Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

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Tormuse
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Tormuse »

Yeeeah... in case it isn't obvious, the game is kind of trying my patience at this point. :P It's ceased to have a compelling or even coherent story, and the gameplay now consists of "click on the star they name for you. Repeat." It's really obvious that the devteam kind of ran out of ideas, and it's running on all filler, all the time. In my opinion, it would have been better if it had just ended when it ended. The only interesting thing this post-game content had going for it was the re-introduction of the Lexites, which was mishandled and confusing and looks like it's hit a dead end until they make an update for the game.

I think I'm ready to say go ahead and spoil it for me. Is this latest request to "find new technology and weapons" going anywhere? Does any exploration or character development happen, or is this going to be a continuing series of mindless fetch quests?
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palmpet
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by palmpet »

I mean you learn things that I like but by the sounds of it you might not.
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Draxas
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Draxas »

Uf. Sounds like the interns got assigned the DLC while the main team was reassigned to something else. Not an uncommon thing to see unfortunately, but it definitely damages the overall experience. If you're going to make filler DLC, maybe just don't? But if you are really dead set on it, at least try to integrate it into the main game somewhat? Because all of this sounds terribly misplaced as being postgame required.
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palmpet
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by palmpet »

Some of it was integrated, though not always well, theres a couple small touches like each joining crew member alien having basically a loyalty mission but thats about it, that was alright. Though the dlc is largely thematically tied to being after the Scryve are pushed off.
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Tormuse
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Tormuse »

Video 22 is here.

Well, I guess I decided to go a little further, (this time with adjusted expectations, to avoid disappointment) to see if there was anything else that would hold my attention in this game, and... eventually, there was, because I seem to have finally encountered the plot of this post-game section of the game, since I've actually met the Lexites and had proper dialogue with them and stuff. Holy moly, someone needs to talk to the dev team about pacing their story, because this is well after the point I totally would have assumed there was nothing more and given up on the whole game, if not for the fact that I'm recording it and felt obligated to continue.

Anyway, it turns out the Lexites left Earth in the first place, because they detected an incoming existential threat (something other than the Scryve, apparently?) and human politicians wouldn't do anything about it. They left humanity behind to die, (which seems at odds with the fact that they seemed to leave stuff behind to help humanity, but whatev) except some Lexites who decided that humanity might be a threat to their survival if allowed to follow them, so they stayed behind to make sure humanity dies, or at least is too hampered to follow them.

So... yeah... we've got a plot again, with a new enemy, and a new conflict, that ties in with the original intro of the game. It was inserted as clunkily as hell, but we got there. :P Maybe I'll continue the game at least a little longer.

Btw, Palmpet, I get the feeling you and I have different standards for what makes for interesting gameplay, and that's fine, but for the record, when I expressed disdain for the apparent end of the Lexite storyline and asked if this was going anywhere, that would have been a reasonable time for you to let me know that the Lexite storyline wasn't over yet.
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palmpet
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by palmpet »

I just assumed you wouldn't have been happy with it with it, I haven't really been watching the actual videos much. It was hard to gauge for me what would interest you and what wouldn't.
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palmpet
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by palmpet »

Okay, gonna be honest here, the last two chapters aren't that connected to the lexite stuff. The next chapter is a faction choice working for both sides thing between the Syndicate and the new faction the liberators while the final chapter has to do with humanities expansion. The faction one is fairly fun to me but I think you might be at the end of your rope of interest. If anything the polish goes even lower, so thats oof.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Tormuse »

Yeah, I'm really feeling the lack of polish lately, which is part of why it was such a big surprise when the Lexites turned out to actually have a full-screen animated character, rather than the little thumbnail they've been using. Why did the dev team hide that until now? The fact that the Lexites have been thumbnails all along contributes to the feeling that the Lexite sub-plot is tacked on. (Much like everything else in this post-game content) :P

Anyway, I've been trying to put my finger on what exactly it is that's been bugging me about the writing and design choices of this game, and I think one of them is the fact that the Lexites weren't set up in a way that makes their return meaningful. The opening sequence of the game talks about Lexites pretty heavily, but never actually shows them, so I didn't have any idea what they look like, so when they did show up, their appearance meant nothing to me.

And then there's that confusing dialogue where they say they're not Lexites. Sigh... Okay, slight tangent... over the years, I've done some amateur acting in community theatre plays and things like that, (nothing I got paid for; it's just for fun) and part of that was taking improv classes, where we learned how to improvise scenes, making up the story as we go along. One of the things they taught me in those classes is "accepting offers." If one performer says something happened, then it happened, and the other performer has to say something like "yes, and..." and build on whatever the first person said. If the second person "denies the offer" and contradicts what the first performer said, then the audience becomes confused and has no idea what's happening in the scene, and the whole thing becomes a mess. That's what the Lexites sub-plot feels like... a bad improv scene.

Zelnick: "Hey, you're Lexites!"

Unknown aliens: "No, we're not."

...So I'm here like... "well...? Are they Lexites or not?" And it feels like the dev team were trying to create an air of mystery or something, but it falls flat on its face, because I have no context for recognizing that these are actually Lexites, and the exchange ends up feeling meaningless, especially since Commander Skyla also had zero reaction to their return. I think what the writers were going for was that the Lexites were expressing that they're not Lexites any more, because they've grown beyond what they used to be... but it just comes across as bad writing, which destroys any possible tension in the scene, along with any confidence I might have that the story is going to go anywhere interesting.

I mean I'm gonna carry on anyway; I've come this far, so I want to see this through. I just think, as a general rule, it's important to acknowledge the flaws of the game in a constructive manner, so that mistakes like these can be avoided in future.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Tormuse »

Video 23 is here.

Welp... just as it looked like we were about to get into the real plot involving the Lexites, it decided to take a back seat to another sub-plot involving the Syndicate, and a new never-before-seen faction called the "Liberators," who are working against the Syndicate. Like seriously... the game has all but forgotten about the Lexites or the existential threat they warned against, so we can focus on a completely unrelated story involving new factions popping up out of nowhere.

Like... in the last episode, in the first and only real dialogue with the Lexites, they made a big deal about how this ambush they had just led my allies into was part of a cunning plan to sow distrust between Earth and its allies, and ensure our demise... but then I went around to all my allies, and they had nothing to say about it, and Commander Skyla back at Star Control had nothing to say about the Lexites or their warning either.

Along the same lines, I did the space whale quest for the Mukayan emissary, and my Mukayan science officer made a big deal of the notion that eating space whales is illegal in their culture, and not to let the emissary near the space whale corpse if he intended to eat it, and then the emissary indicated he wanted to eat it, and I let him do it, and my science officer had nothing to say except "Oh well, I guess you did what you had to do," and no one on the Mukayan homeworld seemed to care either.

Stuff like this really contributes to the feeling that my choices don't matter and nothing I do has any consequences... and that the writers don't have any plan, and they're just making stuff up as they go along.

I suspect that part of the issue is that they didn't have the voice actors available for Skyla or any of the main cast of aliens, and it would have been jarring if, after a whole game of having characters have voices in their scenes, suddenly they didn't speak any more, so they worked around that by having new characters show up who use new voice actors, so they didn't have to use any of the original aliens. If that's the case, I think they would have been better off having the new content be its own separate thing from the main game, because having this sudden drop in quality mid-game is also jarring. (And it also would have been better if they had fully fleshed out the story before implementing it)

I feel like I'm doing nothing but complain at this point, and for that, I'm sorry to anyone who enjoyed the game and feel like I'm being unfair to it or something. It's just that the beginning of the game had a lot of promise, and I just feel like it's failing to deliver on those promises. I made a comment at one point that the story might have been better served with a Visual Novel format, rather than an exploration game, since the pop-ups telling you where to go next lead you through a linear story anyway... except that this thing just picks up and drops sub-plots on a whim, so it wouldn't even be a coherent story. It's just failing at any level that would make it compelling or interesting to me.

At least I found some rainbow worlds, though. :)
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Draxas
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Draxas »

An open letter to game devs:

DLC is not mandatory to release. If you don't have any good ideas, don't half-ass it because your customers will notice. If your good ideas aren't working out, it's OK to keep refining them, save them for a sequel, or even just outright scrap them if they are going to drag down the quality of your work. Nothing makes people angrier than the sense that they've been ripped off, keep that in mind when you can't figure out why sales for the sequel aren't as high as expected.

Then again, maybe this should be an open letter to the businesspeople who make these decisions, not the devs themselves (who by and large, actually want to make a quality product).
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