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IMMORTALITY


bradigor
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6 minutes ago, Moz said:

You sound like the lady who walked out of my screening of Inland Empire shouting "FIVE STARS... FIVE STAAAARS!!!!" incredulously.


5 Stars? Inland Empire is clearly all of the stars! Not sure whether it tops Fire Walk With Me or Mulholland Drive though. That Severance on AppleTV is quality too and clearly hugely influenced by Lynch. 

 

10 minutes ago, bradigor said:

This is the problem with scoring games films, books, music, etc. A 10/10 means everyone goes to try it and it is impossible to get everyone to feel the same. 

 

@CrichStandis well within their rights to not like the game and think everything about it is turgid nonsense. I can feel the opposite. 

 

It's the same as to how I think Hollow Knight is an ok game, but others lord it up at a GOAT. 

 

For whatever reasons Sam Barlow really speaks to me and his games do too. I wish I still had my old interview with him from Gamestyle as it was a fascinating chat at the time 

 

See, I wouldn’t have a problem with the reviews I read if they were backing up what they were saying with evidence and examples from the game. I absolutely love Returnal and could write pages on what makes it so great, and explain in detail whilst giving clear examples - like the movement and how you can run, jump, shoot, grapple, melee, dodge etc all in the blink of an eye and it feels so seamless and sublime. Or the story and all the symbology and how it relates to the gameplay and ties into the themes of repetition and mental health issues.

 

The reviews I’ve read for this don’t say anything. It’s just loads of waffle and sound bites and then in the few paragraphs they do talk about the game itself, they sound like they didn’t get it, or what it was about or how it made any sense etc........which is the main part of the “game” and surely should factor massively into the overall rating?
 

Basically, this just appears to be Telling Lies, but significantly worse, with everything really dumbed down. After 4hrs of that there was a plot, character development, mystery, intrigue, a real sense of progression and I was aware that the story I was getting and the way it was being uncovered, could be significantly different for other people, which was really cool. It felt like quite a jump for interactive films etc. As Dusk Falls took a more traditional kind of approach but it worked well, I was invested in the characters and story. I’m not getting any of that from this. The only worthwhile addition seems to be “rewind”. But after a couple of times it’s blown it’s load and it’s old hat. Feels like it’s hobbling along with it’s one cool trick.

 

21 minutes ago, BitterToad said:

Really cool to see it's a majority of people that aren't enjoying the game that are posting open spoilers in the thread. Might as well fuck it up for other people if it's not your cup of tea, eh?


Think most of the stuff that’s been mentioned is literally the first thing you see on loading the game up, before you even hit the title screen! 😂 Which is pretty fucking weird as the warning gives away most of where the “story” is going!

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25 minutes ago, BitterToad said:

Really cool to see it's a majority of people that aren't enjoying the game that are posting open spoilers in the thread. Might as well fuck it up for other people if it's not your cup of tea, eh?

 

Some posters should come set on ignore by default for new accounts. 

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@CrichStand there’s a bit more to it than just, there was an actress who went out of the limelight for a bit. Whether you care for her or what I supposed depends on the player. I’m pretty intrigued by it. 
 

But it’s about a lot of things I feel. Obviously I’ll need to complete the game before drawing conclusions proper, but I love the premise and the game play. 

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@CrichStandis very hard to review without ruining it. I was lucky to go in early and without any knowledge and my review will skip pretty much everything because too say anything at all will diminish the experience for someone, in my view anyway

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9 minutes ago, marcus said:

Can someone explain what to do in this game to me like I am a 6 year old.  Thanks.


click on faces and objects  - unlock new clips, rewind to check stuff or go back from the point it puts you in on the new clip. 
 Apart from that watch hours of these and piece together the story. 
 Decide for yourself if there’s any actual gameplay, skill or story or if it’s just something pretentious that reviewers have wet their pants about. 

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3 minutes ago, Stanley said:

@CrichStand there’s a bit more to it than just, there was an actress who went out of the limelight for a bit. Whether you care for her or what I supposed depends on the player. I’m pretty intrigued by it. 
 

But it’s about a lot of things I feel. Obviously I’ll need to complete the game before drawing conclusions proper, but I love the premise and the game play. 


I don’t think it even gives you that much plot unless you check out a certain menu option! I’m going to soldier on with it, having already put 4hrs in. I’m also well aware that when I played Her Story and Telling Lies that viewing clips in certain orders could lead to the game not being as enjoyable. Plus, there’s surely got to be more to it than I’ve played so far! Bugging me that I keep getting the same 2 rewinds on most clips now, almost feels like it’s screwed up or something.

 

10 minutes ago, bradigor said:

@CrichStandis very hard to review without ruining it. I was lucky to go in early and without any knowledge and my review will skip pretty much everything because too say anything at all will diminish the experience for someone, in my view anyway

 
That’s a really good point! Some of the reviews said they didn’t get the story or feel it fitted together after they’d finished it though, and personally I feel that the story itself is what makes or breaks these kind of games. Think there was someone that said that earlier in the thread too.

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24 minutes ago, Mortis said:


click on faces and objects  - unlock new clips, rewind to check stuff or go back from the point it puts you in on the new clip. 
 Apart from that watch hours of these and piece together the story. 
 Decide for yourself if there’s any actual gameplay, skill or story or if it’s just something pretentious that reviewers have wet their pants about. 

 

Mario: "Press directions on dpad and occasionally push a jump button. Run from left to right."

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I've always seen Sam Barlow's games as you are the game. Presented with the info and you do with it what you will sort of thing. I wish I could explain it better than that. 

 

But for example I agonised over Her Story for weeks. I had a note book, postits, a full ashtray and felt like an overworked detective trying to comb through the evidence. Others just watched a few videos.

 

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Just now, bradigor said:

I've always seen Sam Barlow's games as you are the game. Presented with the info and you do with it what you will sort of thing. I wish I could explain it better than that. 

 

But for example I agonised over Her Story for weeks. I had a note book, postits, a full ashtray and felt like an overworked detective trying to comb through the evidence. Others just watched a few videos.

 

 

There's something there, all right.

 

His games exist in your mind, or not.

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The issue with spoilers for this game is that I think the gameplay itself can be spoiled, not just the story.

 

Spoiler

Learning how you explore the footage is the most game-y part of the experience and one I really appreciated. As a result saying anything more than "watch footage and click on things to link to other clips" is imo a spoiler.

 

I thought this would be a what happened to X or Y story. Some personal history. A tragic event or two.

 

But when the clips start showing more and more of another story I was genuinely surprised. That first careful rewind to get the new clip to stick so I could watch it in full was as exciting as anything I've played in years.

 

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6 minutes ago, footle said:

 

Mario: "Press directions on dpad and occasionally push a jump button. Run from left to right."


Your analogy kinda falls apart when you take into account that it requires timing and skill to play Mario.
 Immortality however you dress it up requires no skill, despite how it’s presented you can finish the game by randomly clicking on stuff (and in places that’s exactly what you do).
 I get it’s going to be a forum darling for some - one of these “art over mechanics” things but honestly trying to say there’s any kind of “game” or “puzzle” here is massively exaggerating what the game is.  

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4 minutes ago, Mortis said:


Your analogy kinda falls apart when you take into account that it requires timing and skill to play Mario.
 Immortality however you dress it up requires no skill, despite how it’s presented you can finish the game by randomly clicking on stuff (and in places that’s exactly what you do).
 I get it’s going to be a forum darling for some - one of these “art over mechanics” things but honestly trying to say there’s any kind of “game” or “puzzle” here is massively exaggerating what the game is.  


Yep, 100% and it’s where I definitely feel it’s a big step backwards from Telling Lies. For example with that the dialogue was really important. Little things like.....you had to find out people’s names from watching the clips. Then you could enter “Tom” and get lots of clips where he’s mentioned, slowly building up info on that character and how he relates to other characters. You could then branch out and had to think of more and more words and ways you could access clips that could be of relevance to advance the story. It felt like you were pushing things forward and interacting with things, and really making an impact.
 

On this a clip ends and you just click on anything and the next vid starts, rinse repeat. Everything appears to be signposted to. It doesn’t feel like you’re really discovering anything. It’s like you’re on rails, which is the main problem of interactive films in the first place and something that Telling Lies really made advances with.

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Legit enjoyed a few short minutes of this game where I gasped in genuine shock - not had that happen in a long time. Got goosebumps and everything.

 

But that initial genuine emotion can't be replicated, at least in what I've played since, and I've given up in boredom which is a shame because at the time I thought "wow here we fucking go...!" 

 

I'm not going to get too caught up in review scores as I've not finished the game.

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1 hour ago, Mortis said:


Your analogy kinda falls apart when you take into account that it requires timing and skill to play Mario.
 Immortality however you dress it up requires no skill, despite how it’s presented you can finish the game by randomly clicking on stuff (and in places that’s exactly what you do).
 I get it’s going to be a forum darling for some - one of these “art over mechanics” things but honestly trying to say there’s any kind of “game” or “puzzle” here is massively exaggerating what the game is.  

I think the point there with Mario is that by saying you just randomly click on things to complete Immortality is a reductive argument, in the same way as saying Mario is just pressing buttons. 
 

Immortality does not require hand to eye coordination at the same level to play or complete it, but that doesn’t mean its central mechanic of match cutting and scrubbing lacks intelligence or is just mindless. A great deal of thought and planning has clearly gone into making it, in fact it’s a pretty mind boggling feat of engineering. 
 

It’s clearly not a game like Mario, or even the more traditional puzzle type games we’re used to. It’s something else entirely, and that’s what makes it a fresh and pioneering work. 
 

But it is a puzzle, it’s great big patchwork Rubik’s cube of one, only it’s also moving, and talking, and looking, and thinking, provoking and shocking. And it plays out mostly in your mind. 

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Well I pretty much finished it by clicking on faces and stuff until new bits appeared - often just clicking the same face in multiple reels pinged an achievement and advanced the game. 
 There’s no puzzle here outside of what people appear to project onto it themselves - I honestly think you can get the ending on this by just clicking mindlessly and occasionally rewinding until the credits roll. 

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9 minutes ago, Mortis said:

Well I pretty much finished it by clicking on faces and stuff until new bits appeared - often just clicking the same face in multiple reels pinged an achievement and advanced the game. 
 There’s no puzzle here outside of what people appear to project onto it themselves - I honestly think you can get the ending on this by just clicking mindlessly and occasionally rewinding until the credits roll. 

You can "complete" Her Story by typing in endless random words as well, but that's not the point is it? You might as well say you can finish a novel by flicking through the pages like a flickbook until you reach the back cover.

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Well you can but neither her story or your novel have that functionality as a central mechanic. 
 There’s very little linking pieces of this together other than objects and faces that open new clips of objects and faces - the story plays itself and gives you the illusion of control but it’s smoke and mirrors. 
 

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9 minutes ago, Mortis said:

Well you can but neither her story or your novel have that functionality as a central mechanic. 
 There’s very little linking pieces of this together other than objects and faces that open new clips of objects and faces - the story plays itself and gives you the illusion of control but it’s smoke and mirrors. 
 

 

It's interesting you say illusion because that's sort of what games like this often are.

If you go to watch a magician you could sit with your arms crossed and say that none of it is real. Or you could buy in and enjoy the illusion for what it is. A show. A piece of entertainment.

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17 minutes ago, Rex Grossman said:

 

It's interesting you say illusion because that's sort of what games like this often are.

If you go to watch a magician you could sit with your arms crossed and say that none of it is real. Or you could buy in and enjoy the illusion for what it is. A show. A piece of entertainment.

Indeed, although there's worth in how you interact with something too. You complete a movie just by sitting in front of a screen while light and sound hit your face, but you wouldn't criticise it for that. I do agree that this seems to require a less detective work than Her Story and Telling Lies, but assuming I'm not about to be hit with an ending cutscene explaining everything then it's still left to the player to figure things out to some extent.

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54 minutes ago, Mortis said:

Well I pretty much finished it by clicking on faces and stuff until new bits appeared - often just clicking the same face in multiple reels pinged an achievement and advanced the game. 
 There’s no puzzle here outside of what people appear to project onto it themselves - I honestly think you can get the ending on this by just clicking mindlessly and occasionally rewinding until the credits roll. 

If that’s the only reason your playing well then yes, you could do that. And again, yes, stories and art can be interpreted differently by different players. Isn’t that kind of the point? I felt that straight away playing this game; it’s a thoughtful experience that provokes and asks questions of its audience. And everyone’s play through will be different even if they just randomly click through without and thought or understanding. 
 

There’s a lot to be said about this game but then you find yourself in spoiler territory even by just discussing it a bit. I think it’s fascinating. 

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Major, major spoilers below including some relatively late-game stuff, which arguably belongs in a separate spoiler thread, but provides a counterpoint to some of the ‘random clicking’ observations. I’d say not to open unless you’ve finished the game or decided you have no interest in doing so. 

 

Spoiler

There’s definitely more structure to this than some people are giving it credit for. You may well be able to ‘see the credits’ by thoughtlessly clicking anything and everything but there is a cohesive narrative there that you can uncover if you actively seek it out  

My early experiences were much as people have pointed out - just an overwhelming amount of apparently random clips if you just follow every possible connection. But once I saw the second talk show segment, with the Director talking about Minsky and the actor dying, my focus turned to looking at the clips from that period, and in particular the candid, non-movie ones, to piece together the off screen background. You begin to dig into the evolution of the relationship between Marissa and Carl. The clicking isn’t random, you’re actively looking for clues to that relationship and how he might have died. It was in that segment that I had my first rewind moment, which as for everyone else was a breathtaking reveal. But where it kicked up a gear again was in following the clues to the gun/death scene and finding the rewind footage there with the second, male, immortal. And clicking through from him to find a further two-handed rewind in an otherwise completely innocuous looking scene, which really opened up the scope of the story being told, for me at least. 
I’m still nowhere near the conclusion to this, I don’t think, and need to piece together some of the so far disconnected late-stage rewinds, which show much more bleed through into the real world, but the joy I’m getting from the game is exactly from trying to structure how I approach the connections to fill in the blanks of that narrative. 
I guess if you aren’t hooked by the central premise or don’t have any curiosity about the characters or situations, nor what you’re seeing in the rewind sections, then I can see that the mechanics alone could leave you cold. But my experience has been one of utter compulsion to piece it all together. To find the little snippets of context in the out of scene conversations, let alone the bigger overarching story being told in the rewind sections. Masterpiece may be overstating it, but I think it’s bold, intelligent and utterly compelling, with an approach to story telling which is unique to itself (even amongst the other Barlow games), and which couldn’t be replicated in traditional movie form. Even if you feel the game mechanics are simplistic or minimal, the experience couldn’t exist without them and for me what they enable is an engrossing and unique experience, whether it’s a ‘game’ or not.

 

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I think the actress who plays Marissa is brilliant.

Spoiler

There’s one clip where she is staring into space, and then turns around and back again, to the point I thought it was on an endless loop, and then I was scrubbing myself and I ended up with this strange clip of her kind of just looking totally lost, for ages. I hope this is not deemed a spoiler, but I really do think that ‘playing’ with the mechanics is where a lot of the game lies, just observing. 

 

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15 minutes ago, Stanley said:

I think the actress who plays Marissa is brilliant. ...

 

My feeling is that all these things are spoilers right now. Every moment of discovery is the joy of it. Which makes having any kind of interesting discussion very hard.

 

Spoiler

Fundamentally the issue is that from the off you have no idea that scrubbing can change the video. That discovery is important. The feeling of it is important. When you know it's there you will look for it sooner and experience something different.

 

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