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Vampyr - This is exactly the sort of thing that'd be right up my street - dialogue heavy RPG, with lots of interlocking systems in a historical setting? Yesss!

 

But I really, really don't like the combat. I don't know what it's going for, how it works (why do zombies keep blocking my attacks?), and I never really feel in control - my animations keep sending me in the wrong direction, or past an enemy, even with the lock-on. The idea of blood potency and tying feeding to level and everything is pretty great, but it's also too much of a tradeoff - asking me to literally kill the half of the game I'm interested in to power through the half I'm not. A shame, because I doubt Masquerade 2 will have half the clever ideas this has.

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Horizon Zero Dawn. I finally finished God of War last month, and I loved it. "Hmm", I thought, "a lot of my favourite games this generation (except BOTW, natch) have been Sony exclusives. God of War, Spider-man, Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, The Last of Us Remastered... but I've not given Horizon Zero Dawn a go. I should probably play that, I might love it."

 

Spoiler: I did not love it.

 

It just seemed to be littered with bad design decisions, or out-and-out bugginess that I thought was a thing of the past. I can't remember them all, but off the top of my head:

 

- Rubbish autosave mechanism, that more than once would respawn me in a position where I'd have to immediately leg it in the opposite direction as fast as possible, otherwise I'd be immediately killed by the thing that just killed me

- Rubbish autosave mechanism (2), that left me stuck in an underground base thing with not enough supplies, and no way out other than past a massive boss I had to beat before I could escape (and that there had been no warning of before I went in)

- Dramatic loud music that would kick in whenever a robot spotted me, then continue playing over whispered plot-critical dialog that was triggered moments later, and was therefore impossible to hear

- An overworld that was tedious to navigate, because every 30 seconds there'd be a herd of robo-dinosaurs that needed avoiding or killing

- Really unclear levelling & difficulty. Yes, I know the missions are marked with a recommended level, but their actual difficulty regularly seemed wildly out of whack with that. I often found myself completely unsure whether I had the right equipment or the right level of that equipment. And despite the fact the tutorial/intro seemed to go on for ages, it still managed to explain very few of the things you need to know once you hit the main game.

- Awful facial animations

- Even worse voice acting

 

Robot dinosaours are cool, obviously. But Horizon Zero Dawn is not a good game.

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Pillars Of Eternity (PC)

I got hold of this and the sequel for next to nothing as I thought I'd be up for a really deep oldschool RPG in the style of Baldur's Gate. And once again this is all me and certainly not the game which is beautiful, really deep character creation, lush world. Honestly it was the combat that frustrated me the most. It was hard to pick out characters from the melee of moshing bodies, even when zoomed in, so selecting other targets was tricky. It worked miles better in something like FFXII, pausing and issuing orders, selecting enemies, all that. Here it's an uneasy mishmash of old-fashioned and new that made me not enjoy combat. And frankly I've not felt that pull to go back.

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4 hours ago, Vimster said:

Pillars Of Eternity (PC)

I got hold of this and the sequel for next to nothing as I thought I'd be up for a really deep oldschool RPG in the style of Baldur's Gate. And once again this is all me and certainly not the game which is beautiful, really deep character creation, lush world. Honestly it was the combat that frustrated me the most. It was hard to pick out characters from the melee of moshing bodies, even when zoomed in, so selecting other targets was tricky. It worked miles better in something like FFXII, pausing and issuing orders, selecting enemies, all that. Here it's an uneasy mishmash of old-fashioned and new that made me not enjoy combat. And frankly I've not felt that pull to go back.

That's why I don't bother with rpgs now.  Love the characters, the settings and so on and so forth, but once I finish the tutorial I have no idea where the hell I'm meant to be going!

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I have just kicked Yakuza Zero to the kerb. Never played any of the series but was looking forward to giving it a go. Cutscene. Cutscene. Cutscene. Oh I can can fight! Cutscene. Cutscene. Fight. Cutscene. Karaoke. Cutscene... Fuck this. 

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1 hour ago, Skull Commander said:

I have just kicked Yakuza Zero to the kerb. Never played any of the series but was looking forward to giving it a go. Cutscene. Cutscene. Cutscene. Oh I can can fight! Cutscene. Cutscene. Fight. Cutscene. Karaoke. Cutscene... Fuck this. 

 

I recently started Kiwami (I completed the original Yakuza back on the PS2 but this was free so I figured I'd see what it was like all spruced-up) and it's exactly the same. It wouldn't be so bad if the cutscenes weren't awful and boring. It's been a painful couple of hours (with perhaps about 20 minutes gameplay?) and I'm not sure I can be bothered with it, nor the other releases when they come to Game Pass. Clearly I had more tolerance in my younger days.

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1 hour ago, Skull Commander said:

I have just kicked Yakuza Zero to the kerb. Never played any of the series but was looking forward to giving it a go. Cutscene. Cutscene. Cutscene. Oh I can can fight! Cutscene. Cutscene. Fight. Cutscene. Karaoke. Cutscene... Fuck this. 

 

"But the story is amazing!"

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11 hours ago, Skull Commander said:

I have just kicked Yakuza Zero to the kerb. Never played any of the series but was looking forward to giving it a go. Cutscene. Cutscene. Cutscene. Oh I can can fight! Cutscene. Cutscene. Fight. Cutscene. Karaoke. Cutscene... Fuck this. 

 

Felt the same although I kept at it. I'd say you need to persevere to chapter 3 before it gets going, and even then you might not like it. 

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My golden rule. If a cutscene is long enough to make your TV picture dim for power saving or your controller switches itself off then I'm not interested. 

 

Just to be clear this isn't a slight on anyone that loves massive stories and scenes, but i'm an old school gamer first and foremost brought up on arcade type games. 

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1 minute ago, Skull Commander said:

My golden rule. If a cutscene is long enough to make your TV picture dim for power saving or your controller switches itself off then I'm not interested. 

 

That happened to me with Yakuza Zero as well. I haven't abandoned it, but it's put me off going back to it since. 

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Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

 

I'd been finding the game pretty tedious and the combat wooden for a while but put it on again this evening and remembered why I stopped playing.

 

Stupid arena combat trope. Hnnnnng...

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We Happy Few - I got about six hours in, which seems to be most of the way through before ditching this. It's a lot more narrative based than I was led to believe, but it's still rather jank - the combat comes off the worst, it's wooden and flailing, but played as a stealth-em-up it's fine.

 

Unfortunately there's just lots of niggling problems and bad decisions - the main one being the game just hates running for some reason. While mission areas are bespoke, they're placed into a procedural world that is simply too big, you're often given objectives a mile apart and have the worlds smallest stamina bar to micromanage. This really wears on you.

 

Worse are the city isles, where you can't run or everyone gets angry at you. In fact these city isles are filled with mechanics that penalise the player for basically anything and are really where the game soured me.

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Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (PC) - There is a lot that this game does well, especially the over world, and I have had a good time with it for the majority of my play-through but the Impossible Lair is just not fun at all. It is a good idea in theory but there a few points where you can get caught in an infinite death loop neglecting the point of being able to take extra hits. It has sapped my enthusiasm for trying to get it finished, so on the abandoned pile it goes.

 

I think Ape Out might be joining it soon.

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Everspace. I'm sure it's fantastic, but the tutorial made it clear it's not for me. Too many things to keep track of, too much stuff going on. Shoot, dodge, destroy shield with different weapon, wait for it to recharge, change weapon, deal damage, too late and now the shield's replenished, dodge, shoot.

 

I am way too inapt for this :lol:

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Detroit Become Human

 

Got it as a PS+ download so perhaps that’s why I’m not rushing back to it but man alive it’s a slog. Everything feels so overwrought and pedestrian once past the initial good impression of how pretty it looks.

 

Occasionally there is something intriguing but that quickly gets lost in the painfully slow and restrictive nature of doing anything. 
 

A spoon-fed, facade of a ‘game’. Well done Cage, you did it again!

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Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)

 

I've enjoyed the racing when I do it, but it's just too far towards being nothing but busywork in a drab, featureless setting of largely flat Australian desert. The popping up of a dozen+ more fucking events - and pretty much unknown til you get to them - just because you've had the temerity to complete a couple more is a proper demotivator, it's an overwhelming slog.

 

Started FH2 to see whether to delete that as well, and that's immediately shown that FH3 (and similarly FH4) is too open, to its detriment. Also less of a looker, but a far more appealing environment from the off.

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Yeah, I love all the Forzas but they have absolutely got a bit overwhelming in that respect.  Forza H 1 we ended up having lengthy battles with my friends over every event because there was a sensible number of them.

 

Now with that many events and all of them doable in any car most combinations have only ever been done by a couple of people in the world much less my friends list.

 

 

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It seems to happen with these long running series, they get so ingrained into what they want to do and forget how to make a game.

 

GT somewhere around 4 or 5 got complete up itself with its million championships and grind and confusing menus that take 4 days to do simple tasks. (And I recently booted up GT2 which really brought it home).

 

Forza Motorsport actually got back something resembling a game structure with 7 but somehow got it obsessed with "Card packs" to give your car unrealistic abilities which makes no fucking sense in a sim.

 

And Horizon has just got way too many events.  The stories etc are a really, really good addition but there's just too much else, and the fact drift zones etc grab your GPS when you're just trying to get somewhere is just awful.

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The 'make your own difficulty' aspect of Forza with countless options for doing so really compounds the above for me.

 

Even once you get past the obnoxious shite that surrounds the gameplay it still feels like a trudge through endless amounts of 'content' that's never really satisfying to complete because regardless of how you set it up there's always the nagging feeling that you just kicked a ball into some goalposts you moved to a convenient location rather than overcoming a set challenge.

 

I think those are definitely single player moans though, I can imagine how a lot of what I perceive as weaknesses in the series could easily be strengths in a multiplayer context.

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Uncharted 4 is flirting dangerously with making this list.  I installed it and started it last night to make sure it worked and what I discovered when I left the intro running while I cleaned out the cats is that the first several minutes of gameplay isn't.  I didn't touch the controller once and I got through the first 2 action set pieces by just sitting there.

 

"Fake gameplay" with a pre-destined outcome is worse than cut scenes. At least I know I can have a beer during a cut scene.

 

Unless someone is about to tell me if you're good you don't get thrown into the water of course, in which case excellent branching narrative. We'll see...

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1 minute ago, Rsdio said:

The 'make your own difficulty' aspect of Forza with countless options for doing so really compounds the above for me.

 

Even once you get past the obnoxious shite that surrounds the gameplay it still feels like a trudge through endless amounts of 'content' that's never really satisfying to complete because regardless of how you set it up there's always the nagging feeling that you just kicked a ball into some goalposts you moved to a convenient location rather than overcoming a set challenge.

 

I think those are definitely single player moans though, I can imagine how a lot of what I perceive as weaknesses in the series could easily be strengths in a multiplayer context.

 

It doesn't help that 4 is a bit buggy in that respect.  You can easily end up with 9 of the 11 computer controlled racers in the same car when there's a multitude it could have chosen from.  The Ford RS200 is fucking everywhere in my races.  I think I've raced more in FH4 than they ever actually made of the things.

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Dragons Dogma I really tried to like this, I even reduced difficulty and ran through the main quest in the hope of getting to the interesting part. But all that happens is I spend ages on the road killing the same wolves (they hunt in packs!) bandits and goblins. And everything takes ages to kill. Combine this with a genuinely terrible UI, horrific loot system which shows its age, and you get a game that’s just not interesting to play.

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Kine All puzzle makers should by law be made to play Witness. The simplest rules which incrementally get deeper as you master them, full of ingenious secrets that never fail to make you feel clever as your brain unlocks them. That’s not Kine though, which gets too complicated too quickly. Three boxes which move in increasingly convoluted ways, players are expected to combine these movements to tackle complex maps before they’ve been mastered to the point of second nature. This just results in a bunch of trial and error and ends up being dull. The creator needed to spend as much time on the pedagogy of the puzzles as the snazzy music story etc.

 

Also the camera and background actively work against you, which is unforgivable in a game like this.

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Uncharted 4.

 

It's beautiful, but there seems to be nothing behind it. Where is the game? It feels almost on rails. There must be some compelling gameplay in there given that the multiplayer seems pretty popular, but damned if I could find it.

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39 minutes ago, GamesGamesGames said:

Uncharted 4.

 

It's beautiful, but there seems to be nothing behind it. Where is the game? It feels almost on rails. There must be some compelling gameplay in there given that the multiplayer seems pretty popular, but damned if I could find it.

 

I managed to finish it, but never wanted to play it again.

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41 minutes ago, GamesGamesGames said:

Uncharted 4.

 

It's beautiful, but there seems to be nothing behind it. Where is the game? It feels almost on rails. There must be some compelling gameplay in there given that the multiplayer seems pretty popular, but damned if I could find it.

 

It is on-rails and while it's cinematic in ambition, it's much less of a romp than Uncharted 2, slower-paced and with more parallel/overlapping narratives. It's predominantly a game about the characters and the frequently incredible settings and set pieces, rather than deep mechanics or a skill ceiling of any note. The gameplay comes down to a somewhat refined but familiar balance of traversal, combat, puzzles and exploration - with the latter the most enjoyable element to me.

 

I personally really enjoyed the brothers' relationship, and some of the stuff with Elena is nicely written and performed. I admired many of the locales, and a few were stunning at the time. I also found the combat more satisfying and varied than in previous games, firefights felt more fluid and dynamic because of the movement options, swinging around, etc. There's not much revelatory to it, though. 

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1 hour ago, GamesGamesGames said:

Uncharted 4.

 

It's beautiful, but there seems to be nothing behind it. Where is the game? It feels almost on rails. There must be some compelling gameplay in there given that the multiplayer seems pretty popular, but damned if I could find it.


It’s absolute bobbins. 

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