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Julius

Returnal (30th April 2021)

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It continues to look fantastic in that release trailer. The buzz surrounding it from the press that have their review copies is sounding very good, and the couple of reviews that leaked early suggest that it'll make good on its showings and be a substantial experience (I've seen 30+ hours banded about). So looks like Housemarque appear to have nailed their first go at a AAA title. We'll see more from reviews tomorrow afternoon but seems that way anyway.

The more I see of it, the more my mind seems to be drawing me to pick it up sooner rather than later. I'll have to see how things go as I'm working through FF7R for the first time but if I manage to finish that up next week, I may jump in after that. Want something to keep me going till ME Legendary Edition and Biomutant now that Deathloop has slipped and I'm not sure in RE Village so this would fit the bill unless I pick up Nier Replicant.

With getting PSN top ups from Shopto, I'll get the price down closer to £60ish so I can deal with that. It just looks so good and to be honest, I'm a sucker for a flashy looking game with interesting art design and a weird narrative. I know that technically goes against my earlier post but damn if the trailers haven't been effective in making me want to play.

Enjoy it on Friday those playing. 

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1 hour ago, Julius said:

Also, @drahkon's enthusiasm for the game has been constant these last few months

Preposterous!

My hype has been rising non-stop :p

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I hate that it says "playable in 6 hours and 6 minutes" on my PS5...we all know it's a bug and that it'll reset to a countdown 'til midnight :(

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Interesting read:

Housemarque's Next Awesome Arcade Action Game Releases Tomorrow!

Quote

At the time it was very hard to see which, if any, of the projects would be moving us forward in the years to come. Our multiplayer PvP prototype seemed at the time as a necessary experiment as the industry seemed to have moved on from single-player games towards multiplayer games. We were thinking that if we don’t have anything to show on that front, we might be out of the business very soon as we wouldn’t be able to sell any projects to publishers anymore. 

[...]

Although we managed to release one of the best reviewed new game of 2017 according to metacritic, we were certainly left disappointed with the sales leading me to declare #arcadeisdead and ending our long standing commitment to the arcade genre. Giving up on the genre didn’t mean that we’d be giving up on our deep commitment to fast-twitch action gameplay. Instead, we wanted to take on the challenge to figure out how we could translate our arcade 2D gameplay expertise into a 3rd person action game.

[...]

In the age when game publishers are taking less and less creative risks, we are truly thankful to our publishing partner Sony, who has given us an opportunity to work on something very risky and has given fantastic support during the whole project.  We are forever grateful for having this opportunity.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Reviews have just started going up...

Generally seems to be landing on 8's and 9's. Looks like Housemarque have done a great job, time to start watching some reviews! :D

Edited by Julius
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Not going to watch any but it seems to be reviewing very well.

So happy for Housemarque. :peace:

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2 minutes ago, drahkon said:

Not going to watch any but it seems to be reviewing very well.

So happy for Housemarque. :peace:

Yeah, that's totally fair, especially seeing as you're already on-board! Main reason I want to check some out is to get a better idea of the length and general flow to decide if I'm ordering it to play after Red Dead or if I'm fine leaving it a few months. 

Something interesting I heard in the previews and seems to be sprouting up in the reviews is just how skill-based the game is. Wouldn't be surprised if we see the discourse over game difficulty come back if that is the case. 

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7 minutes ago, Julius said:

Main reason I want to check some out is to get a better idea of the length and general flow to decide if I'm ordering it to play after Red Dead or if I'm fine leaving it a few months. 

Just be sure to know: If you decide to never buy it, I will never speak to you again.

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I'm interested but there's no way I'll be paying 70 quid for it. I'll probably pick it up down the line when it's closer to 20-30 quid.

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Same, I'll wait for the predictable price drop down the line. Glad it's reviewing pretty well.

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An hour later and the game has been reviewed extremely well :peace:
Again, I'm sooooo happy for Housemarque :D Cannot wait to dive in.

9 hours to go...

MCHD7AL.gif

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Pleased to see this reviewing so well. Kudos to Housemarque and Sony for taking a risk.

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Posted (edited)

"Go play Returnal!"

WELL, SIR, I'D LOVE TO :p

Edit:

Good to know there's a day one patch. Downloading now :D
Three hours, my friends. THREE HOURS. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I feel like a kid who wakes up Christmas morning knowing full well that a video game is waiting under the tree :bouncy:

Edited by drahkon
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Posted (edited)

2 hours and 20 minutes. That's the time for my first run. It ended in the second area right after an intense 3-wave battle. Barely survived and then died to some random enemies :(

Here's how I would describe my experience, so far:

ysvuQN.gif

My first wow moment:

Spoiler

Returnal-20210430001235.jpg

And I still got them reflexes: 

Spoiler

 

:cool:

Some impressions:

  • the DualSense is a revelation
    • aside from the cool "gimmicky" stuff like feeling raindrops through the controller, the haptic feedback is actually relevant for gameplay; you can feel where enemies are about to attack from - something that was new to me but I internalized it very quickly because it just makes sense and therefore feels natural
    • adaptive triggers are marvelous in this - while the right one barely has any resistance (it's only used for shooting and reloading), the left one is responsible for either aiming or alt-fire: push to the first resistance and you zoom in a bit; push through and you activate alt-fire mode - it's simple, yet effective and so much fun to do once you get used to it
  • there's so much going on, but you're always in control
    • it's a mixture of great sound-design (3D Audio is incredible) and the aforementioned directional haptic feedback
    • another example: alt-fire cooldown; you can either look at the HUD, listen to audio cues or use L2 and the controller vibrates depending on how much cooldown is left
  • performance is smooth
  • the game's gorgeous
  • music and sound effects are amazing
  • it's creepy but I can handle it :p
  • story so far has been very mysterious and cryptic, but I guess it'll unfold over several runs
  • enemies are a joy to fight (the first boss was super cool)
  • IT'S FUN!

Time to sleep, though, as some responsibilities have come up that need to be dealt with later. But once these are out of my mind I'll get right back to playing Returnal :D

Edited by drahkon
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Posted (edited)

My second run ended at the first boss.

Here's how it happened: First of all, that run was a lot more difficult than my first.
Secondly, I never had more than 50% of my HP, mainly because of one fungus-slinging, teleporting motherfucker who I simply can't deal with :laughing: I don't know why...I understand its attacks, its movement, its fuckness, but it keeps beating the shit out of me.

Anyways, I reached the boss, but needed healing so I decided to explore a little more and thankfully found a healing item. Sadly, it came with the chance of giving you a negative effect. Had no choice, so I picked it up. And lo and behold: My dash cooldown was increased by 2.5 seconds. :blank: Those malfunctions can be removed by certain actions like opening a chest, using keys, or in this case melee-kill three enemies. Too bad, so sad...I already explored every nook and cranny that's available to me so I had to face the boss.
Probably don't need to tell you that the malfunction proved to be pretty devastating...

There it was, my first real encounter with Returnal's risk-reward system. :D

 

I've talked about it before, but I have to say it again: The DualSense is a game-changer. It's part of the gameplay. Granted, you'd be fine without its function as there are both visual and audio cues, but it adds another layer never seen before.
While Astro's Playroom was "just" a showcase for the controller, Returnal actually makes use of it in ways that I've never experienced before. Screw better graphics, screw SSD, you name it...the DualSense is truly next-gen!

It's early days still, but I'm calling it now: Housemarque has brought their arcade-gameplay into a 3D-world and it's perfect. It just works.
Regarding the rogue-lite elements: there's a reason why they are there: the narrative. It was necessary for Housemarque to build the game like that in order to tell the story.
Now, are these elements good? I'd say so. You can't compare them to The Binding of Isaac or Enter the Gungeon where different item/weapon combinations give crazy synergies. In Returnal they work on a more subtle level. Sometimes it's just stats (increased weapon damage, more health, etc.), sometimes it's consumables that can change the dynamic of a fight, sometimes it's a different weapon.

The game's focus is gunplay/movement and the rogue-lite system is "simply" a necessary addition. And it works perfectly. :)

Edited by drahkon
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Have encountered a bug after remapping my buttons. Couldn't interact with a certain terminal. Not a huge deal but still annoying :p
Also haven't seen any of the online features, i.e. see other dead players. Not sure if it's a bug or if this feature is just available when you have people in your friends list playing this, which I have not :D

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, drahkon said:

the first boss was super cool

He said, not knowing that the second boss is even more awesome :D
That fight had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Peak Housemarque. And let me just give you a quick gif of one of the coolest moments ever:

(Second Boss Spoilers incoming! 16 second footage)

Spoiler

No idea if the 3D audio works through that footage, but let me tell you: I could pinpoint the exact locations from where those screams came. It was amazing :o I didn't even notice the visual cue at that moment :laughing:

Beat him first try, I'm the best. Now watch me die in a matter of seconds in the next area.

That is all.
*goes back to the loop* :p

Edited by drahkon
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Returnal-20210430231132.jpg

Not bad for launch-day :D

Fought the third boss twice and couldn't beat it once. But man, what a spectacle this fight is. As is the entire game, really.
I've had so much fun playing this for almost 9 1/2 hours today. It's pure, unadulterated Housemarque awesomeness :cool::bowdown:

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13 hours ago, drahkon said:

what a spectacle this fight is

A spectacle indeed.

Third boss spoilers incoming (15 seconds footage)

Spoiler

 

Phew! Beat it, progressed quite a bit further but will refrain from talking about it as to not spoil more.
Not sure how far I'm into the story/progress/game, but it just keeps getting better and better.

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Not having a PS5 means I can’t play this game but I noticed Housemarque’s Matterfall was on sale and so decided to pick it up to show the developers some love.

E0TapP7XIAADoX8?format=jpg&name=4096x409

Adam do good, drahkon? 
 

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2 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Adam do good, drahkon? 

Adam good.

Matterfall isn't that great, though :p
Maybe going for the Platinum would change my mind, but playing through it once was just an average experience.

But, yay, you bought the game :D

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7 minutes ago, drahkon said:

Adam good.

Matterfall isn't that great, though :p
Maybe going for the Platinum would change my mind, but playing through it once was just an average experience.

But, yay, you bought the game :D

Yeah, I read Nex Machina is the better of the two but Matterfall was on sale and cheaper. :p 

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Posted (edited)

Returnal-20210502003005.jpg

After 19 hours the credits have rolled.

:bowdown:Housemarque, you've outdone yourselves.
What a magnificent experience this was. Gameplay, graphics, sound, narrative...absolutely top-notch.

There's still a lot of items to discover and most importantly: it looks like there's some more story bits to find. Speaking of the story: It's wild but executed quite nicely. The ending...weird, but I assume there's more to learn.
I'll go for the Platinum, which apparently requires 100% completion so I'll probably get to know most of if not all of the story/lore.

I've spent about 40% of my time since release (i.e. right now ca. 48 hours ago) with Returnal :D
My biggest takeaway?

Housemarque is one of the best developers out there. I hope they find success with their latest game and will continue to create videogames that are just pure fun.

Also, and I'm going to sound like a broken record: the DualSense is the real deal. Using the adaptive trigger and haptic feedback technology in the PS5's controller was a stroke of genius from Sony.

Edited by drahkon
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