I wish there would be an “Explorer” mode, which did not weaken the enemies’ HP, but instead capped their numbers, especially “bosses” (hunters, tanks, harvesters) to low numbers:
No more hunters than players, and no more than one tank or harvester (not both) at a time.
Or better yet: Advanced host options for each machine type and class, with adjustable number caps, and fine tuning for sensing ranges and special attacks.
Please hear me out.
My friends and I had started playing recently, and instantly absolutely loved almost everything about the game (except for the lack of a third weapon slot, and a missing key to toggle the hud on/off). But suddenly, the current state of the game would leave us heartbroken after ~30 hours, not being any fun to play any more.
What we had loved:
The setting, the story, the atmosphere, the pace (being whichever we wanted), the gameplay, it was all amazing. We had found the niche we had always been looking for, that no other game had offered before:
It could be calm, almost like a walking simulator combined with watching your favorite TV show, where one could enjoy the beautiful scenery, investigate for clues to the thrilling story, and come up with theories, and discuss them.
When the need for action arose, there would also be frightening enemies that could be engaged or avoided. And if the odds seemed in favor, they were great fun to engage, as they would put up a good fight. It was awesome to hide and sneak, flank, engage at will, aim for components, and come up with tactics.
What happened then:
Suddenly, the game started to spam us with “bosses” (hunters, tanks, harvesters). They come in packs by the dozen, military and up.
They can often spot us across entire fields, sometimes even through obstacles and hills.
A tank can land devastating homing missiles over hundreds of meters without a line of sight, and for us with no chance of evasion. Even houses give no good cover because of the gas attacks; and they also make the gameplay extremely boring and tedious: They leave no tactical options, just shooting out the windows, ducking, trying to run to other rooms from gas, getting stuck in door frames. And they can’t be left, because of permanent rocket spam that cannot be evaded.
Even rivals pair up in twos or threes, their weapons and armor are extremely tough.
No solution currently:
The only way to survive at this point, is to lower the difficulty - and I am only talking about the dozens of military hunters at one place, there is still no chance against multiple tank rivals.
But this does not reduce the number of enemies, it just makes them easier to kill. It completely takes the frightening part of the machines, and the tactical aspect of the game, and then just feels like a silly Call-of-Duty-like robot shooter, where the game is trying to throw as much at us as possible.
This may be interesting for the end game players, who have seen it all anyhow, but is extremely off-putting for starters, who still want to explore the world and the story.
However, it is great that the machines are real tough - apart from their overpowered sensing, and the rocket spam, both of which eliminate any tactical approach. They are huge metal-made killing machines. They are, and they should be frightening to encounter and to engage, and each on their own at that. And this should require some tactical considerations.
Quality, not quantity (of course a pack of runners is fine). So the toughness is great, just the numbers aren’t.
Please please pretty please, add an “Explorer” mode that feels like the first 30 hours. Where the world is tranquil and frightening, and not crammed and unfair. Where the damage is just as selected by difficulty, but the game will never stack an ungodly amount of “boss” enemies or even rivals. Where no robot can hear you crouching at the next house, or see you without a line of sight over 100m, or just bomb you out of the blue. Where perhaps gas masks are a hassle to put on and see through, but would then give you full protection if combined with the chemist skill. Or where special attacks like gas and rockets are limited.
In short, where gaming is tough, but focused and fair, and allows for exploration, learning, experimenting with tactics, and variation in combat.
Even better, there could be advanced host options that lets players decide their exact fine tuning: How many of each machine may spawn at one place, how far can they see and hear, should certain special attacks be limited or even disabled.
That way, absolutely everybody would be happy and satisfied, with a world and a challenge that are exactly tailored to them!
This is something that truly only Generation Zero could cater! How great would that be?
And on top, I am sure this could be realized without too much effort. I would gladly even invest my own time to create a modification that does this, if it was possible; but as far as I know, there is no open development kit right now.
For my friends and me, the game has become so frustrating, we cannot continue anymore. But it had been so amazing until now. We miss the experience we had so far, and would be extremely thankful for a way to get it back.
Is there a chance?