President_Barackbar's forum posts

#1 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -
@rorie said:

I just never see any real advantage to pre-ordering. The bonus items and such are rarely worthwhile, and there's always the possibility of bugs or server mishaps that'll make the game unplayable anyway. I've definitely become more of a "wait for a Steam Sale" kind of guy over the past couple of years.

Yeah, I'm totally with you Rorie, except in VERY specific circumstances. I mean, I knew I was going to buy and play BioShock: Infinite when it came out, so when Steam was running a deal where you could get the game at a discount plus XCOM: Enemy Unknown for free, it wasn't too difficult of a decision.

#2 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -

Have friends. Really, you'll have very little fun and will more than likely quit out of frustration if you don't play with friends. Its definitely possible to be dedicated enough to soldier on as a solo, but really, get some friends to play it with.

#3 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -
Speaking of which, anybody who gamed back in the day is probably going to say it's not a hidden gem, but Jagged Alliance 2 is a fantastic game. You hire a team of mercenaries and set them loose on a giant island divided up into a bunch of smaller sectors. It's turn-based squad combat at its absolute best. I like it more than I like XCOM (or X-Com, for that matter) because all the mercenaries have personalities and quirks. Again, it's a difficult game made for a different era, but if you can handle the challenge, it's deep and fun.

Defender's Quest looks like ass, but seriously, it's some of the best tower defense gameplay out there. The RPG mechanics add a lot of depth.

Omerta got shit on upon its release, and to this day, I'm still not sure why. The gameplay is a mix of a city-builder and turn-based squad combat. Sure, it's rough around the edges, it never quite gets the best elements of either of its genres, and the voicework will make you cringe, but I put about thirty five hours into it and I regret none of it.

I wanted to hit on these two in particular. I was really curious about JA2 a while back and bought it on a sale, and I started watching an LP of it just to get a sense of what the gameplay actually was, and I really liked what I saw (especially with whatever the hell that mod is that adds a bunch of content). However, your point about the difficulty is what scares me about playing it. Is it super easy to completely fuck up your game to the point that you have to start over?

As for Omerta, I wrote a Steam Review of it, but to hit the highlights, I felt like in the management part you spent a really long time sitting around doing nothing. There were a lot of points in the story where it was like "Ok just build up a bunch of money!" and without the ability to speed up time, you just had to sit around and tick it out. As for the combat, I had a lot of problems with it, but I'd say my main problem was that since the combat had to be balanced with melee weapons in mind, the guns felt super weak, and because the guns were weak the AI could just rush you while you were behind cover and shoot you from point blank, and even if it took them two turns to get to you its unlikely you'd be able to drop them before they got into range. I felt like that game was a huge waste of potential.

#4 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -

@president_barackbar said:
@shaanyboi said:
  • Chris Wager raises the criticism that reviewers sometimes unfairly dismiss complicated games.

I hope people are reading this...

Honestly, its just the nature of the business. I know superfans of things like Smash or Metal Gear Rising or Wonderful 101 really like to shout down reviewers for not understanding why people like the games or playing them that much. The thing is that not every publication has someone who is super into a specific genre or game series, let alone someone good at the specific kind of game. For a lot of publications, its just not worth it to spend a ton of time with one specific game. I know that's super disappointing for fans, but its just the way it is.

Except it serves absolutely no one. The reviewer just comes off as ignorant to the people who actually played and explored the game. The reader who wants a review to inform their decision gets misled. The developer doesn't get an actual critique of their game, they just get a surface level glance. It's a poor, dismissive approach, and anyone that actually cares about balanced game mechanics is left not getting served any information.

I'm not saying every reviewer has to be a competitive-level master at every game - that would be incredibly unreasonable. But I'd hope the reviewer would be better able to articulate and more willing to engage with a game on a deeper level to understand what makes it different. In the writer's example, popping Smash Bros. Melee for an hour and then playing Brawl should atleast elicit could some kind of a response like "This does feel different... It has a different weight to it, and my character just feels slower." Just shrugging "Yeah, it was okay I guess. I pressed the button and the dude swing the sword. It's.... visceral?" doesn't help me. It says nothing.

And brushing off people who want an analysis with some level of depth as "the crazies" is a gross attitude to have. These are people who should be more willing and able to look deeper into what's going in a game rather than shaking their head after 20 minutes of not understanding and walking away.

"The nature of the business" isn't good enough. That's not an okay excuse.

Then find better game reviewers? I dunno, I'm not trying to apologize for bad reviews, but I think that if you feel that the reviews you read don't cover games in an adequate manner, find some other ones that do. I'm also not sure where in my post I derided anyone for being crazy, I was merely attempting to point out that many times game superfans will be overly vocal about how the reviewer doesn't understand the game like they do and render their criticism as illegitimate. I think most reviewers that I read do a good job at taking the appropriate amount of time learning a game for review, but then again I don't really read any reviews outside of Giant Bomb, so if this is a huge problem with a lot of mainstream game sites I wouldn't really know.

#5 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@yummylee said:

Woo, Jane Douglas! The blood type thing is definitely something I always found peculiar way back when, but as the years went by I kinda forget about it. Was fun to have that strange mystery brought back to the forefront and explained.

Yep, a fascinating answer to something that's puzzled me forever, yet was never baffling enough to actually search out myself.

And Jane Douglas is fantastic. I just wish she worked for a group that didn't have to pander to MS stuff. Their features like this blood type one are funny and really well done, but when they have to talk about specific games or general XBox stuff, it can get kind of gross.

---

Totilo's "diversity question" justification is extremely disappointing. The media's recent push to question roles and importance of a diverse cast in games is a very good thing, though it's certainly brought with it that ever growing push back from people pleading, "Why can't we just have fun and play cool games again?!". But rather than try to understand where those perspectives are coming from and engage them directly, Totilo just uses that as fuel for his crusade, taking those comments as a sign that he's fighting bravely against those who would hold him back, rather than examine if, maybe, there's a better and more inclusive way to accomplish his goal.

He seems to think that the "controversy" which often surrounds these types of discussions is something innate in certain people, that will just always happen. You bring up social change topic x, you piss off people y. Granted "trolls" and others who simply enjoy aggravating people flock to these discussions as easy targets, that sadly is an inherent part of these conversations currently. But that group wasn't what instigated his article. He explains:

But lately I've heard a call for game reporters to just stop asking about diversity, to stop nagging about social issues. I've seen a call for game creators to stop answering, to just shut up, to stop doing more harm with every word they say.

The "doing more harm with every word" part is very telling to me. Game players have grown to fear these discussions because so many creators, if unwilling to meet certain folk's demands, are branded with a scarlet letter which no further explanation can wash away. When these questions get asked, no answer other than an apology and a change in the game are sufficient. It's not about asking these questions to understand the responses more. It's about asking so that those who give the "wrong" answer can be made a bigoted example of.

The creators of GTAV explained very rationally that the specific game they intended to make was the story of three specific men, so there were no female main characters, just as there are no other main characters than those three. They were branded as misogynists and boycotts were proposed and applauded for their relentless demanding.

The disdain still thrown at Ubisoft for refusing to allow a female playable character in AC: Unity co-op, wasn't lessened but heightened when they made the blatantly clear point that no one in the main game chooses a character. That everyone is Arno in their own game and that can't be changed, so creating assets for a female character would be wasted since you could never play as her anyway. That explanation at best recieved a few, "Okay sure, but women's representation is bad in games overall and something one other person from your company said seemed odd so forget the actual reason. This is totally sexist."

This is the "nagging" that Totilo sees but refuses to hear. Many people's hesitance when these issues are brought up isn't about the issues themselves, it's about the baseless claims and accusations of bigotry that get echoed so often through sites like Kotaku itself and journalist's Twitter accounts, that they become accepted as fact.

I applaud Totilo for his steadfastness in asking these questions. But when answers he doesn't like are manufactured into controversy and those who give them are crucified regardless of their explanations or intent, the purpose of "the diversity questions" are lost. We're left only with what we have now, an ever more divisive and divided community that has been made to fear these crucial topics thanks to well-intentioned but myopic writers unable to recognise when their fight for good just turns into... a fight.

That was a great post. This is the true other side of the argument that is basically never addressed, or even acknowledged, by anyone working in game journalism.

I second that. This is the position of a lot of rational people that often is lumped together with people making death and rape threats. Not everyone who has a different opinion is a psychopath, despite what a lot of people (on this site included) want you to believe.

#6 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -
  • Chris Wager raises the criticism that reviewers sometimes unfairly dismiss complicated games.

I hope people are reading this...

Honestly, its just the nature of the business. I know superfans of things like Smash or Metal Gear Rising or Wonderful 101 really like to shout down reviewers for not understanding why people like the games or playing them that much. The thing is that not every publication has someone who is super into a specific genre or game series, let alone someone good at the specific kind of game. For a lot of publications, its just not worth it to spend a ton of time with one specific game. I know that's super disappointing for fans, but its just the way it is.

#7 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -

I really like the newcomer stream...when Purge is casting. I'm not a total newcomer to Dota since I've played it and watched videos about it for a little bit now (mostly from Purge), but I just really like how Purge casts and explains things. He is really good at splitting the difference between actually casting the game and explaining strategy and mechanics. The Pyrion Flax group, on the other hand, is terrible. They spend far too much time re-explaining everything and they focus far too much on describing how abilities work to the point where they are missing kills and early game action. They are doing a pretty terrible job at delivering entertaining commentary.

#8 Edited by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -

@mirado: It just rubs me the wrong way when they were so happy to promote and act like they were the ones in charge of the game when it was initially announced, but now that the game is no more they are doing everything in their power to make sure people know that it was Winterkewl's game.

#9 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -
@mirado said:

@random45: Probably around the time the lead's wife said: "I want a divorce." Or the moment you start pulling five figures out of your own pocket and putting it into the game.

I really hope that guy can pick up the pieces and come out of this unbroken albeit scarred. While I can't claim to know anything about him beyond what he's chosen to post, he comes off as genuine and dismayed that he couldn't make the game he envisioned. If he worked at a AAA studio, the worst that could be expected is the loss of a job (which is a massive life altering disruption, don't get me wrong, but...), not bleeding his savings on the development and ruining his marriage.

That's what bothers me the most. While people may get burned for copy of a game, he's got to unfuck a lot of his life, if possible. In a way, despite the tone deaf nature of Lewis' post, the Yogscast is doing all they can for the guy, giving him a social way out and not, y'know, suing the (now defunct) company for fraud, if only to show future partners that they won't get played (as played as a fairly involved partner could be, whatever that's worth, but appearances can be everything) like this again. Instead of saying "this disaster is purely the fault of this asshole and his five man company" like a faceless cooperation might, they're at least acknowledging the hard work that just didn't amount to anything.

But I'm not a huge fan and didn't back the thing anyway, so I should probably stop defending them, I guess. :/

The biggest problem I have with the whole thing is that Yogscast was perfectly happy and willing to pretend it was their game when they were trying to get funding for the game and trying to entice fans to buy it by writing the entire Kickstarter pitch and make a video with pre-alpha gameplay trying to get their fans to buy it. Now that the thing has exploded, they are distancing themselves from the project. They aren't doing anything to help the guy, they are leaving him holding the bag and trying to protect their brand name. This isn't a case of Yogscast licensing their name to a game company that sought them out, it sounds like from the Kickstarter pitch that it was their idea and they happened to hire out the company to make the game they wanted. Saying that its nice they don't bury him for something THEY caused is really cold comfort.

#10 Posted by President_Barackbar (3434 posts) -

@president_barackbar said:

While I think its an excellent RPG, I don't think Knights of the Old Republic is the best licensed game ever made, nor do I think its a great Star Wars game. Its a solidly made RPG, but I don't think it takes advantage of the Star Wars license particularly well. It feels like a BioWare RPG with some Star Wars elements slapped on it, rather than a game that was built from the ground up to take advantage of the license.

Did you play it upon release, or did you go back to it while digging through the RPG Archives? I think both perspectives are valid, but you have to remember that "BioWare RPG" wasn't as clearly defined in 2003. At that point BioWare was only known for MDK2, Baldur's Gate (I & II), and Neverwinter Nights. KOTOR is the first game they made that was based entirely on their own rule sets and wasn't beholden to D&D. Stuff like the morality meter (Paragon/Renegade, Open Palm/Closed Fist, Light Side/Dark Side) was new and novel at the time. Not to mention that it played really damn well on consoles. If anything, all of BioWare's recent efforts can trace a direct lineage back to KOTOR.

As far as it being the best Star Wars licensed game, I have no idea about that. What I know and like about Star Wars is based upon the first three movies I enjoyed as a child. I couldn't tell you if it was faithful the Extended Universe or whatever, but I can say that the aesthetic, tone, and overall plot of it definitely felt like Star Wars.

I guess my question is, what exactly brought you to your conclusion on the game?

I did play it upon release. I understand that it is the game that really set up what a BioWare RPG is, but like I said, the thing that bugged me the most about it was that it didn't really take advantage of the license that well. KOTOR is set in an era of the Expanded Universe that wasn't really that well explored at the time outside of a comic series, and that comic series presented a more primitive version of the technology that would eventually become the technology of the movies (there was interesting stuff like solar sails on the spaceships and lightsabers that required power belts in order to function).

I think the thing that hurt it the most for me was the fact that it didn't take place on any recognizable planets or have any recognizable characters because it took place in such a different timeline. The planets in the game that were featured in previous media like Tatooine and Kashyyyk didn't feel the same to me for some reason. The game just has this...sterility that I associate more with Star Trek than I do with Star Wars, a lot like the aesthetic they later used for Mass Effect. The one place I WILL give them credit however is that they really made Korriban feel a lot like it did in Jedi Knight and Jedi Academy. And a lot of Star Wars games run into this problem, but as a Jedi I didn't really feel powerful until the very end of the game. My Lightsaber just felt like a blunted sword with how long it took to actually kill anything. Compare that to Jedi Outcast or Jedi Academy where you can fucking tear through dudes and its kinda disappointing. I'm also not a big fan of tying force powers to certain moralities, as is the case with the "old" Jedi Order philosophy. I liked that in Jedi Academy I could use lightning if I wanted to without being labeled as evil or having to use it at a penalty. These are just some of my random thoughts, I hope maybe you can fish out something coherent from them.