Finished Any Games Lately?

After over a decade of procrastination I finally returned to finish not one but two separate simultaneous campaigns of Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn. I started in Candlekeep with BG for both games, and here we are.

After all these years, I'm happy to say I still love playing this game so much. It's still my all time favorite game. It's aged graphically. The gameplay is definitely dated with the 2nd edition ruleset, and the inventory system is absolutely ancient.

But the art style. The story. The sounds. The dialogue and writing. The music. The character development, especially for my old friends Jaheira, Minsc (and Boo!), Aerie, Imoen and Viconia. My new friends Neera and Hexxat. Familiar stories. Forgotten quests that I was thrilled to rediscover. The stuff I missed the first time (or the first 10 times)...what an absolute joy.

They say you can't go home again. No, but you can return to the Sword Coast and get lost in a masterpiece and slip into that comfy pair of Elven Boots once more.

Today's RPGs do it better, faster, easier, prettier, but nearly every western D&D style RPG owes a debt of gratitude to the Baldur's Gate series.

Up next, I'm taking a week break with some strategy titles. Perhaps a shooter. But then...then we finish the saga and go for the eyes one more time with Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal

Bloody Wolf (TG-16)

Bloody Wolf is an overhead shooter where you play as one of two commandos who has to rescue the president who has been captured by ninjas soldiers. Are you a bloody enough wolf to rescue the president? It's basically Contra, but with a Double Dragon perspective and much less platforming. I've heard good things about this game over the years, but I wasn't expecting it to be this good. I especially like how this game completely ditches the concept of lives which is very unusual for a game today let alone back in 1990. You have unlimited lives and each level has multiple checkpoints including one at the start of each boss fight. You never have to waste your time fighting through a level you've already beaten a dozen times to get another shot at the boss. Unless you reset the console of course, but save states solve that little problem.

The story is incredibly bare bones as you'd expect from the genre, but it does have a pretty cool twist. You start the game choosing between one of two characters. At the halfway point of the game you save the president, but your commando is captured by the enemy. You then take control over the other character and have to rescue your friend. It's a small thing and it doesn't change the game -- both characters play exactly the same -- but it's a cool little touch that you don't expect in a game like this.

I'm really enjoying digging into the TG-16's library. I didn't even know that this system existed as a kid, so most of the games are completely unknown to me.

Played Titanfall 2 campaign for the first time, partially inspired by its mention on the podcast (recently-ish). The titan boot up sequence when you hop in and the viewport turns on in segments and each shifts slightly to align is *chef's kiss*. The maneuverability of the pilot sans-Titan is incredibly empowering, but I didn't feel like I was required to use it on the standard difficulty except for platforming puzzles. The titan loadouts had good variety, but I felt like it was missing a baseline jump functionality (separate from hover etc) to compensate for the couple of times I got caught on knee high rubble.

The two levels everyone talks about were creative, but despite that the first of those two felt like it was missing something:

Spoiler: 4th campaign mission
  • At least one fight on moving platforms versus platforms separating fights
  • Relatedly, I'm pretty sure I rode a platform past at least one fight

Wife and I finished OVERCOOKED! 2 ENTIRELY such a fun game for family fun

I installed Titanfall 2, does that count?

No... ok, I finished the Halo CE Anniversary campaign on Steam. I like the updated graphics and the weapons and enemies are still fun. There’s just not really enough content to justify the size of this game, too many sections are repeated like the designers just ran out of rooms so they copied and pasted them over and over again. And one of the copy/pasted levels is re-used for a later level, but you go through it backwards. I know these criticisms are common, maybe I should have just copied someone else’s review.

It was better on the original XBox as a couch co-op experience. The level design was just as tedious but the shared experience was a lot better.

I chalked off The Last of Us: Part 2. I cannot yet say where it falls for me. It was an up and down experience. It fluctuated between pleasant highs and troubling lows. I needed to see it through both for personal curiosity and for social relevance. So that I did. It wasn't one I particularly enjoyed. I had to persevere at times.

As a whole I'm struggling to put a rating on it. In segments I can differentiate as there are some amazing chapters.

The world building is excellent. The stealth 'em up - scavenge - craft - distract - combat is great to engage with and partake in. Weapon tinkering was ace. Infected hostiles bring a variety to the usual human encounters. I can only apologise as I draw a blank when trying to summarize and/or rate the story, at this time. It's awkward. It's divisive. I believe it holds together, though.

Criticism would be that it went on too long. It felt somewhat padded. It can also beat us -- the player -- over the head with its points on occasion. It is very scripted. There is no actual player agency accounted for, not that I can recall. There are no non-lethal combat measures outside of avoidance and distraction.

Glad I played it. Not sure I'd care for further continuation or a third installment. Maybe? It'd depend on how it was handled. If it were to rise above and be better. If it were introspective on certain moments. Yeah. Maybe.

Budo wrote:

So I once again took a diversion from my 2 simultaneous Baldur's Gate series quests to play Sigma Theory: Global Cold War. A globetrotting spy game where you recruit a team of international spies and gather spies to research the Sigma Project before an other country does.

I liked the game a bunch - it was fun. You can complete a full game in 2-4 hours. It takes about 1 game to understand the mechanics, a second game to figure out the strategy, and I won it by my 3rd game. The replayability is limited in terms of victory but there's lots of variety in the agents, scientists and story. The overall gameplay lore is, well, ridiculous, but who cares? Globetrotting spies!

I liked it a lot, but I can already see it becoming repetitive after a few runs. Definitely recommend it, especially to those folks who are looking for a James Bond strategy fix.

Ok, back to Baldur's Gate 2. I have two groups in the Underdark and those Drow aren't going to backstab themselves.

Sigma Theory has been on my radar since launch and I've almost pulled the trigger a few times. It's part of the Humble Choice bundle this month, so it's good to hear a recommendation for it. I'll be playing this one soon

Finally stole a few moments to finish If found... I liked the story, though I need to read and talk to trans people to see how true this is to their experiences. But I do like that there aren’t any pure friends who just get it, everyone, from the main character to her friends to her mother, are struggling to accept her transition.

And although I appreciate what the mechanics of erasing was trying to communicate, I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally erased words I still needed to read.

Finished Far Cry 4. It was a good time waster overall. I loved taking down outposts, especially when I finally upgraded to a stealth sniper rifle. The story wasn’t all that good though and I didn’t like it as much as 3, likely because it felt like just more of the same.

One thing that irritated me were overly long cutscenes with obnoxious characters. Even though it’s in-engine, they lock you in where you can’t even walk or look around.

RnRClown wrote:

I chalked off The Last of Us: Part 2... It can also beat us -- the player -- over the head with its points on occasion...

I'm still slogging through it, but so far its underlying message reminds me of an older brother who torments his younger sibling by hitting them with their own hands while saying "Stop hitting yourself! Why are you doing that, stop it!".

Got a nice little game called Vampire's Fall:Origins for a fiver on Steam.

Thought it was an ARPG and although it is old school isometric the battles are strategic. Very enjoyable 15 to 20 hours spent on the main quests and also completing a bunch of side quests. The encounters were random so some quests were a pain, literally running around waiting for a trigger.

I didn't complete the brutals though, these were basically a load of bosses out in the world. I did a few and their health and attacks were 3 or 4 times the harder baddies so it was a case of just staying alive long enough to wear them down, wasn't that bothered.

Some good humour in there as well:thumbup:

Just finished Imperator: Rome.

It just didn't click with me.

I love Roman conquest games, and I'm no stranger to Paradox games with Stellaris, but this game is just all over the place. It feels complex for complexity's sake and even in those moments where I knew what was going on it just felt...kind of pointless.

I get that Imperator is more about simulating the ancient world's power structure and less about hitting a game goal, but the time just goes by and I feel like there's no point to it. And this is coming from someone who has wasted over 200 hours in Stellaris.

I may return to it at some point, but it's time I give Aggressors: Ancient Rome, Field of Glory: Empires, and Old World their opportunity to grab the laurel wreath.

Last night I finished Tearaway Unfolded.

It was sitting ignored in my PS plus freebie pile for quite a while, for which I am an idiot. This game is incredible! If this was Super Mario Unfolded I think it would be considered a platforming classic.

The platforming challenges are mostly not twitch based, but I found some quite difficult because they require unusual combinations of controller inputs. For example using the touch pad and face buttons in sync or tilting the controller while navigating obstacles. The ways in which the controller interacts with the environment are just so inventive, I haven't seen anything quite like it.

This is let down by an unreliable camera and occasional problems judging the range and direction of jumps - often I would get through the crux of a tricky section only to fail a simple jump at the end. Reloads are instant and checkpoints generous, so it never gets too frustrating, but still it can ruin the moment of triumph.

Platforming moves are also integrated into combat, which is OK but nothing special. The whole thing is wrapped in a beautiful papercraft motif and tells a story that goes to some surprising places in the back half of the game! I was expecting twee, and there is a lot of that, but also quite a bit more. Like the rest of the game it went way beyond my expectations.

I finished Injustice 2 yesterday. I'm not a fighting game guy, but I found the single-player campaign accessible, the story interesting, and the DC characters I was acquainted with (and the ones I wasn't!) were fun to play with. $4.99 very well spent!

Well, after a week of long and gruelingly intense play sessions, I've finally wrapped The Last Of US II. I hate to add to the dogpile, especially when it appears that so much of the internet dogpilers are toxic, racist, misogynist, immature and reactionary bigots, but...I really hated the experience.

I adore the The Last Of Us despite the brutality and lack of player agency, because there are such extraordinary moments of grace and feeling in it, at a level I've never experienced in any other game. And the sequel continues that extraordinary mastery - on a pure technical level, the quality of the acting, storytelling, and pure mechanics of delivery are second to nothing I've ever experienced, by a long shot. It's an incredible achievement, and I wish we lived in a world where the people at Naughty Dog could be given the respect they deserve for their accomplishment without the seeming tsunami of vitriol launched their way. (And death threats, even to actors - seriously, that's absolutely despicable, and I wish we lived in a world where people were publicly outed and there were genuine consequences for garbage like that.)

But the fact that those years of work and pride went into this story really breaks my heart. As I said, I adore Last Of Us despite the savage violence and brutality - what kept me playing it throughout was the quality of writing and acting, from the characters we meet along the way, and especially the relationship that develops between the two principals. Even when at the end the game rips choice out of my hands and has Joel descend into a ludicrous bloodbath, the reason that's so wrenching is that we know for a fact, as does he, that what he's doing is completely contrary to what Ellie would want. But then we're gifted a final shot that's one of the more mature, thought-provoking, ambiguous endings I've ever seen in any medium, film, book, or game. I found it genuinely haunting, something I've continued to think about since I played the game six years ago. (And then, eight months later, we got the deeply moving and satisfying Left Behind DLC.)

Here, though - I'm sure the people behind Part II sincerely see what they've created as a mature, thoughtful, wrenching message about trauma and the cycle of violence. But it's so despicable and relentlessly bent on rubbing your face in its savagery that it completely undoes its intent. It's no spoiler to say that this is a revenge story - that was clear from the very first announcement of the game 3-1/2 years ago. And the motivation seems to be to show us the nihilistic futility of violence, but it's a straw man argument when no one - neither the characters in the world nor players - have any choice in that nihilism. The characters in the game turn their back at the drop of a hat on a world of community and mutual care that they're helping to create for a path of limitless barbarism. As a player, over and over I tried in vain to walk away from the monstrous acts portrayed, dying again and again, hoping in vain that there was a subtle hidden mechanic that said "yes, make the choice to stop this". It's a deeply sickening experience, a festival of torture porn (I'm honestly shocked that there aren't stronger warnings than the usual action game ones), one that I wanted to stop playing two hours in but continued to slog through for an additional 41, drawn by both the incredible artistry of its craftsmanship and the forlorn hope that there would be a switch that reveals more depth than the tease of its initial impetus (there are switches, but every time they turned out to simply be driving home the same stacked-deck message).

So many people put in so much work on a game of this scope that indulging in the auteur theory is always a grotesque oversimplification, this point I can't imagine ever wanting to play another game helmed by Neil Druckmann. The three games with his name on the front - Uncharted 4, and the two Lasts Of Us - all share a common lineage of extraordinary artistry and a desire to deepen the narrative power of the video game experience, but in Uncharted 4 I found his attempt to complicate Nathan Drake forced me to play as someone who I thought had suddenly taken a real heel turn into assholery, and in Last Of Us II I was obliged to spend 43 hours with a cast of characters who I honestly wanted to all die. Not be tortured to death, as most of them are at your own forced hands, but simply die in their sleep and leave the world a better place.

And it goes on and on and on. It's a slow, molasses-thick blood bath, followed by a leisurely blood shower and then a marathon swim through an ocean of viscera. There are surprising turns where you think the game will end, and then there are multiple epilogs, and then it turns out you're halfway through, and then it's over, but no, there's still more (and a couple more epilogs after that, including one that's laughably awful). For me this was a deeply saddening use of such time and talent.

Glad I got it done before Ghost of Tsushima comes out, though.

(Postnote: I absolutely adore how this game portrays people of a huge range of genders, cultures, body types, and walks of life. It only compounds my sadness that such a deeply felt, beautiful, and intended choice is mired in both an immature, toxic, hateful backlash and is in the service of a story that I found profoundly soul-deadening.)

I was getting back on the fence as to whether or not I wanted to play TLOU2 soon. Thanks for pushing me off it again. Sounds miserable.

Maybe it was my disappointment with Imperator: Rome, but I picked up a little title called A Legionary's Life to fill that hole for a Roman Empire title.

It's a few bucks (~$5-7), it looks like something that would run on a Commodore 64 back in the day.

I love it.

You essentially simulate the life of a new legionary in a Roman legion. You have to balance your training, health, fitness, morale, relationship with your fellow troops, centurion, and consul, never mind maintaining your equipment, virtue, and stress levels.

And this is all before you go to battle.

I'm making it sound more complicated than it is. It's a very simple game to learn, with a combination of fixed scenarios, random situations, RNG combat that is adjustable, and decision making.

The game is also a bit unforgiveable. You can carefully construct a decent soldier who just has a bad day on the battlefield and that's it. In effect, it's FTL with a gladius instead of a spaceship. Also, just like FTL, don't get attached to your new soldier. He is much more likely to die at the hands of a Carthaginian at his first battle than he is to become a Centurion. And that's a good thing, because I've played about 9-10 legionaries in the short time I've owned the game and the overlap is minimal in terms of story and experience.

So I'm done with the game, but I'm done with it in the way that you're done with FTL. You can fnish a run through in 10 minutes or an hour. But you will keep going back to it for another run where it feels just as much fun to lose as it does to win. Worth the full (low) price!

Up next, continuing on with Star Wars: Battlefront 2...guys, this is really, really good.

EA access was $0.99 on PSN, so me and my friends got Anthem and played it through to completion (base story) and...we really enjoyed the gameplay during the missions, got annoyed when having to go to Fort Tarsis and have like an hour of conversation across like 4 people spread around the city. We also liked customizing Javelins and building combos across the 4 of us. There are a couple missions that force you into the freeplay where you have to do mundane tasks simply to check off a list and the story is put on hold until you finish these things. One of these requires you to find and fight a rare monster 3 times, which was annoying.

We might do some post game stuff, reason to really do so after you've finished a few post game missions. Gonna move on to the next coop game, which might actually be Fortnite: Save the World

gewy wrote:

I was getting back on the fence as to whether or not I wanted to play TLOU2 soon. Thanks for pushing me off it again. Sounds miserable.

There's no guarantee you'd agree with me; really, it's a remarkable achievement in every respect except for my disappointments (and I guess even that's kind of remarkable given how much I love the previous game).

Honestly, given the daily revelations of hatred and threats being focused on everyone involved in the game, I'd strongly urge anyone remotely interested in the game to buy a copy whether or not they intend to play it. And of course don't be reticent to call out that kind of intolerance and bullying anytime you run into it, whether it be in meatspace or Teh Interwebs.

I got it on sale. I let it sit in my pile for a couple of years. I was cynical because the game has not one but two TM superscripts in the title. And of course EA is an evil company that fuels its game development with the souls of dead orphans.

With that said, Star Wars: Battlefront II (aka Star Wars(TM): Battlefront(TM) II) is the best Star Wars game I've played in years and one of the best shooters I've played in quite some time.

Look I get the fact that you can practically feel the corporate focus groups in every second of the game. I don't care. The game was pure Star Wars(TM) fun(TM). Iden Versio was a fantastic heroine. Shriv is one of the best sidekicks since Minsc and HK-47. The graphics and music are great even on my aging gaming laptop. The way that the game told its own story while seamlessly weaving through established stories and characters was amazing. Oh and at one point you GET TO FLY THE F'ING MILLENNIUM FALCON.

If you love Star Wars you owe it to yourself to play this game. The story is officially canon (and Iden Versio deserves to be part of the official SWU), and it plays like a combination love letter/best of album to Star Wars fans.

I'm skipping multiplayer. I dabbled in it, and I know that's supposed to be where the "real game" is, but MP has no appeal to me and really I just wanted to enjoy the SP story. I'm so happy I got to play this and I'm also happy it was relatively short (~10-12 hours). This will be near the top of my list at my 2020 games of the year.

Up next, whelp, time to complete the Bhaalspawn saga with Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal. And a dozen other games on the side.

Do you mean Star Wars: Battlefront II, or Star Wars: Battlefront II? Star Wars: Battlefront II was released in 2005, whereas Star Wars: Battlefront II was 2017. I'm asking because I own Star Wars: Battlefront II, but not Star Wars: Battlefront II.

Budo wrote:

With that said, Star Wars: Battlefront II (aka Star Wars(TM): Battlefront(TM) II) is the best Star Wars game I've played in years and one of the best shooters I've played in quite some time.

Archangel wrote:

Do you mean Star Wars: Battlefront II, or Star Wars: Battlefront II? Star Wars: Battlefront II was released in 2005, whereas Star Wars: Battlefront II was 2017. I'm asking because I own Star Wars: Battlefront II, but not Star Wars: Battlefront II.

Let me help disambiguate this for you:

Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)

Star Wars Battlefront II (2017)

Note that the former title clearly has a colon in the name, whereas the latter title does not. Wikipedia also agrees with this, and is never wrong.

Therefore, Budo clearly meant the 2005 game.


Honestly, I didn't notice this until 5 minutes ago. I'm just as amused as you are.

I was talking about the one with the Star Wars in it.

Since the English language has such few words, it is hard to come up with titles that don't lead to confusion.

Well.. Finished DQXI..... only to find out that it did not end... i am confused lol

Great game.. but it will go on!

I’ve finished Assassin’s Creed Origins. And by beaten, I mean finished the main game. There’s a lot more to do, but I don’t know if I’ll do it.

I have a fondness for the Ubisoft model at this point (towers, map markers, etc.). I wouldn’t play a ton of games in the mold, but I’m good for one or two a year. So I dive into the Assassin’s Creed series periodically, maybe like one a year. And so it is that I finally got around to Origins. And it’s a totally competent, if not outright really good, new take on the AC model. The RPG hybrid model (still AC, but now with leveling and quests and weapons with stats) quickly fell into place and felt natural, and was fairly compelling in it’s own right. It’s likely been said, but the series is getting further from the AC storyline and is now just turning into some sort of Stealth/Action/RPG thing with a lot of historical paint thrown over it, and it really works. I picked it up in a gap between other games, since the genius behind the Ubisoft model is that you can fire it up, do a few objectives, and drop out, but I wound up sticking it through to the end. I really liked the setting as well.

I didn’t end up doing all the sidequests, just enough to keep me leveled for the main quest and keep going, although there were specific points where I had to do quite a few sidequests to get properly leveled; sticking to the critical path did not seem totally viable, but since your character’s job seems to be helping others in an official capacity, I suppose that makes narrative sense. The other reason I didn’t max this game out is that I plan to play AC: Odyssey sometime next year, and am more likely to spend a lot of time in that one instead, and didn’t want to burn myself out. That said, I’ve tagged the season pass on isthereanydeal to possibly grab it if it goes cheap enough.

At this point, I think this is my second favorite AC game at this point; Black Flag is still first, then Origins, followed by AC2.

Wunderling (Switch)

Wunderling is a cute platformer similar to Mario. The protagonist -- a walking carrot -- hops and bops enemies in the vegetable kingdom to rescue the princess. However, in this game, instead of playing as the protagonist, you play as the Goomba equivalent trying to defeat the hero. You constantly walk forward and if bump into a wall you walk the other way. At the beginning of the game, you gain the ability to jump and you gain other abilities as the game goes on such as dashing and wall jumping.

The game isn't really a platformer though. It's more of a puzzle-platformer split up into several small stages where you have to use your limited abilities to collect all the stuff and get to the exit. The difficulty is moderate if you just want to beat the game, but if you want to collect all the things and find the secret levels it gets quite tricky. The story starts off light-hearted and silly, but it gets strangely dark near the end. I wasn't a fan of that change of tone.

Overall it was a pretty fun game and I'm glad I played it, but it's not a contender for GOTY by any means.

I just finished Final Fantasy VII Remake. Before I got into the game, I was worried that S-E would have made a mess of the remake, and totally ruined my nostalgic love of the original; this was absolutely not the case. As far as I'm concerned, FF7R is a damn near perfect JRPG, with some delightful modern takes on the classic story, interface, and combat system. Playing through it on Normal difficulty), I had almost no trouble dealing with routine combat situations, and I think I got through probably 90% of the boss battles on my first try. I logged about 45 hours with this over the last 2 weeks since I started, completing just about everything I thought I could do, though there are some things that can apparently only be done after beating the game. I can't believe I'm considering diving right back in on Hard mode.

Apparently I'm in an adventure game mood after finishing Life is Strange 2 two weeks ago, and since I have both of the Telltale Batman games from Xbox Games with Gold, I fired up the first one, and finished it last night.

The game was solid enough. It did the typical Telltale thing of "here are some options!", but you can pretty easily see how no matter which way you went, it would've gotten you to the same result. It also had some outcomes that seemed pretty momentous when they happened, but were undermined shortly afterward. By the end, it was really stretching believably, even by comic book standards.

Still, I had a decent time with the story and gameplay. What almost killed it for me were the graphical problems. This is a four year old game, running on an Xbox One X. Telltale games aren't exactly pushing technical boundaries, so the console should have no problem running it. Yet I saw glitches happening almost constantly. Nothing that really hindered gameplay, but impossible to ignore. Stuff like:

- Starting in episode 3, the depth of field effect was waaaaay off for about 75% of the time. That meant that every character in the scene was incredibly blurry, while the background was in focus, instead of the other way around. It would clear up for a shot or two, or even whole scenes, but it came back. Incredibly distracting.
- Gordon's ever-present cigarette's smoke was a solid white blob, with no soft edges, and looked terrible. Every single time.
- Multiple instances of a character having some heavy shadowing on them, but the shadows were rendered at such a low resolution that they were basically massive blocks. This was usually when the character was the main focal point of the scene.
- Twice, a character spent the entire scene with her hair just absent, so I could see inside her head. She appeared with hair later, so I know she just wasn't an invisible hair comics person. In another scene, one of the characters was completely invisible for the whole thing. She still voiced her lines, so it was like Batman was acting against someone off-camera, and they were going to add a CG character in later. Again, this character showed up in other scenes before and after this one.

So yeah, I liked the game well enough, but the technical stuff makes me not really want to play the second one, because it annoyed the hell out of me.

Oh man, I do remember the technical issues with the Telltale Batman game, it was terrible. You can look up videos with compilations of crazy glitches, some hilarious and some game breaking. If you can put that aside, the Batman series was pretty good.

I finished Oneiros, a first person adventure game that may look like a walking sim but actually puts more emphasis on puzzles. Gameplay reminded me of the "The Room" series, where on each episode you are in a small space trying to find clues to be able to get out or move on. The game is very pretty and it creates a nice atmosphere. The voice acting was good too, except that the dialogues have these awkward small gaps between lines that made it feel like people rehearsing a script rather than an actual dialogue. It seems more of an issue of audio editing. The game also has a very poor inventory system, although it is only really annoying in a couple of parts. The story is good enough to keep you going through the game. All in all, a fun couple of hours, and cheap and pretty game.