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Re: Arkane, Prey 2, System Shock, and Lies?

#18
Two bits of news.

1. Remember when Arkane's emails (as I detailed in the first post in this thread) about what would become their Prey reboot were published on Kotaku? Arkane's Raphael Colantonio was not happy:
Flatfingers wrote:When Kotaku told Colantonio they knew about this email, Colantonio sent another email (also leaked to Kotaku) referring to "press sneak f**ks" and instructing Arkane teams members not to speak to the press about it.
It turns out that Arkane included a reference to this in the game. :D

Spoiler:      SHOW
There's a "Press Sneaks" achievement.

2. After 18 years with Arkane, Colantonio is stepping away.

Co-founder Harvey Smith will continue to lead the Austin office, while the French office will be led by someone to be named later.

Arkane's culture is probably pretty well established at this point. So I don't expect them to stop making immersive-sim RPG-FPS games in the mold of the great Looking Glass games.

Interesting to watch, though.
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Re: Arkane, Prey 2, System Shock, and Lies?

#19
OK, time for my thoughts on Prey 2017. I literally just finished playing, so I probably ought to give my thoughts some time to settle. Yeah, let's not. :D

[Note: I left these same remarks on OtherSide's forum, but they needed barely any editing for this forum.]

Spoilerized for your protection -- if you haven't played Prey or haven't finished yet, you probably don't want to unspoilerize the following remarks.

Spoiler:      SHOW
Probably the best comparison of Prey 2017 is to System Shock 2. Except for the lack of a central villain -- not necessarily a bad thing -- Prey is comparable to SS2 in both its mechanics (meaning RPG elements and the feel of moving and fighting) and its world-building (meaning the level design, lore, and story/dialogue).

And what I mean by that in particular is that I thought the gameplay of Prey wasn't as good as the world-building, just as I thought the story of SS2 was OK but was outshone by the love that went into constructing the ships/lore/story of SS2. Prey's gameplay was not bad! Based on what I've read, I'm not the only person who found mimics too hard early on, but with some perseverance that challenge evens out as you obtain enough weapon mods. (As for later on, popping on the psychoscope solved most "is there a mimic in here?" problems.)

I also need to add that I yelled at Arkane Austin more than a few times when doing Prey's horrific "hacking" minigame. The "pipes" minigame in BioShock was far better than Prey's, which was nothing but an exercise in fast-twitch muscle control with zero connection to either the world or the gameplay of Prey.

So when I say the gameplay of Prey was good, but the world-building was better, I mean that it is the world-building that kept pulling me back to play this game. Even when I was really frustrated with some aspect of the gameplay, there were always just enough unanswered questions, and missions that were almost done, and unexplored areas, to make me want to keep playing long past when I should have gone to bed.

The world-building team for Prey obviously enjoyed what they were doing, and demonstrated an almost-Looking Glass level of attention to plausibility and coherence in the placement of people and items, and in the structure of the world. That's pretty close to the highest praise I can give a game.

Also, as rabid as I've been that NightDive's System Shock "reboot" is changing too much of the original, I have to say that I'm going to be disappointed that it won't include flying around outside the station in microgravity. :D That aspect of Prey made So Much Sense. One could, if one were that sort of person, nitpick that there were "too many" airlocks in Prey, or that they were located in odd places, but nitpicks is exactly what those are. The ability to jet around the exterior of Talos 1 was a fantastic touch in both gameplay and world-immersion. I think I'm going to have to demand that all my science-fiction/horror computer games have this feature from now on.

So overall, I think Dishonored 2 was a better game than Prey 2017; the former's gameplay mechanics and world meshed more effectively. (Human NPC opponents helped, too.) But Dishonored 2 was a superb game. To say that Prey was nearly as good means I thought Prey was outstanding. To compare it to BioShock, I felt Prey was marginally less gripping in its storytelling than BioShock, but on a par with BioShock in the levels and lore of its world, and definitely better than BioShock mechanically.

It's impossible not to think of this Prey as a loving and frequently faithful homage to System Shock. It succeeds in that thanks to its fantastic world-building.

And as a game assessed strictly on its own merits, this Prey is a very good immersive sim game. Anyone who enjoys immersive sims would be missing out by not playing it.
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Re: Arkane, Prey 2, System Shock, and Lies?

#20
And... scratch another game developer off my short list of "studios whose games I'll buy without reading any reviews first."

Mooncrash, Arkane's first DLC for Prey 2017 is, for all intents and purposes, a roguelike. You have to get from Point A to Point B; the game throws a completely impossible number of mimics and monsters at you; you die; you respawn at the start of the level with nothing; repeat.

Just speaking for myself, I don't find this fun -- I find it rage-inducing.

It's just a game, not something serious. Even so, I feel tremendously disappointed. This isn't something I ever thought Arkane would do. I buy their games for the immersion, for the exploration fun -- not to suffer repetitive mechanical unfairness. I can't understand how anyone at Arkane could have imagined that this is something their longtime fans wanted.

Of course it's entirely on me that I bought this without reading up on it first. And while Arkane apparently chooses not to support an official forum, the few comments from players of Mooncrash that I have been able to find online have been, if not enthusiastic, certainly nowhere near as critical as I am. So clearly this is just me; everyone else is just fine with Arkane switching to selling simple action games.

Sigh. I'd much rather be praising games than complaining. But this one really rubs me the wrong way.
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Re: Arkane, Prey 2, System Shock, and Lies?

#21
Flatfingers wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:22 am
And... scratch another game developer off my short list of "studios whose games I'll buy without reading any reviews first."

Mooncrash, Arkane's first DLC for Prey 2017 is, for all intents and purposes, a roguelike. You have to get from Point A to Point B; the game throws a completely impossible number of mimics and monsters at you; you die; you respawn at the start of the level with nothing; repeat.

Just speaking for myself, I don't find this fun -- I find it rage-inducing.

It's just a game, not something serious. Even so, I feel tremendously disappointed. This isn't something I ever thought Arkane would do. I buy their games for the immersion, for the exploration fun -- not to suffer repetitive mechanical unfairness. I can't understand how anyone at Arkane could have imagined that this is something their longtime fans wanted.

Of course it's entirely on me that I bought this without reading up on it first. And while Arkane apparently chooses not to support an official forum, the few comments from players of Mooncrash that I have been able to find online have been, if not enthusiastic, certainly nowhere near as critical as I am. So clearly this is just me; everyone else is just fine with Arkane switching to selling simple action games.

Sigh. I'd much rather be praising games than complaining. But this one really rubs me the wrong way.
Just remember to temper this with the fact that it's a DLC piece that is entirely optional. The core of their games is good, even if Prey 2017 is a little bit more than a little derivative.
At least it's not a piss poor shooter in a piss poor rpg, I'm looking at you RAGE 1! (At least the sequel there looks like it might be worth while)
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Re: Arkane, Prey 2, System Shock, and Lies?

#22
Silverware wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:40 am
Flatfingers wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:22 am
It's just a game, not something serious. Even so, I feel tremendously disappointed. This isn't something I ever thought Arkane would do. I buy their games for the immersion, for the exploration fun -- not to suffer repetitive mechanical unfairness. I can't understand how anyone at Arkane could have imagined that this is something their longtime fans wanted.

Just remember to temper this with the fact that it's a DLC piece that is entirely optional. The core of their games is good, even if Prey 2017 is a little bit more than a little derivative.

I'd generally agree with that. As I said, it's on me that I bought it without researching it first. I'm just shocked that this is what they chose to make. But I don't have access to their sales data; maybe action-shooter really is what everybody else wants today and I'm just an evolutionary dead end.

Silverware wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:40 am
At least it's not a piss poor shooter in a piss poor rpg, I'm looking at you RAGE 1! (At least the sequel there looks like it might be worth while)

Heh. I actually liked Rage enough to play through it twice. The shooty bits were pretty straightforward, but the vehicle combat was actually quite fun. (RPG? You mean the vehicle upgrade options that weren't interesting choices because "best" was always obvious?)

I'm looking forward to seeing how Avalanche and Id design Rage 2... but I won't be buying it until I read some reviews. :(
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Re: Arkane, Prey 2, System Shock, and Lies?

#23
I played a lot of Prey, maybe even too much, and there is one thing I don't like about it, and it is a very important one for me: the narrative. The story feels uninspired, it moves too fast and it doesn't seem to take itself seriously. And it is very difficult to me to take the game seriously when the game doesn't take itself seriously. I presume that was the intention, to make a game that it's kind of funny rather than a drama, but it gives me little incentive to come back again, so I never finished it.

Note: Monsters a very hard at the beginning, I agree with that. :)
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