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  1. What games did you complete? 2018 Edition

    Aiming for an average of one game a month to try and beat last years 9 game total. So far so good but my current habits involve playing massive JRPGs or tactics games or quixotic tasks like trying to get three stars on every single Geometry Wars 3 level. Will see how I go! January: Vanquish (360): Finished on normal. I bounced off the demo of this back in the day but always wanted to give it a proper go. It's so close to perfection in terms of pacing. Some of the slower, quieter moments don't quite hit and feel like dead air instead of the calm before the storm, but then some other quieter moments are perfectly positioned between scenes of pure chaos. I couldn't shake the feeling this had to have been made as a counter point to Gears Of War in the same way the first GoW was a reaction to Resi 4. Brilliant sprawling gun fights, tense boss fights, plenty of room for experimenting and showboating... Amazing. February: Ghost Recon Shadow War (3DS): Finished on hard. That game that was briefly on people's radar thanks to the involvement of Julian Gollop and a shaky launch window lineup for the 3DS. It starts out like a decent but uninspired meat and potatoes tactics game and then very quickly expands in to a sprawling epic with some simple squad interactions and character progression mechanics that add just enough depth to keep things ticking over. At 50+ hours it started to run out of steam towards the end, the event scripting on the later levels starts to fall apart / fail to anticipate everything the player can do, but it still pulled out a memorable finale to close everything off with. Good, solid fun, but feels dated post Xcom re-boot. 2017 list:
  2. Left 4 Dead 3?

    A good thing to do if you're not planning on making sequels to beloved franchises might be to not constantly taunt your fans. Also maybe do more than just shrug your shoulders at white supremecists openly starting groups on your platform. Valve are a burning wheely bin filled with shite at this point. I know I'll still wind up buying some stuff on Steam but I'm going to use other platforms whenever I can from now on...
  3. Left 4 Dead 3?

    Left 43 Dead
  4. Imagine if somebody played the first few levels on Legendary and then decided to drop down to Heroic or Normal. The game would be ruined for everyone. Except you could do that and nobody cared. What if you could drop down the difficulty on a checkpoint by checkpoint basis? Maybe the game would be ruined for everyone. Or I suspect that nobody would really care except in abstracted discussions on forums.
  5. Pretty sure big budget Western games almost all have in game adjustable difficulty at this point.
  6. I think a lot of ideas about what players should and shouldn't be allowed to do within a game regarding skipping or changing the difficulty are just weird holdovers and received wisdom that's built up over time, but don't always make sense. Like shmups that let you credit feed, but don't let you level skip until you've reached that level on 1 credit. This was standard practice in console releases of shmups for a long time, but it made no sense because you could just credit feed to get to that level if you wanted to, but you had to sit through the part of the game you didn't want to play to get to the part that you did - maybe to show someone, maybe to practice that section, maybe just because you really liked that part of the game. Designers were adding chunks of "dead-air" to players session. It was just the way things were. But for no sensible reason - skill or challenge wasn't an issue because of credit feeding. It was completely arbitrary.
  7. Amiga Appreciation Thread

    Just the switch on the power supply from memory. I don't remember the A1200 having a switch on the machine.
  8. I find the repeated insinuation that wanting these options is always about making the game easier or about people "not wanting to play the game" really strange. Changing difficulty mid game cuts both ways and the whole point of adding options for convenience (level selects) or accessibility (custom controls / controller support, timing adjustments) is to allow more people to play the game. There's an extra cost to accessibility options? No shit, there's an extra cost to building a disabled ramp in front of a building. There's an extra cost to adding unlocked level selects or mid game difficulty switching? Not if you plan for it from the start.
  9. Amiga Appreciation Thread

    First check the boot menu (hold both mouse buttons on startup) for hard drives and expansion cards. If it boots to workbench from hard drive you can check how much memory it has on the status bar and check the size of the drive. I'm not sure how you'd check for processor and FPU upgrades but you could always crack open the trapdoor cover on the bottom and see if there's anything in there.
  10. I wonder how much peoples opinions on this are influenced by the games they played as kids. I'm sure spending most of my gaming adolescence with Amiga and later PC games has something to do with my opinion. The games tended to be a lot more open, plenty of driving or flight sims for example just gave you a list of missions or tracks you could play in any order. Then you had debug consoles, official editing tools, massive options menus and editable .INI files before you delved into the murky world of trainers and hex editors.
  11. I'm fairly sure not being able to play a specific level in Halo 2 in co-op because of some weird profile / save file issue wasn't a conscious design decision. Or people having to start a game from the beginning because their save file corrupted. It's just about convenience. You've made a game, don't inconvenience the people trying to play your game. "Hi Hironobu Sakaguchi, what's that? It was vital to the ambience you wanted to create in Lost Odyssey that I watched a two hour long cut scene of a funeral in which every character makes the same speech paraphrased slightly differently and which is broken up by a mini game where I have to find 5 bales of firewood in a static environment? You couldn't just let me skip that bit then? No? Okay." Bad design is bad design, regardless of intent.
  12. I'd argue it serves the design of the game in the majority of cases. It's already in more games than you'd realise, just sometimes in a clunky quit to menu, choose level, choose difficulty, reload kind of way. It lets people up the difficulty 5 hours in if they're finding it too easy or let's people lower the difficulty if they're getting pounded. Nobody has to replay those first 5 hours. Currently I'm playing Ghost Recon Shadow War. I started on normal difficulty but a couple of tutorial missions in, looking at how the damage stats broke down and how easily I was mowing through enemies I upped the difficulty to Veteran. The difficulty was perfectly pitched for me then, most levels I got through in one attempt but I couldn't be complacent, a couple of levels took several attempts, which I was fine with because the meat of the gameplay is about analysing situations and changing up your tactics. All good. About 40 hours in I hit a difficulty spike, a level I just couldn't beat. I wondered if I'd made bad choices levelling up my squad. I wondered if the margin for error was just too narrow and maybe a string of lucky dice rolls were the only way I'd beat it. Each attempt required me to commit to a tactic in the first turn of the game, and play that through till the end, which might take 20-25 minutes at a time. I might have lost the level in the first minute and not be aware until 20 minutes down the line. Eventually I beat the level after maybe 5 attempts, but on the 6th, 7th? I don't get much time to game, I can't justify pouring hours in to something that might not lead anywhere. I'm about 5 missions on from that point now and still massively enjoying the game. I'm not 100% sure that knowing I could drop the difficulty wasn't what kept me retrying knowing that I wasn't pouring precious gaming time in to something that would never progress. A similar experience could be in literally any linear game, a notorious difficulty spike, a forced stealth section, the one jumping puzzle in a game that's otherwise 99% combat, bad build choices when you didn't know better. It's not about stopping the rollercoaster, it's about keeping the rollercoaster running. Nobody points at Bayonetta as a compromised experience and that let you switch to a mode where you could literally hold one button and push forward while it played itself that you could switch to and from at the start of levels using the main menu and level select. Nobody points to Quake as a compromised experience and you could drop a debug console down at any point and re-up your health or ammo. There are some ideas on my side of the argument floated about in this thread that I don't agree with, like letting players pick whatever loot you want in a loot game. I'm not sure I see the point, something like Diablo is built around the mystery of what you could find next, not knowing what's out there. Letting players pick and choose there feels counterproductive. Likewise Dark Souls, with the persistent online nature of the game I can see how it would be more trouble than it's worth to split the player base in to different difficulty streams.
  13. There's always going to be games where the progression structure or mechanics don't allow for skipping sections or variable difficulty levels but if there's no mechanical reason to prevent it then it's the same as letting players skip or pause cut scenes, change the difficulty level mid game or customise controls. Just good practice.
  14. There was a time when I'd say Metroidvanias were an exception but that's a formula that's started to wear very thin too... I really loved Breath of the Wild and Link Between Worlds as two big steps away from those conventions.
  15. Might have been me who said that. I stand by it too. I've never played a game out of sequence that had a level skip option and I've been incredibly grateful every time I've made use of the option for whatever reason (usually co-op related, or to show a friend a specific part of a game). The issue isn't moot in the age of streaming and let's plays because the point of having a level skip is to play the game the way you want to, not to watch someone else play. I've softened a little bit on unlocking as it rarely spoils my enjoyment of a game, but it's a lazy way to enforce structure.

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