12 votes

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.

14 comments

  1. Grendel
    Link
    I recently started playing D&D, and I very recently started DMing my own game. Saturday night was my fourth session, and both the players and I are having a blast! I was pretty nervous about DMing...

    I recently started playing D&D, and I very recently started DMing my own game. Saturday night was my fourth session, and both the players and I are having a blast!

    I was pretty nervous about DMing at first since I barely have experience as a player as it is, but after jumping in I've realized it's a lot of fun. And when you have players that are more about the fun than being strict about every rule it gives a lot of flexibility for more mistakes.

    At my last session, a player accidentally ended up in a battle against a MUCH stronger opponent (player is level two, NPC is CR4). I knew he was going to die, and the power disparity between them was too far for me to fudge the numbers. BUT, he managed to roll a 20 on perception check and see a way out.

    What was so cool was that at the end of the session you could hear the relief from anxiety in the player's voice as he described how scared he was of dying. It's awesome to see people that are invested in their character and really care about keeping them alive :)

    7 votes
  2. cardigan
    Link
    I'm playing The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (英雄伝説 空の軌跡 SC) for the PSP (on a Raspberry Pi 4). If you're unfamiliar, Trails is a phenomenally ambitious JRPG series that takes a "human...

    I'm playing The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (英雄伝説 空の軌跡 SC) for the PSP (on a Raspberry Pi 4).

    If you're unfamiliar, Trails is a phenomenally ambitious JRPG series that takes a "human comedy" approach to things by putting a lot of effort into worldbuilding. Almost every one of the many NPCs in the game gets a dialogue or location change after a plot event, meaning that the only thing more ambitious than writing the Trails script in the first place is undertaking a translation* of it. Every sub-series within the Trails series takes place in a different country or continent of the same fictional world, with characters from previous arcs making appearances in the later games. At least, that's how it's been described to me, as SC ("Second Chapter") is only the second game in the series overall. After the eleventh game total came out in Japan last year, the series producer Kondo Toshinoro quipped that the series was "about half over." Considering how huge and complex it is already, that's sort of awe-inducing, so it's no surprise to me that Kondo frequently mentions in interviews that Trails is his "life's work." Video game or not, corporation or not, that's something I respect.

    FC was a charming and unhurried game with great characterization and a stellar payoff. SC begins minutes after FC ended, so things feels pretty continuous. Apparently Falcom did originally intend it to be one game rather than two, but they were forced to split it up after a certain point. That's understandable, since my playthrough of FC ended at around 101:00 hours logged. SC is supposedly around 50% longer. In any case, I'm glad I took a break of almost a year between them.

    I've managed to stay totally unspoiled on the plot points and am trying not to have too many expectations, but so far I'm a little concerned about how Second Chapter seems to be veering into stereotypical "shadowy organization seeks world domination" tropes. Still, it's so charming that I wouldn't mind all that much if things end up going in that direction.

    As I'm playing in Japanese and don't have perfect proficiency, I look up the (usually military) terms I don't recognize by searching the game script on the Trails in the Database fansite. That, too, is an incredible effort and has been a great help to me. I can't think of a fansite that's easier or more enjoyable to use. I'd be gutted if it were ever shut down.


    *: I should note that this article begins with some talk about a member of the localization staff's suicidal ideation and depression, which is alone a good picture of what translating it must have been like.

    7 votes
  3. [4]
    kfwyre
    Link
    The Outer Worlds After “finishing” with Outer Wilds last week I decided to bite the bullet and play the very different game with the nearly identical name. The Outer WORLDS is basically Space...

    The Outer Worlds

    After “finishing” with Outer Wilds last week I decided to bite the bullet and play the very different game with the nearly identical name.

    The Outer WORLDS is basically Space Fallout (which is what my husband and I have started calling it because he was tired of me tripping over “Wilds/Worlds”). I’m very much enjoying it. It feels like an iteration of the familiar formula, with some nice quality of life stuff built right in (e.g. being able to sort inventory by weight-to-value ratio). It also hasn’t crashed on me yet, so it’s already way ahead of Fallout 3 and New Vegas in terms of stability (AND I’m running it on Linux!).

    I haven’t looked too closely at reviews, but I know the game got a more lukewarm response than I was expecting. I haven’t played enough to know whether I think that’s deserved or not, but I will say I went in with tempered expectations and the game has thus far exceeded them.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I thought you had already played it, but I guess that's my faulty memories. I still haven't finished the game for the simple reason that I don't want it to ever end. It's such a well crafted...

      I thought you had already played it, but I guess that's my faulty memories.

      I still haven't finished the game for the simple reason that I don't want it to ever end. It's such a well crafted universe. It feels like an aquarium and when I finish the game it's going to all disappear. Of course it doesn't help that the computer I have been playing it on has been unplugged for the past few months.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Nope! First time through it. Your recent positive mention of it is actually part of what pushed me to finally pick it up. I feel like we have similar perspectives on games, so when you mention...

        Nope! First time through it.

        Your recent positive mention of it is actually part of what pushed me to finally pick it up. I feel like we have similar perspectives on games, so when you mention something that I'm also interested in, that's a big sell for me!

        Also, even when you're playing something I wouldn't necessarily play myself, I love your thoughtful writeups and the niche hidden gems you manage to find and love (e.g. Adastra, Mizzurna Falls).

        Do you have any plans to re-play The Outer Worlds? I almost have an opposite pull, where instead of not wanting it to end, I instead feel compelled to restart the game so that I can try different builds/choices. I've already told myself "ooh, I need to do a _____ run" and the blank has been filled in with like, ten different things at this point (e.g. stealth, high perception, inspiration, etc.).

        I actually tried to do that with New Vegas twice but ran into stability issues that killed the runs for me. The Outer Worlds has been completely solid for me though (15 hours in an not a single crash!), so this might be one that I go back to and sort of pull apart mechanically. I've managed to avoid wiki-ing my way through the game, but it seems like the game offers a lot of different ways to resolve quests, so I'm deeply curious about what other options are out there.

        3 votes
        1. Akir
          Link Parent
          It almost seems like I really aught to replay it with different choices, but it kind of feels "wrong" to play games that way to me in some cases, and I'm getting those vibes here. On the other...

          It almost seems like I really aught to replay it with different choices, but it kind of feels "wrong" to play games that way to me in some cases, and I'm getting those vibes here.

          On the other hand, your comment made me realize just how flexable the storyline and gameplay is. At one point I accidentally made a monumentally bad decision on a story decision when my finger slipped and instead of immediately reloading I decided to just go insane and kill everyone in the colony. And the game just let me do that. It wasn't a problem. I could probably just kill everyone everywhere if I wanted to. And with that being said, I could see a second playthrough being very different, which does have an appeal. After all, this is a game filled with possibilities and there are no right answers.

          But honestly I'm not a big fan of the combat in the game, and with the amount of times I've been the sole survivor of my group of friends I don't think it's going to be easy to play a character who doesn't focus at least in part on combat. If I finish and find out that there's a new game plus situation where I can bring my overpowered character and equipment to a new game, that would probably be enough to push me into playing a second time.

          There's only really one time I bothered to cheese the story in the game, which was when I had the schematics for an illegal gun that I really wanted but to get it made would affect my popularity in ways I really didn't want, so I saved before making the decision and found out exactly what each option would do. It didn't really help that much, to be honest.

          The one thing I would absolutely recommend you do on your playthrough is to go through all of your companion's quests. You'll be rewarded not only with a support ability for that character, but I found all of them to be really fun and a great way to explore their character and personality.

          2 votes
  4. scrambo
    Link
    I decided to try out a card game that I've been thinking about playing, Gwent. Based off of The Witcher 3 game, it's a card collecting game a la MTG from what I've been able to see. It's SUPER...

    I decided to try out a card game that I've been thinking about playing, Gwent. Based off of The Witcher 3 game, it's a card collecting game a la MTG from what I've been able to see. It's SUPER FUN, I'm having a blast. My main deck has been White Frost Monsters, and I've gone from Rank 30 to Rank 12 in the ~ week that I've been playing. Season is almost over so I'll see how high I can make it!

    4 votes
  5. knocklessmonster
    Link
    No Man's Sky has sunk its teeth into me again. There's an expedition, but I'm not doing that. I'm just chilling, upgrading things, and exploring some chill planets after spending too much time in...

    No Man's Sky has sunk its teeth into me again. There's an expedition, but I'm not doing that. I'm just chilling, upgrading things, and exploring some chill planets after spending too much time in a pirate system.

    I love the outlaws, as they're easy money. Ironically, i also keep having sentries chasing me across the system, which blew all my tritium, so I'm not always on top.

    I kinda dig these NMS binges because it's a nice, easy game. I need to get the hang of playing it on my Deck (just came in!) so I can fly around the galaxy w5hole flying around the country. It scratches a similar itch that pulled me towards Minecraft previously, with obviously different gameplay.

    4 votes
  6. [5]
    Fiachra
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been messing around with some old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. I got digitised versions of the text (only of books I physically own!) and I've been turning them into excel games and doing some...

    I've been messing around with some old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. I got digitised versions of the text (only of books I physically own!) and I've been turning them into excel games and doing some playtesting. Basically you can type in a number and it loads the text for that page. There's a character sheet you can fill out and a UI that does the dice rolls automatically and can handle battle scenarios really quick and easy.

    It's a fun way to rediscover those books, it really streamlines the process of playing and I think it would have really been useful to me a few years ago when I was working in an office all day and just needed a game that looked like work.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      If you like that sort of thing, Inkle did a 4 part digital recreation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery series that is a ton of fun. The art has that strong 70's fantasy vibe, and there's some nice...

      If you like that sort of thing, Inkle did a 4 part digital recreation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery series that is a ton of fun. The art has that strong 70's fantasy vibe, and there's some nice mechanics that nod to the idea of just flipping back to an earlier part of the story.

      2 votes
      1. Fiachra
        Link Parent
        Oooh this looks very interesting, thanks for the tip.

        Oooh this looks very interesting, thanks for the tip.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I've heard of those books but never seen them in the wild. Those are the ones that are kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but they mix in basic RPG systems as well, right? I've always...

      I've heard of those books but never seen them in the wild. Those are the ones that are kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but they mix in basic RPG systems as well, right? I've always wanted to try one of those out but never got the chance.

      1 vote
      1. Fiachra
        Link Parent
        Yep, you filled out a little character sheet in the book with a pencil, there was a simple system of stats (Skill / Stam / Luck) and you resolved stuff with dice rolls. But what I remember the...

        Yep, you filled out a little character sheet in the book with a pencil, there was a simple system of stats (Skill / Stam / Luck) and you resolved stuff with dice rolls. But what I remember the most was the art style.

        2 votes
  7. JRandomHacker
    Link
    I've started trying Astrox Imperium - it's basically 100% billed as "EVE Online, but offline", and if that's what you're looking for, I think it delivers. I've barely scratched the surface and it...

    I've started trying Astrox Imperium - it's basically 100% billed as "EVE Online, but offline", and if that's what you're looking for, I think it delivers. I've barely scratched the surface and it definitely won't hold my attention for as long as EVE would, but I really can't afford an MMO that's as all-consuming as that right now.

    1 vote