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The Wii U Death Vigil (again)
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Yinello



Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 2371
Location: Behind you

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samsally wrote:
Anyone have thoughts on Remember Me? I think it sounds really cool. Plus I want to throw money at them because apparently they had to fight tooth and nail to get the protagonist to stay a woman and I like to encourage that kind of thing.


I definitely want to play it. The idea sounds pretty neat as well.
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I finished the singleplayer campaign of Heart of the Swarm and immediately thought "I want nachos."

Maybe I was supposed to feel something different.

Well, okay. I'm not being entirely truthful. I was thinking I wanted good nachos, specifically. I wanted to go out of my way to find a restaurant that served nachos that were not going to disappoint me.

I desired this, because the entirety of my experience sitting through Heart of the Swarm made me baffled and irked in the same way I am baffled and irked when I go and pay money to a place that is entirely in the industry of producing food you want to go out to pay and eat — because, seriously? Nachos are a pretty low bar. You have to be dysfunctional in a special way to end up unable to produce nachos.

But they manage to do it anyway. What. How. They yet again serve me shitty fucking nachos and I poke at my terrible nachos for a while and try to get them to sort of work and it doesn't work and I'm peeved and I pout and moan about it a bit and say I'm through with them, but none of it is true because they're the only place near my work and I'll be back again soon even though I could eat at home. I'm a terrible hypocrite and i'll still buy their terrible food and I'm why they exist. Damnit.

I mean, what's going on here? Why is it so hard for them to make nachos? They are a restaurant, so they make sure to address appearances: the nachos are usually really garnished with a lot of stuff that makes it look prettier, and it has an elegant 'surface composition' — I went out to an upscale place recently and got a perfect example of this. All style. Perfect display, with chives and artistic zig-zags of sour cream, but it was all garbage, with a quarter of the cheese it needed, all lumped up on five or six chips, with the rest completely dry and useless. Undercooked beans would simply fall off of any chip you tried to pick up. I wrestled with the few cheese-soaked, soggy chips before I had exhausted the entire plate's potential, and was just left staring at a pile of dry unseasoned why the hell am I talking about nachos.

Oh, right. Because it's all the same question. Nachos, or game plots. An upscale eatery is an organization I should reasonably anticipate to be able to not suck at making one of the simplest college slumfoods in the history of the universe. Blizzard Entertainment is an organization I should reasonably anticipate to be able to not suck at making a decent, workable storyline for an over-the-top and venerable franchise and space opera, for us to play around with in a singleplayer campaign. Especially when this is the second in the series and they've had the opportunity to work out the kinks beforehand.

What's going on here is that way too many game studios, even large and well-funded ones with plenty of industry experience, are really seriously starting to suck at something that should be really hard to suck at, and they are not sucking at it for virtue of lack of time and resources. Years go into making these games. The number of game studios which should be producing plots like Heart of the Swarm is approximately zero, but then again the number of restaurants that should be failing at nachos is also approximately zero. Damnit. I want some really good nachos right now. Like with carnitas and refried beans and pepper jack and small cuts of hatch green chile, and a tub of sour cream next to it. I want to talk about nachos so that I keep myself from complaining about a video game.

I keep going over things that happened in HotS and I openly wonder how you can end up with such a concertedly bad product, at the end of what I can only assume to be a process full of gobs of meetings, the production of plentiful product by dedicated writers and gameologists, the talents of multiple fully employed individuals, focus groups, etc.

Blizzard, in particular, seems to have ingrained, corporate-culture-legacy-level issues with writing stories and has degenerated to the point where the people in charge cannot release a game with a good story.

Actually, wait — I need to stress that it's actually worse than that. It's not that they just can't manage a good story, it's that they cannot even manage one which isn't so painfully bad that it manages to intrude on and actively harm the quality of a game which isn't even really big on narrative and story elements to begin with. They cannot even get to the point where the storyline isn't intrusively bad even for games which are hardly reliant on story at all.

That's harder to do. It takes an extra level of complicated dysfunction where you actually end up worse at story than most small scrappy indie companies could ever manage, much like how I already know I can make better nachos at home than the ones I had at TGI Friday, and I am not a restaurant chain, I'm a mook who can hardly make pasta.

They even managed to create an intrusively, painfully bad story for their latest and most impressively funded Diablo. We're talking about a franchise which essentially started with "there is a bad dude in that hole, go kill him" and never needed much more in terms of narrative. But in this iteration, they cram it with so much ambitious, tiresome, eye-rolling bullshit that it constantly busts in and punches the game right in the Fun. By the time I was doing my Nightmare difficulty run, I was skipping literally every conversation in the game, then also ended up muting the volume slider for all voices in the entire game. I did this for two reasons:

1. if I heard the word "Nephalem" one more time, I was going to vomit, and
2. it is the only way just to escape Maghda, Azmodan, Diablo, et. al., as they ceaselessly grind your ears raw with terrible B-movie villain mockery where you, foolish Nephalem, cannot ever possibly beat the next boss, ever, it's impossible, enjoy your death, arrogant Nephalem. Oh you survived? Irrelevant, he was just a useless tool anyway who cares if he even died I certainly don't, no fucks given here, but WATCH OUT you'll never possibly ever beat the next boss, ever, it's impossible. Nephalem. Nephalem nephalem? Nephalem.

How do you do it? Diablo is mindless hack-and-slash. How do you make it so bad that it actively intrudes on and reduces most people's enjoyment of mindless hack and slash? An even mediocre story wouldn't get in the way of that. Why is it so hard, if you are a huge multi-spazillion dollar company in a multi-spazillion dollar industry working with one of the most venerated and well-known franchises of all time, to not produce such a completely dogshit story? How can you fail at nachos goddamnit.

More importantly, how do you go from the insane drubbing you took over Diablo III and then turn right around and release Heart of the Swarm? What is happening in the game developer culture — or the work pipeline — that prevents any of the feedback from DIII apparently being able to impact and positively shape your next release so that it is not equally bad or worse, in terms of plot and writing?

Instead of making your next game a much-needed redemption of the quality of your plot and writing, you enhance its badness fivefold. The tiresome, bludgeoning repetition of certain key concepts — as "Nephalem" was in Diablo 3, or "Corruption" in Warcraft — Got enhanced to parody levels. The dialogue in Heart of the Swarm is drowned in words like Primal and Purity, but most importantly, ESSENCE. Yes. Everyone who has been through what I went through just cringed at that word. And yes, if you haven't played the game yet and care about spoilers, you should stop reading now. But, realistically, you should care about as much as me spoiling the plot to Twilight to someone who hasn't read the whole series (baby eat way out of now vampire mommy. doggie pledges to love baby as mate forever because that how doggies fall in love).

Anyway. Essence! Essence essence essence essence essence. The game sure does like to club you to death with that word. Over the background noise of the constant, childlike simplicity of the Essence refrain, every overarching part of the story sucks. The game goes to ridiculous lengths to make people feel as if the whole of Wings of Liberty storyline was reversed or trivialized, as if the progress in this game is a mind-numbing erasure of the player's prior deeds.

The characters suck. Some hiss at you about essence essencing all the essences until you wish you could tear their faces off. There were plenty of directions the game could have taken to make Kerrigan interesting, but instead they only managed to make her a shallow, ethically drifty "Protagonist?" whose revenge goals make her increasingly more unlikeable and harder for the player to really empathize with or enjoy directing through the story. This is only made even worse by how a love story is idly wedged in the side of her effort to exude arrogant untouchability. Said love story devolves Raynor conspicuously into a two-dimensional, lovelorn puppy. Nothing really adds much depth to her character, and many of the things that do sabotage her status as a protagonist, like conversations with a Protoss prisoner (that she will later murder) about how nobody can claim the moral high ground because the Protoss have killed millions of Zerg too; I guess the idea that these Zerg are mindless weaponized tools that are 100% likely to have been trying to kill and eat them and absorb their entire planet by force all the time always provides a level of moral complexity that I guess we have to think Kerrigan just can't grasp. Everything about the characters and the setting was degenerating into a terrifyingly obtuse, Metzonian megamyth that effectively told me that the game is driving me to the inevitable conclusion of "Like in all my other games, the factions must band together because there's a big ol' megabadguy over there!"

The central core of the story progression is terrible and delegitimizing. Kerrigan must get revenge on Mengsk for turning her into a Zerg. So she'll turn herself back into a Zerg. For revenge! We're sure glad the first game happened, guys. Also the Zerg recover their primal roots and have traded their hivemind structure up to incorporate Primal Zerg mentality, which is effectively about them being Sith that kill to grow. Essence.

The pacing is similarly horrid. You eventually start to almost hear Kerrigan say "Okay, entire swarm. Go ahead and stay here and let me go forth solo, because a cutscene is about to happen. And none of you are in it. And, yanno, I need to get put at risk for the sake of dramatic tension by being completely alone in there without support." Argh.

Tone — one of the absolutely most important part of a story across any medium — is especially butchered. You never know what you're supposed to feel about Kerrigan. Are you supposed to like her? Is she supposed to be a badguy or a goodguy? Is she trying for being good, or did that lose her when she lost her Jimmykins (or rather, when she gormlessly accepted the death of Jim as fact from the news service of a person she knows has lied about pretty much everything ever) and are we supposed to think she's a give-no-fucks type? What's going on? If she's supposed to be a hero, why does she act like a tantrum-throwing angry mess at so many parts of the story? Why does she react so poorly to logical arguments or foresight on the part of others? Why does she straight up stone-cold murder Warfield dead for making a good point? Why is she okay with turning Lasarra into a larval suicide bomber so that it can be ensured that an entire colony of Protoss do not escape alive? Why would she taunt Warfield? Am I supposed to like her and the fact that I don't is an accident, or am I supposed to not like her and the doe-eyed Jimmykins love angle just makes her fail as a badass? What is going on here, seriously. How can you not make nachos, this is like the simplest shit in the history of forever. I am pretty sure nachos were well in use by protohumans before we even saw flint arrowheads, okay.

I think the most important part here — or, at least, the reasoning I'm using to justify how much energy I just put into whinging this noisomely about a computer game I'm certainly not obligated to play — is that these things are Big Deals and games take a long time to come about and there's generally no takebacks or reboots on them; if it's a franchise you care about, then it's a really sucky thing to have it continued in such a disappointing way. Especially when it seems like it so easily avoided. Individually, most writers in the industry can write a better story. What's confounding that? Is there some sort of pressure being exerted to fulfill certain plot points in a weird way? Are these games originally being written much better, but then they get cudgeled into their present state by some consequence of design by committee and focus group? Do they simply get corrupted (Metzen power word!) by repeated testing with groups to ensure that they are comprehensible by any idiot gamer?

Well, some hours had passed, and I was watching the final cutscene. It was a culmination of all the dumb in the entire game, compressed into extra-special form. The entire game has been about Kerrigan's rise to unfathomable power, and at the end of it she walks in (solo, of course, presumably just telling the entire Swarm to just chill outside, maybe have a brewski) to confront her nemesis alone. She could explode him in the blink of an eye, but lets this man — standing right in range of her — taunt her casually about how she is a fool if she thinks she's won (ha ha, arrogant Nephalem). She just kind of stands there and goes "Durr?" through his entire convoluted evil mocking speech, then just lets him slowly and deliberately use a thing she knows he has in his hands that he is obviously going to press, which he presses, and it elevates a relic macguffin out of the floor, that she stands in front of so that it can totally disable her, so that Kerrigan could legitimately fulfill the most epic path to being a Damsel in Distress that any character in the history of gaming has ever gone through. All of that, just to end up helpless before a gloating Mengsk, so that her big strong man can done come in and save her. Oh my god. She flies off with her Wings of Visual Analogy +2. Oh my god.

Please stop reading this. I have to stop. I can't .. what am I doing to myself. Stop reading me whinging about a crappy computer game. I want nachos. Post good pictures of awesome nachos.
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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 10222
Location: Baltimore, Maryla*gunshot*

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd post pictures of nachos, but the internet has told me my opinion is wrong.
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WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://blog.humblebundle.com/post/46350141488/double-the-bundles-humble-mobile-bundle-and-humble

Long and short: no real Humble Bundle this time around. None of the games are guaranteed DRM-free, and none are being offered in cross-platform versions. You have some Android-Only games for the 2-week Mobile Bundle or Steam-on-Windows-Only games for the week-long THQ bundle.
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Arc Tempest



Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 4776
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Blizzard wrote and shipped Wings of Liberty, then absolutely panicked trying to figure out how to make the Zerg campaign work. There's lots of interesting ideas that are just kinda thrown in together and all of them are a little bit half baked and a little bit fucked.

Most frustrating is the fact that the entire story hinges on Kerrigan being very, very stupid more than once. She could have been an amazing anti-hero, or an amazing villain, but instead she's just... dumb.

I honestly liked the end though, it felt closer to the end that the Legend of Korra should have had. Bad guy gets her down and out, but it's still her that finishes the job.

At least the actual gameplay is pretty damn good. Though I have no idea why some units (Scourge, Corrupter, Nydus) were left out.
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ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 5896
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

err, well

i've been playing Black Mesa, the Half-Life 2 mod that tries to recreate the original Half-Life in the Source engine. it came out months ago but only now have i actually had a chance to play it.

it's been fun. it does make the ol' Black Mesa Research Facility seem a lot more lived-in and worked-in. and it helps that they took out some of the more tedious bits, like much of the "On a Rail" chapter and a lot of the ventilation ducts.

on the other hand, they didn't take out all of the platforming aspects, and the Source engine makes the ones that remained infinitely more aggravating. and overall it is definitely a more difficult than Half-Life.
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Samsally



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Due to a string of events that lead to me having a chunk of Amazon gift cards but not a lot of actual real money to be spending I blew it all on video games because I'm a responsible adult.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon... So far, quite fun. A bit aggravating in places, but I think that has more to do with my brain being fried than anything. Normally I don't do too badly with puzzles, but I'd get stuck and then frustrated, look up an answer and be like "why the hell didn't I think of that, it makes so much sense."

I also got 999. Which is also very puzzle heavy. Haven't played it yet... thinking I should maybe wait til I'm a bit less brainfried to try. Might open that one tonight.
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CTrees



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Max population in SimCity. Spoiler alert, it's screwed up - it's 100% high rise residential buildings. No businesses, no utilities. Also no water, electricity, sewage, taxes, parks, jobs, sick people, homeless, crime, fire, etc. Just 1.8 million healthy, happy, not-on-fire sims.
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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Location: Baltimore, Maryla*gunshot*

PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Space Marine is a fun game for the 10 bucks spent on it.

It's nothing exceptional, and I have yet to try the multiplayer, but I'm having fun.

Having some trouble getting over Captain Titus looking like a young Sam Neill though.
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Yinello



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone else on Guild Wars 2? The Super Adventure Box is amazingly fun.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad News: Disney is closing down internal development at LucasArts.
Minor But Significant Good News: The engines for Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy are being GPL'd by Raven Studios.
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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Location: Baltimore, Maryla*gunshot*

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Yinello



Joined: 10 May 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Bioshock Infinite.

I am not happy with Daisy Fitzroy's death (it sucked. she needs a better death).

That is all.
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Felgraf



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Bad News: Disney is closing down internal development at LucasArts.
Minor But Significant Good News: The engines for Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy are being GPL'd by Raven Studios.


I'm actually not that broken up about the Lucas Arts shutdown, and the internet rage has me facepalming.

Yes, they made incredible, amazing games. DECADES AGO. Most of the folks that *made* those games have moved on, and..

Well, name a good game in the last five years that Lucas Arts has made. (And not just licensed out!) =P. We could even stretch that back a decade, and it would be pretty hard to name more than few.

But yes, Jedi Outcast sourcecode=Awesomness will be coming.
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CTrees



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Felgraf wrote:
Well, name a good game in the last five years that Lucas Arts has made. (And not just licensed out!) =P. We could even stretch that back a decade, and it would be pretty hard to name more than few.


So I decided to look up a list of LucasArts games. Not sure what, if anything, that list is missing, but... wow. Just sort by year, and then look at the developer credits. There's The Force Unleashed 1&2 (partial credit, as they weren't sole developer), something called Lucidity, and then, um... Republic Commando. Released in 2005.

So really, just name a game that LucasArts developed in house in the last five years, I guess.
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