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devise22

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As always Rami, amazing read. You going to the lengths to test Flight Simulator while you were actively flying was just one of those "welp this is a cool thing" moments for me on Twitter when I found out about a while back.

Also oh my god I had no idea about the Museum of Mechanics: Lockpicking, the lockpicking mini games are some of my favorite things in games, mostly because of how oddly diverse they all ended up being. It's a neat concept to see mechanics get archived across games in this pattern.

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devise22

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Fun read and good list Dan. I almost thought Astro was going to make #1 the way you were hyping it up/talking about it on your GOTY video. But the real stunner for me is seeing Yakuza relegated to honorable mentions given it's style of silly seems directed right at you. Meanwhile Spiderman makes the list despite your dislike of the source IP, pretty telling of how well those games play.

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devise22

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@thechris: Oh it's absolutely different for person to person. Even the Remake of RE2 I didn't find that scary, but to me tension doesn't equal scares. Mr. X storming around only added to what I needed to be aware of. But I get that to a lot of people there needs to be a gameplay hook to find something scary. For me Silent Hill 2 remains the most scary game because I find things that mess with reality/your sense of space and overall are more unsettling to be more terrifying.

I'll admit I don't think it's rose-tinted glasses at all as I really do think this game requires you to play it a certain way to be scary. I don't think Abby is remotely at fault for playing it the way she is playing it, because given the tools it gives you it makes perfect sense to play it that way. I just know when I played it on release, with a friend in a basement lights off we tip toed everywhere. When we died to pass the controller off, it would cause us to play more cautious, not less. It didn't mean we likewise weren't upgraded and could kill things. The scares from this game don't come from getting swarmed by monsters anyways in my opinion. They come from letting the game unsettle you with it's tone, environment and overall setting.

But the game has aged and I don't think anyone can deny that. It's interesting because I don't think the gameplay itself has aged, but the gameplay loop encourages a play style that contrasts completely with specifically how it tries to not only scare you, but unsettle you. Environmental story telling, audio logs, hearing noises all the time, people acting crazy or distraught. But how you engage with all that stuff is entirely up to the player. So much of what this game has done has become a common place thing in the medium, how one engages with all that now coming at it fresh seems a lot different to how people talked to me about it after they had played it all the way back. It's not just the comments section saying it's scary for those who think we are misremembering. Vinny, Alex and Jeff also "recalled" at the start of the series that it'd be a scarier game than RE, but not as scary as Five Nights. Again though all our memories are from playing it, and "how" we played it way back when.

It's one of the reasons I really love them doing features where Abby or someone who is newer/hasn't played something older comes at it fresh. It isn't just about deciding whether something holds up at point blank, it's about examining what aspects of a game hold up, what doesn't. You saw a comment in here to the effect of "I never saw a playthrough of this where someone held run the whole time." Again I don't think that is critical of Abby's playstyle as much as it is "I always met the game halfway, I never thought it was that easy to break it." Even before I played this game the first time way back when I had friends and others in my circle telling me "take your time you'll run out of ammo, watch your health, play it cautiously" etc. I think "when" you play something especially as the gaming medium has evolved so much over the last 12 years can play a huge impact on how a person plays. I also think it's very clear the devs in this instance had an idea in mind of how someone would play the game, that the systems they built around it paid no mind to how one "could" play the game. I think this playthrough and to a lesser extent Abby's RE4 one have shown how when you do engage with the game in a way it doesn't initially expect it to you can kind of nullify a lot of the tension and other things that the devs were going for "assuming" they could get you based on how you were perceived to be playing the game.

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devise22

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Edited By devise22

@permanentsigh: I kind of disagree here. I'm not saying Abby isn't playing it like an action game, but I don't think as many of the quality scares in Dead Space work just because they are jump scares. There has been a lot of talk about the atmosphere and how it's being missed by the way she plays, but realistically I feel like it's more that the game kind of expects you to meet it halfway when it comes to the horror for that atmosphere to work. While yes, playing it alone at night can help, it's really more the unsettling nature of the whole environment that I feel like in part is pretty tropey by today's standards.

This game and to be honest now that I'm thinking about it Bioshock as well as a few other notable games of this generation that were super praised for atmosphere and environmental storytelling don't really do a great job of melding the gameplay experience with the overall tone of the game. You get beefy in both games really quickly. On top of that, they both provide a lot of ancillary story telling that if the experience was a cutscene or more on rails would properly have impact. But because they do so in more of an "immersive" free form way, half the time a player can be off picking up an item, or reloading or doing whatever as this big "moment" happens and the camera or framing isn't even remotely lined up for it to impact.

Like even consider a moment in a previous episode where you see a person down to another room who walks off. Your "expected" to slowly walk over and go investigate and be stunned when you turn the corner and the person is not there. But because of the heavy action/overall pace that the game has been played, Abby just looked at it went "fuck you" went over and continued to "play the video game." I guess I just don't think it should be so easy for one to expose the strings of games like these, especially considering that as Abby has clearly shown, one can just action their way through this. The enemies aren't that hard. Dead Space kind of encourages you to tip toe around and play it safe, but if you don't encounter any ammo problems and aren't wasting bullets reacting to noises/things that aren't there it's pretty easy to just upgrade, and own that shit. Even back in the day I feel like less of the scare of the game was on tension due to the survival or gameplay and more on the various unsettling things you were seeing, especially from the non-alien aspects the more dementia and going insane stuff that they presented.

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devise22

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Wow. Crazy news, life goes on. Best of luck to Dan in his new role seriously great to see him chase those aspirations. Just kind of, you get so used to him being pivotal to the DNA of this place it's going to be wild at first to realize of a GB without him. Anyway well said Vinny and congrats to Dan. Crazy news.

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devise22

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@raven10: Totally. Nice to have someone with some more experience with the genre share some thoughts on that too because to an outside some stuff in this genre seems pretty obtuse. Early on in the QL when Abby seemed confused regarding dialogue choices and how limiting they can be, or was taking a more "exhaust the dialogue options" approach, it became clear that hey, maybe there was stuff the game wasn't making completely obvious.

I think one thing people often forget is that RPG mechanics have become prevalent everywhere. The reason to remember this is it colors peoples expectations for what those terms mean. It is very likely that going in when building your character you don't initially assume "oh I picked low int so now I get all the bad dialogue options I don't want." Because in most games low int means your not a wizard, or you can't solve problems. Rarely do games outside of this specific sub genre have such drastic changes that how you choose to "roleplay" your character has such a harsh effect on your dialogue options and how you can progress.

Similarly, Abby mentions the point and click and text heavy aspects in reference to it's similarities to adventure games. Adventure games are all about exhausting all the options and finding the way forward. So when she finds dialogue options she doesn't like and the game pushes her forward anyway, rewarding the player with items and progression, she would of course naturally assume "this is how you can do it." What doesn't come across is that the crux of the game isn't about progression but "how" you do it.

And while I can totally see many peoples arguments here, this genre is do dense and why isn't the QL done by someone with more familiarity, I also think there is validation to pulling a game out the box and seeing if it's your cup of tea. Which I remind everyone, that was the initial pitch for Quick Looks and many follow that format even still. If anything, perhaps fans of this genre might see how these games can make bad first impressions, and how hey maybe they should do some catering to outside audiences upfront so when people go in they don't feel like they have to restart X many times once they understand everything.

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devise22

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@xbob42: You watched a brief video review before playing. That isn't what I would call first impressions. By first impressions I mean more, Abby went in with little knowledge what a CRPG was very clearly. Her experience with the game, is exactly a first impression.

Not just this genre, but this game in particular very much feel like examples where going in with little knowledge can very easily lead you down the road that this QL went. Ergo not fully realizing how your int and other traditional RPG stats influence and affect and limit your dialogue choices and roleplaying possibilities.

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devise22

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@swazzyswess: I don't know if I'd go as far to say it's a bad QL. While it eventually becomes clear after the fact, that she wasn't completely aware of the choices she was making or how that context made sense in a CRPG, ergo shaping the personality of her character/the interactions, she still does attempt to play the game earnest.

Perhaps, and I know this may be saying too much to the EXCEPTIONALLY pro CRPG crowd here in these comments, CRPG's like this make bad first impressions? Abby clearly was just playing the game as if she'd play any other game, was making her character and dialogue choices as the game gave them to her. While we never got see her create the character in the QL, it doesn't really come off here that on start up the game gives you much in the way of trying to explain it's systems or mechanics in ways that would prevent her from coming to the sort of conclusions she comes to throughout the QL. Ergo, my character is a meathead, I'm getting rewarded for picking dialogue options I don't like etc. If your coming in with mostly adventure experience, as she was it's very easy to come to the sort of conclusions that the QL was showing.

Obviously some of her early character choices played huge roles on how she was going to interact with and be able to solve some of the games problems/characters. But again, I'm not entirely certain the game spells that out upfront. Which sure, you can make the argument someone with more CRPG experience could field this, but I actually think the take that someone without as much experience tries to see what they get in a few hours gets. Which is what this QL ultimately was. As someone who has always respected the CRPG genre but defaulted to friends who had way more experience, there was always something about the genre that gave me bad first impressions. That said, I totally saw after other people helped me, the dense and quality writing many people attribute the genre/the top games of it with such as Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate etc.

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devise22

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Man I'm with you Marino that Alex art is like the most somehow relatable thing.

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Yeah you had to wonder how much pushback gamers would have to so many open world games not only taking their try at the modern formula, but coming out so close together with each other.

There is probably some irony to the idea that Shadow of Mordor was the first GOTY on this site during the new console era, and years into these new consoles life cycles I don't even know if I can count the sheer number of open world games. Granted, the quality has been super high, even to the degree that it seems that there is high quality to be offered in Odyssey. But we are in a situation where this generation there seems to be a lot of notable 60+ hour games that are giant worlds encouraging you to get lost in. All of which have been taking ideas and iterating on each others ideas each time out. You'll find "similar" experiences even dating all the way back to Mordor, hell even dating to some of the later games of the last generation.

As someone who loves open world RPG's, I guess it's neat to have so much value but I do feel like some of the big budgets need to take a second and start looking at some other genres.