Hotline Miami Is Nuts, FTL Is Gambling

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DataSnake:
When it comes to portraying insanity in a game, I think Far Cry 3 had a nice take. There are the obvious hallucinations, but there are also subtle clues that something's not quite right the rest of the time either.


What makes it different is that the game never comes out and tells you "oh hey, this part was real and that part was just a dream": it leaves you to try and figure out for yourself just how much of it is "really" happening.

Really? I felt that the insanity element was never really explored. The Lewis Caroll quote's seem random, in the sense you could place any of them anywhere and they would mean pretty much the same thing, and I don't know if Buck's random appearances are really indicative of Jason's mental health or just his "badassness." I think the plot is a pretty straight forward B-movie that THINKS it's deep.

trty00:
Really? I felt that the insanity element was never really explored. The Lewis Caroll quote's seem random, in the sense you could place any of them anywhere and they would mean pretty much the same thing, and I don't know if Buck's random appearances are really indicative of Jason's mental health or just his "badassness." I think the plot is a pretty straight forward B-movie that THINKS it's deep.

I agree, the quotes are a bit much. What I meant was the characters act like something out of Lewis Carroll, especially Willis and Earnhardt. There's just something...off about them, like they're not playing with a full deck. And the thing where you're not sure if Buck's random appearances are real or not was exactly my point, that the game leaves you asking for yourself "was that a hallucination?". Personally I'd lean toward "not real" because if Buck could have figured out where each piece was before Jason did, he could have just retrieved the knife himself.

I'm totally with him on XCOM's investment clashing with the random element. I get extremely anxious at every stage of gameplay. I dread the next UFO because it could come at any time, I worry about every interception because I have no idea if my fighters are going to make it back, and every single mission has me biting my nails as I send my soldiers into the next eldritch nightmare. By this point in the game, I've learned the name of almost every one of my soldiers, color-coded their armor according to nationality, and I've gotten at least 80% of them leveled up to the first level or two of their class. All the random elements in the game that threaten my characters also present the danger that I might become jaded and burnt out, refusing to invest in future recruits and just giving up entirely. I'm a pretty terrible commander, in that respect.

My general strategy for FTL is to get a crew teleporter and advanced sensors. You tend to get better loot from leaving a ship intact. One particular playthrough had me face the last boss with most systems maxed, with a Burst Laser III, a Burst Laser II, a Dual Laser, a Fire Bomb, a Breach Bomb II, and a Glaive Beam... and I didn't even use the Glaive beam. On Normal mode too. I don't think I even repaired in the last section.

Not saying I used all those weapons at once, just that I had them. Firing volleys of 10 lasers at once though felt rather OP.

Of course I have been bitten by the randomness of it all as well. The worst part of it striking is when you get to the last sector and realise all the repair stations have been scattered such that it makes it impossible to repair between fighting the different stages of the boss.

UNHchabo:

Starker:
Now I want him to do The Binding of Isaac. It combines the randomness of FTL with the insanity of Hotline Miami and throws in child abuse and religion for good measure.

Two of his colums covered BoI:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/9226-Battlefield-3-Is-Scary.2
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/9669-Why-Randomly-Generated-Content-Sucks

"Covered" is perhaps a tad generous. "Mentioned" would be more accurate.

Starker:

UNHchabo:

Two of his colums covered BoI:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/9226-Battlefield-3-Is-Scary.2
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/9669-Why-Randomly-Generated-Content-Sucks

"Covered" is perhaps a tad generous. "Mentioned" would be more accurate.

The first one he devotes nearly half his column to it, which is fair considering he had something else to talk about relating to his video. The second one is only a mention, but clarifies some of his points he brought up earlier.

OT: I like the comment about reading the Arkham Horror flavor text. I've got a group of 4 that play regularly, and we've found the game's a whole lot better if someone else reads it. You get some idea how important it is to make the check, the difference between "make a sneak check" and "MAKE a sneak check". You don't know what's going down, just how vital it is you make it.

This post is a tad tardy perhaps, but it caught my eye as I was wondering whether Yahtzee had done a review on FTL (I remembered him refering to it in a previous video)I was pleased to find this to be the case.

Sooo, here I am to chat about FTL - specifically the luck element. I've read the posts and there seems to be two schools of thought - some think that FTL is too hard because of the luck element, some feel that all it takes is good strategy to win easily.

I find that both veiwpoints sell the game short. First let me say I have every reason to hate the game, I've won only 10 games out of around 300, probably because I've only played on normal since my first victory on easy. So one doesn't need "mad skills" to beat the game on normal, or be a sucker for punishment - and you don't need to just be a lucky son-of-a-bitch all the time either...That said, the game IS hard, and you probably will loose most of your games, even an experienced player can make the wrong decisions.

This leads me to why I think those touting their "foolproof" strategies for ensuring victory are somewhat wrong. There is no "beat-it-every-time" strategy. You really can get the short end of the stick in FTL and some runs are just going to be doomed to failure no matter how experienced you are. Trust me, I know. I'm ashamed to admit that I've clocked around 150 hours of this game so I know what I'm talking about. But luck is not the be-all-and-end-all of the gameplay by a long shot and those relating it to slot machines haven't taken the time to learn the game they're playing.

The thing that makes FTL challenging, and it's fairly obvious really, is not luck OR strategy, it's the fact that each bad decision, each setback, each bit of bad luck, stacks on top of the last one, snowballing into a defeat. So while good strategies can buffer you against some bad luck, nothing will make the game more impossible than failing to adapt to what the game throws at you and consistently making bad judgement calls. You make your own luck.

Besides, no-one ever comments about poker being "too luck based" they just play the hand they're dealt. In FTL you don't have to fight every battle, or save every backwater station from fire. As in poker, the skill lies in knowing that sometimes, you have to fold to win.

For all the people that found this game too hard or luck based to be fun. Let me say: it's not too hard, it's just hard enough. Honestly FTLS' charm is that it is difficult. Can anyone that has played this game honestly say they Didn't want to play again just to beat it? With the current games all being "too easy" I for one find it refreshing for a game to truly challenge me.

If a game is going to be difficult then it needs to be replayable and FTL delivers on that. The fact that the same answer to a familiar encounter can have a different outcome is a very good thing. Sure, some might find it frustrating when an answer that always yeilded good results suddenly kills a crew member, but for me it means the sense of tension and the unknown that I had on my first playthrough will be with me untill my last, something I can say for very few, if any, other games...

And finally; some may find this a bit sad but myself and my friend play this game together, making joint decisions along the way. One of us will read out the text to the other, who decides what we should do - it's a pretty good way to really feel the effort put into the narrative and it's good to have someone to council you out of your greed - GIANT ALIEN SPIDERS? JUST SAY "NO".

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