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HeatBoost
Member
(08-13-2017, 09:43 AM)
I love the original Deus Ex. It's probably the best single player experience I've ever had on a PC. It is the standard I hold for RPG/Action adventure hybrid games. And while there are some games that have delivered on better the pure action elements, and some that have delivered more on the story side, I don't really think any game other than maybe MGSV has given me the same degree of tactical satisfaction in terms of being able to take different approaches to get the job done.

But for some reason I just can't get into the modern incarnations of the genre. Doesn't matter if it's the new DXes, or Dishonored, or Prey (which granted is more like Bio/System Shock) something about them just doesn't grab me. And Beyond my complaints about specific art and story side elements, like Dishonored 1's freaky Victorian cartoon people and DX's really dippy handling of the augmentation/discrimination metaphor, I think part of that might be modern game trends.

To put it simply... Deus Ex was not a very pretty game, even at the time it came out. Part of that is because it's from that era of 3D games where you need a degree of insane creative genius to look good (MGS, Vagrant Story). But because of that, it really gave the feel of being built for utility. Levels, weapons, and abilities were all about giving you creative options for dealing with your tasks.

I try Dishonored and the S-E DXes and there's just... too much of an emphasis on things looking cool instead of feeling cool. You have incredibly OP "cinematic" looking abilities (that are then balanced by really dubious resource management systems). And I think that something about this sort of thing echoes throughout the whole of these games' design. I never feel like I have the same amount of options I can take. Scenarios feel more tightly constructed.I just don't have the same feeling of being able to choose whatever approach strikes me as most amusing in the same way.

I get more of that oldschool feeling from games like Breath of the Wild or MGSV or Farcry 2 than I do from the new Deus Ex games. And that makes me sad because dammit I really love DX1.

It's also a shame that Rockstar is so addicted to their super heavily scripted style of mission structure, because there'd be plenty of chances to do cool shit like that in their open world games if they embraced player freedom... instead of embracing cinematic "coolness"
120v
Member
(08-13-2017, 09:46 AM)
sounds like you just really liked deus ex

i can understand if Dishonored isn't your jam but it gives you more than enough "utility" to progress beyond just being flashy
sleazefrenzy
Junior Member
(08-13-2017, 10:14 AM)
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I kind of get where you're coming from. Out of all the recent immersive sims I'd say Prey probably gives you the most freedom. You can really break that game in ways the developers did not intend.

I like the new Deus Ex's and Dishonored series as well mind, but they definitely tend to give you a couple of clearly signposted options to achieve an objective with little room for true player creativity.

Bring back the jank!
lazygecko
Member
(08-13-2017, 10:20 AM)
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It all ties in with production values and how it negatively impacts the scope and ambition of a game. Implementing any given feature has much higher stakes in time and money needed now, since publishers/devs think everything needs the highest bar of presentation. Animation and voice acting work are some of the most obvious culprits.

The Elder Scrolls series suffers from the same kind of problems with regressive game design in each sequel for this reason. One of the major reasons Morrowind is so beloved is due to the gigantic toolbox and variables it gives to you, letting you solve any situation in any kind of way you can think of. But in the sequels quests became a lot more tightly scripted, greatly narrowing down the way you are "supposed" to complete them in the specific way the designer intended.
Last edited by lazygecko; 08-13-2017 at 10:24 AM.
Drazgul
Member
(08-13-2017, 10:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by lazygecko

It all ties in with production values and how it negatively impacts the scope and ambition of a game. Implementing any given feature has much higher stakes in time and money needed now, since publishers/devs think everything needs the highest bar of presentation. Animation and voice acting work are some of the most obvious culprits.

You can't blame it all on budgetary/technical constraints, though. With Bethesda in particular I think there has been a clear shift to mass market appeal and (even though I hate the term) casualization at the cost of more complex gameplay mechanics. Fallout 4 can hardly even be called an RPG anymore, and I fear for how TES VI is going to turn out. It seems nowadays they have this philosophy of every character build being 100% viable to do everything and it ends up watering down the experience for everyone. It's just ridiculous how in Skyrim for example you could end up running the College of Winterhold as a character who know next to nothing about actual spellcasting.

In Morrowind for instance, back when we still had levitation spells, there were some locations that you just couldn't access without being a spellcaster, guild advancement had actual requirements as far as skills and attributes went and so forth. Nothing of the sort has existed from Oblivion onwards and I can't help but feel that something special was lost because of that.

And fwiw, I'm not complaining about it per se - as a privately held company and for-profit business, that's naturally their prerogative. It's just a shame when you think of what might've been.
120v
Member
(08-13-2017, 10:40 AM)

Originally Posted by Drazgul

It's just ridiculous how in Skyrim for example you could end up running the College of Winterhold as a character who know next to nothing about actual spellcasting.

to be fair you do have to have a certain level of magic leveled to even begin the quest

never realized this until i did a little to no magic run. was actually kind of pissed as it was my favorite part of the game
Drazgul
Member
(08-13-2017, 10:44 AM)
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^ The entrance requirements are super easy, I never had problems with it even as a warrior-type: http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:First_Lessons

Now I suppose you could argue that since they're not exactly doing well, they'll take in just about any random bum with a bit of spark in their eyes, but it's still somewhat amusing that none of those skill-gates exist further down the faction quest line.
TissueBox
Member
(08-13-2017, 10:44 AM)
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Regarding Rockstar, I do think San Andreas was their last great masterclass on freeform sandbox play.
Magic Mushroom
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(08-13-2017, 11:04 AM)
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Originally Posted by sleazefrenzy

I kind of get where you're coming from. Out of all the recent immersive sims I'd say Prey probably gives you the most freedom. You can really break that game in ways the developers did not intend.

I like the new Deus Ex's and Dishonored series as well mind, but they definitely tend to give you a couple of clearly signposted options to achieve an objective with little room for true player creativity.

Bring back the jank!

Just watch Stealthgamer's vids. There's insane player creativity in Dishonored (2).
Sentenza
Junior Member
(08-13-2017, 11:06 AM)
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Weird complaint, given that Prey must be one of the least "cinematic" and more "system driven" triple A games I played in a while.

Also, ignoring the pretense of one to be a spiritual successor of the other, System Shock and Bioshock aren't really similar at all, not even part of the same genre I would argue.
Last edited by Sentenza; 08-13-2017 at 11:10 AM.
lazygecko
Member
(08-13-2017, 11:57 AM)
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Originally Posted by Drazgul

You can't blame it all on budgetary/technical constraints, though. With Bethesda in particular I think there has been a clear shift to mass market appeal and (even though I hate the term) casualization at the cost of more complex gameplay mechanics. Fallout 4 can hardly even be called an RPG anymore, and I fear for how TES VI is going to turn out. It seems nowadays they have this philosophy of every character build being 100% viable to do everything and it ends up watering down the experience for everyone. It's just ridiculous how in Skyrim for example you could end up running the College of Winterhold as a character who know next to nothing about actual spellcasting.

In Morrowind for instance, back when we still had levitation spells, there were some locations that you just couldn't access without being a spellcaster, guild advancement had actual requirements as far as skills and attributes went and so forth. Nothing of the sort has existed from Oblivion onwards and I can't help but feel that something special was lost because of that.

And fwiw, I'm not complaining about it per se - as a privately held company and for-profit business, that's naturally their prerogative. It's just a shame when you think of what might've been.

You could get scrolls, enchanted gear or buy/find/make your own potions to levitate. The philosophy of being able to do everything at once was still very much in effect in Morrowind (save for the faction lockout of joining the houses). There's a myriad of options throughout the game's world and its mechanics to allow you to make up for whatever shortcomings you have in your baseline character build, and discovering the ways to exploit those systems to their fullest is part of its appeal.
Essentially, the same type of critique regarding RPG character build design and how you can become godlike at everything is still just as present in Morrowind as the subsequent games, only the vast openness of its design makes that aspect take on a different context to instead turn it into something fun and rewarding.

It's the difference in quest design between pre- and post-Morrowind that I think really illustrates how production values tie into all of this. In Morrowind you might get a quest where you might need to kill some Morang Tong, or procure an item from someone, or whatever. Most of the time, the quest will only give you the end objective to worry about, and couldn't care less about how you get to that point, letting you leverage every facet of the game's toolset in any way you see fit. While in Oblivion and Skyrim, those same types of quests are going to be much more intricately scripted, usually requiring you to fulfill specific sub-objectives in order to trigger a specific scene or conversation or whatever.

This is where the production values comes in. They're not going to be likely to put the time and money into voice acting, setpiece scripting, etc. appropriate outcomes and reactions for every possible variable available to the player like in Morrowind. So they greatly narrow the scope down into a single or at most very few possible ways to complete a quest as they explicitly intend for you.
This type of design has become so normalized now that it's probably even giving the designers extreme tunnel vision. For example in Skyrim we can take that little quest from the vegetable vendor in Whiterun whom wants you to get the bard at the inn to stop harassing her. The designer gave you a few explicit options to meet this objective, either by talking him out of it, or challenging him to a brawl, both triggered by initiating dialogue. One time I also tried just killing him, simply to see what would happen. That made the quest simply fail and disappear, and the vendor simply behaved like none of this ever happened. It's like the designer never even considered this a possible outcome. To me that became a sort of microcosm of what had changed from Morrowind.
NewGame
Member
(08-13-2017, 11:58 AM)
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They're not self aware.
Renekton
Member
(08-13-2017, 12:12 PM)
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Related:

https://youtu.be/zAtAyycx-uY
giapel
Member
(08-13-2017, 12:38 PM)
Well, the genre peaked early at System Shock 2, so there's that. However, recent entries have got over the obsessive streamlining and simplification of systems to offer quite a diverse and deep toolset that's very very enjoyable. I'm talking Dishonoured and Deus Ex mainly. A good Thief game is well overdue
Soulblighter31
Member
(08-13-2017, 01:12 PM)
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Originally Posted by giapel

Well, the genre peaked early at System Shock 2, so there's that.


But Deus Ex and The Metal Age came after it ...
Vash63
Member
(08-13-2017, 01:37 PM)
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I think the Dishonored games are the closest I've played to the original Deus Ex, which makes sense given they're led by Harvey Smith. The level design is much more free-form than the modern DX revivals; I hope you're not discounting it just because it has 'freaky Victorian cartoon people'.
Chairman Yang
if he talks about books, you better damn well listen
(08-13-2017, 02:04 PM)
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Deus Ex's options are garbage by today's standards. Hold the button down and use resource A (lockpicks), use resource B (the electronic jammer thing), press the hack button and watch a bar go down, engage in janky stealth or combat, swim...very little of this stuff was fun or required interesting decision-making.

DX1 is still an amazing game and has advantages over some modern immersive sims, but breadth and depth of interesting options isn't one of them.
nOoblet16
Member
(08-13-2017, 02:07 PM)
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Prey is actually the one with the least immersive simmness out of all recent ones.Yes it allows for a fuck ton of freedom and alternative paths but it also often locks you out of doors that you can't access without codes or some other thing. Infact there are even lots of lockers/doors that you cannot open if you don't have the appropriate hacking ability because the codes for them simply don't exist anywhere in the game.If Warran Spector, the guy who pretty much invented immersive sims and the nomenclature, were to see something like that he'd start rolling his eyes because on multiple occasions he has said that he hates when games are concerned about how you get through a door rather than being concerned about what's behind the door. There is a very distinct difference between those two ideas because one requires you to have a level and progression design based around that locked door while the other requires you do

In the Eidos Deus Ex games every single area/room even in the game is accessible in several ways so you can access them even if you lack a certain ability. Even if you only have one access point to a location (very rare) you can still open that access point in several ways. For example, if there is an area that can be accessed through only one door you can either blow the door open, use a multi tool, find the password or hack it...i.e. even within that limited path you have options.

Prey is a Bioshock/System Shock kind of game which means it asks you to go to locations to unlock something in another location. It's just how progression works in these games and it's not inherently bad but it's also not as free form as something like Dishonored or even modern Deus Ex.
nOoblet16
Member
(08-13-2017, 02:15 PM)
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Originally Posted by Chairman Yang

Deus Ex's options are garbage by today's standards. Hold the button down and use resource A (lockpicks), use resource B (the electronic jammer thing), press the hack button and watch a bar go down, engage in janky stealth or combat, swim...very little of this stuff was fun or required interesting decision-making.

DX1 is still an amazing game and has advantages over some modern immersive sims, but breadth and depth of interesting options isn't one of them.

Erm those are some rose tinted glasses you've got there. Deus Ex 1 had the same use resource A (lockpicks), use resource B (multitool), press the hack button and literally watch a bar go down and the entire combat and stealth in DE1 was super janky even for its time. It even had hatches.

If you didn't see the fun and interesting decision making then you probably didn't want to see. I'll give you an example of the decision making where a result can only be achieved if players think outside the box. In The Missing Link near the end you are told you can either save the prisoners or the whistleblowers but due to the nature of the situation you can only save one and you have limited time to do that. But you can instead choose to ignore the game and save them both. The game never hints at this and you can only reach this decision if you did some exploration and did some thinking on your own.

Another example from Mankind Divided, you are asked to get a device from a mob boss which you can via combat, conversation or by sneaking around....but you can pretty much go there and get the device even before you are asked to do so and the game acknowledges your actions. You won't be able to do something like that if you didn't do some exploration and decision making.
Chairman Yang
if he talks about books, you better damn well listen
(08-13-2017, 02:30 PM)
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I agree with you! My post was talking about Deus Ex 1, not the sequels.
TheRedSnifit
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(08-13-2017, 02:43 PM)
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Originally Posted by nOoblet16

Prey is actually the one with the least immersive simmness out of all recent ones.Yes it allows for a fuck ton of freedom and alternative paths but it also often locks you out of doors that you can't access without codes or some other thing. Infact there are even lots of lockers/doors that you cannot open if you don't have the appropriate hacking ability because the codes for them simply don't exist anywhere in the game.If Warran Spector, the guy who pretty much invented immersive sims and the nomenclature, were to see something like that he'd start rolling his eyes because on multiple occasions he has said that he hates when games are concerned about how you get through a door rather than being concerned about what's behind the door. There is a very distinct difference between those two ideas because one requires you to have a level and progression design based around that locked door while the other requires you do

In the Eidos Deus Ex games every single area/room even in the game is accessible in several ways so you can access them even if you lack a certain ability. Even if you only have one access point to a location (very rare) you can still open that access point in several ways. For example, if there is an area that can be accessed through only one door you can either blow the door open, use a multi tool, find the password or hack it...i.e. even within that limited path you have options.

Prey is a Bioshock/System Shock kind of game which means it asks you to go to locations to unlock something in another location. It's just how progression works in these games and it's not inherently bad but it's also not as free form as something like Dishonored or even modern Deus Ex.

Given Warren Spector made System Shock, where there are plenty of areas that can only be accessed in veeeeerrrry specific ways, I doubt he'd be too upset.
emag
Member
(08-13-2017, 02:44 PM)
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Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, OP. When you were young, Deus Ex was groundbreaking and your imagination ran wild. Mankind Divided is at least as open (and has better production values by far), but it can't compete with your memories.
rrs
Member
(08-13-2017, 02:46 PM)
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The market changed, and if the casual of player can't beat the game in some way there's a fear they won't buy the sequel or worse dump it on gamestop. BOTW is a bit of an exception as most of the important main plot is told to you, but the rest awaits you
Sentenza
Junior Member
(08-14-2017, 10:51 AM)
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Originally Posted by nOoblet16

Prey is actually the one with the least immersive simmness out of all recent ones.Yes it allows for a fuck ton of freedom and alternative paths but it also often locks you out of doors that you can't access without codes or some other thing.

I don't call this a lie only because I'm guessing you aren't misleading people on purpose, because not only Prey doesn't do this more than other titles in the genre but in fact it does it less.
If you go out of your way to try, there are a lot of areas that you can visit way before the game leads you there. Sometimes you'll ever find them in a different state for it.

There are NPCs that can be killed or saved at whim, at any given moment, during any dialogue, with the game reacting accordingly.
There is even a case of NPC which is normally assumed to die very quickly who will have his role extended if you eliminate who kills him early.

The game goes constantly out of its way to respect player agency above anything else.

Beside defending this Prey, it should also be pointed that some degree of "gating" has always been the norm in the genre (yes, even in SS2 and the original Deus Ex), which is nothing to be ashamed of, because it's somewhat necessary to have a great level design.

This assumption that "freedom to approach things differently" should equate to "ability to do anything at whim without effort" (a school of thought often promoted by Bethesda in their RPGs) shouldn't be encouraged that much.
Javier23
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(08-14-2017, 11:18 AM)
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How did you enjoy Thief and System Shock compared to Dishonored and Prey, OP?

Think you may just like Deus Ex more than immersive sims as a whole.
MaximL
Junior Member
(08-14-2017, 11:48 AM)

Originally Posted by Drazgul

just ridiculous how in Skyrim for example you could end up running the College of Winterhold as a character who know next to nothing about actual spellcasting.

Always found it stupid you could be the head of the thieves guild & the warriors guild at the same time. Didn't like how you could be a master of everything in oblivion/skyrim, took a lot of the weight from everything.
Sad Affleck
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(08-14-2017, 11:59 AM)
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Don't expect the gameplay depth of PC classics in today's triple-A development. You will always end up disappointed. Try to enjoy these games for what they are and look at other options for deeper experiences (mainly niche indie games.)
capitalCORN
Member
(08-14-2017, 12:03 PM)
Anyone missing that mix of freedom, weirdness, and good ol' PC jank should really try EYE Dvine Cybermancy.
hotcyder
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(08-14-2017, 12:26 PM)
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Interestingly I sit on the opposite side of the table.

I find the clunky interface of old PC immersive sims too much of a turn off to commit time to them - whether it's too fine a level of control that's abstracted to multiple keyboard letters and configurations, or the granularity of choices you can do that - on first impression - you don't get an appreciation for due to the sparse nature of levels and objectives.

It's a shame that it's taken this long for developers to have the confidence or the experience to know how to abstract systems and mechanics to fit controllers - and I'd say those who manage to streamline interaction without reducing the amount of options available do it really well; Arkane with Dishonored and Prey for example.

I sort of hope that eventually we could return to a game with the scope of something like the original Deus Ex, but with easy to pick up controls. As you said, MGSV is definitely a step in the right direction - though only focuses purely on battlefield interactions - shooting, stealth and light traversal - and it'd be cool to see how they'd do conversations, breaking and entering, hacking and other sub-systems that made DX the gold standard.
Sloane
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(08-14-2017, 12:35 PM)
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I'm with you. I can't stand the new Deus Ex games but, to be fair, the other comparisons probably don't quite fit. Dishonored sees itself more as spiritual successor to Thief, while Prey tries to be System Shock 3 (and actually looks like it could do a decent job at it in the beginning until it sadly all falls apart). But, yeah, MGSV felt on some level much closer to the original Deus Ex than its "sequels" did.
Rathorial
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(08-14-2017, 06:29 PM)
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Not sure I really agree, but I sympathize when it comes to the newer Deus Ex titles. I love that Eidos Montreal created a better art style than the original games, but some of the mechanics are questionably limited like their cutscene takedowns. Mankind Divided at least improved the level design.

Dishonored 2 and Prey to me are the apex of modern immersive sims, and I get the strongest feel of I have so many options at any given time to deal with a problem. MGSV and Breath of the Wild have a decent array of systems, but they each have OP abilities to me...like the Far Cry (less 2 because hard difficulties put resource limitations on you) problem of once you get good sniping equipment you can cheat so much. Also, their environments are less sparse with things to interact with moment to moment, and less path options than any Arkane game this gen.

Dishonored 1 had limitations in its level size, but in a Dishonored 2 the spaces are significantly bigger with dense interiors full of stuff to interact with using your powers. Prey doles out its tools at a slower pace, but hours in you have so much you can do to get past situations, and sooo many objects are physics based. Also like their far less cluttered HUDs, and how much interface is in their worlds which is more immersive than older immersive sims.

I've still not seen any game this gen offer me the variety or ways to interact than Dishonored 2's Clockwork Mansion.

I also wish Rockstar with their money farm could fund games that didn't have such boring linear scripted mission design (heists in GTA5 were better though).
Last edited by Rathorial; 08-14-2017 at 06:40 PM.

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