Still playing Control
. I think I'm near the end now. On to chapter 8. Honestly as time has gone on I've started to get a bit weary of it. I mean, I still do think it's more good than bad, but certain irritations have been harder to ignore as the game has gone on, as the honeymoon period wore off. I won't go too much in to it now since I expect I'll say more in the Games Completed thread, but I will say that the tone that the game aims for is very hard to maintain. That sense of spooky mystery really struggles to stick around through the growing familiarity of playing.
And the combat has turned out to be a bit anticlimactic. Although it's still not bad to play (when the frame rate isn't tanking at least) it doesn't feel like it has evolved much over the game. The powers that you have feel underdeveloped. They each have an unlock tree, but all of the unlocks are pretty boring. Mostly just making them a fraction more powerful, not really adding any new wrinkles to how the game plays.
Side content is generally pretty poor too. A lot of it is going through old areas and trying to hunt down some object, and finding said objects is always massively tedious. It will frequently be hidden away in some corner, with nothing pointing out that it is important in any way. There have been a few optional bosses too, which have not been fun. They're hard for really bad reasons, usually because they throw some hazard at you during the fight which you can't see coming because it's from off-screen. These can be one-hit kills too.
On the contrary I've been really enjoying Greedfall
still. The quest writing has still been really good, although I think after playing more I've started to know what to expect from them a bit better, so they are a little less surprising. They still throw up some really interesting sequences and concepts fairly frequently though, so I'm still hooked on it. Although, now having put some thought in to it, I think the actual characters themselves aren't that great. They are fine, but they are not particularly deep. Not bad, but kind of middling. The quests and events they go through are more interesting. And your companions will often make comments on the events they join you in, in a way that shows they all have a different perspective on things, which is pretty cool.
I didn't mention gameplay last time, so on that front, I do like it, but I don't think it's anything that special. Combat is real-time, sort of Witcher-like. It's pretty stiff and doesn't have a huge amount to it, but it gets the job done. It's satisfying enough to hit stuff with your sword, and you can parry incoming attacks if you time it properly, which helps it be a little bit more than just straight attacking and dodging. You can use guns for longer range attacks, but they fire very slowly. There is a modest variety of spells to, but they are pretty simple. Bread and butter stuff, nothing fancy. And you have magic rings too that allow you to do ranged magic attacks, that are much faster but less powerful than guns. Recently I've settled in to a play style of having a long two-handed sword with a magic ring, and a handful of spells that help with the close quarters stuff. It's a nice mix of stuff.
There's also a pretty cool equipment upgrade/crafting system that I really like. Most armour and weapon types have slots that you can fill with crafted upgrades, and each upgrade has a unique look to it and can affect different stats. You can customise the same piece of gear quite a lot to your liking, according to what things you want to focus on. So it provides a lot of variety both visually and in terms of how you want to built your character. It makes your gear feel much more like your own too.
And lastly I've been having a little poke around with Asphalt 9
on the Switch. Usually I'd never touch a F2P mobile-style game like this, but this one has created a bit of a positive buzz, so I thought I might as well give a look, especially with how slim pickings are for good racing game these days, especially on the Switch. And it's actually pretty cool. It looks fantastic. I guess the devs have this game optimised like crazy with how many different mobile platforms it must be running on, and how similar the architecture of the Switch is too. It's got a really polished presentation, with really nice environments, car models, lighting, and post-processing, and it's all really smooth too. It feels like 60fps, without any noticeable dip either. But I'm not sure I'm even confident it is, because it looks too good to be running that well!
The handling model is pretty nice as well. Very arcadey, with tight handling and streamlined drifting mechanics. It's Burnout-like, but not quite, as the cars feel a tad heavier, and the drifting doesn't work in quite the same way. But it's still very responsive and approachable, and very well polished. Though when I first started I was a bit worried, as it appeared as if there was some input lag, but that seemed to go away once I got in to a better car. But in general it feels really good, and is honestly the best feeling handling of this type I've come across in years. They could totally build a fully fledged AAA game using this handling model and it would stand up more than well enough.
But then there's all the F2P trappings. They're nowhere near as bad as I was expecting, but they still make the game feel kind of cheap and manipulative. Although so far I haven't felt pushed to spend any real money at all, and it's been very generous with handing out stuff. I have played a decent few hours of it so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm still in the early days and that things won't stay this sweet forever. The career screen does say that I'm still like 1% through the game, so yeah. But on the other hand, the way it's so generous is part of what makes it feel suspicious. The game has a really confusing amount of currencies and resources and such. Way more than it really needs. But every time you feel like you've had enough of the game, it throws another little reward at you to keep you playing. It feels kind of cynical because of that, in a way that is really uncanny. Like somehow, time and time again, they knew the exact
point someone might decide to quit playing, and they put a reward there to keep you going. Every time. Especially when it comes to running out of fuel for your car. The races themselves are all also extremely short. Early on, it's very rare for them to be much more than 30 to 40 seconds
long. At the point I am, they are a bit longer, but still pretty short. And when you put the short races together with the absurd abundance of rewards, the game really feels like it's more interested in throwing prizes at you than it is about just letting you play. It even feels like I've spent more time going through reward screens and opening card packs than I actually have driving.
But despite all that I would still say it's worth checking out, for curiosity anyway. I have got some decent fun out of it so far without feeling pressured to spend anything, and the handling is actually genuinely good. It makes me wish they would make a sequel to this that's a proper fully fleshed out "premium" game instead. I'd be on board.
BaileyBoy wrote: ↑
November 11th, 2019, 11:00 am
It seems like I'm definitely in the minority and obviously all the positive discourse around this game is just as valid as my criticism.
It's a game that while playing I was thinking "I should like this. Why don't I?" which prompted me to examine what it is exactly that compells me to spend sometimes hundreds of hours in these games...
Interesting comparison to draw between immersive sims and Bethesda games. Although I'm not quite sure I agree. I guess I can see where you're coming from with that idea, but I don't think Beth games have really been like that for a while. In fact that probably plays a role in how they got popular in the first place.
You could probably say early Elder Scrolls games have some immersive sim DNA in them. You could draw a thread starting with Ultima Underworld inspiring the ES series. But as the series went on they became far less focused on systems interacting with each other. That streamlining of the games that is much maligned in some circles. But whether anyone thinks it's a good thing or not, those games definitely tried to focus down on a specific gameplay loop of looting dungeons and sifting through the spoils, to provide motivation to explore the world. Not so much messing around with RPG systems that can break the game in weird ways.
I've not played The Outer Worlds, since I'm not particularly interested in it. But from what I can tell, the buzz around it is mostly that it's basically a Beth/3D style Fallout, but with better writing and some actual polish. Not really that it has any relation to immersive sims.