Finished Any Games Lately?

I wrapped up Ratchet And Clank:Rift Apart last night including the platinum trophy. I have played almost all the Ratchet games and this is one of if not the best. Slick fun with jaw dropping visuals. I will, like all Ratchet games have forgotten the story by the weekend but I enjoyed every second of my time with it. Kudos as well to the shortish running time It wrapped well before I got bored. Highly recommended especially with the PlayStation plus premium tier where it is free right now.

With the full release arriving, I finished episode 3 of HROT.

It's a real good boomer shooter, taking place in 1980:s Czechoslovakia. It's kind of a weird bastard lovechild of Quake, Chasm the Rift and Duke 3D. It has the aesthetics and feel of the first two, with the interactivity and real world locations of the latter. It's also a (mostly) one-person joint, with all of the idiosyncrasies that come with that. Why is there a fully functioning model train set? Why have you recreated Prague's astronomical clock in-game? No producer would ever approve that. Opening episode "Kiss me Gustav" has a portrait of soviet era Czech leader Gustav Husák, complete with a kiss prompt.

I don't know what it all means, but the shooting and the booming is good, it's all very atmospheric, and every episode completed gives you a new recipe. Thumbs all the way up.

After weeks of posting about chipping away at it, I finally finished Bravely Second: End Layer this morning.

I guess what I'll say is that I'm glad I saw it through to the end, despite the real deep valleys I encountered approaching the finish. I spent more time than maybe I should've grinding early on in the game, which I was enjoying towards the start. But then, next thing you know you're 60 hours in and starting the final chapter with all of your practical jobs maxed out and overleveled by at least 10 levels. By the end of the game, I was skipping every drop of side quests and had combat encounters set to Off as I blitzed through the final stretch, just wanting this thing to be over.

But the game finished strong, hit some notes that I'm particularly fond of, so I still found some enjoyment, some fruits for my labor. There's a lot of stuff I found extremely cornball in the plot, and I feel like Bravely Default (1) is the stronger overall story of the two, but I'm still glad to have seen the full turn of this thing.

Now for a small palate cleanser before delving into FF9. Maybe Ape Out? Perhaps a roguelite. Who knows?! Open possibilities, baby.

After at least three full restarts, I finally finished the survival city-builder Ixion. An incredibly tense, difficult game, but one that kept me eager to come back and keep trying no matter how often I failed. About halfway through you get to a point where you are ahead of the resource management curve and gain a small amount of breathing room, but the game never loses the oppressive atmosphere and sense of desperation that perfectly complements the plot. Even though its plagued by a host of janky, frustrating mechanics, I suspect this one will definitely end up in my GotY list.

I completed the PSVR2 enhanced edition of Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy's Edge over the weekend.

My final three missions were 'Tales' ones: two Jedi missions playing as Ady'sun Zee, and; a bounty hunter mission playing as IG-88. All three were fine. And it was nice to get a chance to wield a lightsaber in the Jedi 'tales'. But I think that any of them was as interesting as - or offered as much in-mission variety as - the justly celebrated 'Last Call' mission.

I still have a fair few side quests left, but I have no desire to complete them; I've got everything that I want from the game. I'll probably dust the game off when I want to demo PSVR2 to friends.

jontra wrote:

After at least three full restarts, I finally finished the survival city-builder Ixion. An incredibly tense, difficult game, but one that kept me eager to come back and keep trying no matter how often I failed. About halfway through you get to a point where you are ahead of the resource management curve and gain a small amount of breathing room, but the game never loses the oppressive atmosphere and sense of desperation that perfectly complements the plot. Even though its plagued by a host of janky, frustrating mechanics, I suspect this one will definitely end up in my GotY list.

Stumbled on that when it was on sale recently and saw friends from here have reviewed. It got added to the wishlist quick. As soon as I get an open slot to play I'm going to grab it.

Finally rolled the credits on Cyberpunk 2077, at least until the DLC comes out. So much fun, with some great side missions. By the end I was mostly just using a katana, paired up with the jumpy leg implants, time dilation, and invisibility cloaking. Taking out large groups of enemies this way was super fun, with body parts flying before the confused firing even started.

So, I haven’t really finished WarTales but it needs a significant patch before I’ll finish it off.

WarTales is an open map (it’s not really a sandbox), set in a medieval world where you raised a company of mercenaries and, er, that’s about it. The map is split into 5 regions, which you can either play ‘region locked’ or using a level scaling system. It uses a Turn Based Combat system and takes a lot of cues from the Firaxis XCOM system of personalising your mercenaries and allowing them to develop as you progress in your career. The combat is perfectly serviceable although the enemies are a little repetitive, and lacking in variety. However, you don’t really notice this until you get to about level 6 - more of which later. The overland ‘strategic’ map has you travel across the world, discovering locations, fighting various groups of bandits, deserters or wild animals, trading with or accepting missions from the town(s) in each region that serve as the hub. You have to camp at the end of each day, assigning your mercenaries to various jobs and building the right equipment for them to use. Ranging from ‘tinker’, ‘blacksmith’ to ‘thief’, each profession gives certain bonuses that synergies with different class builds.

Each region had a largely separate over arching story for you to investigate. They loosely connect together, but only it loosely. Spite what was said in the conference call a few weeks back I never found these particularly problematic. Sometimes a superficially light story about refugees fleeing war in a fantasy medieval world is just that. It’s basically window-dressing to give you something to do in a region.

Where it falls majorly it that the levelling process is glacial once your up a few levels. Cripplingly slow. You get the same XP for defeating a small group of low level wolves in an opening area as you do a mass band of level 10 wolves in one of the later. And it’s a miniscule amount of XP - usually less than 50 - that has been shared among the group. When progress between the latter levels is measured in thousands of XP points, it means that you need to grind for hours to progress. I’m in the penultimate area and I’ve just broken level 8 across my group. I’m facing groups at level 10. That’s a big deal for this game. I’ve been able to forge level 10 weapons and armour for half the game (and often do so I can sell the items for a lot of money), but I’m hours away from being able to use them.

It’s a really odd decision that badly lets the game down to be honest. Yes, there are some very exploitable mechanics in game to fix it, as are some XP mods that make it all a little easier. But it really needs patching badly.

Otherwise it’s a really good game that deserves a lot of the praise it’s been getting. But my God. That levelling progress. What were they thinking?!?

I played through the DLC of The Case of the Golden Idol last night in one sitting and it was just as good as the main game. It seems to leave the door open for more chapters/cases and I hope that's a possibility.

Picked up Dredge over the weekend and I just finished it. The moment I started, any other game I was playing took a backseat. Got both of the game's endings, but don't think I'll be going for full fish encyclopedia completion. This might be a contender for my game of the year.


Just finished Arietta of Spirits. Had two dungeon sections to go, so it didn't take too long. A shorty but a goodie if you're in the mood for a top-down Zelda-like that won't take more than 5-7 hours to complete. Short but touching story, fun gameplay, interesting bosses.

Albeit through the ample use of save-states & frame rewinding towards the end, I've rolled credits on Super Mario World via the NSO SNES virtual console.

I had never gotten past the Vanilla Caves/World 3 when I was a kid, so I had forgotten how tough 2D Marios used to be at the higher levels; Which isn't to say the new ones don't have that difficulty, they just tend to sequester that calibur of difficulty to the bonus/post-game stuff for the folks who seek it. Everything from the Forest of Illusion/World 5 onward gave me some real guff, but by the grace of virtual console assists I was able to knock this out in 3 days rather than spend 2 weeks becoming a dark & reluctant Mario god.

Palate officially cleansed, on to FF9!

I finished a week of evenings spent playing Red Matter 2 on PSVR 2 last night. I played the first game on PSVR 1, and it was an entertaining narrative-based puzzler, but honestly I don't remember much in the way of specifics. Which was fine, because the sequel doesn't really require that you've played the first game.

As game itself, it's very engaging - there's a mixture of note- and audiolog-based environmental storytelling, some light puzzling, occasional pew-pew combat against drones, and jetpack-powered platforming. All in outer space, although almost entirely inside of space stations consisting of corridors and rooms.

As a VR game it's very good: lots of fun interactions, things to throw around, and all the controls are manually engaged with. Some really impressive environments that definitely had me just standing in place gawping like a village yokel seeing a skyscraper for the first time. I don't particularly remember movement speed in the original game, but I'm told it was tediously slow and that they sped things up for the sequel; it and turn speed are adjustable with a slider, so I turned movement all the way up and turning most of the way up, and was zipping around all over the place. Very satisfying.

As a PSVR 2 game...holy crap, it's stunning. Apparently the developers managed to get it to run at 120fps and remastered the textures to 4K, a big jump over the existing Quest 2 version, and it's hands-down the best-looking game so far on the PSVR 2. The lighting's amazing, and it's full of real-time reflections that change as you move around, and those things really add up to making you feel like you're genuinely in that world. Haptics are fantastic, contributing to the feeling that everything you grab and touch is really right there with you, and sound is equally immersive. All kinds of great touches - as an example, there's a couple instances where you ride on a suspended monorail, and every time your car passes under the supports holding up the rail your headset has a slight rumble that completely sells the fake reality. I've played all the PSVR's heavy hitters so far (Horizon: Call Of The Mountain, Resident Evil 8, GT 7), and lots of the smaller titles that do a great job of taking advantage of the headset (Moss, Saints & Sinners, Song In The Smoke, Demeo, Walkabout Mini Golf, Pistol Whip), but nothing has shown me what the PSVR 2 is capable of like Red Matter 2 did. Sony absolutely should pay the developers to put out a free demo just so people can see for themselves.

I finished Yesterday Origins earlier this week, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a point & click adventure by Spanish developer Pendulo Studios, and the story takes place both in modern times and 500 years ago, which makes for an interesting story and allows for the Spanish Inquisition to rear its ugly head and torture an innocent or two. The game is not very hard, and once I got used to the way you have to combine objects you find and information you gather, I didn't have too much trouble solving every puzzle I came across. Since I've never played the game this is a sequel to, sometimes I felt like I was missing out on character relationships, and even though the game helps you understand what their common past is, how they know each other, and what transpired in their previous adventure, I still felt like I was missing out every now and then. That said, the game can be enjoyed without having played the previous one, but know that you'll feel your lack of knowledge of previous events here and there. Overall, I thought it was fun, the story was interesting, and I wouldn't mind playing a hypothetical third installment in the series if it ever happened.

I finished Stuffo, the Puzzle Bot last night. Great puzzle game that combines block-pushing mechanics and platformer mechanics (although there's no jumping). Not too easy but not particularly hard. It left me wanting more, but apparently the dev is working on new levels.

Also played a couple of very small games that I finished in one sitting. Nuclear Blaze is a two-hour action platformer that came out of a game jam where you explore an abandoned facility while fighting fire. The mechanics of fire spreading while you need to manage your water supply work really well.

Also, Birth is a short super chill puzzle game that seems like a bit of a Rusty Lake rip off but it holds its own pretty well. Almost more of an interactive story since the puzzles are very simple but engaging enough.

Showgunners finished a few days early, but I wanted to see the ending. A good game but I think some of the logic puzzles felt out of place.

Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It's a great open world game. I loved exploring and figuring out the Divine Beasts. The final battle could have been a bit more challenging, but overall a nice ending. I thought I would be done with Zelda for awhile, but find myself wanting to play Tears of the Kingdom right away.

Over the weekend I finished Marvel's Midnight Suns. Great tactics, teambuilding, and deckbuilding game that really got its hooks in me. At times I felt like the Abbey stuff between each mission took too long, but at the end of the day I really liked it, and it had a great comic book feel.

I also think the final mission was one of the best final battles I've played anywhere. It really brought the whole experience together. Spoilers for mechanics:


First phase: fight against your corrupted main character. The four characters with whom you've grown closest during the game aren't available, so you need to make a party from the rest.

Second phase, in four parts: Main character + each of the 4 characters with whom you've grown closest, one at a time, each in a targeted challenge. It was compelling and legitimately difficult.

Finished Zelda tears of the kingdom. A very fun game. Not the 10 out of 10 game the hype says but easily a 9. What's really odd for me is the bits I didn't like seem pretty easy to fix. Regardless good fun and will probably need around with it still.

I'm in the middle of Midnight Suns right now and it's wonderful. Expect a lengthy very positive review when I'm done.

blackanchor wrote:

Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It's a great open world game. I loved exploring and figuring out the Divine Beasts. The final battle could have been a bit more challenging, but overall a nice ending. I thought I would be done with Zelda for awhile, but find myself wanting to play Tears of the Kingdom right away.

I finished it this weekend. I convinced my parents to buy a Switch "for the grandkids" so I've been playing off and on for a couple years. I was roaming around Hyrule Castle looking for that one last memory when I wandered into the boss room.

Budo wrote:

I'm in the middle of Midnight Suns right now and it's wonderful. Expect a lengthy very positive review when I'm done.

Who would you say are your favorite characters to play as? For me, Magik by a mile. Her portals were so much fun! Also really enjoyed Capt. America, Cpt. Marvel, and Spider-Man. Even others who I didn't expect to love, like Iron Man and Dr. Strange, were great.

Nico and Ghost Rider were probably among my least used, though every time I played a mission with Nico I found her very useful.

I love them all. I think they did a really great job developing unique personalities and power sets. If i had to choose though:

Out of missions in the Abbey:
Tony Stark: Robert Downey Jr has put his mark on the character so much they had to find a voiceover artist to do a good impression of him (which they did), but his writing and character development is very complex.
Blade: Very interesting character, and his interest in a certain character I found endearing.
Magik: They turned the Russian/emo/bad childhood features into a well done mix.

The others are also all very good, but play more focused character roles (the crazy one, the naïve one, the stoic, the leader, etc).

In missions:
Spider Man: Very powerful, and I love how he uses the environment.
Cpt. Marvel: If you get her on a roll she is unstoppable.
Nico: Extremely versatile as a healer, damage dealer, and support unit.

Also, love love love my female Hunter for multiple reasons.

Midnight Suns catch all

If you guys want to share strategy for those playing

I just finished Redfall last night. I know there is a lot of hate for how janky some of the game details are but I found the gameplay loop to be very engaging. Kill Vamps and Mercs. Find new and better gear. Kill tougher Vamps and Mercs. Find new and better gear... Very Borderlands-y.

I got an enjoyable 10 hours out of it and think Gamepass was the perfect place for it. If I paid full retail I would have been highly disappointed in the overall polish but for "free" it had a lot going for it.

Finally finished Dead Space remake. Fantastic remake overall. I'd say the first 10-15 hours are the best the game has as you're exploring the ship, moving between areas, and have a few side-quests to get through. But the game does drag on near the end - recall that from the original. Ended up at 20.2 hours to complete but felt even longer as it took me like a month to finish as I could only play in 15-20 minute spurts every few days.

There's some nice quality of life improvements. The big one with them redoing the mini-game where you're in a turret and have to destroy incoming asteroids. That mini game was so difficult in the original game I came close to rage quitting. I probably had to redo that mini-game 20 or 30 times before completing it. In the remake they changed that up quite a bit, and it's still a bit confusing at first, but a hell of a lot easier - just had to retry it twice.

Was going to move on to the System Shock remake after this but I think I need a break from space stations that are trying to kill you.

Crawley wrote:

...Was going to move on to the System Shock remake after this but I think I need a break from space stations that are trying to kill you.

You could change things up with Prey!

Oh god, I FORGOT how terrible the asteroid mini-game was! I too almost rage quit that game because of that stupid thing :O

I had a very productive weekend, friends:

First, I started and finished Gibbon: Beyond the Trees. It is a 2D endless runner in which you play as a gibbon swinging from branch to branch (or roofs, or power lines) for about an hour and a half. It tells a simple but compelling story without any dialogue, and it has a nice environmental message (Save the gibbons! Save their habitat!). Gibbons are usually my favorite animals when I see them at a zoo. (If you live in Tennessee, make sure you visit the gibbons in the Knoxville and Nashville zoos. Georgie, one of the gibbons at the Knoxville Zoo, is a superstar!) There is something about their body, their proportions, and the way they move that I find fascinating, so I was very excited to check out this game and be a gibbon for a while. The game is short and sweet, and it has a distinct visual style that caught my eye when I first saw the trailer a couple of months ago. But is it a great game? Well, I don't think so, but it is by no means bad. If you love gibbons and want to be entertained for a little while, check out Gibbon: Beyond the Trees, because you'll probably like it. If gibbons are not your thing, you can safely give it a pass and you won't be missing out, but you should still find a way to support a gibbon near you!

Second, I started and finished House of Ashes, the third game in The Dark Pictures Anthology by Supermassive Games, and I thought it was... fine. I'm a huge fan of Until Dawn, but the games in the Dark Pictures Anthology have been more of a mixed bag. I liked the first one, Man of Medan, just fine (I was disappointed I didn't think it was as awesome as Until Dawn, but in hindsight I think it is better than I thought it was at the time), and I really enjoyed the second one, Little Hope. Emboldened by how much fun I had with it, I was really looking forward to House of Ashes, but I think it's my least favorite of the three for several reasons. One, I found it hard to find a character I liked. I think Salim was the only one that didn't strike me as a total jerk, but your mileage may vary. Two, I didn't find the setting and story very compelling (a group of soldiers in Iraq), and even though the story gets more interesting as the game goes along, I thought the best parts arrived way too late to really explore in depth (no pun intended). And three, even though I don't come to Supermassive games for rich gameplay (if you've played their games, you know they're all about walking around, doing QTEs, making decisions, and little else), I think House of Ashes has a surprisingly low number of QTEs, and for the most part it feels like you're watching a long cinematic. All that said, I didn't dislike the game, but I give it a "meh" and recommend you do not play it unless you absolutely love Supermassive Games.

In between those two games I downloaded Windjammers 2, and that one is an absolute blast. No story, no decisions, no message, but boy is it enjoyable. Easily my favorite of the three!

I finished the Diablo 4 campaign the other day. I died a half dozen times to the last boss after almost getting them down to the last bits of health. But I finally figured the pattern well enough to win.
It was pretty good. As early as act 3 (of 5 or 6) there were parts where it started to drag but then it did something cool, added a nice cinematic and added some fan service.

Wrapped up The Case of the Golden Idol last night. I know it gets compared to The Return of the Obra Dinn a lot, but I found this game far more readable. I bounced off Obra Dinn pretty quickly because it felt like I was bouncing from death to death without being able to put anything together before I had another 6 death scenes to view. It was too much to hold in my head. With Golden Idol, each scene is (almost) entirely self-contained, which completely prevented ever feeling overwhelmed.

Like the best mystery/puzzle games, this one excels at presenting a situation that seems impossible to solve, only to have the solution slowly reveal itself as you examine clues, making you feel like a genius when you finally get it correct. And at just under 6 hours of play-time, it was perfect for someone with very little time for gaming.

I'm definitely going to pick up the DLC, but will probably play something else first.