Okay... hinterland, you have outdone yourselves once again, and have, in my eyes, fully redeemed my trust from what was "predux" and so, I wanted to give some feedback of what I loved, and disliked the most about episode 1 and 2 redux.
Starting with the intro. I loved it. It gave us a small glimpse into the old world as well as teaching some core gameplay mechanics in a way that didn't feel at all "tutorialy" to me.
I love how you redid the treck to Milton. Because honestly, in predux I felt like I was about ready to turn the game off and play something else because the walk was so long and boring. In fact, much of predux made me feel that way with all the going back and forth and long journeys. But in this new version I felt completely soaked in interest the whole way through as you did away with some of the more lengthy walks and going back and forth. I'm so glad you picked up on this, it'll be a lot easier for new players to keep interested.
Dialogue. The dialogue is absolutely magnificently written, it's so interesting hearing what everyone has to say, and your character development is SPOT ON. I love this new dialogue system and it's unlike anything else I've seen. It's fresh and new and original and I love it. While I do partly miss the animated cutscenes, this somehow works even better given that the rest of the game is also in first person.
As I said before, bravo with your character development. Before, gray mother seemed like an old selfish witch. I wanted to take her rifle and leave her to the wolves in predux. But in redux, you actually had me feeling for her. And having Mackenzie offer to bring her supplies instead of being told, that was an amazing decision. It made it feel less fetch questy and showed that Mackenzie has a heart and is feeling toward this poor old woman who was attacked by the "bad men." By the end, when it's revealed that she suffers Alzheimer's and she says "I'm sorry, Mackenzie... I thought I was helping you..." and learning about her daughter and how she got confused and thought that's who you were looking for... that part had me in tears. I have a grandmother who suffers from the same disease and it really hit too close to home. But I loved it, it had me feeling for this character in a way that I can only feel for the likes of videogame characters like the main protagonists from the red dead series. And it wasn't just gray mother. I felt hate - actual hate - toward Hobbs, whom I chose to kill. I felt companionship from Jeremiah and a sense of mystery and wisdom from Methuselah. These characters felt like real people with real problems, and I only wanted to go the extra mile to help in any way I could. I even returned Jeremiah's rifle, even though there's absolutely no consequence to keeping it. I felt like he would need it more than me. At first Methuselah's presence in the gas station seemed pretty pointless, like a "just because" thing, but once I saw him the second time it became apparent that he's here to chronicle my journey, and his presence made more sense. Him sitting outside the Carter hydro telling you "this story is not yet complete" is a little videogamey and immersion breaking. While I appreciate what you're trying to do with that, I feel that part of his dialogue needs to be taken out and that the player should be left to make these discoveries on their next playthrough. Because come on, who's NOT going to play through redux a second, or even third time?
The story writing. Just. YES. You gave Milton such a good backstory, with the prison bus crashing and the max security inmates escaping to wreck havok on the local town to loot in the middle of the blackout. That was amazing, classic storytelling that kept me so interested and wanting to see more. Same with the story of the old bear and the legendary spear! This new story writing is so lovingly crafted and original and I absolutely LOVED playing through the wintermute redux this time around. Predux was so bland I didn't even finish it. But man y'all did so good this time around. Keep that same storytelling up! Also wanted to use this opportunity to mention how much I appreciate the homage to my favorite movie, The Edge, with the "what one man can do" chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter, even if the bear killed me more times than I'd like to admit. It was fun and exhilarating, and I hope to see more sections like this in future episodes.
And since I'm very excited to get off here and start my new survival sandbox, I'll leave this post with the ending. A CLIFF HANGER! WHYYYYY!? I NEED MORE!!! I NEED EPISODE 3 RIGHT NOW, DON'T DO THIS TO ME!!!!!! The ending is fantastic and had me on the edge of my seat! And then the cliff hanger, while some may not like that, I love it! I'm SO excited to see this story continue and hope to see episode 3 soon! Keep up the good work, hinterland, and thank you so much for this lovingly crafted adventure and story you have laid out for us. This game is a work of art and I cannot WAIT to see it continue to great things! I think it's safe to say that this game, has made my year. It's been a hell of a journey and I'm here with y'all, and with this amazing community, to see it through to the end! Much love, my friends - nay - my family, and I'll see you on the other side. Soon, we'll all have to choose how far we'll go to survive the long dark....