What Are You Playing?

I beat Donkey Kong Land III and Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, the latter of which I enjoyed immensely. I thought it was much more well-designed and forgiving than its predecessor, while still remaining fun and challenging. It’s another one of those games I was sad to beat. (By the way, Clancy Brown was great as Dr. Cortex. He was hamming it up in the best way possible.)

I started playing Tomb Raider II today. It’s more of the same, but I’m enjoying it so far. Right now, I’m having fun just cruising around Venice’s canals in a speedboat.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
What surprises me however is how long it took for these side games to come out. Given how many years it took (the Kickstarter was in March 2013 and the original game was released in 2014), I had assumed they were basically whole new games, which isn't really the case. I'm not complaining because I like the game as a whole and it's definitely the best KS campaigned I ever backed, but it makes me wonder what their process is.
This confirms what I presumed the last couple years, that they basically let this get way out of hand and bit off more than they could reasonably deliver at this quality, but they delivered anyway. The long delay was really between Specter of Torment and King of Cards/Showdown, but even then that's a fourth unique campaign and a Smash Bros style fighter, and considering they'd already basically given me three games for my buck I never felt impatient or worried they wouldn't come through. I should also say you can see where the time went with King of Cards and really each campaign.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
This confirms what I presumed the last couple years, that they basically let this get way out of hand and bit off more than they could reasonably deliver at this quality, but they delivered anyway. The long delay was really between Specter of Torment and King of Cards/Showdown, but even then that's a fourth unique campaign and a Smash Bros style fighter, and considering they'd already basically given me three games for my buck I never felt impatient or worried they wouldn't come through. I should also say you can see where the time went with King of Cards and really each campaign.
Making Showdown seems particularly indulgent of them. Was there a great hunger for such a game? I mean, I play Shovel Knight on my 3DS, and I imagine many do. What good is that game to me? (as it turns out, it's not even available on 3DS, hah!)

Don't get me wrong, I really liked Shovel Knight. Just, ya know, not enough that I'd wished Yacht Club to invest all their efforts for 6 years in extending it with DLC. I'd have much preferred to see something new from them by now.

In gaming updates, my son and I have been playing through Mario 64. It's been a treat to see his reaction to the game after experiencing Mario Odyssey and Mario Galaxy. He still recognizes how cool it is, despite the advances made over time. That's the sign of a smart kid :griffnotevil: I also let him play my old copy of New Super Mario Bros Wii, which he immediately disliked. Not because it was 2D, but because of how frustrating it is to play with 2 players.
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
Making Showdown seems particularly indulgent of them. Was there a great hunger for such a game? I mean, I play Shovel Knight on my 3DS, and I imagine many do. What good is that game to me? (as it turns out, it's not even available on 3DS, hah!)

Don't get me wrong, I really liked Shovel Knight. Just, ya know, not enough that I'd wished Yacht Club to invest all their efforts for 6 years in extending it with DLC. I'd have much preferred to see something new from them by now.
Yeesh, what's the opposite of extra credit? After reading your and Aaz's appreciative perspectives I have new sympathy for Kickstarters and fan projects that just quit instead of wasting their time doing an awesome job! =)

To the point that they went way too deep and could have been more efficient or economical with their time, it reminds me that in the restaurant biz you always do discounts instead of giving food away free, even if it's basically no cost to you, because "free has no value in the eyes of the consumer." They should have just imported those character's pixels into the vanilla game and been done with it, then charged for all that additional content as "Shovel Knight 2" if they did it at all. Then we'd be debating whether it was better than the original with three different playable characters, campaigns, battle mode, etc. And while we'd probably end up in the same place ambivalently determining it wasn't different enough, they'd also have probably doubled their money.

In gaming updates, my son and I have been playing through Mario 64. It's been a treat to see his reaction to the game after experiencing Mario Odyssey and Mario Galaxy. He still recognizes how cool it is, despite the advances made over time. That's the sign of a smart kid :griffnotevil: I also let him play my old copy of New Super Mario Bros Wii, which he immediately disliked. Not because it was 2D, but because of how frustrating it is to play with 2 players.
He's 2 for 2! New Super Mario Bros Wii and Wii U two player sucks! The single player game is nothing special either, especially in contrast to one of the greatest and most influential games ever made. What's he think of Shovel Knight DLC? "Plague Knight isn't very fun." I'd concede to him. =)
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Yeesh, what's the opposite of extra credit? After reading your and Aaz's appreciative perspectives I have new sympathy for Kickstarters and fan projects that just quit instead of wasting their time doing an awesome job! =)
Come on, I think I was fair!

They should have just imported those character's pixels into the vanilla game and been done with it, then charged for all that additional content as "Shovel Knight 2" if they did it at all. Then we'd be debating whether it was better than the original with three different playable characters, campaigns, battle mode, etc. And while we'd probably end up in the same place ambivalently determining it wasn't different enough, they'd also have probably doubled their money.
Honestly? Yeah that's exactly what they should have done, and what everybody expected them to do. I'm not complaining though, I swear! :griffnotevil:

"Plague Knight isn't very fun." I'd concede to him. =)
But he's so jubilant! :ubik:
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Come on, I think I was fair!
Yeah, nothing you guys are saying is technically inaccurate, it's just an odd point of critical emphasis in what I found to be an overwhelmingly positive experience, "But they could have done so much LESS!":shrug:

Honestly? Yeah that's exactly what they should have done, and what everybody expected them to do. I'm not complaining though, I swear! :griffnotevil:
They did end up in some kind of no man's land. A sequel or new game would have been a more effective way to present the material; having it be ongoing free DLC just allowed people to overlook, move on and forget it. I mean, that's half the stories here, people didn't even know they had it, what it was, or what it was worth.

But he's so jubilant! :ubik:
He and his story are pretty cute, and was especially impressive at the time considering I was just expecting to run around, perhaps remixed, Shovel Knight levels with a different character but essentially got a whole other parallel game, and twice over since. That's why I'm incredulous about the theoretical downside here. Treasure Trove in general couldn't have worked out better for me because I bought one great Mega Man-esque retro platformer and got three more in the deal. Reused enemies and backgrounds aside, those DLC campaigns are pretty much on par with NES Mega Man sequels, so I don't really see them as a compromise in any way, on the contrary the effort after the fact was damn impressive. Just a case of more is more for me.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, nothing you guys are saying is technically inaccurate, it's just an odd point of critical emphasis in what I found to be an overwhelmingly positive experience, "But they could have done so much LESS!"
It's really simple, for me: Shovel Knight was great, but I already had that ride. That was a stellar home-run, first-at-bat delivery for the studio. What's next? That's what's been on my mind all these years. If these character DLC had been released back to back over 2-3 years, well that'd a much different story. But after six years, I'd have much preferred to see them reach for more -- not just more of the same.

The pricing model and their overall benevolent attitude throughout this campaign is admirable, but it's kind of beside the point for me. I don't mind paying for quality work. If anyone is getting ripped off in this deal, it's them. If they're making quality work, the pricing model should allow them to be compensated for it. As it stands, their biggest fanbase, early adopters, don't even have a natural way to do that. That being said, I bought Specter of Torment on Switch, just to give them a little something extra (I already had it on 3DS). But who else bothered?

They demonstrated tremendous potential out of the gate, and I don't want to see it all squandered on what is essentially one (extended) game.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I get wanting them to make their next big thing, but I see it a little differently. To put it simply, what is is more important than what could've been. I don't see potential being squandered here, just realized, and if they never make another game, I'll just be happy they made this one and these four campaigns. I'm not going to be disappointed they did that, or wish they didn't do that to work on some theoretical better(?) game they could have been making instead. I'm actually far too skeptical of the creative process to even think that's likely (not questioning their abilities, just respecting the difficulty of executing any project like this and the likelihood of it being a home run as you say; things have to come together). I hope they do, but I'm not counting on it, and I'm certainly not holding it against the great game they made because there's no guarantee they ever make another one.
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Well I've finished all games, and I think I enjoyed King of Cards the most out of the side stuff. I think they managed his back story pretty well given his vacuousness.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Well I've finished all games, and I think I enjoyed King of Cards the most out of the side stuff.
I finished 100%ing King of Cards today and finally moved on to New Game +, which was insane, and I went back to check one of my completed Shovel Knight saves and was struck by how relatively sparse the map was; it looked practically empty compared to King of Cards. I know those levels were longer and obviously more original and involved, but I couldn't help but think again that this was basically the equivalent of Shovel Knight 2.

I think they managed his back story pretty well given his vacuousness.
Yeah, despite him being almost a silent protagonist at times, when he did speak it was always funny and narratively it was a good twist on what's come before, especially because we know there's no redemptive arc or savior here. =)
 
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TheAshenOne

Married to the Win.
Hello everyone, making my first post as a new member, and I figured this was a good topic to start with. I am currently playing Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, and Dishonored 2 all on the X Box one. I hope to get a chance to play No Man's Sky and Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, soon.
 

Oburi

All praise Grail
Hello everyone, making my first post as a new member, and I figured this was a good topic to start with. I am currently playing Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, and Dishonored 2 all on the X Box one. I hope to get a chance to play No Man's Sky and Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, soon.
Welcome to the forum dude. I myself am playing Fallout 4 for the first time.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Fallout 4 was pretty immersive and addictive (I recorded over 100 hours, albeit some while the game was on pause, so it did something right), and I was impressed on the new spin they put on your introduction to its post-apocalyptic world, but I was disappointed by the lack, or illusion, of choice. Then again, maybe choice was my problem, the game forces you to make one, whereas in the previous games, particularly the one's developed by Black Isle/Obsidian, you always had more options. To get around this I ended up being pretty destructive so I could remake the wasteland and its factions as I saw fit, with me at the head of them, natch. Even if my solution wasn't something officially recognized by the game (let's just say I figured if I and my NPCs all wear Brotherhood of Steel armor we're now the Brotherhood =), I guess I managed to discover the spirit of its predecessors.


I completed the demo for Code Vein, and while fun, I wasn't impressed by the art style, world, or combat. It just felt like a mediocre Souls clone with a goofy anime plot and characters. Pass.

Since all the games I'm really looking forward to this year are seemingly coming out a few weeks apart in late March/early April I'm tying up some loose ends in the meantime. Fired up GTA IV again, which I don't think I'd touched since Death Stranding came out, and did a couple missions. I'm pretty deep in the game and this awesome plot I've heard about that supposedly sets it apart has still not emerged.

The other overdue title I tried again before mama and the baby came home was The Last of Us. I got through the prologue, and while the inciting incident was certainly affecting, I also thought it was kind of cheap and cliche, even though it was the opposite of what I was expecting (it didn't help that last I left off I was at the very start in the girl's room, so I had that picture of the game in my head for months =). I literally don't know anything else about this game though, so while I now have some expectation of where it will go or at least what themes it will explore, I'm looking forward to being surprised.
 
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TheAshenOne

Married to the Win.
Fallout 4 was pretty immersive and addictive (I recorded over 100 hours, albeit some while the game was on pause, so it did something right), and I was impressed on the new spin they put on your introduction to its post-apocalyptic world, but I was disappointed by the lack, or illusion, of choice. Then again, maybe choice was my problem, the game forces you to make one, whereas in the previous games, particularly the one's developed by Black Isle/Obsidian, you always had more options. To get around this I ended up being pretty destructive so I could remake the wasteland and its factions as I saw fit, with me at the head of them, natch. Even if my solution wasn't something officially recognized by the game, I guess I managed to discover the spirit of its predecessors anyway.


I tried the demo for Code Vein, and while fun, I wasn't impressed by the art style, world, or combat. It just felt like a mediocre Souls clone with a goofy anime plot and characters. Pass.

Since all the games I'm really looking forward to this year are seemingly coming out a few weeks apart in late March/early April I'm tying up some loose ends in the meantime. Fired up GTA IV again, which I don't think I'd touched since Death Stranding came out, and did a couple missions. I'm pretty deep in the game and this awesome plot I've heard about that's supposed supposed to set it apart has still not emerged.

The other overdue title I tried again before mama and the baby came home was The Last of Us. I got through the prologue, and while the inciting incident was certainly affecting, I also thought it was kind of cheap and cliche, even though it was the opposite of what I was expecting (it didn't help that last I left off I was at the very start in the girl's room so I had that picture of the game in my head for months =). I literally don't know anything else about this game though, so while I now have some expectation of where it will go or at least what themes it will explore, I'm looking forward to being surprised.
I have heard some good things about The Last of Us, I would certainly like to try it out. And my dad loves GTA so i always help him with the missions in 4 and 5. I didn't notice much to set it apart from the others except for game mechanics like driving the cars. Maybe it's the the final mission they are referring to where you make a choice that produces two (although mostly similar) endings to the game. I honestly haven't been in the loop on new game releases so I'm not looking forward to anything in particular. Not to mention I don't believe in buying new games at full price, I always wait a year or two for the price to drop before I end up with a copy. Like when Resident Evil 7 came out it was 60$, but when I bought it in the middle of last year it was 17$ used. That's what I call a deal lol.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Started The Outer Worlds, aka FALLOUT... IN... SPACE! Already digging the vibe and sense of humor, but haven't gotten far enough to see if there's any depth there of its own or if it's just vaguely sort of Fallout-ish.

The Last of Us has firmly grabbed me though. Couldn't quit it last night; I think I'm in Pittsburgh trying to avoid hunters, which are basically raiders. Sometimes it's annoying how it seemingly just pivots back and forth between facing soldiers or the infected, and some of the scenarios are some bullshit (like how your sense is basically rendered moot for certain surprise enemies, the detection of which would be the point of having such an ability to a careful player =). I think the worst time I had of it was inside the high school with the mix of runners and clickers, probably because I was being too conservative with my supplies and trying to pure sneak on everyone when it's just better to use a shiv on those clicking motherfuckers and beat down the rest. Anyway, despite my complaints, I'm hooked and waiting to see if the story eventually grabs me as much as the fun of the gameplay and world.
 
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I actually just picked up an english patched version of the PS2 Berserk game titled "Berserk Millennium Empire Arc: Chapter of the Holy Demon War". I also purchased a free mcboot memory card which essentially softmods your PS2 and enables you to play region locked games. The memory card and the game should be showing up soon. I can wait to finally play this game!
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Finished The Last of Us and dug how it wrapped things up in decidedly gray fashion. I knew there had to be a melodramatic rescue at some point, but the twist they put on it elevated it above the standard redemptive love and heroism I was expecting out of it. Overall, it was a nice improvement on the RE4 formula by adding stealth and a non-embarrassing story.
 
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I finished Tomb Raider II yesterday. It was more of the same, but with some notable improvement in graphics and game play. All in all, a bit disappointing. Not sure if I'll play the next one or not. I'll see how I feel when I get to it.

Next up is Quake II!
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
I finished Tomb Raider II yesterday. It was more of the same, but with some notable improvement in graphics and game play. All in all, a bit disappointing. Not sure if I'll play the next one or not. I'll see how I feel when I get to it.
You can skip the other games in the series until the 2013 reboot.
 
Well, at least half those games aren't worth the time. The Souls games are probably my favorite of the decade but that doesn't mean I want to play every watered-down imitation or even iteration (Dark Souls and Bloodborne are really the most essential). More on this later...

Only game I've ever platinum'd, and I didn't even set out to do it. The Chalice Dungeons are almost perfectly balanced for what they are, whether played in concert with the main game to compliment it or as end game content. Endless randomized dungeons with enough plot connection to make them compelling, but without cheating you if you just wanted to play the regular game. Basically, they have deeper lore and unique enemies/bosses, but you're not going to miss anything vital to the main game. Unlike, say, MGS: Peace Walker, "Take hours to play a million annoyingly lame and unfulfilling side ops with no story progression to eventually get THE REAL ENDING!" Ugh.
Yeah, I really don't intend to play every Soulsborne imitation ever. Just whatever catches my attention I guess. There's a ton more than just the gameplay and difficulty that makes them insanely special to me that I'll probably be replaying them for the rest of my life hah. Some of them I'll get to eventually though, but it's not necessarily cause they're 'soulslike'.

And that's kind of funny because Bloodborne is the only game I've platinumed and it was more of a coincidence for me than anything. I got every trophy except the weapons one just by playing it. I looked at my trophy list and turned out I only needed to buy a few weapons to get my platinum, so fuck it why not? I'm not a trophy hunter, so the only trophies I tend to end up with are the ones I get naturally.

As for the chalice dungeons, they are pretty fun, but hellish to grind. A long time ago I tried to grind them and it was fun til it.... wasn't. Too repetitive. Ugh. But then I found if you do two layers per in game boss from when you do the chalices, it kind of ends up fitting the story nearly perfectly. Made it a lot more fun. It still can get a bit tedious though, but that was a WAY more feasible and entertaining way to do it. Kept it challenging too.

Hello everyone, making my first post as a new member, and I figured this was a good topic to start with. I am currently playing Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, and Dishonored 2 all on the X Box one. I hope to get a chance to play No Man's Sky and Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, soon.
Hell YES to Dishonored 2. I'm a huge fan of that series, glad to see it mentioned here and hope you like it. Emily ftw.

Right now I'm polishing off Fallout 4, but kind of burnt out from it. Finished off the main quest, now just roaming the maps to find new locations and quests. It's always one of my favorite parts of the game to freely wander once the game has wrapped up.

Finished off Life is Strange: Before the Storm and absolutely loved it. I figured this was going to be good, but definitely exceeded my expectations. It's gonna be a lot of fun to play this series beginning to end canonically.

I finished Leon's campaign in Resident Evil 2 Remake and it was pretty fucking awesome. Not the perfect remake I was hoping for, but from someone who played the game religiously as a kid, I doubt I'd ever be completely happy. My expectations are a bit too unreasonable. Minus the skipping over the beginning of Racoon City. That pisses me off, that was one of the best parts of the original! Maximum WTF from me. But I'm now doing the 2nd route as Claire and it's been pretty fun as well. Game feels like it's on fast forward though, which is weird. Also, as much as the tyrant is intimidating and cool as fuck, sometimes he feels more annoying than scary. But I still dig his passion.

Playing a lot more Tales of Berseria when I get the chance. Still love everything about this game, but the gameplay is really fun, yet gets boring fast.

Also started playing Yume Nikki Dream Diary. But I was very much not sober when I chose to do this, which was a great decision, but I'm gonna need to come back to this one hah.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
To put a bow on my The Last of Us experience I'm going to quote and engage with Walter's old Last of Us review because it convinced me to eventually play the game, it's really good and there's no point in me repeating the same points less effectively, and, I need someone or something to converse with on the subject of this seven year old game. :ganishka:

as far as I'm concerned, Last of Us is a modern classic. Any nitpicking I'm about to do simply can't drown out its overall greatness.
Though I was genuinely surprised that none of the emotional punches in the game left much of an impact on me. I was more fascinated with the world and the craft of how the team constructed these scenes than the content of most of them, but I conclude that's a problem with me, not the game.
This was was basically my experience, I recognized and appreciated the craft of this game, totally got what the big deal was about, enjoyed the gameplay and emphasized with characters, but with a degree of detachment that meant I was never emotionally rooting or worried for Joel and Ellie in a completely involved way; essentially, I didn't get caught up and carried away with the game, really appreciated and enjoyed it but couldn't love it.

The animations and character acting were the real stars here. Holy shit... I've never played a game like this. There are thousands of small character animations that convey emotions wordlessly. There's a scene in which Joel jokes "Go Bighorns..." in response to learning where the characters will be headed next (a college). The person pointing the way is caught off guard by Joel's joke, half-smiles in surprise, but the nuance of the animation conveys that he was thinking about a distant memory of the old world. It's a single reaction animation, not even framed in a cinematic, lasting about 2 seconds, but it said more than words could.
The game maturely demonstrates how two very different people deal with trauma. Joel turns inward, just putting one step in front of the other after his life fell apart. Though even at the start of the game, in the old world, Joel wasn't exactly Mr. Chipper. The collapse of civilization however gives him a solid excuse to withdraw and be as forlorn as he wanted. Ellie's take on the world is fresh, as someone who has never known life outside a quarantine zone. Her arc is about grappling with her optimism alongside a man and in a world that won't just mend.

The game ends precisely where it should.
Joel made the wrong choice, but it was really the only option that guy was going to take -- obviously. Marlene grossly misjudged him. She knew Joel's brother, and should have known about Sarah as a result. So that's all on her, as far as I'm concerned. I could feel no remorse over his decision, even though a vaccine could have been the thing that humanity rallied around and began to heal. At the same time, it wasn't as if Joel was going to let the world take another loved one away from him.
I found it refreshing how the game essentially lived up to its world and everything, and everyone, reflected that and that it wasn't going to be alright in the end. Bad in, bad out. Furthermore, in my mind you ultimately discover you're arguably the villain. There's hints throughout, like Joel's being on both sides of the murdering bandit equation, his apparently abusive relationship with Tommy after Sarah's death, and how quickly, naturally and at times cold-bloodedly he resorts to extreme violence, etc, but your expectation is still that Joel is better than most of the other denizens of this world, that his experience as a father and his growing paternal love and compassion for Ellie is a redemptive characteristic that sets him apart from the soldiers, bandits, Davids and even Bills of the world. But he's actually no better; in fact, he's the most dangerous, selfish and worst of all, and ultimately his love, protectiveness, and possessiveness of Ellie reveals that, even if one completely understands where he's coming from.

Yet I did completely understand and agree with almost everything he does! I like that he rarely makes dumb mistakes or trusts the wrong people out of some misplaced sense of goodness that has no place in this context. The closest thing to an exception is Henry and Sam, but even that's a reasonable calculus, as he explicitly says. Otherwise, he's not wrong to distrust and kill everybody he does, or to want to save Ellie. It's just he's no better than the other people lethally protecting what they want or trying to decide what's best for people without bothering to ask.

Everyone is pretty consistent in this way, as in they largely do what's pragmatic or in their best interest. Hell, the character truly enigmatic in this regard is David, who pretends to be nice for and inordinately long time for no reason yet is willing to throw everything away to be a secret sadist asshole? He worked well enough as the villain of Ellie's solo arc, but I think his best potential still lies as a parallel to Joel.

This all contrasts well with Marlene and the Fireflies, who are still jerks, but are making a truly impossible moral choice that Joel tries to paint as an immoral one he's picking the alternative to, but the truth is he isn't making any moral choice at all, never cared about this other than to manipulate people to his way with it, and tossed out his morals and any higher cause with the end of the world. Again, he's just doing what he wants.

Which is why...

Around the time of the sequel's announcement, I remember reading many opinions that the game didn't NEED a sequel. But as someone fresh from the experience, I'm happy there's more to tell about Jellie, and I'm looking forward to it.
Absolutely, I was thrilled with how the ending unfolded because not only does it support a sequel, but demands one that contends with and rectifies the consequences of Joel's actions. What I really liked was that they never betray the, understandable, cynical streak of this world by having Joel's and Ellie's love elevate them above it, rather than being of it. It'll be interesting to find out where they left off and pick up again in the new game.

I would have been happy with about half the fight sequences being removed... ...the sheer number of these sequences is overkill. Joel is a force of nature, to the extent that it creates dissonance in the realistic portrayal the game is clearly vying for... ...Most of these sequences feel like they were designed to be merely a more violent way to get from A to B, rather than to present interesting challenges that show a different side of the characters. Though one could argue that some character development happens between the startled reactions from Ellie at Joel's caveman instincts, I just wish the gameplay itself were more involved than pallet puzzles and shivving guys in the neck.

I also think I made a huge mistake by starting and then continuing to play on Normal... ...as things progressed, my inventory was perpetually flush with items. No sequence was particularly challenging, and the feeling of scrounging the environment for materials was lessened by the fact that I never really felt in need of anything.
Agreed on all points, I enjoyed the gameplay and they mix it up a bit, but the recurring stealth and combat segments felt endless and inevitable rather than unique and necessary obstacles to overcome. Yet at the end I was flush with weapons and the final sequences felt almost perfunctory in comparison to the relative gauntlet one has to pass to reach it. The best weapon in the game was the brick, and I'd learned to use it so well I was full up on everything so even when I switched to exclusively using the flamethrower on infected at the end, I was never in danger of running out of ammo and still had to leave some behind as a matter of fact. Except for the mandatory firefights near the end, there's a huge disparity in the value and availability of ammo over health, in that you should just sneak past, stealth kill or melee as many enemies as possible because health is so plentiful you're better off wasting life than bullets anyway.

On to my biggest problem with the Last of Us, which is sociological: The unrealistic way people talk and interact. 20 years removed from the collapse of modern civilization, it seems insane to me that people would have the same sense of humor, same mannerisms, same function in human-to-human relations, as they do in our modern world -- they're all just a lot more grumpy. Consider, this is an era where there is no stability. Everyone has lost someone, and they are constantly running and scrounging for a meager existence. Witty repartee simply would not survive the utter collapse of the human spirit. They're sullen, but still sarcastic; a little on edge, but not far removed at all from modern human relations. As broken as people are in this setting, I feel like the change in their personalities would be proportionally radical.

This problem is solidified in Ellie, someone who wasn't even around when the world was whole, yet does a perfect mimicry of a modern teenage girl. I think Cormac McCarthy nailed it with his brittle dialogue, and how untrusting those who survived the collapse were of each other (for those who have read it, the scene with the old man is the most noteworthy example of this). This is a bit like picking on seeing a dated hair style in a movie that's supposed to be set in the future. I'm sure from the writer's room, they could argue that a teenage character should translate to dialogue that is recognizably teenage to modern audiences. If that's the argument, I simply don't agree. If civilization collapsed, the old norms would go with it, and along with that, the way we treat and value each other, and thus the way we speak and interact.
I understand the point your making about having the social interactions be as radically broken down as the world is, and this would have been potentially far more ambitious to portray, but in defense of the game's portrayal there still is human civilization and society, crappy as it is, and it's not so far removed from the age before that people shaped by it like Joel wouldn't remember it and act accordingly (such as your "go Bighorns" example above), even if they're in pain and mourning over that simpler time. I don't think it necessarily makes sense for everyone's humanity to be so unrecognizable a generation after a society altering catastrophe, which people do experience and persevere through, particularly during and after war, famine, disease, or economic collapse. Also, people's behavior and actions in this game do speak to that societal change; almost everyone's a vicious killer, including Ellie, and there is little to no trust, but people are also still going to connect, laugh and whistle in graveyards. Particularly those like Ellie that don't really know what they're missing other than what they enviously see in diaries, magazines and advertisements. Or, in Joel's case, did he change at all (he didn't want to stop to help anybody in the first place)? I thought it was a fine balance 20 years later and people contain multitudes so at least some would still be kidding around even as they're doing their daily murdering. The innate nature of humanity, yay! =)

Last (of Us) question: Is the Left Behind DLC essential or worth it, or should I just let Joel's and Ellie's story be my last memory until The Last of Us Part II?
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
I didn't mean to post my response to Tabris separately, but if I can I don't see how to delete this extra post. So, I'm just going to leave it here for now, unless an admin wants to combine them, because it is a lot of otherwise unrelated material. =)



Yeah, I really don't intend to play every Soulsborne imitation ever. Just whatever catches my attention I guess. There's a ton more than just the gameplay and difficulty that makes them insanely special to me
After Sekiro I might finally be reaching my fill, but we'll see if that's the case with Nioh 2 and Elden Ring or if it was just Sekiro that didn't give me that same feeling.

And that's kind of funny because Bloodborne is the only game I've platinumed and it was more of a coincidence for me than anything... ...I'm not a trophy hunter, so the only trophies I tend to end up with are the ones I get naturally.
Same here, not an achievement chaser at all, and the last thing I was left with to platinum it was getting all the endings and I wanted to do that anyway. It all came naturally so the platinum status was easy.

As for the chalice dungeons... ...I found if you do two layers per in game boss from when you do the chalices, it kind of ends up fitting the story nearly perfectly.
That sounds intriguing (Chalice Dungeon Machete Tabris Order? =)! So when exactly do you start, or before/after which boss? Basically do two as soon the game introduces them, after the Bloodstarved Beast if I recall, and then two more after/between each boss?

I finished Leon's campaign in Resident Evil 2 Remake and it was pretty fucking awesome. Not the perfect remake I was hoping for, but from someone who played the game religiously as a kid, I doubt I'd ever be completely happy. My expectations are a bit too unreasonable. Minus the skipping over the beginning of Racoon City. That pisses me off, that was one of the best parts of the original! Maximum WTF from me. But I'm now doing the 2nd route as Claire and it's been pretty fun as well. Game feels like it's on fast forward though, which is weird.
The best recreation of the A/B scenario from the original game is actually playing Claire's first run, which is modeled more on the original A scenario, and then Leon's, which is modeled more like the original B scenario, and skip the 2nd runs altogether because playing the 1st and 2nd runs consecutively makes no difference anyway, it just skips the beginning and changes the early police station puzzles like fast forward as you said. It was a weird choice to bother trying to approximate the scenario system when it's really just two versions of a similar scenario that are only different based on the character you choose. If I recall both of you still have to hunt down the same chess pieces and fight most of the same bossess, whether it's the 1st or 2nd run, for whatever reason.

P.S. Just kidding, one reason to actually do at least one 2nd Run is there's still an extra boss ala completing the A/B scenarios.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Started BotW again about 3 weeks back so my son could see the bulk of it (I mainlined it at release well before he was interested). I’ll explore a bit on my own time, but he wants to experience the story bits and shrines. So I’ll queue up a handful of shrines, then he gets to solve them. We just got the Master Sword, and it’s become his favorite game. It’s crazy to me how well this game has held up, even on my second playthrough in 3 years.

This all contrasts well with Marlene and the Fireflies, who are still jerks, but are making a truly impossible moral choice that Joel tries to paint as an immoral one he's picking the alternative to, but the truth is he isn't making any moral choice at all, never cared about this other than to manipulate people to his way with it, and tossed out his morals and any higher cause with the end of the world. Again, he's just doing what he wants.
The stench of desperation surrounding the Fireflies at the end hollowed out Marlene's proposal, for me. What they were proposing wasn't to use Ellie as a savior, but a lab rat. So I didn't find it conflicting at all that Joel simply wanted to protect Ellie from these overreaching douchebags. Now ... if players were given assurance that their plan had a high likelihood of success, that would be a moral quandary for us. But still not a choice Joel would have made.

in defense of the game's portrayal there still is human civilization and society, crappy as it is, and it's not so far removed from the age before that people shaped by it like Joel wouldn't remember it and act accordingly (such as your "go Bighorns" example above), even if they're in pain and mourning over that simpler time. I don't think it necessarily makes sense for everyone's humanity to be so unrecognizable a generation after a society altering catastrophe, which people do experience and persevere through, particularly during and after war, famine, disease, or economic collapse.
But I liked The Road's portrayal better :shrug:

The argument we're having is whether the spirit of humanity is resilient enough to sustain a societal collapse and emerge similar to our own. Like I said, this was only really an issue for me because Cormac McCarthy clearly made this a major consideration with his characters and that factor felt noticeably absent in The Last of Us' cast. Maybe I'm being cynical, but the decisions those writers made felt naive. Worse than that, it like they were shortcutting that layer because it'd be a bigger ask of players, and could result in a cast of unsympathetic characters.

Our sensibilities evolve to wrap around the world we live in. You know how when you go back and watch a movie from 20, 30 years ago, and the comedic timing or the execution of a joke just feels a little off from modern standards? The fundamentals of the joke were keyed in for a society that doesn't exist anymore. If it's a really old movie, sometimes you have to consciously navigate those differences to get the joke, and even then, it might not move the needle much anymore. Now, that's just the gradual evolution of comedic sensibilities within a society that has remained foundationally stable. How about in an unstable society where everyone feels the friction on a daily basis for basic human needs? It could completely restructure our values.

That's where things broke down for me in The Last of Us. Despite the world-changing event, the writing was keyed in for us, with our values and sensibilities, because that's a shortcut to communicating personality, intent, mood, etc. That's the easy road. The longer road is to fold in whatever other personality quirks and value changes would be natural in a post-collapse environment, and players would need to intuit the meaning behind those changes to truly understand the character.
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
It’s crazy to me how well this game has held up, even on my second playthrough in 3 years.
I'd be surprised if it didn't, it's the most significant Zelda since Ocarina of Time, which still holds up itself and is recognizable in most modern third person action games.

This has been my daily moment of OoT affirmation. =)

The stench of desperation surrounding the Fireflies at the end hollowed out Marlene's proposal, for me. What they were proposing wasn't to use Ellie as a savior, but a lab rat. So I didn't find it conflicting at all that Joel simply wanted to protect Ellie from these overreaching douchebags. Now ... if players were given assurance that their plan had a high likelihood of success, that would be a moral quandary for us. But still not a choice Joel would have made.
In retrospect there was a lot more opportunity for nuanced meditation on these issues. After such a long journey, including a lot of ground covered offscreen, that whole final sequence is lightning quick. The assholes knock you out while you're trying to resuscitate their only shot at the cure, then you wake up and... she's being prepped for final surgery? All the study and analysis is complete? They didn't even interview her? Do some blood tests? Maybe all this was done already before you started and I missed it, but I doubt it and that's not good anyway. Then they're going to lazily toss you out but you basically outmaneuver or kill their sparsely populated militia group. It goes to the priorities you hypothesized about concerning the depiction of society; an emphasis on emotional accessibility and resonance over deeper exploration of ideas, philosophy and themes.

But I liked The Road's portrayal better :shrug:
That's fine, it IS better and more interesting, but the parameters of this fictional world don't need to conform to that fictional world to make its own sense or avoid being anachronistic somehow.

I actually feel like the flaws of this world as constructed are far less subjective; like, what the hell are all these terribly organized raiding factions doing throwing away their lives to go after some guy and a kid like suicide bombers? What's the government doing, how big are they, and why don't they and their soldiers have a bigger presence after the initial quarantine zone? Why is the government's big enemy militia, the Fireflies, like 20 soldiers and 3 doctors that are relatively easily sacked by one person? Why does almost nobody else give a shit Ellie possess immunity and potentially the cure, even those that find out? Given all of the above, shouldn't this be more interesting than alternating fighting monsters and raiders for 85% of the game?

The argument we're having is whether the spirit of humanity is resilient enough to sustain a societal collapse and emerge similar to our own.
Or nature versus nurture, how much our societies reflect us or we reflect our societies (or, how much are teen girls always like teen girls =). I'm not sure which is the more cynical take, that we'd completely change under those conditions or still act relatively "normal" given just about any circumstances, "I'm still hungry, pass over that last hand." I lean more towards the latter, but the answer is probably both depending on the individuals and how they're directly impacted by the old world and/or how it changed. This is stuff that definitely gets explored in granular detail if this was an RPG, "Hey look, it's the pocket of society untouched by its collapse... are they better for it, or guarding a dark secret?? You'll have to complete their quests to find out!"

Like I said, this was only really an issue for me because Cormac McCarthy clearly made this a major consideration with his characters and that factor felt noticeably absent in The Last of Us' cast. Maybe I'm being cynical, but the decisions those writers made felt naive. Worse than that, it like they were shortcutting that layer because it'd be a bigger ask of players, and could result in a cast of unsympathetic characters.
Well, here's where expectations play a part because I was expecting daddy dearest and his little girl to be the pure goody goodies debating how to always do the right thing in a bad world, and was pleasantly surprised what a harsh piece of shit Joel is from the outset, but understandably as a product of his time and experiences. Tess and Joel were a tough hang to start; I mean, the first thing we see our heroes do is cold bloodedly hunt down and murder their old business partner for double crossing them. Yet right to the end I put Joel in the white hat, the more reasonable and lighter of survivors like Bill, with a secret heart of gold waiting to emerge, but it turns out that heart is all the harder and colder for it. I guess I really like that love didn't redeem or destroy humanity, Joel's or in general (not figuratively, anyway =), as the game proposes, but was instead twisted and warped by humanity. It was a nice twist on what was otherwise a pretty straightforward buddy road trip where they learn to like or live one another, which I thought got paid off too soon, shades of Bones ("they're a family now!?"), until I saw where it was ultimately going.

Our sensibilities evolve to wrap around the world we live in. You know how when you go back and watch a movie from 20, 30 years ago, and the comedic timing or the execution of a joke just feels a little off from modern standards? The fundamentals of the joke were keyed in for a society that doesn't exist anymore. If it's a really old movie, sometimes you have to consciously navigate those differences to get the joke, and even then, it might not move the needle much anymore. Now, that's just the gradual evolution of comedic sensibilities within a society that has remained foundationally stable. How about in an unstable society where everyone feels the friction on a daily basis for basic human needs? It could completely restructure our values.

That's where things broke down for me in The Last of Us. Despite the world-changing event, the writing was keyed in for us, with our values and sensibilities, because that's a shortcut to communicating personality, intent, mood, etc. That's the easy road. The longer road is to fold in whatever other personality quirks and value changes would be natural in a post-collapse environment, and players would need to intuit the meaning behind those changes to truly understand the character.
YMMV, which is what I think this basically comes down to, but I was okay with, "they're recognizably like us but very murdery 20 years after the fall of modern civilization as we know it." I thought it was close enough to, and enough vestiges remained of, modern civilization that they should still reflect it somewhat, and the differences showed in their actions and attitudes toward human life, if not some more conspicuous, pervasive ethos, which if present is a selfish survivalism and violent cruelty. I'm skeptical the developers were even thinking in terms of making it less harsh and more relatable or accessible, as opposed to REAL post-apocalyptic society =), or if this was simply their best extrapolation so soon after (though at first I was surprised it was 20 years later rather than a few because I initially expected your daughter to carry over). It's no Fallout 2, but like I said, I was expecting the most sanitized shit imaginable, so was pleased the game was made of sterner stuff.

Anyway, here's hoping they take things further in the next game with a few more years passing and the rise of the generation that doesn't remember the old world and only knows this one.
 
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