[AC] [MOB] [PS4] [SW] Esprade by recoil on 15 Jan 2020 12:05

I cleared this at HEY. There is something magical about that place, lol. I finished the game with J-B and scored 16,066,060.

Image



Ray tracing by JC Denton on 11 Jan 2020 02:56

If you're not yet sold on ray tracing, watch this video.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood | RTX Launch Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOEUkbibzWc

Image



The Alpha/Beta thread by JC Denton on 11 Jan 2020 02:29

Temtem [ > ] is MMO Pokémon, with campaign and a persistent world where you fight 2v2 I think it is. It might be worth checking out because given that you're playing against other people it might offer the challenge that's missing from Nintendo's games. I am not sure if it'll be F2P when it launches on the 21st, but either way you can try it for free before launch by joining the upcoming stress test.

Sign up for the stress test here: https://www.humblebundle.com/g/temtem

Image



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by icycalm on 09 Jan 2020 16:38

The more cerebral the game, the more that AI has to cheat to give humans a challenge. 4X games, which are the most cerebral games, are notorious for it. The only way to play them with the AI playing fairly and still giving you a challenge is to be bad at the game. If you are any decent, you want the AI to cheat or you can't play these games. And in any case, even when the AI doesn't cheat it still gets tons more resources than you. In Phoenix Point for example you start with one base and two units and the AI starts with countless spawning points and countless units. Even at the lowest difficulty it gets more resources than you. So I've never had any reason to dislike such design tactics. They are the only reason I can enjoy these games.

Ciaróg wrote:Ironman mode is the only currently existing way of making games like this harder without going down that route as far as I know.


For the record, "We send you back to the beginning of a 40-hour game if you make even a single mistake" is the stupidest way of making games difficult I have heard of. It would be reason enough for me to stop playing games if it was universally adopted.

Ciaróg wrote:I suspect the reason that the enemies have such a low polygon count is tied in to the mutation mechanic


I suspect the reason is low budget, or bad budget allocation priorities. Budget either way. Once more, I don't think the plot has anything to do with design or the art assets.

Ciaróg wrote:I haven't made it far enough into the game to have seen that myself


It was blatantly obvious within 1.5 hours. Check my video linked above. I don't see how it's possible to play the game at all without noting this, unless it only appears in the highest difficulty which I played and you're playing a lower one.



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by Ciaróg on 09 Jan 2020 15:40

I started playing ironman mode because of some snarky comment I read somewhere telling me I was basically cheating since I wasn't playing on ironman mode and ended up enjoying it. I estimate I put in about 200-250 hours in total in the first Firaxis game before I had enough of it so maybe I am just a semi-fanatic. I don't like games that make themselves more difficult by just giving enemies more health or giving you less resources. Ironman mode is the only currently existing way of making games like this harder without going down that route as far as I know.

I suspect the reason that the enemies have such a low polygon count is tied in to the mutation mechanics because only the two most basic enemies that to my knowledge are the only ones that mutate are janky looking. The other enemies aren't fantastic looking either but are notably better. That doesn't justify it of course and I would have preferred if they just scrapped the mutation mechanic and made the crabmen.

I wasn't trying to write fanfiction, I was trying to think what could possibly have been going through the head of whoever decided that "defend apple boxes from crab people" was remotely acceptable and the only alternative I could come up with was that they just threw something together to release the game before it was finished. A couple of scripted missions to break up the procedurally generated ones would have gone down well but I think they probably made a choice to not go down that route to differentiate Phoenix Point from the modern XCOM games. Plenty of people have noted that Phoenix Point seems to be trying to bridge the gap between the original game and the reboots and the lack of scripted sequences is a big part of that.

icycalm wrote:It appears that this problem is just as bad if not worse in Phoenix Point. The idea of throwing more missions at a player than he can conceivable handle is okay up to a point, up to say 2x more, or 3x more, because it makes you think about which missions to pick. But 30x more? That's just retarded, and if true would be good enough reason for me to give the game 2/5, or maybe even 1/5. I am just hoping it's not true and that I overlooked something somewhere.


I haven't made it far enough into the game to have seen that myself but it does bear considering that there are three warring human factions as well as the monsters in the game. I can't help but wonder did the people who complained about this just overextend themselves trying to save everyone.

The impression I had for most of it was that it was made by very skilled developers with a couple of great ideas who lacked either the time or money to make the game they wanted and had to make compromises. I think I'm finished with it for now but will check back on it as the DLC becomes available.



[AC] [360] Muchi Muchi Pork! by recoil on 09 Jan 2020 05:05

I cleared this one at HEY in a week. It's definitely one of the easier Cave games, but more difficult than the Deathsmiles games. There are two additional game modes on the arcade release: Harahara (starts on the 2nd loop) and Manpaku (hard mode). On the 360 release, the game defaults to version 1.01, so you may want to check for that. More information on the game mode and version differences can be found at the following links:

http://1cclog.blogspot.com/2012/04/much ... x-360.html
https://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?t=33624

TABLE 1 (Arcade 1.00)

Code: Select all
1. recoil - 77,369,040 - 1-ALL - Momo - AC
2.
3.
4.
5.


Image



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by icycalm on 08 Jan 2020 18:55

Your Civ analogy is false. The moment I see that things go south in a Civ game, I start over. Same with PA or any RTS: the moment hope for victory is lost I give up and start a new game. I cannot imagine deriving any pleasure from fighting to the last soldier. We tried to do this in PA because we saw good players do it and it was impressive, but we failed. It's just more fun for us to start a new game. And if this is true for one-hour PA battles, it sure as heck is true for 20-hour or whatever X-COM-like runs. I stand by my assertion that ironman in these games is for fanatics who enjoy putting 1000 hours in these games. I am so sure of it I wouldn't even try a single ironman run just to see what it's like. Then again, I have put very little time in these games, so I guess there is the possibility that if I play more I'll change my mind. But from the little I played of Phoenix Point the idea of trying ironman never entered my head, whereas when I play other stuff that features ironman, e.g. Wildlands, I go immediately for it, before I've even tried any other mode. With X-COM-likes it just doesn't make any sense to me.

I think Ciaróg's idea of the game giving resources at you if you're failing at strategy is nonsense. It defeats the entire point of the strategy part, and if there was such an option I'd turn it off. If it was mandatory I wouldn't play the game.

On the over-the-shoulder thing, I am with Ciaróg. The only problem I have is that the monsters are too low-poly and in zoomed-in first-person it looks bad. The characters look good, but the monsters look bad for it. If we could take some polys from the soliders and give them to the monsters, it'd be good. The soldiers are surprisingly high-poly.

Ciaróg wrote:The apple box defense missions are a knock against it for sure but what people forget is you can avoid them. The game is based around scouting and you don't have to go search for supplies every time that your scouts report that they see apple boxes being used as bait by the enemy. Which does kind of make a little bit of sense in a game based around monsters that are trying to exterminate humanity for reasons unknown.


"Bait" lol. You remind me of those guys who make fanfiction about games in their heads, building entire novels. The aliens are ATTACKING THE BOXES AND IGNORING ME DUDE. If the boxes were bait they'd be attacking me lol. These missions are the stupidest thing I've ever seen in a tactics game, and the moment I saw this the integrity of the world collapsed and I felt like I was playing some mentally retarded "indie" developer's game, so I stopped playing and it would take quite a lot to get me back. You now say these missions can be ignored? If so, that would be a good reason to retry the game. But that still leaves the doubt that the kind of person who thinks such missions are a good idea can design decent missions at all. I suspect all missions are of generally lower quality, and some of the reviewers confirm this. Hell, even the mission I played after the apple boxes was bad. It was just some dude in a corner throwing exploding little aliens at me. It was worse than Final Fantasy Tactics. I am just hoping these were just bad first impressions, and that things improve further on.

Ciaróg wrote:You send out scouts and if they don't get shot they can keep scouting. If they get shot you drive back to base and let them recuperate and take someone who hasn't been shot in their place. This isn't bad design in my opinion. The map is hectic by design and it gives you an incentive to try not to let your men get injured at all so you can keep scouting. This allows high-level players to scout fast. If it's too hectic lower the difficulty level.


I am not talking about scouting. I did not mention scouting at all. I am not talking about difficulty either. I am talking about the game throwing 30x more situations on the map than even God can handle. I am talking about this: https://culture.vg/reviews/in-depth/xcom-2-2016-pc.html

Insomnia wrote:There's a nice balance that Enemy Unknown struck between the Strategy and Tactical layers of the game, The Tactical portion was an overt stress-fest of playing hide-and-seek with bullets, doing Hail Marys behind the tiny log that is your only available cover, and hoping to Sweet Baby Ray's that the Meld canister you were after wasn't just a total pod-fest of X-rays. The Strategy layer was much more subtle, and the contrast made the game actually playable. The Strategy layer gave you time to think, to manage your resources and marshal your thoughts on your game plan. It could be a good ten minutes before another mission cropped up, which was good downtime for the player so they weren't keyed up for too long.

XCOM 2 learned nothing from its predecessor. The constantly running around, the Doom Ticker front and center, everything taking too long, and missions popping up with an annoying frequency to how much you can actually get done in the Strategy layer before "Hey, you gotta pop half-way round the world to go save those dirty hippies again". There's really never time to rest in XCOM 2 and it's frankly exhausting even thinking about booting the game up.


It appears that this problem is just as bad if not worse in Phoenix Point. The idea of throwing more missions at a player than he can conceivable handle is okay up to a point, up to say 2x more, or 3x more, because it makes you think about which missions to pick. But 30x more? That's just retarded, and if true would be good enough reason for me to give the game 2/5, or maybe even 1/5. I am just hoping it's not true and that I overlooked something somewhere.



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by Ciaróg on 08 Jan 2020 17:29

I would have agreed with you on the over-the-shoulder aiming before playing Phoenix Point but Phoenix Point honestly uses it in a clever way. Soldiers know roughly how small of a target they can easily hit at a certain range but this becomes less precise at longer ranges. They could have streamlined this into an exclusively top-down system and given you the option to use the reticle targeting but I kind of like it as is.

You made a lot of good points about ironman mode ysignal, but I think you made one wrong assumption. You seem to think think that there is a point of no return and once you think that you hit it the game stops being fun and you should just start over without seeing how far you can get if the game is unwinnable. The premise of these games is that you are in charge of the best of the best fighting a futile battle with an enemy unknown with the possibility of victory far from guaranteed. Would you watch a movie where the humans give up almost immediately because the aliens are too strong?

The fun of ironman mode is to see how far you can get in spite of some mistakes, not to have one perfect run. Firaxis said the idea behind XCOM 2 is that impossible level difficulty ironman mode was the canonical difficulty of the first game and despite the best efforts of the X-COM project the aliens won the war. And the second game goes right from there with you essentially being a terrorist organisation performing guerilla raids on the alien government because people don't surrender to aliens if they lose a couple of battles. They double down.

I get that these aren't 20-minute-long arcade games and don't think people are playing them wrong if they don't want to try to play them like that but I don't think it's just for fanatics, I think it's a much better way of managing difficulty than just making the enemies stronger. I remember reading in one of icy's essays that he played Civ on the hardest difficulty and kept failing until he got good at the game. This is the exact same thing.

The original games did this even better. As long as you had one base left you could fight to the last man which is exactly how things should go down in this setting. The ideal use of this setting for these kind of games would be auto-adjusting balance by the game throwing more resources at you if you are losing on the strategic side allowing you to focus on the tactics if you are struggling on the strategic side. I find it ridiculous that Russia or America pull out of the war against aliens if their best guys are doing badly. Realistically they would throw everything they had into reverse engineering the alien technology if they were losing a war with them.

"'We do not negotiate with little green men' says US president over controversial opinion to pledge 15% of US GDP to the as of yet rather unsuccessful X-COM project" sounds a lot cooler than "Russia has abandoned the X-COM project because they are unsatisfied you only shot down half of the UFOs in their airspace".

I should have explained my take on RNG better, i's not that I dislike RNG as a concept, in fact I welcome it for these games since as I said I don't want perfect runs. My problem is that as stated in one of the reviews Phoenix Point makes the RNG too stacked against you to be considered anything other than poor game design.

The apple box defense missions are a knock against it for sure but what people forget is you can avoid them. The game is based around scouting and you don't have to go search for supplies every time that your scouts report that they see apple boxes being used as bait by the enemy. Which does kind of make a little bit of sense in a game based around monsters that are trying to exterminate humanity for reasons unknown. Phoenix Point really dropped the ball here now that I think about it. All human bases have a population that gradually drops as the game goes on and it would have been cool if they made this more of a core element instead of the 0-100% scale of what basically amounts to a "World is fucked" meter where when the arbitrary scale hits 100% you lose.

icycalm wrote:the silly way in which the map is flooded with situations before your characters have had a chance to rest and regain even 1 hit point


You send out scouts and if they don't get shot they can keep scouting. If they get shot you drive back to base and let them recuperate and take someone who hasn't been shot in their place. This isn't bad design in my opinion. The map is hectic by design and it gives you an incentive to try not to let your men get injured at all so you can keep scouting. This allows high-level players to scout fast. If it's too hectic lower the difficulty level.



[PS4] [PC] Death Stranding by Discord BOT on 07 Jan 2020 23:18

CULT|Beakman
"We should have never doubted Konami. He burned through countless millions making an unfinished game that was MGS5 and now has delivered a literal 40-hour fetch quest."
Cannot agree more. The mess that Death Stranding is was foreshadowed by MGS5.

CULT|icycalm
It was still a reasonable bet to back him
I would have, as an investor
Being a genius at his level confers a lot of creative capital that doesn't get depleted by one half-finished, perhaps mismanaged game
Having said that, I would have demanded to see the game at all stages of development and I would have pulled funding a long time before release

CULT|Beakman
More or less that's probably what MGS5 development history looks like.

CULT|icycalm
I think that given how many masterpieces Kojima has given us, we owe him to pull back some punches at this point
Of course, that doesn't mean that companies should bankrupt themselves over it
Just don't call him a "hack" as I have seen so many people do
When I say "you" I mean people in general

CULT|Beakman
Right. I still have hopes that this will be a wake-up call for him.
(And maybe for Konami as well, since they're pretty much in the ditch).



[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey by ChevRage on 07 Jan 2020 21:42

It's kinda hard to get a bead on this game since it seems like it could get significantly more complex later on. Or it might not. And I think this is what could make or break it for me; whether I've already found the extent to which the game's depth runs. It could potentially expand a fair amount more though, since you're supposed to be playing through those stages of Ape evolving into Man. I haven't reached even a tenth of the way through based on the million-year time span during which the game is set, and I've played for ten or so hours.

The game does a lot of things pretty damn well and it's mostly centered on how immersive the crafting, gathering, hunting and traversing the world are. There aren't any menus or the like for any of this stuff, you pick twigs off trees and the tree looks a little more bare, there's a button to zoom in on what items you are holding. Even the status effects, like being cold, bleeding, broken bones, etc. are visually represented on your character.

The user interface is mostly intuitive once you've figured out what buttons do what, and even during the stage of figuring out the controls it's like you're a monkey yourself figuring out your own motor skills, learning to grasp things, accidentally dropping or even breaking them. There's a pretty good crafting system in here, you grab two objects and smack them together until it changes the second object into something useful, but put too much power into it and you'll destroy one of them. A convenient sound cue tells you when to release the button, and you'd better get used to listening for it since it's ever-present in crafting, gathering, and even combat. It's fun to figure out what can be turned into something more useful this way, and every time I'd found something new it felt like I had accomplished something significant. It's kinda hard to figure out more combos later on though (it starts to feel like one of those adventure games where there's only a single solution to what you want to make), but the dreams you get while sleeping clue you in a little to some possibilities.

There's a kind of rudimentary building system too, I've managed to make a nest to sleep in and a small wall made of branches so far. You just stack a few things together and press the button to initiate construction. I just hope what you can build gets expanded later on, since I haven't found much else I can make.

Combat is fairly simple, it's basically fight or flight. Time slows down whenever a predator pounces on you, and you have the option of either dodging and running away, or attacking with whatever weapon you have in your hands. Both options could potentially get you killed, and you might even lose whatever you are carrying either through dropping it, or breaking it upon the creature. Even if you time it well you might not make it depending on whether your monkey is healthy or not. There are a slew of negative status effects after all, each of which can be treated with different food. Also you can't simply stick around near a predator since there's a fear mechanic; get too scared and you'll lose control of your monkey, which is tantamount to dying. I haven't found out if the player can initiate an attack yet though, I'm assuming it's part of the upgrade tree that I haven't seen, but I also haven't tried to throw rocks or anything either. I hope that this will be possible though, since there are a bunch of birds that I've seen around that I'd like to take down and eat. It feels awesome to kill something, the first time I managed to kill a boar after having slowly figured out how to make a sharpened spear over the course of the many hours I'd played it was the absolute height of my experience so far.

Jumping around on trees is incredibly intuitive, and feels great too. You automatically attach to the trunk or branch when you jump onto it, and it's very free-form. There's no map, so you'll often be climbing high on a tree to figure out where you are.

There are a few problems I'm already noticing though, and the largest one is the actual skill tree/evolution system. It's the only menu that the game has (aside from the start and pause menus, but those don't count), and you use it to gain new abilities, like being able to eat meat, holding things in both hands, and having the other monkeys follow your instructions. There's quite a complex system here, and I won't go into it that much, but you can tell they've tried their best to tie it into the rest of the systems the game has. There's just a big glaring flaw, and it's mostly tied to the generational thing they have going here. See, at some point you're going to have to start playing as the next generation (you basically skip time until the babies have all grown up), and then what happens is that you lose most of these goddamn points that you have spent ages painstakingly building up. You only get to choose a few to keep, so suddenly you don't have the ability to eat mushrooms, you can't sense things as far away as before, and your clan's chimps will no longer listen to instructions (even though some of them are still remnants of the older generation which did, so wtf is up with that?) It feels like a huge step back, and is very frustrating every time you have to do it. And you will have to change generations and evolve at some point, since that's the only way you can evolve abilities that you can't get any other way. I can see why they've done it like this, to prevent people from simply playing as the one chimp and then getting all the abilities in a single generation. And while that would probably be kinda retarded in a game that you're supposed to be playing over the in-game course of millennia, maybe the very idea of playing as many generations is retarded itself? Just a thought. It's not like I'm forgetting everything that happens in-between each generation, so all the stuff that would be new to one chimp is all shit I've already done before. I'd probably kill myself if I had to watch a single lifetime of these chimps in real time, let alone a million years of it lol.

Also, the survival aspect is a little too lacking. All you need is food, drink and sleep to survive. Some shelter from rain too I suppose. All of which can be found in your initial base. And the food and resources respawn super-quickly too; I once went on an expedition by myself for a day, and returned to find all the coconuts on the trees had returned, hell even the dead twigs on a tree had grown back. There's very little incentive to pack up your stuff and find a much better campsite. It's great to be able to do so though, since it's pretty awesome to explore new territory, get over the fear of being away from your base and find a settlement elsewhere with all your chimp gang backing you up. The devs have taken the phrase "monkey see, monkey do" a little too literally though since the rest of your clan don't do anything if you aren't around. They only eat, sleep and drink whenever you do it in front of them; I once came back after a couple of days to all the monkeys being near dead from starvation and thirst. There are no rival clans of monkeys either, at least not that I've seen yet anyway. This last point could potentially be a deal-breaker.

Anyway, I think I'll definitely want to play more, but only since there's a possibility that it might get harder and more complex. The moment that hope gets snuffed out is when I drop the game. What's there is worth playing though, even if only for a long evening.

Here's my playthrough of the game so far:

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey with ChevRage 1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=civ0XGAbNT0
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey with ChevRage 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF0njkKXWG0
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey with ChevRage 3:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B_akMJDaEA
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey with ChevRage 4:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwyGZYwu5xg



The Alpha/Beta thread by icycalm on 07 Jan 2020 20:27

We've been playing some alphas/betas with the clan recently and had a great time especially with GTFO, so I've warmed more to the idea in recent weeks. Before, I would have said don't play unfinished games for obvious reasons, but now, especially given that most games are forever "unfinished" in this day and age, I say try some pre-release code now and then, it's exciting, it makes you feel like an industry insider with access to stuff few have, and it's free to boot. So I've been applying for all the alphas/betas as a matter of course on all the games in the Hype section, and I am making this thread to keep people informed on what's happening in the world of alphas and betas. There's a site dedicated to them, by the way, Alpha Beta Gamer, but their coverage is spotty and their frontpage is flooded with shit no one would want to play. They do have a "Mainstream" section that's worth perusing, but even that seems to ignore most of the best games and is rarely updated: https://www.alphabetagamer.com/category/mainstream/

NEW WORLD
So here comes icycalm to save the day with the best thread on the subject ever. First off, sign up to the New World [ > ] beta ASAP if you are interested in joining the clan for this fantastic-looking domination game when it launches in the spring (you'll need an Amazon account): https://www.newworld.com/en-us/beta-sign-up

Image

The game will be cutthroat so the more practice we get before the official launch the better, plus it'll give us a chance to make up our minds if we like it, so that we don't end up paying full price for nothing in the worst case scenario as we've done with some of these games in the past. That's definitely a big advantage of playing pre-release code for free.

RAM PRESSURE
And then, I just got a key for RAM Pressure [ > ], an upcoming X-COM-like. Go to the official site and scroll to the very bottom and pick the free option to sign up for the beta: https://rampressure.game/

Image

Chances are you'll get approved immediately, but if you don't, and if you have more experience of these games than I have (which shouldn't be hard as I've only played a couple hours of the 1994 original and a couple hours of Phoenix Point), I can give you my key if you're prepared to stream the game for a couple hours to the Insomnia Twitch channel and write up some brief impressions for us in the forum after. If no one else does this I'll do it myself soon, but I'd prefer if someone with more experience did it.

And that's all I have for now, but look for this thread to become prominent on the site as I'll be updating it regularly and I invite everyone to contribute to it whenever you hear of worthwhile sign-ups.

Thread is stickied at the top of the News forum for quick access.



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by icycalm on 07 Jan 2020 19:36

First off, let me link my brief impressions run from last month that I've neglected to link yet. I will be using stuff that happened in it in my commentary below.

ICYCALM LIVE: Phoenix Point (ft. recoil)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCLNlFmfuOY

Ciaróg wrote:My main problem with the game is that the devs seem to expect you to google how everything works.


That would never be my "main problem" with a game. I wouldn't even bother mentioning it in a review, probably, that's how much of a non-issue it is to me. Give me a great game and I'll happily google all day long to figure out how it works, or even stumble my way through it blindly no matter how long it takes me. Hell, I'd probably enjoy myself even more that way, especially if I am playing a great game (because of course struggling to understand a mediocrity has the opposite effect and adds insult to injury).

Ciaróg wrote:Phoenix Point could be great but seems unfinished. There are five pieces of DLC on the way and if they fix some of the the issues I will consider it the best X-COM-like game. As stated above the current dependence on RNG is what kills it


Again, RNG or not is a detail to me. In many cases I can't even tell the difference and I don't care. But I do care if the Lovecraftian horrors in the second mission decide to attack a bunch of Apple boxes sitting on the ground and I have to essentially run a protection mission on them. That's just retarded and kills the immersion for me. I can't take the game and the story and the setting seriously with stupid shit like that. In my brief impressions run I hoped that this mission was just an oversight, but going by one of the reviews posted, this shit keeps happening ten hours in, and the mission quality in general is apparently subpar, which is why, among the torrent of other issues analyzed in great depth in the reviews, I went for a provisional 3/5 rating. Now the game of course also has a great deal of positives, seemingly just as many as the negatives, so it's quite possible that, seeing the thing as a whole, it all comes together to make for a very good game, and maybe even a great one. But no one has convincingly made this case yet anywhere on the internet, as far as I am aware, and until that happens Insomnia will have to stick to a lower rating. If such a review can be written at all, it's quite possible that I'll have to be the one to write it, but my short run put me off the game and I haven't touched it since. I can see there are great aspects there, above all the look and atmosphere, but then you have the ugliness of the enemies when zoomed in, the jankiness of the terrain destructibility, the silly way in which the map is flooded with situations before your characters have had a chance to rest and regain even 1 hit point (at least on the highest difficulty; but is it unplayable then?), and it's like, damn so many aspects are badly thought out, and I just don't see how DLC will fix it. That kind of stuff has nothing to do with DLC, it's baked into the core game and will have to be fixed as patches to the core game IF the devs understand that these things are issues, which seems doubtful because enemies hating Apple boxes more than they hate you seems to have been a core priority of the project.

Anyway, from my brief experience with the game I'd guess it's worth a 4/5, and that's what I would have given it personally if forced to give a rating at this point, but it's hard to reconcile this rating with the analyses I've posted, so I went for a 3/5 for now. But maybe I should bump it up a notch. I'll think about it.

On another note, I loved ysignal's analysis of ironman in this subgenre. Such a great understanding of the difference between strategy and tactics. Feels good to have smart readers! And yeah, I'd need someone to counter his reasoning for me to consider playing one of these games in ironman. It just doesn't seem worth the effort unless you're a fanatic for these games and replay them so much that you learn them inside-out and you may as well try ironman too at some point.



D&D: Deals & Discounts (Games) by icycalm on 07 Jan 2020 19:20

W R G bundle €0,75
https://store.steampowered.com/bundle/7 ... _G_bundle/

Image

We Are The Dwarves has got some good reviews, so for that cheap I think it's worth taking a look at it.



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by ysignal on 07 Jan 2020 16:16

I don't like the over-the-shoulder firing and dumbed-down mechanics they copied from the Firaxis XCOM games. The close-up perspective looking down the sights of a gun just makes the mechanics look flimsy. They did address it a little in Phoenix Point by simulating the individual bullets, but it still doesn't look good to me. For these games I prefer the arrangement used in Jagged Alliance 2 where battles are entirely top-down. Maybe if you have enough cool animations it makes the close-up perspective worthwhile. I'll have to try XCOM 2.

I also don't understand the appeal of ironman mode. If I'm going to spend dozens of hours micromanaging tiny squads of men in a turn-based fashion I want the tactical difficulty to be sky-high, which means plenty of squad wipes, which are fatal to your save file unless your soldiers are expendable, in which case the importance of the tactical side of the game is diminished and then what's the point of all the micromanagement and tiny squads? I prefer to reload my save a few times if the battle is a total disaster, and if I have to keep reloading then I've obviously made a strategic blunder and I start the whole campaign again. But in ironman mode you have to start over whether you made a strategic error or not, and if your error was tactical then you're just going to retread the same strategy again, which strikes me as an exercise in tedium.



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by Ciaróg on 07 Jan 2020 14:50

There is one glaring problem in one of those Phoenix Point reviews. It says there is no way to know the chance for a shot to hit but there is, you have an inner and outer crosshair with a 50% chance of hitting anywhere within the inner one and a 100% chance to hit anywhere in the outer. I haven't seen anyone else on the internet who understands this because the game does such an awful job of explaining how things work and I only figured it out through trial and error. My main problem with the game is that the devs seem to expect you to google how everything works. Phoenix Point could be great but seems unfinished. There are five pieces of DLC on the way and if they fix some of the the issues I will consider it the best X-COM-like game. As stated above the current dependence on RNG is what kills it but it feels more like they almost had the game ready and rushed to release it before sufficient beta testing than anything else. It feels better built for ironman runs than the Firaxis games although the devs need to make the game stable enough to bother with ironman runs first. Veteran soldiers are less irreplaceable than the Firaxis games but it is still a fundamental part of the game to try to keep them alive because they do offer enough of an advantage to necessitate them as you face stronger enemies but not to the extent that losing a high-ranked unit is enough to make a run unwinnable. I like it more than the second Firaxis game as it is despite it being unpolished and buggy.



[PS4] [PC] Death Stranding by Insomnia on 07 Jan 2020 11:05

Review (2/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7193

Image

Insomnia wrote:We should have never doubted Konami. He burned through countless millions making an unfinished game that was MGS5 and now has delivered a literal 40-hour fetch quest.



[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Everreach: Project Eden by Insomnia on 07 Jan 2020 05:03

Review (2/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7191

Image

Insomnia wrote:If you're bored, it's on sale, and you want to kill a few hours, go for it. If not, don't bother.



[PC] MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries by Insomnia on 07 Jan 2020 03:12

Review (1/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7190

Image

Insomnia wrote:Easily the worst MechWarrior ever released. They have stripped all simulation's elements and turned it into a giant turkey shoot hut.



[PC] [MAC] [ONE] [PS4] Phoenix Point by Insomnia on 07 Jan 2020 02:13

Review (3/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7189

Image

Insomnia wrote:An exciting idea, with great design elements throughout, that just wasn't ready for prime time.



[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory by Insomnia on 07 Jan 2020 00:48

Review (2/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7188

Image

Insomnia wrote:Disappointment is likely.



[PC] GTFO by Insomnia on 07 Jan 2020 00:01

Review (3/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7187

Image

Insomnia wrote:Crouching simulator 2019.



[PC] Boneworks by Insomnia on 06 Jan 2020 23:18

Review (4/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7185

Image

Insomnia wrote:The bones just work.



[PC] [PS4] Nostos by Insomnia on 06 Jan 2020 22:45

Review (2/5): https://culture.vg/forum/topic?t=7184

Image

Insomnia wrote:There are clearly elements that could be built into a proper game, but right now it's like a box of cool, half-broken toys.



[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands by Beakman on 06 Jan 2020 01:02

There are now three squads in the clan playing Wildlands and having a blast. It may be useful to share our settings that attempt to maximize fun with the least compromises to immersion. These are the settings that my team is using.

General difficulty options



HUD options

After shutting every HUD element off, we turn on the following (in order of appearance in the menu):



Self-imposed rules:



[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Control by Bread on 04 Jan 2020 01:35

I need to check my graphics settings! It looks and feels great on my defaults.

I loved the Max Payne series (1 and 2, anyway. I didn't finish 3) and enjoyed Alan Wake, but I skipped Quantum Break. I'm nearly three hours into Control now. (I intended to stream my playthrough too, but I screwed that up.)

The X-files-ish, paranormal theme gives the game free rein to throw surreal stuff at you right from the get-go. Contrasts with Max Payne's approach of restricting that to dream sequences to start with, grounding you into a 'mundane' crime story, easing you into its weird side.

Early on here you get the first gun and melee attack, a telekinetically-boosted shove that launches debris and scars the scenery, making you feel near-overpowered. And from there it keeps dialing up.



A Chronology of Domination by Beakman on 03 Jan 2020 22:50

I always regarded Rust as a follow-up of Minecraft's Survival mode in MP:

https://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Tutoria ... sus_Player

MP Survival was available since Minecraft's alpha in 2010:

https://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Java_Edition#Alpha

I was never interested in the "Creative" mode of the game (where you have limitless resources to build stuff) and only played Survival. I never played online, however, and I'm not sure if PvP was available since this version (i.e. before Rust), but I suspect it was. I'll report back if I find when PvP was added.



A Chronology of Domination by icycalm on 03 Jan 2020 21:46

What is the domination genre? It's my name for what others are calling "survival-crafting MMO". That label is inadequate for many reasons I'll be explaining in an upcoming essay, so I made my own. And since this is the best MP genre ever, and will remain so for the rest of time, I want to draw up a comprehensive chronology of it and make sure that I personally review every single game in it (which won't be that hard since this is an incredibly complex genre so very few studios try their hand at it, and the results are usually subpar, so it doesn't take long to figure this out). So without further ado, this is the list I drew up in ten minutes off the top of my head. I'll be keeping it updated, and you can let me know if I miss anything.

P.S. Star Citizen [ > ] is not domination from what I've heard of it so far. Both the building aspect and the PVP sound too limited to qualify. The entire world has to be buildable from scratch and fully destroyable, pretty much, plus there must be few to zero safe-from-PVP areas in it. It simply doesn't get any more hardcore than this genre, which is why it's the best MP genre ever, and I think my label perfectly reflects this. Of course, borderline titles also exist, like SCUM for example, so I'll be deciding on their inclusion on a case-by-case basis (SCUM started out with lots of crafting but little building, but the devs have been adding quite a bit of building since release, so the game sort of qualifies now).

As you can see from this first draft below, I've already reviewed a bunch of these games, and I have several installed and ready to go, so it won't be long before I've covered everything. And from then on I'll be jumping into every new title on release, so I can promise you that Insomnia will be the #1 resource for domination games from now on. It has always been so, ever since I fell in love with Rust, but I am now taking things to the next level.

P.P.S. One immediate benefit of the chronology is making me realize that Space Engineers was released a couple months before Rust. Obviously this means nothing in terms of inspiration because you can't develop a game like this in a couple of months, and also we can't take SE as having invented the genre because it's not an MMO, servers are tiny, and PVP is an afterthought not the focus. It's still mostly about building stuff in your own time, like Minecraft. It's proto-domination though, since all the elements are there, even if in embryonic form, so I think it warrants inclusion. And maybe someone can enlighten me if Minecraft should be included too? Is there PVP in it, and if so, at what point in the game's development was it added?


COMING SOON
TBA 2020
Starbase

May 2020
New World [ > ]

Q1 2020
Last Oasis [ > ]


2019
October
Stars End [ > ]

August
Lost Region [ > ]

March
Outlaws of the Old West [ > ]

January
Pantropy [ > ]
Heat [ > ]


2018
December
Atlas [ > ]

August
★★★☆☆ SCUM

February
Eco


2017
November
★★★★★ Life is Feudal: MMO

January
Conan Exiles


2016


2015
August
Empyrion: Galactic Survival

June
ARK: Survival Evolved [ > ]

February
Medieval Engineers


2014


2013
December
★★★★★ Rust

October
★★★☆☆ Space Engineers



[PC] New World by icycalm on 03 Jan 2020 20:13

I Think Amazon's NEW WORLD MMO Has Got The Magic! (Mage System Analysis, Hidden Details) (1080p)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33K_oJixkn0

Image

An in-depth analysis of whether the game will actually have any magic (it was not supposed to according to early reports and announcements). But I mostly watched the video for the varied footage of the game. It has without a doubt the highest production values and best combat in the domination genre, and also the best PVE. The question, given what I quoted earlier in the thread, is whether the PVP will be up to snuff, because if not then it's not a domination game but more like theme-park MMO with crafting/building. Which might still be decent fun, but it won't be a Rust- or LiF-killer.



[PS4] Granblue Fantasy: Relink by icycalm on 03 Jan 2020 02:30

This will no longer be developed by Platinum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granblue_Fantasy:_Relink

Wikipedia wrote:On February 4, 2019, it was announced that PlatinumGames would no longer be involved in the project, leaving Cygames to handle the rest of development.


However, it will still have four-player co-op, and some new trailers and play footage were recently released.

CG trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zy11T0qxY0
Promotional movie (this is the one I have on the trailer reel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQx477kS9Jk

Play footage (single-player with three bots, I think; this is the most graphically impressive video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI1S5VJR5nM
Four-player footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmuv40w07NU

Image

I think it looks incredible. It's certainly no throwaway anime game. The quality of the animation is high, and of course terrific character design. But what surprised me above all is how rich the landscape is. Platinum or no Platinum this will be a must-play, especially if they manage to put some challenge in there. Unfortunately, no PC version has been announced yet, so get those PS4s ready.

Having said all that, there doesn't seem to be any friendly fire, and the way the four-player video is structured makes me worry that 4P might only be for a side-mode for special "quests"...


P.S. Two of the three videos Masa linked in the OP are now listed as "Private" on YouTube and can't be watched. I guess they are trying to scrub out previous versions of the game and just forgot the third video.



[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Control by icycalm on 03 Jan 2020 00:58

Thanks for the heads-up on the ray tracing. I was gonna pick the game up during the Epìc sale because it was down to $30 with their coupon, but bailed in the last moment because I'd rather finish Alan Wake and Quantum Break before. My Shadow is being upgraded to a 2080 in February, so anytime after that when it goes on sale I should be good to go. These games can be finished quickly so I could even do a Remedy week stream. I've only (almost) finished Max Payne 1 in 2001. Hell, I should just replay it and finally finish it and keep going all the way to Control.



[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Control by ChevRage on 03 Jan 2020 00:45

Control with ChevRage 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxFK-wRpxsk
Control with ChevRage 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEnsSZQVNF4
Control with ChevRage 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQn3VM9xSF8

I played a little bit of this a few months back. I haven't played Quantum Break, so the closest game I'd say it reminds me of would be Prey. Both games are shooters with a heavy focus on exploration. Both have powerful upgradable abilities. Only, it doesn't have the first person camera that Prey has, nor as interesting setting (office building vs space station, tough choice). The combat is also pretty simple, but it makes up for it by having jaw-droppingly detailed effects that makes it a little more exciting: objects you throw explode into an astonishingly large amount of pieces, walls fracture and pieces of debris break off in a realistic fashion, you can conjure up a shield made up of lots of tiny bits of rubble borrowed from nearby walls all of which float in front of you and rotate independently of each other, etc.

In general the game looks great, except for the mannish face of the protagonist and how enemies explode into this smoke that looks kinda like jpeg artifacting. It could just be my graphics settings though, my current PC doesn't have the power to play on the highest settings, not to mention even activate the ray tracing this game touts (I tried to do it on stream once and it crashed my whole PC lol).

The story and setting are also pretty interesting despite not being set in space. It's a facility that catalogues and secures exotic and magical artifacts, reminiscent of that SCP website. I'd definitely play more to find out why our protagonist has come here, and what the facility seems to be hiding in this vast underground pit. I'll have to come back to it once I've upgraded my PC though, there's no way I'm playing this game without being able to turn on ray tracing at least.



[ONE] [PS4] [PC] Monster Hunter: World by ChevRage on 01 Jan 2020 01:30

Anybody planning on playing this game through with a team of four should be aware of a few caveats about how the co-op story functions. None of the previous games had a co-op story at all though (the story was isolated in the single-player HUB) so it's a welcome change. That said, there is a really stupid thing they've done regarding their implementation of players joining others for the story. First of all, you'll notice that when you put up a story quest that your friends won't be able to join you. It'll tell them something along the lines of "you need to progress further in the story to join this quest", and be grayed out. This doesn't mean that your friends need to have already completed the quest to join you, but it's still annoying what they have to do.

Basically, what you need to do in order to play together is for each player to start the story quest by themselves, progress enough into it that it says "SOS flare now available", then quit and return to HUB, and that point is considered to be where you've seen enough of the story to join the quest. Usually this point will be right after a cutscene where a monster gets introduced, but sometimes the mission will merely be a ten-minute walk while you get fed expository dialogue (thankfully there's only like two times this happens).

Honestly I'd rather not get the cutscene for a new monster if they can't figure out a way to get people to view it in a more natural, less frustrating manner. One of the previous games had the short cutscene straight away after starting a mission, but would always dump the players right in front of the monster itself. Which was a bit lame since there was no lead-up while hunting a monster you've never seen before.

Also, regarding multiplayer and grind, so that my group could get gear without forcing the others to join us on monsters they don't need to hunt, we decided to play it through a certain system: What we'd do, is play it whenever we wanted to, but without doing any of the story stuff unless ALL four of us were present, that way we could fight whatever we want, play whenever we want, and we wouldn't get overpowered and trivialise the natural progression of the story.

ALSO make sure not to craft the Defender gear. From the looks of things they added that crap so people can rush through the story of World to get to Iceborne.



[PC] Star Citizen by icycalm on 26 Dec 2019 13:20

IT IS HAPPENING!!! THE MATRIX IS HERE!!!

Squadron 42: 2019 Visual Teaser
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aCE7gxQOVY

Image

IT LOOKS BETTER THAN MOVIES!!! HELL IT LOOKS BETTER THAN FUCKING REALITY!!!

I added it to the Most Wanted list. Squadron 42 is the only game with TWO trailers on the list, and that's because it's not a game but THE FUCKING MATRIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've written about the earlier trailer here btw, don't miss that either it's insane and features more acting talent than probably any movie ever let alone videogame: https://culture.vg/forum/topic?p=31644#p31644

I was talking on Discord earlier about whether Chris Roberts is British or American. The jury's still out on that, but either way he's DEFINITELY JEWISH. He HAS to be! THEY ARE TRYING TO GET US IN THE MATRIX TO HARVEST OUR BODY PARTS!!!!!!!

And with games like this they sure as fuck will succeed.


P.S. I wonder if you can walk around the capital ships/stations and talk to people like an adventure game. Going from what they are showing in the trailers, it seems like you can. That's how the Wing Commanders were. Read my "Videogame Art: Wing Commander (1990)" essay to understand these games.

Part I: https://www.patreon.com/posts/22427463
Part II: https://www.patreon.com/posts/22624999


Damn, what a trailer. It's better than most games lol.


P.P.S. Just added a second trailer for Star Citizen to the Most Wanted list. So that's four in all.



Screenshot Gallery by icycalm on 25 Dec 2019 07:53

Hunt: Showdown

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/ ... 1944140458

Image

Looks like a painting.



Subhumans attacking gaming by icycalm on 24 Dec 2019 03:32

Strategy games are under attack by the subhumans.

'Civilization' and Strategy Games' Progress Delusion
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/4agg ... s-delusion

"Progress delusion" lol.

So it's a delusion when I nuke you?

That progress is a delusion is precisely the mentality that leads to being enslaved and nuked.

Gabriel Soares wrote:How strategy games have held on to one of colonialism's most toxic narratives, and how they might finally be letting it go.


Gabriel Soares wrote:Now you don’t need me to tell you that the 4X genre is problematic (the four Xs stand for explore, expand, exploit, exterminate, after all).


Gabriel Soares wrote:So hopefully it’s clear why it’s so heinously offensive to present day indigenous populations such as the Poundmaker Cree to be featured in games like Civilization. The implicit argument, even if unintentional, is that “we” are all playing the same game, you just sucked at it.


On the other hand, indigenous populations are stupid so they don't play strategy games and therefore do not have occasion to be offended by them. I doubt they even realize strategy games exist.

Gabriel Soares wrote:By comparison most current day European kinship systems are among the simplest ever observed, and that’s the point: complexity and simplicity is very much in the eye of the beholder. Unsurprisingly, strategy games tend to only engage with complexity when it can be converted into a military or economic trait, the rest is treated as irrelevant or merely aesthetic.


Hmmm... I wonder why they managed to beat everyone else... It's a mystery. We will never know.

Gabriel Soares wrote:Much of anthropology up until the midpoint of the last century could be crassly summarized in the question “how come all these people don’t have a State?”


trololol

Watching subhumans trying to parse history and science is like watching a child trying to figure out how something works... and constantly failing. Endlessly amusing.

Gabriel Soares wrote:There are some signs of change (dare I say progress? Delete this stupid joke) in the genre though. The upcoming Humankind by Amplitude is aggressively signaling a break with 4x conventions, the stated goal being to write, not “win”, history. Among its most interesting ideas is that every age will afford the player an opportunity to play as a new culture, so one may select Babylonians during the Bronze Age and then Germans in the Iron Age. While the idea that societies progressed along set technological ages has by and large been discredited, the notion of changing cultures (rather than a continual atemporal people) is an important break with tradition.


This is actually a red flag that Humankind might go woke and fail hard. If it does do this, though, there won't be any subhumans to buy the game because subhumans don't play 4Xs, so the thing will fail even harder than Hollywood woke stuff. It will be terrible if this happens, but on the other hand it will be a hard lesson for the industry, so in the end there will be the necessary self-correction. Maybe you can sell crap TV and crap movies to crap people, but you can't sell crap 4Xs to them because crap people don't play 4Xs at all.

Gabriel Soares wrote:Because if the 4x genre abandons the idea that history has (or will have) a victor, it also abandons a view of history that sees it as a competition between nations and/or races. And that would be no great loss.


And then we can finally turn 4X games to walking sims so that no intelligence will be needed to play them, and taking all the strategy out of strategy games, eh faggot?



[PC] [SW] Hollow Knight: Silksong by icycalm on 24 Dec 2019 02:43

Added this trailer to my top trailer list: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFAknD_ ... XdPpMT44TR

From the comments:

I'm The Dude wrote:
"Hey, remember that Hollow Knight DLC we were planning that would allow you to play as Hornet? Yeah, we decided to just make that an entirely new game that would let you play as Hornet instead."

We don't deserve Team Cherry.


MrSelkies wrote:
Team Cherry is the Brandon Sanderson of game developers, he sits down to work on a small novella and ends up with an amazing 3-4 book series by accident. I am so so happy and excited about this game!


Enrico Nobili wrote:
And it' s free for the backers too! Team Cherry, my new love.


Shaiden wrote:
All original Hollow Knight backers get this game for free!


Introverted Dawg wrote:
EA: The game is a dlc.

TC: The dlc is a new game.



lol by Dead Man Talking on 23 Dec 2019 04:39

Is Disco Elysium really good, or more fancy poop?
https://www.neogaf.com/threads/is-disco ... p.1516522/

Guynamedbilly wrote:Yea, but I always cry when I waste money. I try to buy everything from GOG, but I guess I could abuse the Steam refund to give it a try. I don't like to do that though.


Spukc wrote:it's ok just ignore the dev that tries to keep his head above the water and had to explain little timmy that they have to return his xmas presents.


Katsura wrote:The devs of this particular game promoted communism at a recent game awards event so i'm sure they're ok with not getting any money from their game



Submission: AI: the Somnium Files (2019, PC) review by leccosta on 21 Dec 2019 18:45

AI: the Somnium Files is a sci-fi mystery adventure game made by the same writer and director of the surprisingly good Zero Escape trilogy. So I went into this game with some cautious optimism, even though the trailers weren’t very exciting. Unfortunately, the trailers were right.

At least the premise is nice. You play as Kaname Date, a detective investigating a series of murders where the killer takes out the eyeball of its victims, the same modus operandi of a famous serial killer from many years ago. The twist? You are one of the few investigators trained to enter people’s dreams through a machine to find clues about them or the case in hand. The information you obtain there can’t be used as hard evidence (the suspect would say it was just a dream, after all) but nevertheless can be useful to help someone remember an important fact or push a stubborn witness to spill the beans. This idea of using dreams to obtain the kind of clues that can’t be found on the field is full of potential and I was excited to see where the game would go with it.

The investigation is mainly divided in two parts: investigation and dream sequences. The investigation part is traditional adventure game detective stuff: you walk around the scene, examine suspicious objects, and talk to people. You also have some cool tricks like x-ray and thermal vision, thanks to your cybernetic eye that houses Aiba, your partner A.I. (yeah, I know). Unfortunately, these can only be used when the game allows: “Look Date, this box seems suspicious, use the x-ray vision!” I mean, really? Fuck off Aiba, let me do the investigation. All in all, the investigation part could have been fun but is just harmless and unremarkable instead.

The dream sequences are supposed to be the standout feature, but the game drops the ball hard here. Each dream is a puzzle room that you have to solve by interacting with various objects scattered about. The catch is that you are on a timer, and each object has many different possible interactions to choose from and each one of these cost a fixed amount of time. For example, a picture could have a ‘look at’ or ‘rip’ interactions spending 10 and 30 seconds respectively. Also, most actions have modifiers that affect the next action you choose, like making the next action cost three times more or changing its cost to 10 seconds no matter its original cost. So, to solve the puzzle you have to interact with the right objects and in an order that wastes as little time as possible. Sounds interesting to you?

Well, it didn’t for me. But at least I thought it could be interesting if the solutions were creative. The problem here is that the object interactions are completely unpredictable. For instance, in a dream sequence taking place in a theme park I interacted with a merry-go-round and it started spinning and flew off because… dream logic lol. I lost precious seconds and there was no way to know what would happen beforehand. This completely undermines any planning and makes everything reliant on trial and error so the experience boils down to walking around and interacting with random objects in a way you think the developers wanted. They should have toned down the craziness or made it so that the personality of the dream’s owner is a clue to predict what an object would do. The way it is now, it’s not fun even when you get the solutions right.

The story is a perfectly serviceable sci-fi detective tale. There are some twists in the story too, but they are more of an “Ah, I see” moment than the huge twists in Zero Escape. There are branching paths in the story too, depending on your actions in the dream sequences, and switching between them could’ve been handled better. There is actually an order of paths that you have to follow to get to the true ending and when you get far enough in some of them the story actually freezes aout of nowhere and the game shows you a message: “finish the other paths to continue this one”. This is jarring and a far cry from the author’s previous work where you actually had a reason to switch paths (the knowledge to proceed was in another timeline) and even the act of switching timelines was integrated to the story. Here, you just switch to another branch, no explanation given. This is mildly disappointing but at least the story is enjoyable for what it is.

The characters are pretty standard, with some good and bad designs but mostly OK. They aren’t annoying (for the most part), and some are even fun after some time. Actually, the story has some pretty good branches that veer from the main investigation and focus more on the characters. There is one dream sequence in particular with a character with dementia that moved me. These are worth your time with the game.

The graphics and sound, much like the rest of the game, are average and do their job adequately.

Overall, AI: the Somnium Files is a perfectly serviceable game, albeit one that feels a tad homogenized. Don’t go expecting to be amazed and you’ll have some fun.

★★★



[PC] New World by icycalm on 21 Dec 2019 07:14

This is now on Steam for release May 2020: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1063730/New_World/

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Official Trailer | The Game Awards 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na4MWetfN8Q

New media look cool, but unfortunately, it looks like the game's being nerfed: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1063730/ ... 551129357/

Souren Araya wrote:
AGS needs to revert their change to PVP

"But again, wars and open-world PvP are optional. You can flag yourself up for it and opt in, or, "If you don't care about this stuff as a player, you can have a huge, massive experience without any of it." - https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019 ... sociations

New World was built on being a PVP-focused game. The mechanics of the game were built around PVP, and the world was built around PVP. Making PVP an opt-in system completely defeats the purpose of New World, and will lead to it being dead a month after release.

I understand the financial incentive to try to widen your game's appeal, but the people AGS is trying to appeal to now won't stick with the game even if they can turn PVP off for themselves. Why would they? There are endless PVE-focused games on the market with meaningless PVP aspects (which is what New World will be if PVP is opt-in) already, it's just those games have a lot more content to chew through than New World will.

AGS, please reconsider the decision to make PVP an opt-in system... or at least create separate PVE / PVP servers. You're alienating your core audience with this decision, guaranteeing nobody will stick around long-term.

For the ignorant people who will inevitably comment without knowing the history of this game, it was always full-loot open world PVP up until this announcement. The game is designed around it, and they've just suddenly changed at the last minute to make more sales. But what they haven't realized is that doing so will make most of their game meaningless.


https://steamcommunity.com/app/1063730/ ... 2551216492

Souren Araya wrote:Except this is actually a big deal. New World was designed around territory ownership and conflict, a never ending war to own the most territory (or the most valuable territories for resources). This aspect of the game is meaningless if someone can just choose not to engage in it and turn PVP off for themselves, because now they can go farm the rare resources on YOUR LAND without consequences.

This change also removes any risk of travelling the world, farming, etc because you know you'll never get attacked by another player, and you never risk losing your items.

Inevitably, this will lead to everyone farming up to the best gear in a few weeks or months, getting bored of the game because PVE was never this game's focus to begin with, and then leaving because nobody with half a brain will turn on PVP unless they're attacking another territory (which would be pointless to do because they can farm their resources anyways).

They've literally killed their own game before release, to (saying this as respectfully as possible) appeal to players like yourself who will be ultra-casuals and stop playing after a month or two anyways. There won't be a consistent audience.


Shoulda tried it in the alpha when I had a chance to experience it in its full PVP glory... I got an invitation towards the end, but I was busy with stuff and passed it up thinking that the full release with a big group would be better...

Anyway, there's still hope it won't be a total fuckup. Let's hope then.

In related news, Amazon seems to really suck in game publishing. They've outright cancelled most of their announced titles, others get endless delays, and this one, the star of their lineup, is getting nerfed. All that money, and no sense in how to use it.



The Insomnia 1960s-2020s Game of the Decade Awards by icycalm on 18 Dec 2019 16:12

The wait is over, and the most important game awards ever, the Insomnia Game of the Decade awards, are live. Though I am happy to endlessly discuss them here with readers and contributors, all choices are final, and will never be revised, because one doesn't mistake Newton, Darwin and Einstein. Lower figures can be over- or under-estimated, but not the giants. If you mistake the giants you are blind as a bat, and simply know nothing of science; or, in this case, of videogames and art in general.

The Insomnia 1960s-2020s Game of the Decade Awards
https://www.patreon.com/posts/32435116

Though it's posted on Patreon, I have made the feature publicly viewable for the benefit of the artform, and especially of the kind of Poor Souls who think that "Dark Souls" is somehow an important game. Enjoy, and expect an update about ten years from now. Perhaps earlier, if some kind of clearly revolutionary game appears before that time. I spent the last section of the feature foreshadowing what I expect that game to look like, so we'll have a pretty good idea what to watch out for as we follow the roster of upcoming games roll in via Insomnia's HYPE and PLAY sections on the frontpage in the coming years and decades.



The Insomnia 1960s-2020s Game of the Decade Awards by Discord BOT on 18 Dec 2019 11:15

CULT|icycalm
I am writing this now, should be up soon
It'll be a watershed in vg criticism and theory
And unlike the GOTY feature which will always be a work in progress, this will be done right now
I will only need to update it maybe once or twice a decade, and the previous choices will never be changed
Game of the Decade is simply too big to get wrong
Like with Newton or Darwin or Einstein
You don't get these wrong
Unless you're a gamer or game journalist I guess. Then you think that "Dark Souls" is important

CULT|icycalm
The GOTD feature is about 60% done
I am still writing, and if I don't collapse from exhaustion it should go up in an hour or two
I replaced Super Shinobi with Pitfall, for reasons that will become clear when you read the feature, but all the other choices are the same
Not a single non-Western game in the list btw
The first four decades are American, and the last two British
All Anglos
Maybe the baton will be passed back to America with Star Citizen



Submission: Senjou no Valkyria (2008, PS3) review by leccosta on 18 Dec 2019 06:45

Thanks for the very detailed explanation, it indeed clears up a lot and was very interesting to read.

I played some of the Dept. Heaven series games. I finished Riviera: The Promised Land and played a little of Yggdra Union and they are indeed interesting curiosities. It's easy to see Senjou no Valkyria falling in this category.

I won't take the criticism to heart, no worries. It's something I appreciate and learn from. Actually, I found this to be a fun experience and plan to submit more reviews in the future.



Submission: Senjou no Valkyria (2008, PS3) review by icycalm on 18 Dec 2019 06:07

Single-player or multiplayer makes no difference. Mount & Blade is single-player (as its upcoming sequel will also be). The old Xbox Kingdom Under Fire games were also single-player. 2018's Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare on Steam is a Mount & Blade-type game in a modern setting, also single-player: https://store.steampowered.com/app/7739 ... a_Warfare/

The PlanetSides and all the other games I mentioned could be easily made into single-player with AI bots, but Valkyria could not be turned into multiplayer because it would make no sense for the players to wait for each other to finish their turns if the goddamn action is real-time in the first place. The turns shoved in the middle of the real-time action defeat the whole purpose of the real-time action! I mean you could make a game that functions that way, but the players would be like "Why the fuck do I have to wait if the shooting happens in real-time anyway?" The mechanics are just silly. Which is okay for ONE game, just like another Japanese company called Sting that makes games with weird counterintuitive mechanics. Have you heard of Sting? Look into their Dept. Heaven series, Yggdra Union, Knights in the Nightmare etc. The latter is a turn-based tactical game with SHOOTING GAME ELEMENTS. Let that sink in for a bit. It sounds retarded as fuck, no? But I am sure it's a fun little game, just like everything they make. However, no one's ever copied it because it just doesn't make much sense. It's what in English they call a "curio", an interesting curiosity and nothing more.

Valkyria's design is the equivalent of someone running into a cul-de-sac and, instead of pausing, then stopping, and turning back, proceeds to smash his head right into the wall. Because tactics is the control of a group of characters. If you control a single character, it's not tactics, it's action. So when you try to include tactics in a single-player game, it must necessarily either be turn-based, so that you can issue orders to every character in turn, or, if you want it to be real-time, it must zoom out the camera and give you an RTT interface as in Commandos, Company of Heroes and so on. If, on the other hand, you demand BOTH tactics AND first- or third-person action in a SINGLE-PLAYER game... well this is impossible, because, being zoomed in to a single character, you are unable to control more than one. So the only "solution" is indeed to re-inject turns into the game so you can control each character in turn in real-time, but of course this isn't a solution because you've screwed up the real-time aspect now, and the game is a kind of time-travelling game, or at least a game where most characters simply sit around and do nothing, or do very little things, while one of them runs around doing stuff. It's just stupid. And that's why it's not been followed up.

Now games like the Kingdom Under Fire and Mount & Blade series solve this issue by giving you ONE character to control in first- or third-person, but also giving you a set of commands that you can issue from this perspective to squads of AIs that follow you around, exactly like in real-life. Because the Commandos or Company of Heroes viewpoint is unrealistic of course; the commander in real-life doesn't have a bird's-eye view of the action, he is on the ground next to his soldiers, issuing verbal orders to them; and that's exactly how KUF and M&B work, and why these are legendary games that have been amply followed up and have a bright future ahead of them. Of course, even brighter is the future of games that replace the AIs with people, because this way the battles and the tactics and ultimately the strategy become a whole lot more interesting and fun (at least until we get human-level AI, at which point quite a few things will change in the genre that I plan to analyze at some point).

So even in a strict single-player context, Valkyria is no innovator or trend-setter, and the games you should be looking at instead are KUF and M&B. And by the way, there was an Amiga game (its name escapes me) that split the screen into four windows, giving you control of four mercenaries I think it was in real-time. So, if I am not mistaken, you could switch between any of the four and you controlled all of them. This is what the Valkyria model would play like if we removed the unnatural turns. And of course no one followed that game up either because controlling four characters from a first-person perspective simultaneously is not human. Maybe a cyborg in the future will manage it, or aliens. But when a human player plays this game, you basically have three characters sitting around doing nothing while the player controls one character at a time. Which makes no sense at all.

I hope the above clears things up a bit. And by all means do not refrain from discussing theory here; I am sure that everyone reading this thread will have learned a lot about games, and I am sure they want to read more stuff like this in the future. As long as you take my criticisms in stride, as you have been doing, and don't react like all the people who banned me from every videogame forum on the internet by declaring war on me when I explained their mistakes, we'll be fine.



Submission: Senjou no Valkyria (2008, PS3) review by leccosta on 18 Dec 2019 05:17

Thanks for the advice. You're welcome to edit and post the review on the frontage.

The original review was posted here: https://myvideogamelist.com/review/445/ ... Chronicles. I wrote it very fast and feels like a first draft. Also, I didn't explain the mechanics as well but there are some things there that I didn't include here, like a small paragraph about the classes. If you want to include them in the complete review, there's no problem. The attempts at theory are less pronounced there too.

I'm well aware of the games you told me about and I know I'm missing out on some great modern games and I will play them. I remember we talked about that a year ago. As you may remember, my graphics card fried a long time ago and I've been only playing less graphically intensive games. But I'm stable financially now, so I'm buying a new PC in a couple of months.

I can see that I fumbled the theory part. To be clear, when I praised the innovations of the battle system I was actually referring to single-player turn-based tactics. I even say so in the original review, it was probably lost in the editing. That's why I cited the battle systems of Divinity: Original Sin and Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.. I can totally understand that the games you cited are the real evolution of the genre and I considered them as being a different kind of beast from a single-player turn-based game. Probably due to my lack of experience with them, as you said. The only multiplayer games I remember playing with friends in the last year or so are MOBAs, which bore me very fast. Sorry about that and I'll try to refrain from theory in the future.

If you want, you can change that part to specify that I'm talking specifically about single-player turn-based tactics. But if it still sounds ridiculous or not important enough even after that change (which I think it probably will), you can remove the theory part altogether. Thanks and it's a pleasure to be featured on the frontpage.



The Insomnia 1960s-2020s Game of the Decade Awards by Discord BOT on 18 Dec 2019 05:06

CULT|Some guy
lol: http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2019/12/ ... _new_genre

Push Square wrote:
Game of the Decade: Dark Souls Laid the Foundations for a New Genre
Prepare to die

Image


CULT|icycalm
This a joke article?
It laid the foundations for what?
The stupid convention of going back to grab your souls?
Or autistic dodge-rolling?
Game of the Decade is Rust no contest
Previous decade, GTA3
Previous decade probably Civ. I need to play Deus Ex to make sure, if 2000 counts as '90s
Previous decade Wing Commander if 1990 counts as '80s
Previous decade... I was 2 years old so my guess isn't very good
But I would guess either Adventure or Mystery House
Probably Adventure

CULT|Some guy
Wouldn't the '90s be 1990 - 1999?

CULT|icycalm
Previous decade Spacewar
Hmmm I guess so
In that case, let me see
'60s Spacewar
'70s Adventure
'80s The Super Shinobi baby, the epitome of 2D action in the decade, and probably of all time
'90s Civ
'00s GTA3
'10s Rust
I should make a feature of this
It'd be best if my reviews of all this stuff was up
But I can make an equivalent page to the GOTY one with a paragraph on each game
It's amazing how consistent my theory is
Because Rust is Civ + GTA3
More precisely, Civ + Far Cry 2, because Rust is FP like FC2
But GTA3 takes the spot from FC2 for the 00s because it came first. All that FC2 did was change the camera
Hmmm, NOW is the best time for this feature because the 10s will be over in two weeks!
Good timing with that link, Rory
And I guess this feature will be updated in ten years, if I am still alive
Though if something earth-shattering comes out earlier, I'll provisionally update it

CULT|Some guy
Runners up for each decade?

CULT|icycalm
Hmmmm
No runner-ups make the choices harder, and focus everyone's attention on my justifications
I don't think I'll do runner-ups for this list
It's meant to convey a narrative, the path to the ultimate genre
The narrative will get obscured if I have to justify 3x the number of games
Though I'll think about it
I'll start with the winners, and then maybe do a test of how the page would look if I added runner-ups
I could for example not include justifications for the runner-ups. Just post the titles in smaller font
Wolfenstein is responsible for FC2s greatness and Minecraft for Rust's, but they weren't good games themselves, just good tech demos for technologies that good games could use
I could have a special tech demo corner
Tech demo of the Decade
The retards don't even mention Demon's Souls
Dark Souls is the meme of the decade, that's for sure
HAHAHAHA Demon's Souls is a 2009 game
Doesn't even qualify for this decade
GAME OF THE 2010s IS PAC-MAN VIDYA JOURNALISTS NEWS AT 11!!!!
This is what I am up against
This is my competition
They don't even know how to google

CULT|Beakman
Idiots! I was about to write about Demon's Souls.

CULT|Some guy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmHjh-fNF7o

gigazaur 18 wrote:
DARK SOULS SOLER COSPLAY PARODY

Image


CULT|Beakman
(I'm a fan of the series, but yeah, "game of the decade" my ass).

CULT|Some guy
Bro everyone knows Undertale is the true game of the decade

CULT|icycalm
That black girl covering her vagina lol

CULT|Some guy
Followed by Papers, Please and that game about masturbating a gear stick

CULT|Beakman
What? What game is that?

CULT|Some guy
https://radiatoryang.itch.io/stick-shift

itch.io wrote:
Stick Shift by Robert Yang
short driving game about pleasuring your car

Image


CULT|earthboundtrev
Man, that's the game by the that dude that dared to tell Warren Spector no one cares about his opinion about making games on Twitter. The nerve of that guy...

CULT|Beakman
I've never seen a game which its entire content could be portrayed in a gif.

CULT|Some guy
Game of the '00s is obviously Portal guys

CULT|icycalm
Even in this genre the "indies" are merely debasing older games
Look up Amiga "Party Games"
Same genre, far more complex

CULT|Some guy
https://www.lemonamiga.com/games/details.php?id=2853

Party Games - Amiga Game / Games - Download ADF - Lemon Amiga
Party Games is an Amiga sex educational game released in (unknown) by (unknown). Click for screenshots, downloads, cheats and more info!


Game of the '90s is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I mean it says legend in the title, it is a true legend guys

CULT|icycalm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj5WYoheDXM

DonGregorioYJack wrote:
Juego para Amiga 500 Party Games (No recomendado para menores de 18 años)

Image


The sex is censored because it's YT but you can see what happens
You see sex scenes and wiggle the stick to pass
There is masturbation too

CULT|Some guy
lol

CULT|icycalm
Of course Party Games itself merely debased the old sports games like California Games etc.
Popular early arcade games
Those were fun for what they were

CULT|icycalm
There’s already a solid candidate for game of the next decade btw, see if you can guess it

CULT|Diamond Dawg
If Star Citizen delivers on even half of what it's promising, it'll be my game of forever
I mean, uh, Dark Souls 5

CULT|Beakman
PRAISE THE SUN!

CULT|icycalm
Yep, should be done just in time for the end of the decade

CULT|Hanged Man
Sounds optimistic