Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
Welcome to the November 2015 NeoGAF Steam thread! The sale's at the end of the month, don't ask...
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- PC Gaming Threads | A list of PC threads on NeoGAF
Assassin's Creed Syndicate - DrDogg
Awight me old chinas? Ok I’ll leave the unnecessary Cockney Rhyming Slang out of this. So another year, another Assassin’s Creed game. I’m sure many of you have made your mind up already but with advantage of this already being out on the consoles I’ve got a bit of a leg up on what’s included in Syndicate that may catch your eye. Plus we’re talking about a straight up single player experience this time with no tacked on multiplayer, no companion apps, no external websites to unlock costumes. Back to basics and hopefully back on track. Plus as you may know I’m as British as a cup of old Rosie (sorry I lied about the no more rhyming slang) so hopefully I can shine a light on a few of the locations and historical figures you will encounter.
The story of Syndicate takes place in London in 1868. You play as Jacob and Evie Frye, twin Assassin’s who come to London to rid the capital of the Templar influence overseen by Crawford Starrick, the most moustachioed villain the series has seen yet. Crawford’s reach stretches far and wide as the Templar order has its grip around every corner of business and industry throughout Victorian London shored up by a ruthless street gang known as The Blighters. Aided by Henry Green, an Assassin watching over the capital, Jacob and Evie set out to wrestle control of the city from the Templars but with very different methods. Evie, the more methodical thinker, feels they should seek out a Piece of Eden in the Templars’ possession. Whilst Jacob, the more brazen of the twins, feels direct confrontation is the better option and forms his own gang The Rooks.
Structurally the critical path is split up into Sequences, 9 in total, each ending with a Black Box type mission (offering various different options and approaches to your target) where you assassinate a key target that is in control of one of Starrick’s enterprises. There are also gang leaders for the 7 boroughs of London (more on them in a bit) where you have various activities to be completed to regain control of each borough. Once you have completed all the activities you can confront the gang leader in a Gang War between The Blighters and The Rooks. As well as both Jacob and Evie having separate skill tree, each having 3 unique skills playing to their strengths (Stealth for Evie and Combat for Jacob) you can also upgrade the abilities of The Rooks.
Combat has been revamped for Syndicate to more of a brawler style. Gone are swords, clubs, stave and the like as they might look a tad out of place on the streets of late 19th century London. In their place more discrete weapons such as knuckle dusters, kunai daggers and canes with hidden blade make for a more discrete approach. Combat in focused around building up combos with having to counter enemy’s when prompted or break down their defence when required. Other new additions to traversal are a rope launcher which makes scaling the taller buildings a breeze as well as crossing the much wider streets of London, which are to accommodate horse drawn carriages. These two additions add a different flavour to the series along with the usual parkour mechanics, which are a slightly upgrade over Unity’s system now with a dedicated button to enter open windows and such.
Now seeing as this is the most modern setting for an Assassin’s Creed title, London has many historical landmarks that date back well past 1868 the areas and landmarks are not too far removed from today. Obviously some concessions had to be made for game design reasons but all the major landmarks are in the right areas but distances a little closer together. The 7 boroughs of London (and some of their respective landmarks) featured are Whitechapel (Spitalfields Market), The City of London (St Pauls Cathedral which dominates the skyline, The Bank of England, Monument to the Great Fire of London), The Strand (Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and Nelsons Colum), Southwark (Waterloo Station), Lambeth (Bethlam Royal Hospital also known as Bedlam Asylum), Westminster (Palace of Westminster and Elizabeth Tower/Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace) and The Thames (Cleopatra’s Needle and various Bridges such as Blackfriars Bridge, Westminster Bridge and Lambeth Bridge). There are also countless train stations such as Victoria Station, Channing Cross and Canon Street. Plenty of sightseeing potential all round.
Historical figures are also giving a more prominent treatment than Unity’s brief and oddly out of context appearances. You’ll be bumping into Frederick Abberline (famous for his investigation of the Ripper murders), Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli. Some also play a bigger role than recent entries by having specific missions and side missions to undertake. Alec is your gadget man, Dickens has a fascination with ghosts, Darwin has you confront his scientific opponents, Karl Marx needs your help with his socialist movement and the Queen even has missions for you too.
I could whiter on and there’s certainly more to cover like the new activities like street races and the return of fight clubs but hopefully you get the gist of what Syndicate brings to the table. Looking at the reviews and the impressions of GAF it looks like a lot of the cruft has been cut back with Syndicate. Although not all of the series’ bugbears have been addressed and I’m not too sure on the new direction combat has taken it’s certainly a step in the right direction away from multiplayer and companion apps of the more recent entries and focusing on the historical setting and its inhabitants as well as dual protagonists. While I’m probably biased I think after the missed opportunity with Unity that Syndicate is the first step in getting the series back on track. If this sounds like your cup of tea then it’s certainly worth a butchers!
Fallout 4 - jshackles
Are you ready to venture back into the wasteland? Fallout 4 arrives this month with over 111,000 voice recordings, no level cap, and a map that's supposed to be 30 square miles in size with no loading times between zones. What I'm trying to say is that this game is massive, and if you're a fan of the series (or genre) then you're not going to want to miss this game.
The game shares a lot more in common with Fallout 3 than New Vegas, which should come as a surprise to nobody since Bethesda is once again at the helm. Rather than making the game "Skyrim with Guns", it looks like there has been a lot of work done to further tweak the Gamebryo / Creation engine so that it's almost unrecognizable from what we've seen in the past. From a non-technical standpoint the game also carries over a lot of elements from Fallout 3 such as your character being known as "the wanderer" and trading the now-iconic Washington D.C. setting for the post-nuclear setting of... Boston. Yep, it's still taking place on the US Eastern seaboard.
Also returning is the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck) that governs not only your stats in the game but also your available perks this time around which are tied to individual traits. Perks give you in-game boosts and abilities, such as the ability to control and befriend people or do additional damage with melee weapons. And if you like perks, the game has 70 of them (10 for each stat) that are available immediately to characters who have high enough stats to unlock them. Additionally, perks can be upgraded for additional effect which should allow for some absolutely insane level of character customization, and will probably lead to more than a few funny Youtube videos showcasing entirely unexpected results.
It appears that, like most Bethesda games, the PC version of Fallout 4 will be the most technically superior and have the quickest and easiest access to mods, making it the definitive version of the game in most people's eyes. That is, if you've got beefy enough hardware to run it - as the game calls for a minimum of 8GB of RAM, a 2.8GHz Core i5 processor, and a 2GB GPU. So if you have what it takes, prepare to leave the Vault November 10th.
Football Manager 2016 - Uzzy
Soccer Manager 2016: All Praise The US DOJ Edition, is the latest version of the long running football management simulator, developed by Sports Interactive. New to this years version is the ability to create a customisable manager to appear on the sidelines, and a revamp of the in game analysis and stats, in partnership with Prozone. Improved press interactions allow you to put forward your point of view better, everything from concentrating on your philosophy to becoming a paranoid, whiny bore who accuses everyone of being against you and refs of being weak and naive. Even unemployed managers can now hold press conferences! There's also the usual array of tweaks and fixes to animation, AI and screens, to add to the presentation of each game.
Bill Shankly, the legendary Liverpool manager, once said that ''Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.' And he knew a bit about football, even if he was a Liverpool manager. Still, anyone who cares about football knows that Shankly was very much correct in his statement. Those that care about football and watch from the sidelines also know something else, that they're obviously better than those failures in charge of their club, and that if only the manager would play a different formation, or lump it up to the big man, or buy that 14 year old starlet from Albania that everyone's going to be talking about in a few years, then your team would easily sweep all aside and march triumphantly to the league title. Barely anyone gets to sit in the hot seat and experience the glory and passion and disaster of being a football manager, but every fan dreams of it, and for those who dream, Football Manager is your dreams made real.
Hard West - bobnowhere
Put simply it's XCOM in the wild west but you're not Clint Eastwood battling Cattle Rustlers but Jonah Hex battling Demons. This is the Weird West, The Dark Tower. The story is spread across multiple characters and perspectives from vengeful hero Warren, no not that one, the psychic Cassandra, a man called Childeater, I think you know what he did and many others all with different skills and weapons.
Luck plays a huge role in the game. The gunslingers that survive were the ones lucky enough not to get shot back, but eventually everyone's luck runs out. Make a trick shot around a corner bouncing the bullet off a water tank, that will use up some of your luck, someone misses you point blank? Death is even closer and that Long Black Veil comes down for all at some point. But if your survive an encounter injured and scarred you might just get a beneficial effect and a great story to tell.
The game plays similar to the aforementioned XCOM, each character gets 2 moves, or 1 move and 1 shoot. No cover, no problem, kick over a table or open a barn door to create your own. Skills come in the form of cards and each character can be assigned a five card hand. Cards such as “Ricochet” allow you to set up trick shots, “Seeing Shadows” allows you to know and take out enemies that are hiding just from the shadow they cast from behind cover and many more and lastly like all good card games the better your hand, the better the outcome.
Will you Walk the Line or become a Ghost Rider in the Sky?
Call of Duty: Black Ops III - DrDogg
Well it’s that silly time of year. So seeing this year is a Treyarch gig not only can you expect decent PC support but BLOPs III will offer 3 distinct modes, Campaign, Multiplayer and Zombies, which I’ll cover each separately bellow.
The campaign kicks off 40 years after the events of BLOPs II in the year 2065. Things have gone a little Call of Deus-Exy with both science and technology radically changing humanity through the use robotic enchantments from limb replacements to networked brain to brain connections. Called a Direct Neural Interface and widely used by the military linking the thoughts of soldiers to each other, where the technological progress has reached a point where air defences have rendered air assaults useless, this has ushered in an age where robotics and modified ‘supersoldiers’ dominate the battlefield. You play as... You know I’m not sure but I do know you can customise your player, chose their gender and are voiced by either Ben ‘Crichton from flipping Farscape’ Bowder or Abby ‘I think she was in Star Trek: Enterprise’ Brammell. I’ll skim over the rest of the known story details as it seems quite interesting (well to me at least) with a darker tone than usual that I feel might be best experienced firsthand.
What I will delve into is some of the new mechanics. 4 player coop is back and apparently not just shoehorned in but designed from the start. Levels are to be much wider and larger in scope which various degrees of height to accommodate 4 players with various different loadout. Seeing as each solider is wired up to each others brains the UI and HUD reflects what each player sees so there will be enemies highlighted, areas of danger pointed out, routes to take and so on. You have different ways you can customise your player and with various movement abilities that let you boost jump, slide and wall run, perks or Cyber Cores where you can specialise in different areas like stealth, close quarters combat, hacking and so on. You also have access to every mission right from the start so you can jump to the middle or end if you wish. A hub or lobby or sorts, the Safe House, is where you gear up, meet up with your coop partners or delve into the in-game wiki from a computer terminal like in BLOPs I (I spent hours on that thing!)
Multiplayer is a bit more of a known quantity thanks to the recent beta and early showings at various events this year. Pick 10 is back (chose up to 10 traits from different weapons, attachments, perks etc) and you can pick a special ability. These are tied to Specialists, one of 9 specific characters rather than a generic soldier and each has their own personality and choice quotes they’ll use in game. Scorestreaks are separate to this as well as the new Gunsmith element. This sort of replaces weapon skins and customisation as you get to tweak various aspect of how your weapons took including the likes of attachments. Games modes are the usual of TDM, FFA, Domination, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, CTF, SAD etc with the party games like Gun Game coming back too. A new mode named Arena will replace League Play from BLOPs II and there are some new modes, Stockpile, Resistance and Purgatory. And seeing as this is BLOPs on PC dedicated servers are a go (based Cesar ‘PCDev’ Stastny and the PC Team). Probably not a server browser but way better than the ‘hybrid’ system that AW used *shudders*
Finally we have the love it or hate it Zombies mode. Titled Shadows of Evil and set in a 30’s/40’s noir themed Morg City and as a new BLOPs we have a new cast too. We have Nero (Jeff Goldblum), Jessica (Heather Graham), Jack Vincent (Neil McDonough) and Floyd Campbell (Ron Perlman). The four troubled individuals are thrown into a twist version of the city with zombies running amok but are guided by a mysterious figure only known as the Shadow Man (Ricardo Picardo). Expect all the usual craziness of up to 4 player coop, easter eggs, a new gumball machine which looks to replace the perk-a-cola machines, some crazy weapons and gadgets like a rock power shield that can blast through a wave of zombies and more. Also for those purchasing the Digital Deluxe Edition is a remake of a WaW Zombie Map Die Rise now names The Giant and carries on the story line from the Origins maps from BLOPs II.
On top of all that there is also a timetrial free running mode in the party games which is like the love child of Titanfall and Mirrors Edge. And with Treyarch on the job hopefully online stability, cheaters and community longevity is handled with more care than the last couple of CoDs. I’m missing loads of info here and at this rate I’ll take over the OT but love it or hate it you can’t deny BLOPs III is a hefty package.
Mushihimesama - Rayge
PC shoot'em up fans have been frothing at the mouth to have CAVE grace us with their presence on the platform. Thanks to Degica, their prayers have finally been answered with Mushihimesama. One of CAVE's most beloved bullet hells ever. Now, when your typical gamer thinks bullet hell they think impossible. That's not the case with this game. CAVE's Tsuneki Ikeda decided to create a game could both be forgiving yet still difficult enough for the player to feel accomplished after conquering. Now don't go on thinking that this game was to be brain dead easy. This is a Danmaku game, son. There are modes and difficulty setting for those who thing they are the gods of Danmaku and will bring them to their knees.
In the art department, Mushihimesama deviates from your typical STG by replacing spaceships with beetles. Back about a decade ago I really found this aesthetic to be displeasing until I finally got my mitts on a copy of this game for PS2. I quickly ate crow pie and began to revel at how beautiful this game was. Everything from its menus, popcorn enemies, bosses to backgrounds was just pleasing to the eyes. It really gave off a sense of a Miyazaki film... except purple bullets flying everywhere. Along with being so visually pleasing the game also offers one of the best soundtracks to a shoot'em up ever. Each piece fits with the action and backdrop of each stage and ranges from soothing, to upbeat, to ominous.
Degica and Cave are giving the fans an incredible deal with this game. You can grab the game, ver 1.5 DLC, and the OST for less than $20 on release. It's an amazing deal for an amazing title. This (along with Ikaruga) is THE most important release of the genre on STEAM. It is really cementing the platform as the next home for Shoot'em up fans and I more than welcome this trend. Checkout SmiteOfHand's OT for more in depth information on scoring and game mechanics.
Want DoDonPachi and Futari Black Label on STEAM? Well I do. So buy this so I can go to Danmaku heaven.
Rebel Galaxy - Kurt Russell
Rebel Galaxy is a spaceship combat and trading game from the guys who made the Torchlight games. Now that space sims are back in a big way you might be thinking: What sets Rebel Galaxy apart from stuff like Elite: Dangerous or Star Citizen?
Well, the thing that immediately stands out is that Rebel Galaxy isn't a space sim. It's a good old arcade game, and it puts fun first and everything else after that. The other big important thing that you may or may not see when you first look at the Steam Store page is that RG is all about capital ship combat. You are not piloting a little fighter, you can command a Star Destroyer sized craft. If that doesn't sell you in the game, I really can't think of more stuff... or can I?
For all of you Firefly fans, Rebel Galaxy is the ultimate Firefly simulator. From the open ended nature of the game to its amazing cowboy rock soundtrack, or the quirky characters that you'll meet along your journey along the stars, you'll quickly feel as if you were in Mal Reynolds' boots.
Last (but not least) we have a nice combat system that goes very well with the capital ship combat theme. Ships in Rebel Galaxy move on a 2d plane, and most of the fight is carried out in classical naval combat style. You line up your broadsides and let loose a barrage of projectiles against the enemy capital ships, while your turrets shoot down the little fighters and bombers that want to scratch your vessel's paint. Remember Assassin's Creed 4's ship combat? Well, imagine the same thing but in space.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails In The Sky SC - Arthea
Being The Legend of Heroes fan in the west is a painful job. Seeing famous PC series called niche in the west is depressing, but that's how things are. A big part of this pain is Trails in the Sky. When PSP ports of both games were announced it was a joy and disappointment, a joy because we finally got to play them at all (at least that's what we thought then), disappointment because playing long text heavy games on a portable isn't that great and we can't forget that PSP wasn't exactly popular in the west too. All these reasons have led to a disaster, Trails in the Sky FC selling so poorly that SC was cancelled, many thought forever. Until good guy Xseed decided to localize both on PC. It was a difficult and long ride, many lost hope along the way, but we are finally here, we can play SC and finally get to know what happened after FC.
Trails in the Sky SC starts where the first chapter left off. We meet people we met in FC and continue to live bracer's life. The SC is a much bigger game than FC, arguable it has longest script of all games ever and offers at least 100+ hours of gameplay. Gameplay-wise the second chapter is similar to the first one, but there are many improvements of combat and other gameplay elements. There are new characters and old well known characters we are glad to see again. It is essential to finish the first chapter before starting the second, not only because it's very direct sequel but also because the save file of the first game affects many things in the second chapter.
Xseed did a good job with localization again, from HD assets to screen resolutions, to 120 fps. It's a game totally worth playing.