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Alan Stock

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    Games, Photography, Travelling, Films, Clubbing, Dog's bottoms.

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  1. Turns out I was literally only minutes away from the end of the game! I'm not sure if it was finding what I think is the "final" clip in the timeline or whether I ran out of time, but I mananged to clear up one of the mysteries I was looking for. According to the game, I only saw about half of the available videos, and even then there are so many that I never scrubbed back through meaning there are still hours and hours of digging and watching to do. I definitely reached "the end", however there is still a great deal I don't know, and I only got one character summary, ironically being the one I spent the least time with. I spent 5-6 hours on the game so far, but I feel like I could have easily reached that last file a few hours sooner. Even if I had, just like Her Story the endings don't mean anything unless you actually understand what led up to that point and the character's motivations. @George Clooney I re-read your spoiler and actually I have seen the file you ended up talking about. Although it is a biggish reveal don't worry, it's only one of many. Testament to the game's sneaky nature really, that's why I'm interested in seeing how people got to different endings. I'm going to talk massive spoilers about the stories I uncovered and the ending here, so DO NOT READ unless you feel you have seen all of the game's content, even if you did one playthrough be warned I might mention things you've yet to see. BIG SPOILERS
  2. Well I ended up binging this last night and feel I'm nearing my playthrough end after about 5 hours. I looked at your spoiler above and stopped reading after a bit as I'm yet to go down that rabbit hole. What you need to know is that there are multiple stories going on here and I have barely watched any of that character's videos. Instead I focussed on another plotline and have come across big revelations of my own. There isn't just one big reveal in this game, there are multiple strands and events, so don't be worried you have uncovered "the truth" right at the start. I've just read a review that says most people only discover half of the possible videos in a playthrough so that means there should still be plenty to go back and uncover after the credits roll. Overall I've really enjoyed it, the pressure is on in my last session to uncover as many revelations as possible. Really curious to go through it again and follow some of the other threads. In case you are curious as to the rabbit hole I went down (don't read unless you have played plenty of the game): Looking forward to swapping stories later with other people who have seen most of the games content to see what lines of investigation people followed and what order they got things in.
  3. Spoiler-free impression: So I've played a few hours and I'm sucked in. If you like Her Story, you'll like this. When I said it uses multiple media that was a misunderstanding, so far it's all video trawling and good old keyword searches. You start off with nothing really to go on, other than you are a mysterious person looking through an National Security Agency database of videos, so something important must have happened. So, you just start following the threads that interest you and start to build a picture of the characters and the different story threads going on. The pace is slower than Her Story at first, you're mainly learning about the characters and their relationships, but pretty quickly you start to come across more interesting stuff, albeit interspersed with family/relationship drama. Don't take this to mean it's boring though, in fact there's plenty going on and always questions on your mind, mysteries to solve. It's very much got the Her Story thing of things slowly slotting into place as new characters and events are uncovered, with some biggish revelations and juicy bits I've already uncovered. But I'm sure if I accidentally stumble onto any huge revelations, just like its predecessor it doesn't really matter as the context and surrounding details that are just as important. Although so far the clips and narrative are focused around the man (the other three main characters are women), having videos featuring four different perspectives means a lot more video to look through. There are lots of clips that are 4-8 minutes long, and it could drop you anywhere in the clip - where the keyword was found. Each video will always play to the end from that point, but what's interesting is that it also allows you to scrub back in time to see the events earlier in the clip before the keyword. So far I haven't really used that feature as I prefer the game to drip-feed me the clues rather than binge watch every single video in full. But I bet at some point you'll need to rewind to uncover more information. I can see why Eurogamer said that it could be different stories for different players. I'm following the more exciting mysterious story threads but there's lots of drama and relationship stuff to delve into as well. What I'm about to mention isn't really a spoiler as you learn it in the first few minutes, but it's about the game's structure and difference to Her Story, so don't look if you want to go in totally blind: Reviews have used the word voyeristic a lot and I have to agree. It's not in a bad way, but because of the more intimate setting of people's homes and private lives you feel like you're really seeing their true sides. It has arguments, sexy bits, passionate scenes, vulnerability. What's also weird is that you only see and hear one side of a conversation, so often you'll be watching this dude or girl just sitting there as they listen and react to someone you can't hear. Just like Her Story the acting is great though and really sells the characters. With just expressions and a few words you can guess what might being said on the other end of the line, and so far the relationships and characters feel really genuine thanks to the acting. Within 20 minutes of starting the game you'll start to see the trademark Sam Barlow genius at work. Once again he's managed to gate the story through a complex network of snippets, each keyword might only give you a few results, but each video gives you new keywords to chase, or new ideas to pursue. It's already getting really interesting and just like Her Story you start to pay attention to the environments the characters are in and their appearance to get clues about the timeline and further leads. Well, that ended up being a big post for what was supposed to be a brief first impression. Going to dive back in, I hope its longer than Her Story because I want to get hooked!
  4. Out now folks, and only 15 quid on Steam! Plus there's a bundle with Her Story for 20 quid, not bad at all. https://store.steampowered.com/app/762830/Telling_Lies/ Might have a quick go tonight
  5. Yeah not sure why they're nerfing Sym, maybe 15 DPS is only minor though. When Sym is on the enemy team now you really have to focus her, or have good protection, which is how it should be. Based on my role lock experience the meta is in a good place right now, so many heroes are viable. A lot of people are going the Overwatch League comps of Orisa and Reaper but its not as strong as OWL and you can overwhelm it. The buff to Reinhardt stopping him from getting knocked back so much has made a big difference. I'm seeing him in a lot of games which is nice. Mei is pretty good right now too providing she has support.
  6. The quasi-sequel to Her Story comes out tomorrow and it's got some great reviews: Games Radar - 4.5/5 Guardian - 5/5 IGN - 9 Polygon - Recommended Eurogamer - Recommended PC Gamer - 87% Pretty excited for this one. If you haven't played Her Story, I highly recommend it. It's a detective game where you go through interview tapes of a suspect to solve a murder, but the tapes are only a few seconds long making it a tangled web where you have to piece the story together for yourself. Telling Lies is a quasi-sequel with a similar premise, instead of a police database you're trawling through someone's laptop files to uncover the mysteries surrounding national security (or something), and instead of one character there are 4, all played by Hollywood actors. You can now scrub back and forward through the many video files to look for clues. Like Her Story, you find new files using keyword searches, but only the first 5 search results are available to see. This forces you to narrow your searches using certain words (like people's names for example) in order to see previously hidden files. You follow the breadcrumbs by picking up on clues in the files to unearth new words or theories. I've skimmed through some of the reviews and the overall impression is that this is very much in the same vein as Her Story, albeit with more media types to play with. The stories you uncover will be different depending on which files you find and revelations you uncover, with the twists and turns we'd expect from the writer Sam Barlow. Some reviews like the Eurogamer one complain that there's less of a feeling of completion than Her Story, because you can't see how many videos are left to view, and you have some sort of time limit which means you can't uncover all of its secrets right away. It also means the tone of the game might be different for each player depending on what stuff you uncover. Other reviews see this as a strength with a malleable story that you have to have to draw your own conclusions about. Although I see where the detractors are coming from about the narrative, in Her Story the ambiguity was one of the things that made it great. There were heavy hints if you digged deep enough about what was really going on - but you had to figure it all out yourself and it felt very rewarding to do so. Even then Sam Barlow wouldn't confirm the "truth" of the story, saying it was more interesting for people to take their own interpretation of what really happened. According to one review I read of Telling Lies it works in a similar way, where maybe the truth really starts coming to light if you really invest the time to find those hard-to-get last few revelatory files. Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing the twists and turns Barlow has in store this time, and best of all the system requirements are once again laughably low, I'll be able to run it on my ancient laptop no worries. If anyone has played it before release, would be interested to hear your (spoiler free) opinions!
  7. Yeah but it's no different than your team getting teamwiped in another big ult like a grav, heck even a whole hog can push a whole enemy team off the cart in the final seconds, or a blizzard, etc. Mind you I've yet to be on the receiving end of a mega ult like that so it's probably pretty annoying, what I do know is that feeling of helplessness as you hang in the air from that ult before slamming down to your death, its like being stuck in a grav but with even less chance to survive. In other news I have been trying out the role lock beta and I love it. It basically fixes most of the bullshit you had to live with in ranked before, and replaces it with fairly stable team compositions so you can worry about playing the game instead of who's throwing, or why you have no healers, etc. It's a real breath of fresh air and I've tried out all the roles, although unsurprisingly the damage queue time is a bitch, taking upwards of 10 minutes on PS4 (I usually restart matchmaking once it goes that long). As a tank though its amazing to get heals and have teammates who usually stick by you. So far I'm really enjoying it.
  8. I'm a bit worried about the travelling/survival aspect of the game. It reminds me of MGS Snake Eater which had these cool ideas about camo and wilderness survival, but in practice those were a pain in the arse. Constantly dipping in and out of slow menus, doing tedious things like hunting down animals and so on. We know you'll get vehicles but as there seems to be a lot of walking involved I'm just worried that it looks like a bit of a slog. Hopefully they'll prove me wrong because I love the ideas and setting of this game.
  9. Unfortunately there's a level range for matchmaking. You're probably too high level to match up with many other players who are working their way through the game. For example players from level 20>40 might be able to match up but after level 40 you'll enter a 40>60 bracket (those numbers I've just pulled from thin air), and so on. There are guides online which tell you what the ranges are. The same thing happened to me, after I did the DLC and stuff I was too high level to get summoned anywhere other than the hardest bosses and DLC content. Of course there probably aren't many active players these days but as an experiment why not try starting up a new character? I'm pretty sure though that after a certain level all the levels beyond that are matchmade together, so it seems odd you've not seen anyone of your level out for PVP etc. Have you tried the popular ganking/PVP spots?
  10. I think role lock is going to be great for the game and I can't wait to try it out. I might even get back into Competitive which I haven't played since the first few seasons due to the toxicity and crap team comps. Will be interesting to see how it's received by the more casual players though, in most Quick Play games you have 3 to 4 DPS players (or more). I play a lot of DPS in quick play but honestly if I knew I was getting healing I would play tank a lot more. They really need to make the healers better fun, Lucio and Anna are the only ones which are actually enjoyable these days. Baptiste is a strong character but I don't find him fun to play, Brigitte is ok but hard to get the backup you need, plus she's being nerfed into the ground. The lack of interesting abilities and autoaiming on Mercy and Moira make them pretty boring compared to Lucio and Anna. If there were more healers like Anna you can be sure more players would be willing to play healer. What's people's thoughts on Sigma if you've played him?
  11. Changes sound good so far. What is "pass" for thieves? The unlocked boss movement is probably the best change. It always seems stupid to me that they just sit there whilst you wipe out their minions 2 squares away, and then sit there whilst you surround them. Even at my late stage in the game I've always managed to take down the humanoid bosses in one or two attacks, making them very underwhelming. In fact some of the major story bosses I could just shoot with one arrow, or send in Byleth with a special attack and take them out in 1 hit, that kind of kills the dramatic tension a lot.
  12. Ah I see. Yeah the patches seem to have fixed a lot from what I've read in re-reviews of the game. Basically you get dumped from the cut scene facing in the right direction and just follow the marker straight ahead and you're there. I might look up the old way they had I out of curiosity. Question about Poppy:
  13. That's good news, and thanks for the shipyard tip although I think I already found it without bother unless its another one later on. Just realised I had only upgraded my Arts and character skill trees once so far, so now my guys will be a lot stronger! I also got real lucky with a Common blade Crystal and got one of the unique blades, in only about the 5th crystal I opened. It's a lass called Agate and she seems OP at this stage so I've not been using her much. I also just found out you can swap in New Arts on the Art upgrade screen, so that's nice. I don't seem to be able to set a third blade yet, although the slot for it isn't locked or anything. I tried out playing in combat as the other 2 party members but Rex is way more fun so I'll be sticking with him for now. I also figured out how to get the final stage of blade combos, I didn't realise you already have to have the special attack levelled up to 3 to activate it. And I found out where the tutorial stuff is, you buy documents from the informant characters in the towns. That's a cool idea but they should have started you off with some as there's a lot to take in, in those breif tutorials! Currently in the Aussie belly. Oh one more tip I found online when I was checking if I'd miss rare blade intro animations if I skipped the Awakening. You will skip rare intros this way, but you can play them back in the Theatre anyway, so I'm going to be skipping my Commons from now on.
  14. Is the rewind feature a new concept for Fire Emblem games? I can only imagine how frustrating they would have been without it. It's just too easy to slip up, like not noticing a sinister red line arcing to your mage from 20 squares away. And there's ambushes, unpredictable boss attacks, and so on. Of course the Rewind feature takes away a lot of the tension and arguably diffficulty, but without it people would probably save scum to protect their precious children. Same goes for seeing where enemies will attack. I'm sure that feature wasn't in the DS Fire Emblem I played, but of course in that game I didn't give a damn about the characters so if they died I was like "meh". Wasn't Fire Emblem really unpredictable before they added that? It's still not perfect of course, a lot of times the enemies have betrayed their red lines and instead ganged up on a weaker character during their turn, scuppering the plans. And that's when you feel justified to Rewind.
  15. So I took the plunge yesterday and picked this up. And I'm happy to report I'm really enjoying it! I'm about 9 hours in, and am just on a quest about getting airship parts. It looks fantastic, although I prefer the more realistic looking characters of Xeno 1. The music as has been pointed out on here is very good so far. The voice acting and writing are surprisingly good, it's so refreshing to get characters that talk realistically in an RPG and it's something I'd forgotten about the original. The regional accents are nice too, I think it's quite brave given the international market to voice some of the main characters with strong British accents but it works really well. Gameplay-wise the combat is still great and with some nice added depth to it with the Blade combos and suchlike. I'm still not 100% sure how to trigger Blade combos at third level (I do the corresponding element special attack but it doesn't seem to work). I'm just starting to expand my Blade roster and try out playing as some of the other heroes than Rex. Overall it's still enjoyable and I haven't even started getting into Breaks, knockdowns and all that. On the downside it's still boring at the start of fights whilst your arts charge up which can make it feel grindy - hopefully as I unlock more arts and abilities this "dead time" will cut down. With the addition of Blades combat is also a massive mess to look at, not to mention a horrendous cacophony of repeated voice lines overlapping each other. In the boss fights that I just did, it was so hard to see and hear the enemy - let alone focus on your own character with the sheer amount of effects, numbers, sound effects and voices. I've been trying to focus on just my character but with all the stuff going on mid-battle you actually end up focussing more on your art buttons and combo routes than the battle itself. Not that this is all bad, in fact its great that in the mid/late battle there is enough going on gameplay-wise to keep your attention sharp. I've only scratched the surface of the open world and it feels very Xenoblade 1 in its scale. The first big area that I'm at looks great and has a lot of stuff in it, but again the running speed of the character feels like a drag and the size of the areas can feel a bit exhausting. On the other hand there's lots of mobs and it feels nice and populated. On the story side of things I'm loving it though. The cutscenes are exactly what I'd hoped for, as dymanic and exciting as the ones in Xeno 1. The action scenes really have those wow moments, especially when the incredible music kicks in - and the baddies once again are mysterious and cool. Even though I find the RPG gameplay quite fun in Xenoblade, I am always looking forward to the next big story beat for those epic moments, and it looks like this is going to be no exception. And yes, Rex so far is a much more likeable character than 90% of RPG protagonists. Even the Nopon is actually quite funny and likeable so far, instead of downright cheesy/annoying like Rikku was. I can see there's going to be a lot of depth to the game systems which I'm looking forward to, and once again hats off to Monolith for the accessibility in their game - a good map, dialogue markers showing you who's new to speak to, fast travel, fast to skip dialogue, etc. I just wish there were some ingame manuals to let you read up on if you forgot the tutorials (if there are I haven't found them yet). Most of these features were in the original Xenoblade but they make the experience so much smoother. Really its just the scale of the world and the cities, the feeling of padding, and slow running speed that I have to whinge about. Oh, and that it looks awful in handheld mode. I was watching some of the Xenoblade 1 cutscenes on Youtube to refresh my memory and it reminded me that despite how great that game was, there was a lot of padding and really boring/generic stuff. Like the dreaded Nopon village and the whole forest section. And the imaginationless elves in their shiny generic fantasy city. So far Xeno 2 has done a good job of keeping things rolling along and fingers crossed it doesn't have big downswings like that game. And on that note, I'm off to chop up some baddies in a giant field. Oh, one last thing - this game isn't easy (at least if you don't intentionally grind). I have to be careful not to get killed in fights and already have to think about what blades and setups I need to bring. But this is a good thing, it feels like a fun challenge. Good stuff!
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