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  1. Believe it or not, I actually considered making this distinction but then didn't. Trouble is, far too many of the cutscenes so far consist of nothing but people standing in a room having excruciating conversations. Still, I knew this wasn't going to be another MGSV--which for me was a Kojima game without the garbage, for which I LOVED it--and if I have to indulge Death Stranding's story content to get to the good stuff, then so be it.
  2. Well, two hours in (of actual gameplay, that is) and, though I'm prepared for it to end up more or less anywhere, for now this is pretty much the properly systemic walking simulator I've kinda always dreamed about. The cutscenes are simply awful though, with clanking dialogue and visibly bemused actors. I wish I had the resolution to just skip them, but then figuring out the plot is all part of the game, I guess!
  3. Claire’s fire grenades are just the tonic for lickers, and the silencer smg upgrade has got me out of more than one scrape with both lickers and You-Know-Who.
  4. Claire A hardcore done! I was quite worried that they’d fudge the balance but actually I’d say they nailed it: just enough resources to scrape by, and the ink ribbons work in just the way they always did, rather than being a token inclusion. Imagining Leon B is already making me break out in a sweat...
  5. Same, was on danger with no healing and used my last shotgun round to kneecap the last zombie in my path, staggering bloody and exhausted to the gates. So satisfying!
  6. Welp, guess I accidentally started my Hardcore run last night. I have it so bad for this game. (Hardcore seems ace, enemies are tougher but still fun to shoot, ink ribbons are not too stingey. It’s so cool that even saving the game is made into an interesting decision)
  7. I mean, yeah, the story logic across the A/B runs is totally broken, best not think about it too hard I guess. It’s a bummer they didn’t implement it like in the original, but if nothing else it does serve to highlight just how bloody impressively that stuff was done there. More generally, is it just me or is this one decidedly lighter in the “lore” department? I kinda wanna say the story is completely unintelligible if you don’t bring your own knowledge of the original game.
  8. I didn't, I played more and completed Fourth Survivor. About 12 minutes, I have no idea if that's good. Was hard, fun, and instructive, felt like bootcamp for Hardcore mode...
  9. 2nd Run complete, true ending seen. I finished the game with an embarrassment of consumables, and I believe I am now ready to offer some Final Thoughts: In all, RE2 is a bloody brilliant game, though not quite a stone-cold classic like REmake 1. I would've been happier if they'd implemented Mr. X slightly differently, making him physically persistent and having him follow a strict ruleset, rather than leaning on teleports and triggers--but I appreciate that that's a very tall order, especially as he's only one feature of a game with loads of other horrors on offer. I'm not complaining too hard. Meanwhile, the Licker AI is not as sophisticated as I'd hoped: they don't realistically track sound, just glue to you under certain conditions. You can learn to manipulate their behaviour, but it it isn't intuitive. For example: you can't spend a round to attract attention and then relocate, because they will bear down on where you are, not where you were when you made the noise. Again, I'm not after the moon on a stick, but it's something I'd love to see them develop and do better in RE3make. More or less everything else in RE2 is brilliant. It looks amazing, and hideous; the weapons and shooting are spot on; the sound design is superb (some of those zombie barks are insane); it successfully nails "true" survival horror while importing modern action game controls. Its zombies are the best zombies ever: gruesome, sad, intimidating, and endlessly fun to bait, dodge and dismember. Even some parts of the story manage, through some combination of performances and character rendering, to rise above the schlocky material, specifically: Might take a bit of a break now, but I certainly intend to have a crack at Hardcore mode and maybe even try my hand at some speedruns. High marks to everyone involved. <3
  10. RE: enemy varieties
  11. Sometimes something comes along and you just have to say, fuck it, I'm writing off this entire weekend and just playing a fucking videogame. Resident Evil 2 (2019) has been just that kind of something for me. You couldn't even really call it a "remake" of Resi 2, so much as a blisteringly modern update of classic survival horror tenets finished with a lavish Resi 2 skin. It puts you in a complex environment filled with hazards, and challenges you to manage those hazards, operating deliberately and efficiently while optimising your scarce resources. Also it's sadistic and brutal, rubbing your face in new heights of body-horror grossness or causing you to fill your pantaloons in fright at every other turn. The injury detail and zombie deformation is sickeningly grisly, and Mr. X does the implacable-pursuit thing in an astutely-implemented way, far better than Alien Isolation (in my perhaps controversial opinion), where Alan's obnoxious invisible leash and general overexposure had me yelling "oh fuck off" instead of wailing for mercy. After two days of mainlining I finished the game with Leon (yeah, I play games slowly. I love walking in games, and pootling around. I've accepted it), and it's a testament to how absorbed I was that I made a swift cuppa and went straight back in with Claire B, even though it was already 2am. Despite internet rumour the B scenarios seem well worth the player's time, reusing the environments but sending you through them on a different route and remixing the puzzles and challenges. Spoilers: Low-level crushed to read (in retrospect) about the game's adaptive difficulty, as one of the best things about old-school survival horror is the knowledge that you are in a gameworld that is decidedly not your friend. Still, I'm assuming it's possible to sink a playthrough given enough incompetence, and also that the rubber-banding is switched off for the hardcore difficulty.
  12. Well, I wasn’t necessarily sold on the first three episodes but I kinda thought that was brilliant...
  13. RL666

    Dishonored 2

    I just finished this. I think it's such a shame that the game's technical woes are dampening people's enthusiasm, because mechanically at least it's an exemplary sequel to one of my favourite games ever. There's hardly an aspect of the original that hasn't been tweaked, refined or expanded. Leaning, formerly absurd, now carries a sensible amount of associated risk. The new upgrade trees allow for some pretty deep specialisation, involving hard choices about where to spend your limited budget of runes. The levels themselves are now amazingly big, complex and dense, and the scope for play within them is correspondingly richer - and that's before you even consider that everything in the game is constructed to support two characters with two substantially different ability sets. There's so much to do, so many different ways to do it, and so much room for player expression that it's frequently dizzying. Blinking/Far Reaching over guards' heads, finding paths across rooftops while evading detection, is just one of the greatest pleasures in modern gaming for me, and I don't think I'll ever get bored of it. That said, from my experience with the original I knew that quickload trial-and-error rapidly sucked the fun out of things (not to mention meaning I never got to use half of what was in the game's toybox). Accordingly, I set Emily up as a sort of stealthy escape-artist, good at avoiding detection but also able to mount a bloodless, swashbuckling getaway when things inevitably went to hell. I had loads of fun; I improvised, I experimented, I ended up with a personal best-bits reel of cool moments, and I'm sure I barely scratched the surface of the elaborate ways Emily's powers can be deployed. The game's two best levels play the best to Dishonored's strengths: they take place on islands, and give you the entire run, vertical and horizontal, of a building and grounds situated thereupon. You can swim a complete circuit, you can bomb around all over the roof (or, like me, ascend to it to get your bearings when you get lost indoors), you can explore everywhere it makes sense you would be able to explore, and there's not a fake door or invisible wall standing between you and blink-fuelled nirvana. But not everything's good. The main story arc is a perfunctory recycling of the original's usurpation-and-redemption plotline, because... I dunno, because that's what you do with sequels, I guess. And it's a less well told story than the first game, too. Things that were elegantly implied in the original are made clompingly explicit in the sequel, and significant damage is done to the fiction in the name of world-building and threat-escalation (Sigh. Yes, we get it Emily, Corvo is your dad. Sigh, yep, and the Heart is your dead mom. And oh good, just what the Outsider needed: an origin story.) In addition, as much as the sun-drenched levels are wonderfully detailed and atmospheric, Dishonored 2 doesn't have quite the same sense of place that the first game had, and its overall visual identity is less strong. I assume (not that I've researched it or anything) that we can chalk this up to the departure, or at least the less-close-involvement, of Viktor Antonov. Dishonored had, for me, two comparatively weak levels: the linear Flooded District, and the cramped The Loyalists. Dishonored 2, in what may or may not represent an improvement, instead has a single completely duff level. Stilton Manor disables your regular powers and replaces them with a novelty mechanic that, though it is powerful, conceptually neat, and visually arresting, ultimately just isn't very much fun. Moreover, the prescriptive puzzles and comparative lack of scope for play make it feel like a level from a different game, and its presence is flat-out baffling. I can already see it being a huge chore in repeat plays, and I bet that a big proportion of people who don't finish the game will give up on that mission. Overall? Game of the year without a doubt, even if it is less perfectly-formed than its little brother. I can't wait to dive back in with Corvo, I can't wait to get my hands on the forthcoming custom-difficulty mode, I can't wait to do runs in which I go high-chaos, play according to dumb self-imposed rules, get all the achievements, and generally extract every drop of systems-driven mayhem the game has to offer.
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