Review the game you finished recently.

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jul 25, 2005
Messages
1,968
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice A-

Holy cow those graphics are amazing! Unreal Engine 4 for the win. Voice acting is superb. This game is really creative and different. Because the gameplay is so limited and time to beat is short I can see some people not liking it. It is also quite serious (mental health, tragic storyline) and some later parts of the game will scare the pants off you.

Hellblade is an ideal game to play on Xbox game pass, which is how I got a chance to play it. It is fun for a few days but I do not plan to come back to it like a GTA or Witcher game.

GTA V: A+

One of the best games ever made in the history of videogames. The game has been released on so many systems over the past 5-7 years. I first played it on PS4 and more recently on PC (free from Epic game store). What makes this game great is the large quantity of things to do while keeping most of it high quality. Unlike prior GTA games for PC, I did not have tech problems on this one. It looks very good and framerates are excellent. Obviously not recommended for children due to the adult content. I have only played the single player mode and cannot comment on the online stuff. Interesting side note is that the ending credits are the longest I have ever seen in a videogame. They put a TON of time and effort into this game and it shows.
 

Smoblikat

Weaksauce
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
122
Metro Exodus: C+

The graphics were decent, but nothing spectacular. The environments you get see are pretty unique from one another, but you very quickly run out of new things to explore by the time you get to your second playthrough. The AI is where this game really shines, many times ill be in a firefight, im "pretty" sure I heard a guy or 2 left alive somwhere, but I dont see/hear them so its "fine". Its never fine. I have been in situations where I legit dont know who or how many enemies are left, so ill peekaboo out for a sec, see if everything looks clear, then proceed to loot all the corpses because I assumed I was alone. Apparently one particularly dedicated individual was actively avoiding/stalking me for a real life 5 minutes, before I went to walk around a corner and was greeted by several 7.62X39 rounds in rapid succession :/ The AI is also seemingly capable of making really good tactical decisions on where to position themselves, apply cover fire etc.. which impressed me. The reason the game doesnt rank higher with me is due to one EXTREMELY glaring issue.....the hitboxes. I dont run fraps or any screen cap software anymore, but if I did, I would have one hell of a montage of bullets/knives visibly traveling through someones head, and doing nothing to them. Ive played these games since 2033, and my default weapon is always a silenced .44, nothing else does it for me. Paired with the fact that im doing a NewGame+ run on ranger hardcore, means that being able to accurately and predictably get headshots is a HUGE deal for me, otherwise it takes more than an entire clip of body shots to take some of these guys down. I played on the second hardest setting for my first playthrough, so missing headshots wasnt a "huge" deal since it didnt take many bullets to kill most enemies anyway, but its a deal sealer on an NG+ RHC run. The accuracy of body shots doesnt seem to be affected, its just throwing knives and bullets that go through peoples heads. The story was decent too, no really surprising twists or cliffhangers, but it was pretty well thought out and believable.

Overall I do prefer the more linear style of the previous 2 Metro games (best stealth games ive ever played), but I thought the open world concept in this game was cool, even if the environments/side quests lose most of their appeal after the first playthrough (exploring kinda sucks if you arent prepared to waste all of your ammunition reclaiming a fort or w/e only to be rewarded with the same exact scope youve found 6 times already..)
 

Eshelmen

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
4,862
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice A-

Holy cow those graphics are amazing! Unreal Engine 4 for the win. Voice acting is superb. This game is really creative and different. Because the gameplay is so limited and time to beat is short I can see some people not liking it. It is also quite serious (mental health, tragic storyline) and some later parts of the game will scare the pants off you.

Hellblade is an ideal game to play on Xbox game pass, which is how I got a chance to play it. It is fun for a few days but I do not plan to come back to it like a GTA or Witcher game.

GTA V: A+

One of the best games ever made in the history of videogames. The game has been released on so many systems over the past 5-7 years. I first played it on PS4 and more recently on PC (free from Epic game store). What makes this game great is the large quantity of things to do while keeping most of it high quality. Unlike prior GTA games for PC, I did not have tech problems on this one. It looks very good and framerates are excellent. Obviously not recommended for children due to the adult content. I have only played the single player mode and cannot comment on the online stuff. Interesting side note is that the ending credits are the longest I have ever seen in a videogame. They put a TON of time and effort into this game and it shows.
Did you play with the stock market at the end?

If you do it right, you'll have around 3 billion cash between Trevor, Michael and Franklin.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
1,968
Did you play with the stock market at the end?

If you do it right, you'll have around 3 billion cash between Trevor, Michael and Franklin.
I tried buying Gold Coast stock because a message board somewhere said I could make an 80% return. Kept checking back on the stock price, it went up 50% but then went back down. Every time after that it was only up around 10%. I must have done something wrong, or maybe the FAQ left out some important details. So no, I did not make much money in the stock market in GTA V.
 

Aireoth

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
3,884
Did you play with the stock market at the end?

If you do it right, you'll have around 3 billion cash between Trevor, Michael and Franklin.
But like all rockstar games it struggles with providing you with things worth buying that actually improve the gameplay experience.

obviously the online portion is different.
 

Eshelmen

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
4,862
But like all rockstar games it struggles with providing you with things worth buying that actually improve the gameplay experience.

obviously the online portion is different.

Eh, this is true. But it at least allows you to get into trouble without going broke some unlimited times.

It is upsetting that they never added a thing to SP post release.

Best to just restart the game at some point. Beaten it four times already. lol
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
1,968
Streets of Rage 4 (PC) Grade A.

Wow, talk about a terrific game! The best game in this genre that I have ever played. Graphics are cartoony and excellent. It sounds great. Hard to say if the soundtrack holds up to the classic versions. It is mostly a matter of personal preference. Both have outstanding music.

The gameplay has improved a lot over the classic versions. It also plays very fast and relies on fast combos. This makes the game exciting and fun. Secrets unlock as cumulative score increases. There are some neat references to earlier games in the series, like the police backup. There are cool cut-scenes in-between levels that tell a ridiculous story (ridiculous in a good way). 12 levels, multiple difficulty settings, and plenty of characters to try.

No tech problems whatsoever, it runs perfectly. I have not tried the 2 player mode yet, and it even has 2 player online! This game is highly recommended.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,175
C&C Remastered Collection (2020)

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I usually hold off on reviewing games until after I've completely finished them, but this time there is no point. Finishing all four campaigns won't change an ounce on my review, since the remaster offered nothing new after my second mission. So after finishing the GDI campaign in C&C and now being 2/3 of the way into the Allied campaign of Red Alert, I'm pretty confident I have enough to write an informed review.

I like to appeal to reason and intelligence and will call out hypocrisy no matter which side it comes from. This time its not from the agitators, but the gamers who act hypocritical. They bash entertainment media for trying to appeal to nostalgia to lure people in, but this time they themselves are using nostalgia to defend this so called remaster.

I say so called, because it is not a remaster in my opinion. It is a graphics upgrade and that's the end of it. It is a low effort cash grab, and the gamers are eating it up. I'm sorry, dear reader, if you defend this then you are being foolish.
So what did they do? What can you expect? Gameplay wise absolutely nothing. This is the 1995/1996 games without literally any change, and I employ literally very literally this time. The game plays exactly the same, even the bugs are left exactly the same, they didn't even bother to fix the glaring issues. Every bug I encountered in 1995 is back again to annoy and haunt me.

The difference is that in '96 I played on a 486, and we chalked up those limitations and idiocies of the game to the limitations of the hardware. Now, 25 years later that excuse no longer flies. I expected a major overhaul of the games, bringing them to the 21st century in style. At worst I had hoped for a C&C Generals level experience, and a re-balancing of the AI and missions.

To put into perspective how little effort went into the remaster, the only thing they did to the cutscenes is run an AI upscaler on the blurry overcompressed footage from the first game. They didn't even bother to go back to the original footage and re-do the CGI. And they have the original footage, as the only interesting feature of the re-release is the bonus footage where they show raw green screen sessions, that are much better quality than the actual in-game cutscenes. Why? I assume becuase those were newly digitized with modern hardware and software.

In my estimation they spent a minimal amount of cash on this, I'd be surprised if the actual production budget was more than $200.000. No, that's not a typo.
Let's see what they actually did:
  • Run AI upscaler on videos: let's be generous: $1000 for one week time of a technician, and the electricity bill
  • Remixes of music: $25.000 honorarium for the composer (and that's being very generous, esp. for the quality of the outcome, but later about that)
  • Drawing the new high-rez art: $50.000 for 6 months and two artists
  • Coding the new menus and frontend and integrating the old code: $75.000 for two coders for 6 months.
  • Every other secondary work, like netcode upgrades: whatever left over.
This is not a product that is worth $20, the intentions of the creators might be good, but this is still a typical EA cashgrab.
One of the most hyped features of the re-master was the remastered music, and previously unreleased tracks. Let me tell it staright: The remastered tracks are bloody awful, after two missions my ears said enough, and I went in to the menu, to change the playlist so the game only plays the original tracks. Yes, the new ones are really unbearably bad, not just musically, but the audio is somehow off as well, it sounded painful.

And to add insult to injury the game doesn't even support ultrawide properly. The cutscenes have black bars on all four sides, while in the game on the left and right. Unacceptable.

The graphics looks nice enough when you zoom in, but it's unpractical to play it like that, and when you zoom out for maximum coverage the units barely look different from the original.

I couldn't find the special move commands in the game. In the old ones you could order your units to follow certain other units, or to aggressive move, meaning automatically attack any enemy on the way, this feature seems to be missing from the game. The only special command that actually remains is the force attack. (To attack friendlies or seemingly empty blocks)

You can't overwrite saves in it. When you select the save option there is no way to overwrite an older save, as the save selection screen doesn't even appear, you have to manually enter a name for each save, and all will be stored as a separate save, meaning you'll end up with hundreds of redundant and unnecessary saves by the time you finish a campaign. Unless you choose to manually delete them one by one.

Pros and cons?
+
  • It works (the old games were becoming increasingly problematic on new systems)
  • Integration of the old installers as cutscenes
  • Bonus features
-
  • The new graphics isn't really that great or different when zoomed out
  • No ultrawide support
  • New music is awful
  • The cutscenes are just upscaled, not actually remastered or upgraded in any way
  • No way to overwrite saves.
  • No special moves
  • It really doesn't hold up very well to modern standards.
Scores (as a remaster, as the original qualities of the game are irrelevant this way)

Graphics/Realization: 4/10
Story/atmosphere: Not applicable
Gameplay/controls: 6/10
Overall impression: 3/10

The only reason to buy this is if you want to desperately re-play the classics right now. Otherwise I'd wait for it to drop to $5, that's what it's actually worth. And for new players I don't recommend this at all. This is an old game, re-released almost unchanged, it is not up to par with modern expectations. Unless you are ready to give it massive leeway and curtail your expectations it will be a disappointment and a frustrating experience, and you'll be standing there baffled why those old guys are so in love with this game.
 

Pivo504

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Messages
2,453
C&C Remastered Collection (2020)

View attachment 253591

I usually hold off on reviewing games until after I've completely finished them, but this time there is no point. Finishing all four campaigns won't change an ounce on my review, since the remaster offered nothing new after my second mission. So after finishing the GDI campaign in C&C and now being 2/3 of the way into the Allied campaign of Red Alert, I'm pretty confident I have enough to write an informed review.

I like to appeal to reason and intelligence and will call out hypocrisy no matter which side it comes from. This time its not from the agitators, but the gamers who act hypocritical. They bash entertainment media for trying to appeal to nostalgia to lure people in, but this time they themselves are using nostalgia to defend this so called remaster.

I say so called, because it is not a remaster in my opinion. It is a graphics upgrade and that's the end of it. It is a low effort cash grab, and the gamers are eating it up. I'm sorry, dear reader, if you defend this then you are being foolish.
So what did they do? What can you expect? Gameplay wise absolutely nothing. This is the 1995/1996 games without literally any change, and I employ literally very literally this time. The game plays exactly the same, even the bugs are left exactly the same, they didn't even bother to fix the glaring issues. Every bug I encountered in 1995 is back again to annoy and haunt me.

The difference is that in '96 I played on a 486, and we chalked up those limitations and idiocies of the game to the limitations of the hardware. Now, 25 years later that excuse no longer flies. I expected a major overhaul of the games, bringing them to the 21st century in style. At worst I had hoped for a C&C Generals level experience, and a re-balancing of the AI and missions.

To put into perspective how little effort went into the remaster, the only thing they did to the cutscenes is run an AI upscaler on the blurry overcompressed footage from the first game. They didn't even bother to go back to the original footage and re-do the CGI. And they have the original footage, as the only interesting feature of the re-release is the bonus footage where they show raw green screen sessions, that are much better quality than the actual in-game cutscenes. Why? I assume becuase those were newly digitized with modern hardware and software.

In my estimation they spent a minimal amount of cash on this, I'd be surprised if the actual production budget was more than $200.000. No, that's not a typo.
Let's see what they actually did:
  • Run AI upscaler on videos: let's be generous: $1000 for one week time of a technician, and the electricity bill
  • Remixes of music: $25.000 honorarium for the composer (and that's being very generous, esp. for the quality of the outcome, but later about that)
  • Drawing the new high-rez art: $50.000 for 6 months and two artists
  • Coding the new menus and frontend and integrating the old code: $75.000 for two coders for 6 months.
  • Every other secondary work, like netcode upgrades: whatever left over.
This is not a product that is worth $20, the intentions of the creators might be good, but this is still a typical EA cashgrab.
One of the most hyped features of the re-master was the remastered music, and previously unreleased tracks. Let me tell it staright: The remastered tracks are bloody awful, after two missions my ears said enough, and I went in to the menu, to change the playlist so the game only plays the original tracks. Yes, the new ones are really unbearably bad, not just musically, but the audio is somehow off as well, it sounded painful.

And to add insult to injury the game doesn't even support ultrawide properly. The cutscenes have black bars on all four sides, while in the game on the left and right. Unacceptable.

The graphics looks nice enough when you zoom in, but it's unpractical to play it like that, and when you zoom out for maximum coverage the units barely look different from the original.

I couldn't find the special move commands in the game. In the old ones you could order your units to follow certain other units, or to aggressive move, meaning automatically attack any enemy on the way, this feature seems to be missing from the game. The only special command that actually remains is the force attack. (To attack friendlies or seemingly empty blocks)

You can't overwrite saves in it. When you select the save option there is no way to overwrite an older save, as the save selection screen doesn't even appear, you have to manually enter a name for each save, and all will be stored as a separate save, meaning you'll end up with hundreds of redundant and unnecessary saves by the time you finish a campaign. Unless you choose to manually delete them one by one.

Pros and cons?
+
  • It works (the old games were becoming increasingly problematic on new systems)
  • Integration of the old installers as cutscenes
  • Bonus features
-
  • The new graphics isn't really that great or different when zoomed out
  • No ultrawide support
  • New music is awful
  • The cutscenes are just upscaled, not actually remastered or upgraded in any way
  • No way to overwrite saves.
  • No special moves
  • It really doesn't hold up very well to modern standards.
Scores (as a remaster, as the original qualities of the game are irrelevant this way)

Graphics/Realization: 4/10
Story/atmosphere: Not applicable
Gameplay/controls: 6/10
Overall impression: 3/10

The only reason to buy this is if you want to desperately re-play the classics right now. Otherwise I'd wait for it to drop to $5, that's what it's actually worth. And for new players I don't recommend this at all. This is an old game, re-released almost unchanged, it is not up to par with modern expectations. Unless you are ready to give it massive leeway and curtail your expectations it will be a disappointment and a frustrating experience, and you'll be standing there baffled why those old guys are so in love with this game.
Jeez was going to buy this but after this review I might as well wait for a 5 dollar sale like you mentioned!
All the other reviews seem to give it high praise .....?
 
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M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,175
Jeez was going to buy this but after this review I might as well wait for a 5 dollar sale like you mentioned!
All the other reviews seem to give it high praise .....?
They are easy pleased by nostalgia. There is nothing wrong with it if you just want to play the old games unchanged with slightly better graphics. I just don't think the effort they put in warrants the price tag.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,175
The Last of Us Part 2

maxresdefault-1.jpg

There is a corner of people who have convinced themselves, that this game is a result of an evil feminist conspiracy. And they religiously believe that it is an utterly terrible game, full of SJW propaganda.
I'm going to try to convince you not to listen to them.

This review will be entirely spoiler free...
Which won't be easy but I'll do my best in a game where the story is the most important part. But since there is so much to talk about the story, I'll create another post later on, where I'll discuss the story with spoilers.
So we saw a lot of 10/10 reviews out there, and those people while not missing the mark so wildly as the above mentioned group, they are still biased and not telling you the whole truth.
The-Last-of-Us--Part-II_20200620140207.jpg

Gameplay
The game is far from perfect, even story wise, but first let's see the technical aspects. The gameplay is virtually unchanged compared to the first game. That's a 7 year old title, which wasn't exactly ground breaking even then. I haven't seen a QTE in a game for a long time, everyone abandoned them as they should, but not ND, this game has plenty of them. Even those freaking annoying direct jumps from cutscene to QTE, where you suddenly have to press a button or fail.

However there are improvements to be found, but mostly just streamlining. I could play this more effectively than the first one, the stealth seems more smooth and predictable. And in most encounters you can actually choose if you take down all enemies or stealth through, both approaches are effective, in the first game stealth only worked against clickers for the most part.

The-Last-of-Us--Part-II_20200619203356.jpg

The game doesn't get boring, because the gameplay is broken up by cutscenes, and slower segments of exploration. And on top of that it switches between multiple playable characters that have slightly different abilities. There are also occasional flashback sequences. The only issue I noticed that after switching the playable character four times in the first 2 hours of the game, you are stuck with one character for about 10 hours, I could've done with a change a little earlier than that.

What I found most annoying is the constant shortage of resources. And it's not the availability of resources in the environment, but the fact that you can't stock up on things. Your ammo carrying capacity is limited to 6-10 bullets / weapon. That is ridiculously low. And you can only carry 3 of each crafting material, when many of the materials are shared between multiple craftable items. So it doesn't matter that you set resource difficulty to easy or hard, that only affects how much material you can find laying around. But you still have to win encounters with minimal amounts of resources. So the difficulty setting is kind of meaningless unless you want to ignore scavenging for resources.

Overall gameplay is solid even if a bit disappointing in terms of there being no new mechanics at all. The combat difficulty setting is quite meaningless also, as the hardest part of the game is when you fight monsters that instakill you. And there is no difference in that whether you play on hardest or easiest. So the game is not "journo easy" to say the least.

The-Last-of-Us--Part-II_20200620192208.jpg

The technical aspects
There are areas where the game made huge leaps. Namely character animations. This game has the best animations, facial and otherwise that I've seen in anything. It seems to me that they made the leap where people's muscles are actually simulated, I mean the body parts are not rigid, but change their shape depending on movements and actions, as the muscles contract and relax. I have not seen that in any other game to date. We are very close to where you won't be able to distinguish between a real human and a 3D generated animated computer model of one.

The Graphics
The graphics is up there with the best, but not actually the best. I think in terms of characters Detroit Become Human still has it beat, and in terms of the environment Ghost Recon Breakpoint is superior. But this one is not far behind, and of course this is great in both the environment and the characters, so not just a one trick pony like those games.

The game is locked to 30fps even on the PS4 PRO, which I played it on. It uses 4K output but with checkerboard rendering, meaning in each frame parts of the frame are rendered at a lower resultion, leaving your brain to fill in the gaps. Because of that each screenshot of the game will look significantly worse than the game actually looks in motion. You cannot do it justice with screenshots. So keep that in mind when you look at any images of the game, including the ones in this review.

The-Last-of-Us--Part-II_20200620185448.jpg

The Story
Oh this is the hard bit to judge without specifics. First thing first: I could not detect the SJW influence in the game, or feminist frequency for that matter. The writing is not suffering like in the case of XCOM Chimera Squad, the characters aren't quota mandated, or defined by their gender. There is no shitting on men, or proclaiming of female superiority or any trans sex for that matter.

There is nothing to fear unless you are disheartened by the mere inclusion of a strong female character. And strong in this case means physically strong.

The main focal point of the story is trying to humanize the enemy. Which funny enough I was contemplating in my review of the first Last of Us, that the bad guys are always portrayed as psychopaths or sociopaths in these stories and it made no sense to me. Well that changes here and now. As we see the story playing both sides. In fact in my case, and I may be alone in this, the roles were completely reversed. I was actually rooting for the supposed anti-hero.

The first 20 hours of the game was pretty amazing, I enjoyed the hell out of it. But we should've left things as they were in Seattle. If the story stopped right after that I'd have named this game of the year. But no, they had to just keep dragging it on, and on, and on. This is a clear case where less would've been more.

Everything that happens after Seattle feels rushed, there are huge leaps in time and space, that make zero sense. It's as if they suddenly cancelled The Last of Us 3 and quickly slapped the key points of it's proposed story arc to the end of this game. I freaking hated that bit, especially for how depressive it was. I still hasn't fully recovered and I finished the game 2 days ago.

The-Last-of-Us--Part-II_20200620183151.jpg

Final thoughts
This was a roller coaster alright, unfortunately one that just slid off the tracks at the end and disintegrated, instead of coming to a graceful stop at a station. That said however I wouldn't have missed the first 20 hours of the game for any reason.
I know this is advice that is impossible to keep, but you are better off quitting the game after Seattle and never finishing it. It would've been better for me for sure. I feel miserable now. I felt hopeful at that point. But the fact that I feel miserable is a kind of testament to the quality of the writing and the characters. My subconscious cannot tell that these are fictional characters, and I feel awfully sorry for them, even though my conscious mind knows it's all fake.

620115640.mp4_snapshot_04.02_-2020.06.20_22.54.17-.jpg

The pros and cons
+

  • Character animations
  • Length of the game
  • Graphics
  • The writing of the characters
  • Pacing
-
  • A bit old fashioned gameplay
  • A few moments that strained my suspension of disbelief, or were unnecessarily gruesome
  • The part after Seattle is too rushed
  • And I also hated that part
  • And it left me feeling utterly miserable

Scores
Graphics/Realization: 9/10
Story/Atmoshpere: 7/10
Gameplay/Controls: 6/10
Overall impression: 9/10

Buy or no buy?
After the first 20 hours I'd have said must buy. But I don't want to cause anyone to feel as miserable as me after the ending. So if you are a softie like me who easily gets attached to fictional characters, then you might want to consider whether the ride, which was absolutely amazing by the way, is worth feeling like a miserable burlap sack of turds for a week after finishing the game. At least I hope it only takes a week for my will to live to return.

The-Last-of-Us--Part-II_20200621123618.jpg
 
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biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
1,968
Gears of War 4: B.
Gears of War 5: A.

Note the reviews are for the single player campaign. I have not tried multi-player or coop campaign. This is for the PC versions of the games.

I have played Gears 1-5 but not the judgement game. Even though 4 is the weakest of the series, it is still a good game. 5 is a lot more ambitious and adds some new gameplay mechanics. So, play 4 if you are fan of the series, while 5 is a must play for everyone.

Both 4 and 5 have amazing graphics. With 5 being newer they are even better there. Optimization on both titles is incredible and the built-in benchmark is the best. It tells you exactly which graphics settings have small, medium, or large impacts on performance. I set both games to auto detect and they worked amazingly well.

The storylines are above average but the voice acting is outstanding. 5 has more drama and suspense in its story. The storyline between the 2 games is connected. But if you only play 5 it has a feature that summarizes the story in the 4th game so that everything makes sense.

Both games are on Xbox game pass for PC. That would be a good place to play the SP campaigns as they are not super long. You could get a month pass for $5 and play through both campaigns.
 

modi123

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
5,820
SlimeRancher - 7/10; would suggest buying on a steam sale.

Thoroughly enjoyed chilling out managing my corrals of semi sentient slimes so I could collect their poop to fuel some intergalactic economy. Exploring was fun, the DLCish style updates were amusing to interact with, and experimenting with combos were intriguing.

Were some crashing issues with steam early on, but those evened out, and the weird 'crash on exit' was simply solved by giving the game a good 15 seconds to wrap up before existing the main menu.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,175
TLOU2 Story analysis with spoilers
I just realized something. All the people who hate on the game for Ellie sparing Abby at the end are all justifying Abby's murder of Joel. Quite ironic. Of course Abby's father being one of the doctors who Joel killed when he saved Ellie from being turned into a cure by the fireflies.

So the story begins with Joel and Ellie living happily ever after in Jackson, the settlement they arrived at at the end of TLOU. They show that Ellie and Joel act quite distant from each other, and the haters all assume this is feminist propaganda to bring down father figures.
But it turns out the coldness between them is there because Ellie knows what Joel did. It is revealed later in the game in a flashback, which is a quite rewarding story moment. It suddenly makes sense why they were so cold towards each other at the beginning of the game.

Talking about "bad" father figures, in further flashbacks both Abby's father and Joel are portrayed as great father figures. So much for there being an agenda against father figures.
After the initial idyll, It so happens that team Abby arrives in town, they capture Joel and Abby kills Joel quite gruesomely. I think that bit doesn't fit well with the character, I don't know why did they have to include torture. It makes no sense to me.
But they hurt nobody else, there are no other casualties.


Of course Ellie decides to go after Abby in a revenge fueled mission to get her. Which is exactly what Abby did. They are doing the same, but for some reason the haters think one is justified and the other isn't. The double standard is very strong here.

In the 10 hours of the game after the initial prologue, we play as Ellie rampaging through Seattle killing everyone who gets in her way without remorse. Including all, literally all of Abby's friends. Remember, Ellie&co kills Abby's every friend, loved one, and even acquaintance. Abby&co killed nobody else but Joel in Jackson. Quite a disconnect. Still they think Ellie is perfectly justified while Abby is the evil one.

Then comes the third act. In which we play as Abby showing her journey through the same three day time period that we played with Ellie. We also get flashbacks with her where her character is slowly built up. And built well. Yes pun intended.

Through circumstance she ends up being captured by the other group living in Seattle, the religious fanatics known to outsiders as scars, who actually don't play a big role in the story, the haters assumed they will be the main villains, yet we don't even meet their leader ever, they are just background decoration. But I digress they want to string Abby up for being a non-believer and whatnot. But she ends up being saved by two runaway kids of the group. So in turn she tries to help them, sparing no expense. Which makes her old comrades look at her as a traitor and wanting to kill her. So being an outcast now, and no friends left, she finds Ellie, and after a fight, she again spares their lives. Except for poor Jesse who gets caught in the crossfire. She could've killed them all, but no she showed she is the better person yet again and let them leave with their lives.



After this she goes on a wild goose chase to find what remains of the Fireflies but ends up being captured by slavers.
Meanwhile Ellie retreats with her girlfriend to a farm and the child is born, oh I didn't mention the child before, yes Ellie's GF is impregnated by Jesse before they go on the Journey to Seattle. But Ellie just can't sit on her ass, she decides to go after Abby again after hearing some rumors. She ends up finding her trail, infiltrates the slaver camp kills all the slavers. Only to find Abby turned into a scrawny used up shell. That was really painful for me to witness, I wish I could unsee it. Ellie still wants to fight, but Abby refuses. So Ellie threatens to kill Lev, the runaway scar who Abby saved. Who is the real villain here, really? Threatening an innocent kid to coerce someone into a fight?

So they fight but at the last moment Ellie has a flashback to Joel being a good father and ends up showing mercy. So Abby disappears into the fog with Lev. And Ellie returns to the farm, only to find that everybody is gone, they packed up everything except Ellie's personal stuff and left. She takes out the guitar and realizes she can no longer play it because she lost two fingers in the final fight against Abby.
The End.

With that said it is pretty obvious that I'm on team Abby, I believe she becomes the protagonist of the game by the end while Ellie turns into the antagonist.

So that's the story in broad terms. I think I put forward a good case that shows that Abby and Ellie are either both villains or both good, nobody is completely in the right here. And neither one's vendetta is more justified than the other's. There was only one thing that was iffy to me about the story. How Abby murdered Joel, not the fact, just the method. Everything else I think was well executed and written.

And quite frankly I'm now more interested in what becomes of Abby than of Ellie. So if through some miracle a third game gets made, it should focus on Abby. That's what I wish. Plus I wish to see the look on the face of any Abby hater who reads this.

Now that I've written this I feel a weight was lifted off me.


Additional fodder
An attack on father figures, what a load of crap. If anything the game shows how important good father figures are.
The haters also assumed that Abby was a tranny because she was muscular. But when they realised that they were wrong they instead tried attacking her even worse, but that just shows how insecure they are. They can't handle a girl having bigger muscles than them.
And then they dogpiled on Druckmann for injecting himself into the sex scene with Abby, which turns out was their worst mistake.
  1. The character they thought was based on Druckman was not even in the sex scene
  2. And was not actually based on Druckman but on an actor to begin with.
They rage at their own projections. And they call out SJWs for cancel culture.
But what is this if not cancel culture? They are trying to ruin the game because of how they feel about it. If the weight of that irony could be felt...Earth would be a black hole.
 
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T4rd

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TLOU2 Story analysis with spoilers
I just realized something. All the people who hate on the game for Ellie sparing Abby at the end are all justifying Abby's murder of Joel. Quite ironic. Of course Abby's father being one of the doctors who Joel killed when he saved Ellie from being turned into a cure by the fireflies.

So the story begins with Joel and Ellie living happily ever after in Jackson, the settlement they arrived at at the end of TLOU. They show that Ellie and Joel act quite distant from each other, and the haters all assume this is feminist propaganda to bring down father figures.
But it turns out the coldness between them is there because Ellie knows what Joel did. It is revealed later in the game in a flashback, which is a quite rewarding story moment. It suddenly makes sense why they were so cold towards each other at the beginning of the game.

Talking about "bad" father figures, in further flashbacks both Abby's father and Joel are portrayed as great father figures. So much for there being an agenda against father figures.
After the initial idyll, It so happens that team Abby arrives in town, they capture Joel and Abby kills Joel quite gruesomely. I think that bit doesn't fit well with the character, I don't know why did they have to include torture. It makes no sense to me.
But they hurt nobody else, there are no other casualties.


Of course Ellie decides to go after Abby in a revenge fueled mission to get her. Which is exactly what Abby did. They are doing the same, but for some reason the haters think one is justified and the other isn't. The double standard is very strong here.

In the 10 hours of the game after the initial prologue, we play as Ellie rampaging through Seattle killing everyone who gets in her way without remorse. Including all, literally all of Abby's friends. Remember, Ellie&co kills Abby's every friend, loved one, and even acquaintance. Abby&co killed nobody else but Joel in Jackson. Quite a disconnect. Still they think Ellie is perfectly justified while Abby is the evil one.

Then comes the third act. In which we play as Abby showing her journey through the same three day time period that we played with Ellie. We also get flashbacks with her where her character is slowly built up. And built well. Yes pun intended.

Through circumstance she ends up being captured by the other group living in Seattle, the religious fanatics known to outsiders as scars, who actually don't play a big role in the story, the haters assumed they will be the main villains, yet we don't even meet their leader ever, they are just background decoration. But I digress they want to string Abby up for being a non-believer and whatnot. But she ends up being saved by two runaway kids of the group. So in turn she tries to help them, sparing no expense. Which makes her old comrades look at her as a traitor and wanting to kill her. So being an outcast now, and no friends left, she finds Ellie, and after a fight, she again spares their lives. Except for poor Jesse who gets caught in the crossfire. She could've killed them all, but no she showed she is the better person yet again and let them leave with their lives.



After this she goes on a wild goose chase to find what remains of the Fireflies but ends up being captured by slavers.
Meanwhile Ellie retreats with her girlfriend to a farm and the child is born, oh I didn't mention the child before, yes Ellie's GF is impregnated by Jesse before they go on the Journey to Seattle. But Ellie just can't sit on her ass, she decides to go after Abby again after hearing some rumors. She ends up finding her trail, infiltrates the slaver camp kills all the slavers. Only to find Abby turned into a scrawny used up shell. That was really painful for me to witness, I wish I could unsee it. Ellie still wants to fight, but Abby refuses. So Ellie threatens to kill Lev, the runaway scar who Abby saved. Who is the real villain here, really? Threatening an innocent kid to coerce someone into a fight?

So they fight but at the last moment Ellie has a flashback to Joel being a good father and ends up showing mercy. So Abby disappears into the fog with Lev. And Ellie returns to the farm, only to find that everybody is gone, they packed up everything except Ellie's personal stuff and left. She takes out the guitar and realizes she can no longer play it because she lost two fingers in the final fight against Abby.
The End.

With that said it is pretty obvious that I'm on team Abby, I believe she becomes the protagonist of the game by the end while Ellie turns into the antagonist.

So that's the story in broad terms. I think I put forward a good case that shows that Abby and Ellie are either both villains or both good, nobody is completely in the right here. And neither one's vendetta is more justified than the other's. There was only one thing that was iffy to me about the story. How Abby murdered Joel, not the fact, just the method. Everything else I think was well executed and written.

And quite frankly I'm now more interested in what becomes of Abby than of Ellie. So if through some miracle a third game gets made, it should focus on Abby. That's what I wish. Plus I wish to see the look on the face of any Abby hater who reads this.

Now that I've written this I feel a weight was lifted off me.


Additional fodder
An attack on father figures, what a load of crap. If anything the game shows how important good father figures are.
The haters also assumed that Abby was a tranny because she was muscular. But when they realised that they were wrong they instead tried attacking her even worse, but that just shows how insecure they are. They can't handle a girl having bigger muscles than them.
And then they dogpiled on Druckmann for injecting himself into the sex scene with Abby, which turns out was their worst mistake.
  1. The character they thought was based on Druckman was not even in the sex scene
  2. And was not actually based on Druckman but on an actor to begin with.
They rage at their own projections. And they call out SJWs for cancel culture.
But what is this if not cancel culture? They are trying to ruin the game because of how they feel about it. If the weight of that irony could be felt...Earth would be a black hole.
I mostly agree with this and is how I initially interpreted the game and story as well.

Just a couple things it seems you missed in your review; you didn't mention Tommy at all for some reason, though I'm sure it wasn't intentional, and he was somewhat of a major character in all of this.

Not only did Abby kill Jessie in that scene, but she also domed (shot in the head) Tommy on the ground and he was presumed dead until we see him again at Ellie's ranch house with a maimed face. So Abby had every intention of killing him at least and is worth adding him to Abby's kill count. Tommy also killed Manny (and his whole squad before that scene) with a headshot at the end of that sniper scene with Abby and Manny, so Ellie didn't get all of her friends, but most of them.

But yeah, I don't get the SJW narrative at all here that people are pushing on the game. Everyone thought Abby was a trans persons from the leaks just because she was pretty ripped for a woman, which she clearly wasn't like that before her dad died in that flashback, which insinuates that his death motivated her to work out like that in preparation to find and kill Joel. But once we learn that she's actually a straight woman, everyone turns to Lev who doesn't even seem to be any more trans than Mulan was in that Disnet movie, given that he's mostly a kid still that wanted to be a soldier and was about to be married off to some cult elder who would basically have rights to rape her whenever he wants. Pretty sure I would want to change teams too at that point in that case if I was that young, esp. since there was nothing sexual about it whatsoever.

Lots of people also feel that the game should have ended with Ellie at the ranch with Dina, which I thought surely it was going to when I played it. It also seemed that it was pretty out of character for Ellie to decide to continue the hunt for Abby after all she'd been through already and what she had to live for now with Dina and the baby. But again, Tommy is partially to blame here because he paid that visit to them because Ellie "promised" to him that she'd avenge Joel (which I'm not sure if that was ever shown in the game or not, I don't remember her ever saying that and assumed that was said off-screen) and brought the information that allowed Ellie to find Abby. But after seeing her PTSD flashbacks, I can understand her need to have some sort of closure by finishing Abby off, even if she may have known that wasn't really going to cure her of everything, so I don't hold that epilogue against the writers of the game still.

I mostly agree with you too that Abby was the "better" character between the two, but both of them suffer from basically the same flaws in that their insatiable thirst of vengeance got the better of them, just more so for Ellie since she had to go after Abby again after it was over the first time and I'm sure Abby thought she'd never see Ellie again, and it was really over for Abby after she killed Joel.

What's pretty messed up too is that Joel had just saved Abby's life and she still turns right around and kills him immediately thereafter and even tortures him before that final blow. I'm not sure if that's really out of character for her or not, but its pretty brutal either way.
 
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M76

[H]F Junkie
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I mostly agree with this and is how I initially interpreted the game and story as well.

Just a couple things it seems you missed in your review; you didn't mention Tommy at all for some reason, though I'm sure it wasn't intentional, and he was somewhat of a major character in all of this.

Not only did Abby kill Jessie in that scene, but she also domed (shot in the head) Tommy on the ground and he was presumed dead until we see him again at Ellie's ranch house with a maimed face. So Abby had every intention of killing him at least and is worth adding him to Abby's kill count. Tommy also killed Manny (and his whole squad before that scene) with a headshot at the end of that sniper scene with Abby and Manny, so Ellie didn't get all of her friends, but most of them.
I did say Ellie&co killed Abby's friends. I added that distinction specifically for that I didn't mention Tommy by name, because I didn't want to drag this out too long.
Yes, I forgot to mention that Abby intended to kill Tommy, but after Manny's head exploded onto her, and Tommy almost got her too, I kind of can't fault her for that. I was surprised by the fact that he was alive later too.

But yeah, I don't get the SJW narrative at all here that people are pushing on the game. Everyone thought Abby was a trans persons from the leaks just because she was pretty ripped for a woman, which she clearly wasn't like that before her dad died in that flashback, which insinuates that his death motivated her to work out like that in preparation to find and kill Joel.
IDK She looked pretty happy in the aquarium scene and wasn't all consumed by revenge, and she already mentioned working out then.
I loved that scene where she pulls up Owen and he looks baffled and she has this proud look on her face. That's what I mean when I say facial animations are uncanny in the game and in a good way.

But once we learn that she's actually a straight woman, everyone turns to Lev who doesn't even seem to be any more trans than Mulan was in that Disnet movie, given that he's mostly a kid still that wanted to be a soldier and was about to be married off to some cult elder who would basically have rights to rape her whenever he wants. Pretty sure I would want to change teams too at that point in that case if I was that young, esp. since there was nothing sexual about it whatsoever.
I honestly didn't even notice that he was trans, I seen him just as a regular kid. I assumed the elders of the cult were being given boys as wives, after all the real catholic church liked them too, I didn't even think twice.

Lots of people also feel that the game should have ended with Ellie at the ranch with Dina, which I thought surely it was going to when I played it.
That's what I thought too.

It also seemed that it was pretty out of character for Ellie to decide to continue the hunt for Abby after all she'd been through already and what she had to live for now with Dina and the baby. But again, Tommy is partially to blame here because he paid that visit to them because Ellie "promised" to him that she'd avenge Joel (which I'm not sure if that was ever shown in the game or not, I don't remember her ever saying that and assumed that was said off-screen) and brought the information that allowed Ellie to find Abby.
That bit was definitely off screen.


But after seeing her PTSD flashbacks, I can understand her need to have some sort of closure by finishing Abby off, even if she may have known that wasn't really going to cure her of everything, so I don't hold that epilogue against the writers of the game still.
What I hold against them is how rushed it was, with the time and spatial jumps. But I do think the writing was good there as well.
What's pretty messed up too is that Joel had just saved Abby's life and she still turns right around and kills him immediately thereafter and even tortures him before that final blow. I'm not sure if that's really out of character for her or not, but its pretty brutal either way.
Yeah I agree that was a messed up thing to do, right after they helped her, that's why I think it was out of character especially considering how selfless she is with Lev and Yara.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Messages
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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. B (above average).
This feels like a game that should be better than it turned out. First off, the graphics are outstanding. Another good use of the Unreal Engine 4. Music is good, but not up to the standards of the legendary Symphony of the Night (SOTN). Gameplay starts off in a familiar way. If you played the PS1 classic it will feel familiar in a very good way.

The problem is the gameplay is arguably not as good as SOTN, a game released in 1997. The main issue I ran into was difficulty spikes. Because Bloodstained uses manual saves by finding the correct rooms in the castle, it is easy to get killed an lose a TON of gameplay progress. This is the same save system from SOTN. But it worked better in SOTN since the old game was much easier. In 2020, many gamers expect games to have a modern, checkpoint save system in order to avoid frustration. On the other hand, old school gamers who like old school challenge will have no problem with this aspect. Personally, I find as an adult gamer with responsibilities and limited play time that the modern checkpoint save is greatly preferred.

More on the difficulty, one of the first bosses whose name starts with Z is a good example of the increased difficulty level. It is pretty early in the game to face a boss that tough (20x to beat and that was with online guides). Actually, just be prepared to use a guide if you are not a pro at metroidvania games. Because as the game progresses it gets tough to figure out where to go and what do next.

2 changes to this game would have raised it to an A (excellent). First, checkpoint saves as mentioned earlier. Add a checkbox in the options menu for "checkpoint save" or "save rooms" with the latter being desired by old school gamers. Second, have an in-game purchase (not real money, not iap) to watch boss strategy. They did this in Rondo of Blood and it was a fine idea.

I feel like this game is overrated due to reviewers being biased in favor of old school difficulty. It is not as hard as Dark Souls, but if you hated that game as I did then you may be disappointed here.
 

WarriorX

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 18, 2006
Messages
2,078
Grand Theft Auto 5

It's GTA, if you enjoy the same gameplay loop of the past games you will enjoy this one. Overall I enjoyed the games story and felt engaged all the way. The world is vast and detailed. Graphics look great considering the age of the game. The NPCs you interact with are fun and interesting. The city felt alive with the number of cars and other non main NPCs wandering around.

I found it different that you control 3 different characters, at first I was preferring just to focus on one character like in past games. As I played through, I appreciated the change and how they incorporated the overlapping narratives between the three characters. The improvements to 'pop in' were welcomed. In the past GTA games vehicles would disappear if you got too far, while that did still happen the range you could get from your car before it would disappear was larger than past games.

Mission variety was good but would have liked to seen more heists, I liked the preplanning and setup they required.

It was nice not having to go play bowling every 5 minutes.
 

Pivo504

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Messages
2,453
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. B (above average).
This feels like a game that should be better than it turned out. First off, the graphics are outstanding. Another good use of the Unreal Engine 4. Music is good, but not up to the standards of the legendary Symphony of the Night (SOTN). Gameplay starts off in a familiar way. If you played the PS1 classic it will feel familiar in a very good way.

The problem is the gameplay is arguably not as good as SOTN, a game released in 1997. The main issue I ran into was difficulty spikes. Because Bloodstained uses manual saves by finding the correct rooms in the castle, it is easy to get killed an lose a TON of gameplay progress. This is the same save system from SOTN. But it worked better in SOTN since the old game was much easier. In 2020, many gamers expect games to have a modern, checkpoint save system in order to avoid frustration. On the other hand, old school gamers who like old school challenge will have no problem with this aspect. Personally, I find as an adult gamer with responsibilities and limited play time that the modern checkpoint save is greatly preferred.

More on the difficulty, one of the first bosses whose name starts with Z is a good example of the increased difficulty level. It is pretty early in the game to face a boss that tough (20x to beat and that was with online guides). Actually, just be prepared to use a guide if you are not a pro at metroidvania games. Because as the game progresses it gets tough to figure out where to go and what do next.

2 changes to this game would have raised it to an A (excellent). First, checkpoint saves as mentioned earlier. Add a checkbox in the options menu for "checkpoint save" or "save rooms" with the latter being desired by old school gamers. Second, have an in-game purchase (not real money, not iap) to watch boss strategy. They did this in Rondo of Blood and it was a fine idea.

I feel like this game is overrated due to reviewers being biased in favor of old school difficulty. It is not as hard as Dark Souls, but if you hated that game as I did then you may be disappointed here.
Not sure how you thought the graphics were outstanding...I actually thought this was one of the worst things about the game. I wish they would have gone with graphics like Symphony of the night or hollow knight...hopefully the next one uses a different engine entirely
 

cybereality

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
5,947
Metro Exodus looked pretty nice with RTX and HDR. I felt the open world segments were weak, and it doesn't really feel like Metro until the end. Still a decent title, but not as good as the first two.

Gears 5. I bought this just to test the graphics and ended up getting hooked. It was really engaging and the shooting was super tight. In this case the open world parts were okay, a nice mix to the action. Worth playing (and I only ever played the first one).

SUPERHOT. This is a little older now, but I only ever played the VR version. Short game, like 2 hours, but very innovative and worth checking out (sequel comes out this week).

Far Cry New Dawn. One of the best in the series. Really fun action and exploring. Graphics were really nice, with the HD texture pack it is so detailed. Definitely a good time.
 

killrtech99

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 23, 2007
Messages
104
M76: Thank you for the review. I was headed for some ill-spent 90's nostalgia money. Will wait for $5 (maybe just $3.50!)
 

WarriorX

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 18, 2006
Messages
2,078
Remnant: From the Ashes
Finished one play through of the game and starting another and I figured I post my thoughts...

Really enjoyed my time with the game. A lot of content and replay-ability is available. The game has strong inspiration from Dark Souls The game features scaleable difficulty, higher difficulties offer some great challenges, fun boss design, and powerful and unique boss loot to be found.
The game has several difficulty levels that you can pick from which change the game in small ways.

The levels are somewhat randomize based on tile sets, so you might not get the intricate level design of dark souls but the game does have some interesting levels and the game graphics are fairly good. This makes multiple playthroughs worth doing because the levels look slightly different but it also randomizes what bosses you can. A single playthrough means you won't encounter every boss.

Combat is fast pace and you can die very quickly, to bosses and non boss enemies. Bosses require learning the fight and deaths will happen. There isn't a penalty for dying, other than having to run back to the boss area. The boss fights are all fun and have a good mix of mechnaics to learn and avoid to defeat them. They reward boss specific loot that are rather strong. Weapons and armor can be upgraded to progress your character, along with passive points that you earn to further enhance the power of your character.

Co-op play is smooth and quick to get going. Just join the host and start progressing. There are limited revives and utilizes checkpoints to restore health, ammo and revive allies if needed.

Overall, one of my favorite games to play and with a new DLC releasing soon, I can see myself playing this for a while longer.
 

cybereality

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
5,947
Finished Far Cry Primal. It was okay.

I had some fun with it, but it seemed to drag on at the end (I thought I beat the game twice) and had to finish all the side missions to get to the credits.

Would say it was the weakest of the series. Far Cry isn't the same without the guns and driving around (though I will say it was fun to ride on animals).

If you are heavily into Far Cry and want to play them all, it's probably worth checking out. Also, if you like shooting arrows, as that is the whole game.

I'm glad Ubisoft tried something different, they took a chance, maybe it didn't pay off all the way but it was a change of pace.
 

The Donut

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
3,103
C&C Remastered Collection (2020)

View attachment 253591

I usually hold off on reviewing games until after I've completely finished them, but this time there is no point. Finishing all four campaigns won't change an ounce on my review, since the remaster offered nothing new after my second mission. So after finishing the GDI campaign in C&C and now being 2/3 of the way into the Allied campaign of Red Alert, I'm pretty confident I have enough to write an informed review.

I like to appeal to reason and intelligence and will call out hypocrisy no matter which side it comes from. This time its not from the agitators, but the gamers who act hypocritical. They bash entertainment media for trying to appeal to nostalgia to lure people in, but this time they themselves are using nostalgia to defend this so called remaster.

I say so called, because it is not a remaster in my opinion. It is a graphics upgrade and that's the end of it. It is a low effort cash grab, and the gamers are eating it up. I'm sorry, dear reader, if you defend this then you are being foolish.
So what did they do? What can you expect? Gameplay wise absolutely nothing. This is the 1995/1996 games without literally any change, and I employ literally very literally this time. The game plays exactly the same, even the bugs are left exactly the same, they didn't even bother to fix the glaring issues. Every bug I encountered in 1995 is back again to annoy and haunt me.

The difference is that in '96 I played on a 486, and we chalked up those limitations and idiocies of the game to the limitations of the hardware. Now, 25 years later that excuse no longer flies. I expected a major overhaul of the games, bringing them to the 21st century in style. At worst I had hoped for a C&C Generals level experience, and a re-balancing of the AI and missions.

To put into perspective how little effort went into the remaster, the only thing they did to the cutscenes is run an AI upscaler on the blurry overcompressed footage from the first game. They didn't even bother to go back to the original footage and re-do the CGI. And they have the original footage, as the only interesting feature of the re-release is the bonus footage where they show raw green screen sessions, that are much better quality than the actual in-game cutscenes. Why? I assume becuase those were newly digitized with modern hardware and software.

In my estimation they spent a minimal amount of cash on this, I'd be surprised if the actual production budget was more than $200.000. No, that's not a typo.
Let's see what they actually did:
  • Run AI upscaler on videos: let's be generous: $1000 for one week time of a technician, and the electricity bill
  • Remixes of music: $25.000 honorarium for the composer (and that's being very generous, esp. for the quality of the outcome, but later about that)
  • Drawing the new high-rez art: $50.000 for 6 months and two artists
  • Coding the new menus and frontend and integrating the old code: $75.000 for two coders for 6 months.
  • Every other secondary work, like netcode upgrades: whatever left over.
This is not a product that is worth $20, the intentions of the creators might be good, but this is still a typical EA cashgrab.
One of the most hyped features of the re-master was the remastered music, and previously unreleased tracks. Let me tell it staright: The remastered tracks are bloody awful, after two missions my ears said enough, and I went in to the menu, to change the playlist so the game only plays the original tracks. Yes, the new ones are really unbearably bad, not just musically, but the audio is somehow off as well, it sounded painful.

And to add insult to injury the game doesn't even support ultrawide properly. The cutscenes have black bars on all four sides, while in the game on the left and right. Unacceptable.

The graphics looks nice enough when you zoom in, but it's unpractical to play it like that, and when you zoom out for maximum coverage the units barely look different from the original.

I couldn't find the special move commands in the game. In the old ones you could order your units to follow certain other units, or to aggressive move, meaning automatically attack any enemy on the way, this feature seems to be missing from the game. The only special command that actually remains is the force attack. (To attack friendlies or seemingly empty blocks)

You can't overwrite saves in it. When you select the save option there is no way to overwrite an older save, as the save selection screen doesn't even appear, you have to manually enter a name for each save, and all will be stored as a separate save, meaning you'll end up with hundreds of redundant and unnecessary saves by the time you finish a campaign. Unless you choose to manually delete them one by one.

Pros and cons?
+
  • It works (the old games were becoming increasingly problematic on new systems)
  • Integration of the old installers as cutscenes
  • Bonus features
-
  • The new graphics isn't really that great or different when zoomed out
  • No ultrawide support
  • New music is awful
  • The cutscenes are just upscaled, not actually remastered or upgraded in any way
  • No way to overwrite saves.
  • No special moves
  • It really doesn't hold up very well to modern standards.
Scores (as a remaster, as the original qualities of the game are irrelevant this way)

Graphics/Realization: 4/10
Story/atmosphere: Not applicable
Gameplay/controls: 6/10
Overall impression: 3/10

The only reason to buy this is if you want to desperately re-play the classics right now. Otherwise I'd wait for it to drop to $5, that's what it's actually worth. And for new players I don't recommend this at all. This is an old game, re-released almost unchanged, it is not up to par with modern expectations. Unless you are ready to give it massive leeway and curtail your expectations it will be a disappointment and a frustrating experience, and you'll be standing there baffled why those old guys are so in love with this game.
While I agree with what you've outlined in the post, I have to defend the developers a little - they were very clear with that this was, a graphical upgrade and nothing more. At no point did they try and claim they were remastering the games. I too wish they had fixed old bugs and done a little more with it, but at the same time, I bought it knowing what I knew.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,175
While I agree with what you've outlined in the post, I have to defend the developers a little - they were very clear with that this was, a graphical upgrade and nothing more. At no point did they try and claim they were remastering the games. I too wish they had fixed old bugs and done a little more with it, but at the same time, I bought it knowing what I knew.
If any game deserved a proper remake it is this. I know they never said it out loud just "HD remaster", which is kind of ambiguous.
The price tag to me suggested more. Not even fixing the bugs is very lazy, and I don't mean fixing the exploits, that don't need fixing unless you rebuild the entire game, but the actual bugs.

What was most disappointing is the quality of the FMVs, those was handled in the laziest way. With a little more budget they could've and should've done much more. And this price tag easily would've financed it.

That's why I think this is an $5 remake. That's how much I'd pay for it after seeing it. I almost actually refunded it on steam I was so disappointed.
 

TheToE!

[H] Brewmaster
Joined
May 17, 2005
Messages
7,282
Witcher 3, been putting it off for years. It's absolutely fantastic. Seldom do games live up to the hype but this one did for me.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
1,968
Forza Horizon 4 (PC) grade A.

Almost all good here. So let's get the bad out of the way. I had a bug related to multiplayer. Wish replays displayed with automatic multiple camera angles like in Gran Turismo. Needs more avatars. Draw distance is not the best

Rest is great. Graphics are fantastic and framerates are high, excellent optimization. Tons and tons of racing content. The driving model is a perfect blend of sim and and arcade. Makes controlling the car a breeze. The game goes out of its way to reward the player everytime you accomplish anything. Writing and voice acting are far above usual videogames. I laughed out loud at some of the side quest racing (stunt driver, example). Even if you are not a racing fan this one is worth playing. I have not touched the multiplayer yet, it also looks to be varied and interesting. This is a game that makes you happy while you are having fun. There is so much to do that you may never get 100%.
 

cybereality

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
5,947
Yeah, Forza Horizon 4 is top notch. Very good controls and lots of fun. Runs like a dream.
 
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