Muff

Most Recent Platinum

54,251 posts in this topic

Plat#100 Fifa 22!! 

 

Thr trophy but has truly bitten!

 

Have a good day all!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

after 6 long years i finally plat MGSV. Very happy with that right now

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plat 47

1L4fa950.png

a winters daydream :) 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1Lfa0e81.png

:platinum: # 213 Newt One

 

This is a palate cleanser game. Useful to relax between long/frustrating titles, but without a ton of substance. I played it after finishing the Dirt 5 DLC, which really made me need something quick and simple like this. Controls are responsive enough, and its bright and cheerful looking. Short plat, only a couple of hours, so you'll be back to whatever long-play you've got going on refreshed and recharged (hopefully). Wouldn't buy for full price, but not a bad pickup on sale.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

:platinum:  509

1f4af.png 648

 

Lf042c1.png

Last Stop

The sophomore effort from Variable State - developers of singularly peculiar, dialogue-free Walking Sim Mystery Virginia - takes a rather more traditional approach to narrative story-telling.
It brings in straight narrative (albeit, across an interwoven 3-story tract,) dialogue, player choice player-directed pacing...
...and unfortunately, falls markedly short of the high bar they set with Virginia.
Supremely short, in fact. 

 

Have you ever seen Southland Tales - the epically terrible second film from Richard Kelly, writer director of Donnie Darko
That film had the incredible legacy of not only destroying the significant credibility Kelly had built on the back of his superlative first film, but was, in fact, also able to directly tarnish the film that came before it. So misguided was Southland Tales - on so many levels - that it not only relegated itself to the bargain bucket of Blockbuster within twenty seconds of release, it also sent many viewers (including myself,) back, scouring though Donnie Darko in a new light. Suddenly, the aspects of Donnie Darko that were mysterious, or metaphorical, or open to interpretation felt lesser. The assumption upon first watch was that Kelly was a genius. We were layering on our own interpreted cleverness onto a mattress of smarts that Kelly had created. 
If Southland Tales was that bad, however, the question became: "Is Donnie Darko actually clever, or did we just projected cleverness onto the canvas of budgetary constraint-necessitated vagueness?"

 

For what it's worth, the situations are, I think, different in terms of extremity. 
In the case of Kelly and Donnie Darko, I do actually think the question was accurate. As anyone who has listened to the director's commentary for that film will know - Kelly isn't actually smart. He's kind of dumb. That movie was smart and cool by accident, rather than by design. (I still like it a lot, for what it's worth, but still!)


In the case of Last Stop, I don't think the game misses the mark by anywhere close to the level that Southland Tales did. It did send me back to Virginia with the same idea, but I concluded that  Variable State were, in fact, smart in their creation of their original game. 
Last Stop didn't tarnish that...
...but to be clear, while Last Stop is not so bad that it destroys Variable State's credibility beyond any hope of recovery, it is bad enough that it made me seriously question Virginia's awesomeness.
Even if I ultimately chose to believe Virginia to still be awesome... that's still quite a feat.

 

The game begins in 1960's London, with a young couple running from a policeman, upon whom they have played an annoying, but harmless prank. When fleeing through the tunnels of the London Underground, they open a doorway, and are confronted with some sort of portal to another world. They cross it... and that's that. We see nothing more of those characters for the time being. 

The meat of the game, instead, takes place in the late 90's. Three separate stories are told in episodic form, with the player able to select which one to play first, second or third. Once a chapter of each is complete, the same choice can be made for the order of each second chapter, then third, etc. That allows the layer some choice in which story to play right away, but doesn't allow one story to progress too far, before the others have a chance to catch up.

 

All three of these stories have really only two things in common: they are set in the same areas of London, and they are all concerned, in some way, with the "Unexplained". 
There is the middle-aged, single dad, who's body in seemingly magically swapped with the young, physically fit dude who occasionally gets his mail by accident, the teenage girl who, along with her friends, goes to spy on a strange man they are suspicious of, and end up holding an alien hostage in a derelict swimming pool, or (in the best vignette,) the middle-aged, sexually empowered employee of shady governmental agency, who's secretive work-life, fractious relationship with her father, and extra-marital affair is wreaking havoc on her marriage and mental health. 

 

All these stories are fine on paper, but unfortunately, a combination of clunky writing, unbelievable plot-twists or character choices, and at times shockingly ham-fisted line readings tend to diminish any real investment the player has with the characters. This happens right from the start - before any of the unexplainable or supernatural elements come into focus, and that is really problematic. Without investment with the characters on a human level, it becomes difficult to care when they start being put under emotional stress or find themselves in unusual situations. 

 

The visuals are not too bad, but never very impressive either. The rendering of London is pretty good, shows a good mix of areas of the city, and seeing a narrative game set in London is refreshing. There are some good, cinematic angles used, and that makes the city feel quite lively - though it does throw up an issue I've not seen as prevalent than this in quite some time: the changes in camera angle losing the character.  Not since the tank-control PS One days have I so often had a character either veer off in the wrong direction, or simply take a moment to actually find on screen than here. 
When the camera changes angle, all player control is relative to that new direction, and so if running down a street (for example,) and the camera switches to an angle from a side-street, (as happens often,) the character will suddenly veer to one side, as the relative controls swing around. 

 

The look of the characters is quite cartoony - though not in a bad way, I'll say. 
Expressions are exaggerated, in a way that gives the feeling of sims from The Sims 3 / The Sims 4, and this is something of a double-edged sword. In the case of the more comedic stories, it is a benefit. Where the narrative is more serious it tends to be a hinderance - though not a major one. If Variable State's previous game Virginia taught us anything, it is that cartoonish character models are not a blocker to serious story-telling when used well... here, the story is what gets in its own way, the visuals are secondary.

 

Audio-wise, a very rough mixed bag. The music is good across the board - there is original score and (I think) licensed songs, and both are used well, and add to the tone nicely. (If the writing had the tonal consistency of the score, Last Stopwould be in a much better position overall!) 

Voice work, on the other hand, is patchy in the extreme. Sometimes it can be quite naturalistic in individual lines - there were several reads where I was markedly impressed - but joined together as a whole, the writing and voice work is all a bit clunkily connected. A lot of line deliveries feels very unnatural or stilted. In addition to the characters often doing things that feel ridiculous or unmotivated, the consistency of the written lines follows suit, and pulls the delivery along with it. Lines can feel out of nowhere, and the tone they are delivered in wildly out of place given the surrounding ones, or the situation the character is in.

 

The biggest issue in the game, however, is not visual or auditory, but in the writing. 
I don't like to get into spoilers, but with this game, I need to talk about it to some extent. I'm going to tread lightly here, and avoid spoilers (I learned from my Life is Strange reviews that doing spoiler reviews is a waste of time, as no one reads them!) - so I'm only going to talk in the abstract. 
Hopefully this still makes sense!

 

The basic structure of the narrative in Last Stop is sound, and actually a very good idea on paper. The introductory vignette - seemingly unrelated to any of the main 3 narratives - sets a suitably B-Movie-esque tone. The notion of 3 separate storylines, all seemingly unconnected but taking place in similar areas slowly becoming more and more intermingled, until they finally coalesce and explain the original introductory vignette has a lot of merit. 

The issue here though, is not the premise, but the execution. 

 

Because all three stories are not only narratively dissimilar, but also tonally distinct - from one another, and from the hokey, deliberately silly introduction - the finale, when they all conjoin and intermingle feels jarring on three separate levels. 

All three main narratives stay relatively 'grounded' throughout. Yes, each deals with a sci-fi or fantastical element, but that element is treated as the unusual twist in an otherwise very pedestrian world. When the finale happens, it whisks all three stories into the realm of such out-there, Saturday-Morning-Matinee sci-fi, that it simply loses touch with any sense of investment the player might have built up towards the characters or their earthly lives. 


There is nothing wrong with pedestrian stories, magical realism stories, or out-and-out sci-fi nonsense, of course - all three can be fantastic - but a game being entirely one, then hard-turning to the other at the very end is taking a massive risk with audience investment... and Last Stop is proof of why. 

Imagine if the characters from Heavy Rain, in the final act, opened a door, and found themselves in a city from Ratchet and Clank. That is the vibe here. 
Both Heavy Rain, and Ratchet and Clank might be enjoyable games (to different extents, they both are,) ... but the tonal whiplash such a narrative manoeuvre induces would require a level of sophistication in the writing that few developers could achieve without losing the majority of the audience. 
I'd wager almost no studio could pull that off successfully... but if there are some out there capable of doing it successfully... Variable State aren't among them.

 

What happens, unfortunately, is that a game already precariously balancing on the knife-edge of audience engagement due to rough writing and patchy voice-work, trips over its own feet and PLUMMETS. 

I really cannot describer just how hard my eyes rolled, and how quickly my patience dried up when the game took its final swing... and I never recovered. Even as the game played out, limply crawling to the finish line, my interest had dried up completely.

 

It's a shame, as there is merit in Variable State, and merit in Last Stop on a conceptual level, but the game never capitalises on any of that, and only seems to go from mediocre for 90% of the experience, to dismal for the final 10%. 

 

A whopping disappointment all round, and one I'm highly unlikely to ever replay... even after I inevitably replay Virginia in the future!

 

 

 

(For original review and Scientific 1f609.png Ranking see HERE)

 
Edited by DrBloodmoney
4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally....

n. 10 :platinum: MotoGP 21

 

1L0cfbe9.png

 

Great game, really fun and an easy plat but Junior Team trophies are very annoying....

 

 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scd4f23.png

 

:platinum: Platinum #78 - Unpacking
1Lb1eba1.png

 

All Moved In - Common: 75.34%

I really loved this indie game. It has a pretty unique take on how to tell a narrative with some great environmental storytelling. That being said if you don't enjoy the actual act of unpacking and sorting stuff you won't enjoy this as the gameplay is pretty one note. The platinum is super easy, just beat each chapter and then there's a few trophies for interacting with certain things as you play. The chapter select makes getting any trophy you missed really easy.

Enjoyment: 8/10
Difficulty: 1/10
Playtime: 7 hours.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

40-platinum.png#146

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2

 

Extreme long-range sniping with targets over 1000m away. Cool stuff.

sniper-ghost-warrior-contracts-2-2021341

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1Lbdda04.png

One with the Truck
23rd May 2022
5:06:52 PM

 

#18 - Snowrunner (PS4)

Difficulty: 7/10

Grind: 8/10

 

After 4 months+ we are finally ONE WITH THE TRUCK :D

Felt good to be back on track, :platinum: wise :eyebrow:

A mix of seamless to utterly frustrating 'Recover' moments due to unexpected tilt and flip here and there.

TBH, got some 'don't want to continue anymore moments' or 'burned our moments driving back and forth'.

 

But we grind and grind until we persevere. :highfive:

#18 was definitely worth the ride.

 

Cheers!

XF22Razgriz

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now