Some thoughts about the autumnal explosion of games - LONG

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Some thoughts about the autumnal explosion of games - LONG

Unread postby Christian » Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:25 pm

Quite Possibly containing spoilers. Beware.

So, here we are. It's mid-november and we're all busy as bees with studies, work or other late-autumn chores.

And then BOOM, game explosion.

I haven't by far gotten all the games I want to play, but time and money are thankfully both in short supply, or I would be in some serious trouble with my own studies.

The games I have played recently are:

Dead Space
Fallout 3
the Demo of Left 4 Dead

First of all, Dead Space;

This is a good game. If you're a survival-game fantast who enjoy Resident Evil and your occasional BOO-horror, this is the game for you. I found the additional material (comics and movie) enjoyable and they certainly added some more flavour to the otherwise, admittadly, bland storyline. They did a damn good job with the interface and most of the logs you find are all interesting reads/hearings.

Gameplay-wise the camera-angle is poor. Naturally, they went for immersement with the close-up third-person camera, but most of the times it's just annoying. I've read some forums where people claim this to be part of the "Isaac's a mechanic, so of course combat has to be difficult"; this is of course utter flabberglabber; camera has nothing to do with how good a person is with fighting. It's manageable, but something you get kinda locked into corners, or miss important things. Luckily you can rotate the camera, so that keeps it at least functionable.

Design-wise I love this game. some people complained about how the ship was made all dark and spooky-like. Clearly some people didn't get to the later parts of the game. Red-carpet recreation-rooms is all I have to say about that matter. Enemies are sexily disgusting and Isaacs armor and its upgrades make me cry manly tears of joy. I absolutely love the slow build-up of protective pieces of whatever-the-hell those ceramic platings are.

I'm just wondering why Engineers would have to chuck out their own cash to make their uniform more protectice.

The armament is an interesting topic in itself; most likely the only reason you'd replay the game, at least in my opinion. I got stuck with the initial plasma cutter and the linegun until the final boss, where I sold the line-gun and got myself the strongest weapon and even had enough money to max its stats.

Zero-G was definitely amazingly done, but not really that interesting to me game-play wise. Mostly they involved annoying labyrinth-puzzles.

Finally, I'd just like to lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Internal Rogue Affairs. I know you guys like to do it from behind, but let some other people in on the cake; you don't have a monopoly of attacking from the back, every game should be able to offer that, not just World of Warcraft. ;)

---

Fallout 3 is an interesting purchase.

First of all, I had a hell of a time getting it to work. For the initial play-through I had to get used with getting booted out to Windows more or less on an hourly basis, but whether because of the recent patch, or simply because my system got used to it (a peculiarity of my computer; it takes it about five attempts to play a game before you can finally do it. Blue-screens aplenty) I don't know.

This is a game for fans. Honestly. Although I highly enjoy the times I've spent smashing open super-mutant skull with my trusted Fisto! in my hand and my even-more-trusted-yet-constantly-dying-dog Dogmeat at my side, I can't really shake the feeling that the game is, at least story-wise, pretty mediocre.

There's a lot of winking with the old crowd, and certainly many parts of the game ARE enjoyable; but so much of that is in the subquests, the main quest is just plain stupid really. Don't try to think too much about it when and if you play the game.

Some parts are, of course, absolutely brilliant. Anyone who have watched the pre-release videos have also more or less seen the best point in the game. It is ruined, however, with the apparent survival of one of the game's most annoying NPCs.

The VATS system is a nice touch, if a bit unnecessary. Especially when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. Target-shooting is of course fun and I had a lot more use of VATS on my first playthrough when I focused on smaller arms. Now I'm doing unarmed / heavy weaponry, and there's rarely a moment where I don't hit my intended target. Burnmaster love.

There's also the mixed hatred/joy of the Capital Wasteland Orienteering Squad. Getting somewhere is HARD. Really HARD. In my entire first play-through, I missed the fact that the compass generally points you to the next point-of-entry that you need to pass through to get to where you want. This lead to hours of frustration where I hit level 15 before I'd even finished one of the first major questline-quests in the game. >_>

Fallout 3 is a Post-apocalyptic Oblivion in many ways, but it is much, much better. The game still suffers from an incredible lack of voice-actors. You hear nearly every old person in the game being played by the same, very recognizable, voice actor. Some of the youngers ones are less distinguishable, but you always get a Deja Vú whenever you get to a new town.

I'm expecting some heavy patching in the near future for this game, as there are quite a lot of annoying little bugs that ruins the immensment for you. I'd also like to see the developers using more of the little tidbits of information they leave lying around here and there. Also, a lot of NPCs feel like they should be important, but that might just be Fallout 1 & 2 haunting me. If you could ever say more than "Hello, Goodbye" to a NPC, you could bet a thousand bottlecaps on him/her being an important part in a future quest.

The Bad Karma route is hard to play, but not impossible in this game. A lot of times, the only choices you have are saving someone (and getting rewards for it) or not (quite possibly even killing the person while not getting any rewards unless he/she had it on him/her), but from time to time you'll get a more... neutral evil response and that feels refreshing.

And then of course there's always that. One press of a button and I went from a complete saint to utterly neutral.

Anyway, graphic-wise the game is good, and music-wise as well. The tunes get repetitive after a while, sadly, and although there are a few unlockable radio-channels, nothing really piques your interest for more than an hour or two. Playing without a radio on offers some of the original scores of the game, scores that are far too good to be pushed into the sidelines like this.

Overall, if you're not a fan of the series, you'll probably see the game as a passing fancy; interesting, but hardly ZOMGPANCAKES good. Exploration is fun, if time-consuming, and if you're into unlocking secrets you'll have plenty to occupy yourself with. There have been additional content promised, so I'm looking forward to that.

If you ARE a fan, you probably already have this game.

---

Left 4 Dead

I just played the demo for the first time. Incredibly intense and interesting, if a bit confusing. Some of the graphics feel horribly flat and unworked at, but considering the amount of activity the game has to manage, I really don't feel like moaning too much about that.

It's exactly what I hoped for and a bit more, and even with AI-comrades I never felt that I wasn't being backed up. I naturally achieved more kills, but my health was also more often than not quite close to death.

Being something of a New Generation Zombie-Freak, Dawn of the Dead (remake) lover and such, I absolutely squealed in joy at the intro. While not nearly as intense as that, I did play on Normal and I have no doubt that with other people, I'll be screaming like a piglet when we do co-op.

Definitely worth looking into; the demo is free and downloadable from Steam, amongst other.



Ahhhh, writing something that's NOT an essay or otherwise homework-related is surprisingly refreshing.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:14 pm

Far Cry 2 is pretty rad when you're actually doing missions but each time I get a new one and see that it's all the way across the map, I'd rather switch over to Fallout 3 than drive 15 minutes to blow up a convoy and drive back.

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:31 pm

I'm with Zero here. The tedious traveling in Far Cry 2 stops the game from being fun, especially since enemy checkpoints respawn so quickly. The world is also surprisingly restrictive, a *ahem* far cry from the vast spaces of the first game. And Crysis.

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Unread postby Ark » Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:07 pm

I'm really, really enjoying Fallout 3, which is something as I totally disliked Oblivion and Morrowind. It's just far more fun to play and I enjoy the world and setting far more then those other previously mentioned games.

I'm handing out justice and peace to all, old western style, killing whole towns of slavers with nothing buy my trusty .32 ... and sub machine gun. Good times. There's a new law man in town and he ain't taking shit from no Raiders, Talon Mercs or Slavers. Oooh yeah.
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Unread postby Justice Augustus » Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:56 pm

For some reason Fallout 3 refuses to work on either of my machines, so I guess that's money down the drain...

However, just had my first go on the Left 4 Dead demo. Fantastic game. I played offline first just to get a feel for it, and my reaction was "pretty fun, but nothing amazing." Then I went online and joined a couple of random games on the harder difficulties. Fantastic. On easy and normal, the game doesn't have much pacing, and is sort of a constant semi-fast affair. Then you go onto the harder difficulties, and there'll be long periods with barely a single zombie followed by a mass horde of zombies and bosses. Plus some player will just run off ahead and you'll have to scramble to keep up, and sometimes if someone's moving a bit slowly they'll find themselves left behind...

I'd really like to try playing this with friends, rather than random players, as I figure with tactics it'd be fantastic.

[Edit - Christian, my steam id is in the discussion section, feel free to add me or pm me yours if you want to get a game going.]

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Unread postby Christian » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:31 pm

I just finished playing a couple of rounds on Expert with three friends.

Oh. My. God.

This game REALLY shines when both those criteria are filled.

What's especially interesting is that generally it gets harder the more players you have. Me playing with NPCs I finished all the way up to advanced easily, and finished roughly 2/3rds of the second map.

When playing with four, even advance is an arduous task.

My only gripes with the game right now is that the assault rifle / uzi run out of ammo WAY too fast. Even when I try to be restrictive with its usage, going as far as picking off strays and far-away's with the pistols, I still run out of ammo more or less halfway through
Shotgun... never that problem.

And the intro... Dear God, This is the kind of game I've been dreaming off for years.

I'll try to keep up with playing this together with my friends, but as the finals are looming I can't guarantee long periods of being online. Still...


Fallout 3 is kinda riddled with bugs; It seems to mostly be a graphic-card issue; they clearly didn't test the game enough before release. They're patching every now and then, but I'd recommend you drop by the official forums and check some advice posted by people with the same problem.

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Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:03 am

Or you could play the 360 version. You can ask Shini about that, he's been on it for a bit. Or you could wait until I get around to playing it, at which point you'll have a point of view from someone who hasn't played more than, like, an hour and a half of any Fallout games prior.
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Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:23 am

Trouble with playing Fallout 3 on the console is that you'll miss out on a metric shit-tonne of fan created content. Oblivion certainly had a load made for it, some being very good and ranging from new items/models/etc to complete overhauls of how the game works. That said, you do get to avoid the previously stated wonders of PC gaming (bugs, crashes, compatibility, etc).

I've lost interest in the game, as I did with Oblivion. Stopped playing for a bit and it lost it's grip on me. It's much better than Oblivion, though. Combat's more fun, not all the dialogue is piss poor and it's a generally more interesting setting, even with it's ham-fisted at being Fallout. I gripe, but I sunk scores of hours into it. And that one location in the South-West of the map managed to evoke genuine fear, which is certainly an accomplishment.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:03 pm

I seen blaster master modded into the game and that alone justifies the PC version,

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Unread postby Endesu » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:18 pm

To whit, Fallout 3 looks like a fine game as long as you're not comparing it to the original Fallout games. Then, it pales considerably.

I must be weird, because the only title coming out this fall that I plan on getting right away is SMT: Persona 4. Everything else can wait until I get a 360/better PC.

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Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:52 pm

Someday, someone is going to explain to me how Fallout 3 is playable while Fallout actively attempted to get me to stop playing it, but Fallout is still somehow superior.
"You haven't told me what I'm looking for."
"Anything that might be of interest to Slitscan. Which is to say, anything that might be of interest to Slitscan's audience. Which is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections."
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Unread postby Justice Augustus » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:18 pm

Well, you'll notice that the only people who say Fallout is superior to Fallout 3 are those who played them in that order. I wonder if someone who was introduced to Fallout by Fallout 3 would say the same thing? It would be kind of like seeing the opinion of someone who watched episode I-III of Star Wars first when they finally see The Empire Strikes Back.

Had a go on Expert difficulty of Left 4 Dead with 3 friends today. Great experience, but hard as hell. There really is a huge skill leap between the difficulties.

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Unread postby Endesu » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:39 am

PriamNevhausten wrote:Someday, someone is going to explain to me how Fallout 3 is playable while Fallout actively attempted to get me to stop playing it, but Fallout is still somehow superior.


And how exactly did Fallout attempt to make you stop playing? It was difficult, sure, but I don't really see how it's that difficult or that bad of a game. Further, Fallout 2, arguably, is a better game than the original... have you tried that?

And there are a number of people who have been introduced to the Fallout series by F3... give it some time, I'm sure there'll be plenty of people championing F3 over its predecessors.

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Unread postby Capntastic » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:29 pm

L4D versus is the most fun I've had with a game in a long time.

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Unread postby BrainWalker » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:54 pm

No one in this thread has mentioned Mirror's Edge. That makes me sad. Almost as sad as Mirror's Edge makes me, really. A really amazing mobility engine, fantastic atmosphere, and unique perspective as a first-person-don't-shoot-anybody, should make for a peerless gaming experience, but the game is soured considerably by its severe lack of combat options. I was willing to forgive the game this when I was reading reviews, because I figured the game was based around avoiding violence, but there are several places where they force you into conflict, and loading screens constantly tease you with silhouettes of the protagonist performing totally awesome combat maneuvers that the developers for whatever reason decided not to actually allow players to do. LAME.

Another bad game design decision: Making half your cut-scenes immersive in-game-engine experiences and half of them jarring animated shorts whose quality is very hit-or-miss.

I still really like the game, or at least the parts where you're running around like a modern day Prince(ss) of Persia, but man did they ever drop a couple of the balls they were trying to juggle.
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Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:25 pm

L4D is immense fun. I'm surprised I haven't run upstairs to play the full game yet.

And the Mirror's Edge demo made me love it, but reviews warned me of a lacking narrative and overly short story mode which makes me hesitant to buy it at full price. Especially when it's coming to the PC down the line, hopefully with full support for the 360 controller.

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Unread postby Christian » Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:25 am

Being that Valve decided to close down the demo of L4D in order to use the dedicated servers for the real game, I can no longer play it.

Which kinda sucks.

I'll see if my budget allows me to buy it come payday, but I'm not sure I have the time for it anyway...




Nah, who am I kidding? I juggled LoTR-Online when I took my last finals, and that went okay. I think I can handle a FPS to play with whenever I'm actually home.


And I admit, this game's got me hooked something fiercely; I love all the little touches like Louis' tribute to Shawn of the Dead, the breaking down of doors, multiple paths of travel, etc. I can't wait to get my hands on the real deal...

They still ought to fix the ammo counter though. :(

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:33 am

WITCHES IN BOTTLENECKS. AAAAARGH.

It also seems the full game is harder than the demo. Advanced was giving me significantly more trouble than it had before on the early levels of No Mercy.

Edit: I found me a new spray.

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Unread postby Christian » Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:34 pm

That is an AWESOME spray!

Gonna use it on my next play-through.

And some impressions of L4D


God damn but this game is awesome. I really. Utterly. Mean it.

It's incredibly good at making you RAGE in frustration when your friend is pulled away, once more, by a smoker because he either a) Lagged behind or b) ran ahead. But you still risk your ass by diving into a mob of kick-hungry screechers just to get him out of there; guns ablazing.

There've been so many "ohshitohshitohshitohshit", "We're never going to survive thi... holy shit we survived" and "oh fuck witch" moments, I can't pick out a single one to talk about.

The best moments, or the worst depending on how you look at it, is when you close the door of the safe-house, leaving one of your friends outside, overrun by zombies...

I mean shit, this game... wow! It's just... blowing my mind, every time I play it.

And when you're a zombie... hell, if you're a boomer, it's your job to die; get in close and die. I can totally go with that concept.

I don't much like the hunter though, I'm just not subtle enough.

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Unread postby FlamingDeth » Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:33 am

I played Left 4 Dead at my brother's house on thanksgiving. I might have to end up getting it, just because I tend to like co-op FPSes. The "stand still and oh god horde of zombies" thing was clever, forces you to keep going rather than standing back and clearing the next area from a distance with sniper rifles.

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:16 am

Versus mode makes it even more imperative to keep moving. Even a poor Infected team will wear you down eventually, and distance travelled + quick completion = POINTS. Which is important because you'll all be dying 9 times out of 10.

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Unread postby Ark » Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:35 pm

I've even played with people whose mission it was to set off every car alarm, alert every witch, and get close to every boomer just to bring in the hordes at every opportunity--and it was still fun to play.

Damn smokers though. Nothing worse than having a good 4 team all 'round defence only to be dragged off to some far corner, where the horde of zombies block any path to get to you.

Truly though, the zombie apocalypse has never been so much fun.
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Unread postby Christian » Sun Nov 30, 2008 3:18 pm

I think it should be informed through the helper that you can melee your friends away from Smokers, you don't need to shoot the smoker itself.

I kinda found it obvious and figured it out quickly, but I've played tons of games where I end up either getting dragged into death or shot at by my team-mates because they use melee too infrequently.

There is no such thing as using too much melee.

And yeah, I really agree about the rushing part. I'm a bit TOO rushy and end up getting ahead of friends who want to pick off every single zombie, but the way I see it, once you see the safe-house, you don't stop. You don't turn around... at most you'd use a pipe-bomb.

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Nov 30, 2008 3:53 pm

Well, if you're getting hit you kinda have to turn around. Slows you down something dreadful.

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Unread postby Christian » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:34 pm

That is true. Generally if you don't have any runners on you, just running and timing window-jumping, etc. Will save you. Redundant information of course, but I've counted at the minimum about 1 to ½ sec lag from discovery to running... And if you don't have your flashlight on, or clear a path with a shotgun, some won't even notice you...

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Unread postby Christian » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:37 pm

Holy shit the fourth campaign is impossible...

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Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:11 pm

Blood Harvest is pretty fun! But the last stand at the end is pretty tricky. Once, in versus, the opposing survivor team had survived until the APC arrived. We then managed to incapacitate all of them, one being a mere few meters away from the ramp. It can all go to shit very, very quickly, as the house seems to be harder to defend than the one in Death Toll.


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