Whatcha Been Playing?

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
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Alex79uk
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79uk »

I've played a ton of OlliOlli again over the last few days, since the 1 and 2 double pack was on the eShop sale for a criminally low £2.69

Those games are so great.

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Miririn
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Miririn »

I've been hopping around a bit unable to settle on a game after completing my fourth TLOU2 playthrough. I've been playing an hour or two of a game then dropping it then trying something else. And these are all great games, I just need to wait until I'm in the right mood to appreciate them.

Because I'm the worst, I've been re-playing sure bets. Re-played a bit of Horizon Zero Dawn on New Game+ with my stupidly overpowered endgame armour. Why are bow and arrow games so satisfying to play? I also sort of wish my friend hadn't pushed this game on me as my first ever PlayStation game because it gave me unrealistic expectations for how fluid and beautiful I expected the movement of characters to be in third-person games ever since.

Re-played some Breath of the Wild after listening to the Cane and Rinse podcast on it and it's still so gorgeous, the sound design is still so evocative and pleasing. The cell-shaded animation was such a lovely choice too and gives the game a really distinctive look compared to the hyper-real open worlds I've played recently.

I started Arkham City. My first Batman game. I'm more of a Marvel girl than a DC girl but have always had a soft spot for Batman's Rogues Gallery. I love the bat-cape falling animation but I wish the cape would bugger off during fights so I could see what I'm doing. Can Batman not run in this game or am I just an idiot who can't work out the controls? I wonder if he moves so slowly because of a dodgy knee after all those dramatic falls. Also I know it's Batman's "thing" and I'm possibly influenced by several dozens of hours of Spider-Man/Miles Morales games (with polite cat-rescuing, homeless shelter-saving, friendly neighbourhood do-gooding Spideys) but Batman is so rude whenever he quietly leaves without saying goodbye when Commissioner Gordon is in the middle of a conversation. You receive the respect you give, Bruce. I see that having money doesn't mean you have manners!

Played some Spiritfarer (gorgeous, creative and peaceful) and some Jedi Fallen Order (yes to adorable Droid, no to confusing map). Took a break from The Return of Obra Dinn to pick it up again later - halfway through and really enjoying it but my brain is sluggish lately and I felt like I wanted to wait to finish the game for when I can really engage with it and fully appreciate it.

All great games but just having difficulty settling. I bought Hellblade: Seuna's Sacrifice so I think I'll have a crack at that this evening. I enjoyed God of War 2018 *despite* Kratos (...it may be because I didn't grow up playing GoW but I just can't take him seriously) and what I loved about GoW game was the creative and beautiful take on Norse mythology (imagine taking a Norse god like Baldur and maiking him so creepy and interesting!). So I'm looking forward to playing "Hellblade" for Norse mythology minus Kratos, and the depiction of mental illness also piqued my interest. My uncle was schizophrenic, and I've struggled with mental illness, so I'm curious to see how the game explores Seuna's psychosis and how gameplay mechanics are used to enhance this portrayal.

Sorry for blah-ing on and on!

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ratsoalbion
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Miririn wrote: January 21st, 2021, 12:49 pm Sorry for blah-ing on and on!
Don't be daft that's what this forum is here for!
:)

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Truk_Kurt
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Truk_Kurt »

Miririn wrote: January 21st, 2021, 12:49 pm Can Batman not run in this game or am I just an idiot who can't work out the controls?
He can run, on PlayStation it's 'X' and xbox it's the 'A' button.

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Miririn
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Miririn »

Truk_Kurt wrote: January 21st, 2021, 2:55 pm
Miririn wrote: January 21st, 2021, 12:49 pm Can Batman not run in this game or am I just an idiot who can't work out the controls?
He can run, on PlayStation it's 'X' and xbox it's the 'A' button.
So it *is* because I'm an idiot! Thank you so much, I was getting a little impatient plodding slowly towards villains.

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

I played a little game the other day called Cloud Climber. I did finish it, but I didn't feel like there was enough to it to go on the Games Completed thread. It's just a short 15 minute thing I found for free on itch. But it had some interesting ideas to make it worth talking about. It's more a short snapshot of a story more than anything else, as you make your way through a few small environments, listening to a bit of narration and reading some notes dotted around the place. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world where some natural disaster has lead to a water shortage and endless dust storms. So the few slivers of humanity left resorted to building towers up in to the sky in a desperate attempt to make their way to the clouds and take their water. So the places you walk around are these abandoned rickety, unfinished structures, reaching up out of the dark dusty storm below. You don't see any other characters, and the notes you pick up tell tales of people turning on each other out of desperation and despair, as they run out of rations and start getting paranoid. It has a very eerie desolate vibe, that brings to mind stuff like Fumito Ueda's work, or Nier. And the idea of this surreal world based on a vertical orientation, with some strange unknown threat coming from below is reminiscent of Gravity Rush too. If this thing could be expanded out in to a much larger experience, I think it would have a lot of potential. It only really touches on the ideas it brings up in a pretty straightforward way, but I think given more time and space, this could be fleshed out in to a really compelling and interesting world.

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Feirsteax
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Finished off the halo series on heroic finally, after having halo hooked directly into my veins for 2 months straight :D These are my thoughts on the last two I played:

Halo Reach actually blew me away. It's funny, because I was ready for it to be a bit disappointing after playing SO much halo already, I'd assumed by now it couldn't surprise me much.

But I was wrong! Reach was the one game in the series that felt the most authentic and polished in terms of storytelling. It wasn't a literary masterpiece or anything like that, far from it, but it felt solid and internally consistent, with no parts of it feeling forced or arbitrary. The cutscenes were absolutely beautiful the whole way through, something about the slow panning camera angles and the huge vistas of a war-torn Reach make the whole thing feel truly *epic*, I loved it.

And this is all complemented perfectly by the gameplay. The weapons may not be perfectly balanced for multiplayer or whatever, but in the campaign at least, they all felt great. The new additions were really cool and fit very well into the existing universe. Running around the battlefield scouring for new guns, exploiting power weapons to full effect when you can, has always been a satisfying core component the Halo series, and Reach nailed it.

Only thing I was a bit iffy on was the armour abilities. I see what they were trying to do, but in the end I preferred Halo 3's one-and-done equipment items much more. In Reach, my plan for armour abilities was this: Find the drop shield and abuse the hell out of it. Occasionally I'd swap to a jetpack for more maneuverability, but I'd never use the active camo and armour lock felt a bit too circumstantial.

Level design was amazing. Every single level felt real, and detailed and expansive. The levels felt extremely open, like I could go in any direction and arrive at the objective. This means the game offers a lot of opportunity for expressive play. I think I might go back and try to beat the whole thing on Legendary solo ... 🤔 wish me luck!

Some highlights include: Winter Contingency which I thought was such a strong opening; the second time you visit the ONI Sword Base and it's all on fire (The Package), then defending a massive underground lab, and the unforgettable New Alexandria, which has you flying around a visually breathtaking cityscape, completing objectives as it all gets glassed into non-existence.

The soundtrack is brilliant too, if a bit less memorable than some of the other games. ODST's soundtrack is unforgettably jazzy, Halo 3's is climactic and emotional, Halo 2's is a prog rock freak out, and Halo CE is the iconic original. But in Reach, what we get is a subtler variation of the usual halo themes with a more military vibe, with a lot more drum marches and slower strings in there. The tracks might not jump out with unmistakable melodies, but they all complement the theme and atmosphere of the game very well.

The new aesthetic direction may be a bit "boring" compared to the saturated purples and greens of the other games, buuuut given the sombre tone of the game, the themes they're trying to convey, it works extremely well. Coupled with the soundtrack, the whole thing feels really cohesive as a package, Reach has a focus and unity of vision which really sells you on the experience.

Yeah, I absolutely loved Reach, and it still managed to surprise me after playing nothing but halo for 2 months solid.

And then finally I played Halo 4. I'll try to keep this a little briefer since this post is getting out of hand by now :lol:

- Strong opening, great atmosphere and setting
- Beautiful and mysterious alien world which made me naturally curious to explore more
- Very pretty, lovely colours

- Cool forerunner guns add a bit of interesting flavour, but some felt a bit redundant
- Pacing was good, found myself flying through the game
- Levels were very linear for the most part, that's not to say they aren't fun though
- Reclaimer, a large desert level where you and a team of ODSTs jump-jet in and out of a huge mobile base, armed with a laser-targetting MAC cannon and fending off waves of Covenant as you plow through the terrain, was pretty damn fun

- The story had potential but suffered from too much assumed knowledge of the Didact and not enough done to convey why he exists or what the Covenant are doing here
- Most of the explanation was done through telling, not showing
- Who the heck is this Librarian, and why is she bestowing me with the triforce? (I do actually know, I just found this whole segment felt really out of place in the Halo series, it was quite jarring to me)

- Cortana and the Chief have the most human relationship yet, and it's surprisingly touching to see Master Chief deal with emotions he isn't used to
- Cortana's character is good too but also feels a bit tropey and clichéd
- Bookending the game with QTE sections was an extremely dubious decision 😬

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Truk_Kurt
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Truk_Kurt »

Great post Feirsteax. Playing through the Halo series from the start is something I plan to do this generation as I have only finished Halo Reach ages ago and it was in co-op so wasn't paying attention to the story much.

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bixer
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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It's taken a third attempt, but I think Breath of the Wild has finally clicked for me.

My first opinion of the game was more on the negative side (a few of those opinions even read out on the associated Cane and Rinse episode), but I think in part due to my own fault. I think I was initially trying too hard to 'rush' the game and constantly be moving from main quest to main quest, missing so much of what the game has to offer as a result.

Attempted to play it again a year later and enjoyed it much, much more. I was a little more patient in my approach and paid more attention to hints and clues from NPCs and the like, this time having it hook me for a good 30ish hours. But I eventually fell off again at the third Divine Beast and for some reason the previous joy I'd had from exploring has diminished.

I actually have Horizon Zero Dawn to thank as to why I've given it a third try and almost instantly fallen in love with it. I bought the former on sale over Christmas and it all just felt so...bland. If I didn't know otherwise, I'd be convinced it was a Ubisoft game as it just felt so full of bloat and emptiness in equal measure like their open world games so often do. What it did do was remind me just how much Breath of the Wild got right, things I'd definitely taken for granted in my previous two playthroughs.

Will I have the motivation to finish it this time round? I suppose time will tell, but I sunk 10 hours into it in barely 48 hours this week, so it certainly feels so. I've approached it with even more patience this time and I'm just reminding myself to enjoy the game for what it is, not what I have to do next. It truly is an absolute marvel of video game design and while it's too soon to say whether it's my favourite game of all time, I think I'd be hard-pressed not to consider it the best.

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Miririn
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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I really enjoyed reading your post, Bixer. It took me a few tries to "get" BOTW too but once I did I was so absorbed and enchanted by it. Everything about the world is so polished. Both sound and character/creature design is impossibly endearing. I had never played a Zelda game to completion before and I loved the Miyazaki-esque Guardians with their frantic spidery movements.

I was curious about how far you got into "Horizon Zero Dawn". It was only the second open world game I had ever played (first was BOTW!) so I don't know if I was too busy being starstruck by the detailed scenery to notice blandness, although I agree BOTW has a world I enjoy spending more time in compared to the world of HZD.

But for me the one aspect where HZD bounds ahead of BOTW is in its engaging story and lore and how those aspects of the game are woven into exploration of the world. Finding audio logs and holograms and old texts in HZD really cemented for me how well open world games can do lore and storytelling in a unique way. At first I found the story all a bit rote (orphan with mysterious past and mummy issues who must prove herself by blah blah blah) but as the game progressed and I realised that was sort of window-dressing and the actual plot was a lot more complex and interesting, I really grew to appreciate what Guerilla were trying to do and I became obsessed with mining the world for knowledge.

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Jon Cheetham
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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HZD has one of my favourite sci fi stories in any media in recent years. Extremely compelling and the way it picks up the pace as you get further in is just gripping.

I loved spending time in the world as well, it's so well realised. On the box it seems such a bananas idea (post apocalyptic dinosaur robots) but I quickly got totally immersed.

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Feirsteax
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Truk_Kurt wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 11:29 am Great post Feirsteax. Playing through the Halo series from the start is something I plan to do this generation as I have only finished Halo Reach ages ago and it was in co-op so wasn't paying attention to the story much.
Thanks! It's a good time to do it between the MCC and the next gen upgrades so they all run at 60fps if you have one of the new consoles. I really enjoyed my time replaying the series from start to finish.

I noticed something today which I forgot to mention about Halo 4, though, which is a baffling and dissapointing flaw: Enemy bodies and weapons tend to disappear *extremely* quickly from the environment.
E.g. I'll shoot an elite, turn round and shoot a grunt, and by the time I go back to run over to the Elite and grab his Carbine, the body has disappeared and the gun isn't there!
Halo 4 guns tend to have low ammo capacity as it is and it can lead to some really irritating scenarios where you get punished through no fault of your own. Supposedly this was "fixed" in a recent patch, but I experienced it today while playing, the gun disappeared within a few seconds.

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Miririn
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Jon Cheetham wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 3:34 pm HZD has one of my favourite sci fi stories in any media in recent years. Extremely compelling and the way it picks up the pace as you get further in is just gripping.

I loved spending time in the world as well, it's so well realised. On the box it seems such a bananas idea (post apocalyptic dinosaur robots) but I quickly got totally immersed.
Absolutely! The game had me at "third person game with a female lead character and robo dinos" but was taken aback by the unexpected depth and really interesting sci-fi ideas. I loved also that I really *wanted* to solve the mystery, instead of just solving it to progress, because I had an emotional connection to it. The audio logs could have been an afterthought but clever performances and scripting made them often quite moving or disturbing. The room full of soldiers (?) who had recorded their last thoughts or messages to (presumably dead) loved ones, for example.

(As an aside, I'm hopeless at solving mysteries and my friend who told me to play the game said she couldn't help laughing hearing all my (incorrect) theories about what was going on)

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Alex79uk
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Jon Cheetham wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 3:34 pm HZD has one of my favourite sci fi stories in any media in recent years. Extremely compelling and the way it picks up the pace as you get further in is just gripping.
Yeah, I really enjoyed the story. It was what pulled me through a game where I wasn't really enjoying the gameplay or the world. I usually hear people saying the opposite, great gameplay but boring story.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman »

Had a wonderful time with Wonderful Dizzy on the Spectrum, the new official game that’s free from the Oliver Twins’ website. One of the best-looking games you’ll ever see on there, took about 4 hours to complete (half that if you’re vaguely competent) and I loved every second! I did review it at https://retroarcadia.blog if you’re interested, but if you like Dizzy or have any nostalgia for the Spectrum, just get it.

Played a few worlds of Spyro 2 on PS4. Very nice, very polished and I’m enjoying something easy-going for a change a lot.
 
Dragon Spirit has become my new go-to game on PC-Engine Mini. I knew the Spectrum port of old, and it was good, but this is what arcade conversion dreams are made of! Really fine shooter, similar to Xevious, but with dragons and the like. Very addictive too!

Also played through V-Rally 3 on Game Boy Advance. Annual event with one of my favourite games on there!
 
Finally, after enjoying the Puyo Puyo Tetris demo on Switch for years, now there’s one for the sequel! More of the same and it’s great, but I doubt I’ll ever need more than the demo for this either. I did a couple of monsters on the Monster Hunter Rise demo on there as well, and it seems alright if that’s your bag, but it’s not really mine.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Finally relented and let my children loose on my Animal Crossing island. The 5 year old was relatively restrained and followed my advice. The 4 year old obliterated the place :( Plonked his tent slap bang in the middle of the island (not in a designated housing area!) and then proceeded to tear up my fairground area and dinosaur jungle walkthrough experience. I found all the fossils in his tent, which he'd built a wall around. The wall that used to be around my fairground.

I've not played it for months, and I shouldn't care, but I can't leave it knowing it's like that :lol: Going to have to put a few hours in to fixing it all...

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Miririn
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Miririn »

Alex79uk wrote: January 24th, 2021, 4:26 pm Finally relented and let my children loose on my Animal Crossing island. The 5 year old was relatively restrained and followed my advice. The 4 year old obliterated the place :( Plonked his tent slap bang in the middle of the island (not in a designated housing area!) and then proceeded to tear up my fairground area and dinosaur jungle walkthrough experience. I found all the fossils in his tent, which he'd built a wall around. The wall that used to be around my fairground.
This comment made me laugh. The tent right in the middle of the island is a real power move!

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Jon Cheetham
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Miririn wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 7:08 pm I loved also that I really *wanted* to solve the mystery, instead of just solving it to progress, because I had an emotional connection to it.
For a lot of the game I was taking my time, doing sidequests, exploring every nook and cranny - but the story hit a point where I just had to see where it ended and I barrelled through the final third. And if I remember rightly The Frozen Wilds came out 2 days after I finished which was ideal.
Alex79uk wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 11:10 pm Yeah, I really enjoyed the story. It was what pulled me through a game where I wasn't really enjoying the gameplay or the world. I usually hear people saying the opposite, great gameplay but boring story.
Going to be really interesting to see what changes they make for Horizon II, especially as regards the traversal and movement.

Been playing Hitman 3. Fortunately my profile and content carried over instantly and without a hitch, which I had been a bit worried about after seeing people online have issues with it. So I now have all 20 locations from Hitman 1-3 in one game with my unlocks and mastery levels intact. This has actually solved one of my only gripes about Hitman 2 which was the long wait every time I want to save or load as the game connects to the server. They've really cut this down somehow, which together with the reduced file size for all three of the games makes for a pretty impressive technical accomplishment by IOI. I no longer dread having to save. If you're nervous about getting this on PS4, it isn't a Cyberpunk situation: Personally I think it runs really well and it does look better than 2. In fact it does feel like I'm playing a next-gen game... or rather, a current-gen game on my now previous-gen trusty block of plastic.

Which is good because it looks fantastic. The environments and the level layout are clearly IOI at the peak of their powers, based on the first two maps. This game seems more inclined to suddenly hit you with vistas and vantage points that show off the art design they've done, and it is stunning. Won't go into spoiler territory but suffice to say the gameplay is to the excellent standard of the rebooted trilogy and there is a confidence in what they've done with some of this that shows they know why people love these games and what they play them for. I can't wait to play more of it.

Also been playing Yoku's Island Express, thanks Alex and others for the recommend. It's not bad, I like the beautiful world and the characters are funny, and the pinball gameplay is satisfying when I can get it to work, but sometimes you need to be quite precise and patient with it. I don't think I am smitten the way many are quite yet, but will see how I get on.

And I also started a new character on Dark Souls because I have that on Switch now and what was I supposed to do. Not do that? Pfft.

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Feirsteax
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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I'm playing Hitman 1 on the Hitman 3 engine this week, and wow it's pretty. I need to start being a little less completionist though, I feel like I've completed the intro levels about 50 times over by this point, don't want to burn myself out :P

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Jon Cheetham »

Really looking forward to going back to the old levels in the new engine once I've been through the Hitman 3 campaign.

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