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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / Well, so Zenimax is... well, sold.
« Last post by Starfox on September 21, 2020, 06:50:39 PM »
Zenimax and all their assets were acquired by Microsoft  for $7.5 billions. Which means, yeah... you hear right Bethesda is now under the Microsoft umbrella. If you are blown off by such a revelation, welcome to the club. I think nobody saw that one coming, I certainly didn't. It still tells a story because there's certainly a reason for Zenimax to let themselves being bought. Let's take a guess... might that reason have something to do with a lukewarm Fallout 4, a Fallout 76 flop, Starfield delays, TES VI pushed back to we don't know when...

What does that means for Bethesda franchises? Well, first it probably means that from now on there will be an Xbox exclusivity deal for all future Bethesda games (that shouldn't affect PC because PCs running Windows are by definition kind of Microsoft friendly -- however that will certainly affect the consoles side of things).

But it also may means something else... because you know who else is also a part of Microsoft? Obsidian Entertainment.... and Obsidian it's Fallout New Vegas... So a Fallout New Vegas 2 or something along the lines (it probably won't be New Vegas 2 per se) becomes a distinct possibility.

For the rest we'll have to wait and see. With Microsoft money, Starfield might be around the corner (a year, maybe less) and TES VI might be sooner than expected after all. Although I bet still in a distant future.

Still... hell of a news. With this acquisition, Microsoft got a sweet package, including Arkane Studios, Id and all the franchises attached (DooM, Dishonored, Prey, Wolfenstein... etc.)
The Foxhole QuickViews / RAGE 2 [2019 -- id Sofware / Avalanche Studios]
« Last post by Starfox on September 19, 2020, 01:43:50 PM »
A blue smiley? I actually liked this game? I know, crazy, right? But bear with me because I only started to appreciate the game when I understood what purpose it could have for me. So let's continue with the review.

RAGE 2 takes place about 30 years after the events of the first RAGE. During this time the resistance waged a war against the Authority, a war that they thought they won by defeating the General Cross. Guess what, they didn't. Your character is what they call a second generation "arkist", meaning that you weren't in one of the arks but your parents were. You live in the little town of Vineland in the south of the territories when Cross decides to annihilate it, just because it hosts the rangers -- kind of the tough guys of the wastelands. During the attack, one of the rangers is killed and you decide to jump into his armor. Rangers' armors are special because they can be modified which in turn gives you augmentations or perks (seriously a lot of perks). Anyway, before the battle is over, the last of the "true" rangers die, the town is ravaged and you find yourself being voted the last ranger just because you wear the adequate armor and were trained by your foster mother AKA the best ranger ever.

Next thing you know you're on your way to meet the old resistance leaders because they have a way to defeat Cross but of course they need you to run some errands before that happens, like gathering bits and pieces. Who would have thought?

If I seem a bit sarcastic there it's because story is certainly not RAGE 2 strong point. That doesn't mean that the game itself is bad, just that if you are looking for a game with an astoundingly compelling story and great characterization, you certainly won't find it there. No, RAGE 2 instead definitely enters the "let me blow stuff and explode people to pass the time" category which is not bad in itself. All gamers need a fun and brutal mindless shooter from time to time and on that front RAGE 2 seriously delivers.

Although... it's not really RAGE anymore, is it? Technically, this new opus if far superior to its predecessor no arguing about that. The environment looks better and more varied, the game seems more populated, even outside towns hubs and there's even a collection of many data pads that can be found across the various locations of the game attempting to flesh out the world a little more like explaining the origin of the factions, the fate or discoveries of some characters...etc. RAGE 2 is definitely not the uninhabited desert that was the first RAGE. Once the initial loading is done, you can roam the game from south to north and east to west and vice versa without any loading screen even when transitioning between outdoors and indoors, ewactly like in The Witcher 3 (the resemblance between those two games sadly starts and stops right there).

But as I said, the franchise "RAGE" was kind of lost in the translation. Meaning that what I played looked like a Frankenstein monster assembled with bits and pieces taken from other games and featuring about zero originality, even if the whole ensemble in itself is working perfectly. I cannot even count how many times I found myself thinking "Ooh, they took that from DooM", "Ooh, That's a nice bit of Wolfenstein Youngblood there (the good bit fortunately)", "What? Borderlands?"... It's amazing how this game for some reason reminds me of Borderlands 2 despite different aesthetic approaches (and if Borderlands was single player only).

If I were to attempt a culinary analogy, I'd say that RAGE 2 is a base of RAGE with a stuffing of DooM, an icing of Borderlands, a speckle of Wolfenstein and even a zest (but just a zest) of Prey -- the one from 2017. It even looks like a cake with its friendly "pink is useful" color (every usable item in the game is painted pink so you can easily know that it can be used). Its not bad in itself, it may at time even taste good past the first spoon and once you get used to it.

That's the key point "get used to it". Initially after my first two hours of game I already had a bullet point list of a dozen of bad things, remarks and whatnot, that are for the most part still valid. But then I finally realize that I wasn't looking at this game the right way. If you look at it for what it is, a fancy shooter with a story that barely holds together and is there first and foremost as a pretext, subdued main characters that have barely anything to say and kiosk townsfolks merely there to provide you with points of interests then one can forget about being serious and get to the fun stuff... blow things and people, not necessarily in that order. The game requiring very little thinking from you it can become relaxing and fun, especially when you get all the cool powers and perks your armor can integrate which include things like blowing people with the power of one hand or falling from high places creating a vortex at the point of impact that attract enemies in the immediate vicinity before blowing them up and prevent you from taking falling damage yourself (if you don't perform your jump from too high a point) or creating a singularity with the tips of your fingers that will attract an enemy and make them fly helpless so you can strafe them better. All the weapons  can be modded so you can turn them into your favorite tools of mayhem.

Unlike some other games published by Bethesda, a cleared location won't repopulate (so you won't get away for an hour and return to find it with even more bandits than the ones you dispatched previously.). No a cleared location is definitely well... cleared, and stays that way. The good point is that it helps keep track on the map of what you already did (a little green tick on a checkbox indicates you cleared the location, a greyed location indicates that you both cleared the location and gathered all the good stuff that was there as well). The bad point is that once you've finished the game and cleared all the locations there's not much remaining to do... so it's time for a NewGame+ (you start a new game with all the weapons and the perks you already have and knowing the locations of all the spots in the game while all those locations are reset to "uncleared" and the story rebooted). Unfortunately the NewGame+ is a little bugged. Some locations does not indicate a "cleared" status even if you completely clear them (some items not registering as being acquired -- that problem does not occur in a normal game). Ah well... It's a Bethesda published game after all...  At that point, bugs are like a Bethesda tradition; never publish without them.

The bad points (I'd be sad to not mention them) are: well, as I said it's a aRPG with little actual RPG -- convoluted and complex questlines, lot of interesting characters to talk to about this and that, a multitude of interesting side missions... all those things that you can find in a The Elder Scrolls game for example, well, they simply are not in RAGE 2; nor were they in RAGE 1 anyway. Oh and, you remember Loosum Hagar the sweet little thing who taught you to play with windsticks? Well, she's still there but she's 47 now and she looks like crap... and what I mean by that is: all the important NPCs look like crap compared to the first RAGE. It's like if some of the devs said "hey, it's about blowing up people, who cares if they're looking good or not before you re-look their face with a rocket launcher?" OK, fair point... that said, did it need to apply to the main NPCs too, you know the few ones one doesn't get to blow up?

The vehicle combat is not what I'd call "fun". The reason for this is not the game mechanics but rather the control profile (at least for controllers, I didn't try keyboard and mouse) that is designed in such a way that fighting is a pain in the ass for at least all the gamers who use the controller in a certain way (specifically with the trigger finger on the trigger) because the profile was specifically thought for people using the gamepad the other way (with the middle finger on the trigger and the trigger finger on the shoulder button -- go figure). You can switch the controller between three different profiles for vehicles but none of them is really satisfactory for all the people using the controller a certain way (I have no percentage because comically enough nobody has ever seemed to thought about compiling statistics on the way gamer dispose their fingers on a controller).

Fortunately enough you can ignore vehicle combat most of the time. Speeding away from your attackers is enough (they seem to be better at ambushing than pursuing).

In the same vein, the customization of your character is pretty easy. You can choose to have a male voice or a female voice. That's it, it's really the only thing you can customize as far as appearance go.

There's a few other bad points but what the heck. You're not itching to play an ultra-serious game here, right? Because if you are I'd recommend anything except RAGE 2 (and the Borderlands franchise). However if you just want a game to take your mind off the sad reality of RealLifeTM then that might be your ticket to fun. Just don't expect any storytelling quality whatsoever; just mad driving and trigger happy time with brutal slaughter.

Maybe wait for the bargain bin though..
I would state with absolute confidence that the shot on the left is indeed from one of the games. The one on the right? Possibly.

In addition to fixing nothing, I believe they also removed the Profiles feature.

So far, this is looking like GOTY material.  ::)
Reviews And Reviews Announcements / The Suicide Of Rachel Foster
« Last post by Silver Sorrow on September 14, 2020, 09:42:38 PM »
The Suicide Of Rachel Foster

All right! I love a good comedy!

Ehhh...the joke was on me, as it turned out. To illustrate, here's a snippet from the pinned FAQ in the Steam forums:

Q: How do I save the game? How often can I save?

A: The game is saved automatically at the end of each day. Therefore, in order to save, you will need to complete all of the events of any given day.

Jeebus Horatio Christmas. I can't remap the controls, I can't save the game...what's the point of even calling it a "game"?

Okay, okay. Maybe I should just play the alleged "game" and...good God, this character just doesn't move all that fast, huh? Turning speed is leisurely, too. I have the turn speed cranked all the way up and still it seems as if I'm underwater. After slogging my way through a couple of rooms, I decided to head to the Steam forums and see what I could do about it.

As it turns out: nothing. I saw a lot of threads about head-bobbing issues, widescreen issues, this and that...quite a few of them dating back to February and before. As it is August as I type this (bitterly, I might add), and these issues are still evident, I hazard to guess that maybe, just maybe, they haven't been fixed and never will be.

I can't play this. I'm kind of sick now, thank you game. Glad I quit when I did, or this headache would've been worse.

So...refund? Yeah. Refund.

Bottom Line: 0 out of 5. Refunded.


Post-Mortem Bonus: Upon starting the game, there's an oh-so-serious message about the subject material being unsuitable, perhaps, for those with mental issues (STOP LOOKING AT ME), and there's a website and an encouraging message, etc. etc. (You're not alone! Call this number! We care a lot!)

Pure marketing. This is the twisted modern-day version of those breathless disclaimers for the cheesy "horror" movies of the 1950's where they'd say the movie is so terrifying that there's trained medical personnel on hand for the moment your heart explodes in your chest when you see the guy in the foam rubber monster suit onscreen.

But since everyone in the entertainment industry is a psychopath bent on screwing with your head, they put it in such a way that they "care." Look. Let's just call a shovel a shovel and simply plaster a message in evil pulsing blood-red text: WARNING: THIS GAME MAY CAUSE YOU TO KILL YOURSELF!

But in this case, I'd amend that slightly: WARNING: THIS GAME MAY CAUSE YOU TO DEMAND A REFUND!
Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Random Crap 2020: The Gyre Of Self-Loathing
« Last post by Starfox on September 12, 2020, 10:42:51 PM »
Game of the day... which is which?

Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Random Crap 2020: The Gyre Of Self-Loathing
« Last post by Starfox on September 12, 2020, 10:18:46 PM »
Yeah, it's pretty sad to see that none of the bugs that were present in the original version were corrected.

I've played a bit, redid the whole House of Ballads questline and yeah.. no earth shattering news there. They managed however to increase the size limit of your "chest" (the only container you can store things in) from the original 150 to 300. Wow... question, why not eliminate the limit altogether? I mean, what was the point in the first place? To annoy the hoarders among us? Or more possibly because the game engine can't handle inventory beyond a certain limit of items? And I'm sure that if you combine all the "uniques" and sets in the game (the only things interesting to keep) you reach well over 300. If you add books (yeah some of us like to occasionally re-read stuff) I don't even know...

They also decided to adapt the UI to big displays so now we have the choice between a huge crappy UI overlay or a mini one (the mini map of which is completely useless because one can't see anything, even in 1080p). There's even a "Hidden" option. So another question.. why not a medium sized one? You know like in the "original" game (that would be the medium size).

For graphics, it seems that what has the most impact is the new "supersampling" option in the graphics options. I pushed it to 1.75 (at 2.0 the framerate began to suffer dearly) and that gives sharper textures than if you let the thing at its default "off" state.

But even with that, all in all, it's hard to justify the +29 GB size compared to the original. The SFX are maybe slightly better but otherwise, I took two screens from the exact same spot at the Garden of Ysa entrance at the same time of the day. Curiously my eyes were telling me in game that there was a difference. But once I scrutinized the "proof" on my computer as pictures, I couldn't objectively tell which was which (well I could tell because of the armor and the UI size but suppress those and I really wouldn't be able to see a difference). 29 GB more for that... a bit disappointing yeah.

Now one can only hope that the upcoming DLC will more than fully justify the price because even with our 60% discount it's still fucking expensive. So if we just get a 2 hours generic DLC on top... that definitely won't do. At a minimum we would need a DLC combining the size, complexity and playtime of both the previous DLCs.
The Re-Re bug-tracking and reporting thread on Steam is seventeen pages long now. Just something to think about.

OK, finally mustered enough energy to care, and made it out of the Allestar tower. Hey! Level up! Leveled up. Saved. Quit game. CTD on quit. Reboot. Foul mood rekindled (it's been just another one of those days), I scroll through the Steam forums a bit. Found an interesting comment video:

You guys did NOTHING. You fixed NOTHING.

So far, the only thing I've noticed that was different was that my lightning spell killed the two Tuatha with the tower's Troll boss a bit faster than in the original. I was about to check to see if my Special Deliveries stash was as mediocre as before, but I had a moment of abject despair -- still had to meet Agarth and more talktalktalk -- and then it crashed, so maybe tomorrow when my Patience meter has refreshed.

Oddly, the original game is a lot more stable...performance is better, too. And comparitively, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of improvement graphic-wise.
I've played just a little bit of it -- still in the opening tutorial -- but I don't see a huge difference. It may look slightly...*slightly*...better, but overall it's still as so-so as it ever was.

I mean, I wasn't expecting a 4K graphic extravaganza, but they could at least have updated the character customization to be less...shitty. Nothing has changed in that regard, really.

I guess the biggest improvements (so far) is that there isn't a huge unskippable intro movie, nor does it (obviously) involve running it through Origin.

On a completely unrelated side note: ME: Andromeda is 60% off on Steam...that's a sale price of $11.99. It's still WAY overpriced. But if you're the type of person who finds fulfillment sitting outside a Starbuck's waving your rainbow flag with all the other Woke hipster assholes, then this game just might be for you.

And another thing: the Sims 4 is on sale for $9.99 on Steam. This leads directly to the most important question anyone with two brain cells to rub together would ask: who cares?

Bottom line: long for the past, lament the present, weep for the future.
The hell with it. I'll take one for the team. But I'm NOT paying an extra $10 for the stupid soundtrack. Oh, wait...I think it's included. That's ok, then. Not like I go out of my way for soundtracks anymore.

Thanks to my ownership of the OG, I was able to pick up the...what, middle edition? the one with the new DLC...for $21.99. First I spent $15 on a Zappa CD and then this...I was on a spending spree, feeling a bit reckless due to all this unimaginable wealth at my fingertips. Re-reckless?

Note to self: Stop it. Never do that again.

So now the installer's still "allocating" space, and soon (fifteen thousand years, give or take a decade) I'll be able to try out the Re-Re...please don't make me say it.

Police is quite slow in your parts, huh?

I don't think we have cops anymore. 911 calls end with "we're sending you our thoughts and prayers. Good luck!"

I may be exaggerating. Wouldn't be the first time.

That aside, this story feels worryingly like something you have to live through to be able to write about it  :purplelaugh: Should we be concerned? I mean, more than usual?

Naaaah. I don't even HAVE a basement.  :evil1:
Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Random Crap 2020: The Gyre Of Self-Loathing
« Last post by Starfox on September 08, 2020, 10:10:38 PM »
Oh, by the by, the answer finally came. Owner of the old Kingdom of Amalur (plus the DLCs I assume) on Steam get a 60% discount (limited in time, until the September 22) on the new Re-rec... sorry I can't say it... too stupid.

The discount is valid for both the standard Edition and the Edition featuring the new upcoming DLC (that apparently won't be out before 2021).

Aside from that the game is 40 GB against 11 GB for the old version so one can hope that the difference is not just 29GB of crap.
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