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  1. The very king of fighting games is back, and I'm head over heels with the little beauty. It looks and plays incredible. So much detail and so fluid in motion. I know I'll be posting in this thread in five years time, although tbf, probably as the avid spectator to online tournaments that I've been for 10 years by now. Truth is I've never been able to play the thing to any degree of competence, I just like watching other people do it. Having said that I've decided to do something I've never done when (trying) to play it. I'm going to go with grapplers. Maybe slowing things down a bit for myself might be more appropriate for my age - (advanced)!
  2. I'm probably over halfway through the game and, yeah, it's as good as the last game in most ways except in ways that doesn't make much sense to me. The story is still the main focus and it is as well performed as last time but it isn't as striking as before. That had a unique, almost theatrical one-woman show due to it existing mostly in Senua's head and memories where as here she is interacting with others. I do like that though since it's a good place to go after the first game being all about self actualisation and then seeing how she puts that into action around others. It just also means the scenes are a bit more conventional. Outside the story you wander around solving perspective based puzzles which feels easier this time around because I got stuck a bit on the last game but they do hide the optional lore poles (?) and hidden faces in the environment which tell stories too. I find those harder this time, I've missed so many. But it's the combat which is a problem. It has been simplified to the point where it's just block and hammer attack. There's no reason to use the heavy attacks really and they've made the parry have such a small window it's frustrating to use. I don't know why they made that harder but the rest so much easier. Fights are also one on one only so the spacing element from the original is completely gone. I don't know why the went in this direction, I am a bit baffled by it. No, it's not a combat focused game but they had a really nice compromise going with the original, and I don't think I'd heard of people dropping it, finding it too hard. It's just a bit disappointing that they've felt they had to address a problem that wasn't there. But the drama is good, how it incorporates mythology with coping with or explaining the affects of mental health is good so it's still entertaining but it's always gonna baffle me that they've removed any remotely interesting friction the original had.
  3. I played the first hour or so of this. The game has a very bombastic opening although I think it was largely shown when they first revealed the game. The opening “escape” sequence is snappy, much faster than the opening of DOS2. Dialogue scenes now play out Mass Effect style which gives the game a slightly more AAA feel. Character creation is pretty breezy, I didn’t spend too long on it. You can choose from five different penises. I just made my character a human fighter. My main takeaway is - no crashes or performances issues. Long may it continue. After a few more hours I should be able to comment more on the differences between this and Divinity, but so far so good.
  4. A bit surprised this doesn't have a topic yet as I think the other games did have a few fans here. But then again I bought this on release and only now felt in the right mood to play it, so maybe it just came out at the wrong time. This immediately feels a lot more like 1 than 2, which is most likely a byproduct of it being made by Deck Nine (Before the Storm) who feel probably more comfortable reproducing what worked in the first place and a desire to, well, get back to what worked in the first place. Alex, the protagonist, is extremely approachable in an almost ironic way as she's a bit of introvert with a loaded background, so not unlike Max from the original. Setting the game in a small, rural area in some fictional part of an American mountain range gives it a very idyllic and soothing feel where standing around and rotating the camera is a joy in itself. A byproduct of this is that it also goes back to a fixed cast of NPCs with their own jobs, motivations, backgrounds and personalities. It is not without its faults – Alex' superpower is 'just there' and I find it baffling how the promo material spoiled this game's Aerith moment – but I felt right at home from the first minute. It's just a wonderfully cleansing experience, though it'll probably throw some existential angst in my direction soon (I'm only on chapter 2). One other thing I want to point out is that it looks phenomenal. The lighting, use of colours, the significantly improved facial animations all result in this not being the best-looking LiS title but a genuinely beautiful game even by other standards. It's also the first game in which I actually noticed Raytracing (which can be activated in Performance mode, too) when looking at the extremely realistic reflections on Alex' glasses. They look so good in fact that they almost clash with the slightly dreamy and soft art style. Playing this amidst the recent Square Enix news feels a bit bittersweet as well because I'm unfortunately not expecting them to finance another one of these anytime soon. So I'm definitely taking my time with it and enjoying the ride. Edit: Glasses
  5. So this has a demo out, presumably on every system, and it's relatively chunky at around 90 minutes to two hours. Turns out it's pretty neat and I actually bought it on a whim after the demo ended. One thing I noticed right away is that despite there being lots of discourse about it, most of it was so focused on its technical side that I never really knew what kind of game it actually is. So I was a bit surprised to find out that it's not a linear run & gun shooter, but more of a story-driven adventure with (very) slight Metroid elements, platforming sections, a couple of (easy) puzzles, a skill tree and some downtime sections where you talk to NPC. Not saying a straight up shooter would have been worse than this cocktail but the fact that there's more to do than just click on heads was a welcome surprise. I also really enjoyed its opening act – the story is a relatively trope-heavy YA mix of different things, but it's surprisingly engaging IMO. On the gameplay side, while it's not all shooting, the shooting part is still the meat of it, with every aspect of the skill tree boosting your combat prowess. As the Avatar Unforeseen, you can wield all four elements three magic types, which means you have the funky equivalents of a rifle, a shotgun and an SMG build into the gauntlet on your hand. Per magic type are three subtypes and there's a bunch of other stuff like Overdrive and more powerful spells filled by a mana gauge. It can feel a tad overwhelming at first but you'll soon learn to wield them properly, pick out snipers with blue magic (rifle), pull in supports to finish them off with the red magic (shotgun) and slow down brutes while pumping them full with green magic (SMG). I do want to point out though that it's a very static game in the sense that all the horsepower of the console is being used to make it look as pretty as possible. There are zero physic toys available here, the world is purely decorative. I'm not too bothered by this but it does feed into the discussion that hardware resources are being used for ultimately irrelevant things today. Speaking of, visually it's really stunning, as expected. I think there have been a few patches since release that increase the native resolution and make the upsampling a tad less aggressive. It does look sharp, but I'm only on 1080p, so hardly a high-end benchmark situation. But it also runs a but sluggishly at times and can only really hold the 60fps target in closed-off spaces. Which I think is the exact opposite at what it was at launch, when it was locked to 60 no matter the cost. Probably would have preferred that to be honest, but at the end of the day it's not a dealbreaker for me. But so far, so good. I wish the demo had come out a bit sooner, because I think it might have helped selling a few more copies and avoiding the unfortunate downsizing of the developer. Getting greeted by this when booting it up feels really bittersweet now:
  6. This is a massive WRPG based on the Harry Potter book/film series from the early to late 2000s. Potter, Malfoy, Hermione, Ron, Neville & Co. aren't in this though as it is set in the late 1800s, so it's set in the same world and there are certainly plenty of references to the books/films, certain character names etc. and some fan service in terms of locations you'll visit (particularly the intro which is super cool for a Potter-fan, which I won't spoil) but it doesn't try too hard or wink metaphorically at you too much if that makes sense. You play as a new character of your choice who joins Hogwarts as a 5th year, one of the few Witches/Wizards that have done this in history. The game is set in Hogwarts itself and its surroundings, no real surprise there. Hogwarts itself is absolutely gigantic, filled with labyrinthian corridors, dungeons, classrooms with all the key locales you'll recognise from the films like the moving staircase, broom lawn, clock tower etc. everything feels exactly as it should do, everything is in its correct place from the films and just feels right. Outside of Hogwarts is a humungous world to explore based on the Scottish Highlands, with plenty of greenery, forests and undulating hills, flora and fauna, Hogsmeade is largely the shopping district where you'll get all your bits needed for your classes and adventures throughout the region, it's every bit as charming as it is in the films and an absolute delight to just walkthrough and take in all the kookiness of the wizarding world you inhabit. The two core pillars to the game, as in many games I guess, are combat and exploration. The combat is easily what has surprised me about the game the most, I think when you look at it in videos it's quite easy to dismiss as being perhaps a bit overly simplistic but in your hands it's got a lot of depth to it. There's a weight to the spell casting that isn't easy to get across on video, I don't really know how to describe it but there's a wind-up to the animation, a motion, a movement to it, it's not just firing off little bolts of whatever spell, it feels like you've actually cast it if that makes any sense at all lol. Different enemies will have a shield that corresponds with a certain spell colour (red, purple, yellow are the main combat-based spells) which you'll have to use to break their shield and ultimately defeat them. You can have up to 12 named spells in the spell wheel at any one time (need to hold R2 and press one of the face buttons to cast), these act as special spells on a cooldown meter. On top of this you've also got your regular no-name spell which you can cast at anyone at anytime by pressing R2 (or by using L2, going into a 3rd-person over the shoulder aiming mode) which you can keep firing off at enemies whilst your special spells are on a cooldown. There's a lot of different enemy types I've encountered so far. These Guardian/Statue type things I guess a little bit similar to the Gargoyles in Souls games or something (maybe?), your more standard dark witches/wizards, Ashwinders which are kind of suped up dark witches/wizards, Spiders, Wolves, Trolls, Goblins, these little furball looking things that reside in rivers/lakes (can't remember the name), so there's a lot of variety there and each have their own strengths and weaknesses for you to exploit. Combat in this game is far from easy as well, it's not anywhere near something like Souls or something like that but you do have to think about your attacks, strategies etc. quite a bit, it's not mindless button mashing in the slightest, there is some strategy involved and some threat associated whenever you enter a combat scenario. Exploration is handled a little more how you'd expect really, I absolutely hate the 'Ubisoft game' analogy as I feel it's a lazy quasi-criticism, I've played many and they're all slightly differently to one another but the closest analogy I can give to how this game handles its exploration is AC Valhalla. The landscapes are very similar on the surface of it, one being set mainly in England and this being set in the Scottish Highlands, there are these 'Merlin Trials' which are very similar to a lot of the little puzzles and glitches you see dotted around in that game. Standard kind of stuff like getting a ball from the top of a hill down into a hole, lighting three pillars before the time runs out, exploding 4 rock columns, having to lead a group of fireflies into a column to light it up, just little bits and pieces like that. There's a lot of collectibles to get, the field pages are the most plentiful of the bunch, I think Hogwarts alone has over 100 of these that you get by pressing Revelio to reveal hidden objects in the surroundings, much like the pulse mechanic in a lot of games that reveals hidden items, there's also Chests, little statues, seals to find where you'll have to lead a dragonfly-type thing to a cabinet to squash it into the hole and open it up. Nothing too ground-breaking here or anything really no one has seen before, but they all work well in harmony with one another. Again, similar to AC Valhalla there's also dungeons and caves you can enter dotted around the landscape, the infamous bandit camps where you have to clear them out and find the chest to tick them off as completed, Balloons in the sky to pop whilst flying your broom, broom time trials, mini-games with your wand you can compete with other students at Hogwarts. The game has such a fantastic atmosphere to it and is such a joy to explore, whether that's just walking around on foot or flying around on your broom, it's always visually arresting to just meander even if you don't have a set goal in mind. The attention to detail here is just absolutely staggering, there's a sweetshop in Hogsmeade and every single individual kooky wizardy type sweet is included in such an special authentic way, every aspect of the game feels extremely polished, it runs well and everything feels like it has that same attention to detail that the sweetshop has, it really is a sight to behold. Graphically, this is a current-gen showpiece, the world feels so alive and helps bring everything to life and look as magnificent as it does, the music in this game is absolutely fantastic as well and helps place you into this world. There's a few ditties in here that will sound familiar if you've seen the films but nothing is a straight up rip from the movies, everything feels unique and makes you feel like you're on your own adventure in this world, not reliving Harry's. The sound design with all the spells like 'Lumos' sounding exactly how it should from the films, is really special. Again, it just helps drive home how much attention to detail was spent in this world and getting everything right, in terms of world design and world building, it's nothing but a masterpiece. The story itself has been interesting too, I'm not too far in as I've been mostly ignoring it and doing collectibles, side quests and all that good stuff, but yeah it has been intriguing so far and I can't wait to learn more, I've only just got my broom at 22-ish hours in which is meant to be something you get within the first 3 hours, so I think I'm quite behind on this front lol. Talking of side quests, they're in here but largely unremarkable really, they're standard kind of side quests where you'll have to clear out a bandit camp to get an item or something like that, nothing out of ordinary. Occasionally you do get assignments from the various different classes at Hogwarts which will give you a couple of tasks to complete, this are usually more interesting and reward you with a nice little classroom scene once you hand it to the Professor in question. So yeah, I think it is absolutely fantastic so far. I just wish I had more time to play more of it really, it's one of the best WPRGs I've played in recent years, feels like its had an awful lot of money spent on it and is just dripping in polish and attention to detail. A must-play if you're a fan of the films/books but I think a great game (so far) in its own right and well worth playing still if you're not. Pics:
  7. Nag

    Hi-Fi Rush

    Well this has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise... So let's get this out there straight the way, although this has strong rhythm elements you could (up till where I've played at least) get by with a bare minimum of rhythm... yeah you'll get damage perks and better scores but you can button mash your way through just as well. It looks lovely, very stylized with a look of Lollipop Chainsaw or Sunset Overdrive and for me pretty humorous too without going too far that way. Special mention must go to the soundtrack which so far has been pretty amazing, especially the original music and the way the whole stage seems in sync with the beat. There's a fairly decent amount of accessibility options too for people, who like me, have no rhythm whatsoever... so far so enjoyable and it's a game I probably never would've given a second thought to if not for my Game Pass sub... Great stuff.
  8. one-armed dwarf

    Indika

    Maf refused to create the thread for the weird Russian nun game I put about 4 hours or so into it the other day, cause the description sounded pretty weird. Anyway it's sort of a third person narrative adventure with a focus on puzzle solving and platforming. It's set in a surreal realisation of 19th century Russia. You're playing a nun at this like Orthodox covenant, everyone hates you for some reason. It blends together a few styles, mainly the TP narrative thing mentioned but also 2D platformers, which indicates a split in the period of the narrative (the 2D bits are the main character's memories). The 3D sections is fairly standard block pushing type stuff, but also an interesting environmental manipulation gimmick involving prayers and shame, it's like the environment gets all DmC for a bit. There's a few strange things with the setting, a kind of steampunk thing going on and one section with unreasonably huge fish. It sort of straddles the line between feeling like this ironic sendup of... something but also using genre conventions from games and maybe some eastern european cinema to chat about guilt, religious conflict, sexual repression, v. standard stuff. It's alright, I expected it to be weirder tbh. Make sure to light up these Christ icons so you can get a high score and level up your Christian guilt skilltree (points are pointless)
  9. Maryokutai

    Elex II

    Played roughly five hours of this over the weekend. It's very similar to the first game to the point where I was thinking of just hijacking that other topic, but I'll play by the rules. When I say similar, I mean that you play as the same character, in the same world, meeting up with the same NPCs. It's been too long for me to remember if the world is actually 1:1 or rather some sort of "remake", but I think it's the latter. The story is a bit weird (alien invasion, protagonist gets infected, mumbo jumbo) and there's absolutely zero explanation as to why he has to start from scratch again in terms of skills and abilities, which I actually found very charming in an unapologetic 'I'm sequel to videogame!' kind of way. The biggest difference to 1 so far is that you don't start off as a walking paper cutout. Sure, most of the enemies can and will kill you, but against mutated rats and insects you actually stand a chance. I see this as neither a good nor a bad thing. It's obviously designed in a way to be more approachable and short-term rewarding, but I actually enjoyed the feeling of being at the absolute bottom of the food chain in Elex 1 and having to rely on Quest XP to level up or companions to do the dirty work for you. But I realise just as many if not more people will prefer being able to swing a pipe and do actual damage from the first hour onward. There's a couple of cool little details I noticed about NPCs. For one, they use that Uncharted system where, if someone in your party gets interrupted during dialogue because a combat encounter happens, they actually finish their lines later when everything has settled. There was also one cool moment where I saw two NPCs talking to each other and I pressed the button to talk to one of them. She then said I shouldn't interrupt her, finished her discussion, and then went back to me to scold me before the actual dialogue branch started. I've actually never seen that in an RPG, or any game for that matter. It also negatively influenced my standing with her, as there's some invisible relationship thing with major NPCs going on, too. Of course this being a certified eurojankTM game, you have to accept that it's not a looker, that combat is still very wonky, and the unusual unpolished aspects that come with it. But I'm really enjoying it so far, particularly as I've always liked PB's dual progression system with skill points and trainer perks. Makes the whole thing a bit more tangible as it bypasses the illogical construct of the classic RPG fundamentals. Not that this is an issue in other games, but it's a design idea I find very clever. Sidenote, this is also their first game that runs almost flawlessly on console. Performance mode on Series X only ever drops a few frames in very busy village settings, otherwise it's rock solid. Definitely not a game for everyone, but I think shiny and dwarf and some others might enjoy this. I'm not sure if I'd recommend playing both Elex games and I'm not far enough into this to say which one is better. So far this seems a bit more streamlined, but I've also read that the mid- to endgame is inferior to the original -- guess I'll see, but so far, so good.
  10. I'm a few hours in, steam says 6 hours but it's closer to 4 with AFK. I'll say so far it's not what I was really expecting, which I mean in both good and bad ways I guess. Firstly it's not really a BGS take on No Man's Sky, or Elite or any of those games. It's not really like Skyrim either though, so far. What it feels more like is a Bethesda take on Mass Effect 1, in that it's an open 'universe' game that's very fragmented. You have central hubs which contain lots of quest givers, then menus which connect you to the rest of the universe. You have bespoke planets like Mars which contain a small open world and settlements. You go in your shuttle and take your pick from a map, and you end up in front of a skybox which represents the nearby planet you're orbiting, and there's some random encounters that can happen out there So that's the way the space travel works in this. You can also immediately just travel somewhere by opening the map whenever you want. That seems kind of spoiling the fun to me though, like a way of making things feel small. In a sense, this is pretty disappointing. Not because it isn't a massive seamless space sim, but moreso the way all the transitions are handled. It seems kind of dated and disconnected. Taken in context it might not turn into such a big deal when the rest of the parts come together and questlines progress. But it does feel a little bit of a misdirect by Bethesda, intentional or not, as to the true character of this game. But in any event Mass Effect 1 is an extremely good game that holds up, so its take on space exploration isn't a bad one to ape. Question is does it work well within the framework of a Bethesda game The setup is pretty dry. It also kind of feels like Mass Effect a bit. You get your macguffin and a companion goes with you. Reviews have said it's a good idea to prioritise the main quest, for gameplay and progression purposes. I don't really know why, but I did plan to mostly stick to it with the odd sidequest rather than drag the pacing out so that's fine. But the universe is not level scaled like Oblivion and Skyrim so at some point you will presumably be forced to do optional stuff to account for that. Also just in general, mainlining a main quest in these games seems like shit advice, you want to weave those sidequests in as well One thing I like: your companion can input on dialogue interactions. Went to a sort of Mos Eisley place on Mars where my companion butted it and haggled with another NPC. This was a sort of tutorial for this mechanic, but it would be an interesting example of the game's flexibility if these quest interactions also extend to the other optional companions you can find. I don't know that they do that for a fact, but you would reckon that they do. Another thing I like is this one quest early on where a guy asks you to find some patient data he misled, and just tells you the general area he lost it in. No waypoint for this quest, you just sort of wander around and it forces the player to take in the environment and incidental dialogue, as well as read signs and develop a mental map of the area layout. Not that the dialogue is riveting or anything, but it's a minor pivot back towards the design of stuff like Morrowind where the world was the point. In terms of reactivity, I picked a trait called 'Serpents Embrace' that made my character addicted to grav jumping or they take a debuff (and a buff if they do grav jump). I completely misunderstood this when I picked it, I thought it meant I had to literally jump all the time, but it means warpspeed jumps with your space ship. Doh. Turns out this also means they are a follow of a thing called the faith of the serpent, which is a pretty edgy backstory for an introverted chef. I got unique dialogue options during one quest because of this, so maybe there's more things like that which branch out and lead to different options. I also like how gravity effects the combat. You can cyberpunk style spring jump over buildings and lightly glide an explosive down a hallway, gently carried by the low gravity of Mars, like a spicey present for the space raiders. It seems like temperature might also play a part in outworld exploration, but I'm not sure in what way really. In terms of hubs, the first hub is a bit boring. Too green. But the 2nd one I went to on Mars was pretty cool and reminded me of Omega in Mass Effect 2. Also seems to be the place where you can take jobs from bounty hunters, if that's the way you want to point your character. Things I don't like, exploring the surfaces of planets seems mad boring. It's just a bunch of fucking rocks, the lack of a Mako is keenly felt. At the very least tho they have different environments. I took a radiation debuff on the surface of the moon which apparently fucked my suit up. Another thing I dislike though it's subjective, they put a weird filter on the game in certain worlds. The starter hub area has The Matrix filter on it. Shit's green all the time. The Mars area has a red filter. You can walk in a room and see the filter fade in and out, it's very weird and overdone and leads to a blown out look. It doesn't look good on OLED, looks fine on LCD though No HDR btw, at least not on PC. You can get auto hdr working using a weird work around, but it looks bad and make things more blown out so IMO stick with SDR. Apparently it's a similar situation on Xbox
  11. OCH

    Tekken 8

    ^ That's the title screen, btw. He is moving the entire time. His left eye (right on the image) also glows red when you push the button. It looks awesome! First Impressions There is much to do, off the bat. Arcade, Character Episodes and Story, I haven't touched yet. That's because not only is there your standard practice mode. But there is a training mode that gives you some combos to practice for every character via challenges. There is also a avatar-based Arcade Quest that is similar in teaching you the mechanics of the game. Including the interesting new Heat system. Which seems very reminiscent of the Soul Gauge mechanic of SC6). This is where I've been spending most of my time. The newer characters IE Reina, I didn't really get a feel for yet. Old faithful main Bryan Fury has eased me into this entry. I tried Yoshimitsu and remembered some stuff (remember I have recently been playing SC6, with it's own Yoshi). But as Tekken likes to do, they have altered the inputs of some attacks. Which has affected my muscle memory. I aim to give a fair crack at most characters. But I know, due to story mode, I have to pay some attention to Jin. Doing more with him than just the button mashing I did in the demo. Definitely more impressed with this than with MK1, already.
  12. Since this was available on Game Pass day one, I jumped in over the weekend and finished it on monday night. You control Harold, a depressed handyman on a colony ship which left Earth several generations ago to find a new home, but which crashed on an ocean planet and is now an underwater city for the inhabitants. I thought it was going to be a 2D adventure game style affair, but there's not really any puzzles or challenge involved. It's much more a narrative game, you go around the ship talking to people to tick off items on your to-do list which moves the story forward. I imagine this could disappoint some people, as you don't really 'do' a lot else. It's a pretty slow-paced game as well. I've seen Wes Anderson's name bandied about a lot in articles and reviews, and although I feel some of it is rather a surface level reaction to the look of it, there were some moments especially towards the end that I think would be right at home in one of this films. It looks incredible, from the clay model style characters, to the ship locations. It's also got a nice, low key soundtrack. I really enjoyed taking my time wandering around the ship, talking to people and the gentle pace that the story moved along. I can also see why that won't be everyone's cup of tea.
  13. Maryokutai

    Song of Nunu

    Backlog time! This is one of those projects that came out of Riot Forge, the unfortunately now defunct initiative from Riot to establish the LoL universe beyond the base Moba. In this case, we're looking at a relatively classic, linear action-adventure title, made by Tequila Works (Deadlight, Rime, Gylt). On surface level it looks a bit like a companion game à la Last Guardian or Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, but it works a bit differently in the sense that you control both Nunu (the kid) and Willump (the blue Magic Yeti) in predetermined sections. So there's no manual switching or anything like that, which makes the entire thing relatively streamlined, but also rather simplistic. Nunu can play the flute which allows him to manipulate certain objects to solve puzzles, whereas Willump comes into action for, well, the action when you have to fight. There's also a bit of platforming which both can take part in and a multitude of other little gameplay gimmicks to mix things up, some of which born out of the most unexpected inspirations (Katamari). They can also both throw snowballs, either at each other for fun or to interact with distant objects. Overall its systems, mechanics and difficulty level suggest this is very much a game aimed at kids, with the writing also mimicking your usual tales of family and friendship you'd see in an animated movie. For me I looked at is as a light palette cleanser type game and for that it worked really well. There is a certain amount of ambiguity about the antagonist, resulting in a conflict based around perspective rather than just being black & white, which is a neat touch that goes a bit beyond what you'd expect. It's a cute game overall, 7-8 hours long so doesn't overstay its welcome and even has a few cool surprises up its sleeve. The beginning is a bit bland, both visually and in terms of gameplay, but the latter half really picks up in both of these areas. Not a must play or anything but if you like some simple, well-made classic videogame stuff, this is a nice little project. And also probably a good pick for the intended audience, because it has so many different gameplay elements (platforming, puzzles, combat) that it's a good appetizer for what videogames are about. Forgot to upload some screenshots, I might edit them in later if I don't forget.
  14. Nag

    Dragon's Dogma 2

    Started earlier this afternoon around 2ish and got around 4 hours with it... with around half of that mucking around with the character editor... Made my Arisen... Tried to make Fighter Jill Valentine, to be fair I don't think she turned out too bad...🙂 Next up my Pawn... Who turned out to be a hot Elven Archer called Laurana... Although I've made both of them too bloody tall and they both tower over the male NCP characters wondering around... so once i get the chance to modify them I'll shorten them down a bit. As for actual game play it's very familiar if you've played the first game and as far as I'm concerned that's a good thing... it feels really weird feeling lost on the map because of that though as I knew the previous games areas like the back of my hand. It also seems like the Pawns are really ferocious in this as half the time they've demolished the Goblins and Harpies before I've managed to draw a bead on them... It's nice to be back in this world and I can already tell I'm gonna have a ball with the game.
  15. I want my mummy... Spent a few hours with this through Game Pass (Xbox obviously)... think I played Innocence toward the tale end of last year and so far this feels nicely familiar. I'm up to Act 3, the first act being more or less a tutorial and the second playing pretty much how you'd expect. Things start harmlessly enough but it doesn't take long for things to fall to shit and the whole world wants Amicia dead for reasons... this time she can fight back a little more, she has a stealth attack and can knife enemies, I haven't got her Crossbow yet but like I say I'm only up to Act 3. You can also break line of sight and hide again if discovered, I can't remember if this was a thing in the first, if it was it was bloody difficult. Some of the views look stunning and so far it's played nicely... there's no performance or graphics mode so I'm not sure if it's locked to 30fps or not... think I saw somewhere that it's 40fps if your display supports 120hz (mine does so who knows) I ended up really liking the first so I'm looking forward to playing more of this.
  16. regemond

    Balatro

    Balatro. What can I say about Balatro that will do it any justice...? For the uninitiated, this presents as roguelike poker. You're dealt a hand of cards and use your card counting skills, or your natural-borne luck, to build a game-winning combination. Everything from high card draws to the fabled royal flush will score points, and it's your job to work through eight rounds of three games. I've managed to get half way through a game up to now - ante 5/8 - before crashing out horribly. Like I said, though, it presents as poker. Realistically, it takes poker to a whole new place, and this is thanks to the store between rounds. You can buy a range of bonuses to increase your chances of reaching the end. Tarot cards apply specific bonuses to individual cards from your deck (this could be anything from giving you an extra $3 if it's not used by the end of a round to a multiplier if it's played and scores). Planet cards provide bonuses to specific hands - I'm a fan of bumping up my two-pair bonus, as it's one of the most common hands I play, and it can become especially prolific for points the more you increase its level. You can get packs that add more cards to your deck, and then there are Joker cards (that's Poker with a J... Coincidence?) that give you overall bonuses. The key to the game right now seems to be the Joker Cards. A two pair hand with two 10s and two 5s can score around 50 points as a base. But add in a Joker card that adds 4 to your multiplier if you play clubs, as well as the joker that adds 30 chips if you play a 10, AND a +4 multiplier for the same numbers, and that two pair hand quickly shoots up to almost 10,000 points. Skipping some rounds is an option, and will present you with a bonus if you do so, but this comes at the cost of making more money to go into the store with. Is that card pack, which is usually $6 worth accepting, rather than playing the round and getting to $10 so you can buy a new bonus card or a couple of new Jokers? In each round of three games, there's also a 'boss' match. This will add further complications to the gameplay. Some of the ones I've encountered include all face cards being dealt face down, specific suits being debuffed (so those awesome bonuses are completely negated) and even ALL dealt cards being handed out face down. These are super tough at times, and if you hit a bad run, you're essentially screwed. I'm under no illusions that I'm not great at this game, but it has a fantastic 'one more go' quality that makes you hop in for another round. I honestly can't express how much I'm enjoying it right now. I'm determined to figure out a way to get through all 8 rounds.
  17. I wanted to play this from when it first came out, but refused to pay full price for a SpongeBob game in... 2023. Huh, I thought this was more than a year old. Anyway. It's a typical mascot platformer that seemed to breed and multiply in the PS2/Xbox/GameCube days, but brought to life with a glorious new-gen shine. I sound highly cynical, and to be honest, I am on this one. It's linear to a tee (definite positive), but you get a few little side quests that require a touch of exploration - collect a number of golden coins, find a specific character, discover golden spatulas. However, a lot of these extra bits and bobs are locked behind power-based gates. Things like a karate kick, or swinging on a fish hook, or a mega smash. What this means is that if I want to collect everything, it's not a one and done situation, but I essentially need to play the game twice. It's false padding. Anyway, how does it play, I (don't) hear you ask? Meh. It's serviceable. Jumps can be very awkward. Combat can be awkward. Skills can be unresponsive. However, despite all this meh-ness, there's still enough to keep me playing. I think this might be one of the first games I finish this year. Won't be getting 100%, though. Fuck that noise.
  18. Nag

    Evil West

    Booted this up for the first time today just for a look see... played for a couple of hours and completed four levels. For those not in the know it's a Steam punk (I guess) take on Westerns mixed with Vampires which I thought was going to be much more shooter orientated than it is... it's actually much closer to the newer God of War games than Gears of War, shit, you even open and smash chests the same way as Kratos does. So there's a definite leaning towards melee combat over ranged but there's Guns involved obviously being a Western. These work on a cool down rather than relying on ammo drops and are mainly used for hitting exposed weak points with the rifle or chip damage for the pistol then there's the sawn off which is great for obliterating shields... all standard stuff for anyone who's played a third person adventure game anytime recently. So far in terms of levels it feels very old school with very linear levels designed to funnel you from one encounter to the next. As for looks it's been a very mixed bag so far, actual game play looks ok, I'm not sure if it's a design choice or what but there's a really weird glow with everything... fire sources are ridiculously bright and this isn't even an hdr enabled game and then you have the cutscenes which everything just looks muddy and crushed to fuck... I'm not sure whats going on there. Funnily though the pictures I'll post look a damn sight better then they do on a tv.🤷‍♂️ So a bit of a mixed bag... plays fine, looks a little ropey.
  19. I was pretty close to just bumping the old thread because man, is this Persona 3. I'm sure there are plenty that want a remake as faithful as this but I was more on the side of using the opportunity to take a second run at it and tighten it up a bit and improve some of the story of the game. There are quite a few changes to the dungeon crawling element, a lot of additions in presentation and mechanics such as the ability to pass a turn to another party member after hitting a weak spot which makes the game easier. But I was a bit disappointed with the AI party members since there are less tactics than the original and they don't use the new mechanics. Just for nostalgia's sake I tried to play it the old way but it's so not optimal. It just seems to be thoughtlessly added and it's clear they're really expecting people to play it with direct control of the party. I just always thought it was cool to be the leader of an autonomous group and it's just faster too. But oh well! Bosses haven't really been touched very much either, mechanically, despite those getting quite a bit better in later games is a big missed opportunity too. Other difference is it obviously looks better... actually, I dunno, it doesn't have the creepiness of the original to me, something to do with some of the colour grading maybe. Looking too clean isn't hitting quite right. More of the game is voice acted, I think it might be a little rewritten but I'd have to look at side by sides to be sure but it's mostly the same stuff happening and even acted out the same way. I'm not new to this game but I think to someone that is or is coming from Persona 5 it's still gonna feel like an older iteration despite the new coat of paint. It's still one of my favourite games, and I've barely stopped playing it but it's my fault, I did at one point dream of a game that felt like a sequel to P5 but with P3's story and it isn't that. It's P3 with some modern concessions.
  20. So after, what? 9 or 10 years Dead Island 2 is finally here and you know what?... I'm having a pretty decent time with it. The first thing I'll say is it feels like an Xbox 360 game... and it's a matter of opinion if that's a good or a bad thing. For me after Dying Light 2 tried to do far too much (in my opinion) having a game that just wants me to hit things until they fall over in a bloody mess is more than OK. The other thing I wanted to say is the opening hour or so is pretty bad... shit weapons that break way too easy and spongy enemies that hit way too hard... or maybe that's my own fault for picking the poor, frail girl character... who knows... anyway things liven up when you get your first real mission and access to a workbench. Anyone who's played the original games (or the Dying Light games) will feel right at home with the modding of weapons and such, electric swords and and flaming golf clubs... all that good stuff. The flesh system is really cool, thwacking a zombie in the face and seeing its jaw dislocate and detach is pretty mind-blowing and adds a lot to the melee combat (not found any guns yet) The other cool thing us being able to use liquids... I was doing a side mission and reached a part where ther was about 10 zombies banging on glass doors trying to get in... noticed a fuel can and explosive canister, picked up the can and poured fuel the entire length of the doors, hit the canister which ignited the fuel and blew out a window which allowed the zombies to walk straight in to my pre-made Inferno... no more zombies.😂 I've also just picked a perk for a pipe bomb... which is hilarious. Anyway, I like this game, admittedly I've only put around 5 or 6 hours in so far so we'll have to see if it can hold my attention but it's off to a good start.
  21. I started playing some of this. I'm definitely going to need digital foundry to hold my hand on what settings I should be turning on, the auto detect option on the game itself recommended I max the game out but that isn't happening. I figured I would settle for 30fps but the camera motion in this is really bad, it doesn't feel good. So I'll have to tweak that. Anyway it's very janky and hard to play so far. Everyone makes a big song and dance about DLSS but it dont play well with camera movement. I guess there is a hell of a lot of detail to be reconstructing all the time. Sometimes the game looks spectacular but sometimes I'm sort of finding it to look kind of terrible. Part of it is the game feels sort of weird. People phase into existence in front of you, cars render in front of you. Obviously there's weird shit with people t-posing but that's minor. At one time in a cutscene V was completely naked for no reason, that made me lol and makes me wonder if your model is always like that cause it's a FPS game and you can't see your tits or dick or whatever. Gameplay wise I find it hard to play and the HUD and text is such a bad clash of colours and design that I can't tell what's going on half the time or what the things I'm picking up are. This could just be the awkward teething phase but it feels kind of gross. The driving is also really swimmy. I mean I'm sure it gets good as you go in but yeah it's like kind of clunky in a really strange way. These guys did make The Witcher III I suppose. It feels like someone took Euro jank and gave it all the money but kept the jank. The game throws a million things at you at once and displays a bunch of info on your HUD that's hard to keep track of. It's not a very gentle easing into the world, it sort of just throws you in and you're constantly bewildered, well I am anyway. I'm confused. There's a lot going on here but it's not so much that it's deep just that there's a fucking lot of it and I can't be arsed to read it all. I played 3 hours of it, one of which was a big shootout. The shooting doesn't feel good, but it sounds good. Aiming is bad, there's a lot of control options to figure out so I will definitely be following whatever guide somebody puts up to fix the issues with it. Anyway it's cyberpunk, it does the Bladerunner thing. Pris is in it, sort of. That's what people wanted, a very Bladerunner-ey game. Except this is less chin stroking and more aggressive 90s Rob Zombie in your face all the time. Feels of an era This game is very hard to run, pretty much never see 60fps at the settings the game recommends for me. It's exactly the kind of game people were expecting, an absolute monster for both GPU and CPU. A new Crysis.
  22. I'm shallow and wanted a pretty game for my PC, so I got this. Mainly off the back of Alex at digital foundry comparing it to Crysis a lot It's a fairly boilerplate Far Cry template, for the most part. Big map, fogged up until you go to different areas. Towers must be captured. It's got some things in it though which I think are neat. One thing is I think the criticism about Ubisoft checklist games is reaching some decision makers at the company, as it foregoes map icons and tries to hide the waypoint janitor busywork within a more organic framework. That framework still being a Far Cry template, you craft and gather and stealth archer your way around. But it feels more cleverly integrated and less of a checklist (tho undoubtedly this is something that'll be less the case after time with the game, when the novelty wears off) You play a Navi and your background is a bit fish out of water. I've not seen the 2nd film, and I just don't care enough, but it's straightforward enough and seems to take place alongside the 2nd one I think. The whole ethos of its gameplay seems to be like you're a hunter gatherer on Pandora. There's dynamic time of day and weather, though oddly it seems for the opening this is entirely scripted and not dynamic? I'm not sure why that is. But if effects gathering mechanics cause somethings you want to gather at night, or while it's raining, or vice versa. Then you get better ingredients for cooking. There's also a whole mechanic in the game around 'clean kills' and 'mercy kills' for enemies, which requires you to study their weak spots and basically kill them quick and with few shots. It's very difficult, moreso than it sounds, I haven't done it properly once The game is the most visually spectacular game I've seen in a year full of visual spectaculars. It's Crysis but for the present day. The foliage density is peerless, they even have a 'hidden' graphics setting called 'Unobtainium' which sets everything way higher. I don't find I need that though, one thing I find is after about an hour playing this my eyes are really sore and I might have a headache. Said this before about Horizon, but there's so much detail here it's hard to take it all in and I think I'm not blinking as often as I should. Combined with the HDR highlights it's like my corneas are getting mildly seared. So it's very visually fatiguing. On the one hand, that level of visual noise is annoying. It's difficult to see things when you're running through the forest. On the other, it's weirdly immersive in that the enemies with their camouflage actually camouflage, and you need to use your navi vision to spot them (the visual effect for this sucks though, it looks like a migraine). The fauna behave a lot like the wildlife in RDRII, and do a lot to make the game world feel alive and will scuttle under the foliage and come out to surprise you, and fuck you up. The flora is also interactive, you can shoot certain plants and they will let off a big fart or smoke and I assume that has gameplay implications if you want to fuck with the soldiers. It's not on a TOTK level at all, but it means a lot that the world isn't static. The weather and your own character will displace and move the leaves and things around. It's a world that's really well laid out also in terms of getting around, you have these huge branches which form almost a highway system which let you get back and forth quickly. The movement system feels like a pared down version of Mirror's Edge and all these different systems and mechanics blend together quite well I'm finding. It works well enough that it makes hunting and gathering not feel as tedious as it might be. Naturally those movement mechanics lend themselves well to combat also, my fave trick being to jump between branches and do a charge jump out of cover to headshot a soldier (this has a very nice and generous aim assist, worth using even on M&K) All those details are really cool. It's very standard tho in its gameplay structure. You go to outposts, fix their broken shit, beat up the humans turning the forests into ass, unlock more regions of the map. It's still one of those games, but they try and keep more of it within the world rather than within a map system. It even does a thing where they don't actually give you a waypoint for a quest, they give you a text description like 'go south of the river and look for the smoke, beat up the RDA'. Or 'find the home tree near yada yada'. It makes you learn the geography and orient your way there. All that said, I don't see this landing anywhere but number 10 on my goty list, but it shows how you can make this style of game feel less like a spreadsheet and more like a video game by surfacing it in a more 'old fashioned' way
  23. regemond

    Wanted: Dead

    I'd never heard of this before, but it looked awful so I downloaded it for a laugh. Honestly, I haven't even gotten into the gameplay yet, but it's the most PS2-ass game I've ever seen in my life. It has boob jiggle, a la Dead or Alive (also apparently from some of that series' devs), and this is introduced in the first cutscene. The animation, even in the cinematics is janky, stunted, and exactly like you'd expect from an early 2000s title. If you'd told me this is a Remake or remaster from that gen, I wouldn't have been surprised. I hope this creeps into so bad its good territory.
  24. regemond

    WWE 2K24

    Yet another freebie courtesy of Rosie, and I'm so bloody torn on this game. Let's start with Showcase mode. For those who keep up with wrestling, this year's instalment focuses on 'finish the story' (because Cody Rhodes - son of Dusty and brother of Golddust). You play through wrestlemanias of years past, in some of the most iconic moments from the last 40 years. Each match has a different set of objectives that lead you into following how the actual matches happened. So you need to beat The Rock with a chair at WM XIX, for example. It slips in and out of videos of the real action before switching back to the gameplay to jump onto the next goal. As always, this mode is fun, but also massively frustrating. It's so easy to mess up and have to start the match over if you mess up a specific objective. And it's about 25 matches long. But heavily weighted on the current era. Hell, WM 38 alone had three matches dedicated to it. Anyway, the reason I'm torn is because of how temperamental the reversals are. It's so bloody annoying having to time it perfectly, and a lot of the time it's just guesswork. Triangle reverses grapples - this shows a prompt. Reversing strikes is x/Square, depending on what your opponent is throwing at you - this has no prompts. So good luck guessing, chump. I've bumped it down to easy and reduced multiple sliders to make it more enjoyable for myself. Because fuck that noise. Anyway, I have one match left on Showcase mode (a royal rumble, weirdly) and then I'll jump into the main story mode, which is meant to be good fun this year. I also need to play around with MyFaction (essentially Ultimate Team), but I've heard it becomes a mode you have to jump into daily, and I don't have the patience for that kind of thing. Look, I said I'm torn on this one. And it's because I am. I love what's being presented, but I HATE the execution. I think gameplay needs a few tweaks and it'd be great. But right now I'm almost hate playing it in a way. I want this last match done so that I can move on to the more free-flowing stuff.
  25. Ok, so I’m 2 hours into this. I’m an absolutely massive Yakuza/LAD fan. In over 40 years of gaming, this is by far my favourite franchise. The reviews for this have been universally high. Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first: charging separately for the New Game+ mode, sucks. There’s an entire dungeon, and trophies/achievements locked away behind that. That’s pissed some people off, and I think understandably so. There’s also multiple Micro transactions, ranging in price from £5 for instant level up boosts, to £12/£15 for other stuff. I won’t be bothering with any of that, and so far, the game hasn’t been obnoxiously highlighting them. Right. I’m 2 hours in, and it’s pretty much just been cut scenes. Which is pretty typical for a LAD game. That being said, I’ve already noticed two improvements that have been made to the combat system. You can manually control the movement of each character before making a move, making it much easier to pick up items to hit enemies with. One of the more annoying elements of the previous game, was that if you bumped into another enemy in the middle of your attack, their was a good chance they’d hit you, and cancel your move. That’s been scrapped entirely, thank god. There’s no difficulty options. When I watched the IGN video review, they specifically mentioned how annoying the difficulty spikes became about halfway through LAD. That was what made me eventually give up on my PS4 playthrough, and I found challenging to get through when I eventually finished it on PS5 last December. The reviewer said that there’s none of that difficultly spike nonsense in IW. Hopefully, he’s right… In terms of story, there’s no “Previously on LAD” to catch up newcomers to the story. Most games in the series have optional “movies” to watch, which explain what’s happened before. There’s none of that here. So if IW is your first time to the series, I’d suggest watching a video of at least what happened in the last LAD game. I won’t spoil what’s happened so far. But, I will say, it’s been an absolute joy seeing Ichiban and his friends again. Kiryu is my favourite character in all of gaming, but Ichiban is quickly becoming a firm favourite too. He’s likeable, charismatic, and amusing. Whereas in LAD: Gaiden, you had to wait a few weeks for the English dub to become available, here it’s available right from the start. I played LAD in English, and had no issue with doing so. So, I’ve chosen the English dub for this. There’s been a lot of hate thrown at Jong Jea, the YouTuber chosen to portray Kiryu. I’ll reserve judgement for his full performance. The footage of Kiryu doing karaoke that leaked a few weeks ago was legitimately awful, autotuned to buggery. But, I’ll give him a fair chance. What I can say though, is I’m very dubious about his ability to pull it off. Kiryu is a legend approaching the end of his “career”. From the lines leaked previously, he sounds far too young. Still, I won’t write him off just yet. Im away on holiday for a week after today, so won’t get to play much more. But once I’m back, this will be getting my full attention.
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