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Everything posted by DoomMunky

  1. I really enjoyed this! Thanks! The music is great, too, which no one has mentioned.
  2. Tone Control 9: JONATHAN BLOW :o

    I thought this episode was amazing. I've been listening to lots of writers talk about writing lately and Blow echoes so much of what they say about creativity. Listening to the awesome KQED Forum interview with amazing writer George Saunders (10th of December, Civilwarland in Bad Decline) and this episode they say basically the same thing: If you achieve what you set out to achieve in a short story you've failed....My work got interesting to me when I'd go in and not really know where I was supposed to go. - George Saunders When you drop the original idea to follow something better, that's when you know you're on the right track - Jonathan Blow
  3. GTA V

    Someone on another site said this, and I couldn't agree more:
  4. Saints Row 4

    Well I'm just about to beat this, which I intend to today, and while I really love the humor, the traversal, many of the story missions, and the general feel, the tone of the writing, and so many of the characters and their interactions, I'm having trouble with the 'open world' aspect of the game. It doesn't do what I really want with an open world game; have lots of systems that result in interesting, unexpected interactions. It takes a page from its own history, and feels most like Assassin's Creed, to me; lots of distinct little 'activities' to complete, but not much in the way of things just happening out in the world. Gang interactions, say, like Zin troopers taking over a store, shoving pedestrians into a van and trundling them through the city to a prison/slaughterhouse, a kidnapping thing that just happens sometimes. Pedestrians suddenly getting strange powers and wreaking havoc, huge car chases between Zin and civilians, random happenings all over. Marches, protests, cars glitching out and climbing walls, buildings turning into huge character models, more and more and more. Not much of that happens, that I saw, and it doesn't seem like they want it to. They want a world where all that 'content interaction' is rigidly codified into a game/contest/activity. It makes sure you see it, sure, but it doesn't offer what I want from an open world: Grenades rolling down hills, random firefights with random enemies, emergent weird madness and fun. Stalker does this well, Skyrim to an extent, Far Cry 2 wonderfully. But now that I'm thinking back on the others in the Saint's Row series, they're fun and funny and brash and iconoclastic, but they don't seem interested in systemic worlds with lots of interesting things going on. More like convincing backdrops for goofy, codified activities. And don't get me wrong; some of the activities are quite fun. But when they're bound off like they are in these little discrete bubbles (instances?), they're not...right to me. They don't take advantage of what I love from an open world, and don't spring from a player decision to interact with the world in an impulsive, off the cuff manner; they're discrete chunks of content I found myself engaging in more out of a box-ticking mentality than any sense of emergent fun or, most importantly, play. As goofy and as interesting as this game is, as much of a slap in the face to traditional games and game activities, the designers still haven't done much to encourage good ol' fashioned play in this world. It's codified, challenge-mode, score-chasing box-ticking, and it doesn't scratch the itch I'M looking for in an open world game. That said, there's a lot to be said for running up walls and 'making your own fun', and they've provided some tools for that, but I never really found myself doing that. Failure of imagination? Certainly, to an extent. But there's also not a lot of support for 'making your own fun'; most of the activites and content falls inside those instances I mentioned before. So you can definitely zoom around and cause havoc, but there's not much more going on than that. Get some Notoriety by going nuts for a bit, run around and fight for a while, hope something unique happens. Freezing and Stomping and Death From Aboving is all well and good, but there's not much else going on. I'm definitely glad for an open world superhero game that's funny and sorta wonderfully mad, but it does enough things so damn well, that I can't help be disappointed by what it doesn't do, too. And hell, I may have missed some things. There's a Genki person-launcher in III? More? Has anyone found particularly wonderful tools for creating emergent, systemic madness?
  5. What do all these books have in common? They're science-fiction-y/fantasy-type books set in this world. I'm realizing I'm INTO these. I like Under the Dome, Michael Koryta's The Cypress House, Daniel O'Malley's The Rook, Tom Perotta's The Leftovers, China Mieville's The City & The City, and lots more. These fall into lots of other buckets, too, but the main thing I like about them is that they're not on other planets, in other times, or what have you; they're people in our world dealing with crazy shit. I get the sense there's a lot of Young Adult fiction devoted to this topic...I'm not opposed to YA, I just like stuff written for adults. I thought The Hunger Games was great, but it doesn't deserve to be on this list. Got any books that might fall under this (admittedly hard-to-define) umbrella?
  6. GTA V

    The main thing I'm worried about is the incredibly inflexible mission design they had in GTA4. I HATED riding that first damn motorcycle mission and seeing those crates fall out of that truck over and over and over and over. Mid mission checkpointing, non-egregious tutorializing, and, well, hell, just let me play the GAME, don't hold my hand for three hours.
  7. Miasmata 2

    Yesssss! We're in a survival games renaissance these days. It's awesome!
  8. Books that are like Sphere, Jumper, The Last Werewolf, etc.

    Oh yeah! Tim Powers. I read one of his books and wasn't really into it, then found the characters were sort of in the middle of the second book in the arc. So poop. I guess I just like books that take the normal and spin it off into the fantastic. The Magicians was another one of these. I ended up not being that satisfied with the events in the book, but the world and the way he rendered the life in that school was amazing. Maybe that's why everyone loved Harry Potter so much, which, come to think of it, fits squarely in this category as well.
  9. Wow, Chris, well done. Your response on JRPG/genre ossification is both very thoughtful and deliberately non-confrontational. I really appreciate how you go out of your way to clarify your point and expand your idea without trying to be right; it is both intellectually satisfying and respectful. And awesome. Well done.
  10. Survival Games

    So this new video preview for The Forest looks so goddamn amazing that I'm stoked to try something similar. Are there any other good survival games out there? Miasmata is awesome, with fevers and traversal being the main challenges, navigation and getting lost a huge part of it, and death literally waiting around some corners. STALKER has always been great for the survival VIBE, but not so much on survival mechanics. Fallout 3, the first 3 or 4 hours, at least, were amazing. Scrounging for bullets, trying desperately to survive, not having any resources...amazing. What else? Far Cry 2 has really a really good survival feeling, too, actually...
  11. Deus Ex 3

    Absolutely. One of the frustrating things about Far Cry 3 was the same 'take this camp w/out detection and get 3x the xp'. It rewards a certain kind of play with exterior rewards, not through the experience itself. Which you'd hope, as a designer, would be reward enough.
  12. Deus Ex 3

    That whole achievement ruined the game for a lot of people, I think. If only those damn things were better designed. I liked the way Dishonored handled this stuff better; don't reward XP for takedowns, that incentivises a certain kind of play. Make the upgrades of abilities part of the world.
  13. Saints Row 4

    I got distracted by the city takeover stuff in SR3, and it's frustratingly opaque enough that I stopped playing. Why can't I take over this district of the city? Have I not advanced far enough in the story? Not found the right person/thing/trigger to activate the takeover? Is it a higher level sidequest I've gotta unlock, too? I'm also generally a fan of more free-form mayhem (Far Cry 2 was a great mixture of directed and free-form encounters, as is Stalker: Call of Pripyat), so the story stuff felt, well, sorta beside the point. I hate cutscenes, even if my guy does have an awesome British voice and a ridiculous purple vest and platform shoes. Love the character customization. I loved how attached I got to a certain look; I would change the way he looked and go 'no no no' and change it back. : )
  14. BioShock Infinite

    There was quite a bit of combat in the original, you know. It was mainly an improvisational shooter.
  15. Saints Row 4

    Well said, Frenetic Pony.
  16. Feminist Frequency

    This is the best, most nuanced discussion of these issues I've seen on the internet. You folks should be proud of yourselves. And I'm proud to be an Idle Thumber, even more, now!
  17. Playing through Miasmata, I'm struck by how much I love it, and how much I've loved other games that conjure a different place incredibly well, often through not being terribly gamey. There's no HUD until you absolutely need it, and the gameplay mechanics force me to pay close attention to my environment; I love when the terrain is so important, and knowing my way around becomes essential and is supported by the mechanics. ----- STALKER and STALKER: Clear Sky were incredible for this; I loved them both to pieces because they had incredible worlds and game mechanics and stories that pushed you out into those worlds, often in a very immersive way. Far Cry 2 (duh): With the sound off this is an incredible one, for the lack of an intrusive HUD and open, do-it-yourself gameplay. This is why Far Cry 3 (let it never be named) is such a failure for me; intrusive UI, horrible minimap, on-rails missions in a gorgeous, immersive world. Just too painful to be near. Crysis; Awesome to just be in that world, though it was only playable on Delta for me, because I hated the enemy and grenade highlighting on lower difficulties. I loved being a predator, and how the UI stuff mainly happened in the main game. Not a lot of HUD and map management. Skyrim captured my imagination in a serious way, though there is a bit too much game here to be on this list. Too many menu screens, too much sorting of stuff to really fit the bill as an immersive game about atmosphere. --- What are the others? I hear Metro 2033 has some amazing atmosphere, and STALKER: The Middle One will probably be really fun for me as I loved the 1st and 3rd games. What else has incredible atmosphere and is really immersive?
  18. Gosh I love this game. Just getting lost in the woods is so intense. Not enough games are like this, and since I've played the two good STALKER games and Far Cry 2, what else is there?
  19. Far Cry 3

    Well, whatever the intent of the writer, it's a badly designed game. The missions don't support the open world, and deliberately frustrate player expectations and agency. And not in an interesting way. It's not like I'm being frustrated by the inability to interact with the missions in the various ways I should be able to but then going, "Hey wait, isn't it my fault that I have the expectations I have in this game? Shouldn't I be examining my expectations and questioning them?" That doesn't happen. And saying that it sort of should have and I missed the point by not having that moment is the lamest kind of self-protection. He has a minor point, the author. There is definitely some tension between the open game world and the intense forward pull of the plot; go rescue your friends is silly when you can also wander around picking flowers and killing boars. But just having that in the game doesn't equal deconstructive criticism of gaming. It just means there's the tension of conflicting goals in the game design and the story design.
  20. Far Cry 3

    My review/screed, based on thoughts I've had all week and crystallized by listening to the podcast today: It's a mediocre game overall. It has some amazing open world emergent moments. Tigers attacking pirates, animals intruding on your careful plans, pirates fighting with villagers, and some awesome sights. Some waterfalls and tucked away little fishing cabins are just wonderful for what they evoke. It has a god-awful UI, intrusive and demanding and insulting. Press E to harvest. Yes, I know. Press R to reload. Really? Is that why my gun stopped firing? Go to the next mission point, or just explore the island. Really? Is exploring the island STILL an option? You only told me 90 seconds ago that I could do that! And 90 seconds before that. And 90 seconds before that. It doesn't trust that you can make your own fun, or remember what you're doing in a game. And the missions are utter shit, for someone who likes open world games. I approached the Medusa like a stealthy badass, got through the whole mission without a hitch, listened to the radio message and when reinforcements showed up, I thought, 'shit! I better leave!' and dove off the side into the water, swam to the beach, shanked the last guard I'd missed, and ran off down the beach as the reinforcements arrived. I congratulated myself for being an awesome stealthy person and then a mission popup said YOU ARE LEAVING THE MISSION AREA. What? I intercepted the radio transmission. I got the intel I needed and now am heading back to talk to my buddy. Why is this still the mission area? Oh: I check the menu screen and the mission prompt says 'Eliminate the reinforcements'. I can't leave, stealthily and in character with the rest of the mission. I have to kill all the guys who just showed up. Never mind that it's early in the game and I'm not yet a murdering wild man. I'm just a dumb kid on a vacation gone wrong, in way over my head. So it's not in character for me to kill them. And further, they have no further information for me. These enemies aren't standing between me and getting away. It's just one of those points where you have to kill a bunch of guys. For no reason at all. And hey, there's nothing wrong with being asked to shoot a bunch of guys in a shooting game. I can already hear the stupid whining that 'oh, you don't like being asked to shoot guys? talk about missing the point...' Missing the point is being mad that there aren't realistically represented caliber markings on the sides of the guns. The game's not about that. But being forced to complete a mission a certain way in an open world setting is stupid. There are so many other verbs I've been given that saying I can only use one, and only inside the arbitrary framework you've just now designated? Bad design. I need to totally disregard this big open mission area that's wide open and non-restrictive? Bad design. Bad, insulting design. Make me infiltrate a base, clearing out necessary guys and accomplishing my goal. Then have me fight my way back out (the ONLY way out) through the newly arrived reinforcements. Whatever. If that's the experience you want me to have, DON'T show me the open world around me and then say YOU ARE LEAVING THE MISSION AREA. Design the mission area correctly and I won't want to leave it, and won't even think I CAN leave it. It won't bother me. I'll know I'm just playing one of those levels where you don't have that much freedom. But they don't want to limit themselves in their design and not use the big, open-worldiness of what they've built: "look! It's set right there in the game world, no borders, no limits, no load screens, nothing!" But then they have a particular play experience in mind. Only one. This is a stealth mission, followed by a shooting part. Nothing else will do. They can't be bothered to allow me to play with it the way I want to, the ways it SHOULD work, in the big, wide-open world they gave me. So they hamstring the player with artificial and arbitrary boundaries. It's terrible, backwards, hypocritical, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot design. Outside the main missions there's a lot of fun to be had. Knocking over strongholds and just trying to navigate the world is amazing. (when it's hostile, that is. There comes a point when you've knocked over all the strongholds and removed all the enemies from the world. Yep, they went the other direction from Far Cry 2 and allowed you to eliminate all the human threats from the world, permanently) Stalking animals, coming across random firefights, discovering a cave system, finding a hang glider; all awesome. But then they went and stuck a bunch of 'press the forward key' Call of Duty missions in that open world, and decided to treat the player like the average CoD player; they think we're easily distracted, very stupid, and they only want us to play the exact missions they've designed. It's summed up by my experience with the Medusa mission above, but there's one other moment that stands out. There's an early-mission QTE that has you edging across a burning beam: It says 'press W' up on the screen in big letters. You know. The forward key. That you've been using to go, you know, forward for the entire game.
  21. Far Cry 3

    I'm impressed you guys can make it through the 'story'. It's so godawful it hurts my brain.
  22. Far Cry 3

    I'm just not being pulled forward by any of the mechanics. I find it really frustrating that the story is such horrible crap, and the gameplay in the story missions is so awful, but the world around the story missions is so wonderful.
  23. 'Ben There, Dan That!' from Size Five Games

    Well, after too much time playing the frustratingly uneven Far Cry 3, I read some of this thread and remembered how much I enjoyed BT,DT, and now I'm downloading TGT and looking forward to some indie fun.
  24. I can't WAIT to play this more. I love the orienteering idea, and the commitment to immersion. But it runs very choppily on my PC, so a patch is a must. Soon, soon!