What games are you playing?

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I have mainly been playing two games recently, well three really. I recently got the Batman: Return to Arkham collection as I fancied playing those again. I could of just plugged my PS3 back in but that would have meant opening boxes and plugging in wires, this was easier. I played through Asylum again which despite its age, is still great. The voice acting and the atmosphere of wandering about and beating up random groups is great. As is stealthily taking out a bunch of goons from the shadows while Joker taunts them over the PA system. The only problem I really have with it and it really is a little nit pick and not really anything the game can help, is the fact that the graphics are looking a little dated now and Batman as well as his cast of bad guys all look a little too much like plastic action figures. But still, like I say, great game. I finished that and have started City now and that is a great game too, not rushing through the story too much, mostly doing Riddler challenges, doing side missions and beating up random thugs.

The third game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses and I realise I am a bit late to the party because I wanted to wait until after I'd been paid to get it. I then ordered it from Shopto.net (cheaper than Amazon plus a nifty little coin as a order bonus) and found out that they had sold out so I had to wait 3 weeks for it to come back into stock. So I'm little behind everyone else. But, despite this, I have been really enjoying it. I'm about 9 missions in and the story is starting to pick up now. I picked Black Eagles as my first house as they seemed the most interesting and I am starting to feel protective over my units now. Which I probably shouldn't as even though I have permadeath switched on, the inclusion of optional battles means that my characters are ridiculous overpowered. Add to that the ability to rewind time and an option to retreat from battle and keep any experience as well as resetting any fallen unit. So its not hard on normal mode, next time I think I'll start on hard. Also, the English voice actress for Sothis is the one who did Morgana in Persona 5 and its pretty much the same voice she's doing, so whenever she speaks I just keep thinking of a talking cat. Actually, Sothis and Morgana are pretty much the same thing, creatures of unknown origin with amnesia. Talk about being typecast. Anyway, yes, I like this, probably my game of the year so far.

Having said that, I've only bought two games released this year so far so it isn't much of a list to choose from. Also, my copy of Links Awakening remake has turned up today, so that could beat Fire Emblem.

I done think I did it, ladies and gents! I've managed to get far enough into Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition to stick with it. I will say, for being an enhanced edition, it's got some serious fucking lack of quality of life issues that should be added. The inventory limit and separate inventories is real bad, the inability to move to black areas on the map is bad, and finally, the journal is pretty atrocious. I feel like these could have been quite easy to fix for a remaster TBH.

I do enjoy the writing so far though!

Been playing the Link's Awakening remake and it's pretty good so far. Never played the original so the experience is pretty fresh (or as fresh as a classic Zelda game can be). The first two dungeons were rather bland and boring to go through, but the overworld is a delight thanks in large part to the stupendous soundtrack. And the artstyle, while being that same generic plastic-y Nintendo look, actually blends together very well when playing it in handheld mode. There are some frame stutter issues here and there though. I wouldn't think this game would be that demanding of the system.

Gnomoria, but the bugger won't do as they're told. They keep sleeping.

My Post-Brexit Britain Kingdom has run out of food and water and everyone has to sleep on the floor due to my terrible mismanagement. Three gnomes bled to death because I forgot to designate a hospital. Both of my yaks starved to death.

Playing Link's Awakening remake. I don't think it's as good as Link to The Past or Link Between Worlds, but it's charmingly old school in its design and I much prefer 2D Zelda over 3D anyway, so I'm having a good time. I wouldn't mind if they did remakes like this of the Oracle games.

Casual Shinji:
There are some frame stutter issues here and there though. I wouldn't think this game would be that demanding of the system.

Apparently that's due to its use of double-buffer vsync. The game targets 60fps, but whenever it can't reach that, the vsync cuts the frame rate in half. So you get a lot of back and forth between 30 and 60.

Baffle2:
Gnomoria, but the bugger won't do as they're told. They keep sleeping.

Gnomoria was a good attempt at making a DF-light. Sadly it was placed on hiatus..or even cancelled I think. Personal issues.

There is a remake in the progress though.
https://old.reddit.com/r/ingnomia/

Vendor-Lazarus:

Baffle2:
Gnomoria, but the bugger won't do as they're told. They keep sleeping.

Gnomoria was a good attempt at making a DF-light. Sadly it was placed on hiatus..or even cancelled I think. Personal issues.

There is a remake in the progress though.
https://old.reddit.com/r/ingnomia/

I didn't know that. I bought it years ago and every now and then get the itch to play it (I've never even got far enough to realise it'd been cancelled/wasn't finished). Dwarf Fortress is just too impenetrable for me.

Chimpzy:

Casual Shinji:
There are some frame stutter issues here and there though. I wouldn't think this game would be that demanding of the system.

Apparently that's due to its use of double-buffer vsync. The game targets 60fps, but whenever it can't reach that, the vsync cuts the frame rate in half. So you get a lot of back and forth between 30 and 60.

Yeah, but why? It's not that graphically intense. It looks about as good as Mario Odyssey and that ran and a pretty solid 60 with a controlable camera.

Casual Shinji:
Yeah, but why? It's not that graphically intense. It looks about as good as Mario Odyssey and that ran and a pretty solid 60 with a controlable camera.

Maybe it's an issue with the engine? Grezzo, the developer put out wanted adds for Unreal experts, so it might be running on UE4, and that's an engine that doesn't always play nice with Switch hardware. Or it could be a graphical feature that turned out more expensive performance-wise than expected and they only noticed late in development, by which time there was no more time and budget to go back and redo it.

So now I'm past halfway in Secret of Mana (from Collection of Mana for the Switch). I'm pretty much enjoying this old 16-bits experience, and I think I'll be able to finish it this time.

Finished (a full game of) Stellaris. Overall pretty good and it scratches the MOO2 itch nicely in a way that no other game has been able to in the same genre(Endless Space didn't do it for me and I haven't gotten up the nerve to try MOO3). I like the sheer number of options it has for difficulty, customization and roleplaying, not to mention some of the "quests" are pretty good(like the Horizon Signal chain, which is beautifully Lovecraftian Space Horror). That being said, the AI is DUUUUUMMMMMMBBBBBBB and sometimes knows enough to try to hit you hard, but then it will get confused and endlessly send tiny fleets at your massive ones to get annihilated, like it's testing how willing it's crews are for suicide missions. The War in Heaven is a cool idea that doesn't seem to work very well(especially since it doesn't get put on hold for the Crisis) and Even the Crisis felt underwhelming, at least in my game. It's telling that the difficulty options just control how much the AI is allowed to cheat(with the easier options being "Little to none"). I also didn't realize it would take 40ish hours to run a 300 year game at normal speed with some pausing for strategy and such.

Started playing Celeste, which I'm digging a lot(though Death Mountain would be a more appropriate name). I never played I Wanna be the Guy or Super Meat Boy(though I their reputation), so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this but everyone's been raving about how good it is for a year now. I do appreciate how restarts from death are fast and don't lose you much progress, especially how it's incredibly easy to die. The whole thing reeks of charm and heart, which I always appreciate in a game. I'm only on chapter 2, not long after the doppelganger starts chasing madeline and that does add an extra layer of challenge to the game. I just wonder I'm I'm gonna feel about a couple of the endgame chapters being locked(apparently) behind hard-to-obtain collectibles.

Dalisclock:
Finished (a full game of) Stellaris. Overall pretty good and it scratches the MOO2 itch nicely in a way that no other game has been able to in the same genre(Endless Space didn't do it for me and I haven't gotten up the nerve to try MOO3).

In the 4X genre, Stellaris isn't really anything like MoO2 at all. Neither is MoO3. Just a friendly heads up.
Me, I dislike MoO2 and it's numerous clones, but if that's your jam, there are several games you might like.

Check out eXplorminate's list of 4X-likes.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jQ37Ghm818Xl_XBLEKUB52g5G6fPiIzpxyCeMA0NQzI/edit#gid=2112326043

Or just read the reviews and such: https://explorminate.co/

Vendor-Lazarus:

Dalisclock:
Finished (a full game of) Stellaris. Overall pretty good and it scratches the MOO2 itch nicely in a way that no other game has been able to in the same genre(Endless Space didn't do it for me and I haven't gotten up the nerve to try MOO3).

In the 4X genre, Stellaris isn't really anything like MoO2 at all. Neither is MoO3. Just a friendly heads up.
Me, I dislike MoO2 and it's numerous clones, but if that's your jam, there are several games you might like.

Check out eXplorminate's list of 4X-likes.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jQ37Ghm818Xl_XBLEKUB52g5G6fPiIzpxyCeMA0NQzI/edit#gid=2112326043

Or just read the reviews and such: https://explorminate.co/

Thanks. I'll keep it in mind for the next time I'm up for a 4X game, though I imagine it's gonna be a while considering how long those games take to play.

Finished Darksiders III and enjoyed it overall despite the horrible loading and framerate issues. I'll probably go back and check out the first two which seem to be more positively received by most people.

I also went back to Valkyria Chronicles 4 and finished off all the skirmishes and most DLC missions (this game had way more post-game content than I thought). It is so satisfying to finally be able to use Selvaria in all her unrestrained Valkyria glory whenever I want.

I made it to the time skip in Fire Emblem Three Houses last night.

.

I didn't end up recruiting absolutely everyone, but considering this is my first run, that wasn't my aim. I think I ended up recruiting over half the possible students, though.

Finally decided to get Titanfall 2. I am loving the campaign. I might get in to the multiplayer, but right now my main focus is the single player. The controls are smooth and the verticallity is awesome. Right now, this is the best fps with first person platforming. Definitely better than any of the COD games that came out, and is a huge improvement over the first game. It's a shame the game did not sell well.EA was really stupid competing against itself.

I think I am done with Classic WoW now (made it to level 53). I just don't have enough time for this style of MMO anymore, so I am back full-time on FFXIV.

Now that I can actually play other games again I am going to continue playing Bloodstained and I just picked up Astral Chain. Starting to think I may just lean completely into Astral Chain because Bloodstained has been pretty meh so far.

Finally finished Batman: Arkham Knight. You know for having the greatest rogues gallery in the history of comic books, the Batman games never really figured out the boss fights, did they? And Arkham Knight is probably the worst in the series in that regard. I'm not even sure there's a single boss fight in the game. There's the optional fight with Riddler's mecha (not even that: you fight his minions, the mecha weirdly just stands there) and that's it. Everybody else goes down via QTE and sometimes not even that.

The most interesting "fight" is the back-to-back predator encounters sort of presided by the Arkham Knight because they keep ramping up the challenge with every one. It's a good setpiece but you don't exactly fight the Knight anyway. Again you just run up to him and push a button. Three times and you're done. You do that with Man-Bat and Firefly. Two-Face requires a regular takedown. Hush, Penguin and Harley are QTEs bordering on cutscenes. Deathstroke gets another cutscene at the end of the thousandth tank fight in the game. Pyg is another minion fight. And you don't even fight Scarecrow - you know, the main villain.

I know with Batman you have to write around the fact most of his enemies are just dudes in suits and only a few of them can go up against him toe-to-toe, either because they're powerhouse villains like Bane and Croc, they hide behind an insta-KO weapon like Freeze and Deadshot or have the martial knowhow like Deathstroke and Knight. But the villains that should pose a good fight are either wasted or not present at all.

Say what you will about Origins, at least it had some good unique bosses in it, and the Mr. Freeze fight eveyrbody loved from City even got a good encore in it. Knight doesn't even have an equivalent.

Johnny Novgorod:
Say what you will about Origins, at least it had some good unique bosses in it, and the Mr. Freeze fight eveyrbody loved from City even got a good encore in it. Knight doesn't even have an equivalent.

Is the Freeze fight in City really that good though? I mean, conceptually it's very unique, but ultimately it comes down to the player checking off a mental list.

I don't think there's really been any good Boss fight in the Arkham games, and any attempt to has resulted in fights that are at best akward. The Scarecrow sections in Asylum and the first appearence of Man-Bat in Knight were more memorable and interesting as "villain moments".

Finished Secret of Mana (nice Classic, a little rough on the edges, but in general enjoyable), and now I'm in the third game in the collection: Trials of Mana. It is an action-RPG (as expected), that tries to push the SoM gameplay a step forward. You select 3 of 6 characters from different classes, and the game focus on the leader's story, with the other 2 having their backstories only glossed over (maybe I'll replay it after finishing it to see the differences). There is a day/night cycle and even day of the week (represented by the elemental spirits like in Legend of Mana) The weapons system is now the RPG traditional (weapons restricted to classes and you buy new weapons in store instead of powering them up). The charge system was replaced by a simple cool-down, and after you hit the enemies enough times you can use a special attack.

My complain is how slow the main menu and the storage menu are (gotta cope with it, but still makes changing equipment annoying). There is a class change system, but you need to be level 18 in order to use it (and when first offered the chance, I was like level 12, which hurt). The bosses look cool, but they are just sponges (I have no attack magic so I haven't been able to exploit any weaknesses). Also you can't access the main menu during battles; which means you can't change the allies AI's strategies at mid-battle.

Casual Shinji:

Johnny Novgorod:
Say what you will about Origins, at least it had some good unique bosses in it, and the Mr. Freeze fight eveyrbody loved from City even got a good encore in it. Knight doesn't even have an equivalent.

Is the Freeze fight in City really that good though? I mean, conceptually it's very unique, but ultimately it comes down to the player checking off a mental list.

I like the Mr. Freeze fight. It's everything I want a boss to be. He's essentially the final test on your predator skills: you need to put to use everything you've learned so far without falling back on routine solutions. I don't think it's anymore a mental checklist than any other "final test boss", which to me is the definition of a good boss anyway: apply everything you've learned so far, and apply it differently too. Which is why NG+ Freeze is so good, because you really have to go through every takedown conceivable (because of his HP), even the ones you rarely use and may be a little rusty with. I think the Bane fight in Origins was just as good too for these reasons. On the other end of the spectrum you have the Grundy fight, where you learn the skill you need to defeat him (the gel quickfire) seconds into the fight, which defeats the purpose of the boss.

What I like about the games is the emphasis on variety anyway, and the versatility of every system. I don't think a final test boss is burdening at all. I go through a checklist every time I get into combat anyway, trying to spice up the freeflow for XP.

Not saying everything has to be one way and one way only but I would've liked to see something like that in Arkham Knight. Maybe a final test boss like Freeze and Bane but to test your every combat move and/or you need to freeflow everything, that would've been fantastic against Deathstroke or Arkham Knight. Or maybe use Man-Bat as an opportunity for some aerial combat test, you know all those aerial gadget skills you can apply during a glide kick? I never used one of them in the game. I like that every fight/encounter has some personality to it but too many characters simply go down with a counter, or at the end of a sequence that isn't all that remarkable or different from everything you've been doing up to that point.

On a whim I got the first Dragonquest game on the switch just to see what the old school NES games were like. 9 hours later i beat it and I didn't even realize I had played the whole game almost in a single sitting.

There is something magical about just an incredibly basic RPG. Final Fantasy 1, DQ1, these games just strike something in you that modern games just don't have anymore. How they manage to hold onto their magic, how they manage to feel great and play great despite their mundane gameplay by today's standards is just unreal. It's a testament to the quality of these games and why they've become the staple foundation for what we have today.

Dragonquest 1 was great, I plan to get 2 and 3, for my next old school experience.

Just finished up Darksiders 3, got all trophies for the base game and for the New Game Plus update.

Now updating Destiny 2 as I hear that new free content will be available tomorrow, figured I might as well try it again.

Yeah, the next expansion, Shadowkeep is dropping tomorrow. There's a bunch of new stuff coming for everyone.

Stardew Valley and Breath of the Wild.
I am getting very tired of the weapon degradation in the latter game. It was not a good idea. I know this isn't exactly a new revelation, but I didn't play the game at launch.

bluegate:
Just finished up Darksiders 3, got all trophies for the base game and for the New Game Plus update.

Now updating Destiny 2 as I hear that new free content will be available tomorrow, figured I might as well try it again.

Granted, I haven't kept up on it (particularly after the insane nonsense they announced where they're just gonna remove the (paid) content at the end of the season because they can't maintain game stability somehow otherwise), but at last checkup, the "new" free content was just Curse of Osiris (probably the worst DLC in Destiny's history, despite the potential of the idea), and the resoundingly meh Warmind.

Most of the rest is an abundance of mechanics shuffling that ends up being a reversal of buffs they did and ap ullback on their brief flirtations with actual RPG mechanics and meaningful power. And of course the requisite 200 "POwer levels" to chase that actually add nothing to your power that has been the systemic plague on the franchise since its inception.

I'd prettymuch put the nail in the coffin on it. Under Activision it was "our awful engine is incapable of operating in a way that we can make content", and now its "our awful engine will let us make content, but we can't have more then a bare handful of it in the game without it exploding or something". So they're probably never going to solve their backend technical incompetence, and they're fixated on their non-progressing progression system and having you repeat the same handful of thigns you've done hundreds of times to keep up with the artificial curve.

I decided to just go for it and play Valkyria Chronicles 3. Though I'll actually be emulating a translated version, since my physical copy is of course in Japanese only. It's ok though. A lot of emulators can run games faster and prettier than the actual hardware ever could, plus I don't feel like going looking for my PSP anyway.

CM156:
Stardew Valley and Breath of the Wild.
I am getting very tired of the weapon degradation in the latter game. It was not a good idea. I know this isn't exactly a new revelation, but I didn't play the game at launch.

Careful now. The nintendo fanboys don't like it when you criticize BOTW. They went ballistic on Jim Sterling for that exact reason, even though he said he liked the game in pretty much every other respect.

I haven't play Stardew Valley since around the time it launched and I really want to go back to it. Especially now that they've added a choice of layouts for your farm, so you can focus more on the activities you like without having to run all over the map to do so.

CM156:
Stardew Valley and Breath of the Wild.
I am getting very tired of the weapon degradation in the latter game. It was not a good idea. I know this isn't exactly a new revelation, but I didn't play the game at launch.

A recurring problem with BotW is its bog standard implementation of otherwise interesting mechanics.

- Rain makes surfaces too slippery to climb. That's interesting, how do you circumvent it? You can't, you just wait it out.
- Weapons are breakable. Interesting. That surely means there's ways to prevent that from happening by fighting more efficiently: attacking during dodge slo-mo, only using certain weapons on specific enemies, finding armor that makes them less fragile? No, they just break. *shrug*

The issue with the breakable weapons isn't even that you run out of weapons, since the game showers you in new ones constantly. It's that everytime you find a new weapon you feel compelled to compare it your current supply, how strong and/or degraded any of them are, whether they have any buffs you need to check in the items menu. The more item slots you get and the more weapons you find the more it turns it into this annoying musical chairs. And ontop of that, the speed at which you go through them makes them feel less like swords, battle axes, and spears, and more like attack consumables. There's just no personality or sense of power to these weapons.

OT: I'm playing it again myself, because it is really fucking good. We'll see if I'll actually finish it this time.

Chimpzy:
I decided to just go for it and play Valkyria Chronicles 3. Though I'll actually be emulating a translated version, since my physical copy is of course in Japanese only. It's ok though. A lot of emulators can run games faster and prettier than the actual hardware ever could, plus I don't feel like going looking for my PSP anyway.

Not to mention it lets you use save states, and VC3 doesn't let you save during missions.

Chimpzy:
I decided to just go for it and play Valkyria Chronicles 3. Though I'll actually be emulating a translated version, since my physical copy is of course in Japanese only. It's ok though. A lot of emulators can run games faster and prettier than the actual hardware ever could, plus I don't feel like going looking for my PSP anyway.

I really don't like the constant reusing of the same maps. Everything else is fine, but that. And yes, I know it's cuz of hardware limitations.

Casual Shinji:

CM156:
Stardew Valley and Breath of the Wild.
I am getting very tired of the weapon degradation in the latter game. It was not a good idea. I know this isn't exactly a new revelation, but I didn't play the game at launch.

A recurring problem with BotW is its bog standard implementation of otherwise interesting mechanics.

- Rain makes surfaces too slippery to climb. That's interesting, how do you circumvent it? You can't, you just wait it out.
- Weapons are breakable. Interesting. That surely means there's ways to prevent that from happening by fighting more efficiently: attacking during dodge slo-mo, only using certain weapons on specific enemies, finding armor that makes them less fragile? No, they just break. *shrug*

That'd prettymuch be my assessment of it.

Throw out the staple Metroidvania gadgetry unlocking the world, and even the more expansive puzzles and dungeon crawling. Okay, weird to ditch your series identity, but whatever.

But what got subbed in was basically an incredibly bare bones set of random survival game aspects. "Progression" mechanics of the dullest sort (Weapon ++, woo.... And armour that you have to kill the highest tier of a dozen recolored mobs to upgrade.)

Seth Carter:

Casual Shinji:
- Rain makes surfaces too slippery to climb. That's interesting, how do you circumvent it? You can't, you just wait it out.
- Weapons are breakable. Interesting. That surely means there's ways to prevent that from happening by fighting more efficiently: attacking during dodge slo-mo, only using certain weapons on specific enemies, finding armor that makes them less fragile? No, they just break. *shrug*

That'd prettymuch be my assessment of it.

Throw out the staple Metroidvania gadgetry unlocking the world, and even the more expansive puzzles and dungeon crawling. Okay, weird to ditch your series identity, but whatever.

But what got subbed in was basically an incredibly bare bones set of random survival game aspects. "Progression" mechanics of the dullest sort (Weapon ++, woo.... And armour that you have to kill the highest tier of a dozen recolored mobs to upgrade.)

The lack of stuff to find and upgrade is one of its better qualities in my opinion. The whole game has this peaceful atmosphere with you just traversing and discovering the environment. There's never a sense of 'gotta go there to get more loot, and then gain EXP. on the way', and I'd say the game is better for it.

The problem for me is that certain mechanics that the game presents as creative ways to deal with obstacles are rather counter-intuitive. I already mentioned the rainy surfaces, which is supposed to encourage you to want to find a solution, but just results in you not bothering. There's also the Magnet power, which can be used to crush enemies with steel crates, but a) alerts enemies the moment you activate it in their vicinity and b) is extremely cumbersome to wield while enemies are trying to bash you. And so you don't bother. The Stasis similarly: you can lock an object and try to aim it at an enemy, but again this will alert them (and I'd like to see anyone make that work in combat), and more importantly you will suffer more weapon degredation. So again, you don't bother.

Then there's other little annoyances that stack up, like the skelletons showing up night after night, the Red Moon being activated via a cutscene that you have to skip every time, Link having the swimming stamina of a paraplegic, the atrocious item menu which was designed for the Wii-U touchscreen functionality that was ditched to not make the Switch version look inferior, and ofcourse the terrible characterisation.

Marik2:

Chimpzy:
snip

I really don't like the constant reusing of the same maps. Everything else is fine, but that. And yes, I know it's cuz of hardware limitations.

Yeah, VC2 is much the same. Though the overall smaller scope is somewhat compensated by the greater unit customization compared to the console games.

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