Tacoma - Fullbright Games in spaaaaaace


#23

Steam shows it unlocks in 2 hours. Not sure about console versions though…?


#24

Well I didn’t check Steam so maybe? Wouldn’t mind being wrong.


#25

Sounds like it’s releasing Midnight GMT (which is in just under 3 hours looks like, 7pm CDT or 8pm EDT) so that’s what’s going on. Just as GMT clicks over to 8/2/2018.

Also, sounds like it’s around 3 hours long, for those that wanted to know.


#26

OK, the website for Tacoma says August 2, didn’t realize that would be midnight GMT. Hopefully that’s all platforms, I’m anxious to try it out.

Edit: MS store shows 9pm tonight for release, assuming that’s PST.


#27

Of course it’s midnight GMT. Space stations run on UTC.


#28

Forget about that Grimoire fakeout.

Tacoma is out! Go get it on GOG, Steam, what have you.


#29

Well this is a fine how-do-you-do: I got the kids down for a nap, fired up the Xbox, loaded up Tacoma and … I can’t play. I’m stuck at the “Press A to Start” prompt, no buttons work. I’ve reported it as an issue and I’m seeing folks mention being in the insider’s program as a possible cause, running a newer beta operating system possibly. Anyway heads up if you were thinking of buying on Xbox.

Edit: an update, came back to try again this afternoon, was able to start the game and play a bit. No idea why I couldn’t do so the first time.


#30

So I beat the game over the weekend, and I really liked it. I continued to have technical issues though, couple of hard crashes, usually in transition spots between wings of the station. Logging back into the game, I ran into the problem I mentioned previously a couple of times. I was able to work through it though, partly by hammering the A button and pressing for several seconds in an arythmical effort to figure out a way through. Oddly enough, it worked. Walk without rhythm, and you won’t. Attract. The worm.

Anyway, the game. First of all, if you’re evaluating a purchase, this does fit squarely into the “walking simulator” genre like Dear Esther, Firewatch, and Fullbright’s last effort Gone Home. And it totally fits that vibe, so if you’re good without any real conflict or much in the way of puzzles, just story progression and a chance to put together the pieces for yourself, it’s a pretty decent little experience. It’s a bit like Gone Home in that it kind of sets you up to expect one type of story before doglegging into a different one.

But while the experience isn’t much different than Gone Home, the story is a more expansive one. I won’t ruin any details for you, mainly because it is fun to weave the threads together yourself - you’re pretty much given a point A and a point Z, and you can work out the winding events that get you between them. It’s also got more to say about human relationships than Gone Home, between individuals and also the corporations that rule their existence. There’s a lot of stress on the part of the crew whose recordings you listen to about their futures - each works on a yearly contract basis for the corporation that operates the Tacoma, the space station in orbit between the earth and moon. So there’s pessimism, but you’ll also notice a fairly utopian crew of various cultures and sexual orientations that feel like a callback to the old Trek crew.

Also, probably should point out that while I took my time and explored pretty extensively I’d be surprised if my total game time was more than three hours. I’m still glad I bought in, makes me want to dig into another SF puzzler like maybe The Turing Test next.


#31

The Turing Test is excellent. Especially if you liked Talos Principle and of course, Portal.


#32

Funny, I have not yet played Talos Principle. Been on my Steam wishlist for pretty much forever. Probably should bump it up.


#33

Somewhere, I think a review at GOG.com, someone referred to this genre as “narrative exploration”, which I think is a much kinder and more accurate way of categorizing these types of games. Instead of shooting your way through a space, you actually explore the space in a narrative way, activating audio logs, reading messages, watching AR replays, and so forth. “Walking simulator” makes it seem like a virtual treadmill and emphasizes the wrong thing, I think.

But anyway… Tacoma definitely looks interesting and the combo deal on GOG with Event[0] seems like a good bargain, so I’ll be mulling that over for a few days.


#34

I like it! I’m going to use that from now on.


#35

I like it better too, I just think that for better or worse the descriptor “walking simulator” has kind of stuck. Kind of like (ugh) “shmup.”


#36

I’m not normally a fan of the “watching ghosts” style of walking simulator (bounced off Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture despite the gorgeous visuals). I definitely prefer the mainly environmental storytelling of Gone Home or even the gameplay driven storytelling of Edith Finch, or something like Firewatch which mixes things up. But it worked pretty well here. One strength it had was letting you follow the arcs of several characters interacting with each other, rather than simply uncovering a mystery or learning about an individual. It helps that they were written and voiced so well, of course.


#37

I’m absolutely in love with this game around 2/3 of the way through it. Or at least I assume I’m 2/3 through it based on how the game is structured.

The sheer attention to detail in the environments is astounding. The way various papers realistically build out the backstory for each character. The various interactions and side-plots that all of the 6 characters have going on to a variety of degrees.

Then the main system of interacting with these replays is brilliantly implemented. I’m completely absorbed into this stuff, practically addicted to replaying each line of conversation over and over again to see how things intertwine, to try to get the subtext of what they’re talking about, finding clues in the environment to help explain things further, and so on.

Much like Gone Home, I don’t need any grand revelation or twist at the end to make the journey worthwhile, the journey itself is so enthralling to me that I’ve already spent 2-3 hours exploring every nook and cranny of the space station.

I can certainly see others disagreeing though - you have to be in a very specific frame of mind and expecting a very low-key experience to enjoy it, but I’m happy that I’m lucky enough to be in that space to allow me to enjoy it so thoroughly.


#38

I finally got around to playing this (thanks @rei), and while I’m glad I did, it didn’t hold a candle to Gone Home for me. Technically, it should probably be regarded as an improvement, but it just didn’t connect with me.

Walking simulators are, pretty much by definition, devoid of mechanics to judge. So what’s left? Well, most people would jump to narrative, but I think Gone Home proved that needn’t be the case. The atmosphere, tone, and setting all provided that game with a feeling that made the narrative - one with a twist! - secondary. In fact, the atmosphere they were going for was what made the twist effective in the first place. Without that strong sense of dread that they tried to instill in Gone Home, the story wouldn’t have stuck the landing.

Tacoma tries - and fails - to do the same thing (at least for me). It’s a good story, but perhaps too predictable, too pat in presentation. I mean, if you’ve seen Moon (or a lot of other science fiction that shares some DNA with it), then you’ll know what to expect. Maybe that’s the disconnect for me. Gone Home felt fresh, and felt like it really used the expectations of gamers to subvert everything once you’d been through the whole story. Tacoma didn’t, really. I mean, it’s well written, the characters are really nicely done, and the little touches and personal things you can find add depth.

But it was missing a real sense of place, and with it, an atmosphere and distinctive tone that I could latch on to. It was flat; the art style didn’t contribute or detract, the station itself didn’t really feel … lived in or like anything other than a set. Maybe that’s on me; Gone Home presented a house that was intimately familiar to me because it was my house. The video cassettes were the same; the mix tapes were ones I’d made. I’d sat on that furniture. I couldn’t connect the same way to the Tacoma station. I don’t know that it’s any failing from Fullbright. Sometimes, fiction and audience just doesn’t mesh. There are a lot of well regarded authors whose prose I just can’t grok, so they leave me cold. In this instance, I think that’s what happened.

I enjoyed my time with it, but unlike Gone Home, I won’t be thinking about this one for days.


#39

Yeah, I think that’s what happened, because I absolutely got a lived in sense from it. Each of the characters had their own little troves of nicknacks and stuff from earth. The conversations themselves made it feel lived in by virtue of the characters moving from place to place, personal area to communal area, living quarters to mechanical room. You could see them leaning on rails,

All that said, I still found Gone Home resonated more for me, but I think that’s just because it was a more interesting story and that whole horror headfake angle. The “twist” in Tacoma is pretty predictable, so the narrative wasn’t driving me forward in the same way.


#40

I still am of the bad opinion that written logs and audio logs are lazy passive storytelling devices that are all too common for both walking simulators and Bioshock/system shock


#41

That’s not what Tacoma does, really. It does have some written logs, but the core conceit is a scrubbable (and required to be scrubbed) holographic video-log.


#42

Yeah the logs in Tacoma aren’t like those in other games. You can basically replay “ghosts” of the crew recorded as they went about their lives, piecing the story together as you go. I found it very interesting.