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Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?
rosedragon Offline
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#11
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

Hello,

I just spot the game after venturing from twitter that talks about the recent frictional blog post. I tried the demo and it makes me curious but the current controls of the game hinder me from purchasing.
- I took a lot of time to learn breaking the ice from the hatch. Just to easy to miss hit.
- I took another lot of time to open the hatch, it seems so hard to turn it until I put my character in right angle.
- The flashlight battery limit is unfair to me since I am a slow player. Typical old woman that appreciate adventure genre from its 'take your time to think'.
- There is no visual difference beside cursor change between objects that moveable, destroyable, and uninteractable. A wooden barrel could be destroyed but wooden cabinet is not.
- can't adjust mouse sensitivity.
- I have to put contrast and brightness on my old CRT monitor to full and that hurts my eyes.
- the demo end me in shocked bitten to death by a dog. I feel like 'what? I just venture around without clue nor experience something fun and then game over?'
03-29-2010, 10:06 AM
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Sebatiger Offline
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#12
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

I fully agree, i think that Frictional games is kind of... mysterious. Its like their games are hardly even heard of and even Wikipedia has hardly any info about the game. Does anyone even know how many people work for Frictional games? Because I know hardly nothing about the company even.
03-29-2010, 06:16 PM
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Tonakai Offline
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#13
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

(03-29-2010, 10:06 AM)rosedragon Wrote: - I took a lot of time to learn breaking the ice from the hatch. Just to easy to miss hit.
I don't remember the correct key, but there was a button which could be used so that the camera won't move but your hand will, so that it will be easier to whack stuff with the rock. Check the controls.

(03-29-2010, 10:06 AM)rosedragon Wrote: - I took another lot of time to open the hatch, it seems so hard to turn it until I put my character in right angle.
Did you try opening it in different directions? Grabbing it from different spots?

(03-29-2010, 10:06 AM)rosedragon Wrote: - The flashlight battery limit is unfair to me since I am a slow player. Typical old woman that appreciate adventure genre from its 'take your time to think'.
What do you mean? That the battery run out fast?
Use the glowlight (or whatever it was called) by pressing G.

(03-29-2010, 10:06 AM)rosedragon Wrote: - There is no visual difference beside cursor change between objects that moveable, destroyable, and uninteractable. A wooden barrel could be destroyed but wooden cabinet is not.
If an item is movable and you move your cursor on the object, there cursor will change to a hand. What's wrong with that?
Most of the time the breakable stuff look different from the usual objects.

(03-29-2010, 10:06 AM)rosedragon Wrote: - can't adjust mouse sensitivity.
I'm not entirely sure, but I think there was an option for it in Options.

(03-29-2010, 10:06 AM)rosedragon Wrote: - I have to put contrast and brightness on my old CRT monitor to full and that hurts my eyes.
...Because it was too dark? It's meant to be so dark that you can barely see anything.

(03-29-2010, 10:06 AM)rosedragon Wrote: - the demo end me in shocked bitten to death by a dog. I feel like 'what? I just venture around without clue nor experience something fun and then game over?'
Well, it's a demo.

I haven't played the demo so I'm not 100 % sure if there are mouse sensivity settings or some other minor stuff (even though it would be kinda silly if they weren't there).
But I can say that you didn't look around that much before complaining.
03-29-2010, 08:50 PM
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Nothinglikesleep Offline
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#14
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

You should read through the forums on Penumbra at steam, they are nuts for this series

iGame
04-19-2010, 10:50 AM
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wcer Offline
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#15
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

Personally I had only sort of heard of the game vaguely, with no real details as to what it was. Eventually I got tired of playing through Call of Cthulhu DCOTE a bajillion times (a damn shame the other two are canned due to liquidation of Headfirst studios) and in trying to find something similar rediscovered Penumbra.

At the end of the day this sub genre will never be as popular as others, it's a niche interest and taste. Playing them tends to require a mindset not present in most modern gamers (ADHD seems to drive the design of most titles).

To some extent I might argue that's a good thing for what few horror games are coming out. Innovation is more likely to happen when companies are sort of struggling for purchasers, post-mass success there is significant pressure to "stick to the formula" and rehash extensively. The downside is there's always the risk of companies who release good games going bankrupt, leaving a gap until the next risk taker or indie developer tries to fill the gap.
04-19-2010, 07:23 PM
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Tayrtahn Offline
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#16
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

Penumbra would probably be best categorized as a "horror adventure". While the horror genre is gaining some popularity*, the adventure genre hasn't recovered from its collapse in the mid- to late-90's. Telltale Games has done a pretty good job of reviving the genre, and companies like Frictional Games are bringing new life into it by maintaining the essence of the genre while defying the stale conventions that killed it. The key elements of exploration, discovery, and puzzle solving are all there, and the old "try every item with every other item" pattern has been dropped. Nice!

More to the point, the Penumbra series is definitely overlooked. I only found it due to being very bored during the Steam sale and taking a chance on it from what I saw. I've shown it to numerous friends, and so far no one has heard of it before I show it to them. One was drawn in and scared by Overture enough that he refused to continue playing after entering the hatch into the mine - and that's on my little laptop's screen with built-in speakers!

Penumbra is for people who really want to be scared by their horror games, and not just entertained by shooting zombies. Of course, that does somewhat limit the number of people who will give it a try. It's a bit bungee jumping - almost everyone is scared of heights to some degree, but there are some people who love the rush of facing that fear head-on. Penumbra takes your fears of the unknown, darkness, and more and makes you face them directly. Quite the rush!

For the record, I have a bit of a fear of spiders (which I realize is illogical, but that's how phobias work). Crawling through the narrow tunnels, hearing skittering noises, and seeing the webs in the corners was one of the most terrifying things I've ever experienced in a game. Actually encountering the spiders for the first time sent me flying out of my seat and I had to wait until the next night before continuing on. And that's exactly the experience I was looking for when I bought these games. Smile


*Arguably, the recent rise in popularity of "horror" has been driven more by action than actual horror. Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor, Resident Evil 5, and so on... good games, but not very scary, as has been discussed elsewhere in this forum.
04-21-2010, 05:40 PM
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naturon Offline
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#17
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

(04-21-2010, 05:40 PM)Tayrtahn Wrote: Penumbra would probably be best categorized as a "horror adventure". While the horror genre is gaining some popularity*, the adventure genre hasn't recovered from its collapse in the mid- to late-90's. Telltale Games has done a pretty good job of reviving the genre, and companies like Frictional Games are bringing new life into it by maintaining the essence of the genre while defying the stale conventions that killed it. The key elements of exploration, discovery, and puzzle solving are all there, and the old "try every item with every other item" pattern has been dropped. Nice!

More to the point, the Penumbra series is definitely overlooked. I only found it due to being very bored during the Steam sale and taking a chance on it from what I saw. I've shown it to numerous friends, and so far no one has heard of it before I show it to them. One was drawn in and scared by Overture enough that he refused to continue playing after entering the hatch into the mine - and that's on my little laptop's screen with built-in speakers!

Penumbra is for people who really want to be scared by their horror games, and not just entertained by shooting zombies. Of course, that does somewhat limit the number of people who will give it a try. It's a bit bungee jumping - almost everyone is scared of heights to some degree, but there are some people who love the rush of facing that fear head-on. Penumbra takes your fears of the unknown, darkness, and more and makes you face them directly. Quite the rush!

For the record, I have a bit of a fear of spiders (which I realize is illogical, but that's how phobias work). Crawling through the narrow tunnels, hearing skittering noises, and seeing the webs in the corners was one of the most terrifying things I've ever experienced in a game. Actually encountering the spiders for the first time sent me flying out of my seat and I had to wait until the next night before continuing on. And that's exactly the experience I was looking for when I bought these games. Smile


*Arguably, the recent rise in popularity of "horror" has been driven more by action than actual horror. Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor, Resident Evil 5, and so on... good games, but not very scary, as has been discussed elsewhere in this forum.

This is a great post. Indeed, Penumbra takes your deepest fears of despair and hopelessness and exposes them to you, making you actually fearful of what the game might have in store for you later on. I don't think it's this type of fear that attracts many people to be honest. I think most people enjoy watching a slasher movie with their friends on a Saturday night and jumping when the movie pulls a carefully orchestrated scare, meant to inspire shock and start in people. They get terrified for a second or two, and then they'll be laughing the next second, embarassed at how "scared" they got in the presence of other people. I can't stand how this is always the general standard for "scariness" in the various forms of horror media. I've seen FEAR reaction videos where people would jump from their seats and flee in terror because of some ghastly apparition that appeared to them (most of the time Alma or something like that, which you don't have anything to fear from). I mean really, it's not scary.

Games that cause you to start or get a moment of shock are just taking advantage of the heightened awareness one gets when playing a game like this. They'll be concentrated playing the game and then suddenly BOO! You might even be playing at night with frail nerves and causes you slight start. This works great in moderation, but when it's the only thing your horror game has going for you, then something is seriously wrong. Penumbra is the only game I've seen that's going for this kind of real terror, and pulling it off. Inspiring real fear in the player not through orchestrated moments of shock or start but through situations that disturb the player emotionally. Just brilliant, the guys at Frictional Games deserve all the respect in the world for understanding what horror is alone. Although like I said I don't think anyone enjoys really being terrified genuinely like that. It has always struck me as unbelievably bizarre how everything that succeeds at what it's going for is always ignored for inferior alternatives.
04-21-2010, 06:54 PM
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Urkle Offline
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#18
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

I first heard about the Penumbra games on megagames.com when they had the "tech demo" released. And then I offered my services to port the game to mac / linux for fun and look where we are now.. 3 released games for all 3 platforms and Amnesia coming out in August :-D

Oh and play-testing through Overture was rather challenging for me due to the "spiders" :-D

Developing away on one of
Multiple Macs running 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, and 10.9.
Linux, 8-core AMD, 8GB RAM, Fedora 18, nVidia 450 1GB
04-21-2010, 10:32 PM
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Rex Offline
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#19
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

I had never heard of the game or any adventure game really until one day I was at best buy picking out a few adventure games after playing the longest journey and i saw the Penumbra collection and it looked cool so I got it and was very happy.

Still there are people who have not heard of the game as I tried to talk about it on the forum I hang out on and the reply was "Penumbra looks pretty scary. I don't think I've ever heard of that game. I'm going to read up on it now."
05-11-2010, 05:38 AM
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Skaruts Offline
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#20
RE: Penumbra series, underrated and overlooked ?

(12-13-2009, 02:10 AM)FreeBooteR Wrote: The series is way underrated. This has to do with gaming review sites not getting any money grease. That's how it works imo. This is why indie publishers have a hard time.

I don't know if that's how it works, but I believe they have to cover the "great" AAA games mostly so that they (themselves) get some attention from the public. I wonder, if a gaming website grows up on indie deving solely I think they will have a hard time getting the same attention.

But... on a second thought, I think you may be right. After all, their reporters and reviewers don't do all their work for a loaf of bread Smile and I doubt they can get their salaries out of adds in the websites.

I'm only giving some hunches, I really don't know how it really works.
But I think they could be a little more forgiving with indies when they really deserve it. Is this world so gready by now that people can't waste five minutes of their time on something that may represent $5 less of income? I mean, it would be some kind of charity, and also some kind of interest for their own. Who knows promoting Penumbra like hell wouldn't end up filling their pockets someday?

Cuz yea, I think it's way underrated. If you look at this list, for example:

Arx Fatalis
Thief 3
Penumbra
Doom 3
Half-Life 2
Bioshock

Does it really get blurred by the others? I think not. Penumbra really makes up for it with all the ingredients all other games in this list have. Good gameplay, good grafics, good physics, etc. Actualy, penumbra has much better physics than some of these, and better graphics than Arx, way better lighting/shadows than Half-Life 2, while still being probably the most low-end-PC-friendly of all. Arx is another underrated game, but maybe it's "paying for it's sins", in a way. And on top of that, Penumbra has shown to be scarrier and more coherent than most horror games, and also has introduced quite some new concepts of gaming.

EDIT: Penumbra as a game, not speaking technically, has as much of an interesting content as any of these games, even more interesting than some (Doom 3 and Bio, imho).

And besides, voice acting in penumbra is way more realistic than most games I've seen around lately. Most of them are becoming too "hollywoodish" and theatrical, in my honest opinion (Oblivion, Dark Rain, Bioshock, and many more). Penumbra sounds very realistic and simple or raw, if you will, and much like people would sound in real life. That is a huge must if you're trying to get the player into immersion. That's how Stephen King build his characters too, and oh! Wadda ya know! It works so much better!

So, I hope Amnesia will finally get a good percent of the masses attention. Steam is a good thing after all, and probably will be great from Amnesia onwards. Being a highly populated community and with lots of promotions it will surely help these guys a lot. Even if the media don't give it due respect, I foresee a brighter future for FG.

Skaruts

Btw, aren't there any indie-related-only review websites?
05-11-2010, 05:42 PM
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