BigSocrates's forum posts

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#1 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

@ntm: I actually have no idea how Kratos' story will turn out mostly because I'm not very invested in it. I do appreciate the spoiler tags though because I enjoy being surprised.

I think that my blog reads as more negative than I intended. As I said, I did enjoy the game and I thought that the combat held up decently well, so I don't think we disagree there (even though I'm playing on Normal because I want to get through these things relatively quickly.) The thing that annoyed me with the combat was more the repetitiveness. Fighting a big enemy with lots of health...and then fighting two of that enemy immediately after...and then two more. It's just kind of annoying, especially when there's no way to heal between them (though God of War 2 is better about that than 1.)

I like the Greek setting too, though mostly for the environment design and cool mechanical elements as opposed to the direct call outs to specific myths. And those big spectacle moments that you describe hit for me too. Watching the horses pull the temple together is impressive even now, though the poor quality of the video compression does put a damper on things.

If I didn't like the games I wouldn't play them. The fact that I've completed 3 of them says something.

I've started Ghost of Sparta on PS3 tonight, just because it's short and I feel like I can blaze through it and then go through 3 and then Ascension, which I am not looking forward to because everyone seems to dislike it. I'm going to have to take a break to play Days Gone because something about that game really seems appealing to me for reasons I can't articulate, but I hope to wrap up the God of War series before the end of the summer and finally have dug it out of my long term backlog pile o' shame.

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#2 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

@efesell said:

I guess.. they've still been super restrictive and weirdly controlling about what employees are allowed to do and say.

I guess ultimately I understand respecting individuals who at least don't seem like they spend off hours laughing maniacally atop a pile of money. But 'Nintendo' is not your friend. 'Nintendo' still only wants one thing like all the rest of em.

Yeah. Nintendo does some stuff right (not firing employees, providing repairs to their hardware for a long time after they stop selling it, and good marketing, which isn't really a reason to trust them) but a lot of stuff very bad. Their Youtube policies up until recently were terrible. Their pricing generally sucks (especially around controllers and accessories.) They took forever to tie electronic game purchases to an account instead of a system. They recently sued a ROM site to get it closed, and yet they provide no good way to get at most of their back catalog. They closed the Wii E-Shop, even though the Wii was the most successful console that generation and the PS3 and Xbox 360 online stores are still very much open. They still give Japan preferential treatment (Japan gets more Nintendo Online NES games than the West does, for example, even though there's no reason that they couldn't at least let us play the Japanese games in Japanese, or even better localize them, since it's not THAT expensive to localize an NES game, which generally has not much text.)

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#3 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

My reflexes are not good enough to play impaired, and my judgment and focus get worse too. I don't drink very much, but I basically never play games drink for this reason.

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#4 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

@frytup said:
@bigsocrates said:

It makes sense for MS. Hardware isn't their strength, and having Xbox be more like Surface (hardware made by Microsoft but with no unique features) fits with their model. They're not going to win any console races with their poor penetration in Europe and Asia, and software is ultimately what they do best.

I guess that's true if you consider the entire history of game consoles, but X1X is the best hardware out there right now and the OS that runs on it is kinda garbage.

I'm talking more about the company as a whole than the Xbox division. I mean the Xbox division has not been great with hardware (the original Duke controller, which I liked, and the size of the thing; then obviously the 360 era was a disaster; and including Kinect as mandatory with no idea how to use it) but even if you think they've got it right now, the Xbox One X isn't setting the world on fire with sales and isn't the division's major profit driver (which are its services.)

It makes sense for MS to try to focus on Live and Gamepass, which are both pretty good, and try to expand the user bases of those, rather than try to focus on shifting units for Xbox.

There's a lot more profit in becoming the Netflix of gaming than taking second or third place in the console race.

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#5 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

I guess this means that Xbox is going to transition to more of an alternative OS gaming PC type device with no exclusives? And this coming gen is probably the last actual Xbox consoles.

It makes sense for MS. Hardware isn't their strength, and having Xbox be more like Surface (hardware made by Microsoft but with no unique features) fits with their model. They're not going to win any console races with their poor penetration in Europe and Asia, and software is ultimately what they do best.

I'll miss the Xbox brand, since I've been an Xbox first gamer for the last 3 generations, but in 10 years there probably won't be any consoles (except MAYBE something by Nintendo) so it's hard to feel too broken up.

MS is just switching (pun intended) to a streaming service to get ahead of the curve.

I wonder if this means Xbox Live integration on the Switch will be stronger than we think. Could we see Xbox achievements in Nintendo games? Could Microsoft enable a decent voice chat solution for the Switch through Live? That would all be wild, but it looks like the status quo of the console area is about to change.

Say this for Phil Spencer. He swings big.

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#6 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

I've been playing Yoshi's Wooly World on my 3DS while commuting home from work a few days a week and I've really been enjoying it. I generally don't like playing 3DS games but something about the charming visuals, upbeat music, and mellow, simple gameplay is really great for de-stressing on the train on the way home. So I have been looking forward to Yoshi's Crafted World since it was announced. I didn't love the aesthetic (I think the yarn look is both cuddlier and more cohesive than the "crafted" cardboard look) but I figured playing in HD on my Switch would at least be better than the 3DS low res screen and simplified visuals, and I was still excited.

The Demo put the brakes on that. Now I grant you that this is just one level, and probably the first level, so the platforming was much simpler than Wooly World (not that Wooly World is anything but a cakewalk, but it does have some engaging sequences if you try to find everything.) However I didn't like the way the paths took me into and out of the screen, which disrupts the flow of the platforming and makes it more isometric, and means that the egg throwing is now just a cursor instead of a meter that goes up and down. The environmental objects you can hit with eggs are not as clearly defined as the stuff you can hit with yarn balls in Wooly World (which could be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences) and the enemies are much less interesting looking than all the yarn dudes.

Also the music was not good, compared to Wooly World's awesome tunes, and you have to do each level forward, backward, and look for items for a third run if you want to get everything? That seems like a lot.

Maybe I'm just overthinking things and this was a simplified demo level and the full game will be much better, but I'm worried this is going to fall flat, no pun intended. Did anyone else try it? Did you enjoy it? Did you like Wooly World?

This is not like my most anticipated game, but I was legitimately looking forward to it to play on my commute because when I play Wooly World I arrive home relaxed and with a smile on my face, and it's not like there's a ton of games out there that have that effect on me these days.

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#7 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

Yes but for a different reason. Developers. Specifically I have 2 fears:

1) The continued increase in the cost of making games that take advantage of the hardware will only consolidate the worst trends in the industry of consolidation and only betting on "sure thing" big existing franchises. New consoles with more power will mean that it will be even harder for mid-tier developers to make games that don't risk the whole company. I don't really like the model of "huge AAA games as a service franchise or small indie title" and I'm worried that new consoles will only accelerate that. From Software and Platinum Games are hanging in there on current consoles, but what if they need to sell 15-20 million copies to make up costs? Maybe the Switch can be a home for mid-tier games, but we haven't really seen it yet.

2) Developers coming to grips with new hardware don't tend to put out their best work. There's a cliche that launch games are bad, and I don't think that's always true; there are some great launch and launch window games out there. But it's true that the launch window tends to have fewer amazing games, as developers focus on being able to put out a decent product with new hardware rather than telling an amazing story or experimenting with gameplay, or even just polishing something to an incredible sheen. The first games I can say I loved from the 8th gen were Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 (though I did enjoy Titanfall quite a bit), and they came out almost a full year after launch, and even after that things were spotty for a while. I prefer the kind of late console era we're in now, where interesting and polished games are launching every month and 2017 was one of the best years the medium has EVER seen. I don't want to go back to "Here's Plants V. Zombies Garden Warfare and it'll be a surprise hit in part because there just isn't that much to play" mode.

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#8 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

Horizon Zero Dawn is okay as a title because it sort of sounds cool, but it doesn't actually mean anything and is actually an internal reference that only makes sense after you've played the game.

I think that was the main issue actually. The game was supposed to be kind of mysterious as to what was going on, and you aren't supposed to have more knowledge of the world than Aloy does, so many names that make sense in retrospect are kind of spoilers, which Horizon Zero Dawn is not.

I would have called it "Frontier" or "Robot Frontier" because I think those are a little more descriptive titles without being spoilers, but the flip side is that Horizon Zero Dawn had a TON of marketing behind it so it didn't need a memorable or descriptive name because all the customers already knew what it was.

If this had been a small Indie game with no marketing the name would be much worse because it doesn't tell you anything when you're flipping through an online store.

At least it's not El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Now there's a game that could have used a clearer name.

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#9 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

@fnrslvr: So I actually don't need a gentler onramp. I would be happy to buy a much more powerful console tomorrow, mostly because I make good money and video games are one of my primary sources of entertainment so sinking another $500 or $1,000 to improve that experience would be an easy call. Heck I bought both a PS4 and Xbox One at launch and have upgraded to a PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. My issue is more that I think that the Xbox One and PS4 era took longer than usual to actually leverage that hardware into actually superior gaming experiences, and even now I think that there are fewer games that make use of those upgrades than there were in prior eras. I'm a little concerned that the next generation is going to have even fewer games that make use of the hardware and increase the current trend of "1000 indie games that could have been made for the PS2/Xbox era and 50 "modern" games a year." That's an exaggeration but not a huge one.

I also think that some of these answers are pretty telling. I love Zelda: BOTW. I cannot name a single game that I definitively like more. But it ran fine on the Wii U, a system that was substantially underpowered when it was launched in 2012. I wouldn't be shocked if it could have run with few compromises on the PS3 (maybe that's not true because the Wii U had 4 times the RAM.) MGS V, as someone mentioned, did have an Xbox 360/PS3 version. I think it's probably right that Battle Royale games could not have run on the 360/PS3...but they do run okay on smart phones, so they're not necessarily system pushers.

I just think gaming is in an unfamiliar place right now, where hardware has become less of a limitation than the ability to actually generate assets to take advantage of that hardware, and where a large percentage of new games just aren't going to use the new technological headroom. I think the idea of porous generations makes sense here; and Microsoft seems to be planning at least two versions of the new Xbox (with different capacities), which also makes sense. I am just not super excited at the idea of another generation of consoles because I think really more than anything gaming needs better middleware tools to allow smaller teams to take advantage of the capacities we already have, so we're not in this place where we get a few huge budget games a year and a bunch of smaller stuff that just takes no real advantage of the hardware.

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#10 Posted by BigSocrates (1963 posts) -

I liked the 2012 Need For Speed: Most Wanted game, and if they could make something like that again this would be good news. The 2010 Hot Pursuit was also great. But I don't think EA is that company any more. The developer certainly doesn't exist, but more importantly those games were focused on being fun, exciting, driving games, not on selling microtransactions or some dumb FMV story. EA just doesn't seem to want to sell $60 games that are complete games anymore, and microtransactions tend to be poison for the driving genre (Look at The Crew series for another example.) The need to push you into buying additional crap just makes the racing unfair and unfun, and it doesn't make it MORE fun to pay to win.

The only game series that seems to have bucked this is Forza Horizon, and they do it by focusing the microtransactions on buying new cars, which is nice but requires that the base game have so many cars that it doesn't feel crappy to be restricted to the base unit. Forza pulls it off, but who knows if it actually makes money for Microsoft or if they are willing to take a loss on it because it's their strongest exclusive series this generation and gives the Xbox one genre where it's stronger than PS4.

Basically if EA decides to make a really strong racing game focused on the racing (with a great map) and content to sell for $60, this could be a great thing, but the thing they actually seem to want to make (a skinner box to provoke people to buy microtransactions) just isn't fun, and nobody has pulled off a good or successful version of it yet.