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.

43 comments

  1. [3]
    TheJorro
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been playing Black Mesa. I've always loved Half-Life, the whole series. I played an earlier pre-Xen version of Black Mesa a couple of years ago and had a nice time but held off until the 1.0...

    I've been playing Black Mesa.

    I've always loved Half-Life, the whole series. I played an earlier pre-Xen version of Black Mesa a couple of years ago and had a nice time but held off until the 1.0 release. And now it is upon us.

    And let's get straight to the point: Black Mesa is the definitive version of Half-Life now.

    I replayed the original game right before Black Mesa to refresh myself on the game, all its levels, its gameplay, its design, everything. It holds up, it's still a great game. I enjoyed my time through it, and I was reminded about things that I'd forgotten because they don't hold up with the rest of the game: some odd design decisions, some levels feeling like filler, the general 90's era arena movement lending to accidental skips and shortcuts. If there was one way to summarize my playthrough of Half-Life 22 years later, it's that it's not quite what I remember it being but it holds up very well.

    Black Mesa, on the other hand, is how I remembered Half-Life. Every room, every scripted moment, dialogue, and fight is back as I remember but modernized. It doesn't have any of the issues I didn't remember either. I remember it was a big deal that Half-Life had more realistic item placement around its world but when replaying it, there were still plenty of things that were in odd places—I found a health recharge station in the middle of a room in a fridge with no other clear purpose. The station is still there in Black Mesa, but they fixed up the design of the room to have it make more sense. It's not a fridge anymore, it's a staging area for entering into the cooling facility now.

    Black Mesa is filled with improvements. Not just changes, there's no change for change's sake here. Everything they've changed from the original game is for the purpose of improving something for the purpose of making it into the Half-Life you remember. The biggest, and possibly most controversial, change is the simplifying of the On A Rail level which was a fairly basic, if annoying, maze of trams and areas to shoot enemies. Even on replay it felt like filler but there were a lot of firefights that perhaps people enjoyed. Who knows. But if you want it back, then it's available as an add-on.

    The other major change is a rebalance to the MP5/assault rifle to bring it down to 30 rounds in the magazine. Even when replaying Half-Life, 50 bullets felt like far too much per magazine and made a lot of fights a bit trivial. Bringing it down to a more standard and realistic amount really improves its fit into the game. This goes hand-in-hand with changes of certain enemies, notably theAlien Grunts. I had honestly forgotten about these guys, they're just not very interesting in the original but they're everywhere. They stand out a loot because they simply don't look interesting, and don't fight particularly interestingly either. Effectively, they're bullet sponges that are littered around the original game for some rather blase challenge. Black Mesa puts these guys to much better use by giving them less health, but more damage, and actually creating a ramp of tension until they show up. It's very well done.

    Otherwise, the most significant change is the movement. The original Half-Life was built on top of a modified Quake engine so its movement was rather fast and loose. It's not like it was overly glidey or out of control but having arcadey arena movement in what's supposed to be a realistic environement sometimes felt at odds. During one of the big diagonal elevator sequences, for example, it's entirely possible to slide down yourself as long as you brake before you hit the floor thus avoiding the scripted fight entirely. Or you can manipulate the jumping to get over barriers instead of completing the puzzle required (which I did by accident on a few occasions). With Black Mesa, the Source engine is at the base so it uses the more realistic movement of HL2 instead of the Quake-style movement of the Goldsrc engine. It doesn't really make that much of a difference but it does minimize the risk of tonal incongruity.

    One thing that did surprise me is the gunplay. Black Mesa has the best gunplay in the entire Half-Life series. The guns all feel and sound amazing, and they seem to have incorporate Counter-Strike's recoil mechanics into it. The result is that I actually missed the cut content from On A Rail because I would have liked to have shoot more things, heh. But really, it's excellent. I look forward to fights in Black Mesa, which isn't something I normally feel in most campaign FPS games. Black Mesa even added in fun new animations when you first get a weapon, all of which are tonally appropriate for Half-Life.

    Speaking of tones, because I've mentioned it twice now, Black Mesa is a remake. One of the biggest issues it seems a lot of AAA remakes have had recently is maintaining the tone and feel of the original game, most recently the Halo CE Anniversary edition changes have been in the spotlight again for its tonal changes to Bugie's original designs. Black Mesa, infamously, is a 15 year long fan remake made as a labour of love. And what a pure love it is, the game has felt like Half-Life all the way through. Again, all my memories of Half-Life are present in Black Mesa, with a lot of the issues smoothed over into something more refined. Certain paths of the first game which were a bit harder to discern have had the HL2 signposting design treatment to guide you better. The ridiculous sensitive fall damage theshold has been scaled down to more reasonable levels. Some puzzles and pathways that were on the more grating side have either been fixed or glossed over entirely. Areas have been redesigned to be more believeable and realistic, while still somehow maintaining the sound and feel of what Half-Life was going for.

    The scripted sequences throughout the game benefit a lot from this as well, especially later in the game where shit is hitting the fan even more between the military and the invading aliens. Some of the action set pieces later in the game are jaw-droppingly good, a much more visceral and fulfilling experience than the facsimiles from the original game have held up. And, honestly, a lot of it has to do with the graphics.

    Part of it has to do with the sense of scale. As good as Half-Life's graphics and art style are, there's no getting over how blocky everything in that engine was. It's almost Minecraft-esque in comparison. With Black Mesa's high resolution models and assets, the scale feels more real. When a Combine manta ray drop ship thing lightning bombs a convoy of soliders and tanks, it pulls your stomach in ways the original game simply cannot—or at least couldn't since 1998 when that was the best looking graphics at the time. And it's not like Half-Life's graphics were bad, especially not with some of the high-def content packs applied, but when you've been looking at more and more realistic graphics over time, some things of course begin to deteriorate.

    One thing that especially stands out is the lightning effects. You may not realize this but Half-Life specifically uses the lightning type effect a lot throughout the game and it doesn't hold up pretty well. Post-processing wasn't really existent in 1998, not like we have it now, so the effects of putting the initial lab accident or the Vortigaunt attacks don't hold up well. But in Black Mesa, they look phenomenal. I love fighting the Vortigaunts in Black Mesa just because their attack looks genuinely terrifying now, as terrifying as they did back in 1998. A lot about Black Mesa in 2020 makes me feel the way Half-Life made me feel in 1998.

    And then there's Xen. Widely reviled as the worst part of the original game, I found it held up better on a replay. Perhaps it was worse than everyone remembered but it still was a step down from the rest of the game. It felt somewhat unfinished and disjointed, not so much a fully realized alien world or biome so much as it was a suggestion of one. But Black Mesa's Xen is incredible. A full realized alien world that fits into the story a lot better. Those random bodies you'd find around Xen in the original make a lot more sense when there are also outposts and structures in place showing that they had been exploring this for a while, long before the accident you were involved in. Xen also feels so much more vibrant and alive, resting somewhere between Annihilation and Avatar in terms of style. The Xen update really is everything one could have possibly hoped for, and then some.

    If you've never played the original Half-Life before, that's fine. You can start with Black Mesa because it is pretty much the Half-Life that everyone loved and remembered, modernized and remade in what may just be the new gold standard of video game remakes.

    I will say, though, that I'm not the biggest fan of the music in Black Mesa. There's a distinct style to the Half-Life series music that wasn't captured here, but there are a couple of standout tracks regardless.

    EDIT: I should really add that Black Mesa is a very good game by today's standards. It proves the timelessness of Half-Life's design when given a modern facelift and revision of mechanics and level design. With Xen fully realized as it is here, this is a complete package that should be considered part of the overall Half-Life canon. This is a better game than some of the official Half-Life entries. I fully anticipate articles in the future arguing that of the two March Half-Life games released, this one may be the better one.

    21 votes
    1. 2c13b71452
      Link Parent
      I bought this a couple of years ago but patiently waited for the final release before playing it. It was totally worth the wait! The new levels look amazing and I’m kind of sad that I’m getting...

      I bought this a couple of years ago but patiently waited for the final release before playing it. It was totally worth the wait! The new levels look amazing and I’m kind of sad that I’m getting close to the end.

      7 votes
    2. Ember
      Link Parent
      I haven't got past the Gonarch fight yet, but totally agree. Xen's beauty blew me away when it first loaded. They put so much care into it. There's so many really alien pockets of really...

      I haven't got past the Gonarch fight yet, but totally agree. Xen's beauty blew me away when it first loaded. They put so much care into it. There's so many really alien pockets of really interesting intrigue. I adore the part with the zombified HEV scientists in the research base; it was so unexpected and different from the rest of the Xen ambiance... and then there's the water segments and the weird plant things... I'm so happy to see it come to fruition, just as Half Life is in the spot light again with Alyx's imminent releases.

      4 votes
  2. [3]
    Fal
    Link
    I started playing Rimworld after a friend recommended it to me. It's been a fun experience so far, if somewhat macabre at times. With my school shutting down, I've had a lot of time to sink into...

    I started playing Rimworld after a friend recommended it to me. It's been a fun experience so far, if somewhat macabre at times. With my school shutting down, I've had a lot of time to sink into the game, and I was able to put together a small base before getting starved to death by toxic fallout. It seems like it has a lot of replayability, and I haven't even started looking at what mods there are.

    9 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Avoid going down that rabbit hole for as long as you can, IMO. There are some really fantastic Rimworld mods out there, many of which are huge quality of life improvements, but much like Skyrim,...

      I haven't even started looking at what mods there are.

      Avoid going down that rabbit hole for as long as you can, IMO. There are some really fantastic Rimworld mods out there, many of which are huge quality of life improvements, but much like Skyrim, at a certain point I found myself spending far more time tinkering with mods than actually playing the game. :P

      7 votes
    2. MrEprize
      Link Parent
      I just bought the Royalty DLC after playing for almost 2 years. Not a big fan of pay DLC but Rimworld is worth it. Be sure to check the Ludeon Forums for some interesting mods not posted in the...

      I just bought the Royalty DLC after playing for almost 2 years. Not a big fan of pay DLC but Rimworld is worth it.
      Be sure to check the Ludeon Forums for some interesting mods not posted in the Steam Workshop.

      3 votes
  3. Grawlix
    Link
    Crusader Kings 2! I got the itch to play it again, and went waaay down the rabbit hole. Ended up buying some DLC at full price, which I usually never do with games, but I know I'm going to get my...

    Crusader Kings 2! I got the itch to play it again, and went waaay down the rabbit hole. Ended up buying some DLC at full price, which I usually never do with games, but I know I'm going to get my money's worth with this game.

    For those who don't know, it's basically a grand strategy game mixed with a role-playing game, where you play a dynasty, one heir after another, from succession to death. It also scratches a bit of the roguelike itch for me, since it does reward skill and experience, but with random elements to deal with that can sometimes just fuck with you. Sometimes your character will just get killed in a battle, or you get assassinated via poison snake because you didn't think it was a big deal that your bed was hissing, or some HERETICS set up in your realm and spawn huge units to fuck up your entire realm. It's great!

    There's no explicit win condition (which by some snooty definitions makes it not really a game per se), but it's a wide and deep sandbox where you can play around and try different things. Want to start as a count or a duke and work your way up? Sure. Want to start as an empire? That works, too. Want to play as a subordinate and work your way towards overthrowing the monarch, or maybe fold your dynasty into theirs? Go for it!

    It's also one of the few games where you can really be a power-user. Aside from the fact that there's just... a lot going on, you get a TON of options at the beginning of the game to tailor it your liking. That includes stuff for all games (whether or not supernatural events will happen, if you want to enable gender equality globally, if you want to make vassal or personal demesne limits unlimited or more restricted, etc), options for DLC beyond turning the entire thing on and off, and mods can also take advantage in-game (and there's a LOT of mod support).

    The catch is that the depth and flexibility of the game comes at the cost of a hard learning curve. Despite being generally considered one of the more accessible grand strategy games by its publisher, it's still notoriously hard to get into. I wouldn't even necessarily call it a "love it or hate it" game so much as a "love it or it's not even on your RADAR."

    Anyway, sometime between when I last played it and when I started up again, it went free to play! So go give it a try, futz around for a while, and see if it's your jam. If you don't get out of it what you're putting into it, you can just delete it. :p

    9 votes
  4. balooga
    Link
    Just picked up Shadow of the Colossus Remastered yesterday, it's free on PS+ this month. I haven't played since PS2. The remaster looks fantastic, I'm frankly stunned at all the visual...

    Just picked up Shadow of the Colossus Remastered yesterday, it's free on PS+ this month. I haven't played since PS2. The remaster looks fantastic, I'm frankly stunned at all the visual improvements. Of course the game is still a masterpiece. The controls feel a little clunky after I've gotten used to so many newer titles that feature climbing/parkour in more streamlined ways.

    So far I've only taken down the first colossus but I'm excited to play through the whole game again after all these years. I highly recommend it for anybody who has never played it before, and you can't beat the price.

    6 votes
  5. [4]
    Icarus
    Link
    Been playing: Mount and Blade: Warband - Building out my economy early and quickly so I can maintain a large army with minimal cost Clone Drone in the Danger Zone - this is a pleasant fun little...

    Been playing:

    • Mount and Blade: Warband - Building out my economy early and quickly so I can maintain a large army with minimal cost

    • Clone Drone in the Danger Zone - this is a pleasant fun little title I picked up on Steam recently that I have been enjoying. I don't care for the pvp but the different co-op challenges have been a blast

    • Pokemon Renegade Platinum - this rom hack is so hard. I am 10 hours in and still only have 2 badges. But this is my ideal pokemon game as every battle you have to play competitively and strategically. I'm also trying to build out a roster of pokemon that I can leverage throughout the game so I am leveling 20+ different pokemon.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      meenit
      Link Parent
      Mount and Blade: Bannerlord will be releasing in a few days. If you thorougly enjoyed Warband, you might want to give it a shot as well. It's an upgrade in practically every way.

      Mount and Blade: Warband - Building out my economy early and quickly so I can maintain a large army with minimal cost

      Mount and Blade: Bannerlord will be releasing in a few days. If you thorougly enjoyed Warband, you might want to give it a shot as well. It's an upgrade in practically every way.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Icarus
        Link Parent
        Oh I am! Its my most anticipated game of the year alongside Microsoft Flight Simulator. My goal right now is to see a campaign to the end. I have always started Warband campaigns but never...

        Oh I am! Its my most anticipated game of the year alongside Microsoft Flight Simulator.

        My goal right now is to see a campaign to the end. I have always started Warband campaigns but never finished one out completely. Right now I am almost finished with assisting a claimant regain their throne. Once that's finished, I'm likely shelving Warband for good as I can't imagine a reason to go back when Bannerlord will have so many improvements.

        2 votes
        1. meenit
          Link Parent
          Nice! Yeah, me too. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

          Nice! Yeah, me too. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

  6. [4]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    I just finished Ori and the Will of the Wisps last night, and IMO it was every bit as good as the first game, if not better! Aesthetically, the environments were absolutely gorgeous, the music was...

    I just finished Ori and the Will of the Wisps last night, and IMO it was every bit as good as the first game, if not better!

    Aesthetically, the environments were absolutely gorgeous, the music was beautiful, the animation was fluid, and the new character design was fantastic.

    Story-wise (no spoilers), I was drawn just as deeply into it as the first, similarly fell in love with all the new characters, and also teared up and got the frisson tingles a few times throughout. And at some point I would love to discuss the ending with people too!

    Mechanically, the controls were just as tight and intuitive as the first, but they also added a bunch more movement mechanics and combat moves which made navigating the world that much more challenging (in a good way). And the level design was perfect for highlighting those new mechanics and forcing you to actually use them all too, especially during the boss battles and escapes.

    There were a few bugs here and there, e.g. the physics acting wonky got me stuck under a platform once, and I got pushed out of bounds a few times during combat and couldn't get back in-bounds... but since it was relatively painless to reload, and I didn't lose much progress when I had to, it wasn't a major impediment to my enjoyment of the game. The only exception to that was when I got shoved out of bounds near the end of a rather difficult boss battle. But TBH it was such a fun boss battle that I didn't even mind that too much either. :P

    So, yeah. Overall, I really loved it, and really enjoyed the experience, so would highly recommend people pick it up and play it... but definitely starting with the first game (Ori and the Blind Forest) if they haven't already played that one yet.

    p.s. Ori 2 is on Xbox Game Pass (for XBone and PC) right now.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I picked it up, but I haven't been in the right mental place to play it yet (you know, coronavirus anxiety and all). I'm glad to hear it's as amazing as the first.

      I picked it up, but I haven't been in the right mental place to play it yet (you know, coronavirus anxiety and all). I'm glad to hear it's as amazing as the first.

      3 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Heh, you would think I would be a nervous wreck right now given my generalized anxiety and panic disorder... but oddly enough, under actual crises all my existential and social anxiety seems to...

        Heh, you would think I would be a nervous wreck right now given my generalized anxiety and panic disorder... but oddly enough, under actual crises all my existential and social anxiety seems to completely vanish and I am cool as a cucumber. It's only when there is nothing tangible/concrete to actually worry about that I seem to start needlessly worrying and having panic attacks. :P

        Sorry to hear that you are struggling with that now though. I wouldn't wish anxiety or panic attacks on my worst enemy. :( But I think it's also totally understandable you are experiencing some anxiety now though, since being a teacher would be incredibly rough/stressful right now IMO. But speaking of anxiety, @Algernon_Asimov posted a really good article the other day about how to help mitigate Covid related fear/anxiety, that might help you out.

        4 votes
    2. culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      I've been looking forward to this since it was first announced but I remain skeptical about what seems like the greater emphasis on combat in the sequel. Does it still feel like a platformer first...

      I've been looking forward to this since it was first announced but I remain skeptical about what seems like the greater emphasis on combat in the sequel. Does it still feel like a platformer first and foremost? I thought the limited combat suited the story and character, and Sein was the perfect way to handle that. I mean, seeing Ori sword-juggle enemies just looks... off somehow.

      1 vote
  7. Wes
    Link
    Yesterday I started a "no bonfire" run of Dark Souls 2. It's a challenge run which disallows you from sitting at bonfires (but lighting them is okay). This challenge is built into the game and...

    Yesterday I started a "no bonfire" run of Dark Souls 2. It's a challenge run which disallows you from sitting at bonfires (but lighting them is okay). This challenge is built into the game and rewards a special ring upon completion.

    So far, not too bad! Weapon durability was the biggest thing but I've now unlocked a weapon that takes no durability damage. Magic isn't possible in NG because you can't attune spells, and estus is altogether pretty worthless. Thank goodness for life gems.

    Lighting bonfires still sets your checkpoints upon death so there's some route plotting involved. I'm about 2/3rds through so I'll probably finish the run later today.

    I know DS2 gets some criticism (even from me), but I still think it's a phenomenal game with unmatched attention to detail.

    6 votes
  8. [3]
    JoylessAubergine
    Link
    Slay the Spire. I beat ascension 18, 19 & 20 with Ironclad on saturday. Once i beat 18 i went through 19 and 20 in about 10 runs. The only tip is have is to avoid elites. They are brutal and will...

    Slay the Spire. I beat ascension 18, 19 & 20 with Ironclad on saturday. Once i beat 18 i went through 19 and 20 in about 10 runs. The only tip is have is to avoid elites. They are brutal and will end a run before it can get going and can easily end a run because of a poor draw. Ascension 20 was disappointingly easy. I guess once you have a deck that get through one act 3 boss defeating another is fairly easy, unless you create a high card playing deck (fuck time eater)

    After 270 hours i think i am done with Slay the Spire for the time being. Great game

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Grawlix
      Link Parent
      Did you mention that game in a previous thread? I only picked it up because I saw it mentioned before on Tildes, and I think it was on sale at the time. I had a blast. :) Still not very far...

      Did you mention that game in a previous thread? I only picked it up because I saw it mentioned before on Tildes, and I think it was on sale at the time. I had a blast. :)

      Still not very far because I got sidetracked, though.

      5 votes
      1. JoylessAubergine
        Link Parent
        Yeah last week i was stuck on Ascension 18 for a couple of weeks and was hate-playing the game. There are a few of us who play Slay the Spire so it might not have been my recommendation but its...

        Yeah last week i was stuck on Ascension 18 for a couple of weeks and was hate-playing the game. There are a few of us who play Slay the Spire so it might not have been my recommendation but its definitely a game worth playing.

        5 votes
  9. [4]
    emnii
    Link
    I bought Borderlands 3 because, despite knowing I'll drop it for Doom Eternal by the end of the week, I was bored. And the deal on Steam was rather good. BL3 is almost exactly like Borderlands 2,...

    I bought Borderlands 3 because, despite knowing I'll drop it for Doom Eternal by the end of the week, I was bored. And the deal on Steam was rather good.

    BL3 is almost exactly like Borderlands 2, except they added the buttstomp from The Pre-Sequel. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense because it doesn't take place on a low-gravity moon, but whatever.

    The inventory is kind of a nightmare. I don't remember it being this bad in BL2 but comparing what you have in your hands to what's in your inventory is too painful. They did add a simple "gear score" to every item, but it's the same problem; not easy or quick enough to compare gear scores without doing it in your own head.

    The early guns suck ass. I'm nearly 10 hours in and I'm starting to get guns I want to use. I'm not just talking about rare guns, but guns that feel effective. The first few shotguns I got felt absolutely pitiful. Emptying a magazine into an enemy at point blank range with a shotgun shouldn't result in an enemy still standing, but it happened a lot.

    But, despite my complaints, it's still Borderlands and it's enjoyable enough to keep playing. Until Doom Eternal is available.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I haven't played BL3 myself so I can't confirm or deny it personally, but I remember Shamus Young complaining a lot about the "gear scores" not even being a reliable way to tell what was better...

      I haven't played BL3 myself so I can't confirm or deny it personally, but I remember Shamus Young complaining a lot about the "gear scores" not even being a reliable way to tell what was better (specifically see the section titled "3) Maybe we can’t trust the claims the game makes about weapon power?").

      5 votes
      1. spctrvl
        Link Parent
        I think gear scores were probably a dumb idea from the outset. While I'm not too far in to Borderlands 3, in Borderlands 2, it was unreliable at best to directly compare guns on stats, it was all...

        I think gear scores were probably a dumb idea from the outset. While I'm not too far in to Borderlands 3, in Borderlands 2, it was unreliable at best to directly compare guns on stats, it was all about special effects and synergies with other gear and your build. Like, the fibber was a mediocre gun, unless you got the version with the right prefix that duplicated shots and paired it with the Bee, which made it a game breaking gun. Ditto the Unkempt Harold. And the Grog Nozzle was only useful for its quest, unless you put it on Salvador, then he became unkillable.

        Really the thing I wish they'd done instead of gear scores is to not obfuscate what the guns with special effects actually do. I get some enjoyment out of playing the scientist, but it gets old after a while.

        3 votes
      2. emnii
        Link Parent
        That's hilarious. The gear score thing is a bit funny but it is summarizing something like six different weapon stats, so not terribly surprising that it's inconsistent. I remember in previous...

        That's hilarious.

        The gear score thing is a bit funny but it is summarizing something like six different weapon stats, so not terribly surprising that it's inconsistent. I remember in previous games, if a new gun had better stats in something like 3+ areas, I'd switch to the new one. But I wouldn't toss the old gun, just in case I had to roll back or needed it for elemental damage. The same is true here but I'm only comparing gear score.

        I don't think I've been bitten by a bad gear score yet, but I experienced the Jakobs phenomena. They're definitely powerful. The issue with Jakobs guns is that they're universally low ammo count magazines and iron sights. But if you're shooting from the hip anyway, their only detractor is the constant need to reload. Maybe Gearbox had a hard time accounting for that in gear scores and undersold them? At one point, I was either out of ammo or using the wrong element and switched to a Jakobs gun with a lower gear score. It did the job really well, but the constant reloading drove me nuts. Big fat Dahl magazines, please.

        I finally found a shotgun that works as advertised. It's a Tediore.

        It's also funny because he's very unhappy about Skywell-27, which is the area of the game I just entered. In fact, the whole span between Lectra City -> Athenas -> Skywell-27 is pretty much all linear manshoots. Lectra City is the least linear of them, but it's absolutely a slog.

        Oh well. If Skywell-27 sucks, I'm only two days away from Doom saving me.

        3 votes
  10. nothis
    Link
    I'm a little late to the party but I picked up Fire Emblem: Three Houses and I'm hooked! It's super "anime", but fortunately, there's great variety in personalities and characters, so that's kinda...

    I'm a little late to the party but I picked up Fire Emblem: Three Houses and I'm hooked! It's super "anime", but fortunately, there's great variety in personalities and characters, so that's kinda a plus. The mix of RPG elements and turn-based strategy works well for me and I had some pretty cool moments of tricking enemies or mastering a particularly rough sequence of turns by using abilities smartly. It really gives you a lot of choices.

    The graphics are awful, though. Like, holy hell, it looks 2 generations behind (but to be fair, they put a lot of work into modeling each character's individual strand of hair).

    5 votes
  11. cwagner
    Link
    I played around 4 hours of Wasteland 3 beta (not steam EA, backer beta) yesterday. 5 crashes in that time, a few UI annoyances and squad-members really love to walk into traps. On the pro side:...

    I played around 4 hours of Wasteland 3 beta (not steam EA, backer beta) yesterday. 5 crashes in that time, a few UI annoyances and squad-members really love to walk into traps.

    On the pro side: Awesome character creation, gorgeous graphics, combat is much more fun than in WL2.

    I think once it’s done it will be a great game. Not as great as my utterly beloved Pathfinder: Kingmaker, but still amazing.

    5 votes
  12. [4]
    Bullmaestro
    (edited )
    Link
    Still playing League of Legends actively on the EUW server, getting in about 5 - 10 games a day. I've damn near lost my mind with the player base at this point. In the past week alone I've...

    Still playing League of Legends actively on the EUW server, getting in about 5 - 10 games a day. I've damn near lost my mind with the player base at this point.

    In the past week alone I've witnessed players on both teams in my games:

    • Abandoning the bottom lane entirely to go steal farm from mid or top. In the case of supports this absolutely fucks over the ADC because it leaves them heavily vulnerable to ganks. In the case of ADCs this fucks over the support player's gold income and makes their wards come out far later on income items like Spellthief's Edge or Relic Shield.
    • Constantly calling other players idiots.
    • AFKing in base.
    • Repeatedly running down mid into tower and going 0/17.
    • Wishing that others die of coronavirus.
    • Wishing that others die of cancer.
    • Wishing death upon loved ones.
    • Throwing around hate speech.
    • Troll picking a champion and stealing another player's role entirely because "i wanna mid wah wah."
    • Dodging queue because of a bad champion pick. I've seen more draft dodging in League than in America during the Vietnam War.
    • Tanks who have no business doing so split pushing like wannabe pro ADCs only to get absolutely creamed the moment they venture near an enemy tower, all while their teammates are already dead from having gone 4v5 into a team fight without a tank.

    Reporting players does nothing because Riot's report system is entirely automated. Players are not flagged unless they have loads of reports against them, and even then the system automatically bans them without any investigation whatsoever. Riot claims this is false but I've been playing the game semi-actively again for a few months now, report on average 2 players per match and have only received the Instant Feedback Notification advising me that my reports did something once in those few months of play.

    Honestly wouldn't be shocked if I get the banhammer in lieu of these people, because I like to play oddball champions that draw the ire of my teammates because they're "not meta" (think Teemo Jungle, Pantheon Support or Heimerdinger Support) and draw out false reports from teammates regularly. I already had a 25 game chat restriction a few months ago where the worst I typed was incredibly tame compared to the behaviour listed above. Appeal rejected by Riot because it was my fault for arguing with players rather than just muting/reporting and moving on.

    I understandably have zero faith that Riot care about combatting toxicity, considering they have an awful company bro-culture themselves where senior management think it's okay to sexually harass, discriminate by gender, ball-tap, etc.

    I've had two promo series into Iron I ruined because of morons like the ones depicted above. When pro gamers claim that elo hell doesn't exist, I invite them to go into low elo on EUW on a 200 game Iron ranked account and witness the absolute epitome of human stupidity, sabotage and toxicity it really is.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      Bal
      Link Parent
      Is this a bad time to try to lure you over to Dota?

      Is this a bad time to try to lure you over to Dota?

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Bullmaestro
        Link Parent
        There's a few things I hate about DotA, namely the absurd amount of animation delay on attack swings, which is incredibly apparent on heroes like Lina. I did try to get back into it about a year...

        There's a few things I hate about DotA, namely the absurd amount of animation delay on attack swings, which is incredibly apparent on heroes like Lina.

        I did try to get back into it about a year ago. Played two turbo made matches where I went 0/9 in lane because there was no sense of balance whatsoever, had teammates call me shit and tell me to uninstall, then uninstalled the game because holy crap what happened to it.

        I also call that game Defense of the Assholes for a reason. Game hosts were particularly massive dicks back in the Dota Allstars days, especially if you underperformed in a match or went something off meta. Most notable memory was being added to a global banlist and being told to kill myself via abusive PMs by the game host for building Mekanism on Dragon Knight in an -apem match.

        2 votes
        1. Bal
          Link Parent
          I won't lie, all competitive games can be pretty toxic and Dota is no exception. I do think they handle it better than most with the Behavior Score system - it doesn't really make a difference at...

          I won't lie, all competitive games can be pretty toxic and Dota is no exception. I do think they handle it better than most with the Behavior Score system - it doesn't really make a difference at first, but after a dozen or so games if you behave decently, you're pretty unlikely to get matched with toxic people.

          Get that you have negative experiences, but I do think most of the stuff you complain about in LoL isn't as much of a thing here.

          4 votes
  13. [2]
    kfwyre
    Link
    I'm not normally an anxious person but this whole global pandemic situation has made me deeply uneasy in a way that I've never really felt before. It's giving me a lot of perspective on people...

    I'm not normally an anxious person but this whole global pandemic situation has made me deeply uneasy in a way that I've never really felt before. It's giving me a lot of perspective on people with anxiety disorders, for example, as I now understand the hidden weight they're carrying around with them all the time. It has impacted my game playing in that despite having surplus time (I'm at home, not working, and have been in a pre-emptive quarantine since Friday) I'm not willing to commit to any game that in any way demands something from me. I've always leaned casual in my habits, but it's so much more pronounced right now. My brain wants something mindless, grindy, and effortlessly rewarding.

    After seeing this trailer for Roundguard, I realized that Peggle was the perfect game for what I needed, and I returned to replay it for probably the 5th time in my life so far. It's the ideal "you get out more than what you put in" game and is the perfect backdrop for audiobooks.

    After that, I went ahead and bought Roundguard, which is essentially just Peggle with stats. The game mechanics encourage a bit more thoughtfulness in play, and there are higher stakes since there's permadeath at the end of the run (rather than just restarting a level), but it's ultimately still a bouncy, arcade, directed-RNG experience, which is again, exactly what I wanted. I described it to my husband as "if Slay the Spire were Peggle instead" which is about the best way I can capture it. If anyone's considering running it on Linux, it worked fine once with Proton 5.0-4 and then started crashing on boot each time (which has never happened to me before). I had to roll it back to 4.11-13 to get it to work consistently.

    I also tried out Cat Quest which is a mindless, grindy RPG. The aesthetics of the game were great, and the gameplay reminded me, of all things, of an old indie game called DeathSpank. The game is almost entirely a series of quests of go here, kill things, go back. Its combat system is good, but on the whole the game is repetitive. I was around level 30 when I stopped, and it was clear I was going to continue doing the same things over and over again to get to 99. Nevertheless, it's polished and cute.

    Prior to the anxiety-shutdown of my brain, I played through a quick puzzle game called Access Denied. If you're familiar with The Room, it's very similar to that. There are a series of puzzle boxes that you have to figure out how to open using experimentation, attention to detail, and lateral thinking. The early boxes are quite easy, and I think it would be great for younger audiences, though the difficulty ramps up toward the end. I didn't love it, and I think The Room is much more polished, but the game is good for what it is and I'd recommend it to anyone wanting a quick and not too challenging headscratcher.

    Finally, I also tried out My Friend Pedro and Etherborn from this months Humble Choice. I can see why people like My Friend Pedro as it's essentially a DIY bullet-time gun ballet. I can also see how, if you learn to master it, it's really gratifying, but I wasn't in a place where I was willing to put in the effort to get over its (fairly minimal) skill floor. Etherborn was a neat perspective-shifting 3D exploration game. It's good for what it is, but after about an hour I wasn't having fun with it anymore, so I put it aside as well.

    4 votes
    1. Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Some other suggestions for kinda-grindy-kinda-mindless games that might be good: Tower defense - I started playing Kingdom Rush a little, which seems really good. There are lots of other great...

      Some other suggestions for kinda-grindy-kinda-mindless games that might be good:

      • Tower defense - I started playing Kingdom Rush a little, which seems really good. There are lots of other great ones too like Defense Grid, GemCraft, Defender's Quest.
      • Cook, Serve, Delicious - might be a bit painful to see all the delicious-looking food that we don't have easy access to right now, but great games. The third one's in Early Access and is already looking like it will be the best in the series.
      • One Finger Death Punch 2 - very mindless, but fun, and a ton of levels to go through.
      • Try out pinball! I love pinball, and getting better at a particular table can be really rewarding. Pinball FX3 is my favorite, and has a couple of tables you can play for free. Buying new tables is pretty affordable in general too, especially if you get them on sale.
      4 votes
  14. joplin
    Link
    I mentioned last week that I was playing through Stranded Sails on AppleArcade. When I first picked it up, it was kind of hokey and not very interesting and I stopped playing. But having picked it...

    I mentioned last week that I was playing through Stranded Sails on AppleArcade. When I first picked it up, it was kind of hokey and not very interesting and I stopped playing. But having picked it up again, I'm really enjoying it. There are still long stretches of tedious walking or rowing from one part of an island to another. But there's something there when you get there. The world is quite a bit bigger than it first appears and the story is actually kind of interesting. The dialog is terrible and the other characters one dimensional, but it doesn't really hurt the game play too much. I would not have expected to like this as much as I do.

    I've also been playing Sneaky Sasquatch. It's not a real tough game - it's just silly fun. Worth a play if you're looking for something to do.

    4 votes
  15. [3]
    krg
    Link
    I started playing Call of Duty: Warzone after having issues with getting it running via the Battle.net launcher. I cleared caches, uninstalled, reinstalled, etc.. and nothing seemed to really work...

    I started playing Call of Duty: Warzone after having issues with getting it running via the Battle.net launcher. I cleared caches, uninstalled, reinstalled, etc.. and nothing seemed to really work until I downloaded Hearthstone to rule out an issue with Battle.net itself. Hearthstone ran without any difficulty, and when I subsequently tried Call of Duty: Warzone it loaded up. Go figure.

    Anyhow, I find these shooters to be good adrenaline dumps and don't require much commitment from me. Though, I think I prefer Apex Legends gameplay and community, so far.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Sounds like it was probably a dependency issue, if it suddenly started working after installing another game. Whenever I am having trouble launching a game, one of the first things I do (after...

      Sounds like it was probably a dependency issue, if it suddenly started working after installing another game. Whenever I am having trouble launching a game, one of the first things I do (after verifying the integrity of the game cache) is go to the game install directory and look around for any dependency installers (e.g. vcredist, dxsetup, etc) and run those again. 60% of the time it works every time.

      3 votes
      1. krg
        Link Parent
        So, I just started experiencing the problem again and I think the issue had to do with MacType running in the background.

        So, I just started experiencing the problem again and I think the issue had to do with MacType running in the background.

        3 votes
  16. [2]
    Ember
    Link
    Just booted up Stellaris again. Every time it gets a major release, I try another campaign or two. I love how it feels like there's so much content left to discover... whether it's text quests or...

    Just booted up Stellaris again. Every time it gets a major release, I try another campaign or two. I love how it feels like there's so much content left to discover... whether it's text quests or fleet strategies or interesting artifacts...

    4 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I have been thinking about diving into Stellaris again too, but how is the AI since the big 2.6 rework? The reason I ask is because last time I tried to get into Stellaris again was during the...

      I have been thinking about diving into Stellaris again too, but how is the AI since the big 2.6 rework? The reason I ask is because last time I tried to get into Stellaris again was during the total shitshow that followed the 2.2 megacorp update, where virtually every AI civilization would completely collapse on its own shortly after starting. And that horrible experience pretty much killed all my interest in playing again until Paradox finally got its shit together when it came to their AI programming. :(

      4 votes
  17. asoftbird
    Link
    Though l've not actually been playing the games yet, l rekindled my interest in the Myst games. Yesterday l found myself reading the lore novels with the Myst II: Riven soundtrack playing in the...

    Though l've not actually been playing the games yet, l rekindled my interest in the Myst games. Yesterday l found myself reading the lore novels with the Myst II: Riven soundtrack playing in the background. I think l'll start with either a Uru or a Myst V playthrough.

    The lore book was released after Myst II iirc, and it adds so, so much to the story and overall experience. If you like the games but haven't read the novels yet, l highly recommend it.

    3 votes
  18. ThyMrMan
    Link
    Been playing Division 2, and I think I've reached the point that it is getting boring for me. Which has ended up being the 60ish hour mark. I can still enjoy just running around shooting people,...

    Been playing Division 2, and I think I've reached the point that it is getting boring for me. Which has ended up being the 60ish hour mark. I can still enjoy just running around shooting people, but the gameplay loop has gotten tired. At the moment I'm in World Tier 3, and my main issue is the lack of any story or feeling of getting something accomplished. Control Points flip so quickly I can't keep it on my side for more than 10min. Which for me ruins the idea that I'm accomplishing something in this game, what is the point of having various bases and supporting this good guy group if nothing I do sticks. IDK, feel like I'm just hitting that issue I have commonly with these long lasting games that don't really have a story. I lose motivation to keep playing because just taking the same bases and killing the same goons gets boring without something to convince me I'm actually accomplishing something. And just seeing higher numbers isn't good enough for me.

    Also the difficulty gets a bit silly quickly. On higher difficulties taking down a yellow boss can take a good 3+ minutes and all your bullets. Which just gets super boring and tiring, just moving between cover and shooting at the same target forever. Even basic red enemies can take a full clip at times for no reason.


    Started playing Persona 3 FES again, but to continue playing this time I have decided to just pull up the guides. And I'm enjoying it much more to be able to look at the guide and know what skills to use on what enemies, or when I need to visit whom to get the item needed for another quest. Though one thing I don't have a clue how I would have dealt with when the game came out originally is the time between saves. Just had a play session when I had a full 2 hours between possible saves which is just insane.

    3 votes
  19. est
    Link
    been playing Black Desert. Liked the character design and action combat. Life must grind on.

    been playing Black Desert. Liked the character design and action combat. Life must grind on.

    3 votes
  20. vegai
    Link
    I've been playing Endless Space 2. It's a pretty nice 4X space strategy game.

    I've been playing Endless Space 2. It's a pretty nice 4X space strategy game.

    2 votes
  21. joplin
    Link
    I tried out Spyder on AppleArcade. It looks like a really cool game. Nice graphics, interesting concept, but the controls on the phone are just bonkers. Half the time they don't work at all – like...

    I tried out Spyder on AppleArcade. It looks like a really cool game. Nice graphics, interesting concept, but the controls on the phone are just bonkers. Half the time they don't work at all – like they literally don't respond. When they do work, they're directional. You move up to go forward, down to go back, etc. The problem is that as your characters moves over the edge of an object, the camera swings around to give you a better view, and suddenly "forward" is no longer the direction the character is facing, but instead the direction the camera is facing, which is the opposite direction it was facing a second ago. So you if you aren't really quick to take your finger off the screen, you suddenly start walking back the way you came. You can easily end up going in circles without meaning to.

    1 vote