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victrix
Oct 30, 2007




Vandar posted:

I have been a fan of Supergiant since day one, and I can't imagine a more fitting word than 'magic' to describe what they do. Every game they've made has been gold and has been better than the last, and every title they've released has just been...utterly charming and wonderful and emotional and perfect.

I think they, more than anyone else in the industry, are the developer I've come to look forward to new releases from the most.

They don't make my favorite games, but they're one of my favorite devs for sure

Also model an incredibly healthy workplace, and that's rare af in this industry

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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Updating the list for the OP:

A Fisherman's Tale by The 7th Guest
A Hat in Time by Zybourne Clock
Age of Empires 2 by TheMostFrench
Alpha Protocol by theshim
Alien Isolation by VinylonUnderground
Anachranox by Whybird
Analogue: A Hate Story by Reveilled
Another World by VinylonUnderground
Armored Core 2 by Shine
Atelier by cheetah7071
Batman: Arkham Asylum by thrilla in vanilla
Black Magic by fridge corn
Bloodborne by FrozenGoldfishGod
Burnout 3: Takedown by thrilla in vanilla
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger by Zenithe
Cannon Fodder by GazChap
Civilization by Lampsacus
Civilization 4 by Erwin the German
Commander Blood by Lid
Crash Bandicoot 4 by Violen
Crusader Kings II by VinylonUnderground
Dark Cloud 2 by dracky
Dark Cloud 2 (Spheda) by Senerio
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic by Jeza
Dark Souls by Shine
Dark Souls by FrozenGoldfishGod
Dark Souls by VideoGames
Dark Souls 2 by FrozenGoldfishGod
Dark Souls 2 by VideoGames
Dark Souls 3 by FrozenGoldfishGod
Dark Souls 3 by VideoGames
Dark Queen of Krynn by Glare Seethe
DEFCON by Sardonik
Deus Ex by Erwin the German
Diablo 2 by TheMostFrench
Disco Elysium by Erwin the German
Duke Nukem 3D by Heavy Metal
Earth Defense Force by Shine
Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind by Erwin the German
Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind by VinylonUnderground
Enderal (Skyrim Total Conversion) by Ice Phisherman
Fallout 2 by VinylonUnderground
Fallout: New Vegas by Erwin the German
Faster Than Light by VinylonUnderground
Final Fantasy 4 by Spuzzz
Final Fantasy 7 by Erwin the German
Final Fantasy 14 by Erwin the German
Freespace/Freespace 2 by theshim
Frontier: Elite 2 by GazChap
Hades by Jossar
Hades by Sab Sabbington
Half Life (mods) by TheMostFrench
Half Life 2 by Erwin the German
Hitman: Contracts by Erwin the German
Homeworld: Cataclysm by TheMostFrench
Horizon Zero Dawn by sean10mm
Hunt: Showdown by Erwin The German
IL-2: 1946 by Shine
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy by Erwin the German
Kentucky Route Zero by Mode 7
Killer 7 by PNGYAKUZA
King of Dragon Pass by Fly Ricky
King of Fighters 99: Evolution by Heavy Metal
Kirby Mass Attack by Regy Rusty
Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords by Erwin the German
Knytt Underground by Glare Seethe
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver by Rarity
Legend of Grimrock 2 by Polo-Rican
Legend of Zelda by Mr. Pickles
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask by Erwin the German
Legend of Zela: Majora's Mask by star eater
Life is Strange by exquisite tea
Life is Strange by parkingtigers
LISA the Painful RPG by Mizuti
Mafia by Erwin the German
Marathon by haveblue
Marathon by DAD LOST MY IPOD
Marathon 2: Durandal / Marathon: Rubicon by Glare Seethe
Marvel Heroes by Shine
Master of Orion 2 by VinylonUnderground
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne by Erwin the German
Mayhem Triple by Sorting Algorithms
Mega Man 2 by Shine
Mega Man X by Shine
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes by Heavy Metal
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater by Erwin the German
Metroid Prime by Erwin the German
Mirror's Edge Catalyst by BeanpolePeckerwood
Monster Hunter World by Shine
Myth 2: Soulblighter by Pain of Mind
Myth: The Fallen Lords by dead gay comedy forums
Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition by Erwin the German
Nier: Automata by Erwin the German
Night in the Woods by VinylonUnderground
Night Stalker by Shine
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen by The Zombie Guy
Ori and the Will-of-the-Wisps by Canine Blues Arooo
Ori and the Will-of-the-Wisps by Lechtansi
Out of the Park Baseball by F_Shit_Fitzgerald
Out of the Park Baseball by Arms_Akimbo
Perfect Dark by star eater
Perimeter by Sardonik
Phantasy Star IV by VinylonUnderground
Pirates Gold! by VinylonUnderground
Prey by VinylonUnderground
Prey by Erwin the German
Psychonauts by Jeza
Psychonauts by Sab Sabbington
Punch Out!! by Shine
Rain World by f#a#
Ratchet & Clank - Up Your Arsenal by Shine
Remember Me by Parkingtigers
Resident Evil by BiggerBoat
Resident Evil REmake by Electromax
Resident Evil 4 by Erwin the German
Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves by Shine
Rocket League by Shine
Rocky's Boots by fridge corn
Romancing SaGa by 5-Headed Snake God
Runescape by Jossar
Sacrifice by Jeza
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin by Xarbala
Severance: Blade of Darkness by Mr. Pickles
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri by dead gay comedy forums
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor by punk rebel ecks
Snoopy Silly Sports Spectacular by Shine
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 by VinylonUnderground
Space Rangers 2 by Shine
SSX 3 by morallyobjected
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl by Erwin the German
Star Wars: Racer by Mr. Pickles
Star Wars: Squadrons by morallyobjected
Stickybear Basket Bounce by fridge corn
Suikoden II by Ms Adequate
Super Hexagon by Glare Seethe
Super Huey by Shine
Super Mario 3 by Shine
Super Mario 64 by Heavy Metal
Super Metroid by Shine
Super Punch-Out by Shine
Sweet Home by Zerilan
Tales of Mal'Eyal by Konstantin
Terranigma by theshim
Terraria by Helicity
The Hunter: Call of the Wild by Zaphod42
The Longest Journey by Erwin the German
The Void Rains Upon Her Heart by Sorting Algorithms
The World Ends With You by theshim
TIE Fighter by Shine
Thief: The Dark Project by Mr. Pickles
The Dark Mod by Erwin the German
Tomb Raider Anniversary by Heavy Metal
Tomb Raider Anniversary by VideoGames
Total Annihilation by TheMostFrench
Towerfall by Polo-Rican
Track & Field 2 by Shine
Tropico by VinylonUnderground
Undertale by Erwin the German
Unreal Tournament by Shine
Unreal Tournament 2004 by dead gay comedy forums
Vagrant Story by Party Boat
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines by Erwin the German
Wario Ware: Mega Microgame$ by GoutPatrol
Winter Games by fridge corn
XCOM: Enemy Unknown by Shine

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 06:07 on Jul 19, 2021

After The War
Apr 12, 2005

to all of my Architects
let me be traitor


Doing the Lord's Work, J-Ru.

Harrow
Jun 30, 2012



I'll edit that into the OP. Thanks so much for compiling the list!

Mizuti
Jan 28, 2007

What a singularly inappropriate moment you've chosen to assert your pedantry.



One little correction, please: "a life ruining experience" isn't part of LISA the Painful RPG's title, that statement is something it lists as a feature. My bad, I should've made that clearer.

I'm thinking of making more submissions, but everything I want to write about covers heavy topics. I love games of all tones, but the experiences that really stick with me trend in that direction. :birdthunk:

Mizuti fucked around with this message at 17:17 on Jul 18, 2021

After The War
Apr 12, 2005

to all of my Architects
let me be traitor


I think a lot of us do. I remember someone in the "Recommend Me a Game" thread saying they wanted a downer game that "made them feel like poo poo," and I went "hey, me too!"

There was no shortage of suggestions, so it's okay. This is a friendly sadspace. :unsmith:

Zaphod42
Sep 13, 2012

If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.


I never got into Hunt: Showdown but I keep thinking about it. It looks pretty cool design wise. Also its basically the Gantz videogame I've been saying Epic should make Fortnite into for awhile.

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

Jerusalem posted:


Huge Giant List that Required Work and Effort


God drat, dude. Thanks for this comprehensive recap but my god how do you do this so well? Between ^^^that TPS Report Up There^^^, your threads on The Wire and The Sopranos, by my count, you've written several books just on this website.

Good books. Did you do the Breaking Bad Recap thread too?

Are you published at all and if so what did you write about?

...

Really cool reading all that up there because every game I recognize has an argument to be made for it and the ones I don't made me intrigued to try them out because of the great write ups and how much detail they went into. This is a very cool thread and a really neat list of games spread over several genres. The people writing about every game do a great job of explaining why they like them.

Are we allowed to go more than once? Because I have my #2 game locked and loaded.

BiggerBoat fucked around with this message at 20:02 on Jul 18, 2021

Parkingtigers
Feb 23, 2008
TARGET CONSUMER
LOVES EVERY FUCKING GAME EVER MADE. EVER.


BiggerBoat posted:

Are we allowed to go more than once? Because I have my #2 game locked and loaded.

Allowed? It is expected

:justpost:

Zaphod42
Sep 13, 2012

If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.


BiggerBoat posted:

Are we allowed to go more than once? Because I have my #2 game locked and loaded.

Pretty sure others have. As long as you put lots of thought into your post I can't see a complaint. (Just don't post like "I love game x cuz its good" so someone else can go more detailed if you're feeling lazy haha)

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


BiggerBoat posted:

God drat, dude. Thanks for this comprehensive recap but my god how do you do this so well? Between ^^^that TPS Report Up There^^^, your threads on The Wire and The Sopranos, by my count, you've written several books just on this website.

J-ru toxxed out of watching WWE for a year, and suddenly had way more time and positive energy.

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

Shine posted:

J-ru toxxed out of watching WWE for a year, and suddenly had way more time and positive energy.

Well, that would definitely explain a few things.

His Sopranos and Wire rewatch threads that recap every episode are fantastic.

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


Hes doing Mad Men right now, continuing his MVP god-tier work.

doctorfrog
Mar 14, 2007

Great.



Link to his Sopranos thread? Im on my first watch, Season 2.

vvv thank you!

doctorfrog fucked around with this message at 06:58 on Jul 19, 2021

Zaphod42
Sep 13, 2012

If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.


doctorfrog posted:

Link to his Sopranos thread? I’m on my first watch, Season 2.

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3879795&pagenumber=166&perpage=40

drat good thread

Torquemada
Oct 21, 2010

Drei Gläser


doctorfrog posted:

Link to his Sopranos thread? Im on my first watch, Season 2.

vvv thank you!

Oh boy, you hit the jackpot.

Mizuti
Jan 28, 2007

What a singularly inappropriate moment you've chosen to assert your pedantry.



Pathologic 2


The premise
You assume the role of a doctor who is returning to his hometown in the Russian steppe. After a bizarre dream sequence, you step off the train hungry, injured, confused, and surrounded by a distrustful alien culture that does not care and will largely not help you. As you gain your bearings, you learn that an explosive epidemic is incoming, the authorities are too busy bickering with each other to fight it, and you're now trapped in the middle of it all as the world comes crashing down around you.

The tone

The game hurls you straight into the deep end with its setting, mood, and mechanics, and it impassively watches you struggle to keep your head above water. All of this is by design. A lot of players don't make it past this point, which is understandable. If you survive the learning curve, you will find a game that truly innovates on the medium: intense, challenging, and satisfying. Not "fun" in the conventional sense, but an experience that is entirely new.

The game is very upfront with this reality: you can't save everyone. Your priority should be on keeping yourself from falling over dead from hunger, stab wounds or exhaustion first. Then do what you can to stop the town from being steamrolled by the epidemic. Your victories will be small, but welcome.

The gameplay

Pathologic is set in a modestly sized map and takes place over 12 days. You spend your time fulfilling your duties as a doctor, hunting for supplies, investigating promising leads, and trying your hardest to avoid trouble in the streets. It's a game all about risk and resource management, and the clock's always ticking.

No discussion of Pathologic is complete without mentioning its worst feature: combat. It's total dogshit, partly by design. You're just a doctor without special powers or training, and looters will destroy you if they catch you unprepared. Thankfully, most combat encounters can be avoided or escaped from, but you'll need to be wary.

The survival

This is the only game that I've ever experienced that justifies having survival meters, IMO. They're not a tedious nag, but instead serve a vital purpose as a huge driver of both gameplay and tone. For the first time ever in a video game, I was looting every dumpster and drawer I saw not out of curiosity -- I did it because I desperately needed any edge I could get. You will consider doing hosed-up deeds to just live another day, and probably will go through with some of them. Your morals will almost certainly be compromised due to the insane circumstances.

The difficulty
"Pathologic 2 is intended to be nearly unbearable", the game itself explains. It offers several preset difficulties and more specific options for pain points you may be experiencing. I recommend starting with the suggested difficulty, seeing how that works out, and if it's too much, ratchet it down to an experience that is hard, yet still workable for you. It's worth the effort.

Conclusion
Pathologic truly is one of a kind. It asks, "Can you persist in the face of overwhelming odds? What will this cost you?" It's an art game with teeth and it uses the medium exquisitely. I'm normally not drawn to games that are this harrowing, but there's precious few that can create and maintain these kinds of experiences without it being a pointless exercise in poor design or nonconstructive sadism.

Zerilan
Jan 11, 2008

I have to believe I can do this.







River City Ransom - AKA Street Gangs, aka Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari


River City Ransom is the localized version of the third game in Technos Japan's Kunio-kun series, an early franchise that never really properly made it to the US without some pretty heavy Americanizing of the characters and style. Not initially successful at launch in either sales or reviews, the game's eventually become a cult classic, with multiple spinoff/sequels in recent years. Up util DE: Final Cut, RCR is what I'd always without hesitation claim is my favorite all-time game.


The game loads up straight into character select, and one screen of exposition and the title drop is all the story you get to set you on your way. You play as either Alex (white shirt) or Ryan (blue shirt) as you punch and kick your way through Slick's gangs to rescue Ryan's girlfriend Cyndi.


Core of the gameplay is the traditional beat 'em up style. Pseudo-3d movement along the streets. No auto-scrolling like the arcade style of the genre. You have free movement in each section which could be about 1-4 screens long or so. As you enter each section, you're given the area's name and which gang currently claims it as their turf.

To get through River City, you'll have to face fearsome gangs such as "The Generic Dudes," "The Frat Guys," "The Homeboys," "The Cowboys," and "The Plague." Each gang tends to have their preferred style and level of aggression, and harder late game gangs will also drop more money when defeated.

The streets are also littered with various weapons favored by juvenile delinquents the world over. Rocks, brass knuckles, sticks, lead pipes, tires, trash cans can all be found everywhere. Your choice of weapon may also include anyone currently knocked on the ground, who can be picked up and swung or thrown at your enemies. This includes not only enemies, but the other player if you're in multiplayer. Beware, this also includes enemies being able to pick up YOU.

There's no amount of lives or continues, but dying instead costs you half of your current cash reserves, which can be a terrible setback if you've been saving up.


What really set River City Ransom apart was its pioneering of mixing action gaming with RPG elements. You have several stats that can be raised through purchasing items, mostly food but sometimes music, or a slick pair of Texas boots, or even relaxing in a sauna. Punch/Kick/Weapon/Throwing raise your damage, Agility raises movement speed and jump distance, Defense/Strength cover your ability to block/break blocks, Willpower is your chance to get back up and recover health when you'd otherwise die, and Stamina/Max Power govern your health.

On top of stat raising items are also books that grant techniques, like Stone Hands and Dragon Feet, which give you triple attacks with punches and kicks respectively, or Acro Circus which turns your jump into a damaging spin-jump. Getting one of the first two books is a major priority and probably the first thing a player saves up for.


To progress through the game, there are several bosses scattered around the city, and all (except Benny and Clyde) must be defeated in order to unlock the gates to River City High. While some bosses will appear immediately in their rooms, most of them require defeating every normal gang member in the area first to flush them out. Each boss can also be respawned infinitely, providing reliable sources of cash.


Finally in River City High, you fight your way up through the floors of the school until you face the dragon twins Randy and Andy, a homage to Double Dragon heroes Billy and Jimmy, with the Double Dragon theme playing during their fight. Significantly more difficult than the rest of the game, with the actual final boss, Alex's former friend Simon who thought changing his name to Slick would make him sound cooler, being a relative cakewalk in comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkT_r3wV_vw
River City Ransom is just one of the most charming and endearing games I've played. While my screenshots have all been from single player, where the game truly shines is the 2-player action. Shared screen play with friendly fire always on and it becomes an easy game to go from a few "accidental" friendly fire hits to intentionally knocking down your friend so you can throw them at an enemy. The main Running Around theme is one of those songs that is just permanently etched in my mind and so perfectly fits the street fighting genre.

The game is available in the NES lineup on the Switch Online package and is easy to jump into. Can take 20 minutes or a couple hours to beat depending on how much you feel the need to boost your stats. It's one of very few games I can always pick up and have my day feel better for playing it. It's a game worth playing solo, and one I absolutely recommend if you've got a friend or family member up for some couch co-op.

victrix
Oct 30, 2007




RCR is like :3: the fighting game

Underground is basically the sequel: https://store.steampowered.com/app/422810/River_City_Ransom_Underground/

And if you want something even more :kimchi:, River City Girls is great: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1049320/River_City_Girls/

Electromax
May 6, 2007


Canonically you beat up goons so bad they "BARF!"

The Zombie Guy
Oct 25, 2008


Zerilan posted:

River City Ransom - AKA Street Gangs, aka Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari




Holy gently caress, I just got hit with the heaviest nostalgia trip of my entire life.

Seeing this photo above, I didn't just remember, I was transported back to my childhood. I stood in the local video rental store, in front of the small shelf set aside for a couple of NES games. It was Friday afternoon, school was done, and I had no homework. I had to carefully choose which game to rent. Monday felt like weeks away, and barring some small breaks to eat or sleep, I could play Nintendo that entire time. I picked up the River City Ransom box. It looked amazing, and it sounded like a bad rear end crime movie. I grabbed the empty plastic NES case from behind the RCR box ("BRING CASE TO THE FRONT DESK" was taped on the case), and I knew my weekend was set.
My older sister saw that I had a game, and insisted that she be allowed to play. We started a 2P game, and having never played a game with friendly fire before, we immediately beat each other up. This turned into a screaming match, which ended with my Dad yelling for us to shut the hell up, so he can watch the movie he rented. Sister exits stage left, and I spend the next 2 days glued to this game. I am repeatedly getting my face smashed in, but I'm enjoying the poo poo out of it. (Maybe this is where my love for Dark Souls was born?) The weekend went by entirely too quickly, and I couldn't wait to tell my friends on Monday about this amazing game that I'd been playing.

Erwin the German
May 30, 2011

:3


Final Fantasy 14 Online



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awM5G6xBC2I

Incoming rambling rant again, fair warning.

FF14s been in gaming news a fair bit recently, so I figured Id write a more in-depth analysis of why I enjoy it as much as I do, despite having being an obstinate MMORPG naysayer for years and years of my gaming life. Why is it the one that captured me the most, when Id tried others and found the traditional behemoths of the genre unappealing? Ive never been so much as tempted to try World of Warcraft, being mostly ignorant of the Warcraft setting and uninterested in a PVP-heavy experience without much of a story. Guild Wars 1 was something I tried briefly with some friends, who all enjoyed it more than I did - something about the way it looked and played just never did it for me. I fundamentally dont much care for game worlds where your experience of being the chosen one is juxtaposed with the sight of so many others waiting in line behind the same NPC with a quest marker over their head (just ignore that FF14 does this same exact thing for now). GW1 just wasnt doing enough to suspend my constant awareness that I was playing an MMO with random strangers, my story not truly my own, and not much of one to boot.

More lately, Id tried two others; Elder Scrolls Online and The Old Republic. ESO is fine, its like Skyrim but worse in terms of gameplay, which is honestly kinda impressive. Mostly lost me on gameplay here. TOR is actually a game Im sorta okay with, in hindsight - I might even go back to it, owing to its class-based storylines which emphasize plot and character development in classic Bioware fashion (though Im always a little sketchy about Bioware story-writing even since Baldurs Gate). Didnt help that I played both games with an ex of mine, which is a lot to get into that I wont, but lets just say itd be hard for me to enjoy them until enough time has passed.



So why is Final Fantasy 14 different for me, and why might it be different for you, curious reader wondering why the gently caress everyone is suddenly talking about it? Short answer to that is because WoW is imploding in a fit of player resentment over Blizzards handling of the game itself, and lots of people are looking for an alternative to invest their time and money into in the void left by WoWs absence. FF14 is the game most people seem to be gravitating towards, helped in no small part by Twitch evangelists and their communities, and a lot by good word of mouth. But they had to pick the game for a reason.

Because its good, would be my guess. Really good. But also, more cynically stated, its very similar to WoW in terms of fundamental gameplay, with some differences, and an overall different, more player-positive design philosophy. Its telling that, in most patch notes, the most grind-intensive things are almost always made easier and less-time consuming to acquire over time. This is a game that listens to player feedback, and a game that ultimately respects your time as a player, who might not always want to spend the entire day in its gameworld. You can if you want, certainly - theres plenty to do. Lots and lots and lots to do.

But I got into this game about a year ago, before this whole WoW dying thing happened. Why did I get into it? It helped that I was depressed and recently heartbroken and in desperate need of distraction, which MMOs provide in spades. It helped that my friend bought it for me, relieving me of the excuse of having to pay for something myself. I could just try it and give it a fair shake, confident that itd probably be like every other MMO Ive bounced off of. Anime catgirls? Small children player race? Oh, Japan. Id try it and play with my friend, certainly, justify the money he spent, but probably no- oh, wait, poo poo Im having fun.



Not a lot of fun, mind, since you start with A Realm Reborn, which is rough, to put it lightly. A humongous difference in quality from what preceded it, for sure, but still a bit of a slog. Its a more traditional storyline, involving finding crystals, black-robed bad guys, big angry gods and you killing them, slightly annoying characters who tag along with you everywhere and tell you, the hero, what to do.

Immediately evident, though, is that it bothers with these characters at all. An actual cast - not a great one immediately, one that relishes in anime tropes, but theyre there. This did a lot for me, unlike other MMOs which dont feature strong supporting characters at all. This felt more like a single player RPG at times, with characters joining you on your quest (conveniently absent for the most part during a fight, mind) and giving you feedback on the story unfolding. Also evident was the generally strong quality of writing in terms of setting - something I consider separate from the main plot. How characters talk and act, how different city-states comport themselves in terms of their histories and cultures, what they say about the world itself and the many monsters inhabiting it. It feels holistic, and not like a theme park ride, not like an explicit video game world.

This does a lot for me - Im a stickler for getting immersed in these settings, and a sucker for good writing and setting-craft. Though not gripping me with the story and main narrative, I was pretty charmed by FF14s world and its plucky cast of characters.



What about gameplay? I started off as an arcanist, didnt enjoy it, and swapped to thaumaturge in short order, recommended to me by my friend when I expressed interest in huge numbers. Thaumaturge and its eventual evolution into Black Mage provides huge numbers aplenty, though its early game performance in ARR especially can be charitably described as boring. Like most things about the game, though, it would only get better and far more enjoyable with time. The same can be said about mechanical complexity in the dungeons and boss fights (trials) - early game dungeons being obnoxiously annoying to get through (looking at you, Copperbell Mine) with simplistic and time-wasting mechanics giving way to excellent dungeons that feel rapid and fun to run through time and again. Simple boss fights with basic mechanics, again, slowly turning into more complicated dances that require a decent amount of experience and practice.

Plenty of other gameplay systems too that arent find poo poo, kill poo poo, loot poo poo. Buy a house (please be kind to your clicking finger), buy an apartment, set up a wardrobe full of clothes, go gambling in the Gold Saucer, go fishing, make things, fly around and look at stuff, take photos of your character doing cute or cool poses, whatever. Theres a seasonal quest right now where you do an investigation and uncover a mystery. Theres another seasonal quest where you dance to calm a huge bomb from exploding on a beach. Roleplay in the horny part of town if youre so inclined, whatever. Roleplay with your guild. Join a guild and coordinate hunts for lucrative targets. Do PVP (dont expect a WoW experience!), which is basically just mock-up fights between peers. Meet new people and spout memes in shout chat. Go on horrific grind-cycles to make your weapon glow in a pretty way. Play an instrument. Collect minions and pets through various means. Absurd amounts of character customization with clothes, weapons, looks and emotes.

Its a lot. Its an MMO. It does MMO things pretty dang well. Those are all nice and all, and provide me with occasional distraction, but theyre not why I got hooked. ARRs middling-to-decent performance didnt get me hooked. ARR and the early game all the way to the first expansion is whats often called the filter. If youre gonna bounce off this game, itll be in this early stretch - I powered through riding off of my need for distraction and the generally decent enjoyment I was getting out of playing through with my friends and exploring the world.



Heavensward, the first expansion, is where I got hooked. If you get to HW, congrats - youre in for a good time. Without going into spoilers for any of the expansions, all I can say is that HW provides a great, nuanced take on an otherwise fairly simple fantasy story concept and plays it off really, really well. Stormblood is a bit of a let-down in many ways, which I usually ascribe to split focus and some weird narrative choices, but has definite great moments despite. Shadowbringers is an intricate, nuanced, well-written and wonderfully well-realized culmination of an absurd amount of previously spinning plates that the story had been dutifully keeping afloat up until then. Shadowbringers is one of the best stories Ive seen in video games, elevating the entire MMO on its emotional heft and excellent execution. If you cared about any of the characters, the world, anything at all about the story of this game, ShB is a profoundly rewarding experience.

What can I say about the music? It ranges from orchestral epic to anime OP to weird fusions of both of those, to sick guitar anthems with expert lyrics as the cream on top. I can't rightly say there's anything I've heard in this game, musically, that has annoyed or bothered me. ARR's music is the highlight of that whole experience, and it only gets better, as with all things related to this game. What started as a banger that you loved in the first expansion will swiftly see unseating as you reach some other glorious musical high note. The music is absolutely a highlight of this game, emphasizing the emotional moments, underlining the silly ones, and jacking up the tension and adrenaline rush in boss fights. It all pretty much rules, I love all of it.

I havent touched even twenty-five percent, I feel, of what this game has to offer. Ive leveled two jobs over a year, taking it slow, to be fair. Ive barely touched beast tribe quests, savage or ultimate content (Ive done a few ultimate trials, I just need to get my friends together to do a static). I dont own a house or an apartment. Theres so much to do even with the amount of enjoyment Ive already gotten from the games story and plentiful dungeons and trials. You can do as much or as little as you want, and the game will seldom call foul. Like I said, respects your time.



Also notable, I feel I have to point out, is the overall narrative of this games development itself. Going from the universally reviled 1.0 classic FF14 into ARR is nothing short of miraculous, a testament to the shrewd developers that took over the project after its initial failure. This is the game that genuinely blew up not only its servers at the end of 1.0, but blew up the world to boot, prepping the game for its eventual rebirth. A gamble, but one that massively paid off with its massive quality improvement even in ARR, and overwhelming improvement come Heavensward. And you can tell that the devs give a poo poo, too - for every annoying grind, theres something in the game that youll appreciate for its simplicity and ease. They want you to have fun, ultimately - and in turn, you find yourself rooting for them as well, especially now that the game is seeing so much interest. From rags to riches, to arguably taking the crown on the top of the MMO pile from the long-standing monarch. A crown that was not so much seized as it was picked up off the floor, granted, but its still a testament to FF14s overall quality and consistency. I and many others are awaiting Endwalker in November with no shortage of excitement - the first expansion drop for me, so doubly exciting.

The game isnt perfect by any means. Some storylines are utter duds, very basically written and boring. Some gameplay loops are annoying. Some mechanics are unfair or poorly designed. The community isnt a perfect utopia of ultra positivity like many would tell you, every MMO will have its lovely players who will occasionally lessen the experience just by existing near you. Dont get me started on the grind-cycle of relic weapons. But these annoying bits are splashes in a much wider, consistently good-to-excellent sea of a game, by my reckoning, that by the time you reach the last expansion youll be utterly hooked despite the quibbles.

But it takes time to reach that part - time investment, investment of your patience in getting through lesser parts. Even these lesser moments, however, see elevation in the culmination and progression of this games storyline. FF14 is a game, to me, about pay-off. Emotional pay-off, mechanical pay-off, writing pay-off. It asked me to give it a chance, and I did - and I was rewarded for it with what Ive described previously as the best Final Fantasy game. I meant that, and still mean it. If youre seeking a deep game to sink your time into, if youre fleeing from WoWs burning wreckage, or for any reason at all that any of the above sounds appealing to you, give this game a shot. Power through. Chances are decent youll be glad you did, sooner than you might expect. A heart-felt, often challenging, hilarious, silly, melancholic, contemplative and ultimately very fun game waits. Its one of my favorite games at this point, and I never thought Id say that about any MMO.



If all that fails, gently caress, I dunno. Make a cute character or something. Or play with goons, check out the MMO subforum for that. Im told theres a very compelling free trial or some poo poo, maybe look into that if youre still hesitating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyll1643pcQ

Erwin the German fucked around with this message at 20:58 on Jul 24, 2021

Parkingtigers
Feb 23, 2008
TARGET CONSUMER
LOVES EVERY FUCKING GAME EVER MADE. EVER.


River City Ransom is still great, and in 2019 I had the pleasure of introducing a student flatmate of mine to it, playing it on Switch in tabletop mode with the joy cons. Was nostalgia for me, an introduction to a classic for him, and that shared delight of the Switch being a device that you can just turn into a portable co-op retro gaming console. It was good times, good times.

Just to lower the tone, worth pointing out there was a ROMhack for River City Ransom called "Pussy City Pimps" which was basically the same game except some really dubious references to whores and hoes, and one of the weapons you can pick up looks like it is a giant fleshy dildo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnHDVZqkSdo#t=21s

haveblue
Aug 15, 2005




Toilet Rascal

Ah, so that's who stole and relabeled my Saints Row demake

Runa
Feb 13, 2011






I still think about how Shadowbringers managed to get into the SA GOTY top ten two years in a row, and that was before everyone and their dog with even a mild curiosity in MMOs decided to give it a shot.

Shadowbringers is still my favorite Final Fantasy and pound for pound the best written of them, though. Note I avoided including A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, or Stormblood in that superlative.

That said the free trial meme is probably gonna be dead for a while, the current influx of new players has overwhelmed the servers to such a degree that the devs just put out a patch that gives paid subscribers priority in login queues. This will probably be reversed should interest normalize downwards again but for now it's a rough time to be a free trial player.

Hyrax Attack!
Jan 13, 2009

We demand to be taken seriously



Hades spoiled me with the quality and uniqueness of the dialogue. I'm sure someone repeated themselves once or twice but nearly every character having spoken dialogue is amazing. Even after a run where I barely accomplished anything everyone in the hub would have something new to say. It's now odd playing other games where characters say the same lines during each combat encounter.

Sab Sabbington
Sep 18, 2016

In my restless dreams I see that town...

Flagstaff, Arizona


Hyrax Attack! posted:

Hades spoiled me with the quality and uniqueness of the dialogue. I'm sure someone repeated themselves once or twice but nearly every character having spoken dialogue is amazing. Even after a run where I barely accomplished anything everyone in the hub would have something new to say. It's now odd playing other games where characters say the same lines during each combat encounter.

Like I said, it's loving Magic. Greg Kasavin is the kind of writer that I aspire to be, and I generally make it a point to kill those kinds of comparisons when they come around for a lot of different reasons. The sheer volume of dialogue and variety is staggering and a feat in itself, and my brain instantly shuts down when I try and think about what the conversation outline must look like on the backend.

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

I've been looking to pick up some games on the cheap so I just want to thank this thread for putting several cool looking games on my list that I might have never known about or considered.

madmatt112
Jul 11, 2016

Is that a cat in your pants, or are you just a lonely excuse for an adult?


Groovelord Neato posted:

Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.

You made me hear it in my head for the first time in 15 years

Erwin the German
May 30, 2011

:3


Cyberpunk 2077



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvlP4KYW7BE

Theres gonna be some early game and other light spoilers in this, fair warning. I've tagged accordingly, but chances are good you already know them all if you've looked into the game any. Still, better safe than sorry.

In this threads progenitor, I had this game listed as one of my top games Id played that year. Im gonna write about it again, longer form as is now usual - but Im not really intending this to be a sales pitch like the last couple, more of me trying to figure out why I like this game as much as I do. Objectively speaking, theres a hell of a lot wrong with it. Its probably one of the most shoddily made games that I do enjoy, as a matter of fact - from trivial gameplay from the mid-point on, baffling balance in terms of weapons and RPG progression, ridiculous Borderlands-esque looting in a game that would be better off without it, to unfortunate depictions in the games world of marginalized people. There are parts of this game I look back on and just feel annoyed, disappointed - I followed this games progress since it was announced, always excited whenever news came out. That the eventual shipped product was the result of developer crunch, arguably misleading marketing, and aching amounts of corners cut its just sorta heartbreaking, but a useful lesson none the less in tempering ones expectations.

Which is all a lot of damning things to say about a game I genuinely like quite a bit. Are my standards just that low? Probably, when it comes to cyberpunk material. Its a genre I have always been in love with since Deus Ex, having read books, played online text RP games, written stories, you name it. 2077 is a game thats very much akin to how Bloodlines was to the VTM setting for me - a well-realized video game depiction of the source material, that being the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk (later Cyberpunk 2020 and Cyberpunk RED). Now, the tabletop is pretty dumb and edgy, just gonna get that out there immediately. Its amazingly cringe in a lot of ways, very try hard, with very stupid illustrations galore. It does, however, set the expected tenets for what Ive come to accept the cyberpunk genre as being encapsulated by. Style over substance. Live on the edge. Attitude is everything. Yknow, cringy poo poo that was probably a lot cooler to kids in the 1980s than our blissfully irony-laden brains.


lol, lmao

There is, however, a fourth rule, which is to break the rules. This can be taken to mean breaking the rules of the dystopian society, which cyberpunk characters do quite a bit of. I choose to attribute another meaning to it, though, in that cyberpunk - especially good cyberpunk - doesnt always have to be all style and no substance, all attitude with no nuance or calm, and it can fruitfully tell stories about people who arent glass-chewing edgerunners. This last rule is permission to do with the genre as you see fit, and Ive always ascribed to the belief about cyberpunk that so long as you feel like its cyberpunk, it counts. Shadowrun uses fantasy tropes and very rarely tells stories about bringing down the hated system, as Cyberpunk would want you to do. Is that cyberpunk? Yes, I feel. Is Deus Ex cyberpunk for telling a story mostly about conspiracies? Yes. Its one of those genres where the feeling of it is more important than any rules about what it can and can not be, and that feeling can be subjective.

2077 is a game that has the word cyberpunk directly on the tin. This is a cyberpunk game in the same edgy vein that was thought up in the 80s, about style over meaning and attitude over reason, where you play as a lovely merc with the asinine agenda of becoming the best in Night City. Becoming the best, naturally, means slaughtering your way through hundreds of gang members and corporate stooges, trying to strike it rich. You have other, equally edgy compatriots in your journey, particularly the lovable Jackie, who gleefully shares in your aspirations while dual-wielding pistols and saying one-liners before shooting people.



That is, of course, until he dies at the end of the first act after a heist goes tremendously wrong, the inciting incident for the real story of the game. The genre, steeped in black-hearted murderers and half-machine, empathy-less killers, is no stranger to letting people die. Jackie, though, I feel represents particular shade being hung on the rules of the genre as depicted in its source material. Jackie shot for the moon, wanted to be the best, to be remembered as a legend in a city full of horrible people and miserable people who get ground to dust every day. He wanted all the style, all the attitude, all of the edge, and he dies in the back of a cab while your character mourns the loss of a best friend. This dovetails into the games actual plot, like I said, which becomes less about being the best mercenary with the highest kill count (though both of these will still happen, of course), and more about saving your rear end from a delightfully cyberpunk brain virus thats trying to replace your personality and ego with that of a dead rock star.

2077 has a lot of great characters, a smaller world than the previous Witcher 3, and a shorter one. This, I feel, grants it more intimacy with the characters who the game wants you to focus on - Keanus only one of them, though arguably the most important considering he shares a brain with you. The game becomes less focused on getting money to be known as the coolest and bestest mercenary, and more about making connections with people who can help you solve the problem of your imminent death - and in making those connections, getting drawn into those characters own issues and very cyberpunk problems. Fight off badlands road warriors in a giant future tank. Sneak into abandoned warehouses full of psychopaths who are more machine than human. Track down a serial killer using digital memory viewing glasses. The humanity and motivations of these characters are never quite lost despite the games absolute relishing in the genre. Heres another cyberpunk maxim - high tech, low life. 2077 nails this.

Night City itself is also a wonderfully dreary, awful loving place. Its not quite the rain-drenched, constant neon-bathed synthwave hellscape people wanted, but I think its better than that - its depicted as being a real city in a way, intended to cram millions of people into it in varying states of awfulness. Its filthy, its fetish-y, its full of violence (most of which youre only told about rather than see, youll be the one initiating a lot of it) and misery. Its the natural conclusion of a world filled with corporations that have more power than nation-states, endlessly trying to out-compete the other, always trying to make things more efficient for their bottom lines. Its a place where I accept that entire city blocks have been given over to gangs, all with intensely radicalized world views and ultra-violent methods, all the better to survive. The city is a character in its own right, and almost never depicted as a sympathetic one - to escape its awful gravity is a victory in itself.



Ive already alluded to the games main story, but I feel its pretty well-told, if a little too brisk at times, a victim of the games half-botched production. Whats there, though, is a perfectly good cyberpunk storyline, with a fair share of twists, betrayals, tragic moments, stealth and ultra-violence. It shares space between Vs (your character) quest to get Keanu out of their body and Silverhands own past exploits juxtaposed against the current day, which emphasizes the underlying narrative of your personalities slowly twisting together. This is a pretty delightful cyberpunk and sci-fi concept to me in general, and the game nails it pretty well, particularly and poignantly in the games finishing stretch.

In touching upon all that stuff above, with the rules of the setting and all, do I feel as if 2077s story adheres to them, breaks them? It does both. It both relishes in the edge as well as casting a light on it and showing off the ugliness of such a lifestyle. Style will only get you so far without substance - better to have both. No amount of attitude will save you from a bullet or bad tumble, but the game wants you to have it anyway, to live life to the fullest no matter how much the gangs or corporations try to squeeze it out of you, out of everyone and everything. Its a story about trying to live, the ugly, tragic process of trying to unfuck a hosed situation, and basking in as many genre staples as it can along the way. I love the story.

The irony is, of course, the game is a victim to these very same tenets. Style over substance, you say? Sure sounds a lot like the games gameplay, to the sight of distant cars actually being mobile .gifs on the horizon that vanish as soon as you get close. Better not be too edgy, or cops will teleport behind you instantly. I can sure feel the attitude of being a badass legendary mercenary as I clear the twentieth loving gang base for basically no reason other than to say I did it, cause thats the majority of the games side content. I played this game as a street samurai quite literally, using a katana and cyberware designed to get in peoples faces and slice them up. This absolutely trivializes the game. You can also play as a stealthy hacker type, looking through walls, turning peoples wetware off, making turrets attack bad guys for you, etc. This absolutely trivializes the game as well.



Theres more difficult builds, but not particularly interesting ones worth noting - why play a cyberpunk game without hacking and being a cyber samurai? What am I gonna do, use a gun and stick to a chest-high wall? No thanks, and thats boring to boot. The AI is mostly bad, too, so combat eventually became a measure of how quickly can I sprint through this gang of 10 dudes and kill them all in one swing of my legendary Japanese steel? Turns out its usually in less than thirty seconds, which is novel the first two or three times, and then boring. RPG mechanics themselves? I hope you like incremental, small upgrades in the form of perks. None of them feel especially exciting, and some entire trees are just utter duds. Didnt help that a good few of them were bugged entirely at launch.

Its a game with a great story and atmosphere and feeling to it - the world feels like the dark future, a bleak one. The game itself, however, the act of playing it? Occasionally brilliant with some of its systems, particularly when it comes to hacking and mobility, in the way becoming more machine gives you options and fun. But its mostly just tedious, a baffling Ubisoft-esque race to clear the map of markers and content that doesnt mean anything. The games main plot and major side missions are far and away the best content in the game, putting the side mission tripe to shame.

It was very buggy when I played back at the start of the year, but Ive heard its better now. Shrug! Maybe, I dunno. Hopefully next time I play it it runs better, though I was blessed with far fewer issues and crashes than most, comparatively.



The music is overall excellent, if were talking about the games actual atmospheric and combat soundtrack - all of it emphasizes the games atmosphere, with industrial and pounding synth. Lots of great leitmotifs from the games main theme all over, as well as most of that same music being wonderful listening in general. The games radio? Ehhhhh. I barely listened to a lot of it, despite it all being made for the game in a curious bit of fidelity to the world setting. Kudos for that, some of it is good, most of it is bad or forgettable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCHwMsTlLxo

On the subject of sound, I really like all the voice acting, too. Keanu does a great job with Johnny Silverhand in my opinion, and my own characters Cherami Leigh is always a delight to hear ever since I heard her as A2 in Automata. Lots of good performances all around, such as Judy, Jackie, Panam and Takemura.

All in all, its a game youre very much permitted to dislike, in spite of all the praise Ive given it. CDPR screwed it up - they promised the moon and delivered, comparatively, a rock. Huge articles have been written about the games utterly hosed development, from the awful crunch the devs had to face, to the marketing blitz not even close to depicting the delivered game, to the way it was ultimately rushed out the door despite being delayed multiple times. It came out as a buggy mess and received well-deserved critique from people, many of whom were eagerly expecting this to be the title that redefined the RPG genre. It didnt, not by a long shot - it was, in my opinion, a strictly mediocre RPG with many busted systems and mechanics, that coasted into my good graces entirely off the strength of its narrative and gleeful adherence to the cyberpunk genre in ways that were fun, melancholy, funny and more. The narrative and atmosphere depicts the dark future in a strikingly compelling way, and as a big fan of that genre, I was always destined to like the game for that alone.

Its just a shame that the genre about, in part, corporatism run rampant and cruelty towards workers has to hit so close to home in this case. I myself dont intend to give them more money until they shape up their act, but Im at least grateful that the game had something redeeming for me.

Zaphod42
Sep 13, 2012

If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.


Brave of you to post that here but I agree.

2077, like No Man's Sky, is an actually really good and fun game that was released half-baked and I really hope they get the same redemption arc that NMS eventually did. CDPR hosed their employees who made some absolutely incredible and beautiful artwork.

The story and characters are legit some of the better I've experienced in a game lately, short of Disco Elysium. (Nothing compares in writing to Disco)

I played on PC and had very very few issues. My gf played on PS4 and the game was extremely buggy, ultimately to the point she had to put it down. But she just started playing it against last week, and while performance on console still isn't great, at least it isn't crashing anymore so its definitely playable and she's going to finish the story.

Oldstench
Jun 29, 2007

Let's talk about where you're going.


So I promised I'd give my impressions of Psychonauts once I got a copy. Unfortunately, I bounced off of it pretty hard. The controls were a mess and the start of the story just didn't hook me at all. I just really wasn't feeling it so I dumped it. I'll probably try it again some day, but so far...eh.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Great write-up, Erwin the German, and I absolutely agree: despite all the very obvious and unmistakable problems with Cyberpunk 2077, it's still a game I really enjoyed playing in spite of it all. I can't dispute most of the complaints I've heard about the game but I had a blast playing the game anyway, and the ending path I chose - loving off out of Night City and embracing the family of the Nomads who accepted and loved me, with the small glimmer of hope that with Panam we were going to find some way to save V from the damage done by the chip - really felt like the perfect culmination of the way I chose to play and the lessons V learned along the way.

I do love that one of the frequent recurring messages of the game is,"Night City is loving horrible, even if you're king of the mountain it is a lovely MOUNTAIN!"

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

Gotta admit I didn't see that one coming

Regy Rusty
Apr 26, 2010



This thread is tainted with sin now

Erwin the German
May 30, 2011

:3


Regy Rusty posted:

This thread is tainted with sin now

please find it in your heart to forgive me

Regy Rusty
Apr 26, 2010



Erwin the German posted:

please find it in your heart to forgive me

Very well. You are absolved.

Dominoes
Sep 20, 2007



Put your money on the double and play Prey, The Witness, and Outer wilds. Sorry for making GBS threads on The Outer Wilds post. Just that it's best played knowing nothing about it.

Zenithe
Feb 25, 2013

Ask not to whom the Anidavatar belongs; it belongs to thee.

Dominoes posted:

Put your money on the double and play Prey, The Witness, and Outer wilds. Sorry for making GBS threads on The Outer Wilds post. Just that it's best played knowing nothing about it.

On this topic:

There is no Game is one of the best game non-games I have ever played. You should watch the first minute on youtube (or look at the recent LP of it) and if it looks like something you would enjoy then do yourself a favour and get a copy.

But I'm not going to spoil a single thing for anyone.

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The Grumbles
Jun 5, 2006

let the anger flow through your salt beef filling


I love FF14. It got me through the first couple of lockdowns last year. If you're like me and freeze up on a lot of RPGs because you don't like the idea of playing alts to try out all the classes, this game is worth a shot. You can just bounce between classes at will, and if you loosely pay attention to managing your XP through the quest and have signed up to one of the bonus XP servers, you can usually juggle 2 or 3 main classes through the entire story.

The community is also just staggeringly well behaved. It really flies in the face of people who justify online toxicity with cries of "just mute and move on, its the internet, its inevitable, thats just the way it is". It turns out that's not the case at all, and if you design your game to foster and promote kindness, tolerance and patience above all, people are way more chilled out and friendly. As the player above says, the game respects your time, and a less stressful experience - that feels like its on your side in terms of drops/progression/etc - makes for a kinder playerbase. (The game is also actively and strictly moderated, which helps a ton). As Erwin says, there are still assholes- but I remember each and every time I've encountered someone being an rear end in a top hat in the game because its just so rare. Having come to this game off a years long Dota 2 stint, it was just transformative. It's a cool place to hang out with mostly friendly people. And compared to something like WoW, in terms of the community its night and day.

My one big gripe is that although the plot and story are fun, the dialogue itself for the first half of the game is just incredibly poorly written. It's way too overwritten, characters repeat or overexplain themselves endlessly, and it goes for this incredibly stiff medieval fantasy tone that just ends up feeling tedious, unnatural and overblown. You end up skipping through tons of pages of dialogue that are only really getting one or two points across, but inundated with weird medieval protocol and overexplanation. The dialogue gets WAY better from Stormblood onwards though. The writing gets more concise, colourful and fun, and the whole thing just loosens up a little. The plot is still kind of interesting throughout - but boy is the writing tedious as all hell up until that point.

Anyway, it's a fun game with excellent music and some interesting boss fights, and its cool seeing them push this incredibly janky horrible game engine from 2011 in whatever crazy directions they can. Playing through the game, you kind of feel like you're playing through the last decade of game design, which is a trip in of itself.

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