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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Ensemble Backlog February: Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor

    Sorry this is a week late, really.

    Ensemble Backlog is a monthly gaming club created with the intent to clear the ever-mounting hordes of games that we accrue through Steam sales and bundles. If you don't have a problem with time management or impulse buys, this probably isn't for you.

    February is Shadowgrounds month! Shadowgrounds is an isometric shooter in the vein of Alien Breed or Sigma Team's Shooter series. Mutants/aliens/monsters attack, and it's up to you to kill the hell out of them. Shadowgrounds features local co-op, but sadly there are no online options and it doesn't look like there ever will be. I don't think there's really much else to say!

    I'm assuming that most of us got the Shadowgrounds series in the Frozenbyte Bundle from the Humble folks some time ago. If you don't already have the games, but want to join in and play with us anyways, there don't really seem to be any deals ongoing at this time. Gamersgate has a bundle with both games for 14.95/$20, or you can try to hunt around for physical copies at lower prices. The game seems to go on sale at steep discounts about once a month though, so it's probably worth holding off until you see a good deal.

    As always, the rough timeframe to finish these games is one month, and I take it neither game is particularly long so even in February it shouldn't be too hard to finish by March 1.
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  2. #2
    Excellent. I have been following all of the backlog threads for encouragement with my own problems but never stuck my own oar in. Conveniently, I have been flapping around a bit for a game to play the last few days, so watch out alien scum, I'm a-coming to blast you apart.

  3. #3
    Network Hub DarkNoghri's Avatar
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    Oh, crap. Here I'd been thinking I get off scott free this month because I don't have the games. Then you had to go and mention the Frozenbyte bundle, which I have.

    I totally missed those two games in my backup folder. Dang.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    For anyone annoyed by the game's lack of proper resolution support, you can manually change it by going to Steam\SteamApps\common\shadowgrounds\Config\option s.txt and changing "screen_height = xxxx" and "screen_width = xxxx" (under "Display") to the resolution of your choosing. The GUI isn't perfect, but the stretching was giving me a headache so this is much better.

    Alright, my initial post was a bit anemic so here's some more details now that I've played it:
    -It's not actually an isometric shooter; there's a top down perspective with the camera is locked behind the player, and it moves with the crosshair. Not a terrible setup, though I did find that it made it hard to shoot far-away enemies (this may be by design.)
    -Story is ripped straight from Aliens. There's full voice-over work, which is impressive for an indie game like this but when the writing is this generic and poor ("I knew something was wrong with the water supply because it was brown.") I'd rather not have it there at all. There are also PDA's and computer terminals laying around la Doom 3 or Dead Space (which the game takes obvious inspiration from) to provide further framing details. If you really need a story to remain interested in a game, it's there and it's functional, but I just want to blast some beasties.
    -The graphics are rudimentary and everything is grey, but the lighting effects in this game are actually quite nice. Your flashlight interacts dynamically with the environment, and some of the smaller enemies definitely snuck up on me a few times.
    -I played through the first boss battle. I love boss battles. I hope there's a lot more.
    Last edited by sabrage; 07-02-2012 at 06:09 AM.

  5. #5
    Thank you for the resolution tip, that was bugging me, especially as it forces to full screen even when I tell it not to..

    Anyway, I unexpectedly found some time last night to make a start. I went through a good chunk of the level after the first boss battle. So far my feelings are mixed; it feels a little sticky to me, as though my dude is wading up to his knees in something and I find not only is it a little hard to shoot distant enemies, but quite hard to shoot those in your face. However, it is pretty good fun to play.

    I am a big Doom 3 fan, but I don't mind the blatant rip off of ideas from it (or Aliens), because they are using the things that worked for me then, and work here as well. I also like the weapon upgrade system, it adds a nice little extra without being complex.

    All in all, so far so good. Solid, but maybe not special, although I might find myself becoming a bit frustrated with the controls if it gets substantially more difficult.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Don't aim at close enemies, aim past them. The problem is actually a human one a larger distance allows you to aim predictively more easily.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Don't aim at close enemies, aim past them. The problem is actually a human one a larger distance allows you to aim predictively more easily.
    No, the issue is that the crosshair is locked to the center of the screen. If they'd kept the camera the same, but let you move the crosshair on the vertical axis it would feel a lot better.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    No, the issue is that the crosshair is locked to the center of the screen. If they'd kept the camera the same, but let you move the crosshair on the vertical axis it would feel a lot better.
    To me alien swarms aiming was always superior. But I get what you mean by it not being quite right.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Excellent. Started the first game a couple of months back to try it out - liked it, but didn't end up going back to it, so this is a good excuse. It should run on this netbook, so here's hoping it's smooth enough.
    weekendwarrio.rs - We've got more games than time...

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    To me alien swarms aiming was always superior. But I get what you mean by it not being quite right.
    I only played the game for about an hour - the camera is fixed with a free-moving crosshair, right? I'd definitely prefer that, but the third-person shooter-style of Shadowgrounds helps set it apart (and the roll-dodge. That was a nice touch)

  11. #11
    Network Hub FunnyB's Avatar
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    If I'm not mistaken, can't you change the camera mode in the options of both the games? I preferred playing with the crosshair fixed, but I'm certain you can change it.

  12. #12
    I finally finished Shadowgrounds last night. I think I enjoyed it more as it went on and overall it was good fun, although not special. I don't think I enjoyed it enough to want to play Survivors straight away though.

    One more game ticked off the list.

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node DWZippy's Avatar
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    I have both of these, and I'm just about to start myself!
    Quote Originally Posted by The Innocent View Post
    You, sir, are awesome.
    I spew words about Videogames, SEO and general geekery at Jaketucker.com

  14. #14

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