Shadows of Doubt

Chimpzy

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I tried the demo a while ago. Was fun, but I'm not fully sold on the procedural generation. My worry is this game's bag of tricks won't be large enough to generate enough interesting situations to stop things from becoming repetitive after the first playthrough.
 

Xprimentyl

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I pitched a game like this [on this forum] where you played a hitman in a large, fully-explorable city, and you're given clues as to a target, and must piece together their location and schedule, then pick the optimum time and method to execute your contract. This game is pretty much what I envisioned, though not procedural generation or Minecraft-esque graphics, but it's close enough in idea that I wouldn't mind giving it a shot... so of course, it's a PC game and me no havey a gaming PC.

I tried the demo a while ago. Was fun, but I'm not fully sold on the procedural generation. My worry is this game's bag of tricks won't be large enough to generate enough interesting situations to stop things from becoming repetitive after the first playthrough.
It does sound pretty ambitious, and we've seen devs' wings melt all too often when they fly towards the sun, so I wouldn't be surprised if the ultimate execution isn't parsed way down or if it winds up being a buggy-if-well intended mess.
 
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The boring one
I'm really, really impressed so far. But "so far" is still very much "first contact". Uncertainties about how it works, what its thresholds are, its exact rule, its limitations and repetitions. So I may still be under the illusion of size and complexity. But the atmosphere itself is excellent. I still need to get used to voxels : I like them as the modern equivalent of old game's heavily pixelated graphics, and I assume that, in ten years or so, individual voxels would be imperceptibly tiny, but for now the decyphering of the environment is still a bit awkward.

The inventory limit is my biggest gripe (four slots! lots of back and forth), and the noir cyberpunk makes it difficult to anticipate the world's logic (miniguns on every ceiling, okay, noted, but what does and doesn't trigger them, it's all trial and error). Even the cyber implants logic, I had to understand by myself. And they give bonuses like "infer height/salary from mugshot", not sure yet if the sleuthing will get intricate enough to make these valuable.

But really, this game feels like, at the very least, a window on the future of gaming. The kind of no-secondary-RPGs I'd like in Watch Dogs or The Masquerade, with new developments in the very difficult sleuthing genre. I enjoy it a lot already, but also really look forward to its descendants.
 
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The boring one
So, that girl was killed by a stalker who left his initial (E) on the wall. And his fingerprint. I know he was a stalker (blond, middle-sized) because the victim had been complaining about him in her diary and emails. I checked her address book for some names that started with E, and investigated a couple of them, but the fingerprint and description didn't match, and anyway, it wasn't likely to be someone she knew so I stopped wasting my time on that. I checked the surveillance cams in her building (her floor and the main hall), noted a few suspects, no real match. Also checked the cam at her work place, and in the street (I summarize : checking a cam's recording forced me to infiltrate the security room when it' was empty, identify the worker in their absence, sneak into the worker's home to find their password, return to the security room's computer, etc - a lot of investigations within the investgation). In the meantime another murder happened, same modus operandi. In the victim's emails, the doctor seemed to imply the victim was paranoid, so I also identified and checked the doctor's office in case he was deliberately obtuse and actually implicated. As the victim claimed to be harrassed, I also checked the last person who called her, in vain : again a long investigative process for a red herring. Anyway, it was a long investigation, my wall was covered with notes, mugshots, fingerprints, addresses and colored wool wires. I eventually asked around about some mugshots from surveillance cams, in the area where the images were taken, and one passer by identified an averege height man as some Enzo something. The first letter made him particularly interesting, but when I found his address, I realized I already had that location in my notes : from an Enzo in the first victim's address book. That first line of investigation, that I had given up on.

I went to his place and indeed his door knob was littered with the perpetrator's fingerprints. It was absolutely him. I could have avoided a second death if I had gone through all the elementary routine checks after the first killing.

So yeah, it's an epic game, sometimes frustrating but falsely frustrating : the clues are there, and usually redundant. There are some wonky gamey mechanics (citizens are very tolerant until they aren't and start gunning you down and then either instantly forgetting about you or never at all) and some odd AI (if you switch a light off -or on- when a local NPC wants it on -or off-, they will go switch it back right after you, but sometimes you get two NPC disagreeing about it and you can watch them passive-agressively flipping the lights off and on in turns for hours). And there's a semi-annoying hunger/thirst cycle with no real effect. And some very odd generated missions (go steal a document from a person about whom we only know their shoe size and blood type). But it's all work in progress. And still rich enough for a brilliant sense of emerging narratives.

A lot of fun so far.
 

meiam

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That all sounds really cool the first couple of time, but I fear it'll get really repetitive after a few crime solved.
 

Absent

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That all sounds really cool the first couple of time, but I fear it'll get really repetitive after a few crime solved.
It probably will. The last two crimes were straightforward. Toy car with unknown fingerprints next to poisoned victim? Could it have been left there as a symbol by the killer? Let's sneak in that general store to check their records. Nope they didn't sell any of their toy cars recently. But apparently they did sell poison and a syringe to a certain person yesterday... Hello, can I check your fingerprints please, thank you, solved.

The following case was worse. Stabbed victim next to a threat letter. Fingerprint on that letter. Which I already knew (must have already checked this person's fingerprints in a previous, unrelated investigation). So... a threat letter displayed with a signature. Checked address in phone book, went and did the arrest. Didn't even bother with a crime weapon.

It may be time to start a new procedurally generated city, this one may have become a village where I have archives on everyone. Or may be time to put it on pause and wait for this early access title to evolve further...
 
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Absent

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I'm.... I'm not tiring of it. šŸ˜¶

I still had a few more crazy cases, including one where my first suspect turned out dead (his murder hadn't been reported) and where I was searching the appartment of my second suspect in hope of finding his weapon while he was actually busy using it on a third victim elsewhere.

I've reached the social status level that allows you to retire. I'll have to decide whether I want to do that (start from scratch in a different generated city) or continue with this detective (and his handy upgrades, and his comfy appartment). The dilemma itself may make me pause until the next updates. Videogame dilemmas easily make me pause. But my point is, each time a new crime is discovered, I rush to it and investigate it with the same enthusiasm. It's a good game.
 

Absent

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Accidentally hit the wrong button.

So instead of discarding my hotdog wrapping in the trash, I searched the trash container. Of course I ended up stinking hard, which is very detrimental to sneak. So I decided to go take a shower, and because I can't do it at my place (just bought a new appartment on the 14th floor, but it's not fully furnished), I decided to break into a random appartment to get a shower there. Unfortunately the owner came home just as I was leaving the shower, and started chasing me. Given that I hadn't had the time to dry myself, I kept slipping and falling on my ass as he was running after me. Managed to escape though.

Promised myself to invest in a shower of my own. Got mugged on the way as I went home (twice, actually), but as I had invested in a truncheon instead, it didn't go very well for them.

Proceeded to furnish my appartment. The game is not perfect : It's hard to precisely position the items that you buy, you tend to throw them around haphazardly. You can generally pick them up and try positioning them again, but, see, there was this handy paper tray that I wanted to put on my desk, because it allows me to grab and return forms without having to go all the way to the police department. And instead of placing in on the desk, I apparently hurled it through the window (I jumped after it in a futile attempt to catch it mid-flight, thankfully I have cyber-enhancements that help me land without damage). Anyway, now I have a broken window in front of my desk, and a paper tray laying in the street, 14 floors down from my office.

Solved a crime the following day. You fill up a form with the culprit identity, crime weapon, etc, and the game directs you to the nearest place to submit it. It directed me to that paper tray, still there, middle in the street, in a puddle under the rain. Placed the sheet of paper there, got credited for my investigation. Then entered the building and took the lift up for a good sleep.

All in all, not a bad session. I've reached a social status of 7 out of 8 (at eight, you earn the right to retire and leave the city for greener solyient pastures). I managed to catch up with all the progress I had lost last time (when, after a succesful arrest, I had jumped down six floors out of sheer laziness, completely forgetting that I hadn't yet installed the safe landing implants).

What I'm saying is that the stuff that happen in that game is refreshingly different from the stuff that happens in the other games.

Also that it's so cyberpunk that you always shower with your clothes on. I'm thankful for that.
 
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