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Underrail: The Incline Awakens

Grunker

RPG Codex Ghost
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I am going to write a minor spoiler for Caerus Residential here, because I don't think you are going to get this chance in your next playthrough. It is up to you, but I suggest you read it when you are ready to leave Caerus.
Don't forget to walk around in the shafts.

You meant Vasilica? Kind of underwhelming tbh, wish they'd given him dialogue. After those cool text messengers have an old man shout randomized taunts at me during a short gun battle wasn't exactly epic.
 

Trashos

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I got goosebumps when I saw him. To each their own. Anyway, you need PER to find his place, that's why I thought you should know in this playthrough.
 

Trashos

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I don't think the worms respawn, there are just many of them in each screen. If you kill them, they are dead on the way back. Not sure what happens if too much time passes or if you return to the labyrinth later.
 

Grunker

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I don't think the worms respawn, there are just many of them in each screen. If you kill them, they are dead on the way back. Not sure what happens if too much time passes or if you return to the labyrinth later.

I killed a lot of them and when I returned to a screen, their corpses would be gone and sometimes there'd be new ones. Maybe I was just mixing up different similarly looking screens, but after killing a metric fuckton I kind of just went "fuck it" and stealthed.
 

Grunker

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LOL. I almost b0rked my save. By mistake I entered an exit in the Mushroom Forest when some enemies spawned. Thought fuck it and went ahead. Realized I had gone the wrong way, but now the autoloss of initiative rule had set in, and I had no saves prior to this happening. Aka I was caught in a spiral of one-shot. Thus dead save.

Luckily I was carrying irongut, gas mask and biohazard boots. With those I was *barely* able to survive to my own turn. That is one dangerous mechanic to implement in a game.

edit: NO PROBLEMO

Clipboard01.jpg


:shredder:
 
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Grunker

RPG Codex Ghost
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Well, it's done. The reason it took so long compared to where I were on my last post 7 (!) hours ago is because the game wouldn't let me leave without a good ol'e taste of Deep Caverns fatigue. Maybe it was hybris from my initial embrace of the Deep Caverns - it seemed so right for this game's ending: an endgame area focused on Underrail's strongest suit, exploration and level design? All the faction plots coming together? The tying up of loose ends in a concise and sensible manner without unveiling the mysteries that we all knew were better off staying hidden? New fantastic locales (and they are that - fantastic)?

Well. Then came the fucking Psimorphic Growth. Before that calamity, I initially had another issue: namely having explored almost all of the Deep Caverns for a ton of hydraulic items, where should I use them? Having gone this far without a walkthrough, I decided to grit my teeth and stick through it, but honestly I now regret that. I discovered very late that it was actually possible to hide from Eye of Tchort in affected areas, so monsters spawned EVERYWHERE while I looked for a fucking McGuffin to use all my quest items on. Then I finally found it - except, haha, it was a red herring. A "Gate Mechanism" that did nothing. Was it a bug? Did I miss something? Back to scouring the hellscape that was Hollow Earth again, tedious stealthing past hordes of enemies or even more tedious swarm combat when I got forced to clear them out. Finally I found the *identical gate mechanism* (Styg you cocksucking troll) and used my quest items - eureka! Fortunately I already had the AI Core from dealing with IRIS, or I would probably have died from an aneurysm at that point, my effective mechanics skill being 2 too low even juiced up).

But then the motherfuck cocksucking Psimorphic Growth. What should I do? Again I scoured the Deep Caverns and talked to everyone - after all; all objectives so far had an actual hook in game. The mutation puzzle (more on that later) had text devoted to it, so did the hydraulics (and, failing that, actually finding the gate mechanism would tell you that you needed something). But not this. I finally caved and used my first walkthrough for this and only this part, even narrowing my eyes to blur my vision so I only saw the part of the guide about the Psimorphic Growth, and I swear on my Mother whom I love very dearly, that if I were younger, my keyboard or mouse would definitely need replacing after the punishment I would have exposed them to when I found the solution. Fortunately, I am now older and more tempered and so shall confine my anger to shitposting on the Codex.

But, it was done. Finally I could enter the final boss fight - surely using a guide one single time would not tarnish my accomplishments.

So here's the next part: I hadn't done the mutagen puzzle. I'm not really a puzzle kind of guy, to be honest. I can enjoy puzzles, especially logic puzzles and creative puzzles, but hard number or sequence-based puzzles never really did it for me. I've solved some in a few other hard puzzle games, and I often tire from especially the code puzzles Styg likes, where you don't use your creative skills as much as narrow down code fragments bit by bit until you inevitable end up at the desired result (conversely, I'm a bit sad I didn't bother with the phone puzzle after looking it up after the end of the game - what an amazingly great puzzle idea!). But - no worries, my build was OP and was wading through everything at this point, so who gave a fuck if I just got a bit of a harder endgame fight?

Well, the fight took 2 hours. Not as in: I reloaded for 2 hours until I won. No, my build couldn't kill Tchort in the few rounds afforded by its lack of tankiness, and though it could kill many tentacles, it couldn't kill enough to secure the 4 rounds I would need to kill Tchort. My shield and my consumables were not enough to protect me. But aha, I thought, surely the mutagen tanks had a purpose? Experimenting with approaching them I saw they seemed to spawn the monsters, perhaps they were tied to tentacle spawns as well?

And so it was that Grunker the Enduring, as shall henceforth be my Codexian title of renown, decided to destroy all four tanks. The first two were easy: stealth to the upper right, plant TNT, stealth back to the bottom right. Initiate combat, do the consumable carousel, take that out. Two tanks down - it looked like a winner. With the onset of Dilation and Fatigue, retreat to an enclosed space, stealth, and wait out the downtime. Meanwhile, of course, the remaining two tanks spawned hordes and hordes of enemies. So after downtime was over, pop open the door, consumable carousel, kill as many as I could over my allotted turns, slam door, stealth, repeat. After some time, the floor was clear enough to do a repeat on 3, then retreat, and then finally take out the fourth tank. The few sentences here does not do this ordeal justice - keep in mind that it was not enough to take out a tank, I also had to have action points enough to retreat far enough away to avoid things like entanglement, stun and one-shots. And this is where Hit and Run comes in. You hear that jackofshadows? In the end, the only reason I was able to do this fight was that I stuck to the 5 specialization points in Hit and Cocksucking Run. It meant that killing Sowers and Scanners was actually a net gain of action points. I would move closer to a tank - pop one - move closer - pop one - move closer - pop the tank - pop one - move back - pop one. I was only able to do the last remaining tank, by the way, because I was fortunate enough to have A SINGLE IRON GUT left in my inventory (the upper left tank is blocked by toxic waste). And so it went. Finally after nearly two hours all tanks were down, and I was stealthed. Now began the cleanup. First the tons of tchortlings still remaining, then moving on to Tentacles. I was at first discouraged and my heart sank as I realized they still respawned, but, I noticed, it took a very long time. Sticking to the plan, I killed off tentacles one by one until I got to a tentacleless Tchort and started blasting. My only worry was the buildup of automatic psi damage inflicted by Tchort - it had not reached lethal levels, but was... worrisome.

I was assured of my victory at this point. But fate would not make it trivial. Somehow, I have no idea how, I had missed one Scanner, one Sower and two of the brutes. They came up the bridge as Tchort was nearing his doom. Thinking quickly I lobbed a napalm bomb at the fuckers, and was filled with glee as they were feared... except the fucking motherfucking Scanner, who used his next turn to stun me. During the stun, I was taken to but 102 hit points, and two tentacles respawned, while the fear had left the Sower and the brute, and Fatigue from the adrenaline shot set in simultaneously with the Dilution after effect from Temporal Contraction. Left with almost no AP, two tentacles and a brute, I popped Contraction again and hoped for the best. I killed one tentacle and the Sower that turn, while the other brought me to 41HP, and the brute ran up to me... a swing and a miss! Finally some luck. I dispatched the last Brute, but the tentacle yet lived. What the fuck to do. Doing the only thing I could I used my movement points to move through the napalm out of the tentacles' reach on the hope that it wouldn't kill me. The napalm reduced me to 11HP thanks to my Burn resistance. I fired on Tchort, and he was now very close to death.

I'm sure you won't believe me, dear Codex, but my woes had not ended yet, nay. A blood vessel in my forehead nearly burst from excertion as A FUCKING TENTACLE SPAWNED RIGHT NEXT TO ME. I now knew that I had but one option left. Tchort must die this turn.

I fired. I fired again. I fired again. One shot left, Tchort was not dead. He had enough HP that the odds of killing him with a normal shot were slim. Hand trembling, I pressed C, and the Combat Stats window opened. I navigated to Offense, where my Critical Chance was displayed.

45% percent. A 45% chance of not having to do the entire fight over. What was I to do? Was all hope lost, hanging on a coin flip?

And that's when it struck me, as lightning from a clear sky cave dwellers can only dream about remembering. An icon on my hotbar with no shadows concealing it, indicating no cooldown:

Aimed fucking Shot. In one glorious redemption of the most useless feat in my repertoire, I pressed '3' on my keyboard and... nothing happened. WHAT?!? I navigated to the icon. Motherfucking cocksucking son of a bitch. STILL 1 TURN LEFT ON THE COOLCOWN. The cooldown shadow had been too insignificant to notice, hidden from site as but a slick, thin bar at the very bottom of the hotbar icon.

Then it dawned on me: of course! I'm an idiot! Limited Temporal Increment!!! I held shift, pressed '5' and pressed '3' on my keyboard once again, and proceeded to pop The Eye of Sauron like the disgusting zit on UnderRail's existance that it was. With the nefarious evil exploding in gory glory, I had won the day.

Because of Aimed. Fucking. Shot. :lol:

Anywhose what, here's how my character ended up. As you can see, pretty far from max level (in fact I only just reached 27):

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MI1PKio.jpg


j5aAeo6.jpg

As for my conclusion on the experience as a whole, this is definitely a great game⟨™⟩. I'm not sure it's entering my top 10, but it's close. Marvelous setting, fantastic places to explore, solid quest design and a fun narrative. Plot full of daunting mysteries and interesting things to discover and uncover, and the due diligence not to give too many answers, which would surely be less satisfying than the mysteries themselves.

The combat is good, if not great, though as has been extensively discussed here I believe my build might have been partly at fault. It was pretty mindnumbingly boring. Certainly not the fault of the build's creator - it did everything that he advertised and I felt very safe following his directions. Everything worked as he stated it would on the tin. I just didn't enjoy the playstyle very much.

The character system is fantastic. I would absolutely love a party-based game in this universe, with this character system.

A particularly impressive feat is how well the different cultures of Underrail come out slowly through dialogue and exploration. Very well done.

I also liked the expansion and after playing it think the criticism is way overblown - I hated the way you had to deal with the natives because it felt gamey and stupid, and would have much preferred an assault alongside Aegis Sec Troopers, would have made much more sense (someone, I forget who, sorry, said there was an alternative to make the attacks stop besides changing faction and wiping out all the natives single-handedly as I did, but I've searched online after finishing the game and neither the wiki nor any forum threads confirm this - they all claim the only way is to destroy the natives by yourself), but the precariousness of the expedition seemed to fit the theme completely. People should look into the history of Arctic expeditions, which Styg was definitely inspired by, if they are mad at this precariousness. I do not like time limits in exploration games however, and if anything I'm actually kind of disappointed at how well the expedition managed. I would have loved it if it ended up in freezing death, starvation, cannibalism and exposure of man's hybris, The Terror-style, but alas. More praise for the expedition goes to Abyssal Station Zero, the most atmospheric location in Underrail period, and the design of the Sørmirbæren and the pirates. Very good. I wish there was more interesting lore to find about NFT, Biocorp and Lemurians though, the tablets you bring to Seeger has painfully boring stuff on them and there's not much interesting to uncover in the actual locations except for Abyssal Station. The good stories are personal - like the doctor and the nurse - the lore here is very boring compared to some of the base game's (the messages between Biocorp researchers in Caerus, for example). My jet ski also felt kind of useless as anything but some pixels underneath my character when I traveled - it was useful for Al Fabeting, certainly, but I never really had to fight anything on it. Fighting serpents you only do if you choose to, and I made peace with the pirates. Perhaps the ski would have seen more action without peaceful pirates.

I was, however, disappointed about the philosophy debates with the ferryman (which I started agonizing over not being able to complete, but then on a hunch used hypercerebrix which allowed me to). This was one of the few details I had heard about before playing the game, and it was a letdown. Perhaps it's because I've studied political science and subsequently read a lot of philosophy myself, but the ferryman's "philosophy" (it's not really a philosophy in the actual sense of the word) is mostly devoid of substantive concepts to discuss. It's mostly metaphors for very basic belief structures - "center", "descent", "origin", "burden", etc., seasoned with some high brow, reactionary luddism and a whole lot of meaningless mumbo jumbo filler. It doesn't hold a candle to something like KotOR2, whose writer actually had a decent understanding of the philosophies he wished to discuss - namely consequentialism, Buddhism, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Hobbes and anti-altruism. Conversely, the ferryman is not rooted in anything actually interesting and it seems the writer had read less on this subject than other scientific areas, where Underrail shows great proficiency. For example, the ferryman's "philosophy" is in stark contrast to the monoliths and the lore surrounding them. While the concept of an evil black monolith is as stock a cliché as can be found, the nature of Underrail's monoliths are fleshed out enough that their superficial desciption matters little. Their context is based on modern ideas of quantum mechanics and physics and here, the writers demonstrate a knowledge of concepts well beyond the mere basics, to a point where even a fairly happy, dabbling amateur such as myself learned knew things (perhaps too much beyond, as some otherwise interesting dialogue screens can get bogged down in a bit too much technical detail). They should have stuck to the hard science and left the humanities in more capable hands. Well, except when the game discusses history - here, the writers show more aptitude. I did enjoy the one or two 4th wall breaks in the ferryman's philosophy talks though. They were subtle and well done.

As for the Deep Caverns, I liked the way they were supposed to work - one last, grueling exploration challenge to cap off what Underrail basically is: exactly that. I ended up disliking the utter lack of any player direction though. I don't think *anything* would be lost giving the player just three very short, subtle journal entries containing the three things that must be accomplished. There are a multitude of characters that could believably provide these.

The characters of Underrail also range from "good enough" to downright excellent: good enough being people like Vera with her one dimensional United Stations-allegiance, and straight up fantastic being Ladelman, Marcus, the ferryman (when he isn't discussing philosophy), Todd, Tanner, Ezra, Vivian (whose abrupt end was perfect, not only despite but as much because of the butthurt it must have left in those who thought there was a friendship/romance path coming), The Chief, Azif (who despite leading the most powerful spy syndicate in Underrail allows himself to be blinded by his own belief that he sees where everyone else is blind, while in fact his knowledge exposes how little he knows), Jack Quicksilver (who despite almost not being a character is just the embodiment of coooooool), Wit Nosek, everybody. Mainly many characters are great because they are tied to some interesting circumstance or fit into a fascinating plot beat in a nice way, rather than their writing being particularly good (this does not go for people like Ladelman and Marcus of course, who are jubilantly written).

In fact there is only one character I hated. Only one part of Underrail I absolutely loathed. Six. Fucking too-cool-for-school-oh-so-mysterious-writer's-self-insert-Elminster-wannabe-fucking-Six. He is barely a character at all, having no defining features except an extra digit and being the only person in a fantastically open world design that otherwise allows for any outcome to be all-powerful and omnipotent. He never tells you anything of note, and unlike the other unanswered mysteries elsewhere in Underrail, his isn't intriguing in the least, because it is the most vapid, cliché and hackneyed of mysteries: the "Your-Tiny-Human-Brain-Is-Too-Miniscule-To-Comprehend-This"-mystery. It's the excuse for a mystery employed by hack writers everywhere, in contemporary video gaming perhaps most notably seen in Mass Effect, where Sovereign gives an explanation almost verbatum identically to Six' for why he can't possibly tell you what mystery he is a narrative engine for. And as we know from those games, once your mystery is set up to be inexplicable *because the human mind cannot comprehend it*, you are of course left without recourse for further development, because any such development has to be comprehended by an audience that is very human, and more importantly: written by you, presumably a filthy, incapable-of-understanding human as well. Six is an overindulgence. An insipid teenager's power fantasy too juvenile for the mature storytelling it is a part of. Worse, he is utterly useless to the game: he never does anything of consequence, he never tells you anything interesting except Tanner's true nature (which would have been much more interesting told through the same environmental, exploration-based discovery we use to uncover other secrets), his presence in Underrail has no bearing on the plot whatsoever and worst of all: the one time he commits an action that negates the truth of my former sentence, it's the one time the game is guilty of needing a forced plothammer to carry the story along (fortunately, I gave the cube to the Faceless of my own volition and so was mercifully left without experiencing that piece of contrivance for myself). But hey, Grunks, didn't you just say Jack Quicksilver was cool despite almost being a non-character? Yes, but Jack does actual cool stuff, and his nonchalant, mysterious persona is subtle and not force fed to the reader. He is almost the yin to Six' yang: a casual, smooth kool kat who gains his coolness through his actions, rather than just being an omnipotent prick that we are supposed to accept as cool just because the writer told us.

All in all, what a ride. Very thankful to the good guys and gals at Stygian Software for gracing my summer holidays this year with such a great experience. And for all of you for helping me time and again through it!

And just to end on a lulzy note:

The fuck is up with Styg pretty much 95%-ing the spellchecking throughout a vast and verbose game and then COMPLETELY dropping the ball on the end slides? :lol:

46TcPZM.jpg


Almost none of my end slides had correct grammar.
 
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lukaszek

the determinator
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normally, with stealth, you tnt one tank and move to next, wait until all spawned enemies move towards the noise, repeat. Time it well and you destroy all 4 without entering combat. At least I was always able to do it with maxed stealth.
FYI mutagen puzzle removes half of the tentacles. Destroyed tanks halt tentacle respawn and eye regen rate.
 

Grunker

RPG Codex Ghost
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normally, with stealth, you tnt one tank and move to next, wait until all spawned enemies move towards the noise, repeat. Time it well and you destroy all 4 without entering combat. At least I was always able to do it with maxed stealth.
FYI mutagen puzzle removes half of the tentacles. Destroyed tanks halt tentacle respawn and eye regen rate.

I only had one TNT, and besides it didn't seem possible to copy that move after the first tentacle explosion, because at the moment the TNT exploded, 2 tentacles spawned on top of the other tank. As well, there were tentacles at the midpoint of the battlefield, and I wasn't stealthy enough to make it past those without getting spotted.

According to the wiki which I read after, mutant tank destructions halts regen rate and tentacle spawn like you said, but they also block the spawn of... well, spawn.
 

Trashos

Arcane
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Oh you did find Oculus? I thought you had missed it. Well, Azif's quest is the best RPG quest ever made.

With the Ferryman, the real discussion is whether the whole setting has been designed with his philosophy in mind. I think that it probably has. Which is absolutely awesome.

As far as I remember, Six does tell you where to find the other human, who helps against the Tchort debuff that respawns tchortlings.

I hate the spawning tchortling mechanic in the final battle. I see vids on youtube with players casually planting their TNT on all four tanks, but never ever ever have I had the chance to destroy all tanks without anything spawning first.

I don't remember anymore how many clues we are given in DC about what we are supposed to do. Now I know what I have to do, so I just do it. But the DC was painful to me for a long time. Nowadays, while I like specific sections (eg, mushroom forest), as a package I still don't like it.

I told you you are a hero, you are still complaining about it. Sigh. There are bout 3 NPCs you can't kill in the whole game, and you can annihilate whole army camps. Once you are a bit experienced, you will be able to go to Fort Apogee and kill all Protectorate soldiers should you wish. This is by design, not by accident. You also killed a... god. Sort of.

So, now you know that we don't know exactly who the PC is (but that doesn't mean that the PC can be whatever we want, unfortunately, it only means that we don't know). The way I see it, the PC becomes very powerful, but is never in control -a pawn from beginning to end.
 

Grunker

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Oh you did find Oculus? I thought you had missed it. Well, Azif's quest is the best RPG quest ever made.

The Wit Nosek-quest? It was pretty good, yeah. Dunno if "best ever made." But I loved its conclusion, except Nosek just dying outright. That was maybe a tiny bit contrived.

With the Ferryman, the real discussion is whether the whole setting has been designed with his philosophy in mind. I think that it probably has. Which is absolutely awesome.

It definitely has, and that is pretty awesome, but it just further highlights that this game's mysteries are often more compelling than their explanations (certainly just often, not always - everything we learn about the Sørmirbæren, for example, just makes them an even greater creative invention).

As far as I remember, Six does tell you where to find the other human, who helps against the Tchort debuff that respawns tchortlings.

He does tell you that he exists as least, you're right. But as far as actionable plot goes, that is one slim thread to hang Six-apologism on :P

I hate the spawning tchortling mechanic in the final battle

I am undecided on that battle. I think it's pretty cool that it actually allows for interaction with all parts of the character's arsenal, even Stealth. And as you could read, I had a pretty epic showdown myself. However like the rest of the game, the final battle is another symptom of how, if forced to choose between annoying mechanics and brute force methods vs. the game not adhering to its uncompromising vision, Styg will always choose the former. And I respect that decision. It is what sets Underrail apart, irritating as it might be sometimes.

as a package I still don't like it.

I think I might offer you an alternate view you might agree with: I like *the idea* of the Deep Caverns. I love that this is not just a typical endgame gauntlet but a mini-version of the game, souped up to exploit everything we've learned so far. An open world inside an open world, full of possibilities and exploration.

I just think the actual implementation leaves some things to be desired. I think they pretty much nailed the concept of the design.

I told you you are a hero

We have differing views on this subject as on many others. I think you are completely... derailed on this subject, and I take it as a sign from the Gods above that literally the only thing directly contradicting my perspective is Six, after an entire game awesomelly telling you that you are a filthy no good cavedweller and this ain't your pappas RPG hero story, suddenly negates all of this by stamping the Chosen One moniker that we have been so mercifully spared from for 150 hours of play, on you, right there at the end. I get that it's the whole quantum spacetime determinism thing so at least the excuse is better than it would normally be, but still. Is there anything this character touches that it doesn't ruin?

EDIT: AH FUCK, I accidentally deleted the most important of the post, a response to your "we don't know who the PC is"-point. Can't be arsed to rewrite it :(
 
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Trashos

Arcane
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the Chosen One moniker that we have been so mercifully spared from for 150 hours of play

Well, you do kill parties of enemies. Then larger parties. Then bandit camps. Then -optionally- whole army camps. Then whole peoples. And the end boss. I'd say it is gradual, if you are paying attention. I paid attention, because I was annoyed by it.

But now I am not annoyed anymore. We (the players) don't know who the PC is. The PC could be anyone. The Ferryman talked about False Death. The PC could even be the return of a historical figure. Or even the return of that Godman that Tchort had devoured (and this is my favorite pet theory, which is supported by absolutely nothing, other than the fact that we are getting suspiciously powerful, and that Tanner and Six somehow thought that the PC had a role to play in their game).

But my overall point is that, while we don't know who the PC is, I strongly suspect that Styg does know.

I like *the idea* of the Deep Caverns. I love that this is not just a typical endgame gauntlet but a mini-version of the game,

Oh I agree with that. A common complaint about DC is that Styg took the most annoying parts of the game and turned them to 11. Of course that is expressed as a complaint, your version is literally what is going on.
 

Grunker

RPG Codex Ghost
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The great and wise Taluntain saved me from my editing woes, here's the bit that got left out - should also suffice as a reply to your new post:

Trashos said:
So, now you know that we don't know exactly who the PC is (but that doesn't mean that the PC can be whatever we want, unfortunately, it only means that we don't know). The way I see it, the PC becomes very powerful, but is never in control -a pawn from beginning to end.

It is much more concrete and graspable than that. Since Einstein, well before even, fundamental physics has shown that spacetime progresses deterministically, or rather, it doesn't "progress" at all. Basically, if you knew the position, direction and laws governing every single particle in the entire universe, you could theoretically calculate the entire "future" (as indeed there is no such thing - time as it actually exists isn’t an arrow progressing forward). This obviously has dire consequences for the typical perception of free will, whose sole lifebuoy in our current understanding of the universe is the fact that the quantum seems to, at least to an extend, have some component of randomness tied to it - so perhaps your will and the evolution of the universe isn't "free" per se, but maybe if we're "lucky" it cannot be predicted, which is functionally kind of close, since if you can't know future states, what does it matter that your decisions aren't truly decisions - you still don't - or rather, can't - know 'em 'till you've made 'em.

That's what Six is talking about when he mentions "events", "frames" etc. It's "slices" of spacetime that he ascribes with significance, and, initially unbeknownst to him, you play a part in several of these slices. We know the monoliths do not experience the arrow of time like we do - they perceive and can interact with four dimensional spacetime actual - and it seems Six does neither. At least he is capable of viewing spacetime in its actual form to some degree (that is, as their individual slices rather than as the faulty human intuition of an arrow or "flow" of time), which is how he can deduce that the PC is tied to these events once he realizes our connection to current events during Underrail.

So while we may not know "who the PC is" in a banal matter-of-fact kind of way (i.e. the angelic descendant of the originator of all Godmen, destined to bring balance to the force), we know that the PC exists and takes relevant action in chunks of spacetime that Six (and possibly other Godmen) find significant. That's the "chosen" part, and it's all that really matters.

Again, like I said before, as far as Chosen One-roles go this one at least has some oomph to it, but it's still kind of disappointing that in a game that treats the main character as an expandable, stinking cave dweller it couldn't help itself in the end.

I'm also not sure "Styg knows" as you describe it - in fact, I'm kind of hoping that he lets sleeping dogs lie and drops the PC entirely from future Underrail releases. And Six, in'shallah, though I'm guessing his obstinate, recurring presence will mar anything Styg ever releases.
 
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Grunker

RPG Codex Ghost
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As addendum, this is completely identical to what, how and why The Dude realizes exactly the same thing about the PC's connection to certain events (like getting the brew from the warehouse). I suspect The Dude's "visions" is just him perceiving four dimensional space time but unlike Six he is a puny human so he doesn't understand what he experiences: seeing actual spacetime laid out four dimensionally and thus knowing "the future".

The same connection exists for The Juice and riftwalking. After all, The Juice doesn't only allow us to riftwalk (like Six) - it also allows us to see four dimensional space time in the Shard and before being overwhelmed by the experience (exactly like The Dude, mind you), retrieving The Ethereal Torch from it. So The Juice is a (the only?) man made way to perceive four dimensional space time.
 
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Trashos

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Imagine Six stating our cutting-edge understanding of Physics instead of avoiding answering the question. Do you see how hard and unfair you were on Six? Huh? Do you?
(But yeah, fuck Six! Maybe. I think. I could be wrong.)

Whether the developers have the same version of Physics in mind, we will have to see. The time component apparently checks out. The space... not necessarily.

But my disagreement is here:
it's still kind of disappointing that in a game that treats the main character as an expandable, stinking cave dweller it couldn't help itself in the end.

I think that's part of the charm, and one of the factors that makes the thing work without being too childish! We know for a fact that the condescending treatment that the PC faces is intentional by the developers (there are instances when NPCs downright refuse to give you credit). I believe that the journey from pipeworker to near-god is exactly what was in store for us, that's the journey, and not something that couldn't be helped.

Now, is this contradiction there to make things interesting or is it there to hide the destination? It could be the latter.
 

Trashos

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Now that I think about it, the problems of Free Will you described fit perfectly with your denial of being a hero-type character (and my initial denial as well). Wow, this game is better than I thought!
 

ItsChon

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
I also liked the expansion and after playing it think the criticism is way overblown - I hated the way you had to deal with the natives because it felt gamey and stupid, and would have much preferred an assault alongside Aegis Sec Troopers, would have made much more sense (someone, I forget who, sorry, said there was an alternative to make the attacks stop besides changing faction and wiping out all the natives single-handedly as I did, but I've searched online after finishing the game and neither the wiki nor any forum threads confirm this - they all claim the only way is to destroy the natives by yourself)
I will spoil it now since you've already finished the game. In one of the Black Sea locations, you can find an operational set of naval mines which can be transported back to the Aegis camp by either the Ferryman for some cash, or by Aegis if you've negotiated safe passage for their laborers with the pirates. The naval mines dot the perimeter of the camp and the natives are unable to continue their assaults.
I do not like time limits in exploration games however, and if anything I'm actually kind of disappointed at how well the expedition managed. I would have loved it if it ended up in freezing death, starvation, cannibalism and exposure of man's hybris, The Terror-style, but alas.
It honestly depends on how the fight goes. Some games you're able to do a great job defending the camp with little casualties, and they even fare very well by themselves. Other games, Aegis troopers are dropping like flies and the camp's status goes completely to shit. Depends on how the rng favors Aegis vs Natives.
My jet ski also felt kind of useless as anything but some pixels underneath my character when I traveled - it was useful for Al Fabeting, certainly, but I never really had to fight anything on it. Fighting serpents you only do if you choose to, and I made peace with the pirates. Perhaps the ski would have seen more action without peaceful pirates.
The pirate quest line has a lot more Jet Ski combat, and ofc if you antagonize the pirates there is a lot more combat in that route as well. Did you ever go through the Abandoned Waterway facility? It's a massive dungeon located in Underrail proper and there are a fair few Jet Ski elements in it.
I was, however, disappointed about the philosophy debates with the ferryman (which I started agonizing over not being able to complete, but then on a hunch used hypercerebrix which allowed me to). This was one of the few details I had heard about before playing the game, and it was a letdown. Perhaps it's because I've studied political science and subsequently read a lot of philosophy myself, but the ferryman's "philosophy" (it's not really a philosophy in the actual sense of the word) is mostly devoid of substantive concepts to discuss. It's mostly metaphors for very basic belief structures - "center", "descent", "origin", "burden", etc., seasoned with some high brow, reactionary luddism and a whole lot of meaningless mumbo jumbo filler. It doesn't hold a candle to something like KotOR2, whose writer actually had a decent understanding of the philosophies he wished to discuss - namely consequentialism, Buddhism, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Hobbes and anti-altruism. Conversely, the ferryman is not rooted in anything actually interesting and it seems the writer had read less on this subject than other scientific areas, where Underrail shows great proficiency. For example, the ferryman's "philosophy" is in stark contrast to the monoliths and the lore surrounding them. While the concept of an evil black monolith is as stock a cliché as can be found, the nature of Underrail's monoliths are fleshed out enough that their superficial desciption matters little. Their context is based on modern ideas of quantum mechanics and physics and here, the writers demonstrate a knowledge of concepts well beyond the mere basics, to a point where even a fairly happy, dabbling amateur such as myself learned knew things (perhaps too much beyond, as some otherwise interesting dialogue screens can get bogged down in a bit too much technical detail). They should have stuck to the hard science and left the humanities in more capable hands. Well, except when the game discusses history - here, the writers show more aptitude. I did enjoy the one or two 4th wall breaks in the ferryman's philosophy talks though. They were subtle and well done.
With a decent will score, you can actually get visions from the various different monoliths which ties into many of the concepts that the Ferryman is discussing. Of course, the philosophy section isn't as good as the hard science, as from what I know, there are some people on Stygs team with graduate level degrees in different STEM subjects, hence the awesome product.

As someone who's exposure to philosophy is limited to the philosophy of logic which doesn't actually explore specific philosophical ideas, and a course that focused on philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Aquinas, etc, it seemed interesting enough for me. This is especially when you view it in the context of the Ferryman's life, and how his entire world view has been formed by living in Underrail his entire life. There are no history books. There might as well have never been a surface though humans in Underrail seem to know that we did originally come from the surface of our planet. Tie these things in with Trashos' post, and I think you're being a little harsh.
As for the Deep Caverns, I liked the way they were supposed to work - one last, grueling exploration challenge to cap off what Underrail basically is: exactly that. I ended up disliking the utter lack of any player direction though. I don't think *anything* would be lost giving the player just three very short, subtle journal entries containing the three things that must be accomplished. There are a multitude of characters that could believably provide these.
Yeah fair enough, but I've found all my subsequent explorations of the DC have been a lot more enjoyable now that I know where everything is and how to deal with the Eye of Tchort mechanic.
In fact there is only one character I hated. Only one part of Underrail I absolutely loathed. Six. Fucking too-cool-for-school-oh-so-mysterious-writer's-self-insert-Elminster-wannabe-fucking-Six. He is barely a character at all, having no defining features except an extra digit and being the only person in a fantastically open world design that otherwise allows for any outcome to be all-powerful and omnipotent. He never tells you anything of note, and unlike the other unanswered mysteries elsewhere in Underrail, his isn't intriguing in the least, because it is the most vapid, cliché and hackneyed of mysteries: the "Your-Tiny-Human-Brain-Is-Too-Miniscule-To-Comprehend-This"-mystery. It's the excuse for a mystery employed by hack writers everywhere, in contemporary video gaming perhaps most notably seen in Mass Effect, where Sovereign gives an explanation almost verbatum identically to Six' for why he can't possibly tell you what mystery he is a narrative engine for. And as we know from those games, once your mystery is set up to be inexplicable *because the human mind cannot comprehend it*, you are of course left without recourse for further development, because any such development has to be comprehended by an audience that is very human, and more importantly: written by you, presumably a filthy, incapable-of-understanding human as well. Six is an overindulgence. An insipid teenager's power fantasy too juvenile for the mature storytelling it is a part of. Worse, he is utterly useless to the game: he never does anything of consequence, he never tells you anything interesting except Tanner's true nature (which would have been much more interesting told through the same environmental, exploration-based discovery we use to uncover other secrets), his presence in Underrail has no bearing on the plot whatsoever and worst of all: the one time he commits an action that negates the truth of my former sentence, it's the one time the game is guilty of needing a forced plothammer to carry the story along (fortunately, I gave the cube to the Faceless of my own volition and so was mercifully left without experiencing that piece of contrivance for myself). But hey, Grunks, didn't you just say Jack Quicksilver was cool despite almost being a non-character? Yes, but Jack does actual cool stuff, and his nonchalant, mysterious persona is subtle and not force fed to the reader. He is almost the yin to Six' yang: a casual, smooth kool kat who gains his coolness through his actions, rather than just being an omnipotent prick that we are supposed to accept as cool just because the writer told us.
Everyone loves to shit on Six, but I actually liked him. The monoliths are a big part of understanding who/what Six is, and what this mystery that he doesn't tell you about entails. It ties in directly with the black crystals that we see at AS0 as well. But, I can understand not enjoying his character, though it's clear that there is some serious potential for him to be expanded upon in the future games.
As for my conclusion on the experience as a whole, this is definitely a great game⟨™⟩. I'm not sure it's entering my top 10, but it's close. Marvelous setting, fantastic places to explore, solid quest design and a fun narrative. Plot full of daunting mysteries and interesting things to discover and uncover, and the due diligence not to give too many answers, which would surely be less satisfying than the mysteries themselves.
Just curious, what is your top ten?
 

ItsChon

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
The Wit Nosek-quest? It was pretty good, yeah. Dunno if "best ever made." But I loved its conclusion, except Nosek just dying outright. That was maybe a tiny bit contrived.
For me, the quests leading up to Azif were the fantastic ones. The fact that I thought I was doing the Free Drones questline is what the actual reveal so mind-blowing.
We have differing views on this subject as on many others. I think you are completely... derailed on this subject, and I take it as a sign from the Gods above that literally the only thing directly contradicting my perspective is Six, after an entire game awesomelly telling you that you are a filthy no good cavedweller and this ain't your pappas RPG hero story, suddenly negates all of this by stamping the Chosen One moniker that we have been so mercifully spared from for 150 hours of play, on you, right there at the end. I get that it's the whole quantum spacetime determinism thing so at least the excuse is better than it would normally be, but still. Is there anything this character touches that it doesn't ruin?

It is much more concrete and graspable than that. Since Einstein, well before even, fundamental physics has shown that spacetime progresses deterministically, or rather, it doesn't "progress" at all. Basically, if you knew the position, direction and laws governing every single particle in the entire universe, you could theoretically calculate the entire "future" (as indeed there is no such thing - time as it actually exists is an arrow progressing forward). This obviously has dire consequences for the typical perception of free will, whose sole lifebuoy in our current understanding of the universe is the fact that the quantum seems to, at least to an extend, have some component of randomness tied to it - so perhaps your will and the evolution of the universe isn't "free" per se, but maybe if we're "lucky" it cannot be predicted, which is functionally kind of close, since if you can't know future states, what does it matter that your decisions aren't truly decisions - you still don't - or rather, can't - know 'em 'till you've made 'em.

That's what Six is talking about when he mentions "events", "frames" etc. It's "slices" of spacetime that he ascribes with significance, and, initially unbeknownst to him, you play a part in several of these slices. We know the monoliths do not experience the arrow of time like we do - they perceive and can interact with four dimensional spacetime actual - and it seems Six does neither. At least he is capable of viewing spacetime in its actual form to some degree (that is, as their individual slices rather than as the faulty human intuition of an arrow or "flow" of time), which is how he can deduce that the PC is tied to these events once he realizes our connection to current events during Underrail.

So while we may not know "who the PC is" in a banal matter-of-fact kind of way (i.e. the angelic descendant of the originator of all Godmen, destined to bring balance to the force), we know that the PC exists and takes relevant action in chunks of spacetime that Six (and possibly other Godmen) find significant. That's the "chosen" part, and it's all that really matters.

Again, like I said before, as far as Chosen One-roles go this one at least has some oomph to it, but it's still kind of disappointing that in a game that treats the main character as an expandable, stinking cave dweller it couldn't help itself in the end.

I'm also not sure "Styg knows" as you describe it - in fact, I'm kind of hoping that he lets sleeping dogs lie and drops the PC entirely from future Underrail releases. And Six, in'shallah, though I'm guessing his obstinate, recurring presence will mar anything Styg ever releases.
I don't agree with the idea that the game makes you the "chosen one". Was the man who shot Archduke Ferdinand the "chosen one", a harbinger of death and destruction on this world? No, he was just a man, who's actions had wide reaching consequences. Our main character is expandable, but it just so happens that in the course of space-time, he is the person that eliminates Tchort. Conversely, if we were to live in a universe where no one stops Tchort and he conquers the whole world, would that make him the chosen one? No one is chosen, the events of the game are simply what will occur according to space time.

In regards to free will, this is something people use as an argument against the idea of free will assuming that there is an omniscient God. People like to claim that if God knows everything you will do in your life, and he created you, how do you have free will? I'd counter this by saying just because God or in this case, Six, knows what will occur, doesn't mean that we didn't have free will in regards to choosing what we decide to do. If I take a heroin addict and put him in a room filled with heroin, and say if he can stay in said room with all the food and water he will need without shooting up a single needle, I will give him all the riches in the world. He will invariably crack, and I know he is going to crack. That doesn't mean he didn't have a choice in regards to cracking or not.
 

Kerghnox

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I bought this game a long time ago, I made a boring tanky sledgehammer build. Never ended up finishing it for this reason, any suggestions for an actually fun build?
 
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I also liked the expansion and after playing it think the criticism is way overblown - I hated the way you had to deal with the natives because it felt gamey and stupid, and would have much preferred an assault alongside Aegis Sec Troopers, would have made much more sense (someone, I forget who, sorry, said there was an alternative to make the attacks stop besides changing faction and wiping out all the natives single-handedly as I did, but I've searched online after finishing the game and neither the wiki nor any forum threads confirm this - they all claim the only way is to destroy the natives by yourself)
I will spoil it now since you've already finished the game. In one of the Black Sea locations, you can find an operational set of naval mines which can be transported back to the Aegis camp by either the Ferryman for some cash, or by Aegis if you've negotiated safe passage for their laborers with the pirates. The naval mines dot the perimeter of the camp and the natives are unable to continue their assaults.
Mines don't stop the attacks. They must do something helpful, but nobody seems to know what. My theory is that they might lower the amount of waves that spawn when the natives attack, but I haven't tested that.
I find the easiest way to stop them attacking is to destroy the rock in their temple. You still need to fight through a few areas to get there though. Or sneak, but that's pretty hard.
 

Zeem

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Arke, for example, is my absolute worst dungeon in the whole game. (On the other hand, the mushroom forest is one of my favorites!)
I'm the exact opposite. Arke is challenging in a fun way, while shroom forest is a trivial slog. Helps that robots drop batteries and scraps you can use to recharge and repair your gear while shroomlings are purely a drain on resources, and a crit-immune one at that. The forest does have some of the best visuals and music in the game, though, so it's not all that bad.
 

Grunker

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ItsChon according to the internet, you are wrong about the naval mines. Like other defenses, they only (presumably) hamper enemy waves.

Regarding chosen one status, Six nearly describes you thus outright, and you can respond with literal confirmation as a dialogue option.

Regarding free will, I think you misunderstood. The lack of free will is due to the nature of particle physics being deterministic. Brian Greene explains it in brief here, but there are plenty of other fairly accessible sources at varying degrees of complexity (depending on your familiarity with particle physics) that explain the concept:

https://youtu.be/wSYcUl2TXDc

(note that Tyson is cast as his usual obnoxious obstinate devil’s advocate self, Greene’s perspective is the clear and unequivocal consensus among physicists, as you’ll see if you dive into it yourself - the most ”optimistic“ perspective you’ll encounter is the randomization aspect of the quantum I mentioned - so the Universe might be deterministic but if it is unpredictable because of the very nature of the laws of physics, you could argue it is less relevant.)

As you say it is clear from the writing that Underrail’s development team have a professional understanding of many STEM concepts, including this one.

Regardless, I only mentioned free will as an aside, the point was to highlight what Six meant by “events”, “frames” etc., i.e. four dimensional space time, and the ability to perceive it as it actually exists is the reason he is able to determine the future to some extend.
 
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ItsChon

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
@ItsChon according to the internet, you are wrong about the naval mines. Like other defenses, they only (presumably) hamper enemy waves.
Yep, much to my surprised. I don't know, I distinctly remember not getting attacked after getting Naval Mines but I guess I'm imagining things.
Regarding chosen one status, Six nearly describes you thus outright, and you can respond with literal confirmation as a dialogue option.

Regarding free will, I think you misunderstood. The lack of free will is due to the nature of particle physics being deterministic. Brian Greene explains it in brief here, but there are plenty of other fairly accessible sources at varying degrees of complexity (depending on your familiarity with particle physics) that explain the concept:

https://youtu.be/wSYcUl2TXDc

(note that Tyson is cast as his usual obnoxious obstinate devil’s advocate self, Greene’s perspective is the clear and unequivocal consensus among physicists, as you’ll see if you dive into it yourself)

Regardless, I only mentioned free will as an aside, the point was to highlight what Six meant by “events”, “frames” etc., i.e. four dimensional space time, which is the reason he is able to determine the future to some extend.
Except particle physics isn't deterministic, as shown by collapsing wave functions, which remain a mystery to this day.

Also, you never answered about your top ten games.
 

Tygrende

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Your dislike for Six is not unique. It's so common in fact that finding ways to kill Six then keeping them secret and teasing Styg with it (he's very protective of him) is like a sport of sorts for some long time players, including me.

This is the most recent one. Already fixed so can be shared safely.
ftLGaFX.jpg
 

Twiglard

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Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut
Regarding free will, I think you misunderstood. The lack of free will is due to the nature of particle physics being deterministic.
Free will is impossible to reconcile with a materialist worldview, even if physics are assumed to be non-deterministic.
 

Grunker

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Your dislike for Six is not unique. It's so common in fact that finding ways to kill Six then keeping them secret and teasing Styg with it (he's very protective of him) is like a sport of sorts for some long time players, including me.

This is the most recent one. Already fixed so can be shared safely.
ftLGaFX.jpg

Haha, I love it
 

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