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  1. #17501
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khaz View Post
    Farcry 2

    :)
    I’d say the main things that I get from Far Cry 2 are the nastiness and complexity of Civil war/war by proxy, the necessary brutality of staying alive in a combat situation, the sheer terrible power of guns, and the futility and wearisomeness of constant violence punctuated by bursts of adrenaline pumping excitement .

    Far Cry 2 has it’s issues-although not many in my opinion-but it achieves all of those things to me through little more than tone and mechanics, without narrative lecturing or cut scenes. It’s a tremendously pure and constant experience that relentlessly brings home said truths through what you see and what you do. The given narrative are just the bones which are fleshed out through the mechanics, as opposed to most games which give an exhaustive narrative and then vaguely relate it to gamey shit you have to go and do now, cos that's the game bit where you play rather than watch.

    Far Cry 2 imparts its message through the mechanics, not in spite of them. It’s one of the few games I’ve played which offers any plausible explanation as to why you should just be repeatedly shooting people or avoiding getting shot by them.

    Bioshock games are sort of the antithesis to this. They present tone and aesthetic and implied narrative to a wonderful degree but pair it with a form of gameplay progression which is utterly unrelated to it. Rather than the two working in concert, as with Far Cry 2, they are completely at odds with each other. In fact I think it was the creator of Far Cry 2 who coined the term “ludonarrative dissonance” expressly in relation to this. And given the manner in which Far Cry pairs narrative and mechanics to be essentially one and the same thing, you can see why.

    You can have fully fleshed out narratives and still have the mechanics serve it aswell; the Far Cry 2 way is not the only way to make a good gaming narrative. Something like the Witcher 2 is a good example, or the Saints Row series from 2 onwards-accept the narrative extensions of what your game is and just build that into the story, and all is well.

    But Bioschock is at pains to present you as narratively vulnerable whilst giving you the arsenal of both a wizard and a developing nation to fight people with wrenches and pistols. Why am I creeping around Rapture/Columbia when I have nothing to fear from any of its inhabitants? Or, a similar issue-why could I kill that splicer with a wrench ten minutes ago but these ones can take about 5 grenades to the face? What’s the lore behind that one? Answer-there isn’t one, because it’s just about “levelling up” baddies to make the game harder.

  2. #17502
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    I think you misunderstood. The way the world and setting presents itself to the player in Farcry 2 is outstanding and every game out there should emulate it (disappointing its sequel didn't). What grated me were the actual mechanics of some of its systems - namely its respawn, checkpoint and occasional fetch quest sessions.

    By breaking its own excellent gameplay driven world with certain mechanics meant whatever Farcry 2 could have been is now moot. I'm glad you saw all the potential the game had to offer and are willingly able to embrace it. I can't and apparently, many others cannot either. How Ubisoft manage to make that game and not see how disruptive some of the design decisions were is beyond me.

  3. #17503
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    Farcry 2 was fun, hugely so in many respects, but still suffered from plenty of ludonarrative dissonance (much as I detest that term and the way everyone treats it as holy writ). Why do I give a rat's ass about any of the characters or their the conflict when I'm forcibly prevented from interacting with any of it in any meaningful way, or from seeing any of my interactions actually change anything in any way that could possibly have any kind of emotional significance? Ripping off Heart of Darkness means absolutely nothing if your journey there - and back - is never really in any doubt.

    Finished Grand Theft Auto V. 40-some hours on the clock, 75% completion. Thank God that's over with. I'd love to see someone seriously tackle the fabled "honest review" of this one, and I think in my case it could be summed up as: it's astonishing how a company can spend $250m+ on creating yet another of the most richly detailed virtual worlds in videogaming, and yet make living in it, for the most part, so utterly frigging dull.

    It had its moments, but they were largely to be found outside of the main story - the single-player narrative is a tedious grind through a half-baked mess cobbled together from the same lifeless gangster cliches Rockstar have been coasting on for years, and I don't understand why I was supposed to care about any of it. And I don't agree that the real fun lies in running around causing mayhem. For all the detail in Los Santos it felt weirdly joyless far too much of the time - think about how little of that detail actually does anything, or is good for anything more significant than a quick "Ooooo!" and then forgotten. Yay, we get to blow shit up without consequences reeeal good, homie, exactly the same as we've done for the past ten years, only with a bigger world and a shinier graphics engine. There's plenty to admire about the latest instalment, but as a game it just felt so... vapid, for the most part.

    I appreciate having had the chance to play it, but I honestly wouldn't recommend it, and I shan't be bothering with GTA Online, much less double-dipping on the ONE TRUE MASTAH FORMAT. It's the very essence of a 7 graphics out of 10 (a real 7, not an IGN 7) - a fundamentally rather hollow game boosted out of mediocrity and into something you might want to take a look at solely by virtue of its astonishing production values. Well done, Rockstar, you've shown you can spend a hell of a lot of money on cramming in nigh on every last visual and aural detail anyone could possibly think of, but I guess I was just hoping for something a bit more creative.

  4. #17504
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Ouch. Harsh words. They mirror my feelings about GTA IV, though, and that's probably what I would think were I to play V so I'll stay away from it.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

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  5. #17505
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Ouch. Harsh words. They mirror my feelings about GTA IV, though, and that's probably what I would think were I to play V so I'll stay away from it.
    For some further context I... sort of liked IV, but gave up on it after watching my best friend obsessively try to 100% the thing. Again, I hugely admired Liberty City - no-one builds worlds like Rockstar - but the actual mechanical process of following the campaign wasn't enough to hook me and causing mayhem generally amuses me for about half an hour, then gets boring. I'm not a fan of what little I've played of, or what I've read about Saints Row. I beat San Andreas, and liked it at the time but had no urge to ever revisit the game. Got to the end of Vice City but never finished it, as the whole 80s homage/pastiche was amusing, but wore rapidly thin (didn't help that I've never seen Scarface, and hated Goodfellas with a passion). I played some of III, but the bland presentation didn't keep me going for long.

    On the other hand, I liked The Ballad of Gay Tony enough to finish it (I found it highly entertaining, frequently hilarious and oddly emotional), and I really, really loved Crackdown, so obviously I think lengthy linear stories and open-world mayhem both have their place. For various reasons I'm just generally not a huge fan of how Rockstar go about it, though. My favourite game of theirs is still Red Dead Redemption, I think, but I'm offloading my PS3 after this so I guess I'll probably never get to play that again. Oh welp.

  6. #17506
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    Why do I give a rat's ass about any of the characters or their the conflict when I'm forcibly prevented from interacting with any of it in any meaningful way, or from seeing any of my interactions actually change anything in any way that could possibly have any kind of emotional significance?
    I'd say this is one of the points of the game: one soldier cannot do a thing to alter a situation like that. At best you're a mild inconvenience, a name which makes others uneasy and is responsible for a few wrecks dotting the landscape. But you aren't able to stop the war, keep the peace in the towns, protect anyone or avoid killing. Hell, you couldn't even stay healthy for more than a few hours in the country. All the people you kill amount to nothing, there's plenty more. Killing the leaders of the factions does nothing, new ones appear. It's meant to be maddening, as the Jackal pretty much spells out throughout the game.

  7. #17507
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casimir Effect View Post
    I'd say this is one of the points of the game: one soldier cannot do a thing to alter a situation like that. At best you're a mild inconvenience, a name which makes others uneasy and is responsible for a few wrecks dotting the landscape. But you aren't able to stop the war, keep the peace in the towns, protect anyone or avoid killing. Hell, you couldn't even stay healthy for more than a few hours in the country. All the people you kill amount to nothing, there's plenty more. Killing the leaders of the factions does nothing, new ones appear. It's meant to be maddening, as the Jackal pretty much spells out throughout the game.
    I'm not conveying my point well enough - I do see what you're getting at and I do agree that it's part of the appeal of the game - unlike GTA V I didn't spend 40+ hours in war-torn Africa out of a sense of masochism as much as anything else. But it's not about the horror and futility of war so much as the sense the game's systems are stopping me from even fooling myself I/my character could make a difference, or would want to. The "No-one knows who you are" plot device is a design crutch of the worst order that makes very little sense; the warring factions are not just deluding themselves in a quest to bring about similar ends, they're practically carbon copies of each other; none of the characters have any personality at all, never mind anything I could warm to or be repelled by; the game gives me no opportunity to do anything bar kill people who it's more or less spelt out deserve it, and on, and on, and on. On a visual and aural level the world is fantastic, but it's so blatantly a thing of rules and numbers ticking away the illusion simply doesn't hold up if you glance at it for more than a few seconds.

    Now I hate Clint Hocking - not as a person, obviously, but I seriously can't stand pretty much anything I've ever read from him on the subject of game design. But I still sympathise with the impossibility of making or marketing the unimaginable horror a game like Far Cry 2 ought to have been in my head. I cringe to realise I'm saying anything that's even close to "I WUD LIEK A SHOOTMANZ GAEM WER U COMMIT WAR CRIMEZ". At the same time, I think Far Cry 2 as it exists is a damn good piece of ammunition for the argument that if you can't do something right, you shouldn't be doing it at all - the game they talked about in development, where you'd actually feel as if your psyche, your soul was in jeopardy - you could do terrible things to get the job done quick, but these atrocities and the disease would literally turn you into a monster - that still sounds like a far more genuinely emotive, more daring piece of work than the Grand Theft Auto: The Veldt we ended up with. I don't blame them for backing away from the game they toyed with early on, but I reserve the right to get angry that they teased it and then threw it in the shredder.

    Futility and pointlessness are all very well, and I mean that perfectly seriously, but as it stands Metal Gear bleedin' Solid frequently does a better job of showing how good people die and lives are wasted and yet the more things change the more they stay the same and making all that actually emotionally engaging, rather than a series of bullet points. And Hideo Kojima is a terrible, terrible writer. Far Cry 2 is a brave, beautiful, memorable game - it's also a mangled, comically badly handled trainwreck that squanders almost all its incredible potential on a shooting gallery with a whole lot of dull, pointless set dressing, yet one that's just slightly more open than all the others, with a novelty skin. I'd go back and play it right now if it actually worked on my rig. I'd also struggle not to punch Hocking in the face if I ever met him.

  8. #17508
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    The "No-one knows who you are" plot device is a design crutch of the worst order that makes very little sense; the warring factions are not just deluding themselves in a quest to bring about similar ends, they're practically carbon copies of each other; none of the characters have any personality at all, never mind anything I could warm to or be repelled by; the game gives me no opportunity to do anything bar kill people who it's more or less spelt out deserve it, and on, and on, and on. On a visual and aural level the world is fantastic, but it's so blatantly a thing of rules and numbers ticking away the illusion simply doesn't hold up if you glance at it for more than a few seconds.
    I think Bioshock Infinite did a better job here. And no, I don't think the "they're using kids" is what makes the one side bad, and I find it odd now that I've played the game that some reviewers boiled down the problems with the Vox Populi to that one audio log about the kids and the moment where their leader does the thing at Fink MFG.

    There was plenty of heavy-handed treatment, but I felt like it was itself a veneer for some more intricate commentary and intricacy of the commentary utterly aside, Bioshock Infinite made two colorful sides to a conflict that had their own motivations, their own struggles, their own glories, and their own evils. It also effectively set you up in the middle of them so you could watch shit hit the fan, and threw in tertiary elements like Slate's veterans and the upper-crust civies. And through it all, you had your own objective that arced through all of this but ultimately shifted and game into the thick of it.

    The catch, of course, is that Bioshock Infinite wasn't, at it's core, about the struggle between the two sides and the futility of it but rather about choice and identity. So it's not trying to do Far Cry 2's job by any means. I just think it's a nicer example of the "none of these bastards are heroes ..." part of Far Cry 2.

    And Hideo Kojima is a terrible, terrible writer. Far Cry 2 is a brave, beautiful, memorable game - it's also a mangled, comically badly handled trainwreck that squanders almost all its incredible potential on a shooting gallery with a whole lot of dull, pointless set dressing, yet one that's just slightly more open than all the others, with a novelty skin. I'd go back and play it right now if it actually worked on my rig. I'd also struggle not to punch Hocking in the face if I ever met him.
    It should be noted, though, that a lot of it's potential is in how wonderful a shooting gallery it is and how much better a shooting gallery it could have been with some relatively small but far-reaching tweaks. Not just in it's potential to tell an evocative story.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 30-09-2013 at 10:17 PM.
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  9. #17509
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    It should be noted, though, that a lot of it's potential is in how wonderful a shooting gallery it is and how much better a shooting gallery it could have been with some relatively small but far-reaching tweaks. Not just in it's potential to tell an evocative story.
    Well, I sort of was trying to imply it could have been the great and terrible thing it originally hinted at being by excelling at both. Storytelling and creative slaughter. I don't disagree, though, I guess - I'll readily agree the shootmanning is far and away the strongest part of Farcry 2 as it was released, and could have been even better with merely a few minor changes. (Making the AI able to effectively hunt you down if you attack them from range would have been a good start, though that's probably not minor.)

    I disagree entirely over Bioshock Infinite, mind you, but that's really a whole other argument given how much I disliked that game.

  10. #17510
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    I disagree entirely over Bioshock Infinite, mind you, but that's really a whole other argument given how much I disliked that game.
    Huh. I mean ... I see plenty to dislike about Bioshock Infinite though I myself loved it. But with respect to this:

    The "No-one knows who you are" plot device is a design crutch of the worst order that makes very little sense; the warring factions are not just deluding themselves in a quest to bring about similar ends, they're practically carbon copies of each other; none of the characters have any personality at all, never mind anything I could warm to or be repelled by; the game gives me no opportunity to do anything bar kill people who it's more or less spelt out deserve it, and on, and on, and on.
    What puts Far Cry 2 above Bioshock Infinite? The two sides aren't carbon copies of each other, the side-character have abundant personality even if you think it's heavy-handed or uninteresting, and while you're still just directed to shoot people, there's ambiguity as to whether you're any better than they are (though Far Cry 2 had this, too) but the whole "everyone in this mess deserves it" thing is a little more fleshed out. Neither game set out to be about giving the player narrative choices, but both tried nonetheless to play with the nature of player agency. So I'm curious: why do you think they are either equally bad at this or that Far Cry 2 does better? Because whether or not you ultimately like BI, that's what disagreeing with what I intended to be my central point amounts to.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

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  11. #17511
    Activated Node realitysconcierge's Avatar
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    I am currently enjoying Castle Crashers coop with my girlfriend, and soon will be playing the updated Terraria v1.2 with her as well. I myself am being mesmerized by the beautiful Ni No Kuni. I had a spat with War of the Roses, but it didn't do much to keep my attention.

  12. #17512
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    Played through RF Gorilla a second time. I clearly have a need to smash buildings lately, but there aren't many games to choose from when it comes to that. I don't think I can squeeze much more out of the Red Faction games, so I'm not sure what to do.

  13. #17513
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drayk's Avatar
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    Playing Bioshock: infinite

    I am a the entrance of Comstock House. So probably a bit more than halfway I think. I am quite impressed by how beautiful the game is in the end. Booker-Elisabeth relationship is working for me. The plot, so far, keeps things interesting and the fights are enjoyable. The city feels a bit empty at times though...

    I still think that 'worlds' like Rapture of Columbia would be amazing places to tell more intricated stories. Why not a game like Anachronox, part adventure/ part rpg, in such settings ?

    Playing Jak and Daxter: the precursor legacy on the vita. Records say I am at 45%. Nice little game, quite challenging. I really like the world being open like that. too bad the mechanic of collecting power cores gets old prettty quickly. I don't know if the second and third games are any better.

    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
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  14. #17514
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    It should be noted, though, that a lot of it's potential is in how wonderful a shooting gallery it is and how much better a shooting gallery it could have been with some relatively small but far-reaching tweaks. Not just in it's potential to tell an evocative story.
    It's a terrible shame Far Cry 2 is practically unmoddable. The mod community could have done such amazing things with it.

  15. #17515
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    It's a terrible shame Far Cry 2 is practically unmoddable. The mod community could have done such amazing things with it.
    Not entirely true.

    http://www.moddb.com/games/far-cry-2

    http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/m...rcry2/mod.html

    Attempts were made but nothing had a lasting impact.

  16. #17516
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    I still think that 'worlds' like Rapture of Columbia would be amazing places to tell more intricated stories. Why not a game like Anachronox, part adventure/ part rpg, in such settings ?
    Imagine Booker's whole Private Detective thing actually playing a role. You're sent to find the girl but it's played more as a mystery. You still get swept up into action and political messes and world-bendy stuff ... but action is more subdued (and tense) when it occurs such that combat still feels fun but the game is set up so that running is not only a viable option but often the better one. I'm re-imagining the Raffle scene with your actual arrest and/or a proper chase sequence rather than your first swath of carnage. Just ... I wouldn't want it to be too Open World-y and I wouldn't want too many moments of adventure game-y "find the thing to progress."

    If done right, you'd feel more like you're unraveling the secrets of the city and it's people as opposed to taking a rather literal crash course in the politics and history of the place. The themes still work, as does the (broad) plot arc, and most of the beats of the plot would still fit. But it would have an utterly different feel. Heck, it could still be linear and pull the mechanical shift off, and it certainly wouldn't need to be full open-world even if it introduced non-linearity where appropriate. I've heard Dark Corners of the Earth essentially wanted to be the kind of game I'm imagining but I've also heard aside from a brilliant opening chase sequence it doesn't pull it off.

    I want to see more games like that, in any case. Learn the lessons of Amnesia, Silent Hill 2, and other renowned low-power games of discovery ... then apply that to the magical (and incredibly well realized) worlds of Dishonored and Bioshock.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 01-10-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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    You ruined his point by putting it in context thatís cheating -bull0

  17. #17517
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drayk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Imagine Booker's whole Private Detective thing actually playing a role. You're sent to find the girl but it's played more as a mystery. You still get swept up into action and political messes and world-bendy stuff ... but action is more subdued (and tense) when it occurs such that combat still feels fun but the game is set up so that running is not only a viable option but often the better one. You feel more like you're unraveling the secrets of the city and it's people as opposed to taking a rather literal crash course in the politics and history of the place. The themes still work, as does the (broad) plot arc, and most of the beats of the plot would still fit. But it would have an utterly different feel. Heck, it could still be linear and pull the mechanical shift off, and it certainly wouldn't need to be full open-world even if it introduced non-linearity where appropriate.

    I want to see more games like that.
    I would play that.

    We should pitch this to Ken Levine.

    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
    I give unto you the maddest of props. You're a god damned super hero.
    *Mostly* harmless

  18. #17518
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drayk View Post
    I would play that.

    We should pitch this to Ken Levine.
    Ooops. Was editing while you replied. I added a bit. Sorry. You probably don't mind, but I always feel rude when I do that. :P
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

    You ruined his point by putting it in context thatís cheating -bull0

  19. #17519
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drayk View Post
    I would play that.

    We should pitch this to Ken Levine.
    What's the fella doing at the moment anyway? More DLC? Speaking of which, what do you think of the already available bit of extra challenges and the announced Burial at Sea DLC? I am thinking about buying the season pass, mostly for the new story arcs as I am not a big fan of achievements and leaderboards per se (but it's a nice bonus).

  20. #17520
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    He's off doing the Logans Run remake screenplay
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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