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Alan Stock

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    Games, Photography, Travelling, Films, Clubbing, Dog's bottoms.

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  1. I'm pretty sure it's for map, not area. Your structures are blue on the map compared to green for other players. I don't think there's an easy way to cycle through them though, I usually just zoom the map out and it tends to highlight your structures then.
  2. By the way, am I the only person who only really got super into the game after Midgar? I thought it was good and all, looked gorgeous and I loved the music, but for me it only got really pumping in the final section of Midgar and the story only really got me interested from that point on. I felt Midgar really dragged in the original despite its great atmosphere. I'm pretty curious about how this is going to turn out storywise and pacing wise, with the new changes. Hopefully for the better. At least there won't be random battles every 20 seconds (I hope). The more I think about this the more I have no clue how they follow this up. It takes years to make a game at that leve of quality and so there must be 3 to 5 more games worth of content from ff7, at least. That's over a decade from now! Will they have new mechanics, they'll presumably have new graphics, but it could be odd as the characters could change appearance. Surely you won't be able to revisit areas from past "episodes" in this new series, because they would have to either stick with current gen tech, or rework every area to make it stand up to whatever graphics they have in 5 years or whatever. Surely this isn't a project that can ever hope to be realised fully?
  3. Hero pool sounds good to me, I still pop in for the odd game of Overwatch. I have been catching up on some of the new Overwatch League games. I don't like the new Homestand format as much as a viewer, but they do cut out a lot of the crap and get right into the action. However the games I've seen have been very entertaining. The new meta and 2,2,2 is so fun compared to last season. There are Mcrees popping off, Reinhardt is back, there's some Widowmaker, Ana and even some dive heroes like genji and trader back in the mix. I recommend checking out the NYXL and San Fransico Shock games on YouTube, the new home for Overwatch League. The games actually exciting to watch for the most part, something which had been sorely lacking at times in last season's GOATs Meta. There is still some Orisa, Mei and Reaper but fortunately a lot of other stuff is being played too. Once hero pool comes to OWL it will be even better I think.
  4. I went back to this the other day post-completion to tie up some loose ends. 6 hours later I was still hauling packages around the mountains, finishing off a few mountain roads and getting more stars from the shelters. It's so easy to get sucked back in, never mind all the story nonsense, this game shines when you're lugging things from A to B, setting up the world's best logistics network by building stuff and planning out epic expeditions with a fully laden truck and 7 missions on the go. I just wish there was a little bit more depth to the standard missions, once you build roads and zips you don't need half the equipment any more. There are so many shelters and so many stars to unlock but completing them is much the same. There aren't many carrots on sticks post-story, no really cool new equipment or areas to unlock, all you get is the occasional upgrade or weapon, some terrible emails, and the occasional decent interview file which gives a bit more lore. I still have a few chiral zones left to unlock but don't feel inspired to do them as I know there's not going to be anything new. A bit of mission variety in the side missions would have gone a long way, it needs more rulesets like keeping items flat, only travel on foot, very heavy item, stricter time limits, always timefall, exploding items, stealing mule vehicles, whatever. There are some great tools and mechanics in the game that are barely explored, or so quickly obsolete due to upgrades that you barely use them. Despite this I think I'll still try and get all 5 star ratings, its a nice chilled game to relax with for a few hours at a time. The completionist in me does want to see all the lore, the question is really how many hours are left, I reckon I've still got another full day of gaming if not more in there.
  5. Yeah, so the cool thing about Zero Escape and Scramble is how the flowchart actually ties into the gameplay. Games like Until Dawn and Walking Dead rely on the unknown and the consequences of your choices for their hook. You pick your route and then see how it turns out with the choices you made. You might play it again to see a different route, usually from the start. But in general you could play them once and be done with it. Zero Escape and co actually require you to see multiple routes in order to get "good" endings, where you use information from one route to progress in another. The flowchart is effectively part of the gameplay. In Shivuya Scramble its literally a puzzle challenge where you pick the right actions for each character to manipulate the timeline to progress the story. You have to experience failure to understand the right choices to make. Although I also love games like Detroit, I agree that visual novels which use the flowchart as a gameplay tool are much more clever, and at the end of them you feel like you know the story and characters inside out.
  6. Re: Danganronpa - I just played the three main entries and didn't feel like I missed out on anything. That's Danganronpa 1: Trigger Happy Havok, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. None of the animes or side games are considered essential and honestly the overall concencus is that they're not that great, whereas the main games are awesome. --- Shibuya Scramble is an entertaining, cheesy romp with quite a lot of humour, but its great presentation and interesting timeline mechanics really make it worthwhile. It's a solid 8/10 game, its story never reaches the heights of the best visual novels but its so original and charming its a joy to play. My main issues with it were some poor pacing with long-winded descriptions, and repetition when you're going back through the same scenes to find a different outcome. Most of all though it really brings Tokyo to life, a place I've only ever really experienced through RPGs or anime. --- I started playing Root Double: Before Crime a few months back. It's one of the main visual novels on the "best of" lists that I've not played. I got a few hours in and honestly it didn't really grab me, although the premise is cool. In the first "route" you play as a firefighter with total amnesia (yeah...) trapped in a dodgy secret lab complex with your fire fighting buddies, where the reactor core has exploded. It's very anime with some awful big eyed character designs (you do get used to it eventually). It's directed and written by some of the guys who worked on some of the early Ukioshi games like Ever 17 and Remember 11, so the whole vibe and setting is immediately familiar. For the route choices it uses this bizarre system where at critical points you decide how "strong" the main character personalties are compared to each other. You have a slide bar for each character and you adjust it based on how much you like them, how assertive you want them to be, etc. It sounds confusing and it is. You'd think setting your own character's bar high and his teammates low would make your character more assertive, but it's almost impossible to predict how they will react. Sometimes these choices only change minor dialogue but in other cases it's life or death. Anyway, the whole thing kind of drags despite the situation they are in, and having played so many other disaster/trapped room visual novels I'm struggling to find anything really new, the story really needs to start stepping up. Unfortunately though my laptop died and so I haven't played for a while as I try to recover the save file. It would be really annoying to have to skip through all that text again and try to recreate my decisions from the start. Has anyone else tried Root Double, and what did you think?
  7. Alan Stock

    Outer Wilds

    I'm pretty sure the game autosaves whenever you find something that updates your ship log. But as for the start of the game, that's a good question. I would imagine it saves the observatory codes so you don't have to go up there again - so you can just get to flying when the game loads. If it didn't save the codes, just go straight to the observatory, get the codes and come back, it'll take about a minute.
  8. Awesome, does it include that game where you go back to Rapture after the events of Bioshock 1 and 2 (made after Infinite)? I'm not sure if it was DLC or a stand-alone thing. I heard its really good but cant remember the name.
  9. Damn I just finished this last week and wish I'd had that Odradek option! Yes they patched the translucency thing in only recently (late December patch?). Honestly I found the ending of Death Stranding a dissapointment. Totally self indulgent, hammy as hell, lots of repetition and even watching the same cutscenes you've seen before but from different angles. Plus a few medicore boss fights and a serious amount of backtracking. I also didn't like how the overall plot wrapped up, for me it spoiled some of the excitement and mystery of the world itself. I'm with the reviewers on this being the worst part of the game (though I can't knock some great performances from the actors). I was planning to go back and get all my 5 star ratings after the end, but honestly I feel like I'm done with the game. I'll probably return at some point to mop up some more missions and get the rest of the lore but as there's nothing much to unlock and I've explored the whole world there isn't a lot of incentive to do so. Despite the poor ending though I did love the rest of the game for the most part. I just wish the story had ended better, and the game would have been much better paced if the cutscenes and major plot points had been strung out more evenly over the course of it. Although Silent Hill PT was incredible I would much rather have another insane sci-fi world like Death Stranding than another horror game for Kojimas next title. He's proven he and his team can create very compelling worlds, it just needs a bit more polish on the writing side and some pacing issues fixed. I won't forget my time hauling packages over Icelandic terrain, dodging BTs and appreciating other player's ladders in a hurry.
  10. Alan Stock

    Outer Wilds

    Questions for those who have found everything in the game:
  11. Alan Stock

    Outer Wilds

    Regarding those mechanics in Dark Bramble: Re: @keptbybees
  12. Alan Stock

    Outer Wilds

    I do have sympathy with people struggling on the final run. It can be really frustrating and the waiting around/repetition is really annoying if you mess it up. For my first attempt I actually Re: some of @Pob's points (big secret and ending spoilers): I've started watching a Youtuber who I like play this game, it's so interesting to see the approaches of other players with Outer Wilds as it's so open ended. Seeing her struggle with things I found straightforward, or figure out solutions to things that took ages for me to realise is eye-opening. This player also uses the ship log a lot to plan out what to do next, whereas I barely looked at it until near the end of the game where I found it useful to narrow down what I should still be looking for. Its a bit unfortunate but the ship log can slightly give away clues or make certain narrative/logical leaps that you yourself might not have already made. For that reason I don't really recommend reading the text in it too much until you've at least started making good headway into the planets. What's also interesting in the various lets plays I've dipped into is how the first things that players find really end up shaping what mysteries they'll chase first. Some players like to follow the ship log or follow on the linked story threads to give them direction, other players will just go off and explore everywhere and pick up random snippets as they go until they start connecting the narrative dots. For anyone interested the Youtuber is Materwelonz who has an amazing voice (and does a lot of good lets plays): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6C40SY9TEU . There is a pretty sad lack of bigger Youtubers who have played this game, I guess its slower pace isn't that condusive to lets plays but I love seeing people's reactions to stuff like this and seeing how they approach things in such an open ended game.
  13. Alan Stock

    Outer Wilds

    @Pob I got stuck on landing on the moon because of the same reasoning as you. It's not very logical so I didn't even try it until I'd ran out of other ideas! One thing that I really like about Outer Wilds is that usually games with this kind of structure use stuff like door passwords or new equipment to stop you reaching the end right away. In this game though, it's knowledge of how the world works and hidden mechanics that "lock off" the end parts of Outer Wilds. Once you know how the systems work and have figured out the puzzles, you can blitz to the final areas of the game, heck you could start a new game and finish it in minutes (which of course speedrunners have). I love that the answers are there in front of you the whole time but its your lack of knowledge that prevents you from exploiting them. The devs can confidently allow access to them from the start because there's no way you'd accidentally find the right things to do on your first few runs. Like all the best puzzle games most of the final puzzles test your knowledge of the way the world actually works and prove you have pieced together the info gained in previous playthroughs. When I think back to my some of my favourite puzzle games of all time, they share this theme. In Riven (Mysts sequel) you have to connect disparate bits of info across the islands into something that makes sense, its only by understanding the world, the culture and even the language that you'll ever reach the end. In the Witness and Talos Principle you learn rules which when combined together allow you to solve very complex puzzles. The Witness is quite similar to Outer Wilds in that once you understand the rules you can race to the end from the start, and brilliantly (and infuriatingly) the Witnesses even randomises its final secret puzzles to make sure you understood the rules properly. Even the Portal games do this if you ignore all the gadgets and gimmicks, essentially you're learning the rules of what the gun can do and by the end the games are testing all of your combined knowledge of how the system works. When you compare this to other types of puzzle game, like point and click adventures, or stuff like The Room, although they're also really good, I think its so much more satisfying to come away from a game feeling like you know its systems and world inside out. And ultimately that knowledge was required to finish it.
  14. Alan Stock

    Outer Wilds

    @Pob You already have everything you need to know. Try some stuff! Re: discussion above (Minor general spoilers)
  15. Alan Stock

    Outer Wilds

    You're missing something else there Pob. I can't reveal it without spoiling it - but there is a key bit of info you'll either already have, or have yet to find that will guarantee your success getting on that moon! If you need any more clues such as where to start looking for the info, just holler.
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