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What games are people playing these days!?


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#2081 Cougar

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 04:45 PM

View PostFrigidman™, on 22 July 2021 - 12:49 PM, said:

I'm playing "A Plague Tale: Innocence" now... wow, intense game. Its actually stressful its so intense (can only handle one chapter each sitting). I really like it, and its well done, with an unfolding story and characters you want to care about (and some you properly should hate given the story).

The only issue I have with it thus far, is the 'checkpoint' saves and the 'find rare collectibles'.

Checkpoints pop a save at certain times, and if you fail to proceed/die whatever, you go back to that point. Ok... but, whats very annoying is when that point is back before you have to go gather this, click that, do some other thing, and pick up some much needed tool or crafting items all in that area with zero threat. Meaning, everytime you die, you have to redo all those mundane tasks again before proceeding to the area you die in. Gets annoying.

The 'collectibles' thing is just needless. I mean, you are running for your life, or trudging through a field of rotting corpses and think: Hmm...  I will go look under every body for something that might be worth holding onto... or whats in this corner as a horde of flesh eating monsters are right on my tail ... nope? nothing in there? ok, I will know not to bother with that corner after the checkpoint reloads cause I just died trying to look there.

Other than those two things, the game is top notch so far.

I beat this a few months ago... first half is great, then the story goes off the rails pretty abruptly. Still, I enjoyed it. Loved the main character, which had really great voice acting. Intrigued about the sequel. If they can write a better villain (or better yet, just make the plague setting the "villain") it could be amazing.

I didn't mind the checkpoints or the collectibles. Checkpoints seemed fair to me for the most part, and I have low tolerance for them in general. I don't think I died a whole lot in the first half, though. You have to scrounge around for supplies, so in that context, finding collectibles didn't seem out of place.

#2082 nick68k

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 08:37 AM

I've been playing Eliza for the past few evenings. It's by Zachtronics, who you may recognise from their nerdy coding sim games (amongst others).

Actually 'playing' is too strong a word; it's essentially a visual novel with very limited interactivity. I'm not sure the choices you make in-game actually change anything. That said, the voice acting is outstanding, the graphical presentation very good, and the music excellent. I won't reveal too much about the story other than you play a 20-something Seattle-ite who gets a job at an AI counselling company (the clue's in the name, right?). It's quite compelling if you like that sort of thing.
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#2083 Matt Diamond

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 08:51 PM

Finally finished Subnautica Below Zero. Overall I rate it a B. (Early game is B+).

The collect-build-explore loop is almost as fun as the first game. Rather than repeat that formula exactly they give you some transportation and habitat recipes much earlier. There is also access to more ecosystems near your starting position.

The game lost me a bit towards the end. They aren't as clever with their breadcrumbs as the first game - I had trouble finding two of the necessary locations, even after watching a route to one of them on YouTube. They were in large monotonous areas with only subtle landmarks. It was easy to miss the two crannies I needed to find.

The story is also a little less interesting than the first time. It's actually two stories, and the first one (the one that brings you to the planet) ended suddenly halfway through the game because I happened to complete its objectives quickly. I thought the two stories would inform each other more. (I can't be more specific without spoiling anything.)

Another big change is that the protagonist is named, speaks lines, and has a specific story and quest. The first game used an unvoiced, blank slate protagonist, which is a common game design choice that makes it easier for the player to imagine themselves in the story.**

Frame rate had some trouble during the final, scripted scenes. (There's something to be said for just using a movie sometimes.)

Despite my gripes, I think its good that they took a chance with some changes rather than repeat themselves. It was money well spent and I'll happily play another Subnautica if they ever make one.


Next up: haven't picked yet. I succumbed to a recent sale and now I have too many XBox games, as well as too many Mac games. Aside from Psychonauts II I am declaring a moratorium on any more game purchases for the next 6 months.

Edits:
* I should have mentioned that, like the first game, there are some beautifully imagined locations. Above ground is appropriately snowy and brutal- not much fun to explore. But the contrast is good - I always felt a rush of relief whenever I returned to the ocean.
** Fan sites say that the 1st game's survivor is an engineer named Riley. But there is little or nothing in-game about it.

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#2084 Frigidman™

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 07:09 AM

I finished A Plague Tale (yes it went off the rails, but I thought it was a good thing). Decent game, nice diversion.

Started up Desperados III which I've had sitting for awhile now. First mission was pretty decent. Then of course I get to the end summary screen and they throw all these retarded 'goals' and 'tasks' to try and do on that level again. One of them being the forever-stupid "Timed Rush Runs" ... who the frak in the industry thinks that popsnizzle is "fun"? I'm immediately taking -1 star off for the inclusion of that bullpopsnizzle (even if it is a useless 'goal', it means I will never be able to achieve 100% completion rate on this game).

We'll see how the rest pans out... but if they force timed BS in at some point that is required to progress, I'm going to get royally pissed off, give a full 1 star downthumb, and uninstall. I have no patience for that popsnizzlety game mechanic made by unimaginative dippopsnizzles.

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#2085 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 10:13 AM

View PostFrigidman™, on 04 August 2021 - 07:09 AM, said:

One of them being the forever-stupid "Timed Rush Runs" ... who the frak in the industry thinks that popsnizzle is "fun"?


Fans of racing games. :P

But there's worse: permadeath achievements. Now those can be ugly, when you lose after 3 or 4 h and must start over from scratch.

#2086 Matt Diamond

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 10:42 AM

Ah yes, the marketers' wet dream: inflated playtime and force-fitted replayability.

This is something I dislike about the upgraded Halo: CE. It shows you goal times before you even play each level. (Mind you, not many new players for those levels. I feebly finished a Halo 1 level and ended up in the top 20% or something.)

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#2087 Cougar

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 11:20 AM

View PostFrigidman™, on 04 August 2021 - 07:09 AM, said:

We'll see how the rest pans out... but if they force timed BS in at some point that is required to progress, I'm going to get royally pissed off, give a full 1 star downthumb, and uninstall. I have no patience for that popsnizzlety game mechanic made by unimaginative dippopsnizzles.

I just see those as optional achievements, and ignore them... but "100% completion" is not something I've ever cared about. They're there there just to encourage replay, and change up your play style.  But I have too many games to play to do that.

The dev's previous game, Shadow Tactics, did the same thing. No level was actually timed. I loved that game to death so I'm excited to play Desperados III at some point.

#2088 Frigidman™

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 04:02 PM

View PostCougar, on 04 August 2021 - 11:20 AM, said:

I just see those as optional achievements, and ignore them... but "100% completion" is not something I've ever cared about. They're there there just to encourage replay, and change up your play style.  But I have too many games to play to do that.

The dev's previous game, Shadow Tactics, did the same thing. No level was actually timed. I loved that game to death so I'm excited to play Desperados III at some point.
Right, Shogun was awesome... but alas, I could never 100% it due to its timed goals.

See, when I like a game a LOT, I actually want to get 100% on it... to show that 'yes I liked this enough to care!' .... hehe. So when they make an awesome game like Shogun, and then slap BS timed goal popsnizzle that forfeits your ability to ever 100% it.... well ..... ANGRY FM STOMP STOMP.

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#2089 Matt Diamond

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Posted 12 August 2021 - 09:32 PM

Played Halo 2 (on XBox) all the way through for the first time.

The remastering is really good. I enjoyed switching back and forth to compare. But one problem - the Master Chief collection has no volume controls for single-player music, fx, and/or voice. (Just settings for menu music, and multiplayer chat.)  Several times I missed a plot point because dialogue was hard to hear. Then I'd find myself fighting my way through the map with no idea what was going on.

The last level was not good. Nothing I did left a mark, and the boss kept killing me with one hit. After emptying several weapons at him I decided I must be missing something. While I was hunting around the room for something to try, he apparently died off screen and the game ended. Yay me?

So I was pretty fed up by the end. Master Chief's dialog is pretty bad too.


I'd better take a break from shooters and brawlers for a while - I need a change of pace.

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#2090 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 13 August 2021 - 04:47 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 12 August 2021 - 09:32 PM, said:

I'd better take a break from shooters and brawlers for a while - I need a change of pace.
Jump into something different then! Oh, I don't know what...
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#2091 Matt Diamond

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Posted 16 August 2021 - 09:19 PM

Played two Unity games that couldn't be more different.

1. The Gardens Between - nice game. I forget how I got it - probably one of the itch.io bundles but it might have been Humble.

The mechanics are a bit like Braid, but there's no platforming whatsoever, and the art and animation is very pleasant. And the story doesn't try too hard to be big and meaningful.. I finished it in a few days. Not too difficult as long as you don't try to rush like I did at first. I would have liked a hint in a couple places but all the sites just tell you the answers, and then I was kicking myself. I did much better when I just tried things and paid closer attention.

2. Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak - Looks great, starts off strong. I really want to get into this game but on the second level it keeps freezing up. I'll try one more time under Mojave, but I am on the verge of giving up.

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#2092 Mr Pink

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Posted 17 August 2021 - 01:26 PM

I'm trying out 'Mafia III' on an old and unsupported MacBook Pro with a totally unsupported GeForce GT 750M.
With all settings on low, it's pretty ugly, but playable without glitches until now. I do expect it to crash or become unplayable at any moment.

#2093 ehuelga

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Posted 18 August 2021 - 02:27 PM

Rise of the Tomb Raider, on easy mode, just for the scenery. Fell for one of these too-cheap-to-pass-up Steam sales.
The commute from Mill Valley to Cupertino is a real bitch.

#2094 Frigidman™

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Posted 24 August 2021 - 05:41 PM

Finished up Desperados III... pretty decent. Very much like Shogun was, but old west.

Started into Spacebourne by recommendation from a friend who is into space games. Sadly, this game is falling short all over the place. I mean, its decent for a one-man dev team that it is, and has SOME merit, but boy, are there gobsmacks of chinks in the armor.

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"I'm not incorruptible, I am so corrupt nothing you can offer me is tempting." - Alfred Bester


#2095 Matt Diamond

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 10:16 AM

View Postehuelga, on 18 August 2021 - 02:27 PM, said:

Rise of the Tomb Raider, on easy mode, just for the scenery. Fell for one of these too-cheap-to-pass-up Steam sales.
Good idea. I should play games in easy mode more often. I just can't bring myself to do it though.

Part of the problem is when they call it "Easy" mode. Invariably i will manage to lose at least once and then feel like a nincompoop. Better mode names: "Story" or "Casual". Or call the easiest mode "Normal" and the next mode "Challenging" or "Experienced Player".

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#2096 Frigidman™

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 11:16 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 25 August 2021 - 10:16 AM, said:

Good idea. I should play games in easy mode more often. I just can't bring myself to do it though.

Part of the problem is when they call it "Easy" mode. Invariably i will manage to lose at least once and then feel like a nincompoop. Better mode names: "Story" or "Casual". Or call the easiest mode "Normal" and the next mode "Challenging" or "Experienced Player".

What I dislike is when the 'easy mode' actually reduces the amount of foes.... so you are left with barren areas with very few things to kill... "to make it easier" ... instead of just keeping the same amount of foes in all game modes, and just making them easier to kill =p

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"I'm not incorruptible, I am so corrupt nothing you can offer me is tempting." - Alfred Bester


#2097 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 27 August 2021 - 02:56 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 25 August 2021 - 10:16 AM, said:

Good idea. I should play games in easy mode more often. I just can't bring myself to do it though.

Part of the problem is when they call it "Easy" mode. Invariably i will manage to lose at least once and then feel like a nincompoop. Better mode names: "Story" or "Casual". Or call the easiest mode "Normal" and the next mode "Challenging" or "Experienced Player".

You'd love (not really) Alien Rage then. There are only three difficulty levels: normal, hard and brutal. And normal would be called hard in most other games. :P

#2098 Frigidman™

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Posted 27 August 2021 - 10:09 AM

Gave the hell up on Spacebourne.... if you really want to know why, you can read (and upvote!) my steam review.

I loaded up Subnautica Below Zero, and well, after suffering in Spacebourne, this sequel of social justice filled current affairs soapboxing trash is actually refreshing and fun. I just have to ignore the story entirely and not read the pathetic writing done by that feckless bitch they hired who ruined what could have been a top notch Michelin star sequel.

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#2099 Cougar

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 11:38 AM

Just finished The Outer Worlds +DLCs. Very "Fallout New Vegas in Space," for good and bad.

Nailed the satirical tone. Great dialogue and world building. Some good companions, although some of their side missions were a tad underwhelming. The main plot took a while to get interesting, and the final mission was very underwhelming, but I quite enjoyed the side quests. I especially enjoyed the Murder on Eridanos DLC story, with a setting a bit different from the main game.

Main issue I had with the game was the combat. Enemies seemed to either be made of cardboard, or bullet sponges, with very little in between. Corrosive weapons seemed to be essential for armored enemies, yet I found only one (!) corrosive ranged weapon the whole game. I tried to upgrade it over the course of the whole game, and it get kept getting more and more expensive. Enemies respawned, and due to the nature of the quest/sidequest structure, you have to revisit locations, so all of this made the game feel a bit more tedious than it should have. I can imagine that playing this on Survival, with fast travel disabled, would be a total slog.

I guess an issue of the game is that it exists in an awkward space between AA and AAA. It lacks the expansiveness and sense of exploration of the Fallout games, and the polish of a (non-Bethesda, lol)  AAA game. If they can fix this in the sequel (thanks to Microsoft money), refine the combat, and make the game feel a little less than something from 2010, it could be great.

#2100 Matt Diamond

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Posted 06 September 2021 - 03:23 PM

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture - I've been a huge fan of the soundtrack for years, finally played the game to test out my Windows+eGPU setup.

Mixed feelings about it. The story is good - its not clear how it will come together until the end. Like other "walking simulators" you find short bits of exposition, then take lengthy walks through the deserted village looking for another one. On the plus side this gives you plenty of time to mull over the themes and listen to the music and soundscape. On the minus side, I honestly wonder if the same story wouldn't have worked as well or better as a movie. The walking speed is slow; if you like to explore (I do) you inevitably have to backtrack. Even so, I finished the game the same day I started.

But it won some acclaim and I think it's because someone made a game with some big ideas in it that's refreshingly different from most other computer games. And the soundtrack >mwah< (kisses fingertips, then wishes he'd washed his hands first)


Now I'm slogging through Assassin's Creed Syndicate. The star of the show is 18th century London. The gameplay is pretty good, but every now and then there is a bug or you find a clever way to finish a mission and only then the game tells you that you broke a rule. So there's a healthy dose of "read the mission designer's mind", and some grind, which you can spend your way past by giving more money to Ubisoft.

Also the protagonists aren't very likeable. Their fighting style is boffo, though.

As the player, I've killed a couple hundred enemies so far, minimum. So it's pretty funny that there's a Jack the Ripper DLC, where your mission is to stop a madman who historically killed between 5 and 7 people, depending which theory you subscribe to.

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