Whatcha Been Playing?

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
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BaileyBoy
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by BaileyBoy » November 9th, 2019, 11:33 pm

Started Outer Worlds this week, played up to the end of the first planet and I think that's me done. Having enjoyed pretty much all of Obsidian's output over the last 15 or so years and also being a fan of Bethesda's RPGs from which this game takes so many cues, I'm a little surprised I'm not seeing what so many others clearly are.
It feels like a game with a severe identity crisis, being uncomfortably similar aesthetically and mechanically to the recent fallout games with not enough ideas of it's own to feel like anything other than an obviously lower budget imitation.
I've seen it being favourably compared to the BGS rpgs citing the superior writing and quest design but to me, the quest design boils down to more or less the same kinds of objectives, mechanically speaking, with a slightly more flavourful context.
What you lose though is the extra spice that the more advanced physics, AI and world simulation of the BGS titles brings to the gameplay.
And while I do agree that in general, the writing here is generally of a higher standard than say, fallout 4, for me it doesn't come anywhere close to Obsidian's own New Vegas or any of their recent crop of crpg throwback titles of recent years.
I also find it a little visually inconsistent, not in terms of fidelity but it feels like the world lacks a certain artistry and composition. It all looks a bit messy with garish colour clashing in it's outdoor environments and a lack of distinctive architecture in it's towns etc.
I think I've discovered that in this type of immersive SIM light style of RPG it's actually the strength of the world design that keeps me playing. The atmosphere that's created by meticulously designed environments (fallout 3's greatest strength) that encourages me to explore or the complex systems interactions (New Vegas' factions for example) that keep me invested in the game's world.
This game feels like it's learnt the wrong lessons from it's all too obvious inspiration and I can't help but be disappointed.
That said, I'm glad so many others are enjoying it and maybe a future sequel with the backing of Microsoft's financial clout can bring with it more of what I love about these games.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79uk » November 10th, 2019, 8:12 am

I played the first five hours of MGSV:The Phantom Pain last night, in lieu of Death Stranding. I really enjoyed it. I've been meaning to play it for years, and played the prologue ages ago but never went back. I've done a couple of missions now. There's nothing quite like a MGS game, is there? Really enjoying the gameplay, although I've not encountered much of the MGS weirdness yet, other than floating baddies and a man on fire. I kind of miss the lengthy exposition dumps and cut scenes though, to be honest. I like listening to the mission tapes before heading off, which makes up for it a little. I've also been reading and watching various 'MGS catch up' articles and videos made prior to V's release, because its been ages since I played through the series and forgot most of the back story. Great so far, anyway. I'm hoping it sticks, as I'm really struggling to focus on anything at the moment.

I've also got back in to Rocket League. I go through phases but I've been playing it every time I switch the PS4 on for the last few weeks. I'll always have a few matches at the end of a game session. I've gone back to casual play instead of competitive because I was sick of getting abuse if you miss a shot or fail to save a goal going in. Casual seems a lot more relaxed, plus the general skill level is relatively lower meaning I managed to score 11 goals in four games last night haha. Would be great if anyone wanted to get together next Fri or Saturday evening for a few matches on PS4?

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman » November 10th, 2019, 4:55 pm

I remembered I owned Garou: Mark of the Wolves on iOS and wondered if it had PS4 controller support now - it has, so played through the story mode and enjoying survival now; not really a fighting fan but thus always resonated! Same story for Metal Slug 3, except I quickly remembered it ever resonated!

On Apple Arcade, I’m loving Sneaky Sasquatch - really laid back, addictive fun where you’re causing mischief, exploring, upgrading and doing simple quests and survival tasks until it gets dark, which invokes this Harvest Moon / Stardew Valley “just one more day” mentality. Monomals is well-hyped and ultra-slick in a Rayman style, but I just didn’t get on with the controls, whether touch or physical. Sociable Soccer might be from the Sensible Soccer dev, but without doubt was originally meant to be free-to-play with a kind of FUT mechanic that unfortunately I’ve got no time for. Still enjoying Redout Space Assault and Stela, but need to plough through them now because they’re taking up way too much iPad space! Like Mosaic was for the ten minutes it took to decide it was boring and reminded me of Heavy Rain...

Also 7 hours into Uncharted 4. I’ve enjoyed the story so far, and the puzzles, but I think the combat and climbing, etc. feel last-gen, and there’s too much trial-and-error in exploration, especially that awful sliding downwards thing. I did love playing Crash Bandicoot in-game though - didn’t see that coming!

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ThirdMan
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by ThirdMan » November 10th, 2019, 6:18 pm

stvnorman wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 4:55 pm
Also 7 hours into Uncharted 4. I’ve enjoyed the story so far, and the puzzles, but I think the combat and climbing, etc. feel last-gen, and there’s too much trial-and-error in exploration, especially that awful sliding downwards thing. I did love playing Crash Bandicoot in-game though - didn’t see that coming!
I thought that Uncharted 4 was a real slog. Uncharted 2 was the only other game I'd played in the series and I was quite surprised by how little the basic gameplay had advanced during the interim.

It's as its best with those quiet, almost 'walking simulator' moments. You'll have played the opening section in the attic. Well there are a few more of those types of scenes. For me they had more in common with The Last of Us DLC, Left Behind, than the Uncharted games proper. I'm hoping for a lot more of that type of thing in The Last of Us Part II.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Suits » November 10th, 2019, 6:55 pm

BaileyBoy wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 11:33 pm
Started Outer Worlds this week, played up to the end of the first planet and I think that's me done. Having enjoyed pretty much all of Obsidian's output over the last 15 or so years and also being a fan of Bethesda's RPGs from which this game takes so many cues, I'm a little surprised I'm not seeing what so many others clearly are.
It feels like a game with a severe identity crisis, being uncomfortably similar aesthetically and mechanically to the recent fallout games with not enough ideas of it's own to feel like anything other than an obviously lower budget imitation.
I've seen it being favourably compared to the BGS rpgs citing the superior writing and quest design but to me, the quest design boils down to more or less the same kinds of objectives, mechanically speaking, with a slightly more flavourful context.
What you lose though is the extra spice that the more advanced physics, AI and world simulation of the BGS titles brings to the gameplay.
And while I do agree that in general, the writing here is generally of a higher standard than say, fallout 4, for me it doesn't come anywhere close to Obsidian's own New Vegas or any of their recent crop of crpg throwback titles of recent years.
I also find it a little visually inconsistent, not in terms of fidelity but it feels like the world lacks a certain artistry and composition. It all looks a bit messy with garish colour clashing in it's outdoor environments and a lack of distinctive architecture in it's towns etc.
I think I've discovered that in this type of immersive SIM light style of RPG it's actually the strength of the world design that keeps me playing. The atmosphere that's created by meticulously designed environments (fallout 3's greatest strength) that encourages me to explore or the complex systems interactions (New Vegas' factions for example) that keep me invested in the game's world.
This game feels like it's learnt the wrong lessons from it's all too obvious inspiration and I can't help but be disappointed.
That said, I'm glad so many others are enjoying it and maybe a future sequel with the backing of Microsoft's financial clout can bring with it more of what I love about these games.
Great post.

Whilst I ‘overall’ land on a different side to yourself, it’s interesting to read your points on it 👍🏽.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman » November 10th, 2019, 7:05 pm

ThirdMan wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 6:18 pm
I thought that Uncharted 4 was a real slog. Uncharted 2 was the only other game I'd played in the series and I was quite surprised by how little the basic gameplay had advanced during the interim.
Know what you mean. It often feels very awkward, and having just been through the Nathan Drake Collection, can definitely agree it hasn’t really moved on. I think the story is keeping it from feeling like a slog. I love how the odds are so stacked against you time and time again, and even though you know you’ll get through somehow, you don’t know how. It’s a bit like watching The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestling matches from their glory days!

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79uk » November 10th, 2019, 10:08 pm

Ah harsh, I felt it moved on a bit. Felt more fluid and less clunky. I loved the grappling hook, too.

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ThirdMan
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by ThirdMan » November 10th, 2019, 11:11 pm

Alex79uk wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 10:08 pm
Ah harsh, I felt it moved on a bit. Felt more fluid and less clunky. I loved the grappling hook, too.
The grappling hook was fun but became boring through overuse. The climbing was slightly more involved as well to be fair. So yeah, there were improvements but overall it struck me as a beautiful looking PS3 game.

To each, their own etc. I'm glad you took something more from the experience.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 10th, 2019, 11:23 pm

Today: some fun Power Stone 2 multiplayer incoherence, some embarrassing display of personal incompetence on Bomberman Generation, some neat Halo:Combat Evolved campaign coop (Assault on the Control Room, forever a classic), a soupçon of Ninja Gaiden Black to lift my spirits before the very same spirits came crashing down as a result of the nastiest parts of the original God of War.

A day well spent, overall. :)
Spoiler: show
Oh, and I saw a heron waiting for a green light and very politely cross the road afterwards, so that's apparently a thing now. Might be a cultural phenomenon of sorts.

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BaileyBoy
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by BaileyBoy » November 11th, 2019, 10:00 am

Suits wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 6:55 pm
BaileyBoy wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 11:33 pm
Started Outer Worlds this week, played up to the end of the first planet and I think that's me done. Having enjoyed pretty much all of Obsidian's output over the last 15 or so years and also being a fan of Bethesda's RPGs from which this game takes so many cues, I'm a little surprised I'm not seeing what so many others clearly are.
It feels like a game with a severe identity crisis, being uncomfortably similar aesthetically and mechanically to the recent fallout games with not enough ideas of it's own to feel like anything other than an obviously lower budget imitation.
I've seen it being favourably compared to the BGS rpgs citing the superior writing and quest design but to me, the quest design boils down to more or less the same kinds of objectives, mechanically speaking, with a slightly more flavourful context.
What you lose though is the extra spice that the more advanced physics, AI and world simulation of the BGS titles brings to the gameplay.
And while I do agree that in general, the writing here is generally of a higher standard than say, fallout 4, for me it doesn't come anywhere close to Obsidian's own New Vegas or any of their recent crop of crpg throwback titles of recent years.
I also find it a little visually inconsistent, not in terms of fidelity but it feels like the world lacks a certain artistry and composition. It all looks a bit messy with garish colour clashing in it's outdoor environments and a lack of distinctive architecture in it's towns etc.
I think I've discovered that in this type of immersive SIM light style of RPG it's actually the strength of the world design that keeps me playing. The atmosphere that's created by meticulously designed environments (fallout 3's greatest strength) that encourages me to explore or the complex systems interactions (New Vegas' factions for example) that keep me invested in the game's world.
This game feels like it's learnt the wrong lessons from it's all too obvious inspiration and I can't help but be disappointed.
That said, I'm glad so many others are enjoying it and maybe a future sequel with the backing of Microsoft's financial clout can bring with it more of what I love about these games.
Great post.

Whilst I ‘overall’ land on a different side to yourself, it’s interesting to read your points on it 👍🏽.
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.
Ever since system shock 2 introduced me to the immersive sim genre, it's produced many of my favourite games of all time. Deus Ex, bioshock, prey 2017 to name a few.
These games have always been few and far between however and many recent attempts (Dishonored 2, Prey, Mankind Divided) have been met with poor sales despite great critical reception leading to concern that the genre is no longer commercially viable, which has been heartbreaking for me.
Running parallel to this has been the catapulting of Bethesda's previously niche line of RPGs into the mainstream. I myself, have been playing them since Morrowind and found what I felt to be the next evolutionary step of the immersive sim.
The same concepts of player agency in gameplay, systems simulations giving rise to emergent storytelling/gameplay opportunities and dense, detailed worlds which are heavily interactable and of course the 1st person perspective, only now spread over an enormous open world.
This has long seemed like a strange juxtaposition to me, who saw the success of games like Skyrim/Fallout as the mainstream finally embracing the immersive sim. That it hasn't led to a revival of the genre is puzzling, but I've been happy that I've been able to get my fix through a steady release of high quality games from BGS (and Obsidion with New Vegas) as the industry at large moves away from it.
Which brings me back to The Outer Worlds. Though superficially similar to Fallout/Elder Scrolls, I don't feel the DNA of the immersive sim like I do with those titles. It's emulated the structure, but doesn't have the guts. It's world is not a simulation and isn't built with the same attention to detail. It has different priorities, different enough that I've had my fill after 10 hours instead of 100.
That it's been met with so much acclaim and strong sales tells me that I've had a fundamental misunderstanding of the mainstream appeal of these types of games and helps me understand why the aforementioned revival of the immersive sim never came to pass.
It is only one game however and though true immersive sims are becoming a rarity, I increasingly find elements of the genre seeping into other games, much like how RPG style character progression has become ubiquitous and genre agnostic over the last 20 years or so.
I do hope that we get more titles that can bring all the elements I enjoy under one roof and with games like Cyberpunk on the horizon I might just get my wish.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Flabyo » November 11th, 2019, 10:42 am

With the Outer Worlds my opinion of it lessened the further I got with it. It starts out feeling a lot like a typical Obsidian game, but in the end:

- the writing isn’t as good as their usual standard
- the companion characters are mostly unlikeable
- there isn’t enough enemy and item variety
- the plot is very weak
- it’s far too easy

It’s worth playing cause it’s on gamepass so just *there*, but if I’d bought it full price I’d probably be a little annoyed with myself.

Some of the praise I’ve read about it seems to be more a reaction to how poor fallout 76 is rather than how good Outer Worlds is.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by BaileyBoy » November 11th, 2019, 3:27 pm

Flabyo wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 10:42 am
With the Outer Worlds my opinion of it lessened the further I got with it. It starts out feeling a lot like a typical Obsidian game, but in the end:

- the writing isn’t as good as their usual standard
- the companion characters are mostly unlikeable
- there isn’t enough enemy and item variety
- the plot is very weak
- it’s far too easy

It’s worth playing cause it’s on gamepass so just *there*, but if I’d bought it full price I’d probably be a little annoyed with myself.

Some of the praise I’ve read about it seems to be more a reaction to how poor fallout 76 is rather than how good Outer Worlds is.
I think those are all fair criticisms. Interestingly though they are criticisms I would also level at Bethesda's games which I greatly enjoy.
I feel like without the more sim like elements and carefully considered level and world design, you're left with a game with all the flaws of it's inspiration and very few of it's merits

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by DeadpoolNegative » November 11th, 2019, 10:05 pm

Superman Returns: The Videogame- complete this a few weeks back on the 360. The infamous tornado fight is actually kind of fun, even though it's a ridiculous way to end the game. I think it's bizarre that Tiburon couldn't find a way to incorporate the big continent lifting set piece into the final game, even as a button masher. But again, this may be because they never had a full script- the game's ending plays out much like the film did, except that Richard and Jason are nowhere to be seen, or even mentioned. Also, Sam Huntington has one line in the game and his face is hideous.

I retain some bizarre affection for this game, you can see the skeleton of a really cool, easygoing open world Superman game that i really wish some ambitious developer would take another crack at again. The combat was a bust, but as I said, flying around still felt good.

Batman: Arkham Knight- thanks, Playstation Plus! I guess. I remember being so hyped and excited for this game on XBox One and I wound up HATING it in the end. So naturally the only thing to do is give it another try on PS4, especially since the Season Pass content I never tried was half price last week.

This time around, now that I know what I was getting into with the Batmobile stuff, I was able to deal accordingly. It's still some pretty awful handling, even after four years I know Rocksteady wasn't obligated to patch anything but it would have been nice. The Riddler tracks are just frustrating. The controls still remain so floaty and weird and almost like the game is working against you. This time around, I noticed just how lovingly and astonishingly detailed the buildings of Gotham are this time around... and all the game wants me to do is speed through them as quickly as possible. All that effort and you hardly ever see it because you're fighting tanks the whole time.

The game's story might be one of the worst I've ever played, and I know technically a game's story shouldn't matter but there is, like, a LOT of it. And none of it makes any sense, and worse, depends on Batman being a truly horrible person to his allies. Which is ironic since the much derided Arkham Origins was about Batman realizing he can't go it alone and it's okay to accept help. In Arkham Knight he's deceptive and shitty to Robin and Commissioner Gordon and puts people in danger simply because the plot needs him to. To elaborate further would require me to go into heavy spoilers, so I will:
Spoiler: show
All right. So Batman knew his was infected with the Joker Toxin for MONTHS and knew he was potentially dangerous but... didn't do anything about it. His work was "Too important" but we never hear WHAT he was doing in those months while he imprisoned the Jokerized citizens and had that award winning geneticist and psychiatrist Tim Drake working on them (He certainly wasn't making sure Edward Nygma was building RACETRACKS UNDERGROUND). In fact, Gordon says things have been CALM since then The Joker's death. As an aside about Gordon, he doesn't seem to recognize the Jokerized, even though three of them have committed serious crimes according to the data files. Scarecrow kills Barbara Gordon... yet Batman, who's been hallucinating the Joker ever since he got out of Ace Chemical, doesn't suspect this might be a fakeout? more Joker gas? Are you kidding me? He doesn't examine the body? Or send the GCPD out to recover it? You gotta try harder here, guys.

The Joker is... sigh. While it benefits from Mark Hamill's enthusiasm... I just didn't care. He rarely has anything interesting to say, and doesn't affect the plot unless it's necessary. Not to mention the sheer ridiculousness of it all- is it actually the Joker's personality somehow infecting Batman or just some sort of psychotic break? Which leads me to my next complaint:

Okay, in NONE of those conversations the Joker has with Bruce... only when the plot needs it to happen, we find out Jason Todd exists in this game's universe despite NEVER being mentioned in Asylum or City. Rocksteady claimed that Arkham Knight was a new character and even put in a Red Hood story pack to throw us off the trail, but Troy Baker's vocal inflections are too easy to recognize so I twigged to it immediately. But by putting the Red Hood in game it makes the persona of Arkham Knight even more unnecessary because Batman wouldn't know who the hell the Red Hood is either! The game makes the mistake of thinking we'll care about all this because it was in the comics, but I don't that much, manly because most of the Knight's dialogue is terrible, but mainly because the universe of the Arkham games is an all new universe and we need context for this universe. I read the original Red Hood storyline over a decade ago and liked it, but I can't transplant that into this in my head. IT's the same with Talia's death in City. You've got to do the work.
The voice performances are pretty nice, though strangely I can't get past Jonathan Banks and John Noble as Gordon and the Scarecrow, respectively. It's just odd to me, though I like both actors. Noble in particular seems wrong for the fear obsessed Scarecrow, prone to boring, pompous pronouncements that make him far less threatening than he should be. Batman's final confrontation with him should satisfying but it just... is there. Also, it's in a cut scene, because Scarecrow wasn't a priority, something else was.

the DLC was decent, but I'm glad I got it cheap. It was a lot of fun to play Batgirl, and the Harley Quinn and Red Hood story packs were inspired. Catwoman at least tries to be different with its stealth mechanics. NIghtwing and Robin... eh, they were okay. but those packs are SHORT

The new villain missions added to the main game are pretty good. Considering how didactic the games are about Batman killing when these games have Joker, Hugo Strange, and other villains straight up massacring hundreds of people per game I was glad the Ra's storyline gave me an actual choice. The Freeze story was surprisingly bleak.

Dead Space 2- the only one I haven't played, and here's a depleted uranium take: while Dead Space and Dead Space 2 are both pretty darn good games, I have to say Dead Space 3, as hilariously inconsistent and silly as that game's story and as mercenary as the microtransactions are, 3 is still my favorite. I gathered that 2 is considered the best of the series (and I'm sure you all will correct me if I'm incorrect), but I found it kind of plodding at points, retreading a lot of the ground of the previous game. I certainly didn't like visiting the Ishimura again.

It doesn't help much that Isaac Clarke isn't given much of a character now that he's got a voice actor and lines. Gunnar Wright tries his best but he's got very little to work with. There's plenty of ooky antics to be had as Isaac clomps through the the Titan station, and boy, with this and Dante's Inferno, somebody at Visceral really did love dead monster babies, didn't they? The day care sequence is a little too over the top but on the other hand, it's imaginatively nasty. But eventually all the hallways where people once were and text logs and audio logs talking about how crazy things were and how they were all doomed begin to blur into each other. It's funny how the deep mythology of Unification and the Marker get short shrift in these games, except for the 3rd one. I think it would have been more interesting if Isaac himself was a Unitologist or a former unitologist. It might have made for more investment in the character. (or, perhaps, even more sequences where Isaac had to use his engineering know how, or a sliver of anything besides Nicole)

Once Ellie shows up- too late in the narrative, in my opinion- at least we get someone else to talk to who's got a personality. Stross never goes anywhere as a character. And it wraps up nicely too, though I'm ready for that third play through of Dead Space 3 more.

I will say that while I understand the lack of inventory is there to create tension and it feels great at the end to finally get a suit that has maximum inventory, I found myself sticking to very few weapons when the game had a wealth of them. But I had to keep the weapons down because there I only had so much room for the ammo. It was kind of a disappointment since I really wanted to use them. But that's what New Game Plus is for, I suppose.

The Evil Within 2- this was... pleasant. Not too bad, not that great. See more in the podcast game discussion thread.

--Dan

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by duskvstweak » November 12th, 2019, 1:12 pm

I need to start really cutting through my backlog. I'm finally playing Red Dead Redemption of the PS3. And, to no surprise, I'm really enjoying it. It's incredibly addicting so far. I want to play it a lot longer than I do, so I might be moving the PS3 from streaming setup to the living room...

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle » November 12th, 2019, 2:28 pm

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, 10:00 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.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by ThirdMan » November 12th, 2019, 5:47 pm

This is my 1000th post on the forum and I dedicate it to Luigi!

I never played the other two Luigi's Mansion games but I'm thoroughly enjoying this third entry. The Edge review said it's perhaps the Switch's best-looking game. I thought that a rather large claim until I saw it in action. It's stunning on the Switch Lite (which I believe does a better job of hiding some of its wrinkles).

It's fun to play too although I wish there were less coins to collect. I really enjoy quietly exploring the environment but some of that mood is lost by sucking the place inside out every minute or two,

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by BaileyBoy » November 12th, 2019, 6:14 pm

Scrustle wrote:
November 12th, 2019, 2:28 pm

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.
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.
I think you can definitely draw a line from Ultima Underworld that forks into two different philosophies. The "inch wide, mile deep" approach which spawned the games that we think if as immersive sims and the approach taken by Bethesda to focus on scale at the expense of depth.
To me though, all these games fundamentally offer a very similar gameplay experience, just with differing priorities.
If you think compare the playing experience of Fallout to, say Deus Ex, the minute to minute is almost identical...with fewer air vents
And while there's no denying that Bethesda's games have become more streamlined in recent years, I would say that's also true of the modern immersive sim. Compare bioshock to system shock or Mankind Divided to the original Deus Ex.
What all these games still share though is a dedication to crafting a world which is worth picking over in minute detail and rewarding a slower, more thoughtful pace of play and even the modern Bethesda titles (Fallout 76 not withstanding) have very robust physics, AI and world simulation systems that breath life into it's play spaces, all of which are, for me, absent in The Outer Worlds.
I agree with you that the hype around this game has nothing to do with it's relation to the immersive sim and people's extitement is for the reasons you mentioned- essentially a well written Fallout game with polish.
What surprised me was that I found very little of what I enjoy about those games upon playing it despite it's surface similarities which seems to me to be at odds with most players.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Suits » November 12th, 2019, 6:24 pm

ThirdMan wrote:
November 12th, 2019, 5:47 pm
Luigi’s Mansion 3

It's stunning on the Switch Lite (which I believe does a better job of hiding some of its wrinkles).
So, I have a day one Switch and a Switch Lite and I’ve been using both to play this game since it came out.

This for me is one of the games that actually looks better when played on a TV than on handheld.

I feel that on a TV you tend to get slightly better contrast and better definitions of black - making the moody theme really standout.

It hardly looks bad in handheld at all but because of the strong resolution, great artwork and solid performance it really shines on a bigger screen.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by ThirdMan » November 12th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Suits wrote:
November 12th, 2019, 6:24 pm
ThirdMan wrote:
November 12th, 2019, 5:47 pm
Luigi’s Mansion 3

It's stunning on the Switch Lite (which I believe does a better job of hiding some of its wrinkles).
So, I have a day one Switch and a Switch Lite and I’ve been using both to play this game since it came out.

This for me is one of the games that actually looks better when played on a TV than on handheld.

I feel that on a TV you tend to get slightly better contrast and better definitions of black - making the moody theme really standout.

It hardly looks bad in handheld at all but because of the strong resolution, great artwork and solid performance it really shines on a bigger screen.
That's interesting. I think it was the Edge review that said it looked better on the smaller screen, or words to that effect.

I must say I'm in a real bind with my Lite. I'm glad I bought it because the standard model just wasn't what I wanted for my commute but I'm dying to play the games on the TV when I'm at home and the place is free. The obvious, and costly, solution is to buy a standard one and leave it permanently docked. But that's just silly talk because I don't play enough games to warrant owning the two models.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Suits » November 12th, 2019, 6:56 pm

Yeah, I can see why that might tease you.

If rumour be listened too, perhaps there’ll be a Pro or something similar next year that might make you jump.

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