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« Reply #1635 on: 26 September, 2019, 08:19:57 pm »

Did you play the original? It's worth playing as well despite lacking the polish of Automata.
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« Reply #1636 on: 26 September, 2019, 09:42:11 pm »

I didn't, and I don't have a ton of interest in tracking down a copy. I should watch an LP or something.
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« Reply #1637 on: 26 September, 2019, 11:34:51 pm »

I've completed two out of four speed objectives in UGG. Two more and I'll have 100%d the game. This third one is proving tricky, though.
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« Reply #1638 on: 28 September, 2019, 01:35:38 pm »

All to-do list items crossed off. I am now goose royalty. Honk.
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« Reply #1639 on: 30 September, 2019, 09:37:08 pm »

Shadowkeep tomorrow. The new menu music will sustain me until then.
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« Reply #1640 on: 11 November, 2019, 04:17:36 pm »

I've played about 10 hours of Death Stranding.

I'm enjoying the game. I don't know that anyone should pick it up sight unseen or without knowing what it is, which chafes strongly against my usual thinking that it is fun to not know what something is and to figure that out over the course of playing it.

I don't know that liking Metal Gear is a pre-requisite to liking this game. I think it certainly helps because you not only know what to expect when it comes to Kojima and all the caveats that come with him, but you also have an idea of the minutia that you'll have to account for when playing. This game has systems layered onto the core loop that remind me most heavily of the base management stuff from MGSV and Peacewalker.

The game is moody. It's solitary, even in interactions with other characters. It's funny, probably on purpose and not. It demands patience by punishing you for impatience. The way it treats you and the things it confronts you with are bizarre and uncanny. I haven't decided yet whether it is earnest.

Mostly, I'm struck by how gratifying the game is, and I'm torn between feeling like it wants me to feel good about that and feeling like it wants me to feel bad about it.

I'll small text some more specific thoughts and moments I've had so far:

I'm still in Episode 2 right now, having played through the Prologue and Episode 1. It still feels like I'm in a vertical slice where the game is explaining everything from the premise, the exposition, the mission types, the verbs, and other stuff that will serve me in the rest of the game. I've seen advice that it is worth getting to Episode 3 as quickly as possible because that is where the real meat of the game is. That's where it cuts loose. Part of me wants to do that, but it's just not how I play games. It's not exactly easy to do stuff quickly in this game, and I think I'm better off not stressing myself out by worrying if I'm at the fun part.

I'm already having fun anyway. In one of the reviews I watched before release, the author called this "the Gran Turismo of walking simulators." It's what he calls a stickshift video game. And I really get it. I'm hardly walking anywhere without holding both triggers on my controller to make Sam grab the straps on his backpack to maintain his balance. I press R1 every so often so that my terrain scanner will show me the easiest ground to walk on, though I'm getting better at reading the terrain without it (I think with this being the starting area, it's relatively easy to walk over regardless). If you don't do these things, you can trip on a rock and fall over. If you fall over, your backpack and packages can go flying. Packages incur damage, and when the packages get damaged, the things inside them can also get damaged. That incurs penalties to the grades you get when you complete orders.

It's a Kojima game. There are grades. There is a 5-point rubric that you're graded on and that you can level up parts of. So far I seem to do the best job at Miscellaneous, which I recently discovered will let me earn more Likes.

This is the gratification part that I mentioned above that I don't know how to feel about. You get Likes from NPCs when you deliver packages. They send you emails that are full of emojis. There's also an online component that lets you build structures and use structures built by other players. Using those structures automatically gives that player a Like. You can also manually Like the structure. Liking the structure starts a timer during which you can mash the Like button to give them multiple Likes. And of course, when other players use your structures, you get a notification saying that they Liked it. You can approach a structure and it will display how many times it has been Liked by other players.

So on the one hand, there's the sense of accomplishment you get from completing a task in a video game, for which game designers are at this point very skilled at making you feel good about. Fanfare plays, numbers go up. The map comes up and shows the exact route you took to get somewhere. I climbed up that hill, I forded that river, I didn't fall once. The contents of the package were fully intact even if the box itself was a little degraded by the Fast Forward Rain. And at the end of every journey, there's (a hologram of) an NPC giving you their thanks and calling you a legend. Feels good, Sam.

And then there are the likes that kinda betray it all and lay it bare. It reminds me of the dopamine rush of signing onto Facebook and seeing a lot of notifications after posting pictures or sharing an article. People interacted with you because of something you did. But is it meaningful interaction?

The things you do in this game might be a little better because it at least feels helpful to build a bridge or put a ladder in just the right spot that a bunch of people used. But then there's a background thought process in my head of "Hmm, where's a really good place to use a ladder that a lot of people will use?" and "This bridge is gonna get me so many likes." Later: "This dude built a bridge just slightly upriver from mine and his is getting way more traffic. Grrr."

I like the backpacking. When you set out with an order, there's a great sequence where Sam has to strain to stand up after you've loaded him down with stuff. The backpack teeters precariously whenever you take a sharp turn or step over a row of rocks. Everything you have in your inventory is a physical item on your person, from the ladders to the climbing ropes to the spare boots that you need to have. If your boots wear out, you start losing blood through your feet. It's great.

The backpack is probably one of the best sources of comedy. I've only leveled up my carrying capacity once, but I can already stack it ludicrously high. And that makes stealth extra dumb. There is tall grass in this game, and there are patrolling dudes guarding camps to sneak up on. I haven't interacted with them enough to know if having too much backpack renders the tall grass useless, but man I hope it does.

You can parry these dudes with a rope by the way. You catch their kicks or lunges and throw them off balance, then tie them up with a CQC finisher. I know you get other weapons eventually, but I kinda just want to be a rope main.

The story is more or less what you expect from the guy who wrote Metal Gear. Kojima's problem has always been the lack of editing and revision. Even when characters are saying interesting things to you, the way they say it just borders on insufferable. Someone I was listening to talk about this game said they are almost positive that he writes unnatural dialogue on purpose, likening it to Twin Peaks which I haven't seen. Maybe that's true. It doesn't ruin the game for me. It is still such a video game, too.

"Sam, you have to get the President's body to the incinerator!"

"People call me Deadman. I'm usually a coroner. I deal with dead people a lot." The next scene, meeting the character in person for the first time. "Sam, it's me. Deadman." I know, you just- you know what nevermind, that's how it is.

That's just how it is.

There are questions about how much of a blank check this game really is. Sony obviously reached out to Kojima very soon after he left Konami and agreed to fund the game. But also Sam explicitly hydrates using only Monster Energy Drink. There are five cans of Monster on the table whenever you go to your private room. You can (and should) drink them (they give you stamina boosts) with a detailed animation of Norman Reedus just downing the whole can in one. The cans are rendered exactly as they appear, including all the slogans and stuff. So ok, they cut a deal to have Monster in the private rooms. Except you also have a canteen that you can drink from out in the field, and the tooltip for this canteen makes it known that it automatically filters any water or rain it comes into contact with and turns that liquid into Monster.

I have no idea if this a bit or not. Kojima obviously loves brands. Metal Gear was full of them in various fourth-wall breaking ways. Monster doesn't seem like his cup of tea, though. So it just makes you wonder what that level of placement cost them.

I guess the last thing I should mention is the baby. You've got a baby strapped to your chest to help you see ghosts. It gets upset and stressed if you fall over or interact with ghosts too much, at which point you have to rock the baby back to a good mood (using the controller's motion sensing capabilities, if you have those enabled). This is fine. The baby is fine.

Bit more than I meant to write, but I feel like it gives a good idea where I am with this so far. Interested to see how far it goes, ready to play more.
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« Reply #1641 on: 13 November, 2019, 08:28:09 am »

Finally met Troy Baker's character last night and he is suitably absurd.

also found geoff keighley lol
when you do stuff for him, he starts sending you emails that in no uncertain terms just talk about how much of a genius kojima is
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« Reply #1642 on: 13 November, 2019, 03:14:41 pm »

i legit did not know keighley was in the game but that is extremely funny
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« Reply #1643 on: 13 November, 2019, 11:28:47 pm »

Yeah there are meant to be all sorts of cameos in the game. I met Hermen Hulst tonight (former head of Guerilla Games and new head of Sony Worldwide Studios), though he seems to have contributed only his likeness.

I have also figured out what seems to be the shortcut to becoming popular, which is not building bridges but building roads. In the new region I'm in, there are these things called auto-pavers that, when fed materials, will print out a section of highway. I set up the one right outside the distribution center, and the next delivery I made, I gained like 25 ranks off of Bridge Links alone. The pavers seem to get more expensive the farther you get from base, but I'm definitely gonna make it a project to build the whole damn thing.
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« Reply #1644 on: 16 November, 2019, 01:11:27 am »

Road building is my life now. There is no America without the road.

I guess Kojima couldn't resist adding in a little bit of the Peace Walker/MGSV minion management because I just unlocked the ability to send an automated drone on standard deliveries. It's a pair of robotic legs with a shelf on top. A logistics system to surpass Metal Gear.

I joke, but getting the roads set up just makes every other aspect of the game much faster. The sooner I have a highway over a spooky swamp, the sooner I can ignore the ghosts and get to delivering.
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« Reply #1645 on: 26 November, 2019, 09:18:39 am »

Latest cameo I've found is Jordan Vogt-Roberts. He's got a King Kong decal on the side of his shelter.
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« Reply #1646 on: 26 November, 2019, 11:42:22 pm »

Found Conan. Got an otter hood.
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« Reply #1647 on: 27 November, 2019, 10:27:01 am »

Latest cameo I've found is Jordan Vogt-Roberts. He's got a King Kong decal on the side of his shelter.

this is good
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I SERIOUSLY DREAMT OF FLOYD BEING A KILLER CYBORG WHO RAN 10 TIMES FASTER THAN ANY NORMAL HUMAN, AND THEN KILLED MM, TURNED FEMALE, WENT AFTER ME, AND I DROPPED FROM THE SKYSCRAPER! IT HURTED, BUT I AWAKE CALMLY, THINKING I WOULDN'T SEE YOU AGAIN.
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« Reply #1648 on: 30 November, 2019, 01:09:45 am »

Mads Mikkelsen finally showed up but went away almost as quickly. Troy Baker's character is the main antagonist so far (he's having a lot of fun) but I wonder if Mads is the big bad or something.

I finished building the road from the north of the current map to the south, and driving a truck all the way from one end to the other is a delight. Time to start building west, but I have a new enterprise in the meantime: zip lines. You can build anchors up to 300 meters apart so long as they have line of sight, and the idea of having a fully functional network with like a central spoke is just so tantalizing. I mean, what else is that enormous mountain in the middle of the map for? By their nature, they won't be as socially lucrative as building roads, but I'm actually somewhat softcapped on Bridge Links anyway. And even still, some players might find them useful. I certainly mean to.


Also most recent cameo now is the Famitsu guy that created a minor (or major, idk?) fuss in Japan over ratings and stuff. He is "the Collector" and most of his orders are related to video and board games. His emails are about how the internet killed magazines and ruined the world or something.
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« Reply #1649 on: 02 December, 2019, 10:40:32 pm »

Level 1 ziplines in this game have a maximum range of 300 meters. That's how far you can place two anchors apart and have them still connect. You can upgrade this distance, but upgrading structures requires bringing materials to them, which is a bit of a hassle. Anchors also require uninterrupted line of sight, and they can't be built on slopes or very uneven ground.

This presents a challenge when trying to build zipline anchors on the side of a mountain because mountains in this game are really naturally formed. They don't have just have convenient outcroppings spaced 300 meters apart that say "build an anchor here." Instead, they have all sorts of ridges that jut out and block your view from one anchor to the next. So you wind up having to build up or down the slope, or even laterally in order to find a spot that will work.

I spent about an hour tonight trying to find just the right spot to connect two ends of a chain of anchors that I had been building that link one destination to another. The real challenge was getting around the corner of the range only to then realize that the link I wanted to connect to was cut off by a cliff. So I had to first climb down to build an anchor at a lower point that would round the corner, and then climb up a pretty sheer rockface to find a spot that had line of sight from that anchor to the one up on the cliff.

I wasn't as prepared for climbing as I ought to have been. Using the terrain scanner, you can see yellow areas that Sam can climb up and red areas that he cannot. If you accidentally step out onto one of the red areas, he'll start sliding downward, or worse. I slid too far at one point and ended up about 50 meters down the mountain, bruised up and having lost a piece of cargo (turns out if a box becomes detached from your backpack while you're on a mountain, it starts bouncing much faster than you can hope to catch it).

I was eventually able to climb back up and find the exact spot that connected the lines together.

I love this game.
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