What are you currently playing?

hanselthecaretaker

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Actually started playing GoW NG+ the other day, after all my recent discussions about the game and Atreus in other threads. Damn I forgot how much fun it was to punch people in that game. Like yeah, ice axe, swingy swingy chop chop, throwy throwy chop chop, and blades of chaos, twirly twirly slice slice.....yay, fun, sure. But...damn it's just so satisfying to see Kratos go charging in while Atreus is shooting arrows to stagger, do a shoulder slam on the baddy into a wall, insta stun it, then just rip it in half and move to the next one. "Oh you think you still have 75% health? hahahahahahahaha....no" *rip!*

It's also really interesting to see the little hints here and there in the narrative, once you know what's going on.


Still playing Farcry 5 and....man this game is just so all over the place. On one hand, it's got this serious plot about this doomsday cult of nutjobs, taking over and converting this region of Montana to their faith. On the other hand, the side missions often revolve around characters so fucking ridiculous that they seem like they migrated over from Saints Row 4 or something, for all the seriousness they give them.

I find the various lieutenants of the faith, the sub bosses to the big bad, rather annoying. Ubisoft decided to lash the main storyline to forcibly having these people just abduct you, either bodily, or...mentally in the case of one of them? It's hard to say as she's built around a drug that makes you hallucinate. But they will railroad you so hard in these abductions, and it gets pretty annoying, when I made an effort to make sure that didn't happen but...nope, no way around it. This place you go to meet a bad guy, that is an obvious trap, it's got several entrances....except it doesn't, we've blocked them all off, so you have to go through the one door that means you get rifle butted to the face, even though I'm like "there's going to be a fucking guy at the door, come on.....oh...yep, there we go...what a shock!"

Somewhat lengthy rant about religion and politics, as presented in the game, and compare/contrasting it to real life below.

I also find it really fucking annoying that the game has the audacity, to make one of the "good guys" in the game, a preacher who is only 2 shots of whiskey away from being just as bad as the cultists. He is running around in his priest's clothing, collar and all, but also wearing a bullet proof vest, and quoting scriptures as he kills the cultists....who are ALSO quoting scriptures as they shoot us. He praises god for his mercy (despite this entire fucking scenario that god allowed to happen isn't very merciful, it's pretty horrific), and declares that me showing up to help is CLEARLY a sign from his god that he is "on our side in this battle!"

Another guy is a Qanon conspiracy theorist nutjob that is straight up some of the shit you are hearing these days from seated US representatives, but here it's clearly framed as a fucking lunatic rambling about bullshit, like it should be.

Also the various lieutenants, so far anyway, have all had the same MO. They were victims of childhood abuse of one kind or another, sometimes multiple kinds, by family and friends/strangers, and then Joshua found them, and "saved" them. And, this layer of actual predatory behavior on the part of religion, is another layer that just disgusts me. Preacher man swoops in when someone is traumatized and at their lowest, confirms "yes you are broken, but I can fix you, just obey me and my invisible guy in the sky" and boom, new convert, willing to do whatever you want. And again, I'd love it if this was just video game make believe, but, yeah it's not. So playing this game is actually an ordeal of sitting through indoctrination tactics, shown in all their ugliness. Conversion therapy camps, the works.

The thing I find the funniest though, is the diversity in this game. Especially in the cult. Holy shit are they chock FULL of a plethora of ethnicities....that I am killing....and letting mostly white people reclaim the areas that I clear of the cult influence. It's really bizarre because, this is fucking Montana. Let's all face it, this area of the US is so fucking white bread that it's insane to see this many ethnicities represented, in the numbers you see. I just did a google of Montana's population and yeah, white city. So it's really hilarious to me, when I see 4 (identical skin model, seriously the number of random npc skins is insanely low) asian dudes, all come running at me out of the cult bunker, followed by several black guys. When the reality would be far different.

Also, the game in the second zone I'm in, has got a weird bug to it. The various people I save, or that aren't aligned with the cult, keep randomly talking like that zone's leader is dead. And that has not happened yet, I am in fact, working on getting to them as we speak. But..yeah, very regularly someone will randomly say "gosh, I sure am glad that so and so is dead! They were a plague on this area!" Sooo....*shrugs* It IS the zone where mind controlling/altering drugs are all over the place, and the MC is regularly hallucinating so....maybe it's a subtle way for the game to imply they're not right in the head? *shrugs* My money is on wonky coding flipping a conditional flag somewhere.

It's a really weird game. I feel compelled to finish it, because I want to see how this plays out, even though I'm pretty sure I already know, as I've seen a few spoiler clips about the ending. But, this issue is one a bit more real for me these days, compared to back when this game was published. So I'd really like to see how it's handled.

It does have a few highlights. The companion system is pretty interesting, as the people you can have join you can have lots of various perks. My favorite is the dog, who will auto tag enemies/animals if they are within a certain radius of him. So he's REALLY useful for sneaking around an enemy camp and marking people through obstacles. He's also really fun to do tandem stealth kills with, if you time it right.

And the game also had a side mission, that was so fun that I was genuinely giggling in joy while doing it. If you've played Watchdogs 2, it's the same vibe as that Knight Rider mission, where you drive the talking car through the city at night, while a really badass song plays as soundtrack. This one....was a semi truck cab, with a mounted gatling gun, and a big ass ram, that I drive through tons of cultists blockades, while Barracuda by Heart plays. And, that song is a personal favorite for a lot of reasons...but it was also just a really fucking awesome fit for the mission.

So yeah, mixed feelings about the game. If I'd tried playing it years ago when it came out, I'd probably have been more dismissive about the way the cultists are portrayed. Now....yeah not so much. It hits terrifyingly close to home these days.
Yeah I really like that shield bash move when brawling. It just feels so powerful like, *BONG!!* and the dude goes flying back into a wall.

As for FC5 I recall the game being a mess of ideas and common complaints about it not really committed to its themes, so it’s not surprising it’d use token diversity like so many other mainstream pieces of entertainment trying to cover the bases. Having said that, who would’ve thought real life events would’ve transpired as they have since then, which in a way makes the game oddly seem somewhat prescient in a twisted sort of way.
 
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Johnny Novgorod

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Rayman Legends

It looks gorgeous and is teeming with personality and charm. It also has a wealth of content, far as a I can tell. So far so good. I'd only played the one game (Rayman 2) way back in the day and considered myself a fan; it's somehow both weird and comforting to see after all these years that the "Rayman mythos" remains no more complex than "critters invade Rayman's world, Teensies are caged up and Globox and Murfy are around". But for the addition of a token girl character we haven't budged an inch.

The game has all the tells of a ported handheld game, like the adaptation of touchscreen gimmicks that don't add to the challenge nor require any skill. They existed for show in the Vita and now only serve to remind you of that. The runner levels also feel like leftovers from a more basic plafform, although the whole game appears to favor speedrunning.

I miss the projectile punches, which I would've thought were to Rayman what crowbars are to Gordon Freeman, but Rayman's punch barely travels even if you charge it (and why would you, since everything dies in one hit). Then again there aren't that many enemies in the game, and you kill almost anything just by jumping on it.

Back to that "wealth of content" - it feels exactly like that, content. Not part of a fully-realized world or stages in a story. You go in and out of levels from a series of menus without a sense of progression or narrative thrust. There's no overworld, no story (barely any context establishing the new pest) and no sense to the difference you're making. All the levels you can unlock are already displayed in the same gallery in the form of veiled paintings, and you unlock them in no discernible order or reason. So you never feel like you're discovering anything or getting close to the end. Which coincidentally is how I was feeling through most of The Witness.

I will say again though the wealth of content is incredible, in both quantity and variety. On top of the 'main' levels you also unlock most of the levels from Rayman Origins as rewards. Like 40 out of the original 66 or something like that. Which is huge. And then there's the challenge levels and I don't know how many forms of collectibles and there's at least one fun minigame... so there's lots to do, even if it does feel like a bunch of different things to entertaing yourself with moreso than a cohesive videogame.
 
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happyninja42

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Yeah I really like that shield bash move when brawling. It just feels so powerful like, *BONG!!* and the dude goes flying back into a wall.
Yes, it is very satisfying. I genuinely get annoyed when I have to bring out a weapon due to some outside reason. Me likey me some Punchy Kratos.

As for FC5 I recall the game being a mess of ideas and common complaints about it not really committed to its themes, so it’s not surprising it’d use token diversity like so many other mainstream pieces of entertainment trying to cover the bases. Having said that, who would’ve thought real life events would’ve transpired as they have since then, which in a way makes the game oddly seem somewhat prescient in a twisted sort of way.
Well, I would say the THEME of the game is pretty clear. Fundamentalist, homicidal, conservative christianity, with a dose of qanon and other conspiracy theory BS, which, frankly at this point is now synonymous with the right and their faith. It's more the TONE that is all over the place. Like, the thing that just boggles my mind, is that they have the "good guys" be the very kind of people that stormed the capitol, I mean I literally just logged out of the game, after listening to a voicemail from a guy running for some political office, and he was spouting the shit they say, verbatim. And HE is the good guy. And I'm supposed to be like "Well at least this guy isn't some crazy religious nutjob, so he's the better option." But, I mean, he IS, this kind of guy IS the kind that does that kind of shit. So, it feels like...I dunno, saving a bunch of kids from a group of cannibals...but the only people around that can care for them, is a group of pedos or something? It's just, very little room for liking the side I'm working for. At least when you are doing the random side missions. That is where the really cooky shit is. The story missions are, as I said before, more serious, but, the morals and philosophies on display are still batshit insane. It's like, the side missions are the speakers up to 11, and the main missions are...well, a different kind of 11? 10.5? Just, more body horror and torture, and less chem trails and space lazers and guys without pants using a flamethrower to kill zombies (an actual side mission)

For me, it makes it really hard to stay invested in what I'm doing. It doesn't help the MC is a silent protagonist, so I have no scope on what he/she thinks. Which makes it doubly frustrating, when the game arbitrarily takes my agency away during cutscenes. I actually waited on what mission, to see if it was like Farcry 4, where if you wait long enough, something else happens (and I know FC 5 has something similar, was hoping it would have multiple chances), but no, I had zero options but the one given me, which ironically was framed as a choice in-universe.

I go from dealing with a serious threat, to suddenly talking to some dude from 4chan that's out in the sticks, because aliens and government, and just crazy fuckery.

And the sad thing is you kind of have to do the side missions, at least the Prepper Vaults, to advance. You need perk points to buy your upgrades, you get those from doing challenges (which are very short in supply really, also tedious if you are doing the combat ones, and have to use weapons and styles you don't like just to finish them), and missions. Missions can take a long time, and often you want the upgrades for those missions. So, Prepper Vaults are your best bet. Almost all of them give you 3 perk points, as well as other resources. So it's actually a pretty good way to quickly farm for perks, as you don't level at all.

It's just, so strange overall.
 

BrawlMan

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The game has all the tells of a ported handheld game, like the adaptation of touchscreen gimmicks that don't add to the challenge nor require any skill. They existed for show in the Vita and now only serve to remind you of that. The runner levels also feel like leftovers from a more basic plafform, although the whole game appears to favor speedrunning.
Not just the Vita. It was meant as Wii U exclusive first, until Ubisoft got cold feet and backed out at the last minute. They waited until around September of 2013....Just around the time when GTAV was about to come out. The irony is that this unnecessary risk costed Ubisoft even more, and the game would have been a bigger success had they just made it a timed Wii U exclusive like they originally promised. To add even more irony, the Wii U version sold the most. The PS3 version sold the least if I am not mistaken.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Yes, it is very satisfying. I genuinely get annoyed when I have to bring out a weapon due to some outside reason. Me likey me some Punchy Kratos.


Well, I would say the THEME of the game is pretty clear. Fundamentalist, homicidal, conservative christianity, with a dose of qanon and other conspiracy theory BS, which, frankly at this point is now synonymous with the right and their faith. It's more the TONE that is all over the place. Like, the thing that just boggles my mind, is that they have the "good guys" be the very kind of people that stormed the capitol, I mean I literally just logged out of the game, after listening to a voicemail from a guy running for some political office, and he was spouting the shit they say, verbatim. And HE is the good guy. And I'm supposed to be like "Well at least this guy isn't some crazy religious nutjob, so he's the better option." But, I mean, he IS, this kind of guy IS the kind that does that kind of shit. So, it feels like...I dunno, saving a bunch of kids from a group of cannibals...but the only people around that can care for them, is a group of pedos or something? It's just, very little room for liking the side I'm working for. At least when you are doing the random side missions. That is where the really cooky shit is. The story missions are, as I said before, more serious, but, the morals and philosophies on display are still batshit insane. It's like, the side missions are the speakers up to 11, and the main missions are...well, a different kind of 11? 10.5? Just, more body horror and torture, and less chem trails and space lazers and guys without pants using a flamethrower to kill zombies (an actual side mission)

For me, it makes it really hard to stay invested in what I'm doing. It doesn't help the MC is a silent protagonist, so I have no scope on what he/she thinks. Which makes it doubly frustrating, when the game arbitrarily takes my agency away during cutscenes. I actually waited on what mission, to see if it was like Farcry 4, where if you wait long enough, something else happens (and I know FC 5 has something similar, was hoping it would have multiple chances), but no, I had zero options but the one given me, which ironically was framed as a choice in-universe.

I go from dealing with a serious threat, to suddenly talking to some dude from 4chan that's out in the sticks, because aliens and government, and just crazy fuckery.

And the sad thing is you kind of have to do the side missions, at least the Prepper Vaults, to advance. You need perk points to buy your upgrades, you get those from doing challenges (which are very short in supply really, also tedious if you are doing the combat ones, and have to use weapons and styles you don't like just to finish them), and missions. Missions can take a long time, and often you want the upgrades for those missions. So, Prepper Vaults are your best bet. Almost all of them give you 3 perk points, as well as other resources. So it's actually a pretty good way to quickly farm for perks, as you don't level at all.

It's just, so strange overall.
Damn, that actually sounds like it’s taking a cue from Saints Row’s gameplay design but didn’t hit the brakes when it came to everything else. Like what I meant by complaints at release about it not committing to its themes was that it often delved into serious thematic territory, but then just seemed to say screw it and diverted to the stupid wackiness. Like the writing wasn’t confident enough to follow through on anything in any meaningful way that might’ve paid off thematically.
 
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happyninja42

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Damn, that actually sounds like it’s taking a cue from Saints Row’s gameplay design but didn’t hit the brakes when it came to everything else. Like what I meant by complaints at release about it not committing to its themes was that it often delved into serious thematic territory, but then just seemed to say screw it and diverted to the stupid wackiness. Like the writing wasn’t confident enough to follow through on anything in any meaningful way that might’ve paid off thematically.
Yeah it's a lot like Dying Light, in the Serious In The Front/Party in the Back style of missions. Where there is a hard divide between the tone, whether it's a side mission, or a main mission. Dying Light I feel is a bit less jarring for me personally, simply because the "serious" plot, is a zombie apocalypse. FC 5 on the other hand, hits really close to home. Abusive religious cults, preying on the traumatized, and then weaponizing them out to the public for further harm.

Also, Dying Light didn't have the overlap that doing side missions, progressed the main plot, FC 5 does. The game is about taking control of the region from the cult, and each region is controlled by a lieutenant. Doing anything in that zone, helps break their control, and at certain thresholds (25%/50%/etc) they come for you, in scripted ways, to push the plot. So you can't do like Dying Light, and just ignore the main plot, and run around with the goofy side characters in a bit of a farce zombie game. Eventually you will literally be dragged, often tied up to be tortured, into the cult shit.

I do think, that if you just stick to the main plot, it's more tonally consistent, because it's all apocalypse cult crazy stuff. And you probably can just do the main missions, and ignore the side stuff, though that means you are forcibly limiting yourself from engaging with like, 50-60% of the game content? So, kind of contrary if you ask me. If I have to bypass and ignore a huge chunk of your game, in order for me to get a consistent tone in the story, without being yoinked violently into Goofy Left Field, that's not the best design in my opinion.

Still, I do find it compelling. Like, I'm thinking about the game when I'm at work, and writing lengthy discussions about it. So it has me engaged, I'm not forcing myself to play it, I want to keep playing. I DO think there is some interesting elements to it, especially due to recent events IRL. It just stumbles a lot along the way, and shoots my immersion in the head, behind the barn, by the inconsistency of things.
 
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XsjadoBlayde

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Was having a blast with Mass Effect Super-Shiny edition and enjoying scripted dialogue that actually feels like it has purpose, direction and character as opposed to the wishy-washy energies from Andromeda where no matter what cute shape on the dialogue wheel I picked, my character would always but always sound like a half-stoned non-committal teenager in their response.

Then found out they released a 60fps patch for TLoU2, so got pulled back into that black hole for a bit, mostly because it's easier to listen to podcasts while still understanding the main vibes behind character speak, unlike Mass Effect where I gotta keep pausing podcasts every time something new and interesting starts talking and I swear I'll read those codex entries at some point but not right now when there's shit to do like keeping on top of the endless weapon upgrades through a clunky menu being enough fiddlesome work!

Also a tad of AC Valhalla, where raiding English churches/monasteries as an angry Nord invader is surprisingly way more cathartic than assumed. But I had somehow missed that the only way to forward the plot is to visit the war table and initiate the next area of attack, so spent far too long aimlessly wandering and leveling up wondering what the hell happened to story like a complete idiot...for months! At least now I'm big strong girl who knocks all the boys down with minimal effort. Oopsie doods!

I so nearly bought that when it came out, and I so nearly bought it about a year ago, but I just failed at the last both times...

* * *

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey

The new expansion is out! Graphics touch-up (especially the planets, which have also been reworked to be prettier and more distinctive). You can also get out on foot and trudge round planets and settlements. The main bases are a bit disappointing - just a concourse, which all I've been in seem to have the same layout. Also, in true Elite form, you spend your time grinding, picking loads of random shit up and wondering what it does (pays for upgrades, but what upgrades?), and then going away onto the internet and looking at the grind requirements for your equipment upgrades rather than trusting to random chance and holding back tears of frustration at much effort it's going to take to unlock them all.

Few minor glitches (understandable after such a huge overhaul), but overall seems solid. The on-foot FPS is nothing special, but it works fine and makes for a worthwhile addition. Well, sort of worthwhile. I gather that's what the fans wanted, but honestly I bought a game where I could fly round the galaxy so I could fly round the galaxy, not traipse around random space habs.
Am patiently awaiting the release of this expansion for console. Though apparently the community isn't happy with the buggy state of it on PC currently, so it may take a little longer for that to happen. Having the option to do more and make the universe feel meatier and more alive surely isn't a bad thing.
 
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BrawlMan

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So I beat Belmont's Revenge on Sunday last night and I don't get an achievement for it, because I played the Japanese version? What the hell, M2 and Konami? What the actual hell?! All the achievements in the Castlevania Collection are programmed like this. This makes me even less invested to play the American version of most of these games. Aside from maybe Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, but fuck that noise. I never had the patience for that game.

The Contra Collection has achievements unlock for most games if you play the Japanese, American, and EU counterparts. It's just artificial padding and fake longevity. I highly doubt I'm going to play EU version of the Contra games called Probotector. Boring and not as much charm.

I am currently playing more of Castlevania III (JP) and I am now on stage 6 with Sypha. Did anyone else decide to play (more) Castlevania again after seeing the fourth season of the TV show? I know I did!
 
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I've spent the last week playing Earthbound, and I've nearly made it to the ending. I've just got two more areas to go through before reaching the final boss.

Earthbound really is a fantastic game, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Even with its idiosyncrasies that were going out of style even when it was released, since it draws more influence from NES RPGs like the first Dragon Quest trilogy than its contemporaries, there's still a lot to recommend. I mentioned A Link to the Past in my last post; I'll probably continue that once I've totally finished Earthbound.

This'll be about the third or fourth time I've played through it. Never gets old for me. I have also played Mother 3, but never got around to finishing it; I have seen a full LP, though, so I know what happens.
I liked Earthbound, but I thought Mother 3 was way better. Mother 3 is one of the best, if not the best JRPGs in terms of story and characters I've ever played. I've never replayed either game, though I really should one day.
 
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Johnny Novgorod

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Did you ever finish The Witness? I'm interested in hearing your final thoughts on the game if you have.
I got to *an* ending (the glass elevator that resets every puzzle and takes you to the beginning of the game) and that was enough, at least for now. I'm aware of plenty of puzzles left - "the challenge", the monoliths, those unlockable videos - but I just wasn't having much fun by the end so I decided making it to *an* ending unspoiled by walkthroughs was a good benchmark to call it quits.

As for the ending itself, it's a hell of an anticlimax but since there's no story or even context from the beginning I wasn't expecting anything from it. The whole point of the game I guess is bared in that audio recording talking about zen epiphanies, these moments when something sparks and you see the world "unmediated", an effect that comes naturally from solving logic puzzles. So good job on that regard.

Feels like all the criticisms I have of the game are there by design - how cold and lifeless the island feels, how monotonous it gets, the commentary on constant yet pointless toil and the illusion of success somehow making it worth it... There's a part in the island where a statue of a kneeling man is reaching for a grail just beyond his grasp, yet if you look at his shadow it's holding the grail's shadow, and I guess that's a good metaphor for the game as well. It's about laboring towards a goal that, by virtue of laboring at all, is already yours (even if you don't realize it). Which in turn makes the labor pointless, and so the goal is pointless as well.

I can imagine people feeling like this is a thankless, frustrating experience. But if you somehow make it to that zen state the game is nudging you towards, it's well worth it.
 
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Casual Shinji

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Making my way through Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and I'm on ME2 and just finished the DLC that has you destroying a Mass Relay. Which feels very, very off in the midst of 2 's plot. I only ever played the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, so this is the first time I encountered this part of the game, and it really doesn't fit. You have a DLC mission that not only feels dramatically more important than the outcome of the main game, but it ends with you killing 300.000 people. This feels like an endgame type mission, yet it's plopped casually in between you recruiting members for your team intended to take on the "real" threat.

This DLC really should've been unlocked only after having finished the main plot. It's too impactful to be just another side quest.
 

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I got to *an* ending (the glass elevator that resets every puzzle and takes you to the beginning of the game) and that was enough, at least for now. I'm aware of plenty of puzzles left - "the challenge", the monoliths, those unlockable videos - but I just wasn't having much fun by the end so I decided making it to *an* ending unspoiled by walkthroughs was a good benchmark to call it quits.

As for the ending itself, it's a hell of an anticlimax but since there's no story or even context from the beginning I wasn't expecting anything from it. The whole point of the game I guess is bared in that audio recording talking about zen epiphanies, these moments when something sparks and you see the world "unmediated", an effect that comes naturally from solving logic puzzles. So good job on that regard.

Feels like all the criticisms I have of the game are there by design - how cold and lifeless the island feels, how monotonous it gets, the commentary on constant yet pointless toil and the illusion of success somehow making it worth it... There's a part in the island where a statue of a kneeling man is reaching for a grail just beyond his grasp, yet if you look at his shadow it's holding the grail's shadow, and I guess that's a good metaphor for the game as well. It's about laboring towards a goal that, by virtue of laboring at all, is already yours (even if you don't realize it). Which in turn makes the labor pointless, and so the goal is pointless as well.

I can imagine people feeling like this is a thankless, frustrating experience. But if you somehow make it to that zen state the game is nudging you towards, it's well worth it.
It's probably the smart choice to quit at that ending. There isn't a reward for 100% completion and some things like the video room puzzles are just tedious for the sake of it. I think completing the video room puzzles takes at least 2 hours of just standing around watching videos. There's a lot more to do, but not really any point to doing it, which is The Witness in a nutshell. SGF got to the elevator in part 22 (431+58) and 100% in part 35 (523+135+6), 14 hours of footage later and an unknown amount of time unrecorded wandering around figuring things out.
 

laggyteabag

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Making my way through Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and I'm on ME2 and just finished the DLC that has you destroying a Mass Relay. Which feels very, very off in the midst of 2 's plot. I only ever played the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, so this is the first time I encountered this part of the game, and it really doesn't fit. You have a DLC mission that not only feels dramatically more important than the outcome of the main game, but it ends with you killing 300.000 people. This feels like an endgame type mission, yet it's plopped casually in between you recruiting members for your team intended to take on the "real" threat.

This DLC really should've been unlocked only after having finished the main plot. It's too impactful to be just another side quest.
The Arrival DLC is very much intended to be played after you finish ME2, ideally as the last mission you play, before ME3. If you play it before, I can imagine that it would be very jarring, seeing as you narrowly just manage to slow down the imminent reaper invasion, and destroy an entire system of planets in the process, before returning to the status quo of recruiting random mercenaries for the main quest, or whatever point you are up to, which seems utterly inconsequential in comparison.

Like you, I am surprised that the game allows you to complete this DLC - or any of the story DLC, to be fair - before the main plot is resolved. If you have any outstanding DLC missions (Arrival, Lair of the Shadow Broker, Overlord), it is best to wait until you have finished the main story.

Also, as a time saving pro-tip, if you have yet to play any/all of the Firewalker missions (the ones in the hover-tank) those can be safely skipped. They have no impact on ME3, and only provide you with some extra resources.
 

NerfedFalcon

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I liked Earthbound, but I thought Mother 3 was way better. Mother 3 is one of the best, if not the best JRPGs in terms of story and characters I've ever played. I've never replayed either game, though I really should one day.
I agree that Mother 3 does a lot of things better than Earthbound, but at the same time, Earthbound's charm is singular. Even Mother 3 doesn't quite recapture the same magic that Earthbound does. I do plan to play Mother 3 sometime soon though, since it's that game's 15th anniversary this year and all. Previously I've played up to chapter 8 but I got stuck on a boss because I didn't do one of the sidequests that I can't go back and do by that time.
 
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Chimpzy

Professor of Monkey Business
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Got a fair bit into the SMT3 remaster.

And yeah, I'm digging it. Liking the setting. Post-apocalyptic Tokyo with a kitchen sink blend of (bibilical) mythology. It's kind of refreshing after the other jrpgs I've played this year, which were all fantasy. Also makes for a neat atmosphere. You'd expect it to be dour, considering the world has ended, but a lot of npcs are oddly chipper. Even the Manikins, a slave race, have this constant goofy grin and the ones you can interact with have a weirdly jovial attitude. Still, Tokyo is proper fucked, everybody died and their souls are basically food/currency, so not all sunshine and lollipops. Anyway, visually it's fine. Decent for PS2, but not amazing. The cell-shading helps tho. Tends to stand the test of time and also lends itself well to getting a resolution bump and some anti-aliasing.

Now on the subject of difficulty, since I've heard say this is the most difficult main series game. It's fine? I mean, I'm doing ok, I think. Beat Matador on the first go, and he's supposed to be a wall for new players. Just beat Kuzunoha Raidou, and he gave me my first loss. Tho it felt more like rng screwing me over than actually coming in unprepared, cuz the second try went way way smoother since he stopped spamming one particularly annoying move over and over. Overall, it's definitely tougher than your average jrpg, but I've played ones that are imo harder. Like Valkyrie Profile 2, not too long ago. Busted my balls way more.

But now, some nitpicks. Unskippable cutscenes? Booooo. That annoying boss battle theme that has heavily distorted vocals that sound like an angry barking dog? Booooo. That indicator that tells you the likelihood of a random encounter that's kind of pointless? Booooo.
 
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Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
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The Arrival DLC is very much intended to be played after you finish ME2, ideally as the last mission you play, before ME3. If you play it before, I can imagine that it would be very jarring, seeing as you narrowly just manage to slow down the imminent reaper invasion, and destroy an entire system of planets in the process, before returning to the status quo of recruiting random mercenaries for the main quest, or whatever point you are up to, which seems utterly inconsequential in comparison.
It also kinda forces you to accept the mission when it becomes available, since it cutscenes you from the galaxy map to your cabin to talk to Hackett. And it gets explained as not that big of a mission, with you just getting some undercover agent out from deep cover. I know this was released wel after ME2 was released, so I guess Bioware just assumed most people who would play had already finished the main story, but that was a bit sloppy.

Like you, I am surprised that the game allows you to complete this DLC - or any of the story DLC, to be fair - before the main plot is resolved. If you have any outstanding DLC missions (Arrival, Lair of the Shadow Broker, Overlord), it is best to wait until you have finished the main story.
I think the Shadow Broker DLC fits well enough within the main story, in as much as that doesn't trivialize it.

Also, as a time saving pro-tip, if you have yet to play any/all of the Firewalker missions (the ones in the hover-tank) those can be safely skipped. They have no impact on ME3, and only provide you with some extra resources.
Okay thanks. I already got the necessary Normandy upgades anyway, so I really don't need more resources.

Also, slightly off-topic, but man, going straight from ME1 to ME2 the lack of a heal really fucking sucks. I mean, I've already played these games a dozen times, but going straight from one to the other really hammers it home. One relic from the 7th generation I do not miss.
 

Drathnoxis

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Still playing Noita. God this game is frustrating. I don't understand how the developer expected me to learn this game, almost every time I find a spell I haven't used before I die. The spell descriptions are somewhat lacking, the game should at least tell you if a spell can hurt the player or not. The game is just really hard too you can go from full health to dead in a second. I feel like to beat this game, I need to have amazing twitch reflexes, know what every one of the 393 spells of the game will do, and just be incredibly lucky. I think making it a Roguelike with a single life was a mistake.

But still I keep playing. The game is a big, messy, unbalanced, ball of complex interactions and it's fascinating. Just the amount of ways that you can set up your spells on your wands to cause different interactions, or the complexity of the environmental physics. I just wish the game didn't hate me so much.

Edit: Just got my first completely broken combo. I had a perk that gave me infinite casts of limited ammo spells, a perk that gave me spider legs that let me cling to the ceiling but removed most of my levitation ability, a perk that let me alter my wands anywhere on the level, and a the sea of acid spell which fills the screen under you with acid that travels down and basically melts everything, terrain or enemy below you. So I would cling to the ceiling and dump acid everywhere below me until everything was dead, then I would crawl around on the tiny remaining bits of land collecting wands and health power ups. I got further in the game that I have before, but eventually I was trying to see the acid move through the level and I slipped off and fell in and burned to death almost instantly. Oops. Live by the sea of acid, die by the sea of acid.
 
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laggyteabag

Scrolling through forums, instead of playing games
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Also, slightly off-topic, but man, going straight from ME1 to ME2 the lack of a heal really fucking sucks. I mean, I've already played these games a dozen times, but going straight from one to the other really hammers it home. One relic from the 7th generation I do not miss.
I get you.

To the untrained eye, many franchises look exactly the same throughout the years, but when you actually sit down, and play them, game-after-game, it is amazing how many tweaks and additions can make each game feel so distinct.

Having replayed the Batman Arkham games fairly recently, I was shocked by how many combos and gadgets were missing from the first game, and how the combat felt so much so much smoother in the second, despite both games basically looking the same, other than that City was bigger.

In Mass Effect 2, i've only just started my playthrough, but I definitely already miss the unlimited ammo of ME1. Only having 10 shots in my Sniper before needing to find additional ammo, is something that I can already tell is going to be a pain in the ass.
 

BrawlMan

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I finished Castlevania III earlier this morning. Dracula is definitely easier, if you got Sypha as your partner and use her homing orbs. It's always fun seeing Dracula's castle crumble apart or fall down in these old-school CV games.