Shevanel's recent activity

  1. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Conclusion and Recap in ~games

    Shevanel
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    I managed to get one more entry on the board without ever making a post about it before the end of the month, so I'll copy my card over with the new addition: Shevanel's Bingo card Mode: Standard...

    I managed to get one more entry on the board without ever making a post about it before the end of the month, so I'll copy my card over with the new addition:

    Shevanel's Bingo card
    Mode: Standard Bingo! Finished 6/25
    Has a skill tree
    ✔ Yakuza Kiwami
    From a series you have never played
    ✔ Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD
    You can complete it in only a few hours
    ✔ Chop Goblins
    You got it for free
    ✔ Curse of D'Sparil (Heretic WAD)
    Is beatable without killing any enemies
    Great reviews, but not your usual type Features a mystery Focuses on exploration It’s already installed
    ✔ Astroneer
    From a genre you don’t normally play
    Has driving Has a non-human protagonist ★ Wildcard Released in the year you joined Tildes
    ✔ Returnal (PC)
    Considered a cult classic
    Popular game you never got around to playing Someone else has played it for their Backlog Burner Has no achievements Has a cozy vibe Uses at most three buttons
    Owned for more than 2 years Set in a dungeon Has a lives system Has a review score above 94 An updated version (remake, re-release) of an older game

    I've had a bit of a hellish time at work as of late; nothing too bad, just very busy, and all is good now, but I unfortunately fell off of Bingo (and all of Tildes) for the last three-ish weeks. Though it's partially my own undoing that the back half of week 3 going into 4 wasn't more productive, as I could NOT stop playing Returnal. I would guess that I'm maybe 75-80% of the way to a platinum, and I've really enjoyed the journey. Combine that with my continued efforts to perfect my DLC build for Elden Ring, and getting any farther in my card was a losing battle.

    That said, immense "thank you"s to both @kfwyre and @Wes for your time and effort to put this all on! I had a ton of fun, both in forcing myself to dig into my own backlog, and chatting with others about theirs. I think this experience also helped me view some of my backlog items in a new light. I have several games that have been sitting out there forever, and I keep telling myself, "I really should play that game. It's a game I should enjoy because of its (status in the zeitgeist/Metacritic score/subject matter), so I'm going to buckle down and it enjoy it, dammit." Forcing myself to pull some of those games out and dive into them has made me realize that it's okay for me to bounce off a game, even if others like it, and even if it really is something of which I enjoy bits and pieces, if it's not something into which I want to invest the time needed for that given game. In a strange way, it actually makes me a lot more excited to keep grabbing more entries out of my backlog (maybe I'll just keep working towards blackout on my own time), content with the knowledge that if (and when) I run into a game that doesn't grab me, I can set it down and move on with my life. Looking forward to the next one in November!!

    4 votes
  2. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    This comment is like a little time capsule for me - I distinctly remember when that Humble Bundle came out because I played both The Deadly Tower of Monsters and Hacknet within the same month back...

    This comment is like a little time capsule for me - I distinctly remember when that Humble Bundle came out because I played both The Deadly Tower of Monsters and Hacknet within the same month back in 2017. I felt the same way; it was a fun concept but the execution made me put it down at the time. I am excited to hear your thoughts on Hacknet when you're ready to write about it!

    2 votes
  3. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    The YouTube animator Noodle put out a sort of unofficial "history of Frogger" video last year. His humor is definitely not for everyone, but the production value is awesome and I learned way more...

    The YouTube animator Noodle put out a sort of unofficial "history of Frogger" video last year. His humor is definitely not for everyone, but the production value is awesome and I learned way more about Frogger than I ever expected to!

    1 vote
  4. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    I'm so glad I could help light the fire, and I'm excited to see what you think! It's funny that you mentioned Half Life being your earliest foray into the past - it's generally agreed that Half...

    I'm so glad I could help light the fire, and I'm excited to see what you think! It's funny that you mentioned Half Life being your earliest foray into the past - it's generally agreed that Half Life was one of the primary reasons the boomer shooter genre fell out of favor for the better part of 20 years. Don't get me wrong, HL & HL2 are some of my very favorite games of all time, but they were some of the pioneers of the "FPS as a spectacle" movement where it felt more like you were a character in a movie and just being pulled along for the ride, vs. letting the moment-to-moment gameplay shine. That said, I think HL and HL2 still balanced the gameplay and spectacle really well. But the problem is that most other modern shooters after them go all-in on the spectacle camp and leave the gameplay itself wanting.

    Also a great callout on TitanFall 2 - that's one of the few modern non-boomer shooters that captures the same kind of energy I missed from them for so long. Sometimes I just want to sit down with a single player FPS and have a ton of fun, and boomer shooters deliver in that department in the biggest way.

    I'll get that list added to my parent comment ASAP so you have even more entries to bog you down come June :)

    2 votes
  5. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    tl;dr if you're willing to spend some money on Steam, I recommend you check out DUSK for a game that will play very similarly to Quake, DOOM II to get a good idea of how the older DOOM games...
    • Exemplary

    tl;dr if you're willing to spend some money on Steam, I recommend you check out DUSK for a game that will play very similarly to Quake, DOOM II to get a good idea of how the older DOOM games played (though it really is worth it to dig into GZDOOM and some more modern games built using this engine, which I get into below), and Ion Fury to get a taste of games built on the Build Engine. If you like any and/or all of those, there is plenty more information below to learn more, and I apologize in advance for extending your backlog to infinity and beyond.

    I went off the deep end with this one a little bit, so hopefully that tl;dr gives folks an off-ramp. If you want to learn more about boomer shooters, especially how to try some of the older games as well as only have to spend ~$5 to (legitimately) obtain literally hundreds of old games and get them running on your PC, then read on!

    First, your concerns about having to fiddle to get some of the older entries running or deal with outdated control schemes is valid, but thankfully more and more games are being ported (or remade) for modern systems which makes the point of entry a lot more simple. Additionally, there are plenty of new games that capture the boomer shooter vibe but with all the creature comforts you'd expect games to have in the late 10s / early 20s.

    Before I get too deep into this, a necessary(?) aside to talk about several of the more well known boomer shooter "categorizations." This is all very unofficial, mind you, but the way I see it, most boomer shooters feel like they are natural evolutions of a few of the grandfathers of the genre. It usually comes down to the big three: you have your DOOM-likes, your Quake-likes, and your Build Engine games (I don't like the ring of "Duke Nukem-likes", plus, Nukem didn't have the staying power of the other series. Blood-likes, perhaps? Sounds sticky). There are notable exceptions to the genre that live outside of these three categorizations, but generally speaking, most boomer shooters will fit neatly into one of these three. A big reason for the differences between these three categories is that all three feature different game engines on top of which the games are built. Even more confusingly, DOOM-likes and Quake-likes are both built using id Tech engines (DOOM with id Tech 1 and Quake with id Tech 2), which is another reason why I delineate those vibes by game instead of engine as well. It goes without saying that what I'm calling "Build Engine games" are always programmed in the Build Engine--or at least, they are made to feel like they were.

    • DOOM-likes will play most similarly to DOOM (1993). DOOM-likes usually feel the most "simple" out of the these three, but that's not to say that the engine is weak or underwhelming. Rather, there are plenty of games built using the id Tech 1 engine that stand the test of time and hold their own against any of the other styles of boomer shooters. Pure DOOM-likes feel a lot more "dated" in that these games usually don't have jumping or vertical mouselook (though there are plenty of modern ports of the engine, such as GZDOOM, that have added this back in). Notable entries include DOOM, DOOM II, Heretic, Hexen, and modern entries that lean into this vibe such as the Forgive Me Father games, Selaco, and soooo many more
    • Build Engine games feel pretty similar to DOOM, but the engine is undoubtedly more advanced and allows for a lot more gameplay variety out of the box. A hallmark of Build Engine games is often environment interactivity - while there isn't a lot of environmental interplay in DOOM games outside of pressing wall switches or opening doors, Build Engine games have you breaking windows, activating lightswitches, blowing holes in walls, changing the terrain, and more. It sounds like a silly difference on paper, but the difference between the two engines really does change how these games feel! Notable entries include Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Shadow Warrior, and modern entries that lean into this vibe like Ion Fury
    • Quake-likes, as you might guess, feel a lot like Quake! Full 3D environments and enemy models, plenty of interactivity, lots of verticality, often less colorful and more dark (at least in the older games - had to sacrifice that bigger palette to keep the game running nice and smooth), and generally speaking, faster. I'm a lot more fast and loose with this category, because I feel like most modern boomer shooters fall into this category by virtue of simply being faster-paced full 3D games, even if they were built in a different engine, though there are plenty of new games that purposefully lean into the classic aesthetic while I'll call out later on. At any rate, notable entries include the Quake series, Hexen II, and modern entries that lean into this vibe such as DUSK, Amid Evil, and ULTRAKILL

    So you have a general idea of what sets some of these older games apart, and you have a taste of one of the big three already: Quake. Up next would be to decide how you want to proceed on the journey. Do you devour all the games that feel like Quake, or do you explore some DOOM-likes or Build Engine games and see if one of those aesthetics trip your trigger even more?

    The simplest way (not the best way, IMO, but the simplest way) to dive into the genre at large would be to pick up a few of the newer notable entries on Steam that fall into each category listed above, whether they're older games that were ported to work with modern hardware, full remakes, or simply new games in the boomer shooter genre. Mind you, this obviously comes with a heftier cost, but it's the most hands-off approach from a user perspective, and it's a nice way to see what the modern development scene has come up with. A few of the more noteworthy recent entries and/or remakes:

    • DUSK is David Szymanski's love letter to Quake and the boomer shooter genre in general. If you haven't played it yet, and you were a fan of Quake, you need to pick this one up at your earliest convenience. It is one of my very favorite games in recent memory, and if you liked Quake, you will love this. AMID EVIL is another solid entry into this category, but honestly, you can't go wrong with a lot of the more popular modern boomer shooters called out in plenty listicles across the Internet as modern entries into the genre. I'll list a few more out later on.
    • Ion Fury is the best modern entry built using the Build Engine, and it's pretty mindblowing what the developers managed to pull off. While it looks and "feels" like a Build Engine game (i.e. it just looks like a really gorgeously detailed Duke Nukem game), it plays so much better than any other Build game I've ever played, and it's masterfully detailed. My actual top pick for best Build Engine game is Blood, but I acknowledge that if you've never played a Build Engine game before, Blood is a lot rougher around the edges and is way less forgiving than the more modern games on this list. The first person perspective is also more... I dunno, seasickness-inducing? It just feels a little weirder, not sure how else to describe it. But despite all of that, it's still one of my very favorite games on this entire list. CULTIC is another fantastic modern game that was clearly inspired by Blood, but now I'm way off the rails and need to reel it back in.
    • I'm honestly struggling to give you a specific modern DOOM-like to pick up, as in a strange way, games built using the DOOM engine often have the most variety since so many people use this engine so many different ways. My official recommendation would be to pick up DOOM II for $5 and give it a go. It's dated, mind you, but it's the cheapest way into this category, and the Steam version will work right out of the box without issue. Do note that I'm purposefully saying DOOM II and not DOOM (1993). DOOM II is basically just a slightly beefier DOOM, with more enemy variety and more weapons, and most WADs use DOOM II for modding purposes instead of DOOM (more on that in the next paragraph).

    That being said, the best way (not the simplest way, IMO, but the best way) to dive into the genre at large starts with picking up DOOM II. If you're willing to tinker around with game files, buying DOOM II is the first step in what can become the world's biggest boomer shooter rabbit hole, since now it means that you have (legally) obtained the DOOM2.wad file and can run any number of DOOM WADs (aka, modded level packs) for free by launching them from a source port such as GZDOOM. This also means you can play your Steam version of DOOM II with vertical mouselook and better lightning enabled, which might make the game a lot more palatable to you. This is a stupidly dense conversation topic that I've touched on in the past here on Tildes, though if you'll humor me, I've written a lot more extensively about doing this kind of thing on my blog (which I almost never update), should you be interested in learning more. There's also a ton of information out there about how to get GZDOOM running and using official WADs to play modded levels, though I'd be more than happy to help you out should you get stuck at any specific spot. Needless to say, if you're interested in playing more games that feel like the classic DOOM entries, there are literally tends of thousands of hours of of modded material out there that can be had for free, and so much of it has already been vetted and voted on by the community so now you can go back and experience the best of the best from 30 years of DOOM without breaking a sweat.

    I'll close by leaving you with two things. First, a collection of guides written by Steam user edgdangon1, who has put together a rather comprehensive list of guides that have collected many of the games in the categories I've mentioned previously (i.e. DOOM / Quake / Build Engine). He's not 100% accurate, and I wouldn't recommend many of the games he's listed, but it's a great resource in that you can see virtually all of the boomer shooters of note that are available on (and off) Steam in one place at one time. My second thing is a list of the boomer shooters that I have played and would recommend to others, so you have a slightly more vetted list. That said, the list is going to have to wait until tomorrow, because I did just realize how late it was here. More to come!

    Edit: I'll try to break this list down by category to help you down the road. Otherwise, they'll just be alphabetical per category. I'll include both games that I've played and can personally vouch for, as well as games that are widely considered among the community to be excellent, but that I haven't gotten around to yet (#backlogproblems).

    DOOM-likes

    DOOM WADs

    Yeah, we gotta go subcategory-level on this one. You will have to tinker to get most of these working apart from a few bigger Total Conversion Mods. But if you're willing to take the plunge, these are all 100% free and many are just as good, if not better, than any DOOM-likes you'll find for sale on Steam. I'll keep these in chronological order since it's interesting to see the evolution of level modding over time. Edit: the links I'm adding will all be links to the WAD's entry on the DOOM Wiki, since it'll give a little bit more context to each WAD if you're curious. If you do want to download any of these, click on the site listed in the "Link" section of the card on the right side of the screen (it will very frequently bring you to the WAD's corresponding downloads page on Doomworld/idgames).

    And again, a reminder that there are literally thousands of DOOM WADs out there, with organizations like the Cacowards highlighting the best of the best over the decades. I'm only sharing out about the ones with which I'm familiar, but if this interests you, definitely dig into the endless and free content here.

    Quake-likes

    Build Engine games

    Miscellaneous

    These don't really fit anywhere else, but they are close enough to the boomer shooter spirit that I wanted to include them in case it's something you might enjoy.

    Closing thoughts

    • Nearly everything that I called out as a remaster (except stuff like the terrible Nukem 3D re-release) was made by Nightdive Studios. If you want to play a classic game and want a modern experience, virtually all of Nightdive's remasters look and feel gorgeous. They have done an awesome job whole-cloth bringing so many of these games back to life. I highly recommend all of their re-releases, as well as following them for future potential releases.
    • Civvie 11 is a content creator on YouTube who almost exclusively plays boomer shooters and puts out videos on them. I agree with almost 100% of his takes, and it helps that he's a pretty entertaining guy to watch play these games as well. If you're unsure about almost any entry above, if you look up his name along with the game name, there's a ~75% chance he's played it or has talked about it in the past.

    Gonna take a break here, but I'll endeavor to come back and add Steam links (/DOOMWorld links to the WADs) to everything.

    Edit: all links have been added!

    4 votes
  6. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    I have to admit that, even though you mentioned it being a re-release / remake per your bingo card, I was taking the concept at face value until you mentioned the highlighted orbs, so I went and...

    I have to admit that, even though you mentioned it being a re-release / remake per your bingo card, I was taking the concept at face value until you mentioned the highlighted orbs, so I went and visited OpenGOAL's site. Wow, this is clearly a huge undertaking! I can definitely see how it would be the primo way to experience the first entry in the best way possible. What an incredible effort from that dev team!

    1 vote
  7. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Returnal (PC) - Released in the year you joined Tildes Returnal only has one foot in the "backlog" category for me, as I did put a couple (literally, two) hours into it on PS5 when I first picked...

    Returnal (PC) - Released in the year you joined Tildes

    Returnal only has one foot in the "backlog" category for me, as I did put a couple (literally, two) hours into it on PS5 when I first picked one up last year. But like all home consoles in a shared environment, the PS5 is now the Blu-Ray and HBO Max machine (and the Bloodborne machine, a title which it inherited from its older brother upon retirement), so I was happy to re-purchase this when it was on sale for the PC a few months back and spend some proper time with it during this Backlog Burner.

    First, I was pleasantly surprised at its relatively small install size of ~50gb given its age and graphical fidelity. I'm still reeling from the 75gb Helldivers 2 install (worth it) and the 100gb I just gained back from uninstalling Fallout 76. I was also surprised at how well it ran given my PC. While I do have a 3060, the rest of my rig is a Ship of Theseus whose voyage began just about 10 years ago, almost to the day. I think the HDD (now used as secondary storage) is the only original plank in its hull. But Returnal runs buttery smooth at the "Medium" graphics setting, which, given that my monitors are only 1080p, is plenty for me.

    If you're not familiar with Returnal, it's a third-person shooter which is most easily described as a bullet-hell roguelike, but with a really gorgeously foreboding and dark sci-fi atmosphere. The roguelike gameplay mechanic is built into the story itself, as you crash-land on a planet while trying to track a mysterious energy signal, and when you die during a run, you wake back up in your recently-crashed ship, retaining all of your memories (and some permanent gameplay upgrades) between runs. I know very little about the story beyond that point, but I've managed to make it to the second area of the game and I really enjoy the gameplay and atmosphere so far.

    Edit: I "regret" starting this game so early in my card, because it very well may be the reason I never get another entry on the board. Absolutely love the gameplay loop and the world-building it's done around the concept of the "loop" itself is very good. I would say it's one of only two roguelike/roguelite games that I've played which have fully and successfully integrated the endless replay / loop mechanic into the story itself, the other game being Hades.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link
    Shevanel's Bingo card Mode: Standard Bingo! Finished 5/25 ✔ Yakuza Kiwami ✔ Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD ✔ Chop Goblins ✔ Curse of D'Sparil (Heretic WAD) Is beatable without killing any enemies...
    Shevanel's Bingo card
    Mode: Standard Bingo! Finished 5/25
    Has a skill tree
    ✔ Yakuza Kiwami
    From a series you have never played
    ✔ Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD
    You can complete it in only a few hours
    ✔ Chop Goblins
    You got it for free
    ✔ Curse of D'Sparil (Heretic WAD)
    Is beatable without killing any enemies
    Great reviews, but not your usual type Features a mystery Focuses on exploration It’s already installed From a genre you don’t normally play
    Has driving Has a non-human protagonist ★ Wildcard Released in the year you joined Tildes
    ✔ Returnal (PC)
    Considered a cult classic
    Popular game you never got around to playing Someone else has played it for their Backlog Burner Has no achievements Has a cozy vibe Uses at most three buttons
    Owned for more than 2 years Set in a dungeon Has a lives system Has a review score above 94 An updated version (remake, re-release) of an older game

    How the heck is it already May 15?! I had high hopes of working towards a blackout at the top of this month, but at this point, I'll be happy if I clear a single row, let alone more than that. I thought about starting up the game that would net me a top-row bingo, but my heart wasn't in it yet, and I really want to clear at least a few levels of it to give it a proper shake-out. We'll see how I feel this weekend!

    3 votes
  9. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    Congrats! I'm not familiar with OpenGOAL, but I've built up quite a library of old games via EmuDeck, and I'm wondering how much more fluid of an experience OpenGOAL would be. I have the Jak &...

    Congrats! I'm not familiar with OpenGOAL, but I've built up quite a library of old games via EmuDeck, and I'm wondering how much more fluid of an experience OpenGOAL would be. I have the Jak & Daxter Collection for PS3 on my Deck via EmuDeck, and it worked pretty well from what little I tried. That said, I never played the original game so I'm not sure if it's a faithful recreation (let alone the fact that I also never played the Collection on the PS3, so it may not be a recreation of any of the above!).

    1 vote
  10. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 3 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    Forgive me if you've mentioned it before, but your review of Quake makes me want to ask if you've ever dug much into other retro FPSes, aka "boomer shooters." If you like Quake, there are so many...

    Forgive me if you've mentioned it before, but your review of Quake makes me want to ask if you've ever dug much into other retro FPSes, aka "boomer shooters." If you like Quake, there are so many incredible options from that time period (all the way to today) that capture the same kind of feeling, and I'd love to recommend a few if you're interested!

    Additionally, if you happen to have the PC remastered version of Quake (this one developed by Nightdive Studios), I heartily recommend the included expansion packs. Even the classic ones released in the 90s are good fun, but MachineGames's newer expansion packs, specifically "Dimension of the Machine," is some of the best boomer shooter gameplay I've experienced in recent memory!

    1 vote
  11. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 2 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Yakuza Kiwami - Has a skill tree The Yakuza series is one of those behemoths whose virtues I see extolled all the time, and I always say to myself, "Man, I'm sure that'd be a great game to dig...

    Yakuza Kiwami - Has a skill tree

    The Yakuza series is one of those behemoths whose virtues I see extolled all the time, and I always say to myself, "Man, I'm sure that'd be a great game to dig into if I could ever get around to it." Well, this is me forcing myself out of my Elden Ring pre-DLC run (and perhaps a few more DOOM II WADs) to deliver.

    As someone with very little exposure to the series outside of highlight reels folks post online showcasing its goofier side, I'm going to make an attempt at an analogy here that may fall flat, but it at least helped me grep my feelings on the game: Yakuza is to the 3D GTA games as Outer Wilds is to No Man's Sky. I acknowledge it's not a perfect analogy, but hear me out: both Outer Wilds and No Man's Sky are open-ended space exploration games, but Outer Wilds is the inch-wide-and-mile-deep to No Man's Sky's inch-deep-and-mile-wide. In a similar vein, while GTAs III-V are all open-ended games that give you a ton of freedom to walk, drive, and sometimes fly wherever you'd like, there isn't a ton below the surface. Story missions are usually well thought out, with a great cast of characters, but the moment-to-moment gameplay beats (outside of the major set pieces) are not terribly deep. I don't think this makes them necessarily bad games, mind you, I just think it's worth acknowledging that the games are open-ended, but not much more than that. On the other hand, Yakuza Kiwami is a much tighter experience that is literally far more contained than virtually any GTA game in recent history, but it feels so much deeper and larger by comparison. The sidequests, various combat mechanics, and *gestures broadly at everything* world within the game are truly engrossing.

    HLTB already clocks the main game without any extra content at 18 hours, which feels a lot like eating a cake after scraping off all the frosting. I'd love to take my time with this game, which will take me a lot longer, so I'm going to make an entry for it now, understanding that I'll keep chipping away at it through the month.

    Side note: I chose to install and play this on my Steam Deck, and it runs and feels great. The Deck's suspend mode is a godsend at any rate, and in defense of the Kiwami remake, you're able to pause all cutscenes, so it's a surprisingly good pick-up-and-play experience!

    4 votes
  12. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 2 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    Totally agreed - I feel like the "evolution" of the Internet (I hesitate to omit the "de-" there) is reminiscent of the same kind of thing. Less wild-west, but also some of the magic and...

    Totally agreed - I feel like the "evolution" of the Internet (I hesitate to omit the "de-" there) is reminiscent of the same kind of thing. Less wild-west, but also some of the magic and exploration of the "open-source" vibe is gone. One of the few modern examples that comes to mind of a fan-made game that was embraced by a larger studio/publisher is Sonic Mania, which I've heard great things about, but surprise surprise, it still sits untouched in my backlog.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 2 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    I'll excuse your brevity just this once!! Thanks for the excellent run-down. I'm now second-guessing if I finished the Scorched Contract. I do distinctly remember being cursed and having an egg...

    I'll excuse your brevity just this once!!

    Thanks for the excellent run-down. I'm now second-guessing if I finished the Scorched Contract. I do distinctly remember being cursed and having an egg head along with the calamity debuff, but I'm not so sure about anything beyond that point. I also remember it being an absolute nightmare. The only other real challenges I've put myself through was an NG+ SL1 run of the PtDE, with the added caveat that I did all bosses. I've started level 1 runs of every other game but have never finished them, though it's usually out of impatience more than anything. I was a bachelor fresh out of college when I did those SL1 runs. Fast forward 12 years, and it's hard to justify to my family why I need to spend six hours dying to Aldrich while attempting to hit him with a glorified toothpick.

    Major props to you for all of the modded and challenge runs you've put yourself through!! Anymore, my "challenge runs" come in the form of me being too stubborn to accept help that the newer games give me. On my first Elden Ring run, I (foolishly) elected not to use co-op, summons, or spells (well, besides a re-spec so I could cast Law of Regression exactly one time). I don't decry anyone who uses any of these things, and on the contrary, I have used them all liberally on all of my runs since then. I suppose I just needed to prove to myself that I still had it in me. Malenia may have taken me 249 attempts that first playthrough, but hey, who's counting?

    I'm super bummed that we never got more Sekiro content, but I love that you tried a prosthetic run. It just goes to show how amazing the combat flow of that game is given that the sword pulled you back. I'm glad they added the Gauntlets of Strength, though, as all of the Inner bosses still remain some of the very best combat experiences I've ever had in a game.

    Additional major props to you acknowledging the best parry sound in the series. I'm firmly in the camp that ER is basically DS2 II and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm really looking forward to Shadow of the Erdtree, but I just might have to try a few of the more fleshed out mods you mentioned given what you have to say about them. Appreciate all your insight!

    4 votes
  14. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 2 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Curse of D'Sparil - You got it for free It's funny; I have hundreds of games in my Steam backlog alone, and I don't think I'm savvy enough to have picked up any of them for free. I'm trying to...

    Curse of D'Sparil - You got it for free

    It's funny; I have hundreds of games in my Steam backlog alone, and I don't think I'm savvy enough to have picked up any of them for free. I'm trying to keep most of these backlog entries in the spirit of the card; i.e. I was really hoping to fill this with a game that I actually got for free, but I suppose I'll have to settle for a "mod," or in this case, a level replacement WAD. I've posted about DOOM WADs in the past, so I won't get too deep here, but I'm a big fan of the modding/level-building community that has risen out of one of the grandfathers of FPS gaming (DOOM II). So I get even more excited when an acclaimed WAD hits my radar and it's for a game built on the id2 engine other than DOOM II.

    Curse of D'Sparil is a 9-level WAD for Heretic. Make no mistake, Heretic is basically medieval fantasy DOOM, but it has plenty of its own little twists that make it a unique experience, such as the inclusion of consumable items, something that you'd more readily find in Build Engine games from the mid-late 90s, a la Duke Nukem 3D. This WAD is widely considered one of the most well-known and successful Heretic WADs out there, and for good reason - it's very excellently made. It's clear that the modders knew and loved Heretic well. For folks who have played Heretic and want more of the same, I'd recommend it!

    With that out of the way, I'll add a caveat that I only played half of the 8 primary levels available, and am gonna call it good there. Most WADs in my experience go one of two ways, which I'll call the Plutonia Path or the TNT Path. Plutonia and TNT: Evilution were two of the first "MegaWADs" on the scene, and they became so successful and so well-known that they were eventually pulled into the official DOOM fold and were released as new level packs within Final DOOM. Both packs are mechanically well-crafted, complete game experiences. However, Plutonia operates off of a "less-is-more" approach, offering tight, extremely punishing levels that require mastery of the gameplay to overcome, whereas TNT very much takes a "more-is-more" approach, with gigantic levels that have hundreds of enemies and often lots of backtracking, where exploration and patience is often rewarded over twitch reflexes. I'm trying to present these in a neutral way, but I'm personally a much bigger fan of the Plutonia Path, and I'm afraid to say that Curse of D'Sparil definitely follows the TNT Path instead. After finishing the fourth level, which had 478(!) enemies in it, I decided I had seen enough. For reference, I believe the highest enemy count in any level from DOOM II is the first secret level on the highest difficulty, which has 149 enemies.

    If you like the TNT approach, you'll really like Curse of D'Sparil. It's a well-made game and a worthy love letter to Heretic. It's just not my favorite approach to the genre.

    3 votes
  15. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 2 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
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    Shevanel's Bingo card Mode: Standard Bingo! Finished 4/25 ✔ Yakuza Kiwami ✔ Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD ✔ Chop Goblins ✔ Curse of D'Sparil (Heretic WAD) Is beatable without killing any enemies...
    Shevanel's Bingo card
    Mode: Standard Bingo! Finished 4/25
    Has a skill tree
    ✔ Yakuza Kiwami
    From a series you have never played
    ✔ Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD
    You can complete it in only a few hours
    ✔ Chop Goblins
    You got it for free
    ✔ Curse of D'Sparil (Heretic WAD)
    Is beatable without killing any enemies
    Great reviews, but not your usual type Features a mystery Focuses on exploration It’s already installed From a genre you don’t normally play
    Has driving Has a non-human protagonist ★ Wildcard Released in the year you joined Tildes Considered a cult classic
    Popular game you never got around to playing Someone else has played it for their Backlog Burner Has no achievements Has a cozy vibe Uses at most three buttons
    Owned for more than 2 years Set in a dungeon Has a lives system Has a review score above 94 An updated version (remake, re-release) of an older game

    I'm glad I knocked a couple games out right at the top of the month, because it's definitely been slower going this week. I have two more games currently in the works which would net me a "Bingo," but I want to give one of them an honest effort, as it's a longer-form game and doesn't feel right to put it on the card yet.

    That said, I'm still deciding on how much grace I want to give myself to call a spot "filled." I certainly don't plan to see a game through to completion if I'm absolutely hating the experience, though I also acknowledge that even if I'm enjoying my time with a game, I simply don't have the time to, say, explore the entirety of an entry in the Yakuza series within the month (which may or may not be my "skill tree" game in the top-left corner). I acknowledge these are my own hang-ups and not at all stipulated by the Bingo rules, but I feel like I'm going to hold myself to one of the below standards moving forward to determine if a game is "completed" and I'm justified in adding it to the card:

    • The game is so long that I have absolutely no chance of finishing it within the month. In this case, I'll give it a good 5-10 hours of playtime to ensure that I've captured the spirit of the game
    • I do not enjoy the game at all. I'll still force myself through 3-5 hours of these, primarily to ensure that I'm not missing some crucial element of the game that would change my opinion of it
    • I feel like I've gotten a grasp on the gameplay. That is to say, it's an arcade-style game without an ending, or a repetitive enough gameplay loop that I understand what I have on my hands, and feel like I can speak to the experience.

    I've really enjoyed seeing what everybody else has been burning through. Here's to another week!

    4 votes
  16. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 2 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    Oh man, I would love to pick your brain on your favorite Soulsborne mods out of the ones you've tried. I'm very similarly disposed, probably ~1,200 hours across all of From's games. I've only ever...

    Oh man, I would love to pick your brain on your favorite Soulsborne mods out of the ones you've tried. I'm very similarly disposed, probably ~1,200 hours across all of From's games. I've only ever tried DS1 mods but enjoyed them immensely. I think I finished The Scorched Contract but it was years ago, and I got a kick out of the Dark Souls "Gun Game" mod but gave up around Nito.

    I always love seeing the reused assets in gameplay footage of some of the mods I've checked out; it feels like a fun little Easter egg that you can only catch if you're familiar enough with boss movesets.

    3 votes
  17. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 2 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    Happy that my post could help contribute to your card! I agree with you on the lack of a save feature - while I acknowledge that it was David S's "intended way to play," I don't think anything...

    Happy that my post could help contribute to your card! I agree with you on the lack of a save feature - while I acknowledge that it was David S's "intended way to play," I don't think anything would have been lost with the ability to at least save between levels. But outside of the achievements that force you to do a full playthrough, at least there is a level select so you could hop in with little effect to the overall game at that point. Excited to see where your card takes you moving forward!

    3 votes
  18. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 1 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    That's good to know, as I've got Iron Lung in my backlog as well. I've heard excellent things about it, but it's not my usual type of game, which, as luck would have it, would make it perfect for...

    That's good to know, as I've got Iron Lung in my backlog as well. I've heard excellent things about it, but it's not my usual type of game, which, as luck would have it, would make it perfect for at least two of my bingo spots!

    FWIW, I know you and I have discussed DOOM WADs and boomer shooters in general, so if you have any interest in knocking out a quick game in that vein, I can wholeheartedly recommend Chop Goblins! Not too tough either for what it's worth; playing on the normal difficulty was engaging but not obnoxious like some older purposefully-tough-as-nails WADs.

    3 votes
  19. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 1 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    Nice!! I picked this one up after trying the demo during what I think was a Steam Next Fest a couple years back. I was really hoping my card would have the "Music/rhythm-focused" spot specifically...

    Nice!! I picked this one up after trying the demo during what I think was a Steam Next Fest a couple years back. I was really hoping my card would have the "Music/rhythm-focused" spot specifically so I could have a reason to pick this up. I didn't get that on my card, but I did get the "Someone else has played it for their Backlog Burner" category. This is a very solid contender to take that spot, so thank you for that!

    I only spent maybe 10-15 minutes with it in the demo, but one of the things I loved was that the music continued to get more intense and eventually add vocals once you hit a high combo. As soon as the vocals and full track kick in, it's all the more reason to keep the combo going, making things even more stressful (and fun) due to the tension involved. I was also a big System of a Down fan growing up, so Serj's presence on the soundtrack was a welcome addition!

    4 votes
  20. Comment on May 2024 Backlog Burner: Week 1 Discussion in ~games

    Shevanel
    Link Parent
    I couldn't speak to the original entries from a nostalgia vs. gameplay element either, but Stranger's Wrath, especially the HD remake on Steam, felt good. Little floaty, B+ from a platforming...

    I couldn't speak to the original entries from a nostalgia vs. gameplay element either, but Stranger's Wrath, especially the HD remake on Steam, felt good. Little floaty, B+ from a platforming stance, but fun and intuitive enough gameplay outside of that. Just not what I'm looking for ATM.

    I'm so glad I'm not alone with the Buck Bumble theme song lol. Absolute banger, and my buddy and I will still sing it to each other just to get it stuck in each others' heads.

    3 votes