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Everything posted by Wiper

  1. Wiper

    Xbox Game Pass

    For what it's worth, it's not for the game proper, it's for the soundtrack - it includes songs with 12-worthy lyrics rather than random swearing birds. Something I imagine the other skating games also fall afoul of (possibly compounded by injury detail and/or character speech in those, of course).
  2. At the risk of 'moaning' and upsetting Strafe, I'm going to say that this remake looks Not Great. And I mean looks not great; the remake footage in that Nintendo Life video looked pretty rough, and initially I thought maybe it was just rose-tinted specs making me misremember how nice the original looked, but no: I mean, I wasn't expecting something up to the standard of the Virtua Fighter 5 remake, but it's pretty offensive that they've made the game regress visually.
  3. Wiper

    Xbox Game Pass

    Yep, very much looking forward to Aragami 2, and I liked what I played of Phoenix Point at release, despite it being a bit buggy at that point, and am definitely going to give it another go now that it's a bit more mature and accessible to me while sat on a couch! Well, once I've finished Psychonauts 2, at least. And finished a campaign of Humankind. And played The Artful Escape.* Oh, the calamity of having too many games to play. *and, on other systems, finished the new-old Ace Attorney games
  4. While the armies aren't as immediately exciting for me as Best Boys the lizardmen were, I'm still looking forward to them. Cathay's an interesting one, as (to my knowledge) they're a faction that's only ever existed as flavour-text (or 'lore', if you prefer); CA may well have had a fair bit of freedom in designing them here, both aesthetically and mechanically speaking. Really not sure what to expect of them, because of that. Meanwhile, having the discrete Chaos Daemon armies to play as should be fun; Khorne's always a bit boring, but I love the other three visually, and there's a lot you could do with them mechanically. (Kislev I have no interest in whatsoever, so naturally they're who the campaign/advertising seem to be focussed on) As for the game proper, I'm not sure I want the campaign to be super-long, but I'm interested to see what core mechanic(s) they centre this one around. Unless they completely balls the whole thing up I'll be three for three on Total Warhammer games!
  5. Shin Megami Tensei 5 is the big one for me. I'm looking forward to other things too, but that's the one I'm most excited for (and, by the same stroke, am most worried won't live up to its potential).
  6. Wiper

    Xbox Game Pass

    Yeah, on my experience there it's somewhere between 15 and 100 fps depending on the situation, ideal
  7. Yeah, mine was in fact 'free', courtesy of rewards points; absolutely worth it for a second controller, never mind a second controller whose design I love. I'll be tempted to do it again in half a year, this time as a PC controller; my old Xbox One controller serving that purpose is starting to show its age.
  8. I am delighted: (forgive the poor lighting)
  9. Watched the trailer, and I'm pleasantly surprised that they didn't slap on the Iconic Green Filter. No expectations either way, beyond that, but a good sign that is it's not going to be 100% homage-to-self, at least!
  10. Wiper

    Edge #363

    I feel for the poor designer given the most bland-looking Marvel game as their cover assignment. No way to make anything visually interesting with that one. (I got The Boringest Iron Man, whoopee!) Feel a bit sorry for Humankind, though I'm glad to see the best time-looping game of the month scoring above Twelve Minutes, at least!
  11. Heaven's Vault is brilliant, I heartily recommend it. By far the highlight of the bundle. So good it got an Edge magazine Making Of back in July!
  12. https://twitter.com/2point21/status/1435578917058801666 Not much to add to this, really. I mean, will it really happen? If it does, will it be anything but terrible? Probably not. But still, I can dream. LBA 1 & (particularly) 2 were incredible, trailblazing things; and follow-up studio No Cliché developed Toy Commander, an unsung classic on Dreamcast.* If Raynal and Chanfray's team can channel that end-of-millennium spirit we could have something special. Or we could have yet another disappointing throwback trying to sell itself using a cult classic name. I guess we'll find out! *also, I suppose their earlier title Alone in the Dark was pretty important in the development of some minor genre. We dont talk about Time Commando.
  13. And that's my rewards points converted into gift cards, and thus my subtle, beautiful custom controller: Here's hoping it doesn't get stuck for too long on the other side of the Channel!
  14. This and Starship Troopers are both brilliant film adaptations, but that's specifically because they've been adapted by people of far greater wit than the original authors, who use their lens to critique and utterly change the nature of the work. If you're after 'straight' adaptations then they, well, they ain't great. (but then, the vast majority of book to film adaptations benefit from heavy adaptation. The strengths of the two media are so different that unless a book has been written almost as screenplay in the first place, then it will suffer if it's simply 'transferred to the screen'. Which is why I find complaints about films not being true to their source material to be generally wanting, as the most slavishly faithful films will tend to be a complete waste of the medium. If you want a 'true' version of a book, read the book!) Of course, I unironically love Lynch's Dune (and also love the novel), so what do I know!
  15. Wiper

    Xbox Game Pass

    I love Signs of the Sojourner, but then I love my artsy/hipster/"smug" stuff so I would. A nice, unique setting and willingness to throw the player into it and have them learn its intricacies through experience and repeat plays rather than infodump appealed to me.
  16. It encouraged a surge in platformers-as-[shitty, overwrought ]parables, but yeah, it very definitely didn't spur on a renaissance of high-res Amiga-looking 2D games. Thankfully.
  17. Zero interest in accumulated score or chasing platinums, but I do enjoy those achievements/trophies which give me mini-challenges/suggest alternate ways of playing a game. I also quite enjoy making a solid bit of progress/finishing a game and having an achievement/trophy pop to mark the occasion. I also like the way that achievements now show the % of players who have it, as well as flagging up mild rarity by appearing and sounding different for cases where <10% have got them - I've no interest in the developers' inevitably meaningless allocation of score/trophy grade, but enjoy knowing when I've done something reasonably uncommon. I too miss them on Switch.
  18. Yeah, it's definitely not a cheap process — particularly as you scale up in resolution, quality and/or scale. Like, a (very) roughly equivalent in budget game to Celeste is Hollow Knight; and that game's use of cel-style animation produces a pretty sumptuous looking game. But personally, despite loving Hollow Knight and the way it looks, I do ultimately find Celeste a more aesthetically-pleasing game; it's all subjective, innit! What pixel art does offer is much broader scalability; there's a pretty hard limit to how cheaply hand-drawn animation* can be done, whereas the floor's the limit as far as pixel art is concerned. It gets expensive quickly, but if you want to throw something together quickly — a prototype, a demo — and/or if you aren't/don't have access to a qualified animator/3D modeller/illustrator,** there's far fewer barriers to entry for pixel art. * or emulated hand-drawn animation, generally achieved through 3D models ** not to say that those are mutually-exclusive with being a pixel artist, of course.
  19. This discussion has definitely been had on here a few times, but let's go again! As per the above responses, it will vary from game to game, and usually the decisions will be made for a mixture of reasons, rather than a single, simple one. But to pick up on the specific three examples there, partially it will have been a question of creative intent and developer background; partially a question of budget. To expand on that: Ori was developed by Moon Studio, a developer founded by Thomas Mahler (former Cinematic Artist at Blizzard Entertainment) and Gennadiy Korol (former Senior Graphics Engineer at Animation Lab; a literal animation studio). Their game was designed very much art first,* and specifically designed to look like a cartoon. It also had four years of development time and the funding that comes with being a first-party Microsoft studio behind it, allowing for production values well beyond the average Metroidvania — outside of the core developers (who, as mentioned, were themselves artists and worked in that capacity), the game had ten dedicated artists and a contracted third-party studio (Airborn Studios) working on 'art support'. If it had come out looking anything other than glorious then something would have had to have gone very wrong. Meat Boy was a free flash game designed very much in keeping with the 'flash game aesthetic' of its time. Super Meat Boy was its sequel, developed over the course of one year by the same artist/designer, with a new programmer and a single composer, all working more or less as 'bedroom coders'. Later versions of the game would refine its style slightly, but generally keep the aesthetic. So ultimately, its look is a combination of stylistic intent, inheritance of style, and severely restricted budget. Celeste was a free, Pico-8 game built over the course of a 4-day gamejam by two people. Thanks to the time and hardware constraints,** it had an extremely simple art style; an art style much in keeping with the developers' previous game (Towerfall — itself a game which started life as a free 4-day gamejam project). When expanding Celeste to a full-size, commercial release, the developer expanded to a team of seven, including four artists (focussing on different areas; e.g. a portrait artist, character sprite artist etc.), and developed the game over three years. Ultimately the choice to stick with a relatively simple art style appears, again, to have been a mixture of stylistic intent, inheritance of style, and restricted budget. It's also worth noting that Super Meat Boy and Celeste are both very punishing platformers (albeit with very different feel and very different approaches to accessibility), so both benefit from a very clean, clear art style — you're never uncertain of what areas of the screen are platforms, hazards or space. Ori, on the other hand, gets to be a lot 'noisier'; it fills its space with particle and lighting effects; detailed fore- and background art that can distract from clear understanding of where platforms and hazards may be, but it matters less because it's usually a less punishing game. So, again, these considerations will evidently have fed into decisions on the art style front. (I'd also, also flag up that Super Meat Boy really isn't either retro or blocky in its look; it's got the smooth, vector-art look of a flash game, being as it was a flash game. Which actually has the benefit of being super-cheap to implement, vs pixel art which gets expensive fast, particularly the higher res you go) * something that I would argue comes out in the fact that it and its sequel are utterly mediocre Metroidvanias if you take away their utterly gorgeous art style, but perhaps I'm being a little unfair ** the Pico-8 is a virtual 8-bit console, with all the limitations that entails *** with the exception of the Pico-8 original version of Celeste, which is both of the above for obvious reasons.
  20. Yeah, I'd actually place Soul Hackers as the really great game in the list, but it's very much an old school dungeon crawler, what with it being a literal 32-bit RPG remastered. I love its atmosphere and presentation, but it demands a lot of the player.
  21. There's not a bad game in that selection, and they're pleasingly varied. As mentioned, Hitman 1 & 2 are highlights, just masterpieces of the genre (the genre here being freeform, disguise-oriented, frequently slapstick assassination). Styx is great, traditional, vertically oriented stealth; Thief meets Tenchu with fantasy trappings. Echo is a quirky sci-fi take on stealth, with intriguing dynamic difficulty. Aragami is a very solid not-Tenchu. Ghost of a Tale is pretty limited as a stealth game, but a nice enough story. Heat Signature is a silly stealth-roguelite-space-thing. I'm very fond of it. All worth a try, all very different, it's a very solid bundle.
  22. Yeah, that's a brilliant selection just in that screenshot. Sayonara Wild Hearts, Kentucky Route Zero and if found... would be my particular recommendations, in terms of quality and recentness/likelihood of not yet having been played by everyone.
  23. Wiper

    12 Minutes

    I'm going to be extremely unfair here, and suggest that the generally mixed-but-positive critical response to Twelve Minutes* reflects that a solid portion of games critics aren't particularly expert at critiquing writing and storytelling, and apportion an awful lot of value in such matters to basic character emoting. As in, having actors delivering their lines in a compelling manner, irrespective of the content of those lines, is enough in and of itself to guarantee a positive reception. (this is certainly the only way I can reconcile myself with the fact that, say, Beyond or Detroit received any scores above a 4/10) I'd also guess that the player base (even the types willing to comment on games) is actually a little less homogeneous than the pool of games reviewers (who by and large tend to skew relatively young, and relatively game-focussed in their interests), which in the specific case of Twelve Minutes means that non-critic players are a little more likely to judge the game more harshly compared to non-game treatments of time loop/single-room/mystery narratives; and/or to compare it to older games in any of its genres (narrative or mechanical) and find it lacking. Like, I'd probably have enjoyed it a lot more if I a) wasn't someone who's been deeply into point and click adventures since the early 90s and so been treated to a variety of games with more nuanced, more logical, and/or more flexible puzzles; b) hadn't already enjoyed a range of clever and interesting time loop stories in books, films and games to find much of interest in a pretty tawdry murder mystery with a dumb twist — not least as there have been some great time loop murder mysteries**; and c) not had higher expectations of character writing (particularly given its hyperfocus on a small cast), even by the standards of computer games. If the basic conceit had felt new to me, that would probably have done a lot for the game — novelty counts for a lot! But it's covering such well-trodden territory — in terms of its story, its set-up and its gameplay — that it needed to excel at at least one of them for me to enjoy it. Again, I think that's why people have brought up other games that touch on the loop structure: for their various strengths, any of which Twelve Minutes seems to lack. Taking the three I flagged up before: Ghost Trick is a much more linear narrative, and its puzzles are just as limiting and contrived, but crucially its writing is sharp, its characters brilliant, and its puzzles are fun to solve Virtue's Last Reward barely even meshes its puzzles with its narrative, and features relatively simple characters, but makes up for it by going absolutely wild with its time-loop story, making it central to a plot that just wouldn't function without it, and confounding the player's expectations at every turn The Forgotten City is clunky, a little underwritten, and you can feel its budget constraints at every turn. But it makes makes player decisions feel impactful and dynamic, allowing you pleasingly non-linear approaches through its little town, and delighting in accounting for aberrant player behaviour and 'sequence-breaking' its narrative through player awareness of future events. Its puzzles are slight but it commits to the Groundhog Day 'limited omniscience' approach to allow for fun experimentation.*** The thing all these games share with Twelve Minutes is a [relatively] low budget; we have, after all, two visual novels and a Skyrim-mod-turned-game. And yet they all focussed on at least one strength — really nailing their puzzles, their characters, their story or their dynamism — even if at the expense of scope or polish. Twelve Minutes, by focussing on a single locked room (well, flat, but you know what I mean), I expected would do the same: like, you only have a handful of rooms and characters, imagine how much you could focus on allowing the player to take every possible action within that space! And/or, imagine how much you could allow for character development over the course of those repeated twelve minutes; explore different nuances of the three characters, really go for depth over breadth. Funnily enough, the one thing I didn't expect was for it to go the VLR approach of 'crazy sci-fi twists', but it turns out that is what it went for... albeit to a not particularly satisfying end. So, er, yeah. (I'd also say that all three offer a less nasty story/set of characters, which for me is a bit of a turn-off when I felt that the game didn't do anything interesting with its grim setup, but that's a particularly subjective issue) * and other well-acted-but-incompently-scripted games like LA Noire and David Cage's ouvre **as a recentish example, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was great fun, even if its twist was reasonably dumb too *** It also understands the value in allowing the player to skip over things they've already solved; adding, without justifying, a character who just willingly follows your instructions at the start of each loop, who you can just send off to do all the things you've already figured out — skipping whichever you don't want to do this time around — and thus saving you repeated treks and panicked rushes.
  24. Briefly read that as 1620 fps and was deeply confused. Inception.gif
  25. Wiper

    12 Minutes

    I don't much like adding to a pile-on, but I fear I'm in the same boat as most here. Biggest disappointment of the year for me. I'm genuinely surprised by the number of positive responses it's gotten, even after reading said positive takes. I just can't see how it's possibly to get past the absolutely asinine plot and writing, when it's a game entirely focussed its story. I should be the perfect audience for this — I love point and click adventures, time loop puzzles and narratives, single room puzzles and narratives, and branching dialogue in games. But there was just nothing here that I enjoyed. Psychopathic, unreactive characters. Moon logic puzzles. Horrendous UI on controller. Sub-Quantic Dream plot. It even does the Quantic Dream thing of being needlessly nasty/edgy, presumably in an attempt to come across as serious/worthy. Of course you need to There's no payoff, no justification for this brutality, it's just seemingly there "because serious". I'd sort of understand the game hitting so many potholes if it were a brave attempt at a new genre, but there are so many actually-great time-loop games that I can't believe that this, of all of them, got all the press attention. If you want to play some incredible adventure games centered on time loops, may I recommend: The Forgotten City, if you want plenty of meaningful loops and open-ended puzzles with logical, varied outcomes. Virtue's Last Reward, if you want a headfuck with actual payoff. Ghost Trick, if you want a lesson in how to construct single-screen timed puzzles that are actually fun to figure out. And also to meet the best dog in games. God though, what a shame. I guess Annapurna had to release a duffer at some point. I still think that a really short-loop, single-space setting can make the perfect basis for a puzzle/adventure game, but this isn't it.
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