple good ones, so I can't say I disliked it by any means. However, I feel like the gimmicks found throughout it have effected how often I go back to it. Some of them are more enjoyable than others to play through, sure, but I also got tired with many of them part of the way through. HL1 has its set pieces of course, but I never got the feeling that they broke the flow of the game that much, if at all. It felt mostly like one central mechanic with a proper difficulty curve. Even the railcar section, which kind of feels like a gimmick, doesn't bug me as much as the vehicle sections in HL2, because most of the combat can be beaten on foot, meaning that the railcar more or less exists to replace walking with riding to the various locations.

I might play it again someday. I just haven't felt inclined to do so for some time.
Are they still playable?
I just did two games from 2009 and one really was just too much of a struggle (while the other was amazeballz) and then one from 2010 that was certainly playable but also certainly dated. I can't imagine playing a game from 1998 now.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:45 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:40 pm
I highly recommend playing HL1 as well as its two expansion packs (Opposing Force and Blue Shift).

I've always been pretty mixed on the second game. It has its strengths such as the Gravity Gun, the world building, and the visual storytelling. It also has one really great chapter and a couple good ones, so I can't say I disliked it by any means. However, I feel like the gimmicks found throughout it have effected how often I go back to it. Some of them are more enjoyable than others to play through, sure, but I also got tired with many of them part of the way through. HL1 has its set pieces of course, but I never got the feeling that they broke the flow of the game that much, if at all. It felt mostly like one central mechanic with a proper difficulty curve. Even the railcar section, which kind of feels like a gimmick, doesn't bug me as much as the vehicle sections in HL2, because most of the combat can be beaten on foot, meaning that the railcar more or less exists to replace walking with riding to the various locations.

I might play it again someday. I just haven't felt inclined to do so for some time.
Well, as someone who only played Half Life 2 I can tell you that Half Life 2 (when not compared to the first Half Life) stacks up among the best video games of all time.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Rock » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:11 am

1 and 2 are cut from the same cloth, so if you love 2, you should find a lot to enjoy about 1.

I think both are really astutely, economically designed games. In terms of storytelling both have a similarly natural, diegetic approach where you have enough exposition to go off, but (at least compared to other games) never feels like it's being dumped on you. (I'm not gonna pretend to be a video game historian, but I believe 1 is supposed to have been very influential in that regard.) They're both very linear, but both narratively and environmentally, you never feel limited or confined, as the games are very smart about how they push you along organically and design their settings with the sense that these are fully formed environments with their own distinct atmosphere, even if you only see a little bit of it. I think 1 (and its expansions) falter when they move the action to Xen (as that doesn't seem as intelligently designed as Black Mesa and the platforming elements are a bit frustrating), but that's really my only knock against them.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:18 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:44 am
Are they still playable?
I just did two games from 2009 and one really was just too much of a struggle (while the other was amazeballz) and then one from 2010 that was certainly playable but also certainly dated. I can't imagine playing a game from 1998 now.
I played them through Steam, and I think they're definitely still playable (they're also pretty cheap). The core strengths of them haven't aged a bit in my opinion. If you're more comfortable with playing newer games though, you might be more on board with getting Black Mesa, the 2015 remake of Half-Life, instead.
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Re: The Video Game Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:24 am

Rock wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:11 am
I think 1 (and its expansions) falter when they move the action to Xen (as that doesn't seem as intelligently designed as Black Mesa and the platforming elements are a bit frustrating), but that's really my only knock against them.
I get the criticism for Xen, but I don't find myself bothered by it. To respond to it, I might as well copy and paste the section I wrote on this criticism from the essay I wrote.

"I know that some people aren't a fan of the final stages which occur at Xen as the level design and the pacing doesn't do much for them. However, I consider the final act to be really good, and I'll like to provide an argument in defense for it. In terms of the pacing, the game often has a fast paced chapter followed by a slower one such as following "Surface Tension" with "Forget About Freeman". I think this type of pacing caused many players to expect a sort of climactic, fast-paced final act. What you get instead though are a few slower paced, contemplative chapters to conclude the game. I feel like this is essential to show how the world is alien to you though. When you were on Earth, the level design and the pacing felt different than it did here as that wasn't alien to Freeman. While the aliens were intruders in Black Mesa (meaning Earth probably seemed alien to them), you're now the intruder in their world. So, as a result, this whole place feels alien to you, both by its level design and the pacing. Sure, the normal pace of the game is disrupted, but I think it's intentionally disrupted to give off this feeling. It trades one strength (an action oriented ending) for another (a science fiction oriented ending). My suggestion for the people who don't enjoy the direction the game goes in for the final act is to try to look at it with fresh eyes and treat the changes in the pacing as intentional to see if you warm up to it."
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