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Hewson

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Everything posted by Hewson

  1. Totally agree with first part of this, but the second part is unfair. It's not the same game. Almost every game magpies from others and innovation isn't everything. The blend here is really well judged. For me the story and delivery is more than enough to give the game impetus and keep me engaged. It might not be to your taste, but that doesn't mean all the things you list are objectively true. There's surely enough people in this thread enjoying it for that to be clear. And that whole 'endpoint of graphics' thing is always being said and is never true. Again, it kind of smacks of the graphics not being to your taste, which is fine but doesn't mean anything more than that. Also interesting that length is an issue here, but you don't mention Elden Ring which by all accounts is so big that most reviewers won't have played it all. I'm all for respecting the time of the player, but it seems like its not always applied to all games.
  2. There's a setting which allows you to see, like the first game, things you can interact with. And the latter point is subjective. I love the look of the game. As someone said upthread it has a really bright, Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic that's consistent with the story and the characters. I'd hate it if everything looked like Elden Ring, for example, even though I really enjoy that approach too. It's obviously horses for courses, but this game is beautifully put together, with really likeable characters and really fun systems. It's unfair to claim it's soulless or just a technical achievement.
  3. Add me to the group of people enjoying this too much to post about it til now. I was always surprised by how sniffy some people were about the first game and it seems there’s still quite a lot of it about. So far this looks like a great sequel to one of the best games of last gen. It’s not perfect but it’s so polished, generous and just plain enjoyable. Climbing is still a weakness but it has absolutely impeccable combat mechanics (especially on hard or above) with the robots and the tasks so far are set up to force you to mix up your approach and target specific components. The more I play the more baffled I am by the Eurogamer review. This is easily the best game I’ve played since Returnal.
  4. itch.io have waded in in entertaining fashion. Very hard to disagree: "A few have asked about our stance on NFTs: NFTs are a scam. If you think they are legitimately useful for anything other than the exploitation of creators, financial scams, and the destruction of the planet the we ask that please reevaluate your life choices."
  5. Not exactly a 'dark side' but there are definitely times in my life where I feel I could have been more creative and productive and I've spent time on games that I didn't really love instead. That's the one thing I genuinely worry about. But having said that it's also true that games have enriched my life and my experience of them has definitely helped me in my career too, even though I'm not in the industry.
  6. So pleased Returnal won and also that it did so with so many votes. It really is just so far ahead of anything else this year.
  7. In my early torturous days of being absolutely shit I wouldn't go near the Spitmaw, but then I read about people saying being more aggressive worked better and I forced myself to pick it up whenever I saw it. It was one of the key things that made me better at the game.
  8. I spent a comical amount of hours falling to Phrike and sometimes getting nowhere near him. But when I started to get more aggressive the whole game opened up to me. I’ve never played anything I was so bad at and yet still enjoyed for that long!
  9. I'm just doing my third play through - this time with my kids calling the shots about where we go and how we tackle it - and it's just so, so great. It's hardly news, but it's incredible how far ahead of everything else this remains. I'm excited for BOTW2 but also have fingers crossed that this is the year that we start to see some of the lessons of the game built into other projects like Elden Ring.
  10. Game of the Year A1. Returnal - Should it have launched with a working save state? Definitely. Was it head and shoulders above anything else launched last year even then? No question. This is a brilliant, unique and beautifully presented experience with incredible mechanics. I can’t think of a game that feels better to play from minute to minute in the last few years. It was frustrating that it bore the brunt of Sony’s ludicrous £70 pricing and gutting that this, more than any other game this year, seemed to be the subject of debate around its value for money. That’s particularly true because I probably played this as much as I played everything else put together this year. In a generally disappointing year for new games this was a glorious outlier and I poured hours into it. A2. Death’s Door - This was a really sweet surprise. It had a really clear sense of what it was aiming for and a really lovely aesthetic and style. The fact that it’s second in my list despite being quite simple in many ways speaks to the dearth of really outstanding games this year, but it was charming and fun from start to finish. A3. Deathloop - This is a flawed game whose flaws become more apparent the longer it goes on. But it makes a fantastic first impression and I really loved the fact that it’s trying to pull off a really distinct structure even if it doesn’t quite stick the landing. A4. Hitman 3- More of the same in some ways, but with a few really clever twists that demonstrate how well IO understand what they’re doing. It’s not a series I completely adore, but it’s hard not to admire the craft and the love that goes into it. A5. Guardians of the Galaxy - In any other year this wouldn’t have made my list, mainly because the mechanics are poorly lifted from other, better games. But it’s got real panache, a real understanding of the source material and simply wins you over with sheer enthusiasm and great writing. Biggest Disappointment of the Year Z1. Overall quality - It might have been Covid biting, but this year was one of the least inspiring for me in a long, long time. The excitement of last year’s console launches seemed to fizzle out with only one really outstanding game and I ended up spending a lot of time trawling through older stuff or trying and quickly ditching lots of Gamepass fodder. Z2. Halo Infinite - I’d assumed, even with the well-documented development issues, that this would be a meaty end-of-year treat. But the campaign spent two hours flattering to deceive, the open world was pointless, empty and uniform, the story was bad even by Halo standards and the linear levels and boss fights were genuinely awful. In a year of disappointments, this one stood out. Z3. Psychonauts 2 - This probably says more about me than the game considering the general reception. But like the first one I found it slow, ugly, unfunny and mechanically dull. Sound Design of the Year S1. Returnal S2. Resident Evil Village S3. Guardians of the Galaxy Visual Design of the Year V1. Returnal V2. Ratchet and Clank V3. Forza Horizon 5 Writing of the Year W1. Unpacking W2. Guardians of the Galaxy W3. Deathloop Format of the Year F1. Playstation 5 - a really tough one to choose, with no platform excelling this year. Sony take it by virtue of having by far the best game of the year, and it being a surprisingly eccentric thing to back. Publisher or Developer of the Year P1. Housemarque - unlike platform, this was an easy choice. They made the best game of the year by miles and did it moving from two to three dimensions - an incredibly risky thing to pull off for Housemarque’s very particular form of bullet hell. It was always readable and, within the parameters of a rogue like, always fair. They also built a really atmospheric narrative to tie it all together. A stone cold classic and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
  11. It’s been a really poor year for my money, certainly one of the worst I can remember. The only really great game this year was Returnal. Beyond that there were a few 8/10s and a lot of games I personally found disappointing. My scarce resource these days is no longer money but time. And that means I actively try to avoid wasting my time on games that I don’t rate really highly. A lot of Gamepass fell into that category this year and underlines why, while others think it’s the ultimate in gaming value, it just won’t work for me until the first-party studios start to really pay off.
  12. Anyone actually managed to upgrade the Ps Plus PS4 version? I can’t see an obvious way to do it
  13. Ha! Yep - Hades was my GOTY last year and Returnal this year (by a country mile). They are an amazing illustration of the ways in which rogue like structures are being put to increasingly distinct and compelling use
  14. Same for me. So many games this year have been disappointing compared to my expectations. Returnal was the opposite. Nothing comes close to the tightness of the gameplay and the sense of tough-but-fair challenge
  15. I'm one of those who loved H:CE for its campaign and over the years felt like the aims of the series became so focused on multiplayer that I got less and less interested. Every campaign felt like a poorer blueprint of the preceding one. I barely spent an hour with Halo 4 and didn't bother with 5. So the first few hours with this really did give me a warm feeling but the longer I've played it the less I like it. Technically it's a curate's egg. But the key thing for me is the open-world structure makes it feel so much more disposable and less curated than the highs of that first game. It feels mundane rather than exciting.
  16. This game is clearly absolutely brilliant but I hate the presentation so much that it makes me not want to play it. Just one glimpse of my avatar emoting around a car before a race makes me vomit. The whole 'you're a rock star' sycophancy of everyone you meet or hear on the radio is like nails down a blackboard. I realise that this is entirely my problem but I just can't abide it.
  17. A wise dev once told me that the key to every Blockchain business is to ask if there’s any good reason that a typical database wouldn’t work just as well as a foundation. It’s an excellent rule of thumb and sidesteps the very real danger of the complexities of a Blockchain pitch befuddling common sense.
  18. Would also love an invite to the club if possible: ChrisMoranUK
  19. Psychonauts 2 I remember being incredibly excited about the first one back in the day, and then being completely baffled by the gulf between my experience of it and the critical reception. It was slow, stop-start, ugly, unfunny, self indulgent and lacking in finesse. Since it was on Gamepass I figured I'd give the new one a shot, especially because I was in such a minority on the last one. And I've found exactly the same thing. The sheer volume of tedious cutscenes would make a decent platform sink, but the mechanics here just aren't that much fun. It's complicated rather than nuanced and it's just so lacking in respect for your time that I deleted it after just a few hours.
  20. I've come back to this in the last couple of days after massively enjoying it first time out, and it's mainly just reminding me of how far ahead of any other game I've played this year it is.
  21. When NPR shut down their comments in 2015 they published a fascinating blogpost: https://www.npr.org/sections/publiceditor/2016/08/17/489516952/npr-website-to-get-rid-of-comments?t=1633622687740 “When NPR analyzed the number of people who left at least one comment in both June and July, the numbers showed an even more interesting pattern: Just 4,300 users posted about 145 comments apiece, or 67 percent of all NPR.org comments for the two months. More than half of all comments in May, June and July combined came from a mere 2,600 users. The conclusion: NPR's commenting system — which gets more expensive the more comments that are posted, and in some months has cost NPR twice what was budgeted — is serving a very, very small slice of its overall audience. It's not possible to tell who those commenters are; some users comment anonymously. But there are some clues that indicate those who comment are not wholly representative of the overall NPR audience: They overwhelmingly comment via the desktop (younger users tend to find NPR.org via mobile), and a Google estimate suggested that the commenters were 83 percent male, while overall NPR.org users were just 52 percent male, Montgomery said.”
  22. Yeah - they also quite sensibly picked up the biggest regional correspondents like James Pearce for their access and following. The problem is they lured them with incredibly high salaries and also found that the new regional correspondents also had deep access and quickly built social followings too. I'm also glad it exists but it's frustrating that the basic business model was "the existing media is shit at this and we'll do it better" only to find that actually the problem is incredibly challenging and they weren't really bringing much more to the party. Interesting thing about the videogame equivalent is that I'd argue Edge is it - a genuinely niche product with consistently characterful, expert and distinct writing. The big question is whether that could work digitally and whether it needs to. I think the big mistake of the Athletic and the investors was the expectation that this kind of business could be huge.
  23. This is a really important point. The Athletic’s promise to a lot of the writers they recruited was that the audience would want to read really long, deep stuff and that’s partly what would differentiate them from the rest. But actually that’s a shortcut to a lot of indulgent and boring writing. A lot of the athletic stuff is good. But writers really, really need editors and need a sense of the value of concision. Long reads can be great but their value is obscured when everything is long.
  24. But the Athletic is following a pretty typical digital-first media track: i) convince VCs to give them a shit tonne of money based on idea that they’re more innovative and digital savvy than existing organisations ii) Go out and spend huge piles of cash poaching high end talent with big social followings, spend more on digital marketing and super discounted initial subscription rates iii) announce huge subscriber numbers iii) be anointed as the savour of media iv) as investors demand more returns on their money, panic because many of your subscribers stand no chance of extending subscription at ‘proper rate’ and you can’t afford to burn through marketing spend at the same rate v) try to get bought by NYT or other established media co vi) when they turn their nose up after a look at the numbers, realise that the spell is broken and you’re probably fucked The depressing thing is that at least they have invested in proper journalism and journalists, and even then it’s hard to make it pay. Paywalls are attractive and can work if you have really unique content (and in FT’s case lots of company subscriptions) but you also run the risk of killing the top of the funnel and seeing a dwindling subscriber base. The media business landscape is an absolute bloodbath and anything succeeding in it or even keeping afloat is miraculous.
  25. I don’t disagree that it could have been handled better. But also true that the numbers actually affected were tiny.
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