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Dalisclock

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Expeditions: Rome

So I finally finished Act 2 and started Act 3, and my feelings are still mixed. I am digging the story that drives the campaigns and missions, with all sorts of Roman Political and cultural stuff(if you play a woman, you have to get married to have any actual political power and influence, which tracks, despite the fact you're an accomplished Legate by this point with two successful military campaigns under your belt). However, some bits are weird. When you go to Rome the 2nd time and do character quest, one of them involves one your party trying to buy the slave who he allegedly knocked up so he can raise the child with her, except the owner knows this and demands an extortionist price for her. You can blackmail him if you have the right skill, pay him off with is straight out robbery, decide it's not worth it, or just kill the fuck and his guards and take his property. Your friend is both disturbed by the fact you just murdered some dude and grateful he can take the mother of (probably) his kid with him. And then you have another quest where another member of your party goes into an underground orgy to kill the man who enslaved her and killed her sister long ago, then agoing on to kill everyone else and said party before leaving.

Where it gets interesting is that the character who goes on the murder spree ends up in prison awaiting executing, but you killing the rich dude and his guard and essentially annexing his property has no repercussions at all despite your friends protests that you've just committed a crime, and it's never really explained why you're able to get away with it but the other character isn't. Especially since the party you massacre was an underground, illegal gathering there weren't exactly a ton of witnesses.

Anyway, one more campaign to go and it's the endgame.

In the meantime, I also started playing Demons Souls Remake.

It's better then I remember the PS3 version being by a bit, much more responsive(on par with more recent FROM games) and I managed to make it through 1-1 without dying(to be fair, I'd managed to get through 1-1 before on the PS3 version, so I actually remembered some of the traps(like the stone ball one). Or maybe because I've played enough of these games I'm wise to all the tricks by now. The fact your healing is limited only by the amount of healing grass you have feels almost broken because all you have to do is back off from a fight long enough to chug one and that shit seems to drop everywhere, so it's hypothetically possible to outlast anyone as long as you don't get too greedy and bring enough grass to a fight.

And I gotta say, the game looks fucking lovely,. Boletaria castle is a wonderful mix of a fantasy castle and a castle that looks like it could not only exist, but also be very defensible(the long causeway in 1-2 would be especially awful to try to assault and I remember it from last time I played.

On a lesser note, now that I remember the game takes ALL weight into account, so anything not needed soon should be put in storage, it does seem like the Storage box from Dark Souls is a holdover from this game that really doesn't have much use in later games because you can effectively have unlimited inventory and you'll probably sell everything you don't need anyway. And I so find it interesting the Knight NPC you meet in 1-1 can walk through the level and kill enemies on his own, but most of the later Souls games....don't really do that. You pretty much have to summon an NPC, often in a particular circumstance, to have them help you out and often only for a boss. Even the regular NPCs will flat out stand there until you've triggered their flag to move elsewhere and then they just vanish without ever seeing them walk off.
 

NerfedFalcon

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In the meantime, I also started playing Demons Souls Remake.

It's better then I remember the PS3 version being by a bit, much more responsive(on par with more recent FROM games) and I managed to make it through 1-1 without dying(to be fair, I'd managed to get through 1-1 before on the PS3 version, so I actually remembered some of the traps(like the stone ball one). Or maybe because I've played enough of these games I'm wise to all the tricks by now. The fact your healing is limited only by the amount of healing grass you have feels almost broken because all you have to do is back off from a fight long enough to chug one and that shit seems to drop everywhere, so it's hypothetically possible to outlast anyone as long as you don't get too greedy and bring enough grass to a fight.

And I gotta say, the game looks fucking lovely,. Boletaria castle is a wonderful mix of a fantasy castle and a castle that looks like it could not only exist, but also be very defensible(the long causeway in 1-2 would be especially awful to try to assault and I remember it from last time I played.

On a lesser note, now that I remember the game takes ALL weight into account, so anything not needed soon should be put in storage, it does seem like the Storage box from Dark Souls is a holdover from this game that really doesn't have much use in later games because you can effectively have unlimited inventory and you'll probably sell everything you don't need anyway. And I so find it interesting the Knight NPC you meet in 1-1 can walk through the level and kill enemies on his own, but most of the later Souls games....don't really do that. You pretty much have to summon an NPC, often in a particular circumstance, to have them help you out and often only for a boss. Even the regular NPCs will flat out stand there until you've triggered their flag to move elsewhere and then they just vanish without ever seeing them walk off.
I considered getting Demon's Souls when I got gifted my PS5, but I ended up with Elden Ring instead. So far I don't really regret it, but I am still interested in playing DeS at some point.
 
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Dalisclock

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I considered getting Demon's Souls when I got gifted my PS5, but I ended up with Elden Ring instead. So far I don't really regret it, but I am still interested in playing DeS at some point.
I mean DeS is very much the first Souls in every way possible. Which means even in the PS5 version there's some janky shit, like the fact everything you have counts against your carry weight but you can't sell anything. So you either discard stuff or put it in storage. And also world tendency, which works both based on your deaths/boss kills and those of other people because of course it does. Yes, other people can fuck with your world tendency if you play online without ever actually interacting with you.
 
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Old_Hunter_77

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I mean DeS is very much the first Souls in every way possible. Which means even in the PS5 version there's some janky shit, like the fact everything you have counts against your carry weight but you can't sell anything. So you either discard stuff or put it in storage. And also world tendency, which works both based on your deaths/boss kills and those of other people because of course it does. Yes, other people can fuck with your world tendency if you play online without ever actually interacting with you.
Word tendency was the most good/bad thing in Demon's Souls for me. It was fun messing with it and annoying when you want to see as much of the game as possible.
Since I wanted to platinum it, I resorted to Discord and found amazingly obsessed players who just like helping people with this stuff so I spent a couple afternoons just taking turns with strangers invading and killing each other ot futz with word tendency to get obscure items and whatever. It was prettty silly and fun.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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I mean DeS is very much the first Souls in every way possible. Which means even in the PS5 version there's some janky shit, like the fact everything you have counts against your carry weight but you can't sell anything. So you either discard stuff or put it in storage. And also world tendency, which works both based on your deaths/boss kills and those of other people because of course it does. Yes, other people can fuck with your world tendency if you play online without ever actually interacting with you.
Are you playing online for this? I know you said you got PS+ for Bloodborne I think but that was a long while ago. Though here especially it seems like a win/win for efficiency and no extra $ spent if playing offline. IIRC this is one of the easier FROM games to solo all bosses too because they were the first foray into this madness.

The maneaters can piss off as always though.
 
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Are you playing online for this? I know you said you got PS+ for Bloodborne I think but that was a long while ago. Though here especially it seems like a win/win for efficiency and no extra $ spent if playing offline. IIRC this is one of the easier FROM games to solo all bosses too because they were the first foray into this madness.

The maneaters can piss off as always though.
I'm not. I shelled out 1 month for BB like 5 years ago so I could finish the game( I couldn't get past Lady Maria without help) but especially with the world tendency.

The PS+ thing doesn't really hold much value for me. Yeah, there's a bunch of free games but only as long as I subscribe to the service so I'd have to keep subscribing perpetually to actually take advantage. But also being annoyed Sony makes me fork out to use the online features that should be included as part of the game(and designed with it in mind) whereas strangely I don't have this issue playing the Steam version thus I play all my souls games on Steam if I can.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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I'm not. I shelled out 1 month for BB like 5 years ago so I could finish the game( I couldn't get past Lady Maria without help) but especially with the world tendency.

The PS+ thing doesn't really hold much value for me. Yeah, there's a bunch of free games but only as long as I subscribe to the service so I'd have to keep subscribing perpetually to actually take advantage. But also being annoyed Sony makes me fork out to use the online features that should be included as part of the game(and designed with it in mind) whereas strangely I don't have this issue playing the Steam version thus I play all my souls games on Steam if I can.
Basically the difference between console and PC for MP is centralized vs decentralized. Console MP is a “controlled” environment and users are beholden to the platform owner, whereas on PC people can just use whatever’s available or most popular. I’m a sucker though for PS+ at least for the time being. I view it as another Netflix sub, but then again it’s rare I buy new consoles games, or PC games outside of Steam sales.
 
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Drathnoxis

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Finished Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye. Finally looked up a hint of where to start the DLC after finishing most of the base game again. The DLC was ok, but I don't think the game really benefits from its inclusion. It kind of throws off the pacing and doesn't really contribute much to the central mysteries. Also the dark levels are just really kind of annoying to explore and I got stuck for hours because I just didn't see the thing I needed to progress... because everything is dark. Overall, there were some interesting things to discover and piece together, but it just didn't feel as organic as the base game.

But the base game is still amazing. Has everyone played Outer Wilds yet? Because if not Go Play Outer Wilds! (and to be clear, this is Outer Wilds, not Outer Worlds by Obsidian) Outer Wilds instantly became one of my favorite games when I played it in 2019. It's completely unique as a gaming experience with knowledge based puzzles that feel really organic. It's kind of like a space detective game, where you explore Mario Galaxy sized planets and unravel the mysteries of the universe. If you like games where everything comes together in the end and each new discovery that you make feels important, play this game.
And don't be one of those people who buy the game, and say that they are going to play it right away, and then never do. Those people are the worst and should amend their dishonest not Outer Wilds playing ways.
 

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This post was originally much longer, but the post was lost - it basically had a point by point analysis of my time with XC2, but alas, here's really the footnotes version:

-Team vs. Malos was easy, even if I lost the first time because Morag got knocked down a hole, the beasties attacked us, and so on.

-Team vs. Malos & Jin was the hardest boss yet, and took me an hour to beat. Required me to have Tora and Morag act as tanks, while Rex spammed heals, and slowly, but surely, whittle them down (note that when I say an hour, I mean the total no. of tries, not that the finishing battle took an hour).

-Cutscene that follows simultaniously has some of the best and worst voice acting within mere seconds of each other. Thank God for the music pulling the weight.

-Okay, Morytha probably gets browie points for "destroyed cityscape," given the green glow and lightning and all that. Also, Poppi is a precious little flower.

-The guido enemies are nice, but the cutscenes make you think that only fire can take them down, but in-game, there's no distinction. Which sucks, because it might have given me an excuse to use Pyra more (seriously, far as I can tell, there's no reason to use Pyra rather than Mythra unless you need a fire elemental attack, and now that I can use Pneuma, Pyra's even more useless mechanically).

-Also, come to think of it, that Pneuma/Pyra/Mythra are still alternating seems a bit weird - if Pneuma is their true form, and the whole schtick being that she's accepted herself, shouldn't she stay in that form rather than alternating between her 'false forms?'

-I know this game wants me to sympathize with Jin and all that, but the whole "the world sucks, so let's destroy the world because humans suck" thing is so trite at this point, I don't really care. Yes, Jin has a sympathetic backstory, no, that doesn't make him a sympathetic character. Rex points out, correctly, that Jin is no better than all the other assholes in the world, so what makes him so special?

-So, I already knew the plot twists going in, but credit where credit is due, as it's revealed that the World Tree is actually a space elevator. Must have been a mind screw back in the day.

-Motorbikes. I'm fighting robot motorbikes as security drones. The most advanced technology in human history prior to Earth being destroyed and I'm fighting...motorbikes.

Sigh...

-Also, maybe I'm reading too much into this, but the artificial Blades look a bit like angels, and some of the robots inside the World Tree look a bit like angels, and the Architect is basically God, and, well, no-one could accuse Xenoblade of being subtle. 0_0

Anyway, those are the footnotes. The game's still a basic 3/5, but rather because it alternates between being amazing and terrible, sometimes within mere seconds of each other. I want to love it, but I just can't - at best, I can only "like" it. :(
 

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Yakuza Like a Dragon came out for PS+.

In some 45 min. I watched cut scenes followed by some 5 min. of QTE. Given this trailer, I am expecting great things.

 

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The TakeOver (PS4) on Hard mode. This is actually hard and players have to be careful. Enemies move faster and are way more responsive. The game expects you to know how to use the dodge-roll's invincibility frames, and you only get the 1 credit. You can still gain extra lives thankfully, but can't level select. I get the reason why, but the game never tells you this. I found out the hard way when I first got the game on Steam back in 2018.
 
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NerfedFalcon

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In between sessions in Genshin Impact I've been getting back into Streets of Rage 4, trying to learn a character I never really played before, Blaze. I also decided to do this on the Hard difficulty in the story, thinking it'd be fine because I've finished it on Normal before with Axel and gotten some decent results in the survival mode (17 is my best).

This turned out to be a bad idea, because Hard isn't just a minor step up from Normal like I thought it was. You have to take it really seriously to get through each stage, as enemies are significantly more aggressive and their attacks deal serious damage. And since special moves cost more green health, that makes it even more likely that you'll die quickly if you aren't paying attention.

I'm not giving up, but considering that the last couple of stages I only barely made it through on my last life, I'm probably going to need more than one attempt at a few of them, especially since I still don't really get Blaze's combos.
 
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BrawlMan

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I'm not giving up, but considering that the last couple of stages I only barely made it through on my last life, I'm probably going to need more than one attempt at a few of them, especially since I still don't really get Blaze's combos.
Blaze is actually one of the easier characters to learn. She is even easier to pick up and learn compared to Axel. Unlock her alternate blitz attack, forward special, and alternate air forward special, Blaze becomes an outright game breaker. I will say she's even more fun with most of her alternate move sets. Blaze's charge attack is useful, but does not have the transfer damage of Axel's charge kick. She can still multiple enemies at the same time when lined up correctly.

For hardest characters to learn in the game: It's either Floyd, Estel, and a few of the retro characters.
 

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Still working on Outriders, but I also grabbed Cult of the Lamb and its pretty cool so far, good combat, interesting aesthetics and an interesting settlement management system.
 

Bartholen

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I started a new game in XCOM: Enemy Unknown last night. Hadn't played it in years. Yep, still a great game. I picked South America as the base, which completes autopsies and interrogations instantaneously, which turns out speeds up the early game quite a bit. This time I'm going to finish it properly instead of leaving it for 2 years on the last mission because I didn't know I had to equip the psi armor. And then on to XCOM 2, where I've got a bunch of 40k themed mods lined up.
 

meiam

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So I'm traveling atm and I grabbed my old PSP and w/e game I could find. One of those was metal gear acid 2 (never played 1) I remeber trying this game and quitting almost right away, but card based gameplay has become more popular since then and I tried a few so I was wondering if I'd like it more. Nope, very nope.

Okay so first the game is insanely wordy but almost nothing is said, yeah MGS always had crazy long cutscene, but those tend to be packed choke full of exposition and stuff. Acid 2 writiing is just completely pointless. Character are always repeating the same stuff for no reason, the game tries to integrate the gameplay into the lore, but its a fucking card game, so it all comes incredibly awkward. It's also a direct sequel that ditch most of the stuff from the first one, so the first 10 minutes reintroduce character from the first one and explain the events that happened, juts to bench everyone and introduce an entirely different set of character and conflict.

The art is really weird, environment and mechanical stuff looks really good, but character model and artwork portrait are just awful. Snake is the biggest casualty there, he has this weird massive backpack that makes him look like a elementary school kid and some strangely colored hair, like he dyed his hair blonde a few weeks ago and his original color is bleeding trough.

But w/e, gameplay is what matters right? Sadly its all crap, its a turn based tactics card based game, which does not gel well with stealth. You can only take 2 actions every turn, so trying to do any sort of complex sneaking action is a nightmare. Not that it really matters because the game also use RNG to screw you over. Sneak behind someone and try to use a tranq pistol? You'll probably miss, which will just guarantee you'll get found. Not that it matters because character wake up super fast anyway so tranquing them isn't worth the trouble. So all you really do is just rush the objectives, just awkwardly and slowly. There's like 500 cards but 95% are pointless crap, like there's a ton of card that you setup on the ground to give you some kind of bonus, but thats only worth using if you hunker down somewhere and mow enemy down, which you'll notice isn't really compatible with stealth gameplay. So thats mostly what it comes down to, just mow everything down in awkardly turn based combat.
 

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WARCRAFT III

Much as I like to win games, I don't like winning when my opponent is a newb, a noob, or a...I dunno, something else.

I bring this up because I've had a recent state of playing games against opponents who either a) quit, b) clearly didn't know what they were doing, or c) made some bone-headed move that cost them the game. I bring this up because in the case of c), had a case of Sentinels vs. Horde (I was the former), where we basically just ended staring each other down in stalemate for a bit. Then, for some unfathomable reason, he just sent some tauren towards me, unsupported, and triggered a fight. So either a) he didn't know I had a base with guardian protectors, and sort of stumbled into things, or b) he just threw the match.

I mean, I'm glad I won with Sentinels for once, but, well, y'know... :(

WORLD OF WARCRAFT

Still doing the class rotational thing. More than anything, the game excels in its environments, especially at the moments of arrival - Arran Ford on Azuremyst, Darkshore, etc.

Also, alternating between Classic and Burning Crusade Classic, you can really see the shifts in population numbers. Which is good, in theory, just that people in Looking for Group just won't shut the hell up. :(

XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2

Little to say here. It took me over an hour just to progress just a little. Random thoughts include:

-Those bikes I mentioned earlier kind of make sense, actually, given how big the interior of the World Tree is. Still silly as hell, but they've got at least one foot (tyre?) in the realm of reality.

-I don't know how this happened, but using Nia as a Blade seems to have given her a massive boost in XP, to the result that my party's levels range from Rex at 62, to Nia at 67. Which is weird, because Rex is the character you're meant to always have in your party, whereas Nia...fuck, this game has too many choices. I guess that's not bad, but choosing party members and choosing Blades, there's always the nagging feeling that I'm doing something wrong.

-I doubt this was foreshadowing for XC3, but with Nia reflecting on the prospect of living beyond everyone due to being a Flesh Eater, and Poppi reflecting on how she'll outlive Tora...yeah, about that...

-I'm almost certainly reading way too much into this, but okay, I'll talk about Pneuma. Gameplay wise, I think she might be more trouble than she's worth. Her specials are easier to cast, but I'm so used to the "press b to do damage" thing, it doesn't actually give me that much incentive. I assume her specials hit harder than Pyra/Mythra's, but if you use her, as far as I can tell, you're locked in for awhile, so if you want to switch from Rex dealing damage to healing for instance, you kind of just need to wait, and if you CAN switch, then you've wasted a summon. I know that game balance requires her not to destroy everything on screen, but come on, this is meant to be her true, final, most powerful form, the equal of Malos, someone who even as Mythra destroyed three titans five centuries ago, yet motorbike robots are still killing me. :(

On the flipside, in terms of character, again, reading too much into things, but her summons line is arguably telling. Comparing it to Pyra/Mythra, we have:

Pyra: "Maybe this requires a lighter touch."

Mythra: "I was tired of waiting/This is as good as over" (or something similar)

Pneuma: "I won't let you hurt my friends!"

Is it "telling" that the most powerful form of the Aegis is arguably the most compassionate, or am I reading too much into things? Good question. The answer is yes.

-So I took a break from the World Tree and did the heart-to-heart at Fonsett's graveyard. And...God damn it, why is the writing in optional side interactions better than the main storyline? FFS, I actually got me to see PyraxRex as potentially viable, and not...whatever the heck it is a lot of the time (NiaxRex OTP!)

DIABLO IMMORTAL

I delved into Diablo Immortal bit due to my wiki work (long story), enough to the point where I feel I can reasonably comment on what I've played to some extent. To be clear, the current 'games' hierarchy for me is:

Primary: Xenoblade 2
Multiplayer, Primary: World of Warcraft
Multiplayer, Secondary: Warcraft III

But that aside, based on what I've played (up to nearly the end of Ashwold Cemetery), Iz gotz opinionz, so:

-I don't know if I can really call this game an RPG. That isn't a statement of value, it's just an observation. Yes, you gain levels, and yes, you can items, which you can trade in, and customize your character, but even so, it feels more like a hack n' slash with RPG elements than a full-fledged ARPG. Before you say anything, yes, that criticism was levied at Diablo III (a criticism I don't agree with), but here, it reminds me more of something like the Lord of the Rings hack n' slash games. Slaying monsters, gaining levels, upgrading abilities...what's the difference?

-On the flipside, the combat itself is reasonably fun. To be clear, I'm playing as a crusader, but as tempting as it is to say the combat is "click on enemy, hold mouse down,"), the abilities are stuff you need to take into consideration. Honestly, I think DI might have the best combat in the series, rivalled only by D3, at the cost of stripping down of RPG elements.

-In terms of story, things have gotten extremely linear and focused. D1 barely had a story at all, D2's approach was "there's a story, but you need to work on it on your own time," D3 was "here's a story, we're going to tell it to you, but you're free to find out more if you want," DI's approach is "here's stuff that's happening, don't blink or you'll miss it." And as solid as the voice acting is, the actual dialogue and narrative is generic people doing generic things for generic reasons (usually evil). Honestly, the more I write, and reflect, it's clear that, for me, D3 was the sweet spot of the series, while DI goes too far in the direction of streamlining. I guess that's expected, given its nature as a mobile game, but still...

-By extension, it's when you get to explore side content that things get a bit better, such as tracking down members of the Ashwold Guard, seeing how they're traumatized by fighting the undead. Maybe it's because I've been with XC2 for so long that consistently decent, if not great voice acting is an Anu-send, but hey, I appreciate it.

-The lore of the Mad King's Breach makes no sense. Fine. Let's buy that Leoric is revived (again), but if so, why is his body here, and not in the Tirstram Cathedral? Or alternatively, it's taking place in the Plane of the Dead (which some dialogue suggests), in which case, why does the Plane of the Dead look so...not Plane of the Deadish?

-Since it's going to come up, the microtransactions. So far, they haven't been an issue. This isn't to say that there aren't issues with the system, but in the realm of personal experience, while they've been advertised, I've mostly ignored them. Spent about $1.50 on some in-game currency after completing the Breach, that's about it.

So, yeah. Based on what I've played of Immortal so far, it's...fine. It's okay. If I had to rank it now, it would probably be my least favourite Diablo game, but is it the worst game of all time, as the Metacritic bombing would suggest? God no. Chances are I'll give it 'primary' status after XC2, but whatever the case, those are my thoughts as they stand.
 
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Dalisclock

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So I'm traveling atm and I grabbed my old PSP and w/e game I could find. One of those was metal gear acid 2 (never played 1) I remeber trying this game and quitting almost right away, but card based gameplay has become more popular since then and I tried a few so I was wondering if I'd like it more. Nope, very nope.

Okay so first the game is insanely wordy but almost nothing is said, yeah MGS always had crazy long cutscene, but those tend to be packed choke full of exposition and stuff. Acid 2 writiing is just completely pointless.
To be fair, I'm pretty sure the Acid games are considered non-canonical to the main games for reasons such as this.