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hughj

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hughj

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Hearing the Civ conversation is fascinating because I completely fell off the Civ franchise with Civ5 because it felt to me like it streamlined out a lot of the tactical micromanagement of cities and workers and instead made it more board game-like.

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hughj

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I think out of the entire GB staff, Abby seems to be the one most game and enthusiastic for performing in VR (and not just horror VR), so it's kind of a shame that they're hampered by a lack of space. I realize they have a designated radio-style studio that was suited for live podcasting/streaming, but surely for pre-recorded VR content they ought to be able to find a different ~8x8 ft area that's clear of obstacles and can be borrowed for an afternoon every few weeks.

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hughj

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@insidergamer said:

And @hughj, if you're pondering whether to bounce, I know ME2 put me off playing ME3 altogether. I'm not even sure whether to reconsider.

Assuming ME3 is along the same lines of ME2, what about ME:A? I would far far rather have a game that's janky and unrefined if it gives me back systems (combat, character progression, inventory) that feel more granular, and less funneled and prescriptive.

So far, the games that ME2 reminds me most of are actually the old Rebel Assault quasi-interactive FMV games. The overall cadence seems to be cutscene->combat->cutscene, where the choices in the cutscene dialogue are mostly cosmetic, and the combat-related systems don't seem to have enough sleight-of-hand complexity to make me feel like I'm playing a video game rather than watching the developer's play-through.

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hughj

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Up until a week ago, my only experience with the ME franchise was attempting to play ME2 (on PC) shortly after it came out. I almost immediately bounced off of it. This GB series got me to go back and try ME1, and I finished it a couple nights ago. Overall I was pretty happy with it, and it made me wonder if perhaps my tastes in gaming had changed since I last tried ME2.

Loaded up ME2 last night and nope, I can totally see why I bounced off of it back then, and I'm now debating doing the same again.

The control implementation is a pretty textbook example of zero-shits-given PC ports of a ~decade ago. Mouse input is probably the worst I've seen among similar AAA releases, which requires manual editing of the cfg to remove acceleration and set anything other than the low/medium/high "camera" sensitivity (all of which are far too high, even if you're only using a 400dpi mouse.)

Then there's the decision to lump a bunch of interactions into a single context-sensitive 'action' button, which makes the moment to moment combat and character control feel more linear and less consequential. Where ME1 gave you a duck button which allowed you to move/peak/duck/aim/shoot as you please, ME2 seems all-in with the cover mechanic which forces you into pretty robotic cover/shoot/cover/shoot sequences.

If the opening story were compelling, I'd be willing to tolerate the combat, but from the outset I don't feel like I have any reason to like or trust these new partners or mystery man that are telling me what to do. If I were able to actually roleplay my character the way I had in ME1, he probably would have shot them all in the first 5 minutes.

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Most of the examples of unsettling movies from my youth were cases where directors/writers of the mid-80s were pushing the limits of the 'PG' rating.

Most of 'Return to Oz'

The robot lady transformation segment from 'Superman 3'

Been a while since I've seen 'Earth Star Voyager' (a Disney TV pilot from 1988). There was a much less sanitized version of the TNG's Borg in that which felt pretty disturbing as a 7 year old.

I would say most of that stuff still has a psychological edge to it that hasn't completely gone away.

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hughj

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I think for this sort of video review I'd prefer a more distributed and structured round-table discussion rather than relying on a single reviewer to meander their way through the content of what would otherwise be a written comprehensive review.

Dan recalled recently EGM's review format - I wouldn't mind a video discussion version of that which provides a Giantbomb (west+east) consensus, and doesn't require waiting ~3-10 months for GotY (which ends up being highly repetitive and circular, and generally too late to serve as a review.) They obviously can't do this for every release, but there's probably no more than a few games per year that warrant an hour long round-table discussion anyways. With a staff of ~10 full-time employees with more resources than your average Youtube reviewer or podcaster, Giantbomb ought to be able to produce something that those sources cannot.

Perhaps something like the following:

-Open the video with everyone providing a TLDR blurb about their expectations going in, the amount of hours of playtime they had, and brief impressions given how far they are in the game. This could serve as a thumbs up/down based on whether they want to continue playing or not.

-Then open the floor for back and forth discussion and debate over the merits of the game. Perhaps include bite-sized clips and screenshots to serve as visual aids to justify having the video format. Having a video review of a video game without any video of the game seems weird.

-End the round-table by having a final thumbs up/down in case anyone's changed their minds as a result of the discussion.

This would still leave room for GotY, but give it more focused purpose as a year-end addendum for the staff, rather than a mix of skin-deep first impressions, reviews, and follow-ups. The fact that the staff even has room to speak coyly about their in-progress ranking of favorites in the lead-up to GotY strikes me as a failing of the site's communication with the audience. There really shouldn't be that much room for ambiguity from a staff of reviewers.

For example: If Abby is enjoying something like CoD:WW2 or Battlefront2, but happened to not be the one to formally review them, it'd be nice to hear about it other than for 20 seconds in a random Beastcast. If there's listeners out there that feel their tastes are similar to that of Abby's, then they should have a review resource other than 12 hours of GotY some months after a game's release.

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Edited By hughj

Re: 1:02:36

The older SNES cartridges didn't have that scooped cut-out at the bottom because they were originally designed for the power button to latch into the slot and lock the cartridge in while the system is turned on. Sometime after launch Nintendo changed the cartridge design so it wasn't so finicky about loading/unloading cartridges. The dust covers remained the original shape in order to be compatible with both old and new cartridge shapes.

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What's with the stupid moaning about Quake Champions showing the Doomguy's face? Are we pretending that Doomguy is like The Stig or something and we've never seen him before? His face is in the HUD in Doom1 and 2, and in the opening of Doom3 they show a close-up. The Quake Champions Doomguy cosmetics where his face is visible are directly based on the original Doom and Doom3 characters.

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Edited By hughj

In regards to how Epic's revenue split might impact Unity and the industry, Epic made UE4's source available on github and shifted UE4 editor access from a monthly subscription to free, resulting in Unity having to eventually follow suit. This is by no means to suggest that Unity is the little kid on the block getting bullied, as they continue to enjoy a much more filled-out asset marketplace and continue to benefit from a much longer history of being the engine of choice for small indies.

The assets on these marketplaces: it's not just large middleware and tools made by moderately sized professional teams -- it's everything from sound effects, 3d models, textures, materials, animation, and snippets of scripting/code/blueprints that are often made by lone individuals.