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What game are you playing right now? #3

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

  1. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    The trend for the last 15-20 years of releasing games with numerous bugs and relying on patches being delivered over the internet really annoys me.
    I remember when you had to pay for internet by the hour, and also before most people had modems where the only way to deliver patches and upgrades was via snail mail.
    Back then, most games shipped with few or any bugs as they put a higher emphasis on quality control, knowing if the product shipped broken it would not sell as there was no way to fix it without shipping them a new game, and requiring the customers to return their originals was too expensive for both.

    Maybe I'm stupid for not recognizing the advantages of being able to ship buggy games and have the customer download patches over the internet. I just see it as poor quality control.
     
  2. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    The whole industry has been declining in quality and increasing in price lately. Beside the whole "ship game in alpha phase and let the public be the bugtesters" practice the endless shady monetization practices have led to even the single player games being half locked behind paywalls so you end up spending double or triple the original price for a game that ten years ago would have been all-inclusive.

    But at the same time, there has never been more quality stuff on the indie scene.
     
  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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    Even if you have so many options, anything you could create in most games would just look awkward as shit. It's not easy to create something that is good looking in games like F:NV or DA:O, regardless of how many options you have.

    Define 'these days'. It's not like there weren't shit games 30 years ago with perhaps (relatively) good graphics, and riddled with bugs. But nobody remembers those games, usually.

    I don't mind poor graphics, but what often keeps me from playing those old games is that the controls were... less than optimal. The original X-com had a pretty bad control scheme. That is definitely much improved in any of the newer remakes of X-com. At least the control schemes nowadays are pretty well standardised and usable. I don't relish playing Doom without the benefit of mouse controls (though I could circle strafe pretty well with just the keyboard back in the day).

    Of course, that doesn't mean they don't mess up the UI in some other ways.

    Frankly, the writing was on the wall for a long time. But people like to see what they want to see. And anyone that is a fan of some corporation should need to step back and re-evaluate their fandom, really.
     
  4. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    Yeah, he's got some good stuff there.

    I must have run through the entire game like 20 times while testing my companion mod and I'm still playing it. It's not my favorite RPG, but it's easily the one I've played the most in my life due to awesome replayability and a great modding scene.

    To be fair, most games in the old days had a few thousand lines of high quality code and the gaming scene wasn't anywhere close to the billion dollar business that it is today. In fact, video games have become such complex monstrosities that you'd be hard-pressed to find software projects that rival them, barring some very high-end research projects. So bugs are just par for the course. That's not to say publishers aren't more than happy to force a release of a game that's not even remotely production ready now that patches are easy to distribute and the consumers are more willing to pay for their messy products. Anything to make an extra buck. I'm just saying I understand the inevitable change in code quality.

    Indie games are what mainstream games used to be. An endless struggle to awe your audience with fun gimmicks and lovingly-created content.

    You need a high-performance rendering engine and animation that can bring the characters to life. No one said anything about easy, 3D animation is some of the hardest stuff to get "right".

    No one said there weren't, but the ratio has changed considerably over the last couple of decades.

    I wasn't a huge fan of Morrowind, but after Oblivion, I gladly gave Bethesda the finger.
     
  5. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    What was so bad about the original X-COM? I've got the Windows CE version, and I thought there was little difference in the actual gameplay, only that the game had been recompiled to be compatible with Windows 9X (thought you need a loader to play it with the NT-based XP).
    The only issue I saw was that a misclick can accidentally waste all your TU's, especially if you meant to hit one of the buttons at the bottom of the screen. Well, that and not being able to strip weapons off a craft before you sell it because you're upgrading to an Avenger (there's a mod for that, and one for TFTD too). If something was different in the MS-DOS version, I was unaware of that. I thought the interface is quite good.

    As for DOOM, while I never had Doom 1 (though I did get to play it on somebody's laptop once, with the keyboard), I found the mouse somewhat clunky and imprecise with Doom 2 on the Mac, and preferred the keyboard.
    Maybe I was influenced by Wolfenstein 3D, as I'd previously played the Apple IIGS version. Although I preferred the keyboard over a mouse or joystick in that one too.
     
  6. 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 don't know, the UI in X-Com just seems clunky and unintuitive. I need a manual to understand how the intercept works (the actual interception, not sending out the interceptors).

    As for mouse view in Doom, it's been a long time since I played Doom without something like jDoom or zDoom or something similar, but I'm pretty sure that mouse view originally didn't work as it does now. Something like looking up would instead correspond to going forward, and looking down to going back (looking up and down as we're used to it now, anyway).

    On another note, just finished playing through Darksiders 2. Like its predecessor, it's an enjoyable, if fairly unoriginal game. The world is more open, and there's weapons and armours to equip, unlike the single upgrades you could find for the main sword and armour of War in the original Darksiders. You can create your own weapons too, within limits. It's fun, and the drops are fairly rare, but it does lead to a kind of reverse difficulty curve, where you can end being nigh unkillable. Appropriate, perhaps, in that you're playing as Death, and death does tend to be rather unavoidable.

    I've read some bad reviews on the Deathinitive edition that I played, but for me it was a fairly bug free experience. Much less troublesome than the original was, where I experienced some serious stutter in free aiming mode, making several bosses much harder than they should have been. The only real bug I encountered was in new game +, where, if I killed too many enemies too quickly, the game just crashed to desktop. It happened especially with basic skeletons and with some smaller enemies (stingers and scarabs) that sometimes would swarm you. I had to avoid area of attack spells when they were around, just to avoid killing too many too quickly.

    On the whole, I had quite a lot of fun playing the game, so probably when Darksiders 3 gets discounted enough, I'll get that as well.
     
  7. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    I enjoyed Darksiders 2 as well (as I did the first one). Haven't played the Deathinitive edition, but I did purchase it. Though the fact that we had to buy the "upgraded" version again kinda irks me. As for DS3, the scores aren't particularly good, but I'll probably buy it as well at some point.
     
  8. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    That is somewhat true, but you have to remember the limitations of technology of the time. There wasn't room for a built-in help system, or it was difficult to do. Figuring out what those icons were for did require the manual, that's what it was for.
    I can name a score of really good games that you really need the manual to figure out how to play. The Baldur's Gate series is among that, as if you don't know AD&D 2.0 you'd probably be lost.
    I don't recall much about the original Doom. Doom 2 on the Macintosh however I did own eventually. In that one, you did not use the mouse to pan the camera. There was no jumping or even vertical aiming. You only had to worry about aiming horizontally, it did not matter what level the enemy was, if you fired in their direction on the X-axis it would hit. The mouse control was used for movement only, and I found the keyboard was more precise. Maybe it was in part that my mouse was getting old, but I found the keyboard more reliable for Doom 2 and the Marathon Trilogy.
     
  9. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    I don't know, man. We all figured it out with little-to-no knowledge of the system and without reading the manual. You need to understand the rules to truly master D&D games, but otherwise, it's fairly straightforward.
     
  10. 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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    Another advantage of waiting a few years before buying the game, I guess. Early reviews of the Deathinitive edition speak a lot of bugs as well. I'm not even sure what was new in the Deathinitive edition that would merit buying it again.

    Not sure I agree with you there. I played BG2 without any prior knowledge of D&D, and had no troubles. Sure, if you want to get the most out of it, you'll need to read up on what does what, but the basics don't require you to read the manual. Even the less than obvious THAC0 and AC speak for themselves, when you realise that lower numbers correspond to better armour.

    Some games of the same age that you didn't need the manual for: Doom, Command & Conquer, Jagged Alliance, Covert Action, and Syndicate. Granted, 3 out of these are more action games, but Jagged Alliance is pretty similar in terms of tactical gameplay. Covert Action needs a chart for the key mapping, but is otherwise pretty self explanatory.

    I'm actually not sure how the mouse worked in Doom 1 & 2, but I do know that mouse view works like I described in Shadow Warrior and Blake Stone, which didn't really work at all, until Quake and Unreal finally introduced mouse view as we still know today.
     
  11. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    1. I'd say Gold Box games were about the same as BG, except you needed the Adventurer's Journal to read most of the game text. That was part copy-protection, part saving disk space for the 140K disks, as they already took 5-8 5.25" disk sides on the Apple II.
    2. There was a game called "Strike Fleet" by LucasArts that really needed the manual, although not even the manual explained how to get helicopters to return to base (to reload torpedoes) before they ran out of fuel, the answer was very subtly explained on the quick reference card. You might get some of the basics without it, but a lot would be confusing.
    3. Enix had a game called "Destroyer" that really needed a manual, although I was able to figure out "Sub Battle Simulator" and "Silent Service". Although having played "Hunt for Red October" first helped.
    4. F-15 Strike Eagle was another that needed the manual, although without it you'd never really get to play because of the copy protection.
    5. Bard's Tale you kind of needed the manual, if only to figure out what most of the spells did. Not all had obvious benefits from the name, and while none were truly useless, some were more useful than others, and some spells like ARFI would have seemed useless when you first tried them, but got really powerful when your character gained some levels (though MIFI (only MIJA was in later games) and MIBL were better).
    6. Mechwarrior 2 had the manual online, but it was in the form of the Macintosh or Windows help files. I believe that counts as you had to read them separate from the games. If you knew Battletech, you might have been able to figure most of it out thanks to the tutorial however.
    7. A-10 Attack & sequel on the other hand was not so intuitive. The F/A-18 Hornet from the same company (and felt like the same authors/development team) had a tutorial that helped.
    8. On the Intelivision, I couldn't figure out how to advance in Thunder Mountain until my dad read the manual to me. I was a little kid and hadn't really learned to read yet. Seemed so obvious in retrospect.
    9. Again on the Intelivision, Utopia. You'd have no clue what to do and probably go nuts trying to figure out how to use rebels (almost useless since they appear in a totally random location on your opponent's island. Might destroy a building, might destroy a crop, might appear in empty land).
    10. Sea Battle on the Intelivision. One of the most complicated games for the system along with Utopia.
    11. Some of the Sierra AGI games and successor system, if you did not know how that type of game worked. However, once you knew how to play one AGI game you could probably play any of them, although you needed the manual for Police Quest and Codename Iceman for procedures, but I think that was as much copy protection as anything else.
    12. SimCity, SimCity 2000 and Civilization II had built-in help, but if you did not read it thoroughly you wouldn't know how to get things working. I'm not sure if that counts. You did not need the manual, just the help but it was essentially a built-in manual.
    13. Adventure Construction Set needed a manual to use the construction portion, but you could probably figure out how to play adventures made with it. Especially if you played the introduction adventure first.
    14. Mazer II for the IIGS, I tried to figure it out when I found it for download in the mid'90s, but without manual I was lost.
    15. Lords of Conquest, prices, costs, and how combat is resolved is in the manual. Without it you wouldn't know what are key resources (gold).
    16. Temple of Apshai Trilogy. Very similar to the Gold Box Games. In fact, I'd go so far to say the setup was ripped off of ToA. My copy came without a manual, only a Quick Start card. Unfortunately it was sold on closeout when Software Etc. was going out of business and I couldn't return it, plus it was out of print. I did not get a manual online until over 10 years later.
    17. Hera, seems similar to Ultima I-IV, but different enough I couldn't play properly without the manual. Unfortunately the copy I got from the library "Book Sale" 25 years ago lacked one. Never did find a copy online, I should look to see if Asimov has one now, they did not 20 years ago.
    18. Wizardry. This one was deliberate in part for copy protection, and I'm told the Apple IIe version of Bard's Tale is the same, without the manual you wouldn't know how to cast magic. However, not just that, a lot of info on classes and changing classes is hard to figure out. Especially how stats work with class change.
    19. Hacker and Hacker II. Difficult to figure out what to do and how to do things without the manual.
    20. Carrier Force. Could be considered the spiritual ancestor to Carriers at War in the same way that King's Bounty is the ancestor to Heroes of Might and Magic. Gameplay between the two is similar, with Carrier Force being entirely text based with an ASCII Art map. Without a manual you might be confused how to find the enemy and attack, or how to defend against enemy raids. Understanding why you can only launch 12 planes instead of 30 because of the wind direction and the direction the carrier is heading is another. In short, RTFM helped a lot.
    21. Warship has a lot of mechanics that are not obvious without the manual, although you can probably figure the bare minimum you need to know in order to play, not enough to win decisively against the computer.
    22. by the same company as Warship, Bismark and Pursuit of the Graf Spee, (both games use the same engine and game play is very similar, can't recall which is the sequel. They could be different scenarios/modules in the same game). A lot of stuff is confusing without the manual.
    23. Gato. Couldn't figure out a lot of stuff without the manual.
    24. Space Battle on the Intelivision. A lot was non-intuitive until you got to the battle screen.
    25. Star Strike, you might not figure out you MUST hit the red targets rather than fight the enemy craft without the manual.
    Yes, there were a lot of old WWII stuff on there. Blame my father who bought them. He was a big WWII buff, so the stuff from the '80s and early '90s were stuff he probably bought for himself that I got to play and inherited in 1996.


    Interestingly enough, long before any of these games was an arcade flight simulator called "Skyfox" that did have a very good tutorial, or at least the Apple II version did. You did not need the manual, although the Quick Reference Card was handy.

    Anyways, this is just off the top of my head, I can probably name a bunch more that you needed to RTFM to play.
     
  12. 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'm sure there were many games that required a manual at hand, but there were equally many games that did not. Though I think quite a few of those you name are older than X-Com (in some cases by some margin, I suspect). Still, other games with similar gameplay as X-Com were a lot more intuitive than X-Com itself, so I still stand by my point that the UI is a bit of a hurdle to get into the game.
     
  13. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    If you don't RTFM, I agree. If you do RTFM, the game isn't bad at all. I played Jagged Alliance after X-Com, so my experience with X-COM helped a lot with understanding the concept of TU's and reserving them.
     
  14. 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 wouldn't normally read the manual anymore, no, certainly not nowadays. Given so many other games, it seems unnecessary to make your UI or game mechanics so obtuse that you'd need a manual just to understand the basic mechanics in the game.

    The concept of AP or TU and to reserve them is not really a mechanic that I feel should be explained. You have a number, which drains as you perform actions, you'll naturally understand whether you have enough actions to perform an action or not. Well, less obvious for reaction shots, I suppose. If such things are not obvious through the feedback the game gives you, it's probably unnecessarily obtuse.
     
  15. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    I have had a habit of taking a new game and loading it up and trying it out before I open the manual.
    After a bit I might read the manual, or if I can't make heads or tails of the game, but I usually just try to jump right in.
    I've ALWAYS done this, back to the days of the Intelevision game console. Heck, that might be why, since I hadn't yet learned to read when my parents bought it. I couldn't read the manual, I had to have the manual read to me. It would be years before I'd read on my own. I think they bought it when I was 3 or 4, and my mother says my dad bought it more for himself, but was disappointed in B-17 Bomber (I did say he was a WWII buff) and never really used it much. I think he liked "Auto Racing" better.
    Sadly that was the last console I owned. My mom went on an anti-video game kick during the NES era she didn't really get over until a couple years ago (over 30 years later, almost 35) when somebody managed to get her hooked on a puzzle game for a year or so.
     
  16. 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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    Just played through Shadowrun Dragonfall.

    I wasn't aware of this, but apparently the Shadowrun thing is similar to D&D, or pathfinder, or Warhammer 40k. So the universe is already defined by the books on the Shadowrun setting, supposedly. It seems to be a setting like fantasy cyberpunk. There is hacking into things, including the "die in the matrix, die in real life", but there is also dragons and magic. It's an interesting mix.

    Setting aside, the story is quite good and compels one to follow it. The NPCs are also well characterised, and they did a good job portraying them as actual persons. Though the game is pretty linear, there are some choices, and the choices also have effects. Though sometimes the effect is nothing more than making you feel bad about your choice.

    This is definitely a game where they don't really telegraph what will be the outcome of some choices. I usually try to live and let live, if I get the choice, but the game has a knack for letting you know afterwards that really, sometimes it's better to just kill that guy. I suppose it's realistic that you don't always know the consequences of your choices, and sometimes you think you're doing good, but in your ignorance, you just make things worse. It's pretty good, but it makes me safe the game often, and in different save slots, so I can often go back if I realise I made a poor choice. Or just to see the other side of the consequences.

    Unfortunately, this also seems to apply to, for instance, your class choice. Quite often, you get conversation choices or other options, based on the skills or attribute scores that you have. It just seems to me that the game really wants you to be a specific kind of class, because you get a lot of options to use it. For some things, you can let one of your NPCs do it, but you only have 4 NPC slots, so that means you always have to take your hackerman. So it seems the game wants you to be a hackerman (decker, in the game's terms), but you don't know this beforehand, so you end up being quite limited in your conversation choices.

    I played as a monk, and that means high strength and willpower, which you can use in some special options, but never as many options as a hackerman has (decking and intelligence are often used). Alternatively, charisma (obviously) also gives quite a few (good) conversation options, but only mages and shamans would use charisma as a primary stat. And some speech options are available for choosing a specific etiquette, but the etiquette I choose was only used in one case, and, as it turned out, the guy you'd use that on was one that your mission was actually to kill (and if you didn't kill him, the game let you know (afterwards) that perhaps, maybe, the world would've been a better place without him, too).

    But hey, puching guys for very high damage (eventually) was pretty satisfying, too. Not overly satisfying, however, because combat in Shadowrun Dragonfall is singularly unrewarding. There is no xp for combat, you don't get any loot, and the game has this X-Com-esque thing that you sometimes open doors, and everybody in the room just take potshots at you, so you die. Fun.

    The random number generator also seems have a particular grudge against you, too, at times. I've never played a game where I'd miss two 99% chances to hit in a fucking row. And this would happen pretty much every run, too.

    Sometimes the game tells you to stealth something (never mandatory, though). But that is actually really hard to do, most of the time, as the game mechanics don't really support stealth. The best you can do is stay out of line of sight, mostly.

    Despite, the combat, I did like the game, though I'm not in too much of a hurry to try the other Shadowrun games on GoG for now. Maybe on the next sales.
     
  17. ConjurerDragon

    ConjurerDragon Ich dien ★ SPS Account Holder

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    You do not need to be a decker to have a bit of skill at decking if you are so inclined. I did not use any of the template classes (where some skill points are pre-spent) but played through the whole series of Shadowrun as a Troll. In the first game as a chromed melee Troll, in the other using shotguns.

    Physical Adept?

    You are not free adventurers set out to explore the world at your leisure. You are the head of a team that is hired and paid to perfom certain tasks in many missions.

    Did the target kneel behind cover?
    https://shadowrun.gamepedia.com/Cover

    So... Stealth is more to you than not being seen? [​IMG]

    I enjoyed all 3. :thumb:
     
  18. 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 suppose not, but the way the system works, to have any useful decking skill, you'd still need to invest pretty heavily into INT and decking.

    Yep, I do enjoy to play a melee class, even when ranged attacks are the norm.

    I'm not sure how this relates to the text you quote.

    That is a possibility, though the number above their heads did say 99%. And cover is not quite so relevant when I'm standing next to him and punching him in the face.

    I didn't word it that well, I suppose. The thing is, that unless you know beforehand where everybody is, you'll only know they are there when you reveal the fog of war, and then they'll have seen you too. And sometimes they seem to know you're there even without seeing you. I just don't see that stealth is that viable an option, except maybe as meta gaming. Avoiding combat is more often done by skill checks in conversation, which is good, but not all builds have the requisite skills. Well, as you mention, I could've put some points in those skills, but then I'll end up not being as good at punching people.

    Well, the sales are still on, so I could get another one. Hong Kong, maybe, for the extra soundtrack (I'm pretty sure the soundtrack from Dragonfall includes the soundtrack from Returns). I do quite like the music.
     
  19. Keneth Gems: 28/31
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    As you would expect, the original Shadowrun is the least refined, so if you want to play another one, you'll probably enjoy Hong Kong more than Returns.
     
  20. ConjurerDragon

    ConjurerDragon Ich dien ★ SPS Account Holder

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    INT has other uses besides decking too
    https://shadowrun.gamepedia.com/Intelligence

    Besides - having played a TROLL my character quickly reached the maximum allowed INT score... :rolleyes:

    The norm? Melee rules, if you spend heavily in Body and Close Combat together with a nice Katana or Greataxe outdamage most ranged attacks and have the advantage that you can move and attack in one move

    You were talking about not being able to explore freely, being somewhat railroaded and not being able to get loot from defeated enemies (with a few exceptions).

    Cover from a magical spell?

    In several missions (it is some time ago that I played through all 3 Shadowruns so I do not remember exactly which mission in which game) you can use decking to get control of surveillance cameras - which then show their area of view in addition to the area your party sees. Which means that you can see the enemies patrol routes and evade them (e. g. let them pass through the next door, then cross the corridor).

    The game can be finished without having to max out your primary skill. And the points saved can enable you to do other things. It is quite similar to Planescape or Fallout where you miss out on conversations and options if you go full brute with only skills at slicing up the opposition.
     
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