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View Full Version : It IS possible to create a good sequel (Also: Why I hate review sites like IGN)



Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 14:55
DXHR is, whether we like it or not, coming out in a certain age. It is coming out in an age of huge-budget blockbusters, an age when sales are king, an age when multiplatform gaming (and lowest-common denominator design) are not so much a design choice but more a corporate necessity to guarantee sales. Until lately, this has made me a sad bunny.

However, after playing the Mafia 2 demo, I have taken some heart. It is everything that I always thought it would be. Sure, some things like manual transmission, public transport and partial-clip reloading are gone, but mostly, it's not just an unsimplified version of Mafia I, it really is Mafia squared. The addition of craploads of newer features, a much more complicated and realistic physics and driving model, as well as the best looking graphics I've seen since Crysis have convinced me that it really is possible to not only make a game that is nearly as good as it's predecessor, but is also actually better. Going back to Mafia I now, it seems like an arcade game in comparison. That's what progression through time in a given medium should be about: innovation and progress, whilst maintaining the core experience.

However, best of all, at no point while playing the Mafia 2 demo did I feel like I was playing a console game. Not just in terms of graphics, but in terms of mouse responsiveness, menus, everything. Sure, it had my pet hate "press any key to begin" thing at the beginning, but I can live with that. In every other respect, it felt like a properly developed PC game. I've not played the console versions of the demo (and don't know anyone who has), so I cannot comment on that side of things, but as a PC game, it is belissimo.

Now, however, I'm about to get all negative. Yes folks, it's everyone's favourite group of morons: IGN! Recently, I remember reading an article of theirs, which roundly criticised M2's cops for being "too aggressive", and nicking you for too many offenses. To which I remember thinking: "whut?" (Anyone who's ever played Mafia I will know that an Orwellian police force is part and parcel of the franchise).

Even if the original did have perhaps too many policemen, It's one of Mafia II's weakest areas. Cops will let you off running red lights, going in the wrong lane, and smashing up street furniture and private property. When they DO decide to chase you, they generally don't bother to chase you very far, and then they give up and you're away. Now, this sends a very clear signal to me: that Illusion (or 2K Czech as they now are) listened to what IGN were saying, thought "crap, they don't like this!", and went ahead and simplified it.

Now, does this mean that developers listen to review sites, who all seem (with the honorable exceptions of RPS and PCGamer) to be all for more simplicity, and CoDishness, even going so far as to criticise recent games NOT using regenerative health? Does this make a difference to the development phase? If so, how do you feel this might relate to our game here, namely DXHR.

Discuss. Forgive my ramblings.

pringlepower
15th Aug 2010, 15:11
Well that's the trade-off of the modern age, isn't it? A lot of that immersion and quality in Mafia II was due to 2K buying Illusion and giving them a larger budget and experienced 2K staff to work with, and 2K, wanting a good return on that investment, had to make the game more accessible. Mafia I was a great game, but it was afterall, a cult hit.

Heh they also criticized it for being "too dark" and "too linear". Actually that might've been PCZone.

And about the cops, Mafia I's were a tad ridiculous, chasing you around the city for the slighest speed infarction. And they never bothered with sidewalk and wrong-side-of-the-street driving either. They're just going for the "fat cop" idea in Mafia II.

And relating to DXHR, simplificaiton and modernization (whether yo like it or not) is inevitable. But as long as they keep the core experience - investigation, stealth, shooting, exploration, etc. - it'll still be DX to me anyways. Of course third-person cover will still make others want to murder the Eidos staff.

And I'm sorry if this is completely off-topic, but what's your graphics card? (assuming you ran with PhysX and APEX on). And how did the health regen feel like in Mafia 2?

Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 15:19
Well that's the trade-off of the modern age, isn't it? A lot of that immersion and quality in Mafia II was due to 2K buying Illusion and giving them a larger budget and experienced 2K staff to work with, and 2K, wanting a good return on that investment, had to make the game more accessible. Mafia I was a great game, but it was afterall, a cult hit.

Heh they also criticized it for being "too dark" and "too linear". Actually that might've been PCZone.

And about the cops, Mafia I's were a tad ridiculous, chasing you around the city for the slighest speed infarction. And they never bothered with sidewalk and wrong-side-of-the-street driving either. They're just going for the "fat cop" idea in Mafia II.

And relating to DXHR, simplificaiton and modernization (whether yo like it or not) is inevitable. But as long as they keep the core experience - investigation, stealth, shooting, exploration, etc. - it'll still be DX to me anyways. Of course third-person cover will still make others want to murder the Eidos staff.

And I'm sorry if this is completely off-topic, but what's your graphics card? (assuming you ran with PhysX and APEX on). And how did the health regen feel like in Mafia 2?

I agree that Mafia 1's were indeed utterly ridiculous, but at least things like running red lights would get you nicked (even if the police were a little over-zealous in chasing you). However, that does not excuse going to the other extreme.

Anyhow, I disagree that simplification is "inevitable", indeed that's partly the point of this thread. Other than in a couple of minor areas, I don't feel that M2 has been simplified at all, indeed, it's considerably more complex than its predecessor in the systems it has running. This is why I have some hope for the modern industry.

As to your question, it's an Alienware laptop with some kind of built-in ATI card. My desktop is currently broken, so there's no point in me relaying that (since I've not played the game on it). Since they're both ATI, I can't run the apex stuff.

(Oh and by the way, off topic, but Take2/2K have owned Illusion since 1999, and Hidden and Dangerous 1).

pringlepower
15th Aug 2010, 15:27
I agree that Mafia 1's were indeed utterly ridiculous, but at least things like running red lights would get you nicked (even if the police were a little over-zealous in chasing you). However, that does not excuse going to the other extreme.

Anyhow, I disagree that simplification is "inevitable", indeed that's partly the point of this thread. Other than in a couple of minor areas, I don't feel that M2 has been simplified at all, indeed, it's considerably more complex than its predecessor in the systems it has running. This is why I have some hope for the modern industry.

As to your question, it's an Alienware laptop with some kind of built-in ATI card. My desktop is currently broken, so there's no point in me relaying that (since I've not played the game on it). Since they're both ATI, I can't run the apex stuff.

(Oh and by the way, off topic, but Take2/2K have owned Illusion since 1999, and Hidden and Dangerous 1).

Well yeah, but like you said, reloading was simplified, as well as crazy cops. But from what I understand, they made up for that by introducing new, cool, and complex elements in other areas of the game that made up for some of the "classic" Mafia mechanics. That's what I'm hoping will happen in DXHR. They've got the third-person and health regen, which I personally don't have a problem with, and other simplifications like removing lockpicks, but hopefully they'll compensate for that in other areas. Or, better yet we'll find their changes are great improvements, *fingers crossed*.

I think Take2 did the publishing, but Illusion only became 2K Czech in 2008, so I think that's when they were bought out.

Ugh, I've been waiting for this game for years and I've only got a 9800 GT. Damn PhysX.

Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 15:32
Well yeah, but like you said, reloading was simplified, as well as crazy cops. But from what I understand, they made up for that by introducing new, cool, and complex elements in other areas of the game that made up for some of the "classic" Mafia mechanics. That's what I'm hoping will happen in DXHR. They've got the third-person and health regen, which I personally don't have a problem with, and other simplifications like removing lockpicks, but hopefully they'll compensate for that in other areas. Or, better yet we'll find their changes are great improvements, *fingers crossed*.

I think Take2 did the publishing, but Illusion only became 2K Czech in 2008, so I think that's when they were bought out.

Ugh, I've been waiting for this game for years and I've only got a 9800 GT. Damn PhysX.

OT, even people with really good PCs are turning off the PhysX because it damages frame rates so much. Honestly, even the standard physics system (i.e. non PhysX) is one of the best I've seen.

mr_cyberpunk
15th Aug 2010, 15:36
yeah I hate how they simplified reloading (remember in Mafia1 you could actually have half clips if you hit reload), and the new cover system is ass.

xsamitt
15th Aug 2010, 15:37
Well yeah, but like you said, reloading was simplified, as well as crazy cops. But from what I understand, they made up for that by introducing new, cool, and complex elements in other areas of the game that made up for some of the "classic" Mafia mechanics. That's what I'm hoping will happen in DXHR. They've got the third-person and health regen, which I personally don't have a problem with, and other simplifications like removing lockpicks, but hopefully they'll compensate for that in other areas. Or, better yet we'll find their changes are great improvements, *fingers crossed*.

I think Take2 did the publishing, but Illusion only became 2K Czech in 2008, so I think that's when they were bought out.

Ugh, I've been waiting for this game for years and I've only got a 9800 GT. Damn PhysX.

And I have been holding off building a new PC for this game.

Romeo
15th Aug 2010, 15:44
And now you understand why I did my rant! It's not just that IGN is inheritely useless for previews/reviews for me, it's that devellopers actually listen to the crap they spew. Hence why Section 8 went from a really unique Battlefield-style FPS to some water-downed Tribes wannabe without balance or a style all it's own. Mass Effect, Rainbow 6 and a few others have fallen to that... Plague, as well.

Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 17:18
Yes indeed, your IGN rant was spot-on.

Dr_Bob
15th Aug 2010, 17:44
Unrelated to reviews by IGN, but related to their stupidity is their hate for the Steam platform.

They call it a "trojan horse" that manifests itself onto your computer if you want to play a game that uses it.

I think they are just jealous that Steam has more users than their own Direct2Drive.

Heh.

On-topic: I never did like reviews by IGN.

xsamitt
15th Aug 2010, 17:46
Unrelated to reviews by IGN, but related to their stupidity is their hate for the Steam platform.

They call it a "trojan horse" that manifests itself onto your computer if you want to play a game that uses it.

I think they are just jealous that Steam has more users than their own Direct2Drive.

Heh.

On-topic: I never did like reviews by IGN.

Spot on with both counts.:thumb:

Xenoc
15th Aug 2010, 17:47
IGN sucks ass

Dr_Bob
15th Aug 2010, 17:52
IGN sucks ass

Short, concise and well summarised.

Good work.

:D

sharpblade
15th Aug 2010, 17:59
i agree they suck.

:D

xsamitt
15th Aug 2010, 18:02
i agree they suck.

:D

Be careful...If you agree too much you be targeted as a nice guy...We can't have that here.LOL:lol:

Shralla
15th Aug 2010, 19:19
There's still no jumping, climbing on top of buildings, climbing OFF of bridges, cover-to-cover transition, or sliding over short cover.

In some ways, it feels vastly superior to the entire GTA series. In other ways, it feels archaic and completely outdated. The combination doesn't do anything good for it.

Ashbery76
15th Aug 2010, 19:24
There's still no jumping, climbing on top of buildings, climbing OFF of bridges, cover-to-cover transition, or sliding over short cover.


I bet Al Capone did not do those things either.

Jerion
15th Aug 2010, 19:26
There's still no jumping, climbing on top of buildings, climbing OFF of bridges, cover-to-cover transition, or sliding over short cover.

In some ways, it feels vastly superior to the entire GTA series. In other ways, it feels archaic and completely outdated. The combination doesn't do anything good for it.

The middle three are the only bunch I missed. No mantling, no climbing, no cover-to-cover movement. :(

Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 19:47
Actually, I have (very randomly) experienced climbing animations for some things. I would not be entirely sure that the demo was produced using the gold code, though. Yes, cover to cover would be nice, but I guess it's to stop people from just keeping cover on and hitting the forward key.

Has anyone played the console version?

xsamitt
15th Aug 2010, 20:04
There's still no jumping, climbing on top of buildings, climbing OFF of bridges, cover-to-cover transition, or sliding over short cover.

In some ways, it feels vastly superior to the entire GTA series. In other ways, it feels archaic and completely outdated. The combination doesn't do anything good for it.

mmmm not good.:mad2:

Shralla
15th Aug 2010, 20:19
Actually, I have (very randomly) experienced climbing animations for some things. I would not be entirely sure that the demo was produced using the gold code, though. Yes, cover to cover would be nice, but I guess it's to stop people from just keeping cover on and hitting the forward key.

Has anyone played the console version?

Well climbing functions well in the areas it's designed for. I can climb on top of cars and over fences all damn day if I feel like. What really puts me off is the fact that I can climb onto a truck, but I can't then climb onto the building I'm parked next to.

I played the 360 version at my friend's place last night. Pretty much looks like poop, just like I've heard. Gameplay is still fine though.

Ashbery76
15th Aug 2010, 20:22
Mafia2 looks great on the X360,better than any other open world game on the X360.

Pretentious Old Man.
15th Aug 2010, 20:53
Conflicting information is conflicting.

Oh well, all I know is that the PC version is great

Romeo
15th Aug 2010, 20:56
Pretentious, I'm leaving it in your hands to make us a review site that doesn't suck. I'm guessing there's more than a few of us that would love to write reviews, and bash the unworthy games. And, we could shamelessly self-promote ourselves in the forums. LOL

Make it happen, brother.

pringlepower
15th Aug 2010, 21:06
Conflicting information is conflicting.

Oh well, all I know is that the PC version is great

Conflicting standards really. I still think Mafia I looks great...

Ashpolt
15th Aug 2010, 23:41
I've played the demo on PS3 and PC. The PC version looks better (no surprises there) but the PS3 version still looks fine. It may have been the setups I played it on, but I found the default audio mixing better on PS3: on the PC version, I could barely hear the radio over the sound of my car's engine while driving.

Not had any problems with climbing: approach a fence or something of similar height, hit the respective key and Vito will climb over it. Seems to work consistently for me. I do miss having a jump button though, I agree.

Personally, I felt that it controlled slightly better on consoles, but that's because I nearly always find that with third person games, and particularly with driving: analogue sticks are definitely better than keyboard control for the latter.

That said, I'm still going to get this for PC, because a) it's cheaper, b) it's better looking and c) if i really want to, I can always plug a 360 controller in and play using that.

Pretentious Old Man.
16th Aug 2010, 15:33
I've played the demo on PS3 and PC. The PC version looks better (no surprises there) but the PS3 version still looks fine. It may have been the setups I played it on, but I found the default audio mixing better on PS3: on the PC version, I could barely hear the radio over the sound of my car's engine while driving.

Not had any problems with climbing: approach a fence or something of similar height, hit the respective key and Vito will climb over it. Seems to work consistently for me. I do miss having a jump button though, I agree.

Personally, I felt that it controlled slightly better on consoles, but that's because I nearly always find that with third person games, and particularly with driving: analogue sticks are definitely better than keyboard control for the latter.

That said, I'm still going to get this for PC, because a) it's cheaper, b) it's better looking and c) if i really want to, I can always plug a 360 controller in and play using that.

I'd take issue with the analogue sticks being better, but its certainly just a matter of taste. Certainly, for the driving in simulation mode, I think analogue sticks on a console might just not be responsive enough.

JackShandy
22nd Aug 2010, 08:27
Developers definetly listen to reviews and fan outcry. Does anyone remember what splinter cell: Conviction was going to be?

I miss hobo-fisher.

Ashpolt
22nd Aug 2010, 12:32
Some developers listen to reviews and fan outcry.

Fixed that for you. :)

Pretentious Old Man.
22nd Aug 2010, 12:38
Developers definetly listen to reviews and fan outcry. Does anyone remember what splinter cell: Conviction was going to be?

I miss hobo-fisher.

I remember what it *was*

<shudders>

Was it going to be better or (gasp) worse?

Khaeru
22nd Aug 2010, 12:57
bellissimo.



fixed ;)

Pretentious Old Man.
22nd Aug 2010, 13:02
fixed ;)

Apologies. Knew I got that wrong.

Romeo
24th Aug 2010, 02:31
I'd take issue with the analogue sticks being better, but its certainly just a matter of taste. Certainly, for the driving in simulation mode, I think analogue sticks on a console might just not be responsive enough.
I much prefer thumbsticks to keys for simulative racing, as well as the vibration. I gotta say, PC does some things better - racing sims ain't one.

Pinky_Powers
24th Aug 2010, 02:37
I much prefer thumbsticks to keys for simulative racing, as well as the vibration. I gotta say, PC does some things better - racing sims ain't one.

Racing sims can only be played with a proper Wheel and gear shifter.

Fluffis
24th Aug 2010, 02:37
I much prefer thumbsticks to keys for simulative racing, as well as the vibration. I gotta say, PC does some things better - racing sims ain't one.

On most pure racing sims, I'd agree with you. The controls are usually too sensitive to work really well with a keyboard, and mouse steering is a real pain. However, on games like GTA, and similar, where driving is (usually) not as sensitive, I love using keys (using the right mouse button to accelerate). I think handbrake turns, and a certain latitude when it comes to crashes, are the key here. On those kinds of games, I prefer keys to thumbsticks or a wheel.

Khaeru
24th Aug 2010, 06:34
if you like to play action/racing games with a keyboard try Dethkarz. It reminds of blur and it's 10 times funnier. I think you can find a download link even on youtube. Too bad most of the vids about Dethkarz suck..btw remember to edit controls and set arrow keys instead of wasd

mad825
24th Aug 2010, 07:10
Logitec/360 controller>USB>Mapping program (if needed)>Success!

hasn't this been mentioned before?

Xenoc
24th Aug 2010, 09:22
Racing sims can only be played with a proper Wheel and gear shifter.

Maybe you can only play with a wheel but some can use a pad. Pinky you seem to think your word is gospel???

Fluffis
24th Aug 2010, 10:28
Pinky you seem to think your word is gospel???

It is.

It's just that we're not always sure for which side. ;)

Khaeru
24th Aug 2010, 10:42
Logitec/360 controller>USB>Mapping program (if needed)>Success!

hasn't this been mentioned before?
arrow keys+z+x. Not much to handle

Pinky_Powers
24th Aug 2010, 14:51
Maybe you can only play with a wheel but some can use a pad. Pinky you seem to think your word is gospel???

Think about the concept of the racing sim. It's to simulate racing. To make it feel as real as possible. All that is destroyed if you're reduced to a little hand-device with thumb sticks. Can it still be fun? Sure, in an arcady way. But if we're talking simulation...

http://www.apartment107.com/assets/article/1606/gtrev.jpg

Pretentious Old Man.
24th Aug 2010, 16:56
Pinky is absolutely right. Comparing a racing sim played with analogue sticks to a racing sim played with a wheel is like comparing an FPS played on analogue sticks to one played with K&M. The comparison just doesn't hold any water at all. It's not just the more plausible layout, it's also the fact that the wheel is many times more sensitive. I admit to not being a great racing sim player (I was alright with GTR2 using K&M), but flight sims like Falcon 4 really need a proper stick to handle properly.

Pinky_Powers
24th Aug 2010, 22:37
Pinky is absolutely right.

Amen to that brother!

demon boy
24th Aug 2010, 23:34
DXHR is, whether we like it or not, coming out in a certain age. It is coming out in an age of huge-budget blockbusters, an age when sales are king, an age when multiplatform gaming (and lowest-common denominator design) are not so much a design choice but more a corporate necessity to guarantee sales. Until lately, this has made me a sad bunny.



I don't necessarily think it has much to do with the age the game is coming out in. It probably has more to do with your age (no offense intended). I've noticed that the older I get, the harder I am to please when it comes to movies, music or video games. I'm less tolerant of pop-culture and more difficult to amuse.

Whether it be music, movies or games, there will always be a trade-off between huge budgets (and the cutting edge production that goes along with them) and artistic quality. In order to secure the huge budget, you often have to compromise the artistic quality as we all realize.

There are really only two potential escapes from this reality. The first one is for developers to learn to make first rate, mind-boggling games without having mind-boggling budgets. This has become quite challenging but it is not all together impossible. The Witcher had a reletively low budget and it was quite the experience. In terms of movies, District 9 was made for a mere $30 million. As long as there continues to be an "arms race" in terms of graphical technology, it will remain expensive to produce games that have cutting edge graphics but alternatives exist for those not stressing the specs.

The other option is to actually get the suits to OK a large budget without compromising your vision. This is extremely difficult and generally requires you to have a track record of commercial success. In movies, we've seen directors like Christopher Nolan achieve this feat recently. In games it seems to be almost impossible to do this. I suppose games tend to be generated by a larger number of minds than movies. As such, they are compromises from the beginning. The best you can hope for with a big budget game is that it is a labor of love for the developers (which is seems DX:HR is).