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.

Spoiler:

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 -

Spoiler:

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?"

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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.