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  1. Taking a HOLIDAY SPECIALS break from TerroirNoir's Cable Channel of AE Reviews Part 1 and TerroirNoir's Cable Channel of AE Reviews Part 2 Engineria is going out to have some fun! First up we'll be looking at The Christmas Contagion by @Shocktacular. Mission 1: A Gift from the Christmas Dimension. Well, here I am at Portal Corp, chatting to a rather worried looking intern. Very worried. She's, what's the word? Spaced? A bit spaced. It seems things went a bit awry when Dr. Clement returned from the Christmas Dimension. Yeah, there's one of those. Imagine those year round Christmas stores, and then multiply out to fill a whole dimension. Oh, my teeth ache thinking about it. So Clement brought back some eggnog and said it was DA BEST EVAH EGGNOG. Aren't there procedures for things like that, especially when you're not a super? Like quarantine? Apparently not. So everyone except my friend the intern had some, because of course someone had to monitor the official stuff. And then everyone started singing. And then they...changed. And started tearing the place apart. Kept on going on about 5 GOLD RINGS. (4 calling birds, blah blah blah blah, and Engineria's holiday gets ruined) Off to Portal Corps to sort this out then. Oh, what's that I hear? Fills you with the spirit of the season, doesn't it? Ok, we have an Eggnogger, a Jolly Imp, a Jolly Rascal, Frosty...and more besides. And that device is a Golden Ring apparently. Well, let's see about getting rid of it. Ok, these ...people, are deranged. I mean totally so. And quite dangerous too. It takes me a bit to fight them off, which got tricky when the Eggnogger summoned ZOMBIES! Because there's nothing that says Christmas like the UNDEAD. Ok, whew, catch my breath and move around the corner. I run into another gang, with a Yule Logger, who is a burly guy who tries to set me on fire. And if you've followed my adventures in other places you know that's one of my least favorite things. And an Ornamentalist. I dunno. Strange. Anyway, I clear them and take their magic box away, cue more wailing and gnashing of milk duds, and on up to the mezzanine, where I find another Golden Ring. With JOLLY people around it. And I stick on Kinetics Repel (slotted for Knockdown) and they crash and bounce around me as I irradiate the lot of them. Cheer up gang! Radiation is GREEN, and your blood is RED! SO SEASONAL! And that last Yule Logger REALLY wants to set me on fire. Nope, not having that. On to the next floor and I have 2 more of these Gold Rings to find, and Dr. Clement to subdue. And there's the Doc. Looking all Jolly and Happy. If people in the Christmas Dimension are like this all the time, I reckon they're probably insane. Now I'm not a counsellor or anything but I'll just leave that opinion there. GET THE HELL OFF ME! NO, I do NOT want eggnog! Or whatever else you're peddling. Second verse, same as the first! So bouncy repel on, and rad blast the lot of them until they stop moving. If it twitches it gets shot. Yeah, that means you, Jolly Imp. And I just found an enchanted Santa hat. The label says it's the property of Christmas Spirit, and to return if found. Ok, then. Put a pin in that for later. I clear up the last 2 Gold Rings and then head back out to have a chat with the only sane, though nervous, Portal Corp employee. My little intern friend. She's somehow surprised that I did it. (You need to read my adventures, Missy) and also, the weird jollity hasn't stopped. But the hat? That seems to be a clue as to what's going on. [Mission 1 = Madness! Elves and Redcaps and Zombies, oh my! Crazy short romp. Enjoyed that!] Mission 2: The Spirit of the Season. The intern is distraught! Christmas Spirit is one of her favorite heroes and if she's gone to wherever to sort things out, and lost her hat along the way, then she needs (a) help or (b) rescuing. Possibly both. Looks like I'm looking for Christmas Spirit then. I'm resisting the urge to change my uniform colors. Really resisting. Well here I am, in...somewhere. And it's less snowy and tree laden than I expected. Much less so. In fact it's a bit creepy. Then again, eternal Jollification itself is a bit creepy. I wade down through the melted snow, slush now I suppose, and glitter sticks to my boots and everything smells of cinnamon. Now, I like cinnamon usually, but it's starting to smell of human sacrifice right now, so let's keep moving. And there's my target. Hello Christmas Spirit. You're looking a little outnumbered. Let's even that up a bit. Takes a bit longer than I expected, since I accidentally flung one of them over the edge with a Plasmatic Taser. So, a little bit of hunting around the pools of water in the bottom of the cavern, along with dealing with a stray zombie loving Eggnogger, and I'm back up to see Christmas Spirit. Christmas Spirit overheard them speaking about "The Jollifier". He'll be mad at them others for losing the Golden Rings. Ok, looks like the Jollifier is top of our list then. Oh, you're coming with me, Christmas Spirit? Well cool. The pair of us go looking for the Jollifier, dealing with a Frosty and Candy Cain with his murder stick along the way. And there ahead of us is the Jollifier. Well, he looks a lot like Santa. I mean, is dressed a lot like Santa. Yeah, that's a more accurate way of describing him. So in we go and dontcha know, he's not as jolly as you might think. In fact he appears to be a right old grump. World domination? Coal? Well in today's eco-friendly state, threatening someone with a fossil fuel is practically murder, yeah? Yeah. Have a radiation blast! (I've been told nuclear power is "green", I mean outside of the color) So Christmas Spirit and Engineria defeated the Jollifier and found a vial shaped like a Christmas tree on him. It's filled with the Christmas Contagion and was probably used to spike the eggnog Dr. Clement had. I'm sure someone can reverse engineer an antidote for that. So, I return to see the intern. Yep, a cure can be made and used in the food. All's well that ends well, and ...Merry Christmas Everyone! [Mission 2 = Just another romp through Christmas themed lunacy. Lots of fun.] Verdict. Yeah, as long as you're expecting a romp and not longing for a deep exploration of game lore and ongoing plot, then this delivers the goods. Fun! Next up on TerroirNoir Presents "Engineria's Holiday Specials" is The Yule Lads by @CurlyJim (@B'Hed on the AE console)
  2. I said a while ago that I wanted to play through several of the long form stories that are available in the AE and do a little (mostly spoiler free) review of each. I say review, and there will be a bit of that, but mostly it's going to be a sort of in character playthrough of all of these. The plan is to play Part One (or equivalently named) of the following stories, alternating through them as though having your own TV channel. So the stories lined up so far are "All That Glitters" by @Ankylosaur, "Ordinary People", "Leviathan" and "Mobius" by @cranebump and "Dark Deeds in Galaxy City" by @Darmian. (I may add more by each writer in an attempt to even out the number of arcs, we will see) Each writer has put extensive work into these things, spanning 40+ missions in some cases(!) So without further ado, let's begin with @Ankylosaur's "All That Glitters 1.1: Missing in Mercy". Mission 1. Showing Mercy. Well, here I am, little Engineria, a Rad Blast/Kin Science Corruptor, recruited by Hornet of Wyvern to extract a famed contact, THE Matthew Burke no less, and get him out of Mercy Isle. What could go wrong? Hornet HAS just warned me about Hellions and Skulls and Snakes, oh my! Off I go. And already I hit snakes! Nasty, spitty, stabby things! Fortunately they do not like Rad (who does?) Already @Ankylosaur does a nice little thing here. I just defeated a boss and their clue drop is marked as a "Sidequest", giving a link to another of their AEs, building a larger shared world where all this happens. Apart from the larger shared world we're already in that is. Still no sign of Burke though, but this map isn't big so he's probably around the next corner! And there he is, being menaced by a Viper. One rescue later and off we go to the Mission Exit. Fortunately Burke seems pretty speedy and I didn't lose him. Kinetics' Siphon Speed, when still in effect on you, can easily cause you to lose an escort or ally. Time for a debrief with Hornet. Burke seems thankful and hands out some info on a super scientist who also might be in need or rescue or a sponsor group. That'll be Mission 2 then. [Mission1 = short and small and sets up the rest of the arc, at least that's how I'm reading it. Immediate intro to the murkier side of CoX via Wyvern's not 100 percent legal operations and so on. Nicely done.] Mission 2: Mercy Slaying. Hmm, complications already! Burke has not been entirely truthful! He doesn't know where the super scientist is but he knows a guy who might. Time to find THAT guy then. If that guy then knows another guy who knows another guy...LOL. And we have a little bit of subterfuge too, since Wyvern is on the downlow here. Anyway, off we go! Okay then, straight away I meet some Longbow who are friendlies. Well, not enemies yet let's say! I'll just mosey on and find our guy, since he's been yelling stuff since I got here. And just ran into a fight between some Infected and Snakes. By some I mean about 8 of them, so that got a little rough. Poor Infected though, me using Rad Blast on their already frazzled forms seems unfair. I have to say that I always carry some P2W Hand Grenades on me and they're very effective at lower levels, even if it is just for "get the hell away from me!" Follow that up with a Hellion attack, and ROFL, these guys have social issues I think. Still no sign of our contact who may know where the missing scientist is. There's our man! It's Mongoose! And no, he does NOT know where the target is. He's suggesting someone else knows! I know a lot of investigation is footwork and paperwork, so let's slog on! Cue more interrogation of various folk and we discover that our missing scientist was really interested in Dr. Aeon and Candy Bars! Time to report back to Hornet, leaving my contact to have fun with some Longbow! [Mission 2 = looks like I'm in for the long haul! We're continuing the investigation and proceeding on foot. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad thing. Another fast mission that fills out the world a little more.] Mission 3: Mission of Mercy. Well, Hornet's my main contact but now I'm getting instructions/help from Mongoose. With a change of text color I know I'm no longer chatting to Hornet (as well as Mongoose identifying himself). Hornet is following up another lead while Engineria goes hunting elsewhere. Definite moment of a larger plot at work. In we go! Lots of Infected in this place! Had a little issue with them last time, let's be more careful now. I meet up with my Mongoose (one annoyance of AE is having to "rescue" your ally every time as opposed to meeting them inside the door as in a normal mission. Can't be helped though.) Mongoose is going to introduce me to Biopulse, an Infected super. I suppose we can blame him and the few like him for the others. He's the one where drinking the infected water actually DID grant super powers! Found him. He seems to be doing paperwork! Nice little hand off of the player from one Escort to another. Mongoose heads off to, I don't know, kill more snakes? Leaving Biopulse to lead me to another guy who should know where our initial missing scientist is. Ok, this is a nice touch! After meeting Biopulse and being vouched for by Mongoose, the next bunch of Infected I meet all scan as friendlies. Along the way I find several clues and then meet with a Dr. Creed, who informs me that Desslock will help with the next part, since he himself sent our missing scientist to Desslock. Where he went after that is anyone's guess. Okay, due to the nature of AE spawn points I found two clues BEFORE I met Dr. Creed. That happens but they're written as if I had already spoken to Creed. Plus a little bit of missing text here for you @Ankylosaur And Mongoose is outside waiting in his truck for me. Useful! [Mission 3 = Ok, my notion as to the long haul seems accurate. So far the arc is driving investigation as opposed to combat, not a bad thing, Let's see if there's a resolution by the arc's end.] Mission 4: Finding Mercy. Off to find Desslock, a character known to VEATS across the Rogue Isles. Stepping in I get someone called Psicicle calling me for help. Odd, I don't know anyone called Psicicle! A trap! Or not! On we go. No sign of our possible psychic icicle yet, but I find Desslock in trouble. One rescue later and I have to now deal with Olivia Darque! It's getting hectic around here! I get Desslock to the truck but Olivia Darque is preventing our escape and she's not a pushover. Needed to pop several green insps to get through this one! It seems that while our mystery scientist is interested in Dr. Aeon, Dr. Aeon is also interested in our mystery scientist. And now I've also pissed off Marshal Brass somehow. We escape but I never found Psicicle. [Mission 4 = Things are definitely starting to heat up now. Desslock is recovered and we're heading into the finale of this arc.] Mission 5: Merciful Good Byes. We learned in Mission 4 that Desslock had secured a Longbow uniform for our missing guy, who then presented himself at Fort Darwin. I don't know whether this guy is really a genius or an idiot. Let's find out. This one is simple. We need to inspect flight manifests to find where the hell our fugitive vanished to. The theory is he just donned a Longbow uniform and boarded a flight out of Mercy. And that was fast. Everyone was friendly, I grab the manifest from the correct flier and head off with Hornet. We still haven't found our elusive scientist but it looks like we'll be heading to Port Oakes for Part Two, and a meeting with another Wyvern agent named Ollerus. [Mission 5 = Fast and to the point.] Overall I've enjoyed this arc. It spreads its detail out over the entire 5 missions, with snatches of world building and meeting of contacts, some of whom I'll probably meet again along the way. Other arcs would have covered the same amount of investigation in perhaps one or two missions. I can't say which is better, that will be a matter of personal taste for each player, but @Ankylosaur doesn't have long winding maps and so on to drag out the information drops further, so there's no frustration at not finding a contact or clue as time passes. Despite this I would pace things a little faster myself though. Verdict: Good introduction and our next episode will be All That Glitters 1.2: Piracy in Port Oakes. Next up on TerroirNoir's Cable Channel of AE Reviews is, after the commercials of course, @cranebump's Ordinary People 1: Standard Operating Procedure.
  3. Thanks to the limits of attachment uploads I can't continue my reviews I started here: So I'm continuing them here. Hope it's not confusing. So @Ankylosaur, @cranebump, @Darmian and @Zhym, here's where the rest of them will be. And anyone else who cares to follow Engineria's progress.
  4. So, if anybody's wondered where I've been (in-game), this is one of the places lately. I'm still learning the game mechanics and such as does anyone on their first play through. I can see the NV aspects loud and clear, but there's a few Fallout things they could have added. I find myself saving way too often because I'm trying to keep my nose the appearance of clean, but it's too easy to get caught. More to say, but this is a start for those who've already done so. My Observations: Your health sucks at first and armor only partially helps when not 1:1 While zones may be level based (not sure yet), IDK HOW many times I was too easily overwhelmed by animal types in combat Yes, you have stats, perks, etc that'll eventually help, but you'll get your butt kicked if you're not planning ahead and even then you may miss something The game must assume that you're taking responsibility to Constantly check your surroundings, especially during a fight This is while playing without a helper NPC You Can heal during the fight and even Pause to heal during the fight, but your first play is going to be a rude awakening until you understand it Unlike the Fallout games, there's no "easy" indicator that you're hidden when trying to say pick a lock The game has a way to tell you, but it's one of those things where you generally can't pick the lock And know you're still hidden at the same time Sometimes you Think you're hidden, but you're not and That is near impossible to tell quite often Most of the above is likely a side effect of being spoiled as it's actually more realistic Saving Auto-Save is a thing and works for most situations Save before you do ANYTHING that could change the perception others have of you if that's something you care about Save before you venture anywhere new as it's easy to get into trouble/dead Save DURING your dialog choices. I've not quite tested this, but trying to follow the logic of dialogs can be rather acrobatic. I've found that while not truly dynamic, your choices can easily remove past options even though you're presented choices. Many RPGs at least have a static set of choices, so this could simply be a more realistic methodology and someone needs to learn to adapt. Mods Honestly, while I don't hate them, they can cause me a headache sometimes (like trying to understand Enh here for the uninitiated) They're not reusable. Once they're in, the next one you place basically overwrites the first They're easy enough to get, so don't stress so much about getting what you want Buying/Selling Crap is expensive to buy and you get even worse back when selling/recycling You can buyback what you sell, but IDK if that only extends to that vender and/or that transaction, time wise Junk / Scrap Can be confusing as it doesn't keep that designation if you choose to change it In most games, something that's only there to sell stays in that category. Here I can designate something to be junk or the reverse at will. This makes it too easy to forget that something has no other value It's easy to bulk sell Armor There are no Light/Medium/Heavy armor Classes. IE: Anyone can wear anything Everything has weight and the above doesn't relate to that L/M/H actually refer to the Density of the Armor and affect the ability to mod it as well as the stats it already comes with Shops do appear to have specific level scales that are locked, but the variety may change as you buy things Keep a spare set for swapping between characters as you can't just remove something from a helper character (yes, I know I simply forget the term) They take repairable damage, but do so rather easily Weapons Anyone can use anything (I think), but I 'believe' that some do better with some weapons. IE: I've observed that helper characters begin with different types of weapons, but all characters start with a Melee and a Ranged weapon They can be modded, but not as much as Armor They take repairable damage, but do so rather easily Consumables This is what gets me the most as you can't group things the way I'd like. You can sort many ways, but not by type/effect which would be WAY more helpful than say by name I really can't tell (yet?) when something has warn off or if it's necessarily being effective during combat beyond seeing my bars go up (if I'm looking) All but ammo have weight and it adds up Try as I might, I've yet to become over encumbered, but that's likely because I've been scrapping/breaking down/selling constantly It's easy to sell something you didn't mean to, so as a tip, I'd recommend marking something as junk first so that it gets moved to that folder for quick sale Visuals You're in first person during most of your playthrough. Sure, you can do a photo like mode, but while playing (most tasks) you're looking through their eyes Nothing overly pretty, but it's Fallout / Borderlands quality Combat No VATS, but you get a limited Slow-Mo type helper It can be hard to tell between things at a distance, especially enemies as there's not a consistent reticle or general outline to point out that this is something to pay attention to Melee is going to piss you off on smaller targets There is NO locking on a target and sway is a thing, but not horrible
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