11 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.

15 comments

  1. dubteedub
    Link
    I played through Tunic this weekend and I really liked it! It is a great mix of the 2D Legend of Zelda adventuring and action, with puzzle solving and subtle story-telling of games like Fez. I...

    I played through Tunic this weekend and I really liked it! It is a great mix of the 2D Legend of Zelda adventuring and action, with puzzle solving and subtle story-telling of games like Fez. I really liked that the game does not hand hold you at all and just sets you down in this world to figure it out as you go. The story was very cool and a little subversive which I enjoyed. I also really liked how easy the leveling system was and how you could tell a big difference every time you advance up a skill level.

    Solid game 9/10 highly recommend and very much worth the $30.

    6 votes
  2. [3]
    MimicSquid
    Link
    Chained Echos has been a fun RPG, with just enough homage to the history of the genre to be familiar without getting bogged down in nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. The soundtrack is great, the...

    Chained Echos has been a fun RPG, with just enough homage to the history of the genre to be familiar without getting bogged down in nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. The soundtrack is great, the gameplay solid, and the writing is above average for an RPG. For the first 20-30 hours the combat stays fresh, with occasional new mechanics and characters/teams to keep things interesting, but it kind of fades in the home stretch where you're wrapping up side quests before the big bad. Through the main story you're rarely fighting more than three or four battles between narrative beats, but the late game stuff is almost all "go here and fight a boss." That means that most of your time engaging with the game becomes fussing with eight characters' skills and equipment to prepare for a battle with specific challenges, and I don't really enjoy that side of it.

    9/10, will never finish.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      There are so many RPGs that I have given up midway because of this. I can't stand the contrast between the story telling you that you need to fight the big bad in the next 30 minutes or the world...

      [...] it kind of fades in the home stretch where you're wrapping up side quests before the big bad. Through the main story you're rarely fighting more than three or four battles between narrative beats, but the late game stuff is almost all "go here and fight a boss." That means that most of your time engaging with the game becomes fussing with eight characters' skills and equipment to prepare for a battle with specific challenges, and I don't really enjoy that side of it.

      There are so many RPGs that I have given up midway because of this. I can't stand the contrast between the story telling you that you need to fight the big bad in the next 30 minutes or the world ends and then the game throws you a battery of gatekeepers that require you to either grind like there's no tomorrow (often with zero narrative or other external incentives to keep you interested) or to suddenly master a super obscure part of the battle system that you might have not noticed existed before this point in the game because it wasn't ever relevant before.

      But honestly when it comes to indie games I tend to avoid RPGs because it's very hard to make an engaging combat system - especially when it's turn-based. If you were to look at games made with RPG Maker as an example, you'll find that the most engaging and successful ones either minimize or remove combat altogether and are better classified as adventure games. And I enjoy those types of games more these days in any case.

      2 votes
      1. MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I'm kinda in this space where I'd rather watch a let's play of an RPG than play it myself. The extra narrative layer of the player playing/experiencing it balances out the boring bits.

        Yeah, I'm kinda in this space where I'd rather watch a let's play of an RPG than play it myself. The extra narrative layer of the player playing/experiencing it balances out the boring bits.

        1 vote
  3. vegai
    Link
    Death Stranding. It's weird. I'm reminded of Control in a lot of ways, although the games aren't that similar. But the atmosphere and the weirdness of the story. I don't know if I like it yet, but...

    Death Stranding. It's weird. I'm reminded of Control in a lot of ways, although the games aren't that similar. But the atmosphere and the weirdness of the story. I don't know if I like it yet, but it sure isn't like many other games and that's sometimes a very good thing.

    5 votes
  4. Bullmaestro
    Link
    Super Mario 3D World. Bought it on the Switch because while I do own it on Wii U, my system has been collecting dust for the past seven years. I don't know what it is about this game but I can't...

    Super Mario 3D World.

    Bought it on the Switch because while I do own it on Wii U, my system has been collecting dust for the past seven years.

    I don't know what it is about this game but I can't play it for very long without getting bored. And this is coming from somebody who absolutely loved Super Mario 3D Land and almost 100% completed it on multiple playthroughs, even though they're pretty much the same game.

    Made it to World 2-4 but I just can't be fucked to play it.

    4 votes
  5. Pistos
    Link
    Guild Wars 2 Getting around to the more grindy parts of this game now. Among the many, many things to do in this game, I was focusing on crafting some "ascended" gear (2nd-highest tier), and...

    Guild Wars 2

    Getting around to the more grindy parts of this game now. Among the many, many things to do in this game, I was focusing on crafting some "ascended" gear (2nd-highest tier), and gathering the materials to do that costs significant time, money (in-game), or both. GW2 even has a mechanic where a select few intermediate crafting components can only be crafted once per real-life day, and most ascended craftables need multiple of these.

    I did want to comment on one aspect of this game which I'm finding fascinating. There's a marketplace (called the Trading Post). This isn't a simple player-to-player item shop. The way it works is: for a given transaction, you interact with it either as a buyer or a seller.

    As a seller, you put an item up for bidding, and you provide a starting bid (your minimum selling price). As soon as any other player is willing to pay that price, and they buy it, then the transaction is complete. When you list an item for sale, it is taken from your inventory (held) up front, and the same is true for revenue from sales (also held). You have to visit a trading post agent in the game world to obtain any held money or items.

    As a buyer, you can either buy an item outright at the listed asking price, or you can list yourself as a buyer for the item, providing your buying price (which is lower than any of the prices of current sellers). However, you pay up front, before you even get the item. (You can cancel your listing any time.)

    Where it all gets interesting is the dynamics of the market. There is regular fluctuation of item prices, supply, and demand, and these tend to be hard to predict. There is the decision of whether to go for an immediate buy/sell (costs you more), or wait for a buyer/seller to agree to your price (more profitable). On most items, listings are undercut over time: If an item has low demand, then it sells slowly (long time between listing time and purchase). While your listed price is on the market, some other seller can undercut you and offer the same item for a lower price, which increases your wait time. In some cases, in practice, your item will "never" sell, because the market dynamics are causing a continuous stream of undercuts for a long period (say, days). At that point, you can choose to cancel your listing -- but then you lose the listing fee, which is 5%.

    On top of the listing fee, there is the transaction fee (for sellers), which is 10%. So, listing vs selling immediately costs 15% of your selling price, so you take that into account when deciding list vs. immediate.

    Then, there's the whole game of determining whether it's cheaper to buy sub-sub components of a thing you want to craft, or just the sub-components. In some cases (but not all), you can sell the crafted combination of components you bought for a profit over what the components cost you.

    There are whole websites dedicated to tracking GW2 market data, providing search and calculation features, charts, historical trends, and more.

    Studying, learning, and playing (surfing?) the market dynamics is interesting, and can be quite profitable. On the other hand, there is still risk. Even now, I have an item listed which has been on the market for 2 days; the money I invested into that item is being held in the meantime, and it was not small amount (over half of what I had at the time). Up to that point, I was turning a profit by cycling between buying components, crafting up a more valuable item, and selling it. The net profit per cycle was getting me about 3 to 5% of my currency balance, which is significant. I thought I could keep surfing that wave, but then the market for that item took a downturn, with a spike in undercutting. So now, I have to decide if I am willing to take down my listing, which means I can undercut the current lowest price and re-list, but also eat the listing fee for my original listing -- but that listing fee is essentially equivalent to the net profit, so it is significant. For now, I am standing pat, and will watch the trends over the next 24 to 48 hours. Note, though, that the unrealized gross revenue from this item is about 40% of my current money, just sitting there, locked in the TP.

    What you can even do with this market is observe when there are announcements or sales of the game or DLC, and anticipate a surge in new players, or players looking for certain kinds of items, or certain levels of items. You could anticipate a rise in demand, and buy up or craft certain things when prices are lower, then sell higher when demand rises. Of course, there's always the risk of things not turning out as you predict or hope.

    Anyway, overall, fascinating and fun stuff (if you like this kind of thing).

    3 votes
  6. Thrabalen
    Link
    I've been playing a lot of Gotham Knights. This is the game Marvel's Avengers should have been. It's visually striking, combat flows smoothly (and is actually fun!), travel is fun, and the story...

    I've been playing a lot of Gotham Knights. This is the game Marvel's Avengers should have been. It's visually striking, combat flows smoothly (and is actually fun!), travel is fun, and the story is intriguing.

    But (and you knew there was going to be a but), it's very unstable. It crashes randomly and frequently. Sometimes I can go two hours without a hitch, sometimes I crash three times in ten minutes. No error report in Windows, just suddenly, desktop.

    I offer a recommendation with reservations, but I would champion this game far and wide if these issues were fixed.

    3 votes
  7. brews_hairy_cats
    Link
    I picked up Deep Rock Galactic in one of the recent sales, thanks to the excitement fellow Tildoes have expressed. It's fun! I think I could get addicted to the silly hijinx. The challenge level...

    I picked up Deep Rock Galactic in one of the recent sales, thanks to the excitement fellow Tildoes have expressed. It's fun! I think I could get addicted to the silly hijinx. The challenge level is pretty high for me and I keep getting KOed every mission so far, so I'll probably get hooked on equipment upgrades as well.

    The game is similar in a lot of ways to Monster Hunter, co-op missions to get materials while fighting monsters, upgrading equipment, rinse and repeat. For some reason I bounced off Monster Hunter while DRG is clicking for me. Maybe having tons of little monsters is more fun than chasing one elusive one, or maybe it's how the game has a chill vibe and doesn't take itself too seriously. Maybe it's the ADHD gameplay where you're constantly looking around and pressing buttons, throwing flares, digging tunnels, shooting bugs, whatever.

    Friendly rando teammates too, community living up to its reputation.

    3 votes
  8. Protected
    Link
    Settle down. Buckle up. It's time for a long, incoherent ramble about Pentiment! Let me open by cutting straight to the chase. Obsidian Entertainment, makers of many games that are just not my cup...

    Settle down. Buckle up. It's time for a long, incoherent ramble about Pentiment!

    Let me open by cutting straight to the chase. Obsidian Entertainment, makers of many games that are just not my cup of tea, and some which definitely are, but also known for their excellent output and creativity, does it again! This game is so. Fucking. Cool.

    At least if you like books. Do you enjoy books, and reading? Pentiment is unlike any other game you have ever played - or will ever play - because it isn't just a game, but also a book, and not a short one either. Quite literally, the whole game is presented as an illuminated book written by one Andreas Maler, master artist from Nuremberg, protagonist and POV. This means the art and animation for the whole game looks like something straight out of Terry Gilliam's Monty Python animations, with some woodcuts and frescoes mixed in. Characters are not voiced, but all speak textually in beautiful fonts being written by Andreas. The fonts and their writing animation reflect Andreas' opinion of the person: Peasants are written with a quill pen - the more educated, the better the handwriting. Clergy speak in gothic font. Artists' writing is outlined, then filled in. Progressive, modern characters use movable type. When Andreas learns something that changes his perspective on someone, he erases their speech and rewrites it in a more accurate font. Some words are emphasized in color, such as every mention of god (including pronouns) being added in red ink after the remaining speech. There is an accessibility mode that tones all of this way down if you need it, but unless you're having trouble parsing the text I recommend you don't! Do change the animation speed to "fast," though.

    The game tells the story of events that take place over several years in the fictional alpine town of Tassing, southern Bavaria (in the Holy Roman Empire), during the early 16th century. Tassing is an abbey town, and one of the major themes in the game is the friction between the monks, especially the abbot (technically the feudal lord), the townspeople and the farmers. Other issues present include (prominently) women's rights (or lack thereof), peasant rights in general, the incipient protestant (Lutheran) reform, life in a Benedictine monastery, poverty, child mortality, homosexuality, pagan superstitions and a lot more. The credits roll has a long bibliography section (the first one I've ever seen in a videogame), which leads me to believe they are going for historical accuracy.

    Andreas is in Kiersau Abbey to finish his apprenticeship by illuminating the manuscripts produced in the abbey's scriptorium while working on his "masterpiece". Once he's done, he can return to Nuremberg to get married (a requirement!) and become a true master artist. But early in the game someone is murdered, and the blame is pinned on his best friend and mentor. Andreas decides to get involved and try to figure out the real murderer. This will lead him down a rabbit hole spanning two generations and involving everyone else in Tassing, as more people get murdered and

    Spoilers he encounters mysterious notes that hint at the existence of a common mastermind
    .

    The game opens with

    Whole paragraph tagged for minor starting scene impact spoilers, unrelated to the main mystery a dream: In the court of Prester John, Andreas is chatting with the different aspects of his own personality, Socrates, Beatrice and Saint Grobian. Sometimes during a later conversation, if Andreas wants to muse about something he's been told, these facets will talk to him and help him see things in a different light.
    I thought this was a criminally under-utilized mechanic! It's a bit reminiscent of the similar mechanic in
    Spoilers Disco Elysium.
    Otherwise, nearly all of the game takes place in the
    Spoilers very real
    small world of the citizens of Tassing: The town, Kiersau Abbey and the surrounding meadow and woods.

    Choices are important in this game. I can't say how much they truly change the story, because I only played through the game once (it still took some 20 hours, being thorough yet still somehow missing a bunch of stuff which I know others have encountered!) However, the game does revel into giving you tough moral dillemmas. Other charactears have no desire or patience for factual accuracy, so there just isn't enough time to follow every lead. Then it turns out there are multiple suspects with the motive and opportunity. Expect to have to make decisions that can result in the death of others, and worse consequences still. But your actions can also lead to positive consequences, including happier people and even happy couples in the future where there would be none. For example, I'm happy that

    Plot spoiler I convinced Paul to keep pursuing his interest in art
    but felt betrayed by
    MAJOR spoiler the negative outcome of being a good father figure for Casper.

    I don't know how difficult solving the central mystery is to others. I'm awfully smug about accurately figuring it out very early, during the young Andreas section. Inclusively, that

    MAJOR spoiler the key clue was the suspect's continuous refusal to have the graveyard dug out.
    But this was also frustrating, because
    Spoilers I knew I was being forced to choose innocents to accuse, but the game wouldn't let me investigate my real, totally correct suspect!

    Have you already played? Here's who

    MAJOR spoilers I threw under the bus: The first time I wanted to buy time, so I figured if I chose the most reasonable suspect the archdeacon would be mollified; thus I got Prior Ferenc killed. The second time, much like Andreas himself, I was more jaded and realized I was going to get people killed anyway, so I chose the nastiest of the bunch: I determined Brother Guy's actions caused the greatest amount of harm.
    However, your decisions can also save others, which I enjoyed. I suppose gameplay couldn't detract too much from the story they wanted to tell, or players would end up cheated of most of it.

    By the way, does any of this sound familiar to some of you? Mountain town... Abbey life... A scriptorium... A medieval murder mystery... Yes, this game was deliberately inspired (and informed) by The Name of the Rose. Cool, right? I had this playing in my head the whole time. There are more references to TNotR that I won't mention here, but I particularly appreciated finding a copy of the actual TNotR in a library tower (complete with map). Andreas comments it was written by "a man from Bologna" and that "it doesn't seem believable." Not only is this easter egg the cheekiest thing a videogame has ever done to me, it will probably hold that position for the rest of my days.

    At any point in the game, you can "zoom out" of the current view and see the book you are actually "reading," complete with marginalia! When a character mentions another character or keyword, these will appear underlined, signifying the definition for the keyword is written in the margin of the book. Otherwise, the only other thing you have access to is Andreas' journal, which contains information on people, ongoing events and some maps. This means that your main way to engage with the game, as well as your main sources of agency, are choosing where to go (knowing there might not be time to go elsewhere) and what things to say to people. The game tries to keep itself mechanically simple, so although you will sometimes pick things up, there is no inventory screen you can check. The current day and hour are important to the game and you can see them when time advances, but you can't see them at will. Some little errands and other things you can complete are not in the journal, either. I would have preferred to have all of this information available!

    Still. Despite the tiny qualms I have mentioned throughout this text, let me reiterate that I really enjoyed this memorable game. I give it a 5/5! I'm thankful to Obsidian for betting on something so unusual/original, and I hope they keep giving games like this a chance.

    I'm not going to reformat this as a sign of protest against the lack of an inline spoiler tag... ;)

    3 votes
  9. Akir
    Link
    Finished Sonic Frontiers. I already wrote about it in depth so I don't think there's too much more to say about it; I will say that it's good from start to finish. I found the final island to be a...

    Finished Sonic Frontiers. I already wrote about it in depth so I don't think there's too much more to say about it; I will say that it's good from start to finish. I found the final island to be a little bit too much of a collectathon, so I took advantage of the fishing minigame to amass the roughly 200 memory tokens required to clear it in a fraction of the time. I also used it to get the vault keys to skip the cyberspace levels altogether (they're not bad, really, I just find the loading between them to be annoying when most of them are pretty short, and I was itching to see the finale). I did find myself getting stuck temporarily on a boss because it required you to parry one of it's attacks; I honestly forgot you could even do that because it's a move I avoided using. It makes the game too easy! It doesn't rely on timing whatsoever so it almost always works.

    The finale made me realize exactly how blah the story was, but it was told surprisingly well. It's got some surprisingly affective character development in it. It did feel kind of weird that they openly brought up people and happenings from past games since most Sonic games tend to basically be their own little universe.

    2 votes
  10. [3]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    I played quite a bit of Yakuza 0. Got it super cheap. I'm at Act 3. It's a good game that doesn't trigger my ADHD too much. The main story is okay, even engaging, but the subplots (sidequests) are...

    I played quite a bit of Yakuza 0. Got it super cheap. I'm at Act 3.

    It's a good game that doesn't trigger my ADHD too much. The main story is okay, even engaging, but the subplots (sidequests) are passable and juvenile. I wonder what's the advantage of dispersing dialogue over several visual-novel-like turns of conversation when a single text dump would do. Pressing RB+A makes it go super fast, but won't advance lines that are coupled with some kind of character movement. I kinda get the impression that this is done to increase the number of hours of gameplay since a lot of people care about that.

    On Act 3 (or was it 2?) I play with a character that was entirely new to me, with no introduction whatsoever. I Googled him and he seems to be a beloved character from previous games. Dropping him with no introductions is not cool because Yakuza 0 is chronologically the first in the series story, and a lot of people (like me) will play it before the other games.

    Combat is enjoyable, but the "hard" difficulty is not hard when you realize there's a shop selling the strongest potions and, for that purpose, your money is essentially infinite. I wish games had a more challenging mode out of the box, but without being super punishing by design like Dark Souls. You know, hard, but not insane. And with an option to lock the difficulty setting for a given playthrough, or at least requiring to go to the title screen to change it.

    With the exception of baseball and karaoke, I don't care for the minigames.

    Still, good game. I wanna see how it ends so I'm avoiding spoilers.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      PetitPrince
      Link Parent
      Yakuza 0 was conceived as a second introduction to the Yakuza series, so you don't lose much by not knowing who's Majima in the first place. As for "no introduction", I beg to differ: his...

      On Act 3 (or is it 2?) I play with a character that was entirely new to me, with no introduction whatsoever. I Googled him and he seems to be a beloved character from previous games. Dropping him with no introductions is not cool because Yakuza 0 is chronologically the first in the series story, and a lot of people (like me) will play it before the other games.

      Yakuza 0 was conceived as a second introduction to the Yakuza series, so you don't lose much by not knowing who's Majima in the first place.

      As for "no introduction", I beg to differ: his introductory scene in Y0 is one of the coolest scene of the series, and it gives you everything you need to know about the guy. He's charismatic, behaves oddly at first before it is revealed that this is just an act for his job. At not much later you learn that his job itself is an act: he's really a yakuza on a leash, and a conflicted one with all that.

      You'll see later on that he is a great foil for Kiryu.

      the subplots (sidequests) are passable and juvenile.

      Yes. My understanding is that they are a palate-cleanser from all the doom and gloom of the main story. Personally I love them for this very reason. They also flesh out the cities and their inhabitants (not everyone is a betrayed yakuza with family issues in this game), and mechanically speaking they do give your a fair share of money and/or ressources for the later bigger minigame.

      I wonder what's the advantage of dispersing dialogue over several visual-novel-like turns of conversation when a single text dump would do.

      Same reason you separate blocks of text with paragraph, it makes a substantial amount of text more palatable. As you noticed, you can inject emotes and animations; it's not very far from Horizon Zero Dawn or Mass Effect dialogue system. But I remember than pressing A would also skip whatever animation linked to a given paragraph ? I usually skip the text appearing and read at my own pace.

      3 votes
      1. lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Look, there are some introductory scenes, yes, but not enough to create an emotional connection. I already played with this character for quite a while and I just don't care, my main drive is...

        Look, there are some introductory scenes, yes, but not enough to create an emotional connection. I already played with this character for quite a while and I just don't care, my main drive is going back to the main dude whose backstory I know.

        I believe Horizon and Mass Effect are both fully voiced, not the case with Yakuza 0. And the sidequest dialog in Yakuza 0 is so poor and overly long. It's as if the main questline is for adults and the sidequests are for children. Very often the relevant information wouldn't fill a tweet and you figured it out in 10 seconds, but for some reason now you must endure a super-long, terribly written, on-the-nose dialogue (because if I skip I may miss essential information...).

        Edit: just to be clear, I actually like the game.

        2 votes
  11. AhThatsTheStuff
    Link
    Took a break from Elden Ring. It's a brilliant game, but I think I went too hard on trying to explore every little nook and cranny that after I took and extended break over the holidays I just...

    Took a break from Elden Ring. It's a brilliant game, but I think I went too hard on trying to explore every little nook and cranny that after I took and extended break over the holidays I just haven't been able to get back into it. Definitely deserved game of the year though. 10/10.

    In it's place I've been playing Rogue Legacy 2. I was a fan of the first and just got around to trying the second. It's simple, easy to dive into, and challenging enough that it keeps interesting. Not a masterpiece by any means, but great when you are tired at the end of the day and just want to play something light. 8/10

    PS Shout out to Inscryption. One of my favorite games from last year

    2 votes