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Withywarlock

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Everything posted by Withywarlock

  1. This thread is being moved to the Platforms subforum, where there's plenty of discussion to be had about one's preferred platform as is. So far though this thread appears to be fine. As for me, PC, but I do miss what few arcade machines I've been able to play in my years. I'm hoping my local arcade has improved since it has been built here. Also, because I ask everyone to contribute to the threads they make: @Nebulous, what device do you game on?
  2. I can't say how much, but I'd say less than what I do on D&D. Between subscriptions and books, nothing comes close. It helps with my impulse purchasing too because I know those books will be useful to those I share with, unlike when I buy a game and it just sits in my Steam library for nearly a decade. I forgot to add: @Nebulous, how much money do you spend on games?
  3. It has to compliment the primary gameplay loop. If it's going out of it's way to be different, and it's better or worse, then the question is "why isn't the rest of the game like this" if it's better, or "why is this in the game" if it's worse. An example of this would be the Spyro the Dragon franchise. Nearly all of the games are collectathons: you go around seeking treasure and other things necessary to complete the game. I've played the first game more than any other because all of the activities revolve around the three gameplay mechanics: charging, flaming and movement in some fashion like jumping or gliding. Even the Flights are just upgrades to Spyro's existing abilities like full traversal and the supercharge. Where the games fail is Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer onwards. Shooting lizards with rocks? OK, fine. Using the ice breath to reach platforms to ring bells? Not too shabby. Using a trolley which doesn't control well to go in two directions and use a cannon that requires laser precision? Not acceptable despite the "having trouble with the trolley, eh?" meme. The problem with that is I'm not playing the character I'm here to play: I'm playing as the trolley which is an objective downgrade. Spyro: Year of the Dragon sort of sorts this out with characters like Sheila or Bentley the Yeti, but characters like Sgt. Byrd and Agent 9 especially go against the solid movement mechanics and lack of precision required. Things get even worse in Spyro: A Hero's Tail, where Sgt. Byrd replaces Spyro in the Speedways, and Blink the Mole goes underground but isn't quite as fleshed out as he needs to be to entertain in a mini-game or his own spin-off. A Hero's Tail's other mini-games involve being in a hamster ball or firing a cannon, both are decent enough but I'm not playing as Spyro: I'm playing as a hamster ball and firing a cannon. Let's look at Japanese RPGs for other examples. Yakuza is known for its serious story with a camp tone, but it's better known for its side quests contain nothing but goofy characters and requests from the mafia enforcer with a heart of gold. Most of the quests given to Kiryu require him to do what he already does: punch and kick lots of people. The times it doesn't such as managing businesses and collecting cash, or the other bloke's name whose name I forget who runs a club, are so confident in their ability to deliver a refreshing downtime experience. While dating sims, toy car races and arcades don't necessarily belong, they do an excellent job of grounding them into that world. Western developers take note. However we can also look at Final Fantasy's most notorious minigames from chocobo racing to Squimball or whatever it was called in FFX. The reason Bravely Default did so well is because it wasn't full of rubbish like that: as egotistical as the name is, like Immersive Sim (more on that soon), is because it is bravely returning to its default design philosophy. We come full circle when we look at Western RPGs: most of the quests I enjoy are the ones that are based on the core gameplay mechanics. If they're better, like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's sailing, then one must ask the question: why is there Assassin's Creed in my boat game? A good side-quest doesn't necessarily have to be tied to its core gameplay loop, but if it isn't it's taking a risk that may well not pay off. If the players aren't willing to go out of their way to try a new activity, why would developers go out of their way to make it work? One final comment about Western RPGs, some of which developers call iMmErSiVe Sims (I'll be the judge of what is and is not immersive, thanks), is that these do a great job of providing the means to go about the same side-quest differently. Deus Ex is probably the best example, as one of the first games to be thoughtful about the question what if the player wanted to do [thing]? They made a point about simulating first person activity beyond solving every problem with a gun. BioShock, a spiritual successor to System Shock et al follows that exact same formula, as long as you solve every problem with some form of violence. TL;DR it's about complimenting or being based on the primary gameplay loop. There are exceptions, but painfully few in Western game design philosophy.
  4. It really depends on the game. There's some puzzles I want to spend time with out of respect for the game and the specific puzzle itself. Rarely do I look up how to do the eight tile puzzle of Idol Springs in Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer because of the funky beat, the art style (as grey as it is), and just being Spyro. Otherwise if I'm getting tired of it, I'm only playing for completions' sakes, or it's just not as clever a puzzle as the developer thinks it is, I'm going to promptly look it up. I agree with the sentiment of 'not having signed up for puzzles'. There's not many games that let you skip past them, and quite frankly it tells me a lot about what they lend to the game if the option is present, but I appreciate being able to bypass them without effort all the same. I think the only puzzle I will ever look up instantly without attempt is the Jindosh Riddle (otherwise known as the Jindosh Lock) of Dishonored 2. If you know, you know.
  5. The Elder Scrolls Online had shown why a good actor does not necessarily equate to a good voice actor. Direction and editing are important also. It's really people with distinctive voices that I'd like to see. Bryan Cranston booms with his ordinary speaking voice and has a great gravelly voice. When he played the cancer-suffering Walter White, he was incredibly convincing with his coughing and spluttering, projecting the sounds he makes. He's really well suited for it. Toby Longworth has done some video game work which I've not heard for myself (namely Penultimo of Tropico, and some voices in A Machine for Pigs), but he has a good range of accents as heard in his audiobooks. Having listened to Warhammer 40,000's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, I love the voices he has for each of the troopers. He'd do well in the upcoming Darktide game, or really just about any Warhammer game. Speaking of audiobooks, any of the classic Doctors who are still alive and are capable of voice work from Doctor Who. Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy were great on screen and fully committed to their characters in the audio adventures. Maggie Stables who played Evelyn Smythe, and Sophie Aldred who played Ace, would be great additions to video game casting too. Finally Charles Dance. I could listen to him narrate paint drying.
  6. On this website it's usually because someone was looking at my own profile. I'm not that interesting, but I'll do my best to answer your questions in private messages.
  7. I loved me some Zuma back on the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA). The balls definitely had 'forbidden snacks' qualities about them, and that says a lot for the graphical fidelity at the time. It was the first console to really wow me with its visuals, that and Marble Blast Ultra, another game with satisfying ball physics (and also by Pop Cap). The music was incredible too. Very calming and instantly recognisable:
  8. Mechanically, yes. If you want to look at the failings of politics in MMOs one needs only look at two systems: vote-kicking and the game's economy. New World was the latest game to screw up the latter, which Josh Strife Hayes has talked about in enough detail to show the worst MMO economy I've ever seen. In other games, and I'm terribly sorry for derailing this subject, but Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw did a presentation on factions in video games wherein he discusses how if there's only two they're either fascists or nutters; if there's a third option it falls into what I call Roberts' Trident: when a video game presents a third option, the middle one is the best. Without having really any experience myself, going exclusively off memes, it just seems to be a game where you're spending a lot of time watching the stock market, auction houses, rather than doing spaceship things and getting swallowed up by player-run trade consortiums.
  9. Guild politicking is a fairly big thing. I've been in numerous scenarios, not as dramatic as I'd like to make them sound from robbing guild banks, staging coups, running guilds and moderating merger efforts. The thing about most MMO systems is they're not democratic, and do bear with me as most of my experience is with World of Warcraft. Barring vote-kicking (democracy), it's usually meritocracy (rankings/ratings/gear), plutocracies (having the most money), or dictatorships (developers and guild masters) which governs the game's systems. It was particularly interesting in guilds: you can't outvote a guild master, the game doesn't recognise anyone but them to be the sole authority. Staging a coup won't work because they don't have to step down, and Game Masters (customer support) can't and won't take any action unless it's in very specific cases, usually regarding the guild bank or abuse. Guild Mergers were a fun time too, but 'merger' puts one-in-a-million of such occurances too professionally. As Preach Gaming once put it: "what I have seen work is a guild 'merge' where under the same title, where five people join thirty people and they fucking... join their guild." He goes on to say quite adequately, "just look at the UK right now: we have a co-Prime Minister... nope. Not really. There's only one guy who got to shake the Queen's hand, right?" Ironically that coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats was (unofficially) shortened down to Con-Dem, which if it needs spelling out sounds a lot like 'condemned'. Let that speak to any prospects of guild mergers. Beyond that, I can't think of many examples of politics coming about in MMOs. It's mostly ramblings in Trade Chat that, let's face it, won't go anywhere because it's happening in a video game chat channel, and guilds tend to have a rule about no politics in chat. And then proceed to ignore it. Sounds a lot like EVE Online. Yep, that's EVE Online, or "Spreadsheet Simulator" as it's affectionately known! 🤑
  10. I've come to learn that early access game The Karters, which decided it was still going to charge £15.49 while only communicating updates via Discord, is going to have the first beta in over four years. I look forward to it and I desperately want to discuss it, but due to an NDA one can't post materials pertaining to it outside of their Discord. I understand that not wanting to deal with Steam after the scathing reception the game got (and rightly so), and it should go without saying that threats of any nature are unacceptable in games discourse. But between charging for a game that has had only one update live on the Steam version (three years ago), and the toxic positivity of the Discord community, there's a good chance I won't be able to enjoy the final product all that much. I say final product; we might not see that for another two years yet. History leaves little room for optimism.
  11. That's the long and short of this feud. I'd be interested in seeing how Phil Spencer deals with this information given his public egalitarian stance in the console scene: if he doesn't speak against it, he reveals his persona to be farcical. If he does speak against it, he's reigniting the fuse to the very powder keg he likes to pretend doesn't exist. I side with neither. This is two companies consisting of adults having a bout of "he said, she said" because they've lost opportunities to make a few more millions.
  12. John Lennon adequately sums up my thoughts on the subject: "Time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted." That shuts down most arguments quite well. If it continues, I'd ask them to be held to the same standards as they hold me. Writing the next great American novel or learning to become a surgeon would be a far better use of my time, but I possess neither the intellectual capacity nor am I sufficiently arsed to do so, and neither is the person telling me to do so because if they did they wouldn't be busying themselves talking to me.
  13. I have to agree with NightmareFarm's initial premise: for the most part they're a necessary evil, the binding agent to a game in which they're typical. My biggest problem on the topic of bosses isn't even with the bosses themselves: it's the fights leading up to them. In World of Warcraft, particularly during the Mists of Pandaria expansion, there was great debate about how much 'trash' was too much. You had radical differences in fights of the same raid tier: Mogu'Shan Palace had a moderate amount of enemies between bosses, Heart of Fear had an insane amount of enemies between bosses, and Terrace of the Endless Springs had virtually none at all. My philosophy is thus: if it has the dubious honour of being labelled and recognised as 'trash', why is it in the game? What purpose does knowingly implementing a bad idea have? No longer is resource management a thing in WoW, or indeed most games today, thus making it trash. The only purpose I can think of is to be a pallette cleanser, but then so does talking strategy for the next fight, or looking away from your screen. It's an unnecessary carry-over from the tabletop and older games where most resources such as health or spell slots only came back through resting (which wasn't always possible - and definitely not recommended - inside a dungeon). Ahem. Getting back to the topic at hand. There are cases where I like the bosses, even if I don't like the battles themselves. Crash Bandicoot is a textbook example on boss design: N.Troducing... The first two games didn't make their bosses known until the encounter itself, a trend that would bob and weave throughout the series. Dr. Neo Cortex, during his interruptions to visits to the lobby between adventures, would either congratulate Crash but warning him of the foes he was about to face (and later taunting him when his plans were spoiled). It was in the third game where the bosses really developed personality. They would introduce themselves, taunt Crash on the levels' loading screens, and eventually speak throughout the fight. Some of my favourite lines in video games come from these interactions. N. Stoppable. Throughout the life of the series the boss fights are mostly consistent. Ripper Roo requires environmental interaction (read: blowing things up), Tiny Tiger is about carefully navigating platforms, N.Gin usually has a gimmick involving weapons (and second phases), Dingodile, N. Tropy and Dr. N. Cortex having a preferred ranged weapon. Despite this fights are never samey. They're often incredibly easy but the mechanics change each time and there's always something to catch you out, or make you feel like you need to time something well or miss your shot. Before Dark Souls, Crash Bandicoot was the game for bosses telegraphing their weaknesses. N. Riching. The boss fights past the second game weren't just an obstacle: they rewarded you with a powerup that you could use in previous levels and would be required for some stages going forward. The imagination for these was stretched thin as time went on, from an almost useless wumpa bazooka to sneaky shoes. The games did eventually fully enhance all of Crash's basic abilities from jumping, belly flopping and sliding. It only took four attempts. N. Semble. What makes for an adrenaline-fuelled, heart-pounding, sweaty-palms, blistered-thumbed experience? It's not mechanics. It's the music and some of the most iconic video game music comes from boss battles. The first level, epilogue/credits and boss battles are the most important places for music to go. Again, let's look at (or rather, listen to) Dark Souls. The Bell Gargoyles are my favourite despite being an arse-ache of a boss, because the music makes it worth staying alive just that little bit longer to experience. Crash Bandicoot's a vastly superior game, so it doesn't need an orchestra. It could if it wanted to though. I bet you £5. Those are some of my many thoughts, most of which I'm afraid aren't about bosses.
  14. I think this is a positive note to end on. I'll lock this thread unless the moderation team deems it unnecessary, as I'm of the opinion it's run its course and risks points farming. Thanks to everyone for their contributions, and if you are affected by the topics raised in this thread please seek professional help where possible.
  15. I'll apologise for the tone of this post as I'm hot and bothered, but not the message. Let's improve the quality of our contributions to this thread, and all others, please. I could see this working as a Telltale game given the amount of close calls the characters come to arrest, death or just having identities discovered. It was particularly interesting for Walter 'Heisenberg' White to maintain his civilian identity given he's married, his brother-in-law works in the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and he's a school teacher with one of his students being a meth dealer. The problem about the game is that it's done all it needs to do: any other arcs can and will be covered in a spin-off TV show because the Breaking Bad universe is too big to not capitalise on. So what would the game do differently? A fully digitised New Mexico? OK, but that's not going to work with the story of the show. With Jesse Pinkman on the run? What's he going to do that he didn't in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie didn't? We go around shooting people as Mike Ehrmantraut? If he's not old, he's not Mike Ehrmantraut. There is a case for a Breaking Bad video game, but the immediate answers are the ones we're not going to get. I bet we'll get something like a Narcos-style game: isometric tactical raids on Los Pollos Hermanos, or a Tropico-style management sim with meth. He. Vince Gilligan. It says it in the title of the article and in Kane99's original comment. How will it be better by not being a Grand Theft Auto clone? What sort of game would you like to see Breaking Bad adapted into? That's pretty much how we got the games we do today. We wouldn't have Roguelikes/lites without Rogue. We'd have no Call of Duty without Doom. We'd have no Elder Scrolls without Ultima. We wouldn't have Grand Theft Auto without the Miami Vice game of '86. 'Cloning' in this instance does not mean a 1:1 copy; most users here mean 'clone' to mean an open world game set in the Breaking Bad universe, likely with a lot of gunplay and vehicle physics. Please could you elaborate on this comment? What makes you think what they "do or do not" "might be an epic or great result?" What is your opinion based upon?
  16. Being autistic. I don't get what there is to be proud about it. Out-of-the-box thinking and creative writing are not points of pride when anything else I can do a neurotypical person can do better. I'm proud of how far treatment and understanding of autistic people has come, absolutely, but there's a lot of toxic positivity going on with autie pride that we don't appear too keen on stamping out.
  17. I've never seen one advertised. I don't know if it's really a thing here, and Facebook has essentially removed the necessity for it: anything you want to know you can find out or ask about without the awkwardness of travelling to sit in one place looking at the floor after a while. Besides, I'm too boring or easily embarrassed to go. Anything anyone can remember about me would be at my expense. Best I keep myself to myself, eh?
  18. Indeed, having said that I try not to use the term aMeRiCaN aCcEnT because I try to pay as much common courtesy as I can by showing an interest in the person I'm speaking to. Most of the time it's just damn fool ignorance, and it's not even true that America has one accent. No, it doesn't offend me either per se, I just like different accents and seeing how different they are despite (in the case of Great Britain) the geographical distances. I suppose others don't share my same fascination.
  19. I think getting half way through the first boss fight of Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer was one of my earliest positive memories of games. Not even beating the boss, just getting close to it made me so giddy that I had to rush and find my dad and let him know. He was on the toilet, and the door was locked (thank God for small mercies for the both of us, right?) so he was a bit too occupied to congratulate me, but still, I was an autistic child with zero sense of boundaries and was playing the best video game ever made. Who wouldn't do that?
  20. I'd say the same of every digital platform ever: how long ago was it that 'cookie laws' were introduced, only 10 years? By that time they had just about everyone on the planet's information, and had sold it to those who don't. Even Steam has metadata via achievements, anticheat and the hardware survey. Uplay however was the absolute worst of the bunch for the reasons above (trojans, incorrectly identifying hardware, always online not working both ways), at least once upon a time; Tencent has its claws in more things than I care to remember. *shudders* Because Nintendo hate clean drinking water. Joking aside, it was due to popular demand that people wanted to show off their games on their shelves. As far as I'm aware it dated back to a fan project someone did, where they made mock box-art for digital-only games to be placed inside empty Switch cases. It's a cute idea but unnecessarily wasteful.
  21. Overhyped and/or overrated because that's what the thread's about. I'm of the opinion it's both. It's a fine game but it is not fully deserving of its praise, particularly from its more rabid defenders.
  22. F.E.A.R is usually held up as the masterclass in AI, not because it's highly advanced but rather its simple processes. Enemies have a list of priorities or goals, and will execute them or deprioritise them as they encounter the player. Communicate (triggering others' priorities), take cover, throw grenades, cover fire, blind fire and flank are some basic commands they can be prompted to perform. If you want to read a particularly spooky creative writing exercise about enemies getting tougher, I'd recommend SCP-1633: The Most Dangerous Video Game, which is not wholly unlike Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid.
  23. Sure, more is always welcome. As little as I like the increasingly over-the-top nature of Saints Row, I am amused by one of the games featuring a zombie voice, where your character just groans every line. More games should take themselves a little less seriously and goof around, and I think voice lines are one such way of going about that. The lack of casting more voice actors, or commissioning more voice lines, is also quite a good argument for unvoiced characters. Either do it properly or not at all, as sometimes going without voice lines works better than with a meagre amount.
  24. No, I think it's entirely based on the design of the game. Immersion's something of a nothing-word in games discourse anyway because it's overused to the point where its definition is lost and its everyone has different ways of being immersed. Developers and publishers also use the word without explaining why the game is immersive, because saying it is immersive does not make it so. Some people are immersed by in-game engine cutscenes, others cinematics, meanwhile I prefer none at all. Some people are immersed by flight, some aren't. Some people are immersed by quest markers, some prefer journals, and some prefer nothing at all. If personality traits do influence it, I'm not sure what they would be. I'd need to see a few examples before the argument clicks with me, I'm afraid. This may well be an interesting topic if developed upon though: what's more important? The personality traits or the design?
  25. This is a huge concern for me also, and frankly there's not enough questions being raised. Gabe Newell's original statement on being able to play games externally should Steam up and die has not only been lost to page 2 of Google and beyond, it's also increasingly apocryphal. Steam customer service aren't particularly helpful (and in their defence, what exactly are they going to say?), and whatever contingencies are in place to allow you to continue playing your games library will likely cease to work as the games industry rapidly evolves. We've seen how slow legislation on loot boxes has been, even coming to a dead stop in Britain, so how the legal requirement for preservation of digital games (read: the arts) is going to come about before DRM puts the lid on it I've no idea. Agreed. Even in the used market it's difficult to find a game too scratched to play. Computer Exchange (CeX, har har) won't take them, and the only big game retailer here in England - GAME - is even more choosey about what they take. Disc rot is the only true threat to the longer life of video games, but as you say discs and cartridges have been around for decades. Meanwhile digital and ownership sets to worsen each time a game is pulled from Steam, from Castle of Illusion to Alpha Protocol. That's an interesting observation, my experience is the opposite unless we count used sales (which obviously don't have a tangible benefit to the publisher). Then again the last time I paid attention to the used market was about 8 years ago when I was still on console. That takes me back to when Uplay was Public Enemy Number One for basically opening a backdoor on users' PCs for trojans, among other things. At least they'd shown us bright and early the woes of digital. It's a shame convenience has overshadowed them, and I include myself in that. ~ Eh, I've had my fun and I've no longer the will to fight against the removal of digital ownership (what little we had in the first place). That just about sums up my own thoughts without piggybacking off of someone else's comment.
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