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Turok 4K May 9, 2014 @ 2:31pm
Miasmata or Anna?
Hello community, I want to buy anna and miasmata (gog). Both are on deal and love adventure games. Also there is no need to say I don't have a job now :(, so I want you to reccommend me which one to get. I guess both are different in a way, but want suggestions. Are Anna's puzzles difficult? Is Miasmata's craft system hard? Are they long or short? Thanks in advanced!
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DarkStarSword May 10, 2014 @ 5:12am 
Since you've posted in the Miasmata forums most people active here would recommend it over Anna (I see you posted over there as well), but Miasmata is also not the kind of game that just anyone would like, so I'll try to give you an overview of what to expect in both. Miasmata is my #1 game of all time, so obviously I would recommend it, but let me start with Anna because I did enjoy that too:

Firstly, if you read any reviews of Anna take note of which version they are reviewing - when the original game came out it got pretty bad reviews because at the time it was a very short mediocre adventure game. Once the extended edition came out the game got a whole lot better - it got a bit longer (still only half a dozen rooms or so), some puzzles were redesigned and the overall atmosphere got a whole lot better with more emphasis on the horror aspect and quite a few jump scares added to the game.

One point of warning - Anna has some pretty nasty 3rd party DRM that requires you to register on the developers website, get a code and enter it into the game. There's plenty of reports of that system just not working and people not being able to play the game. I personally wasn't able to start playing it for several hours as the email with the code took forever to arrive. Remember - pirates don't deal with this♥♥♥♥♥♥ it's only harming us paying customers.

I played the extended version of Anna and did enjoy it. I liked the creepy atmosphere a lot, and the jump scares did get me for a while. It's puzzles can be difficult - many are non-obvious, but mostly they're just difficult because it's hard to find all the random objects you need to solve them, but overall it's not that much more difficult than most typical adventure games.

Steam tells me I've played for 7 hours, getting all the way through including most of the possible endings (not 100%), but I recall that I had the game open for quite a while waiting for the DRM code, then I spent ages trying to work out wtf was going on with my input (the camera would just spin around 5 degrees to the left precisely every 45 seconds - from memory that was caused by the game getting confused by either my Razer Orbweaver or xbox 360 controller), and I think I may have left it running at one point - I'd estimate that the game would be well under 5 hours of actual playtime depending on how long you spend stuck on the puzzles.

One issue with Anna is the sanity meter, which goes down as you witness creepy events and goes up as you solve puzzles. At one point I had saved the game with the meter pretty low while I was wandering around the house trying to figure out what to do next. Every time the game threw a creepy event at me (which occur randomly and often can't be avoided) the game would end and I had to sit through the same long boring unskippable end sequence before I could reload to try again over and over and over and over and over and over and ... well, you get the idea - that was needlessly tedious.

Continued in next post...
DarkStarSword May 10, 2014 @ 5:13am 
Miasmata is a completely different type of game - I wouldn't really label it a horror adventure game like Anna, it's more like a beautiful and immersive open world exploration game with a realistic cartography system. It's sometimes labelled as a horror game, but it isn't really - there is a creature that patrols the island and will stalk you from time to time. You can't fight it and have to learn how to deal with it - usually by running or hiding. Aside from that the only adversary you will find is the terrain itself and the solitary feeling of being all alone in paradise.

It's much longer than Anna - most people would complete it somewhere between 12-20 hours, though it may be longer or shorter depending on how quickly you push through it or how long you spend mapping out the island or just enjoying the beautiful scenery and atmosphere - and how often your progress is cut short by a run in with the creature and an unfortunate fall down a cliff.

Let me tell you a story about my experience on my first couple of days in this game, and why it became my #1 game of all time. I'd read up on the game a bit so I had some idea of what to expect going into it and so what I did wrong on day one was entirely my own fault (and I don't regret it one bit).

The game started with an introduction - telling me my name, that I was infected with a deadly plague and that I had come to this island where a group of scientists were searching for a cure.

(Serious note - other than a tiny bit of background in the introduction the plot very much stays out of your way. You can piece bits and pieces of it together from notes you find as you play if you want, or just skip reading all the story notes and just enjoy the atmosphere - it's up to you. If you love the game as much as I do you will come back after finishing it to find any notes you might have missed and piece together what you can. You will come up with your own theories, and might even spend time reading other people's theories on the forums).

I awoke on the shore next to my boat - it was completely wrecked and no longer sea-worthy. Looking around I saw that the sun had risen and the sky was clear - I must have been unconscious for some time as I had hit the shore in a particularly nasty storm the night before. For a while I just stared out into the sea admiring the beauty of it all.

But soon I needed to press on - many of my supplies were either missing or ruined. It looked like only my pencil, journal, compass, lighter and now empty canteen had survived unscathed. All the medicine I had brought with me to keep my fever under control was gone - I would need to do something about that, and fairly soon too. No food had survived either, but then I'll let you in on a secret - I actually genetically modified myself years ago to survive on just water and sunlight, like a plant (no not really, but then why else don't you need to eat in this game? ;-). I instinctively looked at my wrist to check the time - my watch had survived also, and told me it was about nine o'clock in the morning.

Before me was a path, so with nowhere else to go I gathered my remaining supplies and headed out. At first I found walking a bit awkward - I was still a bit dazed from crashing into the shore, weak from the plague that was slowly killing me and I found myself swaying from left to right as though I was still in the boat, but it didn't take me long to find my legs and in no time I had remembered how to walk.

(Serious note - the movement system in this game has the concept of inertia - you don't stop moving right away when you take your finger off the key, and if you are travelling downhill you may find it hard to stop. Strafing left and right is not a good idea as you tend to slide - particularly if you try it on a slope, and if you run too fast down a hill you risk tripping over, dropping whatever you were holding and bringing on a fever. This *will* seem awkward at first, but you soon get used to it and after a while forget that it's even there. Gameplay wise it makes navigating the terrain a challenge in itself and adds another element of risk to any decision to run when the creature appears, making those engagements all the more stressful).

I hadn't gone far before I came across a small building - inside was a note covered in blood. It was a letter from one scientist to another - they had found discovered a cure! Relief washed over me... but... why was the note covered in blood? I looked down and saw a trail of blood leading out the other door. I followed it and saw the lifeless body of one of the scientists, a knife in his back. He had been murdered! But, who would do such a thing?

Quickly, I moved on LEAVING THE KNIFE ALONE (yeah, I've watched all you people on YouTube. I must be about the only person who DIDN'T try to pick up that knife :spazwinky: Also - weapons are pretty useless in this game), and came across another building painted red. As a scientist myself I easily recognised this for what it was - a laboratory for researching specimens and synthesising compounds. It looked pretty well stocked too - plenty of chemicals, a microscope, Bunsen burners, glassware, storage trays, the works - I would have no trouble being able to extract medicinal compounds from the local flora to replace the medicine I had lost.

In fact, just out the window I could see a bunch of white and pink flowers - perhaps Viola's. With any luck this might be one of the species with useful medicinal properties. I walked outside and gathered one, then went back in the lab and cut slices from the petals, leaves and the stem and examined them under the microscope. My haunch was correct - this plant did possess some compounds that could keep a fever at bay, so I grabbed a mortar and pestle, some acid from the shelf, lit the Bunsen burner and got to work. Shortly afterwards I had produced three white pills, which I stowed in a pouch in my journal for later.

(Serious note - the crafting in this game is fairly straight forward. You use the blue stations found in most camps and all labs to research plants which will generally tell you what medicine they will create, and if they need to be combined with any other plants. You might also find notes around the island with various recipes, but finding the notes isn't required to be able to craft anything - they're more hints as to what to keep an eye out for and sometimes where to look. To actually create the medicine you put the plant(s) in the red trays found only in the major labs and click on the lab equipment. There's no mini-games or anything silly like that).

Leaving the lab I followed the path a bit further North to another building - my eye was immediately drawn to a note on the table on the far side of the building, which turned out to be a map of what I presumed was the outpost I was standing in. "Outpost Draco" I muttered to myself as I unfolded a piece of paper I had stored in my journal and began to copy the map onto it. The map had the lab I had just been in marked, a few more buildings and a statue.

I put the map away and looked around the room I was standing in - there was a lantern (serious note - lanterns and candles are used to save the game, as is lighting camp fires or urns, and sleeping), a water jug, two beds and a tray full of fruit. I investigated the fruit briefly, but is was far too spoiled and inedible. I filled up my canteen from the jug and moved on to the next building.

From this next building I could see a body of water and a large statue of a head out the window. Curious about the statue I hurried through, stopping to read the TWO notes on the cartography table. I was already pretty familiar with cartography, having done plenty of Orienteering as a child, but reading BOTH notes was a good refresher on how to use a compass to work out your location from nearby landmarks (provided of course, that you know where those landmarks are), and how to work out the position of distant landmarks that you cannot reach.

(Serious note - I'm emphasising that there are two notes here as there are two parts to the cartography system in this game, and a lot of players who aren't familiar with how this works in real life tend to take a while before they get the hang of even the first part (working out your position), and by the time they do have completely forgotten that there is another part to it (working out the position of a distant landmark), or may have missed the second note entirely).

I stepped outside and walked towards the water to get a good view - the scenery looked pretty nice, though by now a few clouds had started blowing in. In the distance I could see yet another statue - "Curious" I thought to myself, but I had more pressing needs than to work out who had built these statues.

It occurred to me that the statues might make useful landmarks since they can be seen from some distance away, so I got out my map and compass and took a bearing to the statue in front of me that was marked on my map. I turned around and took a bearing to the building I had just come from and the two lines intersected just next to the shore where I was standing - "Good" I thought, "That hopefully means the map is to scale". I looked back to the statue in the distance and took a third bearing to it - I couldn't tell how far away it was, so I just drew a line across my whole map and added a little picture of a statue next to it - I'd figure out where it was later.

I looked around and saw that the path diverged - checking my map I could see the fork marked, but only one of the paths was filled in. I looked at the other path and wondered what was down there, but I decided that I should investigate the last building on my map before wandering off into the unknown.

So, I set out down the path marked on my map. I almost wandered off the path into the forest at one point, but remembering that the path was supposed to follow the shoreline pretty closely I quickly realised that I must have missed a turn and looked back - sure enough there were some planks laid over the water as a kind of make-shift bridge and the path continued. I followed it and before long I reached the cabin marked D1 on my map.

The area around D1 was beautiful - at first I thought it had been built right next to a lake, but when I looked around I quickly realised what I had thought to be a lake was actually the Sea - the water was salty and undrinkable and to the right I could see the Ocean - and another head statue. I looked around and realised that I could actually see quite a few head statues from here, but before I mapped them out I went inside the cabin.

Inside I found some photos of some of the scientists taken when the outposts were being constructed, and a map of a nearby swamp trail. I quickly copied the path onto my map, then went outside and spent a few hours adding much of the nearby shoreline to my map and working out the position of the head statues I could see.

By this time it was beginning to get a bit late and the sky was starting to turn red creating a very lovely sunset with the clouds that had blown in over the Ocean. There was a bed in D1, so I could have slept there - and in retrospect I should have (serious note - I'm glad I didn't), but by this point the only other scientist I had found had been murdered, and for all I knew the perpetrator might still be nearby - who knows what would happen if I slept here. The map of the swamp trail showed another camp, and it didn't look too far away, so I decided to push on to that camp and sleep there.

I headed West on the path - at first along the shore line and then up a hill. At the top of the hill the path seemed to diverge every which way and it was difficult to work out which trail was the correct one, but I chose the one that looked the most worn and headed on and indeed - there was a swamp just over the hill, and another bridge - then surely I have found the correct trail.

I listened to the sounds of the creatures in the swamp - frogs croaked and crickets chirped. I found it quite relaxing as I wandered on with the light around me fading fast. It was beginning to get a little difficult to see, so I got out my lighter. The path seemed to keep diverging and after a while I was no longer sure I was even on a path. I walked on a little further, but still saw nothing that looked like a path. By now it was really dark - I could barely see a few meters with the light from my lighter, so decided I should turn back. I turned around and walked in what I thought was the direction I had just come from - I was still in the swamp, so I couldn't be far. But after a few minutes when I still had not found the path I began to panic - I was lost and felt very much alone.

I started choosing random directions and running, searching for the path - but I could never find it. I tried using my compass - I had been travelling West, but I think I might have turned North - that must have been when I lost the path, so if I travel South maybe I'll find it? No, no path to the South either.

After a while I must have left the swamp looking for something - anything that might tell me where I was. I tried looking for the head statues I had seen earlier, but it was just too dark. I wandered around for hours with no idea where I was, and eventually as the sky started to brighten as dawn approached I could start to make out shapes in the distance. I could make out more head statues, but none of them looked familiar. Where *was* I?

I was lost.

Truly lost.

And this is why I love this game. Not because of characters, not because of plot, not even because of gameplay - but because of the experience I had while playing this game - and the great feeling of joy and relief when I finally found another map and discovered that I had somehow managed to travel all the way across the island to the Northwest area. While most games I play are quickly forgotten, this is one of the few that stayed with me and I still think about well over a year later. And why I have taken up the task of trying to fix some of the remaining bugs in this game - check the sticky thread on the unofficial community patch for that.

Continued in next post...
Last edited by DarkStarSword; May 10, 2014 @ 7:32am
DarkStarSword May 10, 2014 @ 5:13am 
Throughout the game I had other similar experiences. Here's another, somewhat shorter story - with pictures :)

One day I saw a very tall mountain, and decided to climb it - I reasoned that it should be a great place to do some cartography and should offer some pretty stunning views:


It was so beautiful up there I decided to wait for sunset:


Only, as the sun began to set a large storm cloud had been rolling in from the other direction:


Between the sun going down and the large storm cloud my visibility began to drop quickly:


Which made it rather difficult to work out how to get down, and after a while the moon went behind a storm cloud and I was left with absolutely zero visibility:


Eventually I ventured a little too close to the edge and fell. Well, it turns out that the creature must have seen me up on the mountain and been waiting for me, because at that moment I heard a rather loud roar and my heart started beating very quickly:


My health was already poor from tumbling down the mountain, I was out of medicine and the creature taking a swipe at me certainly didn't help things. I kept running and trying to hide from the creature:


Eventually I managed to lose the creature, but I was very near death and since it was still dark and stormy I had no idea where I was. I ran and ran, looking for a camp or a lab to save my life. You can't believe the amount of relief that washed over me when I finally stumbled upon this beautiful sight:


I was finally able to get some rest and live another day on the Island of Eden.

Alright, let's talk bugs. This game does have some - but, unless you are trying to play on under-spec hardware none of them are game breaking.

The developers unfortunately got pretty burned out while developing this game and eventually had to just log-off and take time to rediscover their creativity and motivation, but that means that the game was left with some pretty annoying bugs. Fortunately, they are all fairly easily worked around and none of these should put you off.

Firstly, be sure to check out the unofficial community patch which fixes some of them: http://steamcommunity.com/app/223510/discussions/0/648812916771880184/

Some of the more annoying bugs you may run into that aren't fixed by the patch:

- If you change the graphics quality settings you will have grainy water until you restart the game. Also, I'd recommend anti-aliasing turned on even if you would usually turn it off because it can make a huge difference to the water.

- If you open and close the map too quickly when standing next to a known landmark or under the effect of a mental clarity tonic the mouse input will lock up. If that happens use tab to open and close your journal to restore the mouse.

- At night if you are holding a torch in your right hand and open your map or journal, the light will go out making it near impossible to see. If your hand is empty your lighter will work properly, so it's often a good idea to stand near some sticks and throw away whatever you are holding before getting out your map.

- Researching a plant that you have previously researched will open your journal to the front page instead of the research notes. Doing this will have caused the note to move to the very end of your research list, so it is still pretty easy to find even if you can't remember the plant's name.

As I said, none of these are game-breaking and they shouldn't put you off playing this game. Just be aware of them and the workarounds you might have to do from time to time.

Miasmata is certainly not for everyone - some people will find the movement system too clumsy, the game too slow-paced and would much rather simply snipe the creature from a distance than run and hide. But I had an experience with this game that I have never had from a game before and will never forget, and I hope that my story has got you intrigued. Everyone has a different experience with this game, and that's what makes it so wonderful.

Well, I hope I've convinced you, and maybe some other people too.
Last edited by DarkStarSword; May 10, 2014 @ 5:27am
pawzisme May 10, 2014 @ 12:09pm 
well done DSS, for painting such a clear picture of the game.I am in my 40-something hour of play - in a game I started off NOT liking. Miasmata is different from any other game I have played. The tension is there from the moment you leave the safety of a campsite to the moment you find another one before dark falls - and you HAVE to explore the island to find the plants you need for the cure, so no let up. There are little things that ratchet it up, like only being able to hold three flowers at a time, having to keep making fresh batches of medicine to combat the plague and fatigue, so you need to find a laboratory,not just a camp site, and when you find a synthesis of plants that gives you the ability to swim, or see where the creature is - you really do feel glad about it. That is what makes this game special - you're IN there, feeling the anxiety or elation or relief, or panic when the heart-beats start.
Turok 4K May 10, 2014 @ 8:43pm 
Well, you depicted well the game. Having finished dear esther and scratches I can say they are as miasmata and anna respectively?
DarkStarSword May 10, 2014 @ 10:09pm 
I haven't played Scratches so I can't comment on that, but I wouldn't really compare Dear Esther and Miasmata.

To me Dear Esther felt like a level designer... no, I'm not even going to give The Chinese Room credit by assuming they have a level designer on their team - let's just say an artist played around in 3D Studio Max and made a scene that looked rather lovely and decided they wanted to create a semi-interactive linear walkthrough of it. Being an artist they dubbed a bunch of masturbatory nonsense over the top and charged people money to experience it.

I know some people really loved the poetry and pseudo-story in that game, and the graphics are nice, but for me personally it failed to evoke any emotion whatsoever, and I certainly didn't find the experience at all memorable. I'm with Bajo on this one:

Turok 4K May 10, 2014 @ 10:21pm 
Originally posted by DarkStarSword:
I haven't played Scratches so I can't comment on that, but I wouldn't really compare Dear Esther and Miasmata.

To me Dear Esther felt like a level designer... no, I'm not even going to give The Chinese Room credit by assuming they have a level designer on their team - let's just say an artist played around in 3D Studio Max and made a scene that looked rather lovely and decided they wanted to create a semi-interactive linear walkthrough of it. Being an artist they dubbed a bunch of masturbatory nonsense over the top and charged people money to experience it.

I know some people really loved the poetry and pseudo-story in that game, and the graphics are nice, but for me personally it failed to evoke any emotion whatsoever, and I certainly didn't find the experience at all memorable. I'm with Bajo on this one:

I don't agree, although I might agree dear esther is not actually a game, I enjoyed so much. Even my younger brother that likes shooter and killing accompanied me and we finished the story and talked about it. For us, it conveyed us peace and the felling how it would be to be a dead man living only with memories... Also enjoyed Serena.
Last edited by Turok 4K; May 10, 2014 @ 10:23pm
DarkStarSword May 10, 2014 @ 11:57pm 
And that's fine - Dear Esther was one of those games that people either loved or found too dull and boring (The Chinese Room seems to be good at that), and so I guess in that respect it is similar to Miasmata which is also a game people will either love or find dull and boring - but for very different reasons.
heime2003 May 13, 2014 @ 8:34pm 
anna is a horrible game. it falls into bottom in rank of adventure games
although this game is better than anna, it feels generic and lacks of unique feels
id recommend check out dayz or other survival horror games on steam
EvilSooty999 May 31, 2014 @ 3:11am 
Anna is mediocre. It has decent music and a nice environment to explore, but I would only get it on a sale. Miasmata on the other hand is brilliant. I loved exploring the island and hiding from the beast.
Player Review Jun 15, 2014 @ 2:41am 
Anna was one of the worst video games I have ever played. I finished it and almost every moment made me want to quit. It is a bargain title, so I won't complain too much, but save your money and time.
nannyoggins Jul 1, 2014 @ 2:30am 
I agree that Miasmata and Dear Esther cannot be considered equivalent games. Dear Esther was tedious and very unfullfilling. Pretty to look at but essentially an "animated postcard". Miasmata is fascinating! I love the physics system though it killed me in about 30 secs of starting the games I fell down a slope into the sea and drowned, unable to accept that I couldn't swim! The whole inertia aspect of movement makes running and climbing so real that you feel deeply immersed, as does your harsh breathing when you overdo things and the fear when you are being stalked. I am an inveterate "completer", I must map every inch, finish every quest and read every book so am certainly not in a hurry to finish this game. I am up to around 70 hours and still loving it.
Malak Jul 1, 2014 @ 1:12pm 
^Nanny - I do think there is some time pressure because the disease is worsening. I would be worried if you are past game day 30ish and speed it up. ;-)
DarkStarSword Jul 1, 2014 @ 5:28pm 
No need to rush - there is no time limit. I've always assumed that the reason the plague can kill in 7 days according to one of the photos is more to do with hygiene and basic medicine.

The scientists were trying to promote the germ theory of disease, which would indicate that at the time period the game is set most of the world still believed in the since disproven Miasma theory of disease (hence the title - Miasmata refers to both poluted/noxious air that was believed to cause disease in the Miasma theory as well as the oppressive political situation with the nationalist party lead by Chancellor Kallas).

If the rest of the world still accepted the Miasma theory they wouldn't have yet realised that washing their hands and sterilising their medical equipment are two of the best ways to combat disease, whereas these scientists would have. In our world some doctors at the time were also known to actively reject the germ theory because it implied that they and their equipment were unclean and they had too much pride to admit that they needed to change their ways.
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