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Strange Fellow

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[Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.]
Finished Hellpoint, the newest Souls-clone on the market, this time in SPEHS! More specifically, you're on a space station gone bad, Dead Space-style, tasked by the local mysterious AI with figuring out what happened.

At first it seemed rather uninspired, with just a veneer of sci-fi stretched over bog-standard slashy-dodgy Souls. It's faster than regular Souls, too, with the roll replaced by a sidestep like in Bloodborne or Nioh, which I wasn't too happy with, since I always thought these games are more fun when they're strategic endurance-runs rather than l33t action games.

Fortunately, the bad first impression faded once the game got going. The structure is quite different from the other big games in the genre: it's not a seamless open world like Dark Souls, nor a strict level-by-level affair like Demon's Souls or Nioh. Rather, there's a small number of levels, something like ten in total, separated by load screens. Each of these is huge, and contain a multitude of pathways to adjacent levels, probably more than even Dark Souls 1. A big part of the reason why the game grew on me so much is that as you go along and unlock more of the gameworld you discover all these paths that loop back to areas you've already been to, and in more than a few cases lead to sub-areas that are only accessible from particular entry points, making the act of navigating the station and remembering which route to take to get to particular locations a fun challenge. I was even tempted to draw a map. In addition to that, there's also the usual keycard-scavenging leading to backtracking to locked doors and such, and since this game has actual vertical jumping, there's a fair bit of platforming now and again, which literally adds an extra dimension to the whole thing. The result is that out of all the Souls-likes I've tried, this is by the far the one that gets closest to the exploration of Dark Souls 1, even more so that 2 and 3 despite those worlds being continuous and this being full of area transition load screens.

There's a lot to say about the story and the systems and the bosses and all the rest of it, but suffice to say that they range from good enough to very cool. The only other thing worth mentioning is the only thing about Hellpoint that is unique as compared to the rest of the genre, which is the orbit system. The game is set on a space station orbiting a black hole, which moves in real time. Depending on the station's location relative to the black hole, stuff happens in the game, like new enemies spawning, doors opening, and so on. Unfortunately, it feels a bit underutilized, and most of the time you won't notice any difference between the times when the station is in a significant orbital position and those when it isn't. Even so, it's a neat idea, and it ties into some of the game's more obscure secrets.

Really though, it's the world design that makes the game. If you want more of those "oh, so THAT'S how you get to that!" or "wait, I'm back here?" revelations that were almost entirely absent in Dark Souls 2 and 3, I can highly recommend Hellpoint.

Oh, and the free standalone epilogue sucks. Don't bother with it.
 

4249

I stalk the night
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PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Divinity: Original Sin 2
Finally finished Divinity: Original Sin 2. I think that'll be the last Larian game I'm gonna be playing, unless something fundamentally changes about them. The biggest gripes for me:

  • The writing was just downright terrible to be honest. Some characters felt like literal edgy teenagers. I've never minded the less-than-stellar writing in Larian games and even enjoyed their brand of humor. But this was just... bad.
  • The combat system. While at least initially I could understand the proposition of having different armors so you have to react differently, in the end every encounter just played out the same. Burst that shit down, so you can kill them outright or take them out with cc. I went with a mixed party, but the later the game went the more I regretted that. If an enemy has 2k physical armor and 1k magical armor, having a split party is just worse in any situation. And the CC was way more reliable with physical stuff too. On tactician the armor of my party seemed not to matter much at all, since the enemy could usually get it destroyed in a single turn anyways. So I had to try and burst even more.
  • The hard as fuck scaling of stats between levels and randomness of loot. This feels like such an anti fun decision. I could understand if I had at least some kind of agency in regards of getting somewhat good stats on loot, but it just meant that I had to either reroll rewards or scour through trader inventories in hopes of getting a proper upgrade. And these were already complained about in the first DOS (and even before that)... now they just turned the shittiness to eleven instead of addressing it. How can they not understand that this works in Diablo clones because of the constant supply of enemies to mow down, not in a RPG with a fixed amount of enemies and looting opportunities.
Otherwise, the character tags were somewhat of an interesting system. The character development was bland as fuck with +5% to this or +5% to that... But it's a Larian game so I didn't mind too much. I felt a bit flabbergasted when my loremaster just basicly stopped working in Arx. I had 4 and everything required 5. No ifs or buts, doesnt matter if it's of uncommon or divine rarity, get the required skill level or fuck off. I just had persuasion maxed on the main character, so that skill and it's "choices" were basicly not relevant any more.

I did enjoy the music at times, but it wasn't Kirill level either.

I don't think Larian actually want to fix the things I care about, but think that they're somehow good gameplay elements, so I don't think I should be giving them any more money.
 

DeepOcean

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Messages
7,217
Finally finished Divinity: Original Sin 2. I think that'll be the last Larian game I'm gonna be playing, unless something fundamentally changes about them. The biggest gripes for me:

  • The writing was just downright terrible to be honest. Some characters felt like literal edgy teenagers. I've never minded the less-than-stellar writing in Larian games and even enjoyed their brand of humor. But this was just... bad.
  • The combat system. While at least initially I could understand the proposition of having different armors so you have to react differently, in the end every encounter just played out the same. Burst that shit down, so you can kill them outright or take them out with cc. I went with a mixed party, but the later the game went the more I regretted that. If an enemy has 2k physical armor and 1k magical armor, having a split party is just worse in any situation. And the CC was way more reliable with physical stuff too. On tactician the armor of my party seemed not to matter much at all, since the enemy could usually get it destroyed in a single turn anyways. So I had to try and burst even more.
  • The hard as fuck scaling of stats between levels and randomness of loot. This feels like such an anti fun decision. I could understand if I had at least some kind of agency in regards of getting somewhat good stats on loot, but it just meant that I had to either reroll rewards or scour through trader inventories in hopes of getting a proper upgrade. And these were already complained about in the first DOS (and even before that)... now they just turned the shittiness to eleven instead of addressing it. How can they not understand that this works in Diablo clones because of the constant supply of enemies to mow down, not in a RPG with a fixed amount of enemies and looting opportunities.
Otherwise, the character tags were somewhat of an interesting system. The character development was bland as fuck with +5% to this or +5% to that... But it's a Larian game so I didn't mind too much. I felt a bit flabbergasted when my loremaster just basicly stopped working in Arx. I had 4 and everything required 5. No ifs or buts, doesnt matter if it's of uncommon or divine rarity, get the required skill level or fuck off. I just had persuasion maxed on the main character, so that skill and it's "choices" were basicly not relevant any more.

I did enjoy the music at times, but it wasn't Kirill level either.

I don't think Larian actually want to fix the things I care about, but think that they're somehow good gameplay elements, so I don't think I should be giving them any more money.
Last truly great game Larian made was Ego Draconis, if it wasnt for the decent to good encounter design, their modern games would be complete garbage with zero redeemable qualities.
 

Puukko

Arcane
Joined
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The Khanate
Yeah, I wouldn't play the game anymore without copious mods to fix the armor system and introduce build variety. 2 was a definite upgrade on the writing front compared to 1 which holds the title of being the only game to date that I've quit due to the writing.
 

DeepOcean

Arcane
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
7,217
Playing Settlers 2 Anniversary edition, really interesting to contrast this game with other economy/city building games, many other games on the genre are all about survival with things having a cost in currency or resources like food with a real possibility of you going bankrupt. Settlers 2 anniversary has a design mentality of not punishing players activelly in terms of losing what they made but by having less stuff in the future because of bad optimization.

Things dont have a cost, your settlers dont starve to death, you also cant run out of of money and lose. Not having food, means lower and lower productivity, not having money means not being able to pay for upgrades on your military units. Technically, this means a zero pressure while you are building stuff and also means a very fast rate of expansion as you arent bog down by expenses. Technically, you can still lose by failing forwards, I mean, lower productivity + shitty military units, means the computer can have more and better soldiers than you. They tried to avoid failing backwards by not having expenses in favor of a failing fowards approach by having less stuff than the enemy because of bad planning.

I'm enjoying myself but I'm not so sure if this philosophy of not punishing the player backwards instead punishing the player forwards is something all that good. One side effect is that the building phase doesnt have much in terms of interesting choices to make and can get boring, the road system tries to compensate for the lack of interesting choices on early game by being a little convoluted. You need to optimize road placement to avoid congestion and slow delivery of resources, also, they limit the amount of economic buildings you can have by having professions dependent on tools, with no tools, you can place a building but a worker wont go work in there. This makes earlier game phase less tedious as some maps have rare iron and you need to scout alot to find iron ore deposits, on others, you are limited by space, there is a complexity but I dunno if it is enough for me.

They also have an annoying system of you having to build barracks to expand your territory everywhere, the problem is that it is a simple mechanical no brainer thing instead of being an important choice to expand territory or not. Yes, technically, the few resources used to build the fort could had been used on another building but it isnt an all that interesting choice that gets more and more annoying as the game reaches the end game phase. Anyway, I'm a sucker for those building games, for me, I play pretty much all of them but this one is definitely on the simpler side of things so dont recommend for people wanting a more complex economic game.
 

Puukko

Arcane
Joined
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The Khanate
After a long break from MP FPS, I've been playing some again.

Hunt: Showdown is a very unique PvPvE game that focuses on methodical gameplay and immersion. You're in a southern state sometime in what appears to be the early 1900s and there's a serious case of a zombie apocalypse going on. You want to go in, look for clues to figure out the location of a boss, kill it and banish it, take a trophy and survive to an extraction point while other teams are doing the same and will take every opportunity to kill you. You play as different characters until they die at which point you must hire and possibly outfit a new one. To my knowledge the only real differences between these aside from looks are their health bars, which are split into differently sized chunks which comes into play when determining how well you can recover from damage.

It's not a modern ADHD shooter where you're zooming past corners while leaning back and forth like a spastic - you've got period appropriate guns and tools, meaning revolvers, bolt action rifles and shotguns. Reloading and shooting again takes its time and you've got to worry about zombies in the meanwhile. The usual approach is to take out as many zombies with melee weapons as you can to minimize noise and using the correct tool for the special ones. Knives and bayonets work for the armored ones while shooting the flame zombies is a big no no due to them combusting.

Banishing a dead boss makes your location a prime target for other teams and shootouts become a game of psychology. Oftentimes you have only partial knowledge of the enemies' locations and number, and vice versa. If you've prepared, you will have set up traps around the location and left zombies alive to hamper other teams. Defending a rackety farmhouse is different from a civil war era fort or half collapsed church. Add to this the excellent audio design and you'll be sure to have some tense firefights in most matches.

Gunplay is very solid for the most part and the speed of operating the different guns adds both character and balance to them. The one thing that led to some frustration for my mates was that movement had a far more adverse effect on accuracy than the crosshair would have you think.
 

Abu Antar

Turn-based Poster
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Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
I resumed my playthrough of Dungeon Rats. Put in a few hours over the Easter. Everything has gone smoothly, until I reached Democritus. I got smashed so hard. Time to bring out the bolas and nets.
 

NJClaw

OoOoOoOoOoh
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Pronouns: rusts/rusty
Pathfinder: Kingmaker I'm very into cock and ball torture
I'm Ridin' with Biden I'm Ridin' with Biden
I am replaying Sekiro after more than a year, trying to use prosthetic tools and combat arts I'm not familiar/comfortable with. When everything clicks together, combat is so much fun and satisfying in this game...
 

Farewell young Prince into the night

Guest
I went on a three day Dwarf Fortress splurge. Fun game.

My dwarves absolutely refused to change their tattered clothes even though I had tons of new outfits in stock and plenty of refuse piles - wish I could figure out what I was doing wrong.
 

Cael

Dumbfuck!
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Nov 1, 2017
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I went on a three day Dwarf Fortress splurge. Fun game.

My dwarves absolutely refused to change their tattered clothes even though I had tons of new outfits in stock and plenty of refuse piles - wish I could figure out what I was doing wrong.
Nothing. The little bastards just love to gripe and moan, and that is just another reason for them to do so.

I have masterwork giant spider silk clothing made from masterwork cloth, and they still refuse to grab them. Literally bins and bins of them.

I think I will have to use the work around and assign them all to the militia and force them to wear armour all the time.
 

Catacombs

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I've been on a 4X kick and have been jumping between CKIII and Master of Orion II.

I went on a three day Dwarf Fortress splurge. Fun game.

Very fun game indeed. I'm still waiting eagerly for the Steam release that includes the new tileset.
:negative:
 

pakoito

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Jun 7, 2012
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2,960
I'm playing Enderal: Forgotten Stories. A total conversion mod on the Skyrim engine with a decent story, much better dungeon design, and no level scaling.

It's the continuation to Nehrim, which is Oblivion's counterpart.

I have very fond memories of Nehrim's dungeons and ambiance, which I'm not fulfilling in Enderal yet. I'm still in the early game and the quests are entertaining enough, so we'll see.
 

Jvegi

Arcane
Glory to Ukraine
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Nov 16, 2012
Messages
3,609
Disco Elysium. What a treat. After dredging through all those fun, but far from perfect D&D fighting sims, like KotC and A Broken Mess: Shitmaker, it feels nice to play a storyf*g game that aims just as high as those games. And seems to have fewer flaws.

I know all of you have an opinion, but reaching the end of my first day I feel all those claims about it being the second coming of PST are justified. It feels special. We'll see.

Is it an rpg? I guess. It wouldn't diminish its worth if it wasn't.
 

baud

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Septentrion
RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In [Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.] Pathfinder: Kingmaker I helped put crap in Monomyth
I started playing Faery - Legends of Avalon. It's a strange mix of RPG styles: combat it basic turn-based JRPG (except that you get multiple actions per turns) and no random encounters (all enemies are visible), very easy so far, you only control the equipment and leveling of the main character, the maps are small hubs, but you can fly freely (the second map is set around a giant tree and you can fly all around): the fly around freely is really enjoyable and it really cuts down the tedium of moving around.
The setting is kinda European tales and myths (but bowdlerized, a bit like the faeries you'd find in tourists shop in Britany/Western France), for the main quests there’s sometime two different ways of getting to your goal (usually dickishly/violently or with some diplomacy/light exploration), but the general tone is not too serious so far; the game also copies the Mass Effect dialog wheel and the red/blue dialogue choices, but here it’s not to fill colored bars, rather it'd change how well you get along with the party members, but it doesn't seem to change anything other than some generic dialogue lines.
Still I’d say the mix has been enjoyable so far.
There's some jank, but nothing too severe (like the journal which gets info you haven't found yet)

Finished it, after a few break playing other games, it's rather short, I finished in just less than 10 hours, including checking the different ways to solve the main quests: most have two ways to be solved, usually around being a dick and violent or exploring and talking to people (for example beat down rioters or solve their issues; kills all the wasps including the queen or work with a few other people to smoke them). I think they more or less copied the morality system of Mass Effect, down to the red vs blue colors used when talking to your party members.
Talking about party members, you can improve/degrade your relationship with them via dialog choices when talking to them, but that doesn't seem to be doing anything (I heard there's romance, but I was too much of a dick to get one).
I haven't seen any consequences to my choices, except once in the first area where being a dick to the fisherman close up a possible quest solution in the next part of the main quest. There's some dialogue changes, like with the rioters after being beaten down.
I really appreciated a lot to be able to fly around, it cuts down the tedium of moving around, especially around vertically-oriented maps, like the last one, which is a giant scarab, with part of the map being a shanty town slung beneath the scarab.
When unlocking new skills, it transforms the character, like tattoos, but also antennas, colored aura, tail (like I never got any of those skills because I really don't want for my character to have a tail): for each slot, you have a skill choice, like between dodge physical or dodge magical and each choice would give a different transformation, like cat or scorpion tail.
The combats could also use some speed up.
The game ends up with a very important choice (support the Faery king or not), which was supposed to be continued in a sequel (or two, to continue with the Mass Effect inspiration), but the devs never did any sequel.
Also one of the party members just looks like the project director, who's still at Spiders (worked recently on Greedfall)

I played also the Space Marine game. It's got a certain number of flaws, without the license I don't think it'd work as well. And even with the license, it still has some faults. But in the end it's a short and fun action romp, without much of the bullshit that's present in modern games. I did try some of the coop multiplayer, but the grind-based unlock system is annoying and the difficulty ramps up way too quickly
 
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Sukhāvatī

a.k.a. Mañjuśṛī
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
Man, used to be able to one shot Raiden without using a continue.

Now I'm using a continue per stage.
What happened to my 15yo reflexes
590s86.gif


 

Poseidon00

Arcane
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
1,701
VR Dungeon Knight. Has all the mechanics of a good dungeon crawling RPG with none of the RPG. Still fun. Many such cases of that however.
 

baud

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RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In [Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.] Pathfinder: Kingmaker I helped put crap in Monomyth

Nigfy

Arcane
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Oct 28, 2020
Messages
3,028
I wasted my time on mr prepper, game is shit. Now I'm gonna try some ultimate general civil war.
 

Vlajdermen

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Nov 19, 2017
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Catholic Serbia
I beat Jak 3 a while back, it's a step down from Jak 2. Because of the shorter development time they had to make less dedicated action-platforming stages and set a lot of the missions in the open world, and even the ones that are there don't feel as thought out as before. It tries to compensate by adding more weapons and powers, but the only ones I used were the Concussor, the Reflector, the grenade launcher and the lightning rod, while the rest wound up as deadweight. Light and Dark Jak powers are used like Zelda items, i.e. only for the one level where you acquire them, and thrown in the bin afterwards.

The one thing that makes Jak 3 still good and more than just an inferior Jak 2 is that the open world is vastly improved. It added a lot more racing and timed orb-hunting challenges, and they benefit from a more thought out world design, better car handling, and precursor orbs being actually relevant within gameplay. The desert is outright great. Atmospheric, well-tailored to the vehicular combat gameplay, and the slippery driving physics make for a lot of janky, organic fun. One of the highlights of the game was chasing down a group of bandits while their partners try to slow you down.

Overall my ranking for the games is Jak 2>Jak 1>Jak 3, but I recommend all three.
 

Nigfy

Arcane
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Oct 28, 2020
Messages
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Ok, I just did the alt+f4 -> delete game folder for ultimate general civil war. Absolute dogshit game. Slow, clunky, nothing makes sense. You charge with 3x1000 inf brigades one 1000 enemy inf brigade on plain ground and get destroyed. Or you unleash a volley from a 1500 inf brigade from close range and kill 3 enemy troops. Infantry can move and shoot at the same time, they lose all stamina in 1 minute and remain exhausted for the rest of the battle. Artillery sucks, cavalry sucks, skirmishers are OP. Just dogshit.
 

Sceptic

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Divinity: Original Sin
Star Trek: The Rebel Universe (1987)

As I mentioned last time I've been in a Star Trek gaming vibe. This is one that I had never played (or even remembered). I expected it to be similar to the 3 text adventures I played earlier, but this one is in fact a completely different beast. It gives the impression of being an exploration/simulator hybrid. You get to explore an entire sector, with access to each planet in every system. Most planets can't be landed on but many have bases that can replenish fuel, weapons, hull, energy - things that slowly get consumed as you explore (not so slowly when you run into enemies!). There are 8 distinct way to win the game, some very different from each others and each requiring a different sequence of events of varying complexity. Other items are scattered throughout the planets (sometimes in multiple copies) and will help with the missions (eg, jamming devices will reduce chance of random encounters with enemy ships).

Unfortunately (as with Kobayashi Alternative) the actual gameplay is a lot more dull than the concept. The landing party segments are a linear sequence of events, each with a very binary outcome (success if you have the required item/crew, failure otherwise). There's no one to talk to, no real puzzles to solve, and no exploration on the planet surface. Space exploration is made more annoying by 3 different "zoom" levels - you only ever see a small number of systems at all times, and "regional" ones only become visible when you're close to one of the global systems - and again, "locals" are only visible from specific "regionals", but there's enough overlap that keeping track of which system is where because a convoluted mess - and you WILL need to keep track because you will frequently run into an obstacle before you have the item needed to get past it, requiring quite a bit of backtracking. Worse, there's a time limit in place; you're expected to run into quite a few game overs before you have mapped enough of the zones to know what's where (location of everything is fixed). Exploring the entire zone and mapping everything could've been fun, if the gameplay itself wasn't so limited and repetitive. I explored enough to find what I needed for one of the endings (seemingly one of the simplest) but didn't really feel like going through all the repetitive motions to get the others.

I played the Atari ST version (in emulator), as it looks and sounds much nicer, and the versions are identical gameplay wise.



Star Trek 25th Anniversary (1993)
Star Trek: Judgment Rites (1994)

These 2 are are so much better than any Star Trek game before them it's not even funny. As far as average adventure game quality 25th is ok, but JR is really good. But what really pushes them into great territory is the care put into detail, and the voice acting. The latter can be variable in quality; sometimes it becomes obvious that they were each sitting in front of a microphone trying to record an immense amount of text in as little time as possible. McCoy is most prone to this (Kelley was practically retired by then), and Spock comes across best as unemotional delivery is frequently part of the character. That said, sometimes they hit the nail on the head with laser precision; one particular "Spock!" is uttered by McCoy with such perfectly modulated exasperation that I burst out laughing. After some time you really start seeing their faces when they talk, no matter how small and pixelated the sprites are. The supporting Enterprise cast is heard a lot less (though each gets their moment in the spotlight in JR) but are still a pleasure. The amateur casting, by comparison, is pretty bad, though just about what you'd expect. There are some pleasant surprises in there though. Tom Wyner does a great impersonation of the late Roger Carmel (I jumped out of my chair when I first heard him, thinking Carmel had come back from the dead); JR sees the return of Trelane, and William Campbell does a fantastic job reprising him.

The games are infarmous for the space dogfight sequences. 25th's are really quite awful, and although Interplay released a patch to make them optional for the floppy version, for some inexplicable reason they stayed mandatory in the CD version (which came out mere weeks after the patch!). JR makes them optional AND adds a difficulty slider; on easy they're actually not too bad and provide a nice break from the planetside excursions. Otherwise both are traditional adventure games, with the usual object manipulations. 25th is a series of unrelated episodes with average quality puzzles. JR has some standalone stories but also an overarching plot of sorts, and puzzles in are better and can actually be quite good. The JR finale is quite memorable, as it's a very dialogue-heavy puzzle that fits the series quite well in tone. There are a TON of in-game clues throughout both games, which you can get by scanning everything and talking to your landing party. I was quite shocked that each and every crew member has a unique line or short dialogue, for each and every screen in both games. With everything being voiced (and even more lines going to Nimoy, since his tricorder has a TON of info on pretty much everything), I had an immense amount of fun just listening to all the banter and the analyses, even when the solution was obvious. There's a reason I spent so much time talking about the voices, they add a LOT to the game. Both games also have a really good MT-32 soundtrack.

I really enjoyed replaying both. The CD versions are highly recommended if you like P&C adventures, and absolute must-plays if you're a TOS fan.
 

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