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August 8th, 2011, 22:05
The Ghosts Of Vooju Island

This is an adventure game in the Monkey Island tradition, made by Autumn Moon, a small developer in which ex-LucasArts employees are working (a few of them had been working on actual Monkey Island games, too).

It is mostly humorous, with a tiny bit of darkness, but - in my opinion - even less than in Monkey Island itself, which I found - t least in the beginning - much more creepy than this game. Or A Vampyre Story, also done by Autumn Moon, is in my opinion also more "creepy" than the Ghosts Of Vooju Island story.

The basic layout is "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly".

Practically, this is :

The Good - Papa Doc Mystere, a Vooju master
The Bad - Mrs. Jane sterling, a half-pirate half-agent sort of woman
The Ugly - Mr. "Blue Belly", the unfortunate cook of a pirate's crew

There are elements which remind you very strongly of Monkey Island or the Pirates Of The Carribbean layout - which is ot bad.

The game is - in my opinion - mediocre, but good, and its riddles are usually good as well.

Some of the riddles appear to me to be a bit un-logical (at least I couldn't quite understand them, because I couldn't see an "logical path" to the solution, unlike in a few other adventure games I've played).

Spoiler


There is no "pixel hunting" involved.

But what there is, is in some places very well hidden "hot spots". No pixels, just very good camouflaged or simpl "hidden in plain sight". By pressing a key on the keyboard, all "hot spots" should be enlightened, but this didn't work for me, I don't know why. Maybe it was changed last-minute so the handbook wasn't correct anymore ?

But what you *need* to do as well is, showing the pieces each individual has collected to the other members of the three. This also involves items you wouldn't think of showing to others.

Showing items to others acts partly like "drag & drop", but with the difference that you don't need to have the mouse key pressed down while "dragging". (I had to find this out first, because I had believed it would be *entirely* like modern OS "drag & drop". It wasn't.)

What I especially liked very much was the occational banter between the group members, especially, when you show items to the other ones.
Unfortunately, this doesn't happen very often.

Talking is the matter of choice, but in contrast to RPGs, different topics don't lead to different solutions.
You must, however, use every single topic you have, because not using them blocks you from solutions.

In the German-language version of the game, the voice-acting is very good to excellent - except Blue Belly, whom voice I didn't found too good, but still very acceptable.

This leads me to another problem : the "speaking animations" weren't played in some cases (mostly when Bluebelly said something or commented on something), and after longer play I had a small texture error during a cutscene. But this was the only time that happened.

Here in Germany, school grades are from 1 (best) to 6 (worst) (with 1+ being an exception (albeit a possible one) like 6-).

I give this game a 3+

The game is still very good, and I *definitively* recommend it to the occasional adventure games player at budget price.
There are a few walkthroughs on the internet, so finding a solution isn't too difficult, I guess.

Alrik

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; August 8th, 2011 at 22:18.
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August 15th, 2011, 15:42
Bioshock 2

I've been pecking away at this one for several months now, which I think hurt the experience some. Not sure whether it was overfamiliarity after playing Bioshock1 or breaking the game into numerous short sessions, but I didn't get pulled in quite as much this time. Since I don't particularly like shooters, the main attraction for me was spending some more time in Rapture just soaking in the ambience. I played on easy as before, which was (as advertised) pretty darn easy. I did manage to die a few times, which never happened in Bioshock 1, but that was mostly from getting lulled into not paying attention to my health bar since most of the time it was a non-issue. The mechanics were pretty much unchanged from the first game, which was fine with me.

Overall, it was a more-of-the-same game. Like Bioshock1, the environment is engrossing and map mowers get rewarded for their efforts. The story was adequate, and I'm glad they resisted the lure of doing another "twist" at the end. Easy was probably too easy, but suited my desire to focus on the game's atmosphere rather than getting frustrated with my shameful fps skills. If you liked the first one, you'll like Bioshock2.

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August 15th, 2011, 17:08
I've tried getting into Bioshock 2 more than once, and it just gets stale very fast. Maybe it's because I think the gameplay formula is at best mediocre, and at worst quite boring and bland. It lacks a certain precision or finesse that I've come to expect from shooters, and since I don't like the genre in the first place - the Bioshock gameplay really doesn't work well at all for me.

The premise of the first game was fantastic, but they failed to carry it through and the story wasn't anywhere near as engaging as the "idea" of the setting and the universe.

Bioshock 2 seems to emphasise the shooter gameplay even more than the first game, and though the characters seemed somewhat less over-the-top and wrapped in not quite-so-pretentious writing, they just weren't enough to maintain my interest.
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August 15th, 2011, 17:40
They introduced a couple tweaks to the mechanics that were minor at best (the spear gun was an interesting addition, but I never used it since on easy it was simplest to go toe-to-toe, switching weapons only when forced by ammo shortages), but it's pretty much the same game. I didn't get the idea that 2 was "more" of a shooter than 1, but I suppose that wasn't really an aspect I'd be attuned to anyway.

So, I'd say the contrapositive holds—if you didn't like Bioshock1, you probably won't like Bioshock2 either.

Simply put, if the game's atmosphere doesn't pull you in, there's not much reason to play it. I got the game dirt-cheap on Steam, so while my experience wasn't great, I still got my money's worth.

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August 15th, 2011, 18:03
Coming from someone who spent time with sect-psychology (including political groups), I found Bioshock 2 a bit more interesting than Bioshock 1, but Bioshock 1 might have been a better game.

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August 15th, 2011, 18:06
They introduced a couple tweaks to the mechanics that were minor at best (the spear gun was an interesting addition, but I never used it since on easy it was simplest to go toe-to-toe, switching weapons only when forced by ammo shortages), but it's pretty much the same game. I didn't get the idea that 2 was "more" of a shooter than 1, but I suppose that wasn't really an aspect I'd be attuned to anyway.

So, I'd say the contrapositive holds—if you didn't like Bioshock1, you probably won't like Bioshock2 either.

Simply put, if the game's atmosphere doesn't pull you in, there's not much reason to play it. I got the game dirt-cheap on Steam, so while my experience wasn't great, I still got my money's worth.
I guess it might be my mistake to consider it more of a shooter. I've played it 2-3 times and never got past ~50% of the game. It just seemed more "straightforward" as an experience, but maybe that's just because the magic of the setting had worn off by then.

I could have sworn they introduced more ways to "experiment" with weapons and powers - but maybe that's my memory playing tricks.

When games don't "do it for me" - I tend to forget almost all about them almost immediately.

But, sure, it's not a bad game - and if you're the sort of person to consider what's worthwhile based on what you paid for it - I think now is a great time to try it, if you're at all interested.
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August 15th, 2011, 18:44
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I guess it might be my mistake to consider it more of a shooter. I've played it 2-3 times and never got past ~50% of the game. It just seemed more "straightforward" as an experience, but maybe that's just because the magic of the setting had worn off by then.

I could have sworn they introduced more ways to "experiment" with weapons and powers - but maybe that's my memory playing tricks.
It's very possible you're correct, even if I didn't see it. I like to call my usual approach to "action-y" games, be they shooters or aRPG, sumo gaming. I stand across from the critter, smash into them, and we beat the crap out of each other until someone falls out of the circle. Not much creativity, and probably not a good test of a game's ability to allow experiments.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
But, sure, it's not a bad game - and if you're the sort of person to consider what's worthwhile based on what you paid for it - I think now is a great time to try it, if you're at all interested.
I don't know that it's invalid to introduce the sordid topic of coin when evaluating a game. Whether it's a case of reduced expectations going in, or a more generous grading scale after the fact, a gamer's overall satisfaction will be tempered by the investment required. In particular, I think you're far less likely to feel disappointment for a $10 game than a $50 game.

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August 15th, 2011, 18:50
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I don't know that it's invalid to introduce the sordid topic of coin when evaluating a game. Whether it's a case of reduced expectations going in, or a more generous grading scale after the fact, a gamer's overall satisfaction will be tempered by the investment required. In particular, I think you're far less likely to feel disappointment for a $10 game than a $50 game.
I think it's a very widespread consideration - but since I'm not particularly concerned with value for money (in a strict sense) - I have to add my little comment to point that out.

Personally, I don't really care what a game costs - as long as it's within reason and my personal economic reach. Beyond that, it's all about the level of entertainment I receive for the hours invested.

Essentially, I need my time spent to be "worth it" compared to what I could have spent my time on instead.

I have far too little time in life already, and for a game to be worthwhile - it has to do some pretty fantastic things for me to consider it fully worthwhile - regardless of the monetary investment made
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August 15th, 2011, 19:11
So really, it's the same basic mentality of negotiable expectations. You're just substituting the time angle for the monetary angle. Which would be a minority opinion (though not invalid by any stretch), but perfectly in character for you.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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August 15th, 2011, 19:17
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
So really, it's the same basic mentality of negotiable expectations. You're just substituting the time angle for the monetary angle. Which would be a minority opinion (though not invalid by any stretch), but perfectly in character for you.
Pretty much, yeah.

Essentially, I - personally - consider "time" something that can represent greater things than "money" can represent.
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August 17th, 2011, 22:38
I am admittedly a huge fan of Obsidian's work (in terms of personal enjoyment I rate both Alpha Protocol and Kotor2 very highly), but my last two weeks have been something else.

I just Finished New Vegas, and wont be able to go back to Bethsoft's own titles (and I really liked FO3!) again now that I've seen a "proper" game using their engine. I havent been as blown away by a RPG since The Witcher several years ago, or possibly even since the Baldurs Gate/Gothic area. At the moment I'd put New Vegas among my very favourite RPGs (which would be BG2, Morrowind and Gothic I in no particular order). In a way it combines some of my favourite elements of all three.

The best thing about the game is that quality doesnt seem to come at the expense of quantity. There seems to be as much to do as in Fallout 3, locations are more varied, and I will soon start a replay trying a very different type of character taking different sides and focusing on new parts of the map. I finished the main quest without touching many of the side quests and still feel that I've gotten a longish gameplay experience out of it
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August 17th, 2011, 22:44
Nice. I'm looking forward to buying the GotY edition around Xmas.
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August 17th, 2011, 23:22
There are some bugs in quest triggers (comparable to FO3 in frequency, but different in character since Vegas "cheats" around some things that caused problems in FO3) and audio sometimes not matching subtitles (fairly minor).

The one serious bug I had was that the endgame didnt proceed if I dealt with one of the baddies violently.

I dont know if a reload would have helped as I had enough speech skill to handle the situation with the aid of doping.
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August 20th, 2011, 19:55
I agree completely about New Vegas! Like you I played it this year, i.e. in a patched and polished state and it just captured me completely.

I'm sure Skyrim will get mightily praised when it's release but, for me, New Vegas shows how good a "Bethesda-style" open-world can be and gives Skyrim a lot to live up to.
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August 21st, 2011, 08:46
Finished Dragon Age 2 a few hours ago. Man, I'm sad now . Typical post-game depression.
Anyway, I liked the game a lot better than I thought I would after reading all the opinions on it.

Here's what I liked better than in the predecessor:

* Faster, smoother combat appealed to me. I'm not the combat junkie, anyway (which so ruined Wiz 8 for me), so if I can't avoid it I'd rather have it be over quick.
* The change in artistic style grew on me to a point where I actually preferred it over that of DA:O. I especially liked what they did to the Elves - for me, their new, alien look added to their mystery, and it made me feel less sore about not being able to get along well with Merrill.
* Having a bunch of companions who caused me headaches for 75% of the time? No, I'm not complaining. I even liked the changes from Awakening, to be true. Just overhearing them talk to each other felt like being back in the open-plan office I fled three years ago. Not that I had liked it there, but if felt real, somehow.
* The same goes for the whole situation in Kirkwall: Personally, I'd hate to be there, but I have been 'there' already (albeit on a different level) IRL, so I found this uncanny. Talk about trying to be the voice of reason among raving lunatics of all sorts. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place they nicely captured the atmosphere of the place I work at , just that I stopped reasoning long ago. I'm far more tempted to tear the place down nowadays, mainly because I hate to be pushed around and it developed into a 'us' or 'them' situation at one point. Ugh.
* No cross-skilling. It actually made me afraid for a moment when I thought I'd lose both my tank and DPS and would have to fight the final battles withought a fighter .
* Not being able to choose Dog as a companion. Right, I liked that better because even though I loved Dog there was more party banter this way.

Here's what I liked better in the predecessor:

* Being able to talk to my companions whenever I wanted. Though it was a bit distracting when I mis-clicked and somebody stopped to talk to me in the middle of a fight.
* Female dwarves! I haven't seen any in Kirkwall and surroundings.

So here's my initial and my final team - headaches aside. At least I was faithful.
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August 21st, 2011, 10:22
Be careful, Jaz… you might lose street cred for that.

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August 21st, 2011, 10:41
Pah. I bow to no one, not even my rep. I was born that way.
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August 21st, 2011, 11:19
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Pah. I bow to no one, not even my rep. I was born that way.
You bow to yourself, which just might be the worst relationship ever. Always follow you around, always watching, always nagging about the little things, keeping you occupied when you would rather be alone.

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August 21st, 2011, 11:31
Hahahah . That's great. Okay, then let's say 'to no one else'.
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August 21st, 2011, 13:54
Last night I finished up my first play-through of Call of Pripyat with the Complete mod installed. It's quite possibly the most accessibly coherent and well polished of all the STALKER games to date. The fallout style ending slider was also very unexpected, as was the amount of choices of impact there were story wise.

One of the improvements I felt was the rewards for artifact hunting, which I didn't get into with as much enthusiasm in the previous games. As a result, I completed all of the optional science based missions in Jupiter, which is one of the three main quest hubs in the game.

I felt plot wise that the game started to wind down by the time you get to Pripyat itself, which wasn't as compellingly portrayed as it was SoC and felt somewhat empty in contrast to the previous two areas.

Overall I still probably lean towards Shadows of Chernobyl for its sheer atmosphere and plot. However, Call of Pripyat comes in a close second for me and provided a radiated bevy of post-apocalyptic themed exploration.

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