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 »

Video 19 is here.

I finished up that "evil Pinthi" quest, which got me a reward of a new Pinthi ship design which... I ended up not even looking at. At this point, I have so many tons of ship designs available to me and between that and all the time I wasted looking for more Precursor starbases, I was just tired and ready to wrap everything up. (A pretty big chunk of this episode got edited out, because it was a whole lot of fruitless searching)

After that, I returned to the "Origin" of the Xraki and... won the game...? I guess? I mean there was a climactic battle and a cutscene, but then things just kind of... continued after that? With more minor quests which I suspect are part of the DLC, and if that's the case, I think someone needs to talk to the dev team about pacing a story, and specifically that you don't put filler after the climax of your story. It makes things kind of anti-climactic. I'm not sure if it's worth putting up another episode to wrap up the stuff they added, but I'll at least check it out later, I guess.

Well, if this is the end of the game, then I guess it's time to give my final thoughts about it. Star Control Origins overall does a very good job of capturing the look and feel of Star Control 2, particularly with the sense of humour, the characterization and diversity of the alien races, and the generalized feeling of being the one ship against a vast, hostile galaxy. (or spur of the galaxy, as the case may be) :)

It does however have issues with the pacing of the story getting bogged down with randomly generated filler content, which, while I get that they wanted it to feel like every system has something for you to find, I feel it gets quite excessive. Also, I have some gripes with what I'm told here is DLC. The DLC makes for a very confusing and muddled experience, since it gives you information about the Scryve and faction of 8 long before it makes any sense for you to have it, among other things. (The information in the "codex" is similarly confusing, and made for some weird world-building that made for an odd experience for a first-time player) There's also the matter of how pretty much every quest consisted of "Go to this system. Now go to this system. Now go to this system... etc." It all felt very hand-holdy and tedious, rather than feeling like I was exploring the galaxy.

As for the ending... it's kind of a weird choice to have the main bad guys that you've been struggling against for the whole game to get an "off-screen death" in two sentences of the epilogue. Like... the Scryve, this super oppressive force that's been committing genocide and slavery throughout the galaxy, just gets suddenly wiped out by the Xraki and the game is like "trust us, they're not a threat any more." It makes for a distinct lack of catharsis at the end that the final battle is against an enemy you've never met and know almost nothing about. Like... they could have at least set up the Xraki better as the main villains rather than throwing them at you at the eleventh hour. After all the setup of telling us about all the atrocities the Scryve have committed, it's kind of a letdown to not take part in dealing with them, which makes the ending decidedly unsatisfactory.

I mean granted, it was pretty neat to have all my alliances I formed pay off as they all come join me in the final battle... but again, it's kind of weird that they're joining me to fight an unknown alien, rather than the one that's been oppressing them. Imagine how much more satisfying the ending could have been if we were all fighting the Scryve together! Like... the Tywom, Mukay, Pinthi, and Menkmack all suffered horribly at the hands of the Scryve and this could have been their chance for revenge, and it would make total sense for them to have a vested interest in joining this fight. As it is, it's not clear if they even understand why they're there. (Aside from the Pinthi, I guess)
Draxas wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:33 pm It is a bad sign in my book that this is the second major plot point I've been able to directly compare to SC3, a notoriously poorly written game in many respects.
Yeah, frankly, the comparison to SC3 is pretty apt here. Both games have a final battle with a previously unknown alien followed by a lot of anti-climactic faffing about. I will say that I enjoyed Star Control Origins more than Star Control 3 overall, but that's kind of a low bar. :P
krulle wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 8:54 pm The StarBase side objectives are that, just side objectives.
They are not related to the main plot, besides being triggered by them.

IIRC, they've been added to the game later, in DLCs, so that the main plot elements of the DLC don't feel as rip-offs, and provide more playstuff....
Yeah, that's what it feels like... though as I indicated above, I don't think it contributes positively to the game to have them this late in the story.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by palmpet »

Fair assement over all. Though I have to say you wouldn't be able to finish the postgame dlc content in one stream, they are quite lengthy additions to the story but not always with captain screens or voice acting, fluctuates for some reason. The DLC expands mainly on the Lexite aspect aswell as a few other things. Its a huge mixed bag, as in the production value is not consistent by the main game but it has some neat story stuff and more gameplay. But honestly I do think the quality inconsistence brings the game down by a point.
There is atleast one completely new fully animated race in the first part of it.

Oh also all the races do have a post Xraki dialgoue thing. Except for the Free Trandals.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by krulle »

Tormuse wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 2:46 pm
Well, if this is the end of the game, then I guess it's time to give my final thoughts about it. Star Control Origins overall does a very good job of capturing the look and feel of Star Control 2, particularly with the sense of humour, the characterisation and diversity of the alien races, and the generalised feeling of being the one ship against a vast, hostile galaxy. (or spur of the galaxy, as the case may be) :)

[...]

As for the ending... it's kind of a weird choice to have the main bad guys that you've been struggling against for the whole game to get an "off-screen death" in two sentences of the epilogue. Like... the Scryve, this super oppressive force that's been committing genocide and slavery throughout the galaxy, just gets suddenly wiped out by the Xraki and the game is like "trust us, they're not a threat any more." [...]
To be fair, that happened in SC2/UQM too.
You get a few slide screens, and Talana tells you the Chmmr and the others mopped up both the Ur-Quan forces which fell into disarray....
Which I always found unbelievable, seeing how meticulous the Kzer-Za bureaucrats were.
And the Kohr-Ah? They've been battling and killing other races without the "Big Trophy" for millennia already.
You don't need much organisation to continue that.
And where would all the Chmmr Avatars come from?
Last time I checked, I saw no factories nor any defensive forces....
yes, there was a 2 weeks time skip when the Chmmr installed the bomb, and a week for me to travel....
The timescale fit only with a good proportion of "story teller's prerogative" and "the future and a dedicated race makes it possible".
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

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krulle wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 2:08 pmTo be fair, that happened in SC2/UQM too.
You get a few slide screens, and Talana tells you the Chmmr and the others mopped up both the Ur-Quan forces which fell into disarray....
Which I always found unbelievable, seeing how meticulous the Kzer-Za bureaucrats were.
And the Kohr-Ah? They've been battling and killing other races without the "Big Trophy" for millennia already.
You don't need much organisation to continue that.
And where would all the Chmmr Avatars come from?
Last time I checked, I saw no factories nor any defensive forces....
yes, there was a 2 weeks time skip when the Chmmr installed the bomb, and a week for me to travel....
The timescale fit only with a good proportion of "story teller's prerogative" and "the future and a dedicated race makes it possible".
While technically true, this occurred immediately after (assuming you did things the way I did in my first playthrough) the Chmmr give you infinite resources and their ship plans (indicating they've been planning this counterstrike for quite a while under the slave shield), a nerve wracking trip to Crateris knowing that you can't escape from the huge number of ships trying to intercept you, a double doublecross of one of the nastiest aliens you encounter on your adventure in order to make the Ur-Quan vulnerable in the first place, a tough fight against the remnants of the Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah defense forces, the Pkunk and Yehat's big damn heroes moment to reinforce your fleet, and then the most intense battle in the game against the superweapon you've been repeatedly told is the only reason the old Alliance was defeated in the first place. When you finally cross the finish line, it feels well earned and that you've done all you can do the set the New Alliance up for victory against enemies that have been hounding you for two full games. While the slideshow glosses over the details (and Talana may not be the most reliable narrator) and two weeks seems like a really short timeframe for total victory, it still feels well earned and that the payoff for your efforts was set up in advance. And then you get one of the best credits sequences in gaming, which is just icing on the cake at that point.

It doesn't sound like Origins final sequences and ending is anywhere near that caliber of well thought out. It's nice that the game will still let you explore if you desire after the ending, but locking more content after the credits is only a smart move if you can set up some motivation to want to pursue it other than for its own sake.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by palmpet »

With Origins you do atleast see the Scryves area of influence shrink throughout the climax as the Xraki fleet spreads. And all your allies coming to your aid before the final battle is fun, especially cause the Free Trandals also finally repay their debt to you.

Though it isn't a total defeat of the Scryve just they are crippled in this region of space and don't find it worth pursuing anymore. With the bulk of their forces already focusing on something else...

Though you have also severed them from the Measured which held an important role in the empire.

But will agree, Origins final act really isn't great. There was foreshadowing hidden throughout the game about the Xraki but a lot if you wouldn't even realize is foreshadowing till a second playthrough.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by krulle »

I agree, SC2 did all of that better, but then, todays abilities of game creators to tell stories are much closer to endless than back then FF and PR had.
So, expectations are blown nowadays.


For fun I tried once to fly around in Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah space and kill as many Ur-Quan as I could. And it were MANY.
After that I concluded that there must be hidden ship-factories, and that the sphere of influence shown is not really a representation of the amount of ships available.

I also like the change in SOI on the maps of SC:O. Some map changes were weird, especially if you did not tell the Mukay in the correct order about potential new colonies. Why would a gap in the SOI happen, if there's nobody else to claim the area?


Re: corona infection: well, there are plenty of possible courses of action such an infection can take.
I have been diagnosed twice, the symptoms were clear, and my family member's tests also turned positive.
Yet, I never had a positive test. Neither home tests, nor medical tests in the family doctor's office, nor in hospitals, nor in the occupational health nurse's office.
And I had a friend who got persistently tested positive for over 2 years, despite never having had a singly symptom. (he didn't even get a cold, and he lives in Austria... the first two winters he had without a runny nose - for over 9 months he had to take 4 self-tests a week, and one PCR test - he remained positive until they decided to end that part of the research - sicne then he only did 3 tests, and they were positive.
No jobs or holidays where he can fly anywhere can be done by him.. He needs to travel by car or bike, or just stay in the mountains (where he lives, farms and teaches mountain-climbing, skiing, and snowboarding).)

But now the important part:
Get better! That's an order I expect you to follow!
So I wish you a speedy recovery!
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Tormuse »

Video 20 is here.

So I did my victory lap, visiting each of the races' homeworlds to see what they had to say about my victory against the Xraki, and while everyone had something to say, (besides the free Trandals) there wasn't much going on that was terribly interesting, and then I followed up on a lead from the Arilou who showed up out of nowhere and told me to visit a never before seen race called the Gloosh, and... uuuugh... this is the devteam's idea of post-victory content? This is the hook to draw us back into the game after a climactic finish?

The Gloosh themselves are basically a one note joke character that is all about how lazy and cowardly they are, told over and over and over again... painfully slowly. If they had been introduced earlier, they might have bothered me less, but as it was, they arrived at a time when I was tired and impatient for more story, and the whole encounter was just uncomfortable and boring to the point that I turned off their voice-acting, so I could just read it out loud myself and get through it faster. If the game continues like this, I may regret my decision to be a completionist. :P
palmpet wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 3:01 pm Its a huge mixed bag, as in the production value is not consistent by the main game but it has some neat story stuff and more gameplay. But honestly I do think the quality inconsistence brings the game down by a point.
I sure hope the Gloosh are at the low end of the mix. :P
krulle wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 2:08 pm To be fair, that happened in SC2/UQM too...
True... but at least the final battle of SC2 was actually against the Ur-Quan. That alone puts SC2 a significant step up above SCO. :)
Draxas wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 5:34 pm ...but locking more content after the credits is only a smart move if you can set up some motivation to want to pursue it other than for its own sake.
So far, it's looking like they did the non-smart version of the move . :P
krulle wrote: Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:48 pm I agree, SC2 did all of that better, but then, todays abilities of game creators to tell stories are much closer to endless than back then FF and PR had.
So, expectations are blown nowadays.
Semi-related thing, there's a Youtuber named HBomberguy who talked about that concept when comparing "Deus Ex: Human Revolutions" to the original Deus Ex. Basically, older games tended to have a lot more flexibility in their design, because they were less complicated, whereas more modern games have to have a lot planned out in advance, so they can't make last-minute changes if something turns out to not work.
krulle wrote: Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:48 pm But now the important part:
Get better! That's an order I expect you to follow!
So I wish you a speedy recovery!
I'm not sure who you're talking to here. Did someone here say they're sick? I feel like I missed something.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by palmpet »

The Gloosh aren't a major role in the story, but I have a weird love/hate relationship with the Gloosh. They are truly annoying but I find them interesting and they're fully animated and voiced. But yeah they give the Utwig and run for their money. But its a weird case where its so obviously intentional that like 10 minutes into the conversation I started laughing at the absurdity of how long the conversation was taking.

So honestly I would not consider the Gloosh at the low end of the mix as they are fully new alien with consitent production quality. But don't worry you don't have to interact with them much at all.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

Post by Tormuse »

Video 21 is here.

So I followed up on the lead from the Gloosh to find the Lexites... or at least beings that resemble the Lexites? They claim they're not the Lexites, but they also claim we made them? Their dialogue is full of contradictions and it's all very mysterious, but they fly Lexite ships and acknowledge their connection with humanity, so as far as I'm concerned they are indeed the Lexites. In any case, they attacked us for mysterious reasons, saying we couldn't interfere with whatever they were doing, and we were forced to destroy them.

After this mysterious confirmed first contact with the very beings that are the reason Star Control exists and the foundation of our mission into space, I naturally expected that Commander Skyla would have something to say about it... which made it confusing and annoying that she had nothing to say at all... about anything on any level... not even the generic "what should I do now" dialogue option. Instead, I got a pop-up telling me to go back to the Gloosh...? Who had nothing of interest to say, and then I had completely exhausted all leads with no direction... until an Arilou popped out of nowhere and basically said "yeah, those Lexites are who we were trying to draw your attention to. Oh well, bye now!" and they disappeared again without another word, and I got a message saying "end of chapter," saying there will probably be more in future.

So... I guess that's the end of that story so far...? Except that I got another message popping up shortly afterward to go back to one of the human colonies, saying they needed help from our allies to defend themselves from Kzanti raiders, leading to some rather out of character conversations with my allies where they all lectured me about their concerns about humanity's expansion despite the fact that every single one of them has larger territories than us, having done plenty of expansion of their own, and they're all being weirdly massively hypocritical, especially in light of abundantly demonstrated need of expansion with all the hostile forces out there in the galaxy. (Like... really... it would be weird if we didn't want to expand our territory after all that) Anyway, once that was dealt with, I was back to having used up all my leads, except for a vague direction to "find more technology and weapons..." and just as I'm thinking that maybe the game is gonna let me go do some exploration on my own, I got another message popping up, basically saying, "to find more technology and weapons, go here."

Overall, this whole thing feels like it's abandoned all pretense of having a coherent story and is just a series of pop-ups that say "go here now. Go here now. Go here now," absolutely leading me by the nose, rather than letting me feel like I have a particularly active role in what little story there is. Is this all there is to the rest of this "game?" I'm feeling torn right now; some part of me wants to be a completionist about it and see it through to the end of whatever is remaining, but another part of me is feeling like I should just give it up, because there are clearly diminishing returns in whatever is left.
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Re: Starting a blind playthrough of Star Control Origins (with videos! No spoilers, please)

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Don't think you're really gonna enjoy it by the sounds of it.
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