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Recently completed video games

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I terribly miss the Homeward Bone in pretty much every one of these games I play.

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Yeah, I set up the teleport in Hollow Knight to go back to the town for just that reason.

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Oh man, there's a teleport?

 

There's something perverse about the game's perceived lack of a thing making me play it too little to discover said thing, which would make me want to play it more.

 

Back in I go.

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I finished RUINER. The gameplay is a lot like Hyper Light Drifter, though not quite as tight. The artstyle is gorgeously sleek and violent cyberpunk, but the mix of 3D world and 2D character portraits feel a bit incongruous at times, also the lack of voiced dialogue feels weird. At 5-6 hours it didn't overstay it's welcome though. It was alright!

 

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Ruiner's awesome - love the Ghost In The Shell aesthetic coupled with frantic ultraviolence. Did you play with a controller? I found I couldn't manage without using the mouse. Haven't finished it yet, because I got distracted by The Signal From Tolva, which I just completed today.

 

It's a Far-Cry style game with robots, but they've addressed one of the criticisms of the genre - the game isn't throwing stuff at you constantly. It gives you time to take in the world and admire the beautiful, Chris Foss-inspired landscape of ruined starships. Tension builds as you spot distant enemies and decide what to do next. The combat is actually pretty good: you have to manage cover,  damage, shields, auto-repair and reloading (your guns are rechargeable), although the range of weaponry on offer isn't particularly varied. The ending was also a disappointment, giving little to no closure, but the writing did a good job of worldbuilding and evoked the feeling of a sci-fi novella. It's a world I wouldn't mind going back to, should they make another game in the same universe.

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Yeah I played with a gamepad. Wasn't too difficult on Normal. Easier than Hyper Light Drifter at least.

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I finished Papa & Yo on the PS3. I feel like this is one of those games that was talked about intensely on its original release, but which subsequently faded away into the background. But it's still worth a look. There is some really beautiful imagery at play here. I loved stacking and tilting the little favela houses like building blocks. The music is excellent too. And there's a long sequence at the end of the game -

Spoiler

a sort of cable car journey into the sky

- which is absolutely spellbinding.

 

It doesn't always play smoothly. I got stuck a few times on some unwieldy/repetitive puzzles. (The bit on the football field in particular.) Some of the imagery is a little direct in a way that's sometimes typical for games which lean too hard on their central metaphors.

Spoiler

By the end of the game you're feeding Papa actual liquor bottles instead of those brightly coloured frogs. It is a little much.

 

It is also notable as one of the few games I've played that feels like the product of a culture that isn't North American, European or Japanese. Perhaps that speaks more to my habits as a player but games from other parts of the world still don't receive the attention they deserve; in that way at least it felt very refreshing.

 

A couple of other titles I finished on 3DS, mostly on my commute:

 

Steamworld Dig 2. Yes, this is out on 3DS as well as Switch, and it's actually a very good version. It plays at a seamless 60fps (on New 3DS at least). The art looks a little pixelated around the edges, perhaps because it was intended for HD screens and then squeezed down to fit the 3DS; but the stereoscopic 3D is nice, and it's extremely useful having the mini-map on the second screen for a game like this.

 

Anyway, it's another excellent Steamworld game from these guys - charming, whimsical, fun, pretty, thoughtful. Once again the basic format is digging down and sideways through cave systems, picking up treasure and upgrading your robot person, but you have a lot more movement options now, and you're very much expected to use them. At times you gotta go so fast it reminded me of Sonic. And I was surprised to find an emphasis on challenge rooms, almost in the style of Portal or Breath of the Wild. Some of them are puzzle-based but others are just really hard finger-twisting platform bits. Fortunately there's a lot of room to upgrade your character to get an advantage in those situations.

 

Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia. Another very good handheld Fire Emblem from the Fire Emblem guys. The overall presentation is really nice; the characters are good fun, though there's fewer opportunities to hang out with them because they can't make babies; the story is fine, though I'm starting to tire of saving the world in these games. Since their chief appeal is in enjoying the interactions between your team, I wish they would build the story around that, rather than yet another trek to kill a wizard king who is also secretly a dragon. I don't expect much will change in the forthcoming Switch installment; if anything I suspect some of the RPG/open world stuff demonstrated here will be carried over into the next game.

 

On balance this might even be a better introduction to the series than any of the other 3DS Fire Emblem games. Certainly the difficulty is better balanced than in the previous installments; I finished it on Hard Classic and I didn't encounter anything that made me want to snap the console in half. Perhaps that's because Awakening and Fates leaned very hard on the pairing up systems, and those are almost entirely absent here. Units can still have support conversations and give each other little boosts when placed side by side, but (as with the original GBA games) this isn't a huge deal. You can also rewind turns if you lose a character, which takes the edge off the threat of permadeath.

 

A few peculiar design decisions: I'm not sure why they dumped the weapon triangle, since it takes a certain amount of depth away from melee combat encounters. Ranged units, particularly mages, end up somewhat overpowered towards the end of the game. The food and fatigue systems are totally inconsequential. And the reliance on enemies who summon endless waves of weak mobs comes to be quite irritating as well. (The likely explanation for all of these points is 'because that's how it worked in the original Fire Emblem Gaiden', but…….weh.)

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Finished Assault Android Cactus as it came free with Xbox Live Gold this month - really fun little shooter that has Geometry Wars influences but comes up with a fresh take on it that causes its own freneticism.

 

There are 9 unlockable characters with their own primary and secondary fire (that also doubles as a dodge function) the art style kind of sucks but other than that it is pretty great.

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I finished Detroit and I must say, it is way below Heavy Rain for me.

 

To call the race aspect heavy handed is an understatement, it's constantly shoving it in your face and comparing android to slaves, to the point of it almost being funny. What isn't much fun however is the terrible writing all the way through and pay off that amounts to just about nothing.

 

Looking at the stats I realize I took a somewhat different route than most, but it was very forgettable, I can barely remember what happened to the different characters here a week after completing it. There is also in the beginning waaay too much busy work. I don't want to clean his apartment, or drive this cunt around in his wheelchair for 20 min. It does look great though. Ranges from looking great to jaw dropping with some particular chapters being amazing. All in all I did enjoy it, but it suffers from most of the standard Cage stuff. At times it really does hit what it is going for though, even if also heavy handed, the part near the end

Spoiler

where you are standing in line to be destroyed with the girl is quite chilling,

 but more often than not when they are trying to go for these things, it just feels like a cheap rip off of real life events but with androids copied in.

Another point of how inconsistent the game universe feels:

Spoiler

I had that drunken police lad shoot Connor one of the main characters in the head during a heated argument, I thought he was like fully out of the game there. But nope, just shows up having been repaired like nothing happened next chapter. However not long after, the police lad then makes a huge deal out of Connors decision (well my decision) in my game, to shoot another android in the head at that Android creators house.... Like.... There was no consequences or anything last time, why are you upset at this one random android getting shot then?

 

But in the end, I still enjoyed it. But man... It could be so much better
 

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On 02.05.2018 at 12:55 PM, smoke said:

I recently finished Battlefield 1. Pretty solid game. The graphics are absolutely wonderful...the level of detail is just great and they really researched the WW1 time spectacularly well. Gameplay was fairly average... nothing I haven't already done in other Battlefield games or even COD or Far Cry. Some levels were better over others, but as I haven't yet done the multiplayer, we'll see how much I play it now. Usually not a fan of multiplayer, but feel like it needs a go.

 

3.8/5

Yeah, it's pretty decent.

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In the process of completing Gene Rain - it is the game equivalent of watching The Room.

 

Functional, but basically dumb as shit and utterly confusing in terms of plot.

 

From their website:

The historical background we set up is fictional. We hope that this design will bring you a brand new world which is not so rigid, where all forces are fighting for their own ideas. As for who are demons and who are heroes, the difference is just inside your head...

 

The game is by no means as rich as Deadly Premonition, but it is the same kind of trashy stupid.

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I beat quite a few in July. Here's some quick thoughts

 

Little Nightmares

Nice creepy little game. Very atmospheric and made my girlfriend jump a few times. A little short though. I liked how nothing was really explained about the story or setting.


Tacoma

Liked this game, simple story and looked great. I thought the rewinding and following characters around to listen to their stories was neat.


The Red Strings Club

Great pixel art and cool soundtrack. A pretty deep story which I didn't realise going into the game. Mixing drinks was fun.


Framed & Framed 2

Two cool little puzzle games. I found alot of trial and error playing these games. I would purposely die just to see how the panels played out because sometimes they weren't very clear. I think only one puzzle was majorly difficult (mostly because it was a little out there compared to everything else).


Valley

I liked the story and setting. When the game worked you felt awesome zipping around at great speed, but numerous times I would get stuck on something or fall and all the momentum would go. Nice story experience though.


A Hat in Time

It was nice playing a colourful fun game. It was definitely rough around the edges at times, but I think that actually added to it. I got frustrated alot of times at jumping mechanics and other common 3D platformer traits. Mod support is really cool though.

 

Happy with the variety of games I managed to complete this month.

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Dragon Age Inquisition I was worried going into it, DA2 and ME3 had really soured me on Bioware games but I had a great time, its pretty astounding how much writing goes into games like DAI and how much of it is decent. Dragon Age Origins is still my favorite game to play as a spell caster but DAI is a close second. More RPGs need an agro system that allows your companions to tank while you dish out damage as a caster. Also having spells level with your stats instead of having fireball 1,2,3,4 etc. is so much better. Only thing I really missed from DAO was spell combos. Overall I enjoyed the game a lot, not sure that the DLC would be worth it at full price, but I got the whole package on deep discount.

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I finished Desert Golfing.

 

Video evidence:

 

This game is kind of a masterpiece. It's a perfect mobile game, and it's a game that gets procedural generation right. It shows that if you've got solid gameplay, the game world can be procedurally generated and just go on for (nearly) forever, and the game won't get dull. Compare it with No Man's Sky which did not have great core gameplay, so it's beautiful worlds were kinda wasted. And it's a great mobile game because of how lightweight it is. Whenever I have a few minutes to kill, I can whip out my phone and start playing it in 5 seconds, with barely any loadtime and no menus. Just as importantly, I can put it down just as fast, without losing any progress.

 

If you're looking for something to play on a phone, check it out. It's also available on Steam, but it works better as a mobile game imo.

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Had some downtime over the last couple of weekends, in which I finished a few games:

 

Human:Fall Flat

Amusing at first but was way too long. There's too many puzzles that are alike. The clunky controls slow you down enough already, so having to repeat a slightly more sophisticated version of the last puzzle you completed isn't fun. I also felt they didn't bring all the puzzle elements together in a way that would have added more interest.


Arcane Dimensions

A free mod for Quake that feels like an expansion pack. Dense, sprawling levels each covering a theme. Most levels have rooms full of enemies, where you rely on monster infighting and traps to get through alive. Difficulty is a bit variable (some levels were too easy, others were kicking my ass on Normal) but I guess it's just a case of getting used to fast-paced FPS games again.

They've added a couple of new enemy types and weapons, but these feel in keeping with the base game. That's a good thing - Quake is still a balanced shooter. AD is no-where near as brown as I remeber Quake being, either. Dig out your old install CD from 1996, 'cause AD is well worth playing.


Half-Life:Echoes

A free, fan-made singleplayer campaign for the original HL. It's a long one (around 3 hours of play) and it's good!

Playing this dug up memories of installing HL mods from a cover disc back in 2000 or so. I didn't have many games at the time, and the internet was paid-per-minute dial-up, so what was a HL-obsessed teen to do? Eventually the disc got shared between friends and we exchanged stories about the levels we'd played. Since then, although I'd moved on, it looks like the modding community has been busy, releasing a few mods per year. Who knew?

Levels are detailed and beautiful by half-life's standards; it's impressive what the Goldsrc engine can do. The maps are cleverly re-used in later phases, showing how the facility gets taken over by military and  alien influences.

Combat's OK, half-life's quirky soldier AI is still present and correct. Although, the game does depend a bit on ambushes at times which feels unfair. All said and done, it's good to go back to Black Mesa again.

(wanna feel old? HL turns 20 in November this year. Yeah...)

 

Inside
What. The. Fuck. Was. That. Ending. About?

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On 8/19/2018 at 4:40 PM, Beasteh said:

Half-Life:Echoes

A free, fan-made singleplayer campaign for the original HL. It's a long one (around 3 hours of play) and it's good!

Playing this dug up memories of installing HL mods from a cover disc back in 2000 or so. I didn't have many games at the time, and the internet was paid-per-minute dial-up, so what was a HL-obsessed teen to do? Eventually the disc got shared between friends and we exchanged stories about the levels we'd played. Since then, although I'd moved on, it looks like the modding community has been busy, releasing a few mods per year. Who knew?

Levels are detailed and beautiful by half-life's standards; it's impressive what the Goldsrc engine can do. The maps are cleverly re-used in later phases, showing how the facility gets taken over by military and  alien influences.

Combat's OK, half-life's quirky soldier AI is still present and correct. Although, the game does depend a bit on ambushes at times which feels unfair. All said and done, it's good to go back to Black Mesa again.

I just found a bunch of PC Gamer demo disk, lots of them with Half-Life mods. Was wondering how many of those have been lost to time now. I should give this one a try.

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I've defeated God of War (2018)

 

This game doesn't really do anything new, but everything it does do is accomplished thoroughly, and on a massive budget. It's a decent milestone for triple-A console games, but doesn't leave a blip on the radar for games as a whole.

The combat is more layered and beefy than I expected. I expected an off-the-shelf, ticks-all-the-boxes punching bag to grind through, but they really flexed some design muscle here. If you're getting S-ranks in Bayonetta and Devil May Cry on the regular: This isn't quite as replayable as that, but it's a strong showing and you'll be quite satisfied.

I think the merging of mid-2000s God of War and current-day over-the-shoulder combat like Bloodborne is an academically interesting mash-up to look at.

The storytelling was just compelling enough to pull me deeper into the game. The more time I spend looking back on it though, the more weird, bad choices I see. I guess I can really applaud that their PACING is great. I was on the hook for the whole game, and couldn't put it down. It's really well-made and I enjoyed it at the time, but I won't remember most of it later. Similar to a game like Uncharted or Tomb Raider.


Zooming out to a timeline of 15 years; I think the identity and perspective that God of War (2005) gave us will leave a much bigger impact on pop culture, and games, than this new one will. Not just culturally with their quick-time events and brutal, grubby god-strangling, but also the coding techniques developed to allow a player to run up the knuckle of a titan and fight the horde under his fingernails. That's always the case with reboots, I guess.

 

Anyway I also played Bad North. I love Oskar Stalberg's procedural artwork, so I was constantly seeing this game on Twitter. It delivers on the artwork, the game looks very nice.

It's a fun time-waster, and commanding 4 squads around a little island is a fresh take, but doesn't stay interesting for very long. I like spending time in this charming game, but it is very slow-paced. There's not much unit variety or many combat options, there's not much enemy variety and there are few surprises. I'm playing on the Switch, and each session lasts a little bit too long to be a great fit for a portable game.

This is the developer's debut game, and the portrait it paints of the studio team is still exciting. I really hope the game rakes in some money, because I think these people have the unique perspective and talents to make something very special soon.

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A while back I posted in the quittin' thread that I was abandoning Hollow Knight after getting the easy, clearly-false ending. Well, a few weeks after that a friend was playing the game and it made me want to get back into it, and I've now defeated the GD Radiance and finally feel like I've actually "beat the game".

 

It took me an embarrassingly long time to beat that boss, though! Several hours spread across multiple weeks. IDK if everyone else considers that one boss a such a significant difficulty spike or if it's just me.

 

I have 95% out of a possible 112% completion (those 12 extra percentage points from DLC, I assume). I already know of a few challenges that I have no interest in ever doing (e.g. the delicate flower run) so my fleeting bout of completionism might as well stop here. I haven't touched the Godsmaster stuff, so that's there whenever I feel the urge to revisit the game.

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Spider-Man

Great game, looking forward to seeing whats next. Decent easy to follow story, visuals are insane. Fun combat and traversal (though a little annoying at times). It suffers what I experience in every open world game which is a million collectibles, activities, side missions, icons on the map. I get burned out pretty quickly and skip alot of that stuff.

 

Last Day of June

Nice story, visuals and gameplay idea. What took away from the emotional impact was the fact the game revolves around the idea of replaying scenes over and over until you get the sequence correct. But you have to sit through every cut scene and can't skip anything. So having to sit through the same scene 3/4 times in a row until you get it right got really annoying.

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On 15/9/2018 at 4:11 PM, dium said:

A while back I posted in the quittin' thread that I was abandoning Hollow Knight after getting the easy, clearly-false ending. Well, a few weeks after that a friend was playing the game and it made me want to get back into it, and I've now defeated the GD Radiance and finally feel like I've actually "beat the game".

 

It took me an embarrassingly long time to beat that boss, though! Several hours spread across multiple weeks. IDK if everyone else considers that one boss a such a significant difficulty spike or if it's just me.

 

I have 95% out of a possible 112% completion (those 12 extra percentage points from DLC, I assume). I already know of a few challenges that I have no interest in ever doing (e.g. the delicate flower run) so my fleeting bout of completionism might as well stop here. I haven't touched the Godsmaster stuff, so that's there whenever I feel the urge to revisit the game.

 

Not entirely a difficulty spike, but that was a very hard boss for me. Oddly, as someone who had done the full 107% completion before the new DLC, I did actually find it more difficult than any other boss in the game. I specifically found it notable that they did make that boss hard compared to the final boss of Dark Souls being a relative pushover, so I would definitely count that as a win for you.

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Here's something that should be right up most Idle Thumbers' alleys. Florence, the latest game from the folks behind Monument Valley.

 

 

It's short but sweet. Well worth picking up for anyone who has an iOS/Android device, 4 bucks, and a heart.

 

Uhhh what else have I played recently lets see

Dishonored 2 - GOOD! :tup:

Budget Cuts - flawed but occasionally great. :tmeh:

Distance - very cool! :tup:

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On 9/15/2018 at 8:11 AM, dium said:

(Hollow Knight discussion, see above)

 

I beat Hollow Knight this weekend, but only the Lame Ending, where I got something like 88% completion, and I AM HAPPY WITH THAT 

 

It's a good game with a stupidly slow opening that almost made me abandon it out of tedium. Once it opens up and like, you get a little bit more movement options, it's great, but man, that initial hump of like, boredom mixed with one very tough boss fight was not the best. 

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