Finished Any Games Lately?

billt721 wrote:

Playing games -- especially ones where I'm enjoying the story more than the combat -- on easy mode has just become the default for me at this point.

And that's definitely what I ended up doing towards the end of Control.

This is the direction I am going in. I started up Mafia: The Definitive Edition. I'd never played a Mafia game before and after bashing my head up against the game while playing it on hard. I angrily deleted the game. I looked online which had some other suggestions for how fun the game actually is, and I decided to give it another whirl after dropping the difficulty down. Now I am all in.

Completed Catherine Full Body edition . The only puzzle that was hard was the final one and it was to long. I looked up on how to get the other endings and decided to pass on that and just watch the endings on youtube.

The story was dumb. The ending I got was okay except for having someone at the wedding that was trying to kill me. That made no sense to me. Whatever, anime BS. The actual puzzle climb was cool. I had one crash that forced me to redo a puzzle.

All in all I liked it. The sheep will dig it.

billt721 wrote:

Playing games -- especially ones where I'm enjoying the story more than the combat -- on easy mode has just become the default for me at this point.

I've started to learn that sometimes when I start feeling frustrated or annoyed at the difficulty of a game, the real culprit is my boredom. I've tired of the game mechanic loop and/or have grown impatient at the idea of learning the new ones and I'm no longer fully aware and focused on what I'm doing.

What I usually do at this point is look up how much longer I have in the game. If I'm at least past the 75% mark, I turn it down to easy mode and steamroll through to the end. If it's more than that to go, I cut my losses and watch the rest of the cinematics on Youtube.

Finished off New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe. Just the main game - I haven't touched the post-game stuff, challenge mode or the Luigi thing.

I had a blast with this! I regret not getting to it sooner. It feels like Nintendo pulled off what they'd been threatening to do since the first NSMB. If I had to rank my favourite 2D Mario's, this would still lose out to 3, but I'd be hard pressed to pick another above this one. I guess it depends if you include Yoshi's Island, considering it was released as Super Mario World 2?

I've finished the "starter" campaign of Wildermyth and I can see why so many people adore it and others are maybe left a little cold by it.

I adored it.

Gameplay wise it's really quite simplistic - it's a got a serviceable and enjoyable turn based combat system, based around the classes of your heroes - the warriors and hunters doing pretty much what you'd expect of them, your mystics infusing items on the battlefield and turning them into weapons or impediments to the various beasts you face. You travel the map from location to location, clearing out any monsters and taking over the locations so you can use the resources to build or craft better items. Eventually you'll get to boss battle and, er, that's it.

Where it shines - soars even - is in the procedural generation of the stories it puts together about your erstwhile band of adventurers as they go on their journey. Quarrels, falling in love, fights, the loss of treasured companions - it's all in there, or might not be depending on journey and the choices you make, and whole load more besides. The quality of the writing is superb and it makes you feel connected to your little band of people in ways not many other more traditional RPGs ever come close to.

It's a rare example of a beautiful, self contained game that understands the rules it abides by, and never seeks to overstep those boundaries. While that makes it sound limited it really isn't, because the world inside those boundaries is so perfectly formed. It knows not only what it is, but also what it's trying to be.

It's a delight.

Sorbicol wrote:

I've finished the "starter" campaign of Wildermyth

Me too!

I adored it.

Me too!

beanman101283 wrote:

Nier Automata's main "endings" are more like "chapters" if that helps put it in context. Only ending B is a repeat playthrough of what you just finished. Endings C through E are a continuation of the story after that. So you don't have to replay the same game 5 times or anything like that.

Update: Finished NieR: Automata again. And again. And again. And finally again. Got all of the main endings. I can confirm the above quote is an accurate assessment. Each "runthrough" was shorter and shorter, and the last 2 I could just skip straight to the end to see the alternate endings.

The only minor updates to what I said in my earlier, extremely lengthy review is the following:
- That first run through is absolutely not the end of the game. The Groundhog Day element is not only present, it's very necessary to make sense of everything. It would be like watching Star Wars: A New Hope and saying "Now I know the whole Star Wars story". Kinda true in a sense, but not really.
- The story definitely felt more complete and gave a true sense of closure and satisfaction to the experience overall
- A2 > 2B
- 9S=Whine S
- The game was very good to excellent overall. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece but it was definitely top quality in every aspect of the game. HOWEVER, I will absolutely put the music and songs at the top of the list of all of the features of the game I truly enjoyed.
- When I got to the final ending, I definitely

Spoiler:

did not sacrifice my personal data and saves. I may want to revisit the game later on, and if I feel like I am not returning to the game, I will pay it forward to help folks like myself get through the ending credits battle

- If I had to summarize the entire experience in one phrase, it's this:
Nier: Automata is Japan: The Game.

Beautiful, unique, exotic, insane, weird but totally logical and deeply spiritual - just like its country of origin. As I mentioned earlier, this style of anime JRPG bullet-time shooterfest is normally not my cup of green tea, but I have to say I am glad I took the road less traveled. Up next, other games.

Finished Persona 5 Strikers!

As someone who liked Persona 5 but thought it went on a bit, this was ideal for me. Those 100+ hours with the characters and world of P5 meant that I could dive straight in here and immediately feel like I was among friends. On the flip side, I doubt it would make much sense to someone who hasn't played P5 first.

There's nothing much better than a road trip with your friends and that's the core of this game's story, as we travel around Japan taking in the sights, eating local delicacies, dressing up, and changing hearts. It's more light hearted and streamlined than P5, but still has the same basic structure of metaverse dungeon crawls interspersed with hijinks in the real world. The introduction of a rogue AI adds a wrinkle (because of the way things work in Persona, it's easier to "fix" an errant human than an AI!) but it's really all about the Phantom Thieves themselves. Speaking of which, all the old cast returns, plus a couple of new additions. Zenkichi is a cop and surrogate Dad (Sojiro's not invited on the road trip) who is lovably weird, while Sophia is a bit dull as an AI companion.

Combat is now real time but does a surprisingly good job recreating the feel of P5 combat, with each character having their own persona, and the ability to swap between party members in battle. Like in P5 it's mostly a matter of matching attacks to enemy weaknesses, but there are also environmental assists and combos to mix things up. Overall, it does a pretty good job of giving you enough to think about during the 50 hours or so it takes to finish the game, but I did feel like I hit a skill ceiling after the second or third dungeon.

The signature tunes from P5 also return here along with some new classics, especially for the boss battles. I was never less than pumped when taking down a boss! The soundtrack, along with the standard of writing and character work, gives the impression that a lot of love and care went into this game. At least, more than I was expecting given that it's such an odd crossover. It occasionally slips into unfortunate tropes (such as the inevitable hot spring scene) but less so than I remember from P5. For whatever it's worth, as a middle aged man, I had fewer awkward moments playing this than the original game.

So yeah, this is my first nice surprise of 2022, and hopefully not the last!
(little persona joke there for you insiders!)

Garth wrote:
billt721 wrote:

Playing games -- especially ones where I'm enjoying the story more than the combat -- on easy mode has just become the default for me at this point.

And that's definitely what I ended up doing towards the end of Control.

This is the direction I am going in. I started up Mafia: The Definitive Edition. I'd never played a Mafia game before and after bashing my head up against the game while playing it on hard. I angrily deleted the game. I looked online which had some other suggestions for how fun the game actually is, and I decided to give it another whirl after dropping the difficulty down. Now I am all in.

I usually play games now on Easy. I just don't have the time or patience anymore to play on harder difficulties. I guess that's what happens when you get old.

Finished Tomb Raider (2013). Too much QTE but otherwise very fun. Going through the whole new trilogy for the first time and that was enjoyable enough that I'll continue.

Finished Ghost of Tsushima: DC this past week. Glad I waited to play it on the PS5 because visually it's quite stunning.

I clearly liked it enough to finish it, although like most open world games these days, I think they could have shaved off about 20% of the experience and it would have been much more memorable.

Like anything of this scope, there did tend to be a bunch of little things that bugged me. Sometimes the camera got in the way during the worst times. Movement felt a bit too stiff for the platforming you were expected to do (but I guess I should count my blessings - the motion in the Infamous games was so crazy I found them unplayable.) And it gave you so many tools and special moves but made them feel like more work than using the simple ones you started with most of the time.

But the style and tone was so unique compared to most of the competition that it managed to work past that. I can also see why some of the very laid back side missions might be considered boring but to me it's what made things refreshing so that the combat didn't get too tiresome. Sometimes you just want to chase a fox around.

I did reach the breaking point of my interest in the gameplay loop by the end though. I got through about a third of the Iki Island expansion before the feeling that I was done with the game overwhelmed me and I decided to nope out and watch the rest of the story on YouTube. But of course, I usually get to that point about halfway through the main story in most other similar titles (see: Nearly anything Ubisoft makes) so can't hold that against it too much.

I beat Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERgrade!

Stupid Final Fantasy naming put aside, it was a fun little romp with Yuffie. Like with FF7R proper, the voice acting feels precision accurate with what my childhood said these lumpy PS1 polygons would be like.

It's a little short, which is a shame... but the combat was fun, and it'll be an easier Hard Mode run than the main campaign.

FF7R Part II: This time with more Kingdom Hearts sh*t probably cannot come fast enough.

Finished Night Call. The premise is that you're a Parisian taxi driver. You drive around the city, picking up passengers, listening to their stories and collecting fares. Hopefully at the end of the night you have made enough to cover expenses, fuel and taxes. Also, you are trying to catch a serial killer.

The game is a little janky. Some scenes related to the investigation refused to play so I missed a good chunk of the plot. The game contains three different scenarios, but they are basically the same as one another, and when you start a new one all the character stories reset so I found it too repetitive to complete more than one of them.

These minor complaints aside, this was quite enjoyable. The writing is great. The passenger's stories are varied and interesting, ranging from comic to tragic. The developers also did a great job of capturing the moody ambience of Paris at night. It's nice to enjoy the soothing vibe of cruising around, meeting all kinds of interesting characters.

More making up for the pile of shame damage done by the winter sales:

Psychonauts 2 - I don't know what I can add on this one. I'm not that into 3D platformers, but it's solid enough, and it's carried by its wit and charm, which are through the roof.

Whispers of a Machine - It's a solid cyberpunk-ish point and click adventure. Pretty short - basically a movie's or a long TV show pilot's worth of story - but it's also pretty cheap - 3€ as of right now. It gives you some different ways to approach puzzles), and there's some cool reactivity where the tone you take in dialogue determines the tools you have to solve the puzzles.

Shadow Man Remastered - I dunno what possessed me to pick up this one. I never played it, I have no nostalgia for it, and it hasn't aged gracefully. And some of the cut content the remaster adds in probably should've stayed cut. It's a 3D metroidvania collect 'em up, where you play a Voodoo dude trying to stop the apocalypse, traverse the world of the dead and take some jaunts into real the real world to hunt supernaturally powered serial killers. Which to be fair, is definitely my kind of thing, and it can be effectively moody and atmospheric at times.

The big issues with it is that combat lacks punch, and the level design tends towards a warren of tunnels in every location, and there's no map. The level design issue is compounded by the majority of the game taking place in Deadside, which is more abstract and gives you even fewer relatable landmarks.

Vigil: The Longest Night - Now this is more like it. It's kind another soulsborne/metroidvania riff, although leaning on Bloodborne this time. Tainted blood experiments leading to mutated monsters, sealed horrible gods, that whole thing. The storytelling's kind of confused, but it's very atmospheric and there's some real solid exploration and secret hunting here. It's not that punishingly difficult either, although some of the optional bosses can be bastards.

I am kind of at a stuck point right now with MW5 Mercs.
I have 3 atlases, 3 stalkers, a highlander (because it has almost as much armor yet smaller hitboxes as the atlas), plus a cyclops, king crab and marauder in storage. I have 100 million c-bills and I am rep 11 but there is just such a huge gap between rep level and the skull level of missions I can accomplish.

I mean yes I can do 10 or 11 skull missions but the risks are too great with mech taking internal damage. I have already loaded up my lance with LRM-STs to cripple mechs from extreme range. 6-7 skull seem to be the sweet spot where I can salvage a lot and only have minimal damages to shell out for.

I can do 8-9 skull missions with more salvage and more damage received. The reason I don't do more of them is that the damage costs are more which are multiplied by being further from industrial hubs. I can do 3-4 7 skull missions before heading to an industrial hub whereas if I don't go to a hub after each 8-9 mission, I am losing hundreds of thousands of c-bills.

And like I said, I can do 10-11 or probably even 12 missions, but I will receive damage to structure which will risk losing equipment I cannot replace easily or at all. (gauss, double heat sinks, ferro fibrous, etc)

So I mention this because I feel like I am at the top of what I can do with the game. The only thing I am looking forward to comes in 10 years in game when all the weapon technologies from the 3050's starts appearing. (I am using the yet another mechlab and weapon mods because stock MW5 equipment has been downright boring after 5-6 hours of play)

I want to count it as a finished game even though I am not done with the story.

I watched credits roll on Mafia: The Definitive Edition. I really liked the story, but goodness, those were some clunky, frustrating controls for a cover shooter.

Garth wrote:

I watched credits roll on Mafia: The Definitive Edition. I really liked the story, but goodness, those were some clunky, frustrating controls for a cover shooter.

I adored the original & quit playing the remake after a about 4-5 hours because it controlled horrendously. The rooftops mission was an exercise in frustration of getting in & out of cover. The hit detection was also very wonky, I remember having to damage 2-3 cars with a baseball bat, standing right beside them swinging & the hits not registering multiple times.

Fair play to you for getting through it, the story really is the driving force.

Spikeout wrote:
Garth wrote:

I watched credits roll on Mafia: The Definitive Edition. I really liked the story, but goodness, those were some clunky, frustrating controls for a cover shooter.

I adored the original & quit playing the remake after a about 4-5 hours because it controlled horrendously. The rooftops mission was an exercise in frustration of getting in & out of cover. The hit detection was also very wonky, I remember having to damage 2-3 cars with a baseball bat, standing right beside them swinging & the hits not registering multiple times.

Fair play to you for getting through it, the story really is the driving force.

I rage quit at one point...but that had more to do with the racing mission towards the beginning of the game. I am glad I powered through, I was surprised how into the story I got. It has a hell of an ending. Mafia 3 is sitting around ready to be played. I am just hoping the controls on that are better, because I don't think I have it in me to fight with the game over stupid cover issues and hitbox detection.

The ending is powerful, it's one of those powerful moments that's stayed with me for many years back when I originally experienced it in 2002.

I think I dropped the difficulty down in the racing mission (the one at the track) to get first place. I tried many many times before that & couldn't get anywhere near first.

I'm near sure they just put Mafia 3's mechanics into the remake but I definitely remember 3 playing better. It'll be interesting to hear your take on Mafia 3 after playing the remake of the original.

Mafia 3 had decent stealth mechanics but was awful as an action game. Luckily you can stealth your way through almost any encounter!

ComfortZone wrote:

Mafia 3 had decent stealth mechanics but was awful as an action game. Luckily you can stealth your way through almost any encounter!

Fantastic to know. Thanks for this.

Minecraft Dungeons

I wanted to play something breezy and easy and fun – something that requires little brainpower, that I could just motor through. Minecraft Dungeons delivered in spades. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

This is an ARPG-lite: a familiar isometric perspective with loot and with button-mashy horde-slaying, but accompanied by stripped-down and simplified mechanics. There are no stats or skill trees in this one. Instead, your “build” is derived entirely by your gear, with different weapons and armor giving differing boosts. One armor set might offer a lot of protection, for example, while another gives a chance to summon a pet to help in combat every time you do a roll dodge.

I enjoyed mixing and matching gear and using pieces that had good synergy – and I never got bored with my build, because new and better gear was always dropping, which prompted me to switch up my playstyle to incorporate the strengths and weaknesses of the new stuff.

My biggest grumble about the game (aside from the fact that it can get repetitive, as do all ARPGs) was the requirement to restart missions from the beginning if I died three times. Given that missions are long, I didn’t like this. Still, it wasn’t an issue for me (and I’m terrible at games) until the penultimate level, which is when I felt a noticeable difficulty spike. At that point, I just dialed back the “threat level” slider a couple of notches and scraped my way through the last two stages. Fin.

The whole thing was done in less than 10 hours, although there is plenty more to keep players occupied if you don’t just mainline the story. Secret missions unlock, there are daily challenges, you can redo completed levels at higher difficulty to get better loot, etc. And there is NG+ and NG++. Looking online, I see loads of people with characters at Level 100+ and chests full of unique gear, so Minecraft Dungeon obviously can cater to the “big numbers go up!” crowd as well as to casuals like me.

One final thing: there is couch co-op and online multiplayer. I tried co-op with two family members and found it significantly harder than single-player. Even at low levels, we were swarmed by so many enemies that I frequently lost track of where my toon was on screen. Could be fun, but if you’re looking for an ARPG to faceroll with your kids while chugging whiskey, I would suggest the underrated Riverbond instead.

Just wrapped up Nobody Saves the World after about 22 hours. I completed all the secondary missions and unlocked all the forms, although I did not unlock all the abilities. It was such a pleasant and fun game to play. It's really impressive how the game does not feel like a grind, the pace is excellent, it's really fun to make a build and pick the right form for each dungeon. And even though the story is nothing particularly memorable, the great humor compensates more than enough for it.

Finished the Uncharted: Lost Legacy remaster last night. It's the first time I played LL and was pretty much what I expected, for better and worse. The best Uncharted has been, very lavish, very smooth, but still very much an Uncharted game. The cover shooter parts of the game are so tired, especially in contrast to the freshness of the protagonists.

I'd definitely play a Chloe and Nadine adventure game though - lots of banter, exploration, maybe some stealth and fisticuffs, but no guns!

Deathloop I can say that this game was pretty fun. The end game wasn’t as much fun but it felt good to go and just run to the end. I rarely beat games and I’m glad to see the end.

I finished Strange Horticulture which I'd never heard of and bought on a whim due to a combination of:
- strong reviews
- cheap price
- sale
- wanting to support indie devs
- looking thematically interesting to me

Anyway, you don't get a lot of back story or lore, but it appears to be set in in an alternate history 19th century England. You've just inherited your uncle's plant shop. Most of the gameplay involves customers showing up, wanting a specific plant to cure an illness, suppress nightmares, decorate for a wedding, or whatever. You thumb through your growing reference guide for snippets of info to identify the right plant amongst your growing collection.

You also have a map of the surrounding area and click on spots to visit looking for more plants. The locations have to be puzzled out from various clues and objects you accumulate.

There's a murder mystery involving cults and ritual sacrifice that your herbology skills get you tangled up in. Occasionally you can choose what plant to use to either help or hinder certain individuals, leading to different outcomes. There are a few endings, but I don't think I'll be replaying it though.

The graphics are simple and charming. The gameplay is pretty basic but nonetheless satisfying. It's chill and relaxing. The length is short, but sufficiently long that I didn't feel ripped off. I wouldn't mind a sequel with more depth.

Finished Mass Effect. Was okay, obvious it was an older game, but updated well enough. Didn’t care to do much side stuff. I never bothered to buy an item from a merchant.

Super Auto Pets

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/8AYN3E5.jpg)

Finished up Dark Pictures Anthology: Lost Hope: I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. The writing/dialogue seemed off, the characters were incredibly annoying, and you lose characters for not unlocking certain personality traits? That and a pretty lame twist ending really soured me on this one. I've heard House of Ashes is better. With all that said, I saw that they are releasing another season, and I am pumped. Overall I really like these games.

Finished Persona 5 Royal after a mere 120 hours. I played the original version a couple of years back and it was nice to have an excuse to go back to one of my favourite games of all time. The new plotlines and characters are fine but inessential. I did like the new combat mechanics and the revamped dungeon maps they introduced, which mitigated the main problem with the original was that the dungeons and combat could get quite repetitive and grindy after a while.