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M76

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Forza Horizon 4 (2018)

Forza-Horizon-4-Key-Art-Horizontal.jpg

Oh yes, I finally played this game that every NFS fanboy was raving about. They claimed this was the ultimate car racing game, spoiler: it is not.

Then what is it? I really don't know and apparently the developers didn't either. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here, start at the beginning.

And if we really want to go to the beginning, we have to talk MS Store, because that is where this game is from. And it is still garbage.
Why? Because the MS store downloads slowly, and the download stopped and failed multiple times. Having to manually restart the download for the game to finally be playable.

And it is also garbage because of UWP. Which means the game is not moddable, if even a single hair is out of place it will no longer run.
So I couldn't even get rid of the 25 second long unskippable logo animation at the start of the game. My time is precious and if someone wants to waste even 25 seconds of it, they better have a damned good reason.
I'm ok with watching their crappy logos in 640x480 once, but not every time I start the game.

So what's the game itself like? Do you want the bad news or the good news? Good news is that it tries to be like Test Drive Unlimited,
which is the actual ultimate car racing game, for the uncultured ones out there. Bad news is that it falls short by no small margin.

The first rule of imitating someone is to do it as well as or better than them. Otherwise what's the point? I'll just choose the original.

FZ4 borrows the basic gameplay from TDU, but it is smaller, less exciting and generally more boring. First off why the UK?
If I'm thinking great driving roads and scenery that's not what first comes to my mind, or second or third, or hundredth.

I had zero interest in exploring the map, it all looks the same anyway, not much variation. At least it's small, not that's a good thing, but it makes the pointless drives to racing locations shorter.
Because there will be a lot of pointless driving in this game. Since there is no fast travel. OK, ok, don't scream I know there is, but it is paid, and only usable for a few special locations.

At least it's not paid for by real money. Don't worry, the game still has microtransactions. And it shamelessly plugs them all the time.
It even puts paid cars as your opponents in races. I see a cool car I want, then try to buy it only to find that it is paid.
I'm showing the middle finger to Microsoft and to anyone who tries to bait me into in game purchases. Not now, not in a thousand years, not ever.

But I digress, why is driving in a driving game so bad? Because the scenery is dull and most cars suck, that's why. Almost every car in the game is an undriveable mess.
Either they are slow as a slug, or they understeer like a pig. Or worse unable to go in a straight line. Or will randomly flip over for no reason.

It is unfortunate that the most drivable car in the game is the first car I got in it. That makes the whole race for money and purchase / upgrade cars bit pointless.
But buying better cars / upgrades is pointless anyway, because the opponents are always matched to you in every race in the game.
Whatever car you choose the game will make every opponent use cars from the same class and performance level.

It's really disheartening when you get your hands on a rare or legendary car, show up to a race with it only to see that half the opponents drive the same car. Way to ruin my excitement.

So the only reason to switch cars is for your own amusement, and to find one that handles like you prefer.

But let's circle back to the beginning, my first impressions of the game were terrible. I tried to play with a wheel, not a good idea.
Especially since the game has a bunch of driving assists that are turned on by default, so I wasn't really driving at first I was wrestling against the assists.
Until I found how to turn them all off and switch driving mode to 'simulation'. The game is still better played from KB in this mode, but at least I feel in control.
And the driving model is better than I expected, which is big praise from me.

No it's not a simulation, but it's no criterion game either where there is no anchor to reality whatsoever. Here you can detect faint roots in reality.
Except for wheels off the ground, because that bit is ridiculously bad and definitely not based on any physics engine.

The races are very short, again proving the point of being smaller and less exciting than TDU where there was a 200km race, and some other very long runs.
But then again TDU's map was about 100x60km. Forza Horizon 4 by my estimate is roughly 10x6km, so about one tenth of it (or hundredth if you go by area not perimeter) which is laughable.
But you'd think then it crams a lot of excitement into that small map, right? WRONG. The map is as dull as it gets.

Between the endless repetitions of the same thicket lines and hedgerows and stone walls there is not much scenery to speak of.
There is one tiny city, but most races take place on the open roads anyway.

The game has character customization but it seems like nothing but an appalling front to push microtransactions,
as 99% of the clothing items are paywalled. And there is no actual character customization you can just select from a bunch of presets, all of whom look like millenials.

At first the game gave me the impression that it will have some story, but that was too much to hope for as it turns out. And it all culminated in the biggest disappointment I ever had in any game.

Do you know why you are racing in the single player part of the game? To unlock the MMO part! That is your reward. It's a scam!
I was excited to find what is this horizon roster they were talking about only to find that it just means the competitive online portion of the game. What a bummer.

You can also purchase houses in game, but they have no purpose as far as I can tell. You don't need garage space to store cars as in TDU, and they don't serve any other functionality either,
you can't even hang out in your bungalow. That's where you start from when you load up the game, that's it.

So the game went full circle for me. Like so:
  1. At the beginning: Terrible!
  2. After 1 hour: this is actually not that bad
  3. After 2 hours: it is actually good
  4. After 4 hours: ok now it started to get boring
  5. Reaching the goal: Oh no this is Terrible!

Let's see the pros and cons:

+
  • OK Graphics
  • Weather effects
  • Changing seasons
  • Driving model for an arcade game
  • The Stunt driver challenges were fun
  • Soundtrack
-
  • Small map
  • Not the greatest choice of location
  • Pointless avatar customization (microtrans bait)
  • The goal of the single player bit is to unlock the multiplayer bit
  • Shameless plugging of DLCs and microtransactions at every turn
  • The Top Gear bit’s secret purpose is to make you hate Chris Harris
  • Catch up, and terribly scripted seasonal showcases
  • Opponents in races are always exactly matched to your car
  • Pointless to upgrade / switch cars due to the above
The verdict:

graphics/realization: 8/10
story/atmosphere: 5/10
gameplay/controls: 7/10
overall impression: 6/10

If you have a Game Pass for PC, it's worth to check it out, but I'd not recommend it as a buy if you just want a good SP game like me.
 
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Aireoth

Supreme [H]ardness
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Remnant from the Ashes:

When you where playing through Dark Souls did you ever wish you had guns, or more Cthulu in your game? Well this is the game for you.

A multiplayer Dark Souls clone set in a post apocalyptic earth where you battle against the forces of The Root (Cthulu).

Its not as hard as dark souls, but still challenging it makes a good entry point for people curious about this type of game but frustrated with the difficulty curve.

Its a good looking game, excellent lighting and animations, the starting environment is the typical grey and brown pallet express of other post apocalyptic games, but this changes as you progress so you can look forward to more than just grey/brown environments.

Combat centers around a run and gun play style, there is little for cover actions (which I like) and forces you to keep moving. Gun play is pretty tight and the melee is serviceable.

Progress is done in two areas, the first is collecting traits and trait points via experience to spend on various traits al'la leveling. The second is collecting materials to upgrade your armor and weapons, on boss fights you usually pick up a unique material that can be crafted into new gear and mods.

Like Dark Souls there are many hidden items, upgrades, and alternative ways to kill bosses for different loot.

Multiplayer is where it shines, playing though various Cthuluian nightmares with friends is a blast.

The game is light on story much like others in the genre, most of it is pieced together from various notes and dialogue throughout the game. Where it does shine is in atmosphere, from the collapsing buildings of American city X to desert wastelands and fetid jungles, I was always looking forward to what we would see next.

The only wasted potential is that the game doesn't screw with you enough for a Cthulu nightmare, it has its moments but they really could have done a lot more (see Control as a good example).

As for replayability, it isn't as deep as Dark Souls, 2-3 runs through the game and you'll have seen and collected most things. A patch is introducing the ability to replace specific areas for loot which will shorten that. My first run took about 40 hours, the second was 20, and third only about 10 all in just knowing what is coming and what to do.

Graphics: 8/10
Story: 6/10
Atmosphere: 9/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Bottom Line: Worth it if you fit one or more of the following - Like Dark Souls like games. Enjoy Cthulu like games. Have friends to play with. Want atmosphere over story.
 

Flogger23m

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Beyond Two Souls

This is another interactive movie style type of game. These games always seem hit or miss because they don't seem to hit a good balance of gameplay or narrative quality. So how does this one hold up?

Gameplay itself is boring. Largely QTE based, with small choices that make micro but ultimately non-story altering changes to the story and dialogue. There are some combat sections but again this feels lacking. Options are very pre-determined with no real alternatives to a situation. Movement controls are decent for this type of game but still leave some room for improvement. For the most part you walk around and press a button for your other soul thing to manipulate something for you.

The story itself is passable but not very well developed for what is essentially an interactive movie. The story jumps back and fourth between the main characters life (although there are options to change the ordering). The end result of the story is a bit more gibberish than anything else without much strong or sensible explanation. I understand it is fiction, but many things leave you scratching your head at the relative stupidity. The ending gives you some last minute decisions to change the end cut scenes such as choosing to stay with characters who had 5 minutes of screen time and maybe 7-8 lines of dialogue over an actual supporting character which just makes no sense.

The feel of the story and main character herself seems like something out of a TV channel oriented towards women. She is apparently mature enough to join highly secretive government organizations, and then has a teenage girl tantrum when common sense and reality hits her in the face. A major supporting character is Prince Charming, your recruiter, lead training guy, the guy who briefs you on missions in country, goes on missions and someone your character has a relationship with. How one guy can do so many different jobs is laughable.

Graphically the game looks fine as an older game. As a port it worked fine and I don't recall any major short comings. Stability was fine. Performance was fine. Menu design and all that, average.

The game needed a better story more grounded in reality rather than a low budget soap opera TV show. Gameplay could have been better as well. That would push it more into a action adventure genre, but I don't see the point in making games QTE based gameplay experiences in the first place unless the story really is that good. Which this game isn't.

6 / 10



Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Legacy Of The First Blade & Fate of Atlantis

Played the DLC for one of the worst games I've played in years. Why? Because it was free and there wasn't much else I wanted to play and I wanted to see just how much worse they could make the game. View my review on the main game in the previous page. Does this DLC improve the contradictory leveling system, grind based mechanics, poor narrative and repetitive gameplay? No, it just copy/pastes the same crap again in new maps. The mission design centers around the same 4-5 mission types in the base game wrapped around new dialogue which is mostly irrelevant. Go here, hold Y to collect this new thing. Clear out the same types of red zones / enemy camps that you did around 30 times in the base game. What to decide the fate of a certain realm that isn't on Earth? Well, that is done via the same "Conquest Battles" from the main game. Those battles between Sparta and Athens, which are entirely irrelevant and you pick sides for because one nation gives you better loot? Yeah, that is the ending mission of one DLC.


Legacy Of The First Blade acts as a sequel to the story of Alexios (or Kassandra). Essentially you do the same few tasks and somehow fall in love with an NPC that has no real character development. Throughout the game you meet many faceless people like her with a heart by certain dialogue choices and now all of a sudden this character forcefully becomes a major character that alters the protagonists life. What? Why? It felt so forced and unnatural. Bad animations, generic voice acting and poor writing make this standout terribly. Metro Exodus had far more life like characters and most of those were side characters in a survival shooter. It puts this DLC to shame story wise. Likewise due to the open nature of this game the events are thrown in the trash as soon as the missions end and everything is back to normal.

Fate of Atlantis is more of the same. The first episode has a disjointed story that makes little sense. The writing is awful and the quest layout is likewise awful. You might make an action or choose a path to help one faction only for the next to contradict it entirely. I had no idea if I was supposed to pick a side or if the game did that for me. The game simply doesn't make it clear which makes the the whole thing an absolute clusterfuck of a story. Map wise the first episode was an absolute pain in the ass to traverse. Lots of climbing, rivers that make horse travel a pain in the ass. Pretty but horrible map to play in.

Second episode is largely based off of the same button mashing to kill super human people that do did in the main game when fighting mercenaries. The main goal is to kill a bunch of them. Enjoy mashing the attack and dodge button 50 times? Good. Prepare to impale a man 50 times while setting him on fire like a cartoon. Map traversing isn't nearly as bad in this episode.

Third episode. Finally Atlantis itself! Same old crap gameplay though. Same few tasks from the previous episodes, which are the same few given dozens of times each in the base game. Nothing interesting to actually see or do in Atlantis. No real gameplay changes. Just a slight artwork change otherwise it is business as usual. Generic places with nothing to do but picking up money and literal junk like apples. Is this really what they decided to focus on in Atlantis? Shame.

The grind is still there. Good luck settling on a build style. Want to maximize hunter damage? Too bad because upgrading your gear is impossible. 15,000 upgrade a item when a mission dishes out 3,000 at best. You level up faster than you can afford to upgrade. You can pick up some decent randomly dropped gear occasionally but it ruins your build. This is the only game where you dread leveling up because your gear turns to shit and you loose your build focus. Utterly pathetic.

Modern day setting returns with Layla Hassan, the intelligent scientist who reinvented the animus, is an expert at using it and mitigating the bleeding effect, an expert hacker, an expert fighter, a nerd and someone who has a cringe worthy voice and despite her intelligence and clearly nerdy interests talks like an idiot with an faux ebonic accent. That is... a lot of things to be good at and a lot of checklists to tick off. Remember Desmond? At least he was believable because he wasn't an expert at everything in the world. The modern day events conclude with a cringe worthy fight that makes no sense due to the absolute stupidity of the attacker.

What a mess. I expected as much though.

4 / 10
 

M76

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Beyond Two Souls

This is another interactive movie style type of game. These games always seem hit or miss because they don't seem to hit a good balance of gameplay or narrative quality. So how does this one hold up?

Gameplay itself is boring. Largely QTE based, with small choices that make micro but ultimately non-story altering changes to the story and dialogue.
Actually that was a common misconception about the game back in the day. There are lots of seamless story altering choices, but people don't even realize they are making them so everyone thinks the story / outcome they get for each episode is the only possible outcome.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jul 25, 2005
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1,991
Axiom Verge. Not as good as the classics Metroid or Castlevania but still worth it. Bump up the grade by one if you are a big fan of those games, however. The biggest gripes are weak sound effects and some gameplay misses. For instance, game could use a teleport feature between save points. Grappling hook mechanics are not as good as in other games. And I would have liked it if they marked the map when you pick up powerups in order to make going for 100% easier to manage. Perhaps the most amazing thing is the game was developed by just one guy! That is a fantastic accomplishment. Game is cheap and worth playing.
Graphics A
Music A
Sound effects C
Gameplay B
Overall B+
 

WarriorX

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Nov 18, 2006
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2,096
Vanquish

If you wanted to know what an 80s movie turned into a game put in a sci-fi setting would look like, play this game.

Basically mindless action. Passable story that is very cliche. Gun selection is decent, with most of them being useful. The environments are interesting but the game does very little in terms of letting you explore due to the game being more linear then a straight line. Due to the length of the campaign, linear levels and almost no interaction, there is very little world building as you just move from point A to point B while smashing robots on the way.. Had fun in the short campaign but defiantly a buy on a sale game.
 

MavericK

Zero Cool
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After hearing about Control, I went and finally played through Alan Wake. Pretty much binged the whole thing over the last few days, though it only took about 10 hours to complete.

Really enjoyed it, though the combat toward the end did start feeling a bit samey. It was nice when they introduced new weapons over time, so there was always something fresh and cool, but about 3/4 or so of the way through that stops and it gets a bit monotonous. Also, it felt like about 50% of the game was just running through a forest with not much happening.

Overall though, 8/10 game. Story was pretty decent, and overall it kept me engaged. Had some annoying/frustrating parts where it felt like you died cheaply sometimes, but thankfully not many of those. Graphically dated, which is to be expected, though some of the textures did look really good, as if it was remastered a bit or something. Although, texture quality could also be quite varied, even on similar textures. The license plates on cars are a good example of this - some of them are very sharp and legible, some are just a pixelated mess. No real apparent reason why.
 

MavericK

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The game has character customization but it seems like nothing but an appalling front to push microtransactions,
as 99% of the clothing items are paywalled. And there is no actual character customization you can just select from a bunch of presets, all of whom look like millenials.
Checked out your whole review, and in many ways I can't disagree, although on the whole I do enjoy FH4 a lot (I must have 100+ hours in by now, and nearly every car in the game). But I wanted to address this because it's straight-up inaccurate. None of the clothing in-game is purchasable by real money, excluding the VIP stuff you get if you buy the VIP pack, which is only one set of clothing.

All of it is either achieved through a) getting different race types up to certain levels, b) buying through the Forzathon shop (all in-game currency) or c) winning via slot-machine-like Wheelspins. Not that these are great options, TBH, but still no real money involved. That said, the character stuff is dumb and a waste of time for the most part. It really is geared toward the stereotypical "millenial" because most of it attempts to just be "quirky" or have meme-related win poses like dabbing and shit. I don't really care for the character stuff, and neither does a large percentage of the Forza fanbase from what I have read. Hopefully in Horizon 5 they will go back to the drawing board on that stuff.

The biggest faults in this game IMO are 1) horrible, cheating and overly-aggressive AI and 2) shitty forced MP activities for exclusive/rare cars. You touched on it a bit with the AI that matches you, but it's even worse than that, because they will outperform you in a car that is completely unable to perform in that way if you were to use it yourself. For example, you in an S2-class Lambo, and them in an S2-class Ford Van, and they will manage to be faster and more maneuverable than you. Not only that, but the AI is practically unmovable and will shove you off the track at any opportunity. They just blindly follow a path, and if you come between them and that path, well...most of the time, you're fucked. The online stuff is technically optional, but for some of the really cool and new cars, you are forced to do it, and a lot of it is timed (weekly/daily) challenges that can be really frustrating.
 

M76

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Checked out your whole review, and in many ways I can't disagree, although on the whole I do enjoy FH4 a lot (I must have 100+ hours in by now, and nearly every car in the game). But I wanted to address this because it's straight-up inaccurate. None of the clothing in-game is purchasable by real money, excluding the VIP stuff you get if you buy the VIP pack, which is only one set of clothing.
All I saw that there are maybe 50 different items under each category of which a grand total of 2 or 3 was unlocked by the time I finished the horizon roster. I might check it out later but I was convinced they can be unlocked with real money, and not trough playing the game. Or at least extremely tedious that way.
 

MavericK

Zero Cool
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All I saw that there are maybe 50 different items under each category of which a grand total of 2 or 3 was unlocked by the time I finished the horizon roster. I might check it out later but I was convinced they can be unlocked with real money, and not trough playing the game. Or at least extremely tedious that way.
Extremely tedious, yes, but no real money involved. The most common way you get them is randomly via the slot machine Wheelspin thing. The only good thing about that is once you unlock a certain clothing item, you won't ever get duplicates, but it instead converts them to a piddly amount of money (generally like 2k or 5k credits).

Wheelspins you get by making progress in the game, doing challenges, etc. You can't buy those with real money, either.
 

M76

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Extremely tedious, yes, but no real money involved. The most common way you get them is randomly via the slot machine Wheelspin thing. The only good thing about that is once you unlock a certain clothing item, you won't ever get duplicates, but it instead converts them to a piddly amount of money (generally like 2k or 5k credits).

Wheelspins you get by making progress in the game, doing challenges, etc. You can't buy those with real money, either.
With being tied to microtransactions it would at least make sense, but if they don't even make money off of it then it is just a terrible design for no reason. I don't know which is worse.
 

MavericK

Zero Cool
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With being tied to microtransactions it would at least make sense, but if they don't even make money off of it then it is just a terrible design for no reason. I don't know which is worse.
Yeah, it is pretty bad, I can agree with you there.
 

Flogger23m

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After hearing about Control, I went and finally played through Alan Wake. Pretty much binged the whole thing over the last few days, though it only took about 10 hours to complete.

Really enjoyed it, though the combat toward the end did start feeling a bit samey. It was nice when they introduced new weapons over time, so there was always something fresh and cool, but about 3/4 or so of the way through that stops and it gets a bit monotonous. Also, it felt like about 50% of the game was just running through a forest with not much happening.

Overall though, 8/10 game. Story was pretty decent, and overall it kept me engaged. Had some annoying/frustrating parts where it felt like you died cheaply sometimes, but thankfully not many of those. Graphically dated, which is to be expected, though some of the textures did look really good, as if it was remastered a bit or something. Although, texture quality could also be quite varied, even on similar textures. The license plates on cars are a good example of this - some of them are very sharp and legible, some are just a pixelated mess. No real apparent reason why.
It was a good game. Story was interesting enough and the pacing was good. Had it been longer I could see the combat getting old. Thankfully Remedy knows when to finish a game. I'd suggest Control as well, good game overall.
 

MavericK

Zero Cool
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It was a good game. Story was interesting enough and the pacing was good. Had it been longer I could see the combat getting old. Thankfully Remedy knows when to finish a game. I'd suggest Control as well, good game overall.
Yeah, I think I will do the American Nightmare DLC for Alan Wake, and then check out Control.

I agree that it wasn't TOO bad as far as the combat/environment getting stale, but near the end I did find myself not really bothering to explore areas for the collectibles because I just wanted to get through it.
 

Flogger23m

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Yeah, I think I will do the American Nightmare DLC for Alan Wake, and then check out Control.

I agree that it wasn't TOO bad as far as the combat/environment getting stale, but near the end I did find myself not really bothering to explore areas for the collectibles because I just wanted to get through it.
American Nightmare is okay but a tad repetitive but at least there is a reason for it. I preferred the main game but would still play AN because it concludes the story.
 

Pivo504

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Feb 18, 2005
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Finally beat the messanger and it's dlc. This game was really fun and some parts were insanely hard! I wish we could see more sidescroller games in the 16 bit world kinda sad there aren't more...I really hope one day someone creates a dark Sci fi game similar to super Metroid...
 

WarriorX

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Finished a lot of games lately but haven't really bothered to post about them...

I recently finish Dreamfall Chapters. I had an enjoyable time while playing it, it was relaxing. It is a walking simulator with like 20 minutes of cut scenes and dialog between the walking bits, but what an amazing world they built. I just felt like exploring every corner of the levels and listening to all of the dialog. You can make minor alterations to the game with your choices, it will alter dialog and some events. Its not a huge change but its noticeable.

Not really much to say I guess. If you don't mind soaking in a game for its environments, characters, story, while basically just clicking items or NPCs, I think the game is worthy of a play through to experience. I hope the developers make another game in this setting. I might even go back and play some of the earlier games at some point to get more of the back story.
 

Commander Shepard

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Finished a lot of games lately but haven't really bothered to post about them...

I recently finish Dreamfall Chapters. I had an enjoyable time while playing it, it was relaxing. It is a walking simulator with like 20 minutes of cut scenes and dialog between the walking bits, but what an amazing world they built. I just felt like exploring every corner of the levels and listening to all of the dialog. You can make minor alterations to the game with your choices, it will alter dialog and some events. Its not a huge change but its noticeable.

Not really much to say I guess. If you don't mind soaking in a game for its environments, characters, story, while basically just clicking items or NPCs, I think the game is worthy of a play through to experience. I hope the developers make another game in this setting. I might even go back and play some of the earlier games at some point to get more of the back story.
I loved the Longest Journey and Dreamfall. Glad to know the 3rd game is good. It's been in my back log for quite a while. I need to move it up the line and play it.
 

M76

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The Outer Worlds (2019)

the-outer-worlds.jpg


Just put everything in the pot, stir, don't shake, that's all.

Easier said than done right. And this is done right. But let's start at the beginnings. I wasn't expecting much of this game, and had no intention of buying it especially after they announced it as an Epic exclusive. But actually the only reason to not buy it is that it is exclusively on two of the shittiest platforms that PC has currently. The Epic Games Store, and the Microsoft Store.

So am I a hypocrite or a pirate? I'm sorry to disappoint, but neither. I come by the game because I recently purchased an AMD CPU which came bundled with a 3 month Xbox Games Pass for PC subscription. Which allowed me to play the game literally for free. I'd never put up my own money towards any subscription on live service when it comes to gaming. I feel that subscription and live services puts unnecessary pressure on the player to play the game, even when they don't necessarily want to. Even with this 3 month period I felt somewhat pressured to finish the game before it runs out. I like to experience games at my own leisure. But Fear of Missing Out makes that impossible for live service games. And the bad feeling of wasting money makes it impossible for subscriptions. That is why I firmly believe that along with microtransactions live services and subscriptions are a cancer for gaming that needs to be cut out.

But I digress, let's talk about the actual game. As mentioned I didn't expect a great game, I expected an OK game at best, with lots of bugs and issues. Instead first few hours of the game were flawless, both in quality and presentation. I admit I was captivated by it. It all just felt right. The gunplay is remarkably enjoyable far better than in Fallout 4 for comparison. The graphics isn't great but good enough. What most got to me is the atmosphere and the slight humour and sarcastic undertones.

It is true that you can see the influence of many things that came before. Most notably Mass Effect 2, Fallout New Vegas, Bioshock, even pop culture. Your ship, yes you get a ship, and her crew reminded me of Firefly. But instead of space western this is more like space steampunk.

I had a fear that the game will have a bad case of the woke, but thankfully that is not true. Some might argue that the mere number of female characters in high power positions and the existence of a same sex relationship makes this an SJW game, but that is not true. They do not try to drill anything into you, there are no snide remarks at the expense of straightness or males. I never for once thought during the game that I was being lectured. This game is about as woke as the original Star Trek (not the stupid kelvin timeline). Meaning female characters aren't prop pieces, they feel natural in their roles, you never question how they earned their position.

The game structure is most similar to Mass Effect 2, you have a main story, and along the way you meet people who you can hire as crew to go with you. But it is not forced on you, you can turn any of them down, and even send them away after you hired them, if you want to.

But it is actually good to have them around, while not for directly conversing with them. As unfortunately you cannot romance them or even discuss things with them like in Mass Effect. But because their skills compliment your own. So when you go on a mission a medic can boost your medical skills. Or a person familiar with locks can grant you lockpicking skills even if your own character has zero. Or taking an intimidating figure will help you in conversations with NPCs. And speaking about conversations your companions sometimes actually chip in during those. Offer their opinions or disapproval of your actions. The companions all have personal missions again a'la Mass Effect 2, but here the consequences of not doing them are not final if you know what I mean.

By far the most rewarding companion quest is the one you do for Parvati, which is actually the ominous quest that offended some puritan conservatives. I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but grin as she stumbles her way trough that journey. Hating the character for being gay is just wrong.

The game has many skills that are treated similarly to New Vegas. And also there is a hardcore mode in the game where you have to drink, eat and sleep to stay alive. I loved hardcore mode in NV, but here it has a serious bad side that prevented me from even trying it. Your companions actually die permanently when their health runs out during fights. And judging by how suicidal their AI is, I imagine playing with permadeath must be a nightmare. Unless you never actually take them to missions. There is a perk you can unlock that gives them a second change, but it is 5th tier perk which doesn't even unlock until the very end of the game, rendering it pointless.

Another issue with the game, that the initial awe didn't last, 4-5 hours in the game does loose its steam somewhat. It still remains enjoyable, but no longer feels like a masterpiece. Without rushing too badly, but definitely not exploring everything or doing every side quest it took me 16 hours to finish the main story. Which might sound disappointing to some people, but I think it is OK. Padding the game would only make it boring. The sweet spot is around 30-40 hours for me. A good story driven game has no business taking more than that amount of my time. I don't want DA:I and AC:Odyssey style sandboxes where you repeat the same tasks ad nauseum at different locations. In Outer Worlds, there is no repetition. And more importantly almost zero backtracking. Which actually contributes to it being so short, as I never had to retrace my steps since you can fast travel directly back to your ship from most locations.

The story was about the most underwhelming part of the game. It really didn't grab my attention. It's there but I never felt emotionally attached to the outcome at any point during the game. The only characters that I actually felt mattered were my crew (at least the 4 I liked). Speaking of the crew about the most source of fun in the game is their banter, so you must take them out in different combinations for that alone.

I think I about covered everything of interest, so let's see the pros and cons:

+
  • Atmosphere
  • Comedic aspect
  • You can hire your crew
  • Graphics design
  • Skill system
  • Crew banter
  • Full character face customization
  • Your ship AI
-
  • Too few big hub locations
  • The main story is not interesting
  • Can't have meaningful conversations with your crew or romance any of them
  • Game is a bit too easy.
  • Hardcore mode ruined by permadeath for companions
  • Looses steam about 1/3 way trough
  • Not really that many complex side missions apart from the companion ones
  • some bugs, and I ran into one game breaking bug
  • Doesn't handle ultrawide correctly (cutscenes and load screens streched)
  • Some necessary settings can only be adjusted by ini editing
The verdict:

graphics: 7/10
atmosphere: 10/10
story: 6/10
gameplay: 9/10
technical: 7/10 (new category for the QA aspects how bug free / stable is the game)

overall impression: 8/10
 
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Domingo

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
18,393
Resident Evil HD Remake

So it's worth noting that I never actually played this when it originally came out. I watched my college roommate play through about 2/3 of it, but hate the controls so badly that I only touched it once.
Luckily, this version controls like a normal game rather than the weird tank-style controls of the PS1 version.

Graphics: 6/10. I didn't have high expectations here and I got what I expected. The original game is something like 25 years old and this actually does a pretty admirable job of making it look decent. You can crank the resolution up to whatever you like (higher than 1080p requires an ini edit) and the game supports native widescreen. A lot of the backgrounds are really muddy, but it still mostly looks solid. Zombies and characters look more like they're from 7-8 years ago rather than 25.

Sound: 8/10. Never a weakness of the original, the sound is great. Music, sound effects, ambience, etc. are on par with new games. Some of the acting is a little wonky, but there are only about a dozen scenes in the game where you even notice. They even tossed in some decent surround effects here and there.

Controls: 4/10. I would have given the original a 1/10 for what it's worth. Aiming in this game still just isn't right. Movement is mostly fine now, but it's still a crapshoot getting your character (a SWAT operative), to aim like someone who has fired a gun before. It adds an artificial difficulty when the damn screen keeps shifting around and you can't even see what's right in front of you. I'm not asking for Jill/Chris to be Rambo, but rather than relying on random auto-aim, some nuance is badly needed. It's not about "fear and suspense" so much as luck and the fear of having to repeat things because you can't save.

Innovation: 10/10. In spite of all of the ridiculous flaws in the game, it invented an entire genre and it showed that the point+click PC adventure genre could still thrive. While the game will frustrate you - you'll want to keep moving to see what's next. Some of the puzzles and moments of exploration are just plain brilliant, too.

Overall 6/10: I have mixed feelings on this game. It's actually a pretty terrific remaster of an old game that makes it both better looking and waaaay easier to play. At the same time, it still has many of the most frustrating flaws in the original. I frankly wish it received the same type of overhaul that RE2 got. Some of the "hardest" things about this game are inventory management and save management, which are pretty lame ways to make a game challenging. Especially on the saving front. I don't always have long stretches of time like this game needs and I hate replaying areas needlessly. Random aiming is another. Sometimes you headshot a zombie. Other times they take 10 rounds and pop right back up when you finally get them down. The aiming upward function oddly fires at the ceiling rather than an actual head of en enemy...yet sometimes it works and other times it doesn't, too.
Yet RE is a compelling story, setting, and experience. It's a fun to see how far we've come since this game came out. Hell, it's fun to look back and see how it compares to RE7, which is almost like a re-imagining of this game. They borrowed heavily from the latter half of this game to make RE7.

I got it for less than $10 on Steam and it came bundled with RE0, which I may or may not end up playing. It features the same look/style after all.
 
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M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,208
Tom-Clancys-Ghost-Recon-Breakpoint-Full-Version-Free-Download.png


Redeemed?

Ghost Recon Breakpoint got a big update about a month ago called The Ghost Experience, which was supposed to unfuck what they fucked up with the game's original release. But did they succeed? Short answer: Mostly yes.

The long answer
What is the Ghost Experience?

It is basically a bunch of options to customize the difficulty and immersion level of the game. First and foremost the ability to turn off Gear Score, and with that enemy levels once and for all. Basically un-Divisioning the game. Arguably this undoes most of the damage, and it would already make the game worth playing for Wildlands fans.


Second of those options is enemy difficulty which is not new. It controls the deadliness of enemies, their reaction time, the damage they inflict on you, and how long they search for you after getting suspicious or fully alerted.


Third one is tactical difficulty, this is the first where apart from having four pre-defined difficulty settings you can also choose all individual aspects of each settings a'la carte. This one controls how many weapons and bandages can you carry, and how often you get injured when you are shot. Injury and Health are two separate things in the game. If you are injured your movement speed is reduced and with a severe injury you can only use handguns. Tactical difficulty also determines whether your health is automatically regenerated.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-3-25-23-23-22.jpg



The fourth is about the interface, you can fully disable all loot markers, and notifications and so on individually, you can determine how obtrusive they are and whether some HUD elements only appear contextually when they are needed, or all the time. But you can go full on Ghost and turn off even the ability to mark enemies. Which is great for immersion, but a huge bump for difficulty. Much more than the actual difficulty setting.


The fifth option of the Ghost Experience is Bivouac Restrictions. It basically lets you choose immersion over convenience. In restricted mode you cannot access the in-game shop from the field and cannot spawn vehicles from thin air either. If you are a fan of immersion and don't mind wasting a little more time I urge you to try the game in restricted mode. Because if you can spawn a helicopter at any campsite in the game you basically miss out on a large part of exploring the scenery.


And finally the last thing is exploration mode. Which will be familiar from AC:Odyssey. Here you can choose whether you want to blindly follow an objective marker all the time, or actually do some thinking and map reading. In unguided mode you'll not get an exact marker showing where is your goal, you'll only get a vague description of the place describing its geographic location, or in some cases you have to find places by photographs or aerial imagery.

So does this make BreakPoint a good game?

Hell yes, now I was actually able to enjoy the game as much as I did Wildlands. Of course it still has some issues, and is far from being perfect, but I can actually find and enjoy the things that it does better than Wildlands, and while there are some things it does worse overall even the most pessimistic people will say it's not bad.

The Story

I'll not write any spoilers just describe the basic premise of the game and compare it to the story of Wildlands. If you wince at the mention of Wildlands's story or lack thereof, let me tell you that despite the common criticism I really liked it, I liked the fact that the story does not revolve around you, I liked it that you seemed more like a hired goon than a shotcaller, it made it down to earth and plausible to me. In Break Point the story is much more you centric, but not as much as to turn you into a superhero, you act more like the muscle and not the brains in it.


The setting in a nutshell: Tech billionaire buys an island off the shores of New Zealand and starts building an utopian society on it, which turns dystopian after they hire some military contractors to provide security against terrorism and spies. Your squad is sent to investigate after a cargo ship was sunk as it left the island, and all communication are severed. As the cliché goes insertion goes horribly wrong and you end as up the sole survivor if you play solo, or you can pretend there are more survivors if you want to play coop.


It's up to you to find out what has happened, and on the way you'll encounter multiple friendlies and boss enemies. But apart from the final boss (who you can choose to face at any time after you find his base) and one other the rest of the named antagonists can be killed like any regular grunt.


The story uses a little too much of the typical tropes from utopias and the topic of AI, without adding any original ideas.


Without spoiling anything my biggest problem with the story, is that it is unfinished it is leaved completely open, apart from killing a few bad apples you accomplish almost nothing, not even your main task you set for yourself at the beginning. Of course they are trying to sell you the season pass that's what it's about. So don't expect closure at the end of that roughly 50-60 hours.


Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-10-23-36-20.jpg


What's improved

I have to say there are quite a few minor but all the more impressive changes compared to Wildlands that demonstrate a striking attention to detail from the creators.


Like the weather effects, lighting, and godrays are much better, the vegetation moves with the wind, leaves fall, there is snow, rain, sunsets, dawns, full moons, pitch black rainforests, foggy bogs, hi-tech cityscapes, villas, industrial complexes etc. etc. The map is much more diverse than it was in Wildlands, and there is much more to explore. Since the island housed military bases during the cold war, it has tons of abandoned infrastructure that you can explore. It also has abandoned mines and other gold prospector towns, and even aboriginal villages. So all in all it has three generations of ruins, plus the current hi-tech infrastructure. And it felt rewarding to explore even when I didn't find anything useful at some cold war bunker it was interesting to explore these structures.


What was most shocking to me, and the fact that I only noticed it after playing the game for about 10 hours, that it has deformable terrain, the wheels of vehicles and your footsteps actually deform mud and snow in the game.


It's also A for effort on how they tried to implement descending on steep terrain. There is a pretty good mechanic for it, the animation is much more realistic than any other game, well actually no other game tried anything similar of sorts, and descending quickly or sliding down a mountain actually consumers stamina, and if you run out of stamina before stopping the descend you go into an uncontrolled roll, and can end up loosing health or even dying.

Even though the first impressions of the game were really bad. Overall the graphics is much improved, you just have to turn off a few things in the options that make it look bad, most notably temporal injection can make the game look awful in my opinion. But after getting rid of motion blur, depth of field, and this temporal injection the graphics is really much improved over Wildlands. Of course it is quite demanding as well. Playing at 3840x1600 so about 25% less resolution than full 4K the game could only push 45 FPS on DX12, and about 60 FPS using Vulcan on a 2080Ti. But IMO it was already playable at 45 FPS, but after the latest patch fixed a crashing issue I had with Vulcan it felt butter smooth at 60FPS, no framedrops, no inconsistent frametimes. The game feels optimized.


Also improved are the side missions, they are usually multi-part and more involved than simple fetch quests, they all seemed interesting enough, although some were a bit too cheesy and felt out of place in the serious narrative of the game. Of course you don't gain nothing trough them, only an excuse to waste some more time with the game, but I didn't mind wasting more time since the gameplay is good.

The negatives

My biggest gripe with the game is that while they recorded hundreds of hours of voice-over for the game, some of the side missions and interrogations are not voiced properly. 4 out of 5 times when you are interrogating enemies about some mission the conversation will just be some generic placeholder lines, like they ran out of contracted studio hours before recording all of them or I don't know. The amount that is not voiced is literally a tiny fragment of all the voiced conversations in the game.


My second issue is the vehicle controls, they done fucked it up, again. Remember they already fucked up helicopter controls within Wildands in an update, but they ended up putting back the original controls as an option due to the backlash. Now they done it again. I understand that it favours the casual player who doesn't want more realistic flight model, or is even annoyed by it, but if you already did it right once at least put it in as an option for crying out loud.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-3-31-22-8-14.jpg



The weapons, somehow gunplay feels less realistic in this, and while I'm no gun expert the recoil, accuracy and bullet drop felt completely arbitrary in this game at times. Wildlands had greatly exaggerated bullet drop, but at least it was consistent. Here it seems that some skills affect the bullet drop of your weapon. Like they didn't even think that someone would play as a sniper and try to shot enemies at high range. Because after I had my aim nailed with the bullet drop after a skill upgrade I started missing shots, and realized that it affected the weapon. There is also an arbitrary effect that if you hold the trigger of automatic weapons continually after a few seconds bullets will start going all over the place, and this is not recoil, it is something else entirely. This makes fully automatic weapons useless unless you only shot short bursts, even with the gatling gun.


I also have to count as a negative the fact that here you cannot discover locations from the air. In wildlands if you flown close enough to a base it was marked on your map, in this game the fog of war only disappears from the map if you explore on the ground. The one exception to this rule are bivouacs, those you can unlock by flying over them at low altitude. Also your binoculars does not discover locations from a distance either. You have to be closer than 1km to get anything.


The drones. I don't know how I could manage without mentioning them before now, because they are extremely annoying enemies. Especially if you play on extreme difficulty, the flying drones are very deadly. They are almost impossible to hit when they are alert, as they do very sudden random movements continously, and since they close on you much faster than regular soldiers and can fly above your cover they kill you within 5 seconds if you let them close. They are actually more dangerous in the open than in close quarters. I wish I could've had the game without any of the drones.

The aggressive re-spawning of enemies. After you clear a base and you walk away from it every soldier is immediately re-spawned like nothing ever happened. It would be nice if clearing a base would mean it remains clear for at least a day in game time. Of course if you end up being killed by the last enemy they all respawn again. So you can start from the beginning. Really annoying at times. Especially on multi-part missions. Where you have to do 2-3 or more objectives at the same location. Guess what if you get killed after 2 out of 3, the game remembers that you already done two, and only asks you to do the third, but all the enemies in the base respawn so you are still back to square one anyway.


It took me two days and a lot of futile surfing of the net until I figured out how to equip the damned binoculars. Turns out you can only equip it in certain utility slots not all of them, but the game never tells you this. And I finished two thirds of the game by the time I figured out why auto-walk didn't work in the game. Turns out it is not enough that it is mapped to a key, you also have to enable it in accessibility options. Which the game also failed to mention in the key mapping menu. But the worst offender is the objectives menu, it's hard to navigate, and the game often forces you to go into it to check some intel.


So let's sum up the pros and cons of the game:

+

  • As good as Wildlands now
  • Graphics
  • Small quality of life improvements and attention to detail
  • More interesting side missions
  • Much more diverse map
  • Worth exploring, lots of intriguing locations
  • More immersion especially with non-guided exploration
  • Weather effects and lighting
  • A head shot is a head shot
-

  • Not all conversations are voiced
  • Vehicle controls are much less realistic and janky
  • Menus are not the best, especially the objectives menu
  • Guns are slightly less realistic than in wildlands
  • Enemies always respawn
  • Annoying drones
  • Open ended story
  • No AI squad as of yet.


graphics/realization: 9/10
story/atmosphere: 4/10
gameplay/controls: 7/10
overall impression: 7/10


I can't deny that I enjoyed the game, so I have to recommend it. Even if it is with a heavy heart, because I don't think we should support the live service nonsense AAA publishers are forcing on us. So my recommendation is buy the base game, as you can get at least 50 hours of fun out if it, but don't buy the season pass, let them see that we don't want it, we want finished full games that we can play at our leisure.



Bonus screens:
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-3-25-23-18-38.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-3-25-23-21-26.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-2-16-48-33.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-3-21-54-51.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-5-13-59-26.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-5-17-36-59.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-9-22-37-29.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-10-23-36-49.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-10-23-39-18.jpg Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint2020-4-20-12-0-31.jpg
 

Attachments

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
1,991
Assassins Creed Syndicate rating: B.
Best part of this game was the grappling hook. If you have played other games in the series it can get tiresome having to climb buildings in a slow, methodical manner. The grappling hook solves this problem. It also speeds up city navigation.

The WW1 side missions are also interesting and offer a nice change of theme.

Graphics are pretty good for a large, open world game. I had trouble getting the game's graphics to run properly on a quad core. Apparently newer AC series games tend to be multi-threaded and benefit from more cores. Running the game on a second system with 4 cores, 8 threads fixed the stutter that mostly happened while driving carriages on a quad core cpu.

Gameplay is repetitive and can get boring, and the enemy skins make this problem worse. Also, the carriage physics are frustrating. On the plus side, like all AC games there is a TON of content, no complaints on the volume of gameplay available here.

Overall, a good game, not the best nor the worst AC. Worse than Black Flag and AC2, but far better than AC3. Kudos to Epic games and Ubisoft for offering it for free recently.
 

harmattan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
4,542
Greedfall_Title.PNG


Disclaimer: For better or for worse, I have a soft spot for Eurojank. Over the years I've really been fond of games like Risen, Drakensang: The Dark Eye, the Stalker series, and Witcher 1. There's something very endearing in their world creation, hand-crafted graphics and story-driven adventuring that you don't often get with AAA titles, and their sensibilities largely eschew the sickly twee nonsense found in Sino and Nippon games. Rough edges, sure. But the best games in the genre offers a deep experience, and better, are largely unique in design, mechanics, and graphics in a sea of carbon-copies (how many Far Cry skins, ahem, "sequels", does one really need?). Worth noting I don't really consider games like the Metro and Arma series in the "Eurojank" genre in that they are overtly copying AAA FPSs in many ways (sometimes successfully, sometime not).

Greedfall take its heritage and cues from some of the best Action-RPGs in the genre: Gothic, Risen, Drakensang. Further, it has a strong lineage in gameplay, mechanics and story-driven gaming in one of my favorite games of all time, Dragon Age: Origins. It's a game that seems tailor made for my sensibilities: long, intriguing conversations and plot lines, high fantasy setting, razor's-edge difficulty (at hard) and intricate skill trees and inventory management. All of these aspects draw a certain segment of gamers which I squarely fall into (likely why Steam and Metacritic reviews of the game are so much higher than the "critics" average). Moreover, who doesn't love a game that's "Made by Spiders". Did the game live up to my expectations? Yes, sort of...

Graphics 8/10
Sweeping landscapes and cityscapes are exceptional and it seems like you can see (although not necessarily visit) for miles on end. The color palate looks decidedly Wagnerian in places, quite beautiful. The wilderness and vista really seems like they could go on forever. Character, armor and weapon design is well done, maybe not on the level of GTA/RDR2, but definitely better than what you'd expect from an RPG like this. The main detractions are in some of the small textures, and some of the non-humans/monsters are very generic (especially since there are only 4-5 of them, and you'll encounter them at every turn). Boss monsters, on the other hand, are well modeled and interesting, somewhat akin to smaller versions of the Colossi in Shadows of the Colossus. Overall, though, It's a pretty game. As for performance, it runs around 50-60 FPS at 1080p on my laptop with an RTX 2070 with everything cranked; I haven't tried it at 4k on my more powerful desktop, but by most accounts it scales well.

Level Design 6/10
This game has the hallmarks of the semi-open world RPG genre in spades -- and that's not really a good thing. Although the games 5-6 cities, and 5-6 wilderness areas, are very expansive with many nooks and crannies to find loot or get accosted by baddies, the interiors are both bland and many are repeated again and again. Think Dragon Age 2 repetitive. Your home in every city looks exactly the same, the factions HQs look very similar. Many of the secondary building interiors are extremely drab: bare walls, boxy rooms, some low-res textures. The intra-city wilderness is much better and larger, but repetitive in areas and some paths seem to lead you in circles.

Mechanics 7/10
You know it, you've played it, it's classic Dragon Age (and classic Bioware) with a hint of Witcher fight mechanics. After an hour, you slip into it like an comfy, albeit worn, blanket. You run with two party members, both selected before venturing out from camp/home (by the end of the game you have 5-6 companions to choose from). Party members are very customizable including all pieces of armor and weapons, and have their own skill trees. Their AI is reasonably good, hanging back when healing, or attacking front on if a heavy. In summary, they know to play to their strengths without you necessarily configuring tactics (although tactics customization is possible). You can pause to string actions, or let fly -- the action is surprisingly fluid. Enemy AI is reasonable, but nothing special. Enemies aren't brilliant tacticians, but they do have their own combos and know to hang back if using ranged.

Loot for crafting is easy to come by, good armor/weapons is few and far between (it's definitely not a loot-drop adventure). Crafting is reasonably well done, and each item has a modifiable look.

UI/Inventory 8/10
It's... adequate! Again, nothing is unfamiliar here. The regular slots for weapons, armor and trinkets are there; you have a bit back to carry a ridiculous number of items. It's the basic management system that was laid out in Ultima VII. The map is nicely done and easy to use, the journal allows you to group by category and location which is a nice feature. It's all pretty logical, no fancy heuristically UX-designed interface here which is refreshing compared to hair-pulling "modern" experiences in newer games like RDR2. This game gets its coffee from Dunkin Donuts, not from the all-organic Korean-Norwegian café that just replaced the Mom and Pop hardware store.

Story 8/10
A good premise and story, if not exceptional, told well. You're an aristocrat sent to help your cousin govern a city/faction in a newly-discovered continent. The setting late renaissance-esque which is a breath of fresh air. Through your journey you can decide to help the colonists or native, or get them to cooperate. The two main opposing sides both have believable motivations, albeit conflicting at first, and there's plenty of grey areas with both. There are also some decidedly nefarious groups you'll run across along the way, how you deal with them often setting your influence with the two main sides. Dialogue and voice acting is patently outstanding, I found the female protag voice actor a hair better so stuck with her. I started with the French version, then cut to English -- dialogue excellent in both versions and the translations so uniform I couldn't actually tell which was the source language. There are some dull fetch quests, but for the most part every task you feels like it pays off.

Music/Sound 8/10
Soundrack is exceptional, again taking cues from Wagner and other 19th-century romantic composers. It's really top notch, albeit the track list isn't huge. Effects are very good, muskets/rifles especially. The only detraction being the "fight" music almost always cues too early letting you know an enemy is near before you have a chance to spot. Also, I didn't appreciate that by the end of my play I'd heard the same callout line probably 100 times from a particular vendor.

It's a relatively long game if do all the quests -- and you will need to complete side quests to build experience for any difficulty above normal. I did approximately 80% of the quests, main and side, and clocked in over 40 hours.

+
  • Beautiful landscape and cityscapes
  • Nice character design
  • Hand-crafted graphics
  • Tried-and-true mechanics
  • Intriguing story/plot
  • Excellent dialogue and VA
  • Great OST
  • Super stable, didn't have a single crash in 45 hours
-
  • Repetitive design and Low-quality textures in interiors
  • Doesn't do anything special in mechanics or UI
  • Run-of-the-mill AI
  • Some environments make you feel hemmed in (a hallmark of this genre)
I'd say definitely worth a play through if you like Eurojank and miss the glory days of Action-RPGs.
 
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scojer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
5,040
I've been on a binge lately and beat a few games, so I'll put them all here in one post.


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The Order 1886 (PS4)
I played this game when it first came out, and I remember liking it. After watching Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes recently, for some reason that movie made me want to play it. So, after giving it another go recently, it holds up really well. It's a little short, and the story line leaves a lot of questions to be answered. Supposedly there's a sequel in the works, and if so, I'm excited for it. The graphics on this game are top notch (for a console game,) the acting is well done, the story line is captivating and creates a believable world, one where you're a centuries-old knight who fights werewolves, and brings down a corporation seeking to take over the world. The ammunition the company is using is the perfect setup for a sequel, and when they're introduced, you just want more, but sadly it's a very brief portion of the game.

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 10/10
Voice acting: 10/10
Storyline: 9/10 (if a sequel comes out, it'd be a 10/10. The lore they created, really makes me want more.)
Need more vampires. I was excited when they were revealed, but when you burn them all, and the game ends shortly after, it was a bit of a letdown. I want to kill some vampires.

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Remothered: Tormented Fathers (All platforms)

Remothered is a survival horror game set in a mansion, with a mystery that you solve. It's a setup that's been done before, but, this game's story line is interesting, the villain that constantly chases you around is scary, and it has enough supernatural elements to keep the game interesting. It's short, but worth the play through.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 8/10
Voice acting: 7/10
Storyline: 8/10

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Here They Lie (PS4)
Here They Lie is a... very surreal horror game. It takes place in a monochrome world, with a few pops of color here and there. As the game progresses, the world becomes more destroyed, then, more surreal - rocks floating in the air, a tree that leads to a void in space, a boat ride that takes you on a hell of an acid trip. It's a game that you don't really know what's going on initially, but in the end, if you pay attention, through the clues found throughout the game, the plot becomes clear, and you have a very important decision to make in the end.

Here's a few screenshots to see how crazy it is:
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Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 10/10
Voice acting: 7/10
Storyline: 9/10

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Mad Max (All Platforms)


I've had this game for a while, but it was in my backlog. I finally got around to playing it, and I regret not playing it earlier. It's well done and deserves a sequel, though gameplay did get a little repetitive at the end with some of the missions, but the combat was satisfying, brutal, and the game is beautiful and believable for a game set in the Mad Max universe.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 10/10
Voice acting: 9/10
Storyline: 8/10
I didn't connect with the concubine enough to really care after her and her kid died.
 
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M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
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11,208
XCOM: Chimera Squad
So was my initial reaction to the game warranted? Sadly yes.

One by one, our beloved franchises are taken away from us and ruined from the inside until nothing remains but a rotten carcass that nobody wants to touch.
If you asked me before Chimera Squad what was my most anticipated game, I'd have said without hesitation: XCOM3. Now however, I cringe even to think about it.

So what is so wrong about Chimera Squad? The writing. It's childish, vomit inducing garbage. The so called agents all act like stupid spoiled children. The banter is unbearable, out of touch with the events, it's indecorous most of the time. Flinging bad jokes over dead bodies and mutilated civilians.

The story is generic, clichéd and unremarkable. There are no cutscenes. Apart from a few cartoon style slides before main story missions. The campaign is fairly long 10-12 hours to finish. But it has zero replay value in my opinion. I was bored with the game halfway trough the first playtrough.

And why was I bored? Because literally every encounter plays out exactly the same. It is painfully dull. There is no room for proper tactics and strategy. The maps are small and claustrophobic, there is no time or room to flank enemies. You must always be on the offensive, and you must always attack the enemies that you have a chance to kill before their turn. Because every unit on the map has its own turn. So you move one unit, the enemy moves one or two (depending on how many are active on the map) then again you get one move with a squad member. So luck is even more pronounced in this game than in XCOM2. It is luck what benefits or drawbacks the breach points will have before the encounters. It is luck whether your breach attacks will hit the alert enemies or not, it is luck whether the alert enemies will die, or stay standing with 1 hp. It is also luck in which order your squad will move, and whether the unit that gets the first move will be close enough to the enemy that is first in the move order. Each encounter plays out like this: Breach, take out 2-3 enemies during the breach, wear down the rest during turns, and hope their HP runs out before your squad HP runs out. About 90% of the time you must attack. Because if you miss an opportunity to attack that adds one more turn that the enemy will have. Some of your units will not even move at all in encounters just attack from where they entered the room.

The balance of the game is really off. The beginning seemed much harder, after about one thirds into the game it becomes child's play. I even increased the difficulty and still it was easier compared to the first few hours. Resources stop being a problem about the same time too. I've had thousands of unspent cash, intel, and elirium by the end. The city anarchy level never went beyond 3 for me. The Anarchy/Unrest level is basically what replaces the avatar project meter of XCOM2, if it fills up the game is over. The area of operation is restricted to one city, which has 9 regions, each with it's own unrest meter. The concept itself is not that bad, but as I've said the balance is, it's too easy to manage the unrest level, and the difficulty setting only affects the encounter difficulty I think.

The worst part of the game was the UI. For example there is a training room for squad members but you never know which squad member has training oppurtunities. So you select one, select training, then if it says no training available for this unit, then you have to go back to the main menu to select another squad member and try your luck again. It's really annoying having to go trough all 8 after every mission to see whether they have something to train. And the same damn thing with specops as well. Only certain ranked units can do certain missions, but you don't know whether one soldier will meet the rank until you try to send them. Then you are again forced to retreat to the main menu to select someone else and try again.

The most important thing that you have control over is the equipment. And the best equipment is the reflex grip which grants two attacks to your soldiers, which is a must in the late game. You can manufacture basic equipment upgrades, or buy standard equipment from the market. There is also a scavenger market that only opens occasionally that sells unique gear. For example the reflex grip is only avialable there, and it will take about 3/4 through the game by the time you can get one for all 4 units in the squad.

The gameplay itself is no different from XCOM2, the graphics is slightly better and the view is more zoomed in. The in game HUD I think is two steps backwards, it looks uglier and the usability is not great. I accidentally selected the wrong action or wrong enemy to attack on some occasions. They tried to counter the small maps by reducing your mobility. So you barely can move a few squares with one action.

At first I tried to play the game on ironman, but realized it has its own set of issues. Namely that you're not allowed to loose squad members, so basically when an encounter goes wrong there is no point in continuing it, you must restart it anyway. Except in ironman you cannot restart the encounter, so the game turns into trying to deliberately kill your squad to force a restart. And the so called hardcore mode is completely bonkers, and pointless. It means that if you fail the entire campaign is forfeit. If you were allowed to loose people it might be workable, but not like this.

The save system is completely fucked up. The game creates an auto save after and before every action! So if you make one action that creates two new autosaves, overwriting 2 of the 3 max. So you must make manual saves if you want to have a shred of hope of going back to an earlier turn. And the saves aren't even in chronological order in the load menu, so you have to guess which one to load.

Some of the existing bugs of XCOM2 are carried over here, and they even managed to add a few new. Plus the game regularly crashes to the desktop or hangs.

To add insult to injury the game is filled to the brim with current day feminist and social justice propaganda. For example the muton squad member proclaims that human women are traditionally better and stronger warriors than men. The only meele unit in the squad is female. Which if you know me you must know I have absolutely zero problem with. I even prefer it, as usually my squad in XCOM2 was made of nothing but strong female soldiers. But here it is used as a propaganda tool.

The people who wrote this game seem to have no moral compass, everything goes as long as it serves the cause. The squad seems to enjoy violence. Which weirded me trough the entire game. They don't feel like guardians of peace, they act like rabid bullies and anarchists. If not for the propaganda and bad writing I'd not even have noticed that the white male doesn't exist in the game world. I'm not joking, there are literally no white male characters in the game. They aren't even good enough for villains now. If that is not a testament to the writers' racism / sexism, then I don't know what is.

+
  • Improved graphics
  • Fairly long for a budget game about 12 hours
  • Sometimes the battles can be exhilarating
-
  • Cringe inducing childish personalities of squad members
  • The balance is bad, game gets easier not harder as your progress
  • Terrible UI on the base
  • Every encounter plays out the same, rinse and repeat
  • Gets boring after 4 hours
  • Bugs and crashes
  • It's a social justice warrior's fantasy world
graphics/realization: 7/10
story/atmosphere: 0/10
gameplay/controls: 5/10
overall impression: 4/10

I was contemplating refunding the game, but then I slightly overshot the 2 hours limit. Since the game is only $10 now it might be worth picking up, just plug your ears for the conversations.
 

WarriorX

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 18, 2006
Messages
2,096
Beat a few games in the last few weeks or so...

Black Mesa:
An amazing update to a time less classic. BM gives a visual update, updates to map layouts, improves the AI and difficulty (I died quite a few times) and makes Xen actually fun to play. Xen sees the most changes and is almost entirely redone. Levels are expanded, and have a different flow but still the same idea. There are puzzles, mini bosses, etc. The final boss of the game was also a real boss. Overall really enjoyed my time playing it.

Little Nightmares:
A fun side scroll with horror and dark atmosphere. The environments are beautiful, the puzzles fun and the atmosphere intense. There were also some true WTF moments.

I rarely play these kind of games but glad I tried this game, it was a fun short adventure.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
A game that has a story that deals with a serious topic of mental illness and does a great job at portraying it behind an interesting story. The graphics are beautiful and the sound design is great. The game play is consists of solving puzzles and some minor combat that is difficult. The puzzles were fun, and some really made me think and walk around for 15 minutes trying to figure out what I was missing. The atmosphere is dark and will mess with your mind... There some twisted stuff in this game lol

The game probably isn't for everybody, even if you like puzzles due to the dark themes of the game. With that said, it was an intense journey to the end that I enjoyed the entire way through.
 

Flogger23m

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
10,941
Control

Ever see a game with an interesting premise and great graphics that draws you in? This is one of those games, but does the the game live up to the hype? To an extent it does, however Control never fully realizes the potential it had. The game is atmospheric with an interesting setting and a specific art style to go with it, which is immediately noticed. The developers of Control were not afraid to design an in game world that had a setting in place of bland, generic open worlds littered with empty space. The building the game takes place in is split up into different levels with a general brutalist architecture style, however not every level looks the same. Some are more centered around laboratories or underground facilities keeping the game environmentally fresh and allowing the player to recognize the different levels. Certain areas of the game have a more abstract look and level design.

As you would expect, the game's plot is portentous upon entering the building. Characters are vague, muddying their actual intentions. You will meet a number of side characters throughout the game that help guide you through tasks, but the main characters driving the events are not seen in game. Even the protagonist's background is only briefly covered although mostly sufficient for the purposes of the game. While the plot requires you to mentally keep track of things it never quite ties things up in a very coherent, solidified knot for why the events truly matter or why they are occurring. This is better than a generic, bland and spoon fed plot that many games have although you can't help but feel that the conclusion needed a bit more grounding.

The core gameplay, the combat, is fully sufficient. But once again, not revolutionary and nothing that will really standout. As a third person shooter the game is fairly decent but can never achieve the finesse of an FPS due to the inherent clumsiness of the third person perspective. You get one weapon, which can be modified in a number of ways. And again, while sufficient, it doesn't standout in any spectacular way. You can make it a rapid fire type weapon, a precision weapon, a shotgun - all standard fare. Upgrades are done via leveling, like most games these days. You can upgrade your abilities but again, some are often fairly middle of the road like upgrading health. Others increase your floating duration or allow you to use shields. Nothing that hasn't been done before and stuff that is expected in most modern shooter/action adventure games.

However I should note the combat itself can be decently fun. There is fairly detailed small scale destruction. Shooting a powerful blast will realistically destroy desks and send pieces and papers flying about. Floating around, dodging, shooting and throwing objects can be fun and visceral. While not revolutionary, it is a good example of a competent combat gameplay design. Enemy types can be somewhat evasive. There are also some bosses in the game that are optional. Exploration wise you can go off in different directions from the main quests and often times you will have to backtrack to previous levels. The game is open ended but not open world, which is a good thing. However sometimes finding your way to an objective can be a bit difficult, and occasionally killing that last wondering enemy can be a bit of a chore. Traversing to areas require a bit of puzzle solving and platforming occasionally which breaks things up from the combat. Some particular fights can be a bit difficult and tedious, but thankfully that is not the norm.

Sound design is typical. As with most games, sound effects and quality is fine. Voice acting is fine.

Technically, the game looks great. Face detail can use some work, but some of the environments and effects can look stunning. The small scale destruction mentioned earlier makes for some wonderful eye candy when the game is in motion. Reflections look great, lighting looks great and texture work is mostly of high quality. If you have the hardware, RTX looks fairly good as well. There are many RTX settings and options to turn on, although with my RTX 2070 I found it best to leave all off for maximum frame rates. I did not experience many bugs, absolutely nothing game breaking. Overall the game seemed polished and worked as intended and the performance was fine given the graphical quality.

Accumulating all of the above areas we have a competent game, but nothing revolutionary. The game is more polished than many of its peers, features better than average graphics with a plot more intriguing than most despite never developing as much as it could have. The game has no real low points, rather a mix of average to above average attributes. As such, this game is better than most and is certainly one of the better games I've played recently.

8.2 / 10
 

Furious_Styles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
1,902
C&C: Tiberian Sun + Firestorm

First I'll let you know that I used to primarily be a RTS player and the first C&C (Tib. Dawn) was one of my favorite games. However when this game came out I was playing StarCraft, which I believe to be a much superior game in terms of mechanics and balance. Since I was biased to MP games I never got around to doing the SP for this game. Turns out I should have, because it's the stronger component of this game imo.

The graphics engine of the game is probably the best part of it. Nice use of colors and you can still set the resolution you want, albeit the scaling still makes some stuff hard to see. The drawbacks of the engine were how they implemented some stuff. For example hills and deformable terrain are cool, but it's kind of ridiculous watching a unit end up in some huge hole after a few arty shots. Also deploying certain units can be a real pita. But the worst thing is the slow response time to your commands, it kinda feels like you are playing a fps with a 500 ping.

The story was fun and told where both sides are not diverging story lines like most games but parts of one timeline. It has the classic cutscenes that are corny in some respects but still pretty funny and well done.

The gameplay still leaves a bit to be desired if I'm honest. The AI is dumb and even on hard difficulty the most challenging thing is babysitting units so they don't die doing dumb stuff. Units won't even auto-attack enemy structures that don't attack them. Plus you can only queue 5 units at a time. That might seem okay but really is pretty low especially for fast building stuff like infantry.

Overall it was still enjoyable to play despite a few poorly designed missions.
8/10
 

harmattan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
4,542
XCOM: Chimera Squad
So was my initial reaction to the game warranted? Sadly yes.
Thanks for saving me from this purchase, I was fully intending to pick it up. It sounds like the UI changes (for an interface that was already teetering on being obtrusive), less tactical and strategic gameplay, and awful story they were trying to draw in more casual players. Unfortunate that in doing so (although not surprising), they ruined what was good with XCOM.

Also, I'm all for a message of inclusiveness. And after all, XCOM's premise is all of humankind vs. invading aliens. But I can't stomach cringy, reactionary and over-zealous proselytizing (and done clumsily from your description). I can't help imagining a game designer proudly standing up in a meeting thinking they were being revolutionary by proposing they make the melee squad all-female -- cringe. Weird that it's juxtaposed with what sounds like sadistic ultra-violence from the protag squads.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,208
Thanks for saving me from this purchase, I was fully intending to pick it up. It sounds like the UI changes (for an interface that was already teetering on being obtrusive), less tactical and strategic gameplay, and awful story they were trying to draw in more casual players. Unfortunate that in doing so (although not surprising), they ruined what was good with XCOM.

Also, I'm all for a message of inclusiveness. And after all, XCOM's premise is all of humankind vs. invading aliens. But I can't stomach cringy, reactionary and over-zealous proselytizing (and done clumsily from your description). I can't help imagining a game designer proudly standing up in a meeting thinking they were being revolutionary by proposing they make the melee squad all-female -- cringe. Weird that it's juxtaposed with what sounds like sadistic ultra-violence from the protag squads.
I have no problems with the melee squad being female, I had a problem with her attitude. "I'll punch everything and break bones and enjoy it"
I'm pretty sure the writers on this game were if not outright antifa then sympathizers of that bunch.
 

harmattan

Supreme [H]ardness
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Feb 11, 2008
Messages
4,542
I have no problems with the melee squad being female, I had a problem with her attitude. "I'll punch everything and break bones and enjoy it"
I'm pretty sure the writers on this game were if not outright antifa then sympathizers of that bunch.
No problem with an all-female squad either. I do, however, have a problem with an all female/male/straight/gay/Zoroastrian squad being shoehorned in to proselytize a dogma outside of the narrative of the actual game (regardless of whether I lean on the side of said dogma or not). Then, as I said, even stranger they're made to be ultraviolent.
 

M76

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Then, as I said, even stranger they're made to be ultraviolent.
Their disposition towards violence is of a child who hadn't learned how to be civilized yet. They seem to enjoy childish cruelty, and their "pranks" and "jokes" are all typical of the person who doesn't understand why everybody hates them. They probably based the characters in the game on themselves. You know, the HR rep who thinks everything in the common fridge is free for all, but giving a compliment to a co-worker is sexual harassment.
 

twonunpackmule

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,526
Resident Evil 3 (PC)

Solid title. A tad short...but not by much. I think I'd like one or two additional hours. Overall, really liked it. Though, I think they mixed up the AI for Nemesis with Mr.X. I vastly would have preferred Nemesis to behave like Mr.X in RE2make, with Mr.X behaving more like Nemesis does in RE3make. You can largely avoid Nemesis in the beginning half of the game...which is what I'd prefer of Mr.X in RE2make. I'm not going to play the game enough to learn the patterns and what have you. So, it was nice to have a less aggressive Nemesis overall. It's just not exactly correct for the game it should be.
 

Bitbat

n00b
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
36
exit the gungeon (2019-2020) played on PC

I must say playing this game was really fun, i got at least 200 attempts to beat the game but it was totally worth it.
There are five floors to each run, with the lead lord/exterior i will count as one part. Bosses are slightly easier in the game .

Since the sorcress will bless your gun every wrong it will mess up the experience for veteran etg players. Depending on your combo, you may get good ones or bad ones , just dodge roll in between. I would like it if they added the option for a non blessed run , it would be a better game experience. You can change each route and add hats to the game. There is a lot less content than the less game, though. Also a lot less bullets.



XTG was a lot easier than etg in my experience, Dodge rolling is quicker and bosses are a lot easier since there's not much going on the screen. Many items to collect but they still need to add a lot more content. The hardest route would be cultist or hunter. 7/10, not that great.
 
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Furious_Styles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
1,902
Ori and the Blind Forest

Played this on Gamepass for PC. I have not played a platformer in many years so this was my first jump back into the genre that has seen a resurgence of titles as of late. I thought the gameplay, story, graphics, and music were all very good/excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed the 10-12 hours I got out of it (100% completed it) so I highly recommend it if you enjoy these kinds of games. The game was not overly punishing or difficult (I played on normal due to long absence from the genre) and I died A LOT because of that.

So certainly pick this one up and give it a shot, you won't regret it! Really looking forward to playing the sequel here soon, which is also on gamepass.
 

ChoGGi

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May 7, 2005
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1,509
The sequel is nice, but it borrows gameplay from Hollow Knight, so it does feel differently.
 

WarriorX

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Nov 18, 2006
Messages
2,096
XCOM Chimera Squad.
TLDR Despite the fun I did have, honestly pass on this entry unless you you can grab it for <$5 and just want anything XCOM.

Kinda mixed on this one and will probably show based on what I have to say about it...but I enjoyed it enough for what it was. XCOM (very) lite. For $10 it was a decent time waster. Story concept was cool but not much substance. Mission to mission with only some dialog to explain stuff, just lacked any impact to the world... Characters were so so, with a lot of the customization stripped away. Think they went too far away from the customization and upgrade systems.

I did like the map system and having to strategically pick missions to ensure you didn't fail the game. Gives some sort of urgency. Class skills were fun but alot of them were carried over from previous games.

The banter was kinda fun, I found the aliens to be the most interesting. Didn't have nearly as bad of an experience as some though. Yes some of it was generic, stereotypical, some eye rolling at times stuff but it didn't negatively impact my experience, perhaps I just ignored it lol. I feel like they were trying to do Farcry Blood Dragon, but for XCOM. I don't think they quite reached the fun and humor they were expecting.

Paying anymore more that what I paid would have been a pass. I did stay with it to completion for 20 hours, and had fun slaying some enemies but I am disappointed this is what we got instead of a decent expansion to the series...probably won't replay anytime soon. XCOM3 better return to XCOM2 levels of greatness(Enemy Within was amazing too).

ABZU
Was going through my steam list and found I haven't played this. This was a fun short adventure. Beautiful scenery and music carried this game. Gameplay was ok but generic. It's basically a swimming version of a walking sim. It was relaxing to play which was enough to keep my interest till the end.
 
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Flogger23m

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Metro Exodus - DLC

Looks like these developers are following the same trend with their last game, non-functional DLC. Continuously gives a crash after starting the DLC. Fuck these Ukrainian bastard thieves. They release a good base game, then scam people out of their money with fake expansions that don't work.


- 1 / 10

Fuck these scum bags back to their European hellhole they came from. Another game that reminds me why PC gaming sucks so fucking much, because there are fucking thieves running amok.

Sent a nasty support message to Epic, Valve & GOG. Purchased another copy of each on all platforms and doing a charge back and letting them know why. If they want to support criminal enterprises, they can burn with them. No more sitting idly by and letting scammers take customers money for these three sleaze bags. Hit them in their wallet and told them to cease selling all products from 4A Games. Will they listen? Of course not, gamers are too lazy and will just buy/pirate the games and let the status quo of developer-scammers go on. If 500,000 people bought all 4A games from Valve and issued charge backs making Valve eat the fees maybe they'd get off their ass and do something for gamers, aside from fucking them in the ass.
 
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