Author Topic: What are you playing right now?  (Read 474206 times)

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Offline SL1

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Terminator: Resistance.

It's starting to feel too much like a mod for Fallout 4. Too much time spent wandering around collecting items and not enough time spent blasting Terminators.

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Halo: Combat Evolved (PC)
The last third is too repetitive.
Not only that but the last bit with the grenades to blow up the reactor was infuriating, it's not enough to toss the grenades in the slots inside the tubes, they must be in the precise point the game wants them to be otherwise you'll have to climb back up to do it again with respwaning enemies all around.
Also the last bit is a vehicle section with wonky vehicle physics and only one checkpoint in the middle that apparently refused to save the first time I did it.
And of course there is the fact that oftentimes the game refuses to save unless you cleaned a room of enemies even if cleaning said room isn't strictly necessary to proceed.
There are some great visuals for the time (note: I played it with the original graphics and sound) and the first half or so does have a great sense of scale but other than that I can't believe people thought this was good enough to be considered a killer app at the time, especially considered that one of the people that touted the Xbox to me at the time was a PC enthusiast (an adult PC enthusiast at that). Compared to other console shooters perhaps it was above average (and I can see why cutting down on stuff allowed it to be much more playable than others) but I can think of so many PC FPS games that easily outclass it that came out the same year or even before.
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: What are you playing right now?
IMO it's one of the best games ever made and no title, PC or console, released at the time could hold a candle to it in the areas of its strengths (namely AI, physics, and flow).

The secret to its greatness is that it was built as an RTT first and it holds on to the elements of simulationism pulled over from Myth which set it apart from anything that came before.

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Halo was originally gonna be an RTT? Damn. TIL I'm a filthy ****ing casual when it comes to FPS.

  

Offline Mongoose

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Re: What are you playing right now?
I honestly have to agree with the good Detective. I've not yet played the Anniversary Collection version yet, but I did go through the original PC release years ago and was rather underwhelmed. The level design in particular is a massive issue: the singleplayer campaign consists of ten levels that use about four levels' worth of content, with much of that being copied-and-pasted room elements. (Hope you like bland, featureless concrete hallways!) Just about the entire second half of the game involves working your way backwards through the same environments you've already traversed. While the vehicles themselves are a great design element, their controls are clunky at best and incredibly frustrating at worst (hello final escape sequence). While the original at least had healthpacks, the regenerating shield lent itself to the "take a few potshots and hide behind cover" engagement model, instead of encouraging you to stay in the fray. And this is purely a personal preference thing, but I will always side with the "can carry the armaments of an entire regiment" school of FPS design. I never liked being limited by two weapons slots.

The game is an absolute landmark for what it did to console multiplayer in particular, and really multiplayer in general. The gunplay was solid, the enemies were fun to engage with, the overall atmosphere was fantastic, and The Silent Cartographer remains a singularly great experience. But it also had some very glaring flaws, and I honestly don't think it holds up particularly well today. I'd certainly much rather replay the original Half-Life, and that came out a full 3 years prior.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 12:34:47 am by Mongoose »

 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Compared to other console shooters perhaps it was above average (and I can see why cutting down on stuff allowed it to be much more playable than others) but I can think of so many PC FPS games that easily outclass it that came out the same year or even before.

There's a few things I don't think people appreciate when looking back on it. One is that playing a shooter with a controller in your hands on a couch with friends next to you is such a massively different experince than with playing alone or online on a PC, and Halo made that work really really well. That's a certain kind of magic. When Halo came out I had a decent selection of PC shooters I could play, but none of them let me just fight, with or against, my brother and our friends, without massive amounts of work. Golden Eye had come before of course, and others, but Halo nailed the experience so very hard.

Another is that the the ways in which it is cut down compared to PC shooters are virtues in their own right. Is it cool to have ten different guns sharing a handfull of different ammo types, juggling between them and twiddling with alternate fire modes while keeping an eye out for various kinds of health, armor, ammo, and powerup pickups? Hell yeah it is, and it's plenty fun. But checkpoints, limited weapon management with shallow exclusive ammo pools and mostly regenerating health mean you can throw yourself into difficult combats, again and again. You never have to ask if you ****ed up and quicksaved in too bad a place and now do you need to restart the whole level to get out of this hole? This is great for bringing people into the genre, but it has value for the experinced too.

Third is that it welded together so many different things that were good but  hadn't really been brought together before as well. Was having a grenade button, or an always ready melee, checkpoints, colorful art and emotive enemies, forgiving recharging shields, limited weapon carriage, explosion physics and delightful chain reactions, or combination vehicular and foot combat? No, I can't point to originators for all of those but I'm pretty sure most of them had shown up in games before or at least were showing up in other games released at around the same time. But I can't think of anything that integrated all those together so cohesively and did all of them well. I remember playing some other PC shooters with vehicular integration in particular at about the same time and it was nowhere near as satisfying or seamless. Now it's no big deal when we see these things together, they're part of the standard design language, so Halo doesn't seem that special anymore, but at the time that was part of it's magic.

As an aside, I never minded the repetitive or backtracking levels. Yeah, it is a cheap way to artificially lengthen the game, but it has always felt natural to me that in moving through big structures you'd see lots of similar spaces, and I never felt like I was repeating the same exact fight. Repetition in a way makes the place feel more real to me, and I've felt similarly about other games that have gotten that kind of criticism.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Nostalgia exterts a strong pull here...
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Call it nostalgia if you like, but I don't think Halo's popularity can be denied or attributed to just a lucky fad or marketing push. If it doesn't do it for you, that's fine, but you're left with the choice of either assuming that all the unwashed masses just have inherently poor taste somehow, or actually trying to identify what it did right.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 

Offline The E

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Re: What are you playing right now?
My main problem with the Halo remasters is that I've been playing Destiny for literally more than a thousand hours and the Halo gunplay is so close to that yet not quite the same that it keeps tripping me up.
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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Call it nostalgia if you like, but I don't think Halo's popularity can be denied or attributed to just a lucky fad or marketing push. If it doesn't do it for you, that's fine, but you're left with the choice of either assuming that all the unwashed masses just have inherently poor taste somehow, or actually trying to identify what it did right.

When did nostalgia become something to be so defensive about?

EDIT: Oh, this about the gravity-metaphor missing the mark, isn't it?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 04:12:39 am by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: What are you playing right now?
While the original at least had healthpacks, the regenerating shield lent itself to the "take a few potshots and hide behind cover" engagement model

No, it's the other way. If you have a finite health pool you hide and play attrition games (see Half Life 1). The regenerating shield lets you take risks and dance out in the open.

 

Offline Det. Bullock

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Re: What are you playing right now?
While the original at least had healthpacks, the regenerating shield lent itself to the "take a few potshots and hide behind cover" engagement model

No, it's the other way. If you have a finite health pool you hide and play attrition games (see Half Life 1). The regenerating shield lets you take risks and dance out in the open.
Not really, there are plenty of attacks  that kill you in one hit shield or not.
The sticky grenades in particular, even the lowest mooks have them and once you get hit you are dead.
"I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
"People assume  that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,  but *actually*  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more  like a big ball  of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: What are you playing right now?
That's orthogonal, since they'd kill you whether you had attritive health or a regenerating shield. A regenerating shield lets you accept chip damage without it permanently depleting your health.

Man I wish we could get a PC port of Metroid Prime.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: What are you playing right now?
If you own it, you could get a rom for backup you know.

That's all I'm saying about that.

 
Re: What are you playing right now?
Could you imagine Metroid Prime MADE for PC with real mouse support and, ya know, textures...

Also back on Halo:
I'll admit that it didn't age particularly well, but it still feels really good to play.
And at the risk of being thought insane, I actually enjoyed the library and the final warthog run.

 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: What are you playing right now?

When did nostalgia become something to be so defensive about?

EDIT: Oh, this about the gravity-metaphor missing the mark, isn't it?
It has thoroughly missed me yes.

Typically in my experience when someone brings up nostalgia in a context like you did it's as a way to dismiss someone's opinion on the thing as simply rationalizations for nostalgia about something that's not actually that good. Seems like that wasn't actually your intention, so sorry for misinterpreting it.

And at the risk of being thought insane, I actually enjoyed the library and the final warthog run.
Same. Despite being the grey, dark, copy-paste heavy level it is I can remember distinct parts of the Library offhand. Good times.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: What are you playing right now?
No, it's the other way. If you have a finite health pool you hide and play attrition games (see Half Life 1). The regenerating shield lets you take risks and dance out in the open.
I feel like I've had the opposite experience when playing through games with either model. I'm not even thinking of HL1 in general, but going even more old-school like Descent. The only sources of health replenishment there are from placed power-ups, or from enemy drops. Either way, if you want a health refill, you're forced to explore the level until you find one, with the focus on keeping you moving to new locations. In contrast, when I played through Halo, I remember a lot of running backwards and crouching down behind the closest convenient crate until the shield had a chance to refill, and then popping back out to do a bit more damage. There was a lot of running back-and-forth between two points in the same small area, and coupled with the fully-linear design of most of the levels that eliminated the possibility of exploration, it felt like there was very little incentive to do anything dart in and out of cover. I haven't played the nuDooms yet, but I've heard that they do an excellent job of rewarding getting in the ****, and that's a design philosophy I appreciate.

I've seen people say that a regenerating-health system makes the level design process simpler, and I think they're right. It's expected that the player will be starting every new encounter at full health, so there doesn't need to be any consideration for variations in the player's state. Developers get to avoid planning out ideal locations for health drops, and I think there's less emphasis placed on exploring every last nook and cranny of a level. If you're worried about players getting trapped in a situation where their health is too low, it's fairly straightforward to make sure that a player has at least a bare minimum of health drops available, and you can create those moments where the player sees a large health pack before entering a room and knows that ****'s about to hit the fan. In addition, that's really only an issue if you're using a checkpoint system. With quicksaves, the player can choose a safe point to come back to if they feel like they wind up in an unwinnable situation a bit later.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: What are you playing right now?
Descent's a great example — I recently played Overload, which has attritional health (you get health drops from enemies you kill, iirc). This made it very dangerous to take large damage spikes, so there was a lot of careful room-clearing using the ricochet weapons before you actually went in full blast.

With a regenerating health pool you can afford to take bigger risks. This allows you to 'get in the ****', as you say, without taking permanent damage you can't necessarily recover from. And your tactics of "poke out, do a little damage, and hide" of course don't work in Halo, because your enemies have regenerating shields too—unlike in a Half-Life or Call of Duty where you can score permanent damage with little risk.

(It's worth noting that in high level play, Doom 2016 does NOT reward you for getting in close, exactly because the amount of risk required to perform glory kills is too high: despite the designers' best intentions, you spend more time doing gauss cannon combos than you do ripping and tearing.)

What I think you're really talking about is a trend of reduced total health, like in a Call of Duty game where you'll die so rapidly that you can't afford to leave cover for more than a moment or two.

Halo also has a ton of exploration, because health isn't the only possible mechanical reward for exploring a level. There are overshields, which work exactly like the 'there's a boss fight coming' signals you mention. There are camo modules and, of course, hidden power weapons. Most importantly, there are new approaches to areas, often involving using the game's physics to get vehicles and players where they're not 'supposed' to be. This is why Halo tricking and stunting has been so robust and popular.

By contrast, Half-Life 2 has a dreadful semi-procedural health drop system where you will always find the health packs you need, strewn around like salad in conveniently excusable crates and closets. This makes level design very easy, because you can always count on the player having plenty of extra health—after all, your game will spawn it! You can pile that health up as high as you need to in order to meet larger challenges, like a Combine gunship.

By contrast, a Halo-style regenerating shield system makes level design MUCH sharper and more difficult—you know the player has a fixed resource pool and you can calibrate your encounters exactingly to strain that pool to its limit. Want Gordon to fight off a platoon of Combine soldiers? Give him enough health packs to do it. Want the Chief to fight off five high-ranking Elites in close quarters? There's no way, short of dropping an overshield, for you (the designer) to give the player more health. You can only give them more TOOLS — weapons, geometry, knowledge of the Elite AI.

Quicksaves are dreadful for flow and removing the option to quicksave every five steps was a huge boon for designers. **** savescumming!

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: What are you playing right now?
I will forever resent Half-Life 2 for balancing Combine soldiers against Gordon by just flat out giving Gordon more health. Why do I have to engage with this enemy as an intelligent foe if I can just win by attrition?

By contrast Halo's Elites are your mechanical equals, with all the same abilities you have (except grenade throwing, depending on the game and Elite type) and a comparable or even superior health and shield pool. They can absolutely kill you one on one if you **** up, so beating them is a matter of understanding their behavior, not face-tanking their ****ty SMGs while you shotgun them down.

The fact that you can reset the combat encounter and try again by regenerating shields is what ALLOWS them to be your peers: if you suffered permanent attritional damage the designers would have to make the Elites in some way inferior to the player avatar in order to make the game playable.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: What are you playing right now?
What is this green ****? **** you, I'm going to triple post.