Finished Cyberpunk 2077 a few days ago. Played as a Nomad Tech/Sniper sneaky character. Now I'm thinking about trying a Street Kid sword swinger.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
Haven't finished it, but I can't keep grinding at this. Seems this game is just not for me. I've tried to get through the main campaign since it released 20 years ago. Anyway, my review for NWN.

Seems I'm done with this one. And I hope for good this time. I tried grinding through the main campaign for the nth time, in 20 years now, and I just cannot do it. I keep hearing that the expansions are better, and due to my OCD I feel I cannot just skip to those. Maybe I will just skip to those, some day.

Unfortunately I'm just burned out on this game again. It's just a terrible rpg. As others have said, it's a good implementation of the mechanics of AD&D, but it's just a terrible game aside from that. More of a framework to maybe serve as an alternative to live-action role playing. But a good rpg it is just not.

The story is as generic and boring as you can get. The writing also puts you to sleep. Even the way the UI is laid out, with the dialogue box relegated to a small window on the edge of the screen, kind of suggests that it's a side concern. I've tried multiple times to force myself to read through most of the dialogue, but my eyes just end up glazing over the text. I've never reached further than the end of chapter 2 (out of 4), and I hear it's pretty terrible throughout the whole thing.

The world and landscape is also terrible. Due to them prioritizing the modular aspect of their levels, the whole world ends up looking like boxes stitched together. It all looks very unnatural. And I don't know which is worse, the outside or the inside environments. But they all looks kind of the same. Blocky landscapes. Just terrible idea. It's shocking that CDPR managed to modify this engine into what they pulled off with the first Witcher.

The gameplay, while it does offer a good implementation of AD&D for the most while, the way they structured turns and the impact this has on the flow of combat is terrible, especially if you're playing a rogue like I have. Probably amplified by the fact that I've chosen to play with hardcore d&d rules, it leads to most combat situations taking forever to end. Being a rogue I'm pretty proficient at dodging most attacks, but most enemies are also adept at dodging mine. So you waste a lot of time, just doing nothing, just watching your character, and the enemies he's fighting, dance around each other, taking turns for what feels like an eternity. Just awful. Midway through the whole of what I managed to play I just started playing youtube videos while playing the game. That's a really bad sign for a game.

I can't believe I've been at this game since it was released, back with the original version, 20 years ago, and I still haven't managed to grind through it to at least check it off and be done with it. I feel I may never do that. Maybe I'll return to the expansions in the future. Maybe not. Maybe I'm just not meant to experience this one.

4/10.
 

Redglyph

SasqWatch
Wasn't NWN based on D&D 3.0?

Sorry to hear you didn't like it, it's still one of my favourite games, but I have to admit the OC wasn't the best one.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
Wasn't NWN based on D&D 3.0?

Sorry to hear you didn't like it, it's still one of my favourite games, but I have to admit the OC wasn't the best one.
I have a long history with NWN. As I said, I think I've tried to complete the main campaign for 5-10 times since it came out in 2002. And I think every time I've retried it, I just keep digging myself deeper and deeper into just being fed up with it and not having patience with it.

The weird thing is, since it's so combat heavy and so little focus is put on the story and characters, you could say it should suffer a similar fate to IWD. But I freaking loved IWD. But that had a lot more going for it. First of all, the combat was fast and good. As all infinity engine games tend to have. The story was decent. But the world, atmosphere and locations were fantastic. The music also. Just amazing. I never had any of these in NWN to keep a hold on me.

I think I'll give it another couple of years to get the bad taste out of my mouth, and then I'll hopefully try to just jump into the exansions, and forget the main campaign exists. And I'll see about revising my review then. But until then, I'm just too bitter right now.

And man, does it also take a long time. Took me 20h for just act one. Jesus. It's a combat time sponge.
 

Redglyph

SasqWatch
I think I'll give it another couple of years to get the bad taste out of my mouth, and then I'll hopefully try to just jump into the exansions, and forget the main campaign exists. And I'll see about revising my review then. But until then, I'm just too bitter right now.

And man, does it also take a long time. Took me 20h for just act one. Jesus. It's a combat time sponge.
Ah, I understand. My approach was different and I didn't really have any comparison. At the same time I had friends playing it, so it was motivating - I did a part of the OC and a couple of modules in coop.

You should give up the OC and start directly with the DLCs, or even with some of the community campaigns. It would be sad to be burnt out by a game just for the sake of completing the original campaign, it's well-known they never had much time to do that part of the game because they'd spent so much time on the MP and editor features. :)
 

JFarrell71

SasqWatch
You're definitely wasting your time with the OC. A lot of people never played that to completion, and for good reason. I'm not sure I'd spend my time with any NWN at this point (the combat and graphics are going to remain poor, regardless of which NWN content you play), but the add-ons and much of the user made content was markedly better. A strength of NWN was in the flexibility of interactions, and several user made mods (modules) put that to good use. The Aeilund Saga is a good place to start.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
Yes

@danutz_plusplus Afaik, there is zero connection between NWN and NWN2, so you don't need to feel like you missed anything by not playing NWN if you want to play NWN2.
Good to hear. I thought I heard that, but never confirmed it for myself. But ideally, I did want to go through NWN before going onto NWN2. Oh well, looks like I won't be doing that.

In the mean time I finished a very short game, compared to most other ones. It was one I kept hearing about, but never sat down to go through it. But I'm glad I finally did, since it was a good story, not dragged down too much by the painfully average game supporting it. And it was also very short, since I finished it in around 6h. Which was good, since I really felt it overstaying its welcome. Spec Ops: The Line, my review:

This was another title that I kept hearing about, that it's worth going through at least for the strong narrative. And yep, they were right. It's got a pretty solid story, althrough inspired by existing works. And it does a few winks at that here and there. But that shouldn't really detract from the appreciation. It's not very often that games have good and solid stories.

Unfortunately, all of that is in the body of a pretty generic and sometimes painfully mediocre third person shooter. One that often feels unpolished, and can sometimes get on your nerves. The save system especially is awful, with some pretty few and far between checkpoints. Which was especially aggravating since for some reason I died quite a bit in very stupid situations, not all of them my fault. And I wasn't even on any high difficulty or anything. Second to easiest, and it still managed to annoy me a few times, making me replay certain parts. One particular moment was when, in usual "quick-time" action setpiece moment, I had to guess exactly what the game wanted me to do, otherwise I kept dying over and over. Quite frustrating. I even turned down the difficulty to easiest in the last 2 missions.

The other issue with the vehicle that carries this story, as is the issue in a lot of games with strong and poignant narratives, is the dissonance caused by what you're doing in the game when playing vs the story it's trying to tell. This game could've really used a more gritty and realistically portrayed campaign, and not just your usual mass murdering escapade that you have in most shooters. I mean, for god sakes, I think you end up killing hundreds if not thousands of enemy soldiers throughout, in a Rambo-style shooting gallery. Last of us part 2 had it's own dissonance, but something like that could've really improved everything. But of course, we have to be sensible, and realize that not every studio will have that kind of astronomic budget and support behind it. With what they had, the team probably did the best they could. But maybe toning everything down, and killing a lot fewer people, wouldn't have cost much.

But even with its fair share of negatives, the best parts still manage to shine through in the story. There's also quite a few little story touches in the actual gameplay, that I kind of missed myself and was made aware only after watching a pretty good analysis of the whole experience. It's also one of the rare games that focuses on an anti-war, anti-interventionist and anti-american exceptionalism story. And it could also be the only one where the protagonist kills american soldiers, and does so by the boat-load? I'm not sure I ever saw that in any game. Of course, those are deemed soldiers gone rogue, so of course there is that caveat. But still. It was a pleasant surprise that the main enemies weren't middle-easterners.

7/10 due to the strong narrative. With a Last of Us style game behind it, it could've jumped to a 8 or 9, probably.
 

Pladio

Guardian of Nonsense
Staff Member
Moderator
RPGWatch Donor
Original Sin Donor
I just finished Elex for the second time as a Cleric in anticipation of playing through Elex 2.

I had completely forgotten the storyline, so I thought why not.
Still think it's a really fun game, but I didn't realise in my first pass how slow progression is for the first 10-15 hours.

Hope Elex 2 is a bit better in that regard.
 

Couchpotato

Burned Out Newsposter
I just finished Elex for the second time as a Cleric in anticipation of playing through Elex 2.

I had completely forgotten the storyline, so I thought why not.
Still think it's a really fun game, but I didn't realise in my first pass how slow progression is for the first 10-15 hours.

Hope Elex 2 is a bit better in that regard.
To bad they nerfed the cleric faction in part 2. Time for a replay myself.
 

vanedor

Keeper of the Watch
I really think they managed to make Elex 2 much easier and more fun to play at early level. This is something they really improved for me.

The story and dialogs are still poor. Expect lot of cheese and story elements that make no sense. But Elex is mostly about exploring & looting.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
Finished SOMA.

What a beautiful story, with some very strong philosophical themes tackled. All set in a great underwater setting, but with a completely different flavor to Bioshock. More of a grungy, oily and horror infused flavor, with strong sci-fi and lovecraftian sprinkles on top.

The gameplay itself, is pretty minimal. It does use plenty of the regular immersive experience controls, and those are fine, but what kind of gets tiresome are the enemies that keep trying to jump-scare you. Especially after 25 hours of being hunted by the xenomorph in Alien Isolation, I was especially tired of that. So midway through the game, I restarted the whole thing on the "wuss" difficulty, where the enemies basically ignore you; aside from them still trying to jump-scare you.

So I basically experienced the game, mostly as a "walking simulator" with a bunch of little puzzles here and there. But it was great even like that. Any fan of sci-fi or lovecraftian horror should experience this. But that tends to put a lot of people off. So, I should say any fan of strong philosophical themes should experience this.

The only other thing worth mentioning is the underwater scenery. It's surprising how good it does look; how beautiful but terrifying at the same time. Especially if you have a bit of deep ocean phobia. Some moments are downright nasty. I don't think I could handle this in VR. Definitely not.

9/10 from me.
 

Lolozaur

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition

The graphic changes are pretty nice, especially in the 2nd game, some locations look quite beautiful. But this version comes with the bugs from the old games as well lol, even the dumb AI they didnt bother to at least tweak it. Worth a replay if you enjoyed the separate games ofcourse, i finished it in about 110h.
 
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Lakorus

Watcher
Yesterday I finished "Inscryption", which is a deckbuilding game at its core. But at the same time it is so much more. Luckily I read a spoiler-free review before I started which basically said: "It's a great game but do yourself a favor and read as little as possible about the game until you finish it".

It has so many layers because the game you play is actually a game that was played by a (fictional) youtuber who filmed himself playing the game. After you beat the boss this is revealed and you are finally able to start a new game, which is on a floppy disk that said youtuber found and has a completely different style with bosses, who are self-aware that they exist in a computer game. And from there it goes further on. Really weird.

Finished SOMA.

What a beautiful story, with some very strong philosophical themes tackled. All set in a great underwater setting, but with a completely different flavor to Bioshock. More of a grungy, oily and horror infused flavor, with strong sci-fi and lovecraftian sprinkles on top.

[...]

The only other thing worth mentioning is the underwater scenery. It's surprising how good it does look; how beautiful but terrifying at the same time. Especially if you have a bit of deep ocean phobia. Some moments are downright nasty. I don't think I could handle this in VR. Definitely not.

9/10 from me.
I played it some years ago and was quite impressed as well. Very atmospheric and compelling setting and the flow of the story had a pretty unique rhythm of hope and desolation.
 

danutz_plusplus

SasqWatch
Managed to force myself to just ignore all the side content in the second half of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It was serviceable, if you ignore all the filler. And also had some nice moments. With a few faceplants in terms of what they tried to do.

Since they're very similar, I don't feel like bothering with 3 independent reviews for each of the Tomb Raider games, from this trilogy.

They're also very similar in terms of gameplay, with slight variations. But suffice to say, it's nothing bad, but also nothing remarkable. As most other action-adventure titles, very derivative of the metroidvania style.

What they all, also, have in common is the plethora of random bits and bobs to discover and pickup. It's sort of a OCD person's collect-o-thon, which was nice for a while, but then it really felt like it turned into a job.

Another derivative thing, which I've really grown to be annoyed by are the action set-pieces where you have to dodge, bob and weave around a set trail, while usually there's something grandious happening around you (most often, some calamity that you have to get through). These were again pioneered a long time ago, in whatever first action title, but they've really grown stale. Especially since you often get the wrong direction, or just plain get it wrong, and you constantly have to reload the same section until you learn it by heart. Not fun anymore. But it's not been fun for a long time now.

But the worst thing about these games is that somehow they never manage to neither write a compelling story, nor make the character drama anything interesting. It's all so boring most of the time. Surprisingly, Shadow did manage a few nice heartfelt moments, but it also faceplanted while attempting some other ones. One really stands out, where they tried, for a brief while, to do turn Lara into a sort of Max Payne, revenge driven, killing machine. The idea wasn't bad, but somehow, with the way they wrote Lara, and the way she is, it just would not be in her character. So it really looked ridiculous.

For the first in the trilogy, and Rise, I honestly cannot remember any moments of nice characterization. And i finished Rise very recently, after having lost steam initially at about the midway point. That's another wrong thing about these games, they're so long and filled with so much content, that even in Shadow, towards the second half of the game, I just sprinted towards the ending as I just couldn't bear doing the random "quests" that they introduced with Shadow, where the lackluster writing and unintesting quests really standout. Ignoring those, you could say the main plot is serviceable. But with all the derails caused by the side quests, it really turns into a chore, and causes the game length to be artificially inflated.

Another very nice thing in Shadow, compared to the previous two was the addition of a lot more tombs and crypts to explore. It really seemed like they took the criticism of too much combat, in the previous games, to heart. Some of the tombs are actually very nice and challenging.

I realize I didn't say much about the first two games, but that's just how unremakable they are. And they are that, in most regards, except for visuals and level design. In these two areas, I think all three games really excel. Especially the visuals, and especially in Rise and Shadow. Some are just jawdroppingly beautiful. So much work must have gone into the landscapes. If only the games would have also had some fantastic stories to tell, with some compelling characters. If they wouldn't managed that, it would've been perfect. I really hope Crystal Dynamics manages to do something about all of this, in the UE5 Tomb Raider game they're apparently heading. Say what you will about Uncharted, at least they have some really charismatic characters, like Sullivan and Drake.

Tomb Raider - 6.5/10
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 7/10
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 7.5/10
 

rikus

Sentinel
elex II here as well...a few months back though..wish i could finish those cool games(titan quest, black geyser, encased, wonderboy,art of rally, wasteland 3) but either i'm too lazy, or i feel too stupid "working" to finish(aka. not enjoying myself enough)

the part that ruined me with elex 2 is the part with the boy..


too cheesy and too cold in the same deal.. also too silly. not believable


and I agree, they did made it easier than elex 1, which liked more. but still fantastic games
 

bkrueger

Nothing to see here.
I have now finished my first run of Elden Ring. It is a really great game! I needed 350 hours and played in offline mode (i.e. without multiplayer except for a short test).
I mainly repeat here what I already wrote in the "currently playing" thread about a week ago:

I started Elden Ring for pure curiosity since I heard of the open world aspects. Normally I hate Boss-arena-fight-oriented games and was therefore never interested in souls-likes.

But the exploration aspect and even characters and story are very good and atmospheric and make this a great open world action RPG, if you forget the boss fights. There are also many NPCs with their own side quest. The difference to most RPGs is, that you have no quest log and the hints how the side quests proceed are very rare. Sometimes you need to accidentally meet an NPC again during exploration in order to progress their quest.

According to my play style I try to reduce the impact of the boss fights by one of three methods:
1. Find a way to cheese the boss; e.g. by finding a specific weakness, which allows you to kill them easily. I have to admit that I rely heavily on walkthroughs for this, which I normally never do in my first play through of a game.
2. Avoid them. You can avoid many of them, only a handful is mandatory- you can for example even avoid the first boss and his castle by finding a different route - I like such small ideas. Added after completion: I killed all main bosses except one in the underworld of the capital ( I was burned out of those underground pathways - it is unbelievably huge).
3. Level enough in order to make them easy. Because of the open world nature of the game you have so many new areas to explore that leveling is never tedious. I have even killed Melania now, who is considered the hardest boss in the game. I have to admit that I developed some ambitions after learning more and more of the game...

A short and exaggerated bottom line for Elden Ring would be:

Without the yellow walls this game would be one of the best or may be even THE best exploration-oriented action RPG(s) I know.

This game will be in a category (exploration-oriented 3D open world action RPGs) with Piranha Bytes games for me though being of different style, but it scratches my exploration gene in a very similar way.
 

Couchpotato

Burned Out Newsposter
elex II here as well...a few months back though..wish i could finish those cool games(titan quest, black geyser, encased, wonderboy,art of rally, wasteland 3) but either i'm too lazy, or i feel too stupid "working" to finish(aka. not enjoying myself enough)

the part that ruined me with elex 2 is the part with the boy..


too cheesy and too cold in the same deal.. also too silly. not believable


and I agree, they did made it easier than elex 1, which liked more. but still fantastic games
I agree the son was basically a plot device to set up part three. I'm also in the same predicament. As I have many RPGs to finish yet I always play other games instead.
 
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