The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2022)

  • In an effort to make it easier to digest when looking through the aggregation post, I'm gonna answer every question in a separate post.

    Response to @ffff0

    There's a lot of aspects to your question so I'll go through it section by section.

    While time mechanic is crucial to this game’s narrative and design, it can also be frustrating in so many ways. You may run out of time while exploring some location or solving some puzzle, which means that you have to redo everything again.

    I can understand your frustration here, however it is something that has never bothered me. For one, every time that happened to me it was because I had spent the rest of the loop doing something else. There are no puzzles that require the entire loop aside from the very last one, which means that whenever I ran out of time whilst exploring, it's because I took too long to start exploring that location. And that's fine! It's how the game works, and all it means is that on the next loop I'll go there first, or as soon as it's available.

    At worst, it's a minor inconvenience, however, I wouldn't even call it that. I think there's something thrilling about that race against time. Okay, I just started exploring this area, and now I hear the music that plays right before the loop ends, I better hurry! It's a fun way to add stakes to what you are doing without making it unfair, because like I said, if you don't see everything you can just go there first thing the next loop.

    Sometimes this may mean repeating some challenging navigation or trying to remember how exactly you’ve got to where you were. This pushes you to do everything as fast as possible and if you rush at the wrong moment, you’ll miss some important clue.

    I think this is fun. It's exciting and intense, because you're right, if you rush at the wrong moment, you will miss something. I don't think that's an inconvenience, it's a feature. Outer Wilds is generally a very chill game, and yet occasionally, as the loop begins to end, you have to rush, You have to make split second decisions, no time to second guess yourself. Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you fail, and never once did my failures turn me off from the game. The loop ends, I exhale, smile, and vow to get back where I was as soon as possible next time. It's fun.

    And the game never makes it unfair. You never have to guess if you missed something, because your quest log will always tell you if you have to go back and re-explore a location. Maybe you have to redo some difficult navigation, however this time you find it's less difficult because now you know what to do. You've already done it, it's easier now.

    Also I think I should mention that you shouldn't feel stressed about clearing every location fast. You literally have an infinite amount of time to do things across multiple loops, so I don't agree that you feel like you have to rush through every location. The only time I ever rushed was in those brief moments before the end of the loop. Generally I think the game has a rather relaxed atmosphere.

    Additionally, there are several locations, including one vital, that can be get into only during extremely short timeframes, so if you weren’t in the right spot at the right time, you will be lost. I believe developers even admitted that clues for getting into that vital location are too faint and lots of players are struggling with it (including me – I’ve got there by lucky accident, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to finish this game without a guide).

    Do you agree that player’s enjoyment of this game is luck-based?

    Pretty sure I know what puzzle you're talking about, and I agree it's kind of obtuse, however I don't think that one instance is representative of the game at large. And as is the case with nearly every puzzle in the game, once you know the solution, getting to that location is never difficult again. So to your point of certain locations having very brief windows of entry, that's true, however if you know how to get there the game does an excellent job of making sure you're aware of what that window is. At that point, it's very easy to get to that location on time.

    This is a hypothetical example, but let's say there's a location that I know opens up at 12 minutes into the loop, and shortly after it opens, the entrance closes. The game has made it abundantly clear the time I need to be there. It's on me to get there on time. If I don't make it, that's the not the game's fault, it's mine. So yeah, the entrance is only open 30 seconds, but if I'm not there when it opens, that's my bad. And if I don't make it, oh well, I'll lick my wounds and do it right the next loop. That's the beauty of Outer Wilds.

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  • Response to @Brannox

    1. Sure, I agree it's a detriment when trying to convince people to play it, however it's not a detriment to the game. If anything, I think it illuminates just how excellent the game's surprises are. I don't wish to spoil things for you because I truly think they are worth experiencing for yourself. That shouldn't be considered a flaw of the game, it just means that it had such an impact on me that I would like for it to have that same impact on you. The game is built on a mystery, to spoil the mystery would be a disservice to you and your experience with it.

    2. I think the game absolutely does a good job of keeping track of your discoveries and guiding you to certain places. In your ship you have quest log of sorts that, rather than tell you where to go, tells you what you have learned. It will also put big question marks for places that your log mentions but you have not yet been. For instance, let's say that you learn something about the planet Ember Twin, but you haven't been there yet. The game will put what you know about Ember Twin under a great big question mark, telling you that you have not yet been there. It's a subtle way of guiding you in that, if you have a question mark, it means you should go there. It will also let you know if you missed something at a place you have already been, so that you know should go back and explore it some more. The quest log does an excellent job of keeping track of what you know and subtly guiding you to where you need to be, and yet it actively avoids damaging the joy of discovery.

    edit: It's late so I will answer the rest of the questions tomorrow, as well as ask my own.

  • Answering @JDINCINERATOR's Questions Regarding What I Feel Makes God of War Stand Above Other Games and Kratos's Modern Facelift is the Right Move

    While I don’t have the knowledge regarding Souls games, even if I have the world building knowledge from Isla and Brad, that’s still a baseline knowledge. I do love how this game tells the lore throughout with finding Myths, the stories Mimir tells you and how they can connect with each other, how Tyr created a Hidden Chamber just to hide Jotunheim from Odin. And the objects in Tyr’s Chamber itself that Tyr collected, even some being from the Greek mythology! The Myth Legends also help in this contextual regard. Learning how ruthless the Gods can be. One of my favorites is the Giant, Thamur, who you see and explore around his Corpse. Where Thor basically just had Thamur fall on his own chisel causing the entire village to be crushed. All in a search for his son, Hrimthur. But this led to Hrimthur finishing his father’s work, the Great Walls of Jotunheim and utilizing his skill as leverage as a bet for Odin, but was still double crossed. Mimir says that he suspects that there’s a flaw within the walls that only Freya might know as Ragnarok looms.

    As someone who basically played the entire God of War series this year in a month’s time, I am glad they changed how they approached God of War now. While I love games like Bayonetta and the Greek mythology games for spectacle and great action, when I got to God of War 3 (playing chronologically) I could definitely feel a bit of fatigue on my end regarding the action and Angry Kratos. So I’m personally glad they went to a different mythology with him to explore some different things and give him more of a character reset in a way. It definitely allowed them to give Kratos more depth into his character besides he killed his family and their ashes are over his body.

  • Response to @jdincinerator

    1. I think it really depends on the person, but ultimately if it isn't grabbing you I'd recommend going at your own pace. There's no rush, ease yourself into it however you see fit. There are a multitude of places for you to go, explore wherever feels most interesting and I think you'll find that the mystery catches your attention.

    2. Frankly I don't really think it's similar to No Man's Sky at all. Sure they're both in space, but No Man's Sky is very procedural, whereas everything in Outer Wilds is handmade for a specific purpose. The appeal of No Man's Sky is its scope, the idea that perhaps you are finding something that nobody else has found, however they're hollow, procedural discoveries. Everything in Outer Wilds has intent. I don't really feel the two games are comparable, but I think you know which of the two I prefer :)

  • Response to @bruno_saurus

    I personally love the way the ship controls. There is a pleasant weight to it but it's far from unwieldy, and I appreciate how maneuverable it is. It takes some practice to master, but it feels very good when you do. As for the section you are talking about, you're right it's not easy. That said, it's not supposed to be. The reason that area works so well is because of its difficulty. It's stressful, one wrong move and you have to start all over, but the ship controls so well that any mistakes I make feel like my mistakes. I can't think of a single time in that section that I got angry at the ship controls, because every time I had to start over it was due to my own stupid mistake.

  • Response to @DIPSET

    1. Thank you for the kind words! As for your question, there are a number of themes that I took away from it. I think the main one that comes to mind is that the game seeks to combat cynicism, looking for hope in every situation without invalidating the fear and sadness that accompany it. It's very conscious of the time we live in; everyday there's another disaster, our global politics are in disarray, we are destroying our environment, and as a result there's a prevailing sense of cynicism and doomsdayism in our culture. Outer Wilds does not diminish those fears, and yet it asks: when faced with impending doom, do you dig your feet in the sand, or do you simply treasure the time you have left, appreciating the life you've lived and the relationships you've formed along the way? It's a beautiful meditation on existence, confronting nihilism and embracing mortality. These things have stuck with me long after beating it.

    2. Hmm, interesting question. I think it's difficult to truly say if it is pushing the medium forward, as well as how it will ultimately impact the industry. I admit it's a rather niche game, and it kind of seems to exist in a genre of its own, however I could very well see it inspiring a new genre of mystery game. It operates on a creative ethos that I haven't really seen anywhere else, in that its goal is to make players interested in playing simply out of a desire to unravel its mystery. It offers no quest markers telling the player where to go, the narrative is only loosely guided, and it offers no rewards for playing it other than satisfying the player's own curiosity.

    The game works so well because it makes you ask questions about the world, and makes you wish to find the answers. It doesn't start with some dude giving you a quest, you are literally guided by your own curiosity. You have no idea what will happen when you solve the game's mysteries, you only know that you want to solve them. I think that's remarkably special, and I would love for that ethos to spread throughout the industry.

  • Question for @ffff0

    The thing that interested me the most is that you mentioned there are user-created tracks in the game. How advanced is the track creator in the game? What are some of the craziest things you've seen other players make?

    Question for @bruno_saurus

    I remember enjoying a fair amount of God of War's side-quests, however for every one I enjoyed, I feel like there was another that I was indifferent about (the Wayward Spirits come to mind). There were quite a few that felt like little more than "go here" -----> "kill enemies" ------> "the end," and they kinda just felt like distractions from my main quest. Do you agree with my criticism of the side content? Why or why not?

    Question for @JDINCINERATOR

    You mention in your presentation that the game has left a lasting impact on you, and that it doesn't feel like it's been five and a half years since release because it is so fresh in your mind. I feel very much the same way, so my question is: what is it about the game that makes it stick with people so long after playing it? What quality does it have that has made it so eternal?

    Question for @DIPSET

    For years I could have swore that I played this game. Don't remember a whole lot about it, but I have fond memories and recall having a good time with it. I've even had conversations with people about how I recall liking it. However, after watching your presentation I now know that I have never played this game before in my life haha. Don't know what game I've been thinking of all these years, but apparently my life is a lie.

    Anyway, after watching your presentation one of the things I was struck by was the atmosphere. Just based on what you showed, I am getting definite horror vibes, so is the game scary? What is the game's overall tone?

  • (sorry, I asked this in my previous post but it didn't save.)

    Question for @Shoulderguy

    I know that XCOM has a pretty vibrant modding community. In fact many consider the Long War mod to be even better than the base game, with one of the developers of the main game saying "we're basically a 20-hour tutorial for the Long War, and that's okay."

    What is your experience with modding in the game? Do you agree with those who say that in order to have the best experience, mods are a necessity? If so, is it a detriment to the game that you have to download third-party mods in order to have the best experience?

  • @capnbobamous said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (September 2022):

    Question for @Shoulderguy
    I know that XCOM has a pretty vibrant modding community. In fact many consider the Long War mod to be even better than the base game, with one of the developers of the main game saying "we're basically a 20-hour tutorial for the Long War, and that's okay."
    What is your experience with modding in the game? Do you agree with those who say that in order to have the best experience, mods are a necessity? If so, is it a detriment to the game that you have to download third-party mods in order to have the best experience?

    Regrettably I've never experienced any of the community made mods for XCOM Enemy Unknown. Most of my experience with the game was with the Xbox 360 version, which I don't believe had access to mods. That's unfortunate for console players, because it's always an added bonus when a game you love also has a great dedicated modding community.

  • Response to @Capnbobamous question about Forza Horizon 5’s track creator.

    I’m a player who isn’t interested in mods and other forms of user-generated content (even in games like Dreams I only play official campaign), so I haven’t personally experienced this side of Forza Horizon 5. But according to my research, the editor is very robust and gives you an opportunity to place a lot of various objects and devices in the environment, then race through your creation to set a route and then modify the logic of the event by adding rules like “when player hits destructible object of this type, finish the event” (and rules can be more complicated than that). This enables community to create events unlike anything in the game, and Forza Horizon 5 have lists like “Best of the Month” that will help you to find the most interesting creations.

  • Response to @Capnbobamous regarding What Remains of Edith Finch:

    I believe the stories, and the way Edith Finch tells those stories, are what leave a lasting impression in gamer's minds. Every time I look back on Edith Finch, it fills me with pleasure and a tinge of sorrow, because it understands how to be varied and shocking in a way I don't see in other games. The subject matter is dreary, but the sense of hope, and the numerous ways it manages to make you feel engaged emotionally through its gameplay is remarkable. I am reminded of how certain gameplay sections spirit you away, enabling you to feel connected with these stories, but the abundance of ways Edith Finch connects you to them are profound. This is what really sticks with me, because I remember how Edith Finch uses controls to make me more invested, I remember the sense of glee and whimsy I felt in certain stories despite the underlying tragedies. I think most impactfully, Edith Finch made me care about what it means to enjoy living, as well as the beauty of imagination and ambition. Just because the Finch family members are gone, doesn't mean the memories of who they were have vanished-and Edith Finch brings this stunning level of realization to heart-and breathes fervent life into it.

  • Second question for @Capnbobamous about Outer Wilds.

    Many games are less impactful when you play them second time, but with Outer Wilds I’m not sure that second playthrough is even possible. Which is a real shame, because it means that you can’t show the game you’ve just finished and loved to someone else. The only thing you can do really is recommend the game without telling anything about it, which isn’t very convincing. This also means that you can’t share this game with someone who doesn't play video games but likes watching you playing them. And inability to share your passion with others can be very frustrating.

    Do you consider the one-and-forever-done nature of this game as a detriment?

  • I've just spend more than two hours on examining presentations, questions and answers to rank entries and provide my reasoning (don’t worry, I will consider future Q&As and update my ranking accordingly). I didn’t know what my ranking would be before I’ve started this, but after I’ve wrote a reasoning for each nominee, their order became mostly obvious. Maybe you’ll find this approach helpful if you’re struggling with picking your top 3.

  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

    Answer # 7 re: is the game scary?

    Question for @DIPSET

    For years I could have swore that I played this game. Don't remember a whole lot about it, but I have fond memories and recall having a good time with it. I've even had conversations with people about how I recall liking it. However, after watching your presentation I now know that I have never played this game before in my life haha. Don't know what game I've been thinking of all these years, but apparently my life is a lie.

    Anyway, after watching your presentation one of the things I was struck by was the atmosphere. Just based on what you showed, I am getting definite horror vibes, so is the game scary? What is the game's overall tone?

    Short answer, no it's not particularly scary. It's more along the lines of a thriller than a horror. Long answer — this game is based upon the film Pitch Black (2000), NOT, The Chronicles of Riddick (2003) so the tone is closer to the original film than anything else.

    The original film was kinda like Predator—a mix of action, suspense, horror. And Butcher Bay is sort of like that. There are parts where you are walking through dark tunnels with low ammo and a flashlight against swarms of alien creatures. There are also times when you're sneaking in the shadows a bit nervous to get caught. But nowhere does the game go into outright horror territory.

    It keeps the tension but there aren't jump scares or pursuer enemies. It does have elements of survival horror with low ammo and exploration rewarding the player with better tools for survival. But again, it's never meant to make you poop your pants. More like a Hollywood thrill ride in gaming.

  • Answering @Capnbobamous Regarding Side Quests

    I do agree that they can be varied in ways of actually helping the spirits, because while some are getting a specific item, you’re still fighting enemies in a guarantee of that item being dropped. Some I do recall do have some puzzle elements though in regards to actually reaching them. Not a lot of them, but at least they vary here or there.

    They do at least have some sort of lesson to Atreus. In one example for this, you need to find bones of Gullveig, to possibly see Faye, his mother, again. Atreus shows so much hope and belief in Gullveig’s magic that he can see his mother again. When they find all the bones, Gullveig attacks Kratos and Atreus and says you can see the mother in death. This does have Atreus at least learn to not trust spirits just based on what they say. So at least there is some life lesson involved!

    Regarding other side stuff, I did love all of the Dwarf side quests as they gave valuable resources and helped us have more grand moments with Brok and Sindri in that regard! It also feels more natural when in the main story, they reunite and come together and forgive each others' faults to make better products.

  • Sorry for not asking more questions. I'm too unfamiliar with most of the games, and for one of them, the question I had was asked by another. The presentations themselves also explained some things I'd been wondering about.

  • Second response to@ffff0

    I get what you mean, and you're right it's
    a difficult game to share with others, however I don't believe it's a detriment to the quality. In all likelihood, fewer people will play this game for the reasons you listed, and that's a shame, however that doesn't take away from the experience that those who do play it have. I wish I could share this game with more people, I really do, however as I said to Brannox, the reason I avoid revealing aspects of the game's plot is because I think it's so good that I want others to experience it blindly. It's a difficult game to recommend because I can say so little about it, however the reason I say little is because of those moments of awe that the game gave me. I remember my jaw dropping multiple times, pumping my fist into the air after I solved a major puzzle, feeling melancholy after a piece of the plot is revealed. All of those moments -- those emotions -- are worth keeping quiet about so that they have the same opportunity to affect you.

    So to answer your question, no I don't believe it's a detriment to the game. It's a difficult game to share, however those who play it are in for a remarkable experience.

    And also I played the game for a second time recently, and while it's naturally not as awe-inspiring as the first playthrough, plenty of things still affected me. I could still see the wonder of what was occurring even though it was not my first time seeing it.

  • Sorry for the delay folks, working all day so I'll open it up for your votes before the end of the night (I still have to update the aggregation post as well as make my picks.)

  • Alright everybody, sorry for the wait but cross-examination is now closed and it is time to DM me your votes. As a reminder, here are the rules you need to follow:

    1. Only those who brought a game can vote.
    2. You must choose your top 3 picks, with your first place game getting three points, second place getting two, and third place getting one.
    3. You may not vote for your own game.

    I encourage you to go back and look through everything before you decide, and I have updated the aggregation in the original post so that it contains every question and answer. For the sake of transparency, I have also already voted to make sure I'm not influenced by your votes. I will reveal the winners after I have received all of the votes.

    Thank you all for participating, I'll see you when I have your winners!