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matt0

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  1. matt0

    Outer Wilds

    I've not really stopped thinking about Outer Wilds since I put it down, and with it getting included in so many best of lists I've been thinking about it a lot in the past month when I've been listening to podcasts or reading news sites. It's peerless in its use of 3D space, the navigation, the beautifully intricate puzzle solving based around observing phenomena and teasing out the physical reality of the world you're in. A game which doesn't just invite the player to engage in true detective work, but manages to give them the framework to go about it in a completely non-linear manner for the entire length of the game. It's genuinely the best puzzle design I've ever seen in a game. A huge leap forward in terms of what anyone has attempted before. On the other hand, does anyone remember that bit in Another World where you had to go through the tunnels, blow up the supporting pillar, do the platforming section to get away from the water, navigate through the interior of the dam past several one hit kill gun fights, do the promptless quick time event close combat bit, all leading to the moment where you have to make a split second timed gun shot to drop the lamp on the guards head where failure results in you having to do it all over again? Also the Outer Wilds. I just can't reconcile these two things. It's the absolute pinnacle of game design sat on the wrong side of one of my biggest red lines.
  2. matt0

    Xbox Game Pass

    Made up about Indivisible and Plague Tale.
  3. matt0

    Illustration Club

    There's a couple of books I'd always recommend. First is Andrew Loomis' Figure Drawing For All It's Worth. It's very dated (the "ideal" female proportions include high heels...) but as a practical figure drawing guide that doesn't get bogged down with musculature and internal anatomy it's very good. Then on a more technical level (muscle groups etc.), Michael Hampton's Figure Drawing and Invention is very good, although that's constantly going in and out of print and is hard to get for a reasonable price. There are PDFs of both floating around "out there" too. The Loomis book has a 1950's advertising illustration feel and the Hampton one has no real style to it, it's purely technical so they won't give you any help style-wise but they're both good for learning solid fundamentals to apply to any style.
  4. matt0

    Nintendo Wii U

    I never got involved with the Miiverse but I always feel faintly sad when I turn on my Wii U knowing all the tiny Mii's running around on the boot screen aren't real people on the internet any more.
  5. There's no CPU limiting or set CPU speed for the Pico 8 as far as I've been able to tell from messing around with it and playing other people's games, so I doubt the Virtua Racing port would run well on the Pocket Chip. It's still an amazing achievement squashing the game in to 64k though.
  6. In a similar vein House Of A Dying Sun.
  7. First game down in a new year of trying to play a bit less: Jedi Fallen Order - (Xbox One): Finished on Jedi Master difficulty. Overall a great game but a bit rough on the technical side of things. Lots of flickering textures, characters appearing a split second after the environments in cut scenes and wookies who look like somebody scraped a fur texture into Morph with a fork. One of those games that doesn't really excel at anything - some okay platforming, some okay combat, some okay exploration, but pulls together to be much more than the sum of its parts. I got stuck on the final boss for what must be close to 3 hours across a couple of sessions to the point where I ended up looking up tips online and actually writing out my own notes to cement in my head what to do. Once I'd done that I won on my third attempt of my next session with a heart stopping all or nothing final attack where I had no health left and used my last sliver of Force to get an advantage to land the final blow. Perfect way to end it all except... (spoilers for ending) 2020 so far:
  8. matt0

    Nintendo Wii U

    I'm not sure, I got it as free DLC for the Treasure Trove edition of the original.
  9. matt0

    Nintendo Wii U

    I'm fascinated by the fact that random thigns are still creeping on to the Wii U post Switch. Start of 2019 (or was it 2018?) there were loads of PC Engine games quietly released, including untranslated JRPGs. And every few months a handful of bottom of the barrel indie games. And Just Dance (although JD 2020 isn't coming to the Wii U, but is still getting a Wii release). I like seeing odd stuff come out for dead machines. Downloaded Shovel Knight: King of Cards for the Wii U just before Christmas but have been busy with other stuff. It's nice to know I've got a new Wii U game waiting for me when I find the time.
  10. Here's everything I didn't get round to writing up earlier, and now I can put a line under 2019! Halo 4 (Xbox One, MCC version): Way better than I remembered it from when it first came out. A couple of duff vehicle sections aside it's non stop action, plenty of great set-piece fights, the Mantis bits are great, grand scale, architectural weirdness. So much promise that never quite came together in the sequel. You don't get much more Halo than that I guess. The Prometheans are unfairly maligned. The knights are more worthy opponents then the Brutes ever were, thwarting your attempts to engage them at distance and rushing you down at close quarters. They also have the kind of distinctive silhouettes that made the original incarnation of the Elites so iconic. The Watcher / Knight resurrection mechanic is a very cool riff on the recharging sheilds forcing you to comit to the finishing an enemy off that made the Elites in Halo:CE such dramatic foes. What are the crawlers though? If the Knights are post singularity forerunner humans then are the Crawlers their dogs? Am I killing hundreds of ghost dogs? The story is a morass of bullshit although the central idea of fleshing out the Master Chief as a manufactured sociopath left adrift when the systems that maintaim him fall apart is cool. Sadly the execution is muddled at best, the treatment of Cortana as a character being a significant example. Post singularity love interest or surrogate mum? Pick ONE. Don't do both. That's just weird. Halo Reach (Xbox One, MCC version): The best one overall in my opinion (although maybe too somber and self serious for it's own good) taking the grounded, human setting of ODSTs city and widening the scope to a whole planet. Plenty of knowing tributes to Halo:CE levels, you get your Silent Cartographer beach landing bit and your Truth and Reconcilliation night time sniper action. There's a fair bit of rushing structures, getting inside them, blowing up reactors and jumping out while they explode, which is the kind of simple moment to moment level progression that the whole franchise could have benefited from more of. The Elites are back which is very welcome, but they feel slightly lacking compared to their original incarnation. Their animations and howls of rage and exhilliaration are all toned down. That's made up for by grand scale and breakneck pacing and it's pretty obvious playing both games one after the other that 343 leaned heavily on Reach as the blueprint for Halo 4. Some decent glaciers. By the end of the game the story collapses in to farce under the sheer weight of heroic sacrifice after heroic sacrifice but Jorge's storyline stands out as a terser, smarter exploration of the same themes of alienation and rootlessness that Halo 4 wades around in. Wraps up with a dramatic fight in the rain against waves of enemies, a tense encounter with some super powered elites, a brief nose dive in quality with a shit turret section, but then redeems itself with that final section. Ruiner (Xbox One): Intersting take on a twin stick shooter where you're typically only fighting two or three enemies at a time and they can soak up a lot of fire before they go down. Lots of dashes and switching weapons on the fly gives it an almost character action feel. Overall if suffers from repeating the same handful of boss battles throughout the game, pace destroying town sections and a story with a distinctly edge-lordy whiff about it. Fantastic design and production values but the performance on a One S suffers a lot. I can't remember much about how I felt playing it only a month and a bit on but I didn't rank it that highly on my big list of what I've finished at the time, although I honestly couldn't tell you why now... Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (Xbox One): Pretty sure nobody from the Tolkein estate paid too much attention to this one because psychically exploding Orcs heads Scanners style does not seem on brand for Lord of the Rings. All the fun here is in interacting with Uruk captains and the nemesis system. The story missions and ending sequence are just dull cruft in comparison to the endless procession of procedurally generated orc dickheads and their hilarious nonsense. Nothing in any game has made me smile this year as much as an Uruk captain launching in to a florid description of the ways he'll end your life before being instantly decapitated the moment he's finished talking. Without the nemesis system this would be a duff Assasin's Creed clone with IP inappropraite levels of violence. The genius bit of design that elevates it is the simple idea of taking all the systemic chaos of a Ubisoft style open world game and adding one simple layer of persistence to the systems so each chance encounter with a powerful enemy has an inkling of significance and consequence. It's a crime that this design philosophy hasn't caught on. The Bard's Tale Remastered (Xbox One): Sands off the more sadistic edges of the 80s original while keeping the atmosphere and no frills dungeon crawling happily intact. I never got too far on the original when I was young because for some reason it never occured to me to make my own maps (I did manage to commit the entire layout of the 1st level of the cellars to memory though!) so it's nice to go back and get some closure. It's a very tightly scoped game - a town not a city, with a handful of dungeons that link together in novel ways - with a balanced economy (resurrections and status heals cost more gold as you level up). When you reach the point where individual level ups start to lose significance the game compensates by introducing new magical loot on the later dungeon levels. Later on the dungeons become more convoluted and you get mired down navigating endless spinner traps and zones of darkness but a few simple puzzles and some decent meat and potatoes tactical combat kept me interested. Tempest 4000 (Xbox One): I was aiming to cement my position in the top 10 of all three XBL leaderboards but in the end I managed top 10 on classic mode then I think top 30 for pure and just outside the top 50 for survival. I've probably slipped down a fair bit now as it looked like there were still some regular players chipping away at it. I've left it too long to go back to now so I'll call it done. I didn't come close to clearing the game without continues but made it through all the levels twice in Classic mode. I think it's an overall improvement on Tempest 2000 which would let you build up 10s of extra lives only to see you haemorrhage most of them on visually incoherent difficulty spike levels you had to strategically warp past. This is much more balanced although even after running through the game twice I found some of the later levels hard to decipher visually and mechanically. It's not as rich mechnically or visually as Space Giraffe was sitting somewhere in the middle of T2000 and Space Giraffe. ... I played too many game in 2019, mostly at the expense of sleep, so I really need to scale things back for 2020. I've got Tactics Ogre, Jedi: Fallen Order and Outer Worlds left outstanding so they need finishing off first of all. I'm also thinking I should try and cross some classics off my must-play list. I finished about 3/4 of what I started, the only notable game that fell by the wayside was Outer Wilds which my posts in the game specific thread cover my journey with in detail. I've been ranking everything I've played since I started posting in the "Games you've completed..." threads but the top 10 is looking a bit dull now thanks to the Master Chief Collection and how highly I rate the Halo series... Here's everything ranked for 2019 and my top 10 since 2017: All games finished in 2019 ranked: A pretty decent mix of stuff. Creature In The Well was the only thing I'd describe as genuinely bad. R-Type Tactics is deeply flawed but at least interesting. Top 10 since 2017:
  11. The little musical stings that play as you're exploring in this are perfect. Pure Star Wars.
  12. matt0

    Illustration Club

    When something isn't working out I try and lean in to it. Tell myself okay, this one is going to be bad but what detail in there is good or interesting despite that? Sometimes the process of trying (and maybe failing) to fix it is the interesting bit. Sometimes it's walking away from the mess with a fragment of what was good about the preliminary sketch still showing.
  13. I might have worded my previous post badly, the innuendo is just throw away gags separate to the LGBT subtexts (which are still hard to miss despite the unfortunate censorship). It's just daft puns, things like they're clearing out Steven's Dad's storage locker in one episode and there's dialogue along the lines of "Don't worry, I've seen your junk before". It's fairly tame, but it stands out in the context of a kids show.
  14. They actually re-released it on PS1 and Saturn with the sprite and tile art untouched.
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