The most damning thing I can say about this footage is that it looks like something that would've been exciting five years ago. Beyond the broader problem of me just being sort of Marvel'd out these days, there's nothing about it that doesn't look like it's been done better in a dozen other big cinematic AAA games from this console generation.
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The Surge is solid, and I think the devs at Deck 13 are one or two games away from making something really amazing. For a sophomore effort, it's a pretty serious step above Lords of the Fallen (a game I'd generously describe as "Eurojank Knock-Off Souls") and starts to carve out some of its own identity with all of the sci-fi exoskeleton dismemberment megacorp trappings. I only got around 10 hours in before I got distracted by something else, but I liked what I played.
That said, I don't think it entirely breaks free from some of my problems with Lords of the Fallen. The movement is a little too sluggish and a little too momentum based for my liking, and a lot of the encounter design suffices with throwing like 3-4 guys at you at once in a cramped room. To give it a label that seems dangerous, I think it's a pretty great example of the kinds of mid-budget, interesting-but-flawed "B" games that aren't especially common these days.
I think the game is pretty easy for the most part, and I seriously recommend people play on Hard/Classic if they have any experience with Fire Emblem or turn-based strategy in general. I'm not asking for Conquest or Thracia-level sadism-fests, but a lot of the maps in the first half of the game (i.e. the part you have to go through regardless of what route you pick) are really open and featureless, thus encouraging you to move your army around in blobs, kiting enemies one at a time. It's not much different from a lot of Awakening maps, actually, but the addition of rewinds and threat lines mean you can recover from dumb mistakes very quickly.
To its credit, the game definitely started getting trickier once I got past the time-skip, and the last two maps of Edelgard's campaign forced me to play a lot more defensively than I had previously. It's just a pity that it took that long. New Game Plus definitely edges things towards being even easier, and I have to admit to mostly sleepwalking my way through this first part of my Blue Lion playthrough. Definitely going to wait for Lunatic mode before I get to the rest of them.
This is maybe one of the more tepid endorsements of a game I've ever seen. "It's not great, but the numbers are good at going up, so that's good." I do feel like if I wanted something like that, I'd go back to Disgaea, which at least has a bit more personality to it even if I find it occasionally grating or inscrutable.
@alkusanagi: I did watch the Netflix dub of EVA, and I didn’t feel like I missed anything (in fact, I feel like I picked up on a lot more than I did with the ADV dub when I was a teenager.)
I think the actual answer is that a lot of details in Evangelion are told through subtext or small moments, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just Dan missing things. Who would’ve thought Metal Gear was political, after all?
It seems you and I have a similar relationship with these types of games, in that we really like them...but don't give enough time to playing them. One difference perhaps is nostalgia--I came to the RPG genre very late (around 2005 with KotOR 1 and 2), but I've been a fan of that style ever since.
Actually, you and I started in the same place, around the same time. I started with Knights of the Old Republic when it came to PC, and went from that into Baldur's Gate 2 and the Might and Magic series. A lot of my early blogs about CRPGs on this site came out of me not having a modern enough computer to run anything newer.
I also backed the hilariously broken Pathfinder Kingmaker. I don't think I've ever seen a game need as many multi-gigabyte patches as that game. I got into that game a bit but stopped. If I return to it, it will be as I always return to these games after a long absence: I'll turn the difficulty WAY down and just power through for the story.
The good news is that Kingmaker has been mostly stable since around December (it's a super-ambitious game developed by a Russian studio, so... it's still slightly janky) but honestly it might've been one of the most broken things I've seen when it came out in September. It's a lot better now, and depending on the time of day I might argue I had more fun with it than Pillars II last year.
These games require a level of attention that I find difficult to maintain for long periods. Even if the writing is good, much of it is not voice acted, so it's a lot of reading. For me, game time is often social time as well, talking to friends via Discord, and that is rather difficult to do while playing these games. What this means is that I play these games in fits and starts, and by the time I finish one, the story often feels less impactful than it would've been if I'd focused on playing quickly.
I'm very hot and cold when it comes to attention spans on RPGs. I get a weird amount of anxiety when it comes to committing to these sorts of games and there's just enough management or downtime that I can get distracted if it's not grabbing me on a moment-to-moment basis. Given that I sunk a good 70ish hours into Total War: Warhammer II over the last month, it's not a time thing, so I can't put my finger on what specifically about RPGs makes them so hard for me to commit to.
At this point I'm 100% down the hype train, especially after hearing positive things from press previews and early leaks. Gonna go with Black Eagles for the first playthrough, but I think it's probably inevitable that I'll do all three.
Having watched you play this live, this game really does leave all of its weirdest fuckery behind this hidden, literal 5-hour-long route. At some point it just turns into Akira, and that's neat.
@mento: I'd like to consider myself fairly fast when it comes to these sorts of games, but Divinity OS 2 is an investment. (definitely wouldn't be surprised if part of that length is just the addition of full voice acting keeping me listening instead of zooming through all the dialogue.) It's also worth mentioning that I took a break from the game last November (to do things like "write a capstone thesis" and "do the Smash Bros") and when I finally picked it up again last month to polish off the rest of Act IV I had no problems remembering exactly what was happening or what everyone's deal was. I dunno if it would've dethroned Nioh as my favorite game of 2017, but it definitely is pretty damn close.
@therealturk:There are definitely things in Pillars' that I don't care for, and like all RTwP combat systems it can become a complete clusterfuck if you aren't pausing or micromanaging constantly. That said, I also take that stuff as part of the territory, and I've never quite been able to understand the sheer visceral aversion people have to that style of combat.
It probably won't surprise you given my shtick, but I'd very much recommend all of those original Baldur's Gate games. You have to deal with byzantine 2nd edition AD&D rules, BG 1 is pretty rough around the edges (Your party is extremely squishy and can barely hit the broad side of a barn until around level 3) but I think they're both great and worth playing. The "new content" in the Enhanced Editions is mostly not great and sticks out like a sore thumb, but it can be easily ignored (which makes Siege of Dragonspear being pretty good a genuine surprise) Don't feel too guilty about skimming a guide, and quicksave constantly.
As part of my research (i.e. trying to remember shit from the last 5 years) for this blog, I was reminded once again that Grimoire existed. So, it turns out that game is semi-functional and has a manual now (it was also $5 on the Steam Sale after the creator swore it would never drop below $40) but man even the basic level of discussion surrounding that game is still the equivalent of dipping your finger into a bucket of sewage.
@sparky_buzzsaw: If you want the ice cold truth, I honestly am not anticipating much outside of Baldur's Gate III and that Divinity tactics spinoff. I backed Wasteland 3 and was already feeling some remorse at the time, but I just spent a good 3 paragraphs explaining why InXile has never made anything I've loved. Obsidian is the big question mark for me, because I'd love a new Pillars game or game in that style, but I honestly don't know how things are going to shake out post-acquisition.
I'm sure there will be something on the smaller, indie side of things that will floor me (right as soon as I get around to the smaller, indie games that I already have) but I don't think I'll know what it is until I run into it. It doesn't really help that a lot of RPG-centric sites and forums are swarming with alt-right influence, so finding out what people are excited about without feeling like I need to take a shower afterward is a difficult endeavor.
@frytup: Is this one of those Gif v Jif debates? I've made my position fairly obvious in this blog's title, but the C stands for Computer. These games were designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind, specifically for a PC audience, and tend to be more complex than games made for a console first.
But actually, the real answer is that genre distinctions are all mostly nonsense in 2019 and all RPGs descend from Wizardry and Ultima anyway. A CRPG is a CRPG because it relates to other CRPGs and defines itself as a CRPG. It's some real existential, or maybe post-structural, Derrida-esque shit.