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    Games, game development, 3d modelling and animation. Martial arts. Bit of reading - mainly educational, but the odd sci-fi/fantasy novel if its highly recommended. Play guitar in a couple of semi active bar bands.

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  1. MegaTrousers

    What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    16/08/18 - Rakuen: Sad but often funny RPG featuring a sick kid in hospital seemingly going on magical adventures with his mum to help the other patients. Very little of the game is up to much, this is all about the story and characters. Each piece of tragedy has good context and serves a purpose, but the sheer quantity by the end undercuts the impact a bit. Also there's imo a misstep in one character's arc in the use of an anthropomorphised dog, which sits awkwardly with the rest of it. Made in RPG Maker, so clunky, but surprisingly nice to look at thanks to strong ideas and good designs. Some nice music too, but often a bit too sickly-sweet for me. Where The Sexy Brutale wouldn't work as well in any other medium, this doesn't gain much, if anything, from being a game. Its now being adapted to an animation, which seems a better fit, and I look forward to seeing it. Previous:
  2. MegaTrousers

    What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    15/08/18 - The Climb: You climb stuff in VR - cliffs, canyons, mountains, glaciers. Aside from one fairly serious problem with unpredictable jumping and an irritating mechanic for chalking your hands, it works excellently with touch control. Some stunning views rendered with crytek's expected high quality, although you spend most of the time looking at your hands and the fine detail of whatever rock you're clinging to. Given you never actually have to carry your weight, its surprisingly tiring over extended climbs or on sprints - the latter of which have top notch one-more-go, score attack appeal. Could use a bit more structure. You climb all the things and that's it, no fanfare that I noticed. I thought it was interesting given the recent chat in the tomb raider reboot thread. Here's a game with a laser focus on climbing - no running or walking at all and only a little jumping. It demands attention at every moment and in spite of, or because of that, was compelling for at least the six or more hours it took me to reach the final summit. My biggest complaint with it is probably that it whites out when you fall off, dulling the sense of risk and danger. Previous:
  3. MegaTrousers

    What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    11/08/18 - A Hat in Time: 3d platforming. More Psychonauts than Mario. Incredibly vibrant and exuberant, and main character Hat-Girl is adorable. Levels start good, if a bit uneven, then get better as they go on. Unfortunately by the time it really hits its stride, you're at the end. There's some surprisingly dark humour in there and I'm not crazy about what it appears to be saying with its story, but its an excellent, fun game that shows there's still more to mine in the genre than nostalgia. Previous:
  4. MegaTrousers

    What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    24/07/18 - The Sexy Brutale: A mash-up of Luigi's Mansion, Majora's mask and old isometric adventures, with a couple of its own mechanics built around spying and eavesdropping. Cute graphics play nicely against some very dark humour and themes, with music that bounces from period fitting songs with full vocals to jaunty hummable game-tunes that still feel authentic to the setting. It tells a story with a level of ambition you rarely see in a game, but that its hard to see working as well in any other medium. Having said that, its melding with this particular game isn't totally successful, demonstrated most by the ending. The final stretch is an excellent story payoff, but is a huge, barely interactive info-dump that takes a substantial portion of the run-time. For me, most of the game-play fell into "nice try, but no cigar" territory. Movement and the very limited environmental interactions are just a bit too slow and fiddly so running around the mansion becomes a trial rather than its own fun. Worse, there are about a dozen puzzles in the game altogether, and of those only a couple really hit the spot. There are a couple of corkers, but for the most part, the reconnaissance and time mechanics are sadly under exploited. It only lasts a few hours though, and is such a lovely, unique little thing. I'm very glad I saw it through. Previous:
  5. MegaTrousers

    What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    Between going outside in the nice weather, catching up on some TV and bouncing off a couple of games, my completions ground to a halt, but back on it now. 14/07/18 : Deus Ex - Mankind Divided: The original Deus Ex will always be in contention as my most loved gaming experience. I haven't replayed it a million times, but it remains my high watermark for any 'serious' game. Anything bearing that name basically has an impossible task living up to it, even if its by any sensible measure a better game, and that's the case with Mankind Divided. The apartheid set-up is a bit contrived and not a great analogue to issues of real world prejudice, but with the current climate, manages to be disturbing and relevant nonetheless. The side missions explore some nice ideas that often inform the main plot, but there status as optional snack content means those ideas sometimes don't get the depth of exploration they deserve. The main thread is OK, but feels hampered by having to tie into the Deus Ex mythos. Gameplay-wise, this is probably the best the series has ever been, but somehow, it was frustrating as often as it was fun. I went straight for the tougher difficulty and a stealth/non--lethal approach, and with my build, getting caught was effectively instant death and reload. The occasional bit of social engineering through messaging is a nice addition, but for the most part its hack, jump, shoot or vent - business as usual. The way these options are woven through the environments with varying degrees of obfuscation is impressive and satisfying, but sometimes it feels more artificial than any straight shooter. Some augs are cool, but energy rationing is miserly so you can't go wild with them, and too many simply allow you to bypass gameplay, or cheat, rather than opening up new approaches. For example, the social aug makes conversations unfailable, but diplomacy without it is a crap-shoot - though that might just be my own social ineptitude. Hacking augs in contrast improve your abilities and allow you to access tougher challenges, but you own skill at the mini-game must improve in tandem to be successful. The visuals are impressive, but more variety, even if it meant much less detail, would have made the game better. The first time you see a cloud of post-its strewn about an apartment is stunning. When you read those exact same hand-written notes throughout the city, it is not stunning. You can enter a good number of buildings, but its still a minority of what you can see. Bins are everywhere, but no-one outside the bank appears to have ever used one. Why does everyone keep so many of the same cardboard boxes - all over the world? Everyone I know puts their amazon boxes in the recycling bin. Prague is nice (in an oppressive hell-hole way) but so visually busy that while I refused to use objective markers, I was never really able to get my bearings or navigate without constant map use. Audio is top notch. Can't speak to the authenticity of the accents, but I was sold, and the music sets the mood perfectly. Unfortunately, the PC version seems pretty bug-ridden. At one point had to mess around with cpu affinity to get around loading crashes. Told myself it was a meta-challenge and part of the game. Deus Ex was a different approach to game design, pushing the boundaries of player choice, creative problem solving, and story with thematic heft. Even though it built on older titles, it was something of a revolution. To me, those core aspects are what that name means - not some ultimately hokey lore and iteration on established systems. As good as it is, Mankind Divided is more of the latter. Finally, I wish games wouldn't announce it when you're at a moment of consequential choice. Let me make decisions as a matter of course and present the logical outcomes later. That way, you get the feeling of everything you do might matter, but without causing paralysis or the temptation to optimize or read ahead. The bank/church mission choice works well because the consequences don't fully manifest until later, and when they do its in a natural way, where the broad strokes were predictable, but the specific twists surprising. It would have been even better if the weight of the choice wasn't so heavily signposted in advance. Also I apparently chose to not do what most appear to consider the game's best mission, so that's not ideal. ===== Previous:
  6. MegaTrousers

    Oculus Rift (VR Headset)

    Anyone after a slick action game with intense movement mechanics should check out the Sairento free weekend. There are a lot of options for controls and the various loadouts make a big difference to how you play so it might take a while to find your mojo, but when you do its excellent. Right now I'm all about shotguns and swords. Sliding past baddies, cutting them off at the knees, pulling off back-flip headshots, overshooting a dash, but just stabbing behind you and hearing the squish for confirmation - it can't match the production values, but in terms of thrills its at least on par with robo recall. Already have bit of a vr pile of shame, so hadn't intended buying it for ages yet, but sorely tempted now.
  7. MegaTrousers

    Tomb Raider (2013)

    Subnautica features some great honest-to-god tomb raiding (and is generally amazing), but the platforming sucks.
  8. MegaTrousers

    Tomb Raider (2013)

    Is climbing a dangerous structure the time to be chilled? Sure when you reach the top, but if the climb itself is presented as hazardous, shouldn't it be nail-biting? Climbing is a complex, intense activity people engage in in real life. It seems a waste to trivialise it. Balance is important, but there's a lot of wiggle room between modern tomb raider and QWOP. This example is absurd, but also fair I think: What if you were playing your preferred open world crime game and the driving controls consisted solely of issuing vague commands to go left, go right, speed up, slow down, stop - safe in the knowledge they would be interpreted in the optimal way for maximum cinematic impact. You'd feel disconnected, and it would feel inferior to when you used to have to drive the car yourself.
  9. MegaTrousers

    Tomb Raider (2013)

    Yeah, can't remember if the first had it but tr2 definitely does. I don't believe it was necessary to complete any levels, but made certain sections faster and might have been needed for a few secrets. Correction: its not a wall-kick in the Mario sense, but you can flip off slidey angled surfaces.
  10. MegaTrousers

    Tomb Raider (2013)

    Fair point on the video underselling the modern games mechanics, but the fact that the old game additionally had a standing jump with different properties (plus wall kicks and some other stuff) only strengthens the argument that those games required more attention. I think the general point stands that increased interaction is more engaging - were the ice-pick grabs not among the most exciting parts of rise or 2013? I don't agree that traversal wasn't a primary draw of the old games - at the time that kind of 3d movement was almost unheard of and there weren't may alternative examples showing up how clunky it was. More importantly, demanding traversal and exploration needn't be either-or. they can feed and fuel one-another. Given that tr2013 and rise have better shooting than many dedicated shooters, it doesn't seem unreasonable to want the series to to have better traversal, especially given the amount of other cruft they contain. The business numbers seem to suggest more folks prefer the new approach, and maybe what I consider better would make the game unplayable for the majority. I think why this particular one sticks in the craw is that while tr was always marketed at the mainstream, the old games were pretty hard-core.The reboot seems to put maximum breadth of appeal over all else and loses some of what made it special for the people who made it a valuable property in the first place (I AM OWED FRUSTRATING PLATFORM SECTIONS!!!!). Change and evolution was necessary, but uncharted already exists and I'd prefer an alternative to a re-skin. That was pretty old-man rambly, but there might be something of substance.
  11. MegaTrousers

    Tomb Raider (2013)

    I heard about these games with 3d jumping and climbing puzzles that are apparently quite good. Something to do with a plumber. Seriously though, much as I enjoyed rise, once I'd notice I was in a push up to view amazing action section, it pulled me out of the game and was in most cases genuinely more boring that standing looking at the nice scenery. There's always been a tension in games between the joy of movement and having your intentions translate to on-screen action in a very direct way, vs having 'you' do amazing, sophisticated things on-screen that no control scheme allows a direct mapping for. Again I really liked rise, and (although I didn't finish it) 2013 was pretty good, but tend to agree that the move toward more spectacle with less interaction since the reboot is a regression. Might've been already posted, but in the spirit of other people saying it better, Mark Brown went over this a while ago and as usual did a great job:
  12. MegaTrousers

    Worst game names ever

    Another one with an obvious superior alternative: Total War: Warhammer I dislike reading it and I dislike writing it. Just said it aloud, and its as clumsy and unpleasant as expected. Clearly it should have been Total Warhammmer.
  13. MegaTrousers

    What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    31/05/18 Kathy Rain: More point and click adventuring. This is a tough one to talk about without spoiling. Hopefully the nit-picking nature of the complaint help suggest how good it is overall because I really liked it. Lots of entertaining puzzles that are very well integrated with the plot. Out of all the puzzles there were only three I thought dropped the ball a bit: In a multi-part riddle, the solution to one part is less logical than several of the available interpretations. One near the end is pretty much copied entirely from fate of atlantis (but is a god puzzle if you haven't seen it). One requires you to mistreat someone in a way that leaves a bad taste - and doesn't quite fit with your character... Visually it goes for low-res old school pixel art, but aside from a few pretty backgrounds where you don't need detail, the style doesn't serve the gameplay or characterization well. The script and performances are excellent and the plot is really good too. There's little that's really unique, but the game's tone is finely balanced so you're never sure which way its going to go until the end. My only real complaint is the end leans heavily on personal revelations and psychological resolutions that aren't really earned. Its great that the exposition happens through and around the puzzles, but its a compact game, and there just isn't enough time to subtly develop the stuff that the ending relies on for drama. The big reveal about Kathy's past isn't so much foreshadowed, as signposted in neon, and her parental issues only appear to affect her when specifically mentioned. Previous:
  14. MegaTrousers

    OK, I need a chain of games.

    Killer instinct has a nice tutorial mode that explains the underlying systems. It has an optional easy execution control system, but even the default controls are easier than most fighters. There's a good free e-book online that describes street fighter's systems in a very digestible way, and would make a good companion to playing the games, but I forget what its called. Also, twitch skills aren't the only way to level-up. X-com or invisible inc are systemically sophisticated, but need little dexterity - similarly stuff like civilisation, total war, or a city builder. Those probably aren't for the first day. Card games are popular at the minute too.
  15. MegaTrousers

    What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    27/05/18 Subnautica: Astonishing game. Starts as a very beautiful first person survival game set on an ocean planet, but while a lapse in attention can always result in disaster, its more of an open world adventure and construction game, with a defined end goal and steps along the way. It even has a fascinating story that you can investigate or largely ignore as you please. What I enjoyed most was the ongoing sense of starting in a scary, unknown place, and gradually gaining mastery of it. What in the beginning was a terrifying cave soon became little more than the back garden. Beyond that is an empty abyss - except, its not, its a grassy plain full of life and useful resources. This loop from trepidation to comfort and back goes on for ages, with areas gated off by the equipment needed to explore them and the resources needed to build that equipment. Building is a big concern, you make tools, habitats, vehicles, gardens... The options for modular bass building go far beyond what's necessary, but its nice to feel like the planets greatest architect and builder. Also of note, is that its mostly non-violent, and where it does crop up, it feels disruptive and fraught rather than a power fantasy. On the downside - once you've had a look at the wildlife, the natural biomes don't have much to distinguish them, or to actually do, other than mine resources, but very few items are unique to one place. There's a performance issue where the longer a game goes on and the more you do, the worse performance gets, especially around bases. Toward the end, I spent as little time as possible at my main bass as it was near unplayable. I chose to take death seriously because I felt it made the game better, but really its a triviality with very little cost. I spent 99 hours reaching the end (way, way longer than average), of which about 97 were spent in VR. This is a serious killer app for vr - but only if you're already so into it that you can put up with a half-assed, totally unfinished implementation, and performance drops that demand industrial strength VR legs to avoid vomiting. If ever there was a game crying out for touch controls, its this. I'm not a fan of exclusives, but Oculus should have thrown money at this by the hat-full. Drowning in VR is suitably awful. Survival games don't appeal me in general, but anyone not terrified of the ocean should give this a try. Previous:

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