18 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.

40 comments

  1. Icarus
    Link
    Valheim Since setting up the Tildes community server last week, I have been spending my time on it exclusively. We have a small village set up where we have made great progress putting a wall...
    • Exemplary

    Valheim

    Since setting up the Tildes community server last week, I have been spending my time on it exclusively. We have a small village set up where we have made great progress putting a wall around the houses, setting up a dock, and getting started with portals. I have really enjoyed seeing the progress that has been made by others each time I log on. It has also been fun to stumble upon camps set up by users that I haven't met yet. With that said, if you have been playing on the community server, feel free to join us in the village! We can expand our boundaries to accommodate new people coming along. I've been pretty blown away by the amount of activity on the server. The most I have seen so far is 8(!) people online at one time while at a minimum there seems to always be one player online.

    So far I have only faced one boss out of a possible 5(?). We should be ready to take on the second boss soon with enough people. My goals right now in the game are to continue to explore. I made my way pretty far away from the home base last night and had to set up a temporary camp at a base of a mountain, adjacent to a swamp biome. I would like to soon get the gear required to traverse the mountain biome without freezing. The other key exploration objective is to uncover more dungeons so we can get the materials needed to build more portals.

    For the people I haven't met and spoken with in-game, my Valheim name is Jorrek.

    12 votes
  2. [7]
    TheJorro
    Link
    I finished up Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order yesterday. It's one of the most interesting games I've played recently due to how it mashes so many things together. It's my favourite kind of video...
    • Exemplary

    I finished up Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order yesterday. It's one of the most interesting games I've played recently due to how it mashes so many things together. It's my favourite kind of video game: a 7/10 one. A game where what makes it so good isn't self-evident, one that tries to do a number of unique and interesting things but doesn't always succeed, and one that doesn't have universal appeal. It's a game that is within arms reach of greatness but is held back by other factors, but should those factors be cleared out of the way then it could usher in some changes to industry trends. Finally, it's a Star Wars video game so there's a truckload of baggage that comes chained to it, which always throws a wrench into the mix.

    Primarily, this game has an excellent concept. A Metroidvania-style approach to Star Wars across multiple planets allows for non-linear environments in a franchise that has a lot of potential for creating new and unique worlds, without the large tradeoffs of open world games or the constriction of linear A to B hallways. It allows the player to taste and explore the world at their leisure, finding more each time, and learning how the different planets can be traversed. The idea that slowly re-learning Force abilities opens up new pathways adds to this quite a bit, as it gives some extra meaning to these abilities beyond more ways to attack an enemy. Shoring this up, they went with a Soulsborne style combat system where learning and responding to enemies is the key to combat, not learning the timing of your own moves and executing it no matter what enemy is in front of you. Previous Star Wars titles have had a traditional approach to lightsaber combat, which I never found translates well in terms of the skill and precision apparently required to wield them. By changing the conscious priorities of combat for the player, while allowing the enemies to keep the same rote combat style, it opens up that sentiment quite a lot.

    With this concept, behind a team like Respawn, it's easy to say that it would end up decent at the very least. They've proven quite a few times they can build out interesting games with solid mechanics, with all that AAA polish one would hope for. Indeed the hardest part about this concept is the Souleborne combat (specifically, Sekiro's variant). That is not at all an easy combat system to take on, there are very, very few Soulsborne-type games that match the quality of the games. I'd even go so far as saying Dark Souls 2 doesn't either, and it's in that series. It's taken me close to a decade to wrap my head around that entire style of gameplay to figure out why it works so well in those games and not in many others, and even then it comes with the caveat that it's simply not for everyone. But Respawn really outdid themselves here, this is the best Soulsborne style game that isn't from Hideteki Miyazaki (note: I haven't tried Code Vein). It's not perfect at all, there's still something off about it, but they nail the overall satisfaction of the combat system.

    And fear not, this is not a difficult game. Difficulty is not as inherent to what makes Dark Souls' combat system work, no matter what many claim. Jedi Fallen Order is probably the best entry into the joys of this combat system for most people. It takes a familiar property, something many people have playacted with their friends as children or still make mouth-noises to while swinging tubes around as an adult, and gives the system the weight and feel that the movies suggest. Parrying is a big part of the gameplay just as it is in the movies, and the game is very lenient with it. For example: parrying Stormtrooper blasters is a conscious act of pressing a button, performed as quickly as a reflex like the Jedi do in movies, with an extremely satisfying result that you, the player, have done. In most other SW games, you just hold block or your character does this automatically. Here, it's because you are the Jedi with great timing. Apply this to basically every single enemy and their various attacks and the game really does feel like you're a Jedi instead of someone playing as one. I experienced a lot more satisfaction with the combat of this game than The Force Unleashed or Jedi Academy, where lightsaber combat felt relatively weightless.

    Unfortunately it's not all aces. I've said before that there's something off about it overall and I think I found what it was late into my playthrough: there's animation delays on everything. Nothing happens the moment you press the button, there's always a windup. Whether it's swinging, blocking, parrying, jumping, using Force powers, dodging, or rolling, every single action in this game comes with a perceptible and annoying delay where your character has to wind up and then execute. In Miyazaki's games, there may be windup on the attacks but there are not on any of the defensive actions. It seems like Respawn got the wrong message, and applied windup on everything. Many have reported that the game feels sluggish or laggy when I looked around to see if anyone flagged an issue, and I think it's this. I realized it during a platforming puzzle when I was wondering why I wasn't doing the double jump with every attempt—this delay is constant across all inputs. It's not a showstopping problem but it is a little annoying timing to get used to. Luckily the game is fairly lenient, even on the highest difficulties, so this is mitigated somewhat. If this was present in a Dark Souls game, it would be much more catastrophic.

    On top of this, the player skill progression is pretty uninspired, and not well balanced. Most unlockable abilities require the Force to use, including the basic heavy attack for some reason, and you never quite receive enough force to make good use of many of these in a single battle, until perhaps very late into the game. Even then, Force replenishment isn't much so you actually feel disincentivized to use your Force abilities in many points in the game. The Force abilities you do unlock throughout the game wind up being extremely basic: Slow, Push, and Pull. All of these are basically standard things in most other Star Wars games where you play as Jedi, but here it's the entire point of the journey to collect these basic abilities. It makes sense within the context of the game but it winds up being a pretty unsatisfying journey of personal growth you've already experienced much more interesting Force powers over the last 25 years of Star Wars video games.

    If a sequel were to be made and these two things addressed, I think we would have a truly great game on our hands. Taking the bones of what Respawn made and then iterating on top of it to balance combat out a bit, while exploring new and exciting Force abilities beyond the very, very basic ones could create a proper Jedi experience.

    Outside of combat, the big draw to the game is exploring a handful of planets of the Star Wars universe. There's much more vertical exploration than I anticipated and it makes for some fascinating new portrayals of places like Dathomir and Kashyyk's more natural areas. It does start to come apart a bit when it also takes this same approach to structures, like Imperial bases on Kahsyyk and Zeffo, because it just seems unlikely that the Imperials would build places like this, but it's not a big deal. You still see quite a lot, and the blend of Imperial basis and natural planet environments is welcome and spectacular. You're rewarded for exploration with plenty of cosmetic lightsaber and outfit customizations that you unlock in crates, or "memories" that your character and connect with to basically fill out your Databank (this game's trivia book). They're usually well hidden, and I like the way they're presented. You hear an audio clip of what happened to leave that memory, and then you can go read about further detail if you like. It's a nice change in pace from audio logs, and the worlds are handcrafted well to never make any of them seem like a chore and a half to reach.

    Since it's a Metroidvania-style design, you can revisit planets and open up new areas by getting new Force powers and a couple of other abilities (like being able to use zip-lines backwards). The game handles this well, usually introducing you to a planet with a good chunk of content, then having you go past there and into the new areas once you have the ability to traverse further. Helping this out are many, many shortcuts that you can open up throughout the planets, that help you get around more easily. It's a good concept, one I haven't seen executed quite like this since the first Dark Souls, but I'm not sure why they skipped implementing Fast Travel. The problem comes when you want to go back to visit some planets and collect things you missed. Despite the many shortcuts, many of the paths through levels aren't exactly short. Kashyyk is especially bad about this, as it's designed kind of like a consecutive series of loops and trying to get to the last one still means running through the rest of the level. I figure they though the shortcuts were frequent enough that players could cut through levels quickly... but they can't. In fact, there's one sequence that plays an entire cutscene every time you want to go from part of of a level to another on Kashyyk. A Fast Travel system, even if unlocked at the very end of the game, is sorely missed here. Even the Souls games had fast travel, it's just not that much fun to run from one end of a map to the other unless there are multiple ways that the player can choose from.

    Lastly, the plot is fine. That's about it. It's a Star Wars story, and it's strictly controlled to the point of just being fine. It's a shame because there's so much room for these characters but the pacing is all off and there is barely any time for growth. It feels like Greez, your surly ship pilot, goes from gruff to jerk-with-a-heart-of-gold within three conversations. Cere is the character who gets the most growth but only because of her tie to the main villain of this game, who is immensely boring. I get that Star Wars started as a children's story with very clear good guys and bad guys, and a storyline about the Force, balance, and emotional control lest one fall... but it's so boring and trite now. The bad guy here is a standard Star Wars bad guy: they were a Jedi, then they got upset, now they're EVIL. Your main character has doubts, but then learns that being a responsible, level-headed person is a good thing, and is now a wise sage. Blegh.

    Star Wars plots often make me feel like they're trying to paint on a six-inch canvas with a 12" brush because there's just no room for subtlety or nuance except with the most skilled artists. We get flashes of truly good stuff with the little asides characters have during the remarkably clever loading screens between planets, but anything to do with the main plot is simply dull, regular Star Wars plot. It's a shame because this game has many spectacular scripted moments, and one of the coolest ending sequences to end a Star Wars game, but I honestly can't say I care a whit about anyone in it ultimately.

    It's a good game, and a great step forward in many ways. I just hope there's a bigger and better sequel coming down the line because it could truly step into greatness.

    8 votes
    1. [6]
      pocketry
      Link Parent
      I've been playing this too, but don't have the history with the souls games. I've tended to stay away from them because I do not have the skill or patience to enjoy those games. I only had a short...

      I've been playing this too, but don't have the history with the souls games. I've tended to stay away from them because I do not have the skill or patience to enjoy those games. I only had a short period of frustration at the beginning and it hasn't been bad since then. Thank you for this excellent write up without any spoilers.

      1 vote
      1. [5]
        TheJorro
        Link Parent
        I'd be curious if people found Sekiro more palatable after getting through JFO. The very basic gameplay is pretty much the same between the titles, they both favour parry-strike heavily. I found...

        I'd be curious if people found Sekiro more palatable after getting through JFO. The very basic gameplay is pretty much the same between the titles, they both favour parry-strike heavily. I found that game easier than the Souls games because it fit my playstyle more but I wonder about the perspective from someone who came at it the other way where they enjoyed a game like JFO and decided to go for a more involved and more challenging one.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          DrTacoMD
          Link Parent
          That's a great question, and one I hope to answer soon! I've never played a Soulsborne game before JFO, which I recently finished on Jedi Knight difficulty. I thoroughly enjoyed the...

          That's a great question, and one I hope to answer soon! I've never played a Soulsborne game before JFO, which I recently finished on Jedi Knight difficulty. I thoroughly enjoyed the moment-to-moment combat, including the parry system, and it's got me itching to finally dive into a proper Miyazaki entry. And I do have a copy of Sekiro sitting on my Xbox that I've never touched...

          1 vote
          1. TheJorro
            Link Parent
            I'm looking forward to hearing about it!

            I'm looking forward to hearing about it!

            2 votes
        2. [2]
          Good_Apollo
          Link Parent
          I’ll tell you it sucks going the other way. Sekiro —> Fallen Order. Lucky I’m such a huge Star Wars fan because the lousy attempt at Sekiro combat was just frustrating. I even played on the...

          I’ll tell you it sucks going the other way. Sekiro —> Fallen Order.

          Lucky I’m such a huge Star Wars fan because the lousy attempt at Sekiro combat was just frustrating. I even played on the highest difficulty...the game was easy but jank as hell.

          1 vote
          1. TheJorro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I know what you mean. Of course it doesn't help that Sekiro is one of the smoothest action games in recent years, so it feels like most other games have some kind of friction compared to it. The...

            I know what you mean. Of course it doesn't help that Sekiro is one of the smoothest action games in recent years, so it feels like most other games have some kind of friction compared to it. The animation delay in JFO is what I think causes the most issues here.

            I think what made me like JFO's combat overall is that it's actually possible to play aggressively and keep most enemies on the defensive instead, in a way that I haven't seen in any other Soulsborne type. It might be easier to do on the easier difficulties but the moments I pulled it off on the harder modes actually felt really good, and that much closer to what actually being good at a lightsaber means (because I still have zero idea what that means from any other Star Wars media).

            1 vote
  3. Apos
    Link
    I've been having fun with Hades. I went in with no expectations. I don't think I saw the trailer before. I'm pretty amazed at what they did. So much of the dialog flows smoothly. They managed to...

    I've been having fun with Hades. I went in with no expectations. I don't think I saw the trailer before.

    I'm pretty amazed at what they did. So much of the dialog flows smoothly. They managed to make a roguelike feel linear. Every run seems to have a purpose to advance the story. It made me interested to learn more about Greek Gods.

    I used to play League of Legends and one thing that's fun is to try to break the game with off-meta / cheese builds. I can do the same thing with Hades, different weapons scale differently with stats which enables different types of synergies. Likewise various "boons" from the Gods will scale differently with each others. Gives a lot of room for experimentation. As far as I can see, the randomness is not truly random. Their algorithm seems to do a really good job at giving what you're looking for every run.

    Overall I can see myself play this game for over 100 hours.

    11 votes
  4. [11]
    Good_Apollo
    Link
    I’ve been exclusively playing Valheim on the Tildes community server. It’s surprisingly fun and engaging, I don’t even care for Viking or Norse history or mythology and yet I’m hooked. We’ve got a...

    I’ve been exclusively playing Valheim on the Tildes community server. It’s surprisingly fun and engaging, I don’t even care for Viking or Norse history or mythology and yet I’m hooked.

    We’ve got a small village (I’ve dubbed it Tildes Town) and we seem to be making progress? It’s hard because there hasn’t been too much cooperation from what I’ve seen. More than a few people seem to have their own bases off somewhere and keep to themselves and see way ahead of everyone else.

    Outside of building my own house in the town and trying to contribute to defenses or resources I don’t really know what’s going on. Would be neat if it was more centralized and cooperative. I think we need a Discord for that though.

    8 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      If you all want/need a Discord server to voice chat in while you play the game, you are welcome to use the Unofficial Tildes Discord for that purpose. I just made a gaming voice chat channel in...

      Would be neat if it was more centralized and cooperative. I think we need a Discord for that though.

      If you all want/need a Discord server to voice chat in while you play the game, you are welcome to use the Unofficial Tildes Discord for that purpose. I just made a gaming voice chat channel in there, since that was long overdue anyway.

      cc: @Pistos and @Icarus

      6 votes
    2. [3]
      pumasocks
      Link Parent
      I just started playing on the server. I am a total noob, but I do set my location to be visible. I’m currently just hunting deer and taming boar. I set up my house outside of the Tildes village...

      I just started playing on the server. I am a total noob, but I do set my location to be visible. I’m currently just hunting deer and taming boar.

      I set up my house outside of the Tildes village because it looked mostly full. If we could expand the fence a bit, I’d be glad to move my base in there.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Pistos
        Link Parent
        I think you should feel free to break down a section of the fence and rebuild it to expand in whatever direction you want. Also, nothing wrong with just tacking on an expanded section without...

        I think you should feel free to break down a section of the fence and rebuild it to expand in whatever direction you want. Also, nothing wrong with just tacking on an expanded section without breaking it down. Just add a new gate or even just an opening to allow movement between sections.

        3 votes
        1. Good_Apollo
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I am currently expanding the wall now, if anyone would like to hop on and help. [EDIT] Finished for now, that should allow for at least 4-6 more houses depending on size, plenty of access to shore...

          I am currently expanding the wall now, if anyone would like to hop on and help.

          [EDIT] Finished for now, that should allow for at least 4-6 more houses depending on size, plenty of access to shore for boats.

          4 votes
    3. [6]
      Pistos
      Link Parent
      I have noticed and felt these things too. Earlier on, a week or so ago, there was a lot more activity in the village. You're right, though; I run into people a lot less now. I don't know if...

      It’s hard because there hasn’t been too much cooperation from what I’ve seen. More than a few people seem to have their own bases off somewhere and keep to themselves and see way ahead of everyone else.

      Outside of building my own house in the town and trying to contribute to defenses or resources I don’t really know what’s going on. Would be neat if it was more centralized and cooperative. I think we need a Discord for that though.

      I have noticed and felt these things too. Earlier on, a week or so ago, there was a lot more activity in the village. You're right, though; I run into people a lot less now. I don't know if they're not logging in much any more, or if they're active elsewhere in the game world.

      2 votes
      1. Icarus
        Link Parent
        Sorry about not logging on this week, I have been a bit busy with work and at home so I haven't had the available time that I would like to log in and play. I will most likely be playing more...

        Earlier on, a week or so ago, there was a lot more activity in the village.

        Sorry about not logging on this week, I have been a bit busy with work and at home so I haven't had the available time that I would like to log in and play. I will most likely be playing more heavily this weekend!

        4 votes
      2. [4]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I haven't logged into the Tildes server in a few days now, but I have been playing with a bunch of my close friends on their server. IMO the major reason people split up after the initial stages...

        I haven't logged into the Tildes server in a few days now, but I have been playing with a bunch of my close friends on their server. IMO the major reason people split up after the initial stages is that you're basically forced to, due to certain critical resources being very limited in quantity, only showing up in certain biomes/dungeons, and never respawning. So your starter island can get stripped clean of those pretty quickly, especially if there are lots of people playing on the same server (unless you get extremely lucky and your starter island is huge and has multiple of every biome).

        Even my tight-knit group of friends had to split up into smaller groups for quite a while too because of this, despite us being on the same discord server chatting while we played together. But the good news is that after you find enough key items/resources, unlock the related recipes, and are able to build certain things, you should all be able to group back up again like we now have.

        So when it comes to towns, built it and people will likely come back... especially if you have a bunch of smelters set up there. ;) And even if they don't, it's pretty easy to dismantle your entire base and migrate it and everything in it elsewhere, once you unlock one recipe in particular. See below if you don't care about spoilers.

        minor game mechanic spoilersOnce you unlock portals, and the faster/bigger ships then grouping up again to build portal and crafting hubs, and go boss hunting together is pretty much required, especially since the bosses difficulty scales with how many people are on the server.
        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Pistos
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I'm supposing spoiler hidden portals ought to help with the [lack of] traffic in the starter area(s), or tourism in general? As a noob, it just seems to me that I wouldn't want to abandon my first...

          I'm supposing

          spoiler hidden portals

          ought to help with the [lack of] traffic in the starter area(s), or tourism in general? As a noob, it just seems to me that I wouldn't want to abandon my first home if I had put a fair bit of time and effort building and crafting it. A little bit of Sunk Cost Fallacy going on there, perhaps...

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Might want to hide that behind a spoiler tag, since a lot of people probably don't know about that mechanic yet. continued discussion But yeah, once you get portals going, it tends to allow...

            Might want to hide that behind a spoiler tag, since a lot of people probably don't know about that mechanic yet.

            continued discussion But yeah, once you get portals going, it tends to allow everyone to group back up again, and the bigger/faster ships allow you to explore more easily too. Although fair warning, you can't transport ore or refined metals through portals, so you will also need the ships with cargo holds to bring the ore back to your main hub to refine and craft with them. And since bosses scale in difficulty depending on how many people are on the server, you eventually will need to start working as a group if you want to make progress in that department.

            p.s. I wouldn't get too attached to your first home. Once you realize how big your base eventually needs to become in order to accommodate the crafting table and all its upgrades, forge and all its upgrades, smelters, furnaces, a crops and forestry area, walls for event defence, etc. you will probably look back and laugh at how ridiculously tiny your first base/town was. ;)

            1 vote
            1. Pistos
              Link Parent
              In light of your comments, maybe we should start tailoring this first village into becoming a place to welcome new players.

              In light of your comments, maybe we should start tailoring this first village into becoming a place to welcome new players.

              1 vote
  5. [6]
    CrunchyTabasco
    Link
    I've been playing a decent bit of The Outer Wilds, and absolutely loving it. It's a game all about discovery through exploration. You're an alien astronaut on your home planet in a solar system,...

    I've been playing a decent bit of The Outer Wilds, and absolutely loving it. It's a game all about discovery through exploration. You're an alien astronaut on your home planet in a solar system, and you (the player) know almost nothing about anything. As you discover more information, your ship log automatically updates a huge web of information showing what connects to other things you've found out. I'm trying my best not to share any specifics here, as I do believe that this game is best experienced going in blind. Just know that there's no combat, and it's purely about exploring and uncovering information. There have also been some surprisingly potent emotional moments packed in there.

    8 votes
    1. CrazyOtter
      Link Parent
      It's a great game, I love the soundtrack and world designs. A game based on exploration and gathering of knowledge without blasting everything in sight is a pleasant change.

      It's a great game, I love the soundtrack and world designs.

      A game based on exploration and gathering of knowledge without blasting everything in sight is a pleasant change.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      hook
      Link Parent
      I’m looking forward to its Switch release. Is it really a 20' run every time? If so, this might make it even cooler to me :)

      I’m looking forward to its Switch release. Is it really a 20' run every time? If so, this might make it even cooler to me :)

      1 vote
      1. eladnarra
        Link Parent
        Yup! Except for the first one, which lets you explore the starting area for as long as you need.

        Yup! Except for the first one, which lets you explore the starting area for as long as you need.

        3 votes
    3. [2]
      eladnarra
      Link Parent
      I get emotional just listening to the soundtrack — not to spoil anything, but there were so many moments on my playthrough where the weight of past events suddenly hit me... But there's levity,...

      I get emotional just listening to the soundtrack — not to spoil anything, but there were so many moments on my playthrough where the weight of past events suddenly hit me... But there's levity, too. :)

      1 vote
      1. CrunchyTabasco
        Link Parent
        Absolutely-- SPOILERS I just finished exploring the inside of the Interloper in my last session, and was awed by the impact of the two Nomai explorers and the realization of what had happened.

        Absolutely--

        SPOILERS

        I just finished exploring the inside of the Interloper in my last session, and was awed by the impact of the two Nomai explorers and the realization of what had happened.

        1 vote
  6. lonjil
    Link
    Factorio is excellent. At its core it's a game about the logistics of production; the main thing you do in the game is designing the pathways and combinations of stuff that will automatically...

    Factorio is excellent. At its core it's a game about the logistics of production; the main thing you do in the game is designing the pathways and combinations of stuff that will automatically produce enough of whatever you need, typically being stuff required for the factory to grow (heh).

    4 votes
  7. Pistos
    Link
    Euro Truck Simulator 2 Here is the previous review I did last week. I've been playing even more since then. I never would have thought I'd get into a game like this, but I have. Alongside the...

    Euro Truck Simulator 2

    Here is the previous review I did last week. I've been playing even more since then. I never would have thought I'd get into a game like this, but I have. Alongside the career part of the game -- involving increasing your personal trucker stats, and growing a trucking company with hired drivers and a fleet of trucks -- just the core driving aspect of the game is enjoyable.

    See my previous review where I talk about driving large vehicles. But, since my last review, I have successfully configured ETS2 to use 3 monitors (on Linux, even!), and it's just "wow". I mean, I'd heard about using 3 monitors for driving games, but I'd only ever seen pictures of it. When you actually try it, the immersion increases significantly. With just one monitor, you have to use your mouse to swivel the camera (your "head") to look left and right, especially when at a stop sign where the perpendicular traffic has no stop sign. It can be done, but it's just extra inconvenience to have to handle both the mouse and the steering wheel at the same time. With 3 monitors, that goes away, and I can just naturally turn my head (in real life) to look left or right, to look out the side windows. Same issue with mirrors. In a single monitor setup, you can't have both side mirrors in view at the same time (at least not without having a ridiculously wide field of view configured). With 3 monitors, I can have the side mirrors in the side monitor views.

    So, with steering wheel, pedals, shifter and 3 monitors, it's just a very nice driving experience. I can look at the scenery as I travel across Europe (the mountains along the highways of Austria and Switzerland are particularly lovely), using the side windows. It's more dangerous having to swivel around with the mouse, because you get disoriented in terms of driving straight.

    Anyway, all told, even without the extra setup, ETS2 is worth getting on sale, but it's definitely worth trying if you have a steering wheel already, and can muster at least a dual monitor setup. Don't forget that there's a free demo version, so it won't cost anything to give it a shot.

    Valheim

    I joined the Tildes server (thank you, @Icarus, for generously providing that to us). At first glance, this didn't seem like the kind of game I would like. It's a bit too much on the arcadey (non-simulation?) end of the spectrum for me, but I stuck with it and gave it a chance. (Though, to be honest, I did briefly consider claiming a Steam refund -- but I had just exceeded the allowed hours window.) It's nice to be able to progress alongside other players in a cooperative, non-PvP environment. (To be clear, the game allows you to opt into PvP if you that's your thing.) As Icarus mentioned, we have a nice little village being built up, with 5+ houses and an almost complete (last I checked) stake wall along the perimeter, to help defend against the occasional monster group that spawns and attacks us. It'd probably be a heart-pounding experience to be attacked by 8+ monsters at once if playing alone, but grouping together like we are increases survival chances by a lot. That, and monsters don't seem to know how to open doors, haha.

    This game is not yet finished, but it is already very, very playable. I'm having fun constructing a nice house, and contributing to the community by helping build the village wall. There's a little bit of spoiler factor going on when I see other players with more advanced equipment, buildings, tech, etc. that are beyond my character's personal progression. You don't get to have that moment of coming across new tech yourself for the first time. And sometimes the in-game tutorial (in the form of a magical talking raven) tells you about stuff that other players have advanced to, instead of what you advanced to, and that's a little non-fun. But, that's a small thing, and this is still overall a fun game. I look forward to continuing to play and being a part of the community, and advancing together.

    4 votes
  8. novov
    Link
    Last week, I played the RPG Ikenfell1... and it's pretty good. Easily 9/10 or 10/10. I was a bit doubtful about the combat system as it had received some bad reviews, but I found it really...

    Last week, I played the RPG Ikenfell1... and it's pretty good. Easily 9/10 or 10/10.

    I was a bit doubtful about the combat system as it had received some bad reviews, but I found it really engaging, perhaps one of the best one that I've played. It's a tactical affair, taking place on an isometric grid, but also requires timed button presses for optimal defence and attack, which heavily affect the outcome. IMO, this creates a nice balance of strategic thinking and more immediate action elements - especially as the moves are really fun to use and the characters have a nice mix of them beyond standard "healer", "attack", etc. As the aforementioned reviews said, you do have to be quite aggressive about attacking most enemies so you level with them, but that wasn't an issue as I realised that early on.

    The story is great as well, though it has more twists than a mountain pass. Even though I'm very much a straight white male, it's nice to see good LGBT representation in video games beyond one or two characters (the T part is especially lacking a lot). I liked the decision to include vocals heavily in the soundtrack (done mostly by Aivi and Surasshu), which is something that more indies (aside from Supergiant) should incorporate IMO.

    1 Disclaimer: I wrote most of the Wikipedia article, as the game didn't have one.

    4 votes
  9. nothis
    Link
    Overcooked 2 had a free week on the Switch and... we kinda played it through. It's basically the same game as Overcooked 1, which is a good thing. Maybe the most intense coop experience I ever...

    Overcooked 2 had a free week on the Switch and... we kinda played it through. It's basically the same game as Overcooked 1, which is a good thing. Maybe the most intense coop experience I ever had. A word of warning: This game can put stress on relationships. There's nothing more infuriating than your partner doing something wrong you just talked about and you losing a level (rather: the 3-star rating) because of it, lol. I feel a little guilty because this is the second time I feel like I'm done with a game after the 1 week "demo" (last was Dead Cells). On the other hand, there were a few games I bought because of them. Also it's only for people paying for NSO, so I guess it's the ultra-light version of Game Pass.

    I started playing Ori: The Will of the Wisps. Hands down, the most gorgeous game I played in years. I don't know what shader magic they do to make every pixel feel so alive but it's absolutely fantastic. Gameplay feels very familiar but there's a lot of extra polish I can appreciate.

    4 votes
  10. [2]
    Grzmot
    Link
    Anno 1800 The game hits the sweet spot between endless optimization games like Factorio and pretty citybuilders. The new mechanics and time period make it a greater joy to play and it looks...

    Anno 1800

    The game hits the sweet spot between endless optimization games like Factorio and pretty citybuilders. The new mechanics and time period make it a greater joy to play and it looks beautiful. I have lost hours to this game just listening to podcasts and mindlessly expanding my empire.

    3 votes
    1. Tum
      Link Parent
      Yeah, it sucks that it's not on Steam though. Even though it is an expensive game, I feel like I'd have a greater chance of playing with friends than if it were through ubisoft; and that's a major...

      Yeah, it sucks that it's not on Steam though. Even though it is an expensive game, I feel like I'd have a greater chance of playing with friends than if it were through ubisoft; and that's a major selling point for me. My fondest memories of anno were built on getting a barely working network with my friends and playing it from dusk to dawn.

      2 votes
  11. CrazyOtter
    Link
    I saw Oxenfree mentioned here and decided to try it out. Fun game so far, simple but really weird in places, I like the way the dialogue choices work.

    I saw Oxenfree mentioned here and decided to try it out. Fun game so far, simple but really weird in places, I like the way the dialogue choices work.

    3 votes
  12. Tygrak
    Link
    I've been playing all the modern Touhou games (6 and later) for the past few weeks. I am trying to 1cc all of them on normal difficulty (beat them without using a continue). I've played most of...

    I've been playing all the modern Touhou games (6 and later) for the past few weeks. I am trying to 1cc all of them on normal difficulty (beat them without using a continue). I've played most of the games before and also beaten most of them. I remember struggling so much with the games when I first played them. Now, as I am replaying them, I basically beat every one of them within a few tries. I got all the way to Touhou 14, with the only two that were quite difficult and took me multiple days being 10 and 11. Surprisingly, 12 is known to be very hard but I beat it quite quickly even though I didn't play it before!

    Beating Touhou games always feels so rewarding, it really makes you feel like a god when you get through the game successfully. When I am done with beating all of them, if I am not yet burned out on Touhou, I kind of want to try beat all of them in a row in one day, that would be a fun challenge.

    3 votes
  13. hook
    (edited )
    Link
    I have not participated in this thread in a while, even though I have played (and finished) games in between, but today I want to talk about a game I started playing a week ago (it’s on sale now)...

    I have not participated in this thread in a while, even though I have played (and finished) games in between, but today I want to talk about a game I started playing a week ago (it’s on sale now) and have become positively obsessed with it – Winbound.

    It is an extremely satisfying survival adventure game with sailing, crafting, souls-like combat that manages to hit the balance between relaxing and intense just right. The story seems to be about a lost civilisation and its fall (but I have not finished it yet.

    I very warmly recommend it (much longer description below).

    At a first glance you might brush it off as BotW clone due to the visual style and the (optional, craftable) glider – but that would be a huge mistake.

    They do share some similarities (that even BotW took from other games before it), but the combination stands very much on its own feet.

    You need to craft everything from tools, weapons, food, ships, armour. While in BotW you could just hoard everything, here you have a limited inventory (5 slots, before you start crafting bags) and everything wears down, as well as food spoils. The combat is pretty brutal, where a larger animal can basically 2-shot (or even 1-shot) you, while most of the easier to create weapons just nibble at their health. To the point it’s comparable to a Souls-like. The story is divided into 5 chapters each of which a section of a sea with a handful of islands. So sailing can take a huge part of your time – which is great, because it’s really well implemented.

    If you ever sailed, it’s on point. Seriously, I haven’t had that much fun sailing in a game since Sid Meier’s Pirates! way back in the 90’s.

    Between chapters you have to perform a tough sailing trial through a stormy tunnel and then you learn a bit more about what happened to the world (and what is your role in all of this?). There are also additional story pieces scattered throughout the islands, if you find them.

    When you die, you either start from the very beginning of the game with just the items you held on your body (normal mode), or beginning of the chapter with much more items (easy mode) .

    Between the runs, you do keep the crafting recipes, sea shards and blessings you found though. So that is the rogue-lite element.

    Also of note is that the world is procedurally generated, so no two runs are the exact same. There are different ways you can tackle a run as well, with several achievements (e.g. vegetarian/carnivore run, achieving max speed with boat) and blessings (e.g. unbreakable spear, sneaking makes you invisible) spicing things up.

    Also apparently you can dive and explore the sea that way as well, but while I have already found that blessing, I am saving it for after I beat the game at least once :slightly_smiling_face: So far my best run was to die in chapter 4 (normal mode).
    I had the game for about a week now, and I’m pretty sure I played over 15h already (Switch does not show the number of hours yet) and I’m not going to stop any time soon.

    Oh, and it has a free sailing mode, where you have unlimited resources, no enemies, no hunger …and you just build your boat(s) and sail around in them as you please.

    In the normal game, hunger causes you to lose stamina, and once your stamina is completely depleted, it causes also your health to go down. So hunting, gathering, cooking and resource management is very much a question of survival.

    I waited for a sale just in case, but TBH if I paid full price I would still find it very well deserved. Once I beat the game I’m going to buy the DLC outfit that was part of the pre-order package, just to show support.

    3 votes
  14. [3]
    wycy
    Link
    Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild I know I'm late to the game on this one but what an incredible open-world game. I think this is one of those games that I'm going through large portions of the...

    Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

    I know I'm late to the game on this one but what an incredible open-world game. I think this is one of those games that I'm going through large portions of the game without knowing about basic features. I'm relatively far into the game, but:

    • I just learned about jump attacks
    • I've never shield-surfed either but I just saw a tip about it yesterday.
    • I feel like I have very basic armor and not enough rupees to upgrade stuff. I only have 1300 rupees right now. How do you make more money in the game? Is it safe to sell basically all my monster parts?

    What other things don't I know about?!

    3 votes
    1. hook
      Link Parent
      My go to rupee farming spot is the bowling game in the snow area.

      My go to rupee farming spot is the bowling game in the snow area.

      2 votes
    2. pocketry
      Link Parent
      I don't think I ever figured out how to do the shield surfing...

      I don't think I ever figured out how to do the shield surfing...

  15. [2]
    vegai
    Link
    I have 160+ hours in Insurgency: Sandstorm and I think I should remove that game from my life. It's fun, it keeps being fun (especially in the co-op section, which is naturally very non-toxic for...

    I have 160+ hours in Insurgency: Sandstorm and I think I should remove that game from my life. It's fun, it keeps being fun (especially in the co-op section, which is naturally very non-toxic for an FPS multiplayer game), but it's not getting anywhere.

    I have plenty of games in my inventory that are not getting touched because that game dominates my free time.

    2 votes
    1. FrankGrimes
      Link Parent
      I used to play the original Insurgency a ton - up until probably 6 months or so ago when a lot of the servers I used to frequent started dropping off. Not sure if everyone is finally moving over...

      I used to play the original Insurgency a ton - up until probably 6 months or so ago when a lot of the servers I used to frequent started dropping off. Not sure if everyone is finally moving over to Sandstorm, but I've been hesitant to make the switch. Mostly because like you said, it just sucks up a lot of free time. Also, I've heard the community kind of shifted from team oriented to just sprinting around like crazy on your own.

      2 votes