General Games Discussion

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Post by Harmonica Thu Dec 16, 2021 12:20 pm

https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/15/22834567/stalker-2-nfts-metahuman-dmarket

https://steamcommunity.com/app/1643320/discussions/0/3202620277336976577/?ctp=1

Oh snap, another game ruined by greed? NFT's are forbidden in Steam which could mean the game is removed. This will hurt bad as it's one of my favorite franchises. pale

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Post by M99 Thu Dec 16, 2021 2:06 pm

https://news.ubisoft.com/en-us/article/4adJLuhgYrPboHAPRfK7Oz/splinter-cell-remake-begins-development-at-ubisoft-toronto
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Post by Arquitecto Fri Dec 17, 2021 1:32 pm

Being a huge fan of Splinter Cell that makes me happy and that it isnt a remaster but Ive been waiting for a new new Spilinter Cell since Double Agent as when they went the action mark and execute route I lost most of my interest even if its gameplay was good, but a Splinter Cell it was not.

And Michael Ironside needs to be brought back.
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Post by Lord Spencer Thu Dec 23, 2021 12:54 am

#59

Game: Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return:-
Year: 1999, 2000.
Genre: Action Platformer Adventure.
Publisher: Whoopee Camp, Sony.
Developer: Whoopee Camp.


General Games Discussion - Page 10 Tomba-2-NTSC-PSX-FRONT

The first Tomba! was a genre-bending game that had a lot of great ideas in combining Action Platforming mechanics with Adventure game concepts to make an entirely unique game. It succeeded at that, but it also had its share of flaws, in mechanics, pace, and direction.

Thankfully, the concept didn't die with the first game, and the team had their chance to correct most of the first's flaws with a much better second game.

"Be careful when you go there though, there's an Evil Pig spell in that area"

The Evil Pigs are back to cursing the land. The caves of Mining town are filled with hot lava, the Kujara Ranch seems subjected to unnatural climate change, and all the clowns in Clown Town were turned into pigs. Maybe they would have gotten away with it, since this land is different than the one Tomba kicked them out of last game, but they made it personal by also kidnapping his childhood friend.

And so, our pink-haired hero ventures forth to capture the Evil Pigs, throwing them inside Evil Pig Bags, in the process both lifting the curse from the world and solving a lot of minor tasks in the way.

The story is as basic as the first game, and has the same comedy and charm, but is significantly expanded through the addition of voice acting and a sidekick character that acts as Tomba's voice. As expected from your typical PS1 game, the VA varies wildly in quality, and it ruins the game's otherwise funny dialogue through annoying voices and awkward acting. It's also not something you can easily ignore, as the story is focused on more in this sequel, which means more voiced dialogue and more annoying "acting".

Thankfully, the questionable VA doesn't kill the charm of the game, which still manages to carry through in both the dialogue and the funny motions and situation the game throws at you. One running gag is the crazy ways a path is revealed from one location to another, with some ludicrously designed Rube Goldberg machines.

Also, the fact that areas change after a curse is lifted, along with a lot of dialogue changes as your both progress the story and solve more quests, is a testament to how well-developed and dense the world of the game is.

"As you can see, this village has been cursed by the Evil Pigs"

Quests, or "events" as the game likes to call them, are what differentiates the game from other Action Platformers. These "events" are scattered throughout the game, with any being optional, and they range from fetch quests to collectethons, with some mini-games in between.

Other than the main events, which are required to progress through the game, you stumble upon the rest. Thankfully, unlike in the first game, items that are necessary to complete a quest are present even before uncovering it.

As a result of resolving these quests, you often unlock new power-ups, items, chest keys, and other goodies which aid you in your journey. This not only opens up more quests, but empowers you like any properly balanced Action-Adventure game should do.

If you look at the quality of these events, then you might be a bit disappointed. However, that shouldn't be the metric on which you judge. These events give weight and meaning to what Tomba does in the world, provide narrative opportunities for some comedy, and give the illusion of an open-ended experience.

Regarding the main events, like in the first game, there is no guidance on what to do next, but the signposting is much better this time around. As you go into each new location, you help resolve its immediate issues, unlocking the path to the next location as well as uncovering a new Evil Pig Bag. It's then up to you to find where the Evil Pig Gate is, which you can easily stumble upon by resisting the same areas in no time.

"If you don't know which Evil Pig kidnapped your friend, then you'll have to fight them all"

One of the biggest changes between Tomba! 2 and its predecessor is the full integrations of polygonal graphics, and consequently utilization of a true 3D space. The game still takes place in a 2D plane, but this plane is connected to other "planes" in various ways, and the game's camera rotates as you transfer from one place to the other. The camera also followed you in a quasi 2.5D perspective that aids your depth perception and view of the world.

These graphical changes have wide-reaching mechanical effects as well since jumps change perspective as you traverse, Tomba is more floaty than ever. In fact, as you progress through the game and unlock some power-up suits, you gain the ability to glide and become even floatier as a result.

While this comes at the consequence of slowing down the gameplay somewhat, it is necessary for gauging depth in a 3D space.

Thankfully, Tomba is not over-reliant on jumping on top of enemies and throwing them around as he was in the first game. Instead, he is given more offensive options that you unlock through the game. From your basic flail to a grappling hook (which unlocks some satisfying grappling gameplay), there are many ways to dispatch your enemies.

Unfortunately, the same flexibility in approach is not afforded by the bosses, who are all a combination of a micro obstacle course and a classic jump and throw into the bag routine. This repetitiveness wouldn't have been as bad if the game wasn't end-loaded with bosses, but the obstacles are at least drastically different between each boss.

"And remember, buckets are for water, baskets are for crabs. Don't get confused"

Naturally, the biggest impact of transitioning fully into polygons was the graphics of the game, which anyone familiar with PS1 graphics could imagine being a terrible decision. Luckily, despite some obvious (and literal) rough edges, Tomba! 2 doesn't suffer too much thanks to its forgiving and cartoony art direction.

Somehow, everything in the world fits the confines of the PS1, and the edges complement the angular focus of much of the game's world design. It also helps that most of the game's locations are rich with vibrant and bright colors.

In a way, the graphics just work, with the occasionally jank in design and animations only adding rather than subtracting from the game's charms.

Just as the graphics of the game got a major overhaul, so did the focus on music, which is much more apparent this time around. Simply put, this soundtrack is much better all around, and has some really good tracks.

One thing I liked is how the same areas receive a new soundtrack once the curse is lifted, and that's not only narratively rewarding, but is also an excuse for more good music. Ironically, despite lacking some of the non-cursed themes, my favorite songs are the cursed themes of "Coal Mining Town" and "Ranch Area".

In Conclusion:

The Tomba! have a certain cult-favorite reputation, with their unique genre-bending gameplay, game concepts, and art direction. On the strength of the games, this reputation is much deserved, especially when it comes to Toba! 2.

Despite some issues with graphical and mechanical jank, some of the same pacing issues as the first game, and a small penchant for repetition, this is still a massively charmingly unique game that is worth a try for any PS1 fan.

Final: 8/10

Pros:

  • Unique genre-defying game
  • The game's world and characters are charming in graphics and design
  • Music is much improved with some good tracks
  • Event system adds a fun feedback loop


Cons:

  • Several issues with hitboxes that cause unnecessary damage and stopping.
  • The voice acting is mostly bad.
  • Graphics and physics can get a bit janky


"Tips"
1-Circle through the world once, and then twice for the most efficient playthrough.
2-Early on, you can use charity wings to teleport from area to area.
3-Generally speaking, the squirrel suit is the best thing you should be wearing most of the time.
4-You can't immediately resolve all events you uncover.
5-Beating the fire Evil Pig will open a connection between all realms.
6-Make sure to finish the Charlie (monkey) events.


"Next Game"

That's it for the short-lived Tomba! series, which started with a good game and ended with a very good one that is perfectly deserving of its cult-favorite status.

The next games o the list are the two PS1 Tenchu games, with the second one getting #57 in the Retro Sanctuary Top 100 PS1 games list. In theory, these are two games I should like, but they may have aged terribly with time. Let's see how it goes.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Harmonica Fri Dec 24, 2021 4:59 pm

@Harmonica wrote:https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/15/22834567/stalker-2-nfts-metahuman-dmarket

https://steamcommunity.com/app/1643320/discussions/0/3202620277336976577/?ctp=1

Oh snap, another game ruined by greed? NFT's are forbidden in Steam which could mean the game is removed. This will hurt bad as it's one of my favorite franchises. pale


:bow:
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Post by Lord Spencer Thu Dec 30, 2021 2:33 am

#57(S)

Game: Tenchu: Stealth Assassins:-
Year: 1998.
Genre: 3D Stealth Action.
Publisher: Sony, Activision.
Developer: Acquire.


General Games Discussion - Page 10 Tenchu-Stealth-Assassins-NTSC-PSX-FRONT


The advent of the PS1 and 3D gaming lead to new ambitious and creative developers entering the field, and as they crowded each other in an established market, it was clear that successful games from non-established franchises needed something creative and interesting to differentiate them.

Enter Tenchu, which probably is the first successful implementation of Stealth Action gameplay in a 3D space. From its stealth-centric gameplay, the Sengoku era Ninja setting sprung through. It succeeded and cemented Acquire as a full-fledged developer to this day.

Yet, as can be seen from Metal Gear Solid just six months later, the many technical difficulties that Tenchu couldn't solve drag it considerably down, and it exists more as an interesting relic today than the cutting edge masterpiece that it may have been at its release.

"Lord Gohda expect much of you, the enemy will be skillful and relentless. You must be prepared physically and spiritually"

As one of two ninjas under the employ of Lord Gohda in the tumultuous Sengoku Era of Japan (16th century), you are tasked with various underhanded espionage and assassination missions to keep the peace. These missions range from assassinating a corrupt minister to sneaking a message through enemy lines, and the story in each mission usually resolves in one cliched one-liner or another.

There is no real depth behind the story of Rikimaru and Ayame beyond their established character tropes, and the introduction of a semi-demonic ninja foe doesn't improve things much. Not that it needs much improving if we are honest.

Basically, the story and the setting serve to make convincing missions for your characters to go through, and the variety between looking for a character to kill and a simple stealthy traversal of a dangerous location is welcome.

Some may even appreciate the abrupt introduction and ending of interesting-looking characters, as that might remind them of the speed at which characters are thrust into the limelight just to die as in an Akira Kurosawa Samurai movie.

"Your greed sickens me. I hope your death is a lesson to others"

With 3D gaming at its infancy, the reality of its limitations came against the ambitions of Tenchu in two ways. First, a ninja must traverse with speed and take advantage of heights and rooftops. Second, a stealth game requires careful preparation and observation to plan your route of assault. Both aspects of Tenchu's gameplay were impacted by the complications of running the game with a stable framerate at an acceptable resolution.

As a result, the player character's movement was necessarily slowed down, and the draw distance was significantly limited (with a nighttime setting used as a convenient excuse). Naturally, these limitations could severely hinder the game.

To solve the first issue, the developers made an extremely useful grappling hook that could zip you from place to place at high speeds. At that moment, the camera goes into first-person view, and it looks like your character simply teleports to the new location. This trick goes a long way to give you an unparalleled sense of motion, but your character still moves slowly in the main third-person view, and has a pitiful jump that could barely bridge the gap between two nearby rooftops.

Unfortunately, the solution to the second issue isn't nearly as comprehensive or effective. Since the draw distance is pitiful, you are more likely to stumble into their path and be drawn into a fight than notice them and hide. As a solution, the developers gave you an energy meter that senses the proximity of enemies and their state of alertness. However, this meter switches frequently between nearby enemies and doesn't take verticality into consideration, and as such is not a replacement for direct visual referencing.

This, coupled with a directionless map (where your objective's location is never spelled out) leads to a trial-and-error approach where you attempt to figure everything through your mistakes. Apparently, the game was actually built with that in mind, as you are ranked at the end by how stealthily you achieve each mission. Yet, I doubt anyone could achieve true mastery the first time since they are bound to stumble into enemies while looking for their hidden objective.

"Die you misguided soul"

The main attraction of playing Tenchu is in playing as an actual Ninja would, with stealth and deliberation instead of over-the-top action. This in fact was the reason Sony hesitated to publish the game themselves in the West, because they thought the Western audiences wouldn't like playing as a stealthy Ninja.

Of course, they were wrong, and the success of this game and others like it proved that Japanese perception of Western gaming tastes was severely faulty.

In Tenchu, you begin by preparing for the mission at hand by carrying a few helpful items. Shurikens can be used for ranged attacks and as a distraction, poison riceballs are a huge boon against guards, and smoke bombs can help you escape unharmed. Once in a mission, you are aided by whatever items you picked up and your trusty grappling hook.

Thankfully, missions come in different varieties, from assassinations to escapes. In some missions, you are forced to engage in a cut-throat boss battle or two, and that would expose the limited combat system if it was more frequent, but works just right with this frequency. It showcases battles as vicious and deadly struggles, and that works with the Kurosawa influence.

Since each location is unique and somewhat memorable, it helps in replaying the levels to get better and better scores, and the variety of tools you can use may help you achieve better results. So, while your preparation the first time is hampered by the game's engine, you can always prepare for better runs through the same level.

"In the name of Azuma Ninja clan, I fully accept your challenge"

Being an early 3D game with an attempt at "realistic" designs, Tenchu obviously suffers more than its peers regarding how its graphics aged, especially when you also consider the limited draw distance it had to work with.

Yet, through those limitations, the characters worked well if you didn't focus on their low-resolution faces, and the environments were expertly crafted. Rose petals and snowflakes adorned the castle walls, and you could imagine a much more beautiful world behind those blocky graphics.

It's not a pretty game, and its graphics have not aged gracefully, but the expertise behind them still manages to salvage some visual splendor.

Something that didn't need any sort of salvaging is the excellent soundtrack of the game, composed by Noriyuki Asakura of Rurouni Kenshin fame, it's both a unique and utterly sublime score. Each and every track oozes personality from top to bottom, with movement stealthily shifting before going into unexpected melodic attacks.

Seriously, from the opening track, "Addua" with its African lyrics, you realize you are in for some amazing sounds. This is soon confirmed with each and every track in the game, with "Execute the Corrupt Minister" and "Cure the Princess" being personal favorites.

Unfortunately, the same level of care wasn't afforded to the voice acting, which inexplicably jumps from Western accents for main characters to Asian accents for villains at the drop of a hat.

In Conclusion:

There is no doubt in my mind that Tenchu was a great game in its time. It was a unique and revolutionary step forward for 3D gaming and its own genre, and it worked really well considering the limitations of the time. Yet, due to its pioneering nature, the advances made to its formula are more apparent and render it less fun as a result.

Yet, we can still appreciate it for its historical importance, and for an honestly sublime soundtrack.

Final: 7/10

Pros:

  • Unique genre-defying game
  • Sublime soundtrack
  • Really good core concept


Cons:

  • Short draw distance hampers the game's graphics and gameplay
  • A lot of trial-and-error gameplay elements since you don't know where are your objectives
  • Graphics are a little muddy, and the camera controls are lacking


"Tips"
1-Use your grappling hook well.
2-Shurikens are the best way to deal with dogs.
3-Poison rice balls can be used both to incapacitate enemies and lure them into places.
4-Sneaking also means running to guard and slashing them from the back.
5-It also means jumping and slashing from above.
6-For multiple walkthroughs, try and remember where the guards and objectives are. The included map (select button) is mostly useless.


"Next Game"

I have always been a fan of the Tenchu games despite being a causal observer and never finishing any of them. As such, I expected to like the first game in the series even if I expected it didn't age practically gracefully. However, I had no idea it had such a unique and great soundtrack.

Now, I am hoping that the second game in the series resolved some of the issues of the first as wells as hoping for some other excellent soundtrack.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Harmonica Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:31 pm

https://wccftech.com/stalker-2-heart-of-chernobyl-delayed-december/

Lolz
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Post by Harmonica Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:08 am

Gaming industry slowly dying, luckily Skyrim is a game you can play forever. It always feels fresh because of the absolute best modding scene providing great mods every day.
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Post by Harmonica Yesterday at 7:03 pm

https://news.microsoft.com/features/microsoft-to-acquire-activision-blizzard-to-bring-the-joy-and-community-of-gaming-to-everyone-across-every-device/

Diablo 2: Resurrection and Diablo 3 in Steam? hmm bounce
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Post by LeVersacci Yesterday at 7:06 pm

Mental. 70B acquisition. Doubt they’ll turn wow subscription to gamepass.
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Post by danyjr Yesterday at 8:02 pm

Not sure if this is good for the consumers or not, nevertheless Microsoft have got their act together.

First Bethesda and now Activision-Blizzard. If only they could buy Epic now...
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Post by LeVersacci Yesterday at 8:09 pm

It’s clear MS wants to be the netflix of gaming with their gamepass once cloud gaming is one day playable for millions.

I might check GP at some point since I only use my gaming PC for classic wow/diablo.

Hopefully this means more fps from Sony with cod leaving the console in the future.
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Post by rincon Yesterday at 8:25 pm

@danyjr wrote:Not sure if this is good for the consumers or not, nevertheless Microsoft have got their act together.

First Bethesda and now Activision-Blizzard. If only they could buy Epic now...

Bad for the consumer imo. This, like the Bethesda deal, will move huge existing studios and franchises to console-exclusivity.

Ideally Microsoft would invest that money in creating new studios, or acquiring and growing smaller ones to make top content on their platforms, instead of buying huge game in billionaire deals.
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Post by Arquitecto Yesterday at 8:41 pm

Tail-end of Abby's saga in Last of Us 2 as I definitely enjoy playing with Ellie far more as it puzzles me to play the character who did what she did to an important character.

Definitely didn't see the fuss of all the SJW stuff as if anything they handled the Lev gender talk very discreetly, for example.

Brilliant game as expected though I do hope the story picks up soon.
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