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Johnny Novgorod

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Absolver

It's the fighting game the Sifu people made before Sifu. I'm enjoying it, up to a point. I don't really understand the combat deck building system or how combos flow from one stance to another. Either I've lucked out so far (beat the dual bosses in just a few tries) or the game doesn't really need it, even though that's the whole point. Actually it feels like I've stumbled on online PVP game, since you get 'invaded' frequently ala Dark Souls. It was getting annoying so I went offline and now the world is eerily empty. Maybe PVP is the whole point but I'm just not into that.
 
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Hawki

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So I beat Diablo Immortal.

To be clear, when I say "beat," it means finishing the core questline. There's plenty of more stuff to do, and presumably more zones will be added over time, but I'm counting this as "beat."

I debated how long to make this post for a variety of reasons, but I've decided to sum up my thoughts as succintly as possible:

STORY

-In terms of delivery, this is a mix between Diablo III (linear, set plot) with Diablo I/II (where the actual meat of the plot is in optional content). Honestly, I really don't think it works - the zones aren't long enough to give you enough 'meat,' and the side 'meat,' as far as I can tell, is even harder to get, since you're relying on bounties and side quests to flesh stuff out, while the main plot blazes through (or would, if not for level gating).

-That being said, there's plenty of good delivery of said plot, be it in cinematics (e.g. when the camera pans over Hell, which is probably the best depiction so far in the series), in voice acting (since we're dealing with small figures, I guess it has to be), or various other elements (e.g. Skarn's a fairly solid protagonist, especially in the "nice job breaking it hero" moment). However, it kind of has the worst of both worlds.

-Also, the plot has a severe pacing problem between Bilefen and Mount Zavain. Everything up to the end of Bilefen is fairly contiguous, but then the plot just "stops" to introduce the Shadows and Immortals (even if you don't want to join either faction, this is still compulsory), then you destroy the Worldstone shards you've collected in Westmarch, then Cain is "BTW, I've detected the next shard at Mount Zavain, go do your thing." While it's technically the same plot, it feels like the overall story is split into two halves in the same game.

GAMEPLAY

-DI has some things going for it in gameplay - its moment-to-moment combat is on par with Diablo III, and it probably has the best boss fights in the series, including some absolutely bonkers moments, including where you're swallowed by a giant worm and have to destroy its heart as part of said boss fight (granted, Gears 2 did that over a decade ago). Also, in terms of raw "stuff," this almost certainly comes first.

-The downside to this, however, is that DI is clearly designed to be played for bites at a time. This is reflected in level gating (where you literally can't progress in the main quest until you reach a certain level), the limit on no. of activities you can do a day, and the way the levelling system works. As in, the game has a battle pass system where completing odd tasks will get you battle points, and raising your battle pass level also buffs your character level. The result is that the normal levelling experience is skewed in favour of these odd tasks moreso (at least to an extent) than standard means of levelling.

-Also, the monsters have level scaling. I can sort of understand this, considering that each zone is fairly tiny and designed to be returned to multiple times, and in fairness, some zones do become easier over time, but I've never liked level scaling, and I don't like it here.

-This isn't a criticism per se, but I'm not even sure if this should be classified as an RPG, but rather, a hack n' slash with RPG elements.

-Ultimately, I could sum this up as "wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle."

MONETIZATION

-Since I'd be remiss if I didn't bring this up, the monetization of the game didn't actually bother me that much. Or, at least, didn't bother me in the ways you might think. Because on one hand, people can, and have, spent inordinate amounts of time dissecting the monetization system, but on a practical level, it didn't really affect me. I played the Battleground once, got slaughtered, so the people there may have paid to win, they might not have, but that was really about it in that realm.

-What did bother me is the more subtle ways the monetization fed into things. I can't prove this, but remember what I said about the level gating, and the way levelling works? Couple that with the battle pass system itself (where the paid track gets you extra goodies), to the side activities (e.g. it wants you to spend time in Rifts, and if you're spending time in Rifts, you'll want crests, and if you want good crests, there's certain...things you can do to get better crests), plus everything else, there's this feeling that the game's intentionally being held back to encourage you to hedge your bets. For the record, I bought a few bundles after beating bosses that nagged me some stuff, but the bundles steadily increased over time, so once it reached the $5 AUD mark, I called quits.

OVERALL

I'm still extremely mixed about Diablo Immortal. To start with, the whole review bombing thing? No. Just no - there's no way this is the worst game of all time, it's not even the worst monetized game I've ever played (that would be NOVA, in case you're wondering), but on one hand, there's stuff that Diablo Immortal does that's honestly better than any other game in the series. It has the most "stuff" (in terms of side content), it has the best boss fights, it arguably has the best combat, and it's actually nothing short of astounding that a mobile game is this good at all. For the record, I played it on PC, but the point still stands.

HOWEVER...all of what I said above comes with all these frustrations. It's clearly meant to be played in bite-sized sessions, which hinders progression, the monetization is avoidable in theory, but still results in lots of little niggles, RPG elements are gimped, and as an interquel between D2 & D3, it's not only disposable in terms of plot, it arguably outright harms the lore given certain occurrences in said plot. In another timeline, DI could have been a full-fledged game with all of the good and none of the bad, but alas, we don't live in that timeline.

So. Weakest game in the Diablo series (for now), in no way deserving of the level of hate it got, but it's still fundamentally flawed. Even if you removed every P2W aspect, there'd still be flaws. But by no means a bad game either.

(Wow, didn't I say something about this being succinct?)
 

Old_Hunter_77

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Asassin's Creed Origins

After a whole chunk of indy games, I felt like losing myself in a huge open world easy map icon game but didn't want to pay for it or pay for it again. Since Immortal Fenyx turned me off with its Breath of the Wild-ness, I figured what the heck and am replaying Origins. AC games are my "good bad" games where I see their weaknesses but I just enjoy killing time in these beautiful settings.
Revisiting Egypt on my camel and smashing people with a big mace is still fun.

What I find weird is how perfect I think the character rendering is. I kind of think that with Odyssey it even got a little TOO good, uncanney valley if I'm using that term right. Bayek and Aya and the most satisfying video game characters to watch.

Stealth is annoying- I mean, it's always annoying, but I don't remember it being quite THIS bad though where the guards just randomly climb stuff so planning a sneak is impossible so yeah I'm just stabbing everything *shrugs*
 

hanselthecaretaker

My flask is half full
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Asassin's Creed Origins

After a whole chunk of indy games, I felt like losing myself in a huge open world easy map icon game but didn't want to pay for it or pay for it again. Since Immortal Fenyx turned me off with its Breath of the Wild-ness, I figured what the heck and am replaying Origins. AC games are my "good bad" games where I see their weaknesses but I just enjoy killing time in these beautiful settings.
Revisiting Egypt on my camel and smashing people with a big mace is still fun.

What I find weird is how perfect I think the character rendering is. I kind of think that with Odyssey it even got a little TOO good, uncanney valley if I'm using that term right. Bayek and Aya and the most satisfying video game characters to watch.

Stealth is annoying- I mean, it's always annoying, but I don't remember it being quite THIS bad though where the guards just randomly climb stuff so planning a sneak is impossible so yeah I'm just stabbing everything *shrugs*
I’m kinda doing this with RDR2 on PC here and there. I’ve already played the hell out of the PS4 version both story mode and online, so it’s nice to play without any real aim here…just wandering and doing whatever suits me, ignoring most of the actual story. In between my unplayed backlog it’s a good nightcap type of game to chillax with and make house rules for. Like so far I’m staying in Chapter 2, leaving Micah in jail and ignoring all of Strauss’s lending missions. Makes for an interesting dynamic within those boundaries. Still finding new discoveries here and there too.
 
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Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
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I’m kinda doing this with RDR2 on PC here and there. I’ve already played the hell out of the PS4 version both story mode and online, so it’s nice to play without any real aim here…just wandering and doing whatever suits me, ignoring most of the actual story. In between my unplayed backlog it’s a good nightcap type of game to chillax with and make house rules for. Like so far I’m staying in Chapter 2, leaving Micah in jail and ignoring all of Strauss’s lending missions. Makes for an interesting dynamic within those boundaries. Still finding new discoveries here and there too.
Too bad there's no way to Leave Micah in jail forever and still finish the game.
 

hanselthecaretaker

My flask is half full
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Too bad there's no way to Leave Micah in jail forever and still finish the game.
TASTE THE MANGOS, ARTHUR!!

Really though, it’s sorta crazy to think that Micah’s non existence in the prequel would’ve basically retconned the original game. Truly a can’t live with him, can’t live without him brand of scoundrel.
 
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NerfedFalcon

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Been getting back into Slay the Spire lately after watching about a thousand hours of professional StS players on Twitch. At least all that time wasn't wasted, because I have learned enough about the game from watching the top-level players play it that the Ascension level I currently have unlocked feels really easy. Since I spent most of my time playing it myself without going to even Ascension 1 (of 20), it's going to take a while from here to even get close to that level, but based on my progress so far I feel like I can probably do it if I keep at it.

Also managed to finally reach the credits of Hades, still a long way from full completion of that too.

And I'm keeping up with Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which is still a really good game, but there's one thing about it that I don't like, and that's that you can't restart a level without quitting out to the world map (through a loading screen) and then returning to the level (through another loading screen). Which especially sucks against bosses when you're trying to get the 'clear without taking damage' objective, or the 'clear in a certain time limit' objective with no timer visible on the screen. But honestly, that's a pretty minor nitpick, and I've said so much about it because there's not much else bad to say about it. It's just really fun to play, and it feels just like the rest of the series despite the perspective shift because it's so well designed around it.
 

NerfedFalcon

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Radiant Silvergun just got a Switch port, and now that I'm awake again after the Direct, I'm going to immediately buy it because I've wanted to play it for a pretty long time.
 
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BrawlMan

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Radiant Silvergun just got a Switch port, and now that I'm awake again after the Direct, I'm going to immediately buy it because I've wanted to play it for a pretty long time.
If you thought Ikaruga was tough....my God! Ikaruga is Easy Mode compared to Radiant Silvergun.

 

NerfedFalcon

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If you thought Ikaruga was tough....my God! Ikaruga is Easy Mode compared to Radiant Silvergun.
Yeah, that's pretty much the experience I've had with it. Getting through the first stage of Ikaruga is fairly easy even if you've never played it, as long as you don't expect to get a good score rank. So far, the best I've done in Silvergun in a couple of attempts is the boss of 3-C on Normal [for the uninitiated, Stage 3 is the first one], with continues.

So here's what I've seen of it so far:
-There's a lot of options in the menus, though most of the gameplay options are set after you choose 'Single Player' and the game mode. The two modes available are 'Arcade' and 'Story', as expected.
-In Arcade mode, you get 3 continues per credit, though you don't get to save a local high score if you continue. In Story mode you get no continues, but can save your weapon levels for the next attempt, and also there's voice acting telling a story that makes no sense.
-Both of these modes also have a separate 'Score Attack' and 'Training' mode to the 'normal play'. In Score Attack, you don't get to choose your starting lives or extra life threshold, only the difficulty (from Very Easy to Very Hard), but you can send your score to an online leaderboard. In Training, you can choose a stage segment, weapon power, and even various levels of slowdown, but you can only practice a segment that you've reached in the main mode.
-All 7 weapons can be assigned separate buttons, or you can combine the Vulcan/Homing/Spread buttons to use different weapons.
-The Switch version doesn't have Ikaruga Mode from the X360 version, as far as I can tell.
 
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BrawlMan

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In Story mode you get no continues, but can save your weapon levels for the next attempt, and also there's voice acting telling a story that makes no sense.
Actually, the story makes sense the more you play it. It's confusing at first....because you are so preoccupied with not dying!!! I can't blame you. The more you play and the better you do. Ooooorrrrrrrrrr look up a deathless run/read up on the wiki, then it all makes sense. Big Spoilers here: The player characters are stuck in a neve ending time loop caused by the Stone Like Being! It does all this because of MAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!! Another spoiler: Ikaruga takes place in a period where you are able to stop the time loop, thus ending the cycle for good.
 
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FakeSympathy

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I played more AC Origin.

And I think there are more reasons why I prefer this over Odyssey or Valhalla.
  • Nothing feels bloated or overwhelming. The zones and the activities within them are more manageble to explore
  • This game actually feels narratively approriate to the AC franchise. Odyssey and Valhalla both feel like RPG first, then AC games second in terms of story
  • I certainly prefer my protagonist to have a default gender in an AC game. I would've loved the game all the same, if not more, if I was primarily playing as Aya instead of Bayek.
 

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
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I played more AC Origin.

And I think there are more reasons why I prefer this over Odyssey or Valhalla.
  • Nothing feels bloated or overwhelming. The zones and the activities within them are more manageble to explore
  • This game actually feels narratively approriate to the AC franchise. Odyssey and Valhalla both feel like RPG first, then AC games second in terms of story
  • I certainly prefer my protagonist to have a default gender in an AC game. I would've loved the game all the same, if not more, if I was primarily playing as Aya instead of Bayek.

Fun fact: apparently Aya was supposed to be the main character which is why she feels like she has more impact then we actually see. Apparently since ubi suits killed her being the lead because "Women don't sell"
 

NerfedFalcon

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The furthest I've gotten into Radiant Silvergun so far is 3-E, the final segment of the first level. I've managed to cross 1 million points as well, but I can't do that consistently yet, and I usually start dying around 3-C, in the tiny tunnel of turrets. I'm pretty sure I know how you're supposed to keep your chain through it, at least, but I don't think I have the skills yet to do that and not die. And since dying breaks your chain anyway, I've just been blasting everything through most of the level and hoping for the best.

I've alsofinally gotten enough upgrades and knowledge of enough evolutions to start making good progress in Vampire Survivors; I'm still not clearing the early levels every run, but I am getting decent times and the occasional W. Also found the first Coffin, along with the map that leads to the others.
 
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Bartholen

At age 6 I was born without a face
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Another sub-5% completion rate achievement reached in Slay the Spire: "Common sense". It requires you to complete the game with a deck with no uncommon or rare cards. It was actually really easy, I don't think it took even 5 attempts. Since restricting yourself to common cards locks you out of most builds, it's much easier to focus on the cards that matter. I went for a "Strike" build, and got lucky with a couple of artifacts. Perhaps the most "difficult" moment was when I accidentally picked an event that gave me two uncommon cards, but those were easily removed.
 
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XsjadoBlayde

Intersectional Multidimensional Pansexual Alliance
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Little Orpheus. Chinese room's latest is a take on the "keep pressing right to complete game" genre, officially now coined "cinematic platformer" according to recent observations made by my infallible eyes. It's a hollow-earth classic adventure intentionally cribbing from those old movies where stop-motion was their only method of CGI effects. Buuuuuuut this time we're Russians! Or, well...people with slightly iffy Russian accents at least. Still, it's a pleasing difference. The problem is the first hint of gameplay was a bloody environmental box moving "puzzle" to help you reach a high ledge. God damnit, you could've gone with anything and you picked the most hack default videogame obstacle there has ever been? Hollow earth dinosaurs on their own ain't gonna cut it mate, this is not a promising first impression. Also the jumping feels a tad weightless. But otherwise inoffensive casual time killer.
 
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Dalisclock

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Little Orpheus. Chinese room's latest is a take on the "keep pressing right to complete game" genre, officially now coined "cinematic platformer" according to recent observations made by my infallible eyes. It's a hollow-earth classic adventure intentionally cribbing from those old movies where stop-motion was their only method of CGI effects. Buuuuuuut this time we're Russians! Or, well...people with slightly iffy Russian accents at least. Still, it's a pleasing difference. The problem is the first hint of gameplay was a bloody environmental box moving "puzzle" to help you reach a high ledge. God damnit, you could've gone with anything and you picked the most hack default videogame obstacle there has ever been? Hollow earth dinosaurs on their own ain't gonna cut it mate, this is not a promising first impression. Also the jumping feels a tad weightless. But otherwise inoffensive casual time killer.
I'm amused that the MC name in that game is Ivan Ivanovich, which apparently is just the Russian version of John Johnson.
 
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meiam

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So me and my group are looking for some sort of open world survival game to play, we've already done some 7 days to die, ark and Valheim. Any suggestion? Ideally something that can be played with people of different skill and commitment level with some sort of objective rather than just build giant house and isn't too early access (do these game ever release anyway?). No PvP, we usually just run dedicated server.
 

BrawlMan

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I did another online session on Hyperstone. Did not go as good as the last one. I joined the lobby, and the person does not know how to use Raph. I was playing as Mikey this time. The host ended up using all of their continues, so I had to finish the game around the end of the last stage before Super Shredder. Raph is a Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon; you have to be on the constant move and know when and not to attack. A heads up: for the best online sessions, have the frame rate delay number at either 7 or 8. That way you will rarely or never get a stutter.