Return of the Obra Dinn is Pretty Awesome

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captain_max707

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Lucas Pope's newest game is out and I have to say, it's very cool. I loved Papers Please and this feels like a worthy followup, though very different in execution. The art style is striking and the deduction is good overall, though I felt like I brute forced some of the identifications. I accidentally ended playing through it in a single (much too long, I don't know why I did this) sitting so it's pretty gripping. I wonder if it would be more difficult broken up into multiple sittings, as remembering the threads of the 50 or so identities you need to discern is certainly a lot to keep track of...

Anyway, it's a cool game that's well worth checking out if you're interested in doing a lot of nonlinear detective work. I'm curious to hear what other people think of the story and puzzles as well.

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Chronologist

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Cool to hear. I am super interested in it as well, loved Papers, Please. And very in the mood for an interesting detective mystery.

How long did it take you, roughly?

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captain_max707

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@chronologist: I think it was around 8 hours, which flew by so fast I'm kind of embarrassed it... I could see it being more or less time if you gel with it or not.

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Chronologist

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@captain_max707: ooh that's longer than I expected. All right, thanks. I'll know to square off some time for it then.

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Iron_Tool

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I'm pretty excited about this. Reminds a lot of Christopher Manson 'The Maze' puzzle book in art style (I believe that was also made into a Mac game)

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rorie

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#6 rorie  Staff

It definitely looks pretty cool. I'm concerned a bit about the moiré-ing I saw in the trailer, though; hopefully that was just a video artifact and not the way the game really looks.

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Fear_the_Booboo

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I’m not far (identified 6 people so far) but I love what I’ve played of it. The interface seems a bit fiddly (in a way insurances book probably are). My issue with it is that it makes me feel stupid, it felt super hard identifying those last three person and the game is telling me I should be able to identify more...

I’m gonna stick with it even if it takes me forever to solve anyway, I love different stuff, detective stories, and I think Papers, Please is one of the best game ever made so.

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#8  Edited By thegrumpskin

I finished it, and boy this is my favorite game of the year so far. All the deaths are like different loose ends of a yarn ball that you keep pulling and pulling apart until it's a jumbled mess and you're tasked with sorting it all out. It's incredibly addicting. Every time I thought I was done for the night I kept thinking "I'm so close to figuring out who this guy was!" It does seem to be possible to guess some of the puzzle's answers and be rewarded for it, but that usually only happened for me if I've already gotten several other parts that I knew were correct.

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csl316

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#9  Edited By csl316

This looks cool visually but I have no idea what kind of game it is. Based on these comments it's Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective?

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Fear_the_Booboo

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@csl316: Basically. It’s hard to explain.

You have a massive book with the identities of all crew members (there’s 60 I think), their name, rank and nationality.

When you find a dead body you have a magic watch that lets you see the moments of their death frozen in time.

With that you need to identify who the body is, how did they die and who killed them from a list of option. You can’t really brute force it because the game will only confirm your answers in set of three (if you identify three people successfully) which creates too many variables to just guess.

I hope this makes sense. It’s very much a detective game, but it’s much more freeform than the Sherlock Holmes serie, making you feel like you’re actually solving shit instead of just picking from two options.

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BobDobbsJR

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Just finished the game. Really enjoyable experience. The minimalist art style really works in its favor. No too hard, but hard enough to make you feel like you accomplished something when you complete the game.

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vedicardi

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Just finished. Fucking amazing. Looks amazing, SOUNDS amazing. There are problems I have with the flow between things especially when you have everything "unlocked." I feel like things could've moved a lot faster. At the end of the day though, we aren't talking about anything crazy, but some things felt like a chore that I don't think needed to after a certain point where you've technically seen everything. There are also what I consider minor issues with how some of the wording in the "fate system" works, semantics feel like they make a difference and there is definitely ambiguity and things that I feel required pure guess work. That, I don't like, but frankly even without the mystery solving element just experiencing the game and ignoring the puzzle solving is worth the price of admission. In terms of length it's roughly 3 hours maybe to get through the "story" but if you want to actually do the game part it'll take maybe 3-4 times as long depending on how dedicated you are to actually doing it.

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#13  Edited By Nordom

Just finished this game. I really liked it.

The way you had to pay attention to things in the world and deduce things to solve the puzzles was really interesting. It felt very organic.

And I really liked the look of the game aswell.

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@captain_max707:If you don't mind, some questions from someone who started it this weekend, loves it, but is afraid he's missing something. I'm trying to be as spoiler free as possible.

I completed the first section/chapter plus the first memory of the next section and I think that's when I had enough to get my first validation. If I remember correctly, it was the captain, his wife, and the first mate. From that point on, I went through the rest of the second section/chapter's memories, and I think I was able to identify a whole two people (the artist and the Dane), the cause of death and murderer for one of those, and the cause of death for a whole ton of other people. Should I have more people identified? It seems like the use of names or other identifying information is really, really rare and I don't know what other details I should be looking at to figure out/deduce who they hell these people are. It's a little more frustrating when the face on a sketch is clear with two or one triangles, indicating "you should be able to figure this out, dummy."

I'm probably starting over with a new save file and a real notebook with me, but I'd feel bad if I was repeating the same mistakes/overlooking the same things.

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captain_max707

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#15  Edited By captain_max707

@asmo917:I wound up with a fairly haphazard method of gathering info where I unlocked as many memories as I could early on then traced individuals through them to gain as much insight as possible. I don't think you need to worry about finishing the chapters in order, whenever I got stuck I'd find a new area and work on that. It took me a long time to figure out the gun deck, for example.

Names are certainly rare, but you have a list of names and ranks that are very helpful. How people refer to each other, who is commonly with who, where people often appear, and other details like this can help suss out identities. This is why I think finding as many memories as possible, though slightly overwhelming, can be a good method.

Sometimes it will tell you when you technically have enough information to deduce who is who but a guess is still required. For example, the women on the ship "unlocked" fairly early for me even though I don't recall finding any of their names besides the wife. In this case, since there were only a few women aboard the possibilities were limited enough that you can make some educated guesses and be correct. One women is listed as a Miss for example, which might mean something in this time period. This line of thinking can help when you start to realize there are only a few of each nationality on board, and in some cases only one. Understanding the different crew roles is vital too. From this perspective, the Russians have an important distinction within the group.

I'm trying to be really vague, if you have more specific questions or would a more concrete direction to go in feel free to pm me!

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#16  Edited By fatalbanana

I'm only about 2-3 hours into it but I'm really digging it in short bursts. It's a game I have to take a step away from every once in a while or else I'm afraid I'll get bored of it.

I think it could be more clear about certain details and maybe a way to take your own notes within the game and attach them to certain characters. Overall I think the notebook and "memory sections" could be better laid out as you need to keep track of a good many things in a way that isn't easy to navigate for everything the game is asking you to remember. And I have a terrible memory!

With all that said, I'm really impressed by it so far and interested to see where it goes. If it keeps up it could easily be one of my favorites of the year.

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#17  Edited By fatalbanana

@rorie said:

It definitely looks pretty cool. I'm concerned a bit about the moiré-ing I saw in the trailer, though; hopefully that was just a video artifact and not the way the game really looks.

That's definitely how the game looks but I quite like it. I would totally get if it's not everyone's cup of tea but it works for me. If anything I wish it had just a tad bit more minimal contrast of colors but that's just me.

I do appreciate their (his?) commitment to the style though.

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@asmo917: I think I only had about 15 people figured out by the time I had every memory unlocked. I guess I thought it would be more and more obvious who was who, just as in the first chapter you unlock. Once I realized there were no more memories (which the game thankfully tells you both in the book and in dialog, so you don't end up scouring the ship for one more memory that isn't there) I started to try and piece it all together. Since it at this point was clear this was not a "wait for person to say another persons name to figure it out" thing, I started to look at more stuff. You need to look at clothes, what they are doing, where they are, who they are with. Listen to accents and phrases. Nearing the end I did a bit of guesswork, but have later read that you can find out every person by clues in the game. One memory in particular is great for this, where a lot of people are in it without it seeming to be that many people. I guess it with the four Chinese crew, as they almost never talk and can't be identified in that way. Turns out that one memory has information that can be used to figure it out.
Also, for several victims the game accepts a variety of causes of death. So always put something in that space, even if you are unsure which of a couple fits more. Chances are it can be right anyway. I though it had to be exact, so I didn't put anything on a few, which I would have gotten right earlier if I had done so. Things like "falling overboard" and "drowning" for instance, to use a few non-spoilery ones, are usually both accepted.

And I have to say, I love the non-linear storytelling in this. How you often start with the end of some calamity, then work your way to the start. How you uncover more and more sinister and weird things as the story progresses. I am really looking forward to whatever Lucas Pope makes next. And I really want more games like this from other people.

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asmo917

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Thanks both @captain_max707 and @jaqen_hghar - those are good tips/things to know. Knowing the identities would be more obscured than they were for the first couple memories led me to restarting and playing even more deliberately and with my own notebook. I've already picked up on a few things I know I missed in my first aborted playthrough just from being intentionally meticulous, and just feel more comfortable saying to myself "It's okay to not know a thing right now, gather what you can and come back."

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koolaid

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I loved this game so much. My only regret is that I can't hit myself on the head to forget everything and play it again. I'm also a little bummed because I had to brute force a few of the people because I could not figure it out. But then later I was able to see how I could have figured them out. You really can know for sure who everyone is. Its awesome.

Here are some non spoiler tips, I'm still going to put them in a spoiler tag if you want to be pure.

1. Every bit of information on the crew manifest is important. Pay attention to it.

2. I don't think I used the map, but I did use every other single part of the book.

3. Don't be racist.

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qrdl

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My provisional GOTY, without a doubt.

I guess I must play Papers, Please at some point after all.

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Deathpooky

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Just finished up solving everything. Probably high up on my GOTY list as well. The last ~10 or so identities I had to figure out were a little frustrating once I had figured out all of the deaths and major characters or groups, but everything else about the game was amazing. An absolutely inspired way to tell a story and set out puzzles to solve.

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This was really amazing and a real treat. I remember trying out the very first demo of this game years ago and loving the style and sound, but not really understanding where the gameplay was going to be. I love little logic puzzles like this so it was really awesome to figure out all the different deaths and names.

The best part is that the set up means you can easily replicate this for future games. I know the title of the game is all about the Obra Dinn, but I'd really love to see a sequel or spin-off about different mysteries.

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I loved Papers Please, so I downloaded this as soon as I finished watching the QL.

I’m playing with Hubby and we’re about an hour and a half in. There’s something about it that’s quite creepy, so we’ve agreed to play in short bursts, but it’s really interesting and we both can’t wait to see where the story goes, or where it starts as you uncover it in a Pulp Fiction/Memento sort of way.

We found the Captain‘s wife before we clicked on the Captain and to see her death was a complete shock, despite Ben saying the story goes places,we hadn’t expected it to go there.

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Having trouble getting this amazing game out of my head, and wish I could go back and enjoy it fresh again. It also made me want to watch The Terror over.

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TGJessie

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I never played Papers, Please, but I enjoyed this game quite a lot.

I feel like the ending was a little disappointing, but I don’t really know what more I wanted out of it. The story itself is fascinating to unravel, though.

I just wish there was a quicker way to hop between scenes that you’ve already witnessed. When you’ve unlocked everything as you’ve just jumping around looking for tidbits of information, it can get a little tedious.

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captain_max707

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@tgjessie: I agree, it would have been really nice if the memories were accessible from the journal after filling out a chapter. That some characters' stories span multiple chapters and can be nested in other memories feels a little clunky when you just want to double check a small detail.

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I'm enjoying it too, but like so many others here I'm struggling with putting all the information I have available together. I've managed to successfully confirm 12 people so far, but it's slow going and a lot of trial and error. It makes me really wish for a hint system, but that would probably force my thinking down a certain corridor and this game isn't really about that.

Any other tips/hints you guys can offer up? I really want to see this game through.

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#29  Edited By BoltVanderhuge

This might be my #1 game of the year. It does that amazing puzzle game thing of just showing you a world and letting you figure it out.

If you've seen everything there is to see (it'll be raining), you've spent a couple more hours, and you're stuck to the point of giving up, here's a series of hints that basically follow my process of discovery. I don't give any specific identities, but I consider them major spoilers because the joy of this game were those lightbulb moments where I figured out these hints. They take up a big chunk of screen real estate so I used nested spoiler blocks.

Hint 1 (very general):
Thoroughly explore scenes. Sometimes there's something going on outside the focus of the main action that is vital.

Hint 2:
A Bitter Cold Part 1 and The Doom Part 2 are essential for identifying a big chunk of people. Examine them carefully until you figure out how you can use them to ID people.

Hint 3:
Examine the diagrams with the ship layout. It can give you clues on where to identify people with specific roles.

Hint 4:
Examine the "Life at Sea" pictures. Once you know some of the identities, it can help you deduce more.

Hint 5:
Pay attention to clothing.

Hint 6:
Reread the intro letter in the journal.

Hint 7:
There's no punishment for leaving the ship before you've identified everyone.

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rustymagus

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@boltvanderhuge:

I eventually realized I hadn't actually found all the scenes avaialble to me after all. Once I'd done that and read some more hints I managed to start locking down identities and causes of death. I wasn't wholly prepared for how much I had to pay attention to details, though!

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fledeye

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Just finished after about 9.5 hours. The whole story is really interesting, but it’s the puzzle solving and the sound design that really impressed me.

The sound and music is great. There were parts I was actually wincing the sounds of the deaths were so realistic. And the voice acting was too notch for an indie, Ive heard much much worse in a AAA release.

Can’t wait for Lucas Pope’s next game now. Or til I forget how to solve this one so I can go through it again.

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