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Thoughts on Divity: Original Sin (enhanced edition)

So much promise so much stumbling in the end.

Don't even know where to begin with this. I think I learned about the game through Giant Bomb way back when it came to PC. Made a note to have a look at some point and then forgot about it altogether. Years (?) later noticed it on PS4 and remembered that I was supposed to try this. I didn't buy Divinity though until friend said he'd be willing to co-op through it - which looked great on paper as you have to have two characters. And so the adventure began (this was actually over a year ago)! We got maybe around halfway through until something - probably summer - got in the way and the game sort of got swallowed by other more interesting ones. I started my own play through at some point before the co-op campaign died and that I actually managed to finish in January (and I was supposed to jot down my thoughts back then already - so this text might contain things I remember incorrectly).

The reason why I first got interested was the promise of Divinity going along the same roads as Baldur's Gate serie. As Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn is probably my all time favourite game of couse this caught me. Being a PS4 gamer these chances tend to be rare. The forced two characters was a small let down since in RPG's I treasure character interactions over just about everything else but the rest seemed to be where it was supposed to. The world is interesting, there's a lot of things to do in it and interesting characters. Except the people you got to choose for you party, this of course is a personal taste but I didn't find any of the party fillers to be that interesting. The humour of the game mostly was a hit for me as though.

Turn-based combat of Divinity works well, and the game can get pretty hard even on normal difficulty - and if you are not careful even simple fights can go south quite fast. The skill system and progress didn't seem to allow development of jack-of-all-trades characters at least when playing with a full party, which leads to a diverse team to point at enemies. There is also quite a lot of gear to support the combat and I'd imagine there is something for everyone in the game. To support the gear and combat there is a huge crafting system that I gave up just cause of the sheer scope of it.

So, the basic ingredients are all there, and up to a point everything seems great. Story worked all the way through but the game around it started to fall apart in the last third. At Phantom Forest the game turned into a slow grind towards to the end. It felt as the developers didn't have time to do similar world building as in the earlier game and instead chose to turn the encounter difficulty up couple notches. Similarly the puzzle elements lost their logic and I ended up having to guess on some points what to do. In the end I found out that I had to do character actions as well that seemed to go completely against what any sensible character would do - just to progress the story. After completing the game I read that the end was changed for the enhanced edition and some commented for the worse.

In the end I am very mixed about Divinity: Original Sin. The pieces for a gem are there and I have thought about going for Lone Wolf trophy but the last third keeps me from going to this. Instead I have through more and more about digging up my Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal copies.

If I had to give a score, 3/5 would be about it. Great world and nice story but tedious end drops it the grey mass.

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Found lying around: Gone Home

So I noticed on Friday that I had at some point got Gone Home console edition and as I was stuck in Axiom Verge and didn't feel like continuing the "big" games downloaded it for the weekend. I'll say that I came to this blind - I probably came across some stuff during the goty discussions of GB but don't remember a thing. There is a vague recollection that I avoided stuff about Gone Home as it seemed like something I'd want to experience (didn't realise it would take this long).

Saturday came and I had time to start on solving the riddle of the Greenbriar family and this atmosphere instantly took hold - this seemed very interesting! I went through most of the main floor and upper floor on the first play sitting and for a while was wondering if this was a ghost or growth story but it soon it was clear that it would be about the little sisters life instead of a haunted house. The sound design was pretty creepy though - and I still swear that at some point while I had the game running I heard cabinets opening and closing behind Kaitlin in one of the bedrooms. I stopped playing after getting the key to the basement - seemed like a good stopping point.

Sundays came and it was time to continue! I had earlier wondered how huge the house was and the basement and whole kitchen wing only made me wonder more how anyone would have house this huge. I guess the attention to detail in making it made me think of places I've seen here in Finland (lived my life in apartments and to these Greenbriars had a mansion - a castle - to occupy!). Another thing that was weird was how Kaitlin seemed to be very short - in the region of being more like 12 than 20 or so she was. During the second sitting the audio design continued to be the most impressive part of the game for me. Runaway story of the sister was so-som nothing special but did it's work of moving and it was nice to follow the breadcrumb trail. Mother and dad felt really distant in the story - don't know if I missed some notes though. Got the mum's adventure and dad seemed to get his luck in the end with the books getting re-published but those felt like been pushed to the side. In the end all story bits felt a little bit rushed in some ways - even the sister's plot felt like it jumped ahead in some places.

But all things considered I really liked the experience Gone Home had to give. My only gripes was the darkness of the game - had to pump brightness all the way up to see anything, even the lit corridors were pitch black two meters from the lights.

Four c-cassettes of five seems good.


Dragon Age 3 - Done!

Finally finished Dragon Age 3 last weekend and I have to admit that in the end the game started to stumble. Everything started well enough and I was instantly sucked into the world and lost stupid amounts of time while wandering around the world - total game time in the end was 115 hours.

I belong to the caste of players who poke around every corner and do everything possible straight away before moving the plot along. By looking around I managed to do just about everything in this playthrough also so I do not think I will poke around again. Some trophies were missed due to choices (Orlesian court approval and winged super companion) but about those I do not care enough to go back - I did what I did and that's it, I can live with these choices. Once in Skyhold plot played well and kept its grip with the plotting and mischief but the end felt somehow rushed upon. Don't know if this was because Morrigan was pushed in at the very last moment and felt like filler and fan service - I adore her character but they could have kept her waiting for next game where she obviously has to solve the final mystery of her mother by the looks of it.

Technically I'd go as far as to say that the engine was crap. I don't think the combat worked with a melee character as I seemed to get stuck to every small stone and twig. Bigger enemies seemed to dislike it as well by judging how they twisted, turned and span around their axis trying to figure where the models around them were. If I get back to this it will definitely be with a archer or wizard just avoid the stupid running around. The occasional flying NPC was spotted couple times but otherwise the only bug I remember is the problem with killing the ten dragons trophy due to which I missed the trophy (and found out about the possible fix only after finishing the game - save before last dragon fight and if script bugs, try again).

Despite the complaints I heartily recommend this to anyone. There really are not that many games with similar party system and as large world available. The party banter and NPCs relationships are fun to follow. I am half tempted to dig out Baldurs Gate games again as they are the ones that re-sparkled my interest in the first place.


The Last of Us - Initial thoughts

So, as I finally got a PS4 couple weeks back and when I was looking for games to marvel at I decided to get The Last of Us (remastered edition) for it. Despite being a "last gen" game The Last of Us sure looks pretty - and sounds great as well. On my first sitting (last weekend) I got to Joels old friend Bill and up to this point the only annoyance has been the combat.

The characters so far seem well written for a game and seem to act accordingly to events around them. Of course you can like or dislike them but the motives seem to fit the person. The world is gorgeous to wander through and seems believable. I especially liked the arrival to Bills hometown (Lincoln?) nearly as much as Ellie. Atmosphere has been fantastic so far in the game.

The bad thing about action is the feel of it. When things go down the crapper I feel like Im fighting the controls more than the mushroom folk. Shooting seems very awkward and it is a miracle if I manage to shoot twice at something in a row. Weirdly this is not a issue in multiplayer which seemed ok.

Despite the combat I can barely wait for the weekend a chance to continue the story.


L.A. Noire - Final thoughts (spoiler warning)

Finished L.A. Noire yesterday and main thought is disappointment. I had forgotten the game some time ago (was on the To Buy list for ages), but found the Complete Edition for sale at 38€ which I thought would probably be a ok price for it. But now thinking about what it offered I think I paid 10€ too much anyways.

I felt really intrigued about the game in the start and was enjoying it through the first disc - Traffic desk. Mechanics felt ok and the face animation stuff whatnot still looked nice in my opinion. The city seemed really nicely done as well. Half way through homicide desk things started to go downhill. Cases got repetative and characters boring/annoying and you start to notice how the story is being stretched - not encouraging as theres more than half to go. Vice was so-so until the end where Cole was turned into a cheating asshole to make the demotion to arson desk plot turn possible. He was not the greatest personality even before and at that point I had about zero interested to see how his story continued (he still wore the ring to the end though..). The shoot-out of the end was just plain idiotic.

I really like film-noir movies and there was some of the spirit in the game but I dont ever remember seen movies where the main character is plainly as dis-likeable as in L.A. Noir (I thought the character should(?) be someone with charm but who is running out of luck due to someone elses work - not because he himself fucks things up by fucking behind his wife). I have to say that Elsas role as femme fatale was well written in my opinion.

I don't want to pick the game into smaller and smaller pieces by simple small things as it deserves better. And talking about good things, the music was excellent all the way through! I would give this 3/5 or something around that. Chopping the lenght into half would have helped heaps.


Fallout: New Vegas - finished

Got through the game and the add-ons yeaterday and have quite mixed feelings about the game.

The major thing on my mind sadly is the bugs and crashes experienced while playing. When thinking of other games I've gone through I do remember the rare lockup but New Vegas blew everything away. I can't think of a day when it didnt crash. First game that ate save games as well, four times in total I think.

The story rolled along well enough compared to Fallout 3, but I think first two games were more entertaining to play. I have to admit that I might have destroyed my will to play by getting on the bad side of Legion so early that the assasination squads were unbelievably hard and nearly one shotted my character in combat for quite a long time and this killed exploration alltogether (and why the hell do they see you mile away when you are sneaking?!). Then again combat was carbage in my opinion anyways - impossible to hit anything further than 5 metres without V.A.T.S. if the target was moving.

Companions were as interesting as porridge. Cass was the only one who I could be arsed to bring along for other than quest purposes. The best characters in the game were sadly in a DLC, Old World Blues' AIs were well enough written so I didnt tend to skip the conversations. And as for locations Honest Hearts was the most fun place to wander around. These two DLCs were the ones where I enjoyed the game easily the most.

Despite now I think mostly of the game with negatives I do intend to go through it again as I now know the mistakes I made which robbed the fun - and theres no need to play some way or the other to get achievements. And maybe just to see if the game really is as buggy as it seems.


Dear Dark Souls diary

So I found my way to the smith couple days ago and have been wandering around aimlessly since that looking for a way to go. The town is on fire and filled with bandits with hellish hounds as their companions and when I tried to venture even further I barely managed to escape a demon that assaulted me immediately as he saw me. I have not yet had the courage to try to best him and neither have I stayed near the dragon that guards the bridge long enough to see if my steel is strong enough to kill it.

Below the shrine on which the raven brought me I found some catacombs but the undead which slumber in the darkness seem to be unwiling to part from their existence and I need to find a way to keep them down. I suppose I will have to venture further in order to find a answer to this problem. I have not yet felt comfortable enough in either my skill or equipment to descend to the depths of the land by the elevator, but I suppose that is soon the only way I have yet to explore.

The mangled statue by the smith was more intimidating than dangerous thanks to its slow movement. But when venturing to the forests I saw a giant hydra guarding my way, I did not have the courage yet to test whether it truly is as dangerous as it looks. The giants roaming nearby sure fell a lot more easier than I anticipated.

I have to rest now and ponder my next move.


Dead Space 2

Finished the game today and thought about jotting down some thoughts about the game.

In the end the game was good - as good as the first one. Of course the novelty of the game style is not there, but the game play, esthetics, audio and story is on par with the first game. The audio especially was splendid and managed to send them chills down my spine. Regarding the graphical side there was nothing really eye-popping compared to Dead Space, but the architecture and the look of Titan Station brought System Shock 2 to my mind at some points which is nice as the Shock 2 is in Top 5 of my all time greats. The story was well put together and at some point I actually imagined that my dear wife was really on my side..

The game only fell apart for me in the end with the immortal beast as it forced one to rush forward, and I really do not like to run as I always think that I will miss something when being forced to move faster than I would like to. I would like to think that the end fight was not as stretched as in the first game, but my recollection about the length of dodging tentacles and firing at weak spots is vague. And I am very happily surprised that Ellie actually made through alive, and I guess it was nice to see Isaac make it through as well. Too bad that in the end the door for even more sequels was left open..

Now if only I could be buggered to actually start a New Game+ and for once actually play a game twice through.


Alan Wake - Episode 6

So, game over. And in a nice way in my opinion. The only sour thing plotwise was the open ending that was obviously made to keep the door open for DLC content. In the end there was way more positives than negatives in the game and for the bargain bin price it was definately a good buy. 
The visual and audio soundscape was absolutely marvellous and wandering in the forest was fun when you got the hang of the combat. Controls were a bit off for me all the way but in the end the lack of accuracy did not hamstring the gameplay that much. 
And of course I missed one radio and TV somewhere.. 

Alan Wake - Episode 5

Back to Bright Falls after a small pause and still cannot get over the graphical awesomess of the engine. Sadly the controls still feel plain wrong and died on the dam three times. Cant think of another game that gave as much grief on the same matter. 
The story goes nicely around in circles and madness screw is quite nicely tightened, this can get only better. 
Looked at the achievement list as well and I might even get some of the "Find x number of y's" achievements, with luck.

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