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Everything posted by Sno

  1. Anybody ever played Uprising? Very cool action/strategy hybrid that i played a whole bunch of as a kid, but It seems like one of those games that just nobody really remembers, i never see people talk about it. (It does not even have a wikipedia page.) I remember actually liking it a tiny bit more than Battlezone. Looking into it now, apparently it got a couple of sequels, one more than i thought it got. The sequel i did play i remember being fairly unimpressed by, but i remember that first game pretty fondly. Kinda loved the whole thing about teleporting units from your production queues straight into battle, you just needed line of sight, either from your personal tank or one of your base citadels. You could still issue orders to units afterwards too, i believe. The game wasn't just skipping the hard part. I believe you could also teleport them back out and cash them in. There's a decent little power allocation mechanic on your tank too, and a whole bunch of weird weapons. Some random footage from youtube. (Warning: It's loud.)
  2. Sunspire is definitely a level i've never really enjoyed. I love that it was a game that was willing to have all of these low-key interludes creating space and a sense of journey and exploration between the "real" levels, it feels a lot like Half-Life 2 in some regards.
  3. Splatoon is Ink-redible

    So keep in mind that your gear has what people will refer as main skills and sub skills. The main skills sit at top and are locked in for each piece of gear and include a few special skills not otherwise available, the sub skills are what you randomly roll/re-roll and are usually worth around 1/3rd their main skill equivalents. Skills stack, but as you stack more of a certain skill on, each is worth a little bit less. Brands weigh a piece of gear towards different sub skill rolls. 1 star and 2 star gear can be upgraded into 3 star gear with super sea snails. (Which is valuable for getting a three-slotted piece that has the right mix of brand/main skill.) It's been a few weeks since i played, but i want to say my current build in Splatoon was a mix of special charge up, ink recovery, and throw range stacks, along with the special ink resistance skill. (My preferred weapon is the dual squelcher, the one that is bundled with an echolocator and splatbombs.) Now, it's important to know that we're talking about very small percentages here, a big stack of defense ups might only let you survive one additional hit from a splattershot, and many skills come with a lot of additional caps and restrictions. (Getting much of out strength up requires some pretty particular knowledge of the game.) So don't feel like you absolutely need to deep dive on this stuff to stay competitive, i spend most of my time playing using whatever random crap i haven't leveled up yet and still do just fine. It's much more important to play around with the weapons and figure out which is right for you. (You know, and also just generally learning how to support your team and make smart plays.)
  4. So i have some big gaps in what i played this year, i ended up skipping over both Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 for example, but both are games i'll probably eventually get around to. What i did play this year was a whole lot of Nintendo-system games, with more draw and focus than usual, and while i find Nintendo usually has one or two games that feel like they could contend for being my personal game of the year, i feel like they've actually had an unusually excellent year. Particularly, while the 3DS has been reasonably strong as it often is, i feel like this was actually the year that finally justified the Wii U's existence, and that it did it in a way that is easy to push and recommend. So yeah, I'll do a list of five. 5 - Xenoblade Chronicles X / Wii U - Xenoblade Cross is very much a game that is in progress for me, i'm still making my way through it, but i've already played a significant deal of it and like what i've played enough to guarantee at least this spot on the list. Not all of its systems work out, but most of them do, and its environments are gorgeous, diverse, and densely populated with things to be engaged by. Compared to its predecessor, a game i would count among my favorite RPG's, i think Cross is a messier and less charismatic production, but it's unrestrained and enormous on such an astronomical scale that it's hard to believe it exists at all. Xenoblade Cross possesses kind of an undeniable attraction in its boundless ambition, it's a game that at times makes even Bethesda's efforts seem small and constrained. 4 - Soma / Steam - Most of the PC games i did play this year haven't stuck with me the way Soma has. It's disruptive, upsetting and ambitious as a narrative, while showing tremendous restraint as a horror game, presenting actually an almost adventure-game like focus in its mechanics and presentation, pacing itself so that you're forced to dwell on the conversation it wants to have. I think it's a brilliant little piece of sci-fi horror and i can't recommend it enough. 3 - Super Mario Maker / Wii U - Super Mario Maker is brilliant. Nintendo has cleanly avoided the pitfalls of similar products not just by couching it in time-tested Nintendo know-how regarding its Mario franchise, but in presenting a set of level construction tools that is almost primal in its simplicity, and irresistible in its ability to engage a creative drive. I'm also quite impressed to see Nintendo actively pursuing solutions for the package's few lingering failings, especially concerning discoverability. 2 - Splatoon / Wii U - I honestly wasn't expecting anything out of this, it was not the game i bought a Wii U to play, and it was not even a game i thought Nintendo could really deliver on. I decided to give it a chance though, i enjoyed the demo with some reservations, and the overall buzz around the game was kind of tepidly positive. So i started playing it, and then i kept playing it, and i'm still playing it. I think Splatoon is the most fun i've had with a competitive shooter since Halo 3, there is an incredibly strong core here. Splatoon still wouldn't be up this far on this list though, if it wasn't for the outright strange amount of free post-release support Nintendo has done for the game, far beyond what was allegedly just on the disc waiting to be unlocked. Splatoon has grown out into an absolutely terrific, enormous game beyond what could have been realistically expected from it at its release. 1 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate / 3DS - I still don't know if what changed was Monster Hunter or me, my ultimate suspicion is that it's a bit of both. I feel like MH4u is the game that has most fully realized its own insane design ideals, while western players in a post-Dark Souls world are more understanding of the pace and flow its combat is meant to move with and how that active combat plays off of other systems in the game. Regardless of whether my time with the game was a product of refinement or zeitgeist, MH4u was an incredible experience. It was one of the most thoroughly engaging and engrossing action RPG's i've ever played, and after a few prior false starts, i think i'm now fully on board for the future of this series. Looking at all of what came out, including things i played and did not play, i can't help but feel like 2015 was a pretty damn spectacular year for video games. A few honorable mentions: Fast Racing Neo / Wii U - Now this is more like it, this is the kind of ridiculous arcade racing i've been losing my mind waiting for. FRN is sexy, so fast, and goddamned hard. Please, everybody buy this, i would like to see this particular genre return. Grey Goo / Steam - Grey Goo kind of got a raw deal when it came out, it had some issues at first, but it didn't really even get rattled for that. The game was simply met with apathy, despite being a pretty genuinely terrific RTS throwback for the neglected C&C crowd. Majora's Mask 3D / 3DS - The most interesting Zelda game got a pretty damn solid port. I don't think there's much more to say here, everybody's already made up their mind on this game. (It's awesome.) Zenzizenzic / Steam - A really pretty ace bullet hell shooter that is tightly designed and incredibly stylish in equal measure. There's a roguelite mode in there too, but it was kind of busted, and the score attack is the thing you're there for anyways. The 2014 game of 2015: D4 / Steam - The PC port came out earlier this year and i liked it quite an awful lot, it felt like a pretty worthy follow-up to Deadly Premonition's brand of zaniness, so i will be intensely sad if the subsequent episodes don't ever happen. Game of the forever: Dota 2 / Steam - Dota 2, oh how i can't stop hating you. My favorite piece of DLC: The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna / Steam - It can come across as more of the same, and it honestly would be if not for how it uses a distinctly different narrative style and an eminently familiar context to explore the themes of the core game from new angles. In doing that, it stands pretty tall, i think. I really loved it. Things i wish weren't exclusive: Bloodborne / PS4 Halo 5 / XBO Anyways, so how about all of you?
  5. I died a little inside reading this, i sincerely love the first JK. Perhaps it's worth pointing out that, at the time, the scale of its levels was extremely impressive relative to what many other FPS's were doing. (The game ran well even on modest PC's.) Those levels were big and complicated and diverse. I personally feel the level design took a dive once it was handed off to Raven, but their games put together a pretty memorable melee system for saber combat, and that's largely why those games are so fondly remembered. (There's actually even quite a few non-evident special moves, it might be worth looking over a movelist faq when you get around to those.)
  6. I love the first Unreal to death, with all of its enormous open-ended levels, tough and intelligent enemies, and that willingness to slow things down and let you explore relatively non-hostile spaces as interludes between the heightened action. Add to it that relatively complicated set of inventory objects to play around with, persistent weapon upgrades, and its persistent and subdued narrative that it relays through various found logs and translated etchings. Also, online co-op. You know, and everybody loves UT's arsenal, but Unreal was the game that had to invent them. Never mind that Unreal itself also has some great MP maps and very capable bot AI. I still think it's one of Epic's best games. It has a problem though, it runs very long, sometimes feeling like quite an epic journey, but one that has to traverse some levels that just suck out loud. There's really no denying that, Unreal has some levels that are just absolute shit.
  7. Can Game Mechanics be Ingrained with Culture/Ideology?

    It always seemed to me that Sim City pushed something of an environmentalist message through its mechanics, given that keeping your exploding metropolis from suffocating itself with pollution is generally the dominant conflict in those games.
  8. Xenoblade Chronicles X - good bye Earth

    When i did a side quest about how the leader of an obvious stand-in for fundamental christianity was poisoning Manon, i definitely had a "Oh yeah, the man behind this game wrote Xenogears" moment. There's some real blunt and heavy-handed weirdness in Cross.
  9. I definitely finished Killer 7, i love that game, but i don't think i went into the final few chapters with as much depth as i had meant to when starting out with that whole thing. That is, if i did any write-ups on those later chapters at all. I think i might have just gone and played it on my own after the group play fell apart. I bailed out on SotC though. Both of those, there seemed like a lot of tension between people who wanted to draw it out and only commit a couple of hours a week, and people who wanted to marathon the games. (Which... Might have just been me?) Personally, i can't really get much out of games if i'm only allotted short bursts over a long period of time. I like putting aside some time and diving deep, and it made accommodating people who wanted to play more casually kind of frustrating.
  10. SOMA

    There are quite a lot of incidental character beats and fairly important pieces of story-telling in far-off corners that can be pretty easily missed, leading to a much more disjointed narrative and thematic experience, so i can understand how you would arrive at that impression. I played through the game twice and was pretty thorough about it, and in having that experience i was left feeling like the story generally is able to hit all the notes it needs to hit. The pieces are there, the player just isn't necessarily being forced to look at them. This obviously isn't a problem unique to Soma, and if you're watching somebody else play through the game, it's just going to be exacerbated.
  11. Splatoon is Ink-redible

    It's pretty wild how well it's done in Japan, when so many games seem to tank in their current market. It's pretty much instantly become one of Nintendo's most important franchises. Also, i guess the last batch of DLC has been released for the game. How is everybody feeling about the state of the game? You guys who picked it up just at Christmas, how are you fairing online? Lastly, i made it into A+ rank a while back, i was pretty happy about that.
  12. 2015's Games of the Year?

    Well, for one thing, in playing Soma across two playthroughs, i died exactly once, so i wouldn't say it's frustrating in that sense. And putting aside scenarios where it's either a scripted chase or trying its hardest to convince you you're in danger when you're not, the real actual monster encounters make up a surprisingly small portion of the game. (With only two or three of those sequences additionally having you juggle multiple objectives on top of simply trying to survive. Trying to listen to an audio log while a monster is roaming around is admittedly crazy tense, and not in a way that will entertain everybody.) I also find the whole hide n` survive genre kind of stressful, the first Amnesia destroyed me in a way no other horror game i've played did, but i did not have that experience with Soma. I think it's much more in line with the experience of playing a really spooky adventure game. The one thing that might complicate Soma in a very real sense is discerning the rules each monster operates under, because they're all quite distinct in how they perceive and react to the player. (Which is one of the things i think is really cool about the game, but i've seen it spawn a lot of accusations about the game being broken in one way or another.) Failing all of that, people still seem to think the game is worth playing if you cripple the AI with mods. AC5/ACVD are almost certainly a lost cause this far out from release. I held on for as long as i could and bailed only when the absence of developer support kind of fed into the player base sort of self-destructing. I still wonder what made Dark Souls really take off in the west when Armored Core just seems perpetually doomed abroad, because the two franchises actually have a lot of very similar sensibilities.
  13. I kind of love when iterative sequels just keep affixing new shit to the end of the previous release's title. "Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R" might be my favorite example of it.
  14. the Talos Principle

    Definitely just focus on climbing the tower for your first playthrough. Don't worry about the stars or the "big church door".
  15. The Nintendo Wii U is Great Thread

    That's a real deep cut, holy shit. Hah.
  16. I've noticed some games seem to be able to tell the Yoshis apart, while others treat them all the same.
  17. Xenoblade Chronicles X - good bye Earth

    So i am led to understand that each type of Skell also has a distinct overdrive mechanic with its own biases and benefits. My player character's Mastema, for example, benefits from and provides benefits to ranged arts while in overdrive. (The specifics of which i should look up, i guess.) Overdrive for the Skells also thankfully seems a little more straightforward than its on-foot equivalent. (Which is... I've read multiple overviews of how on-foot overdrive works, and it... Still doesn't make sense, it's so convoluted.) Also, i'm starting to notice this trend where a lot of the post-skell quests are clearly designed for you not having a skell. It usually results in a lot of quests where big dramatic battles have you literally one-shotting huge groups of enemies with one aoe attack. (To be clear, i'm not even over-leveled for these, though skells seem to put you on even ground with enemies as many as 10 levels ahead of you.) It all feels like a weird concession to the fact they made getting a skell license an optional set of quests, and It really seems like they should have just made the skell license thing an unavoidable part of the main progression and built quests more around having one.
  18. AGDQ 2016

    That was one of the ones that seemed a little odd to me, yeah. There were a couple others that are slipping my mind after having watched so many runs over the course of the week. I share your sentiment though, that if something is interesting enough to help the charity angle, it should probably be excused. Certainly it never felt as if any commercial message was overriding the reason the event is being held. I think i'm just wary of this becoming a bit of a slippery slope.
  19. AGDQ 2016

    It's struck me, this year, that some of the runs have had the runners pushing the audience real hard to go buy whatever indie game it is from whatever store its available on. It's something that's kind of always been a part of it, enthusiastic players championing their favorite games, but some of the runs this year have kind of made me feel like i'm watching an ad. That might just be me though, i'm curious if anybody else is getting a similar vibe from this particular AGDQ.
  20. The Nintendo Wii U is Great Thread

    I've been kind of on the fence about this weird goddamned persona-esque crossover game, but i think that just pushed me into the "gotta play it" camp. This looks like the most glorious kind of trainwreck. More than that though, i'm just amused at how much anger this thing is drawing out from fans of each franchise.
  21. Xenoblade Chronicles X - good bye Earth

    I've seen quite a few people complain about the flight theme in the game. Mostly that it is, like you're saying, just kind of an annoying interruption to the world themes when all you're trying to do is make small leaps, but also i guess it's one of the less well liked themes in the game. Is there no way to disable the flight pack once it's obtained or anything? It's strange that it would override the jump when there are actually still unused buttons on the controller. (All ZL seems to ever be used for is reversing in vehicle form and as part of the bind input.) Anyways, my player character just hit level 30, so now i'm able to purchase skells freely, i'm no longer limited to the starter Urban, though i guess my party members still need to hit 30 themselves before i can stick them in any skells? I had so much money so i ended up buying a bunch of skells to play around with them and get a feel for stats and vehicle handling and really just to gawk at how cool they are. I broke them down to their basic components, stripped out all their gear to see what their core stats are, and it generally seems like you get potential with the light skells, a ton of GP with the mediums, and loads of HP and fuel with the heavies, all with ranged/melee biases on individual robots inside of those groupings. For the time being, I've settled on the range-focused heavy, the Mastema, for my player character. (In part because i think it looks really, really cool.) Its vehicle physics are very strange though, it turns super sharply and oversteers like crazy. Took a while to get a handle on it and not be flying all over the place. (Also, i ended up finally having to look it up, but potential determines how much health you regain from soul voice combos and repair arts, as well as conferring bonus damage to TP arts.) It's kind of crazy that this whole massive second layer to the game is buried basically a minimum of 30 hours into the game. This isn't just some additional combat system being thrown into the mix, it sort of makes it a pretty fundamentally different game. At the same time though, i hope people aren't rushing through that main story to get to the skells. Or more specifically, i hope people are doing side quests. For myself, taking the game slowly, it's clear to me that all of the side content was a big emphasis for Monolith. Many of the affinity quests are as fleshed out as any of the main story missions, and even the normal side quests are often quite elaborate. It's a huge improvement from the first Xenoblade where the side quests were frequently just painfully simple resource grinds. (Those are still here though, they're just clearly separated out as the stuff you get from the quest board.) I will reiterate though: Everybody should be careful about bringing under-leveled party members into story quests or affinity quests, that can lead to some misery. Edit: About not neglecting ground gear and on-foot art/skill loadouts, i've seen people argue that some of the more difficult fights in the game can be hugely mitigated by mixing skell and on-foot arts. Either yourself disembarking to fire off a few useful on-foot arts before getting back in your skell, or having one of your party members stay on foot while your skells are set up to synergize with on-foot arts. (These strats are reinforced by the fact that for each active skell in your party, the remaining on-foot party members gain a 20% defense buff. So three skells and one on-foot party member is apparently intensely viable.) (At this point, it would be good to note that in the list of party commands for battle, you can tell party members to disembark from their skells.)
  22. Xenoblade Chronicles X - good bye Earth

    So i just got a Skell finally, and it's... I mean, it was hugely liberating after dozens of hours of slowly trekking across that world from a minuscule perspective to be able to race around quickly in a sweet transforming robot bike. There's a lot to say about the dramatic shift in scale that both opens up and closes off paths, how the game suddenly opens up this entire second parallel progression system in customizing your robots, and how the additional and distinct combat layer they provide exists in tandem with the already established mechanics, but... I really just want to talk about how fucking cool those robots are, you know? I love the awkward standing transformation and how they animate the stowed bike frame rattling as you run around in the biped form, etc, etc. I am fully sold on Xenoblade X. This game is for me. Austin made a few comments about not having played enough of it to really make any judgements, and he seemed to be the only one among them that had played it or really had any interest in it, and also didn't actually seem all too hot on the game anyways. Xenoblade X has a bunch of Dark Souls/Dragon's Dogma-esque online systems, but your experience shouldn't be too severely impacted if you come to it late, it's all very passive. You probably won't find any co-op games happening with level appropriate groups later on though, but that's already an issue, and it's ultimately a smallish corner of an absolutely enormous game. (You can totally ignore it if you want to.) Splatoon on the other hand, i'd say right now is actually a pretty good time to dive into it. After Christmas landed, i rocketed up to A+ rank for the first time after being stuck in B+ limbo for months. Basically, it feels like there's a lot of new blood figuring the game out right now and it's probably a good time to jump in.
  23. 2015's Games of the Year?

    I argued pretty hard around here for people to play Soma, but it kind of ended up being the old "You just have to take it on good faith, because you don't want this shit spoiled" thing that nobody listens to. Even if you have had the story spoiled, i think the game is well worth playing, there are some seriously clever scenarios in that game and it is thick with atmosphere. (Also, perhaps more importantly, the GB guys didn't even talk about some of the biggest moments in the game, to my surprise. They also had a long argument about how the monsters are non-responsive to thrown objects, which i'm 95% sure they're wrong about, because i used thrown objects in a lot of the encounters to distract enemies and it sure seemed to work. The monsters all have different rules to suss out though, and that can be hard to do when you're in a panic.) Still, going into that game relatively blind, really only knowing about the marketing materials that had been put out in advance of it, i had multiple "I need to stand up and walk away from my computer for a few minutes" moments with the game. It's really something that shouldn't be spoiled, if at all possible. Cradle is really terrific too, perhaps one of my favorite pieces of sci-fi world building ever, it's full of fascinating ideas, but the GB guys are completely right about it not sticking that landing. The actual puzzle progression is sort of blah and it lands at a pretty aggravating conclusion.
  24. Yeah, i understand what you're getting at, and Morrowind is definitely so broken that it's hard to draw a line between intended gameplay and systems exploitation. (100% chameleon being permanent and unfailing invisibility that you can stack towards across small and easily made enchantments, for example. It feels really broken, but you're not really exploiting a glitch or anything.) You know, did anybody ever make any kind of major balance overhaul mod for Morrowind? That seems like something somebody should have done.
  25. I think the big obvious game breaking exploits kind of ruin the fun, but maybe that's just me.