| Posted 07/15/08 at 09:46 PM||Reply with quote #1 |
|Post your comments on chapter 3 here.|
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| Posted 07/27/08 at 11:06 PM||Reply with quote #2 |
|Well, I won't complain too much about the puzzles here, but not because I liked them. It's just that my game crashed so many times in conversations in this chapter that I tried to avoid talking unless absolutely necessary. As a result, I probably missed a lot of clues. Still, the plot and puzzles here were very lackluster. The crane puzzle was a mess, and I can't figure out Domino's behavior at all. The plot and setting(s) felt very much like an adventure game, and not much like a noir film. Overall, this is definitely my least favorite year so far.|
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Isaac Asimov
| Posted 07/27/08 at 11:40 PM||Reply with quote #3 |
Originally Posted by sparky
Well, I won't complain too much about the puzzles here, but not because I liked them. It's just that my game crashed so many times in conversations in this chapter that I tried to avoid talking unless absolutely necessary. As a result, I probably missed a lot of clues. Still, the plot and puzzles here were very lackluster. The crane puzzle was a mess, and I can't figure out Domino's behavior at all. The plot and setting(s) felt very much like an adventure game, and not much like a noir film. Overall, this is definitely my least favorite year so far.
I didn't want to say anything, but I can't hold my piece any longer. I hate Year 3. Or at least a good portion of it.
I played through the game a month or so ago, and wrote several blog entries about it. Year 3 comes up a lot, because I had a lot to say about it. Here are some of my reactions.
Once again, SPOILERS, STRONG LANGUAGE, and SOLUTIONS follow...
"...I have to mention that this morning I hit a huge fly in the ointment. Year 3.
After several hours of stellar gameplay, Grim Fandango takes a sharp left turn into Adventure Game Hell. If you've played any old adventure games, you've probably been there. It is a land with puzzles devoid of logic. A place where the game is no longer challenging you, but is instead dropping arbitrary roadblocks in front of you before the simplest tasks can be completed. And everything requires backtracking three or four times through the various screens.
Grim Fandango literally imprisons its main character, and metaphorically does the same to the player in Year 3. I'm just wandering around using objects on other objects until something happens, because the game hasn't really given me the first fucking clue what it expects. The tone is set by the first puzzle in the section. You have to escape from hitmen who are plotting to destroy your ship while it is moored on a pier. You have a port and starboard anchor, and your engines. Not unreasonably, I assumed that somehow I had to undock my vessel and pull out of harbor using these tools. An hour later, I was still sliding around helplessly. A walkthrough helped me out of the impasse. I had stuck my two anchors together, but what I had missed was that I was supposed to hook one of them to the window with my scythe, then pull up on the chain so that my ship was cut in half.
Of course! Because it's only logical that 1) your ship is made of tin and sports the most powerful pully system in existence and 2) half a ship can sail just as well as a whole one. It's been roughly downhill since. I'm thinking about just using the walkthrough and blowing past this section, but the spirit rebels."
After I finished the game, I was still slightly enraged and felt that Year 3 fell into another ghastly trap.
"So in the midst of a great setting with solid main characters, why does this game fall into the same traps that dog a lot of adventure games? At times, it becomes extraordinarily annoying. This is not a game that's meant to be laugh-out-loud funny, although it does have a few great lines. That's not enough, however, and so in Year 3 it introduces one character that does not shut up with whom you have to spend a lot of time talking and traveling. In a game that's built on style and unflappable cool, we're introduced to Chepito, a funny little prospector with an obnoxious Walter Brennan-voice, who is prone to breaking into song. Or there's your sidekick, Glottis, who makes "vroooom!" driving noises every time he's on screen, which is painful when you're trying to figure out a puzzle. Picture Jerry Lewis crashing a Marx Brothers movie, and you've got the gist of how these interruptions feel."
Just to be clear, I'm not a Jerry Lewis fan. Just in case you were thinking, "Jerry Lewis and the Marx Brothers? That's sounds awesome!" No. No it does not.
| Posted 07/28/08 at 09:09 AM||Reply with quote #4 |
I thought I was the only one who didn't care for Glottis. Maybe we can form a support group.
As for the puzzles, I've reached the point where, if I'm stuck on a problem for more than 30 minutes, I go to GamFAQs with no twinge of remorse. The one written by CJayC in 1998 is nice because it offers hints in addition to a step-by-step walkthrough.
Having played through years 1 through 3, I think each year focuses on different kinds of puzzles, the first on use-item-on-another-thingamabob puzzles, the second on character interaction and fetch quest puzzles, and the third on mechanical puzzles. Of course there's overlap, and of course I may be misinterpreting, but that's how it looks from here.
| Posted 07/28/08 at 10:53 AM||Reply with quote #5 |
|I've just reached the end of year three, and can't say I'm missing it (especially since the start of year four is so refreshing after plodding through three). There are so parts of this chapter which just got me frustrated, and to top it all off, the game decided to crash or drop the sound at random throughout. |
The cutscenes and the ending were the highlights, whilst the puzzles, dialogue and locations were all disappointing considering the strength of (most of) the first two years.
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| Posted 07/28/08 at 05:33 PM||Reply with quote #6 |
|Spoilers ahead, if you mind.|
Year 3 was by far my least favourite. Underwater was just a bit gloomy for me, and I mostly hated Chepito, although strangely I loved the 'light of mine' song and sang it to myself for a while afterward Also found it very amusing somehow that he'd been quite innocently walking in circles for years and had no clue... which was never really a 'punchline', wasn't revealed all at once, I just kind of got the idea from talking and walking with him. But yeah... gameplay...
I mostly resorted to trying various combinations of interactions until something worked I'm afraid. Wasn't paying sufficient attention to Chepito when he mentioned tights as a highly valued commodity, so that part is my bad and I may have got that puzzle 'properly' if I'd thought about it, but mostly I didn't have a clue what I was trying to achieve until I'd achieved it, and I don't think the game helped much. It's only because there were so few items that I didn't have to consult the walkthrough too much.
One puzzle I really loved though was the thing with the axe. No hunt-the-pixel, no interact point at all, just a small area in the location that is special, that you can identify by being observant and considering how to use the resources available. It was a little annoying at first having no idea how to proceed, as I was in a mindset that wants to be taking action all the time. Soon though I decided to calm down, to stop pacing around my cell and just think for a while. Were we different back in the day? Would we have been more content to spend minutes just watching Manny have a smoke while figuring what to do next?
Anyway stick with it guys. Year 3 isn't that long, and 4 is much better
| Posted 07/29/08 at 09:38 AM||Reply with quote #7 |
karln: I was in a mindset that wants to be taking action all the time.
That was my problem starting out in this game, just wanting to get to the next part, where, invariably, I come up against another barrier to my progress. My thinking has changed, though, and I'm a little more patient with the puzzles now. I got the axe puzzle pretty quickly, too. As you mentioned, having so few items narrows your options.
| Posted 07/31/08 at 11:06 AM||Reply with quote #8 |
|I know I've generally been a defender of most aspects of this game, but I'll agree with most of what's been posted in this thread re: Year 3. It's my least favorite part of the game.|
Part of this is environmental (not the same imaginative, stylish approach - and often feels limited); part of it is gameplay (I think Year 3 would have been a good time for a change of pace or tone with the puzzles and navigation).
I've often noticed in storytelling (games, plays, films, etc.) that the penultimate segment of the story is often the weakest. I think this is because the writers are trying very hard to set up the ending, and sometimes this means manipulating things, or coasting a bit, before the big finish.
Often, it's the second chapter (after all the exposition is established), and the final chapter (where events come to a climax and things are resolved) that stand out in narratives. I think Grim Fandango may follow that pattern...though I have yet to reach Year 4.
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| Posted 08/02/08 at 01:33 PM||Reply with quote #9 |
|I've mostly been avoiding these Year N threads until I'm done with that thread, but I'm sure glad I looked at this one after only wasting half an hour trying possibilities of up anchor, down anchor, boat left, boat right. Ugh.|
| Posted 08/02/08 at 11:29 PM||Reply with quote #10 |
|To my surprise, I finished year 3 today, the same day I started it.
I'll post more mid-week, but (as with year 2), I'm going to buck the trend: I actually rather liked it.
| Posted 08/03/08 at 07:13 AM||Reply with quote #11 |
|Ya'know, Year 3 was not as bad as i remembered it. Sure the underwater bit with Chepeto is annoying as all hell, but the stuff at the end of the world is pretty neat. I enjoyed myself immensely talking to the kids, talking to Domino and using the Crane to rescue Glottis and the ship.|
My main concern was that the game glitched like crazy this whole year. The underwater bits in the crane puzzle would send me into animation loops and sometimes i couldn't travel to where i wanted to. Also, i rescued the ship first, before saving Meche. When i did save her, the ship wasn't there. I was so frustrated, but luckily loading up a save in the prison and going through that bit again righted the game back on track.
I do love Domino as a villain. That slimy cool mean type of character. I enjoyed every time he was on screen, including his last appearance. That was pretty gruesome at the end, with the squid and the thresher. There's a bit in Year 4 i remember finding equally un-nerving. I wonder how it will hold up on this play through.
Onto Year 4!
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| Posted 08/06/08 at 03:44 PM||Reply with quote #12 |
|As I mentioned above, I rather liked year 3. I totally agree with Flitcraft that the boat puzzle sucks, but, in retrospect, that was the low point of the year for me. In fact, from a puzzle point of view, I’m not at all sure that I didn’t prefer the puzzles in year 3 to those in year 2: I did dip into gamefaqs several times, but no more so than in year 2, and there was only one other puzzle (the stockings one) that I thought was out of left field. (In fact, even that one might not have been out of left field if I’d been paying attention more - I was told about it in gamefaqs, which I wouldn’t have been reading if I hadn’t completely missed the room with the miners in it, which apparently gives clues about that puzzle.) |
As compared to year 2, the main environment in year 3 is somewhat smaller; it’s large enough to give you enough places to go to be interesting, but the smaller size means that you’re not constantly traipsing from one end of the level to the other. There are two overarching puzzles instead of three; I actually preferred this amount of parallelism, because I didn’t have to spend as much time worrying about which overarching puzzle each change of state (or item that I can’t yet get or whatever) would fit into. And you have at most three items in your inventory at any given time, which limits the “pick up random item to be used 8 puzzles later” possibilities. (And, as a bonus, means that one item can be the solution to several puzzles, a bit of design that I appreciate.)
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why most people strongly prefer year 2. Rubacava is a lot more interesting than a factory prison, the NPCs in Rubacava have a lot more, well, character, and, if push comes to shove, I’d accept that the year 2 puzzles are a bit better integrated into the environment (and, more interestingly, into the psychology of others) than the year 3 puzzles are.
Having said that, I’m not even convinced that year 3 is such a disaster in terms of narrative: a structure where the first quarter of the game introduces the plot, the second quarter stays in one place exploring characters, the third quarter is transitional and shallower, and the fourth quarter (I hope) brings it all together in a fitting climax doesn’t sound all that strange to me. Don’t get me wrong, I could imagine a game divided into quarters, each of which explores a town and its residents in more depth, but that would be a different and, I suspect, quieter game.
So, as with year 2, I end up being a contrarian, but this time that’s good news. I've started year 4; fortunately, I'm closer to the mainstream (positive) impression on that year from what I've seen so far.
| Posted 08/06/08 at 09:40 PM||Reply with quote #13 |
|I actually had an easier time with the puzzles in Year 3 than any of the other chapters (with the notable exception of the initial boat puzzle, which I think deserves the flak we're giving it). I couldn't tell if this was because I was getting better at the game's internal logic, or if it was just luck. I did generally feel like I was just randomly experimenting a lot of the time, and I often didn't know why I was doing things. I solved the stocking puzzle only because Manny seemed really, really interested in that ashtray. I broke the big grinder gears just because I could, even though I hadn't rescued Glottis yet and had no idea what the point was. And the axe puzzle I solved purely by chance, only a minute or so before I would have looked up a hint.|
Nonetheless, this whole chapter moved pretty smoothly for me, and I enjoyed it from a story perspective. It was nice seeing Domino get his comeuppance finally; also, the art deco designs and the underwater environment made me wonder if this wasn't a possible inspiration for a certain more recent game, Mr. Bubbles.