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Alan Stock

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    Games, Photography, Travelling, Films, Clubbing, Dog's bottoms.

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  1. Your problems with the pacing are pretty much my gripes with the game, plus the fact that the character motivations and sympathy grabbers are way too forced. But despite that I think the game overall did a great job with making you feel conflicted and learning to somewhat empathise with the other characters. I don't remember ever being conflicted in a game about who I wanted to succeed, and being so uncomfortable in 'participating' in the actions my character is carrying out. It may be relentless but the game does a great job of instilling a sense of dread and dissapointment about the path Ellie goes on towards the end of the game. The final fight was a really brutal and heartbreaking descent into madness. Even though I have big problems with the way that the story is structured and the character's behaviours at times, few games have made me this invested in what will happen to the characters or elicited the kinds of feelings Last of Us 2 brings out. And despite the Abby switcheroo in the middle of the game not really working overall, its a very brave and cool idea, I just wish its execution and pacing would have been a lot better. The story does have some major issues but I'm so glad to see a game experiment with these ideas. Its so unfortunate that the extreme backlash (much of it understandable) will likely scare the majority of developers from trying anything like this for years, and its really sad that even though his writing may be flawed, Druckmann has got absolutely hammered over this and he's pretty unlikely to try anything so drastic again. Whatever you think of the plot and the characters, I just hope enough people appreciate seeing a story in a game that isn't afraid to break the rules and try to shake up the idea of what gaming protagonists should be, and player attachement to the characters they play. Another unfortunate aspect of the controversial story is that its overshadowed the awesome gameplay which barely gets a mention in most reviews despite being one of the best refined stealth/action hybrids of recent years - although on normal difficulty it doesn't get enough chance to shine in my opinion. I don't see enough mention in reviews of the incredible atmosphere, the insane attention to detail and the graphics which for me are the best I've ever seen in a videogame. I've never played a game where I have had my jaw drop at every new area and just slowly walked around drinking it all in. For me although I recognise the game isn't perfect and I had problems with the story, it totally gripped me throughout and I didn't want it to end. A lot of reviews I've seen complain about the stretched out length and the repetetive scavenging and exploring. I wish it had been longer! I loved taking my time exporing every nook and cranny, and as I was playing on hard with very low resources, there was a good incentive for me as well to check everywhere for parts, it acted as a good reward for scouring the areas. I thought the stealth action was great fun as its a real challenge on hard and the combat arenas are well designed with a very MGS3 vibe, I actively looked forward to each encounter. I just hope all this controversy hasn't sealed the fate of all sequels for a generation to come to be crowd-pleasing rinse and repeat simulacrums of their predecessors. I hope after this dies down more people can acknowledge that despite that game's flaws, it should be commended in trying to do new things to drive the medium forward - even if it didn't hit quite the nail on the head.
  2. I think its intended for before you get proper base building, to let you explore deeper by having an air supply lower down in the water. But the game never really puts you in situations where it will be worth the effort. I never used them either, I suspect they are a holdover from the early access days. Maybe oxygen was harder to come by back then as well, or base building came later on in the game than it currently does.
  3. I had quickly forgotten about that scene, but I saw a good take in a Youtube review saying that this implies since Abby's helped the kids she's been able to move on past her father's death - she can now remember how he was, rather than just obsess about his death - the kids have reawoken her humanity as it were. And then contrast that to Ellie who gets PTSD flashbacks and can't move on because revenge is how she's dealing with her inability to reconcile with Joel and her inability to save him.
  4. I've got a lot to say about the game but I'll leave that for another time (overall I thought it was brilliant except for a story marred by poor pacing and strucure) . What I can't believe though is the shock that so many players got from Joel dying. Yes, the way he dies is shocking and I didn't expect it to be so soon, but even in the first game I was really surprised him or Ellie didn't die, given the unrelenting nature of the story right from the opening scene. Once the revenge motife was established in the marketing for Part 2 there were only two logical conclusions, either Dina was going to die or Joel was going to die, what else would send Ellie on a murderous hate filled rampage? Plus it's a series we know excels in killing off main characters. How did people think this would be another jolly romp with Joel and Ellie with neither of them getting killed? To me it felt inevitable that one of them would die even before we knew anything about the plot.
  5. Like Pob says, all depends on who you kill beforehand and when you release them (I was on hard with low resources setting). I had to replay that section a bunch of times because of the last part of the area. There are guys on the balcony who can wreck the infected if they're overlooking at the time, and a few shotgun guys on the ground floor which can end the fight pretty quick. There's also a radio blasting out music which ends after a while, which sends the infected wild and lures them in the direction of the building. I saw the scene play out maybe 8 times and it was different every time. If you take out the guys closest to the infected before releasing them (its important to free the clickers silently and then the runner last to start the chaos) and shoot the balcony guys in the chaos after, usually the infected will kill everyone else as you sit back and watch the carnage. It's a great fun, well designed little area (with the exception of the final gauntlet) and I was gutted it was the last arena of the game. Highly recommend revisiting those last areas and have fun unleashing the infected!
  6. Also don't be afraid to double up your walls with 2 layers and even have multiple lines of defense, once the hordes start coming you want to be slowing them down as much as possible before they break into any buildings. I preffered to keep an inner wall on the first few levels so that when outlying quarries, hunters etc got mauled at least there werent stragglers randomly wandering into my main base.
  7. It's a hard game on the default difficulty level with some nasty difficulty spikes but be aware you can start any missions on a lower difficulty. As for your problem, walls and towers in this game are your best friend. Slap down wood choppers as soon as you can and get building walls at choke points, when you unlock towers pop one or two in the walls and get a ranger up there, then more when you can afford it. Use the patrol command to have small groups of rangers patrolling the unsafe parts of your perimeter, you can also hold down a button whilst clicking patrol to set multiple waypoints (Shift?). If I remember right there is a quarry close to your base, at the start whilst you are building you should be using 2 or 3 of your rangers to clear out zombies in the immediate area especially towards the quarry. Use attack to move them and they'll slowly move forwards instead of pulling too many zombies. Be aware the further you push out the more zombies there will be and you'll want 4 or 5 rangers to deal with them. Kiting is a good option if you find you've pulled too many. Think of this like a survival RTS where death is common and learn from your mistakes. I died a bunch of times on the first level but it trained me well to carry on. Enjoy, its a great wee game, and look forward to your first hordes!
  8. Really? My mistake! Guess I'm just crap then!
  9. Its the worst boss by far, I found it really frustrating, mind you its my own fault for playing the game on Hard. Cool spectacle though. Spoiler about the late-game ability you unlock in order to get to that boss:
  10. Oh wow, I booted him out over a month ago! So he's been in the beyond since then! Enjoy one of the most sought after A.C. villagers, at least he has a cool room!
  11. Holyhogg, I just started Heavensward the other day too! Loving it so far after the horrible grind of realm reborn and the inbetween stuff. Then to my horror I discovered they're tightening up a lot of that grind in the next patch - grrrrr. But hey, I got it to keep me sane in lockdown and its done a good job of that so far. Realm Reborn and its post-game overall isn't bad by any means, but the main story quest really drags and doesn't hold up well to play it non-stop like I have. The highlights are the dungeons and environments, the writing is good but the story itself takes ages to get going, and even then isn't very interesting. Also its very easy as you are constantly overlevelled and overgeared thanks to all the subsequent exp boosts since release. But its all a leadup to the expansions which so far are living up to the hype with the story getting much more interesting and the characters and writing better. The HW environments are awesome and the story is engaging so far, with good characters and the pacing is much, much better with far fewer crappy quests. The voice acting change was very jarring for me too and I was gutted about some of the actor losses, like Melwyb who was awesome, Yda and Alipheau, who I wasn't super keen on but as he talks so much its very strange for him to have a different voice now. I read up on it and apparently they changed voice acting companies after realm reborn which is why hardly any of the original cast return. On the plus side some of the voices are great and from what I read, the voice acting quality is a lot better overall. There were some really dubious voices in the original, people like Minfilia for example. It will definitely take time to get used to though. I joined a friendly FC on Moogle but as you can imagine there aren't many other newbs around. The duty finder is great though and I never have problems getting into dungeons, even as DPS. Even if the queues are quite long sometimes its usually not a problem at all as you can just plough on with the story, side quests, gold saucer, hunting log, or just hang out with FC members. The only thing that bothers me from the social side is that there is no point in partying up on the overworld as its more geared around solo play, particularly the quest balancing is just way too easy with multiple members. There's no real reason to party up outside of dungeons and raids, which is a big shame as it was a great way to meet people in FFXI and very necessary to actually carve a path from A to B. It will be interesting to see if the patch makes Realm Reborn much better. Personally I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as its so easy and overall quite boring, but that's if you just go for the main story. The problem is that you learn so much about the world and the characters, just jumping ahead with a level skip potion to an expansion I imagine will lose a lot of the experience. You can watch old cutscenes in a book in the inn (including I've been told if you use the level skip potions), but there are so many other incidental conversations and cutscenes you would probably miss a lot.
  12. ZTD is a really mixed bag. Compared to the other games its really jarring but as a kind of standalone its pretty good on its own merit. The story and characters and structure are nothing compared to the first two games but it really comes together towards the end. If only they'd had the budget and it hadn't been rescued from the bowels of death it could have been really special. As it stands its still entertaining just in a different way to the first two games. The cutscenes are really lowfi but along with the music they do manage to capture a very cinematic atmosphere the first two games never had. Really curious whether the next Ukioshi game will be any good, I finished watching a playthrough of VLR recently and I'm just dying for a really complex story like that again - AI Somnium Files was good but I love all the twists and turns and death game stuff. Pleeease let it be good!
  13. Quite often the wall people hit, including me, is that you need to go through every vote choice at the start of the game, and also in the shower section have every outcome between the teams which means playing through it multiple times. You can see on the flowchart there are some little icons which show the shower choice iirc. Doing all this stuff should unlock new fragments. Googling is very dangerous for the Zero Escape games!
  14. Never visiting Hullaballoo again. It stinks like **** now! And tell me this, who is going to sit on that cushion. It's just asking for problems. Remember all we can eat is fruit! I've reached that point where I've ran out of stuff to do, I'm pretty happy with my island and home so only popping on every few days to check the shops and whatnot. Maybe once I've accumulated a bunch more items I'll create a new area on the island or reonovate a room, but for now I'm happy to take a bit of a break and play it the classic way. I can't complain though, even considering there's a ton of AFK time on the clock I'm standing at over 340 hours, which however you dice it is a crazy amount of value for a game which isn't even an MMO or competitive shooter. I popped in today and already my neighbours were like "oh I'm glad we're still talking, I thought I'd done something wrong" Damn you Nintendoooooo!
  15. If anyone gets a decent price this afternoon I'm lookin' to sell!
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