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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:20 am 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Marc wrote:
Those extra courses suck though, it was plain to see they hadn't been developed around the OR2 drift mechanic.


I actually find them really refreshing because of that. One course is a mashup of tracks from one of the Daytona USA games and the other is a mashup of the tracks from Scud Race. You definitely can't just drift your way through them and need to learn them to clear them properly, but once you've raced it a few times to learn where the ideal drift spots are and where you need to just let off the accelerator to make a turn in a tight part of the track, I find it a blast to run through them because of how different they feel from either the OR2 or OR2SP tracks.

OR2 also has an unlockable port of the original Outrun game which actually controls pretty well, though unfortunately on the Xbox 360 it seems to have emulation issues; it's playable, but the graphics are messed up significantly.


I think my issue was (bearing in mind I've not played original OR2 for maybe 10 years now) that they ran like ass? I just remember the otherwise pretty much perfect frame rate stuttering, and there were some odd pauses between the course transitions.

Far as the port goes, I remember it not being as smooth as it should have been, but noting in the way of messed-up graphics?

I'll just have to pick up the OR2 disc, about time I got stuck back into a good arcade racer anyway. I tend to hold the OutRun games at arms length a little, both the original, OutRunners and OR2/C2C have been some of my favourite arcade racers since their original releases, so I almost try and stop myself from over playing them. Although last time I tried OutRunners in MAME, it was emulating a twin-screen setup and ran like shit, as opposed to the version I previously had, which ran one screen perfectly.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:18 pm 


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Marc wrote:
I think my issue was (bearing in mind I've not played original OR2 for maybe 10 years now) that they ran like ass? I just remember the otherwise pretty much perfect frame rate stuttering, and there were some odd pauses between the course transitions.


Yeah, unfortunately the emulation on an Xbox 360 of OR2 isn't great. There's a bit of odd stuttering now and then, and occasionally when starting a course the game will just freeze up. Basically, play OR2 for the bonus tracks, and OR2006 C2C for everything else. ;)

It's also more annoying to play the challenge courses since you have long loading times after each one of going back to the selection screen (whereas in OR 2006 C2C each set of challenges after beating one you can select "next" to just play the next course in that challenge bracket, so less time in the menu).

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Although last time I tried OutRunners in MAME, it was emulating a twin-screen setup and ran like shit, as opposed to the version I previously had, which ran one screen perfectly.


The current version of MAME runs it fine as far as I can tell. It is accurate emulation to assume you have a dual-cab setup as I think the PCB is made that way (one PCB per two cabs, each Outrunners PCB has two JAMMA connectors). In MAME, by default it shows both, but under Video Options you can select which one you want to make fullscreen and just ignore the other one. If you don't go into Video Options, when you fire up the game it will show both screens together. Then, just disable the sound channel for the other "cab" you're not using (you'll only have sound out of one speaker).

I haven't figured out how to get it to be monoaural, as in one "cab" playing out of both speakers in MAME, but otherwise it's perfectly playable.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:04 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Marc wrote:
I think my issue was (bearing in mind I've not played original OR2 for maybe 10 years now) that they ran like ass? I just remember the otherwise pretty much perfect frame rate stuttering, and there were some odd pauses between the course transitions.


Yeah, unfortunately the emulation on an Xbox 360 of OR2 isn't great. There's a bit of odd stuttering now and then, and occasionally when starting a course the game will just freeze up. Basically, play OR2 for the bonus tracks, and OR2006 C2C for everything else. ;)


This is part of the reason I stick with time attack. It runs much better since the only thing on the screen is you and a ghost.

Spent some time in Milky Way last night - discovered the outside track is a bit easier (seems to be a little wider) than the inside track. Better at it, but still can shave plenty of seconds off with more practice.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:11 am 


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Re-playing Final Fantasy IV on the PSP's The Complete Collection. Nowadays I still wish they had given V and VI the same treatment at the time, or even for the 3DS. Those Android/PC versions are appalling. :x
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:54 pm 


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Had a few PB times last night.

I've learned there are some drift turns in the game that are best initiated with the brake rather than downshifting. The aforementioned Milky Way (most of it), Coniferous Forest (the end), Jungle (again most of it), and one that one turn in Skyscrapers. Any quick S style turn that can ruin your shit.

There are also a few other places I've noticed that I get through the turn well enough but due to speed the ass end of the car winds up on the grass and you sort of gravitate towards the wall. The brake is your friend sometimes.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:24 am 


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Just realised had some sort of top-down shooter on the go for the last 12-18 months or so.
Latest one is Neon Chrome. Picked up both this and Jydge on the latest PS sale (games under 4 quid - some insane value on there).

It's... OK. Lacks the 'crunch' I need in this sort of game, which has been a problem with quite a few of them actually. It's stat-based which I don't think really suits this genre. Games like this, there should be four types of enemy:
1) Shit you can't kill
2) Shit you can mow through
3) Shit that takes a bit of damage
4) Bosses
Here, it's is dependant on weapon/class/bonuses etc etc... so never really feels as visceral as I want. It's enjoyable enough, made it to the third floor last night and will probably keep playing, but still not quite what I'm looking for. Way to progress seems to be inching forward, luring enemies away from the pack, then picking them off from a distance - there's never that feel of just playing on your toes and winging it.

Isaac and Gungeon both had a similar 'off' feel, and with Gungeon in particular I feel the RNG plays too much of a part to be truly enjoyable.
Still have Android Assault Cactus, Nex Machina (played a while, meant to come back when I had some proper time to give), Jydge, Hotline Miami 2, and Tachyon Project to try out/play properly. Probably one or two more I can't think of.

I do wonder sometimes if anything will come close to Robotron though,
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:09 pm 


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What's with FFV Advance's manual only giving you a partial list of jobs and job abilities? The Japanese manual for the original Super Famicom version lists every ability for every job so you don't waste time sinking hundreds of ABP into Knight and Monk.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:25 am 


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Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle [Vita].
I did a big ass writeup on metacritic but no one's gonna read it since it's for the Vita version and not the Switch or PS4.
It's a Virtual On clone. It's not a terrible one, but it's not amazing.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:35 am 


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WelshMegalodon wrote:
What's with FFV Advance's manual only giving you a partial list of jobs and job abilities? The Japanese manual for the original Super Famicom version lists every ability for every job so you don't waste time sinking hundreds of ABP into Knight and Monk.


Trying to avoid spoilers maybe? :\


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:44 am 


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Having acquired a Switch a little while ago I've been playing on that a lot. Beat BotW after ~75 hours though it felt like maybe 30, don't know where the time went with that. Superb.

I got the Azure Striker Gunvolt pack and I played though the first game's bad ending but I'm not sure if I want to spend the little extra effort for the good one. The amount of talking on screen is horrible, but at least those can be turned off. It was the whole business of tagging an enemy and then just stopping and holding down the flashfield button that didn't appeal to me, it killed the game's flow for me. I'd rather just attack the enemy directly and be done with it. I guess the second game is no different in this regard?

Just got Flashback yesterday, that was one I played in my childhood a lot but never beat, maybe this time. Ugly filters that are turned on by default, but luckily they can all be disabled and you're left with the glorious pixels. I'd love to see a similar release for the original Prince of Persia, or at least the MS-DOS version.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:06 am 


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Got my hands on an old school 27" Zenith with low hours. Not quite sure how many but it was used sparingly at best from 2002 until 2008/9. The last decade it has sat - untouched and unloved.

Hooked my PS 2 up to it to see what C2C looks like - I swear it looks better than component on my HD. Far fewer noticeable jaggies, which sadly the PS 2 version does have.

I can't get over how good it looks, the speakers are ridiculously good too.

Thanks boss.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:25 am 


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Anybody else planning to spend all their money to Washington state? Looking through the Summer Saliens thing and finding a few gems, or big-bucks titles I had been putting aside for now.

Ghegs put up an interesting review of The Surge a while back, and that's been on my list for a while.

Subnautica looks like it might be worth a shot. Or not.
Way of the Samurai 3 & 4 look intriguing.
Final Fantasy XV and XII Zodiac Age seem like they might be up my alley, maybe. Maybe Lightning Returns as well. Depends on the gameplay style; I'm still leery of anything that's not at least as involved as Vagrant Story.
Obduction gets a vote since I'm a longtime fan of Cyan and Myst (and even Uru).
The second wave .hack series, GU, is also on saliens. Gotta play more of the original trilogy but I found it wacky and charming enough.

And then there's all the boatloads of mostly garbage in my wishlist.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:40 am 


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Ed Oscuro wrote:
Anybody else planning to spend all their money to Washington state? Looking through the Summer Saliens thing and finding a few gems, or big-bucks titles I had been putting aside for now.


I also have been meaning to get Obduction... but I almost feel bad getting that and not yet beating Riven. I did play Myst for the first time last year and loved it. I felt s-m-r-t while playing it.

I've settled for now on picking up them AAA titles that came out (shockingly now) years ago that I've had an interest in playing.

I've been trying to do a larger write-up on the Thief trilogy, since i just played through them over the last few months. Suffice to say they are required playing for people who enjoy video-games. :mrgreen: Even if the third game, Deadly Shadows, is a step down in some ways from its two masterpiece predecessors. The difference between 9/10s and 8/10s: not outright anger or frustration, just a little disappointment.

BUT with the sale I did pick up Dishonored, and while design-wise it doesn't do stealth as well as Thief 1/2 (or 3!), as its own thing it's a really fun game. It's not too often you see a game this decade completely eschew the "open world" philosophy in favor of non-linear yet focused level design. It makes finding secrets and different ways to complete each mission a joy. There are lots of moments you can accidentally discover or figure out as the game progresses through the campaign. It's making me wonder if I should splurge on the sequels before the sale ends. Anyone play these games?

I also picked up Deus Ex Human Revolution, Prey, FEAR, and Alien Isolation for peanuts. Feeling pretty stoked about getting my first-person game on... or rather, I guess I've been doing that since I started playing Thief 1 around March.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:26 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
Ed Oscuro wrote:
Anybody else planning to spend all their money to Washington state? Looking through the Summer Saliens thing and finding a few gems, or big-bucks titles I had been putting aside for now.


I also have been meaning to get Obduction... but I almost feel bad getting that and not yet beating Riven. I did play Myst for the first time last year and loved it. I felt s-m-r-t while playing it.

I've settled for now on picking up them AAA titles that came out (shockingly now) years ago that I've had an interest in playing.

I've been trying to do a larger write-up on the Thief trilogy, since i just played through them over the last few months. Suffice to say they are required playing for people who enjoy video-games. :mrgreen: Even if the third game, Deadly Shadows, is a step down in some ways from its two masterpiece predecessors. The difference between 9/10s and 8/10s: not outright anger or frustration, just a little disappointment.

BUT with the sale I did pick up Dishonored, and while design-wise it doesn't do stealth as well as Thief 1/2 (or 3!), as its own thing it's a really fun game. It's not too often you see a game this decade completely eschew the "open world" philosophy in favor of non-linear yet focused level design. It makes finding secrets and different ways to complete each mission a joy. There are lots of moments you can accidentally discover or figure out as the game progresses through the campaign. It's making me wonder if I should splurge on the sequels before the sale ends. Anyone play these games?

I also picked up Deus Ex Human Revolution, Prey, FEAR, and Alien Isolation for peanuts. Feeling pretty stoked about getting my first-person game on... or rather, I guess I've been doing that since I started playing Thief 1 around March.


Dishonoured 2 is ridiculously good. More of the same, but the levels are much, much better in design, with far more opportunities to use the various powers given to you. Two of them in particular are among the best-designed levels I've ever played in a game of this ilk. Finished my low-chaos play and had enjoyed it so much that I immediately started again for a kill-fest, which I almost never do. Sadly the game started to hang on the second level, which put paid to that. Playing through Death of the Outsider at the moment, which offers another take by limiting the number of skills available to you, and ends up feeling a little closer to the Thief way of doing things.

Prey is also excellent. One of the few games I've played in recent years that feels like a 'proper' '90s PC game, in that you can do things completely out of sequence - I triggered a few side missions that ticked themselves straight off my log as I'd already done the stuff necessary to complete them. Can be very difficult in the early hours depending o your build (it really matters, for once), and the lack of enemy variety sometimes brings it down, but overall I'd rate it as highly as Dishonoured.

Human Revolution is the 360/PS3 one right? I think on reflection I preferred it to Mankind Divided, which stretched the formula too thin, and didn't really do anything interesting with its one massive hub area. HR was more punchy, moved the story along more quickly, and just felt more like the original, not that it ever hits those heights.

All great games, enjoy.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:41 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
I've been trying to do a larger write-up on the Thief trilogy, since i just played through them over the last few months. Suffice to say they are required playing for people who enjoy video-games. :mrgreen:


Oof. I only ever played 1. Wanted to check 2 out but was wondering if I needed to replay 1 first as a refresher. That's pretty long, though..
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:25 am 


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Marc wrote:
Dishonoured 2 is ridiculously good. More of the same, but the levels are much, much better in design, with far more opportunities to use the various powers given to you. Two of them in particular are among the best-designed levels I've ever played in a game of this ilk.

Would you recomment skipping over the first game and moving straight into Dishonored 2?
I played a bit of 1 and really enjoyed it, but didn't get very far, probably due to being distracted by something else. I'd really like to play the second game, which I already have lying around too, but I don't know if I should move straight on to it.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:44 am 


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i actually bought the first thief the other day.... i had 73p in my steam wallet from selling trading cards and it was only 69p, nice! previously i've only played a bit of the third game on original xbox, but the game kept crashing on me so i didn't get very far.

looking forward to trying this one out, i think it's exactly the kind of game i will love.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:53 pm 


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Stevens wrote:
Got my hands on an old school 27" Zenith with low hours. Not quite sure how many but it was used sparingly at best from 2002 until 2008/9. The last decade it has sat - untouched and unloved.

Hooked my PS 2 up to it to see what C2C looks like - I swear it looks better than component on my HD. Far fewer noticeable jaggies, which sadly the PS 2 version does have.

I can't get over how good it looks, the speakers are ridiculously good too.

Thanks boss.


Heh, the first tv I remember my family had was an old Zenith with a dial channel changer.

Sumez wrote:
Marc wrote:
Dishonoured 2 is ridiculously good. More of the same, but the levels are much, much better in design, with far more opportunities to use the various powers given to you. Two of them in particular are among the best-designed levels I've ever played in a game of this ilk.

Would you recomment skipping over the first game and moving straight into Dishonored 2?
I played a bit of 1 and really enjoyed it, but didn't get very far, probably due to being distracted by something else. I'd really like to play the second game, which I already have lying around too, but I don't know if I should move straight on to it.


First one is still worth playing through imo.

I'm playing Resident Evil 5. I don't remember if I actually played through this before, though I have played a ton of the mercenaries mode...


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:59 pm 


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Steamflogger Boss wrote:
First one is still worth playing through imo.

The thing is, if I decide to focus on Dishonoured 1, I might never even get to 2 :\


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:07 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
Steamflogger Boss wrote:
First one is still worth playing through imo.

The thing is, if I decide to focus on Dishonoured 1, I might never even get to 2 :\


If you're thinking you're only going to get around to one of them, definitely. First is good, but the levels feel a bit claustrophobic after playing 2 (I attempted to go back to 1 to play the DLC). It's bigger, without losing focus, and offers more ways to play. Enjoyed every minute I spent with it, whereas with the original, I could feel the ambition of the game occasionally clashing with the available tech.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:40 pm 


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Thanks for the write-up marc! I'll have to give it a better read later as I'm not running out the door.

Immryr wrote:
i actually bought the first thief the other day.... i had 73p in my steam wallet from selling trading cards and it was only 69p, nice! previously i've only played a bit of the third game on original xbox, but the game kept crashing on me so i didn't get very far.

looking forward to trying this one out, i think it's exactly the kind of game i will love.

Please note that if you play Thief 1, you are going to need to patch it to get the best experience.

Look up the patch Tfix on the TTGL forums, which fixes some technical issues for running a 90s pc game on modern OSes. You can ignore the options for graphical enhancements, since you can't really pretty up a 1998 game like that without the seams starting to show.

Also, keybinds always suck on Looking Glass pc games. Same as System Shock, etc. You'll quickly want to rebind the controls so that Q and E lean left and right, and A and D strafe left and right. Also, this takes getting used to, but it's best to have run mapped to W and walk mapped to S. It's awkward at first but you will be doing a lot of walking in the game.

The game is a wild ride: I spent less than a dollar on it and got more than 30 hours of one of the coolest games ever!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:14 am 


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Dishonored 1's level size feels right for my tastes, being a modern take on Thief.

Other titles for sale interest: Heavy discounts on ACE Team's output - I'll probably just jump on heavy discounts for the Zeno Clash series - and Dishonored 2 is in a special bundle with the latest Prey (I'm still trying to work out the most cost-effective way of buying those games since they both have DLCs, stand-alone in the case of Dishonored 2: Death of the Outsider, but I think it's just to add the DLC).


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:52 am 


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Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dishonored 1 immensely, but the increased level size in 2 allowed you to get really creative with the various powers. I almost never play games like these twice, and on the rare occasion it's normally a few years later, it's a measure of how much fun I had with 2 that I dove straight back in.

Sadly, I'm struggling with Death of the Outsider at the moment, it's just not grabbing my attention, though it may just be my mood at the moment.

Think I'm gonna toss Neon Chrome, good at what it does but not really clicking with me at all.
Preparing myself for a long session of Lumines Remastered on Switch later, and picked up Dirt Rally on sale - I've not played a pure rally game since Colin McRae on PS1. Also have the urge to dig out 360 Seag Rally and start a new career.

Also picked up Windjammers, but need my brother to come over this weekend to do it justice.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:52 am 


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Sooooo, after literally completing 99 percent of the map things got busy to the point that I couldn't sit down and play Ys 8 for a week or two, but I finally finished off the bugger last night: overall a fun trip, but I stand by what I said earlier about 1) The series' strength is not story, and the longer it's allowed to go on the stupider it gets (and Falcom's seeming determination to make every new game "more anime" than their last one doesn't exactly help); 2) Combat is either sublime (when you can clearly see what you and the enemy are doing) or a slog (when you can't), with little in between; I couldn't help but notice that historic restrictions on health item use have been lifted, so you can chug-a-lug potions through most any encounter, probably a necessity seeing how hard it is to keep track of things at times.

Missed a couple of things and have no idea where/when I did so, but got pretty close to completion, that'll do for now. Not sure what's next, but probably something a bit shorter after a few dozen hours on this bugger.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:48 pm 


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Marc wrote:
Think I'm gonna toss Neon Chrome, good at what it does but not really clicking with me at all.


Yeah, Neon Chrome was a disappointment. Jydge is much better, it's like a much more forgiving Hotline Miami. But if you want the true successor to Crimsonlands that would be Tesla vs. Lovecraft.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:59 pm 


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Posts: 2403
Location: Brooklyn NY
Still OutRun 2/C2C.

Favorite cars drivers?
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:16 pm 


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Location: Guildford, UK
Ghegs wrote:
I got the Azure Striker Gunvolt pack and I played though the first game's bad ending but I'm not sure if I want to spend the little extra effort for the good one. The amount of talking on screen is horrible, but at least those can be turned off. It was the whole business of tagging an enemy and then just stopping and holding down the flashfield button that didn't appeal to me, it killed the game's flow for me. I'd rather just attack the enemy directly and be done with it. I guess the second game is no different in this regard?


Similarly a bit disappointed. Picked it up because, while the PAL version seems to stay at full price, the US one was less than half that on PlayAsia. I thought it'd be open to being faster-paced but that only really comes with strict memorisation and the whole thing (bosses aside) seems better set up to be a traditional platform shooter (which you can't play it as because the tag gun does very little damage). And I suffered badly on the first proper boss because I couldn't see the bottom half of the screen and didn't realise you could turn the dialogue off.

Seems short enough though and the optional replay challenges can be quite fun.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:02 pm 


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Stevens wrote:
Still OutRun 2/C2C.

Favorite cars drivers?


For years it's been the Testarossa because I watched Magnum PI as a kid and thought that was Robin Master's car.

I just realized today it was Miami Vice that had a Testarossa, not Magnum PI!

Doh!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:38 pm 


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I finished playing Overload and replaying it on NG+/Insane+. It's legit the best 'pure' FPS released in the past decade.

A spiritual successor to Descent by the original creators of Descent, this game might as well be Descent 4. It manages to be a successor which is actually superior to the originals in several regards, without compromising what made the originals so fun or completely diverting away from style. It's not just a clone, but a refinement of the Descent formula, which may only be appreciated by those who have played the original Descent games, as in the larger picture Overload is not the most innovative game. But I don't think anyone has a real right to complain that given how niche 6DoF games have always been, it's not like the market is saturated with them to the point where you could get sick of it.

If anything, Overload immediately distinguishes itself from its peers by providing a pure straight-forward gravity-defying linear shooting experience in dazzlingly complex handcrafted levels, whereas everywhere else you look everything is reliant on procedural generation and randomized reusage of existing content to mask the small amount of actual content, or trying to appear complex through multiple progression and meta-layer systems slapped on top of shallow core gameplay mechanics. Even though Overload includes some more modern elements such as an upgrade system and audio logs as the main means of storytelling, these are actually handled tastefully for the most part and don't feel detrimental to the whole or like they're getting in the way of other game elements. Overload still feels like a classic shooter, through and through. It's fifteen levels of blowing up robots, saving hostages, blowing up reactors, and escaping in the nick of time.

The music is great and fitting. Composed by a team of veteran Descent musicians (Allister Brimble, Dan Wentz, Jerry Berlongieri), all manage to suit the action of Overload neatly. Even though I never liked Descent 3's OST, Berlongieri's contributions to Overload are very stand-out. Thankfully the new music resembles the pace and intensity of the MIDI versions more rather than the Redbook songs, without becoming the ambient trance-ish stuff that Descent 3 played. The Redbook songs were too distractingly loud and intense for their own sake, Overload's music manages to strike a good balance in this regard.

There is a plot, an actual one this time around (though I guess Descent 3 had one too). All the robots in some Saturnian space colony have gone berserk as the 'big man himself' of the colony called Gabriel "Not Evil" Kantor announces they're separating themselves from their parent company. You're some shmuck just awoken from cryostasis in a ship which happens to be floating nearby, and the resident ship AI says you should respond to the distress signal emitted from the colony and go save anyone alive in your dinky little grunt ship.

The plot is largely told through introductory briefings before each mission by the ship AI, and finding audio logs in the levels themselves. You can skip most of it anyways. The plot is fairly straightforward and not really gripping, though it does get surreal in a way which always appealed to me for final acts in stories. It does a decent job at setting up a mystery as you're trying to figure out what is actually going on, but that's about it. Every level usually features a different character explaining whatever it is they're doing or bitching about Kantor and the mysterious shit he's doing behind the scenes and pushing onto others, until the robots start coming and they have to escape to the cryopod room.

Audio logs can be found around the levels, from killed enemies, and even in some secrets. Though it may be disappointing if you're not a storyfag at all but find a secret with only an audio log inside. Given the non-linear progression of some levels, listening to audio logs out of order would be a pain, but thankfully in Overload picking up a new audio log just plays the next audio fragment in a list rather than playing a specific fragment for this specific log placed specifically here. So listening to logs out of order won't be a problem, and if you're a completionist you might even get to hear some additional tidbits. What I especially appreciate is that the moments where the ship AI directly talks to you are almost always reserved after you picked up a key and are backtracking to the next objective, when there's little action going on anyways, so a little dialogue can help fill the blank space. Also interesting is the amount of foreshadowing going on. Especially when you are playing on New Game+, hearing the audio logs from a different perspective does add a lot.

Most characters are pretty much throwaway, which is most likely why every single one has a different accent and/or nationality to differentiate themselves from one another as you can only hear them. For that matter, the voice acting is actually quite decent. Most characters sound believable and not amateurish at all, the voice actor for Gabriel Kantor delivers a solid performance as well, which is appropriate since he's the most recurring character.

There's been more of an effort to avoid using "because it's a videogame" as an excuse for why any of the non-sensical shit is the way it is. So there's some science mumbo-jumbo explanation for why you can teleport in but can't teleport out after blowing up the reactor, each new weapon and enemy in a mission is introduced with some bits of lore, the robots you're killing are supposed to be designed for mining and that giant sawblade is definitely supposed to be a mining implement, instead of bumping into waving hostages with your ship directly to "save" them you're bumping into cryopods (which even shows you the name and mugshot of the person you just saved) to teleport them to your carrier vessel, and so on. You even get a good or bad ending depending on how many hostages you saved. It's the good kind of worldbuilding which aims to make things feel less abstract, and doesn't hurt anything. What is completely abstract in purpose is the level design, but then again: gameplay über alles.

To give you a sense of what to expect from the levels in Overload:
Image

It's pretty complex.

There's only fifteen singleplayer levels (plus one special case and a bunch of challenge mode maps), but they're all on the long side, taking somewhere around 20-40 minutes each to complete, depending on your chosen difficulty setting. Most of them are much longer than you usual Descent level. Navigability and player signposting are strong, you can tell the level designers still got it. Levels are strongly varied in layout and enemy placement, shit can range from fighting hit 'n run enemies in pitch-black caverns to finding yourself suddenly surrounded by homing mine-spamming enemies in confined rooms. One new addition is the lockdown rooms, where you suddenly get locked into an arena as enemies start spawning all around you (in fixed positions, actually) and need to be killed before you can move on. The unpredictability of these is a lot of fun for combat. These are used sparingly in the campaign and with different enemies, so they never feel overused. Most of them are optional too, so it's not like you have to do them if you think it's too hard, though you might miss out on some rewards at the end of clearing a Lockdown.

Overload has a much more of a "dark industrial environments tinged with neon lights" visual style as opposed to Descent's vibrant and colorful texturing. This is especially apparent with the enemies, whose appearance is more defined by their eyes glowing in the dark rather than the color of their body. The enemy renders on the enemies page of the game website have actually very bright colors for the body, but in-game this is nowhere as noticeable. Overload places a much larger emphasis on contrast in brightness and dynamic lighting as a means of giving the player information, with shadows sometimes being used to give away enemy positions. In darker areas there are even some enemies who will turn on headlights of their own to illuminate the area (and by extent give away their own position), but for some reason this only happens in level 4. Though with this style it sometimes does lose out on visual clarity compared to Descent. Especially texture-wise do levels in Overload not stand out from another at all. The distinct texture sets used for each level in Descent (esp. Descent 1) means you could recognize levels at a glance, though for Overload that's less the case. You can still differentiate levels by their layouts, but it's less likely to feel as different. Overload doesn't have the varied mission objectives of Descent 3, which can also contribute to levels feeling samey for some. Though gameplay-wise the levels do provide a lot of variety and visuals are only secondary, I don't think that levels being able to feel varied on the surface is something to be ignored.

Levels in Overload are often of the non-linear exploratory kind. I often found myself getting behind unaware enemies (which I often followed up with a Smash Attack) if I took an alternate route, something which I could never quite do in Descent because of how levels in Descent were structured. Overload also features more types of levels where there's a single Level 3 door, and you have to find the three keys in the rest of the level in any order you feel like, something Descent also never did. Also peculiar is that Overload abandons the traditional red-blue-yellow keycards in favor of numbered doors. Picking up a key upgrades your security level by one, which allows you to access level one door. The unspoken innovation here is that Overload's security levels are somewhat more versatile than the traditional colored keycards, even though it only applies to some rather niche situations. With colored keycards the level designer needs to anticipate what color the keycards are that the player will pick up, and place the according colored gates, which can be somewhat of a pain when non-linearity is involved where the player can pick-up keys in any order, and you have more types of gates than a single gate which requires all the red-blue-yellow colored keys. But if you gate level progress by the amount of keys the player has, this becomes much less of a head-ache. What's more, this potentially opens up custom levels making use of more than three keys for progression (levels in the main campaign only go up to three sadly, even though more are possible, with there even being a level 5 security door decal in the level editor).

Levels in Overload are no longer cold start-able. Even when you select a mission to play from the main menu, you'll always start with a preset of primaries and secondaries rather than the default starting loadout when you start the game. This is more of a personal niggle since I was hoping to cold start the Overload campaign like I did in D1 and D2, but the levels are properly designed around weapons being carried over anyways. If you happen to miss picking up a weapon in a level when it is 'officially' presented to you (through secrets you can get some weapons a few levels earlier than they're introduced in the briefing screens), they'll be automatically added to your arsenal at the start of the next level, so you don't accidentally end up gimping yourself for the rest of the campaign. Weapon pick-ups won't appear again after you already 'officially' got them. The result is that you can apply your arsenal in more unintended and creative ways rather than playing through a level where the designers have more control over what you can do and what weapons you get, though I don't think any approach is necessarily better or worse.

There's still switches in Overload, and thankfully they have none of D2's destroy-once-for-timed-opening nonsense. You destroy one to keep something triggered forever. Finding switches inside secrets isn't exactly uncommon either, and sometimes multiple switches need to be shot before something gets triggered. Some of these can get rather inventive, such as hiding switches in far-off ceilings in similar vein to Quake's red panels, or having to rebound your shots off a wall to hit a switch. Aside from switches, most secrets are still hidden behind secret doors. They follow the same rules as they did in Descent (misaligned textures, only present on flat surfaces). In caverns you don't have secret doors, so you need to keep careful track of the geometry to not miss anything.

Overload has also essentially 'fixed' matcens. The problem with them in D2 was that every time you passed an area you'd have to hang in front of the matcen and kill all the enemies as soon as they came out, which was mandatory to do in D1 in order to deplete a matcen, whereas they had infinite energy in D2. Though there was an interesting idea underneath, especially when multiple matcens were combined, it made repeated treks through the same segments incredibly cumbersome. Overload sidesteps this by letting you destroy the matcens. This changes the dynamic completely, here you're rushing in with your Missile Pods and Cyclone to kill matcens as soon as possible before they spawn more bots, which gets harder to manage when you have to deal with two matcens at once. Matcens being permanently destroyable also means you don't have to deal with the cumbersome or annoying robot spawning when backtracking anymore. What is still unfortunate is that you can farm matcens for shield and energy drops off generated enemies, which is more of a degenerate strategy which could encourage some to keep farming matcens for drops, something I doubt people like that would find actually fun. Having enemies spawned by matcens spawn nothing at all would avoid this. Matcens always drop shield orbs when destroyed, so it's not like engaging matcens is always a net loss.

However, matcens aren't always destructible. Sometimes they are made invulnerable by a shield, which needs to be disabled by finding a nearby switch or shield generator, and is often placed in the way forward alongside the matcen, forcing you to move dangerously near the matcen so you can get a shot at the generator. The only matcens which are permanently shielded are those in reactor rooms, which are often triggered the moment you start damaging the reactor or trying to find the shield generator to disable the forcefield on the reactor. Most of these matcens don't stop spawning enemies, so you want to finish whatever it is you're doing quickly. This gives level designers a lot more versatility when it comes to designing encounters with matcens too, which definitely shows. With reactor rooms it gets especially interesting, as you have to keep damaging the reactor while managing the constant freshly spawned robots, of which there's usually two at once. One or two levels are especially devious with their shield generator/matcen placement. As the campaign progresses, reactor rooms will also see indestructible turrets firing slow projectiles at you to keep you even more occupied.

This way Overload also essentially 'fixes' reactor rooms. In Descent you could often snipe a reactor to death without exposing yourself by humping a corner with your lasers, or just snipe it from outside the reactor's range. Here are reactors not only often surrounded by geometry which forces you to get close for a shot, but generators are also placed in spots where you need to make daring runs past the matcens and essentially stop being a camping little bitch trying to survive the climax of a level through degenerate strategies. Reactor rooms also tend to give you some power-ups to mess around with, they're kind of like puzzles in that aspect in how you decide to tackle them. Reactors on the whole also tank much more damage, as you don't have weapons like Mega Missiles or Earthshakers which can kill reactors in three seconds (which would render the idea of crowd controlling the matcens while having to simultaneously destroy the reactor pointless). To put it this way, if you could destroy all the matcens in the reactor room, then the act of destroying the reactor itself would involve you keeping your crosshair trained on a single target for 15 seconds without being contested by anything. Would that sound interesting to you? I would say that some of the later reactors get a bit too tanky. For some of the earlier levels with less matcens you will be doing a lot of the aforementioned standing still and shooting at it until it dies before the reactor finally explodes.

A new addition is the smash attack, which is the most functional kind of melee attack any 6DoF shooting game might end up having. Cornered? Just ram fuckin' ram 'em (not recommended against enemies which self-destruct on death). Smash attacked enemies will temporarily stun enemies and prevent them from attacking, so it's a useful opening move. Especially considering you get 3 armor back every time you smash attack an enemy. It's especially satisfying to finish off enemies with a smash attack. The sheer force always sends their corpse flying straight ahead. It is rather unfortunate that you might suffer some very minor blast damage sometimes if you stick very close to the death explosion of a robot, which nullifies the bonus shield leech from Smash Attacking. I would increase the shield yield from 3 to 5 to make Smash Attacking more viable because it is a lot of fun just to sneak in some more. You can usually do so by throwing off an enemy with impact force or stunlocking them with a weapon like the Flak.

Also new in Overload is the addition of impact force in combat, which is the closest thing Overload has to hitstun. Descent did feature hitstun to some extent, but it was never really visible other than the poor bot under fire not being able to retaliate. Here, weapon hits physically throw enemies off balance, pushing their aim away from you and forcing them to re-orient themselves. That's why with some weapons you want to aim more to the side in order to throw off your target even more strongly, while you move towards its flank in the other direction. Some weapons deal more impact force, some enemies are more resistant, go figure it out. Impact force does a lot to make combat feel more impactful, for sure.

The Invulnerability and Cloak power-ups are still present, and much like Descent you can still use them for sections of the level they may not have been originally intended to be used in. Having Invulnerability on even increases Smash Attack damage, so you can constantly ram into enemies while you are fucking invincible, which is absolutely exhilarating (and ramming into enemies restores shields a bit too). Cloak has seen some slight changes in regards to how it synergizes with enemy AI, as enemy AI no longer responds to sound, such as bumping into walls with your ship, but only visual stimuli. When an enemy is asleep (robots have wake-up animations now), you can even push them around while cloaked without angering them. What this does unfortunately mean is that you can't have something as the cloak maze in D1L7 with the same amount of tension. Overload presents a new power-up called the Overdrive, which temporarily gives you infinite ammunition for primaries, an increased fire rate for everything, and increased movement speed. Useful for giving you an edge in tough situations, though it's more prone to getting you killed by virtue of you overestimating yourself once you get this power-up, like green traffic lights. It doesn't turn you in that much of a god (however, using Lancer C with Overdrive absolutely wrecks).

There are a lot of smaller changes from Descent 2. Now you always start out with the afterburners and headlights, so you don't have to go find those again each level (if you were playing on cold starts, anyways), the energy/shield converter is gone to make ballistic weapons less dominant, you no longer receive annoying collision damage for bumping into walls too hard, the Guide-Bot is now the Holo-Guide which you can call at any time but consumes some energy when it is active, ammo racks are gone (Super Missiles made them rather redundant), doors automatically open when you are close and no longer need to be shot to be opened (remember flying away from an approaching Lifter into a door which only started to open as you bumped into it as the Lifter closed in and shredded you? Not anymore here), Guided Missiles are gone and so are Guided Missile puzzles (good riddance), and full map pick-ups are gone.

I've always thought full map pick-ups are rather superfluous, rewarding one secret with knowing where all the other secrets are. The Thief-Bot is definitely gone too. I never minded it, in some respects I did like the unpredictability it added to the game even though it could have been done much better, though more people hated it than they liked it, on account of aggressively trying to chase down the Thief-Bot whenever it would steal your shit even though that's a fool's errand and hell for your mental stability. I don't really mind the absence of the Thief-Bot either way, so more people might end up appreciating this fact. There's no Flash Missiles, but that also means there's no enemies which fire them anymore, so hey. Unfortunately Overload does not have lava/waterfalls and/or secrets behind them, nor are the secrets in Overload quite as complex as the ones in D2. No secrets which let you skip colored doors without the required keycard, either.

Secret levels in Overload are once again handled differently. Instead of being a regular level but a secret one like in Descent 1 or obnoxious switch puzzles like in Descent 2, here a secret level is a bout of playing Countdown on an existing Challenge Mode map, where you need to kill a certain amount of enemies before time runs out, and you'll get an upgrade point if you kill half, and a super upgrade point if you kill the full required amount. Compared to the singleplayer campaign, playing on Challenge Mode is really fucking intense, especially on higher difficulties. There's tons of enemies swarming you from every orifice in the level, and you'll find yourself relying on your secondaries much more to spread out the hurt evenly. Meanwhile you're weaving inbetween projectiles so you can route towards all shields orbs in sight so you can live a few seconds longer. Every 30 seconds a Super bot will spawn and every 90 seconds either three Super bots will spawned, or you will have to deal with an Ambush where loads of enemies spawn in the arena in an even quicker succession. Even if you are playing the campaign on Insane, playing CM on Insane will seem like a massive difficulty spike. Let alone Insane+.

Secret levels present a nice optional challenge for those who want more upgrade points. And even if you're not good enough, you can use secret levels as a means of restoring shield and energy. Whenever you exit a secret level (be it through winning or dying), you will at least return with 100 shields and energy. However, you can only enter a secret level once per level. What this means is that outside of Insane+ you quicksave before entering one and keep trying until you win, or just cut your losses and only grab the halfway-prize upgrade point. The one-try-only property of secret levels can be rather annoying if you want to keep retrying them. I think you should have been given the option to redo a secret level as often as you'd like with the loadout you entered said secret level with, and be given the option after completing or dying at a secret level whether you want to return to the base level or redo it again. Else you're just going to be savescumming, and on Insane+ you'd have to restart the whole level. Note that when you enter secret levels you don't gain any extra shields or energy, so it's a good idea to stock up beforehand. Though I do like this approach, I think a combination of this one plus the alternate-hidden-emergency-exit-leading-to-a-secret-full-singleplayer-level of Descent 1 would have been the best of both worlds.

Challenge Mode is pretty damn chaotic too. It wouldn't be wrong to say that it's very heavy on RNG, enemy spawn positions and enemy types spawned are very unpredictable, as are item spawns and special events. Though CM is consistent enough in its chaos to allow high-level players to consistently perform and achieve top ranks. In a way this chaoticness is what makes CM so fun (even though I'm still not a fan of item drops being tied to chance). It feels a bit different for power-ups, however. The type of power-up spawned is always random, even though an Invulnerability is always more useful than Cloak, and Cloak is usually more useful than Overdrive. I do think this would have been better off power-ups spawned in a fixed order of sorts to help mitigate this, preferably always Overdrive -> Cloak -> Invuln -> Overdrive -> etc.

The spawning positions of power-ups is also random, but a bit too random, since it feels like power-ups can spawn essentially anywhere, which isn't the most ideal thing to do for something as useful as power-ups, as it makes feel finding power-ups in and of itself very RNG-dependent. Having a handful of fixed positions where you know a power-up could spawn would help alleviate this, on top of power-ups guaranteed not spawning at the point closest to you so you can't get a lucky spawn. Something also missing is power-up spawns being announced. Multiplayer does announce when super items get spawned, and each multiplayer map does feature a single item spawn, so it's a bit weird that CM doesn't feature something similar. CM could have played on this by spawning additional enemies around power-ups, making it harder for you to get to it and making power-ups feel more like a proper reward.

Challenge Mode features a combo bar of sorts where the quicker you kill enemies, the more it fills up and the higher a score bonus you get when killing enemies, so camping is discouraged in favor of playing aggressively and seeking out enemies. Enemies also won't relentlessly chase you all the time in CM, if they're alive for some time they'll hold down the current position, leaving it up to you to get out of your hidey hole and track them down. What's more, the higher the combo bar is, the more items enemies drop, so it's definitely in your favor to keep things up. Unfortunately this system isn't present in the singleplayer campaign, not even in an Arcade Mode of sorts, even though I would have liked to see it and provide an incentive even in the campaign to be more aggressive. What I do think could have been changed is to change the score bonus of the combo bar from a flat score bonus to a multiplicative one. Instead of earning +500 pts for killing an enemy at a maximum combo bar, the score you'd earn for killing that enemy at a maximum combo bar would be multiplied by three or something, on top of the gradation of the multiplier being exponential.

The reason why I think multiplicative bonuses are more suitable is because they make more dangerous enemies, who have a much higher base score value, equally as valuable to kill at maximum combo bar, or even moreso. The flat score bonus may be small enough for you to think that maybe killing this dangerous enemy just isn't worth the damage and the score, which goes against the intended purpose of the combo bar, which is to encourage playing aggressively through increased score bonuses and item drops. The multiplier gradation being exponential as opposed to linear as it is now would create a higher divide in score between players who can consistently keep their bar up and those who may let it dwindle every now and then. The only difference now in the score bonus if you let it drop slightly and if you keep it up fully is a mere 50 points, which doesn't mean much in the grand scale, which doesn't display the difference between a good and an excellent player as well as it could. Multiplicative bonuses would also lend themselves more to additional strategies, such as building up combo by killing weaker enemies first and then 'cashing in' by killing the tougher enemies once your combo bar is at its maximum. The point of a scoring system is to allow for competition, so having more means of risk and reward naturally complements this.

I'm not a fan of the XP unlock system for MP and CM at all. Basically, just playing the game in any mode and completing levels or matches earns you XP, and XP lets you unlock additional upgrades and loadouts. In CM, these upgrades all stack on top of eachother, and give you stuff like more weapons to select for your loadout, increased starting ammo, and other upgrades you'd find in Singleplayer. In Multiplayer you can select between multiple starting loadouts (DECLINE), but the later ones are also locked behind a certain amount of XP. What this means for CM is that you have to had put several hours playing the game before you can start playing CM at maximum efficiency, which feels like cheap padding. Same goes for loadouts in MP, even though the later ones are not necessarily superior. Things would have been more interesting if you could pick a certain amount of upgrades out of a given set, giving you more of a choice to tailor your playstyle rather than being able to have everything. In fact, picking two upgrades out of a given set is what the multiplayer mode already does. This XP unlock system isn't that awful, only somewhat grindy, but it sure as hell is pointless, it doesn't add anything to the game, and for that it should be removed fromt he game.

Difficulty-wise, Overload is actually a lot more forgiving in comparison to Descent. Which still means Brutal if you aren't fully used to 6DoF shooters. The levels in Overload don't have those huge open expanses with enemies near the corners like D1 and D2 sometimes did, there's often a lot more to break line of sight for the more open cavernous areas, but usually you will be flying about in confined man-made areas where you have to effectively utilize what little space you have to dodge the incoming projectiles, so less open-space 'circle-strafe indefinitely' bonanzas like in D3. The shield orb yields are also more forgiving. In Descent a shield orb would only yield 6 points on Insane, but in Overload it yields 10 points on Insane for comparison. Insane in Overload is also more of a "I want a proper challenge" rather than "I am a fucking masochist" like it was in Descent, but thankfully Insane+ exists to serve us masochists, where enemies deal even more damage and orbs yield only 5 points, and mid-level saves are disabled entirely, forcing you to play the way the game should be played.

However, another more subtly felt change is that enemies in Overload drop a lot more shield orbs on death than any enemy would in Descent. The shield drop chance overall is much higher. On top of that, enemies drop more shield/energy if your shield/energy is low. Whereas Descent relied more on placing shield orbs by hand or placing them in secrets rather than with drop chances, thus making the progression of your shield status a slow descent (punintended), in Overload you can actually make a recovery from low health because of the increased drop rates. If you keep on killing and don't get hit too much in the process, you can still make it. You don't need to be as much of a perfectionist in Overload. The only downside is that sometimes it feels like there's too much shields being dropped, especially with the overall higher yields, though Insane+ might mitigate how you feel about that.

The increased prominence of shield orbs as enemy drops also means there's less of a point in hiding shield orbs in secrets, as there's a healthy amount of manually placed shields orbs as well. Instead, secrets more often feature bonus secondary ammo, audio logs, power-ups, and upgrade points. And you probably very much want the latter. Also new are Super pick-ups, which adds the maximum ammo count of your secondary on top of the actual ammo count, and can even exceed the maximum limit. Overload is a lot more liberal with secondary ammunition as well. Falcon (Conc/Mercury missiles) and Hunter (Homing missiles) ammo always comes in packs of four. Then you also have the new Missile Pods and Creepers which make up the quartet of workhorse secondaries. Enemies in Overload are relatively more tanky, so this change isn't unwelcome. The higher frequency in item drops also means you get more energy to work with, so there's less return trips to the energy center to deal with. Some levels do still keep the energy center away far from the start, so you might still find yourself balancing usage between ammo and energy weapons to prevent yourself from running dry.

It's not just the increased amount of resources you have which make the game feel more fair, you also have more tools to more efficiently deal with enemies around corners. In Descent you only had Smart Missiles/Mines, and humping corners with your laser. But now you also have Creepers, mines launched in large quantities which slowly home in on nearby enemies, and the Reflex whose shots can rebound off walls and automatically redirect towards enemies up to 25/45 degrees. So you can often deal with enemies without having to dangerously expose yourself. Of course you still have Smart Missiles here (called Novas), but Mega Missiles have also been changed, so now they don't home in any more, but you can detonate them mid-flight past corners or groups of enemies. What's more, you can also lure in nearby enemies much more consistently this time around, whereas luring enemies in Descent was very much up to chance.

Enemies will be alerted to your flares and headlights (FEAR was here), and move in to deal with the intruder. So there is a benefit to staying in the dark. You can lure enemies in the open this way (dodging their projectiles afterwards is not a given), but doing this also forgoes the first strike advantage, which is especially felt when you accidentally alert enemies. When an enemy in Overload suddenly comes into contact with you, its first burst will be much less accurate to give you more of an advantage. This is obviously not the case when the enemy already had you in its sights for some time already. The first strike advantage serves to make close quarters combat less reliant on trial 'n error, as now you get some more leeway if you play more aggressively. In any case, these additions make gotcha moments a rarity in Overload, since you now have the means to deal with them. Though if Overload wants to ambush you, it still has plenty of other hidden means... in an inconspicuous closet.

The enemy bestiary in Overload is probably the most fair/least anally devastating one in a 6DoF game so far. It's not straight-up bullshit or heavy on reskins like the bots in Descent 1, nor do they fall in the "technically dodgeable but very inconsistent to put in practice" level of enemies as seen in Descent 2, such as the ITD, Seeker, Sidearm Modula, Spider, Boarshead and Omega Defense Bot. Projectile-based enemies have reasonable leading without becoming straight up impossible to dodge, and enemy projectile speeds across the board are also reasonable. They also don't spaz around like Thief-Bots or ITDs and most of them are of reasonable size and reasonably possible to hit.

You got your basic Goblins and Gorgons as cannon fodder, Ogres which try to move in close to you and only then pepper you with super fast slag, Scorpions which act like the Lifters but are designed to make little noise and blend in more with the darkness (which is more encompassing in Overload) and even have cloaked counterparts called Phantoms, Krakens which are bigger and meaner and are the ones most capable of leading their shots, Tritons which launch missiles from a distance, Shredders which charge straight at you with their sawblades and can even bounce off walls towards you in their rush, Harpies which are small buggers capable of firing rebounding shots and always appear in groups, Scourges which launch Seekers in your direction, Golems which are kamikaze bots who try to charge you head-on and self-destruct, Hydras/Wyverns which are hit 'n run bots who try to flank you but retreat when you put the pressure on them, Valkyries which can fire some really fast projectiles at you from a greater distance than the Ogre, Guardians which try to snipe you from afar, Reavers are the most dangerous bots in the game, and more.

Wyverns and Hydra's are especially thrilling to fight because they keep running away from you only to flank you from unexpected positions at unexpected times. Thankfully to alleviate frustration, these guys can't deal a lot of damage to you. The extent to which they could chase me down really surprised me at times. Most enemies in Overload can open doors, so that's not a factoid you can rely on to conclude you are finally safe. Wyverns/Hydra's are especially used in giant dark cavern areas with a lot to break line of sight with, making it harder for you to keep full track of your surroundings. Especially the intro of Titan Forge makes excellent use of this. The good ol' varied enemy personalities and unpredictable enemy behavior of Descent is still present in Overload, you can't expect with full certainty that an enemy will always be present at this spot, making combat and locating enemies more unpredictable and engaging.

There's also dangerous Super variants of most enemies in the form of a red aura, which replaces the weapons they fire with something much more dangerous and gives them a bit more health. Super Goblins and Gorgons will rapidly launch a whole heap of Triton missiles at you, Super Harpies are really fast and fire a Cyclone, Super Ogres launch Novas, Super Tritons launch homing missiles, etc. Presenting much more dangerous variants of enemies as actual and immediately discernible variants rather than presenting them as new enemy types (such as Missile Platformers in D1 essentially being Super Brown Hulks) does a lot to make the enemy cast feel more consistent and less bloated (I guess Phantoms would be Super Scorpions, but because of obvious reasons putting a red aura on a Phantom would defeat its purpose. Reavers are also essentially Super Golems, but Reaver behavior is different enough from Golems to not warrant the Super moniker).

Even though Overload features hitscan enemies, none of them really triggered the PTMC I built up from Class 1 fucking Drillers in Descent 1, which I think is an achievement. For starters, hitscan enemies just fire really really fast projectiles, giving you some leeway in dodging, their reaction times aren't instant, their accuracy isn't 100%, and they're still susceptible to the first strike advantage and overleading. The more aggressive hitscan enemies, namely the Ogre and Reaver, won't attack you with their hitscan weaponry unless they get close to you, giving you more time and space to deal with them without taking damage. Meanwhile the Guardian will snipe you from long ranges, but even then its attack range isn't infinitely large.

Also different is how these hitscan enemies are utilized. D1 liked to put C1Ds right around corners where you had no room to avoid them or even launch homing missiles in their direction. Here Guardians are almost always placed a long distance away from the player where you can consistently stunlock them with a Driller or something. Reavers are also rarely placed in very tight spots, and you usually have enough space to back up if you come into contact with them in order to put some distance between you. Often grates and other see-through-but-not-penetrable walls are utilized to let you see Guardians and other heavy enemies before they can see you or immediately retaliate against you, giving you more of a leg up in these cases. And even then you can scout ahead by launching a flare, so if you play your cards right you should only rarely ever get surprised by enemies around corners. The downside of scouting by launching flares ahead is that they will be coming for you, of course (with the exception of Guardians who thankfully prefer to stay away from the player). However, Super Wyverns can fuck right off. Putting hitscan on an enemy which actively tries to avoid being in the player's line of sight and to ambush the player can't have its hitscan attacks be reliably avoided. I do believe that Guardians should have had an audible wind-up before attacking though. If you aren't using the Driller weapon, you won't have much to immediately retaliate against a Guardian.

Something which I felt was rather odd is that later on, new (non-Super) variants of previously introduced enemies will appear with changed weaponry, but identical behavior, yet still changing their roles somewhat to still make them more threatening late-game when the player has amassed more weapons. So Goblins will fire faster Impulse cannons like the Kraken and have blue eyes, Gorgons fire faster Missile Pods, but Tritons fire the same projectile as the Gorgon but in increased quantity, Harpies fire the same projectiles as the original Goblin instead of the more unpredictable Reflex, and it's the Krakens who get the Reflex instead of their Impulse. So later Goblins and Gorgons do become more threatening, but Harpies, Krakens and Tritons ironically become less threatening. I'll just call the later variants Major bots to differentiate them, as the game itself doesn't really do that other than a change in color scheme for enemies.

I do approve of Harpies having their Reflex taken away, because considering they always appear in groups, the amount of Reflex bullets fired which rebound off the walls are simply too much to take in account (as opposed to Smelters in D2 who usually appeared alone), making dealing with Harpies feel incredibly unpredictable and inconsistent to avoid in enclosed rooms. Kraken Majors feel and behave more like Smelters with better leading in this regard, it's just that at the point they appear the way they are placed doesn't really take advantage of their rebounding shots, even though they are much better candidates for the Reflex than Harpies. Harpy Majors having only the basic Goblin shots would suit their cannon fodder nature, which is balanced out more by the fact they appear in groups. Triton Majors are essentially souped up Gorgons with a faster projectile speed and increased amount of projectiles per burst, which is a definite downgrade from the regular Triton, but at this point in the campaign you'll start encountering Super Gorgons more often, which in turn are souped up Tritons, so it kinda balances out? It's definitely unnatural and weird.

And yes, Overload has an upgrade system. I absolutely hate these systems in my pure combat shooties for screwing with progression and game balance just to provide the illusion of depth, but I'd consider Overload an exception. For one, it features upgrade branches where you need to make permanent decisions between one of two options, where the one you didn't pick is permanently locked out. So there's actual options to weigh and consider, actual 'builds' to tailor your playstyle with, and actual consequences for your choices. My most major gripes with these kind of systems is that most of them are so forgiving with their point economy that you end up with every (useful) upgrade late-game anyways, after which you're speccing into random shit you don't really need but do anyways because you have nothing else to spend your points on. At which point the actual choice you have is what upgrade you want first, but towards the end your choices become meaningless because you're always bound to become god. The FO3 approach to character progression, in short.

Overload avoids this by locking out options permanently as stated previously, but also by hiding most upgrade points in secrets. You can't just play the game and end up constantly leveling up (there is no EXP or leveling in Overload). If you don't hunt for secrets, you're going to end up being underpowered. At least once every level an upgrade point will be placed in plain sight alongside the main path which nobody could miss, but usually it's only one or two points placed that way, most levels have seven to twelve points for you to find in not only secrets such as hidden doors, but also optional lockdown encounters which you need to finish before getting your upgrade point reward, and finding upgrade points from secret levels. You gotta put some effort in, which makes the feeling of finding upgrade points more satisfying. What I especially appreciate is being only able to upgrade inbetween levels, so I don't feel obligated to constantly pause the game and look at my weapons and what to upgrade *cough* nuDoom *cough*.

A smart decision on Overload's part is to split upgrade points into two currencies: upgrade points and SUPER upgrade points. Weapons in Overload can be upgraded once to Weapon+ with the regular upgrade points, and upgraded again to Weapon++ using super upgrade points. The Weapon++ is also where you have to choose between two branches to decide how to specialize your weapon. Super upgrade points also start only appearing around Level 4, though you only have enough to upgrade weapons with after Level 5. This way the rate at which you obtain ++ weapons is more tightly controlled as opposed to being able to spec into the super good shit very early, but the remaining regular upgrade points can also be used to spread out into other secondaries and ship upgrades which aren't essential for your playstyle, but still a nice Quality of Life improvement. This way you can also sprinkle more upgrade points around without upsetting the point balance economy and placing upgrade points everywhere to meet the increasing point requirements of higher-level upgrades, or ending up with so little upgrade points that you can only fully upgrade a handful of weapons with maybe some ship upgrades on the side.

Disappointingly, the ship upgrades are more on the straightforward side, with none of the trade-offs and decisions you had to make for Weapon++ upgrades being present here. You get stuff like straightforward damage reductions, ship speed increases, longer duration boosts and faster boosts, increased Smash Attack damage, that kind of thing. But none of the decisions you have to make which make it feel like you're really tailoring your ship to your playstyle. For example, you could choose to decide between increased ammo capacity or reduced energy consumption to suit whatever weapons you are primarily using, rather than to be able to choose both. Choosing between increased boost speed and being able to boost longer before overheating could be a single node. For power-ups you could have chosen between longer duration or better performance. I'd upgrade the shit out of any Smash Attack upgrades if there were more of them too.

Point being that having more choices where you can only pick one of two options does a lot to make it feel like you're specializing, playing to the strengths which character upgrade systems can offer. Yes, being only able to make a limited amount of choices because of upgrade point scarcity is also a valid way of doing this as many other games have demonstrated, however there aren't that many options to choose in the ship upgrades section, and binary upgrade choice nodes would also help make things feel more balanced. It'd be silly not to take the 10-20% damage reduction upgrade, but being able to permanently not choose something equally as useful as a result should make you carefully consider your options rather than going straight for the essentials. There's not a whole lot of point to choice if one upgrade is near essential or just really helpful in aiding your survival to the point where it's silly not to get it, like Hacking in vanilla Deus Ex. It's perfectly playable without, but most will always grab it because of the convenience it provides.

Out of all Descent games, Overload has the most balanced weapon line-up so far. In Descent 1 it was more of a case of picking which primary suited you the most and then sticking with it for the course of the game, and Descent 2 had no weapon balance. There you just used the Gauss Rifle, as there was no reason to use anything else outside the Helix Cannon in very niche situations. Here all weapons have a more defined niche, but are more useful in general. You got your basic laser cannon called the Impulse, a spreadshot-esque Cyclone which ramps up its rate of fire the longer it goes on but has a short fixed cut-off range, the Reflex which can rebound off walls and home into enemies, the Crusher which is a shotgun weapon capable of being devastating up close but also deal loads of impact force at medium-range, the Driller which is more of a slower-firing Gauss Rifle, a Flak Cannon which fires air-burst explosives but has an even smaller cut-off range than the Cyclone, the good ol' Fusion Cannon called the Thunderbolt which can penetrate through enemies and is very viable this time around, and a semi-automatic laser weapon called the Lancer which fires very rapid laser projectiles as fast as you can click, but sucks up a ridiculous amount of energy.

There's more general purpose missiles in Overload, and they also come in greater amounts. For the most part you will be using Falcons for sniping cannon fodder and dealing additional damage, Missile Pods for outputting large amounts of sustained damage, Hunters for speedier enemies and when you can't be bothered aiming, and Creepers for nailing enemies around corners. Your standard Nova/Smart Missiles and Devastator/Mega Missiles are also still present. But the Devastator has seen a change. It can no longer home in on enemies, making it less of an "100% guarantee to get fucked" missile, but a missile with a high payload which needs to be aimed properly. However, Devastators can also be detonated mid-air, making them missiles you need to commit to so you know when to detonate them amidst a group of enemies. You can't just spam them since you can't launch another missile while another Deva is in flight. Other inclusions include Vortex Missiles, which create a black hole and suck in enemies for you to finish them off and prevent enemies from running away. The last one is a Time Bomb, which slows down time on detonation and gives you more of an edge in very intense fight, and also stuns nearby enemies. The only problem I have with it is that it has a maximum limit of like ten Time Bombs, and especially after grabbing a Super Time Bomb you will end up with like 10+ Time Bombs which you can use to keep chaining Time Bombs to stay in a perpetual slow-mo state, allowing you to cheese entire encounters. I think to prevent this absurd stacking, you should be only able to carry a maximum of three Time Bombs and make Time Bombs much rarer and less likely to appear in NG+. But other than that I think secondaries are very well balanced.

The specialization upgrades are also interesting. The Impulse can either be upgraded to fire at a faster RoF with lesser energy consumption (RF), or be upgraded with Quad Lasers for double damage (Q). Statistically RF has a higher DPS, but it requires that you land all shots, and Q is the OG anyways. The Cyclone can also be upgraded to fire wider spreads with an additional projectile (X4) or fire a smaller spread at a faster rate (F). It depends on what suits you the best. The Driller can be upgraded to behave more like the Gauss Rifle with increased damage and impact force (DX), or the D1 Vulcan with faster RoF and lower ammo consumption and damage per shot (RF). The Reflex can be upgraded to deal more damage overall, or to have its acquisition cone for homing into enemies after bouncing from walls expanded. The Crusher can be upgraded to deal more damage and impact force, or to be fired automatically (which when applied to enemies looks like you're ATATATATATAing them because of how much they keep getting pushed left and right). The Thunderbolt can be upgraded to charge faster and deal more damage (MX), or to have its shots home in on enemies (RT). Typically I use MX for singleplayer and RT for Challenge Mode, in CM you won't be aiming as much and want to concentrate on downing as many enemies as possible. Secondary upgrades usually revolve between tracking or extra damage, but you can also upgrade Vortex to deal damage over time (including to yourself) or suck in enemies longer, Time Bomb can be upgraded to deal huge damage on impact, or to stun enemies+make the slow-mo last longer.

In most cases there's no real superior option, which is especially reflected in the weapon balance as a whole. Other people I've talked to on the Overload Discord said they used upgrade branches and weapons I thought completely redundant and pointless, and after giving them a serious shot myself they did turn out to be quite effective. Some upgrades I believed essential were barely utilized by others, and everyone's got their approach to levels and combat. I think that speaks to the upgrade system successfully allowing different tailored playstyles to be actually viable. In Challenge Mode you can see the statistics and most used weapons in the scoreboard. You'll see a lot of Thunderbolts and Drillers, but also a lot of Impulse and Cyclones. There's no real definite superior loadout.

That said, I don't think the weapon balance is all pico bello, especially concerning the Driller. There he is again, that long-range hitscanning prick. The Driller is most likely the first pick if you plan to pick off enemies from long-range, especially ones which are too dangerous to let come close such as Golems, Guardians, Reavers, Ogres, and Valkyries. Especially the Driller DX is super-efficient at medium-long range. For short range you want something like Crushers or Thunderbolts or the Cyclone, though. It's super powerful and super accurate, but it doesn't have that many drawbacks that make other weapons worth using at longer ranges. Its ease of use (with KB/M anyways) makes killing enemies with it feel unengaging and boring, often I found myself asking whether this fight I was having would have been more interesting if I were to use an actual projectile-based weapon, had the Driller not been so damn efficient at killing things. But there's little from really preventing me from constantly using the Driller. It's similar to getting tons of ammo for the Thunderbolt in Quake, every other weapon starts feeling redundant because this one is too universal in application. The culprit: overly lenient physical ammo placement.

Performance-wise, the Driller, Flak, and Crusher tend to outperform most energy weapons of a similar role in DPS and versatility. And that could work within the weapon balance, to have these weapons function as power weapons (because of their hitscan nature making it impossible for enemies to dodge your shots, on top of hitscan weapons being easily able to stunlock anything). Ammo weapons running on limited physical ammunition naturally suits these weapons to a power weapon role. These weapons being more powerful would be offset by the fact that ammunition is limited, so you can't freely use power weapons whenever, you'd have to gauge whether the situation is really worth using a Driller for. But because physical ammo is so plentiful, conserving ammunition is never seriously something to be considered. For that reason I believe the yield of ammo pickups should be reduced from 100 to 50, or alternatively the ammo consumption cost from at least the Driller should be increased, maybe reduce the maximum ammo capacity too (and by extent the starting amount, which would make it less annoying to deal with in Multiplayer too). The Lancer naturally soaks up a fuckton of juice because of its incredibly powerful properties, why can't the Driller be held to the same standards?

Starting from Level 13 is where things really get off the rails and where the story really starts to get going, because:

Spoiler: show
it was aliens. You escape an exploding facility through a wormhole into an alien world who knows how many lightyears away, and somehow have to find your way back as you hear how the big man himself fuses with the alien hivemind. It really captures that feeling of being lost in a foreign place, uselessly struggling to find your way out as the hivemind reminds you that many years may have passed. The track choice for when you enter the alien world for the first time, Plus Ultra, absolutely captures the alien atmosphere, especially by virtue of being so different from the other songs in the soundtrack (what with this song being the first Jerry Berlongieri track you hear in-game).

The alien world introduces a bunch of new enemies, such as the Lancer-firing Inviculi which the Valkyries were based off, Spectrali which can teleport very short distances to mess with your aim and Thumunculars which are like a mix of the two previous ones? You'll even encounter Xeno variants of existing bots, so you get Xeno-Guardians which can snipe you with Lancers from long distances (no hitscan anymore here), Xeno-Scourges which fire homing Thunderbolt projectiles, and Xeno-Krakens which also fire tracking Goblin projectiles. There's also some slightly tankier Golems called Sperons, but they appear very late on unless you're playing on NG+. Combat-wise the game comes a lot purer at this point, you're only fighting enemies firing really fast projectiles or slightly homing projectiles in the last levels. The teleporting of the Spectrali and Thumbs is thankfully tastefully done. They can teleport only a veeeery short distance and usually appear again in your field of view. It wouldn't have been as fun if they teleported behind you, because you couldn't react as quickly in a 6DoF game considering your turning speed isn't instant, and the definition of 'behind you' in a 6DoF game is rather broad.

The alien levels even add some new puzzle-like mechanics to the game. First you have purple switches, which if you shoot with the Thunderbolt or Lancer will open a nearby door, but only temporarily. So if you go past the door for too long, it will close behind you, and you might have to find a switch on the other side to open that door again, preventing you from hugging a doorway indefinitely and locking off your only possible means of escape. The alien levels like to always teleport in new enemies when you shoot a switch, though considering there's a 100% chance of it happening it shouldn't take you by surprise after the first time. That said, you can cheese the switches by opening them, luring or destroying the enemies behind them until the doors close again, and repeat. The only way to mitigate this would be to put a corridor after each switch-locked door so by the time you get to a room filled with enemies the door behind you has already closed. These switches add more to exploration: as you have the switches to open these doors in the first placed, but I don't feel it adds much if they're used all the time. In some cases, a regular red switch would have sufficed just fine. If having a door be locked behind me or having to find a switch in a tricky position isn't an intended part of the challenge, then a red switch should be preferred. Else having to constantly go back and waste energy on a purple switch again is just cumbersome.

The alien levels also add portals, which you can use as a means of getting around or getting away faster. One room in L14 spawns three dangerous enemy in your face, but you could just back up into a portal which teleports you all the way to the other side of the room, allowing you to safely snipe those enemies. Thankfully there's no teleporter mazes, though there is one puzzle which requires you to use them in order to trigger a set of switches quickly in order to keep two doors open long enough for you to pass through. They'd be useful to cut down on backtracking, they were frequently used for that purpose in Doom and Quake. Unfortunately portals are only present on these last final three levels.

I think this is where the campaign should have been some five or so levels longer, where the enemies and level design style of the preceding 12 levels also start incorporating portals and a mix of regular doors, and purple-switch locked doors, and perhaps featuring the accelerator tunnels in levels 11 and 12 some more. As nice as it is for the game to keep introducing new mechanics even up to the very end, there should be a point where the campaign stops throwing in new shit and just starts experimenting with everything it already has. Given how much of a change in style and pace the alien levels were, ending the game right after with an elongated escape sequence feels kinda rushed. Level 15 or 16 didn't feel like a fitting giant finale where every skill you've learned and every enemy you faced in the game makes an reappearance for one final grand tour. Especially portals feel like wasted potential in this regard.

Level 16 is in fact Level 1, but in reverse, and you have over 90 seconds to escape to the emergency exit before it gets nuked. After finishing level 15 you find a wormhole back to level 1, the ship AI tells you only 16 days have passed, and they're planning to nuke the place to in order to destroy the alien core inside. But, why the rush? I just got back from some alien world, surely they could wait for me to escape before nuking the damn place. They know I'm inside too. I don't have any qualms with the way the level is set up, but the plot kind of dropped the ball here. Anyways, it is fitting that the final sequence of the game is one giant escape sequence, considering you end most levels that way. Enemies start teleporting in en masse, meanwhile you're smashing your way through to the exit, figuring out where to go next. You could use the Holo-Guide to point to the exit, if you're some kind of scrub. Though it didn't feel particularly clear where to go most of the time, and you're unlikely to remember the layout of Level 1 after 14 other levels. You do have enough time to get to the exist, provided you're not wasting too much of it getting lost or trying to fight things.


There's three boss battles in the game, but they're all kinda lame. They're not offensively bad to the extent most of the later bosses in Descent 2 were where they were straight up bullshit and had to be cheesed to death, but they're not particularly interesting either. The first boss is very fast and fires Cyclones and Devastators at you, but because there's an Invulnerability right before the fight which you cannot possibly miss, you can damage it enough to kill it anyways. What is interesting is that this boss has two phases, and by the time you get to the second your invuln is bound to have ran out. That said, it's just you vs. a really fast and tanky Super Harpy and Scorpion matcens on the side, so there's not a whole lot of interest going on here.

The second boss is a Shredder fused with a Reaver which results in one of those giant wheel bots like in Victory Gundam. I would have preferred it if it didn't have the Guardian's type of hitscan attack but rather the Ogre/Valkyrie's which is slower and actually reliably dodgeable. As most of the time you'll be running away and spamming all your secondaries at it. Note, if you have Nova XB and the Power-Up duration upgrade, and saved up a Super Nova, you can actually grab a close-by Invuln in a visible secret, and then spam the boss to death with Novas before your invuln runs out. It actually works.

There is a third boss, but I'm not quite sure what it does. It fires a Lancer like most enemies in its level, but by that point in the game I was spamming Time Bombs and shooting everything I had at it. I think it spawns additional kamikaze enemies, but I'm not sure. Fighting it was like a big blur.

The pacing of Overload feels considerably tighter than the campaigns in D1 and D2, which felt like they started to drag around the middle and stop trying to do anything new (in D2's case it was more towards the end). One way Overload manages to avoid this is to pace out the introduction of new enemies, weapons, and other mechanics. Almost every new level a new weapon or enemy (or enemy variant) will get introduced, so there's always something to look out for. Overload's campaign never feels like it gets stuck in a rut, as most levels are succintly distinct in structure and style. Longer individual levels do help prevent levels from blurring together. Though I do feel Overload could have been longer, there are some gameplay concepts which I feel haven't been sufficiently explored for reasons I mentioned int he spoiler. In any case, if you want another go at the game, there's always New Game+.

In New Game+, upgrades and weapons from your previous playthrough will carry over, and levels will feature new additional enemy placements for you to deal with. So the first level throws Phantoms at you right off the bat. Even in the earliest levels will you encounter Reavers, Guardians, Scourges, and other enemies which would normally appear later on. Super enemies are also more prevalent on NG+, so you will see a lot more Super Tritons and the like in NG+ than in the regular game. Though Overload doesn't feature additional enemy spawns on higher difficulties, NG+ does make up for that, and makes the game worth at least another replay. In NG+ you can also use Vortex Missiles and the Lancer in the first half of the game, which is also nice. Positions where there would be Upgrade Points now contain Super Missiles, or Vortex Missiles and Time Bombs which would normally appear only late on. Some of the items these spots contain are randomized, where some spots might contain either a Super Missile Pod or Super Hunter. It's not always the same thing when you restart a level on NG+.

I don't really get the point of this. Randomized item spawns can break the balance of levels in minor ways, and especially when taking in account upgrades for your secondaries you might end up with a pick-up for a secondary which you never upgraded, making it comparatively useless for you. Sometimes you might get something you'll use, sometimes not. This is not such a major thing, but it'd be honestly preferable if the new NG+ item spawns were just fixed in what they held rather than being random, in order to maintain some level of consistency, and possibly balance for the NG+ levels so you can't cheese your way through after finding a random Super Time Bomb containing ten of them.

Even though Overload runs on fucking Unity, I've had very little problems in terms of performance. It's remarkably well optimized. They mentioned in the developer streams that to increase performance they'd have to write their own functions for graphics handling rather than to use Unity's standard ones, which I guess is telling. However, there are certain unoptimized shaders, particularly the ones of the Phantom and some force fields in the final levels which tend to cause framedrops. Outside that, it runs mostly fine on my medium system.

Anyways, that's Overload for you. I can't think of any other FPS released in the past ten years (I'm counting 6DoF games as first-person shooters because they're too small of a subgenre anyways and could use the recognition) with a more pure approach to combat and level design as good as Overload. Even with this incoming wave of old-school FPS throwbacks, I think Overload will end up being the best one (and the least recognized one). I think it could be a bit longer to flesh out its own ideas, but for the most part it smooths out most of the 90's gotcha mentality and the game feels much more consistenly fair as a result. The new additions and refinements are incredibly welcome and make Overload in my eyes superior to the first two Descent games in many ways, even if it doesn't quite reach the same heights as Descent 2, but it does manage to be a lot more consistent. It's got everything that makes a good FPS good, and it's even got a level editor to boot with custom levels on their way. I do hope they follow this up with an official singleplayer level pack, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

If you consider yourself a fan of first-person shooters, don't be a poser. Go get Overload. And if you get motion sickness, remember that motion sickness is just a meme anyways. It's all in your head. As is the disorientation you're feeling.
_________________
Xyga wrote:
chum wrote:
the thing is that we actually go way back and have known each other on multiple websites, first clashing in a Naruto forum.

Liar. I've known you only from latexmachomen.com and pantysniffers.org forums.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:49 am 


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...I always feel a little inadequate following one of those up.

Anyways, after a quick but pleasant jaunt through Super Skelemania I was in the mood for some more platforming, so that combined with my doomed ongoing effort to convince myself that buying a Wii U was worth it made me fire up Yoshi's Woolly World. It's...okay, I guess, it's at least got some more bite than Kirby's Epic Yarn did, and there are some clever visual ideas and such in there, but like a lot of second-tier/outsourced Nintendo mascot fare it just feels kind of...joyless, somehow, which is especially weird considering the trappings.

To be fair, I've never been fully on board with the "feel" of the Yoshi games, and that goes all the way back to Island on the SNES (sacrilege, I know :P), and the same non-fatal but persistent sense of sloppiness remains here, but more than that it feels like all of the good stuff has a harsh drawback to it: the minutiae and callbacks from the older games are fine, for instance, but also can't help but feel derivative (not to mention the aforementioned "borrowing" of the yarn theme from Kirby). More seriously, the busloads of hidden stuff, usually a positive, very quickly starts to feel like a slog; sometimes there's a definite hint if you look, but plenty of others it just comes down to "you need to make sure to occupy every inch of space in a level or you'll probably miss something". It's like the "attack every wall" principle from some of the Castlevanias, only much more pervasive. Perhaps it's just me, but by the end of the first world it felt like I'd be forcing myself to go on.

Thankfully, and rather strangely, I threw a Hail Mary pass to New Mario U before unplugging the system again, and despite being able to level quite a few of my Yoshi criticisms at it (including not being a huge fan of the other NSMB titles I've played...and also slightly disappointed in 3D World), somehow things just clicked better with it; again, it likely has something to do with my always having had more affinity for "regular" Mario games, not to mention this one's numerous callbacks to World in particular (one of my personal all-timers), but I'm having fun with it. So far it's among the easier Marios I can remember (baby Yoshi, ironically enough, is totally OP), but it's got a straightforward if slightly mischievous polish to it, which I suppose is the sort of "spirit" that appeals to me in a game like this. It's also got Luigi U attached if I feel like more of a challenge, so we'll see where I end up before moving on.
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