23 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.

37 comments

  1. TheJorro
    Link
    I've been playing Bloodstained: Ritual of the NIght, and it's basically Castlevania: Symphony of the Night all over again. That will probably mean different things to different people but that is...

    I've been playing Bloodstained: Ritual of the NIght, and it's basically Castlevania: Symphony of the Night all over again.

    That will probably mean different things to different people but that is exactly the situation, and I am all in. I've been looking for another SotN since I played SotN. I'm glad I finally found it.

    Let's get the whole "Metroidvania" thing out of the way—it's a blurry genre these days. People play a Metroidvania for different reasons, and not all of them overlap. There are people who like Metroid or Castlevania, but not the other! Maybe some people enjoy platforming more than combat, maybe it's the opposite. I generally love Metroidvanias unless they're platforming-heavy since I've never been much of a platformer-type. Consequently, of all the much-lauded Metroidvania types of recent years, the one I don't enjoy is Ori and the Blind Forest because it was almost all platforming (despite all it's other excellent qualities). Meanwhile, Guacamelee is one of my favourite ones despite having quite a number of challenging platforming sections but they are only a small part of the game.

    Anyway, one thing I've been looking for since I first played Castlevania Symphony of the Night was another Metroidvania like it: a pseudo-RPG style progression system with a ton of different items and weapons, and all kinds of weird secrets and interactions in the world with those. The vast majority of Metroidvanias don't have the first two at all, keeping progression limited to resource max ups and a handful of upgrades for a handful of weapons. Which is fine, truly, but I've always been looking for that experience that SotN provided because it really felt like the castle was a place of wonders and centuries of lore.

    For those that have not played SotN (nor Aria of Sorrow or Harmony of Despair, which also shared the formula), the difference is that it's a very systems-based game as opposed to mechanics. It's not a game that challenges your platforming or combat skills, but rather your ingenuity and perseverance. There is a rudimentary levelling system where every x amount of XP, you level up and your various attributes (strength, health, mana, luck, etc.) all go up a bit. Monsters give you slightly less XP every few levels to the point that they stop altogether, so you always have to keep moving in further to find stronger and better enemies who give more XP. Weapons all have basic stats in terms of speed and strength, but then they might also have different attack animations. One sword may swing in an arc, another one may slash straight out, creating two different attack patterns. Different weapon types also have unique moves that are activated with a fighting-game style button combo. Then you have armour which also augment or boost various other stats.

    One addition to the formula with Bloodstained is a much more fleshed out magic system, where every enemy drops their own unique magical ability that you can use. Some are passive, some go into one of your two active spell slots, and there are summons.

    What's worth noting with the swords, clothes/armour, magic, and enemies is that there are a lot of each of them. Way more than your average Metroidvania. And then a lot of the gear have other effects that are not stated at all, and can only be found through trying the item! A sword that doesn't have the highest stats may actually leech health on hit! Another sword may swing very slowly but because of its wide arc, it can clear out an entire hallway segment if you combine it with a jump at the right time! Maybe that fast hitting dagger has a surprisingly high chance of poison so your rapid pokes may allow you to poison an enemy and then watch it die from afar! There are so many possibilities with the combinations of these items!

    Of course, you might wonder how it's possible to balance a game with so many different item combinations and power permutations. You can't, fully! That's the fun of it! This kind of design is from an era where games would encourage you to break them a little after you've learned the mechanics, to discover item combinations that are way too overpowered or imbalanced and then see how far you can take it. It encourages mechanical experimentation and you really feel like you don't know what secrets the game holds as a result.

    When you're exploring a mysterious, unknowable castle, being able to find weapons with strange abilities and effects adds to the tone and atmosphere of being in an ethereal place a great deal. Dark Souls captured that same sort of spirit in a big way. Many have compared it to a "3D Castlevania" and I believe this is a large reason why. Beyond the obvious Metroidvania-esque structure of "explore this world and poke out more in any direction as you get more items" (which Dark Souls didn't really do), you discover a world beyond what the basic story and superficial interactions tell you.

    That said, it's also not like SotN or Bloodstained have particularly good stories or characters that are worth going out of your way to learn about or discover. It's more garnish than substance. The interest with the magical items and weapons is more trivial but it's nice to feel like a magical or unique item you found is actually magical or unique. It's boring to talk about a "Greatsword +1" which is a greatsword you upgraded to do more damage, but it's fun to talk about "Raphael's Greatsword" that you found in a secret wall and has a chainsaw blade that allows you to hold and charge up the weapon!

    So the basic gameplay is a lot of fun for me. I like having a small grind with my Metroidvanias where the enemies in a certain area may be a bit too tough instead of me not having an item that opens a specific kind of door, and those enemies drop things that are valuable to me throughout the game. Invariably I end up running from one side to another of a Metroidvania world trying to figure out where to go next, having some fun combat with tangible rewards makes it a lot more palatable. This is that one spot with Metroidvanias where I find myself deciding whether I like or love an entry, and I find myself loving it.

    It seems like fans have started describing this style of Metroidvania as an "Igavania", named after famed Castlevania director Koji Igarashi who made SotN, and other prominent entries in the series. So maybe this is yet another subtype of Metroidvania after all, but it's one I really enjoy.

    Now, as far as Bloodstained feeling like SotN: it's almost a sequel to SotN. A lot of the enemy and weapon designs are straight up taken right from Castlevania and given a different look. Even the boss fights are set up a lot like SotN's bosses. For better or worse, this game is exactly of the same vein as SotN. Even some of the blemishes from that type of game have carried over—I accidentally cheesed a boss by standing still since he got stuck in the geometry and I could whale on him. But I remember doing things like that in SotN too, so this kind of flaw feels "warm" to me, like a familiar scratch on a trusted old car.

    That said, the game in general does seem fairly glitchy with the bosses, where some attack timings are a little bit off. The controls also feel slightly too floaty, so that turning attack directions isn't as consistent as I would expect from a 2D title. The characters, story, and art design aren't quite on par with Castlevania's gothic excellent either, but it does an admirable job of feeling enough like Castlevania that I don't mind.

    Overall, I'd say that you might enjoy Bloodstained as much as you enjoyed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. If that was the kind of Metroidvania for you, then Bloodstained should be top of mind for you.

    10 votes
  2. MimicSquid
    Link
    I played Cat Quest II last night. It's much like the first one, with a bit more in the way of complications you don't really need. At its core, the gameplay is: mash the enemy, see the telegraphed...

    I played Cat Quest II last night. It's much like the first one, with a bit more in the way of complications you don't really need. At its core, the gameplay is: mash the enemy, see the telegraphed attack, roll out of the way, repeat. This is great, exactly like in the first one, and doesn't really need to be changed. It's really shallow, though. You do the same basic combat thing for the whole game, and while you can equip yourself for different styles, the equipment will level up as well, so the fact that there's 60 different pieces of gear means very little. Pick your set and it'll mostly be fine for the whole game. I don't want to rip on it for being simplistic when the whole point is to be lighthearted... The writing is simplistic. That's fine. The jokes are generally very bland. It's fine. The whole thing is fine, and having played it I'm not quite sure why I did, other than having nothing better to do with my Sunday.

    6 votes
  3. [4]
    soctar
    Link
    I started Bioshock Infinite again recently -- I had a sort of weird love hate relationship with the story and the ending the first time that I played it, so I figured I'd try again to see if the...

    I started Bioshock Infinite again recently -- I had a sort of weird love hate relationship with the story and the ending the first time that I played it, so I figured I'd try again to see if the entire project seems more cohesive. So far it's kind of that, but I sometimes feel like the combat is kind of bland and repetitive. Granted, I've been playing a very chill game of Stardew Valley for a while, so maybe any combat would feel that way. I'm open to suggestions for mindset changes to really get into FPS games like Bioshock though!

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      vegai
      Link Parent
      I agree with you that the game mechanic parts of Bioshock Infinite were rather mediocre, but the story is pretty damned good. Try to stick with it, I believe it'll pay off.

      I agree with you that the game mechanic parts of Bioshock Infinite were rather mediocre, but the story is pretty damned good. Try to stick with it, I believe it'll pay off.

      2 votes
      1. soctar
        Link Parent
        I turned the difficulty up and it got a lot more interesting -- much more "how do I strategize this situation" rather than "let me walk in a wreck face over and over". The story is so awesome, for...

        I turned the difficulty up and it got a lot more interesting -- much more "how do I strategize this situation" rather than "let me walk in a wreck face over and over". The story is so awesome, for sure :)

        2 votes
    2. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      I really enjoyed the combat and level design in Bioshock Infinite. The way most levels are built out of big arenas similar to 2016's Doom. It felt very fresh, especially in 2013.

      I really enjoyed the combat and level design in Bioshock Infinite. The way most levels are built out of big arenas similar to 2016's Doom. It felt very fresh, especially in 2013.

      1 vote
  4. [2]
    rogue_cricket
    (edited )
    Link
    I think it was last week or two weeks ago when someone had posted about Kingdom Come: Deliverance. I got back into my old save file, picked up where I left off, and I'm finally doing some of the...

    I think it was last week or two weeks ago when someone had posted about Kingdom Come: Deliverance. I got back into my old save file, picked up where I left off, and I'm finally doing some of the DLC stuff and finishing out the story.

    I like to turn the lights down, put on my headphones, maybe grab a bit of an indica tincture. I avoid fast-travelling and waiting, so it ends up as a really nice and immersive experience... if a quest has me waiting until evening, I'll spend the day playing Farkle or participating in archery tournaments or clearing camps or hunting nearby rather than using the pass-time feature. (Maybe if my Henry could read I would do that, but I'm having fun remaining completely illiterate despite it becoming more and more of a hurdle as the game goes on.)

    I also picked up Ring Fit Adventure. I've tried other fitness-oriented games but this one is the first that's actually left me pretty sore. The addition of resistance really makes it. I use the "silent mode" jogging in tandem with my mini elliptical and it seems to work OK - I was hoping I could use regular jogging mode with the elliptical, but the knee lifts are not really possible on it. Honestly, I like the little tips and encouragement the game gives you along the way too. :)

    And finally, this one is kind of an upcoming one, but I am looking forward to the early release of TemTem tomorrow. It's a Pokémon-inspired MMO and even if it's a straight ripoff in a lot of ways it looks pretty fun.

    6 votes
    1. SkewedSideburn
      Link Parent
      I've tried to immerse myself in Kingdom Come, but I've reached a point in story quest, where there's a semi-large battle, and after that I just stopped. I have a fairly decent rig, i7-6700,...

      I've tried to immerse myself in Kingdom Come, but I've reached a point in story quest, where there's a semi-large battle, and after that I just stopped. I have a fairly decent rig, i7-6700, RTX2060, 16GB RAM, runs off of SSD. And it just doesn't work properly, I can't do anything, and while it was tolerable most of the time in the woods, the battle really showed how broken this game is. Texture kept reloading right in front of my eyes, the AI was clearly clustered in small groups, and as soon as I made some distance between me and the group of enemies, they just stopped in their tracks and stood still. A really funny moment was when I charged at 3 archers who were standing still like that, got close to them, something loaded in the background and the game realised whey were supposed to be dead. So they died simultaneously, before I even got to them. All this happened while FPS was going bonkers. I've tried to make it work, but this behaviour persists on pretty much all the settings, the game is just too heavily CPU bound. So I gave up.

      1 vote
  5. [2]
    weystrom
    Link
    I've just finished Disco Elysium and it's such a brilliant game. The idea of making your skillpoints into in-game characters feels like a touch of genius. I think that just by the act of giving...

    I've just finished Disco Elysium and it's such a brilliant game. The idea of making your skillpoints into in-game characters feels like a touch of genius.

    I think that just by the act of giving the feelings and thoughts actual names and faces, Disco Elysium pushed me to be more introspective in real life. And I hope that this discovery stays with me for a long time.

    6 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      I'm right there with you. I think it's ruined me for what counts as story and writing in most other RPG's.

      I'm right there with you. I think it's ruined me for what counts as story and writing in most other RPG's.

      1 vote
  6. [2]
    wexx
    Link
    Death Stranding. It's... a video game I guess. There's actually a lot more of the core gameplay loop than story, and feels similar to Metal Gear Solid V in that regard, so that's nice. As for the...

    Death Stranding. It's... a video game I guess.

    There's actually a lot more of the core gameplay loop than story, and feels similar to Metal Gear Solid V in that regard, so that's nice. As for the actual story, I'm not sure I know exactly what's going on or how it's going to end, but I'm on board for it. It's slightly annoying playing it in shorter sessions, as it's definitely one of those just one more mission/order/section of road, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit.

    6 votes
    1. matteron
      Link Parent
      I've been playing it on and off for a bit, but I honestly feel like it's becoming one of my favorite games. It's certainly not for everyone, and I'm definitely biased when it comes to anything...

      I've been playing it on and off for a bit, but I honestly feel like it's becoming one of my favorite games. It's certainly not for everyone, and I'm definitely biased when it comes to anything Kojima shits out, but the core gameplay loop has got me hooked. Just walking around making deliveries is rewarding, and the fights are so engaging with having to worry about managing your items while 8 dudes are throwing electric javelins at you.

      And the story, well... it's something so far.

      2 votes
  7. [10]
    VoidOutput
    Link
    Still racing, although I definitely have less free time with work and all. However I can feel like I'm getting better just by practicing so it feels nice not feeling stuck. I've picked up two more...

    Still racing, although I definitely have less free time with work and all. However I can feel like I'm getting better just by practicing so it feels nice not feeling stuck.

    I've picked up two more games through the Humble winter sale: both of the games in the Assetto Corsa series. If you'd say that it looks like impulse buying I would absolutely agree haha. I tried the BMW 3 Series E80 in the original AC and I love it, including the 90s look.

    I'm having a hard time with field of vision. I'm tempted to pick up a VR headset. It still seems like an expensive endeavor. Mid-end hardware like the Rift S is not exactly cheap, yet its refresh rate isn't good IMO. Anyone have any enough experience with recent headsets to give recommendations?

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      I'd recommend Oculus Quest, although the Go just had a permanent price drop to $150. It's good for Media, whatever you want to sideload, and Roller Coasters, so if you want to do anything other...

      I'd recommend Oculus Quest, although the Go just had a permanent price drop to $150. It's good for Media, whatever you want to sideload, and Roller Coasters, so if you want to do anything other than watch video and test VR, it's not ideal. Quest can go wireless and tethered should you choose.

      @soctar, maybe? There are games I want to play in VR now, but I never really was in love with gaming on a computer monitor, unless it was a game boy, so I'm likely a bad test case.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        PetitPrince
        Link Parent
        I don't know why Go still exist while there's the Quest out there. 3 vs 6 DOF is like Aibo vs an actual puppy. 360 video are nice, but there's nothing magical like 6 DOF. The refresh rate doesn't...

        I don't know why Go still exist while there's the Quest out there. 3 vs 6 DOF is like Aibo vs an actual puppy. 360 video are nice, but there's nothing magical like 6 DOF.

        The refresh rate doesn't bother me, but then I hadn't that much experience with other headset (occasional original Vive experience in labs and festival). Being stand-alone and wireless are killer features IMO.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          moocow1452
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          The Go beats the pants off of a Tablet for Media Consumption in bed at the $150 price point. It can also sideload Android apps through Oculus TV. Quest can too, but the 6DOF controllers don't...

          The Go beats the pants off of a Tablet for Media Consumption in bed at the $150 price point. It can also sideload Android apps through Oculus TV. Quest can too, but the 6DOF controllers don't really add anything for that.

          2 votes
          1. PetitPrince
            Link Parent
            Ah, good point. I try to limit my screen consumption at/before bed, so I didn't thought of this use case.

            Ah, good point.

            I try to limit my screen consumption at/before bed, so I didn't thought of this use case.

            2 votes
      2. VoidOutput
        Link Parent
        In the context of prolonged use in PC simulations, I don't think the Quest would be for me. I already have a headset for my Samsung Galaxy for videos and small games, so that's covered haha. And...

        In the context of prolonged use in PC simulations, I don't think the Quest would be for me. I already have a headset for my Samsung Galaxy for videos and small games, so that's covered haha. And for the Quest to work on PC I'd need an additional proprietary cable bringing the total price closer to the Rift S.

        2 votes
    2. soctar
      Link Parent
      I wonder if VR will totally spoil what I think of as adequate field of view for games. I've never tried one, but I wonder if once I do, it'll feel super clunky going back.

      I wonder if VR will totally spoil what I think of as adequate field of view for games. I've never tried one, but I wonder if once I do, it'll feel super clunky going back.

      3 votes
    3. [3]
      andre
      Link Parent
      I have the Samsung CHG90 for my iRacing (and now ACC since the 1.2 patch) rig and really like it. It's a 49" ultrawide, which gives me a wide field of view while not requiring a VR headset. It's...

      I have the Samsung CHG90 for my iRacing (and now ACC since the 1.2 patch) rig and really like it. It's a 49" ultrawide, which gives me a wide field of view while not requiring a VR headset. It's popular among the iRacing Twitch streamers (check out Dan_Suzuki or Quirkitized).

      Have you calculated your FOV? This is the best calculator I've found, I'm within a couple of degrees from what it suggests in both games.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        VoidOutput
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I've used the iRacing calculator with similar results, but this one is easier to use thanks. My FOV is barely allowed by the sim, roughly 45°. Of course I've no problem playing at a higher FOV but...

        I've used the iRacing calculator with similar results, but this one is easier to use thanks. My FOV is barely allowed by the sim, roughly 45°. Of course I've no problem playing at a higher FOV but it doesn't seem encouraged, given the relatively small screen I use. What FOV do you consider "good enough"?

        I'm thinking, that screen looks very nice yet I can't help notice that its price is similar to the Valve Index, one of the high-end headsets. Are there any obvious advantages to the screen that I'm missing?

        1 vote
        1. andre
          Link Parent
          From my understanding, FOV shouldn't be treated as a subjective setting - its purpose is to give you better depth and speed perception, and is based on the distance to your monitor and its size....

          From my understanding, FOV shouldn't be treated as a subjective setting - its purpose is to give you better depth and speed perception, and is based on the distance to your monitor and its size. Seeing more of the track left/right is useful, especially to see other cars, and that's where you have one of three options:

          1. Three monitors
          2. An ultrawide
          3. VR

          Options 1 and 2 are basically the same - it comes down to whether you'd prefer more of your peripheral vision being used and more track width (1) or eliminating the bezels and not needing to render as many pixels (2). I have the 1080p version of the Samsung ultrawide - the 1440p one is sharper, but considerably more work for your CPU/GPU.

          Option 3 is VR. Some people like it, some people don't. It's more immersive, but it comes with a few drawbacks:

          • It's not comfortable to have something on your head, especially for hours on end
          • Worse game support (Assetto Corsa Competizione is basically unplayable)
          • The FOV is rather narrow, which means you'll look around more than you would in a car. For example, you have to fully move your head to look at the side mirrors.

          There were actually two threads on Reddit yesterday about this very topic:

          https://www.reddit.com/r/iRacing/comments/erdqq9/ditched_vr_for_this_49_ultrawide/
          https://www.reddit.com/r/simracing/comments/erdr85/ditched_my_oculus_for_a_49_ultrawide/

          2 votes
  8. KapteinB
    Link
    Blacksad: Under the Skin (Switch) I love the comic, so when I learned they were making a video game based on it, I knew I had to play it. Since I was visiting my parents for Christmas, I chose to...

    Blacksad: Under the Skin (Switch)

    I love the comic, so when I learned they were making a video game based on it, I knew I had to play it. Since I was visiting my parents for Christmas, I chose to buy it on Switch.

    The game is (I assume) very similar to Telltale's games, to the point where when you start a new game, it tells you that if you've played similar games, you don't need to do the tutorial. It's a furry noir detective story, and the gameplay is mainly exploration, talking to different characters, occasional quick-time events, and combining collected clues to form conclusions that progress the story. So the gameplay itself isn't much to write home about, but I'm enjoying the writing, the voice acting, and the style.

    I wouldn't go as far as calling it a great game. Controls are clunky, and bugs are common. My favourite bug so far was when I messed up the QTEs of a combat scene, and the game froze just as my opponent was about to punch me in the face, but both characters kept blinking their eyes and occasionally wagging their ears like nothing was out of the ordinary. The game is also nearly unplayable in handheld mode, because the low resolution makes the text on the deduction screen unreadable.

    So while I like this game, I can't really recommend it for everyone. If you've played all the Telltale games and you're bummed out that they went bankrupt, give this game a chance. And if you've read the comic and want more, definitely. By the way, if you haven't read the comic, check it out.

    Critical Mass (Linux, via Wine)

    This is one of those games I keep coming back to over the years. The first time I played FTL: Faster Than Light I thought to myself that this reminds me a bit of Critical Mass. And that's a good thing.

    In the late 90s my dad went to a business trip to ... Germany, I think it was. When he came back he had a gift for us kids; a CD he'd bought (probably at the airport) containing 50 video games. 50! Most of them were shareware, not all of them were in English, few of them were good, but one in particular resonated with me: The shareware version of a British indie game named Critical Mass. It's a simultaneous execution turn-based space combat game, where you lead a small squadron of spaceships to complete various missions; fight an enemy squadron, destroy an enemy base, defend a stranded ship, stuff like that. Simultaneous execution means you can't just react to enemy movements, you have to predict them. Your only weapons are missiles with various payloads and homing abilities. If you die, the game deletes your save file!

    I played the three or so missions in the shareware version to death. Every few years I would download it and play it again. A couple of times I pirated it to get the full experience. This time I finally bought it, possibly the best $10 I've ever spent.

    Seriously, this game is wonderful, and it's really aged with grace. I highly recommend you download the shareware version and give it a try. There's also an iOS version, but I don't own any iGadgets, so I can't eprsonally vouch for that one.

    Dungeons & Dragons (tabletop)

    December was hectic, so we took a month's break for Christmas, but now we've started up again with Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Last week my players finally found the stairs leading down to the third level, which I've been looking forward to. It offers a lot more quests and intrigue than the first two levels, which are mostly random monsters and Xanathar outposts.

    Nier: Automata (PlayStation 4)

    I've had some neck issues lately, so I decided to spend less time with my laptop. So I was looking for a good PS4-game, and I came across this that a friend of mine insisted I had to play, back when he was playing it a couple of years ago.

    Most of the game is an open-world action RPG, but at times it's a platformer and a twin-stick shooter, and I enjoy how solid all the different types of gameplay is, and how smoothly the game switches between them. Most of the boss fights are also great fun. As you'd expect from Square Enix, the story is pretty bizarre - I sometimes get a feeling I'd understand more of what's going on if I'd played the previous game in the series - and the soundtrack wonderful. Your character is an android, and I really like how you customise your skills by combining different sets of computer chips.

    Overall I'm greatly enjoying this game. And my neck is feeling better!

    Two Point Hospital (Linux)

    The same friend gifted me this for Christmas. It's basically Theme Hospital HD, but it's good enough that I greatly enjoy it despite having barely played the spiritual predecessor. One of the best management games I've played in a long time. I like how it compares your hospitals to those of your friends who have played the game, which adds a bit of competitiveness to it, despite it being a single player game.

    5 votes
  9. NaraVara
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been playing Mortal Kombat 11 to scratch a fighting game itch, but I think I might just be too old to be any good at fighting games anymore. The game is just too fast paced to play online and...

    I've been playing Mortal Kombat 11 to scratch a fighting game itch, but I think I might just be too old to be any good at fighting games anymore. The game is just too fast paced to play online and my reflexes can't keep up. Plus, the combo system is deeply unintuitive to me. Like, rather than hitting links based on when animations on the screen go through, you just have to dial in the entire button sequence for a long combo within the first few frames of the first attack. The animations seem to only have a loose and tenuous relationship to the proper timing of button presses, which attacks have frame advantage versus others, etc. It's very weird.

    However, I do really like how they've improved on the character designs. The female characters seem to have actually been given proper character designs, which is a nice change of pace for a series that, too often, tended to depict everyone as strippers cosplaying as fighting game characters (not that there's anything wrong with that). The builds are more athletic, the outfits are more interesting and not designed solely to show skin and curves, etc. The male character designs, though, still lean a bit on the boring side for me. I think a big part of this is just how the MK series evolved, going from a fairly grounded, semi-mystical version of "Enter the Dragon" to a weird mythology about interdimensional, celestial conflict. Since most of the male characters were introduced in the early part when it was more grounded, they're just way more boring than the blood-ninjas and bug-ladies. And the ones who are interesting (fire and ice ninjas) were there from the start.


    I recently also got Fire Emblem: Three Houses and played through the intro. It's pretty fun and I'm enjoying learning about the characters. This is my second Fire Emblem game after Awakening and I am, again, very surprised by how well realized the characters are. They're a bit archetypical and tropey, but it's a lot of fun getting to know them and watching relationships between them evolve. So far the combat/strategy gameplay is also fun, but can be damn challenging at times. I've set it to Classic mode (dead is dead, no take-backs), so the stakes will be high as the game goes on, I'm sure.

    If I have one complaint so far, it's that the environments are bland. I kind of hate the architecture for the school the game is set in, it's really sprawling but feels lifeless and empty. I think part of the problem is that while the characters are rendered in sort of anime-styling, the environments are pretty uninspired "medieval castle" settings that look like early 2000s attempts at photo-realistic graphics. It has very basic textures for masonry and wood and all the architecture is a series of right-angle boxes attached to each other. Not many curves or arcs or interesting set decorations or anything.

    I never thought I'd have such strong-feelings about video-game architecture, but I am very surprised at how much I hate the art direction around the environments here. Like, I really hate it. The character designs are so good and they're just plopped into these insipid stages. In contrast, a medieval castle setting in a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition was fine. Nothing remarkable, but it was interesting. I can imagine some process of design and art decoration went into it. I just can't even imagine what the concept arts for the monastery in this game would have looked like.

    5 votes
  10. Keegan
    Link
    I've been playing the Borderlands 3 campaign. I've almost completed it from what I can tell. A lot of the bosses I've been able to cheese by just running around in circles, but otherwise I can't...

    I've been playing the Borderlands 3 campaign. I've almost completed it from what I can tell.

    A lot of the bosses I've been able to cheese by just running around in circles, but otherwise I can't see a way I'm supposed to beat them without getting mauled.

    Other than bosses the battles are nice. I just wish there were more interspersed enemies that aren't groups of 10+. Certain areas seem empty as hell, and if I'm trying to get somewhere I'm able to just run past them while absorbing all damage into my shield.

    I really appreciated some of the Easter eggs in there.

    Spoiling an Easter egg

    The power rangers fight was hilarious.

    Here's what it was if you missed the side mission: https://youtube.com/watch?v=1V012Ov_ihY

    4 votes
  11. parenthesis
    Link
    A friend and I just finished Children of Morta. It was a fun enough way to hang out, but I didn't love the game. I found the story confused and the narration was mostly written in passive voice,...

    A friend and I just finished Children of Morta. It was a fun enough way to hang out, but I didn't love the game. I found the story confused and the narration was mostly written in passive voice, which was very odd. The gameplay was fun, but the difficulty curve felt off. We found the beginning of the game quite challenging and then suddenly during the second world it got very easy. I suppose there is meant to be progression in a roguelike, but it felt abrupt to in this game.

    I also just started playing Forager. It is SO addictive. It's the kind of game where you start playing then look up and 2 hours have passed. It reminds me a lot of Stardew Valley with a bit less charm. I definitely see myself sinking a bunch of mindless hours into this title.

    4 votes
  12. Grawlix
    Link
    Magic: the Gathering Arena is my most consistently played game pretty much since open beta. Love the game, frustrated with the way they experiment with monetization to see how far players will go....

    Magic: the Gathering Arena is my most consistently played game pretty much since open beta. Love the game, frustrated with the way they experiment with monetization to see how far players will go. Still, it's fairly generous for a free-to-play game, and a heck of a lot cheaper than paper Magic.

    I also picked up Slay the Spire. I love deck building games like Dominion, I love dungeon crawls, and I love Roguelikes, so it seemed absolutely perfect. Having a ton of fun, but I've barely scratched the surface on the strategy of the game.

    And most recently, thanks to another sale, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. I really enjoyed the first AC, fell in love with the second, then just kind of drifted away from the series. Since I have a soft spot for pirates and the Age of Sale, plus with all the positive reviews this one got as one of the best in the series, I was sold. Beside, I haven't played a AAA game like this in ages.

    So far, and I'm only an hour in but I'm having a blast. I haven't even gotten to the proper pirate or assassin bits, I've just been meandering around an island gathering collectibles and getting the hang of the movement system. Really looking forward to playing it more, but I hope my right index finger doesn't start hurting from pulling the right trigger on the controller all the dang time. :p

    4 votes
  13. [3]
    emnii
    Link
    I've taken on a quest to reduce my backlog of unfinished games in 2020 by 12. The first game toward that goal was Homefront: The Revolution. I chose it because I played the first Homefront,...

    I've taken on a quest to reduce my backlog of unfinished games in 2020 by 12. The first game toward that goal was Homefront: The Revolution. I chose it because I played the first Homefront, started Revolution but never finished it, and knew I could slog through it because it's a FPS. Yesterday, I finished it.

    I recall it getting critically panned, and that's for good reason. It's kind of a bore, kind of repetitive, and rather buggy (lots of objects clipping through each other). The ending is bad and it's absolutely forgettable. But at its best, I was a guerrilla fighter, hiding in plain sight, in a fascist state and undermining them at every opportunity, from assassinating officials, to just breaking their stuff. There are good ideas in here, but they're completely buried by no-stakes design (there's basically no punishment for failure) and setting most of the game in dull battlefields where there's no need for stealth or strategy.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I love your backlog reduction goal! I've actually been thinking about doing another Tildes event in the coming months (probably March/April) that's focused on backlog busting. If you don't mind me...

      I love your backlog reduction goal! I've actually been thinking about doing another Tildes event in the coming months (probably March/April) that's focused on backlog busting.

      If you don't mind me asking: how big is your backlog, and how are you choosing what to play from it?

      2 votes
      1. emnii
        Link Parent
        It's unfair for me to call this a backlog, because that implies I intend on actually finishing all of these games, which I don't. But my "maybe someday" collection on Steam is over 900 games. So...

        It's unfair for me to call this a backlog, because that implies I intend on actually finishing all of these games, which I don't. But my "maybe someday" collection on Steam is over 900 games.

        So since I don't intend on finishing all of those, the games I want to finish this year are games I've started and liked but didn't finish for some reason. Also, since I started this at the beginning of the year, I'm forcing myself to choose games I bought more than six months ago. Everything else that I'll actually play is mostly stuff I just haven't started yet.

        Most of the potentials on my list are games I've owned for quite a while, and finishing them this year will either give me a prompt to play a newer sequel or get me ready for something else coming out this year.

        2 votes
  14. Wulfsta
    Link
    I've made the mistake of picking up modded Minecraft again, specifically All the Mods 3: Remix. It's nothing short of an addicting, massive time sink. Needless to say it's been a lot of fun...

    I've made the mistake of picking up modded Minecraft again, specifically All the Mods 3: Remix. It's nothing short of an addicting, massive time sink. Needless to say it's been a lot of fun automating things in unusual ways.

    4 votes
  15. vegai
    Link
    Triggered by a comment here, I restarted on Creeper World 3. I had played a few maps from the campaign some years back, but never finished it. Now on map 8...ish and it's good :)

    Triggered by a comment here, I restarted on Creeper World 3. I had played a few maps from the campaign some years back, but never finished it. Now on map 8...ish and it's good :)

    4 votes
  16. SkewedSideburn
    Link
    As always, I'm juggling between games and playing four or five on an off and on basis. I haven't had the patience to wait for Wind Waker HD for the Switch, so I installed Dolphin Emulator, and...

    As always, I'm juggling between games and playing four or five on an off and on basis.

    I haven't had the patience to wait for Wind Waker HD for the Switch, so I installed Dolphin Emulator, and GameCube version of Wind Waker. Then added some HD textures, widescreen hack, render-to-texture, 16xAF, 8xSSAA, turned on ubershaders and now the game pretty much looks and plays like a remastered version (save for some occasional drops in battle). You really can't tell it came out in 2002 just by looking at it, I'm impressed how there's a lot of interactivity that makes sense (the same kind that made its way into Breath of the Wild): pick up wooden weapon, swing it over the torch and it will light up. Go with it to the wooden planks blocking the doorway, and they will burn down. It's used more as a puzzle mechanic though, you can't choose if you want to break down the wooden planks or burn them, the game explicitly either gives you a torch or a huge machete, but it's still nice to see this approach so early on.

    I also really enjoy first person puzzlers, so I picked up Lightmatter when I saw it. I've only played through the demo so far (the first hour or so is free, and then you buy the rest of the game if you like it), but I like what I'm seeing.

    As a contrast to Lightmatter, for some reason I just can't make myself play more of Manifold Garden, even though by all metrics I should be the person to enjoy it, since (like I said), I love first person puzzlers, and more specifically, I loved Antichamber, and Manifold Garden is pretty close to that game in it's atmosphere and puzzles.

    I'm also slowly making my way through Yakuza Kiwami (not as great as Zero, but still enjoying it a great deal) and Resident Evil 2 (second playthrough on hardcore as Claire), but I don't get enough time to really play them properly, so most of the time they get to be on hold.

    And in the evenings I'm playing the third Ace Attorney game on my Switch. I've played the first 2 before on an emulator, but I've pretty much all but forgotten most of the plot, so I've replayed them as well. I never noticed before how amazing the music is in this series. Too repetitive to listen to on its own, but in-game it really sets the tone and gets you in OBJECTION!!-able mood

    4 votes
  17. rmgr
    Link
    I've been playing Prosperous Universe for the last few weeks since @VoidOutput posted a PCGamer article about it. It's free to play with no pay to win bullshit and it's really good fun! I've been...

    I've been playing Prosperous Universe for the last few weeks since @VoidOutput posted a PCGamer article about it. It's free to play with no pay to win bullshit and it's really good fun!

    I've been running a manufacturing materials plant for a while which requires heaps of silicon ore and limestone to operate. In my region, there's a pretty huge silicon ore shortage which has driven the price up like double. It turns out that the planet I started on happens to have silicon so I dumped a large amount of my money into parts for a mineral extractor. Now I'm shipping my excess silicon ore to the exchange with my normal products. Once I've recouped the cost of the extractor, I plan to start selling at a more reasonable price to try and help the economy.

    3 votes
  18. skeetcha
    Link
    I was, for a while a little bit ago, playing Astral Chain on the Switch. I really enjoyed both the story and the gameplay. Both were very immersive and entertaining. However, the final boss is...

    I was, for a while a little bit ago, playing Astral Chain on the Switch. I really enjoyed both the story and the gameplay. Both were very immersive and entertaining. However, the final boss is very difficult and requires timing pinned on the edge of a fine knife to get correctly and beat it. For this reason, I have stopped playing it. I'll give it a 7/10, though.

    However, more recently, I've been playing OneShot on my PC and Minecraft with some friends, most notably on a server created by some people in a Discord server I'm in and on another server created by a subreddit for people who are learning languages (r/aroundtheworldmc).

    3 votes
  19. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Yesterday I fired up GTA V after about a month without playing any games. It was so cool and relaxing. GTA V offline is a world where I enjoy simply driving around with no clear goal. It's so safe...

    Yesterday I fired up GTA V after about a month without playing any games. It was so cool and relaxing. GTA V offline is a world where I enjoy simply driving around with no clear goal. It's so safe and cozy. I know "safe and cozy" are weird words to describe GTA, but that's just how I feel.

    When I'm playing, I usually don't care about race, gender, and stuff, but I believe being a black man is a great part of why I love playing as Franklin Clinton so much.

    3 votes
  20. Wendigo
    Link
    Witcher 3 The dlc is amazing but the standard is meh.

    Witcher 3

    The dlc is amazing but the standard is meh.

    3 votes