mason's forum posts

#1 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

The release of AMFP has got me interested in giving the Dark Descent a second try. I never did finish it. I only I got as far as the water monster a couple of years ago, before frustration set in and I got distracted by new games.

This time, I'm finding myself more invested in the story but, like last time, I seem to keep missing the early scare moments. I keep hearing about glimpses of monsters that I was supposed to see, but didn't. Such as:

  • In the archives, you're supposed to catch your first glimpse of a monster. I have no memory of this. I think I heard sounds when I walked into the main room, but no sign of anything.
  • In the cellar, I believe you're supposed to see a creature after you get the laudanum. Didn't.
  • This time, I did see the one in the refinery, but I didn't see him the last time I played.

I guess the game is highly dependent on hoping you'll look specifically in a certain direction at the right moment.

I do like that it doesn't hold your hand too much, but I'd like to witness these horrors that the game's trying to show me. So far the only scary thing is when the shadow reacts in some way (roaring, wind, residue, etc). I wouldn't consider invisible water creature scary as much as threatening. Then again, I'm not especially scared of sharks. Haven't been further than this section, but I hear shit starts to get real soon.

#2 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

I'll still probably play it and enjoy the atmosphere. It's just a shame the AI isn't a little more cunning and lethal.

No game filled me with more dread than playing Dark Souls and being invaded by another human player.

Imagine that in Outlast. Another player could take the role of controlling various inmates. He would have the same mobility as you, but with some disadvantages for balance (not as quick/stealthy and no night vision).

That could be amazing, but would also change the nature of the game. It would have to be less narrative based, at least from the inmate controller's perspective. Also, they'd need to add way more hiding spots and distraction techniques.

I guess I'm saying, more horror games should take cues from Dark Souls.

#3 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

I'm interested in getting this game, but one thing I've seen in Patrick's videos seems like it might break the tension for me.

It looks like the aggressive inmates have a limited area of influence and will stop pursuing the moment you step outside that area. Even though they should theoretically see where you went and still want to hurt you. Kind of like when I play tag with my nephew and let him get away on purpose.

Is this the way the whole game operates, or can the enemies feel relentless sometimes?

There were a few times during Patrick's playthrough where inmate behavior was obviously limited, and therefore less threatening:

  • In the flooded sewer area, the inmate was inches behind him and getting hits in... until the second Patrick (PK) climbed the ladder. Then nothing. I guess they can't climb at all?
  • Inmate sees PK crawl into the narrow passage and just moseys on over to the opening (showing he saw where PK went), but just stands there, not even crouching to look. Then he begins a pointless search routine around the room. I assume the baddie is too big to fit the passage, but his response here feels very old school Metal Gear.
  • There were several moments where PK gets found, runs right past, rounds a corner, sprints down the corridor, but looking back there's no sign of the inmate even peering around the corner. It's as if PK ran out of the AI's sphere of influence and into a designated safe zone, so the inmate broke pursuit. At least that's how it appeared to me.

I still want to play, but I'm hoping the AI doesn't let you off this easy all of the time. These kinds of games are way less scary for me once I see its limitations.

#4 Posted by mason (258 posts) -

@chaser324: Wow, it never even occurred to me to compare the finger prints. I thought one was the person's prints, and the printed copy was something like lab results from those prints that confirmed the name of who the prints belonged to.

But in the real world, that would make no sense. Instantly knowing the name that goes with some random person's fingerprints is not technology that exists. At least not in this game. Not sure why I made that assumption.

It's really just a copy of the prints on record that correspond to the name on the passport, and not necessarily the person in front of you. Geez, it should have been obvious.

#5 Posted by mason (258 posts) -

I'm not sure what the general rule is for dealing with someone who lies about reason for stay or length of stay.

Sometimes I catch a discrepancy in their statement, and all they can say is "no wait, I actually meant to say X" and turning them away will get me a citation. Other times I'll deny them, and the game approves. Not sure what it wants from me.

The best I can figure:

Lied about length of stay, but they change story = Send them packing

Lied about purpose, but they change story = Let them through.

Is this accurate? I'm good with dealing with other types of discrepancies, but can't figure out the game's logic in this case.

#6 Posted by mason (258 posts) -

@onyourwifi: Double Fine community manager Chris Remo mentioned that they kind of had Ryan and Jeff in mind when they put a Dubstep mode in Happy Action Theater 2.

#7 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

Repeated from what I wrote on the FB feed, but ...

I feel like I've lost a friend I've known for years. Out of all the voices in gaming and criticism, Ryan resonated with me the most. He was funnier than any games journo has any right to be, and he made it seem so effortless. In an industry of introverts, he was incredible at establishing a rapport with whomever he spoke with while making it engaging for us, the audience. He really had a gift. I miss him.

#8 Posted by mason (258 posts) -

I bought Tropico 3 when it came out, but never got around to learning how to play. Later bought Tropico 4 with the intention of finally getting into it. Still kept putting it off. That's on me.

It took Simcity to finally whet my appetite for an actual city management game and not just an interactive screensaver. So I finally fired up Tropico 4, went through the tutorials and have become addicted to it. Game ain't perfect, but it certainly scratches that itch.

Thus I haven't felt the urge to touch Simcity since launch week. Server issues aside, I just got turned off by all the design decisions in the game that restrict actual strategic play. It's true Tropico is more of a tycoon game, but it's far more engaging at micro-level management than the neighborhood-level simulation that Simcity purports as a selling point.

#9 Posted by mason (258 posts) -

I've restarted mission 5 twice now because of major cash flow problems. I think I need to slow down and not take on these "world's greatest" quests without building a more robust and diverse economy to back it up.

The problem I seem to be running into is that half of my farms and mines are producing absolutely zero, even in the "lifetime" column. They're fully staffed, but no production. I don't even get that little garbage bag icon over the building so I don't notice until my overhead has gotten out of control. Not sure what's going on here but it feels bugged. If not, the game must not be happy with road placement or building spacing. I just can't see what I'm doing wrong, so I can't help but think it's a bug.

#10 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

The videos lower down on this RPS article were pretty eye-opening to me. The first two videos especially.

So many of the game's frustrations seem to stem from bad pathfinding. It's like you're required to design around the quirks of the system just to avoid insane traffic. It made me lose interest in logging in and giving it another shot.

Sims seem to want to check the closest building one-by-one until they find something available. Remaining sims even continue to check the same buildings that have just been filled. Also they focus on direct routes and mostly ignore alternate routes, even if the alternate is a faster, higher capacity road. Imagine if real people acted this way?