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rllmuk

MK-1601

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  1. Yeah, I normally hate stealth in games but TNO and TOB both were designed around taking it seriously and rewarding its use. TNC for some reason decides that charging in guns blazing must always be an option (probably something to do with Doom 2016 selling a billion copies), and the whole illusion of stealth mattering or you facing off against AI that poses any kind of threat evaporates.
  2. I made a real error buying this for PS4 Pro instead of holding off until I had a decent PC GPU to run it. It's so obviously balanced for keyboard and mouse, just like 2016 was. At standard difficulty it was kicking my arse before the half way mark, but at easy difficulty it's just a walkover. Ho hum. It's such a weird game. I think overall it's better in terms of how combat plays than Doom 2016. The range of enemies and the increased importance of harvesting resources stop you just getting complacent and hammering everything with the same one or two weapon mods. It's a shame that the emphasis on 'bigger, prettier, more' while having to fit into the same specs as the last game inevitably has led to lots of compromises. The level design is a massive step back. There's almost nothing that feels like a proper, interconnected classic Doom level like e.g. Foundry in 2016. Most of the levels are long strings of arena-platforming-arena where you can't even go back to the earlier bits. Technically I guess you could say these are bigger levels as they claimed prelaunch, but it's a bit cheesy. Enemy models and animations are less detailed (the 'blowing chunks off' new effect looks great though). The style and quality of the art really varies between levels as well, it really does feel like separate teams made different parts of the game without much communication. The crazy fantasy environments and hell look amazing for the most part. The Earth levels (particularly Arc HQ and the Final Sin buildings) look utterly terrible, like they've been hastily put together with a limited art budget. And for all this boasting of a huge detail increase over 2016, organic stuff frequently looks lumpy and low res, like it's not loading in all the way. Every bit of indulgence has been trimmed. No more characterful first person animations to mark key moments. No more rooms set up to show off fancy volumetric lighting. No more particle effects (well hardly any). Lots and lots of rotationally symmetrical chambers. I did enjoy that the id game it seems to have drawn most inspiration from this time is Q3A. Both in gameplay (jump pads etc.) and the super-slick, shiny metal gothic architecture. The Fortress of Doom is massively evocative of this. There are lovely subtle nostalgic nods (room layouts, scenery props) to almost every id game scattered around the levels as well. The platforming though is just shite - a cheap lazy way to connect areas together without having to build vehicular sequences or scripted animations. It's technically broken as well: will pressing the dash button fire once or twice? Will this climbable wall's hitbox suck the slayer in from 20 meters away, or not react as you pound dash and melee while touching it? Will this collapsing platform return to where it's meant to be after falling, or just stay at the bottom of the pit requiring a manual reload? Trying to build a dungeons and dragons epic plot around Doom was a mistake. We've no idea what the stakes are. What the rules are. Only right at the end do they make a concerted effort to set up the Makyr as the baddies. I think the mistake id/bethesda have made was listening to feedback after Doom 2016. The whole reason 2016 worked was that the slayer DIDN'T have a backstory, he just hatched into the world and started kicking fuck out of everything. All the 'meme' humour and satire was pretty feeble, so of course it's all back here and pushed even harder. "Rip and tear" isn't funny. "Mortally challenged" isn't funny. But they're dished out over and over and OVER again like some dweeb still saying "the cake is a lie!" five years after the fact. There are little glimmers of a more interesting or coherent story at certain moments. You have to wonder how much was planned that got cut. This all sounds rather negative. It's still a brilliant game, easily better than 90% of the single player FPS stuff out there. But if they do another one I hope they just bin off all the plot stuff they've set up here and go back to basics.
  3. Who are these people who don't like Agnes? Would you rather Tilly from Discovery, the dork who makes Neelix look like fucking Shaft? ... I was a bit wary when they announced a second series but I think they've set up enough solid characters to do *something* good with it. It all comes down to writing quality in the end. If they let Michael Chabon (or someone - not Kurtzmann or any of that lot) go off and write a good series-long story that's not trying to crowbar in all of TNG's greatest hits I'd watch it.
  4. In spite of everything I kind of liked the last episode. The intergalactic conflict stuff should always just be hokum in the service of character stuff. And they cleared the low low Discovery bar by NOT having a massive pointless battle with hundreds of ships. The Riker scene was hilarious. Tim Curry levels of tongue in cheek silliness. Yeah, there are way too many characters and absolutely nothing got resolved. If we're going to be pedantic, every organic character on the show should have been dead within five picoseconds of a colony of superhuman androids deciding on their plan. "No wonder Shatner doesnt want to come back to Trek" I somehow doubt that avenue is being explored by either party(!?). Patrick Stewart's barely able to do this, what would Shatner do, nap in a chair for 45 minutes each week?
  5. The good: Space flowers, Rios showing off his S-rank at Thumper skills, the colony being quite early-TNG/TOS like colourful space hippy nonsense, using the fact that the synths had tech centuries ahead of the organics to let the plot move along at a decent clip. (Mind meld, loads of Soong-type and more advanced androids, pocket sized ship repair doohickey.) Agnes getting something to do. Sutra was a good character, very Lore-esque. The bad: The writing, directing and editing plummeting into a toilet compared to the past two episodes. It felt like something from Discovery or the JJ Abrams movies. "25 light years in fifteen minutes"? Fuck off. The utterly terrible crashed Cube and La Sirena sets. Why was there a NatWest symbol on the La Sirena hull? Why are the synths so varying in intelligence? TNG made it clear that Soong's earlier efforts before Data were not viable to keep active. Spiner (and Jeri Ryan) turning up to cash a cheque. The totally disconnected scene where Patrick Stewart makes it very clear he's not coming back for a second series. (I would be really surprised if this 'they're going to use the robot body to recast Picard' theory is true. In real world terms, what sells the show is Patrick Stewart's star power, in the same way the Alien sequels had to come up with ways to be about Ripley.) Sigh, what a waste. Still, looking forward to Soong morphing into Data/Lore/Brent Spiner's character from Night Court for no reason and a meaningless giant space battle next week.
  6. "Carmack's porn quote (which he has since qualified a little) epitomises the view that narrative in games is always an imposition, a foreign body carried over from film and literature. It's a view that has been roundly debunked." What a preposterous claim. Too many game critics obsess over narrative because they want to be screenwriters. Mechanically deep, story light games have a harder time getting recognition as a result.
  7. If you think Mass Effect contains a single original concept you're going to shit when you discover the genre of 'science fiction' I liked episode 8, it feels like lots of stuff the show has set up is paying off well. I don't think the structure of having a zillion subplots is sustainable for every episode, but it did at least mean the stuff that misfired (the ridiculous, Voyager-esque hologram japes) took up mercifully little screen time. Michael Chabon actually writes the characters with some depth (and jokes!). The massacre of the Borg drones was a good scene - something that would have been done with Data or Geordi reading from a sensor output in TNG, but impressive and more effective to actually see first hand. Even Romulan baddy lady managed to not completely suck for once - I guess she finally got the memo that this isn't Doctor Who. The little Picard speech about optimism felt like a good gesture to fans who've been understandably irked by the whole grimdark corrupt Starfleet stuff, I just hope the remainder of the series follows through with that.
  8. It's frustrating to see the 9/11 allegory sailing right over the RLM guys' heads though. "But whyyy would the Federation take this action because some unrelated event happened??" Fucking hell lads. Maybe you really do need to make things crashingly obvious for the intended audience to pick up on them.
  9. Amen to this. There are games/platforms I thought I knew inside out that his videos have shown me in a completely new light.
  10. "This gen, that flipped, but the difference wasn't anywhere as pronounced." The performance delta between the base Xbox One and PS4 is absolutely larger than between the Xbox 360 and PS3. Base Xbone games don't perform worse because devs are struggling to get to grips with the hardware (which was the case with PS3), it's because it's a lower spec machine. Soulcalibur VI runs at 720p(!) on the Xbox One, it's hardly a subtle difference in some cases. I like Digital Foundry. If I'm planning to spend a lot of time with a game I want to be able to get a quick appraisal of if the version I want runs OK, whether patches have improved things, etc. I think people forget how utterly dire tech analysis was before they raised the standard. So many reviews/previews would play games in ideal conditions at the publishers' invitation and take their word for it that all versions were identical. Twenty minutes of looking at tiny differences in every new release isn't of much interest to me, but is as much an indictment of how YouTube forces creators to use their platform as anything. I find the whole "Graphics mean so little to me I play all my games on a 14 inch CRT and poke myself in the eye before I start" performative authenticity routine a bit tedious, a bit 'lad culture', like Richard Hammond calling ice cream gay, you know? I'm mostly in favour of the mid-gen updates. Having a fixed platform hang around for 7+ years in past generations really held things back toward the end. Although I do think that uptake of the next gen machines releasing this Christmas may be slow as a result of people still happy with their current machines.
  11. What a divisive episode, eh? I enjoyed the skitty editing when they were planning the mission. The crime boss lady / Seven rivalry was good as well. And no Romulan b-plot snoozeathon was a plus. It suffered from having to give everyone something to do, something the setup for TNG was designed to avoid. Not sure about the change in personality for Picard's adopted son Pepsi. He's supposed to be a ninja but also naive enough to ask stupid questions that could potential scupper the whole plan? French pirate Picard was hilarious. It's now canon that Picard is so good at acting he can fool a lie detecting lizard man.
  12. Erm, that's not what DRM is. ... I have some dim recollection that they did a disc version of Next and/or Beyond. The game is 50% off on a bunch of digital stores this weekend also - Steam, Humble, GMG, GOG, PSN that I've spotted.
  13. Picard is almost certainly the last time the Star Trek name is going to be allowed on anything other than a cacophony of terrible CGI explosions and shit sub-Whedon one liners. Savour it.
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