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Review RPG Codex Review: The Long Journey Home

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Daedalic Entertainment; The Long Journey Home

    Daedalic Entertainment's The Long Journey Home was released just nine days ago, but with E3 coming up it already feels like a thing of the past. During its five or so days of fame, the game continued to be divisive, with a parade of harsh reviews criticizing it for overly difficult and repetitive gameplay. But it also found an audience of players who appreciated what it was trying to do. Among these was the Codex's own oasis789, whose enthusiasm for the game in the weeks leading up to its release made him an obvious choice to write our review. Here's his take on The Long Journey Home's mainstream reception - and how Daedalic chose to handle it:

    At this point it seems appropriate to mention complaints that the game is too hard and too much of a repetitive grind, so that the moments of fun are too few and far between. I will suggest here that 1) it is very easy to confuse playing a game badly with playing a bad game, and 2) it is precisely the degree and variety of challenges that make the game fun.

    Most of this criticism about difficulty and repetitiveness is directed at the space combat and lander minigames. In combat, you control the Daedalus from the top-down on a two-dimensional field, boosting away from enemy missiles, turning if your shields are down on one side, charging up the laser battery, and lining the ship up for a broadside shot. On planets, you control the lander on a side-scrolling landscape, firing top and bottom thrusters to land safely on points of interest, where you may drill for resources, scavenge shipwrecks, or capture wildlife. It is true that the combat in TLJH is not as elegant as more action-oriented titles like Starsector, and its focus on broadside maneuvering is awkward and takes a great deal of finesse to succeed in. But the Daedalus is not a warship, and TLJH is not about combat, which is almost always a bad idea and best to be avoided. Even if the shooting starts, a wise player beats a hasty retreat and does not stick around to shoot back unless absolutely necessary. It is also true that the lander is hard to control, especially when one has to struggle with gravity and strong winds, or under the pressure of limited fuel, scorching temperatures, bad weather or violent turbulence. But there are various ways of making the lander easier to handle and more resilient to hazardous conditions, and the wise player does not attempt to land on every planet either. So I can only interpret much of this criticism as being more revealing about the critic than that which is being critiqued.

    To give a concrete example, consider that players may, against the express advice given in the tutorial that refining is generally not as efficient as trade, opt to be a subsistence miner, landing on every planet and drilling and siphoning as much as possible, and refining the resources for repairs and fuel. Upon discovering that such an approach will cost more in damage to the lander and injuries to the pilot, the sane response is not to keep doing the same thing and expect different results, but to think carefully about which planets are safe to land on, and what resources are worth risking damage for. Then plan a course to systems where you are most likely to find such planets and resources. Then experiment to discover which aliens prefer which resources, that some types of resources are more valuable than others, and that the best trades do not involve anything that requires drilling or siphoning. Then adapt to change those plans when one only finds planets poor in riches or dangerous to approach or land on, or poor trading partners who do not take well to price negotiation. The game does not explicitly tell you how to do any of these things, but it does not seem unreasonable for players with common sense to figure it out for themselves.

    Consider combat. Players are very likely to be attacked by all sorts of enemies for all kinds of reasons, but fighting them all will only end up damaging the ship if not destroying it completely, and one generally does not gain much from victory either. Various approaches to this problem include staying far away and hoping they do not notice your presence in the system, and if they set a course to intercept you, you can boost away. If they do intercept you, you can do as they ask, maybe pay them off, and go about your business. Or you could run off without saying a word. Though the game is certainly much easier if you are good at combat, players who aren't or don't enjoy it have many options to avoid combat altogether.

    Since receiving this barrage of criticism, DSW has hastily patched in a new 'Story Mode' difficulty setting. This brings to mind the old saying 'be careful what you wish for, it might come true.' Veterans of Star Control II will recall that the combat and lander minigames there were certainly annoying, but both got trivialized once one got all the upgrades, making a large chunk of its gameplay just going through the motions. Analogously, 'Story Mode' may allow players to experience more of the Cobbett-written content more quickly than they would have otherwise, but it will also likely diminish much of their own player-driven emergent stories. Consider some of the toughest lander scenarios: Scans might have found rare gases on a gas giant, and you have to search through its layers for the gas pockets while fighting strong winds, using gravity to get through harsh turbulence swiftly, but not letting the lander fall too far and get crushed by pressure. Or you might have identified ruins on a fiery inferno, and rush to reach the temple entrance before the pilot is cooked in his own space suit. Or you might risk landing on an infested world, carefully avoiding getting too close to the ground while hovering over a volcanic vent. All of the above examples are generally Bad Ideas and Last Resorts, which is what makes them the highlights of a comeback story. If `Story Mode' prevents players from ever encountering such challenges, or removes the need to ever take them on, their long journey home will likely be a very short and uneventful one. DSW will probably then discover that complaints about difficulty swiftly transform into complaints about boredom.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: The Long Journey Home
     
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  2. MRYgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Quick thoughts:

    (1) Fantastic review, by far the best that TLJH has gotten anywhere. If Daedelic sees it, I'm sure they'll plaster it everywhere they can.

    [EDIT: It begins!
    ]

    (2) Many people complain about RNGs in these kinds of games. I bet right now Overhype Studios is complaining about the RNG that gave them a Darth Roxor review and TLJH an oasis789 review. Sorry guys, life is iron man. :/

    (3) Ink blot tests worked because you match a set of expressed behavior (how you describe the ink blot) with underlying psychiatric conditions via correlation. I'm pretty sure the two behaviors described here would work for pinpointing someone on the autism spectrum. Not sure whether oasis789 is farther or less far along than the players he's criticizing...
    (4) Notwithstanding the wonderful writing, analysis, and knowledge that this review reveals, basically everything it says about Star Control II is ludicrous. The combat minigame was spectacular. If ever something was "more revealing about the critic than that which is being critiqued" and indicative of a failure to master a skill set, it's bitching about Super Melee. Even as a standalone game it was spectacular. Further, the notion that "most players would lose the game many times over before learning how best to win" doesn't jibe at all with my experience or anyone I've heard of, and smacks of substituting "most players" for "this author." (To be sure, players would "lose the game" in the sense of dying, but SC2 wasn't an iron man game and no one played it that way.) Nor was playing the game "highly repetitive," either in replaying or in playing, in part because it was so fun. Finally, the comparison misses the obvious point that SC2 had a breathtaking overarching narrative -- one of the all-time best space opera stories, if not the best, and I will tell you, in preparing for Star Captain back in the day I read 90+ space opera novels, watched every space opera movie and TV show, and played almost every space opera game -- one built around exploration and discovery. While it is true that when you replay the same content in Star Control II it will be repetitious, if you aren't (inexplicably) playing it like an iron man roguelike, the gameplay changes wildly over the course of the game -- each alien race presenting new obstacles (in combat and in diplomacy), the management of the starbase (and alliance) becoming more complex, the flagship going from a lumbering vulnerable cargo vessel to a warship, the variety of your fleet transforming, the sudden arrival of the Kohr-Ah and the resulting press of time, etc. Having not yet played TLJH I can't compare the two, but it seems to me that the review puts SC2 in its least-flattering posture in a way that is extraordinarily unpersuasive, at least to someone like me who views it as a GOAT game.

    (5) To reiterate the first point, the Codex has had a great string of content recently, and this is no exception.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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  3. Vorarkgender: ⚧ Learned

    Vorark
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    One of the many reasons why I enjoyed FTL so much. Even when a key crewmate ended up devoured by space spiders.

    Good review! :salute:
     
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  4. oasis789gender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Why not enjoy some memes I made to annoy Daedalic with?

     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
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  5. Jinngender: ⚧ Cipher

    Jinn
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    Excellent review, man! Really makes me want to buy it not only because I really want to play it, but I want to support games like these in general. It's horrible this game got shit on by video game "journalists" for being difficult. I hope it doesn't discourage Daedalic from developing interesting and challenging games in the future. Is it worth the $40 price tag?
     
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  6. CWagnergender: ⚧ Scholar

    CWagner
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    Great review. Personally, I'll wait for a, hopefully coming, patch that improves the interface. When I looked at the game, those things worried me and the review confirms it. I can forgive a lot of things when the interface is great. An annoying interface prevents me from enjoying even an otherwise great game.
     
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  7. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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  8. oasis789gender: ⚧ Arcane

    oasis789
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    Price and value are always dependent on one's personal situation but to me even at launch price it's a bargain in terms of dollar per hour of gameplay. It's not like there are a lot of new genre-crossing games like this either.

    Why not "demo" the game and see how it is firsthand? Also probably a good idea to tweet at @TLJHgame to let them know directly that you're waiting for a fix. I think they ignored me bc of all the memes
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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  9. Make America Great Again Darth Roxorgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis, Hater of Eternity

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  10. Jinngender: ⚧ Cipher

    Jinn
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    Just grabbed it from Greenman for $30, in case anyone else was looking for a discount.
     
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  11. Poosgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Yeah good review that man three cheers hip hip...
     
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  12. Taogender: ⚧ Educated

    Tao
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    Thanks for the review. I'll give the game a try.
     
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  13. J_Cgender: ⚧ One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    The review go me intriqued, added the game to wishlist.
     
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  14. ArchAngelgender: ⚧ Magister

    ArchAngel
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    TLDR;
    It is a badly designed game. Got it. It can either be irritating or boring.
     
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  15. Make America Great Again Kem0sabegender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Richard Cobbet...

    :nocountryforshitposters:
     
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  16. Marten Broadcloakgender: ⚧ Learned

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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Everybody claims the game is terrible except the one guy the Codex chose to write the review "because he was very enthusiastic about the game". I wonder who's right.
     
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  17. Malperciogender: ⚧ Arcane

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    I expected April Ryan and was disappointed.
     
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  18. Iluvcheezcakegender: ⚧ Learned

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    Great review, nicely written, easy on the eyes.

    Will buy the game on GoG after it gets patched a bit tho
     
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  19. MicoSelvagender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Monstroterratum Furiosum Patron

    MicoSelva
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    This. Also :salute: oasis789
     
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  21. Jrpgfangender: ⚧ Learned

    Jrpgfan
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    This one slipped under my radar.

    Just sold one of my kidneys and bought it on steam.
     
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  22. Maxiegender: ⚧ Magister

    Maxie
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    not gonna buy it but I appreciate your writing a neutral-positive review

    :love:
     
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  23. Jedi Master Radekgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Great Job oasis789.:salute:
    You got me interested in the game.
     
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  24. oasis789gender: ⚧ Arcane

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    "it was a bug" :D of course it was, since story mode is already in
     
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  25. MRYgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    To use the jargon that I spend much of my life choking down, that's a pretty granular comment on the review. Suggests he read it carefully.
     
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