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My Time At Portia - £9.95 PS4/XB1 On Sale


CovisGod
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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm still really enjoying this. I'm a fair way into it now - have finally upgraded my house, have helped towards some major projects, and am starting to build up a nice stash of resources and cash. One of the things I really like is that some of the projects you get involved in really have an impact - something that perhaps works better here than in some other games I've played because it's in nice chunky 3D. In particular the bridge to the desert, where I built a tower or two, and then you see them in place each time you cross and think "I did that" (likewise the South Block which is about where I am now).

 

There are a few niggles - friendship is a bit on the slow side, and the play date thing seems a bit forced and odd (but bearable), there's a general lack of information in some areas (what a commission requires you to be able to create to complete it, what newly-researched devices actually do before you build them, and so on...). But then there are a lot of nice touches too. Being able to buy lots of inventory space is nice, crafting using resources in storage is sanity-savingly good (likewise not having to build components for composite items at the worktable is a big plus).

 

I'm currently 77 hours in and there's still so much still to do - buildings I've never even been in, dungeons I've barely delved, loads of stuff still to craft, and a cat to adopt (I'm guessing - I've got the dog, and am just waiting for the Mysterious Man to reappear so I can buy a dog tag and rename him what all my video game dogs have been called - Worms*).

 

 

*This worked really well in FF8 where I renamed the dog Angelo as Worms, only to find out that it renamed all his specials too, so instead of "Angelo Rush", you could launch "Worms rush".

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  • 3 weeks later...

So the big question is now its nearing release, is does it stand up to Stardew Valley. According to Carlos, probably not. I saw some good reviews over its early access but it sounds like its perhaps a bit soulless and chorelike in comparison, especially on the social side. Which is odd to say because these games are all about chores but its making them fun and satisfying that's the key.

 

Interested to hear more long term player experiences. Is it an 8/10 or a 9/10?

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I've now got over 100 hours into this, and I'm still enjoying it, but slowing down a little. The building and commission stuff I think is great for the most part. The social side is a mixed bag.

 

As usual with any game like this befriending people is horribly slow and has nothing to do with any kind of reasonable behaviour. For the most part the best way to gain friends is to find out what they like and then spam them with gifts relentlessly. This doesn't seem too batshit insane if what they like is food, but if they like a specific item of jewellery you end up in that loop of giving a person the same necklace every single day and them saying "This is perfect for me, how did you know?". NPCs also sometimes make requests for the things they like, which again doesn't look too odd with things like pumpkin pie, which the girl from the farm has requested of me half a dozen times, but the mayor has had at least 10 tea tables out of me, and keeps asking for more - it's ludicrous. It does some good stuff - befriending people also helps your relationships with their friends, so if you pick a few folk to concentrate on you will drag several others along for the ride. And you can also take commissions to boost people's favour - which makes far more sense than anything else here. (It would be much more sensible for the game to let you take on any number of personal commissions at a time, and let that be the prime mover for befriending people, because then you'd be behaving like a normal person doing a job that helps people out, and they'd really like you for it - but that's the kind of logic that doesn't fly with most game designers).

 

One thing I really enjoyed early on, but am finding less time for is the mining. The problem here is that after a point you tend to have most of the ores you need or can buy them, or get them in other ways. The only things you need to mine for are the artefacts, and there you're likely to be screwed over by the random number generator. After a hundred hours I think I've managed to complete 4 relics out of probably dozens. I've got all sorts of bits and pieces in storage. Tellingly I have 5 or 6 duplicates of some parts, and I'm still missing 2 or 3 of the matching bits. The last time I went mining I managed to get in and do 4 or 5 big stints to try to complete a few relics, and only came out with about a dozen duplicate parts and a couple of bits for things I hadn't seen yet. It's complete pot luck, so I find myself not bothering to do it now - even though as a mechanic I found it quite good fun. And it's annoying because I've got silly numbers of things taking up inventory space, and a big old empty museum that I'd love to be filling, and yet it just seems like it's not worth the trouble.

 

One other thing is there's a bizarre disconnect with the wildlife in the game. Much of it is benign and cute and just bimbles around harmlessly - and yet they all drop useful loot. So every so often if I've got a spare couple of hours I go out looking for cute fluffy llamas and I murder them brutally with a massive hammer. They don't fight back, they just die pathetically, and then some more respawn shortly after so I can murder them with a massive hammer too. (Actually the combat is really patchy across the game too - some critters won't fight back, some critters have attacks that track you in an odd fashion so whilst running away looks like it should work it won't, and most of it is really simple, crudely-implemented, and missing sound effects and polish - happily it's one of those elements that isn't that important in the scheme of things).

 

There are all sorts of other niggles. The writing is largely terrible (but then the same is true for most games), the voice work is largely awful and badly-implemented (it's a relief that much of it is still missing), and as mentioned in my last post lots of things are underexplained. But it also has some great ideas that it's bought to the table that solve problems found in other similar games. And the thing it does best for me is still the sense of achievement on the big projects. I mentioned the bridge above, but the lighthouse is another example - you can see it from halfway across the world. 

 

As to comparisons with Stardew Valley. I love that game, but I don't think I'm quite as enamoured with it as some (it's my 3rd favourite Harvest Moon-style game). I do prefer SV to this, but perhaps only because the emphasis is so much on farming, whereas in Portia it's building (it's perhaps not that fair a comparison tbh). And whilst I love the building and the impact it has on the town, it doesn't have that same journey of starting with a tiny plot of land, and slowly building a hugely productive farm.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just got this on Switch, so many different menus and stuff. Not sure what I'm doing. So far I've picked up some sticks, punched a llama to death and probably committed a hate crime by beating up that gay bloke working the desk at The Commerce Guild. 

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This game has finally managed to suck me in big time. I'll have to start off with giving props to @MarkN for the rather thorough summary of his experiences with the game a couple of posts above and I mostly agree with him. 

@carlospie mentioned that "there's probably a good game in there, hidden behind endless mining and chatting". I'll have to disagree with that sentiment as mining is probably the activity I've done the least of, yet I seem to have infinite amounts of stone and ore. I was expecting the mining to be a bigger part of the game (but maybe it comes later, Ive only played a couple of in-game months). 

 

I really like the world and its atmosphere, I like a lot of the missions (exploring the cave on the wee island is one of the standouts for me so far), I like the exploration and there's plenty of charming details and events (the airship gift drop is bloody fantastic).

I wanted this as soon as I saw the first trailer for it, which was just after I'd spent 140 hours on the Switch version of Stardew Valley and wanted more of the same. It wasn't until I'd played Portia for a while that I realized that it is nothing like Stardew at all, but I'm kinda glad it isn't. 

 

I bought it on PC on release and enjoyed it for 15 hours or so, but I stopped playing when I found out that the Switch version was just around the corner. I'm glad I did, as there are some benefits playing it on the Switch that outweighs the downsides. 

 

The big cons of the Switch version are just a couple of things for me. The worst bit are the loading times, from the moment I launch the game on the homescreen it takes 3-4 minutes before I'm playing. The other thing is the graphic fidelity. While almost identical to the PC version, the textures are on the blurry side and there's no animated grass.There are some frame drops too, especially in handheld mode, but not of the gamebreaking kind.

The game as a whole does strike me as a bit under developed/unfinished as there seems to be a lot of stuff that's never explained, the game just assumes you should know stuff. The interface is also a bit fiddly and item management leaves a lot to be desired (why doesn't the auto sort button combine stacks, it's really annoying having to take out stacks of fish from each page of inventory only to merge them manually). 

 

The pros for me starts with the lack of spoken dialogue. There are none in the Switch version. The PC version had voices for a lot of the NPCs but not all, and even some of those who were voiced didn't have spoken dialogue for all the scenes which made the experience very fragmented. This is a very nice game for me to have with me on my business travels, making lonely hotel room nights fly by without the need to explore random towns and cities, getting drunk. 

No spoken dialogue also means I can skip through the dialogue at my own leisure, not having to wait for voice actors doing pauses for dramatic effect and such bs. I also love playing this in handheld mode (even if the 720p graphics are noticeably weaker than big screen mode when docked), I've actually gone to bed extra early just to play this before sleep time. It's surprisingly kind to the battery too, I seem to get between 5-6 hours playtime on a full charge which is about twice as much as with BotW. 

I love that you aren't spoon fed the lore and mysteries surrounding the town. I've loved exploring caves, secret rooms and dungeons and unearthing the backstory, piece by piece. 

 

Overall this is a game I adore, even if it has a few flaws. It's a game I can recommend to anyone who likes games like Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and/or Stardew Valley. It's a really slow paced game and it isn't always explained very well what you need to do, but Portia is a sweet little town that I'm thinking about when I'm not playing the game and it's always a joy to load my save and continue My Time at Portia. 

 

 

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Nice write up. I've put another 30 hours into this since my last post. I finally got a stable and a horse. Usually in games like this I find the horse is fairly useless. Here it is fantastic (once trained up) - the fastest and best way to get around most of the map. I also got a factory which changes things a lot. I'd had the option for ages, but since the game doesn't let you know you really want it, I didn't get one for far too long. The factory is great, but comes with issues (it uses a completely different inventory system, which complicates things a tad, but the benefits of having it far outweigh any niggles).  My advice here - get both a stable and a factory as early as possible.

 

No spoken dialogue in this case is definitely a plus point. I'd spent ages wooing Sonia from the café, and finally proposed to her just as the update happened which gave her her voice. It's properly awful. I was half-tempted to divorce her right away, it's so bad. I could always mute it I guess, but I've resigned myself to living with the niggles.

 

So, I'm 130 hours in, I think I'm getting near the end of the story. I've just unlocked what I think may be the last abandoned mine. There's still loads of stuff I haven't done, built or seen yet though. I get the impression they should have probably delivered about a third less content, and spent the time saved on polish. Seriously - there are so many unnecessary characters in the game, there are loads of resources I've barely used. So many items I've never bought or crafted. There's so much time wasted on unnecessary content that could have been spent just finishing a smaller game properly.

 

Having said that - it's still a brilliant little game, and for all its faults will be in my top 10 for the year quite easily.

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One shot deaths from those spikey urchins make it very difficult to like this game.

 

"Go get me spines" ok boss. Bish bash bosh oh wait I'm dead. Fine, lesson learned. Stay away, get some defense.

 

"It's fishing day!" Ok doke. Go down to river side. See lots of townsfolk gathered around, someone is on the floor with a speech bubble above them. Go to find out what the deal is, instadeath from the urchin that's next to him. Putting you back to the beginning of the day is complete bullshit too.

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On 28/04/2019 at 14:51, moosegrinder said:

One shot deaths from those spikey urchins make it very difficult to like this game.

 

"Go get me spines" ok boss. Bish bash bosh oh wait I'm dead. Fine, lesson learned. Stay away, get some defense.

 

"It's fishing day!" Ok doke. Go down to river side. See lots of townsfolk gathered around, someone is on the floor with a speech bubble above them. Go to find out what the deal is, instadeath from the urchin that's next to him. Putting you back to the beginning of the day is complete bullshit too.

 

What level are you? In the beginnimg you should avoid all creatures that are higher level than you, and make sure you’ve got some sort of weapon, preferrably an upgraded sword or some boxing gloves. You should also invest your talent points in the Fighter tree in the beginning, to get you beefed up a little. 

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About 6 or 7. What irritated me the most was the reset to the beginning of the day. That's terrible design. If you go in unprepared to fight something and die it should wake you up the next day in the infirmary or something, so you lose time and maybe money for medical bills. I'm in the first two weeks and went to the fishing competition but the urchins are wandering about unchecked, one came over while I was fishing and instakilled me. Absolute bullshit.

 

Aside from that I'm kind of enjoying it. I need to get some more of the basics down, and try and not be so overwhelmed by all the systems whirring away.

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23 hours ago, moosegrinder said:

About 6 or 7. What irritated me the most was the reset to the beginning of the day. That's terrible design. If you go in unprepared to fight something and die it should wake you up the next day in the infirmary or something, so you lose time and maybe money for medical bills. I'm in the first two weeks and went to the fishing competition but the urchins are wandering about unchecked, one came over while I was fishing and instakilled me. Absolute bullshit.

 

Aside from that I'm kind of enjoying it. I need to get some more of the basics down, and try and not be so overwhelmed by all the systems whirring away.

 

The way the game is designed, it wouldn't have worked with skipping to the next day if you die. A lot of events happens during night time and it would've been frustrating to miss out on some of those due to dying. The thing is, I don't really recognise what you're describing because the only times I've died I've respawned with a message telling me how many retries I've got. I did a big dungeon with a rock hard boss at the end and probably died 8-10 times, I simply started a couple of rooms back with all my progress saved. 

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26 minutes ago, Rayn said:

 

The way the game is designed, it wouldn't have worked with skipping to the next day if you die. A lot of events happens during night time and it would've been frustrating to miss out on some of those due to dying. The thing is, I don't really recognise what you're describing because the only times I've died I've respawned with a message telling me how many retries I've got. I did a big dungeon with a rock hard boss at the end and probably died 8-10 times, I simply started a couple of rooms back with all my progress saved. 

 

Well this is out in the world. It's also on the console version, which probably doesn't have parity patch and feature wise with the PC version. When you die you just get GAME OVER and an option to load the last save.

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1 minute ago, moosegrinder said:

 

Well this is out in the world. It's also on the console version, which probably doesn't have parity patch and feature wise with the PC version. When you die you just get GAME OVER and an option to load the last save.

 

I'm on the Switch version. But yeah, what you're saying is weak design and should be addressed in some way. 

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That's odd though, I'd have thought you'd have experienced something similar on there if it's a console version. I saw something about some patches coming soon with improvements and features but I can't remember exactly what. I ought to dig through reddit.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just started playing this on the Switch, really enjoying it but the loading times and Frame rate issues are extremely annoying. I downloaded an update earlier which apparently fixes some of the issues, makes me wonder what state it was in when first released. 

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  • 2 months later...
On 26/04/2019 at 20:01, MarkN said:

Nice write up. I've put another 30 hours into this since my last post. I finally got a stable and a horse. Usually in games like this I find the horse is fairly useless. Here it is fantastic (once trained up) - the fastest and best way to get around most of the map. I also got a factory which changes things a lot. I'd had the option for ages, but since the game doesn't let you know you really want it, I didn't get one for far too long. The factory is great, but comes with issues (it uses a completely different inventory system, which complicates things a tad, but the benefits of having it far outweigh any niggles).  My advice here - get both a stable and a factory as early as possible.

 

No spoken dialogue in this case is definitely a plus point. I'd spent ages wooing Sonia from the café, and finally proposed to her just as the update happened which gave her her voice. It's properly awful. I was half-tempted to divorce her right away, it's so bad. I could always mute it I guess, but I've resigned myself to living with the niggles.

 

So, I'm 130 hours in, I think I'm getting near the end of the story. I've just unlocked what I think may be the last abandoned mine. There's still loads of stuff I haven't done, built or seen yet though. I get the impression they should have probably delivered about a third less content, and spent the time saved on polish. Seriously - there are so many unnecessary characters in the game, there are loads of resources I've barely used. So many items I've never bought or crafted. There's so much time wasted on unnecessary content that could have been spent just finishing a smaller game properly.

 

Having said that - it's still a brilliant little game, and for all its faults will be in my top 10 for the year quite easily.

 

I built the factory last night. Holy shit, that changes things. I'd got a bit stagnant with my day-to-day grind so decided to focus on buildings. The factory is initially completely overwhelming but I think an hour of getting my head around it was enough to set me on my way. Very few games that I have played have had such a fundamental change to them so late in.

 

I also unlocked then drill. Bloody hell, also massively game changing. I've also focussed on fish husbandry and successfully bred my first couple of king fish.

 

The museum is slowly filling up but too slowly, as does the friendship stuff. In hindsight, I'd not bother putting any effort in to the friendship stuff beyond ack and the commisions/special gifts.

 

The story has started to get interesting too. I'm not sure that at least one of the story characters is being completely honest and I'm expecting a switcheroo at some point.

 

Overall, I am still enjoying it and as someone said earlier in the thread, the 3d nature of the game and the building projects is superb. What you build really has a massive impact on the world and what you see. The draw distance is also huge, much more than any game my pc has been able to achieve before. Poop can be spotted miles away as can people and animals.

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  • 3 months later...
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