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  1. Minishoot' Adventures (I don't know why there's an apostrophe in the title) is a mashup of a 2D Zelda style game with a twin-stick shooter, and it's amazing. I played the demo during the recent Steam Nextfest, then bought it during the summer sale. The demo appears to be still available, and even at full price it's good value at under £13. The plot's about as light as you'd expect from this type of game, but it plays brilliantly. The movement and shooting feel great, exploring the maps for secrets is satisfying, and the abilities and upgrades to your ship as you progress are fun. I 100% completed the map, and beat the "true" boss in a bit over 13 hours. It's seems like it's only on Steam right now, but it absolutely ought to be on consoles. Here's hoping.
  2. This game came out in 2021, but I was unaware of it until the current steam sale. It's a lovely, chilled golf-puzzle game. Over a number of different themed worlds, you complete golf holes, earning more stars for completing in fewer shots. Working out how to do some of the holes in 2 or 3 shots to get the maximum star rating is actually quite fun. Some levels have a hidden secret hole/cube/other object to seek out and hit with your ball, which will unlock an alternate path on the map leading to extra stars or a special hole. Completing that hole will add an extra hidden collectible "blue things" to some of the holes on the map, which are used to unlock access to more challenging caverns which make use of the various features and gimmicks you've played with on that map. They can take a bit of figuring out, but are very satisfying. There are only a couple of barriers to progress requiring you to have earned a certain number of stars to pass, or the caverns mentioned above needing x number of the collectible things. The requirements aren't high, helping the game to feel pretty relaxed (the final cavern at the end of the game only needs slightly more than half the total number of collectibles). I got right to the end without engaging much with the secrets, then went back to the first 3 or 4 worlds and completed a bunch of them and had a great time doing it.
  3. OCH

    Final Fantasy V

    I find myself needing to take breaks from FF7 Rebirth. What better then to play the last of the Classic Era I am the least familiar with? I played this originally with the PSOne collection many years ago now. The newest playthrough is via the Pixel Remaster. So let's get this out of the way. The story isn't the main focus of this one. This is a "four chosen heroes gather to protect the elemental crystals that power the world". I'm already two and half hours in and the story has been on the lighter side, so far. As is the tone. This is almost at odds with FF4 and FF6 that start strong on the story front. You play as four characters almost from the very beginning. So there is no real "main one" to focus on. So what is the main focus of this one? Job Classes. This is basically the last game to refine the job system that debuted in FF1. Here's the gimmick though: You level up your job class and past a certain cap. Unlock a skill IE use of White Magic that you can retain when transferring to another job. For example, when the job classes are first unlocked. I set one character as a Monk IE the physical powerhouse. A couple levels in, you unlock "Barehanded". A skill the grants other job classes the physical strength of a Monk, when unarmed. Therefore, that character is now a Black Mage. Who when the skill is set also happens to be one of the strongest attackers in the party. This opens up a lot of variety to each build and character. Magic is also done a bit differently in this. You don't "learn" a single spell. You buy them from a Magic shop. Now levelling up White and Black Mages grants higher levels of proficiency. The initial unlocked skill grants use of Level 1 White/Black Magic EG Cure, Fire etc This goes upto level 6. So it pays to have one of two of your characters set long term as a Mage. Blue Magic also returns. Which is weirdly done. Because you don't influence enemy attacks in anyway. You just have to wait and see if the enemy has something you can learn. You don't even gain the "Learn" ability until Blue Mage lvl 3. This is the kind of grinding that I find really relaxing. Especially with the speed up battle option.
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. This had a cool demo so I decided to treat myself to a little sidegame over the long weekend. I'd actually encourage giving the demo a shot, because the game looks like a run-of-the-mill pixel indie title but it has an amount of quality and polish to it that really makes it stand out. In a Nintendo-ish way, it's entirely designed around a singular idea and that's the drill your character carries around. It allows you to drill through certain areas of the map, be it ground, snow or other, it works as a propellor underwater, it can revv up certain machines etc. I'm not going to spoil in detail what the developers have cooked up, but there are genuinely cool surprises here throughout and no two levels feel the same – again, very much Nintendo-like. This seems to have been in development for about seven years, which sounds absolutely bonkers, but it shows, because it's really an incredibly accomplished take on one of the oldest genres out there. There is one caveat though and those are the boss battle. I'm not going to mince words, they're all pretty bad. Well, at least the three I played so far. The first one was okay-ish I suppose, but the two that followed were just very tedious 'death by a million cuts' affairs that don't use its central mechanic in an interesting way. The third one, in fact, is easier if you just don't drill into the ground at all. It's weird to see how devoid those fights are of ideas considering how excellent the rest of the package is – almost as if they had been made by a completely different team. So while that might sour the experience a tiny bit at the end of every world, I don't think it drags the game down overall. From what I read it's not super long, but quality over quantity seems the focus here, and there's time trials for crazy people to get a bit more out of it. As a final commentary, the soundtrack is extremely good as well and I wish I could link a few samples but nobody seems to have uploaded anything yet. It's on Spotify though, if you want to give it a listen. Completely misrepresenting screenshotTM
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. This will absolutely not get overshadowed by FFVII. No chance. Played this for I'd say about five hours now. It has the slowest beginning I've seen in a game in a while, to the point where I started wondering around the 3-hour mark if I actually like it. It does, fortunately, find its own rhythm shortly after that and removes the leash around your metaphorical neck. I'm not saying the beginning is bad, but just in case anyone wants to give it a shot, be ready for a relatively prolonged prologue/tutorial cocktail until it gets going. The game itself is probably best described as a very talkative action RPG, not unlike Vampyr which I presume was made by mostly the same bunch of people inside Don't Nod. You arrive in a cursed area in 17th century America as so-called Banishers (old-school Ghostbusters basically) to help out a friend, then everything turns to shit and you have to find out why and how to fix things. It has a relatively desolate atmosphere but there are some light-ish elements sprinkled in, mostly through the dialogue between the two protagonists. The bearded guy, Red, is surprisingly charming and likeable despite his gruff and generic design, whereas his girlfriend/wife seems a bit cool and distanced so far. I'd take a guess and say it's deliberate for now. All the talking you do usually leads to a quest or two and it's here where the game starts to differentiate itself from its ilk. Every quest seems in some shape or form linked to a lingering spectre, which ties into the whole curse narrative. While you do some detective work you often find out things aren't quite what they seem and by the time you've connected all the dots the game ask you whether to release/punish the ghost or the living person who initiated the quest. Each has a very profound impact upon a certain key element of its story which I won't spoil here, but think of the Little Sisters in BioShock, but not as black-and-white and significantly better developed. So far I've had to make three of those choices and only one of them was somewhat 'easy', so in that regard I think they've done a good job. When you're not talking you're fighting and I have yet to make my mind up whether combat is good enough or not. It feels very limited early on but I have unlocked a couple of stuff now (some through progress, some via a skill tree) that starts giving me some idea how it wants to be played. You can switch between two characters at all times, one corporeal, one ghostly, and combat treats this feature more or less like two stances. Enemies are either weak to one or the other, certain well-timed switches give you extra attacks or added benefits, like blocking a corporeal attack and then countering with a powerful punch in ghost form. It doesn't quite flow as well as I think it should, but then again there are so few combat scenarios in the early hours that it could just be me not properly getting used to it yet. There's definitely potential, despite some lock-on targeting issues, and I'll hold off judgment for now until I have more tools and experience under my belt. Visually I think this makes a good case of AA being absolutely good enough and the whole discussions we recently had about the state of high-profile games. It's a pretty game with a very distinct look that's not quite immediately apparent from videos and screenshots. Switching forms looks very satisfying and stylish without being flashy, texture work is sharp, it runs at an almost locked 60fps in performance mode unless it needs to stream in some data. Facial animations are the weak link in its presentation, but other than that this is a nice-looking game. I'd also like to quickly mention that unlike some info saying otherwise, this is not an open world game. The world is interconnected and you can walk through it without loading screens, but its areas are linked and stitched together via premade pathways, not unlike something like Fable, the last Tomb Raider games or Kingdoms of Amalur. Which is a good thing IMO, just pointing it out here.
  14. Sly Reflex

    Helldivers 2

    Helldivers 2. I've put a bit of time into it now. Here's what I think. It's almost all good. Movement and shooting feel great. Shooting has a mechanic I've never seen before where you have a reticule that is fixed where you aim, and one that moves around it depending on how much you are being rocked. If you are springing about the actual aim goes all over the shop, but if you take a knee and control your bursts it stays accurate. It feels really good for the most and makes you really think about your positioning and shooting, especially when the terrain dictates how you must commit or respond to a conflict. The fights are mostly regimented even with randoms, with people cycling in and out as fights bubble over the map and keeping some sort of structure. When it gets really mad and people start scattering it becomes a bit of a mess, but that's part of the charm in that sometimes you're going to be pressed. I've had games where I have seen people be bait for the entire run, and then I've had dives where it was me that was basically being the lightning conductor that everyone thanks for keeping the attention of the more dangerous mobs that require flanking and precise fire to kill. Only 2 factions in this game at launch. Robot and bugs. The way you fight either faction is very different, I feel like the bugs are more a case of zerging the best they can and just absorbing lots of gunfire, whereas the robots it becomes a bit more tactical. Not that they take over or anything like that, it's more a case of them shooting back and having more offence compared to the bugs defence. They have defence as well, but generally it's just a well placed shot that takes them down. The map from the previous game makes a return, but I think it's altered somewhat to before. For the uninitiated, it's a big circle broken up into tetrominoes. Super earth is in the middle and the factions are on the outside, you fight them towards the outside of the circle, conquer their world and that takes them out of the game until the war is over. If any faction makes it to the middle of the circle, it's a collective game over for everyone. I think they have altered how this works in some manner, because previously although it was tetrominoes you had a linear progression between the middle point and the far edge. Now it looks like any adjacent tile can be invaded so theoretically even though you only have 2 enemies, they can approach Super Earth from any angle. I might be wrong there, but this is how I am reading it. The only other explanation I have is that Arrowhead plan to put 2 more factions in the game so you are fighting on 4 fronts. That's just speculation on my behalf. Other changes you might want to know about. A lot of the strategems are now infinite and just have timers on them. If you played the previous game you would know that if you called a heavy weapon down and you lost it, that was it. Now it's very much a case of just wait for your timer to run down and call another in. In fact sometimes this is preferable if you are running low on ammo. Some strategems have had a rework. The ammo one now has a global cool down and has 4 ammo slots in it. For me this is a mixed bag. Some people are awful at just calling them in the wildest of places. And then you are fucked because your ammo is miles away because the one person that refused to come with the group has all the ammo and you have to wait it out. Or you have people chucking them into areas that are too hot to get ammo. It's just the usual 3head and selfish plays you can come to expect. Same with people walking under air strikes, or throwing air strikes on places you need to traverse though. It's not always like that, everyone is different. Some teams are well oiled and consistent, some are dog shit and couldn't give a fuck if you kill all 3 team mates as long as it means they have full ammo and kill that one bug. Reinforcement has also taken an overhaul. Gone are the infinite call ins, now you have 10 drops for one player with an extra 5 added on for each extra player. You can bolster this with some loadout stuff, but once those lives are out, that's it. Unlike Helldivers 1, if all players die, it will drop all players back into the field if you have the lives to do so. Unlocks are done via a few methods. Gone are the unlocks for beating certain missions, now everything relies on samples, credits, medals and the games premium currency super credits. There's a season pass that's not really a season pass, but it is a season pass that has loads of different weapons and stuff you can unlock, as well as armours and other gubbins. This uses medals which are earned through play. The paid season pass I think can be bought for super credits you find or unlock through the normal battlepass and has all the things you would expect in it, flashier customisation and some weapons that are similar to the free ones you unlock, but not really? For instance I got an explosive assault rifle from a dead body and although the bullets exploded, it was way slower on the fire rate. I sort of preferred the vanilla one if I am being honest. Speaking of weapons and different stats, you can hold reload and alter the fire rate and magnification. If you do intent to play this, or already have it, you can also look down your gun in first person if you aim and then press middle mouse button. I assume that will be a stick click on controller. Helps for those extra long distance firefights. The other currencies can be found all over. There's credits that can be gotten that allow you to buy more strategems. The other thing you can collect are samples with allow you to make the ship that is dropping said drops more efficient. Mostly the perks are just stuff like they have a smaller call down time, or a quicker cool down. Some are more specialised like making the centre of explosions larger for more destructive possibilities. I feel like the asking price for these is a bit of a piss take actually, and also I have a sneaking suspension that the difficulty wall I mentioned at the start has migrated here, as there's different rarities of sample and I am suspecting it may be a case of the rarer ones showing in harder missions. Bad points then. The servers are pretty fucked at the time of writing this. I just played an hour before writing this and had a few disconnected games. Once I got in it was all fine, but those frustrating moments looking for a match only for it to lag out. The only other really bad thing I can point out is it makes my PC sweat like crazy. Even RDR2 on ultra isn't putting my hardware under this much pressure. Some optimisation would be nice. It is a very pretty game and there's quite a bit of destruction going on in it, nothing that will blow you away, but yeah, it all has to be accounted for performance wise. It does look very pretty though, I'll give it that. Will Helldivers 2 have the legs to carry on being the game that I hope it will be? I'm not sure right now. I think it has more mass market appeal than a lot of other 4 player co-op shooters, but I think that it depends on Arrowhead being compliant with listening to what works and what doesn't in regards of the game and adjusting accordingly. We're still heavily in the honeymoon period right now, and I am thinking that it could be a long running thing, but the ball really is in their court and they could smash it or they could fumble it really hard depending on what happens.
  15. 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.
  16. Ok. So, the knives are well and truly out for this one. IGN has been quite savage, though it didn’t really help itself by saying “We don’t like killing the Justice League”, in a game where that’s literally the name of it. I loved the Arkham games, but right from the start, it’s clear this is a different kettle of fish entirely. You start of as Deadshot, one of the 4 playable characters. He has a jet pack, which he uses to zip around the area. After killing a few enemies, you switch to King Shark, the ‘tank’ of the team. Shark doesn’t use equipment to get around, he can do a massive jump, then dash in the air up to 3 times. Next up, is Captain Boomerang. His mode of transport, teleporting using boomerang’s(funnily enough) took some getting used to, and didn’t quite feel right to me. Finally, you briefly play as Harley Queen, who uses a drone/whip gun to ricochet over the place. If Boomerang felt weird to control, Harley was the toughest of all, in my opinion. Soon after her section, you’re finally given the choice of who you want to control. I went Shark, as being a tank is my jam. After that, a massive battle ensues, where you have to survive for 2 minutes. Amanda Waller, your ‘boss’ says she will teleport you out of there in a few minutes. But then advises that “You have a shield, but it’s not self recharging”. As this is to discourage “Hanging around”. The only way to recharge your fairly low shield, is to shoot enemies in their feet, then melee attack them. Some enemies are shielded, which is only broken by a melee hit. Ive got a little further than that, but the urge to return to Infinite Wealth became too great. I can tell you one thing that is bullshit: the “always online” requirement. Ok, so they’ve said they’re working on a patch to remove that. But prior to the game’s full release yesterday, there has been two occasions where sever issues have rendered this utterly unplayable. And that just sucks balls. I’ve already encountered Kevin Conroy’s Batman, and it’s just a powerful performance as he always was. I’ve seen fans saying that this is an “insult” to his character. Personally, I feel that’s bang out of order. To many people, Kevin WAS Batman, and he wouldn’t have done it, if he didn’t believe in it. It’s most definitely not an ‘Arkham’ combat game, despite there already being several nods to that series’ universe. Still, from what I’ve played so far, it seems decent enough. How it will fare going on, well, we will see…
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. The best way to describe this is what if Suda51 had a queer Indian cousin who also made games? It's really out there, in every sense of the phrase. The setup is basically Scott Pilgrim through an Indian lens, with the protagonist returning to her hometown after a breakup and then having to confront all her exes. From a gameplay perspective you're either talking, skating around, doing some QTE-based minigames or fight in turn-based battles. I don't want to call the gameplay loop gimmicky because it's a bit derogatory, but it still explains it best. There's not much depth to anything you do, but it's a very enjoyable cocktail presented in a very wacky and charming way. During dialogue sequence you can pick answers which in turn give points for one of three different 'thirstsonas' (their word, not mine). Supposedly this impacts both the narrative and gameplay, but I haven't noticed the former and the latter just boils down to minuscule shifts towards either your HP pool, your offense or your defense. Skating is wonky and clunky, but you can skip every challenge the game asks you to do before progressing. I think it's a nice enough diversion, but it's no Tony Hawk for sure. Combat meanwhile is a solid spin on the Paper Mario/Mario et Luigi formula with timed button inputs influencing damage dealt and received. Debuffs are called taunts and certain skills you have deal bonus damage if a debuff has been applied. That's pretty much it, but it's a solid template and the boss fights, while quite a bit talkative, are the clear highlights, with the exes withdrawing into some sort of mind palace where they take different forms (a bit Persona-like, now that I think about it). There's also a part where you can cook meals for combat use or to make up with your exes, which is technically just a series of QTEs intertwined by a heart-to-heart with either your mum or dad (depending on what menu you choose). I'm definitely enjoying it a lot and it also has a very stylish presentation. 3D modelling can't quite keep up with the art but it's a really 'cool' game to look at with a lot of visual flourishes, nice UI art etc. The OST is really good as well, though in a less eccentric way. Overall a nice little feelgood game that still tackles some deeper subjects from a different perspective than we're used to in games.
  21. OCH

    Soul Calibur VI

    First "new" game of 2024! (Technically, I've had the twin-pack of this and T7 sitting on my shelf for ..a while) NOTE: I did look to see if this had a Thread already. But aside from a News Thread. Only saw pages for the older SC's titles. Anyway, I've started this up with Libra of Soul. Haven't even touched Story/Arcade modes yet. Immediately, I'm hit by how much lower budget this than previous titles. The previously bombastic opening cinematic that this series has been known for since Soul Blade? Not present?? Now regardless of otherwise decent gameplay, SCV was a clusterfuck that nixed the series. But purely from this secondary mode, I'm unsure why we are immediately back at SC1 in terms of the narrative. Hopefully this will be explained in the story mode? Although basically the traditional Edgemaster Mode by another name. It starts with character creation. Which I haven't liked since this series got it in SC3. But modern gamers loves this shite so whatever. A brief look, turned into an hour play session. My character (Zark VI, naturally) adopted the Siegfried weapon style. There was no rust this time. Muscle memory kicked in with the first battle. Admittedly for the specific challenge missions (Critical Edge only etc) I did have to look up the buttons. But the general move set was with me from the offset. When thinking about it, the last SC game I played (SCV) would be 12 years old at the end of this month. So I was surprised by the moves and combo strings I could pull off. It's definitely ticking the familiar boxes for me so far. Eager to get back to the next session.
  22. I've put a good bit of time into this, playing ranked and with some ppl on rllmuk, enjoying it enough I'd figure to write something about it. Thinking along the lines that it has a free tier, so there's at least a small chance others might try it out and there's an RPG set in the same world coming out in a few weeks, which presumably connects into the story of this (tho I've zero inclination to try the story out tbh). If not, oh well The free version cycles in 4 characters each week, which is a great system and I recommend downloading it to try out. I've been playing the paid version and started off with the character Nier, who's a puppet master, then went to Narmaya who's sort of the Vergil archetype, all zippy with a katana. It's got simple inputs and technical, but unlike SF the game is very much built around the simple inputs (which wasn't the case with versus). There's a 10 percent damage reduction when using a simple input in neutral, but this actually doesn't really matter at all as most of your combo starters will be from normals anyway and the damage reduce doesn't affect skills in combos. There's also a cooldown system and stronger versions of specials have longer cooldown values, so you've got to account for that in your combo routing and general gameplan. I'm finding that a hard aspect about Narmaya, cause she has the most specials due to her unique stance switching mechanic It's got some weird things about it which I'm not super clear what I feel about. It's got a dodge button, and character's blockstrings seem much more plus to a point that the game is balanced around you knowing the timing of when to dodge, and punish accordingly. Sometimes which takes a bit of getting used to. It's got a kinda drive impact style mechanic where you spend 'bravery points' to extend combos, inflict guard crush and also to escape from bullshit blockstrings and combos. When you spend them, you take more damage, so it's a risky thing to do. But you can get them back with super, so there's some interesting decision making I guess What mary won't be pleased to here is that there is a free drive rush mechanic in the form of dash light punch, which costs no resources and leaves you plus 2 on block. Anyway, it's free to try and you can really get to grips with the more basic characters fast. This is sort of a 2nd wind for this game as it did not do well on initial release due to delay netcode and the pandemic killing locals. You definitely don't need to understand all that plus frame bullshit I said to just mash buttons and have fun with it. The only thing you've got to lose is your dignity when someone walks into the room and sees the weeb shit you're playing
  23. This is more of a personal archive than a real topic, as I doubt there's much interest in this game here. Fundamentally it's a relatively straightforward resource-collecting and crafting game. The gameplay loop consists of collecting wood, flowers, stone and other materials to use for some art & craft stuff you can then sell at the weekly eponymous night market, which in turn gives you enough money to buy new gathering tools, which in turn unlock new areas with new resources, which, you guessed it, allow you to craft more stuff. You basically go through this process on repeat until you reach the final area, as every area is part of a larger story that involves a mysterious agency, a legendary guardian animal and a truckload of cats. It does mix up proceedings here and there though. The first time you enter an area you have to free a couple of caged cats and get rid of the agents there, which in gameplay speak is always a little stealth section (albeit a very simplistic one – think OoT's castle garden). Gathering and crafting involves completing short QTEs and every night market ends with a little minigame, like a play, a cat race or something along those lines. It's not really a game that'll draw you in for its gameplay mechanics, but rather its unique charm and presentation, the classic carrot dangling in front of you and a genuinely touching narrative that falls a bit into coming-of-age territory. I've heard people say they find it grindy and repetitive and I technically can't argue against it. Sometimes you need to gather certain materials a couple of (ingame) days in a row to get what you need and if you mess up hoarding season-specific items like, say, certain spring flowers, you'll have to wait for the night market in summer to stock up on them. But I still quite enjoyed it, it's super relaxing and super adorable and its quirky sense of humor and narrative can pull you along when maybe the gameplay alone couldn't. I saw the credits after roughly 20 hours but it's also open-ended, so you can still go about maxing out friendship levels with NPCs (which always involves giving them items you crafted or found) or completing the little museums with resources you found, even after the story has reached its conclusion. Switch version is a bit wonky (though way better than on release) with comparatively long loading times that also result in the music stuttering, making the whole thing feel a bit unpolished. There's also some formatting errors in the text (they have it set up to give plurals always an -s, so you end up with stuff like 'Got 10 sands' or '5 Special Nikko Flowerss'). It also, oddly, doesn't use the B button or the D-pad at all, so you have to navigate menus with the stick and close them with the same button you opened them with. But I can forgive those problems as it's made by a really small team that also had to take a long break in development due to burnout. I suspect at least the loading times being shorter on other platforms, but I also think it's really well suited to handheld play. Disclaimer: it's not a farming game, despite what this image might suggest.
  24. 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
  25. 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:
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