The Video Game Thread: What are you Playing?

under_score

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Thinking about Tails of Iron, it looks pretty cool. Anyone give this a try yet? TristramEvans TristramEvans I don't know if you play vidya but it looks right up your alley

Looks like a furry version of Salt and Sanctuary. I enjoyed S&S well enough, for about 20 hours of play, but it's one of those games where taking a break from it for a while makes it really hard to pick up again.
 

Necrozius

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Anyone else thinking of getting the Diablo 2 "remake"? While the graphical overhaul looks nice, it feels really overpriced.
 

under_score

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Anyone else thinking of getting the Diablo 2 "remake"? While the graphical overhaul looks nice, it feels really overpriced.
I've got some friends wanting to do a D2 game together, so I'll likely pick it up. It's $40, right? That doesn't seem terrible.
 

Séadna

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I thought this suited here more than the Reading thread.

If anybody is interested in especially older CRPGs I really recommend "The CRPG book" from bitmap books:

It basically goes through CRPGs from the 70s in great detail, in many cases recommend the top 5 mods or fan content. I learned of many gems I'd never heard of and some fan content that improved on the original games and I've being using it for the last year to explore stuff.
 
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Voros

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One of the best games I ever played. I would break my normal rule of "no Kickstarter video games" and support a Kickstarter reboot if Richard Garriot was involved.

I haven't played a lot of Ultima but I really enjoyed Ultima: Martian Dreams. It has particularly striking art for an older game. It is on Gog.com cheap.

Ultima-Worlds-of-Adventure-2-Martian-Dreams.jpg
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Brock Savage

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Hey has anyone tried Eastward? I am thinking of pulling the trigger on this today

 

Gabriel

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Finished NES Quest of the Avatar. I discovered in that version you don't even have to collect all the companions. So I never picked up Shamino, Julius (the NES changes the Tinker to a guy for some reason), or Katrina. It also never gave me the hint I needed as to the order of the Bell, Book, and Candle to open the Abyss, but I just tried again and guessed it.

I've decided to try Pool of Radiance again. I'll be playing the PC version. I dug out my old physical manuals and code wheel. I know there are sections in the game where you don't just need the code wheel for anti-copy protection, but also for hints in the game. I also piddlefarted around with configurations to get the game to display on my TV the way I want. I've got my notebook and graph paper ready.

Also hauled out the old warhorse USB keyboard I've had for 20 years. It's ready for another crack at this.

While messing around with GoG games, I found that neither King's Bounty: The Legend, or King's Bounty: Crossworlds worked for me anymore. Messing around with them for the better part of two hours didn't help. I also decided to check Starfleet Command, and it was having serious issues. Luckily, I was able to get Starfleet Command running correctly. Still, it was a refresher of why I severely dislike messing with PC games.

But then I hauled out my PS-TV. I had wanted to ensure I snagged Stranger of Sword City Revisited before the store closed down for good. Well, the system required an update, so I ran that. Then I decided to play some Pinball Arcade on it to see what tables I had downloaded to that system. And then... the system crashed so hard that it would not even turn off. I don't know what caused it. I don't know if it was the system update, Pinball arcade crashing and then me having to unplug the system, or if it was just bit decay from sitting in storage. Regardless of the reason, I narrowed it down to the memory card being corrupted. In the end, most of my games no longer worked, and if they did work they were extremely slow to load. With 90% of what I had on the system no longer functioning, I determined I needed to format the memory card. So, I lost everything. Now I have to redownload anything I want.

This really surprised me and forced me to recontemplate things from a new perspective. I had thought the PS-TV was the most stable and reliable modern console I owned. It had no moving parts. There were no spinning discs. And, it crashed and burned. I had assumed the PS3 and even the PS4 would be unusable before the PS-TV died. It turns out that was not the case.

Hauling out the PS-TV was part of a project to reorganize things in front of my main TV, and it's crash derailed that project. But I've retired the Genesis/CD and SNES. Just getting their controllers out of the way cleared up an immense amount of clutter. It's not like I've tossed them, but I'm going to see how relying on emulation for the older systems works for me for a while. It was perfectly satisfactory for the NES for me to play Ultima: Quest of the Avatar to completion, and I don't think it will severely impact the types of games I like to play. I guess I'll see, and if it doesn't work I can always bring the old consoles back out.
 

Brock Savage

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Playing and enjoying Tales of Iron. The difficulty isn't punishing but I can understand more fully what @ under_score under_score meant. It's one of those games where each fight trains your reflexes for the next fight and taking a substantial break from the game can wipe out a lot of your skill.
 

Gabriel

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I discovered Gold Box Companion, which provides an automap for Pool of Radiance or any of the other games. YAY!

It also provides some other features which make the game much less hostile. Some do border on, and then cross the border, into cheating. For example, there's a feature to level up characters without the training fee and getting maximum HP instead of having to roll.

You know, as brutal as the rest of the game can be, I'm perfectly fine with automatic max HP and no training fee. It's not like I'd run a tabletop game with the training fee on level up or accept anything less than a max HP roll without savescumming anyway. It also allegedly allows demi-humans to exceed level limits.

Did you know Thieves can't use bows in AD&D1e? Look it up. The only ranged weapon they can use is a sling. Clerics can't even use slings. No wonder we bitched so much about weapon restrictions back in the 1e days. The restrictions were ludicrous.
 

urbwar

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I've gone back to playing Total War Medieval II with a mod that allows more options for countries to play. I've got four games going right now: England, Sicily, Sweden and Venice. The Venice game is probably my favorite. I drove Genoa out of Italy itself after they got excommunicated, but the own pretty much all of France and a good portion of Spain. A good portion of my leaders family have traits for both Venice and the Byzantines, as my faction heir was married to a Byzantine princess (which helped cement a truce between our peoples that has lasted going on 3 generations now). If the Byzantine royalty were somehow wiped out, my faction would have a good claim to part of their turf. I only had that happen once before in a game, but I've had cities rebel and join my faction when I had strong intermarriages with another one.
 

The Mad Hatter

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I have started playing Deathloop. Haven't got further than finishing the tutorial, but I'm hooked. The game has a lot Dishonored dna I feel. The superpowers in it is mostly just powers from Dishonored.
The level design is amazing. Lots of varied ways to traverse them and avoid obstacles.
The stealth mechanics is pretty much like Dishonored too. But since there is no chaos meter like Dishonered, there is no penalty for killing everyone you see. So good news for those who felt that way.
The only slightly negative thing for me, is the dialogue. A bit too much "Wow, I'm so cool man" stuff for my tastes. But that is the way younger people than me like it I guess.
 

stonetoflesh

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I recently picked up Phantom Doctrine for $5 in a recent Steam sale, and have been really digging it. Espionage has long been one of my favorite genres, and I really like the way PD incorporates logistical spy-network-management, intelligence analysis, and tactical covert-ops action. The fact that its turn-based is also a huge plus.
 

hawkeyefan

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Has anyone played Gloomhaven on Steam? I had a buddy suggest our group all get it so we can play. I’ve heard it’s buggy, though.
 

Hugh

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Minecraft on the mcmmo by Linus Tech Tips at mc.ltt.gg. Getting quieter but most of the people are polite. You can avoid PvP entirely.
 

Voros

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I recently picked up Phantom Doctrine for $5 in a recent Steam sale, and have been really digging it. Espionage has long been one of my favorite genres, and I really like the way PD incorporates logistical spy-network-management, intelligence analysis, and tactical covert-ops action. The fact that its turn-based is also a huge plus.

I bounced off this but mostly because I was top lazy to learn tbe UI. I need to give it another shot.
 

stonetoflesh

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I bounced off this but mostly because I was top lazy to learn tbe UI. I need to give it another shot.
Definitely. If you like the genre, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

EDIT to add: Before I bought the game, I watched a few episodes of Party Elite's Let's Play on YouTube. Gave me a very good baseline understanding of the different game layers before the in-game tutorial (which is itself pretty good.)
 
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Gabriel

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Anyone play Atelier Lulua? It's on sale right now.

I have liked the Atelier games, and have really wanted to get into them, but what completely kills my enjoyment of them are the time limits. I know people say that the time limits are extremely lenient, but that's not how it turns out for me. I guess I must just suck. If I could get an Atelier game without the time limits, I could probably have a pretty good time.

The reviews say there are no time limits in it, but the screens shown in the videos seem to also show a days counter counting down. The reviews also say things like "there are no time limits on the MAIN quests" implying that there are time limits on subquests, and as we all know JRPGs are all about subquests.

Otherwise, I'm still chugging along through Pool of Radiance. I did another cheat to allow my MU/Thief to use bows. I figure that's fine because the next game lets thieves use bows anyway, and it's kind of stupid that they can't in Pool.
 

Smith

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For something a little different, I'll mention something I've been playing since late March - Red Dead Redemption 2: RP

Unlike Red Dead Online which is full of shoot on sight players and a lot of griefers, RDR: RP servers have a lot of modded aspects, tools and most importantly rules that help create an interesting environment to tell and experience stories in. You might be familiar of 'No Pixel' which is a large server for GTA:V Online in the Roleplay space but is largely full of silliness and power gaming, I personally haven't played it but I've seen videos and it's just not my thing.

The nature of the 'wild' west as a setting means that it takes much longer to get anywhere on horseback and lines of communication are much worse, relying on telegrams and face-to-face interactions mostly to pass information.

I started out as a criminal character who wound up in an experienced gang of outlaws, who all botched a bank job. At 2am one night I made a rash decision to kill this character off and start afresh, given that I had been so new I felt like I didn't have much of a character and was much more an observer/outsider.

My second character is still going and I managed to join the local law department with him. A much more rounded character, but there are definitely GM-esque aspects in play when you participate as law - actions need consequences in-game otherwise the tension is lost, but if you chokehold the outlaw players too much it can be stifling. I argue that for the setting of the 'wild' west you need the balance to skew in favour of the outlaws - they win the gunfight, they talk their way out of questioning, they get away in a chase. Not to say we intentionally drop the ball, but it's important to be cognisant of leaving room for them to maneuvre. There are similarities in running RPGs in that you need to (secretly) be fans of these other characters, and that's the approach I take with it.

I personally adore the RDR series and westerns (mainly spaghetti westerns) as a whole so the setting suits me perfectly, it's been quite addicting to say the least. Granted given that this is all taking place on a heavily modified version of RDR2 there are a lot of silliness both in mechanics and animations that you witness, so often times I am just laughing at how things play out.
 

3rik

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My wife is currently playing Tales of Arise.

tales-of-arise-jrpg.gif
 

Ralph Dula

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I took a week off Fallen London, then came back today to find out they released surprise new content yesterday.



In my last post I noted I had to run a campaign allying with the possessing spirits from another realm to increase a base Attribute. Now every time I go into a new area we have to go through a bit talking about how oppressed and put upon one race us in Fallenn London…never you mind that they’re such a problem there is literally a bounty for killing them, and they are known for carrying out murder-for-hire.



The new area introduces an all-new currency to keep track of, as well as randomized ways of earning it that require grinding of items, and all currency must be some before leaving the area.



They’ve introduced alternate ways of earning old items, and seem to be planning on releasing new items on a quarterly basis. We’ve also been told more such things are planned.



Might be time for me to retire from the game.
 

Brock Savage

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The guys got me into GTA V online. It's a surprisingly fun hangout/RP game. There is so much to do it is staggering. We can go to the strip club, then do a cocaine run, then turn around and go to the pier and ride a ferris wheel. I think that's a crucial element missing from MMOs.
 
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Gabriel

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I'm still playing Pool of Radiance. All the basic city blocks are cleared as well as Sokol Keep and the Graveyard. I'm in the wilderness exploration stage of the game, a section of the game I've never been able to experience before.

Yesterday, the party met some Driders on the way back from wiping out a Kobold clan to the NE of Phlan. Driders, huh? Well, we're tough. We can take 'em!

Did you know that Driders can paralyze on a hit and cast 8 die fireballs? I did not know this. It was quite an unpleasant surprise.

After the MU/Thief dropped, the single classed MU was not only dropped but outright slain to sub negative 10 HP, and one of my two Clerics was paralyzed, the two mainline fighters and the other cleric managed to slay 4 of the 6 driders. One retreated to disengage from the fighters and paid for it with it's life. The other continued to flee.

Spent, I decided to let it go. I didn't want to mess with the thing anymore. Half the party was screwed, so I didn't want to risk fighting the thing any longer.

The motherfucker turns around and casts another 8 die fireball at my survivors. They lived through that. I was so damn mad! Come back here you little shit! You gonna die now!

After killing the damn spider, I limped back to Phlan. Thereupon a MIRACLE happened and my single classed MU turned out to be OK and everyone at full HP. I cheated and used the Gold Box Companion's feature to fix the entire party. The only reason I used that cheat was because the last time I had saved had been before several fights in the Kobold Caves, and didn't want to reboot/reload.

I had no one to blame but myself for not saving regularly and often, but honestly, if it hadn't been for the cheat, the massive setback would have been enough to massively piss me off and cause me to quit playing. Gold Box Companion saved my enjoyment of the game.

I'm definitely going to save more frequently and steer well clear of driders in the future. I'm now almost as scared of driders as level draining undead... Almost.

----

I decided to go ahead and get Atelier Lulua while it was on sale. I got sucked into it a bit yesterday evening, and played through the prologue and first chapter.

Historically, I have liked the chill nature of the PS3 and later Atelier games. I've liked the small town theme of them and lighter but not Neptunia level goofy/zany nature of them. What I've never liked are the time limits on quests. For me, they destroy the chill nature of the rest of the game and turn things into pure stress. And I guess I just suck, because with all the other games, I eventually run up against some story quest which I just can't complete in the time limit, and then I get a game over.

Atelier Lulua is not supposed to be like that. The time limits are supposed to be gone or only on a few subquests. So far, this seems to be true, and this has allowed me to get into the game and enjoy it without feeling I can't experience it because of having to rush to do something or other.
 

JRT

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I have started playing Deathloop. Haven't got further than finishing the tutorial, but I'm hooked. The game has a lot Dishonored dna I feel. The superpowers in it is mostly just powers from Dishonored.
The level design is amazing. Lots of varied ways to traverse them and avoid obstacles.
The stealth mechanics is pretty much like Dishonored too. But since there is no chaos meter like Dishonered, there is no penalty for killing everyone you see. So good news for those who felt that way.
The only slightly negative thing for me, is the dialogue. A bit too much "Wow, I'm so cool man" stuff for my tastes. But that is the way younger people than me like it I guess.

I hate to say it, but Deathloop is my least favorite game from Arkane Studios. They basically combined two games, but the sum is less than its parts. It's gotten rave reviews, but I think they may have been thinking too soon.

Like said above, the gameplay is a lot like Dishonored, with powers gained in certain ways, as well as a complex level design. The twist is the game does something similar to what happened in the free DLC for Prey: Mooncrash. Mooncrash was a simulation the player went in--you were trying to simulate a disaster on the Moon and evacuate the base--as you go through you unlock other characters, and the simulation sometimes randomly changes the environment and gets more unstable (more monsters). That type of gameplay probably influenced this one.

Deathloop involves a character named Colt, who has amnesia, but gets messages as writing only he can see, sometimes he sees temporal duplicates of himself, and he's bantering with an adversary named Julia. The goal of the game is to break a never ending loop of time (a day), and apparently you need to kill 8 people to do it. Basically there's an intro level, but the game has 4 locations and 4 different times (morning, noon, afternoon, night). The goal is to actually explore and find clues, change the environment earlier in the game so it changes some events later, etc. As you do this, you get more powers and experience. The ultimate goal is to arrange things so you can complete your task. Most of the other characters know they are trying to loop time but are unaware they are stuck in a loop. The Wildcard is Julia -- she exists both as an overall watcher and provides catty banner, but she can invade the game -- either as an AI, or another player can inflitrate and try to kill the Colt player.

Here's the big problem for me. The gameplay is fun but the world and the lore is lacking and unsatisfying. You basically have to kill targets, don't seem to have any moral qualms about it, and everybody else on the island seem to be neurotic sociopaths. The most sane appear to be the scientists, but even they are bonkers. Supposedly, these individuals got together and formed a corporation to research anomalies and time loops. And all the employees are dressed bizarrely and seem just as demented sometimes. There is lore but it really doesn't give you much of a good view of the world -- the lore is mostly to kind of give hints about the Visionaries (your targets). This appears to take place in an alternate world -- there's a 1960s vibe to it, so I think they might have seen these folks as Bond villains or something else. (There's some vague hints that this may be the future of the Dishonored world, but it's not completely clear)

But it's so over the top, I don't feel anything. I'm fine with the villains of video games being more stereotypes and don't require academy award wining plots and acting -- but this just feels incomplete and weird. I want to know more about the world, the lore, and I want to know more about Colt and Julia and there's not a lot there -- too much about the weird visionaries, not much about the overall setting or the goals. There's also not the moral choices you'd normally make in these types of games. Dishonored and Prey had specific ways you could choose how violent or merciful you became. It just is disappointing. The game play is satisfying but that alone gets boring without better goals.
 

JRT

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As far as what I am looking forward to, well, Far Cry 6 comes out soon. Looking very forward to it.

They are definitely bringing out a lot of fun. I've enjoyed the YouTube videos, they've got some over the top marketing that makes me smile.



 

chuckdee

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Here's the big problem for me. The gameplay is fun but the world and the lore is lacking and unsatisfying.
From what I've seen, it supposed to be more on the Borderlands side of things. The first Borderlands, before they added most of the lore. Unlike their other games, it's not a story-based game.
 

The Mad Hatter

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I hate to say it, but Deathloop is my least favorite game from Arkane Studios. They basically combined two games, but the sum is less than its parts. It's gotten rave reviews, but I think they may have been thinking too soon.

Like said above, the gameplay is a lot like Dishonored, with powers gained in certain ways, as well as a complex level design. The twist is the game does something similar to what happened in the free DLC for Prey: Mooncrash. Mooncrash was a simulation the player went in--you were trying to simulate a disaster on the Moon and evacuate the base--as you go through you unlock other characters, and the simulation sometimes randomly changes the environment and gets more unstable (more monsters). That type of gameplay probably influenced this one.

Deathloop involves a character named Colt, who has amnesia, but gets messages as writing only he can see, sometimes he sees temporal duplicates of himself, and he's bantering with an adversary named Julia. The goal of the game is to break a never ending loop of time (a day), and apparently you need to kill 8 people to do it. Basically there's an intro level, but the game has 4 locations and 4 different times (morning, noon, afternoon, night). The goal is to actually explore and find clues, change the environment earlier in the game so it changes some events later, etc. As you do this, you get more powers and experience. The ultimate goal is to arrange things so you can complete your task. Most of the other characters know they are trying to loop time but are unaware they are stuck in a loop. The Wildcard is Julia -- she exists both as an overall watcher and provides catty banner, but she can invade the game -- either as an AI, or another player can inflitrate and try to kill the Colt player.

Here's the big problem for me. The gameplay is fun but the world and the lore is lacking and unsatisfying. You basically have to kill targets, don't seem to have any moral qualms about it, and everybody else on the island seem to be neurotic sociopaths. The most sane appear to be the scientists, but even they are bonkers. Supposedly, these individuals got together and formed a corporation to research anomalies and time loops. And all the employees are dressed bizarrely and seem just as demented sometimes. There is lore but it really doesn't give you much of a good view of the world -- the lore is mostly to kind of give hints about the Visionaries (your targets). This appears to take place in an alternate world -- there's a 1960s vibe to it, so I think they might have seen these folks as Bond villains or something else. (There's some vague hints that this may be the future of the Dishonored world, but it's not completely clear)

But it's so over the top, I don't feel anything. I'm fine with the villains of video games being more stereotypes and don't require academy award wining plots and acting -- but this just feels incomplete and weird. I want to know more about the world, the lore, and I want to know more about Colt and Julia and there's not a lot there -- too much about the weird visionaries, not much about the overall setting or the goals. There's also not the moral choices you'd normally make in these types of games. Dishonored and Prey had specific ways you could choose how violent or merciful you became. It just is disappointing. The game play is satisfying but that alone gets boring without better goals.

I have a lot going on right now, so haven't gotten to play the game as much as I wanted. It's definittely not as good story and lore wise, compared to Dishonored and Prey. But I think that's intentional. The focus is much more on the actual gameplay loop, (no pun intended), which I love.
I can't comment on the Mooncrash comparison. Even though I own that dlc, I haven't actually gotten around to play it yet. But from what I've seen about it, I think your right on this one.

You correctly sums up the game here. Everyone on the island is caught in the loop. Colt and Julia are the only ones, who doesn't forget everything that happens from loop to loop. Some of the other Visionaries are aware that they forget and knows that Colt and Julia doesn't. I love the freedom this game gives me as a player. Of course there are objectives you can follow, but you are given freedom to do them in any order. You can also just ignore them, and just explore each area at your leisure. You will automically achieve the objectives in this way too. The only thing that worries me is that I have a sneaking suspicion, that there's only one way to kill all Visionaries on one timeloop.

It doesn't bother me, that the game don't have any morality choices like Dishonored or Prey. It wouldn't fit the game in my opinion. I'm still not sure why the Visionaries got together, to form the Aeon Project. Some of them seem to be in it for research as you say, but others just want to have en eternal party. I agree that everyone is so over the top, (even Colt the protagonist), that it's very hard to take seriously. I can't figure out which world it takes place in. To me it seems more like an alternate Earth in the 60's/70's.

One thing you haven't touched on is multiplayer. I have played with it turned on a couple of times. I find it quite fun but also very stressfull, so I don't have it on all the time. I love to just complete what I came to do, when go and hack the antenna and escape. Basically avoiding any direct confrontation with Julia. I have pissed of a couple opponents with this style. I would advise not to turn it on, until you have some upgrades for your Colt though.

Overall, I really like this game. Yes, the story isn't as good as previous Arkane titles, but to me the gameplay makes up for this in spades. Deathloop reminds me a lot of the Hitman games gameplay wise. I love games that just let's me decide, what to do and when. I don't need super duper goals or objectives to complete, if I enjoy the gameplay all by itself. But if you are not like that, I think the game could get boring and repetitive.
 

Gabriel

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Yep, still playing Pool of Radiance.

I've taken the past couple of days off because I just haven't felt good and mentally I haven't been up to playing anything. I plan to get back to the game this weekend.

My next mission is Zhentil Keep. I'm supposed to go there and deliver some kind of diplomatic message. It has TRAP written all over it in bright neon letters with arrows pointing towards it and sirens sounding. I guess I'll see how it goes.

Last session began with me starting my trek to a buccaneer camp. They had kidnapped some noble's son, and my party got recruited to bring them back. So, I head out into the wildneress and...

I met some driders.

It turns out that I got off EASY in that last drider battle. This time I tried to flee, and that was the wrong choice, because these driders wanted me dead and engaged in combat anyway. I dumped three fireballs on these spidery jackasses and they just laughed about it. Then they ran up to the two mainline fighters and two clerics, paralyzed them all, and started insta-killing them.

Yep. I rebooted. It was going to be a total party wipe, and even if some miracle had allowed me to pull through, it would have been unrecoverable.

Don't fuck with driders.

So, second attempt, I actually reached the buccaneer's camp. I walked in and was greeted cordially by the pirates. They treated me in a very businesslike manner and gave me a place to rest so I could check out the merchandise afterwards. The merchandise, of course, being slaves.

So, I start checking out the camp and the slave pens. That's when I come upon a slave pen with a small child with the mark I'm looking for. This small child is the noble's son? I was expecting at least a teenager or something, not a little kid. And while I'm recovering from that shock, some creepy pervert comes up to me and starts talking about how good that little kid looks and how much he wants to buy that little kid. "Oh yes, I think I will buy him." And it comes off far creepier than I can convey.

OH. HELL! NO! Fuck you creepy dude. Fuck all you slavers. You all gonna die now.

So, I kill the guards guarding the slave pen. There's only four of them and they suck, so the battle is over before the guards have any idea what is going on. I rescue the kid. But that pisses off the rest of the slavers, so they decide they want to kick my ass.

Bring it, you slaver bastards!

So, a lot of killin' later, there's a bunch of dead slavers. I guess I could make a beeline for the exit at this point, but fuck that. I am the right hand of vengeance and there is cleansing to be done. I remember when I was brought in I was told of a building where "The Captain" is at. I decide to pay this guy a visit.

The Captain's guards come out to meet me. That's nice. All those slavers die. So, the Captain sends out more of his flunkies. All those slavers die too. I think there was another wave of slavers after that. Damn! How many slavers does this guy have on the payroll?

Eventually, the party soaked in the blood of slavers, and a giant mound of bodies outside the Captain's headquarters, the big guy finally decides to come out and show himself. He asks me if I want to surrender now and be a slave or be ransomed. Uhm... How about NO, you slaver piece of shit! So, combat starts.

Oops. The Captain has over 100 HP and a THAC0 of 6. Dude hits AC0 on a 6! He also brought about eight 4th level fighters, and a gazillion little mook slavers. This... might not go well.

Or, it might have been bad had the Captain not failed his Hold Person saving throw. Oh, that kind of sucks that you're right there in the front lines helpless mister Captain sir. My sword just slipped, and the Captain died like a whimpering little bitch. Whoops!

His lieutenants didn't like the mix of sleep spells, hold person spells, and fireballs I subjected them to. As soon as all those were cleared, it was just the matter of letting the mainline fighters do sweep attacks on all the piddly mooks.

After the battle, we cast detect magic on the pile and found out that not only did the Captain have some awesome stuff, but every single one of those lieutenants was rocking magical armor and swords. The whole party loaded up with loot.

Afterwards, we freed the slaves. They all joyously fled with their freedom. As they ran off, the party yelled after them to look out for driders. Hopefully they heard us.

We brought the little kid back to Phlan to be reunited with his family. Hopefully he isn't too traumatized by the experience, or by the epic slaughter he witnessed. We didn't get all that impressive of a reward, but the massive amount of magic loot and the satisfaction of killing hundreds of slavers made up for it.
 

Brock Savage

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I have been playing GTA Online like a maniac with a crew of 5 including my partner. I didn't think she'd like it but she has embraced her inner bad-ass-bitch. Despite the game's age it is great fun and highly recommended if you can get a crew together. The nice thing is that you can play a "friends only" session if you want to avoid randos.

The reason I mention all of this is that GTA Online has given me ideas on how to run an amazing game of Cyberpunk 2020. The contacts, properties, missions and heists are all perfect for the genre. One of my crew happens to be a big fan of the genre as well and we both agree that GTA Online is more true to our tabletop experiences than Cyberpunk 2077.
 
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3rik

(ᵕ̣̣̣̣̣̣﹏ᵕ̣̣̣̣̣̣) R.I.P. Hana Kimura (1997 - 2020)
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My wife is currently playing the Beta for the new Battlefield game.
 

zanshin

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I thought this suited here more than the Reading thread.

If anybody is interested in especially older CRPGs I really recommend "The CRPG book" from bitmap books:

It basically goes through CRPGs from the 70s in great detail, in many cases recommend the top 5 mods or fan content. I learned of many gems I'd never heard of and some fan content that improved on the original games and I've being using it for the last year to explore stuff.
That looks like an excellent Christmas present for me. I will purchase on behalf of my wife. Thank you!
 

Séadna

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Having recently replayed every single Sierra Online point and click some advice for anybody who wants to (re)play these.

For King's Quest I-III play the AGDI remakes. Fixed puzzles, good score and voice acting and replaces the text parser with an easier point and click interface and retcons aspects of the plot to make more sense. The overhaul of the second game is extensive in places but the original version from 1985 was very badly designed.

For Hero Quest/Quest for Glory play the VGA remake of the first (included with GOG copy) and the AGDI remake of the Quest for Glory II. This will give all four games one consistent aesthetic and play style, better music, as well as restoring cut content to the second game. Quest for Glory IV must be played in its CD-version which included narration from John Rhys-Davies (this is on GOG).

Police Quest I is far better in its original EGA release from 1987. This is because the Text Parser interface made possible more simulational aspects of being a cop, like specific steps of making an arrest etc that the point and click interface of the VGA remake couldn't replicate.

Play the original Gabriel Knight and not the remake. The remake has inferior voice acting (original had Mark Hamil, Michael Dorn and Tim Curry, remake has generic voices) and the graphics go from a professional old 2D game to a cheap looking modern game.
 
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Aglondir

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I bought these a long time ago. All of them are "Enhanced Editions/" Never played them. Which one should I play first?

Baldur's Gate
Baldur's Gate II
Icewind Dale
Neverwinter Nights
 

under_score

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I bought these a long time ago. All of them are "Enhanced Editions/" Never played them. Which one should I play first?

Baldur's Gate
Baldur's Gate II
Icewind Dale
Neverwinter Nights
Start at the beginning. Baldur's Gate holds up brilliantly, I replay it every few years. You can import your save game from that into BG2, which is the best of these games (but I wouldn't recommend skipping straight to it, BG1 is well worth the journey).
Icewind Dale is a fun enough game if you really like that combat/character customization of BG more than the story. It's pretty much a constant dungeon delve where you build your whole party. I'd put it lower priority than BG 1 and 2, just some extra filler if you're craving more of that sort of gameplay.
Neverwinter Nights is kind of a weird game. As one of the early 3d RPGs, it was a departure from the Infinity Engine that had been used in the BG and IWD games (and Planescape). It only allows you to play your PC and one companion, so you lose a lot of the party dynamics that make the gameplay so fun. And the story's pretty dull. But it had a great online and modding scene that made up for it. It probably holds up the most of the series if you're into modding and find an active community, but the worst of them for playing solo out of the box.
 

JRT

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So, I played Far Cry 6. Some thoughts and observations. (I want to do bulleted lists but there seems to be issues with advanced formatting in the item).

* Like the last few Far Cry's, there's a lot to do here. There's animal hunting, vehicle races, treasure hunts, etc. So there's enough variety for things to be worth it.

* The game is very similar to Far Cry 5 as there is an "introduction area", then there are three major zones where you have different factions and villains. So it's built on a hub strategy. You can go to multiple at once, or focus on one at a time, like I did.

* The game is more focused now around weapons and gadgets -- there is not an RPG ability system anymore. Weapons need to be acquired (in several ways, chests, purchases, etc.). There are several unique ones that can be only found in specific locations. Unique weapons can't be modified, having specific traits. But you can create mods that modify the type of damage, sights and ammo loads, etc. It's really focused on a crafting system. There's also the resolver and supermo systems -- a handful of unique types of weapons and backpacks that do massive damage to multiple targets. I had mixed feelings about this -- while the variety was interesting, the execution was a bit of a chore for me. Reminding me of AC: Odyssey, where you end up going through a lot of extra equipment.

* They got rid of the herb system in this one.

* There's a pet system called "amigos" where you have animal companions that have several abilities. It worked okay, but I didn't like it as much as Far Cry 5's companion system. The biggest issue is that these animals aren't as good with stealth procedures.

* Storywise, the game was good, not spectacular. I'm not really fond of the critics focus on how this compares to the "real Cuba" or whatever talking points they do. It's a Far Cry game, so it's not going to be academy award winning stuff. There's a mix of satire, goofiness, and some pathos and sadness as well.

I do think however, that the antagonists weren't as well done as in the last games. The main villain and his son was played spectacularly by both actors, but the biggest issue is that you have no agency in any of his encounters -- not even a choice to affect the outcome of what happens -- all the big encounters happen in cut scenes only, and half of them occur elsewhere ("offscreen", scenes that enhance the player's knowledge but not the character). Even though in Far Cry 5 you don't have much interaction with the final villain, there's at least a choice that affects the ending.

The main subordinates are also handled differently. Out of the three hubs only one was a direct action "boss battle", there was less direct influence over the outcome of some the encounters -- a few subordinates have their fate pre-determined. There was only one encounter I had a choice in deciding, and that didn't affect much. It seems most of these encounters were dealing with the armies they had rather than the individuals themselves.

There's a few other fun things. The post-campaign has "weekly insurgencies" which means one section of the map will have armies try to retake things so there's replayability. And there's a bunch of nice touches -- I like the main character singing sometimes to songs while driving.

Edited to Add: One major issue I think for some will be Far Cry not allowing manual saves -- it's just got a single Checkpoint save. I'm not sure why they do this. While there's little deep choice and consequence in here, at minimum it might be good if you end up hosing the checkpoint save accidentally.
 
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JRT

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Right now, I'm playing Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Actually replaying it, I played the original over a decade ago when it came out, I'm playing the remastered version. I'm playing this to prepare for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Though the game is short and the "main" Version (PC and Consoles, as opposed to the Wii) has awkward controls, I really enjoy it. This was the true Ghostbusters 3 we needed. In addition to the performance of the main cast, there were wonderful little bits in the Firehouse--from Janine taking random phone calls and her dry wit responses, to an answering machine with lots of little jokes, and even getting Max Von Sydow to do a few little bits if you interrogate the Vigo painting in the Firehouse. Even the gameplay was fun, with the other pack options (you have the famous proton gun of course, but also a slime blower from the second movie) and a variety of critters--I just found the actual "ghost wrangling" (when you try to put the weakened ghost into the trap) to be awkward with PC controls.

If the new movie is successful, I hope a large studio considers doing a Ghostbusters game. I wouldn't expect a story with the original cast, but it might be nice to have an Open World GB game either involving the sequel cast or an individual in a franchise or whatever.
 
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