Author Topic: Finished playing...  (Read 130454 times)

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #615 on: January 02, 2019, 10:11:44 AM »
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 ReMIX

I'm laid up for a while due to a medical problem, so I'm looking for interesting console games to play. A friend of mine suggested Kingdom Hearts, since she was looking forward to KH3 coming out soon. I asked her if it was a platformer. She said no, it was an RPG.

She was mistaken. KH is a platformer; at least, it contains enough platform antics to be frustrating. (Reminder for scale: I couldn't play Little Big Planet for more than 15 minutes before giving up.)

What's more, it's a dull and tedious game. Both KH1 and KH2 begin with long and largely pointless cinematics. In the first half-hour of play, you're given perhaps two minutes of agency; everything else is hitting dialog or tutorial acknowledgements. KH1 then proceeds to give you two "find the foo" quests, each duller than the last. Eventually I got to the action parts of KH1, but that leads to the dull world-travel portion of the game. Finally, in the middle of Tarzan's Jungle, I gave up on platforming between hippos. I tried KH2, but after a half-hour I was once again forced into a choice between three different platform challenges.

I know Kingdom Hearts is popular, but honestly I don't see the appeal. Maybe young children like the tedious and predictable dialogs, and have the reflexes for the platforming. As a clumsy adult, I feel like I wasted my money.
Bill Seligman
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Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #616 on: January 03, 2019, 06:45:16 AM »
Destiny 2

Dear Winston: Avoid this game.

OK, two qualifiers: I finished the storyline portion of Destiny 2, which is essentially an extended promo for the expansion, including the ominous cinematic ender. I got the game for free via the launcher and it's not a bad game. I'm just not motivated to spend lots of hours jumping around and shooting things, which is pretty much the entirety of the game at max level. Actually, it's most of the game before that, too.

There are loots. Mostly guns. LOTS of guns (reminds me of Borderlands) and a few swords, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and similar. You get armor and some of it can have perks that make some of your invisible stats invisibly better. But mostly it's about the weapons. I still love sniper rifles and the mobs' heads explode in remarkably satisfying ways in Destiny 2, given that it's pretty PG-13 rated and there's no actual blood anywhere. The personal spaceships are pretty, too, and there are some fun cosmetics you can apply to them. But since you only use them as pretty loading-screen fillers it doesn't amount to much.

The game has classes, but they're all pretty similar. Some classes are better at close stuff, some at range. But since you're going to get dailies (yes, the game has dailies - lots of them) that want you to get sword kills it doesn't matter what your class is. You're going to run in and hack at things. Since there's no true tanking you can't really be a "ranged DPS" in the sense that other games have that.

The loot system is personalized so everything that drops is yours and you don't have to race other players to things. Loots that get left behind (or you didn't notice because 50 mooks were trying to blow you up) will show up in your mailbox later. At later stages you can take apart unwanted loots for pieces you can use to make your preferred loots better. Did I mention there are a lot of guns?

The game has side quests (I forget what they're called) and 3-person scenarios. It has matchmaking for those but not for the 6-person raids. It has PvP but I avoided that. It has factions, each with its own rep, and you turn in specific foos to the rep vendors to get better guns. It has a Big Story that you sort of participate in but that happens at least half in cutscenes and has a pretty dumb ending. If this is all sounding remarkably similar, it is. Destiny doesn't innovate anything I can see. It picks-and-chooses bits from other games (Borderlands, Diablo, Warcraft, other FPS) put some nice graphics over it, and calls that a game.

I'm not sorry I played but if I'd paid AAA prices for this I'd be pretty unhappy.

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #617 on: January 03, 2019, 11:48:40 AM »
Destiny 2: Forsaken

I played through the story of this pretty recently and Snique's review of the base game reminded me about it.  I'd previously played through D2 when it came out and did some group stuff with Tom, Jeff and Johnny.  Forsaken adds more end game stuff to do, but leaves what I think is their most frustrating decision which I don't ever see changing. 

Story: The story in Destiny has never, ever been good, however it's now hitting that part of being so bad it's kinda good.  I think it's a little self-aware of how it's bad, but it still plays it straight enough I sorta enjoyed the story of Forsaken and it'shyper dramatic and serious tone.  It reminds me a lot of Star Trek: TNG in terms of 'so badly complicated it's good again'.  Every character is basically just one note and most of them are all super serious, dramatic and self-important...but it all works.  It just gets funny hearing them all interact with all the super bizarre complicated lore behind everything you can barely understand and them pulling stuff outta nowhere with even more random explanations that...it's starting to find it's own vibe and it's clicking.  It's not good, but...I sorta started to care about the story again because I wanted to see how bad and off the rails it was going to get.

The Dreaming City at the end is a genuinely cool idea where every week things are a bit different there and it's Bungie's attempt at sort of evolving story telling as it has cycles, but they can change things on their end at will to start a sort of "Why the fuck is that thing there?" style story that Fortnight has been playing with.  It's actually a pretty cool area and if they build upon that sorta thing I think that's sorta the next evolution of how to tell stories in online games.  You plop a mystery and see players pull together to come up with theories and try to solve it and slighty change it week to week and have it affect the area it's in gradually and in interesting ways and come up with ways for players to interact with it.  So...there's potential for legit interesting storytelling there, but the rest of it?  Squarely falls in the 'so bad it's good'

Gameplay: When it comes to shooting monsters, nobody does it better than Destiny 2.  Well.  That's wrong.  Doom does.  Doom is the best at shooting monsters.  Destiny 2 is second though.  The act of getting into a fight in this game has always been good and the expansion offers enough interesting new enemies to keep it fresh, and some genuinely cool set piece moments during the missions.  They add bows to the game, which felt way better than I anticipated they would and add enough variety in the existing kit of guns to keep it interesting to keep finding new stuff as you play through the story.  The bows sort of act as precision rifles that shoot even slower and hit even harder, but...it's just how they feel that works.  That's the thing that's always been about this game is it's hard to sometimes put into words, but they make everything just feel right.  When you start playing and using this stuff it all behaves and acts like you'd expect so when you anticipate how something should behave and you do something and it all jsut fits?  It...feels good.  Everything looks interesting, the audio for it backs up the visuals and the effects on when you pull the trigger and when you hit something?  It's all cohesive and spot on.

Progression: ...and here's where this game loses it for me in terms of being another MMO I could play.  Progression in this game, particularly the end game?  Is terrible.  How the numbers work make it hard to really put a finger on how I'm getting more powerful and how the game chooses to scale certain things removes one of the more silly, yet fun ways you can measure how powerful you are.  The game effectively has a limit on how hard you can steamroll old content as a result.  It does mean you can 'always play with friends', but I think the price they pay for that hurts the overall experience.  The worst offender is the method you get higher ilvl.  (I think they just call it power now, but it's the same principle as ilvl, just without raw numbers increasing, everything is more relational based on your level and the level of what you're fighting)

In WoW, WQs ilvl rewards scale to your own ilvl, slowly increasing as yours does and hitting a cap based on the zone/patch/etch.  Things like dungeons, events, raids and PvP offer static ilvl rewards based on the content and difficulty with chances to forge higher.  In Desinty?  EVERYTHING behaves like WQs do in WoW.  No matter what content you do, with some VERY rare exceptions, the loot you get will always be a little higher power level than your last piece...so you slowly inch forward in power at the same rate no matter what content you do.  There's a variety of things that offer this 'powerful' loot that'll inch you forward, and it rotates a bit throughout the week on what the dailies and weekly challenges are to keep you doing a variety of things.  What Forsaken improves upon over the base game is this variety.  There are a lot more things you can do now to earn this stuff so you'll inch forward quicker, but doing something extra difficult like the equivalent of a mythic will still just earn you the regular inch forward like anything else will.  It is not at all satisfying and given the nature of how loot works in the game, at end game it's really hard to notice yourself getting more powerful.  It really does make me miss more traditional hard numbers/stats and how WoW handles things since so much else in the game is genuinely a lot of fun to play.

Modes: I dabbled with some PvP, gambit and strikes.  I didn't raid...which is a shame since universally everyone I talk to raves about Destiny raiding.  The lack of traditional MMO classes has made them create some genuinely interesting encounters it sounds like where it's less "you're the tank" and more like...the fight determines the roles and players on the fly sorta determine who is doing what in a given fight at a given time, which is pretty cool sounding.

Gambit is probably the best new mode. It's a sorta PvE/PvP hybrid where each team is in their own level trying to kill monsters and collect motes. You bank the motes in a central location and once you bank enough, you summon a boss to kill.  Whoever summons and kills their boss first wins.  There's ways you can screw with the other team however.  Banking a bunch of motes in one big drop will block the other team's bank and summon adds they need to kill to access their bank again.  Several times throughout portals will open where you can invade the other team's space and try to kill them.  (When one team summons a boss, the portal to that team just basically stays open and any kills the opposing team makes will heal the boss)  It's a lot of fun and if you don't like PvP, I'd still recommend it since there's a tension to trying to kill monsters quickly and get motes back.

They've added FFA back too, which I sorely missed.  I don't like team deathmatch or team modes.  I just want to kill everyone I see and it's just as silly and chaotic as I remember it being when I played stuff like that in the 90's.  More shooters need FFA.  They lend themselves well to random match making too since you don't have to worry about team communication when it's everyone for themselves. :)

In closing, they've made the game better, but the basic concept of how Destiny handles progression just makes me not want to engage with their end game.  Which sucks since I genuinely am very curious about their raids since they sound like a lot of fun, but the act of gearing up to raid just seems to freaking awful based on the slow inching forward in ilvl without being able to "Okay sweet, now I can hit mythics up and get some really great upgrades"  I'm stuck inching forward and hoping the piece I get is in a slot that's a low ilvl and it's a piece in a style that I like playing with in the case of the weapons.

I hope Anthem solves this and scratches that itch.  ...it'll be a bad Bioware game, but I'm hoping it'll be a good shooter MMO.

Piralyn

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #618 on: January 03, 2019, 08:22:42 PM »

Progression: ...and here's where this game loses it for me in terms of being another MMO I could play.  Progression in this game, particularly the end game?  Is terrible.  How the numbers work make it hard to really put a finger on how I'm getting more powerful and how the game chooses to scale certain things removes one of the more silly, yet fun ways you can measure how powerful you are.  The game effectively has a limit on how hard you can steamroll old content as a result.  It does mean you can 'always play with friends', but I think the price they pay for that hurts the overall experience.  The worst offender is the method you get higher ilvl.  (I think they just call it power now, but it's the same principle as ilvl, just without raw numbers increasing, everything is more relational based on your level and the level of what you're fighting)

This was the killer for me for D2. I would love a shooter RPG I could just drop in and play--like, shit, I probably have like 400+ hours in Borderlands 2, but once you hit max level--and to a lesser extent before that--you basically never feel more powerful. You have a number that goes up, but it's just some vague number with no relation to reality.

WoW paring down the character sheet from all your various stats, dodge chance on non-tanks, etc. to just your primary stat, stamina, and role related secondaries was pretty shitty, but Destiny 2 is like everything except your item level is wiped out and all the mobs scale like the first day of Broken Shore/Legionfall until they changed their mind.

If they'd just embrace a little more in the way of RPG tropes and have some visible stats and bonuses, man, it'd be like a whole new game.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #619 on: January 05, 2019, 12:14:32 PM »
Subnautica.  I'll give this game top marks for visual and sound design, and I think the base-building mechanics and story are good.  I think the early game is likely appealing to a broad audience(*), but as the storyline goes on, the game starts demanding a tolerance for inventory management and mostly-undirected exploration.  I have a great deal of patience for the former, but not a lot for the latter, so I was ready to be done a bit before I actually finished.

You are given an option at game start whether or not to have hunger/thirst mechanics.  Having them turned on fills out the gameplay loop a bit, but limits exploration time by requiring periodic returns to a base.  I think it's fine to play either way.

(*) Except for people who get stressed out by time limits and haven't been told that there are no time limits in Subnautica.  The storyline presents the illusion of a deadline on four separate occasions, sometimes with a big countdown timer.

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #620 on: January 05, 2019, 06:42:53 PM »
The Witness

I'm declaring "finished playing" on this one, because even through I may fiddle with it in the future, it will only be with a solution/walkthrough by my side.

This is a puzzle game for the PS4 (and possibly other systems as well; I did not check). The puzzles begin simply enough, and gradually ramp up in difficulty. They all take the form of drawing lines on computer panels located in the environment. Finally the puzzles get to the brain-burner stage. I've played puzzle games before (I have a review of The Talos Principle elsethread), but never one that became this difficult.

To give you some idea, at the risk of a mild spoiler: There was one puzzle (the first of a class of similar puzzles) where the only way to determine the solution was to position your character at just the right angle so that the in-game sunlight reflected off the surface of a panel. Since the game comes with no explicit instructions of any sort, to solve this puzzle you had to be either extremely lucky, observant beyond all reason, or consult a hint guide.

If you like a challenging brain-smashing puzzle game, you'll enjoy The Witness. As for me, I concede defeat.
Bill Seligman
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Leah

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #621 on: January 20, 2019, 12:16:51 PM »
Resident Evil 2 "One Shot" Demo

This is basically a chance to play 30 mins of the new game before it releases next week and I was grateful for it because it confirms that it's not for me. The game is gorgeous, I was on edge essentially the entire time, jumped a few time from scares, and enjoyed the satisfaction of taking down a few zombies along the way. It's just not a classic RE game and I realize that that train left the station a long time ago but it's what I grew up on and what I logged countless hours playing.

If you like the direction the series has taken, give the demo a try, especially if you like the older games as well. The nostalgia is a strong pull but I'll be saving my $60 on that one.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #622 on: January 25, 2019, 04:53:03 PM »
Horizon: Zero Dawn and its Frozen Wilds DLC.  Like everyone has said, this is a very good open-world game.  It has a broad range of mechanics (melee combat, ranged combat, stealth, traps, gathering, crafting, climbing, collectables, a detective mode).  The ranged combat system is quite deep, with a wide variety of weapons and ammunition types and a complicated weak-point system.  The other systems are relatively shallow and accessible, but are done well.  Visuals, sound, and voice acting are all exceptional.

While you could read a plot synopsis and not find anything particularly ground-breaking (it's a hero's journey in a post-apocalyptic world), I think the story execution was top-notch.  There is an occasional choice in the dialog system, almost always with no significant consequences, where you can choose to be the smartest, nicest, or most confrontational person in the room.  I always chose the latter option, and I felt like it added to Aloy's character depth without making her out to be an asshole like renegade-Shepard in Mass Effect.

My biggest complaint is that I will probably never enjoy aiming with a controller, and this is a PS4 exclusive with a lot of aiming.  My second-biggest complaint is long load times.  There were other little things wrong here and there, but nothing major.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #623 on: January 26, 2019, 03:11:49 PM »
The Beginner's Guide.  This is a walking simulator by the author of The Stanley Parable, which takes about 90 minutes.  It's designed to leave the player feeling confused, and it does; I'm not sure whether that's a good thing.  The Internet tells me that some people loved it and some people considered it a sophomore flop by the developer.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #624 on: February 08, 2019, 12:27:36 PM »
Rise of the Tomb Raider and its Baba Yaga DLC.  This game has pretty much all of the same systems as Horizon: Zero Dawn (and also used Aloy's voice actress for the DLC), so I guess that's a pretty common package for AAA games.  As is appropriate for a Tomb Raider game, the climbing mechanics are deeper and are coupled with mechanical puzzles, while the ranged combat mechanics are simpler.  The game looks excellent--there were times when I thought I was still in a cinematic when the game returned control to me.  I didn't find the story as engaging as Zero Dawn's; I think there's only so much spin you can put on the Indiana Jones theme in the 2010s.  The voice acting was decent, except that at times people rushed their lines a bit.  I found the default difficulty to be a bit on the easy side.  Since I played this on the PC, I was able to move with the controller but aim with the mouse, which was pleasant.

I ran into a few bugs, all of which people on the net had found workarounds for.  The climbing mechanics could also be a bit finicky at times, leading to deaths where I apparently ordered Lara to jump off into the void instead of climbing up one foot to the next ledge.

Winston

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #625 on: February 15, 2019, 11:20:30 AM »
Final Fantasy XV

Again, I'm cutting and pasting this review from my blog. This is why the opening of the review is the same as a post I wrote in the Gender Equality forum.

As some of you may know, I’m homebound for a few weeks and was looking for a game to pass the time. I found one: Final Fantasy XV. Before I get to my review, I have to address the elephant in room (though it’s more like a T-Rex in a broom closet):

The very first female character players see in the game is Cindy. She’s got a chest that only exists in the world of computer graphics, and wears a car mechanic’s outfit of the sort you see models wearing in magazines like Hot Rod. She speaks in a Southern Belle accent and generally acts like a sex kitten. You can see an image of her here:

http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Cindy_Aurum

There are other women in FFXV. Those women are either standard anime tropes (the cute teenager with mystic powers; the woman warrior with revealing chest armor), or background NPC figures that are easily overlooked or skipped over in dialogs.

FFXV was published in 2016, well after awareness of representation in video games had become an issue. There was no excuse for this, other than to appeal to young Japanese boys who are presumably the target audience of the Final Fantasy series in its country of origin.

If I hadn’t just paid $50 for the game, I would have ragequit when I saw her. As it stands, I cringe every time I she’s on the screen. This is fairly often, since she’s a frequent quest-giver and is responsible for maintaining your character’s main mode of transportation. Of course, whenever she refuels your car, you get the classic “bend-over” as she waxes the hood.

Setting that aside (and it’s a lot to set aside), let’s take a look at the rest of Final Fantasy XV.

FFXV is a fairly standard entry in the fantasy-world RPG genre. You fight monsters, complete quests, and explore dungeons. These gain you experience points to advance your character, money (the currency is “gil”) to buy items, and skill points (here called “Ascension Points”) to buy skills in a progressive tree.

Your character, Prince Noctis, starts off in an open-world environment, accompanied by three companions. Predictably, given what I noted at the start of the review, one of them makes frequent remarks on the female NPCs’ appearance. It’s very much a guys’ adventure, with typical male-bonding tropes.

The open world follows the conventions of the genre: villages, towns, cities, quest-giving NPCs, wandering monsters, etc. The difference is that the environment is based on modern-day imagery like that you’d find the mid-west. The towns are gas stations with diners, the main characters dress in Goth outfits, and you travel from place to place along interstate-style highways in a sports car. The monsters are still monsters, and you can still hack at them with swords, but you can also use guns if you wish.

Apart from what’s noted above, the story is FFXV‘s weakest link. It’s conventional: After the death of his father and the conquest of his kingdom by evil armored invaders, Prince Noctis must save his kingdom and marry the princess to restore order and happiness to the world. Evil foes with obvious motives obstruct his hero’s journey, including the mysterious Ardyn (who looks like the Fourth Doctor, acts like the Seventh Doctor, and turns out to be like the Valyard).

Apart from the lack of originality in the story, the presentation of the world’s mythology is confusing. There are big cinematic confrontations where it wasn’t clear to me who was doing what to whom and why. Maybe it would have made more sense in the original Japanese or to someone who played previous Final Fantasy games, but I found it to be opaque.

Another problem with the story is after Chapter Nine or so, the open world is left behind and you’re put on a generally linear path through the rest of the story. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing; a linear story revealed between combat and puzzle challenges is the description of the Uncharted series, which I enjoyed.

But the Uncharted games know what they’re doing, and FFXV does not. The linear portion of the story mainly consists of one cinematic after another, with very little player agency. It’s more like watching a movie than playing a video game. That would be fine as well, if the movie were interesting. But it’s just another tired series of cliches. For heaven’s sake, if you’re in Japan, just have lunch with the anime studio folks next door and ask them how it’s done; don’t come up with something boring.

The partial saving grace is that after you’ve finished with the linear story, you can time-travel back to the open world with all the gear, experience, and skills you’ve gained. The story is over, but there’s still plenty of open-world content to visit, depending on how long you chose to wait before completing the tasks that lead you to the linear adventure.

For the record, I played on the Easy difficulty level. The linear story requires you to be level 35-40, I didn’t go on it until I was level 50, at the end of the story I was level 55. When I returned to the open world (courtesy of a time-traveling dog), I was immediately informed of a level 99 quest. So there was plenty more to do, if I cared to do it.

I finally grew tired of the game when I hit level 77. It’s certainly possible to advance further than that; game forums speak of leveling up to a max of 120. But to get beyond 77 I learned that I would have to become less focused on adventuring and more on using tricks; e.g., eating foods and gaining items that boosted experience; resting in places that granted XP bonuses. It just didn’t seem worth it.

Conclusion: FFXV served its purpose, which was to occupy my time. It certainly is not the best open-world video game I’ve played; that honor belongs to Horizon: Zero Dawn. If you, like me, are looking for a basic time-spender, FFXV is acceptable entertainment, if you can overlook the misogyny and the story problems.

Now to find another time-spender. Platformers, first-person shooters, and multi-player combat games need not apply.
Bill Seligman
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Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #626 on: March 03, 2019, 08:43:10 PM »
Spider-Man for the PS4.  I got this in a bundle with the PS4, so no DLC.  This game follows the Assassin's Creed formula: a visually impressive open world with activities sprinkled across the map, and a brawler protagonist with some stealth abilities who can navigate around at will using parkour.  Spider-Man's parkour abilities are of course dramatically enhanced by his web-slinging abilities; the controls for these are really smooth for traveling long distances and are decent for stealth sequences, but can be frustrating when you have to complete a timed challenge or chase down a god-damned pigeon.  The default combat difficulty felt just about right to me, tending towards too easy as I neared max level.

By the standards of either Marvel content or AAA video games, the plot isn't anything special.  It's competent with good voice acting and cinematography, but it retreads classic Spider-Man stories and telegraphs everything really strongly on top of that.  So there were no really memorable moments or surprising twists.

Marco

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #627 on: March 09, 2019, 07:04:55 PM »
Firewatch.  This is a "walking simulator" game, meaning there is some navigation but no challenging mechanics.  There is a mystery plotline which is moderately interesting, but the highlight of the game is the voiced dialog between the main character (Henry) and his boss Delilah, who have summer jobs as fire lookouts.  You have frequent dialog choices, which appear to have only minor consequences. The graphics are pretty but not especially detailed.  The engine is a bit buggy in that you can pretty easily get stuck on a rock.  The right thing to do at this point is load the game at the last checkpoint (losing a few minutes of progress at most), but if you save and then load, you can find yourself still stuck and have to lose more progress by resetting to the beginning of the day.

Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #628 on: March 23, 2019, 04:20:53 PM »
Victor Vran

For a fairly plot-standard ARPG this one is quite good, with several mechanics I haven't seen elsewhere. It's a few years old now but holds up well and is very performant on my machines. When I say 'done' I mean I played through all the areas at least once, beat most of the challenges and saw the end of the story. Like a lot of ARPG there are difficulty levels and some additional content that you can try but I'm not all that motivated to redo things just to explore the niches and corners. 4/5 stars and if they'd fix the loot I'd play more - see below.

You play as the titular Victor Vran, a member of a demon-hunting order, called to the vaguely Eastern-European, more-than-a-little-steampunk city of Zagarovia to solve its mysteries and save the city from hordes of demons and undead. The game is divided up into areas and each one has unique challenges in the form of finding secrets, killing mobs with certain kinds of weapons, beating timers, and so on. You can try each of these challenges on various dificulties - I played through on standard and found it pretty easy.

Unlike some RPGs, Victor Vran doesn't have talent trees. You advance in levels with each level's bonus being fixed (e.g. more health, another slot, etc.) You have equippables including demon powers that can do damage or hinder mobs or protect you, and destiny cards that can give you generic bonuses such as +X% to crit, or specific bonuses such as "chance to do double damage with Y type of weapon". The game is extremely forgiving in terms of pausing so you can switch these things mid-fight if you need to.

Vran focuses on weapons, of which there are several types, each with unique abilities and style of play. Within each type, weapons can get more powerful due to quality or due to you powering them up. More powerful weapons also give special abilities such as "generate a ball of lightning randomly". Very similar to WoW trinket procs. You only ever wear one suit of armor at a time, each suit has a fixed set of stats (armor, dodge, energy generation, etc.) and some armors have specials that change the basic behavior, such as "normal attacks don't fill your energy bar, but crit chance is 2x".

If you like to muck with the game rules this can be enjoyable. I am an optimizer so I just found the one generally best armor and stuck with it. And therein lies the game's biggest weakness: rewards don't scale well.

About halfway through the game I came upon a purple (best quality) ranged weapon. I used that weapon thereafter for essentially everything, except completing challenges that required use of a different weapon type. I just vendored every other weapon of that type because none was ever going to be as good as this one and the game has a minor crafting system that lets you put power stones into your weapons to buff them even further. With no armor loots to speak of, and essentially no chance of getting a better weapon, some of the fun went out of the game.

One final unique thing this game did that I found worth mentioning: you can choose to turn on/off various debuffs. There are five and each one does a specific thing, like putting a DOT on yourself, or giving mobs 50% faster attacks. Some of the challenges require doing a thing with those debuffs on and those tended to be harder. As with other things, you can easily pause the action and turn these things on/off - while on, mobs tend to drop more loot and you get more XP. I really liked this ability to fine-tune the challenge level of any area.

A warning for those who don't like parkour-style gaming: there is some of that in this game. Generally it's easy to do, but I did find myself cursing at the game when I failed a specific movement for the Nth time. Good news is you don't have to do these things to get through most of the levels; bad news is you do if you want to find the hidden secrets or are a completist.

Snique

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Re: Finished playing...
« Reply #629 on: April 14, 2019, 05:32:04 PM »
Sid Meier's Civilization VI

If you know and like these sorts of games this is a fine if not revolutionary installment in the series. If you've never played these before, VI is a good intro to the concept. It has polished many of the ideas introduced in earlier games (notably a spying side-game and trade-route management). The UI is a little tetchy (e.g. by default you can't use WASD to move around, but you can use the arrow keys for map scrolling) and it has at least one really annoying feature when interacting with the robots (other-civ AIs) but overall it's smooth and fun.

As with all these games I expect I'll sink more hours into it on harder difficulties, but at this point I've beaten all but the top two. In past iterations of the game, the AI was not smart enough so harder difficulties were made harder by giving the AI annoying cheat/shortcut abilities. I hope that's not true here.

One of the features that makes Civ games interesting is how they present different civilizations. Ideally, all of them should be balanced in terms of their special units and buildings, but since the game is progressive it still remains true that civs giving you an early powerful military unit have a large advantage. Winning without such a unit is hard but not impossible, given that the game supports science, military, cultural, and religious paths to victory. Still, all of these paths require cities and production and if you get overrun or even significantly hindered early on it can be impossible to make up the lost ground. I applaud them for including new and different civs; I just wish they'd come up with a more balanced approach to some of them.