Zero Punctuation: The Witness & Bombshell

Canadamus Prime

Robot in Disguise
Jun 17, 2009
14,334
0
0
So is Bombshell just supposed to be a gender swapped Duke Nukem? 'Cause that's the impression of getting.
 

Darth_Payn

New member
Aug 5, 2009
2,868
0
0
I haven't heard of The Witness until Critical Miss was using it for joke fodder, while inadequately explaining what it IS, so I'm glad Yahtzee eviscerated it. And it's from the guy who made Braid, too? That's extra icing on the cake. Wow, he sucks.
 

monkeymangler

New member
Feb 9, 2016
212
0
0
scw55 said:
So, how many aliens does it take to change a lightbulb?
"Their whole race! One to change the lightbulb and the rest to die. Then the other one dies too.
...
Stop ignoring me."
 

Johnny Novgorod

Bebop Man
Legacy
Apr 10, 2020
16,998
1,069
118
Country
Argentina
Didn't Yahtzee swear he wouldn't do Steam combos anymore and instead do a proper ZP no matter how small/indie the game?
 

Amaror

New member
Apr 15, 2011
1,509
0
0
Starker said:
The tutorials are not there just to teach you the rules, they are also there so that you can experiment with them and test the rules to figure them out by yourself. The game is gated away metroidvania style and the knowledge in your head is the key to unlocking shortcuts and access. That lack of handholding is probably one of the best parts of the game. The game gives you all the tools that you need -- it's up to you to find the knowledge and use it.

SPOILERS

Also, as far as puzzles making use of the environment is concerned, there are puzzles that require you to frame a puzzle a certain way in the environment, there are puzzles that use reflections, there are puzzles that play around with colour filters, there are puzzles that use sound, there are puzzles that use shadows.

/SPOILERS

Dismissing the game as having one single puzzle that could've been done as a smartphone game is one of the more ignorant criticisms of the game that I've seen bandied about. Drawing lines is just the input method and the puzzles itself are far more clever, far more varied and far more involved than that. If it was a smartphone game, it wouldn't exist.

Anyway, whether you'll like the game or not probably depends on whether you like puzzle games because of the story and see puzzles mainly as an obstacle in way of the content or whether you like puzzle games because you like the satisfaction that you get from solving cleverly done puzzles and see nothing wrong with the reward for solving puzzles being more puzzles. If it's the former, this game is probably your anti-game and you should stay away as if it was a pit of cacti with those barbed needles that stick in your skin, but if it's the latter, chances are good that The Witness is so much your jam that you can just jump right in and roll around it all day long.
Ok, first of all: To make spoilers you do this without the spaces
[ spoiler]
[ /spoiler]
not what you did.
Second of all: I agreed with you. I think you meant to reply to the guy that I was replying to.
 

Adam Locking

New member
Aug 10, 2012
220
0
0
thanatos388 said:
Adam Locking said:
I'm really surprised, I thought The Witness would be Yahtzee's kind of game. I also find it a bit odd that he suggests the puzzles and the environment never have any interaction with each other, yeah it's not like Portal and Myst (with the possible exception of the last bit which he admitted to not playing) but the two do still rely on each other to quite a large extent. I guess the game is just really divisive that way.
I haven't seen the whole game but the interaction it has with the hub world didn't seem really in depth to me. Sure you solve puzzles that move boats and platforms but those aren't really puzzles as much as they just slightly more complicated buttons. Then there's the puzzles that require you to walk on specific parts of the world based on the puzzle solution. But that's not a puzzle that's just memorization. You either remember or you don't or you're smart and just take a picture and know where to go. Oh and some puzzles I guess have hints in the environment but that's so abstract it seemed like padding to me. Like, it wasn't solved because you're smart but because you brute forced your way until you solve it and see what the specific solution was. And the puzzles themselves are only hard because you don't know what problem you're solving half of the time. You can complete tutorials without really learning all the rules so you get stuck and that just seems like bad game design to me.
I have to disagree with pretty much all of this (although you do kinda have a point with the puzzles-that-move-platforms thing). The hints in the environment are rarely abstract and worked really well, and I never found myself brute-forcing a puzzle. If I didn't get it, I either went to another area to find an answer, or looked over what was already there to try and find the pattern. The game is VERY tough (it took my wife and I working as a team for over 40 hours to reach the end) but also fair.

The final area of the game has a couple of puzzles that fully take advantage of the environment in an organic way. You find a puzzle where the line draws itself out across the ravine in-front of you like a light-bridge from Portal 2, so you have to make it so you can walk past the obstacle, as well as solving the puzzle. The next room doubles down on this: each side of the room has a panel and draws it's own bridge, and you have to keep drawing lines which pass each other to keep moving back and forth until you can finally move one of them to the exit. This happens very organically and is a logical extension of everything that's come before.

Also, the hub-world acts as a treasure hunt of sorts. If you look in the environment, you can find hidden mazes occurring in everything from the dirt paths to patches of flowers, and getting them all is the key to 100%ing the game. I'm not sure what you get for doing this (still got about a dozen of them to find) but it's a large part of the game.

But hey, that's just my opinion as someone who really likes puzzles (from Portal to Sudokus). I can totally understand why a lot of people really wouldn't like the game.
 

M0rp43vs

Most Refined Escapist
Jul 4, 2008
2,249
0
0
Johnny Novgorod said:
Didn't Yahtzee swear he wouldn't do Steam combos anymore and instead do a proper ZP no matter how small/indie the game?
When the games deserve it I guess. These... didn't. Plus, can 3D realms be considered indie?

I honestly thought Bombshell was never gonna come out. I thought it was just a trailer/ character concept joke thing. I seriously didn't know a game was gonna come out attached to it.

Also, I was surprised to hear Yahtzee tearing into The Witness. A couple of guys whose opinions I trust went on about how it's the best puzzle game ever, no hyperbole a while back. Now I don't know what to believe.
 

scw55

New member
Nov 18, 2009
1,185
0
0
monkeymangler said:
scw55 said:
So, how many aliens does it take to change a lightbulb?
"Their whole race! One to change the lightbulb and the rest to die. Then the other one dies too.
...
Stop ignoring me."
Sounds like a 13 year old who is trying to be friends with older children by saying the same joke again and again, and not realising that these group of children are really not worth being friends with.
 

Starker

New member
Mar 17, 2011
47
0
0
Amaror said:
Ok, first of all: To make spoilers you do this without the spaces
[ spoiler]
[ /spoiler]
not what you did.
Second of all: I agreed with you. I think you meant to reply to the guy that I was replying to.
Thank you. Yeah, I wasn't disagreeing with you, I was just adding to what you said. Could have been clearer about that.
 

SirSullymore

New member
Mar 26, 2009
423
0
0
Steve the Pocket said:
Is 3D Realms actually still a company, and not just a brand name someone bought out to slap on someone else's product (like Apogee was)?
Or is it the video game equivalent to Alan Smithee?
 

ToastyMozart

New member
Mar 13, 2012
224
0
0
canadamus_prime said:
So is Bombshell just supposed to be a gender swapped Duke Nukem? 'Cause that's the impression of getting.
It's like a genderswapped Duke Nukem who's violently insecure about it.
 

nitrium oxide

New member
Jun 10, 2011
31
0
0
IMO the ending (especially the "secret" ending) to The Witness is the biggest pile of wank in the entire history of gaming. Yahtzee actually did himself a favour not bothering with completing it.
 

Canadamus Prime

Robot in Disguise
Jun 17, 2009
14,334
0
0
slo said:
canadamus_prime said:
So is Bombshell just supposed to be a gender swapped Duke Nukem? 'Cause that's the impression of getting.
Eh, no. Her main establishing characteristic is that she's a failure. That't not duchess material.

When crafting Shelly, we thought about what would define her as an individual. And as a soldier. And we worked backwards from there. She lost her arm, what impact might that have on her psyche? What kinds of adversity might she have faced in the GDF, and how did her failure at the Institute impact her reputation? How might she act and dress in the face of that adversity? What kinds of challenges would she encounter on the journey to her triumphant return? How did this journey shape who she is today?
ToastyMozart said:
canadamus_prime said:
So is Bombshell just supposed to be a gender swapped Duke Nukem? 'Cause that's the impression of getting.
It's like a genderswapped Duke Nukem who's violently insecure about it.
I should mention that this is the first I've heard of this game so Yahtzee's description is the only impression I've gotten so far.
 

davidbarron

New member
Feb 13, 2016
1
0
0
I have been tuning in to these weekly since 2007, and this is the first time I've felt compelled to make an account and comment. Even when I disagree with him, Ben Croshaw's writing, commentary and verbal wit have been a constant source of joy for me. It's also weirdly the only thing I've done consistently since 2007, whatever that means.

Anyway, I was so totally convinced that Yahtzee was going to love The Witness. How couldn't he? It's brilliant - he's brilliant, here comes the sure-thing sounding board reinforcement I was certain to get. Not so, and of course I laughed anyway. But I can't help but feel he missed out on something. This is the same feeling I had about Dark Souls, a game which also initially discouraged me into putting it down. But then I found myself thinking about it at odd times over the span of a whole year, basically being haunted by Dark Souls, so I went back and conquered what is now arguably my favorite video game ever. When Yahtzee also gave it a second chance and flipped to the dark side, I literally yawped with vindication (I hope he's done the same with Demon's Souls and the Bloodborne content he missed).

But I don't think that's possible here. Even if he went back later to play it, the brilliance of The Witness is what happens in your mind the first time you play it. I'm going to make an assumption here, which could be totally wrong. I think Yahtzee consulted a FAQ on how the puzzles work. I wouldn't blame him, he's a busy man with a ridiculously high ouput of funny and thoughtful content of various media. I'm sure he doesn't have the time to play a game where you just stare at something alien for eternity until something finally clicks. His complaint that there weren't any turorials seemed strange, because there definitely are tutorials. They're just built into the game. (Also, did he find any of the environmental puzzles? In addition to those, many of the puzzles are directly linked to environment and observation, so how could he think the puzzles and world are so dislocated?)

Like Dark Souls, The Witness is one of the most carefully crafted and deceptively simple games ever. Both are about eureka moments, exploration, careful pondering of artifacts and story told through environment. But if your first experience with The Witness is a joyless sprint without stopping to appreciate the hidden layers of meaning, and if you spoil the experience at all by looking up things your brain was supposed to have put together intuitively, then I don't think there can be a proper reassessment. Not that there needs to be. Mr. Croshaw is doing just fine without sharing my opinion of Jonathan Blow. But it does make me a little sad that one of the smartest and funniest people I know may have missed out on a truly idiosyncratic and brilliant video game experience.
 

iller3

New member
Nov 5, 2014
154
0
0
canadamus_prime said:
So is Bombshell just supposed to be a gender swapped Duke Nukem? 'Cause that's the impression of getting.
Well if that's the case then I'm left wondering what exactly is a strong MALE character then that's not the same Carbon-Copy we've seen a million times?

...I mean besides Indiana Jones who is only a good character because he can actually be seen REACTING to a totally tits-up scary situation. ...and then in some cases doing exactly what we always do as gamers: saying "Screw This" and cheesing our way around the overly dramatic setup. I just can't think of lead characters in gaming that even comes close or how you'd even begin to transport that to a female personality
 

Canadamus Prime

Robot in Disguise
Jun 17, 2009
14,334
0
0
iller3 said:
canadamus_prime said:
So is Bombshell just supposed to be a gender swapped Duke Nukem? 'Cause that's the impression of getting.
Well if that's the case then I'm left wondering what exactly is a strong MALE character then that's not the same Carbon-Copy we've seen a million times?

...I mean besides Indiana Jones who is only a good character because he can actually be seen REACTING to a totally tits-up scary situation. ...and then in some cases doing exactly what we always do as gamers: saying "Screw This" and cheesing our way around the overly dramatic setup. I just can't think of lead characters in gaming that even comes close or how you'd even begin to transport that to a female personality
0_o I'm not sure why you're quoting me. I didn't say anything about strong characters. Although I wouldn't call Duke Nukem a strong character (and by "strong" I mean well developed) so a gender swapped version of that probably wouldn't be a very strong character either.
 

Blinkled

New member
Feb 14, 2016
2
0
0
As a game I have poured 70 hours into, and have completely fallen in love with, I feel the need to defend The Witness. Yes, it is pretty much puzzles for puzzles' sake. There is a story, given through hidden audio tapes that is quite frankly so far up it's own ass I choose to pretend it doesn't exist (and chances are you'll completely miss it anyway) and the ending is pretty much non-existent. The reason I love the game is because the puzzles are incredibly clever, and quite varied. Yahtzee's claim that the puzzles and environment are completely separate is pretty unfair. Out of the 11 main areas of the game, only 4 of them are straight line puzzle solving. The others all require interacting with the environment in some way. Things like using the sun's reflection to reveal a solution, listening to birds chirping, looking at it through the roots of a tree, or following shadows cast from above. You also have puzzles with multiple solutions that can redirect the direction of a bridge, rotate platforms, change the direction of mirrors, change the floor of elevators, etc. And the final challenge of the game (fittingly called "the challenge") besides being extremely difficult was a moment so cool that I still haven't stopped thinking about it.

Overall, it's definitely not a game for everybody, but there's much more to it than "solving the same puzzle over and over".
 

Blood Brain Barrier

New member
Nov 21, 2011
2,004
0
0
Michael Prymula said:
davidbarron said:
I have been tuning in to these weekly since 2007, and this is the first time I've felt compelled to make an account and comment. Even when I disagree with him, Ben Croshaw's writing, commentary and verbal wit have been a constant source of joy for me. It's also weirdly the only thing I've done consistently since 2007, whatever that means.

Anyway, I was so totally convinced that Yahtzee was going to love The Witness. How couldn't he? It's brilliant - he's brilliant, here comes the sure-thing sounding board reinforcement I was certain to get. Not so, and of course I laughed anyway. But I can't help but feel he missed out on something. This is the same feeling I had about Dark Souls, a game which also initially discouraged me into putting it down. But then I found myself thinking about it at odd times over the span of a whole year, basically being haunted by Dark Souls, so I went back and conquered what is now arguably my favorite video game ever. When Yahtzee also gave it a second chance and flipped to the dark side, I literally yawped with vindication (I hope he's done the same with Demon's Souls and the Bloodborne content he missed).

But I don't think that's possible here. Even if he went back later to play it, the brilliance of The Witness is what happens in your mind the first time you play it. I'm going to make an assumption here, which could be totally wrong. I think Yahtzee consulted a FAQ on how the puzzles work. I wouldn't blame him, he's a busy man with a ridiculously high ouput of funny and thoughtful content of various media. I'm sure he doesn't have the time to play a game where you just stare at something alien for eternity until something finally clicks. His complaint that there weren't any turorials seemed strange, because there definitely are tutorials. They're just built into the game. (Also, did he find any of the environmental puzzles? In addition to those, many of the puzzles are directly linked to environment and observation, so how could he think the puzzles and world are so dislocated?)

Like Dark Souls, The Witness is one of the most carefully crafted and deceptively simple games ever. Both are about eureka moments, exploration, careful pondering of artifacts and story told through environment. But if your first experience with The Witness is a joyless sprint without stopping to appreciate the hidden layers of meaning, and if you spoil the experience at all by looking up things your brain was supposed to have put together intuitively, then I don't think there can be a proper reassessment. Not that there needs to be. Mr. Croshaw is doing just fine without sharing my opinion of Jonathan Blow. But it does make me a little sad that one of the smartest and funniest people I know may have missed out on a truly idiosyncratic and brilliant video game experience.
I don't think he did miss out, and I knew Yahtzee wouldn't like the Witness as he's not big on puzzles, especially the same one repeated dozens and dozens of times.
There is no repetition in The Witness. Each puzzle and type of puzzle is completely different. I think Yahtzee maybe spent an hour max on the game. I used to like his reviews but this one is absolutely terrible. "The puzzles don't integrate with the environment"? What game was he playing? They integrate more than any other game I've played. Disappointing.