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.

17 comments

  1. [6]
    DanBC
    Link
    I said before that I thought Minecraft had added too much stuff, and I think I made a mistake. I now think what they've actually done is make the game playable even if you set restrictions on...

    I said before that I thought Minecraft had added too much stuff, and I think I made a mistake. I now think what they've actually done is make the game playable even if you set restrictions on world types. In the past setting up a desert superflat world gave you a really tough challenge, and adding more food etc etc makes it at least playable for more people. So, I've been playing Minecraft, but on a desktop PC not on my laptop. Recent(ish) changes to world generation mean playing Minecraft on my laptop means I can only have a tiny 4 chunk render distance and logging in to the world is pretty painful.

    My game of "get the emulator working" turned into the much less fun game of "find a low-profile GPU that has at least a score of 3000, but preferably over 6000, on this list, that doesn't cost more than £40, to replace the MSI GT 710 that this beater PC desktop came with". I will do it, because I'm not going to be defeated by reading lists, but blimey I'm a bit wiped out at the moment because this is the kind of thing I'm normally okay at.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      vord
      Link Parent
      Oof, under 40 is a rough spot. Your best bet is another old, preferably used higher-tier card. The GTX 970 can be found on ebay for <$50 including shipping. I'm still using one of these and it's...

      Oof, under 40 is a rough spot. Your best bet is another old, preferably used higher-tier card.

      The GTX 970 can be found on ebay for <$50 including shipping. I'm still using one of these and it's still running most games I throw at it at 1080p Ultra. Latest update to Unreal 5 with Fortnite changed that though. It's still on the officially supported list, but not for much longer.

      Semi-related, if you're running Windows and did a system update recently, make sure your graphics drivers are still installed.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        DanBC
        Link Parent
        Yes! I thought that the market for high end cards would have dumped a bunch of lower end cards into the second user market, and that I'd be able to pick something up easily. I think the fact that...

        Yes! I thought that the market for high end cards would have dumped a bunch of lower end cards into the second user market, and that I'd be able to pick something up easily.

        I think the fact that I have never bought a GPU before, and I have no familiarity with specs or the language use to describe them, means that I have a bit of learning to do to recognise the cards that are worth looking at in more detail.

        I think this is something that I will be able to fix and I'm looking forward to seeing if the part numbers mean anything or are just marketing numbers.

        Luckily the games I'm playing are all working on the existing, very low end, MSI GT 710 and I only need an upgrade that'll run PCSX2.

        Thanks for the tips! Windows 10 has an annoying habit of just trashing my laptop mouse pad / trackpoint drivers, so I'll be on the lookout for you driver changes.

        1 vote
        1. pseudolobster
          Link Parent
          In general, the first number is the generation. Ie: What year it came out. The second number says where in the product lineup the card is. So, X1XX is a low end card, X5XX is a midrange card, X9XX...

          I'm looking forward to seeing if the part numbers mean anything or are just marketing numbers.

          In general, the first number is the generation. Ie: What year it came out. The second number says where in the product lineup the card is. So, X1XX is a low end card, X5XX is a midrange card, X9XX is the top of the line.

          With NVidia, they went from 3 digit part numbers to 4 digits in 2014. So your GT710 is like a decade old, and was the cheapest, lowest powered option available at the time. Any card starting with 9XX, 1XXX, 2XXX, etc will be more powerful than what you have. If the second number is anything other than 1, it'll be a lot more powerful.

          Try and see if you can get an old midrange card like a 950, 960, 970, 1040, 1050, etc. Those should all be less than $100, and at least an order of magnitude better performance than what you've got.

          3 votes
        2. vord
          Link Parent
          One more thought: The 710 didn't need any extra power from the PSU if I recall. Higher-end cards almost certainly need it, but non-standard ATX power supplies (like Dell/HP might use) might lack...

          One more thought: The 710 didn't need any extra power from the PSU if I recall. Higher-end cards almost certainly need it, but non-standard ATX power supplies (like Dell/HP might use) might lack the connectors. Check before buying.

          1 vote
    2. Wes
      Link Parent
      Not sure if this helps, but the vanilla Minecraft launcher does let you install older versions if you'd prefer to lose a few features in exchange for performance. This is also very useful if doing...

      Not sure if this helps, but the vanilla Minecraft launcher does let you install older versions if you'd prefer to lose a few features in exchange for performance. This is also very useful if doing modded playthroughs.

      There are also a number of mods that can help performance. If you'd like, I can share some recommendations.

      5 votes
  2. JCPhoenix
    Link
    Still playing Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (Steam). I'm almost done. This second installment in the series to be a good bit longer than the first installment. Definitely a few parts that...

    Still playing Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (Steam). I'm almost done. This second installment in the series to be a good bit longer than the first installment. Definitely a few parts that felt unnecessary. Hope to be finished with this sometime this week, then onto the final installment!

    Picked up Mindustry (Steam) with a friend. Factorio/Satisfactory + RTS + TD. Maybe kinda like Creeper World. Fun game, but the controls are a bit of a pain. Playing it with a friend and it's enjoyable enough.

    Also bought Against the Storm (Steam), which is a Banished-clone, but with events and missions and exploration. Reminds of another clone, called "Endzone - A World Apart." Haven't gotten too far into it; only finished the tutorial last night, but excited to dive in. From the little I've seen, it looks like a lot of fun.

    6 votes
  3. knocklessmonster
    Link
    My laid back Skyrim character is getting spicy at level 20. I'm getting a little stir crazy, wanting to do a quest line, but I figure I can do a bunch of fun stuff. I found out about some daedric...

    My laid back Skyrim character is getting spicy at level 20. I'm getting a little stir crazy, wanting to do a quest line, but I figure I can do a bunch of fun stuff. I found out about some daedric quests by accident (give you artifacts) and I'll probably roll a character to get all sweaty about achievements with and do all the evil shit, but this character is just for fun.

    I'm thinking of committing to a flat Morrowind texture pack, but have some issues, like Vivec being funky colors (he's half yellow, half gold, but his head texture didn't pan out that way, so I need to find the textures). I was partially inspired by the in-development game Ardenfall, and feel the only missing piece is the shaders: I'd want to figure out something more cel-shady, but would have to learn how to write my own. I borrowed the idea from something I saw on Reddit where someobdy wanted the same thing and used Imagemagick's mogrify tool to shrink everything down to one pixel, then expand it to 4 for compatibility, but I'd want to find a way to test for edge cases. I would then want to see about doing it for Oblivion for a laugh. The only effort i'd want to put in is making sure the world textures are fine, I actually like contrast between the original icons and a flattened worldspace. The screenshots were taken in OpenMW, and it apparently should work for MCP patched Morrowind as well.

    And there's the undersized subterranean elephant in the mountain: Dwarf Fortress got its Steam release. It's amazing It is a lot more organized, looks great, plays great, and is just fun. I put four hours in already, and remembering when I played for a week years ago, the new UI makes it so easy to learn that I don't need the tutorial. I did have some fun when I didn't know how to get water to my dwarves, but I got over it and started a new world+colony with 21 dwarves currently.

    5 votes
  4. [4]
    vord
    (edited )
    Link
    Inspired by this topic, I picked up XIII Classic, and been having a blast. I'm playing it on the Steam Deck. I find it funny I think I'm playing at a lower resolution than when I first played(800p...

    Inspired by this topic, I picked up XIII Classic, and been having a blast.

    I'm playing it on the Steam Deck. I find it funny I think I'm playing at a lower resolution than when I first played(800p instead of 1600x1200). The All-in-one patch improved QOL quite a bit, though was a bit of a pain to get installed in Proton.

    It's an incredibly well voiced game (gotta love Adam West), and its mechanics hold up surprisingly well. It's not a terribly hard game by modern standards though, especially on whatever the default is.

    Took Fortnite's new season for a quick spin. Unreal 5 is beautiful, dirtbikes and some really fun guns are back. There's this new 'augmented reality' system that lets you choose between two powerful upgrades multiple times throughout the match. One I got let me recharge health and shields up to 150 while in a bush.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      JCPhoenix
      Link Parent
      XIII...the one game that I wished had a sequel. Like a real sequel, not some spin-off thing. Think I'll try out the remake.

      XIII...the one game that I wished had a sequel. Like a real sequel, not some spin-off thing. Think I'll try out the remake.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        vord
        Link Parent
        Last I heard the remake didn't really provide any substantial value-add, which is a shame if true.

        Last I heard the remake didn't really provide any substantial value-add, which is a shame if true.

        2 votes
        1. JCPhoenix
          Link Parent
          That's OK. I played it as a kid and enjoyed it. I think the nostalgia alone would be worth it.

          That's OK. I played it as a kid and enjoyed it. I think the nostalgia alone would be worth it.

          2 votes
  5. kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Pistol Whip I’ve long loved light gun games. I started on Duck Hunt; pumped quarters into the Area 51 machine at my local pizza place until I memorized all the enemy spawns; bought Time Crisis for...

    Pistol Whip

    I’ve long loved light gun games. I started on Duck Hunt; pumped quarters into the Area 51 machine at my local pizza place until I memorized all the enemy spawns; bought Time Crisis for the PlayStation and stepped on a controller in port 2 to replicate the pedal from the arcade; and picked up a discount Wii in its waning days along with a half dozen shooting games so that I could spend my weekends gleefully pointing fake guns at all the fake people and targets in my television.

    Pistol Whip — not to be confused with its more popular siblings Cool, Miracle, and Ghost Ride the — follows in this tradition. It’s a VR shooting gallery game, which is essentially the most recent iteration of a light gun game and where the genre is undoubtedly headed forever. What makes this particular title different and undoubtedly awesome, however, is that your shooting is rhythm-based, so you take out targets in time to its bumpin’ electronic soundtrack.

    You scroll along a track and enemies pop up. You have to dodge their bullets while shooting them back. If an enemy appears in the track that you’re on and gets within melee range, you can give them a titular pistol whip and hit them with your gun.

    It is so. much. fun.

    I feel like I’m a kid when I’m playing it.

    It’s also a surprisingly good workout. Dodging the bullets requires lots of whole-body movement. It’s essentially a fun excuse to do squats. I’ve been pairing it with Beat Saber most days because each works my body differently, and they complement each other nicely.

    Also, this game affirms that I am not yet ready to play anything horror-related in VR yet (possibly ever). I wear a heart rate tracker while I play, and the introductory level, which isn’t very intense in terms of bodily movement, still caused my heart rate to spike above 140.

    The cause?

    It wasn’t me doing a bunch of squats. It was my first encounter with a person in melee range that I was supposed to pistol whip.

    See, in VR, this person is about as tall as me.

    And in VR, this person is in very close proximity to me.

    And in VR, this person is also pointing a gun at my face.

    For some reason the ones that are far away don’t bother me. Ten, twenty, fifty in-game feet away? No problem. Five feet away and closing in? Holy fucking shit. Terror.

    I know it’s not real. The aesthetic of the game is similar to SUPERHOT, where enemies are sort of faceless, polygonal humanoid silhouettes rather than anything actually lifelike. Even though I know that they’re fake and it’s fake and I’m actually standing in my very safe office all by my lonesome self, my body isn’t letting a little thing like knowledge get in the way of its instinctual self-preservation responses which are in overdrive trying to respond to what they perceive is a person standing right in front of me who’s about to shoot me.

    My anxiety about this has lessened as I’ve played more of the game and gotten used to it. My heart right spikes are no longer nearly as dramatic, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t still feel a twinge of horror each and every time the game gives me an enemy in pistol whip range. I’m trying to practice playing the game as intended rather than just shooting those enemies like all the others, but my instinct is to not let them get any closer, and definitely not into melee range.

    The major downside of the game at present is that, apparently, a big update was just pushed and it's a bit buggy. It's been mostly smooth for me, but I have run into a few issues, including a showstopping controller tracking issue today that I think was the fault of the game and not my setup (but my setup is still pretty new and untested, so I could be wrong in that). I'm hoping it resolves soon.

    Sidenote: I've also been playing Beat Saber, and this is a quick aside for anyone who plays it. After hundreds of hours of the game on the Oculus Quest I learned, today, on my Index, that the song title is "Country Rounds" not "Country Roads". I'm going to choose to attribute this to the Index's better resolution and my prescription lens inserts, rather than my own illiteracy.

    3 votes
  6. grahamiam
    Link
    It's Week 2 of the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight, and I am very happy about a lot of the changes made. Character power is less tied to daily activities, which makes taking time...

    It's Week 2 of the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight, and I am very happy about a lot of the changes made. Character power is less tied to daily activities, which makes taking time off or playing an alt less painful. They borrowed several things from FFXIV and GW2 and polished them up and it works well.

    We'll see how it is in a month, but right now it SEEMS a lot better than Shadowlands.

    3 votes
  7. Akir
    Link
    I finished playing Yurukill. I honestly don't have a ton to say about it. For those who are wondering, it's an adventure game by IzanagiGames (the same people behind World's End Club) that is also...

    I finished playing Yurukill.

    I honestly don't have a ton to say about it. For those who are wondering, it's an adventure game by IzanagiGames (the same people behind World's End Club) that is also sometimes a shmup for some reason.

    The game is surprisingly short. And that's almost entirely because the plot is not that deep. The characters are in a crazy situation, and the reason for them being in that situation is bascially handwaved away. The shmup sections are surprisingly competent (I assume it's thanks to some co-development by Arc System Works), though perhaps a bit underdeveloped.

    The puzzles and quiz sections are the real problem with the game, though; some of them are just checking if you were paying attention, while others require some rather big logical "leaps of faith" because the hints aren't always well telegraphed. At one point you are supposed to defend someone as innocent because they're left handed and the murder weapon has blood spatter where their hands would have been, but they never actually bring up which is their dominant hand; you have to infer this from a sequence where they shake hands with their simelarly left-handed twin (during which I don't remember the script actually making note of this fact - you have to infer it from the picture).

    I also find the subtitle of the game (The Calumniation Games) to be a bit annoying because there's not really a point where you are asked to make up or lie about anything.

    But once again, it's fun. If the trailers make it seem interesting to you, go ahead and play it. Just don't expect it to be deep or life-changing.

    3 votes
  8. lou
    (edited )
    Link
    Aardwolf MUD This game is breaking me. Remember last week, when I said that I was engaged with the quests? Well, I was mistaken. You see, after some cryptic errands, I was doing a quest in a place...

    Aardwolf MUD

    This game is breaking me.

    Remember last week, when I said that I was engaged with the quests? Well, I was mistaken. You see, after some cryptic errands, I was doing a quest in a place called Art of the Melody, basically a trippy music school with dancing clefs bouncing everywhere and magical music dripping from the walls and affecting my character in weird ways. Great stuff!

    Or so I thought.

    If the quest started that way, who knows how it might end? Maybe there would be a music-related puzzle, an interesting moral conundrum, or maybe I'll get to know that the music of the place was actually the work of an evil Wizard! Nope! It was a fetch quest. A boring, plain, offensively generic fetch quest that happened to occur in a very interesting place that didn't influence the narrative in any way. The "solution" to the quest amounted to opening the right random door, no challenge whatsoever. It was over in a second.

    On my next adventure, I was in a new place. I was reading the description very attentively, and it seemed that I had to do something about a painting on the wall. So I tried every command I learned in the Academy, and I'm sure of it because I annotated everything I was taught in a thoroughly organized 3000 words Org document[1]. I asked on the game chat and got my answer: you have to type "enter painting". Because you see, the painting is a portal, and you enter portals with the verb "enter".

    At that point, I'm starting to get pissed. I dedicated a lot of time and energy to learning this game. I know and use three different verbs to equip things. I can compare armor that is "worn" and armor that is in my inventory. I use "look in bag" to look inside bags that are themselves inside my inventory (which I assume must be a bag as well). I "get <item> from bag" to make it available in the inventory. I know three different commands to track quests and three other for tasks (and why the fuck does a game need two different categories for "things you must do"?). And oh, not only that, I also have goals, which are groups of tasks (but not quests! Those are very different things!), and campaigns.

    Whatta fuck is a "campaign", you ask? Oh, they're like goals without the narrative that I have a week to complete. Fuck!

    I know all that, I even answered questions on the newbie channel, and you tell me that after all that, on my first introductory mission after the Academy, a mission that is specifically recommended for new players to start their journey, I'm gonna need to guess the painting is a portal when there's absolutely no indication of such? This is the first portal I see in the entire game, you know... a little hint would go a long way... This game has 503 commands. 503! Am I supposed to read all of them, trying the ones I believe are appropriate until I arrive at fucking enter? This is not a puzzle, this is word lottery.

    But I persisted, I wanted to able to say what I'm saying without anyone pestering me with "but you didn't give the game a chance!". My next mission, quest, goal, or campaign (!!!!!!!!) pointed me to a huge area. Basically like throwing someone at an open world and saying "find the candle that's in Purple Cabin". In an area with 300 rooms. And every room has a lot of description, regardless of its importance. Storage room with a bucket and a broom? 150 words. Empty bathroom? 200 words. A passageway? 300 fucking beautiful words. Do you wanna read a novel called "Ode to the unimportant toilet"? Play Aardwolf.

    But oh, one of those 300 extensively described rooms has one sentence that might be interpreted as a very subtle and obscure tip that only those that finished the quest, goal, campaign, or task are able to decipher. Super!

    So I ask again on the channel, and get my answer: "look at map". _What map? I ask. Because you see, I have plenty of maps. There are the surroundings AsciiMap displayed permanently in the client, there's the image area map above that one, and the rather beautiful area AsciiMap available through the command bigmap. So I thought I was good! But now, they were referring to the clan maps, documents external to the game. Granted, those are very good maps, but I explicitly chose a game with a lot of in-client guidance to avoid something like that.

    At this point, I'm thinking "when do the work stop and the fun begin?".

    The quests are just excuses for grinding, the maps are undecipherable, and the "sanctioned" way to engage with the world is by asking people on chat and reading guides on the web. What is it that I'm doing here?

    I do like seeing my character progress, combat is okay, I have some cool aliases to target mobs and repeat attacks without retyping stuff. Other than that, it's all filler. 99% of the NPCs have one dialogue line ("I don't wanna talk to you"), there is no story and nothing seem to matter.

    I'd be honestly okay with that if the quests actually worked. A lot of the time I'm fighting the game to force things into working on a mechanical level. In one of the beginner missions I'm supposed to collect apples in train stations to give to some dude, but when I follow the Academy's directions I go straight to the train, have no idea what I should do, where the dude is, or how to come back to the train and continue my journey.

    Again, the way to do things is not to use the clues given by the universe itself, but rather to ask people in chat and look up external maps. Which removes any sense of narrative and personal accomplishment.

    Right now, I'm confused as to why Aardwolf is the most popular MUD out there. I mean, I know: people like grinding, leveling and feeling powerful. I imagine PVP is awesome. I enjoy that as well. But, even in a grindfest, I want things to work and at least some kind of narrative pull (even if it's not much).

    Aardwolf's failures are amazing and almost incredible, given its potential. The same could be said about MUDs in general.


    [1] In retrospect, the command was in my notes, but the point stands: it was almost impossible to derive, from the information given, that the painting was a portal. Especially in light of the fact that (1) this was a newbie quest, and (2) I had never actually seen or used a portal in the game before.

    3 votes
  9. Aldath
    Link
    The Callisto Protocol I've been playing this in sporadic bursts since release. I didn't have the issues so many others were reporting, so I won't really speak much to that; I told NVIDIA to...

    The Callisto Protocol
    I've been playing this in sporadic bursts since release. I didn't have the issues so many others were reporting, so I won't really speak much to that; I told NVIDIA to optimize my settings, then adjusted a couple of things, and it's been running well.

    It's been a competent survival horror so far. As loathe as I am to make comparisons, the moment-to-moment gameplay feels like a melee-focused Dead Space. Once you've gotten a couple of the baton upgrades (which can happen very quickly) it feels good to bash the creatures around. The boxer-esque dodge mechanic took very little time to get used to. The GRP feels great after upgrading the throw velocity, but aiming it can be a chore at times, as on more than one occasion I've tried to throw a creature into an environmental hazard that instead stopped dead five feet away because its pinky toe caressed the top corner of a knee-high box.

    The story... works, for what it's doing. It's nothing groundbreaking or new, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I've really only felt one contrivance WRT an NPC you meet early on, but that could be tied to the story, so perhaps it'll get better.


    Apex Legends
    Not much to say on this one; it's something I play a couple times a week with some friends. Entertaining enough Battle Royale.


    Warhammer 40k: Darktide
    I will sum up my feelings here because I don't want to get too into it.
    The moment-to-moment gameplay is phenomenal, but everything around it is such an un-fun, near insulting chore.


    Hades
    Another game I play sporadically in bursts of one or two runs, I've got about 40 hours into it so far. A staple of modern roguelikes is having some form of permanent progression baked in, but this goes a step further and incorporates that mechanic into the story. It is expected that you die to further conversations and relationships with the various characters, on top of the usual permanent progression systems. Very easily one of the best roguelikes I've played.

    2 votes