Roderick

Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Posts posted by Roderick


  1. Currently diving deep into Who again, picking up where I left off some time back: Matt Smith's final season. After that it'll be familiar turf for me, heading into the Capaldi years. I'll probably rewatch the better episodes, or at least the ones that amused me a few years ago. And then I'll start earnestly watching Whittaker, of whose run I've seen only the first two eps so far. They were very different, mostly in terms of pacing and visuals! But it was bound to pick up in storytelling speed. This is Who, after all.


  2. Diablo 3 released right before that sharp turn, yeah. Actually, they did have the real money auction house that undoubtedly provided some revenue for Blizzard, skimming some money off the top out of every transaction, but they quickly canned it because it went against the Diablo philosophy of grinding for gear. That felt like an ethical decision. Though any new Blizzard game will surely include some nickle-'n-diming, I feel they'll err on the right side of things, as they do most of the time, so I'm not concerned about all-too-gross loot boxes and stuff.


  3. Steve McQueen's Widows is pretty spectacular, people. Careful structuring of the plot, taking enough time to clearly establish the characters and keeping some of its cards neatly to itself to establish a few late-movie surprises that work. Not to mention the stellar performances of the cast!


  4. Sounds like an upgrade to be rid of such a person. Oftentimes it's best to cherish the memories, but not stay caught in a friendship that doesn't feel fine or fun anymore.


  5. A hefty and interesting piece on Kotaku today concerning (mostly) the development of Diablo 3 and its sequelizationsz: https://kotaku.com/the-past-present-and-future-of-diablo-1830593195

     

    Some of this is familiar ground, but there are some bits in here that were shocking and newsworthy to me. Especially how Diablo 3 was apparently considered to be a big failure by management, who subsequently broke up the development team right before the release of Reaper of Souls. Ironically, that expansion pack would cement D3 as a terrific action-RPG that's still highly playable today. The second expansion pack never even got into development, though patches added new areas that were supposedly, said at the time, going to be part of a bigger package, but distributed freely instead.

     

    The fact that Diablo 4 has been in development since 2016 won't shock anyone, of course it is. Interesting detail is how an earlier prototype sought to add more of a Dark Souls style of gameplay. And though that project got canned, the recent D4 is still undecided whether it wants to be isometric or over-the-shoulder, perspective-wise.

     

    One last thing: the current D4-project apparently seeks to turn away from the washed-out, desaturated palette of D3 and return to the stark horror and gore that was manifest in D1 and D2. I'm all for that - more because I'd rather see them go in a different direction instead of replicating the last thing than nostalgia or some ill-advised hangover from 'Diablo 3 is all rainbows now!', though. It'll be five years before we get to play it, though, so just go play the mobile game that they initially didn't mind if it would be subpar, since it was aimed at the Chinese market first and foremost. Hey, good for them.


  6. Interesting that you were disappointed in Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. I hadn't backed the Kickstarter, but bought the game sometime afterwards, and I thought it was a terrific platformer. Very nice-looking, demanding and with a unique level-changing-on-the-fly hook. I guess my question would be; what did you expect of it beyond what it already delivered?

     

    The only games I've backed are Broken Age and Psychonauts 2. (The relative difficulty of paying without a credit card made it a hassle, so I only backed things I desperately wanted to play.) Broken Age was a bit of a disappointment, I'd say. I had been expected more of a traditional, perhaps more hardcore adventure game. The first half was a tad too light for me (though I really like the world they built there). The second one featured a few interesting puzzles, but the story didn't hold up towards the end. At the time, I was playing a lot of Daedalic adventure games (Chains of Satinav, Deponia) and those really scratched that adventuring itch.

     

    Psychonauts 2 is, of course, a ways off. I don't expect it until well into 2019 or 2020. Which isn't bad, at that point it'll feel like I'm getting a free game (it's been, what, three years since I paid for it?) and I'd rather have them work for another few years on it to ensure it lives up to one of my favorite 3D platformers ever.


  7. There seem to be two possibly critiques of this game: one is that it isn't deep enough, which is kind of the point for this game, as it's meant to lure in new players or Pokémon Go fans. The other is that the grind to level up your monsters is tedious, now that you're not really battling other Pokémon so much as doing the pokéball throwing game. That's one's fair, I'd say.

     

    But other than that, it seems like a fine game! Very attractive design, it looks like a perfectly charming game to play, with just the right level of whimsy (being able to ride around on huge pokémon is fun). I'm thinking of surprising my partner with Eevee for Christmas.

     

    Now, I, for one, have been greatly anticipating the reviews for Civilization 6 on Switch. All the reports so far suggest that it's a fantastic port, with the only caveats being that there's no online or hot seat multiplayer and the Rise & Fall expansion isn't included. More importantly though, the game runs smoothly and without too many hiccups during later stages of the game, with only long loading times before speaking of how heavy this game is. The controls are apparently fine too, and I especially look forward to pinching my way through the map in handheld mode. Looks like I'm all set to buy this one.


  8. I quit WoW a long time ago (after I was done with Wrath of the Lich King), so I have no idea how the game has evolved. One thing I did notice at the time was how much easier it became to traverse the world. You got quest markers and other convenient tools, and the lure of that was so strong that even I started to skip the quest texts. Vanilla WoW, of which I have good memories, will at least force you to slow down and actually read it and figure out where things are. Sometimes it'll be frustrating, but in the end I think it'll make for a more interesting experience. Not necessarily a smoother one! But way more memorable, since you'll get lost and everything is more opaque.

     

    However, I have no idea if I, or anyone else, will think this is all that palatable after being spoiled (in more ways than one) with the convenience of modern day WoW. It reminds me of returning to Morrowind, which doesn't have the conveniences of Oblivion or Skyrim. You really have to adjust to the slower pace and having to follow directions instead of just a dumb arrow on a compass.


  9. On 8-11-2018 at 12:16 PM, I_smell said:

    I also think that Netflix is generally getting worse as other services are fighting for their audience. I used to be excited to check out these quality Netflix Originals, but nowadays there's just as much filler garbage here as there is everywhere else, unfortunately.

     

    You know, good point there. Netflix feels a lot less essential as it did a couple of years ago. Don't get me wrong, I still watch it on a daily basis and it constitutes about 99% of all the television shows and movies I watch at home... but the selection of shows and movies is somehow a little disappointing. Whenever I browse for something, I just get lost in a lot of trash and rarely find the perfect thing that I'd like to watch.

     

    Having said that, there are a few shows I really, really love. Lemony Snicket is quite amazing! And The Good Place is worth the price of admission alone.


  10. Yeah, as is known by now, I love 3, but I haven't seen 2 in quite a while. All I remember is that it features Doctor Ecclestone and at one point he snips off a guy's finger while saying 'GAGGING', and that's pretty much all I remember. Also some horse racing and a moterbike with doves.

     

    'GAGGING.'


  11. I just sawwwwww Mission: Impossible! 1! By Brian DePalma! And featuring an impossibly young Tom Cruise!

     

    Thoughts: WOW, this is such an interesting movie to see today. I remember it coming out in the early nineties and it must've been top of the line in terms of modern cinematography back then. Watching it now, it feels INCREDIBLY formal, in a way. Not that it isn't slick and sexy and very stylish (it is, hugely), but the way the camera moves and pans and the scenes are cut give it this classic feel. Loving those DePalma zooms to frame people in their environment. UNF.

     

    At the same time, here's an Ethan Hunt who feels like the rookie of the team, wisecracking until he steps up to become the broodlord he will remain for the rest of the series. It's fun. They got to define the character where nowadays he's quite solidified.

     

    Jon Voigt feels like a throwback badguy to another era, like some old-timey spy, for sure, but already this movie lays out the basic M:I plot for decades to come: Ethan and his team are compromised, hunted by the people that should have their backs, and elaborate cloak and dagger antics unfolds. There's already the Insane Stunt By Cruise Himself and various other tropes. But damn it if it doesn't just outright work.

     

    It's entirely bizarre to realize this series began before smartphones were a thing. Nowadays they can do nearly anything and all the schemes involve deep technological theatrics. But the same is true here already, except it's all done through huge laptops and hilariously fake usenet interfaces where Ving Rhames is all but typing in 'HACKING THE THING'. At some point, Ethan literally types 'ACCESS INTERNET' into a random prompt, because that's how computers work.

     

    But hey, this is surely some slick ass movie, with both an old-fashioned vibe (the whole scene surrounding the Prague ballroom) and a very modern feel to it (the TGV ending spectacular). It's clear that DePalma greatly put his stamp on this. Looking forward to seeing part 2 by John Woo. I feel the series has found its tone today, and though it's superb throughout (as I mentioned, I loved Fallout), there's something auteur-y about this first movie that the later ones lack.


  12. On 6-11-2018 at 2:48 PM, Kyir said:

    I both did not know people said that and am in no way surprised people said that.

     

    Especially when you consider what Starcraft looked like in its early stages:

     

    Starcraft-orcs-in-space.png

     

    This is a reappropriated Warcraft 2 engine with definitely no longer placeholder graphics. This is really what Starcraft looked like for a while. If I recall correctly, the final engine was programmed in a matter of only days or weeks, by a single person.

     

    Indepth look at Starcraft development: https://www.usgamer.net/articles/the-making-of-starcraft-the-early-days-of-blizzards-rts-legend

     

    [ADDED: It was months. The final engine was programmed in a few months, but indeed by a single person while the rest of the team was off helping Diablo hit its deadline.]


  13. After the first season I already had the feeling I was kind of done with Golden Kamuy, and seeing the first episode os S2 confirmed it: I kind of hate this show. It has a lot of cool adventuring vibe to it, the Hokkaido setting is great and whenever it's just Sugimoto and Asirpa together, it's fun. But there's SUCH a weird and nasty vibe simmering underneath everything. Whole episodes are devoted to people who all have a strange fascination for boners, and when I just now saw a fashion show of fetish human skin couture, I lost both my appetite and the desire to see anything more of this, ever. Nasty & sickening.


  14. (Aww, gosh, I don't know if you mean that ironically, because... that is EXACTLY what people used to disqualify Starcraft before it came out. "It's just orcs in space!")


  15. So, I'm a little while into this game, sixth level or so. There are small quality of life improvements that make this a nice experience: the ability to copy rooms for instance, or the pause. Was pausing already a thing in Theme Hospital?

     

    Then again, it sure is Theme Hospital again. There's something weird happening in the arc of any given level. The opening bids are usually fun, where you get to design the entrance, reception area and what I'll call the diagnosis area. Just building up your hospital the best you can, hiring staff (Rob's tip in the podcast to just hire the most competent doctors and nurses, money be damned, is a good one)... it's fun and at this point I still have the energy to care about the little details of where to place my seats and plants and drink machines for optimal aesthetics.

     

    The first hurdle is when you need to up the scale. I tend to balk whenever I need to build my fifth, sixth, eighth, tenth GP's Office. That's when I just dedicate a whole new wing to diagnosis and intake, dammit, but I dislike it because it creates a second entrance to the hospital and feels les flow-y. This is also the moment where I'll need to hire so many new staff that I stop caring about their individual needs, and I tend to lose interest in optimizing where they are. I'll just dump 'em randomly in whatever room needs them, and hope the game figures out where to place them for maximum utility.

     

    Then, once I've got this pretty much automated, the game seems to peter out. There's not much more to do than look at your self-sustaining hospital, sometimes nudge and prod and pull a lever here and there, and wait for the challenge bars to fill. Train 20 staff. Cure 300 patients. On to the next site.

     

    I'm comparing this to Dungeon Keeper now, which I feel is fair since the ideas powering the two games are roughly the same: build rooms, attract certain patients or creatures, optimize and manage. But Dungeon Keeper has this wonderful point to it: the end game of every level where you'll get a group of adventurers invading and trying to smash your palace. It's exciting every time and creates a natural climax to the arc. Two Point Hospital, like Theme Hospital before it, lacks this build-up towards, well, something, anything! It's not that satisfying to see a bar fill and then get a static level processing you into the next hospital to manage.

     

    So, what I'm basically saying is, get a band of heroes to bust into the diagnosis area and start wreaking havoc. That too much to ask?


  16. I'd be surprised if they changed it up too much. One thing they've mentioned is that they'll give more screentime to characters like Sylvanas, who became very popular and important in WoW. I'd guess the main gist of the story will remain much the same. Hopefully they'll resist putting in thousands of references to future events and characters.

     

    I haven't been following WoW since the advent of Wrath of the Lich King, so I wouldn't know how much of a mess it has become, but I can venture a guess. WoW has always thrived on convolution, since it needs to fill up SO much space (a whole WORLD, so to speak). Coupled with the usual Blizzard Escalation(TM) where you can chart the duration of a game story to the inevitable point where they start fencing with ancient creator gods or evil demons that have been manipulating everything behind the scenes... Though I understand that recent expansions to WoW have made an effort to return to the roots of Horde vs Alliance again, and that seems a wholesome move.


  17. I've been (I don't know why, I must be masochistic) reading more on the reveal and backlash, and have read a single (one) good argument how Blizzard screwed up, which I am willing to grant the outraged people. Blizzcon was the wrong venue for this reveal. They should've done it at Gamescom, or the Activison press conference at E3, or some other, mobile event. Not Blizzcon. That one is, insofar as it's also a media spectacle for the outside world, still in large part a celebration for the most hardcore of hardcore fans, who've all paid dearly to be there. Slapping them in the face with a watered-down mobile version of a classic game is tactically unsound, and a media blunder because it was bound to provoke this reaction.

     

    Which is to say: I still don't condone that reaction, I think it's foolish. But people can be foolish, and Blizzard have been doing this long enough that they should've been able to see this coming.

     

    But, whatever, this thing is forgotten in a few weeks (no matter how much Ben Kuchera wants this to be a big thing with his preposterous analysis on Polygon). Let's focus on War3 Reforged instead. One thing I didn't mention, and which I read somewhere and totally agree with, is that Reforged will likely feel very true to how I remember Warcraft 3 being. If I'd go back and actually play the original game, however, (and the last time I did was probably... a good ten years ago) I'd probably find its graphics aren't as good as I have in my head.


  18. Also, they can always play the joke card to get away with super weird or messed-up implications of any of their plot points.

     

    Latest ep was cute! Maybe a little on the sappy side, but they've earned this. Obviously, it was no Donkey Doug, but...


  19. I read some of that over here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2018/11/04/heres-how-this-diablo-immortal-mess-could-have-been-avoided/#3cbedb95757e

     

    But at the end of the day, it's still a gross overreaction by extremely rabid fans who should know, after, you know, 25 YEARS OF THIS, that Blizzard takes its time making games, and doesn't announce things until they're done. And even I, a rather casual Blizz follower, had gotten the memo that they wouldn't be discussing or announcing D4 at Blizzcon. The fact that Diablo Immortal is made by another team makes it only more plain that it in no way hampers D4's development. So just ignore it. But then, of course, if you're in the Blizzon bubble, it'll be a lot harder to. You've paid top dollar to have all your Blizzdreams come true, and when they don't, there's only Blizzappointment and Blizztering rage left to turn to.