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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / Re: The State Of The Gaming Industry
« Last post by bobdog on Yesterday at 12:03:37 PM »
I play games on my computer and phone, and the phone micro-transactions are insidious. I've had to train myself to be patient, and to deny that need for "just one more." Our brains are hard-wired to accept rewards, and they way most games are set up with a win-lose scenario really preys upon that need.

I don't buy any micro-transactions on my computer games, and am still working on much older stuff, where I got the "full" package including DLCs -- all at a huge discount. I don't anticipate I'll ever fully catch up to current-day releases, so I'm more immune to the temptations that PC micro-transactions allow.

I hope that gamers will become more sophisticated and not necessarily fall for every lootbox thing coming down the pike. And I'm glad some countries are finally taking them to court to try and force some changes. Slowly....
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bobdog's Mini-Reviews Corner / Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Last post by bobdog on Yesterday at 10:29:27 AM »
Phantaruk is a sci-fi first-person game that takes equal parts inspiration from Alien Isolation and SOMA, but doesn’t overstay its welcome.

After stumbling out of a cryo-pod, you somehow must figure out how you got into that situation and why you’re on a seemingly deserted starship. You can find various tablets, notes and verbal diaries as you scour the ship to help piece together the full story, with one situation in particular requiring you to have some knowledge to get into a new zone. The verbal diaries are from the ship’s captain, detailing his descent into possible madness.

Early on, you realize that you need to consistently search for and gather items including staff keycards, batteries for your flashlight, and most especially an antigen to the disease that is coursing through your body. One chalkboard demonstrates how your wrist monitor works, and how you can assess the state of your health. You must find more antigen for injections because if you don’t, the screen is flooded with green “clouds,” making it nearly impossible to navigate because you can't physically see.

But you also learn that you AREN’T alone after all. Occasionally, your vision will be covered by black “clouds” and you’ll hear some strained breathing as a humanoid with small lights passes by. If you look directly at the creature – which the Captain dubs the “Phantaruk” – then your heartbeat increases in fear. You quickly learn that if you stay in darker corners, so that an “eye” on your screen doesn’t show, than the Phantaruk can’t see you. But once they track you, it’s nearly impossible to get away.

Apparently Phantaruk is also the culmination of a religion that took over after 3 billion people died of smallpox. People gave up on the other religions for allowing such a catastrophe to occur, and began following the practices of Phantaruk, which would inevitably lead to changes in your body to allow you to survive disease and other earthly misfortunes. In practice, it appears that at least one corporation was genetically modifying humans to this end.

I definitely got the willies several times while playing, so the game does have a nice horror feel to it. At only 3 hours, it’s just long enough to give you a decent story without regurgitating the same gameplay, which I felt Alien Isolation did. However, it’s still not the best example of the FPS horror genre, so I’ll give it 6.8 out of 10.
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bobdog's Mini-Reviews Corner / Phantaruk – August 2016 [Score: 6.8]
« Last post by bobdog on Yesterday at 10:28:52 AM »
Phantaruk is a sci-fi first-person game that takes equal parts inspiration from Alien Isolation and SOMA, but doesn’t overstay its welcome.

After stumbling out of a cryo-pod, you somehow must figure out how you got into that situation and why you’re on a seemingly deserted starship. You can find various tablets, notes and verbal diaries as you scour the ship to help piece together the full story, with one situation in particular requiring you to have some knowledge to get into a new zone. The verbal diaries are from the ship’s captain, detailing his descent into possible madness.

Early on, you realize that you need to consistently search for and gather items including staff keycards, batteries for your flashlight, and most especially an antigen to the disease that is coursing through your body. One chalkboard demonstrates how your wrist monitor works, and how you can assess the state of your health. You must find more antigen for injections because if you don’t, the screen is flooded with green “clouds,” making it nearly impossible to navigate because you can't physically see.

But you also learn that you AREN’T alone after all. Occasionally, your vision will be covered by black “clouds” and you’ll hear some strained breathing as a humanoid with small lights passes by. If you look directly at the creature – which the Captain dubs the “Phantaruk” – then your heartbeat increases in fear. You quickly learn that if you stay in darker corners, so that an “eye” on your screen doesn’t show, than the Phantaruk can’t see you. But once they track you, it’s nearly impossible to get away.

Apparently Phantaruk is also the culmination of a religion that took over after 3 billion people died of smallpox. People gave up on the other religions for allowing such a catastrophe to occur, and began following the practices of Phantaruk, which would inevitably lead to changes in your body to allow you to survive disease and other earthly misfortunes. In practice, it appears that at least one corporation was genetically modifying humans to this end.

I definitely got the willies several times while playing, so the game does have a nice horror feel to it. At only 3 hours, it’s just long enough to give you a decent story without regurgitating the same gameplay, which I felt Alien Isolation did. However, it’s still not the best example of the FPS horror genre, so I’ll give it 6.8 out of 10.
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The Foxhole Gaming News Discussions / The State Of The Gaming Industry
« Last post by Starfox on Yesterday at 09:54:24 AM »
For those who might wonder... yep, I'm still alive and nope I've not been very present these past couple of months, although I always kept an eye on things.

Reasons for my silence are varied and numerous, mainly personal stuff, but also gaming related. To put it bluntly, the current state of the video gaming industry (especially AAA publishers) makes me vomit, (figuratively speaking of course, but something fierce). That does not help putting me in a mood to play *new* games and especially of the AAA kind.

Where to start... Electronic Arts and Activision and their monetization schemes? Epic Games Store and the millions upon millions of dollars they fork to secure exclusives just to kill the competition without actually doing any kind of work that would benefit consumers and hence push them to envisage a switch of platform? Or Steam that is going like if nothing was happening? Or Bethesda and their screw ups repeated over and over? And the list goes on... Latest? Rockstar 10 years worth of tax evasion in the UK... because yeah, we wouldn't want to pay a single cent out of the shitload of money we make would we? Oh no, because how else could we pay our new Lamborghinis. And what about Google Stadia? Boy, that last one is very funny (but I won't explain the concept right now, maybe later).

A couple of weeks ago, EA was in front of the UK gambling commission due to their lootboxes (you pay to open a lootbox but you actually don't know what's inside, so you don't know what you pay for in the first place which suspiciously seems like gambling). Suddenly EA turned back the table "hey, they're not lootboxes, they're surprise mechanics". And despite the fact that it's really just a matter of semantics there (meaning: how could rename the mechanics change a bloody thing?) it seems that the UK gambling commission found that acceptable "oh, then it's not really a gambling problem... we can't regulate that".

On the other hand, Belgium banned any game featuring lootboxes (and I doubt that renaming them surprises or Easter eggs or whatever will change anything to their position because Belgium didn't rule on the pure basis of gambling, they ruled on the threat posed to young and/or easily influenced people who could see their life ruined by such "mechanics").

And you may think that there's exaggeration there. Not if you consider the guy who revealed some time ago that he suddenly realized checking his EA account that he had spend around 10,000 USD on just one FIFA game in a little more than one year just on micro-transactions (which eventually accumulated into a final mega-bill). The only reason why he didn't realize it sooner is because he's apparently wealthy and $10,000 was not really a problem for him. But as he said himself, he also realized that not every gamer was that wealthy and that this kind of thing could derail a life easily. There's some thought... FIFA is one bloody pricey game.

One could easily think that it's a lot of talk for just a little "feature" when nobody force gamers to adhere to it. Well, that's what you'd think. But hey, according to their own records, EA makes about 60% of their revenues from monetization (micro-transactions, pay-to-win schemes, lootboxes...), so no, it's not just a "little" feature, it's a giant money making machine. EA is officially a game publisher but somewhere along the road they ended up with game publishing generating only 40% of their revenues, the rest being acquired from abusing the games published to extract more money from the players with about zero supplemental effort which of course generates a shitload an astounding amount of return on investment because the investment in that part (monetization) is about nil or in any case, just a very minimal fraction of the cost of developing a full game.

Motto of the day: "Making as much money as possible with minimal effort". And there comes the concept of games as "services". In the brain of AAA companies top dogs it means, developing a game that has the ability to attract and retain people, then instead of going to develop the next game, make this one last a dozen years just collecting the fruit of the monetization inside, issuing new mini-DLC, customizations, weapons, armor (whatever) along the way but making sure that all the while you embark much more money that you actually spend.

Still don't believe it? Well, I would like to direct you toward a video released by the youtuber YongYea, featuring an interesting audio file and a keynote of prominent persons in the gaming industry explaining how making a shitload of money works. Be warned, this is edifying (if you're still delusional to the point of thinking that the gaming industry is all about making gamers happy, prepare to be educated). The audio file in particular is from John Riccitiello (during an investors meeting) who was (for those who don't know and those who forgot), back when the audio file was recorded, the CEO of Electronic Arts and the guy that wanted every game published by EA to feature a multiplayer component and yes, he was the one CEO in place during the very bad ending of Mass Effect 3 "episode". The second piece of evidence, is a keynote called "Let's go Whaling"... Seriously, they're not even trying to disguise it anymore. The "whales" in case you wonder are us, gamers, the very big money bags that they absolutely need to harpoon (I particularly love the Ikea portion of the video, really; wouldn't have dreamed myself to compare a video game to Ikea but... there you go).

Note that both evidences were not intended for general audience. They were made for the industry inner circles and such displays are generally done either during financial meetings for investors or behind closed doors during presentations that are reserved to a sparse "elite" specially selected and invited. Well, that such discussions take place in the "inner circles" is nothing new. Gamers have been more or less considered like absolute money bags by a certain portion of the gaming industry starting something like 10 to 15 years ago. What is worrying though is that AAA companies are more reckless about it than ever. Today, they don't even care if gamers know what is going on, they invent a nice tale about how they didn't intended it to be that way (despite evidences to the contrary) and they move on, sometime taking the monetization slightly back just to say they do something about it before pushing it forward again a few months later.

To be clear, I'm hitting EA there because they are the foremost example of what's been happening but most if not all AAA companies do it to some extent, Activision, Square Enix, Ubisoft, 2K, Take Two (and I forget some) are or have been engaged in some form of monetization in some or a lot of their games during the past decade. But now, it's getting simply out of control. We are seeing a re-purposing of successful franchises (Call of Duty, Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Tomb Raider, Borderlands, Assassin's Creed... etc.) in order to enable rabid monetization at the cost of game quality all for squeezing every available bit of wealth from the "money bags" (us) at minimal cost for the publishers.

I won't spend much more time on the whole subject of how monetization does work because others have done it better than me. Go check this video by YongYea or this other one of Gopher blowing a fuse over Fallout 76 "micro"-transactions if you want to know more.

What I will say however is that I feel sad to see consumers releasing so easily the only power they truly have regarding corporations: to NOT BUY the damn products in the first place. If nobody would buy micro-transactions, then micro-transactions would disappear... it's as simple as that. Corporations wouldn't keep a system with no financial viability. If they do it's because the system works, which means that enough people are actually buying the crap to justify maintaining the system. Even worse, it shows that a non negligible part of the consumers don't really care. They happily fork $60 for a game then are fleeced for $120 more for idiotic stuff like armors or hats and apparently find that very normal. To paraphrase Gopher, it's really robbery in broad daylight with willing victims. Imagine that, a guy mug you at the corner of a street just asking for your wallet and your watch and what do you do? You give him the key to your bloody house to your car, of course, and your credit card number and PIN and all your bank account numbers while you're at it... No even more, the guy is just standing there minding his own business and you walk to him to force him to accept everything you have including your wife, your kids and dog.

That seems absurd to you? Well, that's basically micro-transactions in a nutshell and any other monetization schemes in existence. And still people fall for that.

I'm not against companies selling additional stuff for a game, as long as it's reasonable. I happily paid for the two Witcher 3 expansions because they were full size "campaigns" of high quality and adequately priced. I happily paid for Shivering Isles for Oblivion in its time, for similar reasons... etc. But paying a power armor paint job for practically the price of Witcher 3 blood and Wine 20+ hours campaign?

Where will the idiocy stop?  What's depressing is that there's not even one sign showing that it will stop someday. In fact I can imagine it getting worse with base games sold for a mere $5 with $500 worth of micro-transactions behind  if you want to have a full size game (and possibly a mediocre one at best because who has time to develop good games when there's all that money to count?).

And that's just on the topic of monetization. I have other bones to pick with the AAA gaming industry current practices but I don't feel like doing that right now.

Good for Epic Games because they would have been the next ones in line.

On the bright side, the whole thing gave me time to catch up on TV series and movies.
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Wolfenstein Youngblood annoys me on so many counts that it would hurt me to write them all down so I will be focusing on the biggest offenders here.

But let's go with a bit of the story so you know what you'll be dealing with when (if) you play this game.

The year is 1980, 19 years after the events described in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and the following liberation of North America from the Nazis. B.J. Blazkowicz and Anya live with their twin daughters (both of course 19 years old) in a little house where they teach them in a pure Blazko tradition how to kill, maim and explode their enemies although the girls seem to have a lot to learn yet. North America is liberated but the rest of the world is not and an older Blazko seems to be worried more than ever. Then one day, he disappears. His two daughters decide to launch their own search and rescue party joining the French resistance in Paris.

The story is... well, let's keep that for the end of this review because welll... yeah. Just a spoiler: don't expect the same level of writing than the two previous games. Apparently the guys at MachineGames decided suddenly that people play Wolfenstein to shoot things, not to listen to stories. And well, one thing you won't be short of are things to shoot.

And as a shooter the game does its job even if this also come with a few caveats like an enemy armor system that was apparently introduced just to bore the hell out of players (two types of armors each requiring their special weapons -- not ammo, weapons -- to do a dent in it). Still shooting Nazi in this game is mildly fun if you successfully forget about all the idiocy introduced by the coop orientation of the game -- idiocy that you may not or barely notice if you play coop but that I can guarantee you'll definitely notice when trying to have fun in single player.

Meanwhile, MachineGames (or Bethesda depending on who you want to blame) managed successfully to piss off in equal amount both single players and coop players with a game that obviously doesn't want to be single player but at the same time fails at coop due to various bugs issues that currently plague it (and in an interesting Bethesda twist it seems that each new patch solves one issue and add a couple more). The game also managed to piss off just about every fan of Wolfenstein due to "interesting" [insert heavy sarcastic tone here] design decisions.

But let's sort out the good

Because it will be quick. First, the graphics look good and the environment design of a Nazi infested Paris are adequate enough. This is possibly the part where Arkane  Studios (Dishonored, Prey) had a role to play. I could occasionally make out their particular style, especially in streets and buildings design.  Also there are true French speaking voice actors in this title which is a nice change from English speaking actors trying to do French voices.

Performances were good with everything pushed to the max, my setup consistently running above 60fps. I had some audio issues though that they tried (and partly failed) to correct with a patch.

And now let's sort out the bad.

Oh boy... this will take a while.

First thing, this game is coop, period. Don't trust what Bethesda tells people about it. Yes you can play it solo but oh boy, playing is not the same as enjoying... the AI of your companion (your character's sister) is so terribly bad that you'll want to shoot her yourself... more than once. How bad are we talking about? Well, I will recount a bit of my playthrough that more or less exemplifies what is wrong with the buddy AI. I was sneaking up to a Nazi and the sister was following about 6 meters behind me when suddenly another bad guy came right between us and started to shoot at me. No big deal you'd think because the sister was right behind him to tear him up a new one... Nope, she didn't even fire a single shot and I had to kill the two bad guys by myself (the one in front and the one behind).

That's a thing that would not occur in coop, of course, because there your sister would be a real human and not some brain dead doorknob. Unfortunately it never gets any better and by the end of the game I had killed several hundred Nazis and the AI had killed about... 10. That is a piss poor job if I've ever seen one. Well, you'd say, it's no matter since you play single player so it's normal that the main job is left to you... and normally I would agree if it was not for the fact that MachineGames didn't even think to adapt the game difficulty for single player. As it is right now, you have to do alone the job that two human gamers do while in coop against the same number of enemies of similar strength. And that's not normal. That would be bearable if the buddy AI held its own, but it's a failure, period.

Your sister couldn't hit an elephant with a shotgun at point blank. For some reason her hit ratio seems to have been set way below the enemy's hit ratio. Again that wouldn't be a problem if the game difficulty had been tuned for single player but alas...

Due to hilariously bad pathfinding routines, the AI is also prone to get separated from you and in order to join up will go the most complicated and the less stealthy route often passing in plain sight of enemies just so you have the pleasure to trigger every alarm around. If you intend to stealth some portions of this game, the AI will be a constant pain in the ass. It doesn't help that when you crouch she just stands and browse around like if she was at the market. Her ability to react to enemy fire -- she has the situational awareness of a block of concrete -- is also so bad that she finds herself bleeding on a constant basis at which point you get to revive her (and this little routine gets tiring very quickly).

And I'll stop with the buddy AI there because even if the symphony is longer, I'd rather not spend all this review on it.

The most grievous error from Bethesda here... mislabeling the product. They should never have sold that thing for single player/coop game that it isn't. Of course if they hadn't done that, a lot of people wouldn't even have bothered to buy the game, especially long time fans.

But wait there's more bad...

Because all the above was only regarding  the total  discrepancy between single player and coop mode. The following bad points are valid whatever the game mode is.

Let's begin by the complete lack of a save system, erratic checkpoints and (contemplate that if you will) a game that NEVER EVER pause. Yep that's right. the game never pause, not even when you're on the menu screen. So let me paint you a picture (true story even) after a hard series of fights you decide to take a break but you don't want to get back to your base of operation because all the progress done in the current mission would be lost (no save, remember?). So you stash your character (and hopefully your character's sister) in an area you deem relatively safe. Then you go do what you have to do, have a coffee, take a piss, whatever... and then you return to discover that your character was killed and rejected to the beginning of the level, cancelling all the progression made. You can't even read the pieces of information you gather in the world because... yes the game doesn't pause so you run the very real possibility to get attacked while reading  -- and the time you get back to your lair, you're not interested anymore in reading what you found. I want to read things as I find them, not out of context one hour later.

Everyone was thinking at first that this inability to pause was a bug... but no, it's not apparently. The information I gathered from the loading screens tends to prove that this "feature" was wanted by the developers. For what important purpose exactly... that's anyone guess. But I'm with the majority of gamers there... it's unnecessary and completely idiotic.

And the whole no pause thing is not helped by enemies erratically respawning. If you want to take a leak, for example, you cannot just stash you character somewhere in an area you just cleared because chances are that the time you're gone enemies will respawn and attack you (even if you're at the menu screen -- I still can't fathom how moronic this is).

And the apotheosis...

The story is uninspired and uninteresting. There's not even a hint of a true villain until nearly the end of the game and when it is revealed it's nothing even approaching the caliber of a General Strasse or a Frau Engel. The characterization is almost non existent, most of the people you encounter in the resistance HQ are just kiosks giving you fetching quests of low quality. As for the two main characters... what's to say... imagine two 19 years old teenagers with barely two brain cells to rub together and the humor of a 5 years old. Because of that the cutscenes are truly catastrophic. You know there are a lot of people who complained about too many cutscenes present in The New Colossus, but at least these were good cutscenes and most of the time with good humor. There the humor is so bad and the scenes so out of touch with anything that was done in the Wolfenstein series to this day that you wonder if this is Wolfenstein anymore.

The quests are most of the time appallingly generic and the main plot quests are nothing better; go to three different locations to do the same stuff before going to the fourth one to take down the big guy? Really?

But hey, all is forgiven because you know what... there's stuff to buy

It's obvious that the coop tuning was privileged first an foremost and I'm truly getting fed up with franchises that are "re-purposed" to suit the monetization needs of a publisher.  Why make a coop Wolfenstein when the whole series is almost exclusively composed of single player games? Well the answer is pretty simple: publishers know that it's far easier to sell stuff (micro-transaction) in a multiplayer environment than it is in single player, and far better if the players are so engaged in the game that they are almost brain dead -- hence the "no pause allowed" stuff, I guess. And micro-transactions in this game, there is. If you wondered why Wolfenstein Youngblood was sold for the astoundingly low price of $30 (standard edition) or $40 (Deluxe edition), there's your answer.

Mechanically, the thing works this way: two currencies are in play. Silver, which is the in game currency. it is granted as a reward for missions and tasks and one can find it in the world, in containers... etc. With silver one can "buy" anything in the game, weapon customization, skins, whatever. BUT if you're in a hurry, you can also buy with gold bars... except that one has to buy the gold bars with real money.

However following the whole ruckus with monetization in Fallout 76 Bethesda tried to be more clever this time and removed from the PC version a lot of monetization aspects that could have raised some level of anger, namely everything that could have been considered as pay to win, except for what are called "boosters" (you're out of ammo and armor and don't have enough silver? Don't be shy, buy with gold bars. And -- still present on console but removed from the PC version -- you need some more XP to progress faster? Buy it... nobody cares (but we do, we care for your money). And by the way, message to Bethesda: when you "remove" (to put them back later for all I know)  monetization "features" from a game to not anger some part of the customers make sure to remove the references to said features from the loading screens messages too... OK? Good boys.

Thing is, it doesn't matter how bad the monetization is in this game because the whole game is worse. Bethesda would seriously want people to spend even more money on a game they can barely stomach to play? At least make the game a good game if you want to do that.

What is the most puzzling in this sad story is how a developer like MachineGames that successfully revived a franchise that was more or less dying at the time they took over, pushing it to the top with two brilliant games, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood and following up with another good game, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus ended up developing the sorry excuse for a Wolfenstein entry that is Wolfenstein Youngblood? Maybe that developing four games in the span of five years was simply more that they could handle.

In my opinion though, the whole monetization scheme sustained by the coop orientation of the gameplay is what brings Wolfenstein Youngblood down. And the worst part is that like it or not, this particular game is now part of the lore and cannot be ignored in regard to what will happen to the franchise in the future which means... yep possibly even more idiocy.

As for myself, I will go back to The New Colossus, the last true Wolfenstein game there is to play, to wash my mouth of all the bad taste.
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Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Unicron. Yup.
« Last post by Silver Sorrow on August 12, 2019, 12:57:36 PM »
They need tiers. I think that for a $10 commitment, we should at least be rewarded with Unicron's head. We can then poke out the eyes and pretend that it's orbiting Cybertron.

And that's another thing: Hasbro has enough cash to build a real Unicron. Why do they need backers? Is the company refusing to funnel funds into someone's Unicron passion project? "Sure, we could sign off on it...but there's more money to be made from this Marvel crap right now. Concentrate on more useless variations on Iron Man suits instead of worrying about robots that turn into planes and shit, Jim."

[Scary, But Probably True Fact: All those kids that have gone missing across America? They were kidnapped by Big Plastic and chained to workbenches, where they are forced to spend 20 hours a day painting eyebrows on Captain America action figures.]

And for God's sake, at LEAST make the toy version out of die-cast metal...sure, it'll weigh 40 pounds and kill the cat when it falls off the stand, but at least it won't look so...cheap.
7
bobdog's Mini-Reviews Corner / Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Last post by bobdog on August 12, 2019, 09:17:16 AM »
As the follow-up game to the dark side-scroller Limbo, Inside integrates all the lessons learned from that first game and delivers a heck of an atmospheric experience. The final section of the game is the biggest WTF I think I have ever encountered, and I was absolutely blown away by what happens.

Inside is a 2.5D side-scroller with platforming, whose camera angles primarily focus on your protagonist – a boy in a red shirt – but occasionally change based on the overall story. The game starts immediately, with Red stumbling in from stage left and collapsing into a dark forest. Dark gray tones permeate the scene, but Red stands out. As we enter the forest, we see several scenes of people being rounded up. Once someone catches sight of Red, we are chased remorselessly, barely escaping their clutches. We may be able to catch a breath, but then dogs start chasing us and we can’t every really stop.

From the forest, we enter an agricultural district, where people seem to be acting like zombies – all parading in a single line and doing whatever is asked of them. We later learn that specific helmets are being used to control these people and make them more docile workers. The agricultural zone leads to a city, where robot sentries stand watch. Eventually, we find a very watery domain, with its own denizens. And finally, a laboratory shares a number of atrocities practiced on other humans.

Throughout each environment, you’ll need to master a variety of skills. You can only move in the four cardinal directions, jump, and interact with objects, so each case is specific. You might need to move a box so that you can later jump on it. Maybe you need to pull that lever to open a door. There is some trial-and-error involved to smoothly navigate this world, generally resulting in your death, but then you almost immediately resurrect very near to where you last appeared, so that you can try again.

Inside fascinates with its world-building. Obviously, some catastrophe struck the earth – maybe a huge flood or meteor?? – so lots of changes had to be made. And probably, those in power wanted to ensure they remained so, developing a mind-control option to exploit regular folks. Those tests may have led to other ways to open humanity’s genetic potential to continue to prosper in the changing planet.

The surrounding environment is meticulously designed, and certain elements return again and again to better build the world, without saying a word. Feel free to look for some explanation videos on YouTube, as they’re kind of enlightening, but in the end, it’s probably up to individual interpretation. 9.5 out of 10
8
bobdog's Mini-Reviews Corner / Inside – July 2016 [Score: 9.5]
« Last post by bobdog on August 12, 2019, 09:15:31 AM »
As the follow-up game to the dark side-scroller Limbo, Inside integrates all the lessons learned from that first game and delivers a heck of an atmospheric experience. The final section of the game is the biggest WTF I think I have ever encountered, and I was absolutely blown away by what happens.

Inside is a 2.5D side-scroller with platforming, whose camera angles primarily focus on your protagonist – a boy in a red shirt – but occasionally change based on the overall story. The game starts immediately, with Red stumbling in from stage left and collapsing into a dark forest. Dark gray tones permeate the scene, but Red stands out. As we enter the forest, we see several scenes of people being rounded up. Once someone catches sight of Red, we are chased remorselessly, barely escaping their clutches. We may be able to catch a breath, but then dogs start chasing us and we can’t every really stop.

From the forest, we enter an agricultural district, where people seem to be acting like zombies – all parading in a single line and doing whatever is asked of them. We later learn that specific helmets are being used to control these people and make them more docile workers. The agricultural zone leads to a city, where robot sentries stand watch. Eventually, we find a very watery domain, with its own denizens. And finally, a laboratory shares a number of atrocities practiced on other humans.

Throughout each environment, you’ll need to master a variety of skills. You can only move in the four cardinal directions, jump, and interact with objects, so each case is specific. You might need to move a box so that you can later jump on it. Maybe you need to pull that lever to open a door. There is some trial-and-error involved to smoothly navigate this world, generally resulting in your death, but then you almost immediately resurrect very near to where you last appeared, so that you can try again.

Inside fascinates with its world-building. Obviously, some catastrophe struck the earth – maybe a huge flood or meteor?? – so lots of changes had to be made. And probably, those in power wanted to ensure they remained so, developing a mind-control option to exploit regular folks. Those tests may have led to other ways to open humanity’s genetic potential to continue to prosper in the changing planet.

The surrounding environment is meticulously designed, and certain elements return again and again to better build the world, without saying a word. Feel free to look for some explanation videos on YouTube, as they’re kind of enlightening, but in the end, it’s probably up to individual interpretation. 9.5 out of 10
9
Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Unicron. Yup.
« Last post by Starfox on August 09, 2019, 08:27:51 PM »
Wait, it's a set amount? You cannot even select something a bit more financially "palatable"? Heck, I don't even want to pay that price for VR goggles  :lol:

So nice to see that the video game industry is not the only one rotten to the core these days.
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Off (and insane) Topic discussions / Re: Unicron. Yup.
« Last post by Doc_Brown on August 09, 2019, 10:40:26 AM »
What's more surprising to me is that Hasbro has their own version of Kickstarter.  :realconfused:
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