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CAD4466HK

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
1,612
Dead Space (2008)
Great game that still visually holds up decently, at least I think so. The visuals and sounds do a great job at providing a tense and unnerving feel. The sound design is probably biggest thing that has aged the best.

Story is interesting and keeps you engaged to figure out what happened. Exploring around and uncovering what horrors are happening is something that brings you in to the story.

Gunplay and combat is fine but camera control wasn't the greatest. Not sure if it was by design, or due to console gen ports of the time, but the camera and aiming are sluggish. It does add to the atmosphere as you can't react as quick as you should but it seems to be a cheap way to provide scares. It didn't bother me that much to distract me from enjoying the rest of the game.

Overall really liked the game, had some good scares and looking forward to the remake when I do play it.

Also small spoiler for the very end
The jump scare in the last 5 or so seconds of the game, it got me GOOD lmao
I have a few more games to get through on my backlog, then I'm doing a replay of all 3.
I usually do a replay of all 3 every other year.

I think they are fantastic games, with 2 being my favorite.
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,675
Divinity Original Sin 2

Summary:
As a veteran of the tactical, isometric view, turn based, RPG genre - I can say simply that this game is a delight. It’s for players that have longed for games that scratch the tactical itch while having all of the usual RPG set dressings. If you love tactical RPG’s, this is near the top; into phenomenal territory. If tactical based combat is something you find tedious, I still think there is value in this title. But you won’t have an appreciation for it in comparison to people that do.​

Background:
In my formative years, two of the most impactful games that I ever (fatefully) played, were Fallout and Fallout 2. At the time I wasn’t aware of how many times lightning had to strike to create a game with meaningful consequences, interesting dialog, character creation, and (at the time) deep tactical based combat. In the mid 2000’s with the purchase of the Fallout IP and the abominations that came afterwards, as well as the “first person-ification” of all games, and a push to make everything multiplayer: I sincerely doubted that I’d ever see any titles that would rival Fallout 1/2, Planescape Torment, or a handful of other titles that were all way too few and far between. Enter Larian Studios: a 'small' Belgian company that has made it their mission to make “small audience” tactical RPG’s to great effect. I get the distinct impression that whomever heads Larian has a personal mission to make the games that they want to see in the world, that are woefully underrepresented. Their Wiki doesn't have much info about them, but what it does show is that they haven't made a huge amount of games and that suggests they've spent a lot of time refining the games they have finished.​

Gameplay:
The game inside of combat.
If you’ve played tactical RPG’s, then it’s pretty straightforward to explain and know. I’ll explain it the long way, and then get a little bit into DoS 2 specific systems.​
Tactical RPG’s are driven by their combat style. Unlike either first person RPG’s or third person action RPG games, Tactical RPG’s are turn based. This is a defining characteristic of tactical RPG titles. Each of the characters take their turns one after another, mimicking pen and paper RPG’s such as Dungeons and Dragons. The player can move their characters one at a time during their turn(s) and perform combat actions. Because it’s isometric, the “battlefield” is fully visible and combat is based around knowing how to position your characters, exploit weaknesses (attacking from behind, casting spells that enemies are weak against, etc), prioritizing which enemies need to die first, while avoiding enemies that are trying to do the same to you and avoiding environmental hazards.​
The major twist that DoS2 offers to combat is called the “Surface System”. In short it’s a system that allows the player (and opponents) to create combinations to devastating effect.​
Surfaces are literally what you’re standing on or around. As an example, there could be a water surface. If characters are standing on it, a lightning attack on the water surface increases the damage and will also electrify the surface for several turns. Want to get rid of it? Cast a fire spell and have it evaporate and turn into a steam cloud (which obscures views) for several turns. It’s possible to create surfaces and create combos with them. If you prefer, you can play as purely melee or ranged characters that largely “ignore” surfaces as an option and merely look at them as environmental hazards. The player isn’t forced to learn all the ins and outs of this system, but if you’re any sort of spell-caster then it’s widely beneficial.​
There are 5(?) elemental types all of which have different interactions as well as physical. Two armor types one that covers magical attacks and the other physical attacks.​
Characters can be built using any set of skills you want. The limitation is in game gold and skill-books which grant the skills (which aren’t cheap). It’s also possible to reroll your characters mid-game if you want and it’s therefore technically feasible to learn every skill in the game. However because it’s necessary to meet the skill requirements, skillbooks are expensive, and there are limited spell slots, it’s not an OP system that can be abused. If anything it still requires very careful considering to how you want to play your characters, while allowing some flexibility if you’ve made “mistakes” in your build. However, the system is so fluid and dynamic that you really can build any “class” you want. And for RPG nerds, that’s likely one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. The player gains 2 skill points per level, meaning by the end game you'll have more than enough to multi class or dabble points here and there to gain skills in a number of different areas.​
Want a warrior that can cast fire spells? Viable. Want a Summoner that also heals? Can do. Want a Ranger that dabbles in Necromancy? Probably not the strongest build, but you won’t “lose the game” due to your build. While certain builds and skills will always be better than others, and certain combinations better than others, it’s pretty hard to build a build that isn’t viable provided you actually know which attribute points affect the stats you intend (eg: you properly placed points in intelligence and not finesse if you're trying to buff caster skills).​
With only 6 different attribute types (strength, finesse, intelligence, constitution, memory, and wits); attribute points are intuitive and easy to understand for RPG players. There is also a “perk” system called “talents” that you gain with each character every 4 levels which can drastically buff your build. Those should be very carefully chosen in order to have maximum effect.​
Theory crafting your build and talents in advance helps get maximum gains out of the game. But if you don’t want to do all of that you don’t have to on all but the highest difficulties. Or alternatively there are websites like Fextralife that have created builds that are tested. Because there are so many builds that are viable it can be overwhelming. However because of the ability to reroll using the "magic mirror" system*(1), the first available after Act 1 (so it's not possible to do whenever you want - which emphasizes being careful with points but not punishing with them), and how possible it is to build most anything, players like me that get anxiety about “perfect builds” can relax, especially on casual play-throughs. The game is designed to make builds and building characters fun. So if you can get over your anxiety and just play inside the systems it’s welcoming to the player. A couple of misspent points won't end the game for you. Skills can be equipped or changed at any time outside of combat however. The only limitation being currently having the right skill points to use the skill (eg: must have Pyromancer level 2 to equip Fireball).​
*(1)The magic mirror system takes your character back to the initial character creation screen. You may subtract and add any and all points as you wish, effectively re-rolling your character with all of their additional levels whenever you have access to one. This system makes the game far less punishing for mistakes, but is only available at certain points in the game so that players aren't tempted to spend all of their time re-rolling rather than playing the game.​
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Character creation allows you to choose from "Build Presets" but you may choose exactly where each stat, skill point, and talent goes.
You can also play with friends, which may have been a big benefit during the pandemic, but I was perfectly happy to play this game alone.
It's also available on XBox1 or PS4 as shown here, though I'd question why you'd play this on anything other than PC.
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This game looks far better in motion than any of these screen caps give it credit for.
In this screencap the Red Prince is targeting "Fire Daggers" which hits up to 3 different targets (which you select one after another). You can see in this preview how the attack will be telegraphed, and the maximum range with the orange border circling around the character using the skill/spell.
To see more of the battle field you may zoom in or out or pan or rotate the camera. It's also possible to switch the camera view to 'birds eye' for those times where you're trying to judge movement distances or see certain things more clearly. The player character isn't locked to the center of the screen. While selecting and hovering the game will give an accuracy % tooltip.
It's also possible to examine enemies to see their weaknesses, strengths, and/or buffs. Dependent on "Loremaster" Civic Points.
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You can easily see the order of combat at the top, amount of skill points and the skill bar at the bottom. All relevant pop-ups happen on hover.
There is also some very obvious fire surfaces on the right hand side of the screen. As well as some blood surfaces slightly above the fire.
—————
The game outside of combat.
Outside of combat, the rest of the game is a straightforward RPG.​
The game’s story for the most part is linear, but it allows for the player to tackle challenges and explore how they want to do things to a degree. It contains 4 “acts” and the world is open to do whatever you’d like in each act, however as you move from one act to the next you may not go back. That does force the game down a very specific pipe. I do not view this as an issue, merely a design choice. The game is about the exploration of its particular narrative. It’s not designed to be a sandbox RPG. I personally look at that as a pro of this game and not a con. A lot of other “RPG’s” are “about” doing anything you want to “create your own story” and that comes at the high cost of not really having a narrative. This game is narrative driven. If you don’t want to “learn” or “be told” a story, then this game will not be for you. I would compare this game directly to Fallout 1/2. Exploration of the topic and themes as well as dialog and the ability to do things in the orders you choose and pick the fights you want while being largely linear are staples of the genre.​
A big twist here is that there are 6 “named” player characters which adds a large amount of replay-ability to the game. Each character has his/her own narrative within the story. Things they’re trying to accomplish or resolve. It’s possible to play with up to 4 in a playthrough, HOWEVER the main character will always dominate the narrative. So in theory if you wanted to know the full depth of each of the characters, you’d have to play the game 6 times. I don’t personally see that as necessary. However if you love this type of game, going through the game twice to see all the character developments, while getting to prioritize your “top 2” (one for each play through) will give “enough” for most players to warrant playing the game twice.​
The player talks to characters, reads documents, explores new areas, solves puzzles, and fights whom they’d like to fight and kill. It is possible to literally kill every character in the game and still progress. I don’t think that’s the most enjoyable way to do it, but it’s possible. Each Act has a massive map to be explored. And for the most part DoS 2 rewards players that explore every inch of the map. Quest items (as in alternative ways to solve quests), specific NPCs, and loot are scattered everywhere. The game also has a waypoint system which allows teleporting to all previously found waypoints in that particular act, helping some of the inevitable back tracking that will occur.​
I do wish that certain strategies were more apparent and that others were more viable. That’s probably my biggest criticism of the gameplay I have. While many eventualities are accounted for inside of the game’s systems, I still wish there were more choices on how to tackle issues. Dialog is also a very powerful choice in DoS 2, like many other games of its type, making "Persuasion" more or less a must have civic ability on your main character if you want to have all dialog options accessible to you. A lot of situations can be deescalated or escalated while using dialog. I wish there were more options for subtlety however.​
Even inside of this subject though, because many of the options aren’t apparent, there are solutions to many of the games puzzles that players may not see or notice. Things the player might think are “the only way to solve an issue” may have multiple solutions that the player may not be aware of.​
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All of these screen shots are from the first half of Act 1. Believe me when I say the terrain even in Act 1 looks different throughout.
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A word on crafting.
There is also a crafting system. I personally am not a fan of crafting systems in games; they're a lot of work and tedious. Thankfully it can mostly be ignored in DoS2 if you choose to. Though getting food buffs is powerful and to get certain skills it requires crafting special skillbooks (that you can’t simply buy), and there is a very basic Rune system to upgrade weapons and armor that requires very basic crafting to improve. Other than those last two things, I would say you don’t need to do anything with it. Crafting can be “figured out” by experimenting with in game items, but more than likely will be learned from reading crafting books found throughout the world. You can also simply cheat and read all the crafting recipes online. The game will not prevent you from doing this. It also does not require in game skills/stats to craft anything so you won’t feel penalized either from crafting or not crafting.​

Game Length:
The game if you rush through it on an easier difficulty is around 60 hours of in game time. That won’t include all of the times you reload the game, which is a great temptation for players like myself who want playthrough to go precisely as they want them. I would say it’s hard to get through this entire game in less than 70 hours if you’re actually spending time exploring the world, and attempting to loot as often as possible, reading books/lore, and reloading in combat or because of dialog choices. If you ignore a lot of conversations and a lot of the looting, it’s probably possible to cut off 10 or more hours, however I think the players that will really love this type of game will likely want to spend that time. I think the game is diminished a bit if you don’t want to explore the nooks and crannies and get into all of the deep dive conversations and read all of the lore. If you play in tactical mode (arguably the defining version of the game with the most difficult combat) it could easily be close to a 100 hours - especially with reloading. Expect every fight to be challenging and long. Even when selecting Tactician Mode the game warns the player multiple times that it will be super tough. And it is. Definitely not for casuals at all. The story modes don't play anywhere near as difficult though and with most any build you'll likely be able to defeat every enemy on the first go around without taxing reloads.​
Honestly game length is probably the toughest part of the game for me. It took me well over a year and change to finally go through and play through this game (as well as having multiple restarts so that I could even know or remember whats going on). I don’t have a huge amount of time to play games or just time in general, so the time commitment of this game is high. That’s either a turn on or turn off.​
I will say though that this game was worth it to me to play for that long because it’s the only game of its type made within the past decade other than Wasteland 2/3. Especially made as good as this to this degree. I can think of no other game in the past 10 years plus that I have or would like to spend this many hours on. Otherwise I generally prefer narrative driven games that are under 10 hours. You read that right. I would much rather play a very tight, story driven game that feels like peak gameplay for 10 hours and be done rather than play most any title that is longer than 40 hours. Frankly, I generally don't have the time, but for this game I made an exception.​
I'll also put out as a critique of the game length that for me the third act felt like a slog and also out of place. The first 2 acts and the final act felt more cohesive narratively. The third doesn't give me that feeling really until the end of the act. It feels the least developed. However it thankfully is also the shortest. The third act I would probably tighten up in order to help the flow of the game and also to help drive the game a bit faster narratively. It also was the act where I was most confused about what I was supposed to be doing. Though after I pushed myself through it and into it, it wasn't as "difficult" as it initially felt. Some really important story moments happen at the end of this act so it still needs to be there, but it feels like it takes a long time to get there. The first half of act 3 I could've just easily done without. The other 3 acts feel cohesive and great with a good balance between exploration and narrative. There is a lot to do in each and so much minutiae that you can dig into in terms of lore, quests you can do, and things to explore.​

Story (MINOR SPOILERS - I recommend going in fully blind, but I’ll explain some of the basic plot devices):
The story takes place inside of the Divinity universe. No idea what that means? That’s fine, it was my first game inside of this universe as well. Which apparently has been around since the mid 90s through several games I’ve never played as well as some graphic novels. It’s not necessary to play the first DoS game either to understand this game (which is actually technically a prequel to the main Divinity Universe). Indeed the two games take place 1000 years apart and don’t include the same player characters. Coming in blind and letting the story happen is still a great experience. Knowing about the universe will give more insight, but that’s not necessary.​
Overall the style of story and game is dark fantasy. Most characters in this game have lives filled with tragedy and indeed it feels as though the world is cursed with one evil after another. You as the player can choose to right a lot of these wrongs or be evil right alongside. Most of the time you'll be playing in greys though it is more than possible to be either totally moral or amoral. And as a bit of commentary on this game: people you may think are evil really aren't when you understand their motivations. And often times the exact opposite can be true. I noticed through forum-ing that there are some key characters that people on the internet didn't really understand. Opting to kill them because they "disliked them" for whatever reason(s), but it was also because they didn't properly understand the motivations of the character or seen all the info regarding those characters. Part of the charm I suppose is that you can choose to be pacifistic until you're sure or you can simply choose to be a blunt instrument laying waste to everything in your way without any regard. In a way, playing "evil" is going right along with the stream of the world. You may choose to kill 'good' people in order to gain profit or otherwise assist people doing evil. Or you of course can choose to kill certain people with certain characters and not with others just to fully role-play your roll as certain characters want vengeance for a multitude of reasons. You will have people on both sides pleading their cases with opaque motivations. And that is probably where the most interesting aspects of this RPG in terms of story lie. It's all in the small stories of the citizens and denizens therein. Also without giving away too much, but the game actually also ecourages the player to do evil. And I would say that the moral dilemma's being posed are severe in their consequences. While I tend to always want to play "good guys" this game definitely intentionally throws a wrench in being "classically good".​
Mystery and discovery are central to the story. Indeed Fane’s (one of the 6 possible player characters) entire story is about exploring a mystery that he doesn’t understand. However, in very broad strokes it’s about the original “Divine”, Lucian, being dead, the one chosen by the 7 Gods to be their avatar of justice in the mortal realms. There is also an exploration of “source” and its relationship to “magic”. People that are capable of wielding source are "Sourcerers", and you as the player character are one. DoS 2 explores the power that source gives, and also the chaos that it causes. There are creatures bleeding into the world of Rivellon called Voidwoken that are threatening existence as well as quite a few factions attempting to “solve the problem” in a multitude of ways with the player character caught in the middle.​
The major theme of the game is "evil". You will explore tyranny, slavery, racism, murder, torture, and genocide to name but a few. The game you'll find has a lot to say about all of them; especially through characters tragically caught in these evils. (Making the sense of humor this game has all the more necessary when handling such heavy topics).​
It’s also more than possible to not even know what the title of this game means in relationship to the story as the story moment doesn’t overtly name drop the title into the issue at hand any of the times it’s mentioned. But if you’re paying attention you will eventually know what the reason is for all of the tragedy in the world.​
There is a huge amount of payoff in this game. So much so that I didn’t see most of it coming. At first it seems like all the information casually given to the player is just back story. However this game has you meet virtually everyone that is referenced and go to every place that is talked about. This in itself is kind of the biggest spoiler I could give, because what is nebulous becomes real throughout the events of the game.​
The overall universe of the game and lore has been thought out and crafted for a good long while. The biggest criticisms here are that the in game choices don’t feel as though they have the weight that they could have. You realize at the end of the game just how much of it was on rails. And although you can choose individuals plot by plot ways of how you’re dealing with things, the overarching plot you have very little control over. If you want world altering choice making as you play throughout, this game doesn’t deliver that. That is probably the biggest critique of this game I can give. It does give a beautiful meaningful story to the various characters and its players, but not choice.​

Graphics:
The graphics in this game are relatively simple. I have stated (or joked) more than once that it’s likely this game could be ported to an iPad running an older A12 processor and run perfectly. I kind of wish they would do that so I could play DoS2 on the go, but that’s neither here nor there. What they have done graphically is define well the places of play and give just enough detail to imagine the fully realized world.​
Animations are beautiful: Larian clearly spent a great deal of time on this. Each spell has its own casting animations. Melee and ranged combat skills look equally as cool as the caster class ones. All of the skills, including early game ones, look and feel powerful. Each animation is different so the player knows exactly what is being telegraphed. Although there is also a toggle-able combat log for RPG nerds should you want to know all the verbose information of what the game engine is doing. There are very nice indicators for how action points are being spent, and distances. AoE attacks and spells are clearly indicated as are things that could possibly be blocking that characters view or otherwise blocking their projectiles. Each of the surfaces is stark and unique so there is no confusion for the player about what is there or possible dangers that are lurking. The most obvious being things like acid or fire. However blood and water surfaces are also legible. And if you’re ever unsure then hovering the mouse will bring up a tool-tip indicating the type of surface.​
Character buffs are also visible near the player head icons. Action points are reminiscent of Fallout’s action points with green dots indicating points left to spend and red ones indicating points that it would cost to do an attack and clear ones being action points already spent. All of these elements are always very clearly stated and for RPG nerds, they’ll find themselves perfect at home.​
The world is also highly detailed. With plenty of lore building placed into the graphics of the game world. Piles of books and desks inside of dungeons or cathedrals. Trees, rocks, and streams that meander into the distance. Vastly different terrain types with desert and snow are all there with beautiful illustrations including a few fantastical locations that I won't spoil.​
The art style is painterly, ‘graphical’ (in the art sense of the term), as well as a bit gothic and dark.​
While this game will never get confused with Crysis, there is a definite beauty and simplicity in the game that looks very nice in motion. The still images of this game honestly don’t do it justice.​
My only minor criticism of this games graphics is around player creation customization and player armor. Neither of these things matter much from a gameplay perspective. But I feel like most versions of most of the characters aren't super attractive. You can also customize skin color, hair color, and hair style (some characters facial hair style or other distinguishing features). However again there seems to be only a few possibilities that don't seem crazy or weird. This is definitely an IMHO thing as part of creation for me is also to roleplay. I feel like Ifan should be older and Sebille should be "plain". However other players will likely feel differently.​
Also, although it doesn’t matter at all, and helmets are toggle-able (as in make them visible or not visible, while still being equipped), there isn’t much control over how your characters armor looks. It would be nice to play “dress up” a bit more with them, but considering that the armors in general are cool (although some Elven variations seem wildly impractical) it’s a forgivable offense. There's only 3 variations per armor type as you level up. Eventually I feel like all the armor on the characters ends up looking the same (imposing, big, black, gothic). You never know what’s going on behind the scenes while designing a game anyway. Maybe there was a decision made at some point between that system vs polishing up another one. And certainly if that was the tradeoff I’m glad they devoted their resources to gameplay related things rather than purely graphical ones.​
The graphics that are there serve very well and certainly this game will age well and still looks modern even 5 years on. And even with these graphical nitpicks I would say the characters, graphics, and animations all look great even if severely limited.​
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Puzzles! Along side some gothic architecture.
I didn't note this before, but it's also possible to zoom very close to objects. There is a surprising amount of detail that players may miss at first glance.

Sound:
Narration/Voice Acting:
Narration isn’t something that I expected from this game at all. And indeed it wasn’t present in the first DoS game either until Larian added a free update in which they fully voiced the characters as well as a narrator that voices out all of the information between the characters in exacting detail. While I may have chosen a different voice actor as that narrator to begin with, whomever is doing it is effective and hits all of his notes perfectly. I think someone who is more “baritone” would’ve been more obvious, but after 20 hours in that kind of voice would likely be tiring. The narrator being a bit more soft is actually a bonus after so many hours with him.​
As another aside the descriptions in DoS 2 are so vivid it takes on a storybook quality. Obviously it would be hard to graphically animate everything that is being said, the narrator fills in these visual gaps with such pinpoint accuracy, you feel as though an image wouldn’t do the narration justice. Some things revolving around eating as an example are so perfectly worded and gruesome you can practically taste the blackened sizzled gristle.​
In such a dialog and text heavy game, having everything read out is a huge relief and the narration and voice acting in this game are absolutely top notch. The actors are all very expressive and they set the mood for the game wonderfully. If you read faster than you want to listen, the player can simply skip each dialog section in chunks like most any other RPG. I often found myself wanting to spend the time listening though just because the acting is so much fun. I didn’t really bring this up before, but there is definitely a sense of humor in DoS 2. Ranging from black/gallows humor to irony and sarcasm. And it’s this juxtaposition that helps so much when the world of DoS 2 is so bleak.​
Larian being a Belgian company, I imagine the game was originally in French. Larian has used British English and parlance as well as British voice actors to localize it. This deliberate choice elevates the game and helps the world to feel more, for a lack of a better word, fantastic.​
The acting in this game will stay with me long after I’m done with it. And I’ll surely remember a lot of the cracks and remarks from each of the player characters.​
The only criticism here is that I wish there were a few more call outs from each of the player characters as well as bosses while in combat. And while an overuse here could quickly become tiresome (what with so many skills and so many turns being done in a playthrough probably ranging in the thousands), having more variation would have been nice. However this is a very minor nitpick complaint.​

SFX:
SFX wise the game has a lot of variation. It’s dynamic and bold. From the callouts during casting spells, to the sounds of crushing impacts. Explosions hit with a boom; a turn based RPG has never felt so dynamic in terms of sound. Each is designed to be identifiable but also quite simply cool. It’s hard to find any deficiencies what-so-ever with the SFX and sound design of this game. And although what is there is limited each element feels like it couldn’t be replaced with some other equivalent sound. There is also so much detail in the nature of the effects. From the differing sounds of picking things up, the flip of pages in books and documents, clicking on menu items, the charge-up of skills, the dynamic call-outs, and ambient sounds of seagulls, the SFX of DoS 2 helps the game to feel real and lived in.​

Music:
This is a tough one to rate for me. The game reminds me of a TV show in the sense that there isn’t a huge amount of music made for the game. It has “themes” and when those “themes” come up you end up hearing the same piece of music. However, what is there is built to be dynamic inside of the game. Each “song” then is quite a long composition that dynamically changes to fit the moods and beats of the game. Each piece has long drawn out legato portions to fast and percussive and/or ambient and pensive. This helps it to feel like it changes itself up often, but eventually you will hear these pieces over and over. The music is beautifully scored though and helps to evoke a feeling of the world. So it’s hard to rate it poorly when it does its jobs so well. It’s very hard to judge how repetitive it is either as eventually because of its thematic nature it does its job and then melts into the background.​
If you want a game that has a huge amount of variety then this game perhaps doesn’t satisfy. But comparing to Fallout again and the idea of themes, it’s not entirely necessary to have 25 tracks when 6 well placed ones will do. I honestly still wish there was more, but what is there is effective.​

Conclusions/Value:
I would rate this game as a 9/10 (in a 1-10 rating system with no decimal places, it’s probably somewhere in-between an 8 and a 9, but it’s definitely too good to rate as an 8).
The biggest issues it has is lack of greater world player choice and I do wish you could choose the outcome of more things as well as ways to decide those outcomes. Those points however can either be weighted as big negatives or forgivable if you’re the type that wants all of the control when you play RPG’s or if you’re willing to allow a game to tell you a story (Final Fantasy VI I consider to be the greatest FF of all time and there is ZERO control over the outcome of that game). If you’re the latter and you can live with the illusion of choice, then this game has virtually no other flaws. If you can’t live with that, then it’s probably closer to a 7/10 for you depending on how much you weigh all of the other gameplay elements.​
I would rate this a 10/10 if control in the story was possible, my nitpicks regarding music were fixed, and if Sir Lora would stop getting himself killed (that’s a bit of a joke, he is an in game extra and has ZERO effect on the story but adds a lot of fun and flavor).​
The combat is a big center piece and focal point of this game and it delivers on all fronts. From character creation, skills/spells, stats, talents to surfaces, tactics, environments and enemy variety: if you want tactical RPG combat there are few if any games that can meet DoS 2 at this level.​
The story is very involved and each of the 6 player characters is interesting and unique. It’s obvious that each one will appeal to a different type of player/person so there is something there for everyone.​
I would go as far to say that this is the best tactical RPG since the original Fallout and it’s a modern classic that joins the ranks of the Fallout’s and Planescape Torment’s of the world. If you have the time and patience to play this easily 100 hour giant of a game, love heavy dialog and reading of lore, then this game will fire on all of your cylinders.​
Value wise, Larian has made quite a few updates to this game since its launch. Adding lots of additional bonus content that are all seamlessly added to the game. A few to bring up are unique armor sets that are quests built into multiple acts of the game. They made a special “7th” narrative character Sir Lora that is there to add flavor to the world. Also a special cat summon.​
Then they also added a bunch of features for veteran players that kind of spice up the game. Making it so that Action Points were less limited. Giving access to better loot organization. Making all characters have specific non-combat skills like Pet Pal or combining all characters skills together like bartering were all really great quality of life features that Larian added to the game so that their players could play the game the way they wanted to. Additionally the game is mod-able with a huge amount of player generated content. From cheats to graphic packs, there is a lot here. With easily 100+ hours of REAL content (not even inflating numbers) it’s hard to find any $60 game that will satisfy like this. If anything it’s too much game. I probably would’ve liked the game a bit more if it was tighter with a bit less content.​
The Definitive Edition is often on sale for <$20, and it’s the version you want as it has all of the added content packaged together. On sale I think it is an absolute no brainer. For tactical RPG heads looking to scratch that itch that no other game variety can, even it’s $60 entry price is totally worth it. I highly recommend getting it on GoG so that if you so choose you may download the game forever for you to keep. This game is making me look out for a sale for the original DoS game from 2014 (Edit: I just bought it as it's on sale for $13 and that's good enough for me) as well as look forward to Balduar’s Gate 3 (still in early access since 2020, so I'm still waiting for it to finish) which is also going to be in this style of turn based tactical RPG’s. Larian is the only one making this kind of game. Even inXile with Wasteland 2/3 doesn’t measure up.​
It's also conveniently available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Meaning no matter your preferred OS you can play this game.​
 
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modi123

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
6,746
Wrapped up Horizon Zero Dawn. 8 out 10
Main game, with the bulk of the achievements and side quests done, took me about 60 hours.
The Frozen Wilds DLC was another 12 hours.

I believe I picked it up on sale for $22, and it was well worth the money in.

For a console port this ran pretty damn well on my machine, and was very keyboard/mouse friendly.

I dug the story, and the mix of environmental puzzles and enemy encounters were pretty decent.

I was always pretty amused how fast everything loaded. This allowed for quick jumping in to hunt down some item or do some side quest, and put things down after.
 

Armenius

Extremely [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
35,404
Dead Space (2008)
Great game that still visually holds up decently, at least I think so. The visuals and sounds do a great job at providing a tense and unnerving feel. The sound design is probably biggest thing that has aged the best.

Story is interesting and keeps you engaged to figure out what happened. Exploring around and uncovering what horrors are happening is something that brings you in to the story.

Gunplay and combat is fine but camera control wasn't the greatest. Not sure if it was by design, or due to console gen ports of the time, but the camera and aiming are sluggish. It does add to the atmosphere as you can't react as quick as you should but it seems to be a cheap way to provide scares. It didn't bother me that much to distract me from enjoying the rest of the game.

Overall really liked the game, had some good scares and looking forward to the remake when I do play it.

Also small spoiler for the very end
The jump scare in the last 5 or so seconds of the game, it got me GOOD lmao
Should have gotten the mouse fix. Out of the box the game has negative mouse acceleration, and sensitivity is tied to FPS.

https://community.pcgamingwiki.com/files/file/840-dead-space-mouse-fix/
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
13,160
Gran Turismo 7 (2022 / PS4 Pro)

What a shit-show. To think that I was contemplating buying a PS5 for this game. I thank the covid gods and the chip shortage, and even the damned scalpers, that they saved me from that buyers remorse.

After initially being excited for the game and what it offered, I quickly realized that there is a vast emptiness behind the facade. Or rather the facade that I thought was only the tutorial is the entire damn game. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. First thinking that we would get no proper GT game for the PS4 generation, only GT Sport that I did not consider real Gran Turismo. The irony is that Sport is much more of a Gran Turismo than 7. More content, more fun races, more of a career mode. And doesn't seem entirely tailored to encourage spending real money.

The microtransactions

Of course the "micro" transactions are only the tip of the iceberg of problems that is GT7. But they addressed this in patches? No, they pretended to address it, but nothing really changed in 6 months. You still can't sell cars, and the exclusive vehicles still cost so much that a regular person who only plays occasionally would have to grind for a single car for a year. They took 5 steps towards greed, and took maybe half a step back in patches, and called it fixed. No, it's not fixed, far from it. The only way I'd consider this part of the game fixed if they added the selling option, and increased the number of available events and their payouts tenfold.

The lack of events and variety

And therein lies another big chunk of the iceberg: The lack of proper fun events, the lack of progression from amateur events to professional events. In previous GT games you started with the events like the Sunday Cup and various make and model races, that were for slightly tuned street cars. And many of these especially in the very beginning of the game were chase the rabbit type races. Ie. you start at the back and have to chase down the competition, which was very fun at this level, with relatively low powered cars. But as you progressed the races become more serious, with endurance events, and series with normal balanced grid, where you actually have to race.

This progression is not present in GT7, it is chase the rabbit all the way, which becomes increasingly frustrating and annoying as you switch to faster and faster cars, and the speed difference between you and the grid becomes ridiculous. You are basically playing dodgeball at this point, trying to overtake them without loosing time, or crashing. It is a most frustrating experience, causing me to rage quit several times. It is not a healthy challenge that encourages you to drive better and learn the course, because your car is much faster than the opposition it has to be, to be able to gain 40-50 seconds within just a few laps on the leaders. So it is a game of chance and rolling of the dice.

Career mode is a joke

Calling it a career mode at this point is utterly pointless, you just follow a set of predetermined races, that award you predetermined vehicles, that you need to enter the next set of predetermined events that you unlock. You have zero player freedom, it feels like the game is playing you and not the other way round. "Oh, let's make this fool race this event with this car, that he'll probably hate even more than the last one we made him complete". This abomination is called the menu book, that gives you your next objectives. I initially thought that this is only a tutorial for the game, but unfortunately this continues for the entire game. When the menu books run out the game runs out, and events are only unlockable by completing menu book events, you can't go your own way and choose which events you are in a mood for on any given day.

In older GT games up to 6, you bought a decent car at the beginning of the career, and you could continue to tune it and race it through several events and championships. That is no more, you are lucky if you can use a car in more than 2 events in GT7.
Heck, some tracks have no more than one or two events even.

Wasted opportunities


There are several things that are pretty good in the game like the dynamic weather, the graphics, and the physics (after the patch that fixed a launch issue with the grip). The dynamic weather and night and day cycles could be great if they weren't completely wasted on 10 minute events where a thunderstorm can come and pass in minutes, or the TOD goes from afternoon to pitch black within the same lap.

Conclusion

GT7 could have been a great addition to the series, which makes it all the more frustrating how it turned out, due to greedy developer/publisher (they can divide the blame however they want), and an utter lack of engaging content.

Pros and cons​

+​

  • Graphics
  • It looks nice even on PS4 Pro
  • Dynamic weather and day night cycles
  • The missions and license tests are still here offering some actually fun challenges as opposed to the regular events

-​

  • Unable to sell cars, even if you end up with two of the same
  • Hand holding career mode, that gets boring fast
  • Overall lack of single player race events
  • Car prices and race payouts forcing egregious amounts of grind or spending of real money
  • Nothing but short chase the rabbit type races
  • I get a general vibe of disinterest from the developers towards the gripes of the players

Verdict​

Graphics: 9/10
Driving physics: 7/10
Gameplay : 1/10

Overall impression: 3/10

Play the older instalments, play Sport, just avoid this if you want a decent single player experience.
 

Armenius

Extremely [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
35,404
Gran Turismo 7 (2022 / PS4 Pro)

What a shit-show. To think that I was contemplating buying a PS5 for this game. I thank the covid gods and the chip shortage, and even the damned scalpers, that they saved me from that buyers remorse.

After initially being excited for the game and what it offered, I quickly realized that there is a vast emptiness behind the facade. Or rather the facade that I thought was only the tutorial is the entire damn game. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. First thinking that we would get no proper GT game for the PS4 generation, only GT Sport that I did not consider real Gran Turismo. The irony is that Sport is much more of a Gran Turismo than 7. More content, more fun races, more of a career mode. And doesn't seem entirely tailored to encourage spending real money.

The microtransactions

Of course the "micro" transactions are only the tip of the iceberg of problems that is GT7. But they addressed this in patches? No, they pretended to address it, but nothing really changed in 6 months. You still can't sell cars, and the exclusive vehicles still cost so much that a regular person who only plays occasionally would have to grind for a single car for a year. They took 5 steps towards greed, and took maybe half a step back in patches, and called it fixed. No, it's not fixed, far from it. The only way I'd consider this part of the game fixed if they added the selling option, and increased the number of available events and their payouts tenfold.

The lack of events and variety

And therein lies another big chunk of the iceberg: The lack of proper fun events, the lack of progression from amateur events to professional events. In previous GT games you started with the events like the Sunday Cup and various make and model races, that were for slightly tuned street cars. And many of these especially in the very beginning of the game were chase the rabbit type races. Ie. you start at the back and have to chase down the competition, which was very fun at this level, with relatively low powered cars. But as you progressed the races become more serious, with endurance events, and series with normal balanced grid, where you actually have to race.

This progression is not present in GT7, it is chase the rabbit all the way, which becomes increasingly frustrating and annoying as you switch to faster and faster cars, and the speed difference between you and the grid becomes ridiculous. You are basically playing dodgeball at this point, trying to overtake them without loosing time, or crashing. It is a most frustrating experience, causing me to rage quit several times. It is not a healthy challenge that encourages you to drive better and learn the course, because your car is much faster than the opposition it has to be, to be able to gain 40-50 seconds within just a few laps on the leaders. So it is a game of chance and rolling of the dice.

Career mode is a joke

Calling it a career mode at this point is utterly pointless, you just follow a set of predetermined races, that award you predetermined vehicles, that you need to enter the next set of predetermined events that you unlock. You have zero player freedom, it feels like the game is playing you and not the other way round. "Oh, let's make this fool race this event with this car, that he'll probably hate even more than the last one we made him complete". This abomination is called the menu book, that gives you your next objectives. I initially thought that this is only a tutorial for the game, but unfortunately this continues for the entire game. When the menu books run out the game runs out, and events are only unlockable by completing menu book events, you can't go your own way and choose which events you are in a mood for on any given day.

In older GT games up to 6, you bought a decent car at the beginning of the career, and you could continue to tune it and race it through several events and championships. That is no more, you are lucky if you can use a car in more than 2 events in GT7.
Heck, some tracks have no more than one or two events even.

Wasted opportunities

There are several things that are pretty good in the game like the dynamic weather, the graphics, and the physics (after the patch that fixed a launch issue with the grip). The dynamic weather and night and day cycles could be great if they weren't completely wasted on 10 minute events where a thunderstorm can come and pass in minutes, or the TOD goes from afternoon to pitch black within the same lap.

Conclusion

GT7 could have been a great addition to the series, which makes it all the more frustrating how it turned out, due to greedy developer/publisher (they can divide the blame however they want), and an utter lack of engaging content.

Pros and cons​

+​

  • Graphics
  • It looks nice even on PS4 Pro
  • Dynamic weather and day night cycles
  • The missions and license tests are still here offering some actually fun challenges as opposed to the regular events

-​

  • Unable to sell cars, even if you end up with two of the same
  • Hand holding career mode, that gets boring fast
  • Overall lack of single player race events
  • Car prices and race payouts forcing egregious amounts of grind or spending of real money
  • Nothing but short chase the rabbit type races
  • I get a general vibe of disinterest from the developers towards the gripes of the players

Verdict​

Graphics: 9/10
Driving physics: 7/10
Gameplay : 1/10

Overall impression: 3/10

Play the older instalments, play Sport, just avoid this if you want a decent single player experience.
Been playing through GT4 recently. Somehow the AI is better in that 18 year old game than this new game. Online in GT7 is still fun, at least.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
13,160
Been playing through GT4 recently. Somehow the AI is better in that 18 year old game than this new game. Online in GT7 is still fun, at least.
Unfortunately the series peaked with GT4. It was only downhill since then.
 

Flogger23m

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
13,108
Unfortunately the series peaked with GT4. It was only downhill since then.

I only ever had GT3, I am glad I am not a fan of GT otherwise I would be disappointed. Micro transactions and blocking cars behind grinding? Not for me.
 

Armenius

Extremely [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
35,404
I only ever had GT3, I am glad I am not a fan of GT otherwise I would be disappointed. Micro transactions and blocking cars behind grinding? Not for me.
M76 overexaggerates. The only microtransactions are buying game credits with real money, and you don't need to grind unless you want to buy every legendary car the second they appear in the dealership.
 

WarriorX

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 18, 2006
Messages
2,221
The Ascent

Had fun with this one but has a few faults.

The graphics, sound, and environments of this one are great. Gives a good impression of what a futuristic Cyberpunk world could be. With RTX, the world looks great and has good effects and lighting. Sound has good effects with strong explosives and gun sounds. The music is also great and gets you in the mood to cause some mayhem.

Gameplay and combat is fun with a good mix of gunplay and ability use. I did use the same 2-3 guns and abilities the entire game as some of them could be improved a bit. The combat can also get a little repetitive due to the game constantly throwing enemies at you that also respawn regularly. Sometimes you just want to walk to the next zone that you just cleared, only to have it swarming with enemies again.

The repetitive gameplay can get more tedious with the checkpoint save system. There are no manual or quick saves. You can force saving by changing a loadout which will save your progress but if you reload/die it will put you at some checkpoint. There is a fast travel system but has few travel points as it more puts in a central location and you have to walk from there. The quest system doesn't help this point by introducing a ton of backtracking to and from objectives.

I found the story to be ok as a way to get the player to explore the world. Wasn't anything too memorable but had a few fun moments.

Overall, I did have fun as there is tons of combat and destruction to be had. Luckily the game did end before it started to wear out its welcome. I played the game solo but there is a co-op mode to help improve the value of the game. Would be interested in another entry and to improve upon what the developers have here.
 

Nytegard

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
3,735
Star Ocean: The Divine Force

I finally beat it on Universe Mode, but not going to try Chaos Mode (the hardest difficulty). It followed the traditional JRPG approach. Everything was linear, while giving the appearance of being open.

On the technical aspect, I played on the PS5 with Performance Mode over Visual. And even then, there were frame rate drops. The longer you played, the laggier the game would be.

Tons of backtracking. After every event, you wanted to go back to every region of the game to make sure you could check for Private Actions or quests. And while there was a Quick Travel button, every time you clicked on Quick Travel, it would bring up a warning that you would be permanently missing things. I'm not sure if this was actually the case, and about 1/3rd of the way through, I finally gave in to just using Quick Travel, as I had like 55 hours of playtime, and was just sick of constant running back and forth between all the zones constantly.

The lack of any explanation on anything is probably my biggest problem. As stated above, when they gave you directions on what to do, they weren't always clear. You'd have quests which said to kill certain things, but really wouldn't tell you where you needed to go either for this, so I ended looking the quests up. For trophies, you need to craft a bunch of items, but you're dependent on an RNG, so the item might only be crafted 5% of the time, and require a specific character to craft it, but without a guide, you'd never know this. And it goes on.

Then you have unskippable speech which pops up and disables a few key buttons (such as bringing up a map, or using a radar to explore the area), so you have to wait a bit until that ends. And there's a lot of it. Sometimes with Private Actions, you can fast forward text by pressing X, but mostly it's waiting. Sure, you can also skip the whole scene altogether by holding the button down, but I just want to be able to read the story at my pace, not theirs.

Gameplay wise, it's the same as other JRPGs. Go to a town, buy gear. Go to a new town, buy better gear. Etc. And the crafting is all but useless until it isn't, so all of the sudden the game goes from a slog fest to a point where you're overpowered and can kill everything in the game blindfolded. There's no in between. JRPGs in my opinion really need to work on this aspect so that there's more balance.

All in all, I'd say it's a mediocre game, giving it a 5/10.
 

gvx64

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2022
Messages
236
I just wanted to start by posting my recent review of Banjo Kazooie that I did about a year ago. I had posted this on a different message board where I used to post. I would like to post it again here because I feel that it will give context to my new review for Banjo Tooie that I am posting for the first time today.

Below is my review. There may be some light spoilers, but I have tried to avoid anything too specific.

Banjo Kazooie overall still holds up fairly well. The controls are great and the presence of Kazooie adds a really interesting a new dimension on the platforming introduced in Mario 64. Rare made some nice improvements to the camera struggle that Mario 64 had, although it can still be a problem at times. The soundtrack is really distinctive and catchy: it will get stuck in your head for days afterwards. The final boss fight is the best part of the game, in my opinion. Rare really knew how to nail boss fights, both this game and DK64 go down in my view as some of the best final boss fights in gaming history, in my opinion. My big complaint with the game (compared to Mario 64), though, is the collect-athon aspect. For me, this reached a pinnacle on the last level, you need to collect 100 notes, 10 jiggies, 2 hollow honey combs, 5 jinjos, 15 or so worms, 5+ acorns, Mumbo tokens, Grunty Switch, etc. and much of it needs to be done without dying once (which makes having multiple lives basically a pointless thing). I just thought that Mario 64 struck a bit better balance here. BK, in the later levels, really doesn't lend itself to short play sessions since you will basically have to replay entire levels if you stop short of 100 notes for any reason (assuming that you want to 100% the level). That said, the use of save-states (if they are available to you) can really help here.

BK is loaded with humor of the western (and sometimes clearly British) persuasion, which is an interesting change of pace for a Nintendo game in 2022. This is good in that you don't need to put yourself into "anime-mode" and try to see through the lense of a localization team to fully get the jokes since you are playing the game in its original language. That said, while the jokes can be pretty funny at times, some of it is fairly childish now that I am playing it as an adult (lots of "smelly socks" and "booger" stories told about Grunty, which (slight spoiler) you actually need to read AND remember for something in the latter part of the game). I do find that Japanese youth entertainment (eg. Pokemon, Mario, etc.) tends to scale to older audiences a bit better than most western youth entertainment does and sometimes it is easy to take that for granted. You will probably feel a bit awkward at times playing BK as an adult, more so than if you play Mario 64 or Sunshine.

That said, the gameplay, platforming and puzzles can be pretty grueling. I would not classify this as a kids game in terms of the difficulty. It just shows how hardcore games were back in the 90's. It will challenge you as an adult. It took me almost 20 hours to 100% this game on this most recent play-through. That said, the resolutions to a lot of the hardest parts of the game still came back to me even though it has been 20 years. If this were a first-time playthrough of a game that I have never played before, it probably would have taken me at least 25 hours (maybe even 30) and I probably would have needed to check a walkthrough on at least a couple of occasions.

Verdict: Overall, BK is a pretty decent game and worth playing through as a gamer in 2022 (8.5 out of 10): great controls, outstanding graphics for the N64, great soundtrack, enjoyable and very memorable final boss battle. Downsides are: a bit too much focus on collecting, humor at times can make it not quite as accessible to an adult audience as most of Ninty's other games, camera (while better than in Mario 64) can still make platforming difficult at times.
 

gvx64

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2022
Messages
236
I recently finished a play-through of Banjo Tooie for the first time in over 20 years. What did I think?

Verdict: 8.5/10 (meaning that it is in my top 50 best games of all time).

Pros:
-Great controls
-Complex, multi-stage puzzles combined with tons of things to collect comes together succinctly after many hours and gives the feel of great satisfaction (you will feel great if/when you finally 100% this game).
-Graphics are phenomenal for the N64. If you play this game at 480p there are times when you will think you're playing a Gamecube title.
-Music is great (just as catchy and distinctive as in Kazooie).
-First-person shooter minigames are surprisingly fun and is almost the highlight of a given level. It helps evolve Tooie beyond being just a platformer like the first game was.

Cons:
- Very complex puzzles and extensive numbers of tasks and things to collect can make it feel like your head is spinning, especially when you first start a new world. You will feel overwhelmed for many hours if you are not using a walkthrough.
- Grunty being the antogonist feels like a bit of a side-show for most of the game. She is basically not present except for the first and last hour of gameplay in what is likely to be a 40 hour head-spinning (at times) treasure hunt.
- Mumbo as a playable character doesn't add much to the game and could have been removed to help reduce game complexity.

Here is my full review of the game. There may be some light spoilers below but I will try to avoid anything too specific.

I got this game in Christmas 2000 when I was in middle school. I spent hundreds of hours playing Banjo Kazooie as a kid but with Banjo Tooie I really only played through it the one time before moving on to the Gamecube and so my memories of it are a lot foggier in 2022 than it is for Kazooie. I had thought that I had hundred percented Tooie as a teenager without a walkthrough or too much difficulty (I still have a save file proving that I did) and so I didn't think that it would be too hard for me to beat again when I picked it up for the first time in decades this past year. Boy, I was wrong. I was blown away by how much more difficult Tooie is than I remembered, in fact I found Tooie even harder than Kazooie. Honestly, I figure that I either a) must have used a walk-through back in 2001 for this game but just can't remember having used it or b) struggled like a mule as a teenager playing this game but just can't remember the suffering (probably the former). 100 percenting this game is HARD and there are times as an adult when I felt completely overwhelmed and perplexed on what I needed to do to advance in the game. I hundred percented Banjo Kazooie in 2021 as an adult in about 20 hours without using a walkthrough but Tooie took me at least twice as long and I could only get 84/90 Jiggies before I finally gave up and went to a walkthrough. Now if you just wanted to get to the end credits and didn't care about collecting everything, the game is easier but it will still not be a cakewalk (it will still probably take you close to 30 hours without a walk-through).

What makes Tooie so hard is not any kind of technical platforming like in Kazooie (which aligned a lot closer with Mario 64). Honestly Tooie, at its heart, is not even really a platforming game. The developers got rid of finite lives in the game and outside of the final boss, I didn't often die in this game. In fact, dying was not really something that was that big of a problem, especially when you were Banjo+Kazooie in tandum (more on this later). Honestly, the developers might have even been able to get rid of dying altogether without too much loss of gameplay experience provided they compensated it with some other type of ailment to justify you avoiding damage. Instead, what makes Tooie hard is unraveling the complex web of clues, hints and tasks that you have to wade your way through in order to eventually find your way to a Cheato page, a Jinjo, a hollow honeycomb, or a Jiggy (the most important prize). There are a plethora or other collectibles in this game as well in the form musical notes, magical glowbo's and others but these generally aren't as cumbersome to obtain as the aforementioned four. Unlike Banjo Kazooie, except for maybe the first world or two in Tooie, you will never find a Jiggie just laying around somewhere or even as a prize you can get in exchange for completing a simple task. There are very few easy jiggies in Tooie. Generally, there are multiple steps and problems that you will need to solve in order to ultimately find your way to a Jiggie and these steps are often not simple or straightforward at all.

Now, one of the biggest ways that Tooie is different from Kazooie is the move-set. There is something like 40+ moves in this game. Now, this isn't all just with you controlling Banjo and Kazooie as a tandum like in the first game. Perhaps the most advertised feature in Tooie is that you can now split up and control Banjo and Kazooie independently of each other. At the beginning, each soloist has a pretty narrow set of abilities but by the later worlds, almost every button on your N64 controller will be mapped to some unique move both for the Banjo and Kazooie solo characters. Similar to the first game, each world in Tooie has multiple new moves that you will have to learn: some will be for Banjo and Kazooie as a tandum, and some that must be learned by them as separate individuals.

We also can't forget about Mumbo. He is in this game too, but now instead of being the shaman who transforms Banjo and Kazooie into a variety of useful creatures, he is now his own fully playable character who you must use to cast spells at certain locations throughout the world. Honestly, Mumbo being playable didn't add much to the game in my view and he has very few moves of his own. I think, given the game's high complexity, sending him back to his original role and not making him fully playable probably would have been the overall better decision for the game.

Don't worry creature transformations are still in the game, though. They are now being performed by Mumbo's female rival Wumba who basically does the exact same thing that Mumbo did in the first game. The transformations are cool and generally quite unique from those in the first game. If you liked the transformations in the first game, you will like these as well. That said, the many transformations can contribute to making this game feel overwhelming at times. I mean, in some ways, this game may even be more complex that DK64. You really have 5 playable characters in each level: Banjo (solo), Kazooie (solo), Banjo+Kazooie (tandum), Mumbo and a unique Wumba's transformation. Often times, obtaining a jiggy, cheato page, Jinjo, honeycomb will require you to do somethings as one of these characters and then come back as another to complete it. When you consider that each level has 10 jiggies, ~5 Jinjo's, 3 cheato pages and something like 2 hollow honeycombs figuring out what to do to obtain a particular collectible starts to become extremely complex.

Another thing that separates Tooie from Kazooie and makes the puzzle-solving even more complex is the fact that the game design now is extremely non-linear. In Kazooie, like in Mario 64, I could enter a world and, with a little persistence, could hundred percent that world before moving on to the next. That is not going to happen in Tooie. Not only will you encounter puzzles in the early game that will require you to learn moves that are sometimes not learned until close to the very end of the game, the levels are also interconnected with passages going not only between the overworld and the level but also between level to other levels. Often you will have to do something in a later level before you can complete a task that you started in an earlier level in order to obtain the collectible. This adds to the complexity of the puzzle-solving massively because if you don't know how to obtain a particular collectable you really don't know if it is because you 1) just aren't thinking about the puzzle hard enough, 2) you don't know the necessary move yet and that you have to come back to it later, or 3) that you have do something on a different level that will impact or change the level that you are currently on. It's like a massive web that you have to untangle and knowing where to start can be very overwhelming. All this can really make entering a new world feel very daunting. This is especially the case in the more middle-levels when you will sometimes run around for hours with 1 out of 10 Jiggies not knowing what the heck to do next. Oddly enough, the first and last worlds are probably the most linear in the game, the first probably because they were going easy on you and the last because you have already learned everything there is to know and so the tapestry is finally coming together at that point.

I know that I am probably making this game sound like a nightmare, and I definitely experienced a number of moments that felt like that, but going back to the tapestry analogy, if you stick with it for long enough Tooie does eventually all come together like a beautiful work of art and it feels great at the end. What I remember at the end was a great game with a really hard journey. The game is totally solid. There is so much complexity in this game and you would think that it would be insanely easy to break it and find bugs and ways to cheat, but there isn't really. The designers must have been really top-notch and the game must have been tested extremely rigorously, because despite knowing 40 different moves, some of them being quite powerful in terms of what they let you do, and not to mention character separations/transformations, you really can't cheat your way around or find yourself in a position where the game gets broken. This gives you the freedom to really explore and push your creative thinking to its limits and if you persist long enough game does reward you for that effort.

Beyond the game design, the sound and graphics are all top-notch. Tooie, definitely takes the visuals to a level above Kazooie. Tooie, like all N64 games, is held back by the atrocious 240p resolution however, if you happen to play this game at 480p the visuals really look reasonably nice, even today. The sound is very similar to what was in Kazooie, which is to say top-notch. That is not to say that the music sounds the same, the tracks are for the most part very distinctive but the style is very loyal to what you heard in Kazooie.

The game controls beautifully. Having such a massive arsenal of new moves is bound to make things a bit confusing, but once you figure out what buttons to push, the controls are responsive and never give you the feeling that you are being held back.

The game is also loaded with mini-games. Many of them are similar in style to what was in Banjo Kazooie and, honestly, I generally found them to be a bit easier which was a refreshing change from the puzzle-solving part of Tooie (mini-game Jiggies were generally some of the easiest to obtain in a given world, however, sometimes locating/unlocking the minigame location was the hard part). One mini-game mode in particular was the first-person shooter style minigame where Banjo grabs Kazooie like a gun and fires eggs the way you would fire bullets and traverses some sort of Goldeneye/Doom 64 style corridor-based dungeon. Goofiness aside, this mode handles really well and is actually a lot of fun. Rare really knew how to make good first person shooters in the N64 era and they definitely leveraged that know-how to the max in Banjo Tooie. the FPS mode was a great addition to Banjo Tooie and really made the mini-game experience feel separate and unique from what was in Kazooie. Many of the worlds in the game have one of these fps minigames hidden within and while they start out pretty simple they get a bit more challenging in the later levels. The objectives change quite bit from level to level and so they never feel old or repeated.

Like in Banjo Kazooie and DK64, the final boss fight is really fun and brings the game together (I won't spoil it). That said, I do have some complaints about the use of Grunty (or more specifically the lack thereof) throughout the game. Grunty is present in lots of cut scenes in the first hour of game-play and then again heavily again in the last hour or so of the game, but during all of that grueling puzzle-solving in between she is almost completely absent. OK, Grunty narrates a few of the minigame rule-sets but it's completely superfluous. The reality is that you're going to spend probably 20-30 hours without hearing anything meaningful from Grunty and this could be up to 40 hours if you are trying to 100% this game without a walkthrough. I get it that Rare was probably addressing complaints about Grunty's constant rhyming and name-calling messages directed at Banjo and Kazooie in the over-world of the first game as well as the sometimes gross stories told by Grunty's sister (Brentilda) but honestly these game elements kept reminding you who the antagonist was. Removing these without adding in something else (eg. mid boss fights with Grunty like there was between Mario and Bowser in Mario 64, etc) leaves this massive blank void where there is no discussion about what Grunty is doing and why she is so bad nor advancing the struggle between her and Banjo+Kazooie. I felt like it did take something away from the game as there is this loss of momentum in the story as a result.

In summary, this is a great game with a challenging journey. Great graphics, sound and controls. The complexity can be a positive or negative depending on the type of gamer that you are. In some ways that game's complexity does go a bit too far and it could do without some under-developed game elements such as Mumbo. Grunty's story does feel like it is relegated to being a sideshow with your main antagonist in much of the game being the giant web of puzzle-solving that you have to do. You will feel overwhelmed and confused but if you persist that will eventually give way to strong sense of satisfaction. Because of the nature of the puzzles, using a walkthrough will probably make this game A LOT easier. That said, if you are like me and hate using walkthroughs, expect to suffer a lot before you get that final satisfying pay-off at the end. The payoff is big though and it is worth it. You will frequently need to leave levels unfinished (sometimes woefully incomplete) but at the end, after hours of patient persistence, it will come together beautifully. 8.5/10.
 
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Domingo

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
21,603
God of War: Ragnarök

Graphics: 8/10. It looks like a PS4 game running upscaled and at a high FPS. Make no mistake, that is NOT bad. It's just not on par with a native PS5 title like Demon's Souls. HDR is supported, but I don't really notice much difference outside of specific light effects. The mode that focuses on quality vs. FPS doesn't look much better and it halves your framerate.

Sound: 10/10. Top notch all around. From the music, to the sound effects, to the voice acting. This is about as good as it gets.

Gameplay: 8/10. Have you played the 2018 God of War? It's almost exactly the same. There are a few caveats and additions, but it's 90-95% the same. You're still playing a Souls-like game with dodging, blocking, and parrying mixed with special attacks. Did you fight the optional Valkyries in that game? This game has similar optional bosses that work the same way. You're basically avoiding/parrying/countering their attacks at random and mixing in your own special attacks to do damage. The Muspelheim trials are back and so are Odin's ravens, although there's no misty roguelike area this time. What about the length of the game? Disregarding having replay against the optional bosses (or trials), the game is still roughly 2x as long as the original. Oddly, there is a giant late-game section called "The Crater" that seems to be completely optional and separate from the rest of the game. It actually feels like a DLC area and I have a feeling it may have been planned as DLC at one point. Either way, it's something they should push players toward since it's completely missable if you aren't paying attention. It adds several hours (at least 3-5) of gameplay and might be one of the most fun areas in the whole game.

Story: 9/10. The story is top notch all-around. The only knock on it is that the first 15-20% of the game feels like they tried to capture the exact same ebb and flow of the original. I don't just mean roughly, either. It's literally like they're copying the previous game. Things eventually do shift and bit and open up, but I rolled my eyes pretty hard at the early sections. The later sections are absolutely stellar, though.

Overall: 9/10. It's a great game and easily among the best titles this year. If Elden Ring didn't come out in 2022, it would be my GOTY pretty easily. I don't think it's perfect, and there are definitely some things I wish they changed a little (the game flow and optional bosses, mostly), but it's still an all-time great title.
 

Flogger23m

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
13,108
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 - Campaign (2022)

Have you ever played a game that is so bad that you wonder how it got released when it was unfinished? Maybe. Have you ever played a game like this that happened to have one of the biggest budgets in the video game industry? Probably not. But now you can, if want to try Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (2022)'s campaign. MW2 is a point and click adventure style game that is not yet finished despite being on sale. The game is not finished as only half of the campaign is playable. You literally cannot finish the campaign as of now. To reiterate, the game is not finished - you cannot play half of the content. It stops abruptly halfway through. Despite being advertised for sale it is not a complete product.

Call of Duty  Modern Warfare 2 (2022) Screenshot 2022.12.15 - 23.46.57.49.png
Holy shit that is ugly.

The first thing that stands out are the graphics. They look like shit for a AAA game with a massive budget. Graphically this game looks inferior to Modern Warfare 2019, its predecessor. The sky is static, clouds are essentially a low resolution .jpg. There are no atmospheric affects like clouds moving overhead that slightly alter lighting. Ray tracing is not present despite its predecessor having it. Textures are low resolution. Affects are bad. Lighting is horrifically bad. Washed out, blinding yellow light looks more like an old Source or UE3 mod than a AAA game. Other graphic bugs like LoD pop at point blank range are present. Holes in lighting are frequent. Lighting and shadows have a horrible pixelated look. The game is also very demanding, getting a mere 60 frame rates on my RTX 3070. It looks worse, yet runs worse without ray tracing than MW 2019 did with ray tracing enabled. Horribly optimized game.

Call of Duty  Modern Warfare 2 (2022) Screenshot 2022.12.15 - 23.39.44.54.png
What the fuck is this shit? Fire?

Sounds are muddy and washed out. It gives multiple sound profiles, but nothing works good on a regular speaker setup. Even the headset setting is trash. Distant sounds are near impossible to hear.

Gameplay was a bit of a shock. This is not a first person shooter, but rather more of a point and click adventure game like Life is Strange. You have to do exactly what the game wants, exactly when it wants. Otherwise you instantly blow up. I suppose your character has C4 inserted up their anus and someone detonates it each time you move 1 foot out of line. The game will tell you to take cover. But it needs to be a specific spot. Otherwise you blow up. Friendly NPCs can kill enemies without shooting them. I suppose they have magic death rays in their eyes. They'll kill them and then 1-2 seconds later their gun shot sound and animation will play. You're not fooling anyone Price, you have a death ray that melts brains and just shoot afterwards to try and hide your alien powers.

Call of Duty  Modern Warfare 2 (2022) Screenshot 2022.12.15 - 23.34.25.06.png
This mission requires you to holster your weapon. Even after doing that, the NPCs will still kill you half the time. Excellent bug.


You don't even have to hit enemies to kill them at times. Just shoot in their general direction and they will die. Hit boxes are broken for everything. NPC hit animations are from 2009 or so. Shoot them in the leg, they'll grab their head or stomach.

You can use vehicles. Yay. This is where the game "ends" abruptly. There is an odd mini game that has you driving around trucks, where the player instantly blows up, teleports back and fourth, and command prompts don't work and are contradictory. The game has odd mechanics which require you to teleport or "sling shot" from your vehicle. And I do mean teleport, you press a button and then appear 50 feet forward. You cannot finish this mission.

Call of Duty  Modern Warfare 2 (2022) Screenshot 2022.12.15 - 23.49.29.38.png
Mexican Special Forces! Mexican Special Forces! Mexican Special Forces! Mexican Special Forces! Mexican Special Forces! Mexican Special Forces! They illegally cross into the US and murder US citizens. Then murder the Mexican army. And shout "Mexican Special Forces!" with each war crime they commit. As if that makes it all better. Ha. Nice story writing.

Story is bad. Essentially Iran has terrorists. They are working with Mexicans to bring missiles into the US. Some lesbian is captured, and you have to save her. The story ends when you try and board a friendly truck that triggers the C4 shoved up your ass to blow up. All three methods to board the truck fail:

* Get too close to it and you blow up. Says you crashed into a friendly truck, even though the vehicles were 5-8 feet away.
* Try and jump, results in you teleporting to your death.
* Teleport/sling shot method - results in you teleporting to your death.

That is where the story ends.

Call of Duty  Modern Warfare 2 (2022) Screenshot 2022.12.16 - 13.58.37.80.png
The end of the game is awkward. You try to get close to a friendly truck but blow up every time. We'll never know what happened to Mexican Special Forces! or the lesbian.


General bugs below:

- Command prompts are inaccurate. Game may tell you to press space bar, but that results in instant death. Turns out when to approach a vehicle door, there are two contradictory prompts. Space bar is the initial pop up, but pressing that results in instant death. F will actually open a vehicle door. Use F, even if the game tells you to use space bar.
- Hit boxes aren't even remotely accurate.
- Enemy hit reaction animations are horrible and don't make any sense for the injury. Looks like a game from 2008.
- Friendly NPCs will shoot and kill an enemy, but their gun shot animation and sound will play 1-2 seconds later.
- Enemy NPCs do not react to flash bang grenades.
- Horrid GUI for selecting weapons. You spend more type selecting grenade types than clearing a room.
- Many graphical bugs. Lighting bugs, LoD bugs, holes in the map, etc.
- If you get out of a truck, it will continue driving. Following the road. By itself. What?
- So much more.
- No way to uninstall the waste of space the campaign is without loosing the multiplayer.


0/10

Unfinished. Don't touch this with a 10 foot pole.
 
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Domingo

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
21,603
Spider-Man Miles Morales (PC)

I can keep this review pretty short since it might as well just be DLC for the PC version of Spider-Man. Miles Morales is available for full-price on Steam ($60) as a pseudo-sequel to Spider-Man. It's based on a PS5/PS4 title, which is probably why it's a separate product instead of DLC. On the PC it doesn't need to be, though. It re-uses the same engine, map, graphics, gameplay, and nearly everything else from the original game. Those things aren't necessarily bad (Spider-Man is an okay game), it's just an issue of cost + content.

Did they change anything? Not much. Miles has new electrically charged attacks and an invisibility cloak, but those things come at the cost of 2/3 of his gadgets. Neither of those things changed combat all that much, and the game seems to assume you played the original since there's no introduction to prior mechanics. There are also no more puzzles, drone missions, missions as other characters, etc. The game does a better job with plot-based side missions, but there are only 10 of them and 1/2 of them are really short.

Where Miles Morales really fails is that it's significantly shorter than the original game. I looked at my hours spent playing the original, and it was 67 in total. That's completing all the missions on the map and both (included for free) DLC's. I didn't get 3 stars on everything, but I did complete at least everything once. Admittedly, it's a VERY grindy game, so at least 10 of those hours were just clearing all of the crimes from the map. I did the same thing in Miles Morales...and my total was 17 hours. Same gameplay, same map, same price. Even if you don't do everything like I did, you can see a giant difference in bang for your buck.

So, is Miles Morales good? Tough to say. As a $60 game that's less than 1/3 of the length of a nearly identical game it isn't. However, if they ever adjust the price it could be! As a $20-25 DLC purchase it would be. Hopefully they'll eventually drop the price for this title or offer a heavily discounted bundle of the two.

Scores:

As a $60 full game I give it a 55%
As a $25 DLC (or discounted purchase for existing owners) I give it a 75%
 

modi123

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
6,746
Shadow over Loathing from the folk at Kingdom of Loathing who put out West of Loathing. Very much inline with their existing games of funny quests, layers of puzzles, hard achievements, and fun dialog. About 28 hours to run through the game straight up with the bulk of the, overtly known to me, quests, and beat the final boss.

Good times.

 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
13,160
Marvel's Midnight Suns / 2022

logo.jpg


Summary​

+​

  • Addictive and exciting encounters
  • Endless possibilities in combining environmental and other attacks
  • The exploration can be a welcome distraction
  • The friend system in theory

-​

  • Uninspired, lackluster, sometimes self contradictory writing
  • Mopey, narcissistic, puddle deep characters
  • The friend system in practice
  • Worse than last generation graphics
  • Poor performance
  • Too many repetitive chores after each mission
  • Overstays it's welcome by a country mile. This should be a 40 hour game max, instead of 70+
  • Balance issues, combined with inability to change difficulty during encounters
The game is certainly not worth playing for the story, especially if you are interested in the legacy characters. It seems that the writers only had superficial understanding of the characters themselves, which resulted in crude surface level facsimiles. They managed to paint even the most sympathetic heroes as unlikable narcissistic assholes, let alone the ones who were already unsympathetic.

But the actual combat encounters are fun, more fun than they have any right to be based on the sum of their parts.

Graphics and technical merits : 4/10
Story and writing : 3/10
Gameplay : 8/10
Overall impression : 6/10

I can't wholeheartedly commit to recommending it, you'll have to make up your own mind.

Full review (It's long)
 

Domingo

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
21,603
High On Life (PC)

This is what you get when you combine the writing team of Rick and Morty with a first-person shooter and toss in some "Metroid-Vania" area progression for kicks.

Graphics: I was surprised how good this game looks. It looks about as close to a cartoon as anything has to this point. As a result, it definitely takes some horsepower to turn up the details, too. My 5800X/3090 couldn't max everything at 4K and still stay over 60fps all the time. Turning a few settings (like shadows) down from ultra to high or medium did the trick, though. I can't say I noticed much difference, either.

Sound: This is where some people are probably going to have differing opinions. If you like the style of humor from Rick and Morty, you'll probably love it. Your various weapons and nearly all of the characters in the game jabber constantly. If you think they're funny, you're going to have a blast. If not, you might full-on hate this game. I thought it was funny as hell, but I understand it's not for everyone. On the music front, it features an electronic soundtrack from Tobacco (of BMSR "fame") that ranges from soothing to grating depending on the situation. The audio features Dolby Atmos, which is neat for having height-based audio...yet it felt like too much of the game's audio wasn't coming from where it looked like it should.

Gameplay: For a comedy game, the game's shooting elements were well done. You're essentially running around and shooting various alien enemies with 4 different talking weapons. Each weapon has a standard + alternate fire and you can find mods that tweak their functionality further. On top of that, each one's alternate firing mode provides the means to traverse the game's world in a new way. For instance, one shoots disks that stick in certain walls and allow you to climb. Beyond shooting, you can jump and eventually fly around with a jetpack, too. As you find new tools, you can go back and explore previously inaccessible areas for new loot or missions. I found the gameplay to be fun and refreshing. It's occasionally challenging, too. At least a couple bosses were pretty tough for me. The game isn't super long (maybe 10-15 hours), but it's consistently good throughout. The later areas are just as well crafted and creative as the first ones.

Overall: If the game's humor doesn't work for you, you might still enjoy the game. However the vibe is so ever-present that if you don't like the humor you'd best move on. I like Rick and Morty, but I wouldn't even necessarily call myself a fan. I had a total blast with High on Life, though. I thought it was funny, clever, and it worked well with the gameplay.

85%

It's worth noting that this title is available on Gamepass for both the PC and Xbox. If you aren't sure about the humor, give it a shot and see what you think. If you don't care for the first hour, I'd suggest moving on.
 

Domingo

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
21,603
Need for Speed Unbound (PC)

As a long-time fan of the series (I’ve played through every major NFS game), I’d say this one falls somewhere in the lower middle of the pack. It does some things well, and other things horribly.

NFS: Unbound feels like a sequel of sorts to NFS: Heat. The story and most of the gameplay are similar, it’s just set in a pseudo-Chicago instead of a pseudo-Miami. The devs clearly must assume you’ve played Heat because they literally don’t explain anything about how any of the events or in-world objects work. You’re just supposed to figure it out. It’s not rocket science, but some things could use some background info. The story is every bit as corny as Heat and there are some odd anime-like details tossed in that don’t really fit. The cut-scene characters, car exhaust, and on-screen messages look like a graffiti/anime hybrid…but literally nothing else in the world has that aesthetic. It feels like they tossed it in after the fact and I’d call it “tacked on” at best. The game makes a point of featuring A$AP Rocky, but he’s only comically present. They clearly only had him say 3-4 lines and do a 1-take interview and that was that. Can’t say I care, but it’s amusing how phoned in his presence is...probably literally.

So, what about the racing, right? It’s a mixed bag. The game does a good job of making things count this time around. You can only retry most events 2-4 times and in some cases, you only get one shot. It’s pretty stressful and challenging. The AI is pretty brutal at times and if you don’t get a lucky break, you simply can’t win vs. certain cars. It’s fun to get a challenge, but that’s also where it falls flat. The game always starts you in the back for some reason. Too often the races come down to a perfect start. If you get it – you’ll have a chance to move up and win. If you don’t, you’ll never catch the #1 car and it’s nearly pointless to even try. If you don’t pass the other cars quickly, you’re basically just praying for the AI cops/traffic to hit them, which rarely happens to the front cars. Either that or you exploit the cornering AI and take all the corners via nitro in the dirt. The game doesn’t really have an answer for that, although it only applies in certain races. Speaking of certain races...the game shockingly doesn’t have many. There are only 8-10 tracks in total. The game loops or combines them in various iterations, but they’re still the same. They aren’t bad, but it’s kind of pitiful compared to Heat or (especially) the last few Forza Horizon games. Especially considering the size of the map. The entire western 1/3 of the map feels wasted.

In terms of the various cars, the game classifies everything into B, B+, A, A+, S, and S+ ranks. Sick of getting beaten by other cars that have better stats? Unfortunately, the game caps the various events to the different ranks. Sick of losing to Porches and Lambos in your 1970's Firebird? If you upgrade it enough to finally have better stats, you'll rank up and can't even race them anymore! That keeps happening with each car grade, too. It honestly doesn’t make sense because the AI cars don’t seem affected. You’re basically just playing a game of upgrading certain parts to the highest score without ranking up. With some cars, it doesn’t even matter what your various scores or upgrades are – they’re simply better/worse than others no matter what.

So, the game sucks? Not really. It’s fun and the AI is good/fair. It doesn’t cheat or rubber band even if it does seem to ignore the car rankings and always starts in the front. The cop chases can be fun, too. Over time you’ll grow tired of them (and discover that jumps = the key to escaping), but they’re fun for a while.

Overall, I’d say that NFS Unbound is repetitious and flawed (and inferior to the very similar NFS: Heat), but it’s not horrible. I really enjoyed the first 3-4 hours only to discover that the game never deviates.

65%
 
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WarriorX

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 18, 2006
Messages
2,221
Dark Messiah of Might & Magic

A fun rpg in the first person perspective. Featuring puzzles( one of the few non Valve, source engine games), good sword combat and an entertaining story. There customization is limited but I don't consider that a negative, not every game needs massive skill trees or weapon upgrading. Not to mention it's an older game when fluff was not really needed to have fun.

Biggest issue I had were multiple crashes through out the game but that can be due to the game was basically abandoned on release and is old so issues with old games running on modern OS seems to be the norm. Game has quick save so I just made sure I saved often to minimize repeating areas.

Overall was a fun semi short game that I wish had been given a chance to either get a sequel or a updated modern version.

BioShock Remastered

This was the first replay of the game since playing the original. Still amazing to play with a great atmosphere, fast and fun gameplay with the plasmids. The improved graphics were nice and game ran flawless on my computer.

A classic experience.
 

Pivo504

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Messages
2,956
Anyone played vigil the longest night or flynn son of crimson?? Are either any good?
 

modi123

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
6,746
I finished up Borderlands 3 - the main game - a few days back, and had an absolute blast. It's been a number of years since I played BL2 or BL:TPS, and forgot how fun the shoot/loot/scoot mechanics were as well as the great visuals.

The story was fun, but man some of the lore side bits (Typhon's logs) really sucked me in.
The missions were pretty rote Borderlands stuff, and absolutely hilarious.
The randomized weapons were great, and there seemed to be weird plateaus were my build choices and a given gun attributes gelled so stupidly well I would carry it with me substantially longer than I should.
The music was really bumping, and more than a handful of times I paused because of it.

The voice cameos of Ice T, Chris Hardwick, and Penn&Teller were a nice surprise.

I think I clocked in at a little over 50 hours to satisfy the main game, and proceeded to start hitting up the DLCs for more dopamine content.

I did have a number of crashes on my PC that I couldn't figure out how to fix so that was annoying, but nothing deal breaking.
 

Domingo

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
21,603
The Callisto Protocol (PC)

Before I get going, I should mention that I'm playing on the most recent update as of 1/19/23. I played the first 25% of the game on an RTX3090 and the last 75% on an RTX4090. The in-game benchmark for both was above 60fps. In the case of the 4090, it was over 100fps with everything cranked but RT features totally disabled. Even in the in-game benchmark, whenever the camera turns a corner or enters a new'ish looking area, the FPS bogs down in a major way. That happens regardless of detail settings.

Graphics 6/10: The game looks fantastic most of the time. Well, at least it can. Imagine Resident Evil Village, but with a lot more detail and a crazy amount of lighting, particle, and fog effects. It looks about as good as anything else out there. Why only a 6/10? Performance is dismal. One minute you'll be cruising along at 100+ fps and the next minute it'll become choppy and drop down into the 30's. It continues to spike up and down in any areas that have lots of lighting effects, fog effects, or (oddly) stairs. It affects the camera smoothness, too. One of the later levels (the colony) is littered with staircases, so that whole level has massive performance issues, even on a 4090, that detail adjustment doesn't fix. The middle 30-40% of the game actually runs pretty well, though...and it looks great, too.

Sound 7/10: The surround sound effects, music, monsters, etc. = terrific. On the other end of the spectrum, the voice acting is both minimal and not good. The various recordings you find from other characters have the same level of enthusiasm. Everything feels like a 1-take reading of a script. The game tries to make you feel emotions for a lead character that had maybe a single page of spoken dialogue for the whole game, too.

Gameplay 6/10: If I had to guess, I bet the gameplay changed late in development. At first it feels like a standard 3rd person action game. The weirdness begins when an enemy engages you. At that point, pressing left, right, or back makes your character dodge or block...but only when they're attacking you. Otherwise, you move normally. This puts you in a strange situation where you're somewhat stuck to that enemy. You can move around slightly, but can't truly disengage from them or run away (save a couple boss encounters that don't follow this rule). It's almost like Punch Out!! at that point, and you're dodging around and looking for opportunities to melee swing or shoot back. Struggling? Just press left and right maniacally, and it's pretty effective. Do these controls work? Kind of. It never feels natural, dealing with multiple foes is frustrating, and don't even get me started on what happens you're engaged with an enemy but need to reload or switch weapons. I feel like a control system like the Last of Us 2's would have been better. What about the guns? You end up acquiring 2 pistols that mostly work the same, 2 shotguns that mostly work the same, and a machinegun that works like a burst-fire pistol. I honestly don't know why they felt the need to even include several of those guns - they're basically the same. Shooting from a distance controls fine, but it's not as effective as it should be. Shooting most enemies in the head doesn't seem to do much of anything and the game doesn't allow for shooting enemies in the legs to keep them from approaching. Instead, you either shoot center-mass and use up a pile of ammo or just use one of the 2 shotguns. The game seems to want you to melee fight more often than not. Ammo is limited, most guns are weak, and aiming for specific targets only affects a couple foes. Instead, the game keeps forcing you to play like you're fighting the zombie versions of Piston Honda and King Hippo. The game has a Half-Life gravity gun, but they hamstring how effective it is by limiting its uses and making it worthless in many encounters. It does make a few sections totally trivial, though.

Design 6/10: As a horror game, it seems like the Callisto Protocol wants to inspire some level of fear, yet it never did for me. They try to get you with obvious jump scares, more sudden falls than Nathan Drake, and creepy lighting...but nothing ever feels surprising or suspenseful. There are some mid-game levels that strait-up feel like they're trying to disguise a loading screen with endless slow crawling, sliding between rocks/walls, and sludge on the ground that reduces your movement speed. The payoff? 1-2 obvious jump scares and a mostly empty level. For most of the game you're really only fighting the same 3-4 enemies, so it's one of those games where things actually get easier the further you go. You're more familiar with how to play, your gear gets better, etc. The game is stingy with saving, though, and it always seems to save at a point where you have to do something mundane after each time you die.

Overall 6/10: If the game ran worth a damn, at least it would be a graphical showcase. If the acting was good or if the level design was good, it would have that. If the gameplay was compelling, at least it might be a fun take on something like Infinity Blade or Punch Out!!, but it isn't. Instead the Callisto Protocol doesn't really do anything that well. It seems like a game that had a lot of ideas that were deemed "good enough" even though they were unpolished at best.

Is it worth playing? I would advise against it in most cases. You need a beastly PC to play it at higher resolutions and performance is still never good. You oddly need to enjoy playing the equivalent of zombie Punch Out!! vs. the same enemies over and over, too. The game isn't particularly long or compelling, so it's not really a great $50-60 purchase even if you're on board. I'd say that it might be worth a look if they can ever improve performance, if you have a beastly rig, and they can drop the price under $30. I kinda doubt performance will ever truly be great, but maybe you can brute force it with future hardware?
 

harmattan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
5,110
Dark Messiah of Might & Magic

A fun rpg in the first person perspective. Featuring puzzles( one of the few non Valve, source engine games), good sword combat and an entertaining story. There customization is limited but I don't consider that a negative, not every game needs massive skill trees or weapon upgrading. Not to mention it's an older game when fluff was not really needed to have fun.

Biggest issue I had were multiple crashes through out the game but that can be due to the game was basically abandoned on release and is old so issues with old games running on modern OS seems to be the norm. Game has quick save so I just made sure I saved often to minimize repeating areas.

Overall was a fun semi short game that I wish had been given a chance to either get a sequel or a updated modern version.

BioShock Remastered

This was the first replay of the game since playing the original. Still amazing to play with a great atmosphere, fast and fun gameplay with the plasmids. The improved graphics were nice and game ran flawless on my computer.


A classic experience.

I also just revisited Dark Messiah. It's a great experience, abeit a bit short. The skill tree and weapon upgrades matches the length, it doesn't need to have 15 paths. Like a lot of games at the time, I'd actually categorize it as "extended arcade" i.e. it plays and feels like an arcade game if it was extended several hours, had more cutscenes, and a few waction-RPG mechanics.

As for graphics, I recall running this on my 7800 GTX SLI rig and being mesmerized -- it still holds up with nothing egregiously bad for the epoque. I also recall Oblivion having come out a few months before this, and the residual hype behind it, eclipsed this game.

I would LOVE for Arkane to make a sequel, but they'd likely gum up what's good about the game with heavy-handed mechanics e.g. time dialation.
 

modi123

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
6,746
I wrapped up the four main DLCs for Borderlands 3. Each added about 12ish hours of content each, a succinct story line, and a handful of achievements. I was eventually finding upgraded numbers on guns I finished the main game out with, and a few spicy additions. More or less I rocked through it all with minimal fuss and pure carnage. Also, I maxed out my money situation twice without added effort, and by the middle of the last DLC I had completely capped out all the SDUs.

Over all I found the DLCs worthwhile especially at the winter sale discount.

moxie - 4/5
hammerlock - 4/5
wild west - 3/5
clusterf' - 3/5
 

Bankie

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 27, 2004
Messages
2,090
Dark Souls Remastered

I've tried to finish Dark Souls for years (PTDE and then Remastered) but it always either seemed to stressful or another game would come up that I'd move on to and then I'd feel too rusty to continue my DS save. I restarted it so many times; usually bouncing off of the Capra Demon with my furthest run ending at Sen's Fortress. Well I'm happy to report that after 10? years I've finally made it through a run. It actually wasn't that hard once I went for Greatswords and heavy armor. I had always thought that rolling was required but you can face tank 95% of the game if you build Vit, stack heavy armor, and use a 2H weapon. Once I accepted this on my most recent attempt I was hooked. I just had to realize that dying was still a part of the progress even if I did loose a bunch of souls. And I learned that once those souls were lost it wasn't really a setback; they were a non-issue and would be replaced much quicker than one might think. The lore, level design, enemy design, balancing, etc are top-tier and make sense once it finally clicks. There are some moments that feel like BS but those are generally learning experiences that I eventually laughed at with a thought something like, "I should have expected that". Towards the later 1/3 of the game I was an unstoppable killing machine except for those BS moments so the setbacks and insta-deaths were hilarious since it was usually my own hubris that was my enemy.

I eventually got to a point where the losses were just as fun as the wins and that's when Dark Souls started to shine for me. It's not perfect; the Bed of Chaos sucks, the titanite demons can be a PITA with their messed up attack hitboxes, and the insta-deaths can be sudden but I feel like it feeds into one's personal journey through the game.

The online mode where you can read messages from other players and leave messages of your own was a stroke of genius. Some of them are obvious trolls but many of them will turn out to be quite devious and make you question if you should listen to them or not.

I hated it for years yet ended up loving it. Great game that I wish I could have understood much earlier than I did; there are parts that I'll always remember.
 
Last edited:

Armenius

Extremely [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
35,404
Dark Souls Remastered

I've tried to finish Dark Souls for years (PTDE and then Remastered) but it always either seemed to stressful or another game would come up that I'd move on to and then I'd feel too rusty to continue my DS save. I restarted it so many times; usually bouncing off of the Capra Demon with my furthest run ending at Sen's Fortress. Well I'm happy to report that after 10? years I've finally made it through a run. It actually wasn't that hard once I went for Greatswords and heavy armor. I had always thought that rolling was required but you can face tank 95% of the game if you build Vit, stack heavy armor, and use a 2H weapon. Once I accepted this on my most recent attempt I was hooked. I just had to realize that dying was still a part of the progress even if I did loose a bunch of souls. And I learned that once those souls were lost it wasn't really a setback; they were a non-issue and would be replaced much quicker than one might think. The lore, level design, enemy design, balancing, etc are top-tier and make sense once it finally clicks. There are some moments that feel like BS but those are generally learning experiences that I eventually laughed at with a thought something like, "I should have expected that". Towards the later 1/3 of the game I was an unstoppable killing machine except for those BS moments so the setbacks and insta-deaths were hilarious since it was usually my own hubris that was my enemy.

I eventually got to a point where the losses were just as fun as the wins and that's when Dark Souls started to shine for me. It's not perfect; the Bed of Chaos sucks, the titanite demons can be a PITA with their messed up attack hitboxes, and the insta-deaths can be sudden but I feel like it feeds into one's personal journey through the game.

The online mode where you can read messages from other players and leave messages of your own was a stroke of genius. Some of them are obvious trolls but many of them will turn out to be quite devious and make you question if you should listen to them or not.

I hated it for years yet ended up loving it. Great game that I wish I could have understood much earlier than I did; there are parts that I'll always remember.
I hated Titaninte Demons for years until on one of my random playthroughs the approach to fighting them finally clicked for me. The one in The Catacombs is still the worst given the tight quarters, though. I don't bother fighting Bed of Chaos the "legit" way anymore. Firebomb strat is the way to go.
 
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