Mington

Alien Isolation - The nightmare of Milky Joe

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Oh man this game. Please don't suck, please don't be broken. I should be getting my DK2 Rift shortly before this game comes out and this is top of my list of games to try it on.

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Reviews are coming in, and things are kind of mixed. The Guardian's take on it is extremely positive, while Polygon makes it sound like it is OK, but kind of disappointing. Gamespot's review has a line that was what I was most worried about with the game: "This is four hours worth of a great idea stretched into 14-plus hours." 

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Ryan McCaffrey at IGN echoed that sentiment.

 

Arthur Gies is responsible for the Polygon review, however, and I don't trust much of anything that man has to say. In fact, listening to Rebel FM is mostly an exercise in masochism because I want to grab him by the scruff of his collar and shake some damn sense into him.

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Fair enough, but hearing from multiple sources that the game feels padded significantly will probably be enough to keep me away for now. My gaming time has become more and more limited, and as a result, I can't help but think how perfect a solid four hour Alien game would be for my current gaming habits. Oh well. This is what Steam sales are for.

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Waiting for the Patrick Klepek review since he seems to want the same thing from this game that I do. It sounds like it suffers from the same problem that Miasmata did though, and that game was even shorter. It got to a point where it wasn't scary anymore, it was just a nuisance when you actually wanted to get stuff done. In addition Isolation sounds like it has an even worse problem of eventually abandoning the core concept for typical AAA game action sequences. *fart sound*

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Honestly the super mixed reviews make me just want to check it out for myself.

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Really mixed reviews are increasingly a sign to me that I will probably like a game.  Moreso than universal praise. 

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I often feel the same way, so I hope my post wasn't read as a "Metacritic's below 90, so no purchase" kind of thing. It's just that the complaints leveled against it sound like the kinds of things that would bother me. It might be interesting, but I'm just in the mood for short games at the moment.

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Honestly the super mixed reviews make me just want to check it out for myself.

 

Really mixed reviews are increasingly a sign to me that I will probably like a game.  Moreso than universal praise. 

 

Same! The fact that reviews from big game websites are becoming less homogeneous is fantastic imo. More varied opinions, not varied fact sheets.

 

With that said, Kevin VanOrd's review  summed up my worries of what the game was gunna be: a very fillery, mostly due to the fact you die alot and repeat shit. For me personally, the fillery shit is bad, but the fact that you'll probably die over and over is a plus for me. That said, it looks like most deaths seem to be somewhat cheap.

 

vllqpw.gif

 

This is something I always feel is a problem specific to heavily systemic games. The more systems and interactions your game has, specially when it comes to enemy AI, the harder it is to not let the curtains open and reveal the tricks behind those systems. What's worse is that this kind of shit will not happen to everyone, because of its systemic nature. Which makes reviews/critiques/views on the game very odd, since not everyone might experience teleporting Alien deaths. Unless of course, the Alien is super fucking fast for that gif to be justified.

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RPS was fairly positive; I imagine something where you actually have to trick an alien is not going to review well.

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I'm encouraged by the mixed reviews actually. For one thing, it demands that people ignore the scores, for the most part, and actually read the review (though many may not). We're also getting to a point with games were different critics can have different opinions about a game, about what it's trying to do and about what it succeeds in doing. That's a very cool thing.

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Same! The fact that reviews from big game websites are becoming less homogeneous is fantastic imo. More varied opinions, not varied fact sheets.

 

With that said, Kevin VanOrd's review  summed up my worries of what the game was gunna be: a very fillery, mostly due to the fact you die alot and repeat shit. For me personally, the fillery shit is bad, but the fact that you'll probably die over and over is a plus for me. That said, it looks like most deaths seem to be somewhat cheap.

 

[gi]

 

This is something I always feel is a problem specific to heavily systemic games. The more systems and interactions your game has, specially when it comes to enemy AI, the harder it is to not let the curtains open and reveal the tricks behind those systems. What's worse is that this kind of shit will not happen to everyone, because of its systemic nature. Which makes reviews/critiques/views on the game very odd, since not everyone might experience teleporting Alien deaths. Unless of course, the Alien is super fucking fast for that gif to be justified.

That gif (sorry, jif) looked very damning to me as well, but it makes a lot more sense with the sound included:

 

http://a.pomf.se/agbero.webm

 

It's just really fast, and started going for the player as soon as they looked away.

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Yeah, walking around when the alien is 15 feet from you seems insanely stupid. This game seems to push for a realism a lot of gamers say they crave and then realize they don't want when they get it. Guess what, buddy--life is unfair and unpredictable and doesn't ascribe to a set of clearly-defined rules.

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Yeah, walking around when the alien is 15 feet from you seems insanely stupid. This game seems to push for a realism a lot of gamers say they crave and then realize they don't want when they get it. Guess what, buddy--life is unfair and unpredictable and doesn't ascribe to a set of clearly-defined rules.

 

I don't think that's reasonable. You don't know that the people asking for realism are the same people complaining about it when it's implemented. There is a sliding scale of realism and most people will fall in the middle, so any game at either extreme will have its critics. Just because "life is unfair" doesn't mean games should be. In fact I would argue that a game that is inherently unfair and doesn't follow clearly defined rules is poor game design.

 

EDIT: Nothing I have seen from Isolation is unfair, I'm not arguing against that example.

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I don't think that's reasonable. You don't know that the people asking for realism are the same people complaining about it when it's implemented. There is a sliding scale of realism and most people will fall in the middle, so any game at either extreme will have its critics. Just because "life is unfair" doesn't mean games should be. In fact I would argue that a game that is inherently unfair and doesn't follow clearly defined rules is poor game design.

 

EDIT: Nothing I have seen from Isolation is unfair, I'm not arguing against that example.

While this has nothing to do with Aliens, there was a funny write up or talk at one point with someone from Firaxis talking about random rolls in Civilization. They had to tune the randomness not to be random, because players perceived the actual random algorithm with being unfair, so they did tweaks for it to not be completely random, but feel fair.

 

(I may have heard this story on Idle Thumbs too, I don't remember, but hopefully the information is accurate.)

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While this has nothing to do with Aliens, there was a funny write up or talk at one point with someone from Firaxis talking about random rolls in Civilization. They had to tune the randomness not to be random, because players perceived the actual random algorithm with being unfair, so they did tweaks for it to not be completely random, but feel fair.

 

(I may have heard this story on Idle Thumbs too, I don't remember, but hopefully the information is accurate.)

 

I'm pretty sure that was mentioned in an older episode.

 

Scary evil modern example: EA had to change a "random" prize wheel in The Simpsons: Tapped Out last year because it was deliberately designed to give the impression that it was random and that the player had an equal chance of all possible outcomes, but was in actuality heavily weighted against the player. It's still heavily weighted against the player, but no longer to the point of "an actual prize wheel at a carnival wouldn't cheat this blatantly."

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I don't think that's reasonable. You don't know that the people asking for realism are the same people complaining about it when it's implemented. There is a sliding scale of realism and most people will fall in the middle, so any game at either extreme will have its critics. Just because "life is unfair" doesn't mean games should be. In fact I would argue that a game that is inherently unfair and doesn't follow clearly defined rules is poor game design.

 

EDIT: Nothing I have seen from Isolation is unfair, I'm not arguing against that example.

Well, then let me use some anecdotal evidence.

 

When Battlefield 3 came out and the realistic lighting model made it impossible to spot players who were backlit by the sun, it made for a lot of frustrating deaths. I've always championed realism in my competitive shooters, but this is a specific instance of veering too far in that direction. That being said, I think everything you've written is understandable and valid.

 

Per usual, Patrick Klepek's criticisms were better-expressed than most on last Friday's Bombin' in the AM, so I'm reticent to take the plunge just yet. Between the divisive critical reaction and the fact that I'm still engrossed in Shadow of Mordor, I'll probably wait until Isolation hits a $30 flash sale in a few months before I purchase it.

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I played it for 3 hours last night, and was super impressed. When you walk pass smoke from a fire you cough (which is the sort of thing that would presumably give away your position). There are so many wonderful environmental details.

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I'm about four hours in, really (sort of) enjoying it so far. I'm a fairly big Alien/s fan (what a weirdly branded franchise), not necessarily as much a fan of horror games. There are a lot of weird incidental things I really enjoy, there are a ton of really rewarding animations as you clunk cards into save locations, the game looks really great and the preservation of 1970's futurism is really cool. 

 

One question I keep having is: "Why Amanda Ripley?" I've been continually frustrated with the franchise being tied to Ellen, and thus far Amanda hasn't really been characterized much. The carrot-string of "you need to get this recording" is almost completely ignored (so far) except in one scene when you break into tears over the device being corrupted, and then recompose yourself. Using Amanda Ripley as the main character just feels like something someone was forced to do. 

 

Also, I haven't really been exposed to the alien much yet. So, I might be completely misguided and I know I have a lot to go. 

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I'm about four hours in, really (sort of) enjoying it so far. I'm a fairly big Alien/s fan (what a weirdly branded franchise)

 

I like how none of those films' logos resemble one another. I didn't even think about it until I got the Blu-Ray set and got to see them all next to each other.

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I'm about three hours in. My greatest fear is not death itself, it's dying ten minutes after my last save. When you have to do the same sequence over and over the tension disappears and the game becomes a chore. The death of manual saving is one of the most unfortunate trends in modern game design.

 

It's also possibly the prettiest game I've ever played, even better looking than Metro.

 

I'm a bit worried about the length, some review mentioned twenty hours, I don't see how they could possibly keep the xenomorph scary and interesting for that long.

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