AtheistPreacher

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#1  Edited By AtheistPreacher

Oh boy, this is a dangerous topic for me.

I love me some wallpapers, and even before it was a feature in Windows I got a program that would auto-cycle them for me, NuonSoft Wallpaper Cycler. I still use it because it's a little more robust than what Windows 10 will do for you. I've got something like 1,000 wallpapers and it's set to switch on 80 minute intervals.

My favorites tend to be anime walls, the really artistic ones. Many I got from a site called AnimePaper.net, but it shut down quite some time ago, maybe eight or ten years.

But since this topic just got bumped (didn't notice it originally), I'm going to inflict a few of my old faves upon you all. Hopefully someone will enjoy them.

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AtheistPreacher

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I think that the real problem here is that there are just too many new and interesting games coming out nowadays for me to ever attempt returning to one I even mildly disliked, let alone hated. Also, as I'm sure is the case for many people on this site, I own a ton of games that I've never played at all. Either way, if I'm desperate for something new, I'd rather try a thing I've never played before than one I already tried and disliked.

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Yeah, I got something very like this years ago, it went straight to my spam but I happened to look in the spam folder and saw it. Like the OP, they had a real password of mine from somewhere, and it also made reference to recording me on my webcam, except at the time I didn't even own a webcam. As far as I know this particular extortion scheme is inspired by a Black Mirror episode, though maybe it had been done before and I just don't know about it.

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#4  Edited By AtheistPreacher

FWIW here's a very touching (and gutting) story about how a side-quest is a tribute to a developer of the game who died in 2020:

https://twitter.com/MDSVeritas/status/1593439856226488321

Also, an interesting interview with Richard Schiff about playing Odin (I didn't know he was performing while recovering from COVID!):

https://www.indiewire.com/2022/11/richard-schiff-interview-god-of-war-odin-wakanda-forever-1234783800/

And lastly, a fun little behind-the-scenes video that shows some mocap.

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#5  Edited By AtheistPreacher

Regarding this game feeling like a really large DLC for the first one, that reminded me that in the the first game, when I reached the portal room and several realms remained "locked by Odin" or whatever, I immediately thought, "Most obvious placeholders for DLC ever!" And then it turned out that no, they actually did have no plans to do any DLC for that game. It seemed like such an obvious thing for them to do for such a critically acclaimed and successful game, but hey, whatever. We did get this full sequel about 4.5 years later, so I'm not complaining.

I thought I may as well report that even after I'd said late last night that I felt I'd lost some momentum for the postgame--for a very specific reason (laid out near the end of my spoiler tag... I'd be interested to hear if anyone had any of the same story reactions I did, when folks have finished it)--I did in fact end up mopping everything up tonight. 100% everything, got the plat, done and dusted. I don't think it's really changed my overall opinion of the game as I've already laid out... i.e., it is indeed a very good sequel that I enjoyed very much overall, even if at times the story pacing was not awesome, and the camera and lock-on nonsense remained my mortal enemy the entire game. It's still easily in my top three or four games of the year... Elden Ring is still my #1 and Rogue Legacy 2 is still my #2, with either this or Vampire Survivors following, not sure which. Probably this.

One funny thing: I kicked off my postgame mopping up by consulting a video for the Berserker King, because I knew he was probably going to be a real bastard, and I noticed in the video that the person used a resurrection stone. And then I slapped my forehead, because I realized that up until that point I had completely forgotten that resurrection stones were a thing. Too bad, because I think for some of those Berserker fights, a resurrection would have been the difference and I wouldn't have had to fight those bastards so many times.

And a stone was, in fact, the difference when I beat the Berserker King. Took me about an hour to beat him, he's more a test of endurance than anything since he doesn't have any new attacks, just a mix of the stuff all the others had, but his health pool was just ridiculous. No real surprises, I just had to string together a run with a minimum of mistakes.

Now, that optional Valkyrie Queen boss fight in Muspelheim... that had to be the toughest fight in the whole game. She seemed so much deadlier than the Berserker King, way faster and harder to dodge. She gave me fits, and ended up being the very last thing I did.

Anyway, now I guess I'm prepared if they patch in a NG+ like they did for the first game. I hope they do. I think this is one where I might actually enjoy experiencing the story again already knowing what will happen; it should mitigate some of the pacing issues.

One final little spoilery note: I was surprised that even after 100%-ing everything, Sindri apparently never returns. That there was a summary of overall progress when warping to his house made me think something would happen if you completed everything and returned, but nothing doing.

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#6  Edited By AtheistPreacher

@sethmode: Indeed. I did beat some purple bosses/elites in the early going (e.g., I talked in this thread about beating a pair of realm tear enemies in Alfheim who could one-shot me, I just had to do it without getting hit). But as I got further in I got more cagey about fighting anything above orange, particularly if it involved more than one target.

And I suspect, though can't be sure because I've never turned the difficulty down, that lower difficulties tend to help mask the game's camera problems--both the lock cam and lack of a wider FOV (those f-ing colored arrows....)--by simply letting you dispatch them more quickly with your big area clear attacks. I.e., the camera design is bad no matter what, but you notice it more as you crank the difficulty up.

But there's that system that I talked about in my first post in this thread on the highest setting which causes mobs to spontaneously level up in the middle of fights, e.g., go from an orange bar to purple. Paired with what I presume is a higher health pool regardless, and you are just stuck trying to take down large mobs individually because you can't possibly area kill them all even if you dump all your big attacks at once... eventually they'll all be on cooldown and you've only got your basic attacks. As I said earlier, not using the lock-on can help in those situations, but it makes kiting harder (you're now manually managing the camera more!) and you still can't see crap.

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@sethmode: Yeah, it's been talked about in this thread some already, but I figured out pretty early on what the different colors of enemy health meant. Green is below your level, yellow is at your level, orange is one level above, purple is two levels above, and red is three levels above or more. If you see a purple or red health bar, you should really just disengage and come back later when you're more level appropriate, because it isn't worth the hassle of doing it right away, unless you know for a fact that said enemy drops a piece of loot you really want.

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#8  Edited By AtheistPreacher
@thepanzini said:

@sethmode: tbh the fodder are a none issue after the early game teething problems because you have multiple ways to get health back or can take a hit later on.

Sorry, but I have to beg to differ, it isn't just an early game thing. Some of the worst instances are the Muspelheim/Crucible trials, which are less about bosses and more about large mobs with weird conditions (I talked about one in particular in my long post above). There are always new enemies arriving for those to further complicate your shitty lock-on camera no matter how fast you clear them, and playing those on Give Me God of War, you can't take enough hits or get enough health back for any appreciable margin of error, no matter what your build is. And when I say "margin of error," I mean "being hit by one of four offscreen enemies whose attack timings you just have to guess at and pray to RNGesus." Nothing about that shit is fun for me, it's just a chore.

Also, while I agree that the multiple Berserker fights are probably the hardest thing, any boss who also summons mobs had this problem. There was the poison Berserker guy who summoned mobs and he was bloody frustrating, too.

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#9  Edited By AtheistPreacher

Well, I've now seen credits roll (my clock is at around 60 hours), and I have some thoughts. I'll start with gameplay, because I'd rather have the big spoilery story discussion at the end.

I decided to clear out all the Berserkers that I could prior to entering the postgame, which was eleven out of twelve of them, minus the "King." And doing those fights on Give Me God of War difficulty only reinforced to me that my biggest problem with this game is a combination of the lock on system sucking and that the difficulty primarily came from enemies you can't frickin' see. I never had a big problem with any boss enemy that was just a single enemy, but high-level double-bosses and triple-bosses, and ones with adds, were a bloody nightmare.

I think a core problem of the lock-on system is that it simply doesn't always do the thing it's named for. Sometimes your actual aim will move off your lock target, not to mention the camera is very slow to catch up for quick-moving enemies circling around you. I assume they did that so that you can manually aim a ranged weapon at a weak point and not give you vertigo, or something like that. Regardless, if I was worried about either of those things, I would just unlock! Simple! Why not have a lock-on system that actually keeps the enemy centered on your screen?

Also, in large groups of enemies I feel like the lock-on never does what I want it to. Sometimes I can't seem to get it to move at all, and at other times it whips me around 180 degrees to an enemy behind me when I don't want it to. Easier just to not lock at that point in some cases, but this can cause its own problems with proper kiting and keeping stuff in view.

Meanwhile, when you're not locked on, sometimes the camera will "stick" to enemies anyway. I noticed this most in that terrible Crucible level in which you need to beat enemies and then pick up and chuck orbs into a void. I'd unlock, pick up an orb, and try to aim at the void, only sometimes my reticle would follow a nearby enemy anyway.

That locked and not-locked sometimes aren't well-differentiated that way also sometimes meant that I just couldn't tell if I was locked onto something or not. This would particularly happen with enemies who warped/disappeared, and as a consequence of doing that, broke my lock. But in the heat of battle, I wouldn't always notice, and then spend several seconds assessing whether I was locked onto something or not, and often locking and unlocking multiple times in quick succession before I was sure it was working correctly. Ugh. What a mess.

@championfetus mentioned that they thought a larger of field of view would solve a lot of problems. I agree with this, too. The red and yellow peripheral arrows are crap because they're simply not good indicators of when an enemy is actually about to hit you. Your field of view is so small that you basically just have to guess, and/or spend ridiculous amounts of time rolling around, probably to little effect, because it's usually impossible to keep all enemies in front of you/in sight.

All of that said, I did still enjoy the combat in this game overall quite a bit, but man, I just wish that the lock mechanic didn't feel so broken, and that hard fights could derive difficulty more from single hard enemy movesets, and not from swarms of enemies attacking you when you can't possibly see them all. It can make a fight feel frustratingly random.

OK, now, story discussion. MAJOR spoilers follow, so truly don't read if don't want to hear a lot of detail about the ending.

I'll start by talking about a few of the big plot twists and how they did and didn't meet my expectations. One I was right about in a general sense, but wrong in the particular, and the other surprised me in its sheer conventionality.

First, I sort of suspected from the beginning that Odin was impersonating someone. The guy has dozens of birds spying for him all over the realms, can warp around via same, and just seems to know everything in general, the ultimate spymaster. But honestly, I thought it was Angrboda, I didn't think it would be Tyr. I mean, there she was influencing Atreus all by herself, calling him Loki, and even randomly showing up in Muspelheim when Atreus was going through it with Thor, which just seemed suspicious (like, maybe Odin killed her and switched with her at that point rather than was being her the whole time?). Anyway, all of that of course colored my reactions toward her until I realized at the end that she was actually on the level!

Regarding Kratos not dying in the end. That actually surprised me. Now, obviously he couldn't die permanently because I knew there was a post-game to do. But with the seemingly inevitable prophecy being told, and paired with all the stuff about Sindri having gathered three-quarters of Brok's soul to bring him back, my working assumption had been that Kratos would die, and that there would then be an Atreus section where he gathered the four portions of his soul and brought him back. Instead Kratos just... didn't die. Kind of seems to go against the whole fate concept. I was ready for the ending sequence to be a lot... messier. Instead the good guys won and the only bad thing that happened was that Freyr died, which everyone as a whole didn't actually seem all that upset about.

The Atreus sections grew on me a bit, at least in the sense that they got more fun and interesting narratively speaking. The final one with the Thor bar fight was funny as hell and the conversation afterward was also pretty good. His combat never really got that much better, but I learned to live with it.

I sort of wish Thor didn't get done so dirty in the end, he was a really cool character, a much more interesting portrayal than the traditional modern one (read: the Marvel version). Cool in general that Santa Monica Studios went and made Thor and Odin the bad guys and the giants the good guys, reversing the tired tropes.

And boy, Richard Schiff really did make for an interesting Odin. When I first saw him, I was a little shocked to see how much they made him look like Schiff, like Toby from The West Wing had aged twenty years and lost an eye. And it seemed like the writers very much geared his lines toward his acting style. One line that especially struck me this way, for some reason: when Sif shows up and says that Atreus killed Heimdall, Odin doesn't say "Why are you here?" but rather, "I'm sorry—you are here why?" That just struck me as a very Richard Schiff way of talking.

Also, speaking of the voices and the script. One odd thing I kept noticing was that there was often a mismatch between the delivery of a line and the emphasis in the text. I.e., a line would appear on screen with an italicized word that was clearly meant to be a stress, and yet the actor just didn't stress that word. It happened over and over again. This strikes me as a lack of direction from the VO director rather than a problem with the performers because it seemed to happen frequently with every single character. The acting overall was quite good, I thought, but that mismatch was sometimes distracting to me.

Finally, here's one end-game thing that I really didn't see coming at all, and that honestly both annoyed and sort of gutted me: Atreus just leaves after Ragnarok to go and gather the giants, and you're left with only Freya for the postgame. For all the talk about him being an annoying teenager and making bad choices, the emotional core of these two games has always been the Kratos-Atreus father-son relationship, and the idea that he's just gone for the postgame feels very wrong to me. It makes me wish I'd done the entirety of the Vanaheim Crater etc with him while I still had the chance (though I did do a lot of side-content before the postgame, thankfully). Freya is fine, but she's not "boy!" And weird as it sounds, and jaded as I might be about video game stories, the fact that he's now gone has sucked out a lot of my enthusiasm for the postgame. What can I say, I wanted to do it with the two of them together. (Also, Atreus' kindness and generally sunny disposition are objectively a better counterpoint to Kratos' dour "straight man" than Freya, who is a little too similar to Kratos in her anger and damaged-ness.)

Also, I was struck by the pointlessness of doing a lot of the really fiddly collectible-gathering by the fact that I'm missing something like six ravens... and yet since Odin is super-dead (Sindri seems to have... hammered his soul out of existence?), why exactly does eliminating his bird spies matter? I mean, yes, I know, they're just video game collectibles, one shouldn't look too hard for logic in such things. But I can't say that I'm actually all that eager at this point to go around collecting all the things, and may well just not bother. I've already beaten the game and all the Berserkers save the King on the game's highest difficulty, which is plenty enough for me, I don't particularly want or need the virtual bling of a platinum trophy. But who knows. Maybe I'll play something else for a while and come back later when I've had a chance to cool off from the whole experience a little.

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@nodima said:

I've hit a pretty hard cap of mid-level 6 despite my grips and gear being level 7-9 and being that the story is finished I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing to upgrade my base weapon levels which are all at 6 and I imagine the main anchor.

Huh, that's weird. I have yet to finish the main story and my weapons are 7-6-6, my armor is 8-8-8, and my overall level just hit 7. So it seems weird that you'd be stuck at mid-6 overall despite having completed the story while I haven't. But I think I've been prioritizing the side stuff much more than you.

One thing you should do if you haven't already is three sidequests that will each upgrade one of your weapons by one level. The quest names are "Born from Fire," "Hel to Pay," and "The Lost Lindwyrms." I found the "Born from Fire" fights to be pretty hard, but the others weren't so bad. There are other weapon upgrades to get in order to get them all to 9, but these are the easiest ones IMO. The others are mostly held by Berserkers and other really tough bosses, I haven't gotten many of those yet, probably will be the next thing I go for. Here's guides for upgrade locations for axe, blades, spear.

Other than that, doing all the activities in that whole big southern Vanaheim section that you reach from doing the "Scent of Survival" sidequest gets you lots of mats for upgrading grips and armor. There's tons to do there, I haven't done it all yet but I'm already fairly swimming in upgrade mats compared to when I started.