You do just fine, good post. I’d like to post in this thread but am sorta committed to that other one so I’ll at least read and follow here.
I envy your memory in the other thread even your short notes are evocative of how it must have felt at the time. I would like to be able to do more there too. At least on my chosen topic it was etched in there pretty hard like the day I broke my ankles jumping in the woods or the day I fell out of the grid 30 meters up.
plus it helped I have been replaying recently originally to hoover up some achievements.
Interesting timing as a chest in Fable 2 has me interested some lost media things. Could probably do a Microsoft focused lost media write up. Already have another flash game from Bethesda I’ve found out about.
Now this is precisely what we had in mind when brainstorming this idea. Fantastic first entry Cerys… now I need to restart VP and Trouble in Paradise because of this…
Fantastic dive into Scarlet Nexus. I’d really love a follow-up from you when you get a chance to experience it on the Series consoles, in case there are any hiccups/gripes that you may have had that are ironed out. I may have missed it, but which character did you choose?
I’m really loving the first wave of entries everyone!
Thanks. Performance was solid for the most part aside from when there were a lot of effects going on, where the frame rate drops to perhaps 15-20 FPS or so. I expect the combat to feel a lot smoother once I get back to my Series X in a month, so I suppose I’ll do a small follow-up. Also, I played both characters, but I started out with Kasane.
OK seems quiet, I have another one lined up if my first wasnt so bad. Its based off my steam playthrough but I’ve played it on Xbox too and the console version is very playable.
I’d say go ahead and do it. Your first one was very nice.
I think @Knottian is rolling with your VP article as our first one, but is waiting for you to be back from your holiday. Expect a DM n stuff!
OK be gentle
Sunless Skies is the sequel to Failbetter Games’ “Sunless Seas” and set in the same Gothic alternative Victorian Britain as that and older browser game “Fallen London”. Though previous experience of those games is not required to enjoy this game, in many ways it is a more refined game for newcomers.
A New British Empire has spread across the Æther, filled with eldritch abominations and maddening environments which makes up the “High Wilderness”. Her Majesty, imposing her will upon this new frontier with an increased Tyranny has displaced more and more outcasts to the fringes of this dark domain and the oily metallic tang of revolution is in the air. The backbone of this new Stellar Empire being time itself, hewn from the outer edges of the High Wilderness and twisted to favour those blessed by the traitorous Empress.
Part narrative focused RPG, part choose your own adventure set in a delightful top down view of the High Wilderness in all its bleak Steampunk glory. You start the game as First officer of an interstellar Locomotive returning from an excursion which has crippled the vessel and left its captain mortally wounded, you limp to port and end up inheriting the ship and its crew. At this point you can follow the mystery of the “Black Box” a remnant of the last costly voyage, or go your own way, exploring the ever changing wilds, becoming a trader or taking up arms in a civil war.
The game is desperately tricky at default settings with death being the end of a run, and space for supplies being at a premium those early hours are played with a not inconsiderable amount of tension. Death can come swiftly to marauders, mutiny, any number of eldritch creature or simply running out of life giving supplies in the vast expanse. Space, is after all, big. Options exist to ease these rules (Captains can opt for “smarter” weapons which home slightly on targets or a slower supply use) though there is an enjoyment in the default harshness of the Wilderness, and failure is a powerful developer of your story. Combat is not so deep or complex replying ultimately on managing heat build up and dodging enemies while firing back with your weapons. Though encounters are brief and mostly easily avoided.
The reason to play and love Failbetters’ games like Sunless skies is not so much in the mechanical, but in the writing. This Gothic alternative 1900 is bleak and desperate, and like prior games a deliciously macabre mix of whimsy and disquiet, and such wonderful horrors to see play out onto you and your valiant crew, it’s Nightmarish in its horror and banality.
Players start with a Silhouette and an honorific (pleasingly allowing for a good deal more gender neutrality than larger games) and then build their characters facets, their base for a story. You select your decided “win state” be it, Knowledge fame or money and chose a background for your Captain, your starting history will decide your starting stats, here wonderfully named to match the worlds motifs, “Veils” allowing for more duplicitous or evasive actions, “Hearts” for more enduring or convincing.
By playing the game more facets are unlocked, not only from levelling but also from emergent events, surviving a brush with death or finding out about a family secret or illness you have hidden even from yourself. Facets add flavour to the experience but the true lodestone of progression are the stories you find while playing, and from your crew of officers. Each one beautifully written with enough depth, nuance and dreariness to chill anyone’s bones. Chasing these sagas to their end is rarely unfulfilling.
Like your stats the game twists the standard tropes of RPG progression with currencies like “Tales of Terror” or “Uncanny Specimens” with which you use to barter as well as the more standard “gold”. Should you die, your vessel will pass to an heir along with some randomised supplies or other boons to ease the next chapter of your legacy, partially revealed maps for example especially helpful given the 4 main areas of the wilderness shift and twist upon death. The contents of your bank account are also passed on allowing new members of your legacy a leg up on a new start. Likewise should you brave the unknown and return successful your captain can retire and pass on your vessel to the next generation.
This is no typical RPG, there are no cutscenes or dramatic fights through a space station under attack by Robots, indeed you only ever have direct control of your vessel, there are no hours of voiced characters to woo or resources to mine and armour to craft. This is an RPG for those who adore words, a love letter to the works of H.G. Wells, Leigh Brackett and more. For those who find delight in the morbid poetry of Failbetters worlds.
It is simply unlike everything else out there and it is so good.
Apologies for the horrible stewardship of this little mini-project, vacations and work deadlines caused a bit of a longer delay than intended. Here is the first of hopefully many spotlights from this amazing community; in this case it’s @Cerysnetics’s wonderful piece on Viva Pinata. Everyone check it out and give it some love
Dang it @Cerysnetics now I have to do two! lol seriously amazing job my friend!
That is one blockbuster start to a brand new article series. Way to go, Cerys!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic marked a turning point in Star Wars’ relationship with the video game medium. Unlike previous ventures that had more of a ‘gamey’ flair, Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR for short) managed to introduce the unique cinematic vision of Star Wars to video games.
Starting from the quite simple but surprisingly deep character creator, the player is immediately thrust into the world of Star Wars. The classes (of which there are 3: Soldier, Scout, & Scoundrel) to choose from are quite similar to and a clear departure from the standard RPG character classes. There is no ‘Mage’ equivalent to choose from and the Thief is separated into both the Scout & Scoundrel. The Soldier is the only one that has a twin: The Warrior. This is the perfect way to tell the player that, yes, you are playing a RPG. But, you are playing a Star Wars RPG, not a traditional fantasy RPG.
Once the player has chosen their class, they must pick & choose their preferred assortment of starting stats. This is also where the game’s RPG systems shine. On the surface, this process seems much simpler than KotOR’s peers, but, it is in this simplicity that the game has a great amount of depth. Do you want to be a dual blaster wielding gunslinger? You can do that. Or perhaps you want to smash things in the face with a sword? You can do that to. One can even get by on their guile and charisma in order to talk themselves out of a sticky situation. All of this information is clearly laid out for the player. Making the game quite beginner friendly.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s dive into how this game presents a true Star Wars experience.
The game begins in media res (as it should) with a lone ship being accosted by turbo laser fire (sound familiar?). Usually, in this situation, the next character is either part of or in control of the situation. Instead, the Player’s Character (PC) awakens from a deep sleep and is just as confused as the player. This is the perfect start to a Role-Playing game. Once the PC awakens, the action begins. Speaking of action, the game’s combat system does not disappoint.
Like plenty of classic RPGs, the game relies on an invisible ‘dice roll’ that mimics a traditional table top game. This dice roll determines the success of a myriad of different things (mostly combat related). Contrary to what one might think, the game is not technically turn based. While, yes, each character must wait their ‘turn’ to perform an action, multiple characters can actually attack at the same time, react to sword or lightsaber swings with swings of their own, and even duck & weave through blaster fire. All of these little nuances make the game seem much more alive than your standard turn based combat system. I could write an entire article on the combat in the game, but, it is time to write about the thing that truly makes KotOR special: the story and setting.
The game takes place thousands of years before any of the films. But even in this much older version of the Galaxy Far, Far Away, many locations are already past their heyday. That is the main theme of the game: The Past and how people choose to deal with theirs. This theme is noticeable right on the onset with the planet of Taris. A planet spanning metropolis, Taris is well past it’s prime days and is instead mostly done for by the time the PC visits it. But it did not have to be this way. The PC learns quickly that the rot began when the denizens of the planet decided to ignore their past and, instead of change, they live their lives exactly the same as the forebears. This leads to the stagnation that slowly ate away at the planet.
It is not just places but individual people that are greatly affected by The Past. This can be clearly seen in the PC’s companions (of which all react differently). The world weary and somewhat paranoid soldier Carth Onasi tries to burry his past. The firebrand Jedi Juhani’s past led her to her current place in life. Even the streetwise Mission Vao must come to turns with her past (even while she acts like it doesn’t matter) . All of this talk of The Past leads to the second greatest (arguably greatest) twist in all of Star Wars - Note: For those who have never played the game, I would suggest that you stop reading -
You, yes you, are the Sith Lord Revan that denizens of the galaxy have been fearing for several years. Not Darth Malak (the game’s main antagonist), you. You are the Darth Sidious. You are the man behind the curtain. You are the monster who plunged the galaxy into war… Or at least you were – A head injury and some Force trickery caused all of that to be in The Past.
What makes this twist (in my eyes) even more compelling than Vader being Luke’s father is the fact that the player lives in the moment. They ARE Revan. Everything that the PC has done since the start of the game has been by the player’s own volition. Every good or bad deed, evey decision has been the player’s. Until the moment that they learn they are the capital V villain. This makes the moment truly, truly special.
While everything I have written so far sounds very bleak, the player has the power to not make it so. They can save everyone. They came become a true champion of the Light. They can create the quintessential Star Wars ending…. Or they can plunge the Galaxy into darkness. This is what I meant at the beginning of this piece in regards to it being a cinematic Star Wars experience. You are not playing a Star Was game – you are living your own movie. You are your own George Lucas. That is what makes the game truly exceptional.
Deathloop is my game of the year, the only thing that might be able to top it is Halo Infinite but its going to be really hard. Deathloop is a straight 10 from me, its a perfect PC shooter that incorporates every single detail in what I like in stealth games. FAST PACE NON-STOP action with abilities and a kick-ass OST.
I think you might have wanted to post this in “What are you playing”. This might be the wrong thread, unless you are writing a long-form review like the ones done by Cerys and Marcus above. Cheers.
Anyone here still playing their PS4? I heard about some recent update that was bricking consoles. Haven’t played Strive for a while since I’m afraid to turn on my Pro.
You might want to post this in the PS5 thread.
Community corner is for articles that the community might want to put up on the main site. Not to be mixed with Community Hangout: Meat Circus