What Are You Playing?

Paper Mario is adorable. Did you ever play Mario RPG? Paper Mario is kind of its spiritual successor.
I did. I played it a couple of months ago on my SNES Classic. I enjoyed it, but I thought Paper Mario was an improvement. You can definitely tell that RPG was the template they built upon for Paper Mario, though. Good stuff.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Returnal - Well, I had the breakthrough I was looking for shortly after my last post, which I clearly was primed for given how much more I was enjoying it, and beat it a couple weeks back. I got past the Biome 2 boss on the first run at him, the Citidel took some getting used to, especially those fucking flying drones, but once I got the hang of it I was so over-prepared for the boss it was ridiculous (to the point I was pissed you basically start fresh in Biome 4 for narrative reasons; I still had two revive items =). The mid-game turn between 3 and 4 is awesome and made me think the best sci-fi movies of past couple of decades have actually been video games. Once I got used to Biome 4 I beat it, 5, and 6 consecutively, with the caveat that I stumbled into a common glitch that lets you bypass the final boss if you get revived at the Reconstructor (a machine that let's you resume a run from like a save room after dying)! That was weird, and I actually thought it was intentional at first, like game was giving me a divergent path, but nope, just a glitch.

I'm ambivalent about the squishy, vague ending though, which couldn't help but undermine the hard sci-fi elements, but at least it's open enough to interpretation I can have my preference. The secret ending didn't particularly help as I hoped it would, but it didn't hurt either. I wish they'd just played it straight instead of both going for a twisty gimmick but not even committing to it, to the point you can't even be sure which characters are are whom, let alone what happened to them. That was disappointing, but like I said, at least I can interpret it how I prefer instead of them outright confirming they fucked it up. =)

In the more nuts and bolts side, I'd say I had two memorably great runs in each half, not just where I beat the sections but created truly OP builds. The first in Act 1 was pretty straightforward: highly increased damage, upgraded melee, life, protection, multiple revive items, multiple healing items, a max damage weapon (Rot with like the doom power up) and like a 25% chance not to use consumables, so I was able to use my half a dozen or so healing items even more. I was basically fucking around tanking hits in the Nemesis fight and he still couldn't even force me to use a revive. The second was in Act II and was more unconventional but even stronger: I had the usual life increases, healing & revive items, upgraded melee plus a max proficiency weapon, but the real turning point was I had a malfunction removing item, then found an artifact that gave you a unique offensive power for every malfunction gained AND fixed, and in a room which also contained 4 malignant chests, one containing another malfunction fixer and child's watch! By the time I left that room I had like half a dozen rare and unique offensive upgrades that combined made Selene ridiculously OP. So yeah, probably never going to have a better run of RNG than that, but if you want to try to best recreate it save any malfunction cures you find in case you get that artifact, then go nuts. Anyway, great game, might be my game of the year, but we'll see....
 
Recently i've been replaying Stalker Anomaly, i have forgot how addictive that game is for me, and trying all the mods i can find, pretty much preparing for Stalker 2
 

Johnstantine

Skibbidy Boo Bop
Returnal - Well, I had the breakthrough I was looking for shortly after my last post, which I clearly was primed for given how much more I was enjoying it, and beat it a couple weeks back. I got past the Biome 2 boss on the first run at him, the Citidel took some getting used to, especially those fucking flying drones, but once I got the hang of it I was so over-prepared for the boss it was ridiculous (to the point I was pissed you basically start fresh in Biome 4 for narrative reasons; I still had two revive items =). The mid-game turn between 3 and 4 is awesome and made me think the best sci-fi movies of past couple of decades have actually been video games. Once I got used to Biome 4 I beat it, 5, and 6 consecutively, with the caveat that I stumbled into a common glitch that lets you bypass the final boss if you get revived at the Reconstructor (a machine that let's you resume a run from like a save room after dying)! That was weird, and I actually thought it was intentional at first, like game was giving me a divergent path, but nope, just a glitch.
Glad to see you're killing/killed it. I stopped playing during the Nemesis boss fight and haven't revisited it.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Glad to see you're killing/killed it.

Yeah, and after a short break it's still my go-to game at the moment; I tried Deathloop, or getting back into Hades, but it's the same shit all over again (literally)! I'm going to need a break from Rogue-likes for a while after this.

I stopped playing during the Nemesis boss fight and haven't revisited it.

That fight is all about how prepared you are from the run to me (pretty much sums up the game). If you've got a decent Rotgut Lobber or Thermogenic Launcher, a revive and a couple of healing items, you're more than prepared for an easy time. You probably won't even need the revive and all that once you figure it out, but it just takes the edge off so you can do that and you're not feeling tight trying to dodge shit or getting discouraged when you don't. On the other hand, if you're going in there with only your dick in your hand, a much more daunting prospect. I'm actually at that exact point right now because I went playing through the Derelict Citadel again while collecting missing glyphs and basically used all my supplies while casually exploring. Now all I've got left to do is try to survive against Nemesis with half life and jack shit, but I'm more likely going down in what feels like a suicide run. I'd feel more confident going against the final boss under these conditions because at least I've had more practice and success against it recently.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I'm about halfway through Link's Awakening on Switch, and it's been a lackluster experience. The original game is tremendous, and I have many fond memories of playing it as a young kid. But this port lacks the polish and feel of the original. The controls just don't feel... solid enough to me. Landing a jump for example feels unpredictable, which is never a good sign for a Nintendo game. And because it's otherwise such a straight-up port, bringing nothing new to the table, it translates to being inferior to the original in all but graphics. And the Switch can barely even handle the graphics in the game. It chugs down to 10-20 fps for the first few seconds in every new area you walk through. Overall a big bummer, but at least my son seems to mildly be enjoying it.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Even I couldn't get into it. Great opening cutscene, wish the whole game had that style, but as you say it's pretty clunky and kind of antithetical to the lean and mean original.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, I played that remake at launch and frankly can't remember my exact thoughts at the time, except that I found it inferior to the original. Wasn't bad or anything, but not worth the money to me.
Anyway, I've been playing Loop Hero on Switch and I like it a lot. Only downside is that it's clearly a game that was made for PC, and while the controls translate reasonably well to a controller, playing in handheld mode is a bit of a strain on the eyes.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Anyway, I've been playing Loop Hero on Switch and I like it a lot. Only downside is that it's clearly a PC that was made for PC, and while the controls translate reasonably well to a controller, playing in handheld mode is a bit of a strain on the eyes.
I quite enjoyed my time with Loop Hero. It has a good gameplay…. loop. And I really dug the look and sound design of it, too. Bought the soundtrack, even. As for PC to switch ports, I've seen UI conversion problems quite a bit. It’s like they don’t test these games on different displays.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
It does look cool, but in the future will they even make single player games that aren't Rogue-likes? My pitch: Game - The Game, it's an action-RPG Rogue-like, Souls-like, Metroidvania! Everybody already bought it.
 
I’m on the final boss of Metroid Dread. I thoroughly enjoyed the game. But I was a bit surprised at how short that it was. Maybe my gaming skills have sharpened since I was a kid that relied on gamefaqs to help finish super Metroid. But the game seemed fairly straightforward and quick by comparison.

Of course I should acknowledge that all Metroid games have a clear time at the end. Implying that they aren’t meant to be long if the player knows what to do. So not a big gripe all things considered.

Okay I finished Metroid Dread. As a whole it’s a great game. The final boss especially gave me some joy. When I figured out that I could use a power bomb to overload his giant sun ball in his 3rd phase I got giddy with excitement. But there are a few shortcomings.

As mentioned by others the story is kind of weak. It’s basically two exposition dumps and a final rushed act. Super Metroid still does it better with the minimal story telling. More showing and less telling. The ending of Dread left me wanting more. We didn’t even get a Samus helmet off scene. Just a couple of art pieces and credits. Lame.

The “sequence breaks” are also not too interesting. But considering stuff like Fusion had lackluster sequence breaks I can give it a pass.

What dread did the best was the gameplay loop. Go to a new area deal with the Emmi fight the boss. Explore. Go back. All of it felt very fluid and fine tuned. None of it got stale. I’d say I even liked it better than Super Metroid in that regard.

I give the directors props for not choosing to go with nostalgia pandering again. Ridley is Dead and thank you for not dragging his corpse back on screen as some kind of X infused monstrosity. Kraid even got to shine this time even if it was a bit random. I guess Kraid are a species so I’m sure we can look forward to more Ridley somewhere down the line

I feel like the game deserves some kind of post credit DLC. I’m not sure where the story could go but I’m here for it. I still don’t understand why it took nintendo so long to make this game. I heard they claimed the switch hardware made it possible? But that doesn’t add up to me.
 
Last edited:

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
A Plague Tale: Innocence - I've been circling this one for a while, because it looked like it was up my alley, and... it was! Loved the setting, atmosphere and storytelling, the outdoor environments were gorgeous, and honestly I could have even done without any of the high concept stuff and just had it be about straight illness, plague, war and overly aggressive rats... but I guess history can only get you so far in a game like this. Speaking of which, I wasn't sure what sort of game this would be going in, third person action, puzzler, RPG, but it quickly became clear this was in the same vein as The Last of Us, though more limited in your combat options, and so my biggest critique is the gameplay overall becomes quite repetitive by the end, even as they try to toss in some inventive new wrinkles to spice it up. It's not very hard either, you're basically overpowered if you just want to kill everyone you can, but there's rarely a need to and little consequence for failure other than the annoyance of perhaps repeating the start of a segment. I will credit the AI though for not letting you get overly cheesy and having guards smart enough to avoid obvious hazards if you don't trap them properly (RE8 and its despawning dummies could learn a thing from this game). Maybe it's more sad that I'm impressed the enemies usually won't straight up kill themselves when you aggro them. Anyway, very nice, fun little game and I'm glad there's a sequel on the way.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
AKA "The Conrad simulator" :conrad:

I played this a while back and I thought it was a little overrated to be honest, but hey, it's from a smallish French studio, gotta support the little guys.

Yeah, I found it charmingly not AAA; it looks beautiful, it's fun to play, but everything from some of the animations to the controls to the boss encounters have enough rough edges to make it clear this wasn't a huge game (I guess the archaic subject matter is also a tell =), so good for them.
 
Playing Nier: Replicant (ver.1.22474487139) right now.
I had heard mixed reviews for that one so I didn't know what to expect. It's the prequel to Automata and the original came out back in 2010.
From what I've seen so far, this "Remaster" called "ver. 122..." is a proper update to the original, unlike other games (Dark Souls, Crysis, AC III, the recent GTA Trilogy and many others) which either fail to update the game enough to deserve the "remaster" title, or while adding stuff, they also introduce tons of downgrades. I think ver. 1.22 could also be called a remake instead of a remaster, but I've honestly given up trying to understand the difference. It also doesn't help that the developer called it a "version update" and specified that it's neither a "remake" nor a "remaster"... So I don't know anymore.

But in any case, it's a great "remake/remaster etc", the visuals are much better, the soundtrack is rearranged, they rerecorded all of the voice acting and the combat is much, MUCH better, something that many remakes don't focus on, leaving the games feeling as janky as the originals. Can't say that it's as quick and satisfying as Automata, but it's still far better than the original. And of course they've added stuff most current games have, like soft and hard lock-on enemies, being able to switch weapons with a single button, "countering" when blocking at the right time, and much, much more.

Can't say too much about the story since I haven't gotten that far yet, but I was just impressed at how much better it is from the original since many remakes/remasters nowadays are just cheap cash grabs.
 
Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut - Thought I'd return to Tsushima again...and I enjoyed it a lot! Till now, this is the prettiest game I've every played and the PS5 update only made it better. You can improve upon perfection after all. The Japanese lip synching was a nice touch, but the facial animations are still stiff and weird though, so it didn't make too much of a difference. The Iki Island DLC is pretty good so far, and more challenging than the base game.

Blasphemous (Switch) - Playing this again after getting it in a huge sale. Enjoying it more than the first time but I gotta say it's one of the most depressing games I've played. Those devs need to lighten up :ganishka:. The new update with added bosses is pretty nice. It's still unbalanced in some of those bosses though. That and the occasional cringe from the pretentious phrases that crop up from time to time (doctors are called "kissers of wounds". Ugh, kill me now), make for a suitably punishing experience.
 

Dar_Klink

Last Guardian when? - CyberKlink 20XX before dying
FFXIV Endwalker met/exceeded the expectations after how great Shadowbringers was which was great, still doing the MMO daily/weekly grind stuff as I feel compelled to while waiting on some new content, in the meantime though...

Inscryption is really good, don't get spoiled on anything with it if you can. It's a card game roguelite(kinda) with graphic and music that give it a really unique atmosphere. I wasn't sure I was going to like it since I'm not too into TCG stuff other than the old GB Pokemon TCG but it drew me in after watching a bit of gameplay.

I've got a ton of other games sitting around to kill time until Elden Ring after I get through all of Inscryption and get tired of FFXIV which has a content patch coming most likely mid March to early April which is the perfect timeline for Elden Ring deep-diving.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Inscryption is really good, don't get spoiled on anything with it if you can. It's a card game roguelite(kinda) with graphic and music that give it a really unique atmosphere. I wasn't sure I was going to like it since I'm not too into TCG stuff other than the old GB Pokemon TCG but it drew me in after watching a bit of gameplay.

Inscryption is indeed very good. Wholeheartedly recommended.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Street Fighter V - Been playing regularly with a modified Hori Rap 4 Hitbox, so it even works natively on PS5. My win percentage in my last 100 matches is still stuck in the 50s and I'm still stuck in the bronze tiers, which can be tough on the psyche, especially when you have a rough night, go on tilt, and go tumbling backward much faster than it took to rise up. I've put my focus on self-improvement and focusing more on accumulating wins than worrying about any losses and that helps the ego bruises (the day before yesterday was great, whereas last night was a discouraging slog). My rough, long-term goal, other than getting better, is to get to 1000 online wins with Ken, and hopefully rise out of the bronze ranks in the process of doing that. Obviously that means working on my execution, pokes, anti-airs, setups, frame-traps, combos, match ups, and getting many more hours of full speed match experience. Of course, I'm on a timer until February 25th, so we'll see how far I get, I don't think I have enough opportunity or hours to reach my goal in that many days before Elden Ring comes out unless I suddenly become a diamond rank level player and go shooting up. =)
 
I've beaten Astalon: Tears of the Earth (Switch) last week. Finished at 100% on the map and items so I got the true ending.
After I've done the demo few months ago I had the feeling that it was a great game and I was right.

Finished Shin Megami Tensei V (Switch) last month. Being a fan of SMT, I was highly anticipating this one, not disappointed at all even though I would have loved it to be a bit longer. The battle system is always on point in this series. The soundtrack is awesome.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Street Fighter V - My long-term goal of 1000 ranked wins with Ken is in danger because... I'm bored of playing him and I've only got 200 something! Looking to add a little spice to things, I've been labbing Guile the last couple days after getting trashed by a couple and started playing him in arcade hard mode and he's starting to feel natural, and dangerous (he's way better than my old subs, Dan and Gill... I should just play Cammy). Once you get used to the charging those moves come out FAST. I can spam booms and bring out flash kick way quicker, and on reaction, than fireball or DP, plus from a naturally defensive position instead of exposing my ass to punishment all the time (it's a pretty simple strategy too, block, spam booms, flash kick on approach or as soon as you get an opening). He also has a three frame normal which is useful for starting or breaking up attacks. I just need to get better at those things, figure out his normals, pokes (like back HP, sobat, and upside kick) and optimal combos and I'll be good to go (I do find comboing with booms very unnatural though). Oh yeah, I like his V trigger I and Critical Art way better too (not sure I like either V skill yet), I was just throwing those out casually to actually turn around matches and make big comebacks in some cases. Anyway, we'll see if I keep up with him in the long run, but Guile seems like a defensive powerhouse with a lot of punishing options. Oh yeah, I also somewhat ironically enjoy that I'm now playing the two most USA! dudes in the game. :ganishka:

Oh yeah, the other reason my Ken win totals and Guile practice are in danger is because in two weeks I'm dropping this game like a bad habit. :carcus:
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I've beaten Astalon: Tears of the Earth (Switch) last week. Finished at 100% on the map and items so I got the true ending.
After I've done the demo few months ago I had the feeling that it was a great game and I was right.

Interesting, hadn't heard of it but I'll check it out (translation: add it to the evergrowing and seldom diminishing pile).
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Horizon Forbidden West - It's very pretty, but feels very much like every iteration of the modern AAA action-adventure game, so we'll see if it rises above or if it's just more of the same as the original (kind of feels that way this far). After getting caught up in one side quest I'm very focused on sticking to the main storyline so I can get this thing mostly wrapped by the time Elden Ring takes its spot in my schedule. It's great ignoring the NPCs not so subtle whining for help and just saying, "I have to get going."

Street Fighter V - One thing that sucks about Guile is if you're away for a few days your timing is all fucked up! I also never really got any bread and butter combos down, so my execution needs to be perfect and it's not right now. Probably not going to get better any time soon either as a bid adieu to my regular "anytime" games for a while.
 
Finished Dragon Quest VII. I know it dragged for a lot of folks that have played it, but it flew by for me. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about those games that I really dig. I’m looking forward to playing the 3DS remake that Wally gave me, but that’s still a ways off.

Currently playing Spyro: Year of the Dragon. I thought the second game was a major improvement over the first, but this feels like more of the same. It’s still enjoyable escapism, but I can see why they never made a fourth. (Those remakes sure are pretty, though.)
 
Top Bottom