Coronavirus and me and you

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Smuel, Apr 4, 2020.

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  1. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    I haven't played played Elite Force and my familiarity with Star Trek doesn't stretch farther than being able to tell Kirk from Spock. But I'm still going to tell you that you're wrong!

    The sole virtue of Kotor is its loyalty to the source material, including a simplistic good vs evil narrative, a laughable one dimensional villain, a really douchey, so called wise, council of good guys whose actions and general moronic behavior are largely glossed over, and nonsensical redemption arcs. The characters are some of the most embarrassing caricatures imaginable, one asshole going on about how he'll never trust you and another constantly lecturing you on the dangers of the dark side.

    I'll give you points for the swords, they certainly gave spear-beats-tank vibes. The sequel made blasters a viable option all the way to the end. Still, the new movies have these moments as well, with storm troopers drawing swords and going toe-to-toe against lightsaber wielders.

    I think this is largely a matter aging poorly. Compared to the large open words available today they certainly seem a bit cramped, but I thought the backdrops on the different planets pulled off the feel of grandeur, at least when the game was released. The first planet (big planet wide city) certainly felt like Star Wars, as did the various cantinas you could visit. Walking across the the deserts, hearing the roars of the sand people certainly evoked remembrance of the original movie.

    The sequel is a much better game, largely due to pissing the source material in the face.
     
  2. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    It's not its _sole_ virtue. It's also a pretty good game - I'd give it 8/10 at least. Also, I'm not sure whether it's more true to Star Wars or to D&D. Certainly the parallels were striking - like every character having a good/evil alignment, longswords and shortswords, feats to remove dual wield penalties, a magic system based on one-upping your opponents spells (e.g. "force breach"), ancient relics that are the source of great power, companions with stories and weirdly stilted romances. Once I noticed all this, it was hard not to keep being reminded that it was developed by the same people who made Baldur's Gate. It's Baldur's Gate in space!

    I agree with you on the impact of walking into the first outdoors area - it did look great, and that was a "Star Wars" moment for me. But the rest were kind of meh. The desert area could have been atmospheric if they didn't let you go outside the town - they could have had continuous sand storms that made it too dangerous to go out in, and which you could hear if you went close to the fences. That would have worked better, I think.

    I will probably play the sequel in a few years, so then I'll come back and tell you whether you're wrong about blasters being effective in that one. The way it should have been in KOTOR is that you initially felt afraid of all the armed soldiers, and had to sneak around them, until you could get a lightsaber and then fearlessly stand in the open deflecting shots back at them, but that contrast wasn't really there. Jedi was just another character class. It's as if Luke Skywalker had started out as a badass, punching Stormtroopers in the face in A New Hope. Then his transition to single-handedly taking out a skiff-ful of mercenaries in ROTJ wouldn't have had any impact.
     
  3. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I thought the cross-classing, and complexities of that, was pretty neat from a gameplay perspective for KOTOR (balancing the pre-Jedi classes and post Jedi classes, and if necessary under-leveling the pre-Jedi classes, etc.). It was definitely a game where you could make well-defined and distinct character builds, and as Ruda said it was loyal to all the tropes you see in Star Wars movies to begin with. On top of that, the sound track was great, particularly the main theme - which could have been used unashamedly in a Star Wars movie if lengthened:



    I've still not played KOTOR 2, possibly I'll get round to it one day - but probably not.

    Similarly to Ruda, I've casually watched some Star Trek (bits of Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise - and some of the Generation movies) but was never really a die hard fan. I probably watched the most of Generation, but still am not that interested in Picard. Playing something like Elite Force as a result definitely doesn't rank highly on my to-do list (which currently is focused around another new Skyrim character, or possibly playing the BioShock franchise from start to finish).
     
  4. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Pfft, why don't you marry Ruda if you're so similar.
     
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  5. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    I suppose that I can admit to exaggerating, if ever so slightly. Obviously I like the game, but when I replayed it a few months ago it didn't really live up to my rose tinted memories, leaving me a bit salty.

    Yeah, it's certainly fun to see the same five different people or so in every Bioware game. As characters go, I actually like Jolee and Juhani – Jolee being the first lightsaber wielder to question the jedi sect without being a bad guy and Juhani having rather interesting backstory and really highlighting the lunacy of how the jedi order expects you to deal with emotional trauma. It's too bad you didn't get to call them out on it though.

    A few others were fairly decent but nothing exceptional, the evil companions were good for their stories and reactions but weren't all that interesting. The wookie and the R2D2 stand-in had zero personality. Bastila and Carth were pretty terrible and took up way to much room in the story, until the reveal it felt as if they were the main characters and you were just some recruit along for the ride.

    I do see your point and you might be right, but I doubt I would have forgiven them had I not been able to traverse the great deserts. Using sandstorms to limit wandering rather than weirdly placed danger-signs, would have been superior though.

    Character building is problematic in the original. It looks like a decent system but there are three primary flaws.
    • Strength > Dexterity
      Both strength and dexterity influence your to-hit chance with melee weapons, whichever is higher. That means that a character going for a middle ground between them suffers. Strength gives you a damage bonus while Dexterity increases your dodge chance. Dodge isn't nearly as useful, due to the efficiency of blaster reflection with lightsabers and energy resistance against enemy lightsabers. Meanwhile, damage bonus is amazing.

    • Gunslingers are severely disadvantaged. As Smuel points out, guns are largely useless. This conditions is further enhanced by the first point, as only dexterity influences the to-hit chance of ranged weapons meaning that specializing in ranged makes you a lot weaker when making the transition to lightsabers.

    • Intelligence is useless. While I enjoy the use of intelligence to awards skill points to be used outside of (or as alternative to) combat, the only skill that is actually worthwhile for a player character is persuade. All the others can be handled by your companions. Need to hack a computer? Send a droid. Need to disarm a mine? Send a droid. Need to pick a lock...well, you get the idea. Lockpicking is actually completely useless since you can bash every single lock in the game without penalty. So, it's perfectly viable to leave Intelligence at its base value and place a single skill point in persuade when leveling up.
    All these flaws are fixed in the sequel. Being an Obsidian game, skill checks (not at all limited to persuade) are used frequently in dialogue, which of course is exclusive for the main character. All skills are used during crafting, which is extensively enhanced from the original's static upgrade system, although this can once again be handled by your companions. Guns are buffed and there are feats to allow using Dexterity instead of Strength for damage bonus when using melee weapons (and lightsabers).

    Honestly, I could go on and on about Kotor 2. It's one of my absolute favorite games, including my favorite character in any game. Hell, even the R2D2 ripoff, who makes a return in the sequel, is a more fleshed out character than anyone in the original. So you certainly have something to look forward to!

    However, much like Arcanum and Bloodlines, you'll need the unofficial patch in order to play it in a relatively bugfree state. But getting it to work should be a fairly easy process.

    If that's the contrast you're after, I can recommend the first two Jedi Knight games. You'll go from sneaking past storm troopers (or tossing grenades into rooms full of them, or shooting them in the back) to taking them head on fifteen at the time while playing around with various force powers. Still, using area-of-effect force powers in KOTOR felt pretty powerful to me.
     
  6. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    It's probably far more difficult than we realise to create an interesting character who is revealed only using interactive dialog with the blank slate of the player, who may be good or evil or neutral, depending on how they're being played. The character also has to be willing to travel with the player for the entire game, which further limits the possibilities. I played light side, because I'm too much of a bleeding heart to even hurt pixels, so the story made sense to me in that respect, but I did wonder why the good-aligned companions would still stick around if I had been picking all the "now i keel u lol" dialog options with NPCs.

    Yeah, yeah, I know what you're going to say. "Oh Smuel, all these issues are fixed in KOTOR 2, and therefore everything you just wrote is wrong." As I said, I will probably play it at some point.

    I came to rely on the companions too much though. I picked all the buffing and auxiliary powers for myself, and didn't determinedly max out my melee skill, relying on teamwork to get me through the difficult fights. So when it came to the final solo battle I had nothing to use against Malak. I ended up having to run away from him, lay a couple of mines, kite him through them, and then repeat the process 10 or so times. It was a ridiculous way to end the game. Fortunately I had enough mines, from when I collected them in the early game, before it became easier to set them off and heal afterwards rather than bother disabling them. I don't know what I would have done against Malak otherwise.

    "In KOTOR 2 it is literally impossible to create a useless build!" (That's you)

    I actually liked Bastila and Carth, but then I also liked Jaheira so maybe I just happen to be in tune with the Bioware writers. It was fun when I thought that Jolee sounded familiar, and then realised he sounded like Sarevok, and then looked it up and found they were voiced by the same actor. More Baldur's Gate synergy. It just needed someone to say "My cantina's as clean as a Jedi's arse" to complete the effect.
     
  7. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    I agree. While I'm not a fan of Mass Effect, I did like how the player was an established character with a background from the get go. Kotor 2 has the same sort of situation; you aren't an amnesiac blank state, you've got a personality, a past, and prior relationships with dialogue choices deciding the outcome of past key events.

    Writing evil is hard, but asking for more options than ”How about I kill you instead?” isn't really setting the bar high. In KOTOR the lack of interesting evil options is especially jarring considering the nature of the reveal.
    I mean Revan is built up as some sort of greater scope villain who is utterly ruthless but charismatic and reasonable, a conqueror who doesn't want to destroy the very infrastructure of her future empire, in stark contrast to Malak who's just a brute. Yet the evil options in the game only concern mindless violence and other petty, vindictive shit.

    This!
    Ouch. Had you at least picked one of the key powers to kill off his floating health stations? I messed that up myself.
    Yeah, yeah KOTOR 2 is crappy too. I'm waiting for someone else to present the flip side of the coin.
     
  8. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I've heard very good things about character building in the sequel (the different classes for light side and dark side, etc.). To be honest, I never have a problem with flawed character building systems - while balance is nice, so long as I can do interesting and distinct things with the system that's all I really care about. With RPGs it's all relative anyway, certain builds will always have an easier time of killing things/surviving than others and as it's a single player game the difficulties inherent with certain builds are part of the fun.

    I'll definitely think more seriously about giving it a go. Still hoping that Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will get a release this year, it's still slated for this year but there haven't been updates in a while from what I've seen.
     
  9. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I did think they could have handled the initial "you don't remember your past" aspect of KOTOR better. I knew almost nothing about the game prior to installing it, so I just thought it was poorly written that in the first scene you could ask Trask dumb questions like "What's a spaceship?".

    Initially I thought I hadn't, since I didn't have any of the powers that walkthrough pages said to use, but then I found that force breach worked for this purpose, so at least I was able to use that. I would have run out of mines if Malak had been able to heal. I suspect that Bioware realised how much it would suck not to be able to disable the end boss healing due to build choices made earlier when you didn't know what you would need, so they made a lot of the powers able to do it.

    Also, I just remembered some Star Trek synergy as well. A couple of minor KOTOR characters were voiced by the actor who plays Neelix in Voyager. That actually took me out of the game a bit when I recognised the voice.
     
  10. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    I'm fine with them taking their time as long as we don't end up with Duke Nukem Forever scenarios. Crusader Kings III will be released in September. For those of you intrigued by the earlier installments but put off by high learning curves and abundance of released DLC, you now have a chance to become addicted from the get go and buy all the upcoming DLC at full price!
     
  11. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I'm now playing RollerCoaster Tycoon.

    Well, actually, it's RollerCoaster Tycoon 2.

    Well, actually, it's OpenRCT2.

    Anyhoozers, it is really good. Thanks for recommending it to me almost 8 years ago.
     
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  12. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I aim to please, 8 years later. It's why I'm such a successful lover.

    I'll eagerly wait and see if you can make park guests say anything as good as "I want to get off glue, but lack the willpower" and "I can't afford to get caught touching kids."
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  13. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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  14. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Looks like people are queuing around the block for my Jizz Drizzler. You can thank me later for your park's success.
     
  15. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Obviously, Your Mom provides the most popular ride.
     
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  16. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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  17. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    I've been keeping well but I've been worried about my international friends. I'm glad you're all surviving.

    Ironically, it turns out that decades of paranoid survivalism has crippled my emotional resilience and social skills so I'm not even much use as moral support.

    But, I'm well positioned to bunker down and avoid all human contact, and I stand by the promise to hide anyone in my attic and/or form a wasteland road-warrior gang.

    Also, I've been balls deep in star trek reruns too.
     
  18. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    Is flame warriors still being updated?
     
  19. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't think so, I was surprised to see it was still there!
     
  20. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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