What are you currently playing?

hanselthecaretaker

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I've been streaming the Halo games, in preparation for Halo Infinite. Im just on Halo CE, at the moment, after playing through Reach.

Halo CE is a game that I feel has aged like a fine wine, but I have also soured on, over the years.

The mechanical side of the game - the combat, the enemies, the weapons - are all excellent. The sandbox is limited, but built with purpose. The varieties of enemy aliens to shoot are interesting, and they all behave in distinct ways. The combat loop is satisfying, and has really held up, 20 years later. There is even an entire vehicle sandbox, of tanks, jeeps and jets, which can all be seamlessly interacted with. It really is a great game, even if some things like the movement can feel a little floaty at times (though you do adjust very quickly). The story is also fairly basic, but it doesn't get in the way, and has some fun twists and bombastic moments.

But, I am slowly starting to sour on the game for two reasons: 1) The Flood, and 2) The Levels.

I admit that I do enjoy the Flood. Thematically, I find them very interesting - intelligent space zombies who have been sealed away for millions of years, and who are responsible for the destruction of the ancient aliens who built the Halo rings. They are also responsible for the biggest twist in the game, which is still very fun. Gameplay wise, they do leave a lot to be desired.

Where the Covenant shoot, throw grenades, dive for cover, cower in retreat, and can drive vehicles, the Flood can run at you, and occasionally shoot you. Whilst this is thematically expected for a swarm-type enemy, the difference is felt immediately, and certainly not for the better. Whilst the Flood do sometimes add an interesting layer to the combat, especially when there is a 3-way conflict between you, the Covenant, and the Flood, the levels - or sections of levels - which focus exclusively on the Flood, are simply way less interesting to play, than those that feature the Covenant.

As for the level design, this is where the game's real weakness lies. That isn't to say that all of the levels are bad. If you ask a group of people what their favourite Halo levels is, there is a good chance that The Silent Cartographer will come up, and that is certainly my favourite level from the game, but whilst there is enjoyment to be found in the game's levels, most of them share the same flaw - repetitiveness.

Samey hallways, repeated rooms, and a copious amount of backtracking are served up in droves, frequently to the point of frustration. The 1st level is full of grey bulkheads. The 3rd level is full of purple bulkheads. The 5th level is just grey circular rooms, hallways, and bridges - repeated seemingly two dozen times, between them. The interior of the 6th level is a maze. The 7th level is literally running around in a circular hallway for 4 floors. Then levels 8, 9, and 10 are mostly levels 5, 3, and 1, but in reverse!

The second half of the game is a bit of a mess. The levels are either confusing, plain bad, or just the first half of the game in reverse, all featuring an enemy faction that isn't anywhere near as interesting to fight. It can definitely feel like a bit of a slog, at times.

But, I do still like this game. The Flood might not be as interesting as the Covenant, but they are still fun to blast apart. The levels might be frustratingly dull, but the combat encounters they contain are always exciting. Halo Combat Evolved is still a great tune, and still as important as ever for the genre, it just isn't as perfect as my nostalgia often describes it to be.

It would be interesting if Miyazaki did a level layout remix for Halo:CE.


On topic, got a late start on the final QuickDraw pass in RDO. Was meaning to pick up the Naturalist role when it was discounted but that time has passed. Oh well. I’m already half way through the pass after a couple hours or so. Bagged one of the newer legendary bounties, Gene “Beau” Finley which was pretty fun to try out my new explosive express anmo and dynamite arrows on the dozens of Lemoyne raiders holed up in Shady Belle. Also got the deluxe campfire which when combined with the efficient cooking skill makes crafting a relative breeze next to the story mode version.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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I fucking did it!! Completed the Pantheon of Hallownest in Hollow Knight (and earned the Platinum trophy along with it).

For those who don't know, the Pantheon of Hallownest is a boss rush of 41 (or 42) bosses. Almost every boss in the game, including optional ones and DLC ones (plus suped-up versions of a few), and a couple more created for the rush itself. Ending with the 3 hardest ones. Without any saving.

Probably the most difficult single trophy I've ever got.

Congrats. Guessing you weren’t aware of the invincibility glitch, but it’s probably for the better as your sense of accomplishment would’ve been diminished.
 

Silvanus

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Anyway, I started playing Blasphemous and so far am enjoying it quite a bit. It's got a lovely Macabre 2d artstyle and some lovely music and the weird and disturbing world of Cvstodia AKA Fantasy Not-Spain is worth the price in itself. I do very much like their take on Evocative area names that games like Dark Souls helped either poplurize or establish. Even in the early game you get such interesting names as "Where the Olive Trees Wither", "The Wasteland of Buried Churches", "Brotherhood of the Silent Sorrow", Mountains of Endless Dusk" "Graveyard of the Peaks" and so on.

It's as a cryptic as a Souls game and it's all based around a fantastic, very dark version of Spanish Catholicism that's obsessed with Punishment, Penance and Martyrdom that feels like there's a lot of actual thought put into it. Basically at some point in the past the Grievous Miracle appeared in Cvstodia and made everyone's sins or virtues manifest physically on their bodies. For a lot of people this made them giants, monsters or both and what's worse is apparently most of them seem to feel they deserve this because of their sins. There's a big "God Works in Mysterious Ways" vibe here and thus, because God apparently did this(not said explicitly but heavily implied) they'd best be grateful for the punishment. As such, a lot of them seem to wallow in the misery of their altered and often monstrous conditions as just penance and punishment. Like if the world(or at least Cvstodia) became an eternal purgatory and everyone welcomed it.

It seems like it's not falling into the trap a lot of fantasy makes of "Oh, there's a Catholic Church like entity because it's a middle ages setting even though there's no fucking reason for this entity to exist and we don't' feel like worldbuilding how this would evolve in a world without christianity" or even worse, the NGE trap of "Use a lot of religious symbolism/words/phrases because it looks cool but none of it actually makes any sense if you think about it for more then 5 seconds". The game was made in Spain and is apparently heavily influenced by the local Andalusian culture and Catholicism and while I'm not Catholic, I know at least enough to feel like this is very much trying to evoke the same sense of mystery and ritual that IRL Catholicism does(as well as the theme of Guilt and Penance). I'm sure someone who knows more about it could tell me if and where I'm mistaken here. I did read some articles discussing the game from a religious POV and they were generally positive about it, somewhat to my suprise. One in particular more or less says "This is a world where religion rules all but there's no grace or forgiveness. No wonder it's akin to hell".

I'm also gonna point out I find it darkly amusing that when you die, instead of "You Died" you're presented with "EXEMPLARIS EXCOMVNICATIONIS". Especially in that, yes, in the context of a theocracy where being excommunicated is a very, very bad thing and being killed and excommunicated would be kicking you when you're down, to a modern day atheist outside of that context that's just "Oh no, I'm excommunicated. That sounds a bit less bad then getting murdered by freaky monsters". It's also a little bit more creative then "You Died".

It is fucking hard, both the combat, a sparsity of checkpoints/bonfires(in this game called Prie-dieu, a type of alter) and the fact there's a lot of platforming where it's easy to fall to your death or get knocked off a ledge by an attack. I've only made it the Snowy Peaks area and unlocked the first shortcut that goes back to the starting town and man I've died quite a few times just getting there. However, I've very much looking forward to following this weird and twisted path through a land where everyone is obsessed with their own misery and everything looks like sublime Renaissance artwork.

I absolutely adored Blasphemous. Fantastic level design, fantastic enemy design, fantastic bosses. You're in for a treat, it's one of the best 2D action games of the last several years.
 
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NerfedFalcon

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I've finished the first set of worlds in Kingdom Hearts and I'm moving on to the second. The game is actually not as difficult with the build I took as I was expecting it to be; I've died a few times, but only a few compared to the death streaks I've had with this game in the past. Maybe it's also just that I know where to go now, but the exploration isn't as bad as I remember it being, either. I still understand why people would've complained about it being directionless and the platforming being too awkward that led to Kingdom Hearts 2 focusing a lot harder on just fighting, especially now that I've done Deep Jungle again, but it hasn't been bad at all.

And then people complaining that 2 didn't have good level design (it's passable at best) led to Kingdom Hearts 3, and maybe 4 will go back to being more like 2. I'd probably be okay with that.
 

meiam

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I've finished the first set of worlds in Kingdom Hearts and I'm moving on to the second. The game is actually not as difficult with the build I took as I was expecting it to be; I've died a few times, but only a few compared to the death streaks I've had with this game in the past. Maybe it's also just that I know where to go now, but the exploration isn't as bad as I remember it being, either. I still understand why people would've complained about it being directionless and the platforming being too awkward that led to Kingdom Hearts 2 focusing a lot harder on just fighting, especially now that I've done Deep Jungle again, but it hasn't been bad at all.

And then people complaining that 2 didn't have good level design (it's passable at best) led to Kingdom Hearts 3, and maybe 4 will go back to being more like 2. I'd probably be okay with that.
I mostly remember KH2 level to be constantly interrupted by cutscene, you'd fight for 2 minute, bam cutscene, another 2-3 minutes, bam another cutscene and so on. I never found the disney story to be that interesting so it got quite annoying.
 

Casual Shinji

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Better than Hollow Knight?
It's made it impossible for me to get into Blasphamous, since at every turn I'm like 'This doesn't play as good as Hollow Knight, so why am I even playing this?'

Hollow Knight has pretty much ruined all 2D metroidvania's for me. Even playing Metroid: Dread now I can feel Hollow Knight sitting on my shoulder whispering 'Not as good as my shit, is it?'
 

hanselthecaretaker

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It's made it impossible for me to get into Blasphamous, since at every turn I'm like 'This doesn't play as good as Hollow Knight, so why am I even playing this?'

Hollow Knight has pretty much ruined all 2D metroidvania's for me. Even playing Metroid: Dread now I can feel Hollow Knight sitting on my shoulder whispering 'Not as good as my shit, is it?'

Damn, so I guess I should be putting that on my wishlist too, and perhaps near the top. I’m afraid of what the boss gauntlet would do to me though since I undoubtedly would be tempted by it.
 
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NerfedFalcon

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I mostly remember KH2 level to be constantly interrupted by cutscene, you'd fight for 2 minute, bam cutscene, another 2-3 minutes, bam another cutscene and so on. I never found the disney story to be that interesting so it got quite annoying.
You're not wrong, but the only thing that prevents that from happening in 1 is that the plot flags are more difficult to find. If you know exactly where to go in each world, then there's several worlds of running from cutscene to cutscene with only token fights breaking it up. If you don't know where to go, then the cutscenes are broken up by more time, but it's dead air. And it's not like 1 isn't fun to play once you get a handle on it, but I find 2's fights a lot more interesting.
 

BrawlMan

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I did survival mode in Streets of Rage 4 again, and I can't seem to make it past level 33 or 34. The enemies (translucent red ones especially) do so much damage or spawn in so many of them, it's fucking stupid! I know patch is coming later to give alternate colors for the retro character, but they got balance this shit. @Worgen, did you ever make it this far or beyond?
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I did survival mode in Streets of Rage 4 again, and I can't seem to make it past level 33 or 34. The enemies (translucent red ones especially) do so much damage or spawn in so many of them, it's fucking stupid! I know patch is coming later to give alternate colors for the retro character, but they got balance this shit. @Worgen, did you ever make it this far or beyond?
No, I only made it to 20, I played a decent amount when the DLC came out but then I got distracted by other things and haven't really gone back. I really should though. I do think I ran into some of the reds, they were 2 of the wrestler player/boss character and kicked my ass.
 

BrawlMan

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No, I only made it to 20, I played a decent amount when the DLC came out but then I got distracted by other things and haven't really gone back. I really should though. I do think I ran into some of the reds, they were 2 of the wrestler player/boss character and kicked my ass.
You must be talking about the player character version of max. He and the others don't come in translucent red. It's a translucent white and blue. Max is such a pain in the ass when there's three of them or he's spawned in with another difficult boss. The developers went really overboard with the difficulty. The higher the level you get to, the more damage enemies can do to you. This leaves no big problem, because they'll spawn a whole bunch of the jackasses and the only way to take care of them is easier to span star specials (with the rocket perks) or certain attacks over and over and hopefully you're not in a crappy environmental hazard or stage. What doesn't help even further, is that certain environmental hazards like the exploding barrels can possibly spawn on top of you if you're unlucky enough and will automatically explode on you because you made a "hit". Even if you're not moving. They really need to patch that up.
 
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gorfias

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Steam and Origin are having a sale on Battlefield V, Definitive Edition.

I got the base game for PS+ but for $5, I do most of my gaming on PC. This thing is really beautiful with great surround sound. I played through the 1st chapter of the single player.

 

Dalisclock

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After getting stumped for a bit(and taking some time to get my PS2 emulator working because my PS3 is dying), I finally made some headway in Blasphemous. After doing some reading on forums and such I realized that going into the snowy mountains first was a VERY BAD IDEA, and apparently quite a common mistake for a lot of new players. So I took the other branch near the big bridge and ended up undergound, which was tricky but somewhat less difficult. After a couple tries I took down Ten Piedad(I see what you did there, Games Kitchen), and got some upgrades going. Apparently somewhere there's a way to increase my health potions/bile containers because I've found a couple empty ones, and that would help a lot. I guess there's also a way to increase the amount of rosary beads i can equip at one time as well.

But yeah, it feels like I'm getting the hang of it finally, but the difficulty ramps up FAST and there's a lot of instat death drops/spikes which makes up for a big chunk of that and your character isn't an agile as a game like Hollow Knight, so you either parry hits or figure out when you can slide under these guys who are 2x-3x bigger then you. At least the game puts a bonefire just before the boss rooms thus far, because it would suck a lot to run back to these guys each time.

Also, as a side note, I've noticed that like Lothric in Dark Souls 3, Cvstodia seems to have a mostly church based economy, because almost every building looks like a church of some sort. Which really must suck if you want to do anything else but go to church, but as zealous as the people in Cvstodia are, maybe it just doesn't bother them much.
 
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NerfedFalcon

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I've finished most of Kingdom Hearts and gotten up to the end of Hollow Bastion, about to face off with that boss and watch that cutscene. At least the HD Remix allows you to skip cutscenes if you want, so that's good. And hey, maybe I'll be able to beat him first try and not have to worry anyway.

I probably won't, at the rate I've been going, but there's always a chance.
 
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Drathnoxis

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I've finished most of Kingdom Hearts and gotten up to the end of Hollow Bastion, about to face off with that boss and watch that cutscene. At least the HD Remix allows you to skip cutscenes if you want, so that's good. And hey, maybe I'll be able to beat him first try and not have to worry anyway.

I probably won't, at the rate I've been going, but there's always a chance.
Remind me what boss is this?
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Chipping away at missions tasks in MGSV. I have 118 to go but they can usually be done pretty quickly overall. Also finished the fourth Quickdraw pass in RDO and awaiting the free Halloween update, which I hope is better than the last. Ideally it would be some kind of Undead Nightmare 2 stuff, but that's almost 100% wishful thinking.