21 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.

73 comments

  1. [8]
    AI52487963
    Link
    Got to revisit the classic puzzle game Into the Breach for our roguelike podcast episode this week Such a lovely game, from the animations to the a-ha moment you get when you finally see the...

    Got to revisit the classic puzzle game Into the Breach for our roguelike podcast episode this week

    Such a lovely game, from the animations to the a-ha moment you get when you finally see the solution to a mission you've been puzzling over for 30 minutes. I think if you're a fan of any kind of tactics game, you'd be well served to play it and will get a lot of enjoyment even out of just grinding easy mode missions.

    Also there was a content update a couple years ago, so if it's been a while since you played it at launch, there's a few new mech squads, pilots, items, and bugs to take into consideration. I kind of wish there was more stuff for Into the Breach, but it's such a streamlined experience that any additional story or mechanics would just get in the way of what's already a great, near perfect experience.

    16 votes
    1. [5]
      Pavouk106
      Link Parent
      If you like this game, you may want to have a look at FTL: Faster than light. It is very different and plays very differently, but it is made by the same studio and is as addictive as Into the...

      If you like this game, you may want to have a look at FTL: Faster than light. It is very different and plays very differently, but it is made by the same studio and is as addictive as Into the breach. Both games are worth their full price.

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        PuddleOfKittens
        Link Parent
        FTL doesn't respect your time. Way too often, the best solution is also the most longwinded and boring; it's a game about waiting. Also the "choices" are annoying because they're so heavily...

        FTL doesn't respect your time. Way too often, the best solution is also the most longwinded and boring; it's a game about waiting.

        Also the "choices" are annoying because they're so heavily luck-based.

        Also there's no ship that starts with a Fire Beam, and mods are a PITA on Linux.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Pavouk106
          Link Parent
          It's kinda obvious it's not a game for you :-) I love it and I can't really pick anything bad to say about it. I've olayed probably over 100 hours of FTL and I can easily do another 50. I have...

          It's kinda obvious it's not a game for you :-) I love it and I can't really pick anything bad to say about it. I've olayed probably over 100 hours of FTL and I can easily do another 50. I have unlocked a lot but RNG (random number generator) never sleeps and every playthrough is different. Sometimes quite a lot!

          1. [2]
            PuddleOfKittens
            Link Parent
            I have several hundred hours in FTL. 854 hours, according to Steam. I've gotten to the flagship on hard mode, and I might even have beaten it in hard too. It's not "not the game for me", I'm just...

            It's kinda obvious it's not a game for you

            I have several hundred hours in FTL. 854 hours, according to Steam. I've gotten to the flagship on hard mode, and I might even have beaten it in hard too.

            It's not "not the game for me", I'm just saying it has some flaws that were always annoying and you'll recognize them as the flaws they are eventually.

            3 votes
            1. Pavouk106
              Link Parent
              Sorry, I thought you didn't play it much. Well, compared to you I didn't play it much :-)

              Sorry, I thought you didn't play it much. Well, compared to you I didn't play it much :-)

    2. TheRTV
      Link Parent
      I really liked that game. I enjoy tactics and that was a cool, fresh take

      I really liked that game. I enjoy tactics and that was a cool, fresh take

      1 vote
    3. DON_MAC
      Link Parent
      I'm not really one to make top lists, but if I were to make one for my top games, Into the Breach would be somewhere on it. Each round feels like a perfectly solvable puzzle, it's so satisfying to...

      I'm not really one to make top lists, but if I were to make one for my top games, Into the Breach would be somewhere on it. Each round feels like a perfectly solvable puzzle, it's so satisfying to play. It feels very slept on, at least in my circles, and especially compared to FTL which a lot of people rave about (but which never really captured me).

      Admittedly I haven't played it in a long time (and haven't tried Advanced Edition) but I still think fondly of my time spent with the game.

  2. [7]
    phoenixrises
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been playing Slice and Dice after hearing some chatter about it here and some other forums! I really enjoyed it, bought it twice ( edit: misinformation, it was the itch.io version and has...

    I've been playing Slice and Dice after hearing some chatter about it here and some other forums! I really enjoyed it, bought it twice (though apparently the Steam version gives the Android APK edit: misinformation, it was the itch.io version and has been fixed!) It's been scratching my perpetual meeting game itch, and it's very engaging. The only difficulty I have right now is that the "unfair" difficulty is actually unfair LOL. I don't see how I can beat it at all, but maybe I just need to git gud.

    I've been playing Helldivers with my friends too. It's still fun but honestly, probably the buggiest game I've played in recent memory. (That includes Starfield too, surprisingly less buggy than I thought).

    Finally I've been on my long waiting for the new Monster Hunter game by jumping back into Monster Hunter World. I can't behlieve I'm at 400 hours of just Normal shelling Gunlance, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

    9 votes
    1. [4]
      EsteeBestee
      Link Parent
      Well, I suppose it was your turn to addict me to a game after I addicted to you Balatro lmao. Thanks for the rec for Slice and Dice, I'll check it out this week!

      Well, I suppose it was your turn to addict me to a game after I addicted to you Balatro lmao. Thanks for the rec for Slice and Dice, I'll check it out this week!

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        phoenixrises
        Link Parent
        LOL enjoy!!! I really liked Balatro, but I needed a quick break after grinding 40 hours in a week or so... but then I found Slice and Dice so down the rabbit hole we go! The other one I've been...

        LOL enjoy!!! I really liked Balatro, but I needed a quick break after grinding 40 hours in a week or so... but then I found Slice and Dice so down the rabbit hole we go! The other one I've been playing is Bingle Bingle but honestly it hasn't been as good, I think Slice and Dice is much better.

        All this has gotten me to look up some Godot tutorials to try my hand at some designs for something similar, whenever I get less procrastinate-y lol.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          oniony
          Link Parent
          After playing Balatro many times I went looking for more deck builders and found Inscryption which so far has been amazing. Plus it's on sale on Steam which is even better.

          After playing Balatro many times I went looking for more deck builders and found Inscryption which so far has been amazing. Plus it's on sale on Steam which is even better.

          1 vote
          1. phoenixrises
            Link Parent
            I've played through it already! No spoilers but enjoy the game!

            I've played through it already! No spoilers but enjoy the game!

    2. lanolinoil
      Link Parent
      Oh man I am so addicted to this right now -- I thought it was too easy at first but once I got to the harder modes I realize why it's such an awesome rougelike

      Oh man I am so addicted to this right now -- I thought it was too easy at first but once I got to the harder modes I realize why it's such an awesome rougelike

      1 vote
    3. Stranger
      Link Parent
      Same with Slice and Dice. Saw the recommendation on here. Downloaded the trial version. Been addicted. According to the stats, I've played 60 games with a 1:2 W:L ratio. I've mainly been playing...

      Same with Slice and Dice. Saw the recommendation on here. Downloaded the trial version. Been addicted.

      According to the stats, I've played 60 games with a 1:2 W:L ratio. I've mainly been playing on Hard and Unfair. I've beaten Unfair once, and at this point winning seems to come down entirely to good RNG. There's too much random chance in every aspect of the game for tactics alone to outweigh the multiple curses. Hard feels like the sweet spot, though that might be different in the full version since you can pick your team composition.

      Unfortunately, as much as I've played it, I don't feel like the paid version offers enough to justify the cost. That's not to say the full game isn't worth ~$10, just that the difference between the free and paid version isn't (in my mind).

  3. kru
    Link
    There's been a trend in modern board games, over the past decade or so, towards providing randomness first and then allowing the player to make decisions about how best to apply that randomness to...

    There's been a trend in modern board games, over the past decade or so, towards providing randomness first and then allowing the player to make decisions about how best to apply that randomness to the game state. For example, the player might roll some dice and then decide where to place the dice on his board, or draw some cards and then decide how best to use those cards with no further randomness involved. I'm very glad that this trend has been becoming more prominent in video games.

    Slice and Dice epitomizes this style of gameplay exquisitely. It's a very tactical game that presents the player with a bad situation, and the challenge is to use the party's abilities to find a way out of it. Aside from the initial randomness of the ability dice rolls the decisions afterwards are completely deterministic. There is even an undo button so that you can do a series of actions to see what the results will be, then back out of them to try and find a better path forward. The decision space of each encounter is large, but not so large as to be unwieldy. The designers have hit a sweet spot of short, medium and long term decision making that suits me almost perfectly. I think this game improves on the formula of Slay the Spire roguelikes immensely. While I do enjoy the deck-management of card battlers, I find that I enjoy the dice-management of Slice and Dice even more. It's worth playing the demo for a few runs to get the hang of the game.

    7 votes
  4. kfwyre
    Link
    Sanctum 2 My friends and I finished the full main-game campaign as well as all of the DLC levels. They all retired from the game and we're moving on to something else collectively, but... I don't...

    Sanctum 2

    My friends and I finished the full main-game campaign as well as all of the DLC levels. They all retired from the game and we're moving on to something else collectively, but... I don't know, the game has a pull on me that I haven't felt in a long time. I wanted to keep playing. I felt deeply compelled to keep playing. That doesn't normally happen to me.

    So, I set out to try the game on solo hard mode. For context: I am extremely casual when it comes to game difficulty -- I play almost everything on easy and prefer a walk in the park to any actual challenge. I can't describe why though, but Sanctum 2 makes me want to face up against awful odds and try to win -- even when I know I probably won't.

    "Hard Mode" in the game means activating the all of the Five Feats of Strength concurrently. Each one is a modifier that makes the game more difficult (one of them allows enemies to move faster, one allows them to regen health, etc.). Completing levels with 5FOS can already be quite challenging with a group, but it's downright masochistic for a solo player. Nevertheless, I'm currently beating my head against that wall and learning a lot in the process.

    The base game campaign is 16 levels long, and the DLC adds another 16 levels. At present, I've completed 8 levels in the base campaign as Solo 5FOS levels. Level 9 (Train Station) is currently kicking my ass.

    Part of me wants to stop, because the game is patently unfair for solo play, and it's very easy to lose a run to something completely unrelated to skill or strategy such as glitches or irregularities. I lost a run on a level because I fell through a seam in the level geometry. I lost another one because a punch from one of the enemies rocketed me across the level WAY more than it should have, throwing me out of bounds. Certain "rules" that the game puts in play are broken by the game itself, and usually not in the player's favor.

    It's easy to get frustrated, and at times I definitely have, but there's this undefinable something about the game that keeps me coming back run after run. It has a genuine magnetism for me. I think it's a combination of always having a new strategy to try, as well as the fact that I just really like the base gameplay so even losses are still exciting and invigorating. It's the first game I've played in a while where I'll look up and realize an hour has gone by, but it's felt like 10 minutes.

    I very much doubt that I'll be able to complete all 32 levels as Solo 5FOS levels. I think my current goal is to try to do as many as I can, and for ones that I can't, give them a solid, good-faith effort before I throw in the towel. Once I've done what I can, I'll ask my multiplayer group to reconvene on the game and see if we can tackle the remaining ones together (despite it still being challenging, the game is genuinely SO much easier with 4 players).

    I've said it before, but the intensity with which I feel it has only grown: I want Sanctum 3 something fierce. I feel about it the way people feel about Half-Life 3.

    5 votes
  5. canekicker
    Link
    Super Mario Wonder - Really enjoying it as it's everything I love about Nintendo. It's challenging without being punishing, full of charm, and a really great experience that we haven't had in 2D...

    Super Mario Wonder - Really enjoying it as it's everything I love about Nintendo. It's challenging without being punishing, full of charm, and a really great experience that we haven't had in 2D Mario games of the past. One thing that I absolutely love is how they've animated the characters for this game. It's something that had it not been pointed out in this New Frames Plus video, might have taken me a few hours to notice. Now I know, it's so easy to see how much style and personality it has. Just a brilliant game.

    5 votes
  6. [3]
    kingofsnake
    Link
    I can't believe how well Nintendo stuck the landing with Tears of the Kingdom. It's an amazing and expansive world to live in - one that I'm genuinely excited to play each time. We're (my wife and...

    I can't believe how well Nintendo stuck the landing with Tears of the Kingdom. It's an amazing and expansive world to live in - one that I'm genuinely excited to play each time.

    We're (my wife and I) are exploring the depths before heading to the final battle and each time I careen off of a sky island, down through the clouds and into a pit, I get goosebumps at exactly how far Link needs to fall before being underground.

    The sense of space and place in this game is UNREAL

    5 votes
    1. Jerutix
      Link Parent
      That’s such a fun thing to do! I’d set TotK aside for a while (wasn’t even that far in - had only finished the Wind Temple), but picked it back up last week. Something clicked different this time,...

      That’s such a fun thing to do! I’d set TotK aside for a while (wasn’t even that far in - had only finished the Wind Temple), but picked it back up last week. Something clicked different this time, and I’ve lost many hours gliding around Hyrule.

      2 votes
    2. TheRTV
      Link Parent
      That game is amazing! I sunk so many hours until that thing! I really liked completing things before being told. So I'd get a response like "Oh, you already did that. Cool, well then you're all set"

      That game is amazing! I sunk so many hours until that thing! I really liked completing things before being told. So I'd get a response like "Oh, you already did that. Cool, well then you're all set"

      2 votes
  7. [6]
    st3ph3n
    Link
    I finished Yakuza 0 after 56 hours of play time a week ago, and then was out of town for a week. I've been playing a bunch of Yakuza games lately from the selection that are on Gamepass, and have...

    I finished Yakuza 0 after 56 hours of play time a week ago, and then was out of town for a week. I've been playing a bunch of Yakuza games lately from the selection that are on Gamepass, and have fallen in love with them. Yakukza 0 was great fun, with so much side content to engage in.

    While I was gone I took my Steam Deck with me and developed a severe addiction to Balatro, the poker-styled roguelike/deck builder. I don't normally care for deck builder games, but the poker trappings sucked me in, and now I'm finding this game hard to put down. I'm terrible at it, but it doesn't matter. It keeps scratching that 'just one more hand' itch. I have struggled to explain this game to people.

    As soon as I got back I started playing Yakuza Kiwami, the 2016-2017 remake of the original first Yakuza game. I'm 4 chapters in on that one now, and enjoying it a lot too.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      DFGdanger
      Link Parent
      Balatro is great! I finally beat gold stake with the Ghost deck (ok, grinding gold stake has been the least fun thing about the game so far). I got a very fast Ancient Joker Each played card with...

      Balatro is great! I finally beat gold stake with the Ghost deck (ok, grinding gold stake has been the least fun thing about the game so far). I got a very fast

      Ancient Joker Each played card with [suit] give x1.5 Mult when scored. Suit changes at end of round.
      , applied polychrome, then quickly found
      Smeared Joker Hearts and Diamonds count as the same suit, Spades and Clubs count as the same suit
      and was off to the races.

      I've been trying out the challenge decks and they've been really fun so far.

      1 vote
      1. st3ph3n
        Link Parent
        I completed a run on the default stake for the first time tonight. I got the joker that increases multiplier by 2 every time you play a hand containing 2 pairs very early on, and leveled my 2 pair...

        I completed a run on the default stake for the first time tonight. I got the joker that increases multiplier by 2 every time you play a hand containing 2 pairs very early on, and leveled my 2 pair up a whole bunch of times, playing those hands as much as possible.

        1 vote
    2. kingofsnake
      Link Parent
      The Yakuza games are so amazing. I'd say my favorite part about Zero is the dirty talk phone in mini game. It's an interesting mechanic to deliver some truly funny moments. ... ... ... Moshi Moshi

      The Yakuza games are so amazing. I'd say my favorite part about Zero is the dirty talk phone in mini game. It's an interesting mechanic to deliver some truly funny moments.

      ... ... ... Moshi Moshi

      1 vote
    3. [2]
      asparagus_p
      Link Parent
      I still haven't finished Yakuza 0. I put 33 hours into it and then had to leave it for a while, probably because work got busy. I was really enjoying it, although the save mechanic was frustrating...

      I still haven't finished Yakuza 0. I put 33 hours into it and then had to leave it for a while, probably because work got busy. I was really enjoying it, although the save mechanic was frustrating (I'm a PC player) and the fights were getting repetitive. But I do intend to finish it one day. It's just so hard to pick up a game after a long break and get back into it.

      1 vote
      1. st3ph3n
        Link Parent
        Yeah, the whole find-a-phone-to-save thing was kind of annoying. The other games in the series that I have played just let you save anywhere from the menu, as long as you're not actively in the...

        Yeah, the whole find-a-phone-to-save thing was kind of annoying. The other games in the series that I have played just let you save anywhere from the menu, as long as you're not actively in the middle of a custscene or a fight.

  8. [9]
    smoontjes
    Link
    I'm back into Trackmania. The learning curve is very easy in my opinion, low floor but extremely high ceiling because once you learn a few (of very many) core mechanics, there is such a good flow...

    I'm back into Trackmania.

    The learning curve is very easy in my opinion, low floor but extremely high ceiling because once you learn a few (of very many) core mechanics, there is such a good flow to this game. It's like the car becomes an extension of you and the game loop is like no other racing game I've played. Some tracks are super hard, and it might take several hours to master them, but as you keep playing, you start to realize that bit by bit, you are learning it. You start consistently nailing the corners and jump that were hard to begin with, until you're all the way to the finish. And if you didn't get a good enough record, you go back to start polishing your line and learn the corners even tighter. Progress in this game is so very satisfying!

    I played this series a ton over the years, the most hours I logged was in my teens so it's very nostalgic for me as it's still the same core game. There's been a lot of additions through different versions of the game, but it's back to basics + extras with the 2020 version. It's annoying as hell that it's become a live service game, and the free tier is essentially a dumbed down tiktoky version of it which is a shame. But I paid the €20 for 1 year of "club access" which is honestly not all that outrageous compared to something like WoW which is €13 for 1 month. There are tons of updates and a lot of campaign maps to play - I'm currently going through them to get all medals on all the past seasons' tracks. So far I've completed 3 seasons out of, I think 16? Anyway, it's a lot of fun!

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Trackmania 2020 is easily worth the money! I'm not a huge fan of live service games, but I do think the model benefits it. The other games in the series were amazing, but they all either died off...

      Trackmania 2020 is easily worth the money!

      I'm not a huge fan of live service games, but I do think the model benefits it. The other games in the series were amazing, but they all either died off or failed to launch. The whole TrackMania 2 series would have benefitted from a free point of entry so players could try out the games and help keep a healthy multiplayer base alive.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        smoontjes
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I do feel a little bit bad for essentially sending the message that live service is acceptable. It’s not. But the way TM does it is actually probably the cheapest subscription I’ve ever seen...

        Yeah, I do feel a little bit bad for essentially sending the message that live service is acceptable. It’s not. But the way TM does it is actually probably the cheapest subscription I’ve ever seen in a game.

        I went back through the series before buying it, and yeah the servers on TMUF had maybe a hundred people playing in total globally, and the TM2 games had less than 10 each - same with Turbo. Apparently though, TM2020 has had millions of players? Very happy to see a resurgence like that. It was hugely popular in the late 00’s, but I feel it’s way under appreciated still - I am biased though!

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          kfwyre
          Link Parent
          No need to feel bad! I actually think we're in agreement? I think a lot of live service games have scummy monetization practices, but, like you, I think TM is actually a great version of the...

          No need to feel bad! I actually think we're in agreement?

          I think a lot of live service games have scummy monetization practices, but, like you, I think TM is actually a great version of the model. There's a free point of entry so people can try it out, followed by a reasonable subscription cost that supports the game's evergreen content. It's very straightforward and transparent and helps the game have an ongoing, vibrant community.

          Also, like you, I think it's one of the most underappreciated games out there! I wish more people played it!

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            smoontjes
            Link Parent
            Oh, yes, we are definitely in agreement! I don't see how one could argue against the model working - I really haven't seem this many players in (any) Trackmania since probably 10 years ago. It's...

            Oh, yes, we are definitely in agreement! I don't see how one could argue against the model working - I really haven't seem this many players in (any) Trackmania since probably 10 years ago. It's weird to cheer on a company like Ubisoft but this particular game holds a special place in my heart as you can probably tell

            2 votes
            1. tape
              Link Parent
              As a long time TM fan, the live service is annoying for me. I bought it recently just to play 1 specific custom map. Now I feel like I have to play more just to not waste the money. I bought TMUF...

              As a long time TM fan, the live service is annoying for me. I bought it recently just to play 1 specific custom map. Now I feel like I have to play more just to not waste the money. I bought TMUF back in the day and bought and had fun with TM2. Now the three times I've wanted to play 2020 I've had to pay, this third time even more because they removed the cheap teir. :/

              2 votes
    2. [2]
      Deely
      Link Parent
      Whoa, congrats! I`m also doing this thing with seasons tracks and TOD tracks. But in my case I aim to silver medals on TOD tracks and "whichever I get" without grinding on seasons tracks.

      I'm currently going through them to get all medals on all the past seasons' tracks.

      Whoa, congrats!
      I`m also doing this thing with seasons tracks and TOD tracks.
      But in my case I aim to silver medals on TOD tracks and "whichever I get" without grinding on seasons tracks.

      3 votes
      1. smoontjes
        Link Parent
        Silver is definitely a solid goal too! Like I more or less said though, I love getting to the point of mastering the tracks so there is a lot of grinding for me. Most of them take me about half an...

        Silver is definitely a solid goal too! Like I more or less said though, I love getting to the point of mastering the tracks so there is a lot of grinding for me. Most of them take me about half an hour to get the author medal on, but especially red and black tracks often take 2-3 hours. And on rarer occasions, 5+ hours - at that point it does become a bit frustrating, which is why especially ones that are heavy on ice pre-update I just don’t bother as they have become nearly impossible.

        3 votes
    3. pete_the_paper_boat
      Link Parent
      I haven't enjoyed TM2020 as much anymore even though I think it's a killer game. Mostly because of the focus on new vehicles which are not targeted at keyboard players in the slightest, making...

      I haven't enjoyed TM2020 as much anymore even though I think it's a killer game.

      Mostly because of the focus on new vehicles which are not targeted at keyboard players in the slightest, making getting ATs pretty finicky.

  9. [5]
    roundedrebelrubus
    Link
    I'm into MMO for years and for years I'm playing Guild Wars 2. The pro's: there's no sub, variety of stuff becomes unlocked per account. There are QoL items in their mtx store rather than p2w...

    I'm into MMO for years and for years I'm playing Guild Wars 2. The pro's: there's no sub, variety of stuff becomes unlocked per account. There are QoL items in their mtx store rather than p2w stuff. There's no gear treadmill beyond max level - unless you want to pursue fancy skins and/or QoL feature of legendary armor and weapons. Instead of classic fetch quests there are dynamic events that allows random players to participate and share rewards. And because of this, it's more a collaborative rather than competitive game when it comes to PvE stuff.
    The con's: game uses in-house engine that didn't aged well and it struggles today in some particular spots; it's more a CPU dependent piece. Company never managed to keep focus on one way of delivering content and for nearly 12 years danced around few ways of keeping the game alive. The lack of focus is also clearly visible when it comes to working on bugs - stuff doesn't get patch for years while really low priority changes tend to get introduced out of blue.

    I could go for hours listing all the issues but to do tldr: it's a good game that fits casual needs of many but it suffers from being poorly managed. Arena should ditch the rose-tinted glasses and stop pretend they're some triple a company that can hide all the issues behind corporate newspeak.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Sodliddesu
      Link Parent
      Every time I try to come back, I get caught up in the different currencies for every map. You know, I've got almost every piece for the Halloween bat wings but just can't bring myself to finish...

      Every time I try to come back, I get caught up in the different currencies for every map.

      You know, I've got almost every piece for the Halloween bat wings but just can't bring myself to finish the grind.

      Just got too busy in life to play regularly and my two guilds fizzled out. Can't bring myself to play the story content enough to catch up - can't bring myself to uninstall it. I was at my peak running HoT trains and helping newbies clear the bosses.

      2 votes
      1. roundedrebelrubus
        Link Parent
        There's so many parts of this game where they could do something according to player's suggestions it's just mind-bogging they don't. That includes abundance of materials that have no use - S3 and...

        There's so many parts of this game where they could do something according to player's suggestions it's just mind-bogging they don't. That includes abundance of materials that have no use - S3 and S4 had this "meta" currency that you'd purchase items with but S5 aka IBS didn't and every time peppers, shards, crystals pile up your best option is to delete that stuff. The ongoing meme is that "c in arena.net stands for consistency" and over the years devs show it's true.

        Most of my friends, guildmates left years ago - either real life happen for them or they just were tired by waiting during content droughts. Seems that just the diehard players who enjoy this game stay around - myself counting in. Tho, seeing how story progressed from PoF further in till today makes me despise the game in that part - so I started playing wvw again.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      thecodejanitor
      Link Parent
      There was definitely a content drought for a while, but the nice thing is you can stop playing for awhile and pickup when you come back. It's definitely the MMO that made me stop liking most other...

      There was definitely a content drought for a while, but the nice thing is you can stop playing for awhile and pickup when you come back.

      It's definitely the MMO that made me stop liking most other MMOs. There are a so many things with the game design that make it casual and solo-friendly while also feeling like I'm taking part in a massive multiple player world. It really hit the sweet spot for me.

      1 vote
      1. roundedrebelrubus
        Link Parent
        The content droughts - because there was more than just one, each varied on duration, made me always focus on the most mundane stuff like rolling additional character to test out a profession I...

        The content droughts - because there was more than just one, each varied on duration, made me always focus on the most mundane stuff like rolling additional character to test out a profession I haven tried before or finish map completion etc. It's not like there was nothing to do - people just wants always new fresh stuff.

        At least at some point they introduced the annual festival schedule to somehow fill gaps where they're working on something. And on a few occasions we had (and still have - the april 1st achievements) these side stories/bonus events stuff that become a somehow permanent addition. It seems that they also finally understand that week long bonus buffs to rewards are also a good thing.

        1 vote
  10. [3]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    My Miyoo Mini Plus arrived and I think it's beautiful. It feels sturdy for its price, with a decent weight and satisfying controls. I can't imagine how anyone could play on the smaller non-plus...

    My Miyoo Mini Plus arrived and I think it's beautiful. It feels sturdy for its price, with a decent weight and satisfying controls. I can't imagine how anyone could play on the smaller non-plus version. This version is not uncomfortable despite my big hands, but some people use 3D printed grips. I don't think I play enough for that to be an issue.

    I'm already set to put a new SD card and Onion OS like everyone recommends, but first impressions are great even on stock OS. I probably need to edit some shaders because the default look is not great. I don't care for fake scanlines, when I played on actual CRT I never noticed the scanlines, and they are always so noticeable with shaders.

    When I was a kid only rich kids had GameBoys, so I'm feeling pretty fancy right now with my little rectangle that can run PS1. Largely due to @DanBC's enthusiasm, I also ordered an RGX35xx H -- a cheap horizontal retro handheld. Because why not? I wanna feel like the richest kid on recess, 1992!

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      hellojavalad
      Link Parent
      I had the original super small Miyoo Mini. It was just a bit too small to be comfortable, but not terribly so. Unfortunately within the first week I dropped it on the floor from around pocket...

      I had the original super small Miyoo Mini. It was just a bit too small to be comfortable, but not terribly so. Unfortunately within the first week I dropped it on the floor from around pocket level and the screen broke. Doesn't seem like it was too uncommon with the Miiyoo Mini, but I wasn't willing to shell out more money for a screen replacement or buy a new one if I had just experienced a failure of a 3-4 foot drop. I have looked at the Mini Plus, but the things I really liked with my Miyoo Mini (screen ration, screen quality) I have seen elsewhere. The Powkiddy RGB30 is my current crush; has the great screen, a 1:1 or similar aspect ration, plus it is horizontally oriented which is my preferred orientation for comfort.

      A combination of being broke (my wife is currently unable to work as she is caring for her mother) and complaints about build quality, including battery life, have cooled me on it. In the meantime I'm messing with Emudeck on my PC and trying to build a 'complete' ROM package. I'm trying to archive the 'smaller' complete romsets (NES, SNES, Genesis, GBA, N64, etc) to the cloud in case they get increasingly harder to find. Then keep a curated list of everything on my PC.

      1. lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        In retrospect, buying those devices wasn't a good decision. I may have watched too many YouTube videos about retro handhelds. It was an impulse purchase. I should have just gotten a Nintendo...

        In retrospect, buying those devices wasn't a good decision. I may have watched too many YouTube videos about retro handhelds. It was an impulse purchase. I should have just gotten a Nintendo Switch Lite, but I didn't want to get a device that I would then take to a shop to unlock with a modchip. The Miyioo Mini Plus is great fun, but I did get a 3D-printed grip. I can't imagine how anyone would find it comfortable to play for long periods of time without one. My hand is kinda large but it is not huge either. Without the grip, my hands envelop the Miyioo Plus like a spider. It's pretty awful. The grip makes the experience so much better it's not even a contest.

        These devices must not be dropped ever, which goes directly against the intended use case of a handheld. I do not intend to take them with me outside, as in the majority of the situations the size of the device is not the main reason why I am not gaming. In most external contexts, it doesn't make a lot of sense for me to grab a handheld out of my pocket and just start gaming anyway. To me, these are "dad devices", in the sense that I can play anywhere in the house and pause it when my kid needs me.

        If you look at the subreddits you'll soon realize that at some point many users become repair persons to keep them functioning. Which is kinda sad. Especially to me since I lack the patience, inclination, ability, and fine motor skills to repair a device like this. Like I said, I should have gotten a Nintendo. It's more expensive to purchase but at least it is durable.

        Hopefully, I can manage to never drop my Miyoo.

  11. [2]
    Notcoffeetable
    Link
    On a whim started playing FFVII: REMAKE INTERGRADE (available on PS Plus). There have been some mixed reviews and I'm usually hesitant to play remakes. So far I am impressed. I like...

    On a whim started playing FFVII: REMAKE INTERGRADE (available on PS Plus). There have been some mixed reviews and I'm usually hesitant to play remakes. So far I am impressed. I like action/adventure and this leans into that. Switching between party members and using the skills recalls the old turn based combat but is much faster paced. For such a story/environment heavy game modern graphics help to do it justice. Touches like Barrett humming the victory song after a battle are nice.

    I'll definitely keep putting some time in as I'm excited to relive the story in this reimagined game.

    3 votes
    1. Fin
      Link Parent
      rebirth is totally worth getting if you have a ps5. I'm on something like 122 hours with much more to go like hard mode

      rebirth is totally worth getting if you have a ps5. I'm on something like 122 hours with much more to go like hard mode

      1 vote
  12. json
    Link
    Palworld. On the surface it's like Pokémon and Breath of the Wild, but with guns.

    Palworld.

    On the surface it's like Pokémon and Breath of the Wild, but with guns.

    3 votes
  13. [3]
    BeardyHat
    Link
    Weirdly, I've been playing quite a bit of Pokemon HeartGold. I say "weirdly" because I am not a Pokemon fan in any way, I do not and have not ever watched the anime, I've tried numerous other...

    Weirdly, I've been playing quite a bit of Pokemon HeartGold. I say "weirdly" because I am not a Pokemon fan in any way, I do not and have not ever watched the anime, I've tried numerous other Pokemon games (Red/Yellow/LeafGreen/Emerald/Black/Y/Sun) and gotten bored extremely rapidly with them and their outdated design. But, all that said HG/SS was my first brush with gaming nostalgia and it holds a special place in my heart; I recall being at a friends house around the time of release and flipping through the guide for it, which struck a chord. I was about 26 at the time and looking at the guide reminded me of having old NES guides and seeing screens for Legend of Zelda laid out in their complete form, so I ended-up picking up a DS, as well as the game and the guide. I played about 120-hours of it before my house was broken into a few years later and it was stolen, but I'd always intended to go back and now here I am; I convinced a friend to play it with me, which is helpful too. I don't really have any commentary on it, as again, I'm not really a Pokemon fan, but I am enjoying myself and looking forward to when I get to keep putting more time into it.

    Honestly, the thing I'm torn on now is playing it on my DSi or my N3DS. It looks fantastic on DSi, but I'm really loving all the extra options in terms of other games that my hacked N3DS gives me, even if DS games look a bit shit on it. So all that said, I've been also dabbling in DS games, but haven't really put any substantial time into anything other than maybe Advance Wars: Dual Strike and even that has been intermittent.

    I've dabbled a bit with Red Dead Redemption 2 after picking it up for $20 last week, but I haven't spent much more than a couple of hours with it, as it's difficult for me to find time to sit down with it. It generally seems to request at least and hour of your time whenever you sit down and play, which is just something I do not have at the moment, so it's been intermittent.

    A few days ago I picked-up Evil Genius 2 for $3 on Steam and I'm loving it. I've been really wanting to play something like Dungeon Keeper again and this hits the spot in a way that something like War for the Overworld never did. I actually reinstalled War a few weeks ago before uninstalling it, as it just doesn't have that certain thing that the original Dungeon Keeper (2) has and it just feels like playing a simulacrum while I could play the actual thing; same goes for Two Point Hospital as it relates to Theme Hospital, it's just not the same and feels inauthentic compared to the original.

    Lastly, I'm still making my way through Lies of P little bits at at time. Time is a little more limited with this one, as my wife and my oldest like watching me play through it, which is something we can really only do after the youngest is in bed. But I just beat the Green Swamp Monster(tm) yesterday, which was probably one of the more challenging boss fights in the game, though I think I only had like 5-tries on it compared to some other fights which definitely took me more. I'm glad this game finally clicked for me though. I wasn't entirely sure about it, but after about 7-hours, something just slotted into place and I've found myself really loving it and having a great time of it. I think I'm actually enjoying it a lot more than Elden Ring, which I've put more hours into, but I love that Lies is the focused experience that Dark Souls was, rather than the sprawling, directionless, sometimes bullshit fights of Elden Ring.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      st3ph3n
      Link Parent
      RDR2 definitely is one of those games that you need to dedicate large chunks of time to, in my experience. It moves along slowly, but - at least for me - was totally worth it. I loved it, and I...

      RDR2 definitely is one of those games that you need to dedicate large chunks of time to, in my experience. It moves along slowly, but - at least for me - was totally worth it. I loved it, and I didn't even dip into some aspects of it (hunting and such). I played the story from start to finish twice, with a gap of a couple of years between first and second runs.

      3 votes
      1. BeardyHat
        Link Parent
        I certainly don't mind a slow burn when I have the availability for it. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of my favorite games of all time, for instance. I'm just trying to make time for RDR2 where...

        I certainly don't mind a slow burn when I have the availability for it. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of my favorite games of all time, for instance.

        I'm just trying to make time for RDR2 where I can, right now, I'm trying to get it installed on my Deck via the Rockstar Social Club. I should be cleaning my kitchen and starting dinner, but I want to see if I can get this working, since I don't own it via Steam and have to do some workarounds...

        2 votes
  14. Fin
    Link
    been playing final fantasy 7 rebirth. wow what a game. im around 122 hours in doing end game stuff. some of my gripes with the game were the "story" mini games. making you absolutely play...

    been playing final fantasy 7 rebirth. wow what a game. im around 122 hours in doing end game stuff. some of my gripes with the game were the "story" mini games. making you absolutely play minigames for the "story".

    2 votes
  15. [2]
    Protected
    (edited )
    Link
    After all the puzzling in The Talos Principle 2, I figured I'd relax with a nice platformer, which is how I found myself playing The Cub, the first of three Steam Sale purchases. You play as a...

    After all the puzzling in The Talos Principle 2, I figured I'd relax with a nice platformer, which is how I found myself playing The Cub, the first of three Steam Sale purchases.

    You play as a feral child (raised by wolves!) in the post-apocalyptic ruins of the human civilization on Earth. You found an astronaut's helmet, which constantly plays a transmission of Radio Nostalgia From Mars, which you can hear on youtube. The idea is that a few surviving wealthy humans fled to Mars on rockets. They don't like it there, though, and are sending an expedition to see if it's OK to come back. These martians really want to... capture? kill? the cub, and also - we're told - play golf, which is seemingly a reference to a previous game by the same developers which I did not play.

    The idea is pretty original and the visual aesthetic of the game is pleasant and consistent. There is OK voice acting for the cub in addition to the radio transmission, which is well mixed. Too bad it tends to cut out when you pause, leaving you with no music until you reach the next area (and this is seemingly irrecoverable).

    Through the radio transmission, narration cutscenes and collectibles, the game hits you with the designers' opinion about humankind with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Hint: It's extremely negative, pretty much the opposite of TTP2. The misanthropy is extreme, but also hollow and cartoonish. The game seems to be trying to hit about fifty points at the same time, including child labor, wealth inequality and species' extinction but also mixing in things like GMO food that kind of erode the credibility of the whole thing even further. Corporations and millionaires are mentioned directly with just tiny spelling changes, like the evil Jeff Bozos or rocket mogul Musker, founder of Tesla City on Mars.

    Instead, we're supposed to sympathize with the protagonist child, who - the game will drop offhand - is a (noble?) cannibal, and in addition to eating the human visitors from Mars also keeps trying to get them, and himself, killed in a most infuriating manner. None of his story makes a lick of sense - there are many feral children, but no feral adults. Maybe the wolves ate the adults? He learned to speak english from Radio Nostalgia, and at one point takes a sabbatical to learn every single academic discipline imaginable but when the game resumes he hasn't aged a day. What?

    There are several different types of collectibles you're trying to find (and which grant achievements), vestiges of humankind's inglorious past, including books, newspapers with really on the nose headlines, huggable toys that say things about consumerism, "USB" sticks with messages and more. There seems to be no way to see how many you have of each of these. The whole UI is in fact severely lacking. Maybe they figured they didn't need one, since every single hazard instakills you.

    The platforming is just miserable. Trigger zones seem unreliable, such that you learn not to trust that your moves are repeatable and get yourself killed, compounding the problem. It's often hard to tell where you can stand or not. Enemies will rush at you from offscreen. The checkpointing is extremely uneven. The game embraces how easy it is to die by giving you an achievement after you die in 10 different ways (there are more than 10). In one sequence, you need to jump onto the back of a bison, and then ride the herd of bison while occasionally a bison will buck and throw you off and you need to adjust your fall so you land on another bison. There are no visual cues, and if you're in the wrong part of the screen it's impossible not to die, and every time you die you restart seven seconds before the beginning of the whole sequence. This sort of thing happened multiple times. Fortunately, you can finish this game in less than 7 hours.

    Back to puzzle solving, then. My next game was The Entropy Centre. My fiber has been out (again) for five days and counting which gave me time to play through this in just a few days! This one can be solved in 13 hours if you're good at the puzzles.

    TEC is really obviously inspired by Portal and Portal 2 (the mazelike hallways with desks and computers also brought The Stanley Parable to mind). Except, unlike most Portal-likes, and much to my surprise, this game largely created by a single developer is... really good?

    One thing that separates good from bad narrative puzzle solving games is whether it makes any sense for you to be there solving those puzzles. Portal/2 and TTP/2 both have good reasons, but TEC puts serious work into having an interesting sci-fi mystery story incorporating the puzzles (which I won't spoil), and I really enjoyed the whole premise (even if the twist is largely predictable).

    You wake up with no memories as Aria, a Junior Puzzle Operative (yes, that's her job). Throughout most of the game, you're accompanied by your trusty portaltime rewind gun, Astra. Both Aria and Astra are well voice acted! Because, yes, your gun has an AI assistant that chats with you. Unlike Glados, she's actually very friendly and helpful. The ability to rewind time is key to solving the puzzles, which make use of a series of different types of "cubes" which are affected by physics. You can store 38 seconds of time per object, and rewind time for each object separately, but the gun's ability also comes up a lot when navigating the ruins of The Entropy Centre and even when being attacked by crazed cleaner robots, since you can rewind the "rubble" of broken things to make them whole again and rewind blasts to return them to sender. The physics, puzzle solving mechanics and time rewind gun all seem quite polished and work well; I found no issues. (The combat scenes weren't strictly necessary, but there aren't too many and you can get through them without much effort.)

    Since you're alone (except for robots and AIs), you have to find "intel" by carefully checking people's e-mail in all the functioning computers you find (there are many, though not nearly as many as broken ones) in order to piece together what happened to you and to TEC. This works pretty well, and is also bolstered by a couple dream sequences.

    I don't have much else to say. In terms of production quality this is obviously no TTP2. Some graphical elements can become repetitive, and I found a few glitches. But overall this was fun and interesting to play, clearly the devs worked hard to make it the best it could be, and I'm looking forward to checking out more of their games in the future.

    1 vote
    1. EsteeBestee
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the rec! I'm a fan of physics puzzles (I think I told you I'd be getting to TP2 soon, too), so I'll definitely wishlist Entropy Centre!

      Thanks for the rec! I'm a fan of physics puzzles (I think I told you I'd be getting to TP2 soon, too), so I'll definitely wishlist Entropy Centre!

      1 vote
  16. [5]
    thecodejanitor
    Link
    I've been playing Jedi Survivor lately. The first game, Fallen Order, I tried playing a few years ago and it didn't really "click " for me, then I picked it up last year and loved it. I like that...

    I've been playing Jedi Survivor lately. The first game, Fallen Order, I tried playing a few years ago and it didn't really "click " for me, then I picked it up last year and loved it.

    I like that the new one has bigger open worlds, and a lot more cosmetic customizations. The combat is still punishing at times, and the platforming can be frustrating, but as I'm unlocking the right skills (and some patience) I'm really enjoying it.

    I think both games are flawed, but I think they rise above their flaws and I end up really appreciating them as a whole.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      asparagus_p
      Link Parent
      I put in about 10 hours with Fallen Order but ultimately got a bit fed up of the backtracking, and the story just wasn't gripping me. I like RPGs with lots of relationship building with other...

      I put in about 10 hours with Fallen Order but ultimately got a bit fed up of the backtracking, and the story just wasn't gripping me. I like RPGs with lots of relationship building with other characters. Did this eventually happen in the game or did the focus continue to be on just fighting?

      1 vote
      1. thecodejanitor
        Link Parent
        The story does develop and I found myself really caring about the characters and their story by the end, but it is definitely very slowly paced. It's certainly more of an exploration and combat...

        The story does develop and I found myself really caring about the characters and their story by the end, but it is definitely very slowly paced.

        It's certainly more of an exploration and combat game than a story game. I do think the exploration and combat get more enjoyable as you unlock abilities, but the fundamentals stay the same throughout the game.

        For what it's worth, Survivor adds more characters and side missions, but again I don't think it's a fundamental change to the core gameplay loop.

      2. TumblingTurquoise
        Link Parent
        Fallen Order is pretty forgettable when it comes to story beats, with the exception of one. They build the relationships a bit, but I see it more as ground work for the sequel. I feel like in...

        Fallen Order is pretty forgettable when it comes to story beats, with the exception of one. They build the relationships a bit, but I see it more as ground work for the sequel.

        I feel like in Survivor they took all of the character groundwork and did something with it. The story is definitely a lot better and more involved. IMO it's a very good sequel, better than the first from all points of view.

    2. TheRTV
      Link Parent
      I really appreciated the fast travel in the sequel. It made the game so much more reasonable

      I really appreciated the fast travel in the sequel. It made the game so much more reasonable

  17. [3]
    Raistlin
    Link
    Just finished Unicorn Overlord and am now trying Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, and wow. I think Stocke is my favourite JRPG protagonist. This game feels like something really special.

    Just finished Unicorn Overlord and am now trying Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, and wow. I think Stocke is my favourite JRPG protagonist. This game feels like something really special.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      Lonan
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I liked how Stocke was not a silent protagonist, didn't have a chip on his shoulder, and was generally likeable. The voice acting did a good job too. Someone else was playing RH:PC on here a...

      Yeah, I liked how Stocke was not a silent protagonist, didn't have a chip on his shoulder, and was generally likeable. The voice acting did a good job too.

      Someone else was playing RH:PC on here a couple of weeks ago but dropped it due to the combat. I get that because the combat does feel slightly by-the-numbers or generic at times, even though the pushing around and turn order changing are good ideas, there's not much more to it as the game goes on. Too many boss fights turn into wars of attrition because the enemies are anchored in place (some boss fights do use the pushing and turn order features to good effect, but not many). Having said that, I loved the game. I played through the original DS version a couple of times, and 99%'d the 3DS remake - everything except a final final boss, which I found surprisingly impossible to defeat. The story rolls along at a good pace, it has some nice twists, fights aren't slogs, and it doesn't require any grinding that other JRPGs tend to have. The time travel idea is an original take too, it isn't the classic Back To The Future timeline cause and effect, it's weirder than that. The stuff they added to the 3DS version is pretty good, it breaks up the main story if/when you get stuck.

      2 votes
      1. Raistlin
        Link Parent
        Stocke is great. Like you said, he could easily come off as an edgy brooding guy, but he's just not. He's focused on the mission, but cares about people and verbalises it often. As a 36 year old,...

        Stocke is great. Like you said, he could easily come off as an edgy brooding guy, but he's just not. He's focused on the mission, but cares about people and verbalises it often. As a 36 year old, it's incredibly refreshing to have a protag that's not acting like a child, and he's easily a big reason why the game hooked me.

        I think the combat might start grating on me as well, if not for the fact that I have the DLC, particularly the ring that gives me growth books. So I'll have a few fights to see what the new enemies are like and to get some books, and then I should be set for the next boss fight. The fights are still fresh for me because of it.

        I've absolutely loved the story so far, and absolutely love the delivery. I like how it makes me check the other side when things start going south. It's like reading a book following two different povs. I just had the most hilarious moment where Sonja doesn't want to fix Roach's arm, and says she can't do it anyway without her equipment, so Stocke time travels to the prologue and asks her to get the parts there, and when you back to Sonya in Celestial, she's like, HAVE YOU BEEN CARRYING THOSE PARTS THIS WHOLE TIME. The game uses time travel in such a fun and clever way, and I honestly think it plays with it better than Chrono Trigger.

        And yeah, the voice acting is phenomenal. That scene where Stocke is trying to snap Roach out of it, or when they have to leave Kiel behind. Those VAs are giving it their all.

        Have been doing the Nemesia content concurrently. I'm not using a guide, so trying to figure out how to get the book to appear in the right bookcase.

        Honestly, I'm kind of angry with myself that I never played this for the DS back in the day. I can definitely see the flaws, but this is a beautiful things Atlus made.

        1 vote
  18. [3]
    zielperson
    Link
    I got myself Helldivers 2 because hype and I got a gift coupon. Lots of fun... for 2 hours. That game gets repetitive so fast, and the grind just isn't worth it.

    I got myself Helldivers 2 because hype and I got a gift coupon.

    Lots of fun... for 2 hours.

    That game gets repetitive so fast, and the grind just isn't worth it.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      Dr_Amazing
      Link Parent
      It's one of those games that I really enjoy playing with a bunch of friends, and see almost no point in playing alone or with randoms.

      It's one of those games that I really enjoy playing with a bunch of friends, and see almost no point in playing alone or with randoms.

      2 votes
      1. Markrs240b
        Link Parent
        This is so true. It's an incredibly fun game if I'm diving with friends, and it's sometimes cool with randos, but soloing is almost painful, and crappy randos just ruin the game.

        This is so true. It's an incredibly fun game if I'm diving with friends, and it's sometimes cool with randos, but soloing is almost painful, and crappy randos just ruin the game.

  19. Promonk
    (edited )
    Link
    I broke my own rules and pre-purchased the PC port of Horizon Forbidden West. Though it has its issues, I really enjoyed the first one, and all the reviews of the PlayStation version of the sequel...

    I broke my own rules and pre-purchased the PC port of Horizon Forbidden West. Though it has its issues, I really enjoyed the first one, and all the reviews of the PlayStation version of the sequel were basically "more of the same, but a little prettier," which is fine by me. I'm only a few hours in at this point. I only just got to the point where the world opens up.

    The introduction, well, it sort of has the stink of a sequel that doesn't have the courage to just be it's own thing. Imagine if "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" felt the need to put a button on what happened to the Ark, and where the hell is Marian? Remember Tanis and the snakes? Let's swing by and have some kind of useless dialogue with John Rhys-Davies about how great Indy is. For all its faults (and it has more than its fair share, to be sure) at least ToD knew to just let Indy loose without faffing about trying to establish that he has done all this great stuff in the past, and to catch the audience up on forgettable characters who played semi-important roles in the first movie. ToD was a prequel, so that wouldn't really make sense anyway, but you see what I mean.

    The performance of Aloy had a kind of disingenuous feel to her in the first entry, and this one continues the tradition. The character is a certifiable badass, but whoever directs the mocap and writes her dialogue doesn't seem to know how to consistently get that across effectively. Lots of 'I need to do this alone!' and saying something kind of dumb and cliche and then staring off into the middle distance for no discernable reason. That sort of thing.

    There is a bit with a stuck-up clergyman/diplomat whom she just shuts down that did far more to establish her as a no-nonsense, get-shit-done kind of lady than any amount of grimacing and cliched posing will ever accomplish, so I'm hoping to see more of that as the story progresses. I just want her to have an actual personality, if you see what I mean. I'm not holding much hope for that, though.

    As for gameplay: it's very much more of the same, which as I said, is a plus for me. The biggest addition so far is the pullcaster, a sort of general purpose, arm-mounted winch-cum-grappling hook. Mostly it's just a contextually prompted traversal mechanic like the grappling hook in the first, but it's also used to pull item caches from hiding spots up high, which scratches that exploration itch pretty well.

    Speaking of which, there does seem to be more verticality in the design than in the first, which was already somewhat vertical. One of the parts I liked about the first game was climbing up the giraffe-like walking machines to open up map sections and side-quest markers, in a sort of Assassin's Creed bell tower way. The opening set piece of this game is similar, though of course very linear owing to the purpose it serves in the plot.

    I get the impression that this game involves swimming to a great degree, so it makes sense that the focus is more on vertical traversal and climbing than perhaps the first was. The first side quest I completed was in a flooded mine, which reminded me a lot of the tombs in the first Tomb Raider reboot. It was essentially a traversal puzzle in a confined space, which wasn't exactly earth-shaking in its novelty or cleverness, but served adequately for an early-game side quest. I haven't gotten far enough to really say if things improve in complexity or cleverness, and from what I remember of the first, I'd give about even odds.

    Where both games really shine for me is in the combat. I could see how some might find it a bit uninspired, but there's something about lobbing an ice grenade at a robot cougar, leaping off your robot bighorn sheep mount to slide under the robocat's chassis and slow down time to shoot off that electric arc component you need to craft a weapon, then knocking the sucker down with a heavy attack and impaling it in its heart. When the combat system is firing, it can really get your heart racing. It always seems like you're down to your last arrow or bomb when you take down a boss, too, which is some good combat design. The enemies in this one seem a bit more bullet-sponge-y than the last one, but I also haven't upgraded the skill trees very much yet, so we'll see.

    I should say that I'm very impressed with the performance of the port. The DLSS probably works the best out of pretty much any game I've played that supports the feature. I've consistently gotten 60+ FPS throughout, with only minor dips when there's a lot happening. I remember being impressed with the first port, too. For reference, I'm running a Ryzen 5 3600 with 32GB DDR4 and a 12GB RTX 3060, and quality is set to High with minor tweaks to shadows, motion blur and with Vsync enabled. All in all, it seems pretty well optimized.

    Just from the first couple of hours, I can see how the game got just OK reviews. There's nothing revolutionary about the gameplay. The writing and acting is mostly stiff, though it has its moments. It's a damned pretty game, for all that's worth, and the art direction sticks close enough to the feel of the original to be engaging and fun. I don't see anyone putting it on their GotY lists, but then I didn't expect that. I expect people who really liked the original will like this one too, but I doubt this alone will win many converts. If you haven't played the first and an open-world robot hunting action game sounds interesting, I recommend you pick that up first when it happens to go on sale.

    1 vote
  20. [3]
    vitalthrills
    Link
    Found my Wii U recently again and have been playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD a lot. Definitely miss how the Zelda games were structured back then. Love Breath of the Wild and Tears...

    Found my Wii U recently again and have been playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD a lot. Definitely miss how the Zelda games were structured back then. Love Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, but there's just some elements missing from the newer games.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      JamaicanSpiderman
      Link Parent
      Ah nice. I bought a Wiiu some years back to have a large collection of emulated games on a handheld device. I don't play it as much these days since I got a steamdeck, but It was a fun console....

      Ah nice. I bought a Wiiu some years back to have a large collection of emulated games on a handheld device. I don't play it as much these days since I got a steamdeck, but It was a fun console. Tis a shame Nintendo fudged promoting it.

      2 votes
  21. sandaltree
    Link
    I pulled the trigger on a Steam Deck OLED! That said, I'm pretty disappointed in the screen, what was supposed to be the highlight of the new upgrade (never had the original). Instantly noticed...

    I pulled the trigger on a Steam Deck OLED! That said, I'm pretty disappointed in the screen, what was supposed to be the highlight of the new upgrade (never had the original). Instantly noticed mura/graininess when the familiar Steam interface opened to greet me. Maybe I'm just extra sensitive to it, but others are reporting similar problems with the Samsung screen. It's not that noticeable unless in dark/grey scenes, but still pretty distracting. I'm on the fence about returning it, because it's otherwise such a fun little system. Not sure if trying the screen lottery RMA:ing would be worth it... I don't have a Windows machine ATM so it would be perfect to expand my available game library, as well.

    I've been playing some Balatro, Boneraiser Minions and Halls of Torment. All great on the deck.

    1 vote
  22. vicvision
    Link
    Minishoot Adventures - I'm having an absolute blast with it so far. I love the artwork, level design and upgrade system. It's been described as Zelda meets Shmups and I'd say the comparisons are...

    Minishoot Adventures - I'm having an absolute blast with it so far. I love the artwork, level design and upgrade system. It's been described as Zelda meets Shmups and I'd say the comparisons are apt. Made by only 2 people, it deserves some love. Also runs great on my Steam Deck. Check it out!

  23. MechanicalMagpie
    Link
    I recently picked up Diablo 3 again, because i enjoy mindlessly mowing down hordes of skeletons and whatever. I decided to branch out and try a barbarian instead of an necromancer for once and...

    I recently picked up Diablo 3 again, because i enjoy mindlessly mowing down hordes of skeletons and whatever. I decided to branch out and try a barbarian instead of an necromancer for once and uh...
    Anyway i started another necromancer on a higher difficulty bc, have i mentioned? i really like mindlessly mowing down hordes of enemies whilst also gaining experience ridiculously fast :p

    I've also started back in on my collection of Zachtronics games. I strongly prefer the "make shapes with things" family of games (SpaceChem, Opus Magnum, and Molek Syntez), and of those, Opus Magnum is by far my favorite. You are an alchemist, and you have to use the alchemy engine to automate making shapes with things. I'm not very far along, only in chapter two (of 5? i think?) and i'll be honest, i'm already struggling lmao. Then again, i also tried picking back up TIS-100, Shenzen IO, and Exapunks and.....i did like half a puzzle each and gave up so 🤷‍♂. If you ever wanted to feel like you're prgramming in assembly language, those are good games. For a mere mortal such as myself? i don't enjoy pain that much lol.
    I also gave last call BBS a go, but tbh i didn't especially enjoy any of the games. I don't like games that seem to be stupid hard for no reason, and all of the BBS games felt that way. Like...In the shapes with things games, they're hard but like. It always feels like there's a solution. The BBS games just feel unfairly punishing for no good reason. Anyway, i highly recommend Opus Magnum if you like shapes with things, and Exapunks if you want to use assembly language. They feel like nicer versions of SpaceChem and TIS-100 respectively, (although, i'm pretty sure there's some vauge plot that i'm missing by jumping around like i do? idk. I'm not sure i care all that much, these games are basically digital rubik's cubes for me, in that i pick em up, fiddle around to kill time, put em down, let em collect dust for a while, pick em up, fiddle around to kill time, etc.)

  24. JamaicanSpiderman
    Link
    Last Epoch. It is kind of like the diablo games and I have been having a blast playing it. I have 2 characters a Necromancer and a Paladin. I highly recommend the game if you are into games like...

    Last Epoch. It is kind of like the diablo games and I have been having a blast playing it. I have 2 characters a Necromancer and a Paladin. I highly recommend the game if you are into games like Grim Dawn, Diablo etc...

  25. Thomas-C
    Link
    I ended up finding two smaller titles that really impressed me, so I've kept going in them now and then. The first is a first person, rogue-ish dungeon crawler called Devil Spire. It looks and...

    I ended up finding two smaller titles that really impressed me, so I've kept going in them now and then.

    The first is a first person, rogue-ish dungeon crawler called Devil Spire. It looks and feels very much like a Kings Field game, but unlike that series focuses on procedural levels and multiple runs. Death means starting over, but you do get some of your progress counted, and can eventually unlock new game modes. While it is a slow paced game, combat is fluid and you have a few tactical options games like this don't always give you, like ducking under attacks and kicking enemies away, as well as being able to use environmental objects as both weapons and obstacles. It's straightforward to understand and building your character is pretty simple. One neat thing is it lets you customize your 2d portrait in ways usually only 3d creators let you do. In looking at their discussion forums and update feed, the devs were deeply committed to making it an enjoyable experience. They engage in the forums, they helped with troubleshooting and took feedback, just all around good things to see. They consider the game finished too; the latest update is the last. So, for ten dollars I was pretty happy with this one.

    The second game is Svarog's Dream, which is an open world action RPG. What makes it interesting, is you don't play as a person. You're instead a spirit, who possesses a character, and when you die you'll move on to someone else. The game is built with this in mind; you are meant to keep going after you die, and what you did the first time around persists. You can go find your dead guy and get your stuff back, as well as finish up the quests they left undone. It's not really designed to be incredibly difficult nor particularly easy; you're just free to go wherever, and what you find may or may not be something you can handle. Go further away from the populated areas and you'll find more monsters. Go deep into a cave and you'll find some worse monsters. All throughout the game you come across people with quests and stories, and you're given choices for how to resolve various situations. There is a conflict taking shape between a monotheistic religion and a polytheistic one, reminiscent of Christianity and paganism, and while it appears one is good and the other is not, you find the nuance as you complete quests and talk to people. Combat is pretty standard ARPG faire, with a hotbar and active/passive skills you can put points into. Those you actually keep from character to character, and you can change class/put the points elsewhere with those new characters if you wish. It's fun to have a nice build and then use the points to come up with a nicer alternative on the next go. Similar to Devil Spire, the devs consider the game finished, so not much if anything about it will change. It's a bit rough around the edges with respect to its visual presentation, but the concept and execution are interesting enough for me to put that aside. One minor thing, it does not have proper controller support. You'll need to map keyboard keys to a controller in order to use one, and it will feel kinda clunky. It does support using WASD to move and gives you a button to quickly remap to that, at least.

    Both of these have been a joy to play. I can see myself doing runs in Devil Spire every so often, and the structure of Svarog's Dream means it's easy to do the same with that. I intend to reach the end on both so I'm hopeful they'll be solid experiences the whole way through.