Whatcha Been Playing?

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future
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KissMammal
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by KissMammal »

Tbh, I don't think any of the GTA games played particularly great even back in the day. They were certainly groundbreaking technically, but I would describe the way they played to be 'functional' at best. I always found the controls to be a bit loose and twitchy - the novelty and style is what made them so much fun rather than the gameplay itself. I always thought they were fun to mess around with, but I could never be bothered with the actual missions. GTAV is where they actually got something approaching decent traversal/combat mechanics imo.

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DeadpoolNegative
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by DeadpoolNegative »

One unexpected side effect with checkpointing the missions in San Andreas: the best way to build your stats- stamina, car handling, weapons et al- was through repetition and starting missions from the beginning. One of the things I liked about the game back then was that even if I failed in a mission, I was still making progress, however, incremental. Now that you can just start at a checkpoint, you don't need to do all that.

I started a playthrough of GTAIV after beating San Andreas, and I was about to say the aiming/targeting improved in that game, but uh it really did not.

--Dan

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Alex79
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79 »

Yeah I honestly couldn't tell what they'd done with the aiming and shooting. Didn't seem modernised or improved in any way whatsoever to me.

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Alex79
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79 »

Everyone else has gone out so I've been playing the first Halo game, inspired by the recent Back Page podcast episode. When I first got my Series S I intended to make my way through the Halo series, having never really got stuck in to it before (played 1 and 3 and about half of 2) so downloaded the Master Chief Collection straight away. I played through a good chunk of the first game, but ended up getting bored and annoyed with it, without really knowing why, so I deleted it from my console. I've come back to it though after the aforementioned podcast, and really enjoying it again. I've just realised as well that I stopped playing it around The Library level, which is just tedious beyond belief, but now that's behind me I'm having a great old time again! Fully intend to move on to Halo 2 next, and hopefully make my way through the series before playing the new one next year at some point.

That's one thing I wanted to ask. I do want to play the new one, and it'd be nice to play it along with everyone else as its new, but is it worth me trying to finish 1-5 first, or is the story nonsense anyway, so may as well play Infinite as soon as its out and then go back to the old ones?

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

Alex79 wrote: December 4th, 2021, 12:07 pm That's one thing I wanted to ask. I do want to play the new one, and it'd be nice to play it along with everyone else as its new, but is it worth me trying to finish 1-5 first, or is the story nonsense anyway, so may as well play Infinite as soon as its out and then go back to the old ones?
That's kind of a difficult question. I think the story of Halo does have some decent qualities that are worth giving it a chance for, but it's never been anything especially groundbreaking, and it goes off the deep end after a certain number of games. Yet at the same time it insists on making certain things pretty important to pay attention to if you want to understand what the hell is going on by the end.

The original trilogy is a nice, relatively simple, and self-contained story. 2 and 3 in particular are like two parts of the same story, as 2 ends on a big cliffhanger that 3 picks up directly after. I think 2 is also the best story in the series, as it delves in to the society of the Covenant and explores the role of the various different factions in this war and the implications of what's going on. 3 basically ties up what 2 started. ODST and Reach have stories related to that whole trilogy arc but it's not necessary to play them to understand any of the other games.

4 and 5 start delving in to more questionable territory. They demystify the Forerunners in a way that I don't think is particularly good, and try to have a stronger emphasis on character development despite none of the characters being compelling. There are several big plot thread going through both games which are still unresolved going in to Infinite. Despite the game seeming to be taking a big change in direction away from the path those games were going down, there's no way these elements won't play some major role. Or if they don't, it will feel like an awkward and glaring omission. So the game is in a tough position narratively, where it's painted itself in to a corner. Damned if it does, damned if it doesn't. On one hand you could argue it might be better to ignore 4 and 5 so you don't have to think about all this nonsense with Infinite, but it's also very likely doing so will leave you totally lost.

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Alex79
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79 »

Hmm, I guess I'll try to blast through the series then - might just stick 4 and 5 on the easiest difficulty to get them done quicker. Thanks for such a detailed answer!

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DeadpoolNegative
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by DeadpoolNegative »

I'm not 100% sure about this, but 5 ends on cliffhanger that was so poorly received that 343 has decided to resolve it mostly in tie-in novels, much like the entire Juno thread in Assassin's Creed was banished to the tie-in comics.

--Dan

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stvnorman
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman »

Lost arcade game Clockwork Aquario finally emerged after 27 years this week, and while it’s not the best platformer you’ll ever play, it’s a decent one and is a proper looker on Switch with a great soundtrack. It’s a bit Wonder Boy (same dev), a bit Mega Man and a bit Sonic, and like all of those it controls well, it’s addictive and the challenge is just about right while it lasts, which isn’t very long.

Kind of between games after that, and went on a bit of a journey through new stuff on Xbox Game Pass and Games With Gold, so in the order they installed… Orcs Must Die is an old 360 action tower defence thing and is a lot of fun until it gets a bit monotonous. Archvale is a twin-stick bullet-hell dungeon crawler that reminded me of the combat bits in Moonlighter, but without the compelling looting and selling mechanic; it’s polished and it’s alright but it’s not really for me. Townscaper is just about plonking down building blocks on top of each other so they turn into buildings. By its own admission it’s not a game, and I concur.

The Escapists 2 provides pixel art prison breakout, a bit like an updated Skool Daze on ZX Spectrum, but I always thought that was overrated and this is more of the same, with you following the rules while sneakily plotting your escape. Just not my cup of tea. Night Call was on a Free Play Days weekend, and is a narrative noire murder-mystery that can stay a mystery - I played a taxi driver to obnoxious people on Apple Arcade a couple of years ago and I’m not ready for more yet! And I’ve no idea what Kingdom Two Crowns was all about but it’s got some nice pixel art! That’s the lot, and while it mostly wasn’t for me this time, never any complaints about finding that out.

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dezm0nd
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by dezm0nd »

In the run up to Halo Infinite i've been dabbling with some 90's shooters and having fun. Serious Sam, Doom 64 and Quake.

I tried some Archvale which was cute for a while but overall I've not much of an appetite for sticking with a game when I know Halo is round the corner

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KissMammal
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by KissMammal »

Honestly as big a fan as I am of the games, I can't stand the Halo 'lore'. The first game is fine, in a sort of nakedly derivative 80s sci-fi pastiche kind of way, but after that it starts to take itself overly seriously and quickly disappears up its own bum. One of my least favourite things about the series as it went on is that the story started to get more and more prominent, to the point where it started getting in the way of the gameplay. It still boggles my mind that they seem to think Master Chief and Cortana are these amazing characters we're supposed to care about, when they seemed to have been originally designed to be 'nondescript super soldier' and 'exposition device' respectively.

Personally I'd say the highlights of the series are Combat Evolved, 3, ODST and Reach. The rest I can take or leave tbh. The campaign of 2 is (imo) a pretty big step down from the original, and I can barely remember anything about 4 other than I strongly disliked the new enemy faction they introduced. I never bothered with 5.

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shadowless_kick
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by shadowless_kick »

at long last I'm playing The Pathless, which has been at the top of my most-anticipated games list for a while. just needed a nice, deep digital discount, which the Black Friday sale delivered. I'm having a good time with it. simply moving around the world as the Hunter is fun and will likely be even better when I really get the timing of shots down.

...I just wish it wasn't so damn dark; I often need to use the 'third-eye vision' just to make out my surroundings. also, audio cues when successfully completing a step toward solving a puzzle would've been greatly appreciated and likely would've saved me from checking a youtube video just to find out what my objective was (let alone a puzzle's solution).

and going from a game about preserving the sanctity of nature to its polar opposite: wallowing in the comical extremes of absolute urban decay in HUNTDOWN. this game is exactly what I'd hoped it'd be and I'm lovin' it. taking cover behind boxes or ducking into open spaces to avoid enemy fire adds a nice spice to the running and gunning. and it's genuinely funny. even when characters repeat the same quips, it somehow doesn't get old. I'm already looking forward to replaying levels to find secrets and go for quicker completion times.

finally, as a supermassive fan of Hyper Light Drifter, Solar Ash has released to positive reviews and all's right with the world. or at least it will be once a physical edition is announced. 8-) I can wait a little longer...

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Truk_Kurt
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Truk_Kurt »

Last night I gave xCloud a go on my Series X to see how it would be. I decided to give it a demanding game to really test it with Doom 2016 and I came away really impressed. To me the only difference was that it was 1080p rather than 4K if I was playing natively but everything else was really solid, the loading screens were super quick too. For games like Doom I think I would still rather play them in natively on the machine for the 4K but for indie games on Game Pass, I can definitely see myself using xCloud now instead. I wouldn't say I have super fast internet either, I have Fibre but it is just standard fibre, nothing more.

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Feirsteax
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Feirsteax »

Played and finished Exo One the other night.
That was a lovely way to spend 2.5 hours... flying and controlling the wee orb thing feels really cool, and the environments are all gorgeous to look at.

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Miririn
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Miririn »

After polishing off Bloodborne I started to play Dark Souls III (first ever Souls game, but starting with III because combat closer to BB than previous DS games). Made my character all pretty, read some guides for beginners, got ready to call things Bonfires or Estus rather than Blood MacGuffins.

Found it hard to fight From style without regain at first, because being too used to BB made me too ballsy and wreckless, but I was slowly managing to inch through the first post-boss area. I hated having a shield over a pistol, and having clunky renaissance faire armour over my ~chic Van Helsing cosplay outfits, and the world seemed sparser and less beautiful than Yharnam (so far), but it was fun and holy shit there's dragons!! Aah it's like reading a Robin Hobb or GRRM or Tolkien, fun medieval fantasy. I could get used to this!

...but it was niggling away at me having all those lovely blood echoes in BB at the end of the game and no way to use them to level up until I killed Cleric Beast in NG. Alright, I'll take a wee break from DSIII and kill Cleric Beast. Got that done and I had fun using the DLC weapons that I didn't use in the first run-through as they weren't levelled up. Not to mention I now got to wear Lady Maria's gorgeous hunter set so I looked pretty ~great~. Anyway, back to DSIII...

...but oh if I've done Cleric Beast, why not do Gascoigne. He was one of my favourite fights in the game and it's such a shame you can't do encounter select and replay your favourite fights whenever so it would be good to fight him as he's right there. And I'll probably lose anyway.

So I trot off to visit Father Gascoigne and was thrilled to beat him on my second attempt (most likely because I'm over-levelled and this time there's no pressure so I'm more relaxed). Ok that was fun, seeya Father, time to go back to Lothric...

...well, while the game is running, I might as well go have fun in Old Yharnam and oh hey it's my old pal The Blood Starved Beast who was the boss who threw me off the game the first time I tried it and wouldn't it be funny to go back and take revenge now I'm a marginally more skilled player - you know, before I go back to DSIII imminently - and what do you know, I beat him far more easily than last time and doesn't it feel great. ANYWAY now back to DSIII for real.

...but wouldn't it be nice to go see Vicar Amelia again and---

Etc etc etc

So long story short I think I may have a problen and I may be re-playing Bloodborne? With apologies to Dark Souls :(

Edit - Although from a storytelling POV I think the opening of Bloodborne is really superior to DSIII. DSIII has this beautiful Tolkien-esque explanatory cutscene and it has gorgeous animation. But it felt very... I don't know, I just think the opening of BB is really impactful. Loading up Bloodborne for the first time and coming face to face with Gehrman in this horrific bloodsoaked nightmare, with no narrator holding your hand, is so great. And then when you die/get to the first lantern, entering this moonlit hunter's dream, meeting the doll etc, is just so memorable.

I think the general premise of BB, and particularly the reveal that
Spoiler: show
the Van Helsing werewolf horror game you thought you were playing is actually Lovecraftian existential terror
, is just so much more appealing to me personally than DS' fantasy setting. I do like a good bit of fantasy and I grew up with Tolkien and all the rest, but something about BB's world and lore really grabbed me. And the Victorian aesthetic was SO pretty. Although you get fantasy-style castles and stuff too, with Cainhurst.


....such a long post. "What a story, Mark!" tl;dr: I'm currently playing NG Bloodborne. It is good.

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Kasuga-san
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Kasuga-san »

Been enjoying Halo Infinite's campaign so far. Moment to moment combat feels great, the grappling hook feels like it was always meant to be there rather than a gimmick (to me, at least). Only issues I really have are the lack of coop at release (though it sounds like they have a little extra planned for when it rolls out next year), the vehicles feel a bit off to me, and I don't like having to listen to Macho Man wannabe for what feels like forever during the main missions. Also could have done without the Cortana stuff at this point. Just let her be gone and give me a handful of voice options for color commentary as I lay waste to the Banished armies. Plan to check out the Matrix "experience" once I finish the campaign. Then it's off the deep end into Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Ys IX, and Tales of Arise. Still debating what will be first, but I'm thinking Tales followed by AC and then Ys since the Ys games have been some of my favorites since Ys III on the SNES (I know it's not a popular opinion), even though I had to pirate ROMs to play them early on.

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

I played about half of Dishonored 2, and I didn't gel with it. Not a huge surprise since I also didn't get on with the first, and I'm having a pretty similar time here. Although I thought I would give this a shot as I did manage to crack Prey in the time since I played Dishonored 1, and I figured that the reason I didn't like that first game was because of my play style. So this time I intentionally went for the opposite, going for a high chaos run and not worrying too much about getting spotted. Still had a rough time with it, so I decided to ditch it since I felt like I've already been down this road and I know what to expect.

It's a slog to play and I always feel like the game is fighting my intentions at every angle. Tutorial hints emphasise trying to come up with creative solutions to problems, but the game itself always seems to push against that. I try to use my tools in interesting ways, but things always go wrong and it just feels like a waste of effort. It also tells you how you should improvise when things do kick off, but again that usually isn't very effective. Most of the time sneaking up behind people and stabbing them is the safest and most reliable way to do anything. Movement in general is really fiddly and awkward too. For a game that wants you to climb over everything and hide in tight corners, it sure doesn't feel good to do that a lot of the time. One of the things that got me to try the game was hearing people praise the Clockwork Mansion level so much, so I at least wanted to get to that. And yeah, it's pretty impressive. The way everything fits together and re-arranges without any kind of trickery, letting you go behind the walls is quite the achievement. So it was one of the highlights, but it didn’t change that what I was doing in those areas still wasn’t particularly fun. I did the level after that, and since it was back to the same old frustration without that cool level design I quickly ran out of steam.

I’m also replaying Halo 1, on PC this time. It’s been a while since I last played this, so I was wondering if it would still hold up. Especially when it comes to graphics. I wanted to play this with the original graphics this time, in light of the debate around how the art style of the new graphics ruin the mood, and how this PC version can improve those original graphics. I was wondering if I was just getting caught up in the wave of discourse and that actually these original graphics weren’t that great after all, looking too blocky and simple. Turns out the visuals actually stand up pretty well. One thing this game does really well aesthetically is the sense of space it conveys. The simple geometry helps emphasise a feeling of vastness. Being able to widen the FoV on the PC version adds to that in a cool way. The Forerunner architecture does definitely have a mystique to it in this style too.

They also supposedly fixed the broken graphics in this port recently, but I still had some issues, in a weird way though. One big one is the fog at the top of ravines in Assault on the Control Room. For me it was still broken, except I found a weird way to fix it. Often when I walked out in to one of the open areas the fog was missing, but if I walked back inside and back out again, it was fixed. Really strange.

And I’m also playing Halo Infinite like everyone else. Originally I wasn’t intending to, but since I have this temporary Game Pass subscription, I figured I might as well give it a chance while I could. I have been very sceptical about this game, with there being a lot of red flags beforehand and not being particularly convinced by reviews. Even positive ones. Halo 5 also got a lot of praise around release after all.

And from first impression, damn it, it’s really good. At least on an immediate gameplay level, it’s very fun. I’m impressed how well they managed to add to the Halo formula in a way that actually feels natural, and not like tacking on something pointless for the sake of chasing trends at the cost of Halo’s character. The movement is faster and snappier, but still feels deliberate and not hyperactive or weightless. The grappling hook is a useful tool that fits right in very naturally to combat that gives great mobility options and lets you interact with the environment by picking up objects to throw at enemies. This game’s version of ADS feels much better than 5 as well. There it seemed a useless feature that only existed because people were used to the mechanic from CoD, yet they didn’t want it to actually do anything as that would change how the game felt too much. So just pandering to expectations in a redundant way. But in Infinite is actually feels like something that is helpful and you might want to do, but that isn’t always the best option. It doesn’t limit your movement or feel like you need to use it to be accurate, but at the same time gives you a better focus in those moments when you might need it.

There’s some stuff I’m not so keen on. Basically all the characters are annoying, the villains aren’t compelling, and this story feels like it came out of nowhere leaving out a lot of necessary context. Like there’s an entire game missing. From what I’ve heard though, that game is called Halo Wars 2. I don’t get why 343 keeps insisting on making stories that rely on outside knowledge like this. It’s always been something that has has wide criticism. I’m also not super keen on the sound design, albeit not as badly as I thought I might be. It has the same short, punchy sounds that pretty much every shooter has these days, meaning that a lot of the unique character of weapon sounds from the old games is gone. There’s still a few little flairs that I did like though, like how the sound of the laser turret thing rises in tone the closer it gets to overheating. But in general there’s not that much which stands out.

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Jobobonobo
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Jobobonobo »

Just been making my way through Freedom Planet which is a nice 16 bit platformer which wears its Sonic influence on its sleeve. It is quite pretty to look at and the game itself is quite fun with a decent amount of challenge. Was a bit surprised that there is a larger emphasis on story than usual. Voice acting is a bit cheesy and sometimes even sounds sort of muffled but inoffensive really. Good to blast through something quick and easy in between Dragon Quest XI and Yakuza 3.

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stvnorman
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman »

I’ve never played a Halo game before because I’ve never owned an Xbox before, but ironically on the same day that my day-one PlayStation Plus membership expired, along came Halo Infinite to lead me into this brave new world. I’m not massive into shooters, but this seems like a good one and it’s been polished to hell and back! Tons of stuff to massacre as you travel between fairly linear areas and almost open-worlds, which offer a bit of chaotic creativity, especially when hijacking some of its cool vehicles comes into play. Not sure I’ll need any more than the most direct route through the solo campaign to have my fill, but it looks and feels great so far!

A very long time ago I picked up underwater walking simulator Abzu very cheap on Switch and finally got around to playing it! All a bit arty-farty, but occasionally impressive and even mildly exhilarating, and a very pretty way to zone out for a couple of hours. Also on Switch, I played through the Metroid Dread demo, but as good as it plays I’ve never been into Metroid enough to spend full-price Nintendo game money on it. Glad to have had a sniff of the party though, and maybe one day…

Conversely, I also played an hour or so of Ori and the Will of the Wisps on Xbox Game Pass after the recent Cane and Rinse podcast. Visually jaw-dropping metroidvania, but I binned off the first game about half way through (which was too much to bin off and still grates!) because I was fed up of the way it felt to play, and this was very much more of the same, so I saved myself the bother this time. Get a move on please, new Hollow Knight!

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markfm007
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by markfm007 »

Been a bit sporadic with gaming recently, due to life events taking over for a bit. Coming to the end of Final Fantasy IX. Like X I've been playing this on and off for months. I find the grinding and levelling a bit tedious so tend to drop off and come back after playing something else. I've been enjoying it though, I'm keen to see the story through and will be sad to say goodbye to these characters. I'm not going to faff about with sidequests like I did in X, just use a walkthrough to prep for the endgame bosses. I'll do a proper review of the game once I've finished.

In other news I finally got my hands on a PS5! BT have had a few offers on and I was finally able to get through the queue. I played a bit of Astro's Playroom, the free tech demo thing. It was quite fun, and showcased how impressive the controller is. It's genuine wizardry how they managed to use sound and vibration to simulate things like splashing in water, skating on an ice rink etc. I also played FF7 Remake Intermission, the DLC episode. It's not bad, nice to have more to do in that game. Yuffie is really fun to fight with, and the synthesis ability is a nice addition. The upgrade looks fantastic, and I'm looking forward to part 2 even more now.

I've also played a few hours of Demon's Souls Remake. Stunning game, it wowed me from the moment I saw the first demo, and that carries over to playing it. I'm enjoying the first level, Boletarian Palace, a big castle full of staircases, courtyards and branching paths in the vein of Central Yharnam or High Wall of Lothric. No real standout enemies yet, although I have been scorched by two dragons chilling by a cliffside. Twice, because I guess I didn't learn my lesson the first time. The controller is nicely integrated into combat, adding lovely swishes and clanks of the sword, nice sound effects when you gather souls (reminds me a bit of the noise when you crush Madmen's Knowledge in Bloodborne), and effective vibration. It adds a lot to the combat and makes me think how good it would be in the other games, particularly Sekiro.

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Miririn
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Miririn »

I spent a lot of the weekend slowly inching through Sekiro and to be honest I have no clue if I like it or not.

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