Author Topic: Finished playing...  (Read 117317 times)

Marco

  • Three Rivers Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6643
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #585 on: April 18, 2018, 09:17:52 AM »
Far Cry 3 (not Blood Dragon yet), because I remembered that it was in my Steam library when Far Cry 5 came out.  I spent 36 hours on it.

Compared to Far Cry 2, this game introduces more non-immersive UI elements (fast travel, detection indicators, the ability to mark enemies with a camera and keep track of them, etc.) and some light open-world gameplay reminiscent of Just Cause 2.  Outside of the main storyline, you can climb radio towers to unlock map segments, murder all of the enemies in an outpost to unlock a fast travel point, or hunt down collectables.  The game rewards stealth, but you can also do reasonably well with sniping or a commando approach.  The in-game economy is moderately interesting, though you do eventually run out of things to spend money on.

I found the storyline to be relentlessly misogynistic, and didn't find the main character sympathetic at all.  It did have its entertaining moments.  Visuals and sound design are pretty good for a game of its day.

Random side note: this is the only FPS game I've played which allows you to slide down steep hills without taking falling damage.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 05:11:29 PM by Marco »

Winston

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1124
  • RPing since 1976
    • Argothald
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #586 on: April 18, 2018, 02:06:24 PM »
Life is Strange

I like Telltale-style games: Video-game stories that evolve as you make decisions throughout the game. Most of the games I’ve played in this genre are based on major commercial properties: Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Back to the Future.

Life is Strange, published by Square Enix, is based on an original concept. You play Max Caulfield, a teenage high-school student in a Northwestern town. Within the first ten minutes of playing the game, you (and she) discover that you have the ability to rewind time.

This a significant ability in a story-telling game. Normally, once you make a decision you’re stuck with it for the rest of the game. In Life is Strange, if you don’t like the result of a choice you can rewind and play it again. This lets you look through all the dialog options with the other characters and make informed decisions for how you’d like a scene to play out. You can also use the rewind ability to solve puzzles, since items you pick up go back in time with you, and you return to the spot where you started the rewind.

Life is Strange‘s story falls into the “magical realism” category: Apart from the rewind ability, Max’s life is grounded in the real world reality of living as a typical mis-understood teenager. Max deals with career choices, making friends, fellow students who are dealing with depression, suicide, and drug use.

This leads to my one source of dissatisfaction with the game: it spends a lot of time dealing with teenage-style angst issues. It seems like a waste of time when there’s a potential murder to solve and hints that a disaster is coming that could wipe out the town.

The game has other rough spots: There were a couple of locations where I spent a lot of time wandering around looking for items that were hard to see on the screen, often for tasks whose only purpose was to resolve an unimportant plot point that the game wouldn’t let me skip.

Overall, I liked the game. It was a change of pace from the over-the-top fantasy action games I usually play. It shows there’s a place in the videogame world for human stories.
Bill Seligman
Alliance: Winston, Yungi, Pellinore, Tebyalyublyu, Theadora, Vasili, Winella, Winstonia
Horde: Grotar, Swiftslice

Marco

  • Three Rivers Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6643
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #587 on: April 21, 2018, 05:19:56 PM »
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon.  This short game simplifies the Far Cry 3 systems somewhat: there's no crafting or inventory, you don't choose your upgrades when you level up, and there's only one weapon in each class and one kind of syringe (healing).  As Vylin noted back in 2013, the visual filter does make the game less attractive; the music and sound design is good, though.  The storyline is deliberately hokey and frequently amusing.  I was completionist about this game (hunting down all of the collectables and buying all of the weapon upgrades) and it took me eleven hours.

Marco

  • Three Rivers Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6643
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #588 on: May 03, 2018, 07:55:56 AM »
Binding of Isaac (5 hours).  An interesting game, but punishing rogue-lites aren't really my cup of tea.  Also, I don't have Rebirth, so there's no native controller support, and I'm not sure what I think of playing a twin-stick shooter on a keyboard.  I played until I was good enough to have half-hour games instead of five-minute games, but never got all that close to a win.

Dishonored, non-violent (29 hours).  This is a pretty good amalgam of Bioshock and Deus Ex/Metal Gear Solid/Thief.  Several other people here have reviewed this; I agree that the setting and atmosphere are good, but the story is predictable (and I would add, kind of misogynistic in a fashion typical of many games).  The controls were pretty good on PC.  I plan to do a violent playthrough; Gwyddyon had interesting commentary on doing so, and I don't expect to have much to add to that.

Snique

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1868
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #589 on: May 16, 2018, 02:15:03 PM »
XCom 2: War of the Chosen

This is the highly anticipated expansion for the XCom 2 game. It adds three NPC factions from which you can recruit, adds three unique and very powerful enemies (the Chosen of the title) and gives a bit more to do in the form of covert actions. The core gameplay is untouched, which is both a good and a bad thing. When Long War came out it completely overhauled the previous XCom and I (like others) was hoping this would be a similar upgrade. It's not bad in any way, but it's not the added level of depth and complexity I was hoping for.

If you like XCom it's worth getting this expansion and playing through again. I haven't tried the new challenge mode nor multiplayer, just did a single playthrough on medium difficulty to get a feel for it. There's a lot here, but unless you're as much of a fanatic as I am it's probably not worth the full $40 price. Picking it up on sale is a better bargain.

Normally I'd sink a ton more hours into it, but I have so many other things in my library that I haven't even started... well.

Marco

  • Three Rivers Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6643
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #590 on: May 19, 2018, 07:03:53 PM »
Shadow of Mordor (42 hours including the two story-mode DLCs; Winston's notes here).  This is a brawler with a large combat kit; the opening tutorial shows you about a dozen combat moves (too many in my opinion), and that number roughly doubles as you get upgrades.  The variety becomes important when you face captains and warchiefs, who are generally immune to about half of your arsenal.

This was a pretty good game, but I have some disagreements with it: the orcs sound like soccer hooligans, which is initially kind of distracting; enemy captains introduce themselves with a ten-second cut scene which interrupts the flow of a fight; women in Mordor only exist in cut scenes or in one case as carrayble objects (I guess that's consistent with the source material); the final boss fight is kind of a muddle, both in narrative and gameplay; with full upgrades you're kind of strolling through the last bit of narrative without much challenge.

The DLCs were okay but missable.  The first one is pretty easy; the second one (centering around the elf lord whose wraith empowers you in the main game) amps up the mind control elements of the combat kit but takes away bullet time and much of your health pool.  It's relatively hard compared to the main game and first DLC.

Winston

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1124
  • RPing since 1976
    • Argothald
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #591 on: June 08, 2018, 01:53:49 PM »
God of War

When you step into the middle of a franchise, whether it’s written, on screen, or in a video game, you run the risk of not understanding references to past events. Within a couple of minutes of playing God of War, I watched the main character, Kratos, fiddle with his arm wrappings. There was a strong sense of reminiscence, but without having played the earlier games I couldn’t tell what he was remembering.

By the end of the game… I still didn’t know. I had to do some web research before I finally understood: In the first God of War game, Kratos used Blades of Chaos as his weapon. The chains from these blades had seared themselves into his flesh, leaving scars on his forearms.

Fortunately, that was the only unknown element I encountered when playing the current God of War on PS4. Other events in Kratos’ past I either knew from various past descriptions I’d seen on the web, or are explained within the game: Kratos, the “Ghost of Sparta”, is a son of Zeus. In a series of adventures he slew most of the Greek Gods, including his own father.

God of War begins in the lands of Norse mythology. Kratos is chopping down a tree to make a funeral pyre for his wife, Faye. Once the ceremony is done, he and his son, Atreus, go on a journey to fulfills Faye’s last request: to scatter her ashes from the peak of the tallest mountain in the Realm. God of War takes you on two journeys: the physical road to the mountain, and the emotional path of the father-son relationship.

By the end of the game, I felt satisfied with the story. It had the usual tropes of video games: side characters whose purpose was to give you additional quests; mysterious enemies whose motives you don’t know; emotional beats that are wrapped up a little too neatly; several links to the inevitable sequels. I felt it all made sense in the end.

God of War is an open-world game in the vein of Tomb Raider: Regions become available as you go through the main story, with side quests opening up with each new region. You gain new skills and gear as you progress. Some of the side quests require so much additional gear that you’re not likely to be able to complete them until after you’ve finished the main story.

That leads to my main criticism of the game. The God of War series has a reputation for being punishing, requiring fast reflexes and a good memory for button combinations. I knew my sluggish brain and fingers couldn’t handle that, so I picked the easiest difficulty, dubbed “Tell Me A Story.” I determined that the game had an “old folks” mode before I bought it.

But even in the easy mode, I found the game to quite difficult in spots, including a discouraging boss battle near the beginning of the game. Later in the game, I found encounters that were massively hard; I once innocently stuck my hand in a black blob and was promptly one-shotted by the critter that emerged. Again, I had to resort to web research to learn that Void Tears and Valkyries are meant for characters who had geared and skilled up via completing the main story first.

If you like challenging games, God of War is definitely the game for you. I was disappointed that the game posed such a frustrating challenge for someone who picked the easiest difficulty.

God of War is a gorgeous game. It takes full advantage of the graphics capabilities of the PS4. I understand that the game looks even better in HDR, but to experience that I have to get a PS4 Pro, an HDR-compatible TV, an HDR-compatible receiver, and HDR-compatible HDMI cables. Maybe someday…

Overall verdict: A must-buy for PS4 gamers, provided you can handle game challenges without throwing the controller across the room.
Bill Seligman
Alliance: Winston, Yungi, Pellinore, Tebyalyublyu, Theadora, Vasili, Winella, Winstonia
Horde: Grotar, Swiftslice

Marco

  • Three Rivers Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6643
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #592 on: June 29, 2018, 03:57:49 PM »
Cat Quest.  This is a short action (I finished in nine hours) RPG where you play as a cat.  Well, a bipedal cat who wears armor and uses a weapon and fights dragons.  The graphics are crisp and attractive; the sound design is minimal but good; the writing is wall-to-wall cat puns.  The combat system is pretty simple but fun.  I would say that itemization is the game's weakest area; a lot of the gear items seem useless (because they are kiss-curse and you won't do well focusing on only melee or only magic damage) and the game's difficulty varies wildly depending on whether you find an overpowered item early on.  It's on sale for $6.50 on Steam until July 5, and I think it's definitely worth that price.

Edalia

  • Red Velvet
  • Cupcakes Admin
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4133
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #593 on: July 10, 2018, 08:08:57 AM »
I so rarely finish games these days, but last night I "finished" God of War [4].

Winston did a great general writeup. I've almost run my throat ragged telling folks that no, they don't really need to play the first 3-6 games to enjoy this one, so I'm glad Winston had that experience.

I think if you played and enjoyed the likes of HZD, Tomb Raider, and Breath of the Wild-you'll love God of War.

The only things I have left to do are a few of the toughest Realm Tear encounters, hidden behind grinding, and the last Valkyrie (she is quite punishing, and a challenge I decided I wasn't having fun with). I absolutely loved this game. The story was the perfect mix of "mystery about the world" and "father-son road trip," with just the right amount of Norse mythology as to not eclipse the main characters.*

I originally played on the difficulty level above Normal, thinking "I've played all the other ones, I can do this!" and I was immediately destroyed by the first trash mob. My second playthrough will likely have a bump in difficulty, but don't get cocky.

The combat is weighty, similar to Dark Souls. The platforming of the original trilogy is completely absent (thank god), but there is a good amount of exploration without a ton of backtracking. I never felt lost, or that I forgot where something was, even when hunting for treasure maps or to get items or to places I'd unlocked the power-based keys to (a la Metroidvanias, e.g. a chest covered in sap I needed to blow up with a new power).

I really can't say enough good about this game, especially this: you can engage with the combat as much as you'd like. The grindy areas are entirely optional, as are the Valkyrie bosses. If you face an enemy who savagely out-levels you, like a level 5 monster when you're in level 2 gear, rest-assured that you can come back later at level 5 and destroy it. Or you can try to fight it right then, you brave bastard. I never found a time where I was stuck. If I needed to "level up" (get better gear) to move on in the story, there were plenty of ways to do that–actually, I never had to do that, but I'm a side-quester by nature.

Finally-the game is all played in one shot without loading screens (well, I think the game paused once my entire playthrough to load content on my regular PS4, but like 99.9% is no loading screens).

* I saw an interview with the game's director, Cory Barlog, where he said an early draft had Kratos murdering his way through the Norse pantheon, a la the first 3 GoWs, but said it felt like they were writing the sequel. They scaled that aspect back so that the father-son dynamic could shine.
o/\o

Winston

  • Cupcakes Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1124
  • RPing since 1976
    • Argothald
Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #594 on: July 13, 2018, 08:24:30 AM »
NieR: Automata

About a year ago, I joked that from now on, all console games that I played must have a colon in their name, because the ones I played with a colon were more fun. Then I played God of War, which I enjoyed despite its lack of a colon. Now I come to NieR: Automata.

I purchased NieR: Automata because two sites I read regularly, AV Club and Ars Technica, both recommended the game. A glance around the web shows general praise for it. I’m afraid this might be one of those times when my expectations where raised so high that the actual game could not possibly match them.

I played NieR: Automata on its easiest setting, which may be the problem. In retrospect, the praise that the game received was for its gameplay. It seamlessly blends a third-person view with a side-scrolling game, a top-down action game, and a flying action game that’s both top-down and side-scrolling. I acknowledge that this is novel.

But my reflexes are just not up to challenging gameplay, which is why I usually choose to play a game on its easiest setting. On that setting, the combat in NieR: Automata almost plays itself: your companion drone auto-fires, your character 2B attacks, evades, and heals on her own. It’s the easiest of “easy modes” that I’ve experienced in any computer game.

You play as 2B, a combat soldier in an android army, fighting a machine army on the earth’s surface while the remnants of humanity live on the moon. You soon acquire a companion, 9S, a scanner android. Each of you has a robot Pod that provides ranged combat, while the two androids do close-range melee combat. The graphics style is that of Japanese anime, both in the look of the characters and in the style of combat.

Since I can’t enjoy a video game for how it plays, the most important element of a game’s design for me becomes the story. That is where NieR: Automata falls flat. I got the impression from the reviews that NieR: Automata‘s story would offer an interesting story about identity and purpose. It does, kinda sorta, but not in any way I found to be original or engaging.

I may be spoiled. Having played God of War, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and Horizon: Zero Dawn, my bar for a good console videogame story may be raised too high.

With that said: If you’re looking for a game with interesting gameplay variations and a high replay value (you get to replay other characters after you’ve played the game for the first time), NieR: Automata is a worthwhile game. If you’re like me and play a game for its story, there are better choices out there.
Bill Seligman
Alliance: Winston, Yungi, Pellinore, Tebyalyublyu, Theadora, Vasili, Winella, Winstonia
Horde: Grotar, Swiftslice