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Thread: What are you playing? (2022 Edition)

  1. #101
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Been playing Lost Ark the past few weeks and I don't dislike it. It's the first MMO I've played for any significant amount of time. I tried SWtoR once and bounced off of it hard and none of the others have managed to appeal even long enough to try them out. It's just the combination of sub-par graphics, atrocious story-telling and the riveting gameplay of collecting 10 bear asses and running back and forth between NPCs, rinse and repeat, that never quite managed to grab me.

    Lost Ark, though, while not the cutting edge, doesn't look half bad and even the typical MMO gameplay is less obnoxious. Or, at least, largely skippable and varied enough. For one, it actually requires a modicum of skill, occasionally. Also, there's a good mix of exploration, mini-games, solo fighting, and cooperative battles that you can pretty much mix and match as you please, though some of it is gated, of course. Oh, and a lot of the PVP is equalised, so you can pretty much jump in as you please as well.

    Anyway, I found it's a pretty nice time-waster to put on a podcast and hunt down some collectables or whatnot.

  2. #102
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    other necessary life things, like working
    Put these foolish ambitions to rest.

  3. #103
    I finished up Metro Last Light, it was pretty good, although not quite as good as the original. My main beef was the boss fights, they just seemed very un-Metro, and also felt like they were just thrown in the game as if to say "look, we have boss fights!" Completely awkward and unnecessary, they didn't serve any real purpose. I also wasn't a fan of the big battle at the end of the game, which was all just shooting things as fast as you can in a confined space, like a shooting gallery. Pretty dumb. On the plus side, I really loved the outside environments in the game, especially the swamp levels. They were scary and fun at the same time.

    My only other complaint stems from me choosing Ranger mode, which I didn't really realize what I was getting into (my fault). You only get two weapons, limited ammo, and sometimes I felt like I was made out of paper. Got me into some really frustrating situations a few times.

    Ok, on to the DLC and then Exodus.

  4. #104
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Metro Last Light felt like a real labour of love in the details.
    Last game that made me feel the same way was Half Life 2.

  5. #105
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    I was exploring my enormous backlog and finally gave Robin Hood a try (I think I bought it in 2014). I'm hooked so far. It's in the style of the old Commandos games and has a lovely cutaway style for building interiors.



    The stealth is great IMO, with abilities split between the party. Robin can knock people out, but it only lasts a couple of minutes, and guards can wake up their downed comrades. You need another character able to tie the hands of downed guards, and another strong enough to carry them out of the way to avoid notice. There are scenarios where Robin has to scale a wall, sneak to a gatehouse, and then lower the drawbridge for the rest of your party to enter a castle. You can also climb some rooftops and jump between them. It gives the levels a sense of verticality, but it's largely contextual.

    Each level is large (and dense) enough that it's taking me a good while to pick apart, and on the whole I'm finding it highly rewarding to think ahead and bite off the chunks. It's a shame that the game is mostly forgotten and hard to get running well.



    The AI is mostly enjoyable. In the below pics two guard patrols meet each other on the path by the windmill. I took out one of the patrols which caused the other to become suspicious and go to investigate. The commander lines the troops up and instructs them away to see what's happened.





    I'd definitely recommend it for stealth fans. I've also gone and bought myself Desperados and all of the Commandos games. Looking forward to trying them out finally.

  6. #106
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Oh interesting! I remember seeing that in a magazine ages ago and being very intrigued, being a Commandos-fan. I see a lot of people having issues with lag in the Steam version tho. Hmm, maybe I'll still give it a go some time.

  7. #107
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    Yeah, I had to use a fix to reduce the performance problems before it was playable. There's still a bit of freezing every time you hover a button in the menu though. The rebind menu is absolutely fucked too.

  8. #108
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    While I'm enjoying the gameplay and environment of Mirror's Edge Catalyst a lot (with some caveats, but nothing major), I had completely forgotten the Rebecca Thane character. What is it with this game and Bioshock Infinite and their angry black female characters that are both written to have valid grievances, but the games insist on making them terrorists that take things too far into violence and murder? If that's a common trope, then congrats, it manages to be racist and sexist and politically facile and reductive. It's clear that these games don't get nearly close enough to making any worthwhile political commentary, but the way they still try to be political and peddle the offensively simplistic horseshoe theory makes them look smug and tacky and self-congratulatory.

  9. #109
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I couldn't help myself; I bought a new steering wheel for Gran Turismo (my old Driving Force Pro is sadly incompatible with PS5). I went for the Logitech G923 and the "fuck it" optional H-gate shifter. Neither feel like pro sim pieces of equipment, but the force feedback is detailed and smooth (without the grinding whine of the DFP) and it's so much more satisfying than playing a controller (albeit slightly slower for me at this point). And it's piqued my interest in other racing sims on PS5. I tried a demo of Dirt Rally 2.0, and it felt good. Also got Assetto Corsa, which was deeply discounted, and has a great driving model. I'm curious about the sequel, Competizione, which apparently has some unique feedback effects with this particular wheel. Looks like I'm momentarily back in a car-game phase (and Elden Ring, of course Elden Ring).
    Last edited by Aja; 14th Mar 2022 at 15:41.

  10. #110
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    I'm taking a bit of a break from all game dev stuff, so I've been actually playing games for a change.

    Pawnbarian: It's from Humble Bundle's excellent Stand with Ukraine Bundle. I didn't expect it to be any good, but I've been quite addicted to it. Pawnbarian is a fun little puzzle game that combines chess with a rogue-lite system - the game is played on a normal 8x8 board, but you can upgrade your chess pieces and you fight against all sorts of monsters, and try to stay alive long enough to beat the end boss. And it's tough as hell. I finally managed to finish the three dungeons on "normal" difficulty and I think I've had enough of this game, but I did manage to squeeze 3-4 hours of fun out of it! Recommended.

    My Brother Rabbit: I played this one with my 3-yo daughter. MBR is a casual point&click adventure where you try to find hidden objects on the screen and solve light puzzles. I must say that we had plenty of fun playing this one. My daughter was surprisingly good at finding the objects and remembering where we're supposed to bring them, and I solved the puzzles that would have been impossible for her, but were just about challenging enough for me, so that we didn't get stuck for too long. It's a very short game, an adult should be able to finish it in about 3 hours or even less, but it has a nice story and it looks and sounds pretty good. The only problem is that my daughter wants to play it again after we've already beaten it twice during the last two weeks. Can someone recommend another game that I could play with her? (She doesn't understand English, so anything with too much dialogue isn't good.)

    SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech: I've loved all the SteamWorld games so far, so I was really looking forward to playing Hand of Gilgamech at last. I thought it would be like a fun version of Slay the Spire with a proper story, and it kind of is, but there's something missing. I suppose that a card game doesn't really work when there isn't much challenge (my bad for not choosing the hardest difficulty, I guess). The deck building could be good as there are quite a lot of cards to choose from and five different characters, but I've played pretty much the whole game with the same three characters and basically the same deck, and I haven't had too much trouble. I've tried experimenting a bit, but it feels like I'm only deliberately making things harder for myself. The story is nice enough (even though the characters aren't as sympathetic as in other SteamWorld games) and I want to see how it all ends, but the gameplay is a bit grindy and not as interesting as I feel as it should be. Hand of Gilgamech is not a bad game, but I'm still a bit disappointed.

  11. #111
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Yesterday I finished replaying Mirror's Edge Catalyst, and I'd still defend the game against some of the criticism it received. There are things it does badly, there is a lot of potential that isn't fulfilled, but I enjoy traversal just as much in this game as in the first one.

    However, there's one thing I absolutely hate that I suspect is down to the engine: there are some side activities (races against the clock of one kind or another) where you can just press R to restart, which is needed quite often, because the time limits are brutal. Get a jump or a wall run wrong? Press R and try again. Other such activities, however, don't allow for a quick restart, probably because, being A-to-B races, they cover a larger area of the map. I guess the map can be streamed while you're playing, but if you have to reload a whole chunk, it'll take a few seconds. Nonetheless: it would be so much better if you could just press R and the game puts you back at the beginning after a few seconds of loading - but instead, you either have to keep running until the time runs out (which always happen if you make more than one or two minor mistakes) or you have to go to the menu and reload the last checkpoint. It seems like a small thing, but when you're retrying races again and again and again it's the kind of friction that makes you give up sooner or later.

    What next? I'm still replaying Horizon Zero Dawn on PC and enjoying that quite a bit more than expected, but I really want to play Tunic after having read and watched a number of reviews. There's also Sekiro that I should finally play, but I'm shying away from that one at the moment.

  12. #112
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    Can someone recommend another game that I could play with her?
    I recall Hidden Folks being highly reviewed, and My Brother Rabbit sounds quite similar to it.

  13. #113
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    Can someone recommend another game that I could play with her?
    The Tiny Bang Story maybe. I can't remember how difficult the puzzles were–probably not very–but the mood was great. Also Samorost/Botanicula should be fun for a kid and have no dialogue.

  14. #114
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Hey, thanks for the recommendations!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchic Fox View Post
    I recall Hidden Folks being highly reviewed, and My Brother Rabbit sounds quite similar to it.
    They're not exactly that similar - both may be hidden object games, but MBR is more of an adventure and very story-driven, whereas Hidden Folks is all about searching for those tiny pixel objects on your screen. We did actually try Hidden Folks though! It's a bit too advanced for a 3-yo, I think. Finding those objects requires quite a lot of logical thinking and patience. I suppose the black and white palette looks a bit boring for a child as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by reizak View Post
    The Tiny Bang Story maybe. I can't remember how difficult the puzzles were–probably not very–but the mood was great. Also Samorost/Botanicula should be fun for a kid and have no dialogue.
    The Tiny Bang Story looks so much like My Brother Rabbit - I actually had to check that they're not from the same developer! (They're not.) It seems suitable for kids, so I'm adding this on my shopping list.

    I've never played Samorost or Botanicula, but I always thought that they are more arty-farty and meant for adults. They do look weird, but in a fun way. I seem to have Samorost 1 in my games library already, so perhaps we'll give it a try. I think it may be more suitable for a bit older kids though... Is Machinarium very similar to these two games? My daugher likes robots.

  15. #115
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Hidden Through Time is a better find-the-thing game, or at least more visually interesting. It's in color and it animates little scenes.

    Tiny Lands is a spot-the-difference game. About as simple as a game gets.

    I could also recommend Labyrinth City. It's a maze game. The scenes can look busy, but at the end of the day you just walk down the open paths and you'll get there eventually. But it tells a story targeted for kids; that's the key point.

    Townscaper might be good. It's not a game; you're just plopping down buildings. But it's pretty!

    Maybe Fireworks Mania! You shoot off fireworks. What more do you need? \_(ツ)_/

  16. #116
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    I've never played Samorost or Botanicula, but I always thought that they are more arty-farty and meant for adults. They do look weird, but in a fun way. I seem to have Samorost 1 in my games library already, so perhaps we'll give it a try. I think it may be more suitable for a bit older kids though... Is Machinarium very similar to these two games? My daugher likes robots.
    It's been years since I played all these games, but I think Machinarium was a bit more like a traditional adventure game than the others and maybe more amenable to actual deduction. It can definitely be hard to figure out how to progress in most of them, mostly you just click on things and see what happens. I'm bad at estimating what a 3 year old might be into, but I think out of the Amanita games Botanicula might be the best bet; I recall it moved at a pretty good clip, whereas I can easily see a kid get bored with the pace of Samorost. It does have a "scary" monster that's chasing the protagonists through the game, though.

  17. #117
    I'd say that anything with abstract/weird/scary imagery or antagonists chasing the player are not appropriate for a 3 year old. At that age, kids are still learning how to appraise the world as a whole and something like that may cause issues. I am obviously not a child psychologist and I don't know the child in question, but I do know that the first 3-4 years are a fairly fragile time period as far as long term mental health goes.

    I was first thinking about recommending the LEGO games, but I feel they are far too complex (both game mechanics and puzzles) for a 3-yo even with parental co-op, despite the early ones not having any spoken dialogue. Relatively simple Hidden Object games and (non-adult) adventures/story books seem like they would be more appropriate until she's 4-5 (depending on mental maturity). You could also try some Match 3 games, if you can find ones with a good theme for her and no a timer.

  18. #118
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    You're probably right, I watched the trailer to Botanicula and even in that the monster at the end is pretty menacing, and you're literally running from it the whole game. Could easily become nightmare fuel. It's a pity because otherwise it's a lovely game.

  19. #119
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Might want to look into the Putt-Putt games from Humongous Entertainment. I don't quite remember what age they were meant for, but I think they skewed rather young.

  20. #120
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I played Morrowind with my daughter who was around 3 at the time (pretty advanced kid though). We encountered a nix hound for the first time and it rushed me and killed me. We were both traumatized. Morrowind is now my daughters favorite game of all time, to the extent she has coded mods for it and such.

  21. #121
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Through the Fragmentation. It's kind of on the Flash end of an FP adventure game (I guess we're still calling these walking sims?)... as in nothing really animates except the character's head. Events happen & things pop in and out.

    And speaking of characters' heads, the character design is kind of cringe, but I think that's more of a feature than a bug. (The world is pretty simple, but in a nice way.) It's basically a 30-Flights style Blendo game with awkward crow people.

    And like a Blendo game (which I imagine had to have been a big part of its inspiration, "30 Flights" most transparently), it has an immersive sim heart, a good sense of humor, and I liked the story & short form intrigue. There are multiple ways you could end it, which was okay since it was short. Since it's exploration based, it's better this way than a one-shot story.

    All in all I liked it because I feel like it's one of "our" kind of games. It has that TTLG spirit, which makes sense since I think Blendo games are our kinds of games too.

  22. #122
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Oooh never heard of that one. Picked it up, since it's super cheap at the moment and 100% of its 75 reviews are positive!

  23. #123
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ok I played 1.5h of it and got 2 of the endings. Pretty wild stuff! I wouldn't really call it a walking sim since they're usually more passive, you have a lot of agency in this one and there's puzzles and whatnot. Yeah, anyway, it's a good one!

  24. #124
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by reizak View Post
    You're probably right, I watched the trailer to Botanicula and even in that the monster at the end is pretty menacing, and you're literally running from it the whole game. Could easily become nightmare fuel. It's a pity because otherwise it's a lovely game.
    Yeah, it's sometimes hard to tell what kind of things kids find scary, so I'll play it safe and save Botanicula for later. It does look like something that I/we might want to play a bit later.

    I ended up buying The Tiny Bang Story and Hidden Through Time. There are a few others that I found interesting as well (might buy some of those later), so thanks (again) for all the suggestions! We haven't played The Tiny Bang Story yet, but Hidden Through Time is pretty much what I expected it to be - Hidden Folks with colours. Colours make it a much better game, it's so much nicer to look at and search for those tiny little hidden objects. I usually find the objects before my daughter, so I translate the hints for her and try to lead her in the right direction. She's delighted every time she manages to find something, so we've enjoyed it so far. The levels are starting to get pretty tough though... the hints can be quite cryptic, the levels are getting huge, and the hidden objects can be just a couple of pixels behind a bush.

  25. #125
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: melon labneh
    I've been spending a lot more time playing since I got a Steam Deck:

    Beyond a Steel Sky, despite the relative blandness of its visual style, starts strong with interesting and natural ideas on how to merge traditional point & clicks and Telltale-style adventure games, with an exciting ramp-up that is quickly deflated as you settle into the uninspired core gameplay loop of the second half. Overall still not bad, a worthy sequel to a title that was far from perfect itself.

    Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery. It's not often that I feel cheated by an art game but here you go. It's lovely, it's cute, it's well-made but the puzzles are so basic and rehashed and the daily life of a painter so idealized and superficial that it all felt kinda insulting to me.

    Following last year's replay through the GBA Castlevanias:

    Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow is a fine Igavania. It doesn't do anything special for me but is a worthy sequel to Aria of Sorrow.
    Castlevania Portrait of Ruin disappointed me. I like the character switching but the level design feels mostly empty and disjointed.
    On the other hand, Castlevania Order of Ecclesia surprised me -- it's the only one of the three that I hadn't finished on NDS itself, probably because it's much tougher and I had given up at the time. It's very, very good. It uses the Igavania layout with a linear progression straight out of classic Castlevania games in a way that works well and the combat is fantastic -- every encounter must be carefully prepared.

    Hyperbolica, because I have a fondness for maths and for the previous work of its main developer CodeParade (e.g. Marble Marcher). The game itself is nice but nothing too deep, and while navigating the hyperbolic space is trippy as hell, it sounds a bit cooler than it actually is. It's short and I didn't have a bad time though, and I'm yet to try it in VR to induce the full nausea.

    I love Norco. I love the unashamedly poetic writing that manages to avoid pretension, I love the idea of a slice of life in a magical realist post-cyberpunk deep south -- in fact that might very well be the best setting for a game ever. I love how effortlessly it manages to root itself in reality, much more than, say, Kentucky Route Zero.
    After playing the demo I was expecting the full release to be the second coming of Christ. And while it might be in some way, it also goes in a much different direction than I imagined. The full story is a wilder ride than the first act lets on, which is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it's its own thing, a unique game which deals with mundane and current topics in a way I haven't seen often in video games, and while I've read reviews that state that it will never be as impactful as KRZ, in my particular case I disagree. Yes, its conclusion feels like there wasn't ultimately much to say, but I still can't stop thinking about it.

    Vampire Survivors has no right to be so addictive and I wish I never had bought it.
    Last edited by Briareos H; 29th Mar 2022 at 10:06.

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