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Old Apr. 14, 2017, 09:07 AM   #1
Poe the Great
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Default The Signal from Tölva

So I got my hands on this game recently. I haven't gotten very far into it, but so far I'm really enjoying myself.

The Signal from Tôlva was developed by Big Robot, who are also the creators of Sir, you are being hunted, the game where you first-person shoot your way through a procedurally generated English countryside while being relentlessly hunted by British robots wearing monocles and bowler hats. That game is a terrifying experience, because you're never on the winning end of a fight due to the fact that you don't get enough ammo and the robots (as well as their searchlight balloons, scary-fast hunting dogs and worse) keep coming.

The Signal from Třlva is quite a different experience. Where in Sir your game ends if you get shot dead, in Tőlva you just get a new body and start from a spawn point of your choice much like in games like Battlefield.

In fact, the first thing Tślva reminded me of was playing Planetside 2. I never really got too deep into that game, but I spent some time mucking about with it. The bit I always really wanted to do in that game is go off on my own with a badass sniper rifle and try and get close to the action and shoot some guys off from afar rather than being in the middle of the action all the time. This game kind of plays like a low-key version of that.

But let me start from the beginning. The Signal from Tŏlva is not only the name of the game, but also a mysterious electromagnetic signal being emitted from a distant and mysterious planet. Exactly why you are interested in it is not immediately clear, nor is who you are, but you are dispatched to the surface of Tōlva as part of a mission intended to localize the signal and discover what is sending it.

But you don't go in person, no, that would be far too dangerous. Instead you repeatedly hijack the consciousness of a series of robots known as Surveyors. The Surveyors are robots that explore the surface. The game hints at the fact that they found something special on the planet of Tơlva, which is why they are there and why a bunch of other stuff in the game is happening.

The Surveyors aren't the only robots on the planet, however. There are several other factions of robots, and they all hate each other and are involved in a battle for control over the different areas on the surface. This is where you come in. You can't freely explore because those other robots hate you (you are a Surveyor after all), so you need to help the Surveyors gain control of the surface. That will not only give you more freedom to move around, but also provide you with unlocks for cooler guns and upgrades that you can use to turn those other bots into scrap metal.

Another nifty thing you get access to after a while is the command module, which you can use to get other Surveyors to follow you around the surface of Tǿlva as you pick fights with the other robots. Eventually this allows you to get into fairly large fights involving dozens of robots. It's not exactly Planetside or Battlefield at their greatest, but rather the low-population servers of those games where fights are tactical and provide room for flanking maneuvers rather than having your head blown off the second you stick it up.

Then there's the search for the signal itself. Finding the signal means chasing other random signals that might be it, or are obviously not it but are interfering with pinpointing the actual signal, or however the game chooses to describe it. Essentially it's a collectathon, but getting to the things you're collecting takes a while, because you're travelling across Tȣlva to get there and getting in fights along the way.

The game tosses puzzles at you to find those last bits when you get to where you were headed, which serve to highlight what a weird place Tȫlva actually is. I'm not gonna get deeply into what those puzzles actually are, but for those of you who have played it, they're kind of like Antichamber.

Tɷlva is a pretty place. It's kind of a rocky highland with hills and rocks everywhere. The way the map is designed kind of makes it all a series of corridors you're travelling through, but those corridors are wide enough and fitted with enough scenery to make it feel like an open world. As you travel around, you unlock more spawn points, but the way the game works those spawn points essentially become little more than fast travel locations which let you get around Tϙlva more quickly. Revisiting a location once you've found all of the goodies there so far hasn't seemed to be necessary to me.

Unlike the English countryside in Sir, Tϼlva is not a procedurally generated world, which means that once you've explored the entire thing there might not be much more to find or to go back to, but so far the bits of intel I'm uncovering are interesting enough to keep me going, and the prospect of bigger guns and more highly-pitched fights means that my trek around TѬlva isn't going to turn into a slog anytime soon.

I rate the Signal from Tѽlvԭ four symuuns out of five.

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we really should of just listened to poe and done diplomacy
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Old Apr. 14, 2017, 09:16 AM   #2
Raven
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Default Re: The Signal from Tölva

Although this rating system continues to disturb and confuse me, I remain interested in this game and am putting it near the top of my list of games to play once I clear my existing backlog.
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