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.

26 comments

  1. [6]
    Gatonegro
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been playing The Legend of Zelda (yes, that one) these past few days. Or rather, replaying it for the first time in like 25 years. I'm like 70% through the game at this point, and a few...

    I've been playing The Legend of Zelda (yes, that one) these past few days. Or rather, replaying it for the first time in like 25 years. I'm like 70% through the game at this point, and a few things have stood up.

    The music

    It goes without saying that the tunes in this game are quite literally classics. But I was mildly worried about one thing when I started—for most of your playthrough, you're going to be listening to one of two 3-minute pieces on a loop. Of course, this was not at all surprising in the days of the NES, since cartridge space was really limited, but it's been quite a while since short, endlessly looping music was the norm, and I was fully expecting to get sick of the overworld/dungeon loops after a while. So far, it hasn't happened. I've spent about 10 hours in total playing the game, and I have zero problem with the music. Goes to show how good of a composer Koji Kondo actually is.

    Getting lost as a gameplay mechanic

    Games these days are incredibly hand-holdy. I won't go into whether that's a good or a bad thing, but they 100% are—tutorial levels, on-screen prompts, detailed maps, floating quest markers, etc. There are games that can be reduced to blindly chasing markers on your screen that tell you where to go, who to talk to, and who to kill. Developers conveniently mark every bit of content so you won't miss it. Thirty-something years ago, that was not the case at all.

    The Legend of Zelda throws you straight into the overworld, your only clue as to what's going on (aside from the game manual) being a blurb giving you a bit of the story, and a scrolling list of every item you'll find in the game. The entrance to the cave where the old man will give you your first weapon is right there in the first screen, so you probably won't miss it. But after that, you're on your own. The overworld is full of secret entrances to caves and tunnels and whatever, but the game won't even hint at them. Sometimes you need to place a bomb in some totally nondescript bit of rock, or set fire to a specific tree that looks like every other tree around it. You could complete the entire game without finding a single secret, and you wouldn't know it.

    One particular instance of getting lost was interesting. In the northwest bit of the map, I suddenly found myself on a looping screen. If you moved to the left, you left the area, but going up or down took you to the exact same place. This triggered something inside my brain. I knew there was a secret there, and I knew I'd found it decades ago, but I couldn't remember exactly what it was or how I found it. So I spent the next few minutes moving in different patterns inside the loop, until I stumbled upon the secret. For a moment it felt like when, back in those days, you'd hear rumours of secrets in a game from friends in school, and you sat there in front of the TV trying out all the different (and sometimes nonsensical) techniques that were supposed to trigger the secret.

    The difficulty

    Games have also become much, much easier. And our brains have changed because of that. I beat The Legend of Zelda back in the day, as did millions of others, with nothing but sheer stubbornness and a coin cell to save game data on the cartridge. I have no idea how long it took me to beat the game, though. Probably quite a while, since the level design and enemy placement becomes borderline sadistic towards the end. Enemies that can teleport around the screen, take multiple hits to die, and have a high-damage ranged attack with effectively no cooldown? Sure, lets throw a dozen of those into a single dungeon room. And if you manage to make your way past those, the dungeon boss can kill you in 3 or 4 hits while you try to figure out which weapon actually works against it. Then it's off to the initial screen with you. Try again.

    I must admit this is the aspect that has bothered me the most in my playthrough. I've muttered "fuck this game" a couple times in frustration after dying to a mob of damage sponges. But I also know that the difficulty served a purpose. The game itself is quite short, and the gameplay is super basic, so you need to make it difficult to make it last longer. Nintendo knew that it would take players a while to beat it, hence the inclusion of the battery-backed saves. I'm not sure if my brain is wired differently these days, or I just have no recollection of being frustrated by this game because that part wasn't fun, and I only remember the fun bits.


    This wasn't supposed to be a mini-essay on the game, but I kind of got carried away. In any case, would I recommend giving The Legend of Zelda a go in 2021? Absolutely. Whether you played it decades ago or were born well after it came out, it's a very intereting experience. And it's really easy to get your hands on it, be it on PC or a console. Definitely worth your time, even if you don't stick with it through the end.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      I will confess to playing The Legend of Zelda on emulation and also now the Switch, and abusing the time-rewind functionality quite a bit on both. It's fun, but it's so hard.

      I will confess to playing The Legend of Zelda on emulation and also now the Switch, and abusing the time-rewind functionality quite a bit on both. It's fun, but it's so hard.

      3 votes
      1. knocklessmonster
        Link Parent
        As somebody who has spent many hours considering the validity of his Doom "Hurt Me Plenty" runs, I think it ultimately comes down to enjoyment of a game as the major metric of the experience. The...

        As somebody who has spent many hours considering the validity of his Doom "Hurt Me Plenty" runs, I think it ultimately comes down to enjoyment of a game as the major metric of the experience. The Mega Man Legacy Collection was something I took as official acceptance of states and rewinds as valid methods of finishing an extraordinary difficult game in the modern era. Recent retro games, like Shovel Knight, have small ways of being significantly more forgiving without seeming patronizing, and preserving the same retro vibes despite the lack of hardware limitations.

        I also played Kirby's Adventure with save states on my Nintendo DS somewhere around 14 years ago, and didn't feel cheated. This was arguably the seed of this line of thinking.

        2 votes
      2. Gatonegro
        Link Parent
        Save states and rewinding definitely make old games more accessible. If you don't have the time or the inclination to spend hours redoing a single level, you don't need to do that just to enjoy a...

        Save states and rewinding definitely make old games more accessible. If you don't have the time or the inclination to spend hours redoing a single level, you don't need to do that just to enjoy a retro game. Some might enjoy one style of playing over the other, but we have options for everyone.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      PhantomBand
      Link Parent
      On the one hand I've been wanting to give it a try for a long time, on the other hand I've never been a LoZ fan and I certainly don't like games being obtuse about where to go next or what to do....

      On the one hand I've been wanting to give it a try for a long time, on the other hand I've never been a LoZ fan and I certainly don't like games being obtuse about where to go next or what to do. Oldschool Nintendo difficulty is also wayyy too brutal for me (and I say that as a Mega Man fan).

      3 votes
      1. Gatonegro
        Link Parent
        Oddly enough, I'm not a Zelda fan either, or even a Nintendo fan in general. A Link to the Past for the SNES was the last Zelda game I played, and the NES was the only console I ever had. I messed...

        Oddly enough, I'm not a Zelda fan either, or even a Nintendo fan in general. A Link to the Past for the SNES was the last Zelda game I played, and the NES was the only console I ever had. I messed around with the SNES for a bit because one of my best friends at the time had one, then I played N64 and GameCube once or twice over the years.

        I certainly don't like games being obtuse about where to go next or what to do

        I've always liked games where you have to figure stuff out on your own, but I'd say there's a fine line between "figure stuff out yourself" and being deliberately obtuse. TLoZ sometimes falls into that second category, which can definitely be a turn-off for some folks.

        2 votes
  2. [2]
    cyborg
    (edited )
    Link
    I just played Ryse: Son of Rome and honestly, I expected a lot more. The game has a fantastic setting where Rome is being sacked by the Celts due to Emporer Nero's incompetent leadership....

    I just played Ryse: Son of Rome and honestly, I expected a lot more. The game has a fantastic setting where Rome is being sacked by the Celts due to Emporer Nero's incompetent leadership. Character development is written well and the storyline is pleasant.

    However, the actual gameplay itself is just garbage. Player movement is clunky and restricted. The map area forces you down one path throughout the entire game. Your only actions in the game are to fight the enemy and even then, the fighting mechanics are very basic and repetitive.

    I've always wanted to try this game and honestly I'm glad I played it, but it was not nearly good as expected.

    7 votes
    1. TheJorro
      Link Parent
      Ryse is a weird game. It's made by Crytek, so it has all the fanciest tech at the time, but it was also originally a Kinect game for the X360. By the time it was solidified as a non-Kinect game...

      Ryse is a weird game. It's made by Crytek, so it has all the fanciest tech at the time, but it was also originally a Kinect game for the X360. By the time it was solidified as a non-Kinect game for the launch of the Xbox One, it was clearly too late to re-adjust entire swaths of the game or add to the small amount of content in the game.

      It should have always been a budget title, really. It makes so much more sense to consider it a small-budget bargain bin game than a full-on $60 AAA release.

      5 votes
  3. [4]
    Atvelonis
    Link
    I've hardly played any games in months, but booted up Civilization V last night for a "quick" few turns. I'd forgotten how much I liked it. Has anyone here played the new one? Is it an...

    I've hardly played any games in months, but booted up Civilization V last night for a "quick" few turns. I'd forgotten how much I liked it. Has anyone here played the new one? Is it an improvement? Or a similar title, if you know of one.

    6 votes
    1. cyborg
      Link Parent
      I played Civ V for years and loved it. I bought Civ VI on sale a few months ago and I just can't stand it. I'm not even entirely sure why but the gameplay feels much different and less enjoyable,...

      I played Civ V for years and loved it. I bought Civ VI on sale a few months ago and I just can't stand it. I'm not even entirely sure why but the gameplay feels much different and less enjoyable, personally.

      5 votes
    2. UntouchedWagons
      Link Parent
      You mean Civ 6? It's great, it definitely requires more planning than civ 5 but this allows cities to be more specialized rather than carbon copies of each other.

      You mean Civ 6? It's great, it definitely requires more planning than civ 5 but this allows cities to be more specialized rather than carbon copies of each other.

      3 votes
    3. Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      If you enjoy empire building games, I would highly recommend checking out Stellaris. It's essentially real time Civ in space, though real time here is 1 day in game time is 1 second of actual time.

      If you enjoy empire building games, I would highly recommend checking out Stellaris. It's essentially real time Civ in space, though real time here is 1 day in game time is 1 second of actual time.

      1 vote
  4. PhantomBand
    Link
    I'm playing Kingdom Hearts for the first time. Overall it's a really interesting experience; it's basically Final Fantasy meets Disney, which is pretty odd and intriguing. It's fun to play, but it...

    I'm playing Kingdom Hearts for the first time.

    Overall it's a really interesting experience; it's basically Final Fantasy meets Disney, which is pretty odd and intriguing.

    It's fun to play, but it really suffers from weird illogical 00s game design in that I constantly find myself lost, unsure where to go next and basically walking in circles more than actually playing.

    But overall it's nice.

    4 votes
  5. Pistos
    Link
    My adventures continue with Kingdom Come: Deliverance . Previous posts My update since last week: Navigating a forest in hardcore mode (no map marker, no GPS-like in-game help, no compass) is...

    My adventures continue with Kingdom Come: Deliverance . Previous posts

    My update since last week:

    Navigating a forest in hardcore mode (no map marker, no GPS-like in-game help, no compass) is pretty challenging. Navigating a forest at night is a whole 'nother level of immersion. Even with a torch, your visibility extends maybe 5 or 10 feet out, at best, and trying to flee from hostiles who are chasing you can be heartpounding. You're constantly running into trees or thick bushes. And, of course, you can't survey the landscape to get your bearings, and there is no sun (or even moon) to help orient yourself. It's definitely desirable to do your travelling when it's light out, and you have to plan longer trips bearing in mind how far a sleeping spot is relative to how much daylight is left. Sometimes I would just pass the time in late afternoon or evening and sleep in town rather than risk running out of daylight halfway through my trip.

    I keep raving about how great immersion is with this game, but I finally found a situation where I can exploit the fact that I'm going against AI and not real people/players. (semi spoiler...) There's a point in the game where I had to scout and potentially infiltrate an area with many enemies. Going in guns blazing (er, swords whirling) would be out of the question, as the sheer numbers would mean certain death. However, I found that I could lure enemies out one by one by firing an occasional arrow near them. The AI would know the direction the arrow came from, and come investigating. This aspect of the AI allowed me to perform a simple loop: fire arrow, run away a bit, wait for NPC to come to investigate, fire another arrow, run further, repeat. This way, I could lure a given NPC way out from the main pack, and then finish them one on one. Repeat this process NPC by NPC ... I eventually almost cleared out the enemy base. Probably not what the developers intended...

    This time around (compared to my play line in Normal mode), I am taking more time to level up my stats and skills, and I am deliberately throttling the rate at which I start and do quests. This strategy does seem better. This lets me avoid the risk of a quest expiring (and thereby failing the quest). I'm also trying a more stealth+agility type character than armour/tank type. It's more challenging, but success feels more rewarding. Dodging attacks is significantly more rare than blocking them or letting armour absorb them, and not having heavy armour definitely makes getting hit a more serious concern.

    I also purchased a pack of DLC quests, but I am holding off on starting any of them, since I worry they may disturb game balance, which may have been calibrated to the non-DLC playthrough. But I'm very proud to support this great development team. I hope they make more games that are just as good as KC:D!

    4 votes
  6. emnii
    Link
    Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - This is a fun little Metroidvania. Great 2D animation, great music, perfect platforming controls. Lots of different weapons even if there are...

    Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - This is a fun little Metroidvania. Great 2D animation, great music, perfect platforming controls. Lots of different weapons even if there are only a couple weapon types. Tons of different and unique enemies. I loved the Ikaruga-ish elemental alignment system as a way of damage avoidance. I also appreciated that big, screen-filling bosses didn't inflict contact damage, only when an attack lands. It's a bit short and the story is a bit thin, particularly for those who don't know anything about Record of Lodoss War (me). Also, the levels themselves are a bit dry. Not Chasm dry, but still a couple too many straight forward corridors. Overall though, for the price, I loved it. Great little surprise of a game.

    3 votes
  7. [3]
    rogue_cricket
    Link
    I played a bit of Monster Hunter Rise with my brother. We tried to take on a Large monster, fought it for like 30 minutes, and then eventually failed the quest when I (the host) died. We didn't...

    I played a bit of Monster Hunter Rise with my brother. We tried to take on a Large monster, fought it for like 30 minutes, and then eventually failed the quest when I (the host) died. We didn't realize at the time that we could put in an open invite for our lobby for others to join, since they're apparently balanced around a team of four. We did get some rewards at least! Still, seems like it should have gone better. I'm not sure if we were just bad at it, under-equipped, or what.

    This is my first Monster Hunter game and I've got a lot to learn with the combat. Watching other folks play has helped a bit, but I'm having kind of a rough go of it ... I am mostly into strategy games. I like some action RPGs and platformers for games that test reaction time, ability, combos, etc., but this one definitely has way more complexity that other ones I've played.

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I just started playing MH:Rise with a friend that I played hundreds of hours of MH:World with, and even we are struggling a bit too, so you shouldn't feel too bad. The Monster Hunter games are...

      I just started playing MH:Rise with a friend that I played hundreds of hours of MH:World with, and even we are struggling a bit too, so you shouldn't feel too bad. The Monster Hunter games are crazy complex, the tooltips are often inadequate, and the tutorials throw everything at you all at once, so it takes quite a while to get the hang of everything. Rise has also added a few new mechanics as well, so it's an even steeper learning curve than the previous game, IMO.

      As for how to get better at the game, the biggest advice I can give you at the start of the game is to go to the training grounds right away to spend some time experimenting with all the weapons. Find a few that you enjoy using and suit your play-style, memorize those weapons' movesets and combos, and then practice practice practice. Landing all the hits in your combos makes a huge difference to your damage output, so you need to get good at that in order to successfully hunt the large monsters.

      Upgrading your chosen weapons ASAP is also pretty much mandatory as well since the starter weapons are absolute trash, but to get the tier 2-3 upgrades you thankfully just need a few basic ingredients that you can get by running around the maps collecting stuff and killing small monsters in Expedition mode.

      @Pistos also has the right idea that (at least later in the game) depending on what you're hunting you will often need totally different gear loadouts designed for taking that specific monster down. You can get by with a more generalized gear set, but the fights will tend to be much much longer and more difficult if you do that.

      p.s. After playing for about 6 hours now, the hunting horn has once again become my personal favorite weapon in Rise (as it was in World too, even though it was a bit weaker in World than it is in Rise). Its party buffs and big multi-hit combos can make monster battles go way faster, especially with a full party receiving your buffs. The only downside is how abysmally slow it is, so to use it effectively you really need to get good at recognizing all the monsters' attack patterns so you don't get interrupted mid-swing and can land all the big hits in your combos.

      The gun lance is also quite good too and my second fav, BTW. It's also slow, but has insane damage output if you manage to hit consistently with your Charged Shells, Wyvern Fire, and Wyrmstake Canon combos.

      3 votes
    2. Pistos
      Link Parent
      Monster Hunter was fun. I didn't finish the game, but I developed my character a fair ways in, though, based on the weapon trees, I think I only went about half way through. What I found was that...

      Monster Hunter was fun. I didn't finish the game, but I developed my character a fair ways in, though, based on the weapon trees, I think I only went about half way through. What I found was that you have to experiment a bit with both playstyle and weapon type for any given monster. I couldn't succeed just using one single favourite weapon and playstyle against every monster. Had to mix it up, to find what worked best. Ended up saving equipment loadouts tailored for specific monsters. Also, changing armour and enhancements to fit the monster is important, too.

      I eventually stopped playing because it got kind of grindy. But I still think it's a good game. I will say, though, that I did almost all main monsters (until I quit, anyway) fighting solo, so it's definitely possible. i.e. I don't think any monster requires a team to defeat it.

      2 votes
  8. [2]
    UntouchedWagons
    Link
    I bought a couple of games recently. Dorfromantik, I bought this after watching ManyATrueNerd's video on it. It's a cute hex-based world builder puzzle game where the tiles have various features...

    I bought a couple of games recently.

    Dorfromantik, I bought this after watching ManyATrueNerd's video on it. It's a cute hex-based world builder puzzle game where the tiles have various features on them like fields, forests, houses, water and so on. You gain points by matching similar features together.

    Streets of Rogue, it's a top down roguelike fighting game set in the slums of a city run by a corrupt mayor. I haven't gotten very far though as I keep dying on the second floor.

    Forza Horizon 4, it's a beautiful game that set in an area inspired by the UK (or maybe set in the UK I'm not sure). The racing itself is great although the race events tend to blur together a bit. Also all the races as far as I know restrict where you're allowed to go which makes sense or circuit based races but you're still restricted by checkpoints on the point to point races so learning the map really isn't necessary. There are a couple of really fun events, one of which has you racing against a giant hovercraft and the other has you racing against the Flying Scotsman which was awesome. One cool thing about the game is that it doesn't punish you for not coming first. The game does have multiplayer but you can't interact with other players that much outside of predefined messages accessed through the d-pad like with Rocket League. Apparently there's Lego content and alien stuff in the game which is immersion breaking.

    I got back into Space Engineers but after getting a decent base and a mining ship built I've kinda gotten bored again.

    3 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Streets of Rogue is a great game, but it definitely will punish you hard for picking fights in public or making other mistakes. I found the Doctor a great starting character specifically because...

      Streets of Rogue is a great game, but it definitely will punish you hard for picking fights in public or making other mistakes. I found the Doctor a great starting character specifically because he isn't a fighter. It teaches you to only strike when you're good and ready, but with proper timing you knock them out before there's even a fight. Once you have that situational awareness the fighty characters become more doable. Fighting is pretty much always the hardest option, though.

      2 votes
  9. joplin
    Link
    I downloaded The HitchHiker. It's a narrative adventure where you play a guy hitchhiking somewhere. Things start out fairly normal then start to get weird. I have mixed feelings about the game. I...

    I downloaded The HitchHiker. It's a narrative adventure where you play a guy hitchhiking somewhere. Things start out fairly normal then start to get weird.

    I have mixed feelings about the game. I enjoyed many parts of it. It was a bit too short. There are some parts that are ostensibly puzzles, but they're super simple. The narrative is definitely the meat of the game. The story seems reasonable to me right up until the ending. (I only played through once, so it's possible there are multiple endings and I just didn't like the one I got.) Overall I give it a "meh".

    2 votes
  10. spctrvl
    Link
    Final Fantasy X remaster on the switch. I played most of the way through the original on the PS2 way back when, but I've still never actually beaten a Final Fantasy game (closest I came was with X...

    Final Fantasy X remaster on the switch. I played most of the way through the original on the PS2 way back when, but I've still never actually beaten a Final Fantasy game (closest I came was with X and XIII). I definitely appreciate it mechanically more than I used to. Most solid entry in the franchise from that perspective, plus blitzball is fun. I also appreciate the writing somewhat more than I used to, but it still isn't phenomenal, and I can't believe they left unskippable cutscenes. I savescummed to learn blitzball well enough to win the first game, and for every ten minutes of game time, I had to go through eight minutes of cutscenes.

    Still, looking forward to playing X-2 once I'm done with X. Missed that one entirely and it looks really neat, beside also being the last FF game with classic JRPG combat.

    2 votes
  11. grahamiam
    Link
    I installed Project1999 (Everquest) because of the MMO post from last week. I didn't realize it was doing Kunark and Velious - I had always assumed the idea was to recreate 1999 and stay there....

    I installed Project1999 (Everquest) because of the MMO post from last week. I didn't realize it was doing Kunark and Velious - I had always assumed the idea was to recreate 1999 and stay there.

    Rolled an Ogre SK. 1.5 hours playtime and I'm level 2. It took me a while to remember I could buy a torch and didn't just have to deal with the darkness.

    I doubt anyone I know is interested in playing and I don't have that much time to game right now, but I think this might be my end of the night, calming down to sleep, 30 minutes of gaming hobby. The amount of dripping nostalgia just from the sound effects is enough to keep me hooked for a while.

    Also on my 8th clear of Hades. Probably going to put it down once I get to the story "ending" on clear 10 someone mentioned, but I can definitely see myself coming back to it in a few months.

    2 votes
  12. Akir
    Link
    Without going too far into the Why of it, I started replaying D2. It's kind of amazing how many different things I get out of each time I play this game. This time, rather than pulling out the...

    Without going too far into the Why of it, I started replaying D2. It's kind of amazing how many different things I get out of each time I play this game. This time, rather than pulling out the Dreamcast, I decided to emulate it with Redream. While it completely fails to render the D2 logo in the title screen (for some reason, no dreamcast emulator can render it correctly), everything else works really well; it's rendered at my screen's native resolution, which means that it actually looks better than I remember it. It feels like the Dreamcast was really far ahead in terms of graphics because most games ran at 60fps at high resolution, and lots of games had pretty good quality textures.

    The one thing that bothers me is how I forgot how terrible the combat system is in this game. It helps that I'm playing with a good controller with a better joystick than the Dreamcast's official controller, but it's still crazy difficult to aim where you want to, and it doesn't help that you'll constantly be ganged up on by multiple enemies.

    2 votes
  13. AreaDev
    Link
    I play CS 1.6, of course I sometimes play other games, some of them are quite modern, but I like CS 1.6, it's a classic. I don't have to play long to rest. 15 minutes a day is enough.

    I play CS 1.6, of course I sometimes play other games, some of them are quite modern, but I like CS 1.6, it's a classic. I don't have to play long to rest. 15 minutes a day is enough.

    2 votes
  14. Grzmot
    Link
    After watching a trailer for the game Outriders and seeing that it was made by the studio People Can Fly, I decided to replay Bulletstorm and I think it holds up pretty good as a no-thinking dumb...

    After watching a trailer for the game Outriders and seeing that it was made by the studio People Can Fly, I decided to replay Bulletstorm and I think it holds up pretty good as a no-thinking dumb fun shooter. Story is very mediocre but I think it fits the theme of being a bad B-movie type game.

    I'm also still playing Anno 1800 now that they released the first part of the 3rd season pass, which originally wasn't meant to happen, but since the fans supported the devs, they decided to make more content. I haven't even gotten to the new content, since my grand plan of waiting till I'm in a strong position to expand into new regions to snatch away every island from the AI failed hard once I realised that they just expanded there first without me. Currently considering going to war with the anarchist that oppresses his people while playing nice but I'm not sure if I want to proceed with that.

    I also went ahead and bought Subverse, the fairly notorious porn game being made by Studio Fow out of sheer curiosity. It's pretty good, surprisingly. If you have any questions about the game I can try and answer them.

    1 vote