Now that I have a good 80+ hours under my belt I feel that I get the game enough to see an issue that might be real and not just my lack of experience of the game :
The recipe system probably requires too much grinding.
The first couple runs I did, I probably got more recipes from guesses than from decoding messages. I got those fast, but then after trying about a hundred of different combinations that didn't work I got tired by lack of progress and shelved the game for a long time.
Then recently, I picked it up again and upgraded to Mind Games. The two new characters, psionics, additional content and the time that passed made the game fresh anew. Still, no additional recipes, even though this time (or was it after I upgraded to Gold?) I at least knew when I failed a recipe that was because it was invalid, due to my character clumsiness and/or lack of proficiency, or because I used the wrong recipe maker (thanks for adding this, it might break immersion a little bit, but makes the game a lot less frustrating).
Then, I learned some more about the game, and decided to play mostly characters that have the best chances of repairing the data consoles (high Electronics skill), getting the data out (high Computer skill) and decrypting the message (high Decipher skill). And messages started flowing in and the rate I was getting new recipes increased noticeably!
But here's the issue : these characters are also those I feel are harder to play as they require the knowledge of more mechanics to be as effective as a Marine on low difficulty levels. And a new player might not understand what characters to pick, and how to level them up to maximize message deciphering (knowing that skills auto-improve on use until reaching base 45 is pretty important).
So you have hard to play characters that are needed to unlock recipes, which make the game easier. That's seems to me a problematic roadblock, that only dedicated players will want to go past (if they are unwilling to cheat and look up all the recipes on the wiki, which removes an important reward of the game progression).
Or maybe I should just have started playing on Easy instead of straight Normal if as I read Easy only has the first 50 recipes, which I suppose are the most useful for the early game. But I suspect I'm not the only one unwilling to play on Easy.
The last thing that's bothering me a lot is that there's no in-game record of recipes you've already tried, and failed because they don't actually exist. While finding a new recipe by yourself rather than from a message or the wiki is more about getting a lucky guess than understanding the game's logic and lore, actually achieving it is very rewarding. But after a while, checking a combination to the ones you've already tried becomes tedious.
So, now that the game tells you why you failed a recipe, I hope you will add a list of recipes you've already tried and failed (as well as a list of recipes that you've tried in the wrong "workbench"), and warn you if you try to make an invalid recipe again.
A lot of gamers means a lot of opinions - share and discuss them here.
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