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The Icon Bar: Games: Endgames
 
  Endgames
  Phlamethrower (14:06 27/7/2010)
  filecore (15:06 27/7/2010)
    Phlamethrower (15:35 27/7/2010)
  moss (15:41 27/7/2010)
    filecore (17:34 27/7/2010)
    trevj (12:14 28/7/2010)
      Phlamethrower (12:31 28/7/2010)
        trevj (14:51 28/7/2010)
        trevj (14:01 3/8/2010)
          Phlamethrower (14:58 3/8/2010)
  Acornut (19:04 3/8/2010)
    Phlamethrower (19:27 3/8/2010)
      Acornut (22:45 3/8/2010)
        Phlamethrower (23:03 3/8/2010)
 
Jeffrey Lee Message #114879, posted by Phlamethrower at 14:06, 27/7/2010
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15095
Here's something that's been bugging me recently (i.e. today). When playing the STALKER games, I generally build myself up into a one-man killing machine by collecting all the biggest and best weapons and armour, upgrading them to the max, and stocking up on the bare essential supplies (i.e. some food+medkits and a few tons of ammo). Although some of this is a reaction to the harshness and unpredictableness of the environment1, I also seem to operate under the belief that at some point I'm going to encounter an enemy force big enough and bad enough to require all my strength to take down. But I know from experience from playing the games before that I'm simply not going to encounter an enemy force that's as strong as that, and that in fact I can usually survive the end of the game using weaker equipment, like the kind that I would have had about halfway through the game. So in effect once I've reached the halfway point I spend most of my time scavenging for equipment just for the satisfaction of maxing out my character.

But my behaviour in the STALKER games is different to most other games I can think of. In a traditional FPS like Quake or Half-Life I don't feel compelled to max myself out - perhaps this is because of the more regimented structure, where I know that the game will follow a strict pattern of placing a bunch of supplies before or after each encounter, and placing a bigger bunch of supplies before each boss battle. Or perhaps it's just because there isn't much upgrading to be done - you can carry all the weapons in the game without impacting the movement speed of your character, you don't get to upgrade anything (or don't get given a choice in how the upgrades are applied), weapons don't degrade so there's no need to keep comparing gun quality against the people you just killed, etc.

System Shock 2, even though it shares some of the RPG elements with STALKER, doesn't cause me to exhibit the behaviour either. Perhaps it's because weapon upgrades and repairs can be done on-the-go, instead of having to trek back to the nearest settlement. And Bioshock doesn't have weapon degradation or much in the way of upgrade choices (if you find all the upgrade stations you will be able to upgrade pretty much everything), so there's not much room for endgame preparation there either. Plus there's that whole vita chamber thing which means dying during combat isn't anything more than a minor inconvenience.

Hellgate London is perhaps a closer match to STALKER, but I don't think even that causes me to exhibit the behaviour. Hellgate gives you infinite ammo for all guns, and you can always heal yourself using magic, so as long as you can survive a section of the grind there's nothing stopping you from surviving the whole thing, unlike other games where the combat would constantly be diminishing your available resources (even if you can replenish some of those resources by looting corpses).

Fallout 3 should perhaps be a better match, but with that it didn't feel like the game was trying to guide me towards any endgame at all, it felt like I was just left to my own devices to wander around aimlessly and help/kill people as I please. So with that I didn't really feel compelled to try and go out of my way to max myself out (although the strong character RPG elements and lack of weapon upgrades mean that if you wander round aimlessly for long enough you'll be maxed out anyway). And apart from the super mutants none of the enemies are really much of a threat.

So one long rambling post later, my questions are these:

(a) Does anyone know of any other FPS's that instill upon the player a desire to build up their character to enable them to survive the harsh environment of the game world?
(b) And out of those games, do any actually deliver a big climactic boss battle/end game that makes the final stage of character building worthwhile? E.g. as an example I can think of (although obviously not from a game that requires character building), although many people seem to not like the Xen chapter(s) of Half-Life 1 I always thought it was a good ending to the game because it requires you to survive in a completely alien landscape without being so sure when the next medkit or ammo pack would be coming from.
And even (c): Does anyone else behave in the same way as me when faced with certain games?

[1]
* You need lots of supplies since you can't predict how many enemies you'll be facing in your next encounter
* You need a few different guns since you can't predict what ammo type the enemy will be using (i.e. to make sure that when you run out of the ammo you brought with you, you can loot the ammo from the enemy's corpses without also having to start using one of their crappy guns instead of your fancy upgraded/good condition guns)
* You don't know what else will happen along the way (getting torn to pieces by stumbling into anomalies, getting harrassed by packs of wild dogs or gun-toting zombies, etc.)
* Even after you've completed what you set out to do, you've still got to survive the journey back to safe territory


[Edited by Phlamethrower at 15:10, 27/7/2010]
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Jason Togneri Message #114880, posted by filecore at 15:06, 27/7/2010, in reply to message #114879

Posts: 3867
(a) Does anyone know of any other FPS's that instill upon the player a desire to build up their character to enable them to survive the harsh environment of the game world?
Doesn't strictly apply to what you're asking, but as I read through your post the first thing to immediately spring to mind was Left4Dead's Director AI, which will dynamically relocate weapons and supply caches based on your difficulty level, the group's behaviour, the chosen path, the level of damage players have sustained, etc. There may be lots of first aid, for example, or a single medikit between four players, only one of whom can take it. Ammo may appear or it may not. Thus, careful decisions have to be made regarding when and how to use medikits, and how to use which ammo in what situation, as well as which types of guns to save ammo for. Of course, this is mitigated slightly by the cooperative aspect of the game which means that players can give each other medicine, and provide weapons support, which takes it slightly off your main point. However, it is indicitive of a trend in modern games, and I think we'll see more dynamic level layout and on-the-fly provision of ammo, weapons, upgrades, etc - which will in turn lead to a different strategy relying more on careful consideration of equipment conservation. Hum. Bit of a ramble but you get my point.
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Jeffrey Lee Message #114881, posted by Phlamethrower at 15:35, 27/7/2010, in reply to message #114880
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15095
Yes, Left 4 Dead is one I forgot to mention. Obviously there's not much character building to do, but it does certainly share with STALKER the element of fear and uncertainty over what you'll encounter once you leave the safety of the saferoom, and the uncertainty over when you'll next find some supplies.

Modding Left 4 Dead to remove all the random weapon and item spawns could be an interesting experience - although you'd have to get rid of the infinite pistol ammo too. Hopefully Valve will try this for one of the L4D2 'mutations'.
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John Hoare Message #114882, posted by moss at 15:41, 27/7/2010, in reply to message #114879

Posts: 9348
Endgames
Bah! I thought this thread was going to be about RISC OS.
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Jason Togneri Message #114883, posted by filecore at 17:34, 27/7/2010, in reply to message #114882

Posts: 3867
Endgames
Bah! I thought this thread was going to be about RISC OS.
A thread about RISC OS? How very '90s.
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Trevor Johnson Message #114885, posted by trevj at 12:14, 28/7/2010, in reply to message #114882
Member
Posts: 660
Bah! I thought this thread was going to be about RISC OS.
IIRC Wolfenstein 3D didn't offer much in terms of max-out potential... and unfortunately I've never played Acorn DOOM.
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Jeffrey Lee Message #114887, posted by Phlamethrower at 12:31, 28/7/2010, in reply to message #114885
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15095
Bah! I thought this thread was going to be about RISC OS.
IIRC Wolfenstein 3D didn't offer much in terms of max-out potential... and unfortunately I've never played Acorn DOOM.
Don't forget Destiny! It almost qualifies for this thread too, since you have to make a choice between carrying only a few guns and ammo or moving at a snails pace. Although I don't think I ever completed it, so I don't know what the endgame was like unhappy
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Trevor Johnson Message #114889, posted by trevj at 14:51, 28/7/2010, in reply to message #114887
Member
Posts: 660
...Acorn DOOM.
Don't forget Destiny!
Also, don't confuse DOOM with DROOM!
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Trevor Johnson Message #114939, posted by trevj at 14:01, 3/8/2010, in reply to message #114887
Member
Posts: 660
...Destiny!... Although I don't think I ever completed it...
So I guess you'll be completing this under emulation arc some time soon.
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Jeffrey Lee Message #114940, posted by Phlamethrower at 14:58, 3/8/2010, in reply to message #114939
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15095
...Destiny!... Although I don't think I ever completed it...
So I guess you'll be completing this under emulation arc some time soon.
Unlikely, since I'm fairly certain the minimum spec was a RiscPC. And since it's StrongARM compatible, I've got no need to run it under emulation - at least until my RiscPC dies.
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Blind Moose Message #114941, posted by Acornut at 19:04, 3/8/2010, in reply to message #114879
Acornut No-eye-deer (No Idea)

Posts: 487
..(a) Does anyone know ...
Never been a keen FPSU player, only one I liked was 'Tomb Raider'. However, have a mate that loves them, and the following are his thoughts.

I see what the guy is getting at .... the Stalker games are primarily about surviving and if you're careful you can survive a lot of things that you wern't supposed to by " leveling up " better armour , bigger guns etc , Stalker as he has said threw MORE rather than bigger enemies at you mostly from what i remember of my brief ( 25 hours ) of gameplay.
Crysis ( and Crysis Warhead ) remain the finest First Person Shooter games out there IMHO With Crysis 2 out at the end of the year ( Nov 2010 ). But as good as it is there is still a feeling of being on " Rails " pushing you to a goal rather than giving you COMPLETE free range on where to go.

You get plenty of choice on how to approach the problems presented ( go in guns blazing, sneak into somewhere and do it all quietly or simply just to bypass places to get to the goal quicker )
If it's the shooting side of it that's liked then its a cracker ( make sure you have a half decent PC and more importantly GFX card for it though .... it brings a LOT of VERY good cards to their collective knees and give a lousy framerate ) unhappy

If story driven FPS is more appealing then i can reccomend Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, set in space with most of the action taking place on the planets below.( second one is a lot more polished and tweaked ) A lot of shooting but also the chance to " Rank up " the characters abilities to improve powers and give you an Edge. ( similar to Bioshock in some ways ) This game will let you select various powers. Although i have to say some of the resource gathering required to " level up " can get a bit tedious.

Assassins Creed 2 was also a game i thoroughly enjoyed ( and one of the few i completed FULLY ) engaging storyline, lots of things to do and collect to make life a bit easier and best of all lots of sneaking around climbing buildings killing off enemies.... Theres ( ALMOST ) no shooting involved in that no, set in the time of DaVinci in Italy there obviously wern't any .50 cal D'Eagles lying around , so combat is all up close and personal for the most part, but it is strangely satisfying to drop down behind a guard and knife him in the back unseen " Evil Grin " smile

Aslo coming soon is Star Wars : Force Unleashed 2 which is showing a lot of promise ( out in October, from the looks of things it's going to be more of a Hack n Slash with delusions of Godhood rather than a proper FPS but still looks intresting .....

I'm hearing good things about Red Dead Redemption( Old Wild West Shooter and adventure ) but i'm pretty sure that's Console only and not PC based unfortunately.

Hope this helps ( a bit ) LoL
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Jeffrey Lee Message #114942, posted by Phlamethrower at 19:27, 3/8/2010, in reply to message #114941
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15095
Crysis ( and Crysis Warhead ) remain the finest First Person Shooter games out there IMHO
Yes, Crysis was good. But I think my enjoyment of the game has been forever tarnished by the knowledge that they deliberately held back the big boss battle until the sequel - assuming Crysis 2 does pick up exactly where Crysis 1 left off. Either way, I have no plans to buy any of the sequels.

If story driven FPS is more appealing then i can reccomend Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2,
I was always under the impression that Mass Effect was more RPG than FPS, or at least that the FPS elements would have been toned down to keep the console players happy. Although the story elements of the Stalker games are important (they certainly make me feel like I'm being drawn towards an end goal), I think the survival aspect is the more important one - something that Mass Effect isn't likely to recreate since you'll be popping back to your cushy space ship inbetween each mission.

Assassins Creed 2
Assassins Creed? I think I'd rather get my hands on the old Thief games and play those. Not that I've got anything against Assassins Creed, but I might as well start with the classics in the genre! (I've still got a couple of old iD games left to work through)

Aslo coming soon is Star Wars : Force Unleashed 2
Never been much of a Star Wars fan.

I'm hearing good things about Red Dead Redemption( Old Wild West Shooter and adventure ) but i'm pretty sure that's Console only and not PC based unfortunately.
Yes, a PC port of RDR would be nice. Hopefully Rockstar will release one in 6 months or so, like they usually do.
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Blind Moose Message #114943, posted by Acornut at 22:45, 3/8/2010, in reply to message #114942
Acornut No-eye-deer (No Idea)

Posts: 487
As you say Rockstar USUALLY do , so there's still hope for PC users smile

and I'm not sure what you mean in Crysis as to no big bosses..... i remember a couple of frantic battles against HUUUUUUGE enemies big grin
Crysis:Warhead takes place as a different character on a slightly different part of the same islands you were on the first one, as references are made to other goings on in intel passed to you in Warhead that YOU did as Nomad in the first one.
Warhead IS a lot shorter though, with the emphasis on action rather than doing as much exploring.
Crysis 2 is all new set in an Urban Environment Looks very nice too.

Yep know what you mean about Mass Effect 2, (i still enjoyed it though )the dynamics pretty much insist you power up to survive to get back to the ship... even then you don't get too far going in with guns blazing...
and yes the last incarnation of the Thief game was very highly praised although i've not played it myself.
If you do get tempted by Assassins Creed i would skip the first one, it's quite repetitive and the story is better on the 2nd one IMHO
I might have to go and grab Thief from somewhere myself, it's quite old now and should be available on a Classix Label of some sort cheap wink
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Jeffrey Lee Message #114944, posted by Phlamethrower at 23:03, 3/8/2010, in reply to message #114943
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15095
and I'm not sure what you mean in Crysis as to no big bosses..... i remember a couple of frantic battles against HUUUUUUGE enemies big grin
I didn't say that there were no big bosses, just that the confrontation with the really big boss (i.e. whatever was waking up from inside the mountain/space ship) was deliberately left out. You get given the nuke launcher, kill the giant robot thing that was attacking the aircraft carrier, get into a helicopter to fly back to the island and kick some more alien ass, and then... get told to wait 3 years and pay another £30 if you want to see the final chapter.

Sure, that giant robot thing was big, and there was that other giant spider thing on the island itself, but those are just mini-bosses compared to whatever thing must have been waiting inside the mountain. And if you're going to give me a nuke launcher, you'd better make damn sure that I get to use it to blow up more than just one mini-boss! tongue
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The Icon Bar: Games: Endgames