17 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.

25 comments

  1. nothis
    (edited )
    Link
    My girlfriend started Pokemon Sword and I'm watching and played a few rounds. We're like 17 hours in or so. Honestly, it's a solid game. A solid 3DS game, with a higher resolution. The...

    My girlfriend started Pokemon Sword and I'm watching and played a few rounds. We're like 17 hours in or so. Honestly, it's a solid game. A solid 3DS game, with a higher resolution. The disappointing part is the huge gap between potential and what GameFreak actually delivered. Everything in the game is so stiff and uninspired. Even the set pieces seem to be put together out of the same 3 or 5 prefab elements, with huge, empty walls, blurry transitions and repeating textures everywhere. Considering half the screen is covered in ground for about 80% of the game, it's baffling that it's essentially a flat surface with a blurry texture everywhere. Everything looks the PS2 era kind of "plastic". The movement animations don't have the slightest momentum or physics to them, even during semi-important cut scenes. A character might just walk 5 meters in one direction, stop, turn 90° and move 3 meters and suddenly stop, like a robot. Speaking of cut scenes, there is zero voice acting.

    While the "wild area" – which is pushed as some kind of daring innovation rather than catching up with a decade of AAA open world games – is a step in the right direction, half the game is still spent in towns and underground sections which have a fixed camera. I think it took us an hour until we could first rotate the camera.

    The amount of Pokemon available is the only thing about the game that could be considered "content" in a AAA-worthy sense. I don't care if it's 800 or 400 pokemon, I didn't even know they traditionally kept all the previous gen pokemon around (haven't played any recent game in the series). But looking at the quality (or lack thereof) of the animations, I'm scratching my head where this game took 1000 people working on it. That's GTA V numbers. Even creating and animating 400 pokemon (with most of them already having had finished designs) doesn't sound like such a big deal for a AAA studio. And they still mostly aren't animated. There's a walk animation (you can actually see them run around in the wild, which, apparently, is another huge innovation worth seeking praise for), there's a default animation for attacking, maybe 3 or 4 more for various reaction shots but they're mostly like a split second long and rather simple.

    So what else? Dynamxing, despite being maybe the stupidest word I have ever head, is basically just scaling the model and slowing down animations by a factor for the Godzilla effect. It's restricted to a few places in the game and in terms of gameplay, nothing more than a 3-round stat boost. The camp/cooking minigames get old after about 5 minutes, it's mostly a chore. The "pokejobs" are essentially taken from F2P gatcha mechanics with real-world timers that are about as boring as it gets (even in the Smash Ultimate singleplayer, which had something similar, they managed to give it more personality through animations and themes and whatnot). And 17 hours in, we haven't encountered a fight that was even remotely challenging. This is with someone playing who hasn't touched a pokemon game in like 15 years.

    I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. It seems Nintendo took this generation to really push for depth and content and bring back a lot of goodwill from fans who felt alienated by the simplistic, hand-holdy games of the Wii/Wii U days. But GameFreak, here, delivers a game that feels 2 generations behind. In terms of tech, in terms of mechanics. There's just such an utter lack of ambition. I know this game will sell like crazy and, ultimately, I will benefit just from the amount of Switch consoles this game will move as it creates a bigger market for first party games that actually bother. Heck, we bought the damn game ourselves, just out of curiosity. I believe this is, in game review numbers, a 6/10 game. I also believe you can enjoy a 6/10 game, it's okay to enjoy flawed things. But holy hell, this game is creatively dead.

    6 votes
  2. TheJorro
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been craving playing more Death Stranding all week but it hasn't be available to me, so I've been putting some time into some other titles. Spyro Reignited is a great time. I think @Deimos...

    I've been craving playing more Death Stranding all week but it hasn't be available to me, so I've been putting some time into some other titles.

    Spyro Reignited is a great time. I think @Deimos covered it pretty well last time. There's just something about this era of collectathon platformers that is a timeless fun, and something that's sort of lost these days (but might be coming back!). I really enjoy the very simple mechanics, worlds, and gameplay juxtaposed with stylish, well-done modern graphics. Only issue is that I'm experiencing a frequent crash when loading between worlds and can't seem to find any info on it. When I load up the game, I'm in that world I was travelling to, so it's not like I'm stuck but it is very inconvenient.

    Dragon Age Origins, I finished the main campaign. I might give it some time before I go back to do any of the DLCs. The ending of the game was a big combat gauntlet with very little narrative to cover it, which I think ended up being the inverse of where I was deriving enjoyment from the game. Still, it's classic Bioware and I forgot how much I missed their format. The system they introduced with companions and liking was an interesting idea, but a little frustrating. I ended up not being able to befriend Stenn at all, no matter how many gifts or conversations I had, so I missed out on his entire storyline. But considering he was being such a mercurial, uptight jackass to me all game long, I'm nonplussed. Leliana ended up being the surprising standout (all I ever heard about going into the game was Morrigan Morrigan Morrigan). It seems there's a certain order to play the DLC so I'll line them up and get them going at some point.

    Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition is fantastic. I played the original version back on the X360 and loved it. I picked up the DE very quick since it added in all the extra content from the JP PS3 release that never came out in English or in NA. If you've never played a Tales game or are curious about the series, this is probably the one to go with. Symphonia and Abyss have more legendary reputations but they're also much older than ToV, so they're missing some quality of life features that you may expect. ToV also has a stellar cast and fantastic writing. The first 1/3 of the game may seem stereotypical anime stuff, but then the game starts tearing it all down and it becomes surprisingly subversive, all thanks to its clever, self-aware, almost genre-parody writing. These games are not turn-based JRPGs either, they're action games with various combos you have to create—they're even co-op! All the characters play very differently from each other too, and there's nothing holding you from choosing one of the other characters in the party from being the one you play as throughout the game. It's also a very long game, minimum 100 hours without even being a completionist.

    5 votes
  3. [3]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    I've actually been playing Disco Elysium. (Did you know that it was called No Truce With The Furies? What a badass name.) I'm rarely compelled to follow through on a long RPG like that: it takes...

    I've actually been playing Disco Elysium. (Did you know that it was called No Truce With The Furies? What a badass name.)

    I'm rarely compelled to follow through on a long RPG like that: it takes involvement into the story and the characters that I don't have for traditional fantasy (which is what the majority of long western RPGs are, in my experience).

    So far, the journey has been nothing but exciting. I love how the RPG system in directly tied to the gameplay. In most RPGs, the system only provides you with attribute checks and, sometimes, morality checks: it's either you pass or you fail. In Disco Elysium, the skills you develop are active – and quite talkative, with high-enough skill level – parts of your character's psyche.

    Whenever you're interacting with something, the skills relevant to the course of the action pop up mid-dialogue to suggest, warn, encourage, or simply express themselves. If the internal dialogue takes long enough, one of the skills will note that it's been a few seconds without response to whomever you're holding the conversation with.

    And considering your psyche is involved into the plot (you may miss something without a high-enough skill level), things get fascinating fast. One time, my entire skillset was compromised because the person I was talking to was a skilled liar. It took high Volition to wake the rest of the skills up and set them to work again – over the course of two in-game days.

    I love how in-the-mind this whole game is. I've seen things like it before, but nowhere near to the same extent.

    Also: if you like the game from the sound of it, don't go to the dev blog. I found it much more exciting to learn about the game's inner works from playing it. The dev blog may come in handy if you're getting confused or lost in systems, though: it highlights some of the development process – and its results along the way.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Disco Elysium is really high up on my wishlist right now. The whole system with seeing your own thoughts and how the belief systems you develop can spring up into conversation. It just seems like...

      Disco Elysium is really high up on my wishlist right now. The whole system with seeing your own thoughts and how the belief systems you develop can spring up into conversation. It just seems like such a cool and unique experience.

      I think Jim Sterling did a great job explaining the game on his YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMiY2f0DRSg.

      1 vote
      1. ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        It's worth keeping in mind that this game isn't exactly taking itself seriously. You'll see both serious analysis and quirkly, idiosyncratic notes from high skills. Some aspects of your...

        It's worth keeping in mind that this game isn't exactly taking itself seriously. You'll see both serious analysis and quirkly, idiosyncratic notes from high skills. Some aspects of your personality are quirkier than others – you can guess which by reading on their nature. Some are mostly serious, with a hint of sarcasm if things get dull.

        Overall, it's a curious mix of things very grounded and things fantastical.

        1 vote
  4. [4]
    Ellimist
    Link
    Jedi: Fallen Order -FINALLY. A legit Star Wars single player action RPG with some open world elements to it. I haven't gotten overly far but I'm loving everything about it so far. Except for the...
    1. Jedi: Fallen Order

    -FINALLY. A legit Star Wars single player action RPG with some open world elements to it. I haven't gotten overly far but I'm loving everything about it so far. Except for the Dark Souls-esque save system. The combat system takes a bit to get used to and I consistently forget about my Force powers but I'm genuinely enjoying this. And I enjoyed both Battlefronts, minus the microtransactions of BF2, but I craved something like this.

    Now if we could just get a next gen Rogue Squadron game, I might be in Star Wars game heaven

    1. Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition

    Haven't really been done much more than dabble with this but as a long time fan/player, its not exactly different from what I'm used to. That being said, the visual improvements are much nicer on the eyes and the quality of life changes are welcome. I have a long way to go with getting through the campaigns but the overall changes are nice and welcome

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Thunder-ten-tronckh
      Link Parent
      Any advice on maximizing performance on AoE2? Just installed it last night and it stuttered like crazy as more of the map revealed itself on my first playthrough. Haven't been able to troubleshoot...

      Any advice on maximizing performance on AoE2? Just installed it last night and it stuttered like crazy as more of the map revealed itself on my first playthrough. Haven't been able to troubleshoot it yet.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Ellimist
        Link Parent
        Unfortunately no. That being said, a couple of the reviews I’ve read mentioned some frame rate issues. I didn’t notice them myself but I’ve stuck to the campaigns so a much more controlled...

        Unfortunately no. That being said, a couple of the reviews I’ve read mentioned some frame rate issues.

        I didn’t notice them myself but I’ve stuck to the campaigns so a much more controlled environment.

        Currently running a 1080p/144hz monitor with a 1660Ti with an i5-6600k(no OC)

        What are your specs?

        I imagine it’s just some gonna take a little time to get the bugs worked out and get things running smoothly.

        2 votes
        1. Thunder-ten-tronckh
          Link Parent
          I'm running boot camp on a 2017 Macbook Pro. 2.9 GHz i7 and a Radeon 560. Not the best, not the worst. But I actually figured out that the game's resolution is locked to the desktop resolution for...

          I'm running boot camp on a 2017 Macbook Pro. 2.9 GHz i7 and a Radeon 560. Not the best, not the worst.

          But I actually figured out that the game's resolution is locked to the desktop resolution for whatever reason (I was wondering why my only options were to scale it down). Dropping that actually gave me a playable frame rate.

  5. [3]
    dubteedub
    Link
    I started playing Banner Saga recently on the Switch as I love tactical turn-based combat. I am not really sure how I feel about it at this point. The combat is decent, but the way turns work is...

    I started playing Banner Saga recently on the Switch as I love tactical turn-based combat. I am not really sure how I feel about it at this point.

    The combat is decent, but the way turns work is that it always alternates between your team and the enemies, so as you whittle the enemy's numbers down, they still have the same number of actions, which can be pretty frustrating. You are also severely punished if a character falls in combat, forcing you to not use them until you rest, sometimes for several days, which uses a lot of your meager supplies.

    I am about to finish the first game in the series and the story has been alright so far, but I feel like a lot of the choices I am making have pretty arbitrary outcomes. Characters die permanently in ways that feel cheap and unfair. The renown system is difficult to figure out, but also hugely essential to level up your characters. I am near the end game and have plenty of characters that could be leveled up to help me in combat, but I have nowhere near enough renown to do it and find I am having to spend a lot of my points on supplies instead.

    I will just add that the game's art is really beautiful and has some great moments.

    Overall, I am finding the experience a bit frustrating and thinking I should just boot up XCOM 2 War of the Choosen again instead.

    Has anyone else played this series? Do the subsequent games improve some of these issues?

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      KapteinB
      Link Parent
      I only played Banner Saga for a couple hours before losing interest. It didn't really click with me. I recall finding the combat system intriguing, but not particularly fun. Maybe I'll give it...

      I only played Banner Saga for a couple hours before losing interest. It didn't really click with me. I recall finding the combat system intriguing, but not particularly fun. Maybe I'll give it another chance, some day.

      If you're looking for something Xcom-ish but fantasy; check out Massive Chalice.

      1 vote
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        Thanks, I will check that out!

        Massive Chalice

        Thanks, I will check that out!

  6. skeetcha
    Link
    I played a little bit of Life is Strange recently. Actually I finished the first episode today. I’ve seen playthroughs of Life is Strange 2, but I’ve never played the first one. Since the first...

    I played a little bit of Life is Strange recently. Actually I finished the first episode today. I’ve seen playthroughs of Life is Strange 2, but I’ve never played the first one. Since the first episode was free on Steam (and probably everywhere else too), I decided to play it. I have no words. The mechanics, while a little janky, play really well with the story and, as always, the music is phenomenal. Hopefully I can but the rest of the season someday and play the entire game.

    2 votes
  7. LoanWolf
    Link
    I don't play many video games, it's mainly all board games, but I've been playing a lot of Into the Breach for the past year. On Saturday I finished it... like, finished every possible thing you...

    I don't play many video games, it's mainly all board games, but I've been playing a lot of Into the Breach for the past year. On Saturday I finished it... like, finished every possible thing you can do in it. Beat every mission length on hard difficulty with every squad, earned every achievement, and unlocked every secret pilot and squad. It's one of my few impressive gaming achievements because it's not an easy game. I had so much fun with it!
    Squads: https://imgur.com/trrgZyY
    Achievements: https://imgur.com/42nMBa7
    Stats: https://imgur.com/913UB1i

    2 votes
  8. Thunder-ten-tronckh
    Link
    Learning that Relic is developing Age of Empires 4 has gotten me on a Company of Heroes kick lately (the first, not the second). Good grief is that game fun as hell, and it holds up so well. Still...

    Learning that Relic is developing Age of Empires 4 has gotten me on a Company of Heroes kick lately (the first, not the second). Good grief is that game fun as hell, and it holds up so well. Still feels innovative and fresh even now.

    1 vote
  9. Keegan
    Link
    I've been playing CS:GO lately with some friends. It's always fun to mess around and chill with random people as well, especially if you have IRL friends to do it with. I like the simplicity of...

    I've been playing CS:GO lately with some friends. It's always fun to mess around and chill with random people as well, especially if you have IRL friends to do it with. I like the simplicity of the movement and how it makes the game more about how well you can communicate with your team and aim. It's also fun to get your whole team to buy one gun (either negev, auto, or revolver) that is a meme and use it.

    I've wanted to get into Borderlands 3, but my PC probably wouldn't run it as well as I'd like, so I'll probably get that once I make a new build (hopefully around the holidays this year).

    1 vote
  10. MimicSquid
    Link
    I want to take a moment to gush about the music for Project Zomboid. It reacts appropriately to the tension of the situation, so as you're exploring dangerous places it'll ramp up the tension...

    I want to take a moment to gush about the music for Project Zomboid. It reacts appropriately to the tension of the situation, so as you're exploring dangerous places it'll ramp up the tension some, and when you're actively fighting it's at the heights. This is great in its own right for keeping you in the feel of surviving by the skin of your teeth. But what makes it even better is that sometimes, just sometimes, it'll start ramping up even when you're in your base doing something innocuous. Yes, you're just grilling a piece of rat on the fire to survive another day, but suddenly you feel tense. Is there something out there? Maybe it would be a good idea to just do a quick round to make sure there's nothing out there. On top of that, some of the music has just the slightest resemblance to the sounds the zombies make. Is that a rattle in the background of the song, or is it the breathing of a corpse coming closer? Is that a drum, or the rhythmic sound of dead flesh thumping against your door? Can you afford to not check?

    1 vote
  11. aphoenix
    Link
    I picked up Hearthstone again after a fairly long hiatus (since the Witchwood expansion). I was at BlizzCon recently, and watched the opening ceremony and remembered how much I used to enjoy it,...

    I picked up Hearthstone again after a fairly long hiatus (since the Witchwood expansion). I was at BlizzCon recently, and watched the opening ceremony and remembered how much I used to enjoy it, and then I tried the new battleground mode while I was there and thought it was fun.

    Overall, I've been pretty happy with Hearthstone again. I remember why I quit, and I'm not spending money, but the new modes and the PvE stuff make it pretty enjoyable to play without having to go too much into competitive mode, and I did enjoy breaking out my fully golden Paladin deck in Wild and smashing holy wrath into people's faces.

    In retrospect, it made me realize that the "no bad press" is kind of true. I've had my face rubbed in Hearthstone for the last month, to the point that I actually felt like picking it up again. /shrugs

    1 vote
  12. Akir
    Link
    I've been playing GTA V. Honestly, I don't have much to say about it. It's the same as GTA IV except it's got prettier graphics. I don't particularly care much about the ability to switch between...

    I've been playing GTA V.

    Honestly, I don't have much to say about it. It's the same as GTA IV except it's got prettier graphics. I don't particularly care much about the ability to switch between characters, but perhaps things will change later in the game. The only thing that really sticks out is how much they have really improved their use of humor. Every GTA game has had it, but this one really seems to go the extra mile to make sure that every cutscene has at least a chuckle in it. I can't help but wonder if it's a response to the popularity of the Saints Row franchise.

    I haven't been playing games too much lately. I've been working pretty hard and have been a bit depressed partly because of it.

    On a barely-related tangent, my gaming PC is hooked up for a TV and I have finally found a perfect solution to not wanting to have a full-sized keyboard and mouse to control it outside of Steam Big Picture mode. It ended up being a $12 remote-sized wireless keyboard with an integrated air mouse. It's super convenient, especially because a good number of my games aren't on Steam (and even then, there's a few games that have issues when run from Big Picture mode for some strange reason). But at the same time I kind of wish that I looked a bit longer to find one that had a scroll wheel on it.

    1 vote
  13. balooga
    Link
    I've been doing parallel playthroughs of The Outer Worlds. Just completed my badass melee lone-wolf Board lackey run... Spoilers I slaughtered everyone who opposed the Board. Obliterated every...

    I've been doing parallel playthroughs of The Outer Worlds. Just completed my badass melee lone-wolf Board lackey run...

    Spoilers I slaughtered everyone who opposed the Board. Obliterated every last Iconoclast in Amber Heights. Killed the Information Broker and took over Devil's Peak. Wiped out the entire town of Edgewater at the behest of Adjutant Akande. Handed over Phineas Welles before ultimately bashing his face in with a vortex mace ultra. My character is also low-intelligence and makes frequent use of the `[Dumb]` dialog options.

    Meanwhile I'd guess I'm about 65% done with my speech-and-leadership "unifier" run...

    Spoilers I've brought peace to Emerald Vale by convincing the deserters to return to Edgewater, and persuading Reed Tobson to step down peacefully and let Adelaide take control. I arbitrated the MSI/Iconoclast dispute and brought both groups into partnership together. I'm playing with Vicar Max and Parvati as my roided-out enforcers in heavy armor with heavier guns, and I sit back and let them do all the fighting while I look on in my suit and fine top hat.

    I adore how completely different the two experiences are. The storylines have diverged wildly, but both are compelling and fun. I love the attention Obsidian gave to the unifier angle. I assumed the conflicts would be zero-sum, but there are a ton of options for satisfying all parties which is very cool.

    For me, the beauty of this game is the replayability. I still have four other companions to join with (and their side quests to explore) in future playthroughs, and I haven't even spoken to any of them yet. I need to do a complete anti-Board liberation run, a roguish smuggler/pirate run, and maybe a kill-everyone run for good measure. Probably some other angles I haven't considered yet. Also need to see if I can master the art of stealth assassination (previous attempts have been less than successful), and play around with science weapons, lying and double-crossing, and the defense and tech skills.

    Others have criticized the shortness of TOW... but for the way I like to play, it's the perfect length. If it were longer I'd never get the opportunity to see all the different paths through it. I'm actually really enjoying the "story" (easiest) difficulty mode that brings that part of gameplay to the forefront. Though at some point I'll try the hardest mode too, which introduces some survival aspects like food, drink, and sleep. Should be interesting in its own way.

    1 vote
  14. moocow1452
    Link
    Afterparty: It was released on Game Pass, and its about two friends who died and have to booze cruise their way out of Hell. It's from the same devs who made Oxenfree, and while I came across a...

    Afterparty: It was released on Game Pass, and its about two friends who died and have to booze cruise their way out of Hell. It's from the same devs who made Oxenfree, and while I came across a few gating errors, I liked where I ended up and it was pretty fun, and it gave the heavy bits appropriate weight.

    Something that came into my radar was Superluminal, a first person platformer that plays with perspective that pretty much cheats it's notes from Portal, but it plays with perspective in that you can make items bigger by holding them closer to you, and smaller when further away, or only being able to pick up a skewed item by viewing it from a perspective where it looks normal. It's curious and I want to see more of it.

    1 vote
  15. [2]
    Wendigo
    Link
    Remnant from the ashes is fucking amazing and this is coming from a person who cant stand dark souls but loves to watch other people play it. Also, the load times. Oh my god, with how quickly you...

    Remnant from the ashes is fucking amazing and this is coming from a person who cant stand dark souls but loves to watch other people play it. Also, the load times. Oh my god, with how quickly you load back into the game it makes you not want to quit and just keep pushing forward.

    1 vote
    1. balooga
      Link Parent
      I don't know anything about that game but I do wish game devs in general optimized for fast "retry" loads. Whether it's restoring your last save point in an action game, or restarting the race in...

      I don't know anything about that game but I do wish game devs in general optimized for fast "retry" loads. Whether it's restoring your last save point in an action game, or restarting the race in a driving game, halting everything to wait for 10-20 seconds every time really interrupts the flow state and discourages progress.

      Not a game developer so I can only assume what is really happening during those load screens... but I think in a lot of cases games are just dumping whatever's currently in memory and loading the full save file or map from disk. What should be happening is keeping all the assets in place, and just resetting the game state to the last known version. Not sure why more games don't attempt this. (There is probably a serious technical reason that I'm just ignorant about.)

      1 vote
  16. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Geometry Dash: The impossible game, but it has a few separate 'gamemodes' to separate it from the former. I actually like it, been spending time trying to beat some hard levels. Soul knight: an...

    Geometry Dash: The impossible game, but it has a few separate 'gamemodes' to separate it from the former. I actually like it, been spending time trying to beat some hard levels.

    Soul knight: an 8-bit shoot the enemies dungeon crawler game but the game aims for you changing the focus from aiming (which is either hard or annoying in mobile) to dodging the bullets, which changes the gameplay quite a bit. It has plenty of weapons, enemies, bosses, and characters to play as, and a rpg system to differentiate those characters. It's a pretty fun game.

    1 vote
  17. rogue_cricket
    Link
    I've actually got a bit back into Runescape. They're hosting a "Twisted League" contest where you are confined to Ironman mode on an ingame island. I'm kind of enjoying it because it's content I...

    I've actually got a bit back into Runescape. They're hosting a "Twisted League" contest where you are confined to Ironman mode on an ingame island. I'm kind of enjoying it because it's content I haven't explored otherwise and the experience rates are five times normal so you can see more and grind less.

    1 vote