Talk about anything and everything Squad-related here -- what you've been playing, what you're looking forward to, and how big your Pile of Shame has grown after that last Steam sale...
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Sat Dec 12, 2015 6:20 am

I just started SOMA. Only played maybe 30 minutes but the game has already seen fit to foreshadow like a motherfucker. The code for the first door is
Spoiler: show
2501
.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:39 am

Keep us posted on your SOMA thoughts, Red.

An aside, and one that might get me pilloried...but I think I'm getting too old.

Wolfenstein: The New Order. I'm super bored. Looks nice, but geez, I'm bored. What the blazes is wrong?!
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:41 pm

Alex Connolly wrote:Keep us posted on your SOMA thoughts, Red.

An aside, and one that might get me pilloried...but I think I'm getting too old.

Wolfenstein: The New Order. I'm super bored. Looks nice, but geez, I'm bored. What the blazes is wrong?!


Wow. New Order is the game that got me out of my FPS boredom. They basically made a post-Half-Life, pre-COD4 shooter but in 2014.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:21 am

Still basically at the beginning of SOMA, but I have to give it to Frictional for apparently being the developer to bring graphic adventure to roughly a point I've wanted to see them reach: fully aware of and comfortable with 3D space, using it to convey challenges and stories that just make sense completely within the context of those virtual 3D worlds. Maybe this is something that had technically been done since Ultima Underworld, but Frictional from what I can see has simply taken that brand of design and applied it to the RealMyst/Alone in the Dark/Resident Evil 1/Silent Hill formula. I'm also glad to see Amnesia having started this sort of resurgence of not only the survival horror but also the adventure game in first person. Alien Isolation is kind of the crescendo of that trend. My only real regret is that people seem to have latched onto the hide n' seek part of these games more than the adventuring. Maybe that's why SOMA has come off as sort of a swerve, because for Frictional that was always just one part of the overall scheme, not the main point.

One of the most impressive things about Frictional to me is how they do trailers. In them they seem to exude a complete and utter confidence in the storytelling conventions of this medium without having to bend the presentation to the expectations of film. I've seen a few Steam Greenlight first person horror/adventure games capture this feeling.

My first crack at the story:
Spoiler: show
Some team of scientists or whatever worked with robots that somehow developed minds to the point where they thought they were human. Maybe they were somehow based on the data from the brain scans from those two dudes in the early 21st century, one such robot gaining the memories of the protagonist. What you play at the very beginning is simply a replay of those memories.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:23 am

RedSwirl wrote:
Alex Connolly wrote:Keep us posted on your SOMA thoughts, Red.

An aside, and one that might get me pilloried...but I think I'm getting too old.

Wolfenstein: The New Order. I'm super bored. Looks nice, but geez, I'm bored. What the blazes is wrong?!


Wow. New Order is the game that got me out of my FPS boredom. They basically made a post-Half-Life, pre-COD4 shooter but in 2014.


I dunno what it is. Everything is in its right place, but I'm just not feeling it. Perhaps the usual Second Coming hype left an indelible soap ring in the bath, maybe I was expecting too much.

The shooting is as expected, the movement fluid, encounter design no slouch in a linear kind of way...


Outside of STALKER and Metro, both janky, perfunctory single player shooters with incredible worlds, I find Wolf a stunning FPS I have little desire to continue playing.

What a wanker, huh.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:39 am

Elite Dangerous

I started a space game thread here a while ago but I don't think we ever got talking about contemporary space games in this thread, particularly the three major attempts to resurrect the "explore, fight, trade" game: this, Star Citizen, and No Man's Sky. NMS in particular has been dogged by the "but what do you do?" question, in my opinion because it's being marketed directly to a segment of the game industry that has almost never had the opportunity to experience this genre. Elite Dangerous and its predecessors have given me a clue as to what it might feel like and I'm still not sure how the masses will handle it. Then again, there are now console versions of Elite Dangerous.

The basic allure here is to provide a vessel to simulate each player's unique Han Solo and/or Boba Fett fantasy right? These are the games where you actually get to sit down and chart a course to the Tauri system or whatever on your way to smuggle some spice or to track down the guy with the 4,000 credit bounty for smuggling that spice. The game is traditionally about simulating space civilization. Well, I pretty much said "fuck civilization," flew straight out of inhabited space, and have just been scanning uncharted worlds and selling the information back at space stations. Once you do that, Elite pretty much becomes the astronomer's video game.

The first thing a lot of people will probably come to grips with no matter what they do is the sheer distance between planets. This game and Space Engine, each of which show you 1:1 scale representations of star systems in terms of both distance and size, really change how you view space. I mean, on an intellectual level you're probably aware that every chart or artist's impression of the Solar system you've seen is wrong. You may even know that the star systems in No Man's Sky aren't realistically-scaled. But you don't really KNOW how wrong. People have tried to build accurate representations in the real world which end up needing at least a football stadium to contain. An excellent web representation is "If The Moon Were Only 1 Pixel." I think one of the best ways to illustrate things is virtually -- video games basically. I first realized this upon looking at system maps in Elite II. It's not until then that you realize a binary star system usually isn't just two suns, but is really two systems orbiting each other, and that traveling between them is an absolute bitch even when you're riding at warp 3. This paragraph kinda just broke the flow of my post, but back to describing the exploration path in Elite Dangerous as "the astronomer's video game."

No this game probably isn't on some astrophysics degree-type shit, but if you take this route it would at least help if you've watched a couple episodes of Cosmos. People have accused No Man's Sky of being a game where you do nothing but look at planets (which is obviously untrue if you've seen more than one video of the game and read any information on it). Well, I've spent hours doing nothing but looking at planets in Elite and Space Engine and found it to be a worthwhile game experience, but people are scared of that because it's too different (and probably a very particular taste). You have to be interested in shit like semi major axis, atmospheric pressure, how many billions of years old a star is, greenhouse levels, tidal locking, and know how a red dwarf is going to affect a system versus a blue supergiant.

I'm in a mode right now where I'm focusing on only traveling to star systems with lone F, G, and K-type stars. I know that when looking for planets in the blackness of space I should be looking away from the star because planets are damnear invisible when coming up on their night sides. I know that an M-class star is less likely to have good planets orbiting it, but if it does they'll be pretty damn close to it since they gotta be in order to get enough heat to be anything more than balls of ice. And in the aforementioned types of systems it's usually only worth it to look around and scan within 1 or 2 astronomical units of the star. Still, every once in a while you'll run into a planet that manages to be a water world despite a surface temperature of 600 Fahrenheit.

Oh yeah, predictably information on planets nets you money based on what they are, Earth-like planets and water worlds being the most valuable. I haven't discovered a single Earth-like planet yet, but I've found a few water worlds and each one has felt like a jackpot -- a pearl among the countless rocks in space.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Beige » Mon Dec 14, 2015 4:50 pm

Ah, Soma. So good. So good… as I believe I said way back in the day. Equal parts Phillip K. Dick and Lem Lavine, definitely what Bioshock wanted to be when it grew up and out of its rowdy adolescent phase. Perhaps a bit overly zealous in trying to continually fuse ‘creep around and not look at monsters’ gameplay into an otherwise perfectly good walking simulator, but nothing egregious. Super chuffed that there are now different types of monsters in the mix -- though how you would know that… I’m not sure. Because you aren’t looking at the monsters, amirite? Is it horror? Not… exactly. But it’s kissing cousins.

I’m with Alex as far as Wolfenstein goes. I also happen to own the game but apparently because I am some kind of colossal video game hipster, these days I need a pretty compelling hook beyond sheer polish that gets me grinding through something. “Fun” is strangely pretty far down on my own personal bullet list of required features, even when well executed (as I have no doubt Wolfenstein is). I’m much more the Chairman Kaga of viddyagames, wandering the landscape of 2015 like a disillusioned ronin, craving novelty above all else, seeking worthy opponents.

Things I have never played:
• Destiny
• A MOBA
• Hearthstone
• Borderlands
• Rocket League
• Far Cry 3 or 4 outside of Blood Dragon

I haven’t done much FPS or TPS shooting in 2015 at all, strangely. Outside of The Order: 18XX I’m struggling to come up with anything that fits the profile strongly. Plenty of first person adventures like SOMA and the Talos Principle -- just very few with the reload button.

Lynette and I were playing Prison Architect last night though. Lots of good Introversioney goodness there. Dark as hell, of course. Mission 1: Build an execution chamber. On budget of course. Professionally. Up to you whether you put tiled walls and floors.

Time for Best of 2015 lists? Sure.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:20 pm

I'm gonna try not to waste too much time trying to "sell" Wolfenstein here, but here goes: It pretty much combines the positive aspects of early 2000's first person shooters with what works from 2010's FPSs. It's kind of a breath of fresh air for people who are tired of post-COD4 military shooters, but doesn't get completely caught up in emulating the past. In that sense it manages to feel very much like its own game that knows when to take good ideas and when not to follow trends.

On top of that, it delivers a surprisingly good story from the guys who gave us Riddick and The Darkness 1. The characters work, and come off as human beings. The alternate history New Order Europe actually feels like a developed setting which humanizes the Germans to a shocking degree. It understands precisely how cartoonish its concept is while maintaining the right amount of levity and seriousness.

In short, New Order is just a really smart FPS. It's the only game for which I got every achievement.

Beige, I don't even know if you need to play Far Cry 3 outside of Blood Dragon. Blood Dragon was basically everything good about Far Cry 3 condensed into a blender with G.I. Joe. The loosening of the setting even allowed its level design to be better. Haven't messed with Far Cry 4.

I'll tell you this though, if you haven't played Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain yet, it is the game Far Cry 3 wanted to be. It is the "Ubisoft formula" of open-world game design but actually done properly. I'm not sure I need to play Far Cry 4 after Phantom Pain. In a lot of ways it feels like the proper iteration of Far Cry 2 I always wanted to see.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:38 pm

I guess that's the thing, I love the Starbreeze output. There's a thick, full-blooded physicality to their breed of FP game. But somehow, Wolf just isn't tickling fancy. And I'm a big fan of Fatherland, The Man in the High Castle, Gear Krieg etc. Super-science pulp Nazi horror? I mean, absolutely.

I'll persevere.

Top Ten List Time. I'll get a thread ready.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:25 am

SOMA is done. If Frictional had just dispensed with the enemies I'd call this the game I wanted Gone Home to be. They both kind of do the same thing -- interactive fiction in a physically-based environment. SOMA just did it with a more interesting premise. It's cool that SOMA spends most of its time just letting you explore the world. I hope Tacoma and ADR1FT push further in this general direction but don't get saddled by the need for "conventional video game" stuff.

The Undertale demo is next. Probably my last "new" game of 2015.
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