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.
I started "Coffee Talk" (Steam) a week or two ago. It's a visual novel game, where I play as a barista in my coffee shop, listening to my customers issues and proffering advice and such. I do actually have to make drinks, and making the wrong drink or drinks incorrectly does seem to affect the story.
One thing that's interesting is the setting. It takes place in the modern day in Seattle, but it's an alternate universe where humans, orcs, elves, etc, all live and work side by side. Or at least try to. So the customers have issues with racism, classism, ageism (vampires are immortal, right?), etc. There's an elf (who's also a freelance graphic designer) who's dealing with his racist family who don't want him to date a succubus. There are hints that orcs are discriminated against, even though they can be successful and educated, like one orc characters who's a video game developer. There's a character from the poor underwater country of Atlantis (yes that, Atlantis) who managed to escape poverty as a like computer graphics researcher. It's a different way of portraying the issues we grapple with IRL. It's more relatable than like a typical mythical setting like LoTR Middle Earth thing where the races have to work together and all that.
I'm not terribly far into it, but I am enjoying it as I play it here and there. I'm not usually a VN player if the interaction is low -- like Ace Attorney and Danganronpa are the prefect levels of interaction for a VN, in my opinion -- but it is nice to have a chill game that I can relax to. Where I don't need lots of thinking and planning. I'm just there for the story and coffee making.
That sounds like a very interesting concept! I'll have to try it out for sure sometime.
I ordered a Steam Deck last week (the 512GB model) and it arrived today! I loaded some games in my library that were Steam Deck verified and tried them out:
Idle Slayer: Yeah it works but it's just as dull as on PC
Terraria: It runs perfectly but controls are awkward, you'll definitely want to play this on a PC
Project Highrise: You'll want to use Proton but this too works better on a PC, the controls are very awkward
Dicey Dungeons: 10/10, a pleasure to play on the steam deck
Peglin: 9/10, excellent to play on the steam deck, adjusting firing angle is a little awkward
Tile Cities: Runs fine but moving tiles and the camera around is rather awkward.
Got a few more reviews:
Terra Nil: Great game, awkward to play on the deck because you have to use the mouse pad a lot which gets tiresome
Dorfromantik: Great game, official control map has missing mappings. I tried a well reported community config map and it wasn't much better.
So far do you feel the purchase was worth it? I've been thinking about getting one, as I have a bunch of games on steam but not a great machine to play them (well, I have a Mac, which is nice but makes gaming difficult).
I've only had my deck for two days so it's a bit early to tell. Definitely check the games you own on ProtonDB to see what the player reports are.
It's a decent product but they were basically "first to market" in an increasingly crowded space of portable gaming PCs. There's a lot of Steam Deck competitors so I recommend doing some research on them beforehand, I think some of them are no doubt better than Valves offering. There's talks of the Steam Deck 2 also which might be worth waiting for.
For the past few days, I swallowed my pride and gave Guild Wars 2 another shot after roughly 10 years. I needed a break from Classic WoW and some of its old-school ways.
It's hard to put my finger on it because the basic experience is largely the same, but my perception is that the starting experience was tweaked in many subtle ways that improved the game quite a bit. Maybe that is just a consequence of the higher framerate, but the game feels less floaty and more responsive. It's not crunchy like WoW, but I feel more invested in every little action, markedly moment-by-moment combat.
I'm using the "action camera" that essentially hides the cursor and lets me control my character as I would in a regular game, in which every movement of the mouse controls my perspective without the need to hold a mouse button for hours on end. Under the hood, GW2 is still essentially a tab-targeting game, and my crosshair only replaces the tab as a tool to select my current target. The main advantage is ergonomic since I don't overload my index finger and movement is more natural and fluid.
Everyone that says GW2 is immersive seems to mean something different. GW2 is extremely videogamey, with a very weak sense of realism. Every friction is removed in the interest of fluidity. You often start and complete a "quest" without ever talking to an NPC, and the rewards and experience are magically transferred to you wherever you are. At level 10, a mount magically appeared in my skill bar -- I didn't buy it and no one gave it to me, the game did. A button in my inventory magically deposits gathering materials in the bank, and traversing the world is largely abstracted by an immense amount of fast-travel nodes. So, in that sense, GW2 is not immersive at all.
The way in which GW2 is immersive is that, for an MMORPG, it's not that much of a "wiki-game". Sure, you may look up builds and such, but the world of Tyria is largely self-documented. A lot of the mystery is lost, but you gotta give some points to an MMORPG that makes a concerted effort to keep you from Alt-Tabbing.
Taking into account my tendency to get bored easily, I chose to be Mesmer because it's supposed to be hard to master. I like that my essential skill is to create temporary clones of myself, and I'm already fleshing out my character's personality and backstory. That is, of course, not a requirement of the game, but I feel that enacting the class fantasy (even if it is just for me) is the best way for me to feel connected to my character.
Compared to Classic WoW, downtime in GW2 is practically inexistent. The game's not even on my SSD, but loading times are more than reasonable, and fast travel is a breeze.
Most of the time you're in the open world, and "grouping" for quests is as easy as two people hitting the same mob. There's no need to group, chat, or coordinate in any way. The items and XP will be awarded automatically relative to your contribution. The complete lack of friction guarantees that the "socialization" will be cursory and superficial. Find, kill, leave. That's it. GW2 is both hyper-social and not social enough, and that's intensified by the lack of Holy Trinity. Everyone kinda tanks, kinda DPSs, and kinda heal, so there's nothing unique I can provide to anyone.
One way to get XP is by completing maps, which means doing all the quests and finding all the Vistas, waypoints, etc, in an area. Each map is its own achievement zone and getting 100% is very satisfying. In addition to that, level scaling makes every zone reasonably relevant, active, and vibrant. New expansions do not invalidate old content and that's awesome.
I'd describe my 30 hours of gameplay as pleasant but shallow. GW2 removes much of the friction while retaining some of the soul of a more traditional MMORPG. It's definitely a tradeoff and one that I am enjoying for the time being. Guild Wars 2 is a game that gives me hope for the future of the genre.
I used to play GW2 a long time ago. Not too much, only a little bit because my friends were also playing it.
You articulate well my feelings back then about it. I could feel the presence of The System streamlining everything for me. The removal of friction meant at least for me the sanding down of the game's texture. It removed the passage of time, space, cultures...
WoW felt like a quaint living world because you had to inhabit the world and do things. In GW2, I felt like a Doordash driver, running between generic tasks that were being remotely managed for me.
I would definitely not be as harsh about GW2 because you kinda have to engage with the map in interesting ways to find Vistas and points of interest, but it is definitely a lot more superficial and expedited than Classic WoW. In comparison to the current state of WoW Retail, I'd say that GW2 manages to be more immersive, but only because Retail is essentially a hub game with an optional open world component at this point.
I do feel 'immersed' in Guild Wars 2 - I think when people say that it's the combination of music and visuals, and the sense that the world is alive (moreso than other MMOs I've played).
The 1-80 experience slightly eludes me as to what they're aiming for. It is very easy, and quite repetitive, but probably my favourite leveling experience just for the sense of world exploration - it's quite steady and peaceful, and invites you around the place.
But - as soon as you hit 80 and the Silverwastes (which I think is free?), the difficulty and complexity ramps up tenfold. Heart of Thorns (without the mounts introduced in Path of Fire) is absolutely brutal, and with very little handholding. Every map is this awkward masterpiece of tangled jungle and everything wants to kill you. World events, even if they've been min-maxed to death by this point, often need the entire map co-ordinated. It's great fun when it all comes together.
That's also the point you unlock masteries, mounts, and elite specs - which all step away from MMO convention. I really do recommend trying to reach that content if you can (I wouldn't force it), I think it's a real shame almost everything below is so placid (but pleasant) in comparison.
I've enjoyed Guild Wars 2 for many years now without playing with anyone, it just feeds that monkey brain that wants to feel a little bit of progression without having to try-hard if I don't want to.
Some people consider 1-80 to be training/tutorial :)
I hate this mentality for MMORPG design so much. A game should start being interesting and reasonably challenging at level one. 150 hours is simply way too much for something to be a "tutorial" in a any genre.
That said, GW2 seems better at this than most.
And it sort of works. I have no idea anymore how long it takes to get to level 80 on a fresh account at a normal pace - maybe the better part of 50 hours? That's a long tutorial, and there's a very slight hike in difficulty/mechanics between level 1 and level 70 maps.
On that note, getting the first two expansions gave me a level 80 character booster. Any suggestions on how I should use it?
So there are 9 classes, each with 3 elite specializations that generally change things significantly for them and grant a new weapon and utility skills. Any spec marked with a * can be used as a support in endgame pve. While I believe every class has a solid end game build at the moment, there's no guarantee it'll be the spec you like best.
Guardian: They get 3 virtue skills that provide passive effects or an active effect if used, generally a melee class.
-Dragonhunter: Gets more powerful virtues, generally just Guardian++
-*Firebrand: Replace virtue skills with tomes: still gain the passive effect, but can swap into your virtues at any time to gain 5 skills that replace your weapon skills and consume pages, which build up over time.
-*Willbender (I think it can do support): Lose virtue passive effects but gain significantly reduced cds on them, lots of mobility.
Revenant: Has energy, which is consumed by weapon and utility skills. Gains two sets of utility skills that they can swap between in combat with a cd, restoring energy. Generally melee focused.
-*Herald: Gains skills that passively pulse out boons that can be consumed for a new effect.
-*Renegade: Gains skills that provide support over an area.
-Vindicator: Gives a new dodge, gains a third set of utility skills to swap to with caveats.
*Warrior: Build up adrenaline, expend it to empower burst attacks. Tough class, generally melee focused.
-Berserker: Use adrenaline to enter berserk mode, which empowers you and boosts burst skills.
-Spellbreaker: Lots of defence and buff removal from enemies, generally isn't used much in PvE.
-Bladesworn: Replace a weapon set and your burst skill with the gunsaber, which has it's own skills and burst.
Ranger: The pet class. Leans ranged.
-*Druid: Gain a skill that replaces your weapon skills with healing ones. Heal people to gain the resource to use it. Heavily support focused.
-Soulbeast: Merge with your pet to no longer have to deal with pet AI. Gain benefits.
-Untamed: Bit of a mess still; can swap between stances to gain different benefits or manually control pet's usage of skills.
Engineer: No weapon swap, gets a toolbelt skill for each utility skill. Also notable are kits, which are utility skills you freely swap into to gain new weapon skills, which leads to high actions per minute on some builds. Fair bit of ranged.
-*Scrapper: Tough, can support allies with new skills that are centered on you.
-Holosmith: Gain the holoforge in place of a toolbelt skill, which is essentially a kit with a cd for swapping into and out of. Use it too much and you'll overheat, damaging yourself.
-*Mechanist: The better pet class, pretty much. Lose all toolbelt skills for a pet golem to beat up enemies or support allies.
Necromancer: Build up life force to enter shroud, which replaces your weapon skills and prevents hp loss while you're in it. Tough class, mostly ranged.
-Reaper: Changes to shroud and extra weapon make it melee focused for wading in.
-*Scourge: Loses shroud, gains sand shades, which can be put around the map and trigger shade skills at each of them. Unusual support: the better your group is the worse it is, and it's generally only wanted in a few select cases.
-*Harbinger: Changes shroud skills, takes blight which is a debuff that reduces max hp to boost damage or the effects of certain skills.
Thief: Can steal a skill to use from mobs, which generally isn't all that great. Gains initiative, which is used to used weapon skills (which have no cd) and builds at a fixed rate. Leans melee.
-Daredevil: New effects on dodging. Thief++ pretty much.
-Deadeye: Builds up Malice when hitting foes marked with steal, which triggers some effects and boosts some skills. Can use rifles as the sniper archetype, but GW 2 combat design generally isn't kind to rifle's restrictions in instanced combat.
-*Specter: Gains a shroud like necromancers, generally a supportive spec with some extra mobility.
Elementalist: No weapon swap; instead, gains four elements and weapons have different skills depending on what element you're in, one at a time. Infamously squishy and high actions per minute class, though some builds mitigate this.
-*Tempest: Can channel the element you're in for an extra skill, supportive bent.
-Weaver: Channel two elements at a time with reduced cooldown between swapping elements.
-*Catalyst: Bit like Untamed in lacking a cohesive identity. Can use a jade sphere as an extra skill, placing an immobile area on the ground that boosts some of their skills.
Mesmer: Summons illusions, which can draw enemy aggro and be consumed for shatter skills. Can have trouble in some group content because illusions are target locked.
-*Chronomancer: Essentially Mesmer++, gain a powerful shatter which lasts a few seconds, then restores your skill cds to what they were before you used the shatter.
-*Mirage: Gain access to ambush skills on dodging, which have special effects. Can trait to let illusions gain reduced access to those ambush skills.
-Virtuoso: Replaces illusions with blades, which don't do anything on their own, but are bound to you rather than your target so they don't disappear when your target dies. Changes shatter skills slightly.
A good place to experiment with different classes and elite specs is the PvP lobby. You're automatically set to 80 with all skills unlocked, and there are some training dummies, so you can play around and get a feel for it. Let me know if you've got any questions.
I didn't expect a full guide. That's awesome, thanks!
I'll probably wait a bit before using my boost, and that information will be incredibly useful.
Is there any website with builds or complete guides you recommend for beginners? The ones people recommend seem to be very focused on what to do on level 80, but not so much on the minute of leveling. Seems rather complex.
Not that I'm aware of, except for gw2crafts.net which calculates the cheapest way to level a crafting profession. Honestly, it's probably not needed for leveling. The closest thing to a quest chain you get is the personal story (green markers, happens every 10 levels). Open world combat while leveling is generally easy enough that you'll be able to get through it if level-wise you're in the same ballpark as the mobs you fight. For direction, the personal story points you at some places, but you can just do what you want. Exploring gives experience, crafting gives experience, finding vistas gives experience, killing mobs gives experience, completing hearts gives experience, doing events (marked by an orange circle on the map, often the best way to fill a heart quickly) give experience. Can even level by doing PvP, if that's your cup of tea, at no downside for being low level. Doing hero points (small challenges that give a trait point) are useful, but not necessary. Leveling in GW 2 is mostly about getting a feel for your class and the combat system. You'll hit the level cap eventually whatever you do, so focusing on what's the most fun is a solid call.
There are some things worth noting for a new player though, which I'll go into:
Some mobs will have a second bar under their health bar called a defiance bar. If it's silver, it's locked and can be ignored. If it's blue, you can damage it by using crowd control skills (stuns, dazes, knockbacks, etc.). If it's completely depleted, it goes tan as it slowly recharges, and there's a beneficial effect, generally stunning the mob and making them take more damage for a time.
You can access the trading post from anywhere by clicking the little lion head on the bar, and selling stuff on it generally gets you more money than selling it to vendors.
There are two types of damage: power and condition, with specs often being better at one or the other. Power does damage instantly, and is increased by the power, precision, and ferocity stats. Condition damage does damage over time through conditions like bleed or burning, and is boosted by condition damage, expertise, and sometimes precision depending on traits (if critical hits can trigger a condition). Both have their upsides, so I'd just keep it in mind while leveling to see if there's one style you like better.
IIRC at level 30, you'll start unlocking dungeons, with the personal story pointing you in the right direction. These are old, unsupported content in favor of new things, but they're still fun to do. You can probably find a group using the lfg tool, but I would make sure to note that you're new, so that you don't get someone looking to rush through it as fast as possible. There are two modes in dungeons: the story, that you do first and is generally easier, and then 3 explorable paths you can do if you unlock the story.
You can buy larger inventory bags from the trading post. There's a button in your inventory to deposit crafting materials into storage. You can access your bank or material storage from a bank npc or a crafting station. A copper-fed salvage kit from the store (don't know if it's always available) is the best quality of life purchase you can make.
Defense in GW 2 is an active thing. You dodge big attacks, or block them with a skill or avoid them by positioning.
Build wise in PvE, endgame generally uses offensive trait lines, with some roles using supportive ones. Competitive modes (PvP and World vs. World) are more likely to use defensive ones. While leveling you're free to play around with what best suits the situation.
Pre-80, it almost doesn't matter what you do. The game is mostly easy up to that point, with only medium-level challenges here and there.
That's both sad and really boring :(
I was under the impression that GW2 was unlike WoW in that regard.
I predict that I will abandon MMORPGs soon. I have the time, but patience is being spent. Most games are already actual games (as opposed to tutorials) in the first 12 hours.
I may use the boost after all.
Pre-80 for a class and race you've never played before is not boring. At least the first half or so is new and interesting. Second half, the storyline merges to the same storyline as you did with your first character.
I have 800+ hours in GW2, and none of it has been "boy, working towards [game goal] is boring". Even the grindy, crafting-y parts have been livable. I think it's because there's just so much to do. Places, items, crafting trees, game modes (multiple types of both PvE, PvP). So, you can flip around from mode to mode, goal to goal whenever you feel like, and your interest is held. That's been my experience.
That's good to know. Every time I hear the phrase "the real game starts at level cap" I die a little. And people say it like it's a good thing. It's definitely not!
I still think that statement somewhat applies to GW2, but the journey to the level cap is not boring in this case (in my opinion), unless maybe if you've already levelled up that same class before.
My recommendation is to save it until you get more overall GW2 experience under your belt, because it's beneficial to go through the 80-level climb with any class you don't have experience with. You learn the class mechanics more solidly. You might use a few Tomes of Knowledge or Writs of Experience to skip a level here and there, but a full 1-to-80 jump will somewhat rob you of the learning and training.
By your third or fourth character, you could consider using the 80-level booster.
That all said, we all have different life situations, so if you're the kind of gamer that only has limited time in a day or a week to play games, by all means, go ahead and use it if you want.
I use the mouse-moves-camera mode, too, but only because I have so much FPS experience, and comparatively little experience with games like GW2 and WoW. I believe people prefer the regular mouse-drag mode because it lets them target things by point and click, which I imagine would be faster for ground targeting. I'm not sure people hold a mouse button all the time. From what I've seen of YouTube vids, they keep the viewing angle somewhat static, and just run and strafe with that angle, and occasionally re-angle the camera with a quick mouse drag, but let go to go back to "static camera" gameplay.
Yes! I have the same reaction, and, honestly, it's actually one of the things I don't like about the game. The animations of running and attacking look like they belong in Roblox or something. I'm a big fan of realistic physics and realism in general, so after the likes of games like Kingdom Come: Deliverance, the arcadeyness of GW2 is a turn-off for me. It even diminishes the impact of the storytelling because it's such a distraction. Then, when the storytelling isn't done in the game's 3D space, it is just a template model scene of two characters standing on opposite sides of the screen, talking and moving in the same motion-captured ways again and again, no matter which two characters, no matter what dialogue. This makes me tell people that I find GW2's story "meh". I love the world and races that they've created, and I feel like the story could have more impact on me, if not for my issues with the execution and presentation. I also didn't like the cookie-cutter, fetch-or-kill map quests ("quests") all over the game. Far cry from the quests you could do in, say, Skyrim.
Hm. I reference the wiki a lot. Like... a LOT. :) Granted, that's mostly for being try-hard with the numbers in the game, and looking up crafting recipes, things like that.
For me (on Linux with Proton), I find that this part of the experience is highly dependent on how otherwise strained my system is, particularly with respect to RAM. When I'm nearing my RAM limits, load times can be very long. So, when I play GW2, I make it a point to close other things to clear things up.
For harder content, it's necessary. There's some content that you just cannot solo, and also can't succeed without some coordination.
Sometimes you do have to specialize your character (build) in one or two roles, though, or else your contribution is just mediocre at all roles, which won't be enough for your group or team to succeed against harder content, or higher-calibre human opponents. Some people call this lack of role RPS a feature of GW2, as it makes every race and class viable, so people can choose what they like, and still contribute (with the right tweaking and tuning).
It can be deep later on, but GW2 is what I'd call very broad. So many things to do, places to explore, items to craft or obtain, currencies to accumulate. I have over 800 hours in game now, and there's still a lot I haven't done or seen yet.
Glad you've enjoyed your time in GW2.
I believe a lot of the devs for GW2 were ex-Mythic employees from DaoC and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and brought some of those ideas with them, .e.g. public quests being a precursor to GW2 dynamic events.
GW2 WvW is nice, but I think the underlying class/game mechanics get in the way of an otherwise good experience. If you want a good WvW (/RvR) PvP mmo then I think the best options are either playing on a DaoC free shard or playing Return to Reckoning.
I like the dynamic quests from a mechanics standpoint, but they are terrible for roleplay/immersion.
In my view, each area should have a number of objectives that contribute to a higher goal. You get a nice overview of the area goals from some kind of well-written central figure, and the specific objectives are shown when you near them, just like it is now. Quests should still exist to guide the adventure. They are narrative and directional devices. Essentially, if a quest is not narratively interesting, it should be an objective instead. I'd rather have good narrative every once in a while than terrible narrative all the time. Having a dude retroactively telling me to pick the apples I'm already collecting because the UI told me to is not interesting at all.
Dull quests are an issue in every MMORPG and are not specific to GW2.
GW2 is a good technical achievement but like you I find that it doesn't have much staying power. They don't update the game in big ways outside of expansion packs (since there's no monthly fees to fund it) and you can feel a lot of areas and gameplay features are halfbaked. It was good when it came out but FFXIV is leagues ahead of it and the best WoW alternative imho.
Factorio, space exploration
My last post on it: https://tildes.net/~games/14rh/what_games_have_you_been_playing_and_whats_your_opinion_on_them#comment-7rwk
It's hard to say how long I've been playing, maybe 100-200 hours on this save, which puts me solidly in the middle of the mid-game for the mod. That last post said I had played Factorio for 300 hours, and now my steam count is 648 (and a half!) hours. Could that be? Could I have played another 350 hours of this mod? Wouldn't surprise me, although I bet I meant to say 500 hours that time and it's only been 150 hours of this mod.
The mod feels like a natural extension of the base game, fleshed out with an entirely new face of logistics (rockets to and from other planets). I remain very impressed, it's an interesting experience.
It's still ticking away at a gradual pace. A lot of my time spent now is with fighting against biters, picking off one bottleneck at a time, and getting started on the next leg of research. Each new step of research induces a huge demand on existing production, having a lot of production requires a lot of power and mining, a lot of power and mining produces a lot of pollution, which pisses off more biters, which come to destroy your factory, which you have to hold back with walls and turrets, which suffer attrition over time from biter attacks, which require manual intervention in fixing and nuking the biter bases that spawned to hold them at bay.
At some point I started migrating systems to use Logistics Train Network, hoping to reduce the burden on my mainbus setup, and allow scaling up of components in a way that is harder to do when using only belts. it has helped and generally makes things easier, but I don't think its as effective as it is in vanilla factorio. in vanilla factorio, there are a lot less things to produce, and scaling up end products (usually green and red circuits) is a lot simpler due to having less of them, concentrating the demand in a few areas (for circuits its copper and iron iirc, red circuits you also need plastic).
In space exploration, every end product ends up requiring a long chain of things to get there, and becomes even more of a burden once it crosses a planetary barrier -- i.e. if I want to scale up my cargo rocket section production I need to use beryl plates to use the more cost effective method, and beryl plates requires beryllium from another planet, and the more beryl plates I need the more beryllium I need from those planets, which means if I'm using core miners I hit a cliff after about 3 core miners on a planet, and after that I need to expand to non-core miners (which eventually run out, short term gains for long term crises), or expand to other beryllium-producing planets, annnnnd then if I do that I also need to ship off cargo rocket sections and rocket fuels to another planet entirely, increasing the demand in those hot items, expand my logistics to send things to that new planet on-demand, deal with biters (if there's biters on the planet), have another planet I need to keep track of to ensure production is running at capacity, and the more beryllium I need the more planets I need, and the more planets I need the farther away they are, and the farther away they are the more the rocket fuel cost is, which just eventually leads me to a new production issue with keeping up with rocket fuel demand.
In vanilla factorio if I need more circuits, I build more circuit factories until I need more inputs, then I build more iron and copper mines until thats not an issue, and then I build more oil production until thats not an issue, and they all get linked with LTN stations and everything works. scaling up in space exploration ends up touching so many different parts that can fail, involves adding more and more in each step of your logistics, and is generally something that you cannot do easily, its always a gradual process.
I've settled in to a nice spot with it though. My base runs pretty smoothly, my outposts mostly run themselves, and manual intervention can for the most part be done remotely through launching logistics rockets to them. I have an automated logistics train that goes up the space elevator to my space-base, automatically requesting what it's lacking. I can expand and scale production easily on my main planet through LTN stations. I automate logistics bot production and delivery, and deploy new logistics bots when there aren't enough. Life is good. I'm still excited to keep plodding along, racking up the new sciences until I eventually hit the end game (which I take to be naquium) with the arcospheres or whatever. It's an interesting mod for someone that's already covered vanilla Factorio extensively.
Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
It's good. Nintendo learned from Breath of the Wild, and doubled down on your ability to do fun things. Where before you had a magnet power to move metal things, now you have a power hand which can move anything, and also glue things to anything else. Your major way of upgrading your weapons is to just glue a thing to the end of your weapons. It can be a monster horn on the end of a stick to make a dagger, it can be an explosive barrel on the end of a spear (yes, it'll explode,) it can be a skeleton arm holding a second skeleton arm. Rather than making ice, fire or explosive arrows, just fuse a thing to an arrow on the fly. It all feels so good.
The base world map is the same size, but there's now caves all over to explore, an entire underground layer as big again, and also floating islands in the sky. It feels almost impossibly big. There's no way to binge this game. It's just so big.
The world feels more dynamic. There's more people, they travel around more, and more things change as time goes on.
If you loved BotW, you'll love this even more. It deserves all those 10/10 reviews.
I am both excited and nervous about the size of the map. The prospect of filling it in is very enticing, but it also feels kind of overwhelming! Still, the whole game feels so polished and fresh. I'm loving the new mechanics!
The overworld itself feels new again. With little caves tucked everywhere, plus the environmental changes, it's enjoyable to explore places I once knew well. I saw someone describe it as returning to a place you once lived; you know it, sort of, but it's different now.
I put a few hours in over the weekend and am loving it so far. The sense of exploration and discovery was what really drew me into BotW and this one doubles down on that with the addition of the sky islands and chasms.
So far the caves on the main world map don't seem all that interesting to me, but maybe I just haven't figured out what they're for yet. Likewise the whole vehicle building system feels a little gimmicky and chore-like to me so when I find a puzzle that was clearly designed to be solved by building vehicles I feel compelled to skip it if there's no obvious non-vehicle way to solve it.
The caves are mostly little treasure pockets. You might find a beast with a rare gem you can sell, some gems for crafting, or a bunch of cooking materials. But every once in a while, you find a cool piece of armor or a shrine. It's a roll of the dice. So far I've found them worth doing, but if you don't, I suggest walking into the entrance until you see the word "Discovery!" pop up. That's the moment it's added to your map, which will make it easier to return later if you feel like it.
I agree that vehicle building is a little slow and inconvenient. A little bit further into the game you'll get items and abilities that greatly streamline the experience, and over time you'll find more vehicle parts that are useful and powerful. It might change your opinion, it might not. I will say that there are parts which seem truly unsolvable without vehicles, so you may not be able to get everywhere and do everything without them. But that's ok, yeah? There's so much to do that if you don't want to engage with a mechanic there's still so much else going on.
You'll get an ability later which will decrease the time it takes to build a vehicle.
A lot of the game is solvable without building at all. Building as the only solution really only happens in the sky and in shrines.
I'm playing Can of Wormholes. Anyone here played it? It's a really weird puzzle solving game in which for each level, seemingly, you control a worm on a grid and you need to make it to a destination point and position with all kinds of caveats, such as having to be the right length - you can eat pellets to grow, and later chop yourself off; you have to account for impassable walls and bridge gaps with pieces of dead worms - which can also be chopped. You have to flip the worm around, and then later you find out you can also push the pellets, use them as bridges, chop dead worms into pellets, eat the dead worms themselves without digesting them, it's very weird.
I'd say the puzzles are quite challenging. Each level has a "gain insight" mode that gives you a simpler version of the same puzzle to solve in order to help you learn how the game expects you to think in that kind of situation. This isn't bad per se, and it works for a lot of people, but I find that "gain insight" more often than not teaches me the part of the puzzle I managed to figure out on my own and leaves out the part I'm having trouble with, which is often the difficulty of the execution itself, I suppose.
There's a whole meta game thing whose mechanics I feel I'm not yet 100% cognizant of. Because you see, these puzzles are all set up in some kind of weird worm shaped spaceship (spaceships?). Out in this meta world, you control an actual, literal, honest to goodness can. Of wormholes. Well, of hoops, at least. You can roll the can around in the axis parallel to the ends of the cylinder and you can spit out the hoops to activate each level. If worms are present on the screen, they'll gather around the can and fashion themselves into weird spider legs for the can, allowing you to move freely around like gaming's weirdest spider or shoot yourself back into can-only form in order to clear obstacles.
When you make it to the cockpit end of your worm spaceship thingy, you can use one move per each puzzle solved to move the worm spaceship itself on a large meta-grid in order to connect it to other worm spaceships and roll or crawl your way into them in order to solve more puzzles and reach farther locations in the grid. I'm sure there's a point to all of this eventually. There also appears to be (unless it's a red herring) an obvious cross-puzzle mechanic in which the puzzles themselves have lines and connectors that seem to promise some form of multi-puzzle integration but I haven't gotten there yet.
You made this game sound really intriguing so I wishlisted it.
Intriguing is a word for it :D
Hope you like puzzle solving!
There are things in those preview screenshots/video I haven't encountered yet so I'm sure it gets even weirder.
I dug out modded Skyrim... It's comfort food.
Since I finally got a new PC, I've finally had a chance to put some serious time into Valheim without the worry of overheating my computer. Very good game so far. The base-building aspects are more complex than Minecraft and make you really think about where you place support beams to stop your building from collapsing. My only criticism is the combat. I beat Eikthyr easily first try and I was disappointed that the game didn't subject me to some ball-busting Soulslike shit with the boss battles.
I also beat Eikthyr first try but found later bosses more difficult, but even then it didn't take nearly as many tries as a Souls game!
Good news on that front:
I'm playing Mail Time! It's pretty cute with a lot of sweet stuff. There's a smidge too much talking for me in a couple spots, especially when I accidentally click into a conversation, but overall I enjoy the dialogue and like a lot of the characters. They're all so cute and it's such a sweet little game.
I almost beat it but there's a bug for dropping off mail to one specific character near end game so I was really put off by that. BUT! They are working on a patch and it's currently with QA so hopefully in the next few days that'll get fixed and I can finish up the game.
I've been finding myself enjoying much more short form games like Mail Time and Tinykin. They're interesting with fun game mechanics and I don't have to sink 100 hours into them to complete them or feel like I got somewhere in the game. I rarely finish long games as is, so it's been fun finding shorter ones that I can get through.
I've been playing FFXV again lately. It is often made out to be not very good but I really like it. It's like a chill road trip with the bros.
It's the only mainline single player FF game I haven't played yet. Is it good? I mean, is the writing good enough to inspire you to keep going? Is the combat entertaining in its own right?
As I mentioned last week, a buddy and I were playing it together but now we've finished it. It's a really really flawed game, and I suspect that's largely due it to being very very very rushed right before release.
E.g. The world/enviroment feels meticulously handcrafted, and is incredibly detailed, but feels devoid of interesting things to do in it, with absolutely no worthwhile rewards for exploration. AFAICT, there are only 6 legendary weapons in the entire game despite there being 7 weapons types (3 of which have no legendary!), so you keep getting the same legendary pistol, shotgun, assault and sniper rifle again and again, just higher level versions of them. The character powers are weak as hell, and most felt pointless (other than one character who is apparently insanely OP), almost like they came up with them last minute and didn't playtest them at all. The AI is truly atrocious (esp the Bosses), and you can out-range most human enemies by a significant amount, making most fights trivial (unless you crank the difficulty up which just makes everything more bullet-spongy). And speaking of the boss fights, they were genuinely some of the worst and most broken I've ever experienced... especially the final boss, who you don't even actually fight!!!; You instead just kill 3 packs of standard vampires then she collapses, and you finish her off in a 5 second cutscene. And after completing the story, rather than continuing to play in the fully unlocked open-world with some new mechanics, it just restarts you at the very beginning again (albeit at lvl 20 this time) in the small starting/tutorial area (which takes about 4-5 hours to get through) so you have to suffer through all the tutorials, cutscenes, unskipable NPC dialogue, and even unlocking of all the basic features (like restocking ammo) all over again!
However, despite all that we still mostly enjoyed it. But despite still enjoying it, it was still really really disappointing and incredibly underwhelming. It really does feel like the game had so much potential, but that was completely wasted due to being so rushed, and released in such a ridiculously rudimentary and half-finished (more like eighth-finished) state. It's a real shame. :(
As I said before, if you like PvE co-op shooters, give it a try on Xbox GamePass, but in its current state I definitely wouldn't recommend buying it. I will check back on it in a year to see if they've fixed the issues and added anything interesting, but I don't have high hopes.
Also included with XBGP, so after Redfall my buddy and I decided to give this a try for shits and giggles. It's just about the dumbest game idea I've ever heard of... but we ended up playing it for over 5 hours straight. It's basically a "rated-E for Everyone" version of Viscera Cleanup Detail, but with a powerwasher instead of a mop, and even simpler mechanics. It's amusing, really relaxing, and incredibly addicting! Not nearly as satisfying as powerwashing in real life, but still pretty satisfying, and fun nonetheless. We even plan on playing more of it again tonight. :P
Diablo IV Server Slam (free open beta) was this weekend so I decided to give it a try with a friend. IMO it's very good, and I say that as someone who enjoys ARPGs but is not the hugest fan of them. My only complaint is that the minimap sucks, since you can't adjust the zoom level, size or position, it's only a tiny corner minimap, and you also can't set it as an overlay, like you can in pretty much every other modern ARPG. But that's pretty minor, all things considered. Everything else was solid, fun, and felt pretty fair. So Blizzard seems to have learned from their mistakes with Diablo 3's terrible first iteration at launch.
No idea what the endgame will be like though, since the beta was capped at lvl 20. However the stage 1 World Boss was actually quite tough, and fun, so if the endgame is anything like that it should be good.
I will definitely be buying it at release.
Hope you don't mind, I'm going to hijack your comment briefly to gather my thoughts about Action RPGs.
It's definitely an interesting genre. ARPGs are a lot of fun, but I find I get worn out on them pretty quick.
I think part of the problem is that they're rather samey. If I were to compare gameplay of Diablo 3/4, Path of Exile, Last Epoch, and Wolcen, I'm not sure I'd even be able to tell them apart. I know dedicated fans would have no problem doing so, but from a distance they do play very similarly.
I'd like to see a take on the genre that experiments a little more. Maybe an attempt to bridge with other genres, or introduce new mechanics.
V Rising actually did this fairly well. It plays somewhat like an ARPG, but it has Terraria-esque progression and building mechanics. It doesn't offer that same infinite replayability as a Diablo might, but I almost welcome that. It's nice to finish a game and feel done with it.
Gauntlet (2014) came out a few years ago, and it was fun for a bit. The Wizard class felt like it had a fairly high skill ceiling. It was never able to scratch the same itch for me though that Gauntlet: Dark Legacy on the GameCube did. I'm actually tempted to give that one a replay, but I know the ~15fps will be too much more me to stomach today.
Modern ARPGs, I dunno, I just wish they had something more. Something to differentiate them. They vary mainly in terms of systems design: upgrade trees, build synergies, weapon augmenting, that sort of thing. I get the appeal of that stuff, but more in the sense of solving a hard problem than actually having fun.
I also have to say that the standard ARPG control scheme feels very inaccessible to me. Most ARPGs require the mouse for both movement and attacking, which I find creates a lot of wrist strain. I don't mind giving up a couple keys if it means I get to use WASD for movement. Plus, if they can make it work on a controller, then a keyboard should be no problem. Off the top of my head, only Victor Vran supports this control scheme, but I really expect more of modern releases.
So those are my current, somewhat conflicted feelings on the genre. Thanks for listening.
Ditto. I usually have fun when playing them, but with so many other things vying for my attention I typically only play the story through a handful of times as different classes, then play a bit of endgame with the class I like best until I get tired of that (which usually doesn't take long), then I'm done with the game for good.
However, I have a bunch of friends with thousands of hours played in Path of Exile, and I really don't understand it. Doing the same quests over and over and over and over again, and doing endgame content repeatedly until the next season when everything resets, then doing that all over again sounds so f'n boring to me. ARPGs are just not mechanically interesting enough for me to enjoy doing that... and with PoE being F2P, it also has way too many artificial roadblocks, and hurdles designed to get you to spend money on it, which drives me nuts.
E.g. In Diablo 4 you can respec using a small amount of easily earned in-game currency, so you can experiment with various builds quite easily. Whereas in PoE the only way to respec is one skill at a time using a relatively rare-drop material, so you're forced to either research the shit out of builds before every season so you don't end up with a shitty build, or pay loads of real money for the mats required to respec. Fuck that. Experimenting with builds is half the fun of ARPGs for me.
I agree completely, and that's my biggest turn off to PoE as well. The upgrade tree looks insane (no, really), but it's so punishing that making a mistake basically means starting over. Replaying dozens of hours of campaign content just to level up to max again. There just isn't enough time in the world for that.
I hope PoE 2 doesn't make all the same mistakes, but I think it's pretty inevitable that it will.
I got Ember Knights, which is in early access, and I'm really enjoying it.
It's the same premise as the Gauntlet arcade series. Several warriors choose from a handful of archetypes (sword guy, magic guy, archery guy...) and battle through hordes of enemies and a few setpiece battles. It's very well done with great art design, and the endless variety of power ups keeps it interesting. It also feels friendlier than e.g. Gauntlet; it's not trying to take your quarters, it's trying to be a great game.
I've been playing it with my (young) child, and they're loving it. I can manage to keep us alive for a good while, and there are build choices that let me resurrect my partner when they die. I'm excited to play it friends who are good at video games.