I played a demo of this at GDC and it was awful. It just seemed really dumb and I felt that I couldn't do anything. I was wrong!
I picked this up on a trip over the summer in Italy. I gambled that it would work in English (it did!) so that was a huge sigh of relief.
I played the Engineer tutorial which was fun and then decided I'd jump online to play with some other people. I must have spent 20 minutes or so in the lobby waiting - at most there were two other people, which might have been on Rifts? I wonder because they had hands they could move around (it took 5 minutes for one to make rude gestures). But, maybe they were using PSMove controls? I was using a controller and deliberately stayed quiet - though, as noted by one of the randos, he could hear my breathing. Oh well. I never did get that multiplayer match.
Fortunately, there's a campaign so I played the first mission of that. I had to bail because, not having done the captain tutorial, I got to a point where I was unable to figure out how to proceed (UI wise). The tutorial sorted me out, it was a dumb thing but I was ready to go! It was a fun, albeit easy, mission. The Kobayashi Maru! Weird choice for your first mission, but it was a simulation (within the game), so it makes sense from the training perspective?
Anyways, I'm looking forward to some more missions....
I started playing this a loooong time ago, but never finished or got too far. I don't know why, other than perhaps something else - more exciting at the moment - came along. I also neglected to write anything about the experience so here goes for a more recent play session.
I thought I'd play some more - at least finish one play through - because the unplayed pile of shame is very large. I'm surprised by how easily I was able to get back in. The game does a good job of reminding you of prior choices and important scenes. I also recalled being confused about the flashback scene. It's one where you play a few girls who are running away and then they die. They were being bullied, apparently by all the different characters you play now. I was confused for a moment because the flashback scene was inside the cabin and the scene I played had me...trying to get into the cabin. Anyways, it all made sense in the end.
I found a few more totems - that trigger partial flash-forward scenes. Somehow I should be able to make sense of them to avoid/prevent what they refer to. I'm not sure how that will work out, to be honest. At this point I have one section of each of the totems.
I've also been picking clues - again, I'm not sure how they will come into play. I'm guessing they might affect future events in some way? For example, I found a baseball bat - and there was a message alerting me that, it mattered somehow (it was one of those butterfly messages where things go one way or another).
I'm curious to know how the clues and totems play out and whether or not its possible to "get everything" in one playthrough? I'm guessing not - and I'm surprised by how many clues it seems I've missed so far...
There's a special pleasure to playing a game you know is hard, it kicks your butt...and then you get better!
I wouldn't say that I'm particularly good at the game (other than the fact that my scores were better than my two other PSN friends who had played the game, based on what the game loaded in) but I feel like I got better, which I think is the main point.
(it's pretty clear that I'm not super good because I was only able to get 3 stars on three levels - after trying a lot, from "regular" play I never got more than 2 stars)
I'm not sure how this incarnation of geometry wars compares to earlier ones, but I'm really surprised by how much the shape (topology?) of the environment affects the play experience. It would seem that playing on a sphere, cube, pill, peanut, rectangle would mostly be the same, but it was not. I noticed that each shape required that I try out different tactics to succeed in a way I was not expecting - in great part I think it has to do with how different playfields have different line of sight (e.g. being able to shoot/kill enemies that are out of your line of sight) and as you move around you might inadvertedly die/lose a life to an enemy that was just over the horizon and you ran into. It also affects how much you have to pay attention to what's going on - some environments have corners you can hide in, others might have more open space you can dodge and weave around and so on. I almost want to say that the surface area you can cover with bullets varies as well...
I got reasonably far - enough to unlock a few drones, upgrade others, get some drone supers, etc.
And I really, really enjoyed how varied the experience was across the (25 or so?) levels I played. In the beginning I had decided that my goal was to clear the first boss. Given how poorly I did in the beginning this looked like a really hard goal. But, as I got better (and understood how the score system worked) I just kept going. Each new level had a new wrinkle or variation that seemed interesting and exciting to try out. So I did. Sometimes it was the level goals (get a score in X time, get a score at least X in one life), sometimes it was the topology of the playfield, other times it was specific settings - like the level with an "infection" that multiplied stuff you had to kill for no points or the one where you couldn't shoot, but could activate mines (which you had to do strategically in order to take out enemies that dropped score multipliers without which it's impossible to get the target score).
I think I'm adding this one to my list of games to refer students to as a case study for interesting variations on a solid gameplay core. It also highlights how score systems and game goals can drive the experience in super important ways.
Last time I played I saved in the middle of a race - I was surprised that the race was going to be long...and being able to save mid-race was a surprise and a boon.
Yesterday I booted this up with the intention to finish the race I had started. It's been a while since I first played and I don't think I remembered any of the things I had learned in the tutorial. I assumed that a quick look at the controller layout would help me get going and how poorly could I do in a race that was at least 150km!
I was in for a surprise - but it didn't have anything to do with the race. When the game loaded I was looking at a screen I hadn't seen before and one in which I could give instructions to my team(!) AND in which I could fast-forward the race. So, I didn't need to pedal or anything just...hold down fast-forward and watch the race play out...
I assumed that the FF would only go until the bit I had saved at and that I would then be forced to assume direct control of the cyclist...but no! I ran the entire race in a few minutes (even at high speed!). And...that was that! I don't even know how I placed. Clearly there was a lot still to learn - but also, clearly, this was not the sort of game I was terribly interested in playing. But, I'm still intrigued by how the game mixes the simulation part of managing a team during a really long race and the individual aspects. I'm not sure I could handle cycling the entire race...and I'm not sure how you could learn what goes into that without having to replay the race over, and over, and over.
Yes, there are series of challenges you can do, but AFAIK those only really help with the micro- skills. I'm not sure how'd you'd get to the macro skills. When I first started the race I wondered how to know if I was using up too much of my energy or if I should focus on staying with the pack, for how long, etc? I'm not sure I could do a race and at the end of it all be able to understand what I did wrong (if I didn't win) or what I could have done better...