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Spoilers for Cascadia in The Outer Worlds

Butch:

Got to Cascadia, spent WAAAAY too long trying to find a science weapon, putzed around the Rizzo lab, laughed when Felix talked down some protector robots by making them think we were too stupid to be worth killing, killed shit, stole gas, trucked down towards the crashed spaceship.

Not sure I have much wisdom about Rizzo’s. I kinda got in, got out. I might have missed some shit in Cascadia, but the place seemed kinda dead. Do you have wisdom?

Here’s some wisdom I wil share: This game is easy. It’s even easier now that I have discovered the badassness of companion abilities. You lead with Nyoka screaming and shooting the shit out of everything, everything gets better, fast.

But it’s STILL very easy. I left Cascadia, moved towards the spaceship, and there, in the road, were two maniqueens. Nyoka says “That way’s suicide. If you know another way, no shame in taking it.” I thought “Well, that’s usually a game saying ‘go around,’ but I wasted too much time looking for that weapon and lord knows when I’ll play again, so I’m fighting.” So I fought, and killed them both totally dead without needing any healing. On normal. And then realized that I put on different armor to do a tech check and forgot to change back and I was still in wimpy armor!

When a game is all “this is suicide,” and you still win no problem in wimpy armor, something is up.

This game really does have me confused about difficulty. As you know, I am not a fan of hard. I’m certainly not a fan of hard for the sake of hard, or hard that messes with narrative momentum, so I’m not faulting this game being inherently easy. That said, this is EASY. It’s almost getting to the point where combat is, at best, irrelevant and, at worst, busy work. After last night, blowing through two maniqueens after Nyoka was all “This is suicide,” I basically will look at enemies and not care. Blow ’em away! Move on. Or, if I do care, it will be along the lines of “Really, game, this is wasting my time making me kill all these guys.”

That’s almost too far the other way. It makes too much of the game not matter. I haven’t changed my inventory in ages, haven’t used a consumable in ages, don’t even know (or care) what 90% of the consumables even do.

But then, I can’t complain about narrative momentum being interrupted by dying. That I can’t.

I am conflicted.

And yes, yes, I could turn up the difficulty. That is an option. And yes, I know that in the really hard mode all this food and empty houses with beds matter because you have to eat and sleep and if I was playing on that mode I’d be thrilled to find empty houses with beds. Yes. Sure. But it sill says on the options screen that normal is the intended difficulty. I’m playing how the developers want me to play. They WANT it to be this easy, to have so much of the game not matter.

It’s almost like the stuff I was talking about with the NBA game, only moreso. In that, I wondered why they made a mode that so many players wouldn’t care about. Here, they made all these stats and consumables and empty houses that probably matter in a mode that a) few people will play and b) the developers OVERTLY TELL YOU isn’t the way they WANT you to play! “Here, here’s a bunch of stuff we spent forever giving you the option to care about, now please don’t care” is a very strange choice.

I dunno. Whole game is weird when it comes to how hard it is, how hard it wants to be and how hard it feels it has to be.

And what’s even weirder is that I can’t tell if I mind that it’s this easy.

Feminina:

Woohoo! Played!

Cascadia becomes relevant for a thing later. But the first time I went there, yeah, it seemed a bit empty. I mean, aside from all the things and people trying to kill me.

I did like Felix convincing the guard robots not to bother with us. Good stuff.

As for it being super easy…hm. I didn’t have quite the same experience. I mean, it wasn’t HARD, but it wasn’t laughably easy. I got killed occasionally, even just trucking around Monarch fighting mantiqueens. Not often enough to break the momentum, but often enough that I didn’t have to ponder what you’re pondering now. And I had it on Normal too. I guess you’re just more badass than me.

Oh man, that science weapon…way off up in a corner and you had to jump a lot? Yeah, I fell to my death many times getting that damn thing.

I also wasted WAY too much time looking for a science weapon on the Groundbreaker. Never did find it. Siiigh.

It’s finally nice outside…just got back from a lengthy tricycle/walk around the neighborhood with Grigio. I’m filing it under “working lunch.”

Butch:

Dude, I FINALLY did all those jumps, then a kid yelled and I got distracted and dealt with it, came back, died, forgot to save because I had been dealing with KID SHIT.

Did it again. Died a lot more times.

Did it, didn’t want to fuck around, so I did this big jump from the top deal and landed at the bottom with JUST a little bit of life. Phew, right? Cuz you just heal? Well, stupid fucking FELIX kept trying to do the SAME JUMP and missing and dying. Over, and over, and over, and OVER. I had to run around until I was at a point where he could make it JUST SO.

Took. Forever.

I’m not badass, dude. You know that. But Nyoka is. I do love her companion ability. YEAAAAAA!

A thing….later. How much more later could there be? HOW DID YOU FINISH SO FAST?????

I did find the science weapon on Groundbreaker. You had to find a note with a hint. I did, so I found it. Then promptly never used it. The science weapons in general are things I found to find them, and have been keeping them ever since because, you know, science weapons.

As one does.

Nicely done. Working lunch, indeed.

I burned a bunch of shit with my neighbor. Productive. And outside!

Feminina:

Productive! Outdoorsy! Excellent!

My companions, I think I had Felix and Vicar Max at that point, also failed to make the last jump back at one point, and fell screaming to their doom. I had been trying for so long that I just said ‘screw it, they’ll probably resurrect outside’ and left.

I mean, I WOULD have gone back and redone it if I had to in order to save their lives, but naw, after the load screen to get out of the building, they showed up just fine. I also could have just told them not to follow me the whole damn way, that would have been an option, but clearly I did not think of that at the time.

I was too busy thinking about how I was too heavily loaded to jump, so I had to offload a bunch of loot into a container, and then grab it all before I left, possibly leaving my loyal companions to bleed to death on the steely floor far beneath. It’s a complicated business being me.

Butch:

I wasn’t going to take any chances. If I had had to do all the damn jumping again I would’ve rage quit. And I wouldn’t have left them behind. Kinda cruel for this game to make you jump a lot. Jumping is not this game’s strong point.

Feminina:

Oh, after the first try I was saving after every successful jump, so if I’d had to go back, it would only have been to the jump before they died. But yeah, this was a cruel task when we’ve done little jumping in the game, and have never been that good at it.

But we survived! And so did our companions! That’s the important thing.

Butch:

And I finished a quest! You didn’t. Heh.

And got a gun that I’ll likely never use. Win!

Feminina:

You finished a quest I didn’t? Oh, the weapon from the Groundbreaker? Yeah, I never got that one. Probably never would have used it. I took those science weapons out for a while and tried using them, hoping they’d be awesome, but never could figure out the trick of actually making them do anything.

If there is a trick. I know it said increasing your Science skill made them more effective, so maybe mine just wasn’t good enough. I was very busy getting good at persuasion, hacking and lockpicking.