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Thread: What are you playing? (2024 Edition)

  1. #226
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Great game, I love that you can totally built a wrench warrior, and just smash everything in your way.

  2. #227
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Prey is so good. I slept on Mooncrash for awhile, planning to play it but not sure I'd like it, and it ended up being amazing too.

  3. #228
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    I can understand why Prey failed - visually it's kinda boring from a marketing perspective. The environment design is basically just semi-realistic space station kit pieces, and the enemies are just different variations on a black blob. The character design is Dishonored-esque exaggerated caricatures, so none of the characters are "loveable". For everything the gameplay and story do right, the presentation is just not mainstream marketable (compare to something like Bioshock Infinite - by all accounts not a great game, but oh so marketable).

  4. #229
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Yeah I think there might be something to that. Actually now that you mention it, the first impression I had of Prey's enemies was that they reminded me of the first trailer for the XCOM Bureau game. Remember this?

    Anyway, yeah, Prey was great. Mooncrash didn't grab me tho.

  5. #230
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    I remember that trailer getting a load of backlash for slapping the XCOM name on a completely unrelated game, a while before Firaxis' version was announced.

  6. #231
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I was listening to XCOM lead designer Jake Solomon getting interview on the Designer Notes podcast recently and he said the backlash to The Bureau helped Firaxis' XCOM reboot a lot. People were so ready to support and hype up a more traditional XCOM just to spite the bigger budget "wrong" version.

    Anyway, it's a great episode. He also talks a lot about the 2 failed XCOM prototypes he worked on before they figured out the winning formula.

  7. #232
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I ended up playing that XCOM game a while after release and really enjoyed it. It had some stunningly pretty graphics for the time too. An unfairly maligned entry into the relatively small single-player, squad-based shooter genre.

  8. #233
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I played through Crow Country. Survival horror game with an endearing chunky aesthetic that's very PS1 but also doesn't look like any particular PS1 game I can think of. You're a young lady investigating a disappearance at an abandoned theme park. It's very compelling, in a survival horror adventure kinda way. You piece together the story and what you need to do from written notes and documents, and the storytelling and puzzles are both quite good. The combat is pretty easy, compared to most games in this genre. In retrospect the game might've been balanced more towards the retro tank control scheme, I used the modern one. Fairly short too, 7 hours total, tho I didn't find all the extra secrets. Anyway, if anyone's in the mood for a cozy and spooky survival horror game to loose yourself in for a weekend, this is a good one!


  9. #234
    Brethren
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Docks
    Gamepass continues to be a really good deal. I saw this month they added Chants of Sennar and Open Roads, and soon we'll also get Hellblade 2 and also Humanity. These are all games I had/would consider buying.

  10. #235
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Played a session of Escape Simulator today with Thirith, Jeshibu, and Sulphur. It's a polished and well designed escape room game. Collaborating on cracking the puzzles is fun.

    Also got back into Kingdom: Two Crowns. Picked up the Norse Lands DLC. I continue to be impressed by the minimalism of this game's controls. A strategy game that can be played with 3 buttons. Left, right, and a "toss coins" button. It's beautiful and engrossing and occasionally quite frustrating. Seems like every time I die I shout "oh so THAT can happen!?". A lot of trial and error. But I still have a hard time putting it down.

    Also, got a hankerin' to play the original Tomb Raider. So what did I do? Pick up the remastered version? That would've made sense, but nope. Instead I bought a €45 external DVD drive, downloaded DOSBOX, dusted off my original Tomb Raider CD and started playing that in all it's low-res warped-texture keyboard-controled glory. Feeling like a real gaming hipster right now. I'm on level 7 now. Surprised at how much of this I still remember. The only modern convenience I'm really missing would be a quicksave feature.
    Last edited by henke; 19th May 2024 at 13:58.

  11. #236
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I tried playing some Far Cry 5 recently but got pissed off with it snatching me out of what I was doing just so it could do an exposition dump at me, before dropping me back in the world miles from where it had grabbed me.
    I did get as far as beating the Faith boss battle, who the game had done a great job of making me hate, but for all the wrong reasons.
    But that forced exposition was so out of kilter with the freedom of the rest of the game, I just ragequit.

    I've started playing Cult of the Lamb on the Steam Deck, which seems quite interesting so far. Not sure how long it'll hold my attention, but it's entertaining enough at the moment.
    I've rinsed Streets of Rogue about as far as I can, having completed the Big Quest for most characters. The remainder have mechanics that are just irritating, with no built in traits to offset them. Roll on Streets of Rogue 2, currently my most anticipated game.
    There were two characters I'd left quite late which I thoroughly enjoyed and had awesome mechanics, the Robot and the Alien. The robot needs to disable power boxes and has an EMP attack, while the alien needs to salvage space ship parts from vendor machines while having the ability to mind-control people, which is ridiculously overpowered and hilarious fun.

    I also picked up Ghost of Tsushima on Friday, and I'm enjoying it so far, playing on the Lethal difficulty, where everyone dies in a couple of hits, including me. I may change that though, as it can feel a little unfair sometimes, especially as there's a long-standing bug that's carried over from the PS5 version where Standoffs occasionally don't work, meaning you have to eat the first hit.
    But other than that, it's a very pretty game, with solid combat. Maybe a little too Ubigame openworld formulaic, and maybe a little generic, but set in an interesting point in history. Kinda makes me want to learn more about the Mongol invasions of Japan.
    There are plenty of ways to approach outposts, making it feel very much like an Assassin's Creed or Far Cry game, with surprisingly robust stealth options. But as the "Leaders" of outposts are generally tougher and more unpredictable than the average mook, you can patiently clear every last enemy using underhanded assassination techniques, only for the Leader to beast you, because unlike everyone else, they're immune to one-hit assassination takedowns. Meaning that on Lethal difficulty, you will be attempting the outposts over and over and over until you get that perfect run.
    Thankfully, the combat's engaging enough and the loading fast enough that it makes multiple attempts more tolerable.

  12. #237
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Escape Simulator was fun, and I like how they combine different types of puzzles, though I do wish they'd made some of the rooms a bit bigger - or at least had a couple of variants depending on the group size. Already with four people, some of these rooms are rather cramped. (I wonder how this felt for Jesh, who was playing in VR.) I imagine it's quite a bit worse if you've got up to eight people playing.

  13. #238
    Brethren
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Docks
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    Also, got a hankerin' to play the original Tomb Raider. So what did I do? Pick up the remastered version? That would've made sense, but nope. Instead I bought a €45 external DVD drive, downloaded DOSBOX, dusted off my original Tomb Raider CD and started playing that in all it's low-res warped-texture keyboard-controled glory. Feeling like a real gaming hipster right now. I'm on level 7 now. Surprised at how much of this I still remember. The only modern convenience I'm really missing would be a quicksave feature.
    So you spent more on the DVD drive than it would have cost you to buy the remaster. Hmm. You know you can "downgrade" the visuals in the remastered version to the original's low res version, right?

  14. #239
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I know this.

    I've also just been wanting to get an external DVD drive for a while to eventually take a trip down memory lane through all the old CDs I got sitting on my shelf. This was just what finally pushed me over the edge.

  15. #240
    Brethren
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Docks
    Yeah, actually I've thought about picking one up too, I have a few older game like Cryostasis and Heretic II that I'd like to play which aren't on Steam or gog.

  16. #241
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I played the penultimate mission of Thief: The Black Parade over the weekend. These missions are so good and varied, and the level design is largely fantastic, but I do wonder a bit what the purpose of the second, smaller castle is for the level. It does feel a bit like the map for the main castle required them to fill the space with something, but it's definitely the least interesting part of the mission.

  17. #242
    I've been playing Hades 2 (early acces) this last week and it plays as well as Hades while introducing several new mechanics. Lots of content already in the game, but not all story is in yet, there are some obvious empty holes in various spots and several of the new characters use unpolished/placeholder artwork. But the core gameplay loop itself is there and you can beat the final boss (once you figure out his patterns).

  18. #243
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Just finished the final mission of Thief: The Black Parade. It's a shame that mission 10 doesn't play to the strengths of The Black Parade, and in that respect it reminds me of Half-Life's Xen: it's a weird, atmospheric change of scenery, but I didn't find it nearly as enjoyable as what came before. (It didn't help that I searched that villain's lair several times before I realised that I simply had to get Arzan's key, and that would let me continue.)

    My frustrations with the level don't take away from the great achievement that this mod is. It very much felt like the first time I played the original two Thief games. How does Shadows of the Metal Age compare, especially in terms of level design? I have to admit that once or twice while playing The Black Parade I was kinda wishing for the occasional smaller, more compact level (not a criticism so much as a preference), so for my next Thiefy endeavours I might prefer something along those lines.

  19. #244
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    How experienced are you with fan missions of the last decade or so? If you enjoyed The Black Parade but wanted something smaller and more compact, there are a ton of great single mission fan missions you'll probably enjoy. Many of the best of them are by the authors of The Black Parade.

    A decent place to start is the One Million Units Contest. Many of those entries are pretty amazing, but the winner, Alcazar, is one of my all-time favorite Thief missions (including OMs). Because of the size limitation of the contest, all those missions are more on the short side of playing time.

    It's difficult to compare Shadows of the Metal Age to The Black Parade. The Black Parade has the advantage of an improved, more capable version of the Dark Engine, as well as being informed by more than two decades of community experimentation, discussion, debate and iteration of Thief level design. It was also led by a pretty experienced professional level designer. While impressive when it was released, the scale, scope, detail and polish of Shadows just doesn't feel quite the same compared to something like The Black Parade.

    However, you might find it has better pacing in some respects. Missions 2 through 9 of The Black Parade can feel a bit like a series of one-off mammoth masterpieces of design rather than a series of missions paced for a campaign. Shadows of the Metal Age is a little more like the original games in that you have varying types and sizes of missions. Along the same lines, though, you also have pretty widely varying levels of quality among those missions.

    Take a look at the credits of The Black Parade and find the authors' individual releases. If you haven't played any of them yet and you enjoyed The Black Parade... well gosh, lucky you. You'll find several missions worthy of an Arkane blush.

  20. #245
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Nifflas just released a new, small, free game: https://nifflas.itch.io/xenosphere

    You should play it. Don't look up anything about it. Just play it.

  21. #246
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    Also got back into Kingdom: Two Crowns. Picked up the Norse Lands DLC. I continue to be impressed by the minimalism of this game's controls. A strategy game that can be played with 3 buttons. Left, right, and a "toss coins" button. It's beautiful and engrossing and occasionally quite frustrating. Seems like every time I die I shout "oh so THAT can happen!?". A lot of trial and error. But I still have a hard time putting it down.
    4 buttons, actually. Left, right, toss coins, and sprint/special. But yeah, still kinda minimal.

    I've only played Kingdom Classic before, so I decided to play Two Crowns a bit during the weekend. From what I can remember of Classic, the two games are almost identical. The pixel art aesthetic is brilliant, but I do wish that your kingdom looked a bit more like a real place with maybe houses here and there, instead of just guard towers and walls. But this game wants to be minimalistic on all levels, I suppose.

    I like it how the game doesn't really help you with anything - you gotta figure out everything the hard way. I still have no idea what some of the statues and monuments and some NPCs are supposed to do. In fact I don't even know what I am supposed to do! Despite being somewhat frustrating indeed, it's very addictive. I sometimes wish that I had more control over things, but it'd be a completely different game if there was some more micromanagement.

    Is Norse Lands practically the same game but in a different setting?

  22. #247
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Cheers, Twist. I’ve played some of The Dark Mod, but none of theThief 1/2 fan missions yet, so those are some good pointers.

  23. #248
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    For the last couple of weeks me and my 5 yo daughter have been playing Stardew Valley together, and it's been a lot of fun so far.

    Gaming with your kids is never quite what you expect, but Stardew Valley is exactly the kind of a co-op game that I've been looking for. We're both living/working on the same farm, but the game is in split-screen so we can both do our own things if we like. Most of the time we hang out together though and do the daily chores and stuff, but there are times when my daughter wants to do some funny kid stuff, and I get a moment to go exploring the caves on my own.

    There's a lot of same kind of parent/kid interaction that happens in real life too. I often have to ask my daughter multiple times to help me with some basic chores, and she gets distracted every two minutes while doing them, but a little bit of bribery always does the trick. "You can go buy yourself an ice cream if you feed all the animals today." And that works just about every time. My daughter is a better role-player than I am for sure, and it's fun to see how immersed she often is in the game. But the best thing about Stardew Valley is that I don't have to constantly help her with everything, like in most other games that we've played before. The controls are intuitive and easy to learn, so she can practically do anything she likes on the farm. And there's no pressure in the game, so you don't have to worry about anything, which is nice.

    So, I can definitely now see why Stardew Valley is so highly rated. The gameplay is simple, kinda repetitive but rewarding, the pixel art looks nice, and the characters are fun and interesting. I'm looking forward to where our adventures take us.

  24. #249
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Still playing Balatro; still loving it. The difficulty progression feels well-tuned. Thirty-five hours in and I'm still learning the strategies, still unlocking jokers, and learning how to play the cards I'm dealt instead of relying on luck. As it turns out, luck isn't nearly as important in winning consistently as is knowing how to build a deck to suit the circumstances (even the unlucky ones). The single song that plays in the background is in 7/4, and at this point I can hear it clearly in my head whenever I please.

    I've also been playing Baba Is You, which I'm finding an odd mix of relaxing and stimulating for how difficult the puzzles are to me. I held off on buying this for years because I imagined I'd bounce off it, but it's so frictionless in terms of experimenting and undoing and restarting that it's not frustrating at all. That said, even some of the early puzzles took me way longer than they rightly should have, so I'm wondering how far I'll get before my brain gives out.

    And I've put a bunch of time into Vampire Survivors. Initially I thought this was a bit one-note; the first time I won a round, I spent the last 10 minutes being more or less invincible, and that was boring. But the more you play and unlock, the more challenges become available, and while it's never difficult, it does take a bit of thought and strategy to come up with builds that can achieve your goals. For the most part it's just good mindless fun, a steady dopamine trickle that's great for down time.

  25. #250
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Still on Animal Well. I retrieved the third flame and am now heading for the fourth. Not sure yet whether I'll continue after what I understand to be the first ending; in the past, I've found it difficult to remain engaged after reaching a story ending, but perhaps Animal Well's story and ending(s) are fuzzy enough not to give me this sense that I finished the game. (I'm especially not a fan of returning to a save game just before the finale after I've finished the story of a game; it always leaves me with a deflated feeling.)

    Other than that, I began a new replay of Thief 2; I'd installed the game with all the bells and whistles a couple of years ago but stopped playing in the second mission for some reason. Now, after having played The Black Parade, I very much feel like persisting, because Thief is definitely one of those games that I need to give some time, but once everything falls into place I'm absolutely hooked. At the same time, the engine upgrades that come with NewDark and one of the common texture mods make the game feel a bit sterile, at least to begin with, and after the grungy look and feel of The Black Parade this takes some getting used to.

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