What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them?
What have you been playing lately? Discussion about video games and board games are both welcome. Please don't just make a list of titles, give some thoughts about the game(s) as well.
Elden Ring. I love exploring in the game and conquering areas. It's easily my favorite implementation of open world design. Finding new areas is always interesting. I keep on finding whole new sections of the world with unique assets and lore. It puts Halo Infinite's open world to shame and even Breath of the Wild's honestly. (I still like Halo Infinite, but its open world is just a larger than usual sandbox for gameplay rather than a deep character in itself.) The online play is fun chaos. Some people treat the game as a mundane test of skill where they play against bosses with no player summons, no npc summons, no magic, no items, no cheese whatsoever, fox only, etc. I stock up on magic and summon two teammates and just go with things like I'm one teammate in a chaotic online FPS match.
I've put 150 hours into Elden Ring and I've only now made it to the final area. I've been exploring every side path, trying every weapon art, reading every item description. There's just so much content.
Conversely, a friend of mine has reached the same area in roughly 35 hours. You can definitely speedrun it if you want to. Most of the game is in fact optional.
Right, I'm 125 hours in and I still haven't explore the final major area, and haven't gone all throughout the penultimate major area yet either. I was cleaning up some NPC quests last night and found five or six other areas I simply walked right by or around in previous areas! None of this is any downtime either, I've been quitting to the main menu when I take a break because I wanted to keep my time played as accurate as possible for this first playthrough out of curiosity.
It's unbelievable how dense this game's world is.
I've been playing indie game called dV: rings of Saturn. It's mechanically a combination of the classics asteroids and Lunar Lander, you are a miner mining and exploring the rings of saturn trying to make a living. It has an (intentionally?) difficult control and UI scheme, that imo really helps you feel like you are actually piloting a space ship. It's a zen experience that rewards patience. It also is extremely customizable, there are endless sliders to tweak the behaviour of of the ship flying and there are many side-grades you can buy, including ones that change the UI layout.
In a lot of ways it reminds me of elite dangerous, mechanically it's very different (2D vs 3D) but it has the same grindy, immersive, slow simulation feel.
I would really like this game to get more attention, I think it's a real hidden gem. It's been getting extremely frequent updates and It has a free demo too!
I have been continuing to play Satisfactory, and thanks to a generous gift from a tildes compatriot, I've been playing multiplayer with my kids. I have taken up a janitorial role for the most part as my kids do weird and creative things. My son made a ladder that goes to the top of the sky, and a prison for lizard doggos. My daughter has been painting everything and the general layout has been hilariously hectic and not particularly efficient. It has been delightful.
I'm back into World of Warcraft as well - my guild is progressing through the current raid. It's fairly good - the bosses are fairly well thought out and fun. The story is just so preposterously bad, and I'm marking that on a curve, because WoW has never had particularly original story. However, it's particularly grating and awful at the moment. I rarely wish for the bad guy to win in games, but I straight up wish that the Jailer would just destroy everything, canonically, and rebuild the world, and WoW would end, and we would start WoW2, and everything would be different.
Finished up Prey (2017) recently. Think it had some final act pacing issues, but overall a really solid game with an engrossing world. Some people didn't like the ending, but I was a fan. I'd compare it to HL2's tone + Deus Ex: Human Revolution's gameplay.
Been playing Risk of Rain 2 some - finding it fun with friends and mediocre solo. Really like it when we're just messing around as friends. When we're seriously trying to push to a goal and we have to spend the majority of our communication deciding who gets what items, that part's a little annoying.
Finally, 30 minutes into Disco: Elysium, and wow. Not sure what else is like it.
I've been playing a lot of Risk of Rain 2 lately as well. I find the item sharing thing gets easier as you get more experienced as a group. My group used to play a bit "greedy", but understanding some basic rules of item sharing makes things a lot easier. Some quick tips:
Big hitters like Railgunner and Bandit work best with total damage items. Think wedding bands, ATGs, and polylutes. They also benefit from damage multiplying items like crowbars and delicate watches. If all goes well, they should be able to solo the bosses for you. These two survivors also have guaranteed crit which makes them good candidates for harvester scythes and predatory instincts. Best legendaries for them are probably the perforators.
High-proc rate survivors like Commando and Mul-T (with double nailgun) are best with on-hit items. Tri-tips, ATGs or plasma shrimp, ukuleles, sticky bombs, and stun grenades. With enough attack speed and on-hit items, they'll be firing proc-chains that are taking down the whole map. 57 Leaf Clover, Meat Hooks, and Scorpion are the best legendaries for these guys.
Melee survivors should grab focus crystals and razor wire. Best legendary is the tesla coil, and mired urn is a great boss item.
Everybody needs a good balance of healing, but Void Fiend should get first dibs on natural healing items as they don't interfere with his corruption meter. That means cautious slugs and knurls, but not med kits, fungus, or anything else that pops up green numbers. Oh, and if you have an engineer on your team, he'll murder you for taking his fungus.
Survivors low on mobility (Engineer, Captain, Mul-T) should grab the first Hopoo Feather or Wax Quail as that really helps them traverse the map and gives them an option to cancel fall damage.
These are just rules of thumb so you'll need to adapt based on loadouts and general builds/strategy. Understand each survivor's strengths, and also their deficiencies so you can get them up to speed as quickly as possible.
You also need to consider when it makes sense to share. If somebody is across the map and you're ready to leave the stage, spending the extra 40 seconds to get them the item is probably not worth the time cost. Get going and scrap the item later if it doesn't fit your survivor.
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions.
The only other game like it is Planescape: Torment.
Death Stranding: Director's Cut. I started the original, but got as far as that first way station west of Central Knot because the moode got me too down, the ambience of the game, with it's lush, oddly Icelandic landscapes, was constantly undermined by the evil that brought it to be this way. No amount of airy music can save me from thinking constantly about the evil that lurks beneath the game. It's not horror game, but I can't shake the thought of the BTs being anywhere. I guess that's the game working as it should.
So why am I playing? I want to see the end. I turned the difficulty to "Very Easy" and am limiting my time to 2-hour sessions. If I have a big BT event/mission, that mission is it, because we're probably looking at a solid 90-minute run out and back. This may change as I come to internalize my trust in the game, and even just get better at it. My challenge is to not trigger the Grabber miniboss, or even the black goo, so it's not like I'm just running straight through the game. I did that on the way to this way station, and apparently in Very Easy it just kinda flops towards you as you trudge across the pond.
I came back to Elden Ring. My next goal is the Impaler's Catacomb, which I may be over leveled for, but I really want to see what's inside, since I finally found it again and had it shown to me that I missed most of it. I also found my +5 Uchigatana is doing similar damage to my Blood Fang, but faster, so back to that.
I'm making a child comment for a game that surpised the heck out of me. My brother told me about a Wheel of Time FPS that came out in 1999, and just got re-released by Night Dive Studios. It seems to be available only via GOG right now
It is an incredibly lore-accurate adaptation, written outside the timeline of the books, it seems. It's a little hamfisted in its presentation and setup because it has to give you a bunch of world information before throwing you in the action, but the VA work is great. You play as an Aes Sedai who is an expert with ter'angreal, artifacts that require no channeling to use, and the story is basically, as far as I've seen, you're on a quest to collect the Dark One's seals before some bad people get them. It's a bit cheesy, being based on UE1 in 1999, but it's interesting. I'm curious to get farther in the game and see what it does.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anomaly. Having so much fun with it, both from enjoying the atmosphere and from exploring a modernized S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game. I've had both the gameplay and the economy set to their easiest difficulties, but the world still feels much more threatening than in the vanilla games; I really like planning out my routes, preparing supplies, maintaining weapons, then heading out into the Zone.
I'm not far into it, I've only gotten as far north as the Army Warehouses (I have the option of needing to pay for hidden routes enabled), but it's great.
It's a completely free standalone game, if it sounds interesting.
I've been switching between two games recently.
Zelda: Wind Waker
Never had the chance to play this but my friend has loaned me an old copy. Dusted off the old GameCube which somehow still works after sitting dormant for 10+ years. Great game, just what I expected.
The Last of Us: Part 2
Had this one for quite a while but couldn't bring myself to play it given how dark the opening seemed. During the past year I've been looking for games that have a happier tone for various reasons. Overall fantastically polished and intense.
If only my parents hadn't literally thrown away all my old consoles and games.... I'd love to finish Wind Waker
Dolphin (Gamecube emulator) + WW ISO
Oooh will give this a shot.
Just built a new computer now that the 30-series are back in stock and way cheaper than they've been for a long time. It's an absolute monster, so I'm looking for something to stress test it with.
Been playing more Guild Wars 2. I really like it and I think I might try to be more methodical in my approach to working on gear and achievements. I usually just fuck around with whatever I'm in the mood for, but trying to maintain multiple high end loadouts takes some effort. But having a guild to play with is a lot of fun and is really opening up the end game content
Also gave some of the Zachtronics games a try: Shenzhen I/O, Exapunks and Opus Magnum. They're all puzzle games based around I-can't-believe-it's-not assembly language for the first 2 and process control logic for OM. They're a lot more fun than I was expecting, and I feel like I got to use skills I haven't touched since college. But they're also dangerous. I definitely stayed up til like 4 am because I got pulled into Shenzhen I/O
I completely forgot The Planet Crafter just entered EA on steam. It's pretty fun, though definitely still a work in progress. So far you get dropped on an alien planet and have to explore, build shelter, and slowly terraform it to be livable. The building system feels very Subnautica inspired but they added a tech progression system that limits your building based on how much you've terraformed the planet in various respects. And once you get far enough along, the planet responds, I went from barren rock and ice to liquid water to plants growing in areas I never put down seeds. I'm really excited to see where they go from here. I think they said they're expecting the 1.0 release in a year or 2 and the list of features they're including has me excited already.
Zachtronic games are incredible. You're right, they're super addicting, but I also feel like I'm using my brain with them instead of being passive. That makes me feel somewhat better.
TIS-100 is my personal favorite. It's the purest instance of 'I-can't-believe-it's-not assembly language' gameplay, as in you are actually programming limited 'CPUs' that are 'hooked together in a network'. Basically it's a gamified Little Man Computer. Highly recommended.
Yeah, it definitely felt like I was back in school, but with enough of the more tedious parts shaved off that it's a much more enjoyable experience
Thanks for the tip, I'll have to check TIS-100 out
And while the puzzles themselves are entertaining, there's also an element of trying to flex on your friends and the histogram
Dude, those 30 series are cheap. If my old GPU decided to kick the bucket a few months later, apparently I could've had a 3060 instead of a 1660Ti. Argh, this kinda pisses me off a little bit now.
The guy at Microcenter who helped me out said that ASUS basically declared the microchip shortage over and dropped their prices dramatically and all the other OEMs dropped their prices in response. I got a 3080 TI for 1500-ish and he said it was >2200 a week before
Sorry you had a rougher time
Picked up Helldivers, its fun if you like Twin Stick type shooters. Multiplayer is very active and easy to drop into a game.
Also playing some Core Keeper, its a pixel aRPG. Fun and different.
Started playing Distant Worlds 2, been really looking forward to it since they announced it this past December. Its fun but the updates are fast and furious right now so I am taking a break until it settles down. Too many behind the scenes changes keeps messing with my economy.
I added Buccaneers! to the game rotation. It's a new Pirate game under development that reminds me of a First Person Sid Meier's Pirates!. It is designed with VR in mind so its not visually awesome but the game play is fun.
I've been playing a lot of Shin Megami Tensei V, and having a really good time with it. I've dipped my toes into SMT games, mostly through Persona. But I also played SMT IV, which I really wanted to like, but the erratic difficulty curve and frustrating RNG made me give up. SMT V is more forgiving while still feeling like a hefty challenge. They did a superb job in balancing it. The art direction in all of the games is killer, and I love playing any RPG that's not in a typical high and/or dark fantasy setting. Amazing music, as well, so much so that my typically not-interested-enough-in-games-to-care girlfriend commented on how cool the music is.