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1  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 23, 2016, 08:27:23 AM
- Dark Souls III: Beaten

Tough game, but for the wrong reasons: excessive tracking (enemies doing an 180 to hit you square in face isn't hard - it's cheap);  the weakest undead can quickly stun you and recovery time takes forever (for the player, of course); trash mobs (by the end I was skipping everything); poise does not work or is bugged (can't tank attacks); gimmicky bosses.

However, my main issue is that everything moves too fast. It's so different from DS1, which had a deliberately slow, methodical and puzzle-like gameplay. It's a shame most action games go this route -- happened to Monster Hunter too when mechanics were revamped for Tri.

Even the OST was full blown orchestra instead of minimalistic tunes, this beautiful track being the exception.

If anyone wants to play it on PC: the port was competently done, way better than the clusterfuck that was DS1. KB+M works very well, felt natural. FPS tanked at some places but never went lower than 30 and that's playing with a VGA bellow the minimum specs (even on low the game looks stunning).

No comments about DS2 since I never played it.
2  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: February 20, 2016, 01:21:03 AM
- Shadowrun: Hong Kong -- Shadows of Hong Kong (aka the mini-campaign)

First of all: Mighty cool of Harebrained Schemes to release it for all owners at no cost. Nice gesture and a clever way to generate goodwill.

Second point: WHY wasn't the main game like this?!

The scenarios you're throw into were interesting, the underwater lab being the only weak link. Missions ended up twisting in unexpected ways, a la Dragonfall. Resource management was a thing and the enemies had decent weapons and abilities so face rolling everything wasn't always possible. The Fuchi run and the main missions were excellent. Really, the only thing in the OC that came closer was Whistleblower. If you play on Hard, know that you'll have to make proper use of buff/debuffs. Yes, it is that good.

The story was reminiscent of the first half of Dead Man's Switch: very low-key. I understand lore-wise Hong Kong is full of magic and mystic stuff but all that feng shui talk was silly. I'm glad they took this direction because I think it's Shadowrun at its best. The ending was bittersweet but felt natural. Fuck Kindley Cheng - never called her Auntie.

Most of the grievances I had with the main game were addressed: the dialogues were to the point, yet with enough flavor to be charming; almost zero of those overly chatty NPCs; good pacing; no useless giant hub nor huge, empty maps; balanced violent/non-violent solutions to the quests. I've read claims that the matrix mechanics were tweaked but I didn't take a decker on any missions so I have no idea if they hold water. Speaking of which, add the lack of forced decking sections to the list! On the technical side, I didn't hit any bugs, had no stuttering and the load times were alright. Music and graphics were top-notch, as expected. It was fairly long too, clocked 12 hours.

In the end, it is ironic that Shadows of Hong Kong, a mere Kickstarter stretch goal, ended up overshadowing and besting the whole of the main campaign. Took out the bad aftertaste left by the lackluster base game. Kudos to the developers for fixing what went wrong. It felt like a proper closure to the Shadowrun Returns series. Dragonfall is still my favorite, though.

Hopefully HBS won't take too long to revisit the Shadowrun setting. I can hardly wait to go back into the shadows.
3  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Mass Effect 3 anyone? on: January 27, 2016, 11:34:45 PM
Shamus Young is doing a series retrospective. He's covering ME3 now.
4  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 21, 2016, 01:25:46 PM
Underrail - Beaten!

I was so near the end I thought "what the hell, better push through it". There wasn't much left, basically solve one puzzle and fight the boss. Was very happy to take the elevator and finally get out of the fucking Deep Caverns. Felt like I spent 1/3 of my playtime in that hellhole. The game acknowledges that because once you return, your character has the option to say something among the lines of "I'm not even sure if I'm alive after going through so much crap". So true. The ending slides were a nice touch, I was satisfied by how my choices played out.

I believe the DC should be more about freely exploring, reading logs and letting the environment tell the tale rather then forcing the player to fetch a bunch of stuff. Something akin to Lonesome Road (Fallout NV DLC) would be alright.

Taking everything into account, I liked most of it. However, that final bit? Nope.
5  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: January 16, 2016, 09:46:48 PM
I bought a Kindle after years of raving "but muh precious paper" and I'm surprised at how comfortable it is. Best purchase in a long time. Picked up one of Murakami's books and I've read half of it already haha.
6  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 16, 2016, 09:33:55 PM
You including Shadowrun: Hong Kong with that group?

Also, never heard of UnderRail (and if I did, I would've confused it with Undertale, anyways), but it's going on the wishlist. I'm sure that'll fun to play...once the Summer Sale hits...

Hong Kong was a bit of a letdown (I commented a bit about it here and here - mostly due to bugs at release, pacing and because Dragonfall DC set the bar really high). Despite that, I consider HK my "game of 2015" (Underrail is basically a 2016 title) and look forward to the DLC.

I wholehearted recommend all 3 SR games, can't go wrong with any of them - they are very "pick up and play". I believe they are fairly cheap on sales too if you are unsure. In case you just want one game, get "Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut".

Underrail is excellent, it's only the final area that needs attention. From what I've read that zone wasn't fully tested at the time of release, the developer probably run out of time/funds. Keep in mind it's a combat-centric game, although there's a fairly interesting story to follow. I'm sure most issues will be addressed over the next few months.
7  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Final General Fantasy Discussion Thread on: January 15, 2016, 07:54:37 AM
Lightning is the model the fashion world deserves.

This marketing stunt is fairly entertaining. Always count on SE to keep the crazy coming.
8  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 15, 2016, 07:43:43 AM
Underrail - DC is such a departure from the rest of the game, in the worst way possible; it's almost unbelievable how a single elevator ride could ruin what was shaping up to be a great RPG. It is always frustrating when games pull this right on the final area. Hopefully the developer will balance or even overhaul the whole place, because it is a chore to play. Huge disappointment.

cRPG ramblings:

My "cRPG journey" ended up as a slippery slope. I can't get into the older stuff as most of it is party-based management hell or too clunky, Fallout and Arcanum being the exceptions. The Kickstarter offerings didn't deliver: PoE is basically NWN2 (underwhelming after what Obsidian pulled with KOTOR2 and New Vegas) and D:OS only has the environmental manipulation and soundtrack going for it. On a brighter note, the Shadowrun games turned out to be the best of the bunch, despite being a bit light on the mechanics. Too bad HBS will focus on Battletech for the foreseeable future.

Guess I'm completely burned out on RPGs. It used to be only the Japanese branch, but now it's the whole genre. My last hurrah will probably the SR:HK mini-campaign (please don't be horrible) and then I'm taking a long break.

Edit:

To be fair, Underrail updated today toning down some of the big offenders in DC (debuff duration/intensity, infinite respawning, resistances and hp pools). Good to know Styg pays attention to suggestions, I had send a bunch. Only things left to tweak are the huge amount of fetching in order to reach the boss and the labyrinths that serve no purpose other than to waste time. If DC falls in line with the rest of the game then Underrail will keep its stellar quality from beginning to end.
9  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: January 02, 2016, 07:20:18 PM
Underrail - I think I exhausted most side missions trying to advance the main quest. Turns out I had to join one of the big players in Core City. Went with the tech one.

It's the first time in a game I went with a stealth character and it has been fun. You can throw a grenade in another room and the enemies will go check it out while you sneak through or activate alarm systems just to make them move somewhere else. You also have to pay attention to security cameras: you can shoot (with a silent gun or you'll alert nearby hostiles) or hack them.

Combat is solid and way better than the original Fallout, which by the end was basically "aim for the eyes". Not to mention the many possible builds: guns (pistols, smgs, assault and sniper rifles - each offers a different playstyle), psi (3 schools, I think), melee (light and heavy), unarmed, crossbows (plus special effects bolts), trapper... There's also a bunch of throwable items, like molotovs, nets, caltrops, grenades. Reminds me of Arcanum but here most, if not all skills are viable.

Most of all, I like the fact it's all solo. The older I get the less patience I have to deal with party management, unless it has a hands-off approach (ie Shadowrun).
10  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 26, 2015, 12:57:17 PM
- PC isn't coming out of sleep mode and I don't know why.

Do you have a (Intel) Haswell processor? I remember there was an esoteric compatibility problem between Haswell and some PSUs. Computers, computers never change.

@ DRM shenanigans

GOG does it right by just letting you download the installer, no strings attached. I remember people trying to remove Securom back in 2005/06 and what a pain in the ass that was. Then you had niceties like Starforce wreaking DVD drives too. Not to mention DRM is not very future proof: Windows 10 won't load Securom or SafeDisc drivers anymore, which rendered games unplayable unless you crack them or buy a digital copy. Why should the consumer bother with this crap?

These clients are just a less invasive form, but it's DRM nonetheless. Yeah, there are games on Steam you don't actually need the whole thing to load in order to play, since they lack the CEG compoment, but it's mostly indie stuff.

I could rant the whole day about DRM, idiot Steam fanboys and the obnoxious PC mustard master race mentality.
11  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 19, 2015, 10:51:18 AM
Underrail - Goddamn, the game is so good. "Oh hey, I'll just check out if it's running alright." ~ 5 hours later: "Wait, what time is it again?"

Rolled my cookie-cutter gun build to test waters but there are so many possibilities. I'm not much into crafting anymore but people who enjoy it will go nuts. Good ambient music too and the oddity system is such a cool and well-thought feature.

Aww yeah.
12  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 06, 2015, 11:29:48 PM
DAI - Dropped.

I would need to grind 40 points doing busywork in order to unlock the next mission. Just gave up and watched the remaining content on Youtube. I can only take so much padding in a game.

What a waste of time and money.
13  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: December 05, 2015, 10:21:10 PM
Dariusburst - Man like... I didn't realize this was oldschool, pre-Gaiden style Darius getting into it. And it's like I want to support Degica and Taito and I've never requested a Steam refund for anything before but goddamn this game is expensive and not even remotely good.

What's wrong with it?

@ontopic

DAI - Decided to give it another chance but it's so goddamn boring; still, I have to honor the $60 I foolishly threw away. Bioware managed to take one of the most uninteresting plot points of DAO and spin 2 games out of it. The 4th one will probably be about the poor elves, judging by where the story is going. Meh. What about the dwarves and qunari?

On the plus side, kb+m controls were improved a little: mouse look alone makes the whole thing playable. Companion AI has been tweaked too, no more mages and archers fighting at close range. Speaking of which, archery is the best: lets you to skip most trash fights and freely maneuver during combat.

Currently at the save Not-Marie-Antoinette quest, which is fairly lulzy.

Arcanum - Took a break at the elven forest and now I don't wanna play my character anymore. I started as melee+magic but spent a bunch of points in magic and ended up as a pure mage, which is a playstyle I dislike in most games. Restart time.

Legend of Grimrock - I miss Etrian Odyssey so this one is an okayish substitute. Would have loved if it had tb combat because I'm terrible at square dancing. Thankfully it's grid-based or motion sickness would have settled in.
14  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The GameFAQs Best Game Ever competition on: October 28, 2015, 10:11:15 PM
^ Yeah, L-block dared to challenge the tyranny of Link and prevailed.
15  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: September 12, 2015, 07:25:09 PM
NWN2 - Finished MoTB, got the "true" good ending.

Code:
Best thing was putting that prick Myrkul to (eternal) rest.

Between this and KoTOR 2, which is basically the same theme in a Star Wars setting, the latter was way better even in its unfinished state. Dealing with Kreia always left me on my toes whereas here I guessed the whole thing right in Act I. Didn't care for the characters, though Safiya and Okku were alright. A lukewarm experience overall, not worth the hype surrounding it. Or maybe I wasn't in the mood to appreciate a doom and gloom story. Or maybe I should just quit these D&D games because it's obvious I dislike this shit.

Fuck, everything I've played in 2015 so far has been crap or a dud. Arcanum and SR:HK mini campaign, you're my last hope.
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