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rllmuk
Dark Soldier

Observation - PC and PS4

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I liked the Sunshine dig, but there was a bit of a people-in-glass-houses vibe about it given that the game makes similarly huge physics clangers of its own. Like, the station’s supposed to be violently spinning at the start, but everything inside is in free fall. It should all be pushed up against the walls, surely? 

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1 hour ago, K said:

I liked the Sunshine dig, but there was a bit of a people-in-glass-houses vibe about it given that the game makes similarly huge physics clangers of its own. Like, the station’s supposed to be violently spinning at the start, but everything inside is in free fall. It should all be pushed up against the walls, surely? 

Yep, I just started the game myself after the praise in here, and my first impression was, "are you serious?"

 

I'm no physicist, but isn't that basic physics? 

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Not getting on with this.

 

Visually it is breathtaking, but the game itself is utter tedium. Why do I need to press three buttons in a particular order just to connect to something after having already held a button down to connect? That's pure fucking filler. I'm already sick of it.

 

The game is also not exactly user friendly. "Check your station alerts" ... I spent a while trying to find those, and accidentally came across them with a press of RB on the map. Then I noticed they were a new option at the top of the screen. Which when you're on the map, is shown in small green text on a big green map. Well done, devs. :slowclap: This reminds me of playing Elite Dangerous for the first time, where it asks the player to do something without actually telling  them how. Basically assuming prior knowledge the player doesn't have. 

 

I'm at Central, but I'm not sure I can be arsed to continue. The early premise so far hasn't hooked me. And while the scenery is visually stunning. The facial animation on Emma is laughable. Proper last-gen, dead-eye, uncanny valley territory, with zero lip sync. 

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The detail depends on where the objects were to begin with and where the spin axis is, but everything (until the spin is stabilised) should be touching the walls or describing an arc around the spin axis if it's free. I think they got away with it for the objects but IIRC she's pretty much free-floating, right?

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1 minute ago, Thor said:

The game is also not exactly user friendly. "Check your station alerts" ... I spent a while trying to find those, and accidentally came across them with a press of RB on the map. Then I noticed they were a new option at the top of the screen. Which when you're on the map, is shown in small green text on a big green map. Well done, devs. :slowclap: This reminds me of playing Elite Dangerous for the first time, where it asks the player to do something without actually telling  them how. Basically assuming prior knowledge the player doesn't have. 

 

That's intentional, I think. Most of the game is figuring out how various systems and interfaces actually work, without documentation, because your memory banks are gone.

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Just now, Alex W. said:

That's intentional, I think. Most of the game is figuring out how various systems and interfaces actually work, without documentation, because your memory banks are gone.

Yeah, that does make sense thematically. In practice, I'm just not finding it fun.

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Oh boy, it is definitely going to get worse for you then. When I was playing it, I did wonder if some of it would be more fun with a tactile element, like a Space Team approach.

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I've just turned it off. Every time you link to something new, you have to press Y A A,  X B A, B B B, or whatever. And it's not instant, everything you do is time consuming. 

 

I'd request a refund from Epic, but I played for over the two hour limit. Ah well, at least it wasn't full price. 

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From the people who brought you that three-second pants-shitting lights sequence before the save terminal boots up in Alien Isolation...

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What hasn't helped this game, and this isn't the game's fault, is that I haven't long played Lone Echo. Both games are actually very similar in a number of ways. But Lone Echo is VR, and that makes a world of difference. 

 

Alex, if you get a chance to play Lone Echo via Oculus Rift, do so. I think you'll love it. 

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After sleeping on this, I gave it another go. I think I may have just been lacking patience last night. And this game does require patience. I've got much further now, and am enjoying the story. Those visuals of saturn never get old. 

 

Story spoiler - wondering how much I have left:

Spoiler

Just killed Evil Jim. 

 

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You are very close to the end now. Just gotta get past a few wee tedious bits and then you get the glorious ending. Less than an hour depending on how stuck you get.

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A very very good ending, that. The final part was actually straightforward. 

 

Spoiler

Finding Earth was a piece of piss, because I'd already found it the last time I had to use the astrophysics console. I actually spent ages in Comms earlier today because I was convinced I had to "triangulate" (or summat) the station's position relative to Earth. Talk about over complicating it for myself. :lol:

 

Once I got my head around the idea that this was, essentially, a C64 game, I got on with it a lot better. One thing I wish I'd known before playing: Look for documents with the golden clips. I didn't twig on that for a while. I spent ages this morning pissing about in the coolant room not knowing what the fuck to do next, and not realising there was a... 

 

Spoiler

... readable document right next to the power supply for the laptop that completed the schematic. :facepalm:

 

I still say the character models and facial animation are at odds with the entire aesthetic of the rest of the game. They are utter shit. No two ways about it. And it's a real shame, because the voice acting is excellent, and the character models do the actors a massive disservice, particularly the lead who looks so cartoony it's laughable. 

 

Sorry to mention Lone Echo again, but there's a very similar character in that whom the player the interacts with regularly, and the quality of her animation is lightyears ahead. 

 

Still, overall this is a decent slice of sci-fi. In the end I'm glad I played too long to get the refund.

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I thought this was really good too. It's hugely derivative, but has a lot of its own ideas - I loved the use of that hexagonal polar storm on Saturn. It feels like it was about the right length for what it was - essentially a walking simulator, except with following basic instructions as the primary way of interacting with the world, rather than walking around. Stories Untold, the dev's previous game, did something similar, but the processes there were a bit more involved - using a rattly old microfiche reader to look up communications protocols, and work out what code to transmit, that sort of thing. This was interesting, but if it were any longer, the puzzles would have become extremely tedious.

 

That said, the ideas behind it feel like they'd be worthy of a longer game: the idea that

 

you're the murderous AI in a sci-fi film was a clever one, but I thought they could have done more with it. It seems ripe for a story with branching plotlines, where you have to choose which of the crew to trust, or whether to follow the mission instructions from Earth or the contradictory instructions given by the crew. They sort of hinted at that with the bits where you can choose whether to authenticate someone's voiceprint or not, but they felt like set dressing more than anything else. It;'d be interesting as well if they did a sort of Spec Ops with the plot, where you follow instructions and do what appears to be the right thing every step of the way, but you end up in a position where you're killing the crew anyway.

 


 

As it is, the hexagon entity was a bit of a deus ex machina, as it relatively quickly and conveniently took over Emma and yourself. It'd be interesting if there was a period of resisting it, or if it offered you something that made doing its bidding quite attractive.

 

The ending made me think it might have worked better on a more conventional game, where you could actually fail or die - the corpses of other Emmas would have had more resonance if they'd implied that they were the result of all your previous attempts at the game.

 
 

 

 

One more thing - if ever there was a game made for that face-tracking technology from LA Noire, it's this. The game often looks photorealistic, but the faces let it down a bit. If they'd ramped up the visual noise and scanlines a bit, it would have helped.

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Agreed, it's almost photorealistic at times when the visual effects are running. I imagine people would complain that it's cheating but, hey, it works. And yeah, if Sam Barlow had done something like this it could've been a bit more interesting in terms of not understanding anyone's motives - even yours - and having to piece it together with incomplete knowledge.

 

This was kind of a second-person adventure game, huh? Most of the time you're not doing any of the conventional adventure game action, you're a bystander trying to understand it.

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