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Magnolia Grandiflora

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I played Stray when it came out last week and really enjoyed it. Right now I'm going through the Cuphead DLC but before that I was playing Hollow Knight. (And I'll go back to playing that when I'm done with Cuphead because that game is just massive and beautiful.)
 

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I just picked up Coromon. I've been pretty disappointed with the latest Pokemon releases and coromon is a bit of a breath of fresh air. I like the art a lot and I think it both gets back to the basics of the series and also adds some neat features that I think pokemon is afraid to add for fear of alienating kids (allocating skill points, choosing pokemon based on attack/defensive strategies for example). I haven't gotten too far into it but so far I like the level design. One gripe I had with sword and shield was the weird, disconnected and linear areas (christmas town, mushroom town) and the huge empty open field. I can't say if coromon's levels are very linear or not yet though, but the design is nice. I like that the coromon hospital in each town is tailored to that town's aesthetic rather than just being copy-pasted versions of each.
 

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I eventually gave in and played through The Last of Us Part II, after having refused to buy it for over 2 years. Like many others, I watched the leaked cutscenes back in April 2020 which made me very upset and disappointed. Now, I got it off a second-hand selller at a very cheap price, which also means that I've technically not given Naughty Dog any of my money for it.

The positives are expectedly the graphics and the gameplay. I can't stress enough how f****n beautiful this game looks and how every single environment breathes realism and atmosphere. Again and again I had to remind myself that it's a video game. Gameplay is very similar to the first one which is a good thing, but they've improved on it just enough to make it feel familiar yet refreshing. Being able to dodge, prone, craft silencers etc made the combat feel more engaging and fun. The highlights of the game are undoubtedly the turbulent action sequences where your heart rate is racing to keep up with all the stuff going on around you - it's an extremely well-crafted experience. There are also several encounters with the infected where you really have to step up your game, and I applaud the devs for not making the encounters easier in the sequel.

Unfortunately the story sucks. It's basically just a revenge story and not a particularly good one. I don't want to make a long rant about it because honestly I feel like there's no point. Talking about "what could have been" or "I wish they did like this" won't change anything. The game tries so hard to make us players feel sympathy for characters that we're obviously never going to like. I've seen a lot of players out there defending the character of Abby while applauding the game for being so "smart" by portraying a grim cruel world where everyone is bad and nobody is good. Then they use this as a way of saying that Joel deserved what happened to him. Are you f****n kidding me? It's like The Last Jedi-type of defenders all over again, where they praise the story for "subverting expectations" which is just a fancy word they learned from critics when they have no actual clue about its true meaning. There are literally thousands upon thousands of stories in entertainment where the protagonist commits immoral actions, and yet the audience loves this protagonist. I mean think about how many people James Bond, Indiana Jones and Lara Croft killed, and how many of those people had families and kids. Does their actions mean they deserve to die? Probably, yes, but how would you kill off such a character in a meaningful way? Defenders talk about realism and how death is sometimes just random and pointless, and therefore The Last of Us Part II deserves to be praised. But how can death be random and pointless when the whole story of the first game is about the opposite? Neil Druckmann thinks he's a friggin' genius when he's in fact just obsessed with seeing people in pain and misery.

The sequel also made me realize that the first game isn't great because of its gameplay, graphics, action, or any of that superficial stuff. What sells it is the relationship between Joel and Ellie. Without that it's basically just a zombie game. The sequel doesn't even come close to building any new fascinating relationship dynamics - in fact, it fails at every attempt in doing so. The only redeeming qualities of the sequel are its graphics and the action. I still love the first game but this Part II feels like a game that should never have been made.

Final verdict: I can't believe that Naughty Dog made an entire sequel about a nameless NPC from the first game.
 

Frag Maniac

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I played Stray when it came out last week and really enjoyed it. Right now I'm going through the Cuphead DLC but before that I was playing Hollow Knight. (And I'll go back to playing that when I'm done with Cuphead because that game is just massive and beautiful.)

Yeah I first thought meh when I saw the description of this game, but after getting and playing it. I must say it took me by surprise. It's very well done, and I see now why it has mass appeal among gamers. I'm really hoping they make a sequel, or even any other cat story. What's strange about this game is on the one hand, it's a cute cat adventure game, but on the other, it almost borders on a horror game. I mean they even had the rooms with big eyeballs everywhere like something out of Resident Evil.

The devs really ought to consider licensing products like Stray style cat harnesses and figurines. With as many cat lovers as there are going crazy about this game, it could help fund more games. They could even license a cat toy where your cat chases around a little B-12 looking drone that hovers within close proximity of it's Stray harness. Lot's of possibilities here.

Even CATS love this game, and who knows feline realism more then them!
I think it's safe to say it's cat approved as well.
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Magnolia Grandiflora

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@Frag Maniac They do have a Stray cat backpack and a harness. Not sure if they were just promotional but they did come out with a few things, though they definitely could do more. It also seemed like there were select shelters with drawings for a chance to win a copy of the game with a donation.

I think the popularity of the game could definitely be used for good.

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SaddlerFan

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Okay, this all seals the deal for me... I just got a fancy PS5, I'm gonna get Stray, too. And if I can help cat shelters that way, all the better! I've heard so many good things about this game and that video with the cats reacting just made my morning. :LOL:
 

Frag Maniac

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Okay, this all seals the deal for me... I just got a fancy PS5, I'm gonna get Stray, too. And if I can help cat shelters that way, all the better! I've heard so many good things about this game and that video with the cats reacting just made my morning. :LOL:

Yeah there was even one dog in that vid that was excited about it and sold on the realism. There's no parkour quite like kitty parkour, and they got the cat animations spot on. There's also a vid on YT of a cat behavioral specialist whom works at the cat shelter at Battersea, UK, and she analyzed the cat behavior in the game and said it's very accurate.
 

Magnolia Grandiflora

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@SaddlerFan The reaction videos have been absolutely adorable. Imagine my disappointment when my cat couldn't have cared less what I was playing. He slept in his bed the entire time, didn't even look up. When I was going for the platinum, he decided that would be a good time to hop up in my lap and place himself between me and the controller. Needless to say Can't Cat-ch Me took a little longer than it should have. :ROFL:
 

SaddlerFan

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Yeah there was even one dog in that vid that was excited about it and sold on the realism. There's no parkour quite like kitty parkour, and they got the cat animations spot on. There's also a vid on YT of a cat behavioral specialist whom works at the cat shelter at Battersea, UK, and she analyzed the cat behavior in the game and said it's very accurate.
Yes, I saw some "cat expert reacts" videos as well, they all say that the game really WAS made by people who know (and love) cats. I mean they DID market the whole "play as a cat" part quite heavily, they had better get it right! lol I've also been watching this dude here:

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He checked out the game in the above video and loved it so much (and his audience loved his reactions so much) that he started a Let's Play series. :LOL:


@SaddlerFan The reaction videos have been absolutely adorable. Imagine my disappointment when my cat couldn't have cared less what I was playing. He slept in his bed the entire time, didn't even look up. When I was going for the platinum, he decided that would be a good time to hop up in my lap and place himself between me and the controller. Needless to say Can't Cat-ch Me took a little longer than it should have. :ROFL:

LOLOLOL I'm pretty sure this would be my cat if I had one. (I'm not a massive cat person, but that's mostly because I'm a rodent person first and foremost, haha.) I love how invested some cats get when they see the game being played. They're like "hey dude what are you up to in there, let me help you". It's hilarious. And yeah, combine that with cats and their habit of placing themselves at the center of attention and you have the perfect reason as to why some trophies might take longer to achieve!
 

Magnolia Grandiflora

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@SaddlerFan I honestly shouldn't have been super surprised by my cat's lack of interest. I've seen folks switch their TVs to nature documentaries and fish shows and their cats are captivated but mine has never really been too interested in what we're watching. To him, the TV is a distraction that gets him less attention so he doesn't really pay too much attention to it.

I've wanted to watch the Jackson Galaxy playthrough for a bit I just haven't found the time; I'm kinda interested to hear what he has to say. I'm not surprised by the praise for the cat gameplay tho. The devs are cat owners, they had actual cats in the studio to help get the movement and actions right. This game was really made with a lot of care and consideration.
 

Frag Maniac

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You know, as finicky as a lot of cats are about letting people put things on them, I had to wonder how they did the mo cap (or should I say mo cat) for Stray. I've yet to find any mo cap session videos of Stray, but I don't see how else they could have made the animations so realistic. Things like whisker, ear, and eye movement must have taken special skill though, because I don't think you could do that with mo cap. If anyone has or finds a link to a Stray mo cap session though, please post it.

@Magnolia Grandiflora, the way you described your cat's disinterest makes me think it's a smarter breed and knows it's just cats on a screen and not real ones.

Anyway, here is what I DID find on mo cat sessions, they ARE a thing!​

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@SaddlerFan, that was a great video, but I have to say to Jackson, it's not his fault, it's just his recognizing how fiddly gamepads can be. The funny thing is, I saw a couple play this game on YouTube, and though the devs say it's best played with a gamepad, they were having the exact same problems I was as far as navigation goes due to the mantling icons being finicky about not only what direction you look, but what direction the cat's body is oriented before they appear. Suffice it to say, there really ought to be a special reward for beating the game with less than 9 deaths your first playthrough.
 
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Magnolia Grandiflora

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@Frag Maniac That cat motion cap video is so cool!! I remember reading . It didn't come with a video but I'll be on the lookout and if I find something I'll be sure to post it here.
 

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Oh wow, I'm loving that motion capture (or cat-ure? lol) video! So much effort and care, and I love how they are so patient with the cats (or rather, how patient the cats are with THEM). And yup it really shows that Stray was made by people who love and have cats. I hope Stray inspires more games like this with other animals. People clearly love this! I would drop EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY if they made a game like this with a guinea pig as the protagonist. (I know there are cute piggie games out there but as far as I know none that are realistic.)
 

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I would drop EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY if they made a game like this with a guinea pig as the protagonist. (I know there are cute piggie games out there but as far as I know none that are realistic.)

Give the G-Force game a try, which is based on the movie. It's probably not as photo or mo cap realistic as what can be done now, but I had a ton of fun with it. The main character Darwin is also voiced by one of my favorite actors, Sam Rockwell.

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Frag Maniac

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Well, I just got Spider-Man Remastered. I'm playing on the default Amazing difficulty, but I don't feel too amazing yet. More like wanna be Spider-Man at this point. :(
 

SaddlerFan

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Give the G-Force game a try, which is based on the movie. It's probably not as photo or mo cap realistic as what can be done now, but I had a ton of fun with it. The main character Darwin is also voiced by one of my favorite actors, Sam Rockwell.

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Oh my goodness, I loved the movie (so much fun!) but I didn't think the game would be good (hence my remark about there not being any realistic guinea pig games)! I just checked, and it seems there's a Wii version, which seems to be the only console I own on which I can actually play the game... (Still not a PC gamer, I'm afraid.) I guess it's time to dust off my Wii once AGAIN! Thanks for the tip!
 

Frag Maniac

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Oh my goodness, I loved the movie (so much fun!) but I didn't think the game would be good (hence my remark about there not being any realistic guinea pig games)! I just checked, and it seems there's a Wii version, which seems to be the only console I own on which I can actually play the game... (Still not a PC gamer, I'm afraid.) I guess it's time to dust off my Wii once AGAIN! Thanks for the tip!

The term "realistic" is relevant here. Obviously there's nothing too real about a Guinea pig spy infiltrating a tech corporation and fighting hacked household appliances. Needless to say one needs to practice suspension of disbelief to play such content. Basically though I enjoyed the puzzles, combat and humor.

And if you mean you want the Guinea pigs to look less cartoony and at least a bit realistic like in the movie, consider the game came out 13 years ago, and ask yourself if ANY animals in games at that point looked at all as realistic as what you see in the G-Force movie. The answer you're looking for is no.
 
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SaddlerFan

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The term "realistic" is relevant here. Obviously there's nothing too real about a Guinea pig spy infiltrating a tech corporation and fighting hacked household appliances. Needless to say one needs to practice suspension of disbelief to play such content. Basically though I enjoyed the puzzles, combat and humor.

And if you mean you want the Guinea pigs to look less cartoony and at least a bit realistic like in the movie, consider the game came out 13 years ago, and ask yourself if ANY animals in games at that point looked at all as realistic as what you see in the G-Force movie. The answer you're looking for is no.
I meant "realistic" in the way Stray is "realistic" regarding cats, with realistic movements and behavior and with people researching the animal for the game and whatnot. I know that a 100% realistic guinea pig game would be rather boring because guinea pigs don't tend to have super exciting lives. lol And no worries - I'm from an era where pixels were the most realistic thing ever for a game, so I never worry much about graphics (unless someone advertises a current game as state-of-the-art and then the graphics are Playstation 2 level graphics at best in a lot of places... looking at Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 here). I'm happy to try out that G-Force game. Until someone makes a game like Stray, only with a piggie protagonist. Heh.
 

Frag Maniac

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I meant "realistic" in the way Stray is "realistic" regarding cats, with realistic movements and behavior and with people researching the animal for the game and whatnot. I know that a 100% realistic guinea pig game would be rather boring because guinea pigs don't tend to have super exciting lives. lol And no worries - I'm from an era where pixels were the most realistic thing ever for a game, so I never worry much about graphics (unless someone advertises a current game as state-of-the-art and then the graphics are Playstation 2 level graphics at best in a lot of places... looking at Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 here). I'm happy to try out that G-Force game. Until someone makes a game like Stray, only with a piggie protagonist. Heh.

LOL, I would have never guessed you meant realistic in that context, because if you saw the movie, you likely know the Guinea pigs are often running around upright on their hind legs. It's basically the farthest thing from realistic movement wise as well, after all, it's just an off the wall movie about rodent spies.

Check it out anyway though, it's good fun.
 
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