07/09/2016

Shroud of Memory

HK bonus chapter day, hooray!
 

First off I have to say: While I think that this a really neat subscriber reward, it would be a real waste if an hour of such solid content was forever restricted to everyone who happened to be subbed at a certain time. Maybe they'll make it available as a cash shop purchase later on or something.

As it happened, the chapter and I weren't off to the greatest start (and from what I heard many people experienced the same problem): The initial dozen combat encounters or so were laggy as hell. So you're thrown into your first fight with a hotbar full of abilities you don't know, they don't seem to fire when you press them, and mobs are teleporting all over the place...  suckage! It's not as if you're about to die with an OP companion healing you, but you're just sort of waving your arms around ineffectively and it's not very satisfying. Fortunately things seemed to improve somewhat (at least for me) as the chapter progressed.

Also, I wasn't too enamoured with Z0-0M at first. It seemed like both her writer and her voice actor were trying way too hard to make her funny, to the point that she came across as just plain annoying. (I get that she's meant to be a nuisance to HK... but it's way too easy to sympathise with him.)

However, things got better. Some interesting bits of lore were revealed, and you progress through a couple of very fascinating environments, walking along the bottom of the ocean just to be shot up into space shortly afterwards. The things you can do when you're a droid...


Speaking of which, I found the general concept of playing as HK interesting, because I expect that this will open up more opportunities to play as a different character in the future. It seemed like HK was basically applied as a "skin" on top of your regular character. In the target of target window I was still labelled as Shintar, I always had combat support cell on, and various healing buffs procced during the fights. Also, I seemed to hit about as hard as a sponge - very inappropriate for an assassin droid - so I'm guessing that HK's combat abilities were somehow scaled off your usual damage numbers.

I was also delighted to find that your choices in the "Arma Rasa" recruitment mission seemed to be taken into consideration, as there was a moment where I selected the option to kill someone, but instead HK's hand only hovered above the button and he bemoaned his master's programming forbidding him to kill unarmed non-combatants.

And then of course there was the ending... this is where it could get a bit spoilery (though I'll still avoid being explicit)! I had somewhat mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it was quite an interesting twist... on the other hand it felt kind of disappointing to see an excellent villain whose portrayal had been 100% serious up until then be disposed of via such a slapstick move. I'm still kind of hoping that it was all just another trick by the real Shroud, though Z0-0M's description in the companion panel doesn't leave much hope.


Overall I quite enjoyed this chapter. The lag was my biggest annoyance, but presumably that will be fixed soon. It wasn't quite as funny as I had hoped after seeing some of the comments by the writers - I don't think there was a single lough-out-loud moment for me personally - but there were plenty of things to make you smile, and I realised that I've been missing that. Humour has always been an important part of Star Wars, and chapters ten to sixteen have mostly been pretty damn serious, with the exception of chapter thirteen's big heist. So yeah, it was good to poke a bit of fun at things again - I particularly liked what they did with the exarch in that regard.

Did you qualify for the bonus chapter? If so, what did you think of it? Or has the lag kept you away?

11 comments :

  1. Yeah, I think the reveal is too wasteful. I do like the idea of the Shroud being a proxy in of himself for the entire time that we thought we knew him as it is very fitting, but there are surely far better ways for them to have handled it.

    It also makes Zeeyo's part in this far creepier from a Droid's perspective when you remember that on the surface she's just another one of the Shroud's many other faceless Replicator Droids which have been employed and sent to their deaths before...

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  2. High-larious; though the implications are quite creepy. What if Z0-OM had a backup? Or more than one?
    (This power could also be used for terrible plot evils)

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  3. I enjoyed this little bonus quite a bit! I was actually impressed by the sheer number of little details through out the mission. aside from the obvious variation in the environments, we got to learn a bit about what happened while we were in stasis! I was paticularly amused to learn that Darth Acina, whom as we know is now Empress Acina did not get the title through deception but with the full support and backing of the Empire's citizens... that she is actually rather beloved by the civilians!

    one other area that I felt awful about it but on my first playthrough I couldnt stop myself from laughing just a bit over the incident on the asteroid involving the exarch and her rant about destiny! after sitting through the outlander (my Darth Imperius) being lectured about how important destiny is to see Malforia make a big show of being ready for what fate has in store only to get shot into the vacuum of space... it was just so unexpected!

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    1. Yep, there were some nice little lore tidbits hidden away in the chapter (not just the history of the vibro-mop :P). That moment with the exarch was quite priceless. :)

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  4. The Exarch moment was freaking brilliant, and that's that (Yes, I'm a 43-year-old child. Pull my finger, k?).

    Overall, this chapter is very well done, barring the rendering-lag (which was fixed quickly). Still doesn't make up for the monumentally poor (strictly MHO, of course) chapter XVI, but whatev's.

    One other thing --again, strictly MHO-- may be that HK-55's moveset opens up an implied precedent for a (relatively-)"Limited Action Set" as a future gameplay option? I hope so, at least, as I've become quite the fan of this concept in the last couple of years; Because we've been running out of hot-bar space for a while now.

    About 9-10 abilities for HK- (Rail-blast is just fun), add an actual interruption, at least a basic DCD (like the Merc's shield or something), mobility cooldown (which he already kinda has)...Really, I think this proves that you shouldn't need more than 2 hotbars for all your abilities, but we shall still have to wait for what 5.0 brings in that department.

    "PEW-PEW!!" Lololol :)

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    1. What did you dislike so much about chapter 16? I was annoyed that it didn't really resolve anything and that it didn't let anyone actually kill Arcann, but it did have its strong points too.

      I have to admit I'm totally a fan of having multiple action bars of abilities and find limited action sets annoying. :P From what they've datamined about 5.0 it looks like there will be a little pruning again but nothing as drastic as you seem to be imagining.

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    2. The datamined info I saw, regarding move changes? I'm excited for it. The last vestiges of the old "hybrid classbuilding" are being swept away.
      (The "balance" changes, I have no opinion on - I don't play at a high enough level that it will matter)

      Chapter 16 did right what I thought the Ilum story did wrong - they left the Big Bad around for more shenanigans. I, for one, would have been a lot happier if they had had Darth Malgus still alive for us to kick around - might have obviated the need to pull an Etarnal Empire out of the writer's ... back pockets. (Of course, I think they could have used the Revanite Remnants instead of the Eternal Empire, so what do I know?)

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    3. Ah, unfortunately Arcann isn't half the Big Bad that Darth Malgus was (in my eyes anyway). I suppose if there does end up being a redemption arc for him it could still end up being interesting... but Valkorion is the one I really want to deal with and know more about.

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    4. I'm personally hoping (but the writers take every opportunity to shoot this down) that Valk is not the Vitiate that wiped out Ziost; either he's a separate force spirit spawned from Vitiate at an earlier time and "absorbed his parent", or an unrelated force spirit that got his knowledge and "taint" of Vitiate from having "eaten" Vitiate. Valk being the Vitiate that offhandedly destroyed Ziost and being the Valkorian that could inspire love in Senya; that is a hard thing for me to choke down.

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  5. To answer the question:

    A lot of what's been said above re-- ch XVI, moreover:

    That it felt --once the penultimate non-choice played out (Although Lana's near-perfect bootlegger's turn made the petrolhead in me grin :))-- it just felt like I'd basically been a spear-carrier for the Possible Redemption of Teh Big Bad(TM)...

    ...A big bad that has almost (up to now at least) no substance to him --he's a one-dimensional cartoon-caricature, what is there to redeem?

    Granted, Vailyn is worse, but she's unapologetic about it, so more "convincing" as such, if you know what I mean.

    Oh, and my choice not really mattering, because Plot-God says Senya has to get away, regardless.

    I might have been less out of sorts with this, if, say, we could have had a knock-down/drag-out fight with her, even if it was scripted to get us beat-up in the end for her to escape...At least it would have felt like Plot-God let us try, you know?

    In short, the ending didn't feel like my Outlander's (Mostly Light/grayish Merc, driven distinctly darker by the apparent loss of his beloved Mako) ending, it felt like the writers saying to me explicitly:

    "YOU ARE OUR PLOT-DEVICE AND NO MORE!!"

    That's not how a "hero" is supposed to be made to feel, is it?

    Of course a hero is a plot device like any other, but I should think that good interactive-story writing would at least try and disguise this.

    Um...Hope that made sense, anyway (coffee-Barrage hasn't proc'ed yet :)).

    Also, as others have said above --just lazy writing throughout KotFE in general, starting with Valkorion = Vitiate.

    Seriously, that's just...Ugh.

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    1. I sometimes wonder if the writers are trying to make "the hero of KotFE" the "Luke Skywalker" of their storyline. Luke is pretty feckless throughout the OT, but particularly in ANH. His actual choices (take the restraining bolt off of R2, talking Han into rescuing Leia, and flying with Red Squadron) are all objectively bad ideas under the knowledge available to him at the time; unless you're a teenager and hoping to score with the hawt chick. (which he is guilty of on both counts). Leia and Ben "drive" the plot, and Ben outright manipulates Luke into several Bad Ideas, starting with leaving Tatooine. (This is more true in light of ESB; in which Ben "admits" to "lying" to Luke in order to make him seek out and destroy Darth Vader (regardless of whether Luke transforms Vader back into Anakin or kills him, Vader as he exists is destroyed).


      In KotFE, at least, the "bad" decisions aren't presented as "teenage hormones make you heroic," but rather as "this is a bad idea, but it's the best one we have."

      (This is not an apologia for the writers - they could have done a lot better)

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