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Thread: What are you playing in 2021?

  1. #126
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Yeah, it's like they knew they had to make Xen better than the original, but somehow also decided that that meant it had to be longer too.

    By the end, it felt like a whole other game tacked onto the end, and stuffed up some of the pacing.

  2. #127
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: melon labneh
    I must be the only one who ever liked Xen :/ It gets a super bad rep because of the platforming but I thought it had a lot of cool abstract geometry and interesting texture choices. Some tight combat challenges too.

    In any way I appreciate a lot of what they did in Black Mesa, I loved the human settlements and loved the idea of interpreting some of the abstraction into Vortigaunt architecture. Less convinced about the wilder, jungle-like parts, and about the slog of the factory. Overall I prefer the original but kudos to the team.

  3. #128
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I played Stowaway, which is a game Piglick recomended a while back. Short first person sci-fi horror game. Very cool minimalist aesthetic, tho the character animations are a bit wonky. The story isn't especially original, but I like the way it's told. This game is free on itch, and I'd recommend it to anyone who liked Alien Isolation and is in the mood for a short story you can play through in one sitting: https://dirigogames.itch.io/stowaway

  4. #129
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    haha yeh forgot about Stowaway, I really loved the vibe of it. So, is anyone playing Vallheim? I plunged in and its actually very good if you enjoy survival games with rpg elements and pvp.

  5. #130
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Briareos H View Post
    I must be the only one who ever liked Xen :/ It gets a super bad rep because of the platforming but I thought it had a lot of cool abstract geometry and interesting texture choices. Some tight combat challenges too.

    In any way I appreciate a lot of what they did in Black Mesa, I loved the human settlements and loved the idea of interpreting some of the abstraction into Vortigaunt architecture. Less convinced about the wilder, jungle-like parts, and about the slog of the factory. Overall I prefer the original but kudos to the team.
    Yeah I never hated Xen - the way some people talk you'd think it ruined the whole game. Aesthetically, original Xen was always great - it's so uniquely weird in a way that the Black Mesa remake didn't really capture - the new Xen feels more like a bizarre but believable ecosystem, whereas the original feels like a dying and shattered reality. But with the exception of a setpiece or two, Xen gameplay was a big step down from the rest of Half-Life, cranking up the annoyance factor with a lot of tiresome trial-and-error stuff.

    It's much easier to know where to go and what to do in Black Mesa's Xen, and if you mess up, it rarely feels unfair. But by that point in the game, the difficulty has already ramped up to peak levels, and Black Mesa just sustains that level for way too long. Playing it felt like listening to a good piece of music that gradually ramps up in intensity, but then inexplicably holds a single note for a whole minute. If there had been one somewhat-obtuse plug puzzle in that Interloper factory, it would have been a fine challenge. But the game throws like ten of them at you.

    However, I will say that it redeemed itself after the slog with a much improved final boss fight.

  6. #131
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I've been playing a bunch of (arcade) racers lately.

    Zeepkist - downhill soapbox racing game. Quite unique in that there's no acceleration, so it's all about managing the momentum you have and deciding when to hit the brakes and sacrifice speed for control. It's in EA and quite rough around the edges. The gameplay is great but it's lacking in a lot of other areas, eg. there's barely any sound, so I can't wholeheartedly recommend it yet, but this is definitely one to put on your wishlist keep an eye on.

    Tricky Machines - I got really into the level editing side of this and made a bunch of drift-focused levels in the editor.

    Jet Car Stunts - this is kinda a deep cut. The mobile versions of this game were a moderate hit but I don't think a lot of people know about the PC version. It's fun. Got a heavy focus on aerial-control.

    Distance - playing JCS made me wonder why I wasn't playing this instead, which has quite similar gameplay but oodles more visual oomph. Played a bunch of usermade levels. Some of them are pretty good.

    The Crew 2 - picked this up on PS4. I dunno, the first game didn't do much for me and this one doesn't either.

    Wreckfest - picked up the campaign again this weekend, kinda close to the end. I don't need to tell you about this, it's great!

  7. #132
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Here's a custom Zeepkist track I made, the scenery was added by another player, Urumi7849.



    There's no proper Workshop support yet so tracks are only shared on the game's discord server, which is kinda clunky. Workshop support is on the way tho, hopefully soon.

  8. #133
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Louisville, KY area
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    haha yeh forgot about Stowaway, I really loved the vibe of it. So, is anyone playing Vallheim? I plunged in and its actually very good if you enjoy survival games with rpg elements and pvp.
    Valheim is amazing. Just learning the game so far. Figuring out resources and level ups, but its absolutely fantastic. I've bought a copy for both my Steam accts and will more than likely gift a copy to my daughter.

  9. #134
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    These are good questions, and I haven't thought about it enough to give you a more specific answer. What would I expect to happen when the player gets spotted though? The short answer is that I'd expect the resulting gameplay to be challenging and actually fun. In too many stealth games the logical solution is to find a "safe place" - maybe a roof that the guards can't reach, the darkest corner of a room, or perhaps a conveniently placed cupboard - and then just wait there and do nothing for a couple of minutes until the guards forget that you exist (or just reload because you can't be bothered waiting). Then they go back to their normal patrol routines, don't mind the bodies of their dead comrades lying on the way, and you're good to go until you get spotted again. I'm a patient kind of a guy, but I find the waiting game just boring and most of all immersion-breaking.
    I think a good, simple solution would be to design two sets of patrol routes and guard patterns, one non-alerted and one alerted, each with their own challenges. In the non-alerted one, guards are easily isolated, but they're widespread and harder to predict. In the alerted one, guards consolidate into fewer areas to support each other, making those areas harder but giving the player freedom to explore the rest of the level unhindered. (This would also give area-of-effect abilities more impact.)

    Lessee, games... a depressive spike hit at the same time as the big winter storm, so I defaulted to two comfort games. Tametsi, which is like Hexcells but with tiling patterns other than squares or hexagons, and Serious Sam HD, since the fourth game lacks Linux support. This time I made the wise decision to play on Hard difficulty, instead of Serious. I can beat Serious, but only with copious quickloads, whereas on Hard I go from checkpoint to checkpoint weathering the occasional death. Now, I'm getting back into Spiritfarer. I'm a bit surprised I'm willing to do so, since the game's premise is "Form strong emotional bonds with people, then lose them forever." It's Stardew Valley, except your goal is to help everyone die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henke
    Ring Fit Adventure - I'm on day 25 now. It's fun, and I certainly do work up a sweat every time, tho I've yet to see any noticable changes in my physique. I am not a stunning Adonis yet.
    ...I'm playing that too. Embarrassing, but the pandemic plus winter cold rendered gyms and parks inaccessible. It's a competent little RPG. At first I was frustrated by only being able to select six battle exercises out of your inventory of dozens, but I was delighted when a skill tree unlocked at level 40, with options to expand the roster. After that, I became frustrated by how a favorite exercise would gradually become underpowered, or how a powerful battle move might have little value as an exercise. (Seriously, hip shaking? Stepping side to side?) For another person, it would be a good thing that the exercises vary so widely, since then you could choose a selection at the right difficulty, but I seem to be toward the upper end of the level of fitness this game supports.

    The yoga roster is bullshit, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thirith
    After finishing Fallen Order, I decided to play something very different: Rusty Lake Roots, the second of the surreal, eerie Rusty Lake games, a series of point-and-click puzzlers. The puzzles are pretty standard stuff, but the aesthetic and tone of these games are great, if you're into this specific unsettling, dreamlike atmosphere. The games are also short enough not to overstay their welcome, so for me at least they work tremendously well as eerie little tone poems where you solve puzzles to make strange, bad things happen.
    Oh, that entire series is fantastic! It's amazing to think that the first Rusty Lake game was also the very first Flash-based room escape game. The developers invented a genre, then mastered it, then moved on.

  10. #135
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Finished Assassin's Creed: Origins, did as much DLC as I could stomach and despite my brain telling me to take a break, have moved straight on to Odyssey.
    It's a damned impressive game - really great production values, very thoughtful gameplay mechanics.
    One good example is that if you carry on running while you whistle for your horse, you automatically mount when it's alongside you, which saves the whole awkward whistling, then doing a 360 to see where it is coming from and trying to guess the distance at which you can hit the mount button thing.

    As with all Ubisoft games, it suffers from the map icons featuring more or less the same set of things to do over and over again, but keeps it spicy by running the gamut of EVERY GAME MECHANIC EVER.
    I kid you not:

    • Standard AC stuff
    • The boaty stuff from AC3 / Black Flag / Origins
    • Reducing antagonist strength in a region via general fucking up of their shit a la Red Faction Geurilla: That Building Insulted My Mother
    • Character badasses who are hunting for you based on how much of other people's shit you get up in, with cool names, strength and weaknesses, like Shadow of Mordor (but just different enough to not fall foul of Warner Brothers' annoying patenting of the nemesis system)
    • Recruitment system whereby you can knock out and employ members of antagonist factions to boost your boat stats, just like in Metal Gear Solid 5: We Wrote the Plot and Dialogue While High
    • Romance sub plots, like in all those BioWare games
    • M1 Garand Pinging sound after you fire your last arrow (ok that one is a lie)
    • Probably others I can't immediately think of


    It's really good though and while it is so big that I'll surely burn out on this one, the important thing is that I hope I don't.

    [EDIT] Had quite a cool emergent gameplay moment yesterday. Was stealthing through a fort, picking people off one by one as you do, then a mercenary shows up and starts skulking around the fort, as if he knew I was there (probably followed the bodies and animal carcasses to be fair), which meant I had to be super ultra careful not to get into a fight as you generally want to fight those guys one on one.

    HOWEVER, one of the people in the fort was a sponsor of the bounty on my head, so I decided to prioritise him. I managed to sneak up and kill him, which knocked my bounty down one level, at which point, the merc just flipped his over-the-head icon from red to white, and fucked entirely off, leaving me to continue murdering the nice folks in the fort.
    Last edited by faetal; 4th Mar 2021 at 12:00.

  11. #136
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I did the same as you faetal, albeit at the start of the pandemic, and played Origins and Odyssey back-to-back, including ALL DLC, and can quite safely say that I don't need to play another Assassin's Creed / Ubisoft game for the foreseeable future.

    Personally, I enjoyed Odyssey more than Origins, mostly because Kassandra is awesome, while I found Bayek a bit wooden by comparison.

    Also, I grew up with Greek mythology (and visited Greece and Crete in my youth and went to a lot of the ruins), and have lots of love for it. It helps that Kassandra's adventures take place actually in the time period a lot of those myths and legends come from, or just after.

    I think I would have been more excited about Origins if they'd set it in an earlier, more pharaonic time period. Sure, it was still great getting to parkour around ancient Egyptian architecture (and places I've been IRL), but it felt like an Egypt in decline rather than exploring the cradle of civilisation at its peak.

    Crete felt weirdly compressed in Odyssey mind you. A necessity of game design sure, but they could have scaled it up a little bit more to help convey how independent it feels compared to the rest of Greece.
    And they could have also added a bit of Egyptian coastline to the south to call back to Origins and help people who don't live there understand just how close these Mediterannean nations were/are to eachother.

  12. #137
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I dig lunar lander-alikes (Rocket Fella is kinda my own contribution to the genre), and a couple days ago this thingy called Gravitrex popped up on Steam and I've been hooked.



    The mix of physics-gameplay and puzzle-solving is very fun. On my most recent playthrough I actually figured out how to beat level 20, tho I died on 21 instead. There's 35 levels in total and you start over from the beginning once you run out of lives. Old school!



    Also the dev saw my video and named that thing I do at 8:30 after me.

  13. #138
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    I just bought Loop Hero, I'm an hour in aaand.... I don't think I care for it?

    While the premise and ideas are really clever and innovative, I feel like the overall gameplay is hampered by bringing out the worst about rougelikes. Namely - every start of the loop feels exactly the same. Watch your dude slay slimes and skeletons for 10 minutes before you even get to make any meaningful decision.

    Worse yet, it's not even a mindless grind - oh no - the game won't let you step away. You gotta KEEP doing tedious micro management constantly - place rocks, place meadows, sort thru numerous inventory items which gives you almost no useful info at glances (so you gotta constantly hover over items)... but it's the same shit you did the first loop, and it's the same shit you're doing the 5th loop.

    The micro-management gets real tedious and there isn't any meaningful randomization between loops to make each run feel fresh (like, say, Hades). The only thing is randomized road which really doesn't matter since your char moves automatically. It might as well be a straight road.

    The "base-building metagame" seems to incentivize re-starting loops often, but the micro-management-heavy repetitive starts makes me REALLY not want to do that.

    I'll give it a bit more time to see if the base unlocks make a difference, but I'm an hour in and already feel like I'm just repeating myself.

    EDIT: I got to first boss, died quickly, and lost 70% of my resources. Couldn't build anything so started new loop. This time retreated when I was getting low on health. Only had resources to build 1 thing which didn't affect anything. I'm back to killing slimes with no gear for the 7th time.

    Screw it. Refunded.
    Last edited by Yakoob; 7th Mar 2021 at 21:42.

  14. #139
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Just played the first half of this Hotline Miami-inspired FPS that's so good I'm surprised they're giving it away for free. If you're in the mood for some runnin and gunnin and kickin this Sunday, check out ANGER FOOT!



    https://squidcor.itch.io/anger-foot

  15. #140
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    @Yakoob:
    I too have stepped back in to roguelikes after getting a bit burned out on Guild Wars 2 again (I'm at that stage of an MMO where I'm just doing daily tasks, and the remaining content I have yet to play doesn't interest me).

    However, I went for Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos, which I am thoroughly enjoying so far. There's no persistence or unlocks between runs (at the moment at least; I don't know if that's something they're planning), but when I've died so far, I've been compelled to immediately start a new run.

    It's very pretty, and they've done a fantastic job of making a traditional roguelike easy to interpret, although there are still some interface oddities at the moment with it being early access.

    The grafting system in particular needs more clarity. It's a great idea, but it's very hard to see what you've got grafted where, how many things you have grafted in total and what the modifiers for said grafts are. In addition, there doesn't seem to be a way to remove and replace grafts that I have found so far.

    But otherwise, great stuff!
    Last edited by Malf; 7th Mar 2021 at 05:38.

  16. #141
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Yeah I'm disappointed with Loop Hero given how much praise it was getting. I was waiting for when the amazing part was going to start that everyone seemed to be raving about, but it's ... just a loop, over & over, you build it up, and then it clears everything anyway. It's okay for a while though, and I'm thinking about adventure card games, or card-based adventure games, so it's probably good fodder for ideas.

    Aaanyway, lately I've been playing Control. I have to go back and check, but it's probably the best game I've played of the last year. I don't know if I'd call it textbook immersive sim, but it definitely shares a lot of our kind of DNA. It's in the mold of System Shock 2 in a lot of ways. The level design (in terms of environments) & art direction is top notch; I've taken so many screenshots. I really like the gameplay. The variety of the environments keeps encounters even with regular stiffs feeling fresh. The story is intriguing enough. It's funny with a strait face, which is a good thing. I'm suspicious of everyone, which is a good thing. It's fun to explore & see what new unsettling thing is around the corner. I want to know more about this world. Great game.

  17. #142
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: British Columbia, Canada
    Regarding Loop Hero, I really wish there were a few more card combos early on to get different things going because repeating that first few loops is terribly dull. I've found it an easy game to run while I'm at work as you can enable an option to pause back at camp at the end of the loop. You might burn through a few cards, but really by that point it's just resource you can use to upgrade your camp.

    I've been playing a lot of different games lately, it's difficult to stay focused on one thing for too long, but Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has held my attention longer than I expected to especially after bouncing very hard off the original PlayStation 2 version. I'm glad for a 2x / 4x game speed modifier. In fact, I'm glad a lot of the recent Final Fantasy remasters have received that treatment, because while I remember a lot of the good things about those games I also remember how GRINDY they were. Who's got time for that anymore? Not me. Anyway, I've put 75 hours into Zodiac Age (ha). I've recently reached the end game and I'm setting myself up to fight Zodiark, the last of the possible summons you can collect. Just need to do a quest to find a bunch of amulets, tackle the Chaos summon, find Zodiark, and hope not to die.

    I've also been playing Breathedge and I really don't know how I feel about it. I came in expecting something along the lines of Subnautica, and parts of that are there, but it feels like it's more of a walking simulator (I'm fond of these games and the term) disguised as Subnautica. You have health and breath and nutrition requirements which add to the experience of it being a survival game, but the way resources are distributed alongside the story beats makes me think those systems are tertiary to the experience it's going for. Also, it has the dreaded tool durability a la System Shock 2 and Breath of the Wild, it's not great - plenty atmospheric (ha) though so I'll probably stick it out until the end.

  18. #143
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    Agreed about Breathedge. I really didn't get far into it. I'm trying my best not to dive into Subnautica: Below Zero before its full release in a few months though.

  19. #144
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I've had Frontier Pilot Simulator on my wishlist for ages, but finally picked it up in the current sale and ended up spending a lot of the weekend with it.



    If you play Elite Dangerous or Lunar Flight for the spacetruckin' you'll probably like this. This is exactly the kinda flying sim I like: a flying sim that realizes that the most boring part of flying sims is all the damn the flying you gotta do. The gameworld is relatively small which keeps the trips short and lets the game focus on the good parts of flying sims: the take-offs and the landings. The presentation is very nice, with lots of detailed animations for cargo-loading and plane-configuration/repair. You also get other missions besides just cargo and passenger-hauling, like search-and-rescue missions and some kinda geometry-scanning thingy I haven't gotten to yet. The only real downside is the stuttery performance I'm getting with my GTX1070, I've turned most settings down to Low but still get occasional stutters.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/6...lot_Simulator/

  20. #145
    Member
    Registered: May 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakoob View Post
    I just bought Loop Hero, ...
    Screw it. Refunded.
    This is 100% my experience as well. Love the graphics though.

  21. #146
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    I'm quie enjoying Loop Hero as something to just chuck on and play semi attentively while I have lunch or something.
    The curve for being able to unlock village stuff goes up pretty quickly.
    True that the gameplay loop is basically like watching fanfic of a 20-sided dice roll, but maybe I'm just easily amused.

    In other news, still digging AC: Odyssey. Kassandra might be my favourite AC protagonist so far (although I actually really liked Bayek too).
    It's kind of weird though in that I can't yet see how it actually relates to the AC series. AC: Origins was pretty clearly laid out, but I'm currently playing a game where the assassin's creed hasn't been mentioned yet (I'm well over 50 hours in) and there are no Templars either. There are some shiny gold triangles, which I guess might be related to the weird AC angel alien civilization people, but it's not explicitly mentioned.

    It's an off one, but definitely one of the best games I have payed in recent years. It's on a par with The Witcher 3 in terms of how much I am enjoying it. The plot & characters in TW3 are way better, but the actual gameplay in AC:Odyssey beats TW3 to a pulp, especially combat, where TW3 really falls short. TW3 is a novel which uses exploration gameplay as a way to interact, AC: Odyssey is an exploration game which uses story as an excuse to explore.

    I really should not play Valhalla after this though. I'm surprised I managed this many AC games without burning out - possibly just miss actually being able to travel.

  22. #147
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I've played perhaps the first hour of Mundaun, the Swiss folk horror game that came out last week. It's not a polished game, and it's definitely not pretty, though its art style (pencil-drawn textures on simple 3D models) is striking and moody, as is the game itself. The characters speak Rumansh, the fourth national language in Switzerland that is spoken by a very small number of people. The gameplay is that of a relatively simple 3D adventure, with some neat wrinkles (e.g. you can drive an alpine hay-gathering vehicle around). There is some simplistic combat, but usually it makes more sense to run away. All in all, it's a pretty unusual game, and if you have a thing for folk horror and don't mind jankiness, you might enjoy this. Basically, if you watch the trailer and don't recoil at what you see, this might be your thing.

  23. #148
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Ring Fit Adventure has turned out to be whole lot of game. I'm on day 40, and still nowhere near the end of the main campaign. Thankfully, I'm far enough in that I can choose powerful abilities wholly to my taste. They're not optimal abilities, by any means, but they exercise what needs exercisin'.

    Months ago I started a new game of Dragon Warrior 3, only to set it aside when I discovered the classic NES controller is murder on my left hand. Recently, I acquired an NES Advantage (a joystick) and have found it much more ergonomic. Surprisingly, it also has a solid, heavy base, as one would demand of modern joysticks. (I expected it to be Nintendo's usual lightweight affair.) Anyway, the game is fun (when I'm in the mood for it), more so since I'm playing through using the classes I never used before: Soldier, Merchant and Goof-off.

    Avernum: Steam's Proton (a WINE fork) has reached the point where it can play this with little hassle, and I've been meaning to do so for years. Currently, my party has made it to Fort Draco, and they're focusing on gathering the resources to fill out their magical library.

    Spiritfarer hit me as hard as I'd dreaded. The first soul to move on wasn't so bad, since she departed on her own terms after some impromptu therapy. I figured that's how they would all go: you help a spirit with their lingering problems, they come to terms with their deaths, and move on. However, the second death did not fit that pattern, and kinda hurt. It was a dear old grandma hedgehog. I found her charming and wonderful, so I prioritized doing things for her, which I now realize sped through her plotline. What happened was... she sinks into dementia as you progress, the same dementia she died in. By the end of her story she thinks you're her daughter Alice. Instead of her choosing to move on, you make that decision for her. Ouch. Now I'm approaching the death of the character I like most among my current passengers, so I've set the game aside for now.

  24. #149
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ugh, I got lazy and left Ring Fit Adventure on day 25 or so. Need to get back to it. Spiritfarer sounds good. I've had it installed for ages but haven't gotten to it yet.

    Hardspace: Shipbreaker - Really got into this again, attained rank 10, own almost all my own equipment now. Still 600M in debt.

    Final Fantasy VII Remake - Cloud is wearing a dress now, this is wild.

    Stubbs The Zombie - Never played this back then, but loved the soundtrack, so I picked up the new re-release. Man, this game is pretty rough around the edges. The gameplay is kinda fun, but right now I'm stuck in a part with horrible checkpointing and I'm thinking I'm done with it.

  25. #150
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: melon labneh
    Genesis Noir was utterly brilliant. If you don't mind interactive fiction with basic (and occasionally frustrating) puzzle elements, and have at least a passing interest in noir, jazz, stylish line art or cosmology, I heartily recommend it. Not pessimistic enough to be perfect, though.

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