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Miasmata - Take Drugs, Read a Map

TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEONRegistered User regular
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Official Site | GOG.com | Steam

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A rabbit

In Miasmata you play as a botanist infected with a plague. You come to an island to find some plants to try to create a cure for your plague.

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A frog

You walk around the island, picking plants, examining them with a microscope, creating medicine from them, and so on.

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A seagull

It's not easy. First of all, you've got the plague. You need to make medicine to keep your fever down, and you aren't able to swim very far without drowning. If you walk down too steep of a slope, you will likely stumble and fall, dropping any plant specimens you are carrying and making your fever worse.

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A squirrel and a rabbit

You also don't know your way around the island. The only way to find out where you are is to take out your map and figure it out the old fashioned way, but at first you don't even have a map. So, to create it, you will need to triangulate your position from two known landmarks so you can draw in the area of the map around where you are.

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Cartography

If you go out at night you're probably going to get lost, doubly so if you don't bring a torch. If you don't pay attention to where you are going you are probably going to get lost. If you don't make sure to keep landmarks in sight and you wander off known parts of your map, you are pretty much immediately lost.

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A sunrise

I just bought this game and I've been playing a few hours and I love it. There is no UI - everything is done via your journal and your map. There is very little music - most of the sounds are ambient wildlife noises. There are no tedious instances where characters explain things to you - all the exposition is done via environmental storytelling (stuff you find lying around). There are no waypoints or iron sights or quick time events or XP bars or 30 minute long forced tutorial sections or cutscenes or scripted sequences where you sit there watching awesome stuff happen while you wait to get to play the game again.

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A tent

One of the most unique features of Miasmata is its movement system. It's basically like Mirror's Edge, except instead of playing as a lithe parkour expert, you're a plague-stricken botanist, so instead of jumping around everywhere, you stumble over rocks, laboriously climb hills, and stay away from sheer drops.

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A hill

How to approach a hill in most games: Walk right up it. If it's too steep, hold down your sprint key and try rapidly strafing in one direction or the other. Mash your jump key a lot if that doesn't work. Eventually you will get up it. If you're going down the hill, just sprint straight down.

How to approach a hill in Miasmata: First of all, do you even want to climb it? It's slower to climb up a hill than it is to walk on straight ground, so it might be faster to go around. If you need to get up it, though, try walking up. If it's too steep, find another way around. For god's sake don't start jumping - you might fall down the hill and wind up who knows where. The last thing you need to do is get lost. Night is coming and you won't be able to find your way back to the cabin if you lose your way. If you're going down the hill, take it slow and watch where you are going.

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Butterfly, watch, compass

Miasmata is also interesting because two brothers made it, alone. Joe Johnson created the engine from scratch and Bob Johnson did basically everything else. Yes those are hilariously bland names. Yes the game sort of looks like Myst in a jungle. Yes, 10 minutes in the CryEngine map editor will get you a nicer looking jungle.

Still, the graphics do the job, and overall the game is pretty incredible if you ask me. If you care more about how interesting a game is than about whether it has the fanciest graphics, then I can wholeheartedly recommend Miasmata.

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    WybornWyborn GET EQUIPPED Registered User regular
    You're pretty good at avoiding spoilers and the posting of them

    This is a quality OP

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    Way better than the fucking devs, who spoil as much of the game as possible in their official trailer, among various other places.

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    GlalGlal AiredaleRegistered User regular
    I made the mistake of continuing exploration after it got dark. Then my torch died. Then I bumbled around and drowned.

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    The first time I was out at night it was after having just slept in a bed, so I left the cabin, walked 6 feet into the jungle, said "well, this isn't going to work," and headed straight back inside to wait until daylight. I love how nighttime isn't just "well now everything is slightly darker." It actually feels like night.

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    cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    I just wanna play a game about maps.

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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    How long does this thing run? Love the idea, especially if doing things at my own pace gives me a decent amount of time in the game.

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    Might wanna spoiler that, @cooljammer00....

    @Ninja Snarl P, howlongtobeat.com says it takes 15 hours, but that's only with 2 responses, so figure on the game taking a while but I dunno how long exactly (like I said I'm only a few hours in).

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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    If that time is based on the exploration and whatnot, yeah, that's plenty of time. Whenever there's exploration involved, games always take me longer than average.

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    The game is pretty much just exploration.

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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Purchased.

    You jerk.

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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Been running this for a bit. Love the cartography stuff, and the descriptions from the analysis thing are neat in that many of them are real extraction techniques I've actually done so they did a good job there (ah, good old liquid-liquid extraction...). I only have two definite aggravations: plants and medicines. In both cases, it's how much you can carry of each.

    Now, I'm pretty okay with only being able to carry three plants at a time (since you hold them in your hand; I can ignore how silly it is to not just tuck them into your waistband or wrap them up in a big leaf or something), but it does aggravate me that I can only carry one of any given type of plant at once. It's just a hassle when you want to make a dose plus store a backup plant, but have to make two trips because you can only have one copy of a plant in your hand at a time.

    The second is that I find it quite annoying that I can only carry a single dose of medicine. Fact is, I really like the exploring stuff, and having to know where a full lab is gets kinda annoying because it limits where you can go. I mean, they're pills for crying out loud, and you keep them in a case that could hold dozens. Even just being able to hold two doses per case would be a lot nicer.

    As for "that thing" (definite spoiler):
    dunno how I feel about the Creature. On the one hand, it helps inject urgency into the game, and hiding or fleeing can make for some really tense/great moments. I had it chase me all through the swamp at one point and knocked me WAY off course, but then I was able to use some basic compass navigation to put myself back on track. It also took a swipe at me in that time, knocking me off a cliff for a fall that I was absolutely certain would kill me, but instead put me in a spot where I could get away. And the fact that cliffs and whatnot are actually dangerous is a nice difference from most games, so if you end up moving downhill too fast, you frantically start trying to find a way to not get hurt or fall.

    On the other hand, I just plain don't like animals you can't hurt or drive off. The thing is only the size of a pretty large dog; if I feel like chucking rocks at it until it goes away, that should be a thing.

    But overall, this is a really, really great slow-burn game. It's giving a great sense of exploration and accomplishment, because while it's easy to get lost, it also feels pretty good when you find your way again thanks to landmarks. The story also seems to be handed to you pretty slowly and, while there is a definite intended path for it, there's nothing keeping you from going the "wrong" way and finding bits and pieces in different orders.

    EDIT: Oh, it's great that wandering around at night is generally a really bad idea. Unless you know the terrain perfectly, it's very easy to get lost with landmarks to guide you, and between the frequent clouds and lack moonlight, things get REALLY dark. Already had one close call where I was too far away from a camp at night, and I really don't want end up rolling off some forty-foot cliff because I took a wrong turn.

    Ninja Snarl P on
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    cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    As I said with Amnesia, mod me in a shotgun and that's a game I'd play.

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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    But why? This just isn't that type of game. While the standard escapist element of video games is control you could never have in real life, the root of a game like this the lack of control. You are a sick, weak, untrained person who has escaped alone to an unknown island; healthy, fit, trained individuals who go wandering in the wilderness get killed all the time by stuff like taking a bad fall. The escapist fantasy element here is exploring the unknown, not having apex-predator control of the island from behind the barrel of a gun.

    Handing the player a shotgun would basically be saying "yeah, you're king of the island". It would completely remove any possibility of concern beyond the steepness of a cliff. It would be the FPS equivalent of handing a player a homing one-shot-kill rocket launcher at the start of a game and turning off any damage but fall damage; sure, it would be a game, but it would completely remove the point of the gameplay.

    Ninja Snarl P on
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    testsubject23testsubject23 King of No Sleep ZzzzzzzRegistered User regular
    Has anyone used the hunting knives you can occasionally find and pick up? I mean, ostensibly they could be used to defend one's self, but I've never been brave enough to try. My tactic for exploration and defence so far has mostly been "Run away! Run far, far away!" So far it's actually been pretty effective. :)

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    CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    @TychoCelchuuu

    So... are there beasties that jump out of the forest and try to eat you? Because everything in your OP sounds awesome, but if there are things that attack you (as opposed to environmental hazards), that's a big NOPE for me.

    Feel free to spoiler your reply, obviously :)

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    There's a big stupid cat that shows up once every few hours and roars at you until you run away. It will try to hit you with one of its paws. The cat is nowhere to be found for most of the game but every once in a while it does become a cat avoidance simulator.

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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    There's a big stupid cat that shows up once every few hours and roars at you until you run away. It will try to hit you with one of its paws. The cat is nowhere to be found for most of the game but every once in a while it does become a cat avoidance simulator.

    Incidentally:
    the cat isn't very dangerous. It never managed to kill me a single time, despite launching me off some big-ass cliffs. It's not very aggressive, to the point where escaping unharmed is usually very forgiving.

    Finished this up the other day; I did hit a spot where I checked a guide, but it was for the last item I needed and I plain just did not feel like spending a couple hours traveling to unexplored spots. The item ended up being in the area I figured it would be in, though, so it was mostly just so I could save some time.

    Despite the rough edges, a very cool game. I more or less guessed at the ending a ways ahead of time, but the Myst comparison somebody brought up is definitely apt here: it's not the ending, it's the experience of exploring the tragedy-stricken island. Not for everybody, I think, but definitely entertaining if you like exploring.

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