Dawn

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Posted 1 Week Ago
15,743 posts
6.3 Years
The PokeCommunity Game-Along II: Electric Boogaloo



Welcome to the PokeCommunity Game-Along II! We're now into our second year, which calls for an exciting new thread with a completely unoriginal title! Previous thread can be found here.

For the uninitiated: what is the Game-Along, we hear you ask? It's quite simple: on the first day of each month, we will select a theme. This could be anything - a genre, a series, an aspect of gameplay, etc. Your task will be to play and beat (by which we mean you must finish the main story mode/see the end credits) a game that fits that theme before the end of the month!

So for example, if the month's theme was RPGs, you could play any game that would classify as an RPG (Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, etc) to qualify, as long as you beat it before the month is up. The game can be any length, it can be a replay or a brand new game, and it can even be something you're currently playing if you choose - the only requirement is that it fits the theme for the month, and that you finish it within the month.

To enter, just respond to this thread with the game you are playing, keep us updated on your progress (if it suits you - the more detail you give us of your experience, the better!) and let us know when you've finished and what you thought of the game.

You can join at any time during the year, and you are not obligated to participate in every month. Games are supposed to be fun, so make sure you have fun! If you're also doing the 2021 Gaming Challenge (and why wouldn't you be?) you can include any games you play for this challenge as part of that one!

This post will (hopefully) be periodically updated with the current theme and participants.

If you have any questions or suggestions for monthly themes you'd like to see, feel free to post in here.




PARTICIPANTS STATS

Dawn
Spoiler:

Jan -


Cherrim
Spoiler:

Jan - Tacoma


Hyzenthlay
Spoiler:

Jan - VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action


Janp
Spoiler:

Jan - Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II


Shun
Spoiler:

Jan - Cyberpunk 2077


von Sternen
Spoiler:

Jan - Molek-Syntez


Gimmepie
Spoiler:

Jan - Halo Reach






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Dawn

Seen 2 Minutes Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
15,743 posts
6.3 Years
January - Greetings from the Future



Space: The Final Frontier. A frontier that video games have crossed and gone beyond many times over the decades, and in many different ways. What better way to start a new year than to look to the future and what it might (but in all fairness probably won't, at least not in our lifetimes!) bring with it? To that end, your theme for this month is Science Fiction! Pull out your laser guns and engage the hyperdrive, because the future is now!

We all know generally what science fiction is, but the line between science fiction and fantasy is often blurred, particularly in video games. If you're unsure whether your game would qualify as science fiction you can ask in here, but the key concept to look at here when deciding is plausibility. Science fiction has its grounding in real-world rules and technology, and would be theoretically possible if our understanding of the world – or the universe, even! - were at a more advanced level. Fantasy on the other hand, does not, being more rooted in the supernatural and impossible – magic, monsters, gods, and hair which defies the laws of physics as we know it.

...and no, magic is not just science we do not understand yet, Thor.

There are plenty of games which incorporate both, and where the theme is predominantly science fiction, the game counts. Star Ocean is the perfect example of this, as it is clearly a science fiction series, yet has different cultures which incorporate magic. But even this magic has a plausible explanation and is the product of world-building and development, rather than just being magic for magic's sake, as you will often find in many fantasy games. Again, plausibility. If there is a logical in-game explanation for something that would otherwise be impossible, this is probably going to be acceptable.

On the off-chance that anyone wants to play an Assassin's Creed title, I'm going to say a pre-emptive no to that – whilst the games are set in a virtual reality (a fact that Ubisoft will unfortunately never let us forget...) this has a negligible impact on the gameplay, so they're more historical dramas than anything else.

...and yes, post-apocalyptic titles set in the future are fine, as long as there are clear science fiction elements that feature in the games (robot dinosaurs, nuclear mutants, advanced laser weaponry, etc) and it's not just a medieval title set in the future. It is equally possible that humankind will be annihilated in a nuclear war as it is we'll become a more advanced civilisation. Probably MORE likely.



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Cherrim

Age 31
she / her
Toronto
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Days Ago
32,560 posts
18.1 Years
I'm finally going to play Tacoma which has been on my list for a very long time. :)


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Hyzenthlay

Age 21
The neglected garden
Seen 42 Minutes Ago
Posted 21 Hours Ago
6,452 posts
8.2 Years
Does "VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action" count? If so, sign me up for January!
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Today is born sparkling
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Dawn

Seen 2 Minutes Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
15,743 posts
6.3 Years
Does "VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action" count? If so, sign me up for January!
I would say yes, it does. Have fun~

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Janp

Age 24
They/Them
Czech Republic
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 3 Hours Ago
4,282 posts
7.7 Years
Nice! Going to play Star Wars: KotOR 2.
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gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 10 Hours Ago
Posted 14 Hours Ago
22,704 posts
8.7 Years
Would Final Fantasy XIII be acceptable? From what I can tell, the setting is firmly sci-fi even though the fantasy elements remain.
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Dawn

Seen 2 Minutes Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
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6.3 Years
Would Final Fantasy XIII be acceptable? From what I can tell, the setting is firmly sci-fi even though the fantasy elements remain.
I would say no - FFXIII is more science fantasy than it is science fiction tbh. It has enough exposition for the world/technology/etc. in the in-game glossary, but it's based on gods and crystal magic, soooo...

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gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 10 Hours Ago
Posted 14 Hours Ago
22,704 posts
8.7 Years
I would say no - FFXIII is more science fantasy than it is science fiction tbh. It has enough exposition for the world/technology/etc. in the in-game glossary, but it's based on gods and crystal magic, soooo...
Was hoping I could slip sci-fantasy by. Not sure what else I have, so I'll have to take a look.
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von Sternen

only shooting stars break the mold

he, they
Jupiter
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 23 Hours Ago
509 posts
29 Days
Science fiction has its grounding in real-world rules and technology, and would be theoretically possible if our understanding of the world – or the universe, even! - were at a more advanced level.
Just a minor gripe of mine, but that's only true of hard sci-fi, which games often aren't. Soft Sci-Fi often does things that are known to be impossible (in the "we know this physically cannot happen" sense) because they're cool, or convenient or fun - and they're probably the better for it. Reality is kinda boring.

With that aside, I'll be doing Zachtronics' Molek-Syntez. As it's one part chemical engineering and four parts embedded systems programming, I'm pretty sure it should qualify as science fiction.

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Dawn

Seen 2 Minutes Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
15,743 posts
6.3 Years
Just a minor gripe of mine, but that's only true of hard sci-fi, which games often aren't. Soft Sci-Fi often does things that are known to be impossible (in the "we know this physically cannot happen" sense) because they're cool, or convenient or fun - and they're probably the better for it. Reality is kinda boring.
I see your point, but...well, I don't personally think you can entirely apply the same standards to video games as you can to literature and film, because the way these things are conveyed is completely different - there's significantly more viewer engagement, and this needs to be done in a way that won't compromise gameplay, which is going to necessitate some compromise on the level of detail because the average person won't understand or appreciate the accuracy of the science and sure as hell won't want to sit through an explanation of it, and when you bog the player down in systems for the sake of accuracy, you add another barrier to making the game accessible. It's not so much about being "cool" as it is about convenience. A "hard" science fiction game, by the standards of literature, would have several hours worth of tutorials, more convoluted gameplay mechanics than Death Stranding, and yeah, it probably wouldn't be very exciting. But does a game deserve to be called "soft" sci-fi because it doesn't follow the same rules? I'm not so sure...primarily because I personally don't fully subscribe to the way "soft" and "hard" sci-fi are separated because it undermines the validity of social sciences. But that's just me.

But if you did apply the same standards to science fiction video games as you did to literature, the vast majority of video games that could be classified as science fiction would be science fantasy, because there is very rarely (if ever) sufficient detail provided in the narrative or worldbuilding to say that the science behind things works, and there are ALWAYS cut corners, and things conveniently left out because adding them in would be far too much of a pain and wouldn't contribute to the experience in a positive way. Which I suppose has some validity as an argument, although I think there are some pretty clear lines.

Perhaps it wasn't the best way to describe plausibility, but what I meant was it's basically the difference between being given a believable in-universe explanation for something, and having it as the province of a supernatural force. There's a very clear difference from inspiration drawn from the modern world and that drawn from the supernatural.

But it's an interesting discussion point to have that I honestly hadn't considered! Mostly because the only "hard" science fiction I've encountered has been from before the 70s and oh my goodness it has aged very badly...and even then, it requires a similar level of suspension of disbelief. It's all fiction for a reason, after all.

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gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 10 Hours Ago
Posted 14 Hours Ago
22,704 posts
8.7 Years
Will do Halo: Reach then I suppose.
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Cherrim

Age 31
she / her
Toronto
Seen 4 Hours Ago
Posted 2 Days Ago
32,560 posts
18.1 Years
Hello all, I am done! Tacoma is a pretty short game so I was able to complete it in one sitting this afternoon. I think I... picked a rather bad day to pick a game that turned out to be a future capitalist dystopia to be my distraction from the news but oh well. I really loved the game! I have a big soft spot for "walking sims" and this was a good one. I really love how you just slowly pick up bits and pieces of the plot, everything out of order, and come to know the characters as a result. Tacoma did it very well and I love the world it built up for you to explore, even if it was too eerily believable at times. I think I'll replay it before the month is out with the commentary on. :)

Let's see how long I can keep up this soft resolution of not leaving my games to the end of the month this year, ahaha.


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gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 10 Hours Ago
Posted 14 Hours Ago
22,704 posts
8.7 Years
Have played through the first three chapters so far and am leaving it for now at the beginning of all-out warfare. I'm generally not huge on FPS games, but I'm enjoying this more than expected. I probably wouldn't seek out playing it outside this challenge, but it's been fun. Death to the Covenant.
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gimmepie

Age 25
Male
Australia
Seen 10 Hours Ago
Posted 14 Hours Ago
22,704 posts
8.7 Years
Finished the game! It ended up being a really good time and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. I'm not about to rush out and buy all the other Halo games, but I may grab another one if they're on special some time. I mentioned before that I'm not really big on FPS games, and I think this will remain for the most part, but I might be a bit more willing to give them a try in the future. I'd recommend Reach to anyone.
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Hyzenthlay

Age 21
The neglected garden
Seen 42 Minutes Ago
Posted 21 Hours Ago
6,452 posts
8.2 Years
I finished my game for January!

So, where to begin? As a visual novel game, the visuals go beyond my rather high standards - they really capture the essence of the game in a sleek, colourful, beautifully done pixel art style. I liked most of the character designs, too - it's hard not to look good in this style. This is the highlight of the game to me.

The writing falls somewhat flat, however. It's enough to hook you to begin with you as you learn about Glitch City and the characters that visit Valhalla, but if this was a book or a comic, I'd have dropped it a short way in. The dialogue becomes repetitive and drones on a bit. While the characters were distinctive enough in their speech and personalities, they were somehow still muddled up together. For example, just about everyone makes the same "coincidental" jokes or remarks (toward Gill most the time) and almost all the cast are way too vulgar and forward about it, too. I guess that's fanservice? Not for me, it was my least favourite aspect. And I didn't find the game funny - though you can almost sense the writers snickering over the references and dirty jokes, aha.

As far as gameplay goes... well, it's minimal. You literally can't mess up mixing a drink unless you misread or it's on purpose. It's very basic. That also makes it relaxing! It was a pleasant change to the gameplay I'm used to, but I would have appreciated more interactivity. Perhaps the option to choose Jill's answers, as well.

The music was fine. Nothing memorable.

Favourite characters: Dana, Gill, Sei, Taylor, Deal, the dogs.

Least favourite characters: Dorothy, Streaming-chan.

Seriously though... what is up with Dorothy? It's fanservice, right? Which I find SUPER creepy. I feel like she'd be written better if she hated what she does and didn't condone it so much, freely offering her services to anyone she meets. Surely at the mental age of 25, even a Lilim would have enough morals to be disgusted by how many desperate paedophiles there are in Glitch City? And yet she enjoys what she does. And talks about it religiously. Yuck.

Okay, rant over! The visuals and somehow addictive gameplay (most of the way through) earned the game a generous 5.5/10.
🌲💞🍀
Today is born sparkling
Like the day when we first met

von Sternen

only shooting stars break the mold

he, they
Jupiter
Seen 12 Hours Ago
Posted 23 Hours Ago
509 posts
29 Days
Finished the game. The full review is on my game journal since it doubled as a game for the Gaming Challenge but the tl;dr of that is "could be better. Have several other recommendations."

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Janp

Age 24
They/Them
Czech Republic
Seen 3 Hours Ago
Posted 3 Hours Ago
4,282 posts
7.7 Years
Copying my post from the other Event just for completeness' sake. Hope it's okay.

I finished Star Wars: KotOR 2 today. You can read my whole playthrough in my Game Journal or just read my overall thoughts right here:

I think KotOR 2 still holds great to this day. It was able to present beautiful world just like its predecessor and fill it with interesting characters, even though I think first game had better cast of main crew. I wasn't particulary fond of Mira, HK-47, Disciple or G0-T0, but Kreia, Atton and Visa evened the odds. I hated almost every part where I had to play as anyone else than Exile, except for T3 parts. Those were fun. But Mira's parts were the most boring and annoying bits I've played in a long time. The game was also a lot easier than the first one. I only wiped 4 times in total IIRC and barely used any healing. I had 80+ healing items at the end of the game and never even felt like using any of it. And as I said before, there weren't really any opponent that would require more than 3 turns to beat. That includes whole Malachor except bossfights. And keep in mind that I had to solo Malachor and it was suppose to be this huge breeding ground of Sith. The game felt empty at times, which was propably because it was unfinished. Like Korriban or Dantooine had barely anything to do on them aside from the main quests. Still, this was that kind of game that I played every time I had a free time on my hands and had really hard time closing it once I was playing. Not many games had similar effect. And I'm not surprised. As I said, the KotOR universe is nice, battle system is great and story was captivating at times.

I decided to give all games a numerical rating ranging from 0 to 10. So after all I said, I give KotOR 2 7.5/10.
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