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Alan Stock

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Everything posted by Alan Stock

  1. It's a tricky one, on Steam I've seen plenty of people saying they love this game. Interestingly part of the audience there is possibly a bit younger and seems to have not played stuff like Silent Hill. I see quite a few questions asking where they can find other sci-fi games or media like it, when its already a well trodden subgenre. The atmosphere is certainly great, the art style cool and the story is fun to unpiece. I spent an hour last night reading up on theories, the Steam forum Endings thread has 60 pages of discussion where people have been re-examining the documents in the game and uncovering little details. Its very Silent Hill in this regard in that the story is much more interesting and creepier than the gameplay. I'll definitely be going down the rabbit hole on this one, its got your classic cosmic horror 2001 Space Oddysey and Silent Hill dreams vs reality vibes to it. For me it's a 7/10 overall, an 8/10 if you're generous, but the story definitely elevates it. I can see why some people gave it 8/10 or 9/10 but if the issues I've listed sound like too much of a barrier then it's probably not worth it. However the game is really cheap and free on Gamepass so its worth giving a shot if you have that, or a bit of money to burn. It's worth pointing out on Steam that there are also a large amount of posts complaining about the inventory restrictions (including Resi veterans) with most people echoing the thoughts on here. If the devs respond to feedback, which they might, I imagine they'd need to rebalance the difficulty a bit, but it would be worth it in my opinion.
  2. Yeah, it gets a lot worse in that regard, if its already bothering you then you will go insane later! I was right, turns out I was very close to the end and just finished it. The last boss was annoying because it used a silly bit of game design. Also, because I was on critical health with no health pickups left at the end of the fight, the following sequences forced me to experience the low health heartbeat controller rumble throughout, which was silly. The story though is pretty intriguing and open to interpretation and deep dives, there's already a ton of discussion about it on Reddit/Steam and what it all means, which is my kind of jam. Unfortunately there seem to be 4 endings and only the fourth 'secret' one has been figured out how to reliably trigger by the community (its complicated to do and I think it requires starting from earlyish in the game). The first ending is a 'bad' ending that is probably based on you doing poorly, second is the ending I got which is the most common, and there's a third ending that some people get but noone really knows why - it may be based on getting lots of kills. One player even got two different endings from using the same lategame save file! They were definitely emulating Silent Hills obsure to get endings and those add some new plot details to mull over. Thankfully Youtube has us covered for watching the endings without slogging through the game again, video in the spoiler below; I'll spend the next few days dipping into the giant Steam thread and reading up on theories. Like Silent Hill, there's plenty to like here but I just wish there was a better core game wrapped around this mystery. PS 'Active' playtime at the end was about 12 hours (standard difficulty), and Active+Inactive playtime was about 13 hours. I presume Inactive means when I went AFK. 6 Deaths. Don't know if the Active time includes all the time in menus doing inventory stuff or reading files.
  3. So I'm quite far into this now, I feel like I'm near the end. The level design has gotten a little bit more interesting (though not much), along with the story and general weirdness. And the gameplay although familiar became a bit more entertaining in having access to more weapons, planning out routes and deciding what enemies need to be dealt with. Unfortunately its still very by the numbers in large parts and the homages feel like straight off rip-offs at times, even if they did have good intentions. Your eyes will definitely roll on some occasions if you've played some of the genre classics. As the game goes on the inventory juggling gets worse and worse, as you have more weapons, ammo, and key items to take care of. Usually you aren't far from a storage box, and the inventory forces you to curtail your strength, but this is far outweighed by annoyance. Want to use a tool like the flashlight - it uses an inventory slot. Want health? An inventory slot. But there's four types of health pickups, so that sucks up space if you happen upon more than one type. One of the weapons only holds 1 bullet inside so that's 2 slots guaranteed if you want any ammo for it. You'll mostly want to collect items when you find them to avoid backtracking, but you'll find the inventory fills up so fast its impossible. Go to a new area toting a gun, tool and health item, and you'll only have a few slots left for the numerous items you find in each room. Its also clunky to manage. You spend so much time fiddling with and worrying about inventory management it gets in the way of the game. Even though this was a critical part of Resi 1 etc, it was never this much of a pain. It creates so much unnecessary busywork when you just want to be getting on with progression. Combat gets much more prevelant as the game goes on, encouraging you to only take fights you need in order to conserve ammo. Targetting gets increasingly finnicky as more enemies are introduced, some of which close on you very fast, leading to some frustrating scenarios. Navigating the environment also becomes increasingly irritating, due to the lack of locked door and item information on the map. For example, when you find a locked door that needs a key on the map, it will appear as locked - but not show what the door name or key required is. Which is a bit annoying when you have a bunch of locked doors spread over multiple floors to remember. And there's no Resident Evil 2 style indicator on the map to show if you've cleared a room of items, meaning you run around clicking on everything just in case you missed something, and items can blend into the detailed backgrounds quite easily. So it continues to be decent but a bit of a slog to be honest. It is quite satisfying at times but uninspiring. It's the cool premise, lore and weirdness that keep you going. I would say if its not doing it for you in the first main area, don't expect much evolution from the formula. A bit dissapointing overall to be honest, but I will plug on to the end. It often feels like its leaned into some of the more chorelike and annoying elements of those oldies, like running from place to place with 6 key items without the level design to back it up, or variety to add spice. Signalis is a hard game to rate because at times it does slip into a nice survival horror groove and has its own narrative and artistic spin. Competant overall, but doesn't have the magic spark of the best Resi's, and certainly no 9/10 for me. But maybe I'm just not as willing to forgive its shortcomings as other people. For example even though Silent Hill 2 has some excellent elements and story, I still think it has horrible gameplay and loads of annoyances and should be judged as such, but many people rate it as one of the best games of all time. Maybe the difference is that Silent Hill 2 had some amazing moments and a strong story and atmosphere to prop it up, whereas Signalis never quite reaches those heights.
  4. I don't know anything about him but the Wikipedia page for the show mentions he has some controversy around him, and the librarian fan also tells Ryan and Rob that they should get rid of him because he and other management don't treat the staff with any respect. Whats his story, why is he controversial? He definitely is the hard headed business guy they need and by the end they're saying he is invaluable to them but I'm guessing he makes some pretty dispassionate calls.
  5. I'll check out Mr Inbetween, thanks. Yep I finished the last episode of The Bear as well last night, great series, and as a former restaurant worker myself it gave me hints of PTSD
  6. Whilst waiting around for the rest of Andor, I was struggling to find anything I was interested in on Disney+. But I'd seen Welcome to Wrexham had good reviews so thought I'd try a few episodes, after all its an intriguing concept. Being a super casual footy follower myself meant I had no idea about Wrexham or really anything about the lower leagues. I ended up literally watching the whole show in one long night, all 18 episodes. That's how good it is. What you've got here is an endearing, honest, brutal, funny and ultimately compelling story about two well-intentioned Hollywood guys who come in to try and create an underdog success story. But the show only follows Rob and Ryan's perspective as a small part of the week-to-week ups and downs of a low league football club. Most of the show is focused on the community, the players and the games. It's frank and doesn't shy away from the realities of the fears, setbacks and hard decisions for both the new owners, the club and fans. It's always going to be biased because its a documentary by the club owners, but they've included stuff they didn't have to that shows tough business decisions, dissappointments and moments where you can see the strain of what Rob and Ryan have taken on. But they are funny guys too, and know when to inject some humour even at the toughest times, and the fans of course provide plenty of their own entertainment. The football itself is very dramatised with plenty of slowmo and added sound effects but it does its job well in selling the big moments. Ultimately they're telling a story and the show does a good job of focussing in on individual players and fans and then following their fortunes, hopes and fears on a more personal level through multiple episodes. It's sometimes a bit overdone with its hollywood sheen and rosey tinted glasses, and its the kind of show we've seen before, but that doesn't detract from its overall appeal. There's also a slight whiff of unfairness or manufactured rags-to-riches story when Rob and Ryan are bringing in top players and staff from higher divisions, on a budget well above most of their league competitors. But as you get to know Wrexham, what the fans have been through, and realise that money helps but its still a very tough league, those concerns become secondary. Plus when you see what a boost its giving to the community and Rob and Ryan's growing attachment to the club. Some reviews said it was too long at 18 episodes and repeated itself at times, but for me it was like being a fan following the club's wins and losses, getting to know Wrexham's characters and Rob and Ryan's journey. I definitely think this is worth a watch - 4/5 from me.
  7. The shadow of war sequel is a fantastic game, I only played it a year or two ago. I don't really care about the lore or what they did to it, the story is completely secondary to the main point of the game, the great environments and of course the amazing Nemesis system. People who have dismissed it should check it out and just ignore the whacky story thats tacked on. The orcs are soo good in shadow of war and its got fun combat and traversal.
  8. Thanks, yeah I returned to it just after my last post out of stubbornness. It still took me multiple attempts to figure that out, the signposting is pretty bad. Boss spoilers:
  9. Good interview with the man himself (season 1 spoilers)
  10. Mixed feelings about this. I'm up to the first boss, a few hours in. It's solid overall and the art style and presentation's great, but the level design is uninspired so far, and despite me thinking I just want an old skool survival horror, this is a bit too conventional for my tastes. This could change as the game goes on. I've had a decent time with it but not really wowed. The presentation is really cool, an isometric view with very striking, deliberately pixellated 3D graphics. There is a scattering of cool anime style cutscenes. There's also some really immersive sections where you switch to first person view to fiddle with control panels or explore a small area. The atmosphere is on point and the story and setup are quite intriguing, its definitely got a sombre, dreamlike quality to it. The sound is good too, although the volume levels are way off, turn it up loud to appreciate the envionment and ambience - and then get deafened by the radio or the combat. It has great attention to detail in all the interfaces and the way it tells the story. The characters you can meet are well animated and intriguing. Gameplay wise so far though its very by the numbers old skool survival horror. Pistol, shotgun, ammo sitting around, limited inventory shots, diary pages all over the place, puzzle computer terminals and safe codes. Although I appreciate the homage, its a bit too familiar. I agree with BadgerFarmer that the inventory is a pain with its very limited slots. I can see the reasoning, so you can't carry loads of weapons and support items, and it forces you to plan your routes and consider which enemies to prioritise. But ultimately even when planning well there's too much item box travel and faffing around swapping items in and out. You have to manually aim your gun's laser sight with the right stick which is fine, but it takes a while to sink in, because in old Resi's you auto lock-on. Here they throw you into combat without giving you ample aiming practice and enemies can come at you quickly, so you might be flailing around like me getting mashed, before your muscle memory learns the combat controls. The enemies so far are very basic, just boring shamblers of various types. I do appreciate that they have limited line of sight so you can avoid unnecessary fights - and ammo drops are well balanced so you only have just enough. At this first boss fight I'm stuck on, its very old skool in that I'm not sure if its just a bullet sponge or there's some puzzle element I've not figured out yet, so its trial and error which is dissapointing. The first big environment you get put in looks great, (the lighting is especially good) but the setting isn't inspired, lots of generic grotty industrial/sci-fi facility corridors and rooms. But my main hangup is the level design, this is no Resident Evil 1 or 2 complex map. It's big but at least for now its very gridlike and you end up needing the map quite a bit, not helped by how similar areas look. There are the usual locked doors or item-locked progression points and although its a bit open to explore, the layout is boring and route planning straightforward. What keeps things interesting is the story bits and the slow introduction of more interesting mechanics, like the radio and other gadgets as well as some nice little puzzles. I'm hoping the game continues to evolve as it goes on, it does some things very well but it can feel very by the numbers elsewhere - where its competent for sure but hardly inspiring. Maybe there's a 9/10 in here later on but for now its a 7/10 or 8/10 for me. The awesome art style and weird androidy madness stuff is really cool though, and that's where its strengths are for me. And so far its definitely not scary, although it does have a standard lonely survival horror vibe. In combat you get Silent Hill-esque music but not really any fear or tension, early days though. Assuming I can beat this boss I will continue and hope things break the mold a bit. PS I also made the same wrong assumption with the puzzle you mentioned above!
  11. Available now on PS5. Only 16 quid and 5GB, nice. Will post impressions later tonight.
  12. Had about an hour on this last night (on Steam, its free) and its a solid wee card game. Got up to about rank 4 on the collectibles and so was already starting to swap cards into the deck. I think Ben Brode and co have done a great job distilling a strategy card game into short bursts of play. The tiny deck size compared to other card games is a breath of fresh air where every card you choose has a big impact and its much easier to learn the cards in your deck because there are so few of them. The random element of the different zones to place your cards is inspired and forces you to adapt your strategy on the fly. I've had games where my whole game plan is completely changed from the start because of zone powers. For example, a zone that only lets you play cards of 3 energy or more on it, or a zone that locks you into playing cards on it on turn 5. It makes for an unpredicatable and interesting game where every one plays out differently even when both players have similar decks. I haven't even been introduced to the snap mechanic yet but so far I can see this being a huge success especially as it's on mobile and has the Marvel license. I don't know if it will suck me in like Hearthstone, Magic or Slay the Spire but its great to have a free alternitave that you can just play a few rounds of without going down the rabbit hole. The monetisation aspects seem to be quite fair as well, only affecting cosmetics from what I can tell, and although adding cards feels quite restrictive at least its based on grind, not randomised, and you don't pay for them. That's great news. I can see this being absolutely huge and its only in early access for now. I do wonder how much depth they can add given its restrictions but I'm impressed with the strategy and variety of games available right from the start. Definitely worth giving Marvel Snap a shot and I'd even suggest people who usually bounce off the big card games give this a go as its so simple to learn and quick to play.
  13. Apparently it is being released on Gamepass. But, I stayed up till midnight last night on my PS5 hoping to try it out for an hour or two, but its still not released this afternoon (UK). Hopefully later today, its now about 8am in the US but most releases come out at midnight so maybe there's a delay.
  14. There is but its not interactive if that's what you're saying. Although you can tell what kind of chest you are getting early in the animation by:
  15. What's your take on early Resi titles out of interest? In original Resi 1 and 2 there's quite a bit of inventory management and Resi 2 is quite combat focused, but both retained great atmospheres. I quite like a bit of inventory management but Resi 1 (and Resi 1 remake) did take it too far, where you were constantly having to run to and from the item box and half your inventory was a weapon, ammo and key items. For me, Resi 2 remake has nailed the inventory management the best to date, where there's never a comfortable amount of space but not enough to be frustrating, and the inventory upgrades are a total godsend that feel like real rewards.
  16. Well, this came out of the blue for me, and just in time for halloween! It's out tomorrow (27th Oct). Reviews out so far are good, it's getting 8/10's and a few 9/10's including Eurogamers Essential and 9.5 from Destructoid. I've really just glanced at the reviews because those scores and the genre will sell Signalis to me, but headlines are saying despite the sci-fi setting its a throwback to classic survival horror like Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill, but without tank controls. There's some great atmosphere, some action and some puzzling to be done. Some people are saying its scary, others not, but who cares how fear-inducing it is if they nail all of the above. Sign me up! Some reviews: Inverse - 'Signalis is the best horror game of 2022' Eurogamer - 'Like a dying star, Signalis burns bright: beautiful, terrifying and unmissable.' Polygon - 'Signalis is a near pitch-perfect ode to Resident Evil and Silent Hill' Destructoid - 'Signalis is a fresh, reinvigorating take on the games that inspired it.'
  17. I noticed that Nolan and Joy are also helming the new Fallout series which raised alarm bells about them running two shows at once, but on further inspection they are executive producers on both the Peripheral and Fallout, and have a contract with Amazon to create and write another show. So because exec producers can be quite hands off maybe there's no need to worry, we know they are good at the high concept stuff and directing.
  18. True, although we all know that unfortunately almost every game there's at least one player that doesn't seem to have a clue about how other hero abilities work. That's why I think this block on allowing noobs going into comp is a good idea, but I'd argue it needs to be even longer. With 35 heroes that is a nuts amount of stuff to know for a new player. I don't play stuff like League of Legends but surely that's a nightmare as well with its 70 or something legends. I'm a well rounded player in OW so I've played all the heroes quite a bit and it helps so much to know how the playstyles work and when characters are vulnerable. I feel like you should have to go on a bootcamp and play all the heroes for a bit before you're allowed into comp
  19. So is this getting released weekly? It sounds promising and right up my alley but I got burnt by Nolan and Joy with the way Westworld went. Worth getting a Prime sub for or wait and see?
  20. I thought the first half of this was an interesting look at some of the inherant design issues in Overwatch, its a pretty negative video overall but some fair points.
  21. To be fair, new Zarya can be really tough to deal with, especially for newer players who don't realise how the bubble mechanic works. Now when she has a pocket healer if she uses her bubbles just on herself in corridor maps like Kings Row she is really scary. In OW1 it used to be that you'd try not to shoot her bubble but it wasn't too bad if you did. In OW2 she's so much tankier and can afford to stay out and use the bubbles more, so a lot of players are still just piling into the bubble and making her mega charged, without realising if you're going to do that you need to follow up and actually kill her. I learned my lesson pretty quickly in OW2 after watching a few good Zaryas get team kills on max charge.
  22. I have to agree, the healers lineup is really good in this game. I always used to play healer mainly to fill but now with reduced role queue times I'm finding myself going healer a few times just to get quick games, and then just sticking with it for ages because healer is so fun. With Lucio, Ana, Kikiro and Zen there is always someone fun and mechanically demanding to play whether you're acting as main or support healer. Mercy and Brig I play in certain circumstances but I find Moira boring. With only 1 tank to worry about healing you can concentrate more on healing the DPS and using abilities/outputting damage, especially if your tank is a self-healer, which makes healing more fun in OW2 than just constantly having to top off your tanks. I haven't been playing comp but teams are starting to balance out better in quick play, even though they have removed visible player levels they're still tracking your skill level and doing skill based matchmaking from what I can tell. As a result I've been having some very tight games in role queue quickplay lately which has been fun, and general teamwork/player skill has definitely improved over the week - which is a sign of the matchmaker doing its job. Re: Doomfist, I've only seen him once or twice out of the many games I've played. I tried to play him once and he seems ok if you have the backup, but unfortunately my muscle memory is still on DPS Doomfist and I keep rocketpunching into the forward slam, multiple times leaping off cliffs to my doom . He probably would have felt fine if we hadn't known his DPS form, its just so unsatisfying to punch a squishy into a wall and they survive with half their health bar intact!
  23. Enjoyed the Visual Novels episode, I'm a fan of the genre myself but like Matthew I am mainly into the detective/Zero Escape type stuff. So it was good to hear about the broader genre with recommendations from Lucy and an insight into subgenres like dating sims. I also could never face the prospect of starting Higurashi because of its insane length, and the graphics always put me off. But I hadn't heard about this graphics mod for it Matt was talking about, if anyone has a link to it or instructions on it that would be great.
  24. Yep, they're side by side at the dinner and I'm sure we get something mentioned about it in the chat. Watched episode 9 tonight, good stuff.
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