Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by Gwardinen

  1. Yeah I just got to the bit with Ann and her persona and when I saw it, and her battle costume, and then a minute later she said "he just views women as sexual objects" and another character said "is that how you talk to a woman?" and the dissonance nearly vibrated my skull clean off. I remember feeling this way about previous Persona games (which I have only watched and not played before 5), that the themes of hidden identities and secrets being explored through these fantastical contrivances was really interesting, but that the game still repeatedly dives into very retrograde identity politics. I don't know how much of this to put down to Japan's conservative culture, but either way it results in some fuckin' weird moments.
  2. The Last Guardian

    I think I understand what you're saying, but I also think both of the things you mention (cutscenes not being pre-rendered, camera not being locked behind character) are distinctions without difference to many games. What I mean by this is that a lot of games have "cutscenes" that are rendered in real-time - actually, at this point, most of them do. You mention that control isn't taken away, that you can still move the boy around on Trico's back, which is true, and that the outcome is therefore subject to complex physics calculations, which is... adjacent to true. The boy is still controlled by physics, and you can indeed fall off during a scripted Trico jump (though I would hesitate to call that a positive, since the only consequence is a restart and seeing the exact same sequence again), but that's it. Everything else during a scripted jump/run sequence is canned animation, because of course it is. It'd be outrageous to try to just set up some kind of collapsible bridge physics object that would hopefully collapse in the right way at the right time and an AI routine that would hopefully escape it in the right way at the right time. So with the minor (and arguably problematic) of the boy's limited movement, everything during those sequences is the same as any other in-engine sequence in any other game. You namechecked Uncharted, and that's a great touchstone - Uncharted has tons of these sequences, and many of them have more continuing player interaction, without the whole framerate going to shit. You might say "ok, but Naughty Dog is known for their especially excellent technical skills", which is fair, but I could also call up other examples like the recent Square Enix Tomb Raider games that do the same thing (more on those games later). The bigger issue with the performance is that it regularly tanks when you're not in big action scenes. In fact in my experience of playing the game, this happens more often out of big scripted moments - presumably because those moments had more individual attention during development and therefore some of these issues were smoothed out during them. The other big point you made is about the camera and how it's not like other modern games and not locked behind the character. The latter part is true, but again the former is not so much. Again the fastest examples to point at are Uncharted and Tomb Raider, but I could also point to basically any other third person game that isn't a shooter (and many that are), and the camera works the exact same way - it can rotate all the way around the character to look in any direction. Dark Souls, MGS, the Witcher, Splinter Cell, Hitman, Horizon, Final Fantasy... honestly I'm having more trouble thinking of games that don't use this camera convention. It's possible you're talking about what happens if you just don't touch the right stick at all in this game, in which case the camera zooms out a bit and takes a more static approach out in the corner of a scene (though still very much focused on the character), which definitely is kind of a retro touch from when games didn't really have camera control (it's very reminiscent of earlier Devil May Cry games to me, in which it mostly served to make platforming more difficult). I can't speak much to how that camera behaves because it regularly annoyed me and caused me problems if I let it go into that mode, so I almost never did. Regarding pressing L1 to look at Trico - that's true, and is useful. It doesn't, however, require the different camera system of the Last Guardian (which as I mention above isn't really a different camera system in any way I can see) to work. Games have had a "press this button to look at something else" function at least since the original Gears of War, but there are probably earlier examples. I'm not trying to be unremittingly harsh towards the game, actually as I said in my last post I'm glad the game was made and I'm glad I played it, but I am trying to be honestly critical of its technical failings. There is often a dichotomy when a game comes out between people who appraise it for its "artistic merit" and people who appraise it for its "technical execution", and the twain does not always meet. I think the Last Guardian is one of the strongest examples of a game that deserves to be appraised differently on both scales - I think it's a wonderful artistic achievement, and in some ways an impressive technical achievement (see my thoughts on animation and AI of Trico previously), but it's in other ways a frustrating disappointment in technical execution. I think both of these things can be true, and both should be recognised in order that we can try to follow one and improve on the other. There is, obviously, also the fact of individual experience. Some people just didn't experience the same amount of technical problems as others, or happened not to be so bothered by them. Which is fine - in fact, I'm envious of those people because I'd have loved for my enjoyment of this game to be smoother and more pure. But I'm very hesitant about letting that lead me to waving off the problems as ones of taste, as it seems many people in the broader conversation about this game are wont to do, because it bypasses the very real issues of control, performance and interface that exist in it. I'm not trying to draw a moral comparison here, only one of perspective, but it's not entirely dissimilar to the way certain issues of gender and race are "dog whistles", and much of the population doesn't notice them. It doesn't mean they're not there.
  3. The Last Guardian

    Yeah I finally finished this today and I'm pretty much right where you expect to be, miffy. I think it's broken as hell but it didn't quite manage to ruin the game for me. The pithy one-liner I use when people ask me about the game is that "I love everything about it, except playing it". A certain amount of the control issues can be explained away with intention, as mentioned earlier in this thread, but there are still parts of it that just feel bad, even if you understand what they're going for. When it comes to the camera and the performance, even that amount of cover doesn't exist - the camera is just garbage. The problem that really hurts it, though, is the AI interacting with scripting. The reason this is the most egregious issue is because this is also the core of the game's beauty. Trico is a fucking amazing feat of creation, breathed to life by I don't even know how many people working across disciplines. So when you realise in a moment that the reason he's not going along with what you want him to do isn't because he's a wild animal with whom you have imperfect communication and understanding, it's because he's glitched the fuck out, it completely breaks the spell. This happened to me more than once during the game and I had to turn to guides to see whether I was just doing completely the wrong thing - nope, in a few cases I was doing exactly what was expected of me but Trico just couldn't get into the right script. Neither the bugs nor the atrocious performance and camera nor the (arguably) leaden and confused controls completely outweigh the wonder of this game, though. I haven't had an experience like this for a long time, and I'm glad I did. I wish more games had ambitions like this, both in terms of scope and direction - making a convincing, interesting and emotionally affecting companion is not something many projects even strive for, let alone achieve.
  4. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    That's great. I genuinely might use some of those as wallpapers or something.
  5. It is. I'm having a bigger problem with the second boss, though, just in terms of actually HITTING it. It doesn't have a nice midpoint lock-on, and the model, while large, is a difficult shape to hit at ground level.
  6. Total Warhammer

    Yeah it looks like Skaven to me. Looking forward to it! I always thought Lizardmen were cool as hell. I wonder whether they'll have the floating undead toad wizard mummy, Lord Kroak.
  7. Definitely. In a weird way I think this book may have missed its audience - it's actually a smart YA book. It's would probably go down really well with YA readers who want better/more complex writing than the genre usually provides.
  8. Life

    Hope things get better, Bjorn. Looking forward to watching you biotic charge into more nerds soon.
  9. Movie/TV recommendations

    Bummer. I did watch the Love Witch, though, and thoroughly enjoyed it! It's a strange (but interesting and funny) extended meditation on the transaction/negotiation aspects of sex and love between men and women, all wrapped up in a deliberately stereotypical 60s sexploitation movie package. The casting is unbelievably perfect, too. The main character looks like the creator literally went back in time and kidnapped her from the set of a film just like this. The free love liberal arts professor looks and sounds absolutely spot on, and the square-jawed all-American cop so completely suits his role that I would have thought it was a stock image if I'd seen him in a still photo.
  10. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    This is kind of off topic but it's bizarre how much the Giant Bombcast and the Giant Beastcast have diverged at this point. I actually enjoy listening to the Beastcast and will sometimes prioritise it over other podcast episodes I have that are technically ahead "in the queue", whereas nowadays I do the opposite with the Bombcast. Brad and Jeff becoming the only remaining permanent members on it seems like the final nail in the coffin for me. I can definitely enjoy Jeff and his encyclopedic knowledge of bizarre fringe/historical game industry knowledge, but he needs someone to facilitate him talking about that weird shit and Brad is not the guy. Meanwhile Vinny continues to be the funniest, most light-hearted host on the east coast, and all the others just bounce off him in wacky ways. Even Dan doesn't particularly annoy me on the Beastcast - because the clowning around atmosphere seems to obviate his desire to express real opinions, which I desperately don't want to hear from him.
  11. Justice League film

    I believe that the Wonder Woman film is still coming first, but that while the Aquaman film was originally intended to be released before the first Justice League film, it's now been delayed to next year. I'm not sure whether Flash and Cyborg were ever intended to have their own films.
  12. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    I don't disagree, but I was introduced to the possibility that this is intentional and I am now wondering about it. If you were to compare those lines to a generic Hollywood blockbuster in 2017... how different would they be? Those kinds of films have always had dumb one-liners like these, and the fact they're a bit more "age of the internet"... makes me wonder. I think there is a not inconsiderable possibility that some people behind this game viewed the new setting as an opportunity to freshen the series up for a younger audience. However, it then ends up uneven because I also think there were a lot of people working on the game who actually want to tell a mature science fiction story. Honestly, this is not a new tension for Mass Effect - there was always a tug of war between high-minded ideals of exploring cultural and political themes through science fiction and just making a great "shit blows up" action movie in space. I think these games were always kind of uneven, and it might just be even more obvious now that the original creative director and writers have passed it over to a new crew who're trying to figure out what they want to say.
  13. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    The rewards are purely mechanical, as far as I've seen. If you don't enjoy the multiplayer gameplay for its own sake don't bother with it. Though it's worth occasionally tapping a couple of buttons to send out your strike teams for effectively free rewards.
  14. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    Haha, yeah, I had exactly the same thought. Again, though, not particularly well communicated in the game itself.
  15. Movie/TV recommendations

    I'm doing my occasional scan of films recently released to streaming and disc and wondering whether I'd enjoy any of them. Has anyone seen Elle? Paul Verhoeven is a bizarre director who occasionally seems to strike gold, and it's been garnering a lot of critical praise. I'm trying to find a single real person who's actually seen it to give me an impression. Same goes for the Love Witch, which if anything sounds stranger. I'm also curious whether anyone had any thoughts on Passengers, because what I've heard is... troubling. It honestly sounds kind of creepy, and not in a good way.
  16. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    I recently got a krogan hammer in singleplayer and it's a lot of fun. I just finished doing a couple matches with Vulpes and Gorbles and enjoyed it! Finally tried out the Vanguard and it is indeed a mad dash around the map, beating the crap out of people. Also I find it interesting how quickly you've decided that your soldiers are expendable, Bjorn. Or do you consider the Strike Teams PMCs and therefore not your responsibility to look after?
  17. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    No that's kind of what I was saying in my impressions post. Both Andromeda and Inquisition have included a lot of "filler" content that doesn't especially interest me, but that doesn't bother me because I'm not required to engage with it. Some people might therefore say, why not argue for this stuff to be excised entirely? The answer is I know people like you, Vulpes, who do enjoy it. I don't think you should apologise for liking the parts I'm not into, and I don't think BioWare is wrong to serve that portion of its audience. Regarding multiplayer; yeah, me too. I definitely need to actually send out my strike teams more (if I had a device I could easily use that Apex HQ thing Bjorn mentioned on I would) and I need to go on more Apex missions myself. Some of the rare character classes genuinely look quite cool! I got a salarian infiltrator that has a really neat style but I'm just terrible at any kind of stealth class in this type of game.
  18. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    I'm really torn on that flying animation because I think it looks neat (apart from the aforementioned having to zoom back out on a planet thing which is amusingly dumb) and goes to the whole flying around exploring the frontier theme, but I'm also dead set against unskippable videos in games - the landing and takeoff videos on planets bother me the same way. Anything, no matter how good, becomes annoying when you're forced to see it over and over again. Also, yeah, it's just one of the reasons I don't bother going to planets that don't have quests on. I'm definitely triaging content in Andromeda like I did in Inquisition; there's a lot of filler there (though not quite as much as DAI, because god damn) and it's best if you identify early how much of it you want to engage with. For example, I'm not doing the scan 50 planets quest. I don't think there's any chance of it paying off narratively or mechanically enough to justify the amount of time and boredom it would require to complete. Regarding Vanguards in MP: how the fuck do you survive in close range? I haven't really tried a Vanguard yet but as any other character if I end up right up in the grill of enemies I am doing my damnedest to GTFO because you are actually pretty squishy at low levels. I did happen to find a Turian Soldier character in a crate, though, which ameliorates that problem somewhat with Fortify. Weirdly the one I crave is the Krogan Engineer.
  19. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    Yeah I was briefly really excited by the possibility of that
  20. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    I see what you're saying and it definitely has some moments of "that's not what I meant to do at all", but I'm not sure I entirely agree that just throwing in a crouch button would be better. I really like the idea of a context sensitive cover system that doesn't require the dedication of a crouch button that can be used for other things - and the actual necessity of taking my thumb off the stick to press it. It's just unfortunate that the implementation is sometimes a little weird here. What I will say is that the game seems to be suggesting that you should be spending less time hunkering down than in previous entries in the series anyway, due to its high mobility jetpack dodging stuff. However to contrast with that at the start of the game you are pretty damn squishy, so I'm not sure how realistic that ideal is. Yeah I forgot to mention this but there's actually a Tutorials option in the menu that has information on almost all of this stuff. Which is kind of a strange feature to have (or decide you need) in a AAA game in 2017. It doesn't necessarily bother me to have a bit of didactic info squirrelled away in-game that might have once been in a manual, but it is sorta weird if you missed (or never got) the brief explanation of any given system during gameplay.
  21. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    Something I should point out for those who may not be aware is that there are actually a couple of ways to try this game to see whether it's for you (and whether you can even run it well, if on PC). Firstly there's the Origin/EA Access that is allowing some of us to play 10 hours of it beforehand. It costs £4/$5 and gives you the trial of this and a few other games, plus some full games for the length of your subscription. This is available on both PC and console. The second way is for PC only - Origin has the "Great Game Guarantee", which is their refund policy. It works a little differently to Steam's. You can refund any game until a week has passed since you bought it, or 24 hours have passed since you first launched it, whichever comes first. The 24 hours thing is arguably more generous than other policies in some ways, and it should give people a chance to at least see how things run and experience the opening of the game. From a performance standpoint I'll say that my framerate has been fluctuating, possibly in part due to my older CPU that is dragging my other components down. My hope is that with a patch or two and some new drivers from nVidia I might have a better time of it. I have about an hour left of my trial - were we thinking of getting a Thumbs team together for a little bit of multiplayer today?
  22. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    I haven't read most of the recent coverage so I don't know exactly what the negative points are that've been brought up, but I've just gotten to the end point of the singleplayer content in the trial, so I'll give a brief set of my impressions so far. It feels a lot like a spiritual successor to the first Mass Effect. Actually it feels so much like a more recent, bigger budget spiritual successor to the start of the original trilogy that my mind kept being drawn into thinking of it in terms of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It doesn't hold up all the time, but the relationship between TFA and A New Hope is not entirely dissimilar to the relationship between Andromeda and ME1. There are parallels between this and the first game in both good and bad ways, and some of these are enhanced and some exacerbated by the current (post Dragon Age Inquisition) BioWare style. Examples of these parallels can be blatant and specific, like the Nomad rover very clearly harkening back to the Mako of ME1, or they can be more subtle and thematic, like the focus on exploration and learning about a new galaxy (in ME1 the galaxy was not necessarily new to your character, but it was new to humanity in a broad sense and new to the player). The combination of this focus on exploration, and the feeling of being out on the frontier they're trying to engender, and the attempt to fulfill the promise of ME1 (something the team talked about before release) mean that you spend quite a lot of time doing the same kind of stuff you did in ME1. Specifically, flying to planets and driving around in your rover. There was a pretty decent amount of busywork in ME1 related to this, and Andromeda seems to bring that along too. You can definitely spend a lot of time driving around the terrain, scanning everything that looks even vaguely out of the ordinary, launching mining probes and gathering resources. It feels very much like a blend of ME1 and DAI in that sense. Continuing both the "echoes of ME1" and "potential busywork" trend is the inventory. In contrast to ME2 and 3, which mostly stripped out inventory in favour of just having a list of guns that you could put in a given slot, Andromeda leans back towards complexity. Weapons and armour now have multiple levels, eg. Viper I, Viper II, etc. To get the weapons you have to first research them, which requires research points earned by scanning things, and then develop them, which requires resources acquired by mining or looting. There's nothing out and out wrong with these systems per se, but I haven't found them interesting yet and I suspect they're mostly going to be fairly unaffordable in the early game, a distracting annoyance in the midgame, and completely forgotten in the lategame once I've maxed out whatever I actually like. These echoes go both ways, however. While Mass Effect 2 is generally considered the better game (and there's a strong argument to be made for that), the first entry in the series is the one that showed us why it was worth caring about. Exploring all the alien cultures and worlds, and navigating the political climate based on an interesting history that was gradually revealed was all really enjoyable, and I've definitely seen flashes of that in these first few hours of Andromeda. It's also much easier to relate to the situations and characters in Andromeda without either the fantasy world of DAI or massive Reaper threat of ME2&3 in the background. Being excited about exploring a new galaxy is something I can actually imagine myself feeling, and many of the characters genuinely resonate on that frequency. You also have the opportunity to play your Ryder that way - as someone who is exploring because they're an explorer. If nothing else, it lessens the cognitive dissonance of dossing around doing side quests while the world/galaxy is ending. Overall then I've enjoyed my time with the trial - I've just started getting to know a new galaxy and a new set of characters, and I'm enjoying the feeling of shaping my Ryder's personality without being bound to BLUE OPTION/RED OPTION conversation trees. The sense of exploration is nice, and the odd blend of optimism while remaining philosophical about people's essential natures and tendency to squabble feels very Star Trek to me, in a good way. I think the game is set up in such a way that you could spend a lot of time doing kind of filler content/busywork, much like you could in Inquisition, but I don't yet get the sense that I'll be heavily penalised if I don't. It may be the case that this is one of those games that you have to exercise judgement and self-control with to decide what it is you actually want out of it. Scanning every little bit of every world isn't interesting to me, but I know someone who enjoyed DAI specifically because she got that sense of fulfillment from checking absolutely everything off the list. The one totally fair critique I have noticed on the internet (because it's been everywhere) is of the facial animations. In most scenes they're stiff as hell, and it's a mystery as to why. The first Mass Effect was a watershed moment for conversation interactivity and performance, and that became a central pillar not only of that series, not only of every other BioWare game, but of most of the genre since. The fact that they made no effort to improve it this time is a massive missed opportunity, though in fairness I can only imagine how expensive that would be for a game of this scope. It's bizarre that this and Horizon Zero Dawn appeared so close to each other and both had this particular flaw - although Horizon's facial animations were sometimes good in cutscenes (but arguably this only made it more jarring in gameplay). P.S. It's worth noting there are a decent number of new features to Andromeda that I haven't mentioned because they simply don't become apparent during the trial. For example the switching out of skill builds mid-combat seems interesting, but I'm too low level for it to be relevant at the moment. Equally, increasing the viability of a planet (and for whoever was worried about planets already being occupied earlier in the thread, the first one you start this process on is a barren radioactive wasteland until you arrive and start trying to sort shit out) and gradually waking up colonists seems like a neat broad game loop, but I'm just not far enough in yet to talk about how it actually shakes out.
  23. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    Haha, I sent you a request, Vulpes. My Origin ID is Gwardinen if anyone else wants to add me - I'm totally up for a multiplayer match this weekend, unless I've spent my whole 10 hours by then. Singleplayer progress is gated in early access, though, so I probably won't have.
  24. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    Gonna leave this here for you, Bjorn. I believe it will be relevant to your interests. The basic loop looks cool, and the way they've attached it to singleplayer is potentially neat (although also potentially kind of irrelevant). I admit to a little worry about those consumables on the d-pad, though. Are they going to be easily earnable in-game or is this the microtransaction hook?