Marshall: Oh boy, have I got a frustrating predicament with my latest fix…or should I say, would-be fix. Here’s what’s what: My great friend and LTG colleague Ben Fitzgerald was super kind to give me his Steam key for the 2013 survival horror hit Outlast, the timing of which was insanely perfect as I’ve been craving a new horror game due to my kid-pressed-against-a-sweet-shop-window gazing at Layers of Fear on Steam. I fired it up on my account, and was immediately hooked and mortified as I hoped to be. The atmosphere is rich, the environment gorgeous, the story uncompromisingly disturbing, and so on…but my ability to get into this game has been stunted by one seemingly trivial, yet unavoidable, factor: Breathing. Miles Upshur, the game’s protagonist, breathes like Pablo Sandoval after a 3-yard jog after almost every scare. And holy fuck, is it annoying.
Look, I understand the devs wanted to make the character more dimensional (perhaps as a defiance of the “silent protagonist” trope in gaming), as well as amplify the player’s own fears as the entire game is from Upshur’s POV. Had this breathing effect been used sparingly and at the right moments, it would have been just fine. But listening to him huff frantically and click his tongue for 10 minutes straight, well after a key scary moment has subsided, drove me insane. I found myself yelling, “Shut the fuck up!” at my screen while playing. I’m not exaggerating either…even after a big scare was done and I was doing something as mundane and safe as finding a document or opening a door, the breathing just kept going on in an endless loop. It’s even more egregious as, since this is a survival horror game, you’ll likely be wearing Soundboosted headphones that will amplify it. In a small consolation, many others have been peeved to the point where “Outlast turn off breathing” is an immediate search suggestion on Google.
Really, this annoyance is a damn shame. I’m still hooked on everything else the game has to offer, but I just can’t dive back in unless I can find a way to turn off the character’s voice. And through my research, there doesn’t appear to be a toggle option for that. Note to all horror game devs: Don’t rely on bullshit gimmicks when you don’t need them.
Terry Randolph: This week is looking like my weekend is glued to my chair, TV and Xbox One console, and maybe some downtime with my 3DS. I’ve finally given up on most if not all the sidequests in FallOut 4 and am focusing on playing the story. Much as I love how in depth the world of Post-Nuclear Boston is…there’s just too much. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wasted time playing fetch quests over and over thinking there’d be more reward than experience points…and finding out it’s just experience points. With the equivalent of 3 recorded days played (and 6 all around), I need to get this game finished. It’s holding up my ability to finish my backlog more than I’d care to admit. Plus side, this is challenging me to learn how to pick my games and when to play them — a lot of the games I have average close to 40 to 60 hours per playthrough. It’ll be interesting to see how I can best find the time to get all the games I can in this year.
That said, playing Fire Emblem: Conquest is a very challenging experience that’s ensured the game stays in my 3DS. I may not be reviewing the title, but man is it exciting to play a game that’s so unforgiving and unflinching in its drive to force you to really strategize your gameplay. However, I’ll admit I might have to scale the difficulty down to keep playing. However, I’m going to try my best at keeping up at the Classic Mode.
With completing FallOut 4, there another game I’m definitely playing for review (and sheer enjoyment): Tom Clancy’s The Division. I’ve been waiting for this game for 3 years, and it’s finally out. If anyone is up to playing online (I’m hardly on, but I’ll try) add me on Xbox: TerBEAR77.After having played the beta and enjoyed it immensely (impression piece here) I’m excited to see the full product!
Isaac: Been a pretty slow week for gaming, mainly due to it being a busy week for real life. Funny how that works!
I’ve still been playing a lot of Stardew Valley (as it had just come out before last weeks What We’re Playing), as well as getting into the new Minecraft update. I’ll actually be doing a review of the update later this week, as it’s changed some pretty significant stuff about the way the game is played. Before I dig into it, though, if any of you folks reading have an opinion about the MC update, shoot a comment on the post or send a message to the LTG Facebook account to chime in before I pass final judgment.
In other news, I just beat the older indie bullet hell game, Jamestown. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s got local co-op, a wide range of difficulty levels and strategies, as well as a bunch of pretty killer bonus levels.
Finally, I’ve gotten a chance to get together with friends and start slogging through Don’t Starve Together, the online multiplayer version of the hit Tim Burton-esque murderfest. If you’re interested in playing together, leave a comment or send a message! You know the drill!