Finished Any Games Lately?

I gave up on Fallout 3; the world's just too bleak, I don't get any enjoyment spending time in it.

It took a couple tries for Oblivion, my first Elder Scrolls game, to get its hooks into me. I was spending a lot of time in underground areas - caves and dungeons - that showed off their procedural generation far too clearly, a problem that they fixed with Skyrim. In Skyrim, you can come up with a backstory for how a cave/dungeon came to be that way, either based on the environmental storytelling that was intentionally put in or just from your own interpretation of more clearly-defined features and touches than Oblivion sported. In Oblivion, the back story for every dungeon is "a random bunch of Lego Cave pieces were thrown together this way". I think it clicked for me once I realized I wanted to be a sneaky archer, and serendipitously picked up a ring of invisibility that facilitated that. I wound up putting in over 150 hours, and never finished the main quest.

Skyrim didn't have the hump for me that Oblivion did, probably because at that point I knew what I enjoyed from an Elder Scrolls game. I loved wandering that world and seeing the sights that presented themselves; I still get chills when I exited a barrow in the middle of the night and saw, for the first time, Solitude, silhouetted against the aurora borealis: "Wow, that's a crazy-looking gigantic rock arch! Wait, is there a city on top of it?!?" Later on, playing in VR, wandering through a forest with the snow swirling around me while a dragon soars overhead, searching for me, was an incredible feeling. Also in VR: the ceilings! I never looked up while playing the flatscreen version, but I was constantly agog at the amount of work put into ceilings when they were literally over my head.

I’ve loved Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim. Fallout 4 was the first one I was kind of bored by, and focused on the story instead of exploring every nook and cranny, and that was due to a combination of the focus on building settlements and Fallout’s world being so samey from game to game. I didn’t finish New Vegas because its world was boring and the faction manipulation felt so transparent I felt like I was playing a spreadsheet.

I’m also someone who needs a narrative hook to keep me invested in the exploring, so I fully engage in the main and side stories. I like feeling immersed in a fleshed out 3D world, and these games let me live that fantasy. The world is varied and beautiful. I can do some questing, then spend time exploring. I can spend time crafting and playing around with investing in shops. I can pick flowers. I can clear out a bandit hideaway and sell all the loot, or I can explore an old ruin and get some interesting lore. When I get tired of exploring the wilderness, I can spend time in the various cities and poke around. The music and art style combine to give a vibe to everything that perfectly clicks with me.

As far as combat goes, sneaky archery is satisfying, and a sword and board play style is fun to mix things up. I thought The Witcher 3’s combat was serviceable, but nothing special. Elder Scrolls is similar in that regard. It gets the job done, and, in Skyrim’s case, working your way through the skill trees gives you something to look forward to while leveling.

At the end of the day this is all subjective. You either like it or you don’t, and either case is okay. You don’t need to force yourself to play something you’re not enjoying. When you get bored, be grateful for the enjoyment you got out of it and move on with your life.

So those of you who love Skyrim, do you basically ignore the main quest entirely and wander around instead, having your own adventures? What I loved about Breath of the Wild is that there was no story at all, really; it was all about exploration, and that exploration was its own reward. It never occurred to me to play Skyrim in the same way. I tried to follow the story and ended up bored after 20-ish hours of side-questing...

There isn’t a right way to play. As I said, I need a narrative thread to keep me going. I enjoy the stories in the main quests, faction quests, and major side quests. Some of the best dungeons are often locked behind that content. Other people don’t need that, and have fun making their own fun without a story to push them in one direction or another.

I love Skyrim and Fallout 3 and 4. I’ve gone back to Skyrim the most out of these.

I love Skyrim for the environments and the lore/environmental story telling.

I have no idea why put a couple of weekends ago I fired up Skyrim (again) and have been happily picking flowers and killing mud crabs for probably another 20 hours.

I also loved Oblivion, Fallout 3, NV, and 4. I would love to see remasters of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3/NV. There were a lot of quality of life type changes made between Morrowind and Fallout 4 and it would be nice to see the old games updated with some of those (one change between Skyrim and Oblivion is they moved keys to their own section of the inventory so now you don't have to scroll through hundreds of keys mixed in with you other items for instance). For me the main quests in most of these games is an after thought. I have played probably over 1000 hours in Oblivion, but I only even finished the main quest once. I play Bethesda games mostly to explore and see what I can find.

Morroblivion is excellent, finished that earlier this year. Will have another Skyrim run through later this year with the new edition but before then decided to mod Oblivion and play that. Installed the beautification project and well through the MQ, it looks great!

I’ve finished the main quests in Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3 multiple times. I doubt I’ll ever replay Fallout 4. I’m leaning towards doing a full Skyrim replay later this year. That’ll keep me sated until Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 come out.

I tried replaying Oblivion again this year and found it pretty rough on the eyes, and didn’t really feel like modding it to look better. If Skyblivion ever comes out I may try that instead.

I finished Lake on Xbox yesterday. It was not great, but a very chill vibe. I'd be a little higher on it had I played it on Game Pass, but I can't really recommend it at $20. I didn't experience the bugs Trueheart described earlier, and I was pleasantly surprised that if you manually saved it kept all your saves, and the game autosaved for me sensibly as well. But even with everything working, it was still an extremely light experience.

I liked the relaxing feel of just driving through the town and delivering mail and having occasional conversations with people in town. I liked the look of the town, the beautiful landscape and some very nicely designed little spaces you visit, especially the video store which has some very funny movie titles and pictures that are slight distortions on classic movies of the era. All in all, it's a very relaxing and not challenging way to spend 6-8 hours. However...

The story is complete nonsense? So many things about it drove me bonkers.

--You play as Meredith, a roughly 40 year old woman who grew up in this lake town in Oregon but hasn't been back in more than 20 years, and lives in a big city (unclear if it's Portland, which is mentioned as being close by, or further away) working for a software company in the mid-80s, but she's returning home for two weeks. That all seems reasonable! Except... She's returning to stay at her parents' house while they're not there, because her father has just retired from his job as a mail carrier and they're going on vacation to Florida. Already kind of strange that she hasn't been home in 20 years, so I guess she's not visited her parents at home at all, and the first time she's coming back she's not even going to see them?

--Much stranger, though, after her dad's retirement, rather than hiring a replacement whenever he gave his notice, the post office has hired Meredith to be a fill-in postal worker for two weeks? It's a very weird choice. "I really need to take a break from my busy job in the city, I'll go housesit for my parents and...also become a mail carrier for two weeks?" That's not a thing it would make sense for either Meredith or the postal service to do! But, whatever, they want game play and delivering the mail is the gameplay, so, okay, I guess.

--The game is made by a team in the Netherlands, and it shows, because there's lots of stuff that doesn't fit for a game set in a lake town outside of Portland. Like Meredith talks about going away "to university," or the woman who runs the diner and has lived in this Oregon town for several decades and has no mention of having come there from elsewhere has all these Southern-style sayings (e.g. ends multiple conversations like "ya'll come back now, ya hear?"). It just hits strangely. I guess they felt they had to set the game in America for the widest audience, but I personally would've been much more interested if the devs had set the game in a lake town in the Netherlands.

--Part of the story is reconnecting with Meredith's childhood best friend, which in broad strokes is fine, but the story struggles to make sense of why Meredith so thoroughly ignored this friend and her home town for decades, and didn't even get major details on the friend's life from her parents. There's a bit where Meredith is just learning that someone important to both of them died more than a decade ago, and, in apologizing for not having known, your options are like "sorry, someone told me and I probably wasn't paying attention" or "I guess I just forgot," which are both very weird excuses!

--Maybe the strangest bit of the whole story involves Frank, the other mail carrier in town. (Given that you typically deliver about 10 letters and 3 packages over the course of an entire day, why do they even need 2?) A few people give you unstamped envelopes to hand to Frank. Spoilers for where this plot goes.


It turns out these unstamped envelopes contain bets on sport games, because Frank is also a bookie? And at some point, a guy from like Postal Internal Affairs comes in town to investigate, mostly because these people were sending mail without using stamps, which a)if that's an issue at all why are they doing that and b)uh I don't think it's against the law to hand someone an envelope without a stamp on it just because they're a mail carrier. The guy interrogates you about it, expecting you to know chapter and verse of the mail carrier's code or something even though you're a temporary mail carrier on your 5th day on the job. Seemingly regardless of what you say, Frank is suspended for a day, maybe two, and then he comes back and just says "yeah, that guy's been trying to catch me for years, but I'm friends with some lawyers and they told him he'd better leave me alone, so that problem is solved now!" So...if this has been happening for years, why didn't he do it sooner? And there are about 12 people in this town, how much money is Frank making off of being a bookie for the weird old cat lady and the guy who runs a bait shop? And throughout, the game is kind of emphasizing that Frank is like running a criminal bookmaking empire. If you choose to stay as a postal worker at the end of the game, you negotiate with him over your cut of the profits if you help him run bets. It's really strange!

--The romances are weird. There's both a male and a female love interest. I decided I liked the woman and pursued her, but the game is somewhat obnoxious in ignoring your decision not to pursue the other love interest. About halfway through the man's story I just decided I did not care about him or his story, and so I kept picking the options where he wants to tell you what's happening or invite you to things and you're just like "Nope, I'm not interested, gotta go, bye." And he does not take the hint. End spoilers -


No matter what you do, he will literally try to run you off the road on the final day, trying to get you to pull over (whether you're actually leaving town or not) so he can tell you that he's thought about it, and he would like to date you. And even though I turned him down on multiple date-like events, I still didn't have an option to say "f*** off you psycho, I've been clear about my lack of interest in you and this is a weird and dangerous way to approach me, go away!" The most aggressive you can be is like "oh, that's so sweet of you, but I'd just like to be friends."

--Oh and there's a weird couple who are identified to you as being hippies, but it mostly seems like a dirtbag guy and the woman trapped in an abusive relationship with him, and also at least the guy seems to be involved in possibly serious criminal activity and is trying to escape the country and yet your character's commentary on them both is basically "what a cute, care-free couple! I hope those crazy kids make it to Canada!" It is so strange they show this guy's anger and controlling behavior and really no redeeming qualities, and yet Meredith is just like "okay guys, have a great trip, good luck!"

Basically, almost every story beat in this game baffles me that multiple people apparently worked on writing this game and no one said "wait a second, isn't that a really weird choice? would anyone do that?"

I enjoyed roaming this little town and there are some cute bits here and there. If it ever comes to Game Pass I would say it's worth checking out on a rainy day when you want something chill to explore. But, probably don't pay money for it.

mrlogical wrote:

Basically, almost every story beat in this game baffles me that multiple people apparently worked on writing this game and no one said "wait a second, isn't that a really weird choice? would anyone do that?"


I'd been slowly chipping away at Ghost of Tsushima for the last 2-3 weeks or so. I reached the end of act two and...just had to know, so I spent Sunday afternoon slamming main character side missions and the main quest until I was done.

This is normally where my drive to play any game drop off a cliff, but Monday came and all I wanted to do was to just keep existing in the world. The art direction is incredible and that more somber, reflective tone has been so refreshing/relaxing (weird for a game still about killing people, but I digress).

If you can, I highly recommend the PS5 update; if you play open worlds like me, you let those question marks pile up and then want to quickly knock out a ton of them. The PS5 has virtually no loading time, so fast travel feels like you never leave the game. It's not as good as something like Spider-Man (where traveling is half the fun), but eliminating the 2-4 minute rides of nothing to achieve the objective makes the ride so much better, in my opinion.

Before a big mission though, I always took the full scenic ride across the map. Really sets the tone.

Tasty Pudding wrote:

Finished Carto. Well... not exactly "finished", since I put the game down for good at the end of Chapter 9 (there are 10 chapters). It was a fun and wholesome diversion: a top-down puzzler where you manipulate map squares to progress. By the end, the puzzles had become fiddly enough that I was resorting to a combination of trial-and-error brute force and checking frequently with a guide. Decided I'd had enough, but it was a good and chill time up to that point. Another one "free" on Gamepass.

I played this back in the spring and I liked it. Toward the end, there were a few "what are they even trying to get me to try to do here?" puzzles, but I managed to clear them after stepping away and coming back. I love the characters that I met along the way. People are generally glad to meet Carto, and they should be because she can manipulate reality itself to solve their problems!

mrlogical wrote:

Basically, almost every story beat in this game baffles me that multiple people apparently worked on writing this game and no one said "wait a second, isn't that a really weird choice? would anyone do that?"

I believe you, because I played the demo for Lake and was struck by how everything about the the game - the story and setting, the dialogue and characters, even the gameplay itself - was just... off. I assumed that this was deliberate, and that Lake would turn out to be a horror game in disguise: that we would get to a point, early on, where it is revealed that "not everything is quite as it seems in this weird and bucolic little town".

Nope. Apparently not.

Finished all seasons and free roam maps in Art of Rally. A fantastic racing game that I was able to enjoy with adjusted difficulty on a controller. I got this shot of a lighthouse in the fog at night, doing what it is meant to do, too.


mrtomaytohead wrote:

Finished all seasons and free roam maps in Art of Rally. A fantastic racing game that I was able to enjoy with adjusted difficulty on a controller.

Great to hear! I’m looking forward to my time with it. IMAGE(

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Finished all seasons and free roam maps in Art of Rally. A fantastic racing game that I was able to enjoy with adjusted difficulty on a controller. I got this shot of a lighthouse in the fog at night, doing what it is meant to do, too.


trueheart78 wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

Finished all seasons and free roam maps in Art of Rally. A fantastic racing game that I was able to enjoy with adjusted difficulty on a controller.

Great to hear! I’m looking forward to my time with it. IMAGE(

Yeah. I wasn’t planning to try this but based on these recommendations I fell that I must! Thanks!!

I just finished Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. I felt the game became less interesting as time went on, mainly due to the level design. Some of the later locations lost the Souls style exploration which I really enjoyed in Zeffo early on.

Skyward Sword HD is finished - about 40 hours. I'm glad I played this on the Switch because generally speaking the environments and puzzles were great, many of the bosses had some good ideas, but the controls were really rough. They just felt too inconsistent and having to enter in some precise commands at clutch times was frustrating.

Also, HP bars on bosses - please, I beg you.

Overall, this ranks up with Wind Waker as one of my favorite 3D Zelda games.

Aristophan wrote:

Skyward Sword HD is finished - about 40 hours. I'm glad I played this on the Switch because generally speaking the environments and puzzles were great, many of the bosses had some good ideas, but the controls were really rough. They just felt too inconsistent and having to enter in some precise commands at clutch times was frustrating.

Also, HP bars on bosses - please, I beg you.

Overall, this ranks up with Wind Waker as one of my favorite 3D Zelda games.

Nice! I always liked it as a Zelda fan despite the issues.

Finished Garden Story. I was so excited for this one, bought it day one. Very disappointed. It was cute, but it had a lot of mechanics, none of which were polished or fleshed out. I had zero motivation to do anything but the critical path.

I wouldn't necessarily say I've finished the game since I still regularly play it, but I have finished my first Mortal Empires campaign in Total War: Warhammer II (Tyrion/High Elves). Look I love TW:WH, of all the Total Wars, it's the totaliest. When I think about what this game has achieved with all of the different factions and all of the different takes on gameplay, unit variation, balance, and so's a masterpiece in design. When I think about how you make the Orcs, Skaven, High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves, Beastmen, Lizardmen, Empire, Vampire Counts, Dwarves, Chaos, and so on all play differently and uniquely to the faction lore but keep competitive balance and interest in the game...and then combine it across two titles? It's the gaming equivalent of Peter Jackson filming 3 Lord of The Rings movies nearly simultaneously. It's not my favorite game of all time, but honestly it's right up there with strategy titles.

Up next, I'm catching up on WoW at the moment, Dishonoured 2...and Wildermyth. Folks, Wildermyth is brilliant. It's basically procedural RPG fantasy XCOM2 combined with Massive Chalice (that game by DoubleFine where you breed new heroes and they travel to different regions to prevent an apocalypse). The stories, characters and dialogue in this game are semi-procedurally generated. The impressive part is that it is good. It's cohesive. Interesting. Funny. Meaningful. I'm deeply impressed by this title. I agree with PC Gamer that basically said this game, while not the perfect RPG, is a milestone for how to develop RPGs in the future. I'm excited about this title, but I'm really excited about the games that are going to take this formula and evolve and expand upon it further. It's a great time to be a gamer.

I finished Flynn: Son of Crimson on GamePass for PC. It's a pretty nice 2D platformer with 16-bit style pixel art. Mostly made by one guy. The game doesn't do anything you haven't seen before but it's a solid 5-6hr adventure. Not the hardest game out there but I have no problem with that, and it's not a total piece of cake either. It looks great and it has some nice music. It was a lot of fun to play except for the wall jumping parts but thankfully there wasn't a ton of that. Definitely worth a look, especially if you have GamePass.

I just wrapped up Eastward, the amazing inaugural title developed by Pixpil Games and published by Chucklefish. It's basically an action-adventure in the style of a SNES Zelda mixed with some Mother (Earthbound), incorporating gorgeous pixel-art sprites, eargasmic chiptune music, and an interesting not-your-typical story. I had great fun with this game over ~25 hours, even despite ignoring the embedded Dragon Quest-style minigame: Earth Born.

Only a few minor annoyances/complaints I had: The third area seemed to drag on a bit too long; I was ready to move on and see new stuff, but I was apparently only at about the halfway point. Also, it was not initially very clear that one of the powers in the game could be double-charged up (hold to charge, keep holding for double charge), and it does something different and needed to progress; once I figured it out, no issues.

I finished Scarlet Nexus last weekend, and I have conflicting feelings about it. First of all, I guess I should say I only finished “half” of the game, because there are two single player campaigns to play through: one as Yuito (the guy) and one as Kasane (the girl). Each character has their own story line, but they intersect plenty of times (and I mean plenty of times) throughout the game; so much so that, having played as Kasane, I don’t feel the need to play again as Yuito, especially when taking the following three facts into account:

One: just playing as Kasane took me about thirty hours, and I just can’t conceive spending twice as long playing this game.

Two: most (if not all) stages/locations in the game are reused several times throughout the campaign, at least in Kasane’s case, and even if you get to see some new places playing as Yuito, I have a feeling I would be going back to the same environments I played through as Kasane over and over again… again, and I’m not going to do that.

Three: Kasane’s and Yuito’s paths intersect so often and they share so much information when they do that I really think I don’t need to play as Yuito to have a very good idea of what his journey was.

In addition to that, Yuito and Kasane have the same special power, psychokinesis, and while one is more of a melee character and the other one is ranged, well, their special power is the same, so I feel like it would be gratuitously repetitive. However, I will say the combat is fun, and psychokinesis is a great power. It’s basically telekinesis, and it is a joy to grab whatever random objects you can find and throw them at your enemies. In addition to your character’s psychokinesis, as you advance further into the game and your party forms, you can borrow your teammates’ special powers, so you are also able to use fire, electricity, invisibility, and several other abilities that add to the fun quotient when you are explaining to your enemies why coming down to Earth was a really bad idea.

The enemies look great —I loved the crazy character design that combined things like flower pots and long legs in heels. The design of Yuito, Kasane, and the rest of the Scarlet guardians was also cool —I really liked their suits, and their powers were unique and manifested in interesting ways. And the world was also visually appealing, even though the graphics looked a bit muddy on my PS4.

Finally, the story was very interesting, and it kept getting crazier and crazier. There are twelve levels in the game, and by level three things were already happening that I wouldn’t have expected until much later in the game. It was bonkers! However, even though the story was intriguing and surprising, the sheer amount of dialogue and exposition was rather punishing. I know this is a JRPG and verbose cutscenes are almost de rigueur, but my goodness does Scarlet Nexus come packed with dialogue and dialogue and dialogue and some more dialogue. Furthermore, the way the dialogue is presented is not particularly compelling, in my opinion, as it is done through a collection of static images that change a few times throughout the conversations. As I said earlier, I like the characters designs, but staring at their static faces for so long was not fun. I understand this was probably a budgetary decision, but boy was it unappealing.

It probably sounds like I have a mostly negative take on the game, but that is not true. The combat was lots of fun, and it made up for the exposition overload (that's how much fun it was). I did feel like the game overstayed its welcome, and I would have liked it to be considerably shorter, which is why another go to see Yuito’s side of the story is pretty much unthinkable for me. But overall I had fun, and I am glad I played it. Now, will it be in my Top 10 Games of the Year come December? I doubt it, but it was a good time for most of the time, so if you’re curious about it check it out when it goes on sale.

I finished Superliminal. It’s another Game Pass gem. I liked it very much. It has a few things in common with Portal but is not a clone.

The main mechanic of the game is a weird forced perspective thing. You use it to make certain objects bigger or smaller in order to solve environmental puzzles. The puzzles aren’t too tricky. I never referred to a guide.

The narrative of the game is weird and funny and is well written. The level design is very clever. There are some truly beautiful moments.

If this wasn’t on Game Pass it’s unlikely that I would have played it, but I’m glad it is.

Just put the finishing touches on Tales of Berseria. This is probably the only "Tales of..". Game that I've ever actually finished, and most definitely the one I've enjoyed the most. The main character was pretty atypical for the series and, despite the standard somewhat nonsensical narrative, the characters were all fairly charming and the main character's motivation relatable enough. Not of fan of final dungeons like the one here, but it wasn't nearly as long as confusing as similar dungeon types (warp points, convoluted progression, etc), and the final boss sequence wasn't too unbalanced (managed it on my first attempt).

Also beat Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance for the first time since my original playthrought back in the early aughts on the GBA, this time on the WiiU, where I had repurchased the title a few months back. Still enjoy the game, though it is, admittedly, nowhere near as good as Aria of Sorrow and only better than Circle of the Moon on a technical level.

Not bad for a weekend.

Posting anew since it's a day later... Well, just finished Donut County. Fun little diversion with pretty great humor in general. BK the racoon reminds me a ton of one of my best friends, which made me chuckle constantly. A good two hour waster.

I recently finished Troubleshooters: Abandoned Children, at around the 100 hour mark. This included the main campaign, plus the free DLC chapter that came with it (at least what has come out so far, I think one or two missions are still left to be released). I’ve done a couple of lengthy write ups on this one in the Games Without a Thread thread, but the short version is that you may have heard about this as anime-XCOM made by a tiny South Korean studio. Which is sort of true, since it has the tactical grid, action points, and a cartoony style with some nice painted scenes reminiscent of a visual novel or something. But after dumping a ton of time into it over the last few months, I think it’s better described as one of the crunchiest TRPGs you’ll ever encounter.

I’ll put the bulk of it spoilers since this got long.


There’s a ton of menus, and most are are about tweaking your characters in some form or fashion. The weapons and armor drop like loot you can mix and match your attacks and abilities, choose certain character buffs, forge equipment, change each character to a couple of different classes, etc. But the real detail comes in the form of masteries. Basically just passive abilities, but you can equip a number of different masteries to each character. There are different categories you can equip (attack, defense, support, basic, and ability), and each mastery is worth a certain number of points. But you can only have a certain number of points in each category, PLUS a total cap on the point count. So you can never have everything you want. But then the passives combo together into sets, where if you have 4 that go together you also get an additional buff (boosted stats, percentages, etc.) And there are hundreds of masteries that you can get or craft (which is it’s own huge system). This is the sort of game where you can spend a good 30 minute session reviewing all your masteries, the shuffling them around to earn new sets, researching new ones, and optimizing everything without ever even sniffing the combat. And I did that more than once, since every few levels you open up new slots or your max cap increases and you earn or unlock new masteries, so the options are constantly increasing. Mid to late game, there are a lot of tradeoffs that have to be made as each character can get more and more powerful.

But that crunchiness is just filler if it isn’t needed for something, and the tactical encounters shine. They throw a lot of enemies at you, and you had better be ready for them, by taking advantage of terrain, setting up overwatch or forestallment traps (basically a melee overwatch that hits anyone running by), use the items etc. One of the more interesting things is that the enemies have access to the same masteries as you and will absolutely use them, and so they will do things to cut the damage they take in half, reduce your accuracy, heal up, revive themselves after being knocked out, etc.. And so your team and your tactics are often changing to account for the new threats that are being thrown at you. More double hits to bypass abilities, trying to trigger free hits, taking advantage of buffs and debuffs, etc.

One example is my main character, Albus, could cause a buffed version of bleeding, and does extra damage to enemies who are bleeding, reduces their ability to block, etc. So, I had him set up to hit anyone who comes close to him, often killing outright, but if not he causes them to bleed, so he gets his next turn he does huge damage and reduces their ability to block (later enemies have over 100% block, so you have to find a way around this). Or, he has a two-hit attack, so I would have him attack an enemy twice; the first hit gets blocked but does chip damage and causes bleed, and the second hit would get a ton of buffs and outright kill the enemy. But since he's out on the front lines and has to block a lot of attacks to work well, he's also often one of the first to get taken out in a particularity nasty fight when the dice rolls start to go against you. Or take the case of my sniper, who has a mastery that gives automatic conceal if she attacks behind cover, and has a second mastery that reduces her turn clock when concealed, thus giving her more turns than everyone else. Oh, and this game has a turn order that is impacted by speed, and you can and should absolutely be manipulating that turn order with the tools at your disposal.

There are also a large variety of mission types; there’s defeat all the enemies, of course, but there’s objectives to defend locations, knock out leaders, escort allies out of battlezones, rescuing civilians, accomplishing objectives across a map on a time limit, escape missions, and probably a few more I’m not thinking about. And there have been some good reversal missions, where it started out as I was surrounding a group of enemies, but when I took them out, new enemies spawned in and were encircling US, and now we had to figure out how to fight our way out with very little cover. Or the one time I walked into a sniper killzone, where like 5 snipers would all get free attacks against anyone who was targeted in their range. I’ll also give the game credit: it definitely feels like the endgame is harder than the early game; you actually have to take full advantage of all the crazy builds you’ve been working on all game to make it through a good number of the fights. The purple icon missions in particular are all tough as nails, even if you're overleveled.

The story is fine. Abandoned Children is kind of a weird title, but it makes sense in context, and they are somewhat involved in the plot, but most of the story is just about our hero Albus as he grows his Troubleshooting company and grows as a leader. He is motivated to get more information about a mysterious event by moving up the ranks and getting a higher clearance level, but it isn’t resolved in this story. The story ends with a lot of loose ends out there, but an achievement popped saying I completed Season 1, and from the announcements they are/will be working on season 2. Not sure if it will be DLC add on, or a new standalone game. Either way, I’m there for it early. And the game gets constant support, and the dev team interacts on the steam forums pretty heavily (they respond to every steam review, for example). There seems to be a patch every couple of weeks even a couple of years after the game came out. Even as I was playing it, there was an improvement to the UI at home base (where there are a lot of menus), and extra dialogue subtitles were put in place for the ambient voice lines that take place during battles, where before there was just voice lines in Korean with no translation. Like I said, constant support.

I can’t finish this without mentioning the jank. It’s made by a small first time studio, and it needs some polish, even with the updates. The menus in particular are very complex, and navigating them takes time. The game has a ton of systems that aren't totally clear at first, and I used google quite a few times to clear up questions I had. And there could be a better way to sort the weapons and armor you pick up. It has a similar problem to any loot game, where most of what you get isn’t useful, and the sort options are a bit limited. And the translation is perfectly fine, but not professional; there are the occasional typo, grammar issue, etc. But these are all pretty ignorable at the end of the day.

It’s a highly ambitious game that absolutely goes for it by cramming a huge number of systems into one game, and pretty much nails it as far as I'm concerned. I came into this game excited since I like TRPGs, and right now it's probably my GOTY. If any of this interests you at all, grab it on sale and dive in. It deserves a lot more attention, and those 100 hours absolutely flew by for me.

EDIT: It's on sale right now.

Looking at my pile on Steam I reloaded Quantum Break a few days ago and have decided to pack it in. Got to the final battle which I think is the only boss in the game and it's an awful way to end the game. Nothing else like it in the game.

I've enjoyed toying with the time controls, story arc and I didn't mind the video sequences and decision points. however much of the gameplay was broken up by cut scenes and touches meant to be clever but just got infuriating.

It's a shame as there was a lot to recommend about this game, it's very ambitious and much of it works well. If you like shooters with a twist then I'd recommend this, should be pretty cheap now and not too much of a time sink.

Two minor updates:
I've finished another Mortal Empires campaign in Total War: Warhammer II, this time as Bretonnia (I'm playing 4 at the same time - just a few turns for each every other day). Bretonnia is really interesting to play because all 3 leaders in this faction start in very tough positions in the beginning to the point where if you do not fail in the first 20 turns (which I did quite a few times) you can make a long run. As you enter the midgame, your domain explodes quickly due to the ability to confederate early and quickly. After that you have to guard your lands against Chaos and Skaven (ugh) units. The good news is that Bretonnia realms are pretty stable with minimal to no rebellions. Tactics-wise, if you manage your economy well and don't overrecruit peasants you can develop an army pretty quickly and cheaply. Obviously the emphasis is on cavalry (some of the best in the game), but even though Bretonnia has maybe the worst archers in the game you still need them to pick apart spear and halberd units to make sure your horses don't turn into porcupines. Overall a great faction to play if you want to get away from the grimdark of Warhammer and play a noble, honorable, knights of the round table style game.

Or you can just watch this video to get a sense of Bretonnia:

The other game I've "finished" is WoW: Shadowlands. I'm kind of on the fence about this expansion. You can almost sense the developers' burnout in how the game is proceeding. I feel as if they are going through the motions with the game now as much as I am. I'll still play it to level my alts, but honestly I'm going to ramp down my time with WoW and rediscover the Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, and Elder Scrolls Online.

Up next, finishing my 2 other Mortal Empires campaigns, tinkering around with the MMOs above, Dishonored 2, starting HUMANKIND(TM), and enjoying the RPG storytelling brilliance of Wildermyth.