Whatcha Been Playing?

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Stanshall
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Stanshall » April 19th, 2019, 9:36 am

I've been romping through the first couple of islands on Cuphead after dragging myself through the first one in about eighteen months on the Xbox. I went back to it last month, basically, and found that my habit of playing lots of shmups had helped me get into the 'memorise and execute' mindset which I previously found quite stifling. Anyway, I started to enjoy it a lot more than all of the previous occasions I'd tried and failed to get anywhere with it. I decided I'd pick it up on the Switch so put the XB version aside.

For what it attempts to do, it's a superb game but I still think it lacks a certain 'fun factor'. Mechanically, it's as rigid and punishing and stiff as many of the arcade games which inspired it. It doesn't feel particularly enjoyable to move Cuphead around, but it does feel very direct, responsive and functional. I know that game feel is a very subjective thing and hard to pin down, and I'm not even suggesting that a touch of inertia would help (it would be a nightmare, in fact) but I don't find the character to have any sense of weight or movement. I have quite a stark sense that I'm moving a sprite around the screen.

Another thing I find awkward (and I found it awkward on Contra and Metal Slug, etc.) is the eight-way aiming at enemies which can have quite precise hit boxes. It often means that fights go on for ages because you have to stand in a certain spot to angle your shot at the weak point and when there are lots of bullets and obstacles moving around the screen in overlapping patterns, that certain spot can be inaccessible for long periods. Your other option is to jump up and down on the spot and hope that your bullets come out in line with the weak point. I know this is a fundamental design choice but it's one I find stiff and unsatisfying these days. It just means that the enormous (invisible) health bars are stretched out even further. For that reason, I pretty much only use the Chaser homing weapon. It's weak but at least you feel that every bullet counts.

These caveats aside, I'm really enjoying the game. The presentation isn't especially to my usual taste, I used to dislike this kind of grotesque Felix the Cat stuff as a kid, but I can really appreciate it now on a certain level and it's clearly a labour of love. It's also like nothing else I've seen or heard in gaming. The boss rush structure used to disappoint me because I'd hoped for a more run and gun game but I really like getting deep into the various patterns and randomised elements. It's tough but satisfying when you get through.

The port is also pixel perfect. Insanely good.

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clippa
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by clippa » April 19th, 2019, 1:44 pm

I didn't much care for cuphead, and I can't quite remember why.
Probably because everybody else liked it. That's what's you think, isn't it?

I was trying to ace every stage in order and I spent a stupid amount of time on treetop trouble trying to get an A+, the randomisation of the bouncing ladybirds meaning that I had to restart some runs before I'd even got past the first few effing screens.

Turns out it was bugged anyway and you couldn't get a time fast enough to earn an A+ on that stage anyway!

Looks like they've fixed it since with a patch, but it was an early level and it drained my enthusiasm for the game.

I looooved Betty Boop as a kid so I loved the way it looked, the way it played, not so much.
It was clear that it was their first game, it was a good effort but not a good example of a russian gush for my money. Lots of people disagreed, even people I respected.

I remember the whole thing being insanely well optimised, there was some guy had it running on one of those portable windows PC thingies at a solid 60fps at launch.

Some of the bosses were nice, and I like how some of their attack patterns were randomised, but it was totally at odds with the speedrush scoring. It was too flabby and loosey goosey, everything needed a good hard tightening up. It felt more euro than jap, everything needed to be pushed eastward a wee bit.

Tempted to give it another spin, but I think I've already made up my mind and I'd just be extra grumpalicious.
I'll try and surprise myself and stick it one day when I'm not looking.

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clippa
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by clippa » April 19th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Actually, I remember now, there was a big thing made about it at the time, you were either a nexhead or a cuphead.
It was like the big rivalry between the stones and the beatles, you were either a mod or a rocker, blur vs oasis, sony vs microsoft, you were either a gregghead or a timhead.

I remember, and you didn't like nex machina, so it was only a matter of time before you nailed your colours to the mast and became a cuphead.
Probably quite clever, if spineless, to wait for the ruckus to die down completely before making your mind up. Really let your indecision take you from behind on that one.

That's why I didn't like cuphead, it's because I liked nex machina!
Aah, those heady summer days of 2017, we were so young. Just makes me want to pull on my fighting trousers and go out and throw some cups at a bunch of sony boys.

Sony saps! Sony saps! Cupheads crap! Cupheads crap!

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle » April 19th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Played a little bit more of Dangerous Driving after a short break. I'm still enjoying it, but this game sure does like to make that hard sometimes. The bugs are just insane. It feels like it's getting worse the longer I play too. Maybe something to do with the increased speeds causing extra weirdness in the physics? But it seems like it's impossible to get through any race with at least a couple of gaffes that are at a level you just can't overlook. Often more. If you're lucky the bugs are at least funny enough to not be a big aggravation, but when it costs you a race, it's not so amusing. I've been falling through the world pretty frequently of late, and many moments where the car just flips out because it snagged something (or sometimes nothing) weirdly. It's quite shocking just how bad it is. I'm pretty confident in saying this is the most buggy and technically broken game that I've ever paid money for. It makes me wonder exactly what Sony's certification process is if something like this was given the okay. Same goes for Microsoft as well I suppose, although I don't know exactly how bad the Xbox version is.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79uk » April 19th, 2019, 6:05 pm

Still making my way through DS2:SotFS. I've just reached Vendrick, and am now going to tackle the three DLC areas before pushing on to the end of the game. Currently in the Old Iron King area, which is pretty cool.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by KSubzero1000 » April 19th, 2019, 6:29 pm

I've gone back to Sekiro. I like the game a lot, but it doesn't have the motivational quality I'm used to from FROM. The world-building is good, but not nearly as fascinating and engrossing as Bloodborne. The combat / boss fights are very enjoyable, but honestly, coming fresh off of DMC5, it can feel a bit limp and unresponsive sometimes. Made even worse by the frame rate issues on my base PS4.

Will persevere.

Scrustle wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:01 pm
Played a little bit more of Dangerous Driving after a short break. I'm still enjoying it, but this game sure does like to make that hard sometimes. The bugs are just insane. It feels like it's getting worse the longer I play too.
It sure does get worse. Some of the late game events are completely broken, I'm sorry to say. Good luck!

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Stanshall
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Stanshall » April 19th, 2019, 6:36 pm

clippa wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 2:32 pm
Actually, I remember now, there was a big thing made about it at the time, you were either a nexhead or a cuphead.
It was like the big rivalry between the stones and the beatles, you were either a mod or a rocker, blur vs oasis, sony vs microsoft, you were either a gregghead or a timhead.

I remember, and you didn't like nex machina, so it was only a matter of time before you nailed your colours to the mast and became a cuphead.
Probably quite clever, if spineless, to wait for the ruckus to die down completely before making your mind up. Really let your indecision take you from behind on that one.

That's why I didn't like cuphead, it's because I liked nex machina!
Aah, those heady summer days of 2017, we were so young. Just makes me want to pull on my fighting trousers and go out and throw some cups at a bunch of sony boys.

Sony saps! Sony saps! Cupheads crap! Cupheads crap!
I laughed.

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stvnorman
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman » April 19th, 2019, 9:55 pm

I’m quite enjoying what I’ve played of Cuphead so far. Much like Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, etc, I doubt I’ll ever finish it, but I’m sure I’ll get my money’s worth out of it. I also picked up the Konami Arcade Collection on Switch this week, mainly for Scramble which I’ll always love, same for Nemesis, but the rest seem good in the main too - Haunted Castle isn’t exactly colourblind-friendly though. Damned “invisible” bats!

I’m still plodding through the original Resident Evil on PS4 but it’s more than outstayed its welcome now. Way further than in previous attempts and I’m determined to finish it, but I’m bored and fed up of dying because of the controls... getting stuck in a corner over and over miles from a save point fighting a stupid big spider was the latest frustration - at least with Cuphead I die because I’m rubbish!

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Simonsloth » April 19th, 2019, 10:17 pm

The last two nights I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time on Donkey Kong 64. Last night I spent about 3 hours on one minigame and have never felt so infuriated.

The media often blame Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty for causing violent crime. Clearly those reporters haven’t played this game! The mild mannered pacifist in me morphed over the course of my attempts into Michael Douglas in Falling Down. 95% of the game is good solid fun but the other 5% is potentially the most infuriatingly terrible torturous game I’ve ever played.

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Magical_Isopod
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Magical_Isopod » April 20th, 2019, 1:36 am

I sent Vampyr to a friend of mine in France cuz they're out of work and going through a rough time. Huge fan of vampires, so they should be happy. Also sent Horizon: Zero Dawn, Dishonoured 2 and Bloodborne, which I picked up for $40 *total*, which seems a ludicrously low sum to me.

After modding the shit outta my PS Classic, I spent most of last night playing PC Engine SHMUPs and... holy hell have I ever been missing out. I can't seem to get any of the CD titles to boot on RetroArch, but even the Hue Card titles are freaking phenomenal.

I eagerly anticipate my next few days off, because apparently the PS Classic can actually play Dreamcast, PSP and N64 games as well. Success varies depending on the title, but I can't wait to start experimenting.

This thing might be the absolute best emulator box I've ever used. It's even compatible with the X360 controller, and one of the devs is trying to get the WiiU gamepad working with it to support DS games.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by duskvstweak » April 21st, 2019, 8:34 pm

I've been playing Valkyria Chronicles. I hit a mission that required a few tries and banging my head to the desk, but finally got past it (it's the giant tank in chapter seven). But, the game hasn't really clicked with me yet. It's doing everything right, but there's little bits about it that annoy me and then those little pieces together make me a lot annoyed.
I think it will all pan out in the end, but right now it's more of a hope than a full trust.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by ratsoalbion » April 21st, 2019, 8:34 pm

That mission is a notorious difficulty spike.

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duskvstweak
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by duskvstweak » April 21st, 2019, 8:47 pm

ratsoalbion wrote:
April 21st, 2019, 8:34 pm
That mission is a notorious difficulty spike.
Don't I know it. I had to do a few skirmishes to level up and figure out there's a side of that tank to save for last. I learned a lot about the synergy between Lancers and Engineers on that mission for sure.

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stvnorman
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman » April 22nd, 2019, 7:09 pm

I’ve been playing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link a couple of evenings a week since January, and I’ve finally finished this obnoxious, hateful, but occasionally lovable excuse for a game! I’m not ashamed to say I completely spammed the Switch Online version’s quick saves and regularly checked guides to help with the shortest possible over-world and dungeon routes to avoid more brutal exchanges than was necessary. And even with all of that it’s probably the hardest game I’ve ever completed. But I kind of enjoyed a lot of it. Link’s Awakening on 3DS next!

I also finally finished Resident Evil Remastered on PS4, about 23 years after my day one purchase of the original on PS1! It did outstay its welcome by a couple of hours, and some of the camera / control situations stink today, but by properly knuckling down this time and getting to really know every area and where it fits into the narrative, I have a new-found appreciation of how it was meant to be played and enjoyed. I even almost respect the restrictive inventory management system, and the scarcity of ammo and ink ribbons, as gameplay enhancements!

With those out of the way, I’m enjoying Cuphead and Final Fantasy 7 on Switch, and I’m really getting into Twinbee and Lifeforce on the Konami Arcade Collection too.

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Caligulas Horse
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Caligulas Horse » April 23rd, 2019, 5:54 pm

I've almost finished Resident Evil 7 and I've really enjoyed it so far.

Great mix of atmosphere and jump scares. The beginning was pretty terrifying, I loved how Jack would keep popping back up and attacking you, absolutely relentless and seemingly invincible, it gave a constant feeling of dread and I was holding my breath as I turned every corner.

Unfortunately the rest of the game, after killing him, hasn't really been able to match up to that level of horror but it's still been a ton of fun.

My biggest and only real complaint is this Eveline "twist", the creepy evil girl thing just doesn't really do it for me and I'm finding myself rolling my eyes or laughing a lot more now, especially when Ethan says something like "Ok you little bitch, where are you!!?" but it wouldn't be a Resident Evil game without bad lines like that.

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clippa
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by clippa » April 23rd, 2019, 11:24 pm

stvnorman wrote:
April 22nd, 2019, 7:09 pm
I’ve been playing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link a couple of evenings a week since January, and I’ve finally finished this obnoxious, hateful, but occasionally lovable excuse for a game!
I must have been around 20 odd, in the middle of my gaming wilderness years, and I found a second hand nes with a couple of old games in a charity shop in Blyth and haggled to get it for a fiver.
It had zelda 2 and some crappy beach volleyball game that only worked half of the time.

I remember it being quite a brave departure from the original, those random battles becoming really annoying when you were just trying to walk a few yards through a few trees on the overworld map, and it being canny hard.
I'm not sure if I liked it but since it may as well have been the only game I owned, I did play it a lot.

I think I might have gotten stuck eventually. I have a vague memory of being frustrated and talking to everybody in the town, trying to decipher the cryptic bollocks they were spewing in case it was a clue towards progressing.

Yeah, some of the fights were really hard.

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Chopper
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Chopper » April 24th, 2019, 8:00 am

I'm really impressed by State of Decay 2's difficulty options - I've moved up to Dread Zone/Hard and the tweaks they've made are subtle but work really well to make it a challenging experience and almost a different game. There are the increase in enemy numbers of course, including more super-zombies like Ferals and Juggernauts. But there are also tweaks affecting survivor morale (harsher penalties means morale management is a big thing, meaning you have to actually change your strategy to deal with it), the effectiveness of distractions like fireworks, and the durability of your weapons and vehicles, meaning you can't just find the truck with the snow plough on the front and run everything over.

It all adds up to a pretty great game (if you're into that ARPG/survival/base building/goal-oriented stuff, I guess). I'm having a whale of a time; I'd love to see how many hours I've poured into it so far. Monstrous.

I've broken the back of this playthrough (I hope) by finally moving into a second base which has more amenities and where I can manage the various systems better. I just met a travelling trader who was selling soldering functionality for my workshop, so I have been able to craft 10 boomboxes, which I'll be able to place in the open to lure in the hordes, then lob in a napalm bomb on top :lol:

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Joshihatsumitsu
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » April 24th, 2019, 9:52 am

At first Konami's Arcade Classics Collection (or is it Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection?) caught my eye, and so it went onto the watch/wish list.

Then, after reading a few articles, discovering the odd region-locked only version of titles, and limited features, it went right back off the watch/wish list!

Oh Konami... will you ever change? Not having much faith in the next couple of compilations.

So instead, I dropped some money on one of the titles from that collection, Thunder Cross, via the Japanese PlayStation Store (not available in the local PSN for some reason). And right from the title screen you have access to two Japanese versions, the North American Version, the European Version and Caravan mode. Plus all the bells and whistles that come from a Hamster port.

Seeing as all those titles are available already, all done by Hamster, and done well, I'd advise picking some titles you love, and going with those of the half-assed Konami Collection!

Seriously Konami... the ball was right on the lip of the hole, all you had to do was tap it in! Taaaaaapppp it in... :roll:

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Simonsloth
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Simonsloth » April 24th, 2019, 1:36 pm

Just started Banjo Kazooie for the first time. Im glad I did Dk64 first. I cannot believe that this is the same developer! It’s like they got rid of all the terrible bits and left the good stuff. I think I wouldn’t have had the patience for Donkey Kong 64 if I had played them the other way around.

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Magical_Isopod
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Magical_Isopod » April 24th, 2019, 6:44 pm

Been playing around with PS Classic modding for... God, just shy of a week now. This little box is absolutely incredible.

A few points of note:
- It runs PSP games *flawlessly*, and at full 60fps. They look and perform better on this thing than on a real PSP hooked up to a TV.
- It runs N64 games very well - I've tested 9 titles, and all run close to perfect. Star Wars Episode 1 Racer has some oddities like no music and missing polygons, but just like PSP, everything here runs at a blazing fast framerate.
- I've gotten Dreamcast games uh... Well, let's say "walking". They boot, everything looks more or less right, but they chug like a thirsty drunkard. Guilty Gear is not so great at like 2fps. I think there's potential here, but I'm not expecting miracles.

A few games of note too - for the first time in my life, I've gotten PC Engine CD games working... And I think the SHMUP hype is a little overblown. Same with some of the rarer SHMUPs in general - I think there are legitimate reasons they sold poorly in the day.

Here's a list of some games I've played for the first time and really liked though:
- Bari-Arm (SCD)
- Zero Wing (PC-CD)
- Eliminate Down (Gen, probably the best of the bunch)
- Cannon Spike (DC) (still fun at 5fps!)
- Sonic CD (SCD) (this one's cheating, because I played the US version, but the J version has a much better OST!)
- Ys: Oath in Felghana (PSP)
- Sims & Punishment (N64)
- Ogre Battle 64 (not sure which console)
- Seirei Senshi Spriggan (PC-CD)

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