Some of My Fun and Frustration With Game Pass

I've only been able to capture 2 of the 3 games I installed on my 3 month free trial of Game Pass bundled with my new GPU, and even these are but a few of the lucky captures that survived GP's lack of reliable support for ShadowPlay.


Atomic Heart

Despite the maligned response for Mundfish's omittance of the promised RT support for this game in prerelease trailers, this was the title I had most success with using ShadowPlay. It had it's quirks as well though, which caused two of the boss fights to capture without audio, and one to not capture at all, causing me to delete or miss them entirely

This game is sort of like a demented carnival of robotic chaos, and the dialog as well is a bit off the wall. There's the "fridge" looking vending machine Nora at save points, who is horny for you. She's not short on sexual metaphors and innuendos, and you get literally entangled with her tethers upon first encounter. Then there's Charles, your polymer spewing glove, who is analytical, but also argumentative. Lastly, P-3, the protagonist, the major tasked to stop all the madness, who often curses angrily in between exclaiming "crispy critters"! The glove looting is pretty easy and makes a cool sound, which is rather addicting.

I should first mention that this game's color palate is heavily desaturated (mostly outdoors). It's even worse with Volumetric Fog enabled (which I've turned off), especially at or near max, as it makes for a milky haze in outdoor scenes on top of it. I can understand why they chose desaturation, even though the mastermind character behind all the inventions is intent on showing off a sort of golden age of technology in Russia, because the main theme of the game is how everyone gets caught up in it's collapse. I DO feel though that they overdid the washout. Even the initial scenes in the intro before the chaos begins has a very bleak look to it. I had to crank up the color warmth on my display from 50 to 65, and bump up the color saturation of the outdoor fights in the compression as well.

Hedgie Boss (HOG-7)

This is the first legit boss in the game. He blocks you from accessing the VDNH , which is the Vystavka Dostizhenij Narodnogo Hozyajstva, or USSR exhibition of National Economy Achievements. In a nutshell, it's a Museum of Russian Ideology.

It's kind of ironic they call this boss Hedgie, because you fight him in a plaza filled with shrubs. He's basically a big metal ball that can roll around fast, and has arms and legs that can pop out when he wants to pounce at you and smack you around. The main problem for me with this boss is he came too early in the game for me to have unlocked the Character skill that makes you move faster. It's also frustrating that the most effective way to dodge without that skill is to look the direction you're dodging, which makes it hard to keep track of him.

There's pedestals that you can pop up in the plaza for cover and to lure him into, which stuns him instantly leaving him vulnerable. It's easier said than done though without the aforementioned skill, because you not only have to get to them before he gets to you, they don't stay popped up very long. Also, when I rebound the key to use them from V to a more accessible Thumb Button 4, the prompt suddenly became too small on the button atop the little control post to activate them easily.

Ivy Boss (Plyusch)

This is no doubt one of the hardest bosses in the game. There are organic creatures in the game, and this one is very tough, fast, and if it grabs you can do tons of damage if you don't win it's randomized QTE mini game. It takes quite a while to wear it down, even if you have elemental canisters on your weapons, of which I find fire works best. It's also good to have a fairly effective melee weapon to finish it off, which is pretty well upgraded. Otherwise it's a real ammo drain. Fortunately dodge works adequately well even when you have a heavy strike at full charge on your melee weapon. There is however a huge risk taking on this beast at close range.

A bit of trivia on this boss, I fought it two other times after this fight in testing grounds, where there were other organic creatures. These fights unfortunately captured without audio, but the final time I fought one I discovered a neat trick. It was the 3rd one of these in a fairly confined space. In the 2nd and 3rd instances of this creature there were Mothers, Sprouts, and Mutants. Mothers are nests Sprouts pop out of, and Mutants are former lab workers who have mutated into creatures with plant heads. When the Sprouts pop out they look for Mutants, live or dead, to infect, and once they do, the Mutant becomes stronger and more aggressive.

The Sprouts and Mutants come in variants, such as Toxic, and Fire. The 3rd time I fought and killed a Plyusch though, I saved all my ammo for it, and ignored the Mutants and Sprouts. I stayed at one end of the area mostly where I was less vulnerable to the Mutants and Sprouts. Suddenly a Toxic Sprout latched onto the head of the Plyusch and infected it. However in doing so it made it much slower and more vulnerable to my attacks. I could not believe how much easier it was to take out. I'm not sure if it will be easy to replicate this outcome, but if there's another one in the game, I will sure try. A Plyusch as far as I can tell is a cross between an Ivy plant and a dog.

Belyash Boss (M-9)

This is the boss that guards the theater, which is where one of the sub villains Petrov is hiding out. Rather than being a big ball like Hedgie, this one just has a much smaller ball as a head. You also fight it in a much smaller place than the VDNH plaza, and it more often comes straight at you. However between now having the faster movement skill, and a hefty weapon called the Fat Boy, it wasn't too hard to take out. I also sprayed it with polymer and zapped it with my fully upgraded Shok in between shots.

Dead Space Remake

This one doesn't work as consistently with ShadowPlay, and the HDR and lighting can be inconsistent as well, which I attribute more to how Game Pass titles are coded and compiled than the game itself or ShadowPlay.

As far as the game itself goes, graphically it far exceeds any Dead Space game with or without HDR enabled, but with HDR on it's a sight to behold. The audio is also quite a bit more sophisticated now, and is very well done.

That said, I AM a bit disappointed in how tame some areas are compared to the original game, or maybe it's that in the original you had to be on the harder modes. What I'm saying is, the first visit to the Bridge in the original I seem to recall there being quite a battle, which included Leapers, the Scorpion-like creatures that are fast and hard to kill. On the default mode there was literally NO battle there at all, just the one Brute that pops out after you talk to Hammond then go back up. There was also zero creatures in the hallway that leads to the left to get a power node, before going the other direction to get to the centrifuge.

They DO seem to keep you guessing well when you backtrack though, which there is far more need for now that there are doors and crates that require higher levels of clearance than you start out with. What seems like a safe place to loot isn't necessarily. I won't know for sure how to judge the game until I play it on the harder modes, but I'm not sure I'll do Impossible mode in this one, since they made it permadeath now.

Manually Ignite The Engines

One of the improvements in the Remake is they made Kinesis not only more accurate when tossing items, but also more accessible in what items can be used as thrown weapons. This mission, where you try to get the Ishamura's engines going again, is good for such combat. One of my favorite Kinesis weapons now is conduit pipes. These are 3" to 4" in diameter and can be torn off walls, which leaves a jagged edge on one end. The end you hold also has a brightly lit ring around it to make finding them on walls or where you dropped them easier. These are very powerful, and can render a slasher pinned to a wall dead in one shot. There's still the tension of your Kinesis module wanting to pick up a dead body part near what you're trying to pick up as enemies approach, which I'm not sure is intentional or not. Either way, Kinesis now is a force to be reckoned with, even with no upgrades.

Reroute The Power

This is just two of the three segments to reroute power to the ADS Cannons to fend off a meteor shower. The 2nd half where Isaac encounters a corpse hanging out a window is where you can see the 2nd clip appended shows much darker. My apologies if you don't have a HDR capable display, which can make it look even darker.

Recalibrate ADS Cannons

Finally we get to the meat of the matter where we can finally recalibrate the targeting systems of the 3 big guns before the asteroid shower destroys the Ishamura. IMO this is a MUCH better way to play this mission than just seated at one cannon indoors in the original literally shooting them all yourself. It IS however far easier, at least on the default mode.

Game Pass Summary

I suppose it's a valuable service for those who don't do ShadowPlay capture. For me, it wasn't very useful either in the sense of what games it contains, or it's odd coding. I also find it's a bit irresponsible they are not more transparent about the latter.

Due to some pretty good sales on EA Play and Steam, today I'll be buying these two games and Jedi Survivor, Callisto Protocol, and Sniper Elite 5.

I'll still continue accessing Game Pass regularly after deleting the 3 games I installed, just to see if by chance anything else interesting pops up, but I don't plan to continue beyond the 3 month trial.
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Interesting writing, I share this point of view. But if there is a lot of text. I was already tired while reading. But thanks anyway
Yeah I know it's often hard to do during the holiday season, but sometimes it's best to save something for the next day. Too many times I've stayed up FAR later than I should lately, and it's taking a toll on back and my stress levels.