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Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Random Babbling: 2017
« Last post by Silver Sorrow on June 24, 2017, 06:38:17 PM »
Well...the Steam Summer Sale is ongoing. If for nothing else, this is when I take the time to go through my wishlist and weed out the crap. Never gonna play it, nope, what was I thinking, still overpriced after five years...that sort of thing. Bethesda dropped the price of Doom to $29.99...way overpriced...and the sale takes it down to a "mere" $14.99...enh, let's see if they knock another ten bucks off the thing in the Fall sale.

Same thing with Shadow Warrior 2, which at 40% off is $23.99...too much. Prey is discounted 34% (?!?) and is $39.59. WAY too much. Give 'em a couple of seasons' worth of non-sales and they'll be cheaper than a Van Helsing sequel.

That's the problem with digital goods: there's no physical merchandise to make the stores desperate for space. Got 175 boxes of Rage that no one wants, what am I going to do to free up some space for the 600 boxes of Final Fantasy MCMXLVIII that no one will buy?? I know! I'll mark 'em all down to $4 and throw in a random page ripped from a Hustler Jerry found in the break room!

Anyway.

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And what next? You wait for grand mother to come and hit it hard with a pointy object... and for the cries and incessant moaning that will ensue.

Not that I am pro-violence against women, but I admit that seeing some granny whack Bai Ling in the crotch with a board with a nail in it would be astoundingly awesome. :ok:

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So, still haven't played The Witcher 3, have you? "Massive" right there... RPG too (much more than Fallout 4 at any rate).

Aha! I have been trying out Witcher 3...just cautiously, though. The combat's still a little overwhelming, but I'm getting used to it. If anything, it's certainly way better than FO4, Andromeda, etc., in just the small amount I've played.

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"prrft"

There. You're quoted.  ;D

Bethesda and Zenimax are just...man. They're just a bunch of out-of-touch idiots who want to control all aspects of the modding angle of their games because, by God, there's money out there that they don't have yet. :madatwall:
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The Foxhole QuickViews / Venetica [2009 - Deck13]
« Last post by Starfox on June 22, 2017, 05:41:21 AM »
What could be more catastrophic than having your betrothed killed the day of your wedding by assassins coming from nowhere? A bunch of other gruesome things I expect nevertheless that's how this game begins. The sad bride that got ripped off is named Scarlett and despite being apparently a nobody not really excelling at anything she will not rest before exacting revenge... or justice (that is a matter of debate for the player). The thing is that the assassins are commended by a bunch of dead people ("un"dead technically) who decided to take control of Venice. And Scarlett will soon discover that she's surprisingly well suited for taking care of undead, the permanent way. That possibly has something to do with her being the illegitimate daughter of Death (yep *that* Death). As such she inherited some of the trait of her father and is also the only human -- half-human? Who knows really? -- able to wield the Moonblade, the only sword capable of utterly destroying demons, undeads, vampires and whatnot... For common rabble she'll have to use more normal weapons -- swords, shields and pikes or war-hammers (and since each tools has a special use, she better embark one of each at any time -- war-hammers are essential for breaking weak doors). In supplement to that she's able to pass through the realm of the dead via special doors that only she can detect thanks to one of her special "daddy" powers. She'll gain several more of those special powers allowing her to interact with the dead world to achieve her goals. Furthermore she's also able to wield magic.

Suddenly the common country girl is not that common anymore. In fact I wonder if being the child of Death grants you any kind of perk when the time comes; Oh wait,yes it does, at least in the game. Scarlett is granted a second life as long as she has enough spirit power left for that (spirit power is gained when inflicting damage on enemies) so she can technically be "un"dead too. In the game though Death is more a transitory job than an eternity thing. In fact the undead baddies are undead because they cheated Death (yeah, both in the metaphorical and the pure factual senses) and Death is trying to recover from the transgression sending his daughter to do the deed and exterminate one undead after the other.

To put it bluntly, Venetica (a title based on the main place of action for the game, a highly fictional version of Venice) is not a multiple-awards "GOTY material" kind of game. There is nevertheless a certain charm playing it. The game is not free of fault, for example, the boss fights (one per undead Scarlett dispatches -- she has to "kill" the undead a first time then the demonic version in the world of the dead) are in some cases really confusing (the first one especially), even when you know what you have to do to win. There's also a persistent reproducible crash that occurs when you try to pass an exact location in the game (a crash that can only be avoided by orienting the camera at a certain angle then walk and pray) fortunately it's only the one location and you only have to pass it a couple of times in the whole game.

Some redundancies in the skills system are hard to explain and a simplification in this area would have resulted in a better gameplay. For example, blocking with a weapon is a skill that must be acquired. Not only it must be acquired but it must be acquired for each weapon you intend to use it with (there's one for normal swords, one for the Moonblade, one for hammers...etc). The worse part being that since these are skills you need to activate them (taking the blocking stance). And since those skills cannot be affected to the same key (or button for controller) you need four different keys for blocking with any weapon (or changing the skill on your controller quite often). One general blocking skill would have been more than enough, what's the point with four? No idea.

In essence the sword fight mechanics is a lighter and less jumpy version of the first Witcher game sword fight (for those who remember it) the goal being to land the most successive blows without being interrupted, each blow being more powerful than the previous one. It works well but is nothing to be astounded about.

Despite its shortcomings, I had some amount of fun with Venetica. Not the best game I have ever played, by far, but it has some appeal. If you are short of things to play and need a shoot of RPG-ish gameplay, it is worth giving a try. With better combat and even more with better magic mechanics I could even grant it a blue smiley.
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The Foxhole General Stuff / Re: Happy Birthday bobdog!
« Last post by bobdog on June 21, 2017, 10:26:47 AM »
I still hear from Josh on Steam, but haven't seen much from the others in a while....
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The Foxhole General Stuff / Re: Happy Birthday bobdog!
« Last post by Starfox on June 20, 2017, 01:58:58 PM »
Gosh, happy belated birthday... and apparently the 7 others before? To be frank, I don't even remember myself what I was doing in 2009. Yeah even in games I played that year, I'm drawing a blank. Uh, wait that was around the release of Mass Effect 2? So possibly a lot of that.

That's the thing about being close to 50. You don't want to pay attention to the calendar anymore  :lol:

Boy, there sure are names we haven't seen in a while...
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The Foxhole General Stuff / Re: Happy Birthday bobdog!
« Last post by bobdog on June 20, 2017, 11:01:44 AM »
Wow -- I made it through another one! Man, I was so young back then....  :o
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bobdog's Mini-Reviews Corner / Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Last post by bobdog on June 19, 2017, 08:40:03 AM »
Billed as a “horror adventure game”, Alpha Polaris over-reaches a bit in that description, but it does offer a unique story set in the Arctic. The game wants to be “The Thing” but doesn’t offer any real horror or suspense to back it up. Yes, an Arctic oil explorer has accidentally released the spirit of a Wendigo boogey-man, but the dreamtime snippets that you occasionally experience don’t truly justify a “horror” rating.

That said, the story is solid, and the adventure elements make you think about how to accomplish a diversity of tasks, from trapping a polar bear, to breaking metals down to elemental dust, to tripping a busted generator. It also introduces a love story (with some unfortunately bad character models having sex), which is at the heart of the mystery.

It’s a quick play-through but I’d only get it on very deep discount, if you have a real deep adventure gaming itch with nothing else to fill it. 6.3 out of 10
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bobdog's Mini-Reviews Corner / Alpha Polaris – June 2011 [Score: 6.3]
« Last post by bobdog on June 19, 2017, 08:37:46 AM »
Billed as a “horror adventure game”, Alpha Polaris over-reaches a bit in that description, but it does offer a unique story set in the Arctic. The game wants to be “The Thing” but doesn’t offer any real horror or suspense to back it up. Yes, an Arctic oil explorer has accidentally released the spirit of a Wendigo boogey-man, but the dreamtime snippets that you occasionally experience don’t truly justify a “horror” rating.

That said, the story is solid, and the adventure elements make you think about how to accomplish a diversity of tasks, from trapping a polar bear, to breaking metals down to elemental dust, to tripping a busted generator. It also introduces a love story (with some unfortunately bad character models having sex), which is at the heart of the mystery.

It’s a quick play-through but I’d only get it on very deep discount, if you have a real deep adventure gaming itch with nothing else to fill it. 6.3 out of 10
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and then the third game should have been about fighting a heroic but ultimately losing battle against the Reapers.

That's talking in hindsight knowing that there is now a Mass Effect Andromeda. In truth they couldn't go that way back then. A fourth game was nothing certain and without a fourth game to compensate losing the battle in the third fans would have gone ballistic even more than with the botched ending we had -- loosing Shepard is one thing but loosing the war? Plus there was five years between ME3 and Andromeda... too much of a wait to pull that kind of trick. It's an interesting option to explore if you intend to release the next game 3 or 6 months later... which had absolutely no chance to happen.

For me the real error in the first trilogy was when they decided to switch the threat focus from the Reapers (which indeed were perfect cosmic horrors, as villains go you can't do much better) to the starchild in ME3. That really sucked because they just tuned down the scale of horror from unbearable to... mundane and cosmically stupid.

But the justification of Andromeda can be there. It depends on how you finished ME3. Because Bioware added a fourth option to finish the game with the patch they issued to try to correct the botched ending. Dismiss the starchild as the idiocy it is and continue to fight. In that case Shepard goes on fighting, looses, everybody dies and the game ends on the message that Liara prepared to help the future cycle (that's the option I took the last time I played ME3 until the end -- and the option I will always take if I ever want to replay ME3 until the end because the original three colors endings are just that stupid). In that case it gives Andromeda the dimension you suggest.
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While admittedly speaking with the benefit of hindsight, I feel like Mass Effect's overall story arc isn't nearly as strong as it could be.  The first game established the Reapers as cosmic horrors, but BioWare then consistently downplayed their threat with each subsequent entry.  None of the races bother building up their military strength until the third game--when the Reapers have already arrived and it should therefore be too damn late--and the second game was largely spent squabbling with their minions The Collectors, despite knowing full well they were on their way.   

I feel like the whole Effective Military Strength aspect of the third game should have been the focus of the second, and then the third game should have been about fighting a heroic but ultimately losing battle against the Reapers.  The objective could then become about ensuring the Andromeda Initiative is successfully launched, which in turn would have given the events of Mass Effect: Andromeda poignancy and weight.  It's hard to care what happens in ME:A when you realize the Initiative is pointless since everything turned out okay back home.
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / What went wrong with Mass Effect Andromeda?
« Last post by Starfox on June 14, 2017, 12:05:32 PM »
Kotaku as a nice and long item analyzing the problems that plagued the development of the latest installment in the Mass Effect franchise leading to the general disappointment. I have yet to play the game (and maybe never will) so I will leave you the pleasure to read the thing and I won't comment further.
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