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The Foxhole QuickViews / Control [2019 - Remedy Entertainment]
« Last post by Starfox on November 27, 2020, 07:31:31 PM »
So you picked THE gun? Fine, welcome to the Federal Bureau of Control, Director. Well, at least you will be Director if you successfully pass our test because otherwise, we'll just pull the trigger and call it a day (oh, did you wonder why the gun was pointed at your head? That's why!).

Jesse Faden (the character that is the player's avatar for Control) will pass the test, obviously -- otherwise the game would end right there -- and become the Director of the Federal Bureau of Control. But what is the FBC? The FBC was secretly established after World War II by the US government to register, monitor, study and eventually control paranatural phenomenons and artifacts (calling it FBSPP -- Federal Bureau for Study of Paranatural Phenomenons -- would have been more descriptive but Remedy needed a "Control" somewhere so they could play with the name; it's their game so sure, why not). At the beginning, the FBC was just a governmental agency like any other but then they found the "Oldest House" a building in the middle of New-York that is only visible to those who intentionally search for it. Within the Oldest House, FBC agents found the gun and a race of alien entities collectively known to humans as "The Board" that reside on what is called the Astral Plane (the particular of this are explained in the first DLC for the game called "The Foundation"). Those entities are the ones who decide who can be Director and the Director is the only one who can contact them although the way the board express themselves is not really helpful an example would be "You are Worthy/Found Wanting, come Play/Be Played with/by us, that will be Fun/Horrible/Joyful/Disastrous".

And what is this gun anyway? Its FBC official designation is the Service Weapon and it's an Object of Power; or "Oops" (Plural) -- blame Remedy for that. An object of power confers to the one it is being bound to a paranatural ability. In the case of the gun it's just the ability to combat foes and to be recognized as the FBC Director (kind of a badge of office). Anyone can pick the gun but the gun (or rather the entities behind it) decides who can be the Director. From a gaming point of view, the Service Weapon is also the only ballistic weapon the player has during the whole game although it can take several "astral forms", from a mere pistol to a rocket launcher, those forms being unlocked at different stages of the game. The second object of power Jesse will need is a 1950s styled Bakelite red phone which is the only thing enabling her to talk with the board and to occasionally receive messages from dead people, all of those being supposed to help her on her mission (or rather to allow the player a better understanding of what's going on).

Those among you expecting a horror game will be disappointed. There's a reason why the word paranatural is the one used in the game instead of supernatural. Though belonging to the same "paranormal" field, paranatural refers to phenomenons in the realm of science but not yet explained by it. Supernatural would be phenomenons that science cannot explain, neither now nor later. So no unnatural foes to be found here. The game does include though some pretty disturbing phenomenons and "possessed" people that in general Jesse will have to kill with her newly found gun.

Although not part of the FBC Jesse becomes Director during a time of crisis, and not by accident. It's not like she just stumbled on the whole thing, she was led there by her head (rather something inside it). The FBC is under attack by something best defined as a "resonance" with an evil intent that Jesse promptly name the Hiss (and as she's the newly promoted Director, the name sticks). The general method of attack of the Hiss is to take control of non protected FBC personnel and to send them fight the others.

And I will stop there with the story because going further will entail a lot of spoilers. Suffice to say that Control story in itself is compelling, interesting and fully self sustaining. So why did Remedy had to almost completely ruin it with a little DLC that... no matter. it's a discussion for another time. As some of you may know I wasn't a huge fan of last Remedy game Quantum Break, to say the least. For me playing control was giving them a chance to show me better. And they did, for the most part, if we forget about the whole DLC thing (but still I'll be back another day for my take on that).

The gameplay is mostly fun, with a small range of supernatural powers allowing you to attack your enemies With telekinetic powers including from the air (with the levitate power), to control them so they work for you for a limited time, to shield you from harm with a wall of debris. Powers are not available instantly and one has to work to acquire them, first by discovering a relevant object of power then by mastering the power transferred to Jesse in the Astral Plane, until The Board decides that she's ready.

If the story is interesting, the storytelling itself is passable. I will repeat myself there but why claiming that your engine constitute a "Storytelling Technology" when you use it with a lot of adverse effects? First there are the "information" that is displayed when you enter a new undiscovered area, a message in hyper big white letters that fills up in some cases more than 50% of the screen. Super immersive guys, well done. So okay, those messages only display once but still... Then there are the even more annoying "alerts" that triggers after the first part of the game on a regular basis. Those messages in VERY big yellow letters inform you that a task is available to complete and remain on the center top of the screen until you confirm with a button (or they fade after about a dozen seconds if you don't). Those tasks are not necessary to complete the game beyond providing you with some more resources and mods for your gun. For some reason however they are treated like if they were important side-quests (which they are not) and the worst part of it is that the message announcing them can be displayed at almost any time even when you are in the middle of a fight or in third person conversation. Remedy just stop short of displaying them (but not of triggering them and the jingle associated) when your are in a close up conversation. Again, thanks for the immersion.

Talking about close-up conversations, I spend a fair amount of time asking myself "what's wrong with their faces?". There is a je ne sais quoi in the mouth area that is definitely abnormal at times and distracting when the characters speak, like if a coat of fresh paint was splattered on some fairly old technology. the mouth area and the jaw "muscles" -- for lack of a better term -- in particular are too rigid (too rigid to the point that I noticed even though this is not the kind of thing that annoys me much in a game in general).

The save system is... well to put it frankly, it's one of the most horrible save systems I have seen in a game. There's only one autosave with one hard save at the beginning of each "mission", one cannot manually save, there's no profile so you cannot play with someone else (say like, if you wanted to play the game and that your girlfriend wanted to play the game too... no can do, not without getting your hands dirty and manually switching save files every time). Other games by other developers follow a similar scheme but they are few. Most games that tend to not allow you to manually save, at least offer you the possibility of switching profiles.

Those details aside, Control seems to be a solid game. In fact the only thing that can tear it apart are the guys at Remedy themselves and their lack of self-control (and yeah, the pun is intended, I'm not even ashamed). They confirmed their astounding ability to try an ruin their own game in the second "story" DLC they issued for Control called AWE. But I'll come back on that another day because it's truly depressing.

As for the vanilla game, I enjoyed it and that is what counts, right?
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / Re: The Outer Worlds
« Last post by Starfox on November 26, 2020, 07:55:41 AM »
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from the Old French word "compaignon,"

Or the modern French "compagnon"  :lol: which can mean "companion", "sidekick", "partner", "boyfriend" ("compagne" for "girlfriend") and yes, in some cases "meat shield" because one always needs one  :purplelaugh:

In fact, the game can be played solo (there's even perks available to augment your character when you don't have any companion with you or never recruit anyone -- that includes reactivating SAM which is considered "recruiting").

Anyway, the combat may seem tough at the beginning (depending on the character level and the difficulty selected) but once you get to level 6-7 you can stay ahead of the curve for the rest of the game. When you play solo it's worth investing in stealth because beyond some point you kind of become a master of stealth and can move almost under the nose of your opponents without them noticing (it's weird, I mean, the stealth in this game is weird because it's all calculated based on your distance from the enemy and at high level the line of sight becomes almost irrelevant; even more, if you reach 150 in stealth and manage to one shot an opponent while in stealth, no enemy is alerted even if you use a non suppressed gun). At 150 you're practically undetectable.

Drink, food... all the crap, it's an annoyance at the beginning because you can't store anything on the ship (once restored and in orbit a bunch of containers aboard become available for storage). Until then you have to rely on storing stuff in the containers in the world (Parvatti's place has some usable ones).

I don't think that FNV is regarded as godly by that many people -- aside the hardcore fans -- but the general attraction just come from the fact that it was better than Fallout 3, the side quests in particular were more interesting.

Motherlode of irritation? One name comes to mind... Parvatti; but maybe that's just me.
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / Re: The Outer Worlds
« Last post by Silver Sorrow on November 22, 2020, 05:13:22 PM »
I kind of stalled on it for a while (I was distracted by imaginary shiny things), but I've picked it back up. Mostly. It's not like I've abandoned my busy lifestyle, or anything...I mean, SOMEONE has to sleep 18 hours a day around here, and if that someone has to be me, then by all that's holy, I'm gonna do my part. [everyone begins humming "America The Beautiful"] Because in these trying times we gotta--

ANYWAY, after getting over my disappointment at the idea of dragging a companion along -- it becomes bearable when you consider that the word "companion" is from the Old French word "compaignon," meaning "meat shield"[**] -- I began to explore more of my surroundings. I've also managed to pick up an ungodly amount of stupid food-n-drink items already...inventory filler, in other words. I guess you need to acquire a crapton of stat/health/ability boosters in a game, and they absolutely deliver in that department. ::)

[** I know. I KNOW. But it was funny.]

I've never understood why some people hold FNV in such exalted, mythical regard. Sure, it was a good game...but geez, people.

I have yet to find more to complain about, but I'm sure I'll find the motherlode of irritation soon enough.

As for the soundtrack: yes. Yes it is similar.  :ss-weird1
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / Re: The Outer Worlds
« Last post by Starfox on November 10, 2020, 04:33:34 PM »
So I finally finished the game. It will be a while before the review but I wanted to submit an early thought.

- If you are among those people that have yet to play the game, know what you're going into. Because apparently for some reason, a lot of folks can't get rid of the association Obsidian/Fallout New Vegas and were thinking that this was going to be consequently a Fallout New Vegas in space (it's pretty amusing to see people trying to find a cowboy outfit for their spacer). If you go in there with that mindset let me tell you... you're not going to get it. And you'll end up disappointed. At best the game is a mix of Fallout and Borderlands with a bit of Mass Effect for the companions combat system. Point is if you go into the game without any misconception, chances are that you'll enjoy it more (yes Obsidian developed FNV but they also developed Pillars of Eternity, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Knights Of the Old Republic 2 and those games couldn't be further away from New Vegas).

However I won't blame gamers for the misconception. I'll blame whoever had the stupid idea for the commercial trailer which definitely did draw the wrong picture in the first place.

Which is not to say that the game doesn't have issues because, oh yes God, it has some. However if you just don't like the game because it's not FNV in space, wonder first whose fault it is.
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / Re: So now it's a Mass Effect trilogy remaster?
« Last post by Starfox on November 08, 2020, 09:49:51 AM »
Regarding consistency, they should get rid of the infinite ammo from ME1... or extend it to all games.

Myself I can't wait to see Miranda's "features" in full blown up 4K ultra sharp resolution... Like if she wasn't already obvious enough in ME2 and her many "backside" (and frontside) shots.

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I'm unsure how to feel about that. Should I be happy or suicidal? Or both?

Am I allowed to take a joker here? Like... can I ignore that this thing is really a thing and just pretend the whole thing doesn't exist? Sadly I have solid memories of Mass Effect Andromeda... I'm not really keen to see the new Bioware at work... again.

But hey, they're in pre-production phase (most commonly known as "let's throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks"). So it's not too late for Electronic Arts to cancel the project. I suspect anyway that the announcement has a lot to do with inciting players who don't know the series to fork the bucks for the Legendary Edition because "hey, there's a new game in the pipe... it's time to play catch up).

As for the Legendary Edition price, as I own all three games on Origin, I expect EA generosity to reflect that... (who am I kidding?). Then again, I don't own a 4K screen so the whole 4K selling argument is completely lost on me.
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Announced today...since it's N7 day ::)...it's:

Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

Yeah.

A few quotes:

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For many months now, our team at BioWare has been hard at work updating the textures, shaders, models, effects and technical features of three enormous games.

"...and hopefully everything won't look like plastic failure! Fingers crossed!"

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Our goal was not to remake or reimagine the original games, but to modernize the experience so that fans and new players can experience the original work in its best possible form.

Okay, yeah...femshep now pretty, great. But will they make the GAMEPLAY consistent across the series? Just the differences in controls, movement, interface, and weapons between ME1 and ME2 are quite jarring. How will they remedy that?

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It's been amazing to see the adventures of Commander Shepard take on new life in super-sharp resolution, faster framerates, and beautiful visual enhancements.

I get it. It's pretty. Well done. But about that consis--

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Mass Effect Legendary Edition will include single-player base content and DLC from Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3, plus promo weapons, armors, and packs - all remastered and optimized for 4k Ultra HD.

--ah. So you're saying it's pretty. I see. Why didn't you mention that before?

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It will be available in Spring 2021

Oh. Okay. We'll see.

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Meanwhile here at BioWare, a veteran team has been hard at work envisioning the next chapter of the Mass Effect universe.

Uh, oh...

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We are in early stages on the project and can't say any more just yet, but we’re looking forward to sharing our vision for where we'll be going next.

I'm unsure how to feel about that. Should I be happy or suicidal? Or both?

I just wonder if this is going to be another entry in the Snowflake Chronicles. So let's all join the Pride parade, a-wavin' our rainbow flags...

While I'm here, I'd like to make a few requests:

- Could we have a Miranda-as-a-blonde option? Or better yet: turn Miranda into a small box that goes "ping"?

- Jack's head on a stick? Please?

- Kasumi: freaky-deaky romance option?
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Somewhat excruciating, yes...but I'm just glad I no longer have to deal with Texmod and juggling executables and...blech.

On a sorta-related note, I tried out the femshep consistency mod for ME1 for a bit, and yup: she looks just like the default ME3 version, right down to the N7 hoodie option.

...which is great if you're perfectly happy with the default femshep, but me? No. I kept the mod installed because it applies the hoodie regardless of what type of femshep you're using. Apparently the ME2 version breaks custom characters, so I skipped that one.

All of this kind of makes me wonder: has anyone tried to improve the models so that she doesn't look like a damn duck? It was a dark time for chargen in games -- Oblivion comes to mind -- and I guess no one considers it worth the effort, but...oh, well.

By contrast, I managed to put together an incredible-looking character for Andromeda, but the game itself...ah, never mind. The dream is dead. Moving on...

Non-game related: last week (Wednesday the 21st), my A/C unit crapped out. As it was supposed to be somewhere around 82 degrees the next day, I called my A/C guy. This time of year he's pretty swamped, and he said he'd get back to me the next week. Well, it was supposed to turn cold Friday, so I said it's not a rush job and I could wait.

Thursday it got up to 84 inside. I had at least three fans going, which did nothing to make it any cooler. (For an idea of how I react to hot weather, see Lovecraft's Cool Air.) But I persevered...rather, I wimpered piteously as I waited for it to cool off. (I really don't do well in the heat.) It didn't, not for a while; it stayed miserable all night. Until about 2am when the cold front moved in and the temp plunged. "Finally," I groused.

The day after that, it got down to 30 degrees. Freezing rain. And an ice storm. The trees and everything encased in ice for a couple of days. "Well," I reasoned, "I'd rather be shivering than sweating."

The good news is that my furnace works just fine; they won't find my frozen corpse in the spring.

...that's just a joke, of course. No one would be looking.

Anyway, I still haven't heard back from my A/C guy, and it's a little nerve-wracking: knowing this state, we could have a goddamn heat wave next week, and I just need my A/C working should it become necessary.

And then there's the issue of my dishwasher being clogged, but that's another anxiety-driven post for another day.
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / Re: The Outer Worlds
« Last post by Starfox on October 24, 2020, 09:56:28 AM »
Well at least we're playing at the same time  :ok:

I've been playing on normal for about 5 hours. And I had some teeth cringing combat moments even with one companion (the first one provided to you). You definitely want to perform all the quests you can that are inside Edgewater or in the immediate vicinity because you need the progression to push further inland. And yes, that means delaying the main quest. Still, as I said I'm on normal... Pretty predictably the game is organized as "the further you go from the main settlement, the more potential fodder for every Joe or thing out there you become".

Of course that also mean the rewards and loot are more substantial... common RPG stuff.

So far I'm enjoying it, I find though that the UI and inventory management is so-so. More late 2000s than current days.

PS: also is it just me or is the theme music very similar to the one from the Tomorrowland movie?
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / The Outer Worlds
« Last post by Silver Sorrow on October 23, 2020, 01:50:01 PM »
Available on Steam, finally. And on sale!

I picked up the game+soundtrack+expansion pass bundle, for just under $60. So far so good.

Character building is easy enough to understand. FaceGen isn't exactly an earth-shattering experience, but I was able to put together a good face I was happy with (for once). Combat, on Story mode, isn't difficult...but consider that I only have 1.3 hours on record thus far. Further play may inspire random acts of vulgarism. We shall see.
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Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Random Crap 2020: The Gyre Of Self-Loathing
« Last post by Starfox on October 18, 2020, 02:17:33 PM »
Well, I can imagine especially because the uninstalling/re-installing process with ALOT even though user-friendly is not particularly speedy.
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