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  1. Majora

    Xbox Game Pass

    I'd actually be really surprised if someone hated episode 1 that much but enjoyed the rest of it. Episode 1 isn't the best episode but the quality gap isn't huge or anything. I'd probably move onto something else if it did nothing for you.
  2. The first time you go into an area there are no player built structures. Once you connect an area to the network then their signs/structured start appearing. Personally I think a lot of the stuff left by other players detracts from the feeling of survival as I barely ever feel the need to put down a ladder myself or build a generator or postbox for example, they're nearly always exactly where you'd want them. But that your first time through an area is devoid of those elements does mean, at least initially, you don't feel like things are too easy from the offset. Also some structures require so many materials to upgrade, the joint effort makes a big difference. No idea how they decide which structures to include and by which players, but after a while you can form 'strand contracts' with particular players you've already interacted with and their stuff will appear with more frequency.
  3. Going to assume this is referencing my post - I don't think I was particularly reductive, there's a lot of good stuff about the game which I acknowledge, I just don't think much of it is in the actual 'gamey' elements. It's in the satisfaction of contributing to a shared world or methodically carting deliveries around, certainly not in the mashy challenge-free combat or bare-bones stealth. There's definitely a Skinner box element to the core gameplay loop, engaging in time-consuming meniality to watch bars fill up and likes accrue and things unlocking. It's very well made and addictive but after 15 hours when I sit back and think about what I actually do on a minute to minute level afterwards, it is mainly just carting packages around but where the only real challenge is one of patience rather than of either skill or environmental perception. That's where I wish it was a little different. I wish the traversal amounted to more than just a time×patience equation where I had to put more thought into how I actually got around the world. It feels like the bones of that kind of thing are in place with the stamina system and climbing tools but in reality you can climb up incredibly steep rocky mountains by holding R2+L2 and the X button even when you have a small mountain on your back and are right up against the cargo limit which seems to run counter to the systems in place.
  4. I don't think this is really what I expected to be honest. When I got hold of the ladder and anchor I thought that would lead into gameplay akin to a sandbox puzzler where you use your equipment to carefully pick routes through rocky terrain while managing your stamina but that hasn't really materialised. Probably because you can only really carry a couple of ladders and anchors with you at any one time so they feel less like essential gameplay elements and more like a 'nice to have'. Obviously there's a lot of navigating but it's not really thoughtful navigating. It's usually quite clear where you have to go and there's no real challenge to it. For all the talk pre-release of falling over a lot there's really no need to given how all-powerful L2+R2 is, and using that button combination is certainly preferable to the tedium of watching him sway around like a drunk stumbling through the Peak District. It's definitely absorbing and full of interesting ideas (conceptually at least, I detest the writing and storytelling and already couldn't care less about the plot and its cast of exposition machines) but I'd struggle to say it's much else other than busywork. Immaculately produced, satisfying, conceptually fascinating busywork, but busywork all the same. From the mash square combat to the boring BT sections to the trivial environment navigation, it rarely demands anything of players other than an input of time and patience. It certainly scratches an itch and can be very beautiful and atmospheric but it feels akin to something like a deviously addictive clicker game with a blockbuster budget.
  5. I can't decide what I think about the player generated structures. I think I prefer my first journey to a place when none of it is there if I'm honest. Once it appears I feel like I'm not actually doing much myself anymore because so much of the area becomes instantly mapped out for me. Ladders and ropes and postboxes and signs everywhere to the point where I barely have to craft my own equipment because so much of it is already laid out.
  6. My memory is that the early seasons didn't focus so much on making everyone look like idiots but I could be misremembering. Sure, you remember the funny bits the most but I do feel like there was more focus on the fact there were actually some good people in the process and successes felt more frequent when they do now. Even when they portray a seeming success story like the bike taking over a million pounds in orders, they still made the product look shit and the team look like idiots before then so that massive result felt completely unearned.
  7. Like all long running reality TV shows it's become a self-parody of itself, magnifying the fuck-ups and setting them up to fail. Every week is now just a case of who fucks up the least but they're manifestly not given a fair shot to succeed. Every week now there are complaints that the two halves of a campaign are disjointed but of course they are. They're designing them completely separately but concurrently and I daresay there are rules in place where they can't phone each other much during the process. You can brief all you like at the beginning but obviously concepts will drift apart when sections are being worked on independently without cohesion. Then there are the stupid critiques like 'how did I know that was Finland?' when the producers are responsible for choosing the filming locations or setting them up to do ridiculous things like design a rollercoaster in two days. They may as well just ask them to invent an innovative renewable energy plant while they're at it. When there's no competence on display, partly due to the casting, partly due to the editing that's clearly tilted towards sneering at the contestants, and partly due to the unfair tasks, there's nothing to hang onto. Fuck-ups and arguments have more impact as an occasional element against a backdrop of competence, they should not be the entire show or they just become white noise. That's why the early seasons worked. It's hard to build a satisfying winning narrative when you make everyone out to be shit every week.
  8. 7 episodes in and 1 caucasian fired. Sounds about white for Sugar who mysteriously always grants multiple second chances to laddish white guys series after series.
  9. I've not been playing long so I could be wrong but if you deliver lost packages to a postbox then you still get likes, just not as many as if you deliver them to the actual destination, so it's up to you how much the extra likes are worth your time to be honest. I did deliver the packages back to the first delivery centre and got given a cap for my trouble. I also now have the ability to hold more materials at that particular centre but I don't know if that's even worth it because how often am I realistically going to be visiting the first delivery centre again? If the goal of the game is to keep heading west then I'm unsure of the tangible value of levelling up places you've already been to. I enjoyed my second session on this more than the first. Even just the addition of a ladder and anchor and slightly more tricky terrain made it feel more engaging. It does feel like a game meant to be played in long sessions though, not an hour here and there. I've got a long trek to another delivery centre with two stops along the way and I reckon it will feel much more satisfying if I can complete that over one long journey than breaking it up into smaller play sessions.
  10. I played the first two hours last night and found it pretty dull but I'm holding off on saying anything too scathing until I've invested a reasonable amount of time in it as in reality all I really did was carry a body up a hill with no tools or equipment and watch loads of (admittedly nicely produced) cutscenes.
  11. It's especially strange because the game isn't short on content at all and the two cat sections do nothing but delay one of the main pleasures of the game, which is seeing what the next floor looks like. It's the sort of thing I might expect to see padding out a short game but there was just no need for it here.
  12. I'm already seeing, elsewhere, people bragging about how a bridge they built got 70,000 likes, for example, and the game encourages you to gain likes because they give you tangible benefits in-game. So the game itself is promoting likes as something to actively desire while simultaneously decrying a society that seeks validation through likes rather than real human connection. Personally I just can't help but think the meesage would be more effectively conveyed if you didn't receive anything for helping others, if indeed the message of the game is going through hardship to connect with those around you and ignoring the superficiality of watching numbers climb. How the game would feed back to the player that others are still making use of their hard work is another question, admittedly.
  13. That's all well and good but players are building these constructs for other players for the likes, for which they get rewarded. If you got no in-game reward for helping other players other than your own sense of satisfaction then perhaps the point would be less muddy. But as it is, Kojima is wagging his finger at the reliance of society on validation through social media metrics while dangling carrot after carrot in front of the player via the medium of....likes from strangers on the internet. It's either a muddled contradiction he hasn't managed to reconcile or it's so drenched in irony that the sincerity of the supposed message ends up getting lost.
  14. Do most games usually try to simulate an entire country, and one of the largest in the world at that, though? Obviously all game worlds are an illusion in terms of relative size but they usually try to simulate cities, towns or smaller regions where you can suspend your disbelief more. There is something about claiming you're crossing the entirety of America and then presenting you with a map the size of a GTA region map that breaks the illusion more than in most instances I think.
  15. Just finished this - really enjoyed it for the most part but felt like it tailed off a little at the end, or maybe I was just getting a little tired of it. Across the series I do feel like they've probably exhausted every single thing you can possibly do with sucking and blowing so I'm not sure I'd be up for another unless they radically overhauled what a Luigi's Mansion game is. It was still a damn good time for the most part though, occasional frustrations with aiming, awkward perspectives, the cat sections and that bloody heartbeat noise when you hit 19 health which is worth docking an entire mark from the score alone.
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