Finished Any Games Lately?

Weird. That's been out for a year, story-driven exploration/puzzle games are some of my favorite, and yet I've never heard of it. Thanks for letting me know, I've wishlisted it for when it goes on sale.

Sounds like it would be better on PC with a speed mod.

I polished off Nier: Automata (or at least polished it off as best as I could) and jumped into the world of Prey. I am loving it already.

I finished Guardians of the Galaxy over the weekend, and it was fantastic. I laughed out loud throughout the whole game, and it felt like the characters were truly alive and hanging out with me (or Peter, I guess). It was extremely well written and voice acted, and I could not be happier I bought it, even at full price. A phenomenal experience!

I finished Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart last night. A fair one-word review might be, frictionless. It's not hard (I played on the default difficulty), it moves quickly, the banter is fun, the environments are pretty, and it's always easy to say, "one more task" instead of putting the game down. An effect of eliminating loading screens, perhaps? In a way it feels like an expanded version of Astro's Playroom. Except that game features motion-sensitive aiming and this does not.

And this after I bounced off of the remake on PS Plus.

Evil Within 2 done. More straight forward than the first game. Hmnmm or maybe I haven't figured out why certain creature looked like they did. That isn't a bad thing because many people will like a more straight forward story.

I just beat Ratchet & Clank: Rifts Apart (PS5), which was a thoroughly enjoyable game. The story is pretty forgettable, but you don't play those games for the story - you play for the action and the silly guns.

Just started playing Death's Stranding: Director's Cut (PS5). Only 2 hours in, and I'm completely confused and watching a long movie. Definitely a Kojima game. It has promise if it can pull off the crazy world it's setting up.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Detroit: Become Human
Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Not sure what to play next but it's been a great month

Man...I was doing great with Detroit...until the last chapter. It completely fell apart and I had most anticlimactic, lackluster ending ever.

DeThroned wrote:

Guardians of the Galaxy
Detroit: Become Human
Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Not sure what to play next but it's been a great month :)

That IS a great month!

I recently finished a replay of Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds. I’m revisiting some games on the 3DS, and so I thought I would get back to this one, which I haven’t played since * checks credits * 2013, apparently.

The thing that is really striking about this game is the great sound design. Besides the great renditions of the overworld themes (especially the dark world), there are a lot of little touches, like the snails singing with the item get jingle, the way the music flattens out when you turn into a portrait on a wall, or the sound of wind blowing from valleys, and a bunch of other little things that remind you that Nintendo can have amazing attention to detail.

The other thing that stuck out were the dungeons. There were all fine, but felt kind of short and not particularly difficult, which is probably to accommodate for the flexibility of doing them in any order, so they can’t make assumptions of what you will have access to, nor can the really get more difficult as you go. It’s also sort of glaring how little you use the tools (bow, bombs, hookshot, etc.), which are kind of the trademark for the series up to this point. Again, it's since you might not have some of them as you go through a dungeon, depending on which ones you choose to rent, so they're not making you go back and grind for money so you can get the tool you do need, so it does keep a good pace.

But on the other hand, I think it foreshadows Breath of the Wild, where the tools are entirely gone (except for the bow and a handful of powers you get right at the start of the game), and how little is blocked from you when the game opens up. I think this served as a sort of half step towards that larger change, and I think that makes it fit a slightly uneasy place in the design of the series. For the sake of being more flexible, it loses some of the depth and focus that earlier games had, but it’s also not as wide open as BotW would be. I think it’s still really cool, but maybe not as cool as the first time I played it with the additional time and context.

Just finished Dishonored 2.

Huh.

It's funny. When I played the first Dishonored years ago, I found it interesting how my appreciation and connection to the game slowly grew as I advanced in the story, and that's exactly what happened here, but faster.

So...why do I feel like I should love Dishonored 2 more than I actually do?

Oh, don't get me wrong, I had a great time. Mechanistically, the mechanics and design are top notch. You can clearly see in the level design, gameplay mechanics, combat, stealth, story, enemy AI and total lack of bugs that Dishonored 2 (like its predecessor), has been developed by a team of experts at the top of their game. The art and sound design are so polished and unique to the series. The voiceover in particular is top notch - I was surprised to see Rosario Dawson and a pre-fame Pedro Pascal were among the cast. In addition, I appreciate how the level crafting (more than just "design") allows the player to consider multiple approaches to traversing an area and solving goals in different ways. The game time was also just the right length - the missions are lengthy, but the story finishes at just the right time without overstaying it's welcome. It gets in, tells a tight tale, introduces just enough characters and enemies so there's variety without confusion, and it wraps everything up cleanly. It's just...I don't think this is one of the greatest games of all time. Dishonored 2 routinely lands in the top 5 or 10 of "greatest PC games ever", and I just don't feel the same.

I will say, however, that as my skills, experience, and powers progressed, I enjoyed the game more since the missions scale comfortably with your character growth and your familiarity with the mechanics. I just feel as if I had a very positive experience but missed out on the amazing game that many people identify as Dishonored 2.

Maybe I'm just overthinking it. Interestingly, this feeling is not unfamiliar - when Cyberpunk was released about a year ago, that similar sense of near-greatness was present then. I will say, however, that Dishonored 2 offers a much more complete experience and enjoyable time than the messterpiece known as Cyberpunk.

For the record, I played as Corvo instead of Emily since (i) I was familiar with his power set, (ii) as a Dad of 2 girls near Emily's age, the idea of saving your daughter resonated strongly with me, and (iii) I liked the idea of a guy past his prime "getting back in the game" like a pseudo-Batman. Since Emily has a completely different power set and her story is considered "canon", I will certainly replay the game with her at some point, but for my first run through I found Corvo's story fulfilling.

Again, overall, Dishonored 2 was a really fun and engaging time, and it will most likely make my Top 10 GOTY list. It just won't be #1.

Long term, I will dive into the Dishonored(R): Death of the outsiderTM story at some point, but in the meantime, it's past due to to dive into some strategy titles like HUMANKIND ALL CAPS TITLE TM, more Stellaris, Crusader Kings III, some MMOs (not WoW), and I'll dally in a few other titles. Otherwise it looks like my 2021 list of games played is complete, and I can start thinking about ranking these titles.

If I remember, the New Game + on Dishonored 2 is nice since you get a ton of ability points to just start using powers. I played with Emily since most of her powers were new and I liked that. Trying out Corvo was fun as well.

If you haven't played Prey, that is also very good.

As you mentioned, I love you how can move around and juggle all the abilities once you get farther into these games.

PikaPomelo wrote:

If I remember, the New Game + on Dishonored 2 is nice since you get a ton of ability points to just start using powers. I played with Emily since most of her powers were new and I liked that. Trying out Corvo was fun as well.

Ooh! I didn't realize that - I played as Emily, but I should go back through it as Corvo on NG+.

Two or three levels in, the first Dishonored shot into my Fave Games Of All Time list. I don't remember the sequel getting as much acclaim, so I actually held off buying it and then didn't get around to actually playing it until even later, so I was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it even more than the first game, largely due to two mind-boggling levels that are some of the best level design I've ever played (if you've played it, or even read a review or two, you know which two those are).

PikaPomelo wrote:

If you haven't played Prey, that is also very good.

Man, I am loving Prey. I started a few days ago. It is taking lots of what I liked about the Dishonored series and putting its own twist on things in a story/setting that I am digging.

Garth wrote:

I polished off Nier: Automata (or at least polished it off as best as I could) and jumped into the world of Prey. I am loving it already.

If you don't mind my asking, how far did you get? I'm working on finishing ending C, and I'm wondering if that will be the end of my involvement. Like the original, there's something original about it that I enjoy, but there are also so many other games to play...

Poppinfresh wrote:
Garth wrote:

I polished off Nier: Automata (or at least polished it off as best as I could) and jumped into the world of Prey. I am loving it already.

If you don't mind my asking, how far did you get? I'm working on finishing ending C, and I'm wondering if that will be the end of my involvement. Like the original, there's something original about it that I enjoy, but there are also so many other games to play...

It's been quite a while since I played Nier Automata, but from what I recall, ending D wasn't nearly as long and involved as endings A, B, or C; and ending E is essentially a gimme after ending D. I definitely get where you're coming from - it's already a big investment of time - but I think the payout is worth it, especially if you're enjoying the gameplay and story so far.

Poppinfresh wrote:
Garth wrote:

I polished off Nier: Automata (or at least polished it off as best as I could) and jumped into the world of Prey. I am loving it already.

If you don't mind my asking, how far did you get? I'm working on finishing ending C, and I'm wondering if that will be the end of my involvement. Like the original, there's something original about it that I enjoy, but there are also so many other games to play...

As I recall, when you get to ending C, it is only an hour or so to get D and then E. Slight spoilers ahead:

Spoiler:

Towards the end of route C, you make a choice, giving an ending. Going back allows you to make the other choice. After that, it's ending E.

Aristophan wrote:
Poppinfresh wrote:
Garth wrote:

I polished off Nier: Automata (or at least polished it off as best as I could) and jumped into the world of Prey. I am loving it already.

If you don't mind my asking, how far did you get? I'm working on finishing ending C, and I'm wondering if that will be the end of my involvement. Like the original, there's something original about it that I enjoy, but there are also so many other games to play...

As I recall, when you get to ending C, it is only an hour or so to get D and then E. Slight spoilers ahead:

Spoiler:

Towards the end of route C, you make a choice, giving an ending. Going back allows you to make the other choice. After that, it's ending E.

I finished ending C. But I didn't go so far as to get the D and E endings. Though I hear ending E is particularly satisfying. I didn't know it was only a few more hours. I may go back and knock that out.

Pile of Shame is decreased with one game: Qvadriga.

Had an absolute blast playing it now. Fun little, roman chariot racing game.

Rewatched all the chariot races of all three Ben Hur movies (the 1959 one still rules)

And really got into it. Small 10 hours to play through - recommended for those who like small TBS with clean graphics and a little grind (or a grind.fest if you don't play well).

Some reading in the forums on steam is recommended to get the hang of the tactics.

Creaks is an absolute banger of a puzzle game.

Just a few simple rules, introduced gradually, but eventually building and combining into some really satisfying puzzle rooms. I don't know how they did it, but every room was a unique challenge and so perfectly pitched, right in the zone between filler and frustration. And every solution, once I grokked it, was so obvious and elegant in hindsight, I wondered how I didn't see it straight away.

Then there is the creaky, kind of unsettling, animatronic artstyle, and the soundtrack which somehow subtly helps you along. It even tells a tidy little wordless tale, which pays off more than I was expecting at the end.

I liked it so much I looked up the developer, Amanita Design, to see if they'd made any other puzzle games. Unfortunately they mostly seem to do point and click adventure, not really my thing, but in a way that makes it even more surprising that they made such a gem of a puzzle game. They should make another, they're really good at it!

I keep meaning to get around to that one. I bought Creaks on iOS, but keep forgetting to give it a whirl

I played on PS4, but I think it would work great on iOS too! Controls are simple and the detail in the art would really pop on a hi-res screen.

For those who don't frequent the Pathfinder thread, I managed to battle my way through Pathfinder: Kingmaker last month and most of this month, which is a huge, sprawling mess of a cRPG which buries a solid campaign / story, memorable companions and good locations/dungeons under piles and piles of Pathfinder mechanics which almost, but not quite smother everything else.

It's definitely one for those that prefer their RPGs on the more traditional side (Baldur's Gate etc.) but there's plenty there to sink your teeth into, so long as you go into it with United Nations levels of patience and weapons grade understanding of how pathfinder works. Or (and I recommend) using someone else's character build guides.

Garth wrote:

I keep meaning to get around to that one. I bought Creaks on iOS, but keep forgetting to give it a whirl

Looks like it's currently locked behind Apple Arcade on iOS, so if you've got Arcade it's free and if you don't you'll have to sign up for Arcade (first month free, $5/mo after that) to get it there.

I hadn't heard of Creaks, but I've played Machinarium and the Samarost series from Amanita Design; I took a look at the trailer and it looks very much of a piece with those - wordless adventures where progress is gated by puzzles - so if you like Creaks I suspect you'd like Amanita's previous games, too.

Evan E wrote:
Garth wrote:

I keep meaning to get around to that one. I bought Creaks on iOS, but keep forgetting to give it a whirl

Looks like it's currently locked behind Apple Arcade on iOS, so if you've got Arcade it's free and if you don't you'll have to sign up for Arcade (first month free, $5/mo after that) to get it there.

I have Apple Arcade; that must have been why I picked it up initially. It's a service I really should be utilizing more.

Sorbicol wrote:

For those who don't frequent the Pathfinder thread, I managed to battle my way through Pathfinder: Kingmaker last month and most of this month, which is a huge, sprawling mess of a cRPG which buries a solid campaign / story, memorable companions and good locations/dungeons under piles and piles of Pathfinder mechanics which almost, but not quite smother everything else.

It's definitely one for those that prefer their RPGs on the more traditional side (Baldur's Gate etc.) but there's plenty there to sink your teeth into, so long as you go into it with United Nations levels of patience and weapons grade understanding of how pathfinder works. Or (and I recommend) using someone else's character build guides.

Thankfully enough, its sequel that just came out a month ago is very, very good.

Also, you start out super powerful, which is a real nice change of pace. Boy I don't miss re-treading the "Farm boy learning about the Big Bad trying to take over the world" overarching plot line!

Finished up my time with Forza Horizon 5 on my Series X. Made it to the Hall of Fame and completed all the signature events (still races and story missions if I want to do them). I may play it occasionally if I want to putz about in a dope, off-road capable world. Was a good game until I replaced the soundtrack with a Spotify playlist that I created specifically for driving games, then it became a great game.

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Got the 'secret' ending in Death's Door last night. An amazing indie zelda like game. I just enjoyed it more and more as I went along. They made use of all 4 abilities even through the end. Some abilities like the bomb less so once you have destroyed most barriers, but it all felt great and it was just enough the whole way through. Encounters were great and I ended quite a few with just enough health to survive / never died more than a handful of times on anything, usually only once or twice. Plus this game seems to have a connection with the dev's previous game, which you wouldn't think, since they are so different. Time trackers say 18hrs 15mins, while the in game clock says just over 14hrs. Pretty sure this is a top 5 game for the year, and I've got more competition for those spots than anything since 2017.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Got the 'secret' ending in Death's Door last night. An amazing indie zelda like game. I just enjoyed it more and more as I went along. They made use of all 4 abilities even through the end. Some abilities like the bomb less so once you have destroyed most barriers, but it all felt great and it was just enough the whole way through. Encounters were great and I ended quite a few with just enough health to survive / never died more than a handful of times on anything, usually only once or twice. Plus this game seems to have a connection with the dev's previous game, which you wouldn't think, since they are so different. Time trackers say 18hrs 15mins, while the in game clock says just over 14hrs. Pretty sure this is a top 5 game for the year, and I've got more competition for those spots than anything since 2017.

My son is impatiently waiting for the next Hollow Knight experience and I think this may be that for him, especially over the holidays.