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Cyber_Goddess's Game Reviews

   
Stardew Valley Stream #2 is up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE0OXiBGsgs

We have some tense moments and some lucky moments.

Tomorrow is chat interactive Game Dev Tycoon. Followed by the torture of Darkest Dungeon on Monday.

Darkest Dungeon Stream 1 is up, and it was insane.

And I don't mean insane in terms of "oh my god it was a tense farming sim."

No I mean in my first boss encounter, the apprentice necromancer, THE COLLECTOR shows up mid-dungeon.

Watch the video to see the insanity unfold!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xna0QCuxj50

The project highrise stream #2 is on the channel and I've linked the channel in the first post so I'm not constantly spamming here every stream.

Project Highrise Review

Project Highrise is a game with great crunch and horrible fluff, and that is why it ultimately is only average. This isn't 'average' in terms of Fallout 4 where for some reason I was mystified why I liked it so much. No this is “so okay it's average”, where it's actually rather dull.

Project Highrise is a tower building simulator, but it lacks a lot of personality for lack of a better word. When you click on people they simply say things like 'I had some great dinner', and the sound and music is dull and slow. I literally turned off the music because it was putting me to sleep.

It's a game that's worth your money if you like simulation games, but it ultimately won't appeal to anyone else, like at all. It's a game you to play to relax and kill some time randomly, but ultimately it's not that appealing in terms of content.

In Project Highrise you basically have 5 ways of making money. Offices, Apartments, Stores, Restaurants, and Hotels, and that's it. That's literally all you have, complete and utterly mundane building options.

This is an issue because I've argued that simulation games need to sell themselves on one of two things 'imagination' or 'personality'. You need to either be able to effectively roleplay the empire you're building, or they need to have a personality of their own, such as the characters in Stardew Valley. Even Fallout 4 has the combat system, crafting system, and bare excuse for a story to help out the simulation aspects.

Project Highrise doesn't really have either. The closest it gets to any kind of personality is the steam workshop, or putting self-imposed challenges into play, which is pretty much all that the 'scenarios' do also. “You can't build a tall building and have to build wide” for instance.

I know this review is extremely short, but there's almost nothing to talk about. If you've played Sim-Tower it might be worth a look, or really like simulation games. It goes on sale for like $5 when on sale, so it's pretty cheap. It's not a bad game, just kind of a dull game. All the pieces of the puzzle fit together properly, it's just that the image it creates is a gray slate.

Overall, I got my money's worth, so I'll give it a 7.5 out of 10, but ultimately I highly doubt after getting the last two achievements that I'll ever come back to it. I hope Project Highrise 2 has more personality, or maybe the steam workshop can save it.

Look I apologize for a double post, but I want to point out why this essay was so short. Because there is literally nothing to criticize. If you can describe gameplay mechanics or crunch as a "cliche storm". Project Highrise would be it. I couldn't give any actual analysis or criticism, because it either doesn't exist like the plot, or works together perfectly but in a completely dull way like the building mechanics. It was bug free, so I couldn't even complain about the bugs.

Seriously, when I finally finish Agents of Mayhem, we'll get a much, much, much better review out of it. I'm just sorry that I had to waste 5 hours of stream time, as well as starting off with that game. Watching that stream must have been dull as playing a videogame where you watch paint dry!

Streaming and reviews was put on hold due to a new job that heavily screwed with my sleep schedule. Due to being physically unable to handle the job. I am leaving it and during my job search for more...suitable work will be returning to reviews and streams in the meantime. Fallout 4 and Agents of Mayhem reviews will likely be coming up soon.

Fallout 4 in-depth review.

Analyzing Fallout 4 for the in-depth review has been a difficult thing for me to do. For all intents and purposes I've put another good 7 days into the game sitting at over 440 hours in the game so it clearly hits a 9/10 for me. The conflict I have with myself is why I've given it that.

Fallout is one of those game series that is torn down the middle by it's fan-base. On one hand you have the Obsidian/Black Isles fans, and on the other side you have the Bethesda fans. Often these fans seem to prefer Fallouts 1, 2, and New Vegas or Fallouts 3 and 4 in a weird version of Coke and Pepsi. The problem with me following this trend is that....well I like both.

New Vegas is arguably my favourite game of all time. It broke me into the post-apocalypse genre in a way I hadn't seen it before. Before New Vegas I often saw the post-apocalypse genre as usually either an anarchist's fantasy setting, or a dystopian straw-man setting. New Vegas was neither, which opened my eyes to examining the genre with new eyes.

When I played 4, it was so long after the game's release that I was already aware of almost every flaw in the game, and was going in with lowered expectations. I picked up New Vegas a mere few months before 4's release, and I didn't play Fallout 4 until 2017, long after the season pass, patches, and other things were out. The very last thing I did before upgrading my PC to be able to play it along with other newer games was 100% Skyrim's Legendary Edition.

That last one might not seem super relevant but there's an insane amount of overlap between the two games, which is why I'm trying to play-through Skyrim to see if my liking it is something I can pin to Fallout 4 or if I just happen to like this genre of game in general, and even now I find myself confused and conflicted.

~What if there was a game as great as Nuka Cola~

For my third play-through I decided to play a raider boss. I ignored Preston entirely, and instead installed some mods that would make raiding the commonwealth easier, these mods along with my play-through opened up a few eyes for me, and made me realize just how true the idea of Nuka World being tacked onto the game seemed.

For example, there were two settlements I wanted to convert into raider camps, but when I talked to the guy you plan missions with, he told me he had heard bad things and wanted me to scout it out. So I went there, cleared out the area, and opened the workbench, then headed back to Shank to do the job properly. His response was “I think that's one of yours boss”. As if I hadn't cleared out the area specifically to do the job.

This makes me question if Nuka World was meant to be some kind of 'deal with the devil' when it comes to the settlement system. You get overpowered perks via the 2 gangs that don't betray you. Porter Gage's perk is one of the few ways to get a permanent flat experience boost, the happiness machines manufacture chems, and so on.

However Nuka World's raiders comes at a price assuming you don't do what I did and install a few mods. The first allowed me to create a supply line between my normal bases and the raider bases so I could have access to all my building materials. I've been told you used to be able to do this with a robot but it got patched out.

Meanwhile without my “total control” mod, you can't control the settlements you've made into vassal states, which creates a weird game-play mechanic, where in order to produce the most food, you'll build the vassal settlement up to maximum size and then take it over after you have 25 or so settlers growing crops, which is a very gamey way to do things. Would it have been so hard to have some device you could use to enslave people and send them to settlements to farm?

You also lose the favour of Preston Garvey if you side with the raiders, which doesn't happen if you don't recruit him at all until after doing the Nuka World stuff. The losing of Garvey's favour, the lack of control over your vassals, combined with the overpowered perks, and extreme amount of money you'll be making, makes me seriously question if Nuka World is meant to be a sort of 'deal with the devil' sort of DLC.

Seriously by adding those two mods, and not recruiting Preston Garvey, there's basically no downside to working with the raiders who like to enslave people, kill them, and so on. Literally the only person that seems to acknowledge any of the Nuka World stuff is Preston.

Deacon at one point during my play-through when I was grinding for his perk and asked him about the factions in the commonwealth even said “I like what you're doing with the Minutemen”, when I hadn't even rescued Preston. The Minutemen didn't exist, and almost the entire commonwealth was enslaved by my raider gangs instead.

All of these completely backs up my thoughts that Nuka World should have been it's only stand-alone expansion similar to Saints Row 4's Gat out of Hell expansion. Playing a Nuka World play-through heavily breaks so much dialog in the game.

During a mission to protect a raider camp from the Brotherhood of Steel. Piper actually reached the point where she 'admired' me, while in the middle of a bloody corpse decorated camp of psychopaths. No one outside of Preston seems to care that you're in control of Nuka World unless you're stupid enough to kill or collar an NPC in the middle of a city.

~The Land of Confusion~

The problems keep adding up as I started doing various side quests. I can honestly say that outside of at most 3 quests I've seen basically every side quest in the game, and they almost all boil down to the same MMORPG style game-play of “Go here, Kill this, Come back.”

The problem is that I knew this going into Fallout 4, this summary which is totally accurate was flat out told to me by Joseph Anderson, long before I played Fallout 4. So I question if by catching Bethesda at their worse I've effectively rendered any criticism against the game somehow 'invalid' in my eyes.

It's like trying to do a legit movie review about 'The Room'. The Room isn't a movie you watch because it's a piece of grand art that you seriously would consider putting in some hall-of-fame. No it's a movie you watch because it's a so bad it's goods unintentional comedy. Taking it seriously just ruins the experience.

Meanwhile I went into Fallout 4 expecting a 6.5/10 (under traditional review scores not mine) and found myself enjoying a 6.5/10 game that I just happen to like. The story is bad, almost the entire game is MMORPG style filler quests, but I question if that's what Fallout 4 is more accurately described like. Some weird “single player MMO”, an MMORPG without me having to worry about nagging other people to team up with.

I really have no clue why I enjoy Fallout 4 this much. I was hoping writing this in-depth review would give me more insight, but having watched Joseph Anderson's reviews again, and playing through the game again. I really have no clue why it works as well as it does. It's like they made a jigsaw puzzle from 6 different sets, but somehow the pieces still make a final picture, even if it isn't a proper picture.

All I can really find myself wondering is if when I get around to playing and doing my review on Skyrim: Special Edition if that will since some light on the game-play side of things. After all if I dislike Skyrim, then it's probably Fallout 4's decent quality gun-play or the fun doing empire building in the settlements and so on that it's main attraction. If I enjoy Skyrim, while quite frankly at that point I'll be more confused and probably cover that in Skyrim's in-depth review.

Quite frankly doing this third play-through and attempting to legit analyze the game, has just left me even more confused than before. None of the research via internet videos, fan-sites, or discussions on the discord has opened my eyes at all. The best answer I can give is “I enjoy it because I find it fun”, but I cannot for the life of me answer the follow up question “why do I find it fun despite it's flaws?”

At this point, it qualifies for a 9/10 either way by my scale. I can't really give you any kind of real answer about WHY it qualifies for the 9/10, just that well, if you're looking for a game to kill a lot of hours in pick up the Fallout 4 GOTY on sale or something. I enjoyed it. I can't tell you why, I enjoyed it exactly, but I did, but I certainly got my “money's worth” so to speak.

I would go into detail on the story at this point in time, but quite frankly there's no point in analyzing the factions. The story is at best side content to the main MMORPG style game-play There's like a grand total of 2 missions in the main plot that have you do something unique or interesting or get to make a moral choice of some kind. Also I don't want to get all political and cause some faction flame war.

Final answer: 9/10, but no clue why it's a 9/10. It qualifies, but I have no clue why it qualifies other than that it technically does. It certainly is no 10/10 piece of art though.

~The Story~

The story of Fallout 4 is a nightmare even if we ignore the factions. None of the factions are fleshed out, and none of the story really works on any level at all. You can complete the main story in 10 hours, and it basically boils down to hearing like four lines of dialog from each faction leader, all of which are flawed, and none of which are good.

This isn't like New Vegas flawed either, where the factions had their own flaws, and you had to balance your morals, or your character's morals against the ideals that each faction gave out. I mean that almost none of the factions go into detail about why they believe what they do, and almost every argument you can give for each faction's idealology boils down to referencing other sources.

Ultimately Fallout 4 is supposed to be a game about AI rights, with the 4 factions boiling down to “AI is a threat to humanity.” “AIs are people too” and “AIs are our property and aren't self aware.” The problem is that almost none of the factions ever do any kind of philosophical debate or any kind of interaction with each other.

At no point do the Brotherhood of Steel or Institute interact, at no point do the Institute and the Railroad interact, and so on. The only time the factions interact in anyway is when they've reached the point where one side is trying to kill the other side with you either defending them, or killing them for them.

It doesn't help that almost every character has about 4 lines of dialog total, and a lot of dialog is not able to be accessed once the conversation is over. It's not like New Vegas where you could go through the entire dialog list of a character and see it all. If you want to see all the dialog, prepare for a LOT of reloading saves.

I get that this makes the interaction a little more 'realistic' but it removes a lot of depth from the characters, and causes the player to miss a lot of information that could possibly flesh them out. I almost wonder if the main character should have been written the same way the Saints Row main character is, with having multiple voice options you pick at character creation that determine how they act.

This wouldn't hurt the game really, because almost every dialog option is 3 different ways to say yes or “ask questions”. This would also allow the cutscenes to be scripted and allow for the character's conversations to come across as more like actual conversations. I'll probably install Saints Row 3 or 4 and go through the game a few times, to see about doing a comparison review.

Well I would be saying that if I didn't have Agents of Mayhem installed, and I feel that the two have more in common than I'd like to admit. Namely. Radiant Quests.

~Radiant Quests~

For the purpose of this review “Radiant Quests” are basically content that is artifically created and endless. They're quests like where you go to the bounty board for work and it tells you to go kill X person at Y location, then you come back a week later to find the bounty board has another quest that's almost the exact same on it.

In my opinion for Radiant Quests to work. One needs to have something that make the artifical content build to something, or simply have gameplay that makes it fun to endless repeat content, and Fallout 4 and Agents of Mayhem do it in completely opposite ways.

In my opinion, I don't consider Fallout 4 an RPG, but I also don't consider it an 'action' game either. In my opinion it's more like a simulation game mixed with a shooter. The end goal in this game is the settlement system. Yes there's a plot, but it's such low quality it feels like an afterthought, the purpose of the radiant quests is to get you to go places to loot things to build things.

In constrast Agents of Mayhem, sells it's Radiant Quests on the hardcore action. It's fast paced, difficult if you rank the difficulty up, and has multiple characters that all play differently. Ultimately this is the flaw of Fallout 4, the shooting really isn't all that great. Oh don't get me wrong, the shooting is FAR higher quality than New Vegas, but in the end, the actual shooting of Fallout 4 especially since most of the enemies use hit-scan weapons is lacking.

Ultimately, Fallout 4 is a simulation game. The shooting and RPG mechanics are just there due to the game engine and due to it being a Fallout game. If you took the shooting aspect, and the settlement aspect, and removed the plot, and just called it some variant of “Minecraft-after-the-bomb”, it would have been far less of a disappointment.

That's ultimately why I think Fallout 4 fails as a game. They failed to live up to the expectations placed upon them, not helped by how much they hyped it up. Too much marketing and too much hype can ruin a product if it doesn't live up to it. That's ultimately the flaw that makes many people think of Fallout 4 as a 'bad game'. The fact that I went into it with my hype destroyed by Mister Caption and Joseph Anderson, is ultimately what allowed me to enjoy it as much as I did.

Ultimately, I'm going to argue the worst part about Fallout 4 was the 7 years of hype, and it's overblown marketing budget. Well that and New Vegas exists, but as I've stated I don't consider the two games the same type of game anymore than I think Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout Shelter are the same type of game.

Still got no actual answer as to why I enjoy it so much. I'd like to think I'm smart enough to not be trapped by skinner box style MMORPG traps, but maybe the fact it's not locking away content or bank space behind a monthly subscription made me like it more than I would if it was an actual MMORPG like World of Warcraft..

How fleshed out are the general non plot character interactions? Like if I do go all bandit slaver how is that treated in game? Does it make you feel like the bad guy watching people suffer or is it just glossed over to the point where you might as well not bother?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPQ_Purple View Post
How fleshed out are the general non plot character interactions? Like if I do go all bandit slaver how is that treated in game? Does it make you feel like the bad guy watching people suffer or is it just glossed over to the point where you might as well not bother?
Literally the only person that reacts in anyway at all is Preston. You get the occasional radiant quest to kill people in bars or slap bomb collars on them......and they never reappear in any fashion, you even have the option to do a speech check to make them follow you outside the city so you don't turn the city hostile for 3 days.

Taking over settlements as food generating vassals....does nothing and they do nothing but occasionally complain if you bother to visit them. Which since you can't control vassals or build in them without mods, you will never do in an unmodded game.

Literally the only downside to siding with the raider is 'pretending to feel bad about nameless npcs being murdered and collared' and 'Preston gets mad at you'. Well that and maybe feeling bad because of the merchants in the market having explosive collars....but if you kill all the raiders, they go right back to manning the stalls just without collars, even selling the same stuff. You even have to pay for it either way.

Literally the biggest downside is that occasionally the Brotherhood or Minutemen will attack your settlements instead of raiders attacking your minutemen settlements. Which is more a side-grade than anything.

I am not talking about mechanical downsides. I do not feel that the player should be penalized for doing evil. In fact I generally find it stupid when games give you a choice and than mechanically punish you for picking the wrong one.

What I am asking about is what if any effort went into making the experience of lording over enslaved victims feel immersive. In having it change their responses and the environment around you to reflect that in ways that make you feel you are in that world and not just running a 1st person management sim. Which apparently according to your response is also zero. And that is a shame.

Thanks for the information. You saved me from wasting money. And that is deserving of gratitude.








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