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What game are you playing right now? #3

Discussion in 'Playground' started by Splunge, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. ConjurerDragon

    ConjurerDragon Ich dien ★ SPS Account Holder

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    After playing through the then free Shadowrun Returns: The dead man’s switch, I currently play Shadowrun: Dragonfall and find more and more reasons to dislike Berlin... :rolleyes:
     
  2. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Played through Bombshell a while back. It's an isometric shooter, sort of in the same vein as the Alien / Zombie shooter. Though that comparison only goes as far as saying that Doom 3 is like Doom 1&2; same genre, but different approaches.

    Whereas Alien Shooter takes the Painkiller / Serious Sam approach to combat, Bombshell goes more the Doom 3 approach and doesn't throw nearly as many enemies at you. The ones that you do encounter, typically are more dangerous in small groups than those large groups of monsters in Alien Shooter.

    Like Alien Shooter, you gain experience when killing enemies, and when completing quests / progress plot. You can put those points into very incremental upgrades to health and armour, or invest those in points in making some special powers stronger. These special powers are unlocked during the course of the game, and include punching stuff, dashing, a shield, and a sword. Some of these are useful, like dashing to go faster, or the sword to quickly cut up some enemies, but the shield and the punch don't seem very useful.

    Aside from those things, you unlock more upgrades for your weapons as you level up, though you'll have to buy them after they're unlocked. There are quite a few weapons, and they can be upgraded in different ways (affecting the secondary fire, typically). You'll find the weapons at pre-determined places during the game, so I suppose it's actually possible you'd miss some of them if you don't explore thoroughly. I missed one, though that was due to a bug, where the game thought I'd picked up the weapon, except I couldn't select it, nor was it visible in the upgrade screen.

    I'd have reloaded an earlier save, but the game works with checkpoints, and the game had checkpointed me after I'd supposedly picked up the weapon. I suppose I could've restarted the level, but I didn't feel like replaying the whole level. I'm not too fond of the checkpoint system, especially when I accidentally triggered the end of the level, even though I'd intended to explore the level more thoroughly first. And I'd been checkpointed in the new level, so bye-bye previous level.

    Not that it really matters that much, but I'd definitely have preferred a normal save system. Even the weapon that I'd not gotten due to that bug didn't matter much, as the weapons seem a bit poorly balanced. Most notably, the starting weapon you get has regenerating ammo, and, if you chose the upgrade path I did, it kills almost anything in one shot. Mini-boss? Single shot it. It's a rail gun, so you can one-shot multiple enemies with one shot as well. Instinctively I tried to switch to the rocket launcher for one of the boss fights, but that does actually significantly less damage than the starting weapon, and will run out of ammo.

    So I used just that one weapon for most of the game. The only limitation I ran into with that weapon was when I encountered an enemy with a shield, that, with typical video game logic, could reflect my shots back at me. Took me a few times to realise that the instant death was actually caused by myself. Similarly, I killed myself a few times by throwing grenades, which, after an upgrade, will split into four bomblets that roll around the screen trying to find an enemy. When upgraded, it can kill most enemies with a single bomblet, but you want to make sure that all four exploded, and there is not one stuck on some scenery, just waiting to explode. Because if that happens when you are close, it can kill you in one shot as well.

    You can zoom the isometric camera in and out, but, as is often my gripe with camera angles, you can't zoom out very far. It's not like the game can't handle it, either, because in certain areas the game will helpfully zoom out to let you see the pretty scenery. Perhaps it's to hide that the AI can't handle it. Though certainly I've been shot at often enough from off screen, which is always a bit annoying.

    Also, whoever thought that platforming in an isometric game was a good idea, needs to go back to video game design 101, I think. I've jumped off platforms, only to discover that the platform I thought I was jumping to was not actually part of the level. Or wondering for half of the jumps if I need to press up or left to get to the other platform, because up is not up on the screen. And you'd think you could dash across some gaps, especially since the dash becomes a teleport after a few upgrades. It can work, but only if the platform you're dashing towards is at exactly the same level or lower, because if it's a pixel higher, you'll stop dead at the edge, then plummet to your doom. That time I dashed onto some scenery and got launched out of the level was pretty cool, though.

    All in all, it's not a bad game, but it's definitely not a good game, either. To compare it to Alien Shooter 2 again, I've played through that game at least ten times, though the main game for Alien Shooter 2 is not that long. But I doubt I'll play Bombshell again. It's just not as fun, and there are too many little gripes with the game.

    The music is, in my opinion, great, though. I got the game on a discount (90% even), and I'd say the soundtrack alone is worth that, to me. I'd enjoyed it for months before I actually got around to playing the game, and I'm enjoying it still.
     
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  3. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Played through Xenonauts recently, which was great fun.

    It's apparently a sort of remake of X-COM (the original), but I've never played that, so I don't have any idea how it compares. Aside from that, the game gives me a bit of the Jagged Alliance feel. At least the turn-based combat feels that way.

    The gameplay is split up between a world map, where you manage you base, track and intercept UFOs, and build new bases. You also set up the equipment for your soldiers, research alien technology, and build new weapons, aircraft, etc.
    The other half of the gameplay is to go down to the UFO crashsites and fight any remaining aliens. This is the part that feels a bit like JA2 to me.

    For me, the turn-based ground combat probably took up around 95% of my play time. But, interestingly, it's actually largely optional. You can go down to the crashsites, and you'll get more cash from it, as well as necessary materials for research, and later also for engineering. But for the research you really only need to go to one type of each UFO that you encounter, it's not really necessary to go to a second or third scout ship crashsite.

    In theory, you could just airstrike the rest, and save yourself a lot of time. On the other hand, you get more money for going to the crashsite, and you'll get alien materials that you'd otherwise not get. And, of course, you can level up your soldiers.

    It's apparently a typical X-COM thing to lose many soldiers, and it was apparently largely unavoidable in the original game. It will happen in Xenonauts as well, and your soldiers are quite fragile at the start of the game. Later on it can still happen, but it will be a somewhat rarer occasion, as your soldiers will better armoured and will have better weapons with which it will take less shots to kill an alien. Though you'll also encounter psionic aliens, that can mind control you, or have your soldiers panic, or go berserk. Especially the latter I found to be dangerous, when most of your soldiers can one shot each other, and which is kind of annoying if it happens to your best soldiers.

    All in all, I liked the ground combat, and the base management is not that bad either. Even intercepting the UFOs with your own aircrafts can be quite rewarding. Again there is an auto-resolve button here, and, when you have sufficient overkill, it generally pays to use the auto-resolve. On the other hand, I've won some airfights for which the auto-resolve chances were pretty abysmal. It's a pretty fun mini game to do, and with some skill, you can strafe around a UFO without taking a hit yourself.

    And despite the fact that you typically spend by far the most of your time doing ground combat, resources should be allocated as much as possible to gaining and maintaining air superiority. If you don't shoot down enough UFOs, countries will get withdraw funding and might eventually fall to alien control completely. Also, if you don't shoot down the UFOs, there will be nothing for your soldiers to go to.

    So for my game, I prioritised air superiority, and most of my soldiers had to do with basic weapons and no armour until at least the first few months in the game. Even if research unlocked stuff for my soldiers, I had no money to build the stuff for them, because all my money went into getting enough coverage of the globe to not have nations drop out, and to build more aircrafts to maintain air superiority.

    It makes for interesting strategy. And the overall mix makes a fun game.

    There are some little gripes, though. Mostly, it's that certain types of missions can just not occur at all. There are terror missions, where a lot of aliens try to kill a lot of civilians and you have to stop them, and occasionally they may set up a base somewhere. The alien base gives you a research option that will increase your own research and engineering efficiency with 50%, which is a great boost. There's another option that will allow you to build a receiver of sorts with which you can see what aliens are aboard a UFO, and what their mission is.

    Unfortunately, in my game I only got one alien base, and that didn't have the communications array that would give me the option to know the aliens aboard a UFO and their mission. So I never had that option during my game, which would have been nice, because sometimes you don't want to deal with your guys getting mind controlled all the time, so if I'd known, I'd have airstriked the crashsite.

    Aside from that, once you have air superiority and coverage, you will never see these special type of missions (alien base, terror mission, your own base being assaulted), because you shoot down all the UFOs before they have the chance to do any of that. And randomly letting UFOs run around in the hopes that they'll eventually trigger one of these missions, will mostly just reduce your funding.

    I also have some gripes with the game mechanic for psionics. It would have been nice if the guys with the best stats would have had some better chance of resisting these types of attacks. There is one stat that kind of governs this, but it only works as a dice roll, where you roll between 1 and the value of this bravery stat. The alien does the same, and if your roll is higher, you resist it. But that means that you 100 bravery (maxed stat) soldier still has a good chance to fail his roll against a psionic alien with a 80 stat.
     
  4. Tassadar Gems: 22/31
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    It's weird, I love JA2, but never really enjoyed X-Com that much. Lacks personality to me, just a bunch of faceless nobodies. There is nothing that brings a smile to my face more than Ivan going "zdorvaaa!" after blowing a hole in the wall, followed by "sheetbek, I use all de ammuneeshun for veppun!" Also JA2 tactical combat is second to none, imo.

    Right now though been playing Overwatch, Divinity: Original Sin 2, and an enormous amount of Monster Hunter: World.
    Upcoming games I have my eye on: Pathfinder: Kingmaker which looks like another isometric BG type game, Soul Calibur VI and Doom: Eternal.
     
  5. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I can see where you're coming from. While playing Xenonauts, I've thought several times that the combat in JA2 was more polished. The combat feels like it has more depth om JA2. The biggest difference is perhaps that JA2 has stealth mechanics, something that I tend to use a lot in JA2, usually prefering to attack at night. Unfortunately, in Xenonauts, night combat is typically something to be avoided. Your soldiers will suffer penalties to their vision range, and possibly to accuracy, but the aliens do not, or at least to a lesser degree.

    And yes, in JA2, the mercs just ooze personality. It would have been nice if the soldiers had had some kind of personality, but I understand that they're just randomly generated items. I've seen some guys playing ironman on the highest difficulty, and a squad wipe can definitely occur, so I understand that giving everyone of the soldiers some unique voice and personality might not make the most sense. But still, it is one of those things that stick out.

    I also played XCOM: Enemy Unknown recently, and interestingly, they made some efforts to make the player invested in the soldiers. You can customise their names, their appearance, their voice, the game helpfully zooms in on your soldiers when they take some actions. Unfortunately, especially in the base game, it all falls flat on its face, as there is only a generic american voice to choose from, but, most importantly, all your soldiers have the same stats. They can have different classes, which will have different progression in stats, but every soldier with the same class will be pretty much identical to another soldier with that class. At least in some of the DLC / expansions they made random stats an option, which actually helps much more than all the rest to make the soldiers unique. Also they added different languages, which definitely helps.

    Though both XCOM: EU and Xenonauts were based on the same X-Com games, they took radically different routes to get there. Where Xenonauts is closer to the original, XCOM changed it more into an action based game. Strangely, the way the combat works in XCOM:EU, it reminds me more of some kind of battle chess, rather than something like JA2.

    You get two actions per turn, and each class has different abilities that you can use. While in Xenonauts you also definitely want to take out the aliens you discover as soon as possible, in XCOM this is even more pronounced. In part that's because your guys will have pretty poor hitpoints to start with, and it's entirely possible to get one shotted, soldiers that do get hit tend to spend a lot of time in the medbay afterwards (if the damage exceeded their armour, but since you don't really have armour in the beginning...). In Xenonauts, the damage system works differently, and you might just shrug off that plasma blast if you're wearing the better armours, and if you do get hit, as soon as your hitpoints (after using a medkit) stay above 50%, you can start the next mission without issues.

    The other part of the game in XCOM:EU is base management. The number one goal at the start of the game is to get more satellite coverage, similar to wanting to get more radar coverage in Xenonauts. For getting satellite coverage, you'll need satellites, which cost money, and also you need satellite uplinks, which is a building you need to build. Here's where the base management gets rather convoluted, and almost impossible to plan for. For building satellite uplinks, you need money, but you also need power and engineers to build it. Increasing amounts of engineers as you build more satellite uplinks. Engineers which you can only get as a reward for some missions (that you might not get, or might not be able to choose if you want to avoid countries leaving the council, resulting in loss of income and other bonuses), or at the end of the month, but only from those countries that have satellite coverage.

    There's so many different resources to handle for the base management, it gets insanely convoluted when you try to plan for what to build, what to research, and what to manufacture, and in what order.

    XCOM:EU can be pretty buggy at times as well. Lines of sight are often not what you'd think they should be, and I've had cases where enemies just were invisible from any angle, until they moved to a different place. I've had to restart the final mission one time as well, because some script didn't trigger, and the doors to the next section didn't open. Or one time a cyberdisc just teleported into the middle of my group. They explode on death, so while it's not too much trouble to take it out in one turn, it needs to be managed carefully.

    On the whole, I had quite a lot of fun with Enemy Unknown, though I think I prefer Xenonauts in the end.
     
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