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biosynth8

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  1. I played some of Wasteland II, but can't remember much of it. The moral system didn't strike me as especially interesting, as it concerned mainly tactical decisions. Plus, as far as I remember, most missions do have a "right" way to play them. Most of the time it's still "play a good samaritan or murder everyone".
  2. I really liked how much this video emphasized the importance of fantastic architecture in games. There simply is too little of it. Even fantasy games don't dare very much in this category. After the great and often alien architecture in Morrowind, both Oblivion and Skyrim were a disappointment architecture wise. Sci Fi games tend to have very few setpieces and fill everything else with tunnels and machinery.
  3. This post may contain massive spoilers to Prey (2017) and Elex. I just finished Prey (2017). I think it's generally a good game. Rushed in some areas and tedious in the end, but generally good. What really made me think, though, is the system of moral decisions it has. That sucks. Of course, it can be argued, that it's not as bad as in Bioshock, which is probably Prey's half-brother. However, since the gist of the game is that it's one giant test of your humanity, it's kind of more important. In most cases, the game makes you decide whether you help people or not. Save someone by completing an extra objective or don't. If you don't help, sometimes the people die, other times they will just be disappointed - but you always miss out on game content and rewards. On the meta-level the decisions don't come down to moral ones, but whether you want to spend more time in the game or rush through it faster. Whether you want to know more of the story, or whether that's not important to you. And even inside the game world, the decisions are rarely difficult. The game balantly asks you whether you want to be a monster or not. It's similar in many games. Even ones that have more nuanced worlds, like the Fallout series, make it hard for the player to play as an asshole. Most of the time, the "evil" decisions are just kicking puppies, figuratively, but also literally. If you go by the healthy moral compass of a human being, you end up as the knight in shining armor. Evil decisions are generally wrong, good decisions right. Does it have to be like that? I don't think so. However the only game I know that did it in a decent way is Elex. Now, it's not really a good game, but I think they nailed that aspect. Few people played it here, I assume, so I'll explain the basics. You play as a guy who was recently kicked out of a faction of technologists who brutally murder people to extract a drug from them that grants special powers and keeps their emotions down. Since you don't have access to a constant flow of the drug, your emotions come back. How they do, that's for you to decide. I think that's a clever way to have a blank slate RPG-character without the amnesia trope. Instead of a karma meter, the game keeps track of your "coldness": Emotionless, utilitarian decisions count as cold and raise the meter, emotional decisions, whether from anger or compassion, lower it. The good thing is, that this never tells you whether your decision was right or wrong. For example, early in the game you find a man who is trying to care for his brother who was turned into a monster. The human decision is to keep quiet about it, since the local authorities would kill both of them. If you do that, the monster brother kills the other man anyway. This "moral" system is set in a world filled with assholes. There are five factions that can be summarized as bigots, bullies, supermacists, terrorists and mass murderers, and you get to decide whether you want to ally with the first three. I've read reviews of people who complained that they stopped playing because they hated all the factions. Well, that's the point! When I played the missions of these factions, I found myself constantly trying to screw them over while still meeting the mission requirements. Sometimes that works, sometimes it gets back at you later. Even the first companion you get in the game only stays with you if you help him frame the cold blooded murder he comitted on an innocent guy. I the end, I agreed with that, took him back to the camp, ratted him out and killed him. There I realized it: In this game playing as an asshole has a point. Often you only have questionable options and you'll have to go with the one that helps you with your own goals. If you try to be the good guy all the time, you are not only going to get used, you are definitely going to make things worse for everyone. Because the people giving you quests lie to you. I find that really fascinating. What do you think? Is there any game that implimented something similar?
  4. Search for Zomb's Lair. There's a package including a virtual machine with Windows 95. It's almost impossible to run any other way. I wish I could run my German version again, I really liked the voice acting. Those weren't spiders, they were aggressive plants. They don't appear before quite late in the game actually. If you have come that far, you almost got it. But that's also the point where you have to start messing with the environmental controls. Come to think, I guess you can beat the whole game in less than two or three hours.
  5. Checks all the boxes of things to have in a modern rouge lite. The same basic map gameplay you have in other titles from Fictorum to Void Bastards. Somewhat real time combat but on a tiled field, which makes it strangely static. The plot is interesting, but after an hour or so I came to the conclusion I can have a much better experience by just reading any sci fi novel.
  6. It takes endurance to get into it, I guess. I was scarred off when I got attacked by bats in the beginning.
  7. My first impression: A cheap, buggy mess without any real story. The "alchemy" is so obviously stolen from Full Metal Alchemist that it hurts.
  8. I'm going to try this right now, since its less than 3 Euro. I haven't played a really interesting first person game since P.A.M.E.L.A..
  9. Man, that was a buggy mess. I bought it back in the day and tried very hard to like it. It was an open world game at a time when this feature alone was something special. The colorful, tropical, South American setting was cool too, when so many other games were brown colored military shooters. I think I deleted and re-installed it eight times. I just couldn't believe that there was nothing for me to like in this game. It was a patched re-release, but everything felt unfinished.
  10. I fondly remember "Hard to be a God" by Akela, released in 2007, based on the Strugazky brothers' novella. Not only am I a fan of the source material, the game also fell in my favourite categorie of games that are kind of bad but charming and unique. It's a top down action RPG set in the future but on a planet that is currently in the renaissance/early modern era. The thing is, that it starts with the aftermath of what happened in the book. If you haven't read it, the game spoils the ending (which is kind of a big thing), but the proceedings of the game would be much more suprising for you - if the press releases and trailers hadn't spoiled it beforehand. It had a more or less half-assed system where you had to combine certain parts of clothing and armour to pose as people from different factions. The fighting system was interesting, with a lot of force behind the weapons, but it was buggy and tough as nails. The graphics, as with everything from Akela, were dated, both ugly and nice. There was also "Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power" by Wargaming.net, also from 2007, also based on a novella by the famous Russian brothers. It's a turn based strategy game set in the same universe (Noon Universe) as "Hard to be a God". However, this time the planet is somewhere in a dystopian atomic age, with several totalitarian states warring against each other. Again, the story takes place some time after the novel, this time it plays out events that are hinted on in later books of the Noon Universe. However, if you haven't read "The Inhabited Island" (or seen the 2008 movie) you won't understand anything from the story. Not that it matters, as it is only told with voiceovers by bored actors. However, it's a very solid strategy game and I started playing it again recently as it's on GOG now. Even the early missions can be very though.
  11. I recently watched "Silent Running" with Bruce Dern again. It has a lot of similarities in plot and setting and Alan Russell is definitely a bit modeled after Bruce Dern's character Freeman Lowell. Russell even has a poster of that movie in his house. The funny thing is, that it actually went that way: The movie Silent Running was the inspiration for the construction of the ill-fated Biosphere-2 project in Arizona, and Biosphere-2 was the main inspiration for BioSys.
  12. Yes, it's a free update. To be frank, the gamplay and graphics enhancements are the main appeal of it anyway. The Breaking Dawn storyline is rather lackluster with copy-pasted bosses.
  13. I think it was considered a "Myst clone" at the time, as it was a whole genre. It's far easier though. Even if you can't solve a puzzle (it's hard to call them puzzles, because they often seem more like workarounds to broken stuff) you might stumble upon the solution by accident. Most of it can be solved by real life logic. The only part where I got stuck was when you had to get a heavy rock lifted from a corpse. I did not think of that solution because it seemed to video-gamey at the time.
  14. I finished it now and even liked the ending. No great suprises, but it was decent. All in all, the level design and architecture are best parts of the game. Really, it's a decent game made by a small team. You just have to give it some time and overlook some flaws.
  15. I don't get what you mean. This is the base game now. There's no way to play it without Breaking Dawn.
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