What are you currently playing?

BrawlMan

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I played Final Fight CD (Japanese version) on Kega Fusion. It's neat how near arcade perfect port this was for the time. The soundtrack is awesome, and the Japanese got the better deal compared to those in the West. The Western releases are still good, but suffer from painfully bad and dull voice acting, a less bad ass intro, slight censorship, and some small details only the Japanese version has. With that said, the gameplay is virtually unchanged and keeps all of the gameplay quirks no matter the region difference. FFCD does slightly worse hit detection and becomes noticeable when adding the rapid-fire button cheat. Can't wait for the SG Mini 2, so I can at least play it on the big screen.
 

NerfedFalcon

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Maybe I'll try out Rogue Legacy 2.
I had a lot of fun playing through it. It's basically one of those sequels that makes the original look like an alpha build; everything from the first game, if you've played it, has been iterated upon and improved. Even the lore is a lot deeper and more interesting.
 
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Drathnoxis

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I had a lot of fun playing through it. It's basically one of those sequels that makes the original look like an alpha build; everything from the first game, if you've played it, has been iterated upon and improved. Even the lore is a lot deeper and more interesting.
It's been a long time since I've played the original but it strikes me as very much the same, but somewhat improved as you say. I can't really say how much, though.

It still has the same sort of problems, though. Replaying the same areas over and over gets a little dull, and since you get stronger every time you die, I start to feel like I'm failing into success and that takes away from a lot of the satisfaction of winning, even though I know that the game is balanced around that.
 

NerfedFalcon

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It's been a long time since I've played the original but it strikes me as very much the same, but somewhat improved as you say. I can't really say how much, though.

It still has the same sort of problems, though. Replaying the same areas over and over gets a little dull, and since you get stronger every time you die, I start to feel like I'm failing into success and that takes away from a lot of the satisfaction of winning, even though I know that the game is balanced around that.
Learning how the layouts generally work is a part of the progression as much as levelling up your character(s) and getting bigger numbers. If you can improve your skills as much as your numbers each run, then you're on a good track.

Also, in case you didn't find them yet, there's a certain NPC who can permanently unlock the teleporters at the entrance to each area once you meet them, so you don't have to run through the early game rooms to get back to your current 'dungeon' if you don't want to.
 
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Bartholen

At age 6 I was born without a face
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Yet another attempt at Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. I was hit with the reason why I hadn't played it since April within literally the first second of entering gameplay: no minimap. And to add insult to injury, there isn't any kind of graphical representation to distinguish important NPCs either. That's especially egregious when there's next to zero visual distinction between filler NPCs and ones that actually matter. So I'm forced to manually scroll over every single fucking one to see if they might have something important going on. Why is a game in the 2020s making me do this? What possible justification is there, beyond some retarded attachment to conventions of the past we deservedly did away with?

I think this might be a Valkyria Chronicles scenario. I just can't bring myself to enjoy this game. I don't give a shit about the story, the characters aren't interesting (based on 4 hrs of gameplay), the combat's crushingly boring when turn-based, and an incomprehensible clusterfuck in real time. The element of attaching hit penalties when shooting at enemies in melee feels especially retarded: what the fuck else am I supposed to be shooting at? 95% of enemies so far are melee fighters, and shooting is literally the only thing my character can do at this point. Oh, and let's not forget that there's no way to measure ranges at all. Why? Why why why whywhywhywhywhywhywhyyyyyyyy????

Fuck it. Honestly, if a game makes me this mad from literally less than half an hour of gameplay, something's seriously wrong. Either with me or the game. Do I have to give myself brain damage to convince myself that yes, archaic design choices from 25 years ago were absolutely right ones and totally not a result of technical limitations of the time? Oh god, it's Dragon Age: Origins all over again!!! Noooooooooo!!!

Divinity: Original Sin 2 gave me the completely wrong idea. I think I actually hate old school CRPGs. I'll give Solasta: Crown of the Magister a shot next, because at least I know how DnD 5e works. Not getting my hopes up though.
 

meiam

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Yet another attempt at Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. I was hit with the reason why I hadn't played it since April within literally the first second of entering gameplay: no minimap. And to add insult to injury, there isn't any kind of graphical representation to distinguish important NPCs either. That's especially egregious when there's next to zero visual distinction between filler NPCs and ones that actually matter. So I'm forced to manually scroll over every single fucking one to see if they might have something important going on. Why is a game in the 2020s making me do this? What possible justification is there, beyond some retarded attachment to conventions of the past we deservedly did away with?

I think this might be a Valkyria Chronicles scenario. I just can't bring myself to enjoy this game. I don't give a shit about the story, the characters aren't interesting (based on 4 hrs of gameplay), the combat's crushingly boring when turn-based, and an incomprehensible clusterfuck in real time. The element of attaching hit penalties when shooting at enemies in melee feels especially retarded: what the fuck else am I supposed to be shooting at? 95% of enemies so far are melee fighters, and shooting is literally the only thing my character can do at this point. Oh, and let's not forget that there's no way to measure ranges at all. Why? Why why why whywhywhywhywhywhywhyyyyyyyy????

Fuck it. Honestly, if a game makes me this mad from literally less than half an hour of gameplay, something's seriously wrong. Either with me or the game. Do I have to give myself brain damage to convince myself that yes, archaic design choices from 25 years ago were absolutely right ones and totally not a result of technical limitations of the time? Oh god, it's Dragon Age: Origins all over again!!! Noooooooooo!!!

Divinity: Original Sin 2 gave me the completely wrong idea. I think I actually hate old school CRPGs. I'll give Solasta: Crown of the Magister a shot next, because at least I know how DnD 5e works. Not getting my hopes up though.
So the pathfinder game aren't worth playing except if you really enjoy doing character build which i where the game really shine (embarrassingly enough that has almost nothing to do with the developer themselves since its just importing the stuff from tabletop). But with 40+ class, each with 4+ subclass, there's so much customization that you can spend hours just trying build out. But big problem with that is that class aren't balanced at all (especially because of the way the dev implemented the PnP system) and you often end up making the same class over and over again (like almost every wis/cha melee class end up taking a level in monk). But yeah, the story isn't that great, character aren't particularly likable, the few system that are original to the game (like the HoMM clone portion) are pretty terrible and the combat swing between extremely frustrating at high difficulty to trivial at lower diff (which completely negate the advatanges of the class system).

If you want to try some more I'd give pillar of eternity 2 a shoot or underrail (that one is a bit more fallout).
 

Bartholen

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But yeah, the story isn't that great
This is one of the biggest problems for me. I could see myself getting used to the systems if the story was at least interesting (Divinity Original Sin 2 has a quite high learning curve for example), but it's just not. Within 10 minutes of starting the game a giant demon lord attacks, decapitates a dragon, and lays waste to the city with a demonic incursion. Within the hour the player character is declared chosen of the gods or some shit. And after all of that I'm supposed to be invested in going to some library in the city ruins? I don't give a shit about the library, I've barely had time to get to know anything! How am I supposed to be invested in saving a city I got to see one market square of for a whole 10 minutes before everything blew up? And the game's basically blown its load at that point by obviously showing what I'm going to be fighting against at the end. As a DM myself I couldn't imagine starting a 3-year campaign by just showing the final BBEG in the first session. It'd be like if in Elden Ring Godfrey was in the very first area, going "Hi, I'm going to be the second to last boss you'll be fighting 100 hours from now."

Going off on a bit of a ramble here, but I keep thinking back to Div:OriSin 2, a game I love to bits. That starts with a big action sequence as well, with a Kraken attacking the ship you're on, and the entire plot revolves around all the characters being basically chosen ones. The difference lies in the fact that neither of these are explained the minute they're introduced. The Kraken doesn't go "I'M PART OF THE BIG BAD GUY'S PLAN AND AM GOING TO SHOW UP IN THE FINAL FIGHT". It can take double digits' worth of gameplay before you get to use your god powers, and even then it's very minor. Whereas in Wrath of the Righteous it feels like things are spelled out explicitly right out of the gate, with no ambiguity or mystery. For a lot of the game there isn't even a central antagonist, but lots of smaller ones, which builds a naturally ramping sense of escalation. And when the true final antagonist is revealed, it's someone the game's been building up since the very beginning as the baddest evilest mofo of all time, so it doesn't come out of left field.

One question though: Does Pillars of Eternity have a turn-based option? Because there are few gameplay systems I loathe more than real time with pause.
 
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meiam

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One question though: Does Pillars of Eternity have a turn-based option? Because there are few gameplay systems I loathe more than real time with pause.
Not pillar of eternity 1 but 2 does. 2 is technically a direct sequel, but it doesn't matter that much since the setting is different and the main quest isn't the focal point of the story.
 
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Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Prodius has more new content then I kinda expected. The new levels are pretty cool, there are certainly some bullshit fights, which for me, makes the checkpoint system worse, but I already talked about that. The new weapons run the gamut between really good and somewhat worthless, but still haven't gotten the last 2 energy weapons yet. I think I'm almost at the end, at least I have a stage with a pentagram on it, which is new and looks bossish to me.

Beat Return to Monkey Island, still trying to sort out my thoughts about it.
 

Bedinsis

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I started playing Crusader Kings II again. I'm doing a run as Ethiopian Jews with the end goal of restoring Israel via decision. So far I've reached the state that all ck2 runs eventually reach, where you've grown so big that it's more a chore than a challenge to keep track of everything. I also have the majority of the territory required for forming Israel, just a few more wars and the challenge is completed.
 

laggyteabag

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I recently picked up a Steam Deck, so I tried out the free Aperture Desk Job thing, which is effectively a tech demo for the Steam Deck, and honestly, I wasn't really impressed.

Sure, it does its job demonstrating all of the bells and whistles of the deck, but this being set in the Portal universe, I guess I just expected the writing to be... better?

In the end, I only spent about 30 minutes on this, but I still felt disappointed.

Im still amazed that they got JK Simmons back for what is effectively a tech demo, though.

Otherwise, Ive been playing Borderlands 1 again, on the Steam Deck. And this game is kind of difficult to recommend. The story can be summed up in a sentence. The characters and writing are almost nonexistent. The gameplay loop, whilst very innovative in 2009, has been replicated in equal quality, or drastically improved on, by just about anyone else who has tried. In a world where Borderlands 2 exists, Borderlands 1 just feels... redundant, at this point.

Still, it is decently fun enough, and it plays well on the Deck, and I have never played any of the DLCs, so onwards I go.
 
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Bartholen

At age 6 I was born without a face
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Otherwise, Ive been playing Borderlands 1 again, on the Steam Deck. And this game is kind of difficult to recommend. The story can be summed up in a sentence. The characters and writing are almost nonexistent. The gameplay loop, whilst very innovative in 2009, has been replicated in equal quality, or drastically improved on, by just about anyone else who has tried. In a world where Borderlands 2 exists, Borderlands 1 just feels... redundant, at this point.
Yup, that's a pretty accurate assessment of the main game at least. BL2 improved so much on just about every aspect of the game that the first one is now effectively obsolete. But I do think it's still worth playing once for the DLCs. Zombie Island alone is a marked improvement on the environment design, atmosphere and the storytelling. Moxxi's DLC you can skip, but General Knoxx is genuinely funny, and so is Claptrap's Robot Revolution.
 

Drathnoxis

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Finished Rogue Legacy 2. It was a decent game, but, like it's predecessor, not a great roguelike. Runs have very little to differentiate them aside from the layout of rooms you encounter and your starting class and traits. You find trinkets occasionally on runs but you can't really hold more than 1 or 2 without crippling yourself and the benefits they provide are not really gamechangers. Yes an extra 10% on critical hit chance is nice, but isn't really shaking up the run.

Traits are mostly annoyances that you put up with for higher gold gain and some like One Hit Wonder are so crippling as to be worthless. The worst aspect of the game is actually the character selection. You get a choice of 3 characters of random class and traits, and this is pretty much the worst idea ever. The game is actually really demanding in skill so you need to rely on muscle memory to make it through some of the bosses and tough enemies, you can't do that if you get a random selection of 3 out of 20 classes to choose from, some of which are likely to be rendered unplayable by traits. I pretty much got to the point where I was comfortable playing as Duelist and didn't even want to try a run as anything else. Thankfully you do eventually get the option to lock an option as a specific class, but it's kind of unnecessarily hidden. You can also purchase upgrades that allow you to re-roll and add additional choices, but they are kind of absurdly expensive.

I still don't really like the upgrade system. I always feel guilty spending gold because it feels like cheating. Every time you die you make the game easier on yourself. Granted, the game is really difficult at default and the upgrades don't have much of an effect, though I'm sure people have beat it with no deaths or upgrades like the first game. I was level 108 when the credits rolled and I still died to the final boss 50 times. Overall there are about 5000 levels of things to upgrade and I was probably a couple million gold short. This is the kind of game that expects you to complete it a hundred times, but I'm definitely not going to do that. I might spend a little while optimizing my gold gain, because I also feel like I never engaged with the upgrade tree. I don't know, the whole thing is just relatively unsatisfying. You always feel like you aren't making any progress on upgrades, the upgrades aren't helping very much, and you are cheating by doing so because it's an action game. I felt the same way when I played the first game.

The story is not well told. There is lore, that's all that can be said.

Overall it may be an improvement over the first game, but it doesn't do enough to get it out of the range of 'decent.' Honestly, for a game with Rogue right in the title, I almost think it would be improved by dropping the roguelite aspects and just being a metroidvania.

Next, I'm thinking about going back to Darkest Dungeon. I found that game to be overall quite frustrating, but it's been haunting me for these past 5 years and I feel the need to put it to rest. I played it on the original mode last time, but I think I will play the radiant mode this time and see if it's any more bearable. Also I'll look and see if I can install a mod to increase the walking speed in dungeons.
 

Dalisclock

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Finished Return to Monkey Island. Overall one of the better Monkey Island games, though I still think 2 is the best. It's not without flaw and some of the puzzles are a little annoying. It is clearly a labor of love on the part of Ron Gilbert and some of the original MI alumni and I very much appreciate that.

Probably the most controversial bit will be the ending and I'm putting the rest of this in spoilers because it does matter.

The whole thing comes back around to the ending of Monkey Island 2 once again, with guybrush following Lechuck(who has taken the secret) though a giant copy protection code wheel puzzle under the Monkey head and arriving once more in that Back Alley on Melee. Except this time it's in an animatronic set of the Melee Island high street where the secret can be grabbed from a cardboard cutout Lechuck. And of course, Ron trolls us one more time with "I found the Secret of Monkey Island and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt" as the secret itself. But beyond that, Guybrush leaves the amusement park with Elaine, turning off the lights as he goes, where it goes back to the frame story one more time where his son tells him the ending is silly and you get respond in a number of ways that don't matter much before guybrush takes another moment in self reflection of his life and stories before joining his family.

It's very meta and doubles down on the wierd surrealism of MI2's ending while also more or less saying "It's all a theme park for you to have fun in" or in this case, guybrush to have fun in. The secret doesn't matter and really, the game has been implying this pretty much the entire time. It's also thematically about guybrush having a midlife crisis in his recollections of his youth and glory, and no doubt reflects how Ron Gilbert feels as well coming back to this series 30 years later. And the game does kinda let you read the end how you want to, implying the stories might have happened or might not have, but guybrush is an unreliable narrator and the stories are colored by how he wants to remember them.

Would I have preferred something a little more concrete, sure. But I'm not mad either, because this series never really took itself seriously and was always basically a digital pirate theme park with a tendency to wink at the camera because it's all about having fun. Even if the stories were never "real" and guybrush was just telling outlandish stories the entire time, I mean, they were always silly pirate stories in the form of computer games. And I'm okay with that.

I totally understand if someone felt let down or cheated though.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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So I finally played ABZU which has been sitting in my PS+ library for the better part of the year and yeah, this game is one of those Journey-like experiences, but now water themed. And I really ended up liking it. Some of the sequences make me feel like it would be absolutely amazing if done in VR. Like, I already had warm fuzzies from some of it as it is, with having what seems like thousands of fish swirling around you in a sort of cyclone school.

It controls beautifully too, with just the right balance of playability and “water” physics to the movement. It helps that you really don’t need any precision in the game, as interactive objects are highlighted upon approaching their general vicinity. There really isn’t even a fail state AFAIK, and just as with games like Journey and Flower, Giant Squid did a wonderful job of emphasizing this through the game’s pleasant model of progression.

Rather exceptional for a freshman effort from this new indie studio, and seeing they’ve since gained another game under their belt (Pathless) I’ll be looking for that soon as well.
 
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Johnny Novgorod

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Finished Astalon: Tears of the Earth. It's probably the most recent game to join my nebulous Top 10 of Metroidvanias. Haven't had this much fun with one since Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and The Messenger before it. These games are just so fantastic at letting you discover all the cool fun stuff inside.
 
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Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Beat Prodius. I was right, that was the last level and it was kinda anti-climatic, especially considering the levels leading up to it. Still had 4 empty weapon slots at the end. I would recommend it, but the amount of content they added since it entered early access was surprisingly small. I mean some of the levels are really really cool, but it feels like the game started with over 50% of the stages and weapons, before being in early access for like 2 years. It certainly feels like that is just episode 1, so hopefully more will come soon, but I will feel a bit ripped off if they charge for the next episode. For boomershooter goodness I still think that 'Turbo Overkill' and 'Ultrakill' are the reigning champs of the new old category, but if you are looking for a good old school style fps you can't go wrong with Prodius.
 

laggyteabag

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Its not so much what am I playing, but more what am I playing on: The Steam Deck.

It is basically a dream come true. I love my Switch, and the Steam Deck is effectively the Switch Pro that I have been waiting for. And the fact that I already have 600+ games for it, through the Steam library that I have been slowly adding to over the last decade+, makes it well worth the asking price.

Another thing that I have noticed, is that I am far less picky about the games that I am playing. If I have to go upstairs, sit at my desk, and remove myself from my family life, I need to be 100% committed to whatever game I am playing, because that is my sole activity. On the Steam deck, I can be wherever I want, and the deck is powerful enought to play more or less whatever I want, and because I don't need to be 100% engaged all of the time to feel like I am not wasting my time, I can play those games with the slower moments, because I am also spending time with my partner, or binge watching some light TV, whilst I am mindlessly clearing out some sidequests in Borderlands - and it is honestly really freeing.

And the same must be said for my brother, who has a child. He got his Steam Deck the day before mine, and previously, seeing him on a game was a rarity. Now, I am seeing him playing Skyrim, or Rebel Galaxy, or whatever else he never had time for before. Im pretty sure that he has played more games in the past 2 days, than in the past few months combined.

10/10, would recommend.
 

Kyrian007

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Otherwise, Ive been playing Borderlands 1 again, on the Steam Deck. And this game is kind of difficult to recommend. The story can be summed up in a sentence. The characters and writing are almost nonexistent. The gameplay loop, whilst very innovative in 2009, has been replicated in equal quality, or drastically improved on, by just about anyone else who has tried. In a world where Borderlands 2 exists, Borderlands 1 just feels... redundant, at this point. Still, it is decently fun enough, and it plays well on the Deck, and I have never played any of the DLCs, so onwards I go.
Yup, that's a pretty accurate assessment of the main game at least. BL2 improved so much on just about every aspect of the game that the first one is now effectively obsolete. But I do think it's still worth playing once for the DLCs. Zombie Island alone is a marked improvement on the environment design, atmosphere and the storytelling. Moxxi's DLC you can skip, but General Knoxx is genuinely funny, and so is Claptrap's Robot Revolution.
I can't really disagree with much, but the one thing the original did better... was almost a game breaking difference for me. The feel of the guns and the sound design. Shooting in BL1 was really satisfying, and the heavy wham of the revolver being fired was just brilliant sound design. Then I played BL2. Every gun, even shotguns and revolvers make these weak, polite cough sounds and there is just no feel at all like an explosion has just propelled hot lead. 2 was better in just about every other category, very true. But with even competent sound design, it could have been great. An all-time classic. As it is, it is just a very good co-operative shooter.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Started playing The Witness, and well…I’m wondering if the whole game is going to basically be walking through these lame puzzles that involve dragging a cursor through pseudo circuitry. If so I think I’d rather just watch the story online and pick up Pathless sooner than planned.