Whatcha Been Playing?

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
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chase210
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by chase210 »

I have been playing Ratchet & Clank into the nexus! Which is the last PS3 R&C game, that got released during the PS4 launch for some reason, and its very fun. Has some real interesting ideas I hope are worked into a rift apart or whatever the PS5 one is called, seems like it will be.

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Jobobonobo
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Jobobonobo »

Just been going through Kirby Super Star Ultra on the DS. I always heard great things about the SNES original and I think those views are completely warranted. It is just pure fun in little 15 minute bursts which makes this perfect for handheld. I am going through it trying to finish as much as I can. Unlocked everything and just the True Arena left to finish and as always, it is an absolute bastard but a fun bastard nonetheless. Going through the bosses with zero damage is really satisfying and getting better at doing just that has made me glued to the DS. Honestly, this is definitely edging into one of my favourite Kirby titles out there. Real classic.

Since I am in a nostalgic mood, have also been playing Sonic Adventure which is producing conflicting feelings in me. When I played it back in the day, the "realistic"people wandering around the area, hub worlds and cheesy music and voice acting were real turn offs for me and just had me going "That's not Sonic!". But going back to it, it has a strange kind of rubbish likeability to it. The people are slightly more detailed than FFVII characters which has made them a lot more endearing to me and the music's cheesiness is incredibly charming now, especially the theme tunes of Robotnik and Knuckles. Speeding through the levels is for the most part fun and are a pretty decent attempt to translate Sonic to 3D. But all is not well...

Any actual platforming is pretty tricky as Sonic is really slippery to control and there has been way too many occasions where I have just ran off platforms when I did not want to do that. It seems making him take itty bitty steps is out of the picture and so when you want him to slightly step forward he goes off the edge instead. Nightmare! Also the final boss fight against Robotnik is pure tedium. On more than one occasion I have fallen through the floor before I could land the final hit. Really kills my enthusiasm to beat him.

But the thing that has definitely aged this game more than anything is without a doubt the camera. Anyone who complains about the camera in Mario 64 should really play this to see what a real shite camera looks like. This is what really makes the hub areas a drag. When I wanted to see where I was going, there were numerous occasions when the game would just not let me do it. Like flat out refuse, so i would just walk in blind and hope the camera would change angles so I knew where I was going. Then when you can control the camera it just briefly pulls behind Sonic so you can get an idea of your surroundings and when you move, the camera goes back to its original position so you just have to remember roughly where you are going. I played the PS1 Spyro trilogy years ago on the PS3 well before the remake and these games had far better controls and camera than Sonic Adventure does. I feel when gamers complain about camera and controls in old 3D platformers I mostly think they are exaggerating these flaws for the most part. With Sonic Adventure they are 100% spot on. I am having fun with it but it's flaws are super apparent and time has been very unkind to it overall.

Also, I am not playing as Big the Cat. I refuse.

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

The past few days I've been playing Soul Reaver 2, after most of a week spent trying to get the damn thing in playable state. Tried emulating the PS2 version, but it runs terribly, had audio issues, and the widescreen hack for it is the wrong aspect ratio. Tried the Steam version, which I've owned for years. The widescreen mod for that didn't work at all, and it was unplayably buggy. After trying over and over to fix the damn thing, I decided to just try the GOG version instead, and miraculously it worked. The same widescreen mod just played nice this time, and I've yet to come across any significant bugs that are supposedly a common issue with this game. This version is supposed to be the same as the Steam one, so I have no idea why this one is different now. It does have extra files in the installation folder, but I don't know if those are actually anything to do with how the game runs.

But as for the game itself, I'm enjoying it a lot. It's a huge improvement over the first game, and shows that having more power to work with does indeed help massively to realise what it's is going for. The world is way more atmospheric and immersive thanks to the better visuals, and it also has way better in-engine cutscenes, allowing characters to emote much more. There's also more cutscenes and dialogue in general, which is where the game really shines. The writing is so good, full of delicious flavour and flourishes, with top tier delivery too. The gameplay is definitely an improvement as well, but I think it's still kind of the weakest part. Controls are a lot less clunky, but they are still pretty stiff. Puzzles are still simple, but are at least a step above the most basic block puzzles imaginable. Just enough to be engaging. Also here you can use the Wraithblade at any time, instead of only at max health, which is a huge improvement. It always felt useless in the first game because of that. Here it's far more useable, but also has some new systems going on that makes you want to use it sparingly too, so it still retains the feeling of being special and situational, just without being impractical.

I'm also playing No Straight Roads. I've had my eye on this game since it was first announced years ago, only just picked it up now. There are things I really like about it, but a lot I really dislike too. It's pretty short though, and I'm almost through it already, so I'll wait until I finish it to talk more.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Alex79uk »

Scrustle wrote: October 28th, 2020, 7:53 pm This version is supposed to be the same as the Steam one, so I have no idea why this one is different now. It does have extra files in the installation folder, but I don't know if those are actually anything to do with how the game runs.
It's because Good Old Games actually make it so old games work on modern PCs. As far as I know, Steam just whack on the old game as it was. This is based on experience from 10 years ago when I was still playing the odd game on PC, things may have changed since!

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duskvstweak
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by duskvstweak »

I started Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. I didn't realize how big this game was going to get, or how different it was. Thought I was getting into a 3D Castlevania game, I've been in Azaroth for hours!

Kidding aside, it sure is pretty. And I like the combat. I started on Knight, and it's been fine, but I think I'd have more fun if I bring it down to Warrior. The tougher difficulty is fine, I'm just not sure I want to burn that mental energy these days.

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

Alex79uk wrote: October 28th, 2020, 9:01 pm It's because Good Old Games actually make it so old games work on modern PCs. As far as I know, Steam just whack on the old game as it was. This is based on experience from 10 years ago when I was still playing the odd game on PC, things may have changed since!
I know that's a thing GOG do, but I don't know if they did it with this game. Usually they do that with stuff that is really old, like DOS games etc. I figured this was too new, perhaps only by a few years. And as I was looking around forums and such trying to find a fix, I saw people talking about how the Steam and GOG versions are just the same. Comparing the installed files between each version, the GOG one does have more, but I think all the extra files are just what come with every GOG instillation. My Witcher 3 install has them as well. And there's other examples of games that have got an updated version for a GOG release, but then went on to release that same version on Steam later, like Star Wars Episode 1 Racer recently.

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francisbaud
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by francisbaud »

Agar.io is satisfying for short playsessions and all I can afford on this laptop (and maybe League of Legends but it may shutdown due to overheating).

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Flabyo
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Flabyo »

Still playing Genshin Impact. There’s a whole lot of game there for something they’re not charging an upfront fee for.

I’m sure I’ll hit the paywall eventually, but it’s nowhere in sight so far...

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NoMoreSpearows
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by NoMoreSpearows »

I now have three copies of every card in Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution. 10,027 unique cards, totaling 30,081.

I have, shall we say, wasted my goddamn time.

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DomsBeard
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by DomsBeard »

As it was Halloween last night and we had a couple of friends over (whilst we still can) I bought Man Of Medan Little Hope.

Sadly very disappointing compared to the previous entry. Very very slow and we were on the 4 player pass the pad mode it was 90 minutes before one person played.

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ReprobateGamer
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by ReprobateGamer »

The girls have been pestering me to play Fat Princess with them - so for once it's a non-Xbox game! Made by Santa Monica Studios, this is a blend of MOBA with Capture the Flag - your princess is in another castle and you pick a class to head out, storm the gates and recapture her, all while defending the enemy princess in your own castle.

Core classes are to be expected (cleric, wizard, fighter, ranger and worker) with dlc options like ninja, pirate and giant! And all can be upgraded by the worker class who farms wood and metals as the rest fight for outposts or to break the enemy gates.

Made by Santa Monica studios, the multi-player still seems to have some die-hards players (and us!). There is a local co-op to this as a drop-in/drop-out with the proviso that you have to all remain on one screen. This does however encourage a squad mentality which can work quite well.

The cartoony graphics are holding up well and it's only the droppable hats (which allow you to change class from the remains of your enemies - or even fallen team mates) which are a little fiddly.

I also started Carto last night (so back to the Xbox!) - a puzzle adventure game now on Game Pass. This is a very relaxed game which doesn't seem to be outstaying it's welcome or it's core concept of swapping tiles on the map level to find points of interest. Definitely interesting ...

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

The past few days I've been playing CarX Drift Racing Online and it's been something of a pleasant surprise. This is a game I've been eyeing for a while but been hesitant to pick up. Gameplay of it looked cool, but it always seemed kind of dodgy. It's a port of a Russian mobile game, with an excessive amount of DLC with poorly translated descriptions, and lots of people in the game's Steam forum complaining about their accounts randomly losing access to things. But I decided to dip my toe in anyway, and it turns out that it's actually really fun, and far less BS than I thought it might be.

It's a game based almost entirely around drifting, and it does that through one of these auto-drifting handling models, where the game does most of the work holding the slide for you. Kind of like the drift mode you might find in the Grid games or something. Often these types of handling models are a bit awkward, take some getting used to, and have their own unique quirks that you have to just get used to. Here that isn't the case, as it's probably the best system of this type I've seen. Cars feel really intuitive and smooth to control, and it's very easy to pick up and get the car to do what you want, without any wild behaviour to deal with. But it's not without a level of skill either. You still have to manage your steering angle and throttle to get it around a track properly, in a way that does feel pretty similar to a more serious game that doesn't hold your hand as much. It's still very possible to get it very wrong and spin out our crash or whatever. I suspect there's actually a pretty robust simulation going on underneath all this. It certainly gives you the ability to tweak loads of car settings like you can in a sim.

Despite the online focus, there are single player events too. They're pretty simple though, just get a certain number of points around a track. Or that's the main mode at least. There's also a tandem battle mode, which is rather strange, but kind of impressive for how faithful it is at recreating the real life counterpart. You battle against yourself. First doing a run where have to get your line right through a section, even hitting specific clipping points and such. Then doing a follow run where you chase your previous run from behind, and you need to keep up with them as close as possible, matching the same line. Then you get scores at the end telling you whether your lead or follow run was better. I haven't spent much time on that mode, since I've always been bad at tandems. The online mode is fun too. You get placed in to a free roam lobby with other people to just mess around. Some tracks are your usual loops, while others have a small open area to explore around. From there you can hop in to competitions with other people in the lobby, but it's sort of more appealing to just mess about instead. And strangely, it lets you join lobbies on DLC tracks that you don't own.

As for the DLC and business model side, I haven't come across anything particularly egregious. I decided to buy this with one piece of DLC that starts you off with a bunch of money, as well as doubling your XP and money rewards for events. I figured with this being a mobile game, it would be intentionally grindy, so it might be a good idea to alleviate that if possible. I'm kind of unsure if it was necessary. Money is plentiful, and even if I only had half as much as I do, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Levelling up does seem to be rather grindy though, with it slowing down a lot around the mid teens. Although it looks like you stop unlocking stuff at lvl20, and I haven't been playing particularly long so far anyway. The only thing I've seen that did seem somewhat offensive was that in that tandem battle mode, if you mess up and want to restart on the chase run, you can't do that unless you buy a subscription that comes with a bunch of other not particularly enticing bonuses. Otherwise you have to redo the lead run too. Not really a big problem though.

It's a very lowkey compelling experience though. It goes a good job at scratching a certain itch that I have. I used to spend hundreds of hours doing this sort of thing back on the old Forza games. I suppose I still do, but with in a less focused way, given the Horizon games' more open design. But it works extremely well as a podcast game. It's challenging enough to occupy your attention and be satisfying, but not so much that you can't have something else on at the same time. Good thing to just pass time with and take your mind off things.

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stvnorman
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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I fancied a proper go at the arcade version of Continental Circus, so got Taito Legends on PS2 for about £4 on eBay last week. It’s great and just what I wanted, but so far I’ve spent more time on old favourites Operation Wolf and The New Zealand Story, and even more time on new favourite The Ninja Kids. It’s a beat ‘em up with a Splatterhouse vibe, but without the sophistication of Streets of Rage’s space management strategies, and with only five chapters and some very straightforward bosses, that makes it fairly easy to get through. But I had a good time doing it!

Played through the Control demo on Switch. Very impressive Cloud tech, but also confirmed it’s not for me - not least because of almost instant motion sickness! No such problem with the new Hyrule Warriors demo, which was absolutely superb. I was amazed at how nostalgic I was for all the Breath of the Wild sound effects too!

Also playing SNES Chaos Engine. Ignored my Atari ST copy (literally) all those years ago, which I’m now regretting because it’s so much fun! Steampunk top-down mazy shooter with some simple RPG elements, and this great classic 16-bit pixel art but minus the pixels style. There’s so much attention to detail in the sound department too. I’ve beaten the first of four worlds, and I’ll keep definitely keep pushing forwards.

And I’m still pushing forwards on Secret on Mana on SNES and Mario Sunshine on GameCube. Just very slowly!

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

My next stop on my trip through the Legacy of Kain series is now Blood Omen 2, but I'm not sure I'm going to stick with this one. It's a big step down from Soul Reaver 2, and it seems like it doesn't really have much connection to that strand of the franchise anyway.

It doesn't have the great writing of SR, so that's a big loss already. The characters aren't really interesting at all, and the story has so far been little more than "go here, now go here", when the whole thing is completely linear and there's no other way I could go anyway. While the delivery of Kain's VO is still good, they don't exactly have much to work with, so struggles to elevate it to anything compelling. The character models are also really stiff and basic, so there's no room for expressive emoting either.

Gameplay wise it's pretty poor as well. Quite monotonous and incredibly simple, and very clunky. It might be even worse on all those fronts than either SR game. And as mentioned before, it's totally linear, and consists of little more than fighting the occasional enemy, and finding switches to open the door forward. Both done in the most basic way. While I wouldn't say it's frustrating or obtuse like SR occasionally could be, it's very dull. And weirdly, it uses tank controls. It's usable, but feels really archaic, and gives the whole experience a kind of stilted feel to it.

In a way it feels like it has the opposite problem to SR1. While that felt like it was being too ambitious for what it could manage, this game feels like it was designed within the limitations of the PS1, despite being on the PS2. Which is a bit odd, as I've done a little bit of reading about this game, and the development supposedly overlapped with SR2, despite being made by a different team. It was also meant to be more of an action focused experience than SR, supposedly explaining the lighter story, but when the action is inferior as well, I'm not sure that holds much water.

At the moment I think I'm about 1/3 of the way through, maybe a bit more, but I'm considering dropping it and just moving on to Defiance. That is supposedly carrying on from SR2, and is by the same team. So that should be giving me more of what I like about these games. While I'm not exactly hating BO2, it's starting to feel like kind of a waste of time, especially with the apparent lack of story connection.

I also took a look to remind myself what else came out the same year as this, considering how old it feels. It came out the same year as Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Ratchet and Clank, and Morrowind. So standards of production values and design complexity were definitely way above what this game was doing at the time. Only Morrowind could be compared in terms of graphical quality. But even then, that game is so much more ambitious in every other way it still doesn't compare favourably.

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Angry_Kurt
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Angry_Kurt »

I needed a reasonably short game to tide me over until getting the Series X next week and saw Mark of the Ninja Remastered on sale on the Switch eShop so decided to get it as it has been on my list for a while and I had only ever heard good things about it. I haven't been disappointed, it is such a satisfying game to play when you plan your route through a screen using your various items to cause distractions, and then delivering the devasting blow to the guards. There's a nice upgrade tree along with the distraction items which are introduced at a nice pace to keep things fresh and the addition of new enemy types as you progress means things are always kept interesting. Really nicely animated too. The way the stealth plays out reminds me of the predator sections of the Arkham games but in 2D. Looking forward to playing more over the next few days.

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Jon Cheetham
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Jon Cheetham »

Mark of the Ninja is a terrific Switch game. I like puzzling through the encounters and finding different ways round the levels.

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See Mi Yah
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by See Mi Yah »

Earlier today I took a chance in purchasing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I'm new to Nintendo's big hitters (Zelda excepted) and it's my first time experiencing the franchise. What can I say except twee, childish and completely ridiculous. The type of game I've spent a lifetime avoiding. A game I'd be embarrassed to be caught playing.

That was 9 hours ago.

Now? Game of the Year.

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Simonsloth
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Simonsloth »

Scrustle wrote: November 4th, 2020, 11:48 am My next stop on my trip through the Legacy of Kain series is now Blood Omen 2, but I'm not sure I'm going to stick with this one. It's a big step down from Soul Reaver 2, and it seems like it doesn't really have much connection to that strand of the franchise anyway.

It doesn't have the great writing of SR, so that's a big loss already. The characters aren't really interesting at all, and the story has so far been little more than "go here, now go here", when the whole thing is completely linear and there's no other way I could go anyway. While the delivery of Kain's VO is still good, they don't exactly have much to work with, so struggles to elevate it to anything compelling. The character models are also really stiff and basic, so there's no room for expressive emoting either.

Gameplay wise it's pretty poor as well. Quite monotonous and incredibly simple, and very clunky. It might be even worse on all those fronts than either SR game. And as mentioned before, it's totally linear, and consists of little more than fighting the occasional enemy, and finding switches to open the door forward. Both done in the most basic way. While I wouldn't say it's frustrating or obtuse like SR occasionally could be, it's very dull. And weirdly, it uses tank controls. It's usable, but feels really archaic, and gives the whole experience a kind of stilted feel to it.

In a way it feels like it has the opposite problem to SR1. While that felt like it was being too ambitious for what it could manage, this game feels like it was designed within the limitations of the PS1, despite being on the PS2. Which is a bit odd, as I've done a little bit of reading about this game, and the development supposedly overlapped with SR2, despite being made by a different team. It was also meant to be more of an action focused experience than SR, supposedly explaining the lighter story, but when the action is inferior as well, I'm not sure that holds much water.

At the moment I think I'm about 1/3 of the way through, maybe a bit more, but I'm considering dropping it and just moving on to Defiance. That is supposedly carrying on from SR2, and is by the same team. So that should be giving me more of what I like about these games. While I'm not exactly hating BO2, it's starting to feel like kind of a waste of time, especially with the apparent lack of story connection.

I also took a look to remind myself what else came out the same year as this, considering how old it feels. It came out the same year as Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Ratchet and Clank, and Morrowind. So standards of production values and design complexity were definitely way above what this game was doing at the time. Only Morrowind could be compared in terms of graphical quality. But even then, that game is so much more ambitious in every other way it still doesn't compare favourably.
I did the same journey through the series about ten years ago and to be honest I always found the Blood Omen games vastly inferior to the Soul Reaver ones. They are completely different so it’s probably a matter of taste but I think I ally with the general critical opinion on this also.

From memory I don’t think Blood Omen 2 is particularly long and once I played a decent chunk of it there was fun to be had. I’m guiltily of persisting with plenty of mediocre and bad games to “complete” a series so I’m hardly the best person to give advice but I reckon give it another session and see if you change your mind.

Defiance is an interesting one. Will look forward to hearing about your time with that.

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

Simonsloth wrote: November 6th, 2020, 8:35 am Defiance is an interesting one. Will look forward to hearing about your time with that.
I decided to ditch Blood Omen 2 and just moved on to Legacy of Kain: Defiance. I did play a bit more of BO2 after my last post, but I think writing all that out was me coming to terms with my dislike for it. I found my patience for it after that had dried up. Ended up putting about 4 hours in to it by the end. And I looked up the series on howlongtobeat, and it puts every game at a bit above the 10 hour mark. I generally feel the need to see games through fully too, but that one was just so subpar that I couldn't stick with it.

Defiance on the other hand, I'm enjoying a lot. So much that I'm actually in shock of how much better it is. It's like a feeling of whiplash, how this game is from the same developer just one year apart. I mean, they were from different teams, sure, but it feels more like they are from totally different companies, in completely different eras too. The production quality is lightyears ahead of BO2, and a big step up from SR2 as well. It's unreal.

While the graphics and general presentation are a significant improvement over SR2, the biggest thing are the controls and combat mechanics. It's so much faster and snappier, and feels way better to play. And not only that, the combat actually has depth now. I really like how you can actually pull of combos in this, and how different moves actually have different behaviour and uses. And having two playable characters is great as well. Switching between them between each chapter so things don't get stale, and getting to see what Kain is up to in this adventure as well is cool. I think I might actually like playing as him better, since he seems to have more effective moves.

Not entirely sure on how other aspects have been streamlined though. The seeming lack of puzzles is a little disappointing, but with how they were never really amazing to begin with I don't miss them that much. The level design is now totally linear, but frankly it was already mostly linear in the old games too, but just disguised somewhat. The fixed camera angles can sometimes make getting your bearings a bit tricky, but it does make for some really nicely framed scenes. Also the dialogue is quite a bit more straightforward here. Not bad by any means, and there are still some great lines and some good performances too, but so far it doesn't feel like it's really flexing its muscles on that front. While before the SR games felt like they revelled in their dialogue, here it feels a bit more incidental.

I think you can see the evolution of this series as an interesting experimentation and development of narrative focused action games. At first it was following the Zelda formula, to a degree at least, and relying on very tried and tested block puzzles. Then it let the narrative itself take centre stage more and be the motivating force, and now in Defiance it has a more cinematic and fast paced presentation that I can totally see as being a precursor to Uncharted and the games that followed that template too.

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stvnorman
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman »

Finished Super Mario Sunshine on GameCube - 80 Shines is good enough for me after the hell it out me through with its dodgy controls and cameras! Despite 20% utter hatred and contempt for it, there’s also 80% unbridled love, and I look forward to getting back to it on All Stars on Switch (after the other two), which I can allow myself to open now!

I’ve played tons of Megadrive and PC-Engine Fantasy Zone over the last year on their Mini consoles, and dabbled in all the other versions on other systems for a few years more. I might have discovered the series late, but I adore it and after never being sure, I think I’ve settled on my favourite! I’ve played a good 8-9 hours of the 16-bit 2008 Fantasy Zone 2 remake by M2 on 3DS. It’s so vibrant, controls great with that little circle pad, and both the story and endless modes offer an insane amount of fun.

Otherwise, just finished The Chaos Engine on SNES. Still plays well and has a great art style, but it quickly all gets a bit samey; glad I’ve finally played a game I bought several decades ago though! Also a bit further into Secret of Mana, also on SNES, and still enjoying getting it handed to me on Stat Wars Squadrons on PS4 multiplayer!

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