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What Are You Playing Now: The meaning of life


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Secret Files 3 is a bit disappointing, so far the two puzzles I've been faced with have me sealed in one room.  Good thing I played the first game recently, too, would be left in dark otherwise, hah.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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You have to pay the electricity bill in game 1 or else game 3 has no light?

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12 minutes ago, melkathi said:

You have to pay the electricity bill in game 1 or else game 3 has no light?

That would have been a nice touch.  Pretty sure I forgot to lock the door in game 1 too.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Which raises the question: why are you locked in a room if you had left the door unlocked? Who locked you in?

Will this question be answered in this game or will we have to wait for game 4?

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Nah the door to Nina's dad's place.  Funny, never really interact with him that much in either of the preceding games.  Think I am scraping the barrel of point and clicks on GOG...may have to get Jack Keane next. 😛

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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https://store.steampowered.com/app/241620/Inquisitor/

I mentioned I am playing this game and its great fun and has a very compelling narrative, probably the best part of it because the actual gaming  mechanics are a little frustrating until you get use to them and even then they not elegant. For example the combat can be difficult to plan properly against difficult enemies but to quote from Steam

deep and involving tale of betrayal, torture, madness, and infernal damnation. If a gritty old-school open-ended isometric RPG is what you looking for, look no further. Inquisitor will provide you with hours of gameplay and a dark, involving story.

The game is like that, I have just finished Act 1 and I ended burning  several heretics and devil-worshippers at the stake. I dont know who else has played this game but I recommend it for the narrative and how  it unfolds :thumbsup:

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Gah. Just had a really really tough fight in Troubleshooters. If this were XCOM with permadeath, I'd be searching for a new D-Squad with B and C having been wiped out by the overkill damage A squad suffered 😛

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44 hours into the game, my Troubleshooter company now has its 4th employee, giving me a party of 5 people. Though the ladies are feeling a bit awkward around the new guy because of his fashion sense. Irene is not convinced that he isn't a villain.

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Couple things:
 

Main focus: Dishonored2. I have mixed feeling about it so far. Beautiful as ever, and with my shiny new RTX3070 I don't feel optimisation issues this game is supposed to suffer from. Really creative levels, and Emily's skill set I think is more universally useful for both lethan/non-lethal aggresive/stealthy playstiles, making it very flexible kit. Much more so then Corvo from D1, where going for Low Chaos, meant barely using his skill set outside Blink. I also like how you can knock people unconcious in aggressive ways (melee combat, attack from above). Makes the game more varied then just sneak and choke. 

That said, narrative so far has been fairly mediocare. I goes through similar beats as D1 but with less convictions. Also trying to top D1 means it's less reliable. Stealth games, I think, work best when they are set in relatable settings - D1, while fantastical, used understandable locations. D2 so far, while presenting really cool locals makes it difficult to relate. Clockwork mantion, which I did yesterday, was quite a showpiece but felt very alien and thefore sneaking wasn't very compelling. 

D:OS2 - started another playthrough, this time with a friend. As I suspected, I am having a much better time with it in coop, then I had in singleplayer. I also picked up BG3ea, but I didn't spent enough time with it to have an opinion. So far it feels like D&D and Larian design are clashing a bit. 

I played a bit of Shadow of Tomb Raider - mostly for benchmarking and testing the GPU. That said, I am surprised how much I have been enjoying it. I heared good things about it (or rather things I would like - Lara having personality this time around, more focus on combat&puzzles then mass murder etc.) but I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Writing has been pretty good, gameplay flows better and isn't interupted every 5 seconds, and game has patience to build, set up and pay off, rather then constant Bay-noise that was TR1&2 reboots. I will definitely finish it, once I am done with Dish2.

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1 minute ago, Wormerine said:

I played a bit of Shadow of Tomb Raider - mostly for benchmarking and testing the GPU. That said, I am surprised how much I have been enjoying it. I heared good things about it (or rather things I would like - Lara having personality this time around, more focus on combat&puzzles then mass murder etc.) but I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Writing has been pretty good, gameplay flows better and isn't interupted every 5 seconds, and game has patience to build, set up and pay off, rather then constant Bay-noise that was TR1&2 reboots. I will definitely finish it, once I am done with Dish2.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is far and away my favorite of the reboot trilogy and the most like the original games. There are very long sequences during the middle of the game with little to no combat, which alienated some people and made other people, like myself, very happy. The late game gets combat-heavy, but I figured it would. Game designers seem to have very few ideas for ending games besides a bunch of combat. With that said and without spoiling the plot I will admit Lara's murder spree was quite cathartic during the late game. 

 

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I wonder if there is beer on the sun

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10 minutes ago, Keyrock said:

There are very long sequences during the middle of the game with little to no combat, which alienated some people and made other people, like myself, very happy. 

And there is Tomb Raiding! Like a lot of it so far. What should IMO be the main point of the series, in previews two games felt like the afterthought.

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30 minutes ago, Wormerine said:

And there is Tomb Raiding! Like a lot of it so far. What should IMO be the main point of the series, in previews two games felt like the afterthought.

Yes, Shadow has by far the most and the best designed challenge tombs. Still too easy for my liking but not insulting like in the two earlier games.

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Should just get the story people from Rise, which I felt was the best of the three in that respect, by a long shot. Both Reboot and Shadow had a lot of seriously eye-roll moments. Rise far less so.

Shouldn't be too surprising as Reboot and Shadow were made by the same team, while Rise supposedly were other people.

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2 hours ago, marelooke said:

Shouldn't be too surprising as Reboot and Shadow were made by the same team, while Rise supposedly were other people.

Eh, is it? Isn't Shadow helmed by Eidos Montreal who contributed multiplayer for previous games? TR and Rise were Crystal Dynamics, and I am pretty sure, they moved to Avengers and Shadow was handed to Montreal (I don't know individual designers/programmers/writers though). 

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12 minutes ago, Wormerine said:

Eh, is it? Isn't Shadow helmed by Eidos Montreal who contributed multiplayer for previous games? TR and Rise were Crystal Dynamics, and I am pretty sure, they moved to Avengers and Shadow was handed to Montreal (I don't know individual designers/programmers/writers though). 

Wikipedia seems to point in that direction too, indeed.

Interesting, I'm pretty sure I read 1 and 3 of the reboots were basically the same team. They sure feel that way with the return of the QTEs and the overall writing style in Shadow.

I felt both 1 and 3 suffered from the "Hey, let's do something obviously dumb, or have another character do so, just so we can move the plot forward", which 2 didn't quite have (well not bad enough that I can recall instances anyway).

Guess it being another studio could also explain some of the "regressions".

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Every Tomb Raider game's story is essentially just I have to get the MacGuffin before the bad guy gets the MacGuffin. Oh no, the bad guy stole the MacGuffin from me and now doomsday stuff, I have to stop them.

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Troubleshooter wins best writing in any game for the simple fact that Irene calls the main character a muppet.

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Total Warhammer 2 released a Wood Elf side campaign, making them playable in 2 outside of the slog that is Mortal Empires, and I made the mistake of reading/getting excited for Age of Sigmar: Soulbound, so I've reinstalled the game.
Who needs free time anyway?

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Well, the npcs in Troubleshooter every so often say I need to give them a day off. Then they go and get involved in some side mission that is worse than a day at work.

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8 hours ago, melkathi said:

Troubleshooter wins best writing in any game for the simple fact that Irene calls the main character a muppet.

A muppet, not a villain? Or a villainous muppet?

We all have signed the pacts, we knew so well nothing was left
We are being born at the sound of ends, and yes we still believe in beauty
It used to be the pride of Man, now a flame put out by the cold in his hand

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I have ended up sinking way too many hours into Empyrion just doodling around in the creative area experimenting with building starships....

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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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As I am possibly reaching the halfway mark in Troubleshooter, it may be time for that long impression-review post, with the added bonus of giving people something else to read outside the Cyberpunk discussion.

 

Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children

 

The game is a tactical jRPG in the vain of Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics: Ogre, or more recently Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark. It stands out from these in using Firaxis XCOM like combat. Furthermore it stands apart in the same way as XCOM: Chimera Squad did from other XCOM games (and UFO: Afterlight before that) in having only a set cast of characters. It has a few more influences from other game types.

 

 

Setting:

 

After a devastating world war, the world powers set up a neutral city named Valhalla. But as nobody was responsible for it, it descended into crime, reminiscent of Gotham on a bad day. The solution was obviously privatisation: Troubleshooter companies got licenses to fight crime and as an incentive got to request dispensations of items secured at the scene - bust a drug deal? Keep the drug money. Criminal gangs didn't like that and fought back, making it very unattractive for Troubleshooters to take them on. Meanwhile the police has their hands tied, as they have to defer to Troubleshooters so those don't lose their profit.

Enter Albus (not Dumbledore), the main character who wants to become a Troubleshooter and start his own company. Albus is an orphan, raised by his mysterious aunt who he never seems to see in person and who sends him emails with money and a promise that a vague someday they may find time to meet in person. The Abandoned Children subtitle starts to explain itself.

The writing is quite good. The story is not always told in order. The first tutorial plays 6 months after the start of the game for example. Various important characters will appear for a quick hello, then disappear for 30 hours of gaming, only to just pop up in a side story and disappear again. And sometimes you will control other characters to get glimpses of things that are going on at the same time.

 

Gameplay Overview:

 

After a series of tutorials (and I have a feeling they wrote two different tutorials but couldn't decide which one to use, so they added both), Albus will be able to rent a small office space in the back room of a bar, where he can set up a crime computer and IKEA furniture. This is your base. Here you can check what the state of the city districts is, what missions are available, and manage you character etc. As the game progresses, more options will become available - a couple of civilians you save during a mission will hang out at the bar, and will offer their services (shopkeeper). You will get access to a third room with a workbench, where you can craft equipment. And eventually you'll be told to take a stroll to Shooter Street market, the game's hub.

 

Online/Offline: Why is there a hub? You can play the game online. It means that other player's Troubleshooter companies will exist in your game world. Practically it means that when you make a dialogue choice, you can opt to see how many people chose what options. In Shooter Street you would also see other players running about their business. I play offline.

 

Missions: come with different objectives and two basic types: story and repeatable. Story missions will open up a new map and drive the story forward. Once you beat them, the map then will have a repeatable mission available. You are free to choose what missions you do, but the missions are the game's metric of time. Every 5 missions you get an activity report and paid by the city for your efforts. Depending on your lease and contracts signed with your team members, every few missions you will have to pay rent and salaries. On normal difficulty these expenses are insignificantly low.

 

Combat: The tactical gameplay is at first glance very similar to XCOM. You have two actions. Using an attack ends the turn. There is light and full cover. If you run ahead blindly you may engage more enemies than you should have.

The game has no player turn, but a fluid initiative ladder. Every actions costs time, and the order in which your team and the opponents act will constantly be adjusted. The higher your speed stat, the better. This part can also lead to some frustration. There are a few ways to knock an opponent down the initiative ladder. This can also happen to you. Draw the attention of too many enemies, that may result in you watching as ten gangster act three times in a row with you not getting any way to react. It doesn't happen too often, and usually is the result of you having played badly, but it does mean that some mistakes you pay for slowly.

As the game has no set turn structure, mission timers are not based on number of turns. Instead they are tied to the action time. If a bomb will go off in 3000 whatever time units, then you can manage your actions accordingly. Using actions that will delay you for 80 units will give you less turns than using actions that delay you for 60 units.

You can field up to 8 characters in a mission, so it takes a while until you have that many. At 57 hours I have 5 characters. Many missions will give you police backup though, so you may be controlling far more units during a mission. On some of the large maps, in missions that pertain to grand scale police operations, this means you may have half a dozen police under your control as backup.

 

Character progression: Characters gain XP and level up, improving their stats and allowing them to use better equipment. They also gain XP in their chosen class, unlocking new abilities. A character can change class and will not forget the abilities learned from the previous classes. Classes affect the number of abilities you can use and the number of Masteries you can equip.

Masteries are slotted on the Mastery Board. They include things like Lightning Reflexes to avoid reaction attacks or boosts to damage, crit chance, dodge chance etc. but also things like the ability to use Overwatch. Combining the correct masteries will also unlock set bonuses to further boost their effectiveness. These set bonuses you slowly discover through trial and error, with the game giving you hints as you get close to completing a set (or by looking them up on the wiki).

Equipment has Diablo style rarity, and there even are equipment sets. You can craft a lot of really good equipment. Each character has their own crafting skill, so as you recruit more, more options will open up. you can buy materials, you can find some as loot, and you can break down loot into materials.

Characters also improve their relationship with each other as they go on missions and can form bonds to fine tune party composition. So a character may get a free attack on an opponent targeted by another character or they may have increased defense if within line of sight of one another.

 

Game Length:

 

I know I can deploy a max of 8 characters in a mission. It took me 10 hours to get to 3 characters. At 57 hours I am still at 5.

I know various characters unlock various crafting options. At 57 hours I can't yet craft jewelry (though I have a crafting schematic for a ring).

I know there is a an animal sanctuary in Shooter Street where you store tamed creatures you aren't currently using with the pet class character. At 57 hours I do not think I have even encountered the character who can tame creatures - not even a glimpse on a load screen.

I know there are drones you can control with a mechanic character. Maybe Kylie is the mechanic I will eventually be able to recruit? Maybe she isn't.

As Mulan's love interest would say: We have a long way to go.

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14 hours ago, majestic said:

A muppet, not a villain? Or a villainous muppet?

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