Saturday Morning Gaming: On Replaying the Campaign and On Not Bothering To

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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  1. Avatar DavidTC
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    says:

    I am playing The Outer Worlds, as it just went on sale on Steam.

    I think I’m most of the way through, so let me give my observations. I will avoid spoilers for all but the first ten minutes of the game.

    First, we all knew it was going to be very Fallout-y, being by the New Vegas studio, but what I didn’t quite expect is how much it would feel like Mass Effect too!

    It’s basically if you took the Fallout universe, replaced the gung-ho militararism satire with a satire of pro-corporatism and capitalism operating in ways it certainly should not be operating. You have a reputation system straight out of New Vegas.

    Then you threw in a bunch of Bioware tropes. A small team that lives on your ship, you get two at a time, they banter, there is even elevator riding that must be some sort of homage. And they are…really interesting. They have such different life experiences that it’s worthwhile to not base going into a level with who would help best (Honestly, I’m not finding the game super-difficult there.), but with who actually knows stuff.

    The levels are basically halfway between Bethesda and Bioware. They’re partial open-world…in that there are multiple planets/settlement areas, that are moderately large, but considering it’s several planets, it’s obviously not _actually_ open world. You can’t walk around the entire planet, but you can walk around the area around each city to a distance.

    The leveling system is…I don’t remember how Bioware levels work, but I seem to remember a bunch of interconnected perks and powers, you don’t get that here, and they’re all pretty simple. Leveling is a lot slower, in the sense I’m at level 25 and I’m fairly sure I’m near endgame and I have like 3/4th of optional stuff done too…not including the DLC, which I haven’t done yet. Mostly you do better by getting better weapons…and this is one of those games that you can’t help but collecting huge amounts of money, so the weapons are…basically whatever level you can buy. (Minus the ‘Science’ weapons, which are mad-science-type things.)

    So much of these games is just these two different sorts of RPGs and putting them in a blender, and then simplifing it a lot, in good ways…for example, you get three different ammo types and everything just uses one of those. And mods apply to basically any weapon, etc.

    Now for the disappointing: The plot. For most of the game the plot is basically trivial…you were a frozen passenger on a colony ship to an existing colony, and something happened and you ended up frozen for 70 years, which…should not be recoverable from, the cap is supposed to be about 10 years. But the ship was discovered by a mad scientist, who figured out how to unstasis you, using a specific chemical that was discontinued, so you’re spending a huge chunk of the game trying to track down a large supply of that chemical to get the entire rest of the ship out of stasis also.

    And then…there’s an achievement (Basically gotten _right before_ you actually get a hold of the chemicals.) called ‘The audience gasps’ with the description of ‘Learn the shocking truth about the colony’, which I will not explain, but…really should change your goals. It’s something I’m not sure how to deal with, but I am…thinking about it. (If someone will remind me how spoiler tags work here, I’ll make another post with what is happening.)

    So the problem is, for most of the game, the plot is super thin. You tend to have local plots, which at least two of the main ones are ‘local corporation out of control and a bunch of rebels have run off into the woods’, and you end up trying to side with one or the other or…having them make peace. And the reason you’re doing this is standard ‘RPG excuse’, in that isn’t actually helpful for you, someone either makes you do it or it’s just required practically to accomplish your goal. There’s very little sense of everything tying together.

    Also…the game seems not that huge. Maybe someone else could chime in. I’m a little bit past the ‘The audience gasps’, but…this feels like I’m about to have to start making endgame decisions. And for the record…I’m only thirty hours in, and I am the ultimate completionist, in that I have very little outstanding plots…it’s possible I haven’t picked up some, I’m going to wander around a bit, and there’s at least one thing that looks like a multi-quest line, but…it seems kinda thin, and I’m glad I got it on sale.

    OTOH, the game devs really did just sit down and crib basically every single good thing from every RPG. I just kinda wish it had a deeper story to go with it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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      says:

      I enjoyed The Outer Worlds immensely but, interestingly enough, I didn’t find it particularly replayable. I beat it, I sighed happily, I never need to play it again.Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to DavidTC
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      says:

      “there is even elevator riding that must be some sort of homage”

      Mass Effect hid loading screens through the use of glacially slow elevators, so I’m guessing that’s it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
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        says:

        There’s an awesome thread here about a ladder bug in Outer Worlds.

        Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          The ‘cows spawning into the cargo bay’ referenced in that thread was the point where they just stopped trying to hide the fact they were ripping off Firefly. 😉

          Like, I left that out of my original post, but your damn ship is Serenity, from Firefly. Laid out different, yes, but very very Serenity. And honestly, the _universe_ is very Firefly-ish…the problems are weirdly different, but the problems are, in a weird way, the central government. (Which is a group of corporations here).

          They even manage to have both a Kaylee _and_ a Book on the team. (And Ellie is arguably a weird combo of Simon and Jayne. A Simon who decided to be a Jayne.)

          And, not to be spoilery, but…wow, the DLC is…hmm. Like, I’m not done with it, but it’s feeling straight out of Firefly lore.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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            says:

            Holy cow, I never even caught that.

            And it ties in with “The Federation” being remorseless bureaucrats who care more about their share prices than actually doing good for folks.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              You never caught the _cows_ were a reference to the Firefly episode they transported cows? Or you never caught the Firefly stuff at all?

              Because…I caught the Firefly stuff as soon as I visited my new ship, and then go into town to try to fix it and there’s this innocent mechanic with a rural accent who just has a natural gift for mechanical things and wants to head off with you and your ship.

              Parvati is probably my favorite companions, although all the companions are _really_ well fleshed out…I guess it helped to only have five of them. (Well, six, but the robot is barely anything and almost pointless.)

              I especially like the _lack_ of a romance option (For anyone at all), because that often feels weird to me in a game…do X to get to relationship level Y. And in this case, it allowed _her_ plot of dating Junlei.

              …and earlier today, I couldn’t start the game because it was updating…and it appears the reason it was updating the base game is the newest DLC comes out March 17, so…I guess I will finish the current DLC off and then wait to finish the game.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to JS
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        says:

        No, it’s not to hiding loading. Or…not just that.

        A good chunk of the elevator rides are to very very small areas, and are very very short.

        The game uses elevators to do character separation…basically every single ‘faction leader’ you talk to is behind very short elevator ride, which I believe is to allow you to start shooting the leader up _without_ aggro-ing literally everyone (Of course, if you do that and piss the faction off, that faction is probably at the other end of the elevator also.) …and it also allows the game to transparently reflect any changes you might have done outside when you get back there. And, block fast travel while you’re in the office…and to stop those weird sort of glitches where you run into important people and try to talk when you’re in combat or something. Or glitches where your companions are supposed to be in the conversation but haven’t caught up yet.

        I mean, I can see what the elevators are doing, on purpose, to make dealing with an open-world RPG slightly saner. You open a door into most of the smaller buildings and just walk into the building and it’s clear it’s actually part of the same space. There are door transitions for _combat buildings_, and entering exiting a city, but not…walking around in a city or in the countryside or anything. It honestly is odd, they’ve really worked to make it that, once you’re in an area, it psychologically feels like the same area going in and out of buildings. Unlike Fallout, where any building larger than a hut requires a transition. In The Outer Worlds, you walk up to a building, slide the door open, walk in, and walk around. One space.

        …and _then_, if it’s a building with a certain sort of NPC in it, you take an elevator up to the office of the ‘head person’ and it’s basically a set piece. It’s weirdly deliberate.(1)

        As for the outside…there are a few elevators there, and I’m sure they are doing loading, just like a few of the other choke-points like bridges and smaller tunnels.

        Like every single landing pad has an elevator down, although…it’s worth pointing out you can just jump off those and continue onward. The game doesn’t freeze you or anything. It’s certainly _possible_ to get ahead of the loading if you do something weird and you can get two or three seconds of the game pausing with a spinning circle (Like exit a town out one door and run around the outside of the town and go down a _different_ road away from town, and the game is like ‘You’re going _that_ way? Hold on.’), but’s it’s nowhere near the Mass Effect problem that they had to hide with elevators.

        Anyway, the reason I said it was a reference was not the elevators per se, it was how your companions position themselves into the elevators exactly like on Mass Effort, and the elevators are all fairly big. (Unlike Fallout, where the elevators are often very cramped.)

        1) In fact, I’m wondering if it’s just psychological, a way of showing those people have distanced themselves from the people. I can think of a few notable exceptions where this _isn’t_ true, including ‘rebels’ and the one corporate leader who seems genuinely to want to reform things…both of those, you can walk right in and up to them.Report

  2. Avatar Fish
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    says:

    My quest for the “One Year, To Be Exact” achievement in Oxygen Not Included continues. The goal is to get a colony to survive for 365.25 cycles.The randomly-generated map I’m doing this on is…not optimal. There is plenty of coal (for electricity) and algae (for oxygen production), but the coal is scattered in pockets and my dupes are having to spend more and more time traveling to both mine it and pick it up for burning or storage. There are apparently no sources of natural gas or hydrogen on the map, so coal it is. In fact, the only vents I’ve discovered emit chlorine, water, and polluted oxygen. There’s even a volcano! All these vents have their uses but none of them are generating electricity (hmm…I wonder if I could pipe water over to the volcano and convert it to steam and use that to turn steam turbines…).

    At any rate, I’m somewhere around 194 cycles in, and the colony has overcome poor oxygen distribution, chlorine infiltration, food shortages, heat issues, and a persistent slimelung epidemic. Things have settled in pretty well, but I’ve got to find an alternative energy source or things may fall off a cliff.Report

  3. Avatar JS
    Ignored
    says:

    Right now I’m splitting between Civ 6 with a few friends, time with Fuser, and finally getting around to the Witcher 3

    Which took about 10 to 12 hours for combat to “gel” with me. I still spend too much time rolling rather than dodging (I never can remember dodge is an option) but….what I do works.

    Fuser is fun, but the campaign irks me. Even getting 3 stars (out of 5!) on the campaign requires tossing aside the whole POINT of the game (DJ mixing to come up with good sounding tracks) in order to simply swap tracks pretty much every downbeat. And for some reason trying to get decent scores always has me in a minor key, which I seem to dislike.

    Thankfully, I spend my time in freestyle building mixes which is much more fun.Report

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