The Video Game Thread: What are you Playing?

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Séadna

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Sir Humphrey from Yes Minister!: Nice work if you can get it.

Alternatively:

Maybe some day they'll actually have the game.
I've being playing it on and off the last few days. It's cool flying into a planet, seeing a city from orbit and coming in to land and run around it. FPS stuff on missions is very well done. However there's strange gaps in what you can and can't do. It was nice to see it for a bit, but I definitely won't buy it after the free period ends. It feels more like a cool tech demo at the moment.
 

Stumpydave

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I've just downloaded Enlisted on the PS4. Finally an FPS that works at old man speed! I don't understand a lot of the squad strategy at the moment, just taking whatever soldier is given to me, but tanks are bloody brutal and people drop with a single shot which fits well with my personal ethos of how games should be.
 

Gabriel

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I haven't been able to play Super Robot Wars 30 since my last post. I found out the DLC patch had bugged the game to hell and back, so I didn't want to risk my save. And here, two weeks later, Bandai/Namco hasn't actually fixed any of the problems caused by the DLC patch.

So, I moved on. Hopefully, Bandai/Namco will eventually fix the game and I can get back to playing.

I guess I wanted to reward incompetence, because I picked up SD Gundam Generations Cross Rays on sale. This is another mech based tactical RPG, this time focusing on the Gundam franchise. Specifically, this entrant covers lots of the alternate universe Gundam series/features. So it's all non-UC stuff (Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, After War Gundam X, etc).

It has a bit of a learning curve (and that's why I never really got into its predecessor SD Gundam Generations G Genesis), but I've managed to crack this one and have been happy playing and developing my favorite mobile suits. It also helps that I realized I could make custom characters, so I can have my own guys piloting my favorite machines instead of having nothing but franchise characters doing stuff. Oh and I can give them custom music too, so I have old favorite characters from my old Robotech campaign driving Gundams and using some of the signature songs I used to associate with those characters.

I bought a bunch of stuff from the recent Steam sale. I guess most notably, I got the Glass Menagerie games. They're effectively jigsaw puzzles where you assemble stained glass themed puzzles. I absolutely love this game. I used to love jigsaw puzzles, but they're such a long term clutter. This game sidesteps that and lets me enjoy quick jigsaw puzzles with none of the drawbacks. I had initial misgivings about the subject matter as well as not being able to preview the images before attacking the puzzle, but those turned out to be unfounded. It's actually really fun to have no idea what I'm assembling and watch the image materialize before me as I assemble it.
 

EmperorNorton

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I'm currently playing Far Cry 6 and having an absolute blast. It may be my favorite of the entire franchise.
The one thing I do miss is how they used to do literally everything from the first person perspective. It always made you feel more like you were the character. Now they do cutscenes like every other video game and I'm kind of :| about that. But gameplay wise it is really good.
 

Smith

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I bought the alpha for Project Zomboid for 5 pounds (GBP) back in early 2012. Back then it was potentially the tail end of the zombie genre hype: I was fully invested in the trope, too: I watched TWD and read the comics, I played several different types of games featuring zombies, but nothing quite scratched the itch of "how would I manage in a zombie apocalypse?" and PZ's pitch offered to answer that question.

Coming on nearly a decade later, I'd put maybe 20 hours in over the years (some before it even hit Steam) - I'd see a new update, make a couple characters, lose interest and didn't touch it for a year or so. I'd last played in 2018 and had stopped thinking about it, until the recent buzz about the multiplayer being in a stage of beta so I picked it up again with some friends.

This game is amazing for anyone who wonders how they'd fare in a zombie apocalypse.

Spoiler - probably not very long.

Off the bat you get to customise what type of zombie apocalypse you want to face off against. Slow walkers? Sprinters? Basically walking meatbags? PZ has you covered. How long into things do you want to start off - has it been a few weeks already, or is this the first day?

Once in-game you're met with a retro-esque isometric view, a somewhat archaic (but functional) UI, and a world of opportunity. There is so much depth to the systems inherent to the game. You can deconstruct or construct damn near most anything and create huge forts, should you wish (provided your skillset is high enough and you don't get chomped on). Load up a car with supplies, drive it on up to the new dense city of Louisville (locals demand you call it 'loo-vull', although nowadays they're just groaning for brains so maybe you're fine) and see sights before getting mobbed. Your Injuries can range from minor scratches to glass shards needing to be pulled out (you should have cleared away the glass before hopping through that window you just shattered) to wound infections needing cleaning. Your run speed can be altered in just minor ways if you hurt your shins or you're carrying just a little too much. Food has varying nutritional values so eating those fries you found in the diner might not be the healthiest thing for you but hey even if they're cold, they make you happy. Oh yeah, happiness is a factor, you gotta make sure your brain doesn't shut down! I'm just rambling now.

But, I could go on and on. The devs have poured love into every aspect of the game's design and implementation. There's a fascinating obsession for detail they clearly cultivate which ranges from systematic "oh, of course I can use duct tape to repair my baseball bat" to facets of design, for example with environmental storytelling: "the local cops tried to set up a barricade with their cars and made a last stand at this intersection judging by their shambling corpses." There are many varying mechanics that interlace with one another that makes this game have an impressive amount of depth to it, and with each life (and inevitable death) you learn just a little more for your next run.

For the price point, there are hours and hours of fun to squeeze out of the game, and it comes readily. Try your hand at being deaf and see how long you last, or play as a war-hardened veteran and hoard a bunch of guns and ammo and go out in a blaze of glory, or be farmer out in the country and see how long your crops and your mental state can last over the years, or with this recent update, fuck around with your friends and laugh at one another as you all eventually get bitten and calamity ensues.
 

thesheeep

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Can confirm.
Project Zomboid, along with Cataclysm:grin:DA are definitely my favourite zombie survival RPGs - with Cataclysm naturally being more RPG and the former more actiony.

The recent multiplayer they added to Zomboid also seems to be quite interesting.
 

Giganotosaurus

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Can confirm.
Project Zomboid, along with Cataclysm:grin:DA are definitely my favourite zombie survival RPGs - with Cataclysm naturally being more RPG and the former more actiony.

The recent multiplayer they added to Zomboid also seems to be quite interesting.
I love CDDA! I once made it to winter by setting up in a dairy farm, complete with cows. One day I updated the game to the latest experimental version only to find that they buggered the spawning code for animals and find hostile wildlife spawning all around me, including inside my cow barn.
I took a long break after that.
 

UnplayedRanger

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After having played through the first two games earlier this year, I’ve started a second play through of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Enjoying it more than my first play through so far.
 

EmperorNorton

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I really really love the lore and story of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and I think
Solas is one of the best video game characters ever and really hope they do him justice as a pure villain in 4 whenever it happens
, but I fucking HATE the gameplay of that game.

Luckily, my wife really loved the game so I've seen it all the way through multiple times. Though I've yet to see the romance path I would choose >_>. (I actually think Cassandra, for all her anger problems, is one of the most genuinely good people in the game).
 

Brock Savage

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Star Renegades is 50% off during Steam's Winter Sale. It's nice turn based strategy RPG with retro graphics and music. Lots of characters and gear to unlock. I am 32 hours in and still haven't beat it. It's a challenging game but failure isn't frustrating or unrewarding. There's strategy involved, you aren't grinding mobs and spamming basic attacks.
 

zanshin

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Fired up Raiders! Forsaken Earth after picking it up in the Steam sale.

At the moment feels like a bit like a cross between Lords of the Realm meets Heroes of Might & Magic set in a Fallout world. Indie game, scratching a number of itches for me.
 

Baulderstone

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I felt this was relevant:
My one disagreement here is claim that not having fully-spoken dialogue is a bad thing. One of the things I liked about Morrowind was being able to have a "conversation" with someone in under 30 seconds, as opposed to spending five minutes to determine someone had nothing useful to say to me.

In Morrowind, finding a new town was an exciting prospect. In Oblivion and Skyrim, it was always mixed with dread at all the dialogue I'd have to wade through. At least Skyrim got rid of the horrible social mini-game.
 

Séadna

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It's not just the rake of dialogue in some fantasy games, but that its a lot of lore dump.

"You're looking for the caves? When my people migrated South from the Kodorku mountains...<5 mins>...of course the cave itself was found during the reign of King Roderick...<5 mins>...so it's just up that path"

A lot of games try to build a world like LOTR or Glorantha right off the bat.
 

Giganotosaurus

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My one disagreement here is claim that not having fully-spoken dialogue is a bad thing. One of the things I liked about Morrowind was being able to have a "conversation" with someone in under 30 seconds, as opposed to spending five minutes to determine someone had nothing useful to say to me.

In Morrowind, finding a new town was an exciting prospect. In Oblivion and Skyrim, it was always mixed with dread at all the dialogue I'd have to wade through. At least Skyrim got rid of the horrible social mini-game.
Oh absolutely, I'm a big fan of the text dialogue not only because I can get through it as fast as I can read, but it also makes it super easy for modders to add new dialogue. Something that I think is a big factor as to why 20 years later Morrowind still has a strong modding community.
With that being said, a lot of Morrowind's NPC's just copy paste what everyone else says and there's a lot of versatility with the dialogue system that the original Developers didn't use. This probably had to do with them running themselves ragged to get the game out because Bethesda was going under and Morrowind was their last chance at saving the company.
If you want some really good examples of what the dialogue system can do is in the Tamriel Rebuilt super-mod.
One of the arguments against text based dialogue is that people with dyslexia are going to have a bad time, which is completely fair. An interesting solution to that I've heard is to integrate a text-to-speech device into the game that can be turned on in the options.
Another alternative I've read about is for voice acted games, where modders can use some kind of program that takes all of a characters dialogue and generates semi-similar voices for text.
I find that really exciting, not just for modding but for developers as well. Imagine having your character use your own voice in a game!
 

Giganotosaurus

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It's not just the rake of dialogue in some fantasy games, but that its a lot of lore dump.

"You're looking for the caves? When my people migrated South from the Kodorku mountains...<5 mins>...of course the cave itself was found during the reign of King Roderick...<5 mins>...so it's just up that path"

A lot of games try to build a world like LOTR or Glorantha right off the bat.
Morrowind can run into this too, but it also has a lot of the background lore in the in-game books.
 

Baulderstone

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With that being said, a lot of Morrowind's NPC's just copy paste what everyone else says and there's a lot of versatility with the dialogue system that the original Developers didn't use. This probably had to do with them running themselves ragged to get the game out because Bethesda was going under and Morrowind was their last chance at saving the company.
I was okay with this. Having most people in town have the exact same thing to say about the Mage's Guild meant that I could tell at a glance if someone had new information worth reading.
One of the arguments against text based dialogue is that people with dyslexia are going to have a bad time, which is completely fair. An interesting solution to that I've heard is to integrate a text-to-speech device into the game that can be turned on in the options.
That's a fair argument.

Taking that into account, my complaint isn't the actual voice. It's the way conversations are handled in the game. In Skyrim, you have the faux-conversation model that is standard now. In Morowind, you had a list of topics come up when you spoke to an NPC. You clicked a topic to learn what they had to say on it. Sometimes it would extend into giving you choices of what to say to them, but that was saved for important moments. It was a lot like the system in the old Ultima games, only with a list instead of typing in keywords.

I'd be fine with a game that used the Morrowind system that also read the text aloud. My basic issue with the more modern system is that it really doesn't feel that much more like I am having a real conversation while being much more cumbersome to navigate.
 

Stan

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Yea, I also don't want dialogue with false choices. If it doesn't matter what I say, why bother me?* I recently played Solasta, which is decent but he dialogue is generally not great and has very little effect on the game, maybe 1-2 bonuses on side quests, but no effect on the path of the story.


*this might be why I have trouble with small talk in real life.
 

Brock Savage

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PULSAR: Lost Colony is on sale right now and we played all night with a friend. Despite the simple graphics it's an enjoyable game to play with friends and I imagine it's pretty fun to jump into a public lobby as well. It's kinda like "FTL the RPG" complete with steep learning curve. Despite a fairly extensive tutorial, the game just dumps you out into the world and expects you to figure out what to do. It's meant for up to five players, each taking a role of captain, pilot, scientist, engineer, and weapon specialist. Players feel specialized in their role and survival takes coordination amongst all players. Getting 5 friends together to play can be tough so bots can fill the empty slots.

 

The Mad Hatter

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I'd be fine with a game that used the Morrowind system that also read the text aloud. My basic issue with the more modern system is that it really doesn't feel that much more like I am having a real conversation while being much more cumbersome to navigate.

For me, the only videogame dialogue-system that felt like a conversation, was in Alpha Protocol. Mostly because, there were a timer on the choices you had to make. Really sad that system hasn't been used since in any game.
I also really liked the dialogue-system in The Council game. That game also had timers in conversations sometimes. It also had the confrontation system, a system which Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mankind Divided also had something similar to.
 

Giganotosaurus

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For me, the only videogame dialogue-system that felt like a conversation, was in Alpha Protocol. Mostly because, there were a timer on the choices you had to make. Really sad that system hasn't been used since in any game.
I also really liked the dialogue-system in The Council game. That game also had timers in conversations sometimes. It also had the confrontation system, a system which Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mankind Divided also had something similar to.
Until Dawn and it's sequel series had something similar with most choices, including dialogue, being on a timer. You'd usually have 2 given choices with there being a 3rd choice if you let the timer run out.
 

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I'm finally getting around to God of War, the latest I believe with the son and it is good nicking elements of Last of Us and Uncharted I assume as I've never played the earlier games which looked too bro-ish for my tastes.

The only weakness so far is some too obviously video game-ish detours and structure (Dark Souls really benefits by not explaining any of this stuff) and the dialogue is quite poor but this is a AAA game and the few video games with good dialogue/cut-scenes I can probably count on one hand.
 

EmperorNorton

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I've been playing Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Whoever thought to combine the tone and setting of the Yakuza series with a turn based RPG is a genius, and it is probably one of my favorite games of the last few years.
 

Brock Savage

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I've been playing Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Whoever thought to combine the tone and setting of the Yakuza series with a turn based RPG is a genius, and it is probably one of my favorite games of the last few years.
My wife has been playing Yakuza: Like a Dragon like a maniac and is on NG+ right now. The game's positive and wholesome message speaks to her and she has a huge crush on Kasuga.
 

Voros

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I've been playing Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Whoever thought to combine the tone and setting of the Yakuza series with a turn based RPG is a genius, and it is probably one of my favorite games of the last few years.

Are the other games in the series turn based? That sounds like my jam.

Miike did a film adaptation that is supposed to be a cut above other video game films (which admittedly is a very, very low bar).

 

EmperorNorton

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My wife has been playing Yakuza: Like a Dragon like a maniac and is on NG+ right now. The game's positive and wholesome message speaks to her and she has a huge crush on Kasuga.
Ichiban is the best himbo.

The characters overall are really good though. There isn't a single one of the playable characters I don't enjoy. Also the fact that your early party is just a bunch of middle age/old men was amusing (Ichiban (42), Nanba (41), Adachi (59)), and a real change of pace for most JRPGs.
 

EmperorNorton

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Are the other games in the series turn based? That sounds like my jam.

Miike did a film adaptation that is supposed to be a cut above other video game films (which admittedly is a very, very low bar).


The rest of the series are action games. Just for some reason Like a Dragon is a turn based JRPG.
 

thesheeep

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Like A Dragon being turn-based is also what made me play it.

I really liked the story and crazyness of it all.

What I didn't like was the endless grind, catastrophically bad level design (especially the "dungeons", wtf) and complete lack of challenge.
That you cannot skip encounters combined with the fact that there are so many of them and that they are all so incredibly easy made gameplay feel like a terrible chore after 20+ hours or so.
Due to that, I could not get myself to finish it.

A real shame, too, as the game is filled with tons of different abilities, different builds for your party, synergies between attack types, etc. You can get really creative.
But since it doesn't matter one bit and you could basically win every combat spamming nothing but the default attacks (and heal now and again), the entire system seems completely pointless.

In that regard, it reminded me a lot of South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Also a really interesting combat system, many ways to make builds, plan attacks, etc. but none of it matters as all enemies are complete pushovers...
 

Brock Savage

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I finally beat Star Renegades twice over the weekend. There is still content to unlock and stuff to do. I very much recommend it if you enjoy challenging turn based content.

After putting it off for years I bought Red Dead Redemption 3. Rockstar makes great games and this is no exception. The writing, graphics, sound, gameplay, and immersion are all top notch. That said now that I have reached chapter 2 it is just so slow that I can do like one mission before my ADHD brain calls it quits. I think I am going to skip the single player game and jump into online play and see what's up. According to Reddit the online RDR2 community is a lot more chill than the exhausting dog-eat-dog urban warfare of GTA Online.
 

Isator Levi

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I bought NieR: Automata about three years ago and have only just started it properly a few weeks back.

I've found myself pretty hooked with an open world that is just dense enough with activities to keep me engaged but not so much that I waste too much time (plus a fast travel system that is restrictive enough to still require some actual travel) as well a few features that feel like they reward exploration, a stat and upgrade system that is straightforward but with some depth, and being really damn weird (even apart from that anime silliness I enjoy so much).
 
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