What are you playing?

I've been enjoying Breath of Fire 3 a great deal. Though it should be subtitled "Don't Trust Adults" since I don't think you aren't betrayed by a single adult throughout Ryu's entire childhood phase of the game. Every single adult lies to you, sells you out, kidnaps you or attempts to murder you, even without knowing you're an "evil" dragon that must be killed on sight.

Another SUPER cool feature of the Breath of Fire series is it's all connected, in the same world, in VERY different time periods. Your characters from the first are legendary heroes from the distant past in the second and the third is hundreds of years after the second. It's also neat how the species change, like Wyndians losing the ability to transform into birds to losing their ability to fly entirely by 3 as they interbreed with regular folk throughout time, but a random Wyndian NPC mentions that they aren't afraid of heights, he assumes because his ancestors could fly.

You need a guide to play though, since the game's systems are arcane and barely explained. I played through like a 1/3rd of the game barely understanding what masters do.

Can't wait for Pathfinder 2 to unlock on Thursday. I got reminded today that I backed it on Kickstarter so I already have a key waiting for me. The customization looks fucking insane. Each class has like 5+ archetypes and each race has their own unique archetypes and they've added a bunch of new playable races for the PC to choose from.
 
Psychonauts 2

I kept my Game Pass subscription active pretty much specifically for this. And I'm glad I did because this was pretty great. Gameplay-wise, it's a lot of the same stuff that made the first game great. Great variety of moves and powers, all sorts of challenges to use those powers.

The level of creativity in each level is absolutely astonishing. Though, I'll be honest, they didn't feel as memorable as, say, The Milkman Conspiracy or Lungfishopolis. They're still good, don't get me wrong, but they just didn't wow me overall like the first game. Also, the mind levels here are a lot more disconnected. When you return to a lot of them, you can't go right from beginning to end. You HAVE to use the little teleporter guy to get to certain areas. That bugs me for some reason.

And maybe it's just me, but I didn't feel as connected or interested in a lot the characters. The new batch of kids in this one aren't as interesting. It doesn't help that you barely see them throughout most of the game. In the first game, you ran into them all the time and they'd have new little cut scenes or dialogue to get to know them better. In this, they're just sort of there, with little to no development. So when they keep popping up in story-related missions or cutscenes, it doesn't feel as earned.

I will say that the story overall was engaging, though. I liked how it tied more with Raz's backstory and family, which made the whole thing much more personal. There's a good twist or two along the way.

It sounds like I'm criticizing more than praising, but I really did enjoy this. I had a hard time putting it down because the gameplay is so crisp and it's fun to jump around. The mind levels were still a lot of fun. I can't put my finger on what I didn't love about the compared to the first. I think it's largely because the characters whose minds you entered weren't very interesting. They were kind of dull and not as cartoonishly weird as the first one.

I don't know. I really liked this, but I'll probably like or appreciate it more as I think about it or maybe watch some inevitable reviews or video essays.
 
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is good. It needs to be patched some though, just like Kingmaker, before it's great.

The class customization is absolutely beyond bonkers. Like, it's a pitter patter step away from just being fullblown actual Pathfinder with like 12 extra sourcebooks thrown in.

I'm already having trouble nailing down what I want to play as, I've started with a dhampir cruromancer (blood magic + necromancy) but the dhampir racial traits and feats seem like something that would rule in a feral barbarian shell biting the shit out of everything and sucking their blood.

The game is largely demon based, so don't bother with classes that rely on lightning or poison.
 
Already hit a game breaking bug, but thankfully that mod from Kingmaker, Bag of Tricks (hundreds of tweaks and cheats) ported to Wrath of the Righteous easily and is available to tweak any feat or something that doesn't work or change it to one that does entirely. The new Bag of Tricks mod is called Toy Box now.


Even if you don't plan to cheat, I'd still recommend it, just for the QOL improvements it can make.
 

figmentPez

Staff member
Tengami

Got this one as part of Prime Gaming.... Glad I didn't spend any money on it, but there's an hour or so of my life I won't get back! This should be a lesson in how not to make a modern adventure game. This could have easily been a much more enjoyable 30-45 minutes if I hadn't had to sit around waiting for the character to walk around the screen.

The game's art style is like a pop-up book, with Japanese imagery. But it's inconsistent in actually implementing that. Sometimes you click around to move. Other times you "turn the page" or fold open and close panels. A lot of the game's problems would have been solved if they really embraced the book aesthetic and let the character move as fast as turning a page. It would also help if all the game mechanics actually seemed like they were something you could do with paper.

I'm not going to waste any more time complaining. It's a bad experience that doesn't even rise to mediocre. The art doesn't even rise to the level of being pretty, because things don't seem cohesive, and there are huge issues with scale. It's a bad game.


Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

This is a Tomb Raider spin-off where the camera is overhead and it's got twin-stick shooter elements to the gameplay. It's not amazing, but it's fun enough. I spent a little over 7 hours to finish the game, and I think I'm done without going back to get all the collectibles I missed.

The Flame in the Flood, Orwell, Manual Samuel, Surviving Mars, Eador: Masters of the Broken World, Bomber Crew, Serial Cleaner

Only played these for the trading cards, and probably won't ever play any of them again because they're not my jam. Serial Cleaner came the closest to pulling me in, but I'm not a fan of stealth gameplay, even though it seems a really solid entry in the genre. The Flame in the Flood also showed promise, but I'm not one for rogue-lite survival. Too much stress over RNG. I dig the art style and atmosphere, though.

Not sure what I'm going to get up to next. I'm happy to be back to gaming again, and feeling confident enough to try new games.
 
Twelve Minutes

Another Game Pass find. And I like...well, I like the ideas behind it. The time loop and how it's handled is engaging. You can do a lot of different things with such a small area (tiny apartment with three rooms, not including a closet). Various objects to interact with in different ways.

And I was absolutely engaged with the story...up until the big final twist. Won't spoil it, of course. At first, it floored me and left my jaw on the floor. But the more I thought about it, the less it made any kind of sense.

Honestly, though, I think it's still worth playing through just to experience it. The top-down view is unique and the way the time loop works is interesting enough. Just be forewarned that the twist is both messed up and doesn't really work upon any close examination. If you happen to have Game Pass as I did, give it a whirl.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
Got back into rimworld again...

Boy, what people have been saying is right, somewhere in the last couple years, the dev fucked up the storyteller AI. Repetition is getting ridiculous, even on Cassandra Classic. Hi, prosthetics dealer... SEVENTEEN TIMES IN A ROW. Then nothing for a year.. then toxic fallout, a mechanoid raid, and plague literally all on the same day.

Also half my damn mods stopped being updated and I'm mad about it.
 
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GasBandit

Staff member
Really? I hadn’t heard that.

Can points be carried forward to the next year?
Nope, they're use em or lose em, but the prizes also don't change from year to year. So, once you have the Stardrop and the rarecrow, there's nothing you really need more stars for. The rarecrow comes back, so if you want duplicates, you can get them, but once you get the stardrop, it doesn't come back.
 
Things I have played in the last month or so:

Returnal (PS5)

A rouge-like shooter on the PS5, one of the early "next-gen" games on the PS5. The concept is neat, if not a little overused. Game is particularly flashy, with lots of bright, colorful "bullets" flying around. Weapons are fairly standard, but there are a few neat alien weapons around, and I dig the upgrade/parasite system going for the game. Difficulty-wise it can be pretty tough, but I found it manageable. I haven't been able to finish the game yet, but it holds my interest enough to keep playing. The only thing I didnt like was how the control-scheme had the alt-fire and fire ont he same trigger, but with one you had to lightly press vs hard press. Screwed me up a few times. Overall 7.5/10

Code Vein (PC
)

I like Dark Souls and I like Anime boobs, so, yay, I guess? I haven't gotten too far into this one yet. The combat feels just fine (except I can't fucking parry if my life depending on it). Graphically pleasing if you're into an anime style. I don't really have much of a consensus on this one yet because I think I'd be better off playing with a controller, so I might connect my PS5 controller via bluetooth and see if that works out better for it.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles (Switch)

Hell yes. Ace attorney is one of my favorite franchises ever and I got so angry when they didn't release an English version of this series. I'm nearly finished with the 1st game of the two and I've loved it all. I like how the jury system is brought back and I like the take on Sherlock Holmes (I mean, Sholmes). The music still kicks ass and the cases have been great. Keep this series going Capcom. 10/10

World in Conflict (PC)


Yeah, not new. Came out in 2007, but I've been so starved for RTS that I picked it up on GoG to play through again and it's still great. Right now I dont have high hopes for AOE IV, so this hit the spot for the time being. 8/10
 

GasBandit

Staff member
World in Conflict (PC)

Yeah, not new. Came out in 2007, but I've been so starved for RTS that I picked it up on GoG to play through again and it's still great. Right now I dont have high hopes for AOE IV, so this hit the spot for the time being. 8/10
World in Conflict was pure cinnamon butter for people who love RTS games but hate base building.

Me, I love base building, so it was just "ok" to me. :p
 
I've had XCOM 2 in my Steam library for a while, but only now do I have a rig that I feel confident about running it.

So far I'm liking it. It feels just as hard, if not harder, than the first game, so every battle really does feel intense. The feeling of desperately scrounging for resources while the alien enemies grow inexorably stronger does really make you feel like your back's against the wall. And, like the first game, you can easily develop attachments to your soldiers, which makes losing them all the harder.

If I had to pick some deficiencies, I feel like the game mechanics aren't explained too well. It's fortunate I was experienced with the first game so I could muddle through it, but I could easily imagine a new player getting very confused very quickly. Also, more of the battles have timers, which makes it harder to really set up strategies and deploy your soldiers where you want them. Oh, and sometimes the game will crash, which apparently has something to do with the new 2K launcher that was patched into the game, and has led to plenty of complaints.

Finally, apparently you can no longer surgically alter your soldiers to turn them into fifteen-feet tall cyborgs that can punch aliens in the face, so now I'll just have to settle for the next best thing: a squad full of female soldiers in hotpants and sports bras.

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more of the battles have timers, which makes it harder to really set up strategies and deploy your soldiers where you want them
This was a conscious effort by the devs to make it so "Overwatch and wait literally forever for something to wander by" wasn't the clear best choice on every turn on every map like it was in the first game. The effects aren't always positive, depending on how you feel about engagements starting by accident and spiraling wildly out of control, but it does make the game feel like a distinct entry in the series.

If you don't have the DLC it's generally pretty good, and there are a lot of mods to customize your experience as well.
 
The effects aren't always positive, depending on how you feel about engagements starting by accident and spiraling wildly out of control
I just had this happen in the Avenger defense mission.

So the Avenger was brought down by an enemy UFO, and I had to send a squad out to destroy the device keeping the Avenger depowered while preventing the enemy from boarding the ship. So how I guessed how this would work is that the aliens would start sending waves of enemies at me, so I decided that my strategy would be to destroy the device as quickly as I could before the waves of enemies overwhelmed me. To this end, I put four of my troops in a defensive position around the ship while sending two of my high-ranked Rangers, specced for mobility and burst damage, out to destroy the device.

Imagine my surprise when, two moves in, the two Rangers revealed that something like eight or ten high-level enemies were already there, surrounding the device. They had no chance against the enemy. They were also now too far away for my other troops to help. And they couldn't possibly make it back in time. So I told them both to make a suicide run on the device, to do what damage I could before they expired. They both got one shot off against the device before dying, although one of them missed.

And then came the long, hard slog as I advanced the rest of my troops up the field so that they could destroy the device. But I'll never forget that feeling of, "Holy shit, they were ready for me!"
 
Project Zomboid is scratching that itch that i have had for the longest time. A hardcore zombie survival game with basebuilding. State of Decay 2 is in that genre,but the zombies are kinda meh.
The survivor can get infected when bitten in Zomboid. When you are infected,thats it and you have enough antibiotics (super rare), food,water and rest you might survive. But 9 times out of 10, you are dead.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
Project Zomboid is scratching that itch that i have had for the longest time. A hardcore zombie survival game with basebuilding. State of Decay 2 is in that genre,but the zombies are kinda meh.
The survivor can get infected when bitten in Zomboid. When you are infected,thats it and you have enough antibiotics (super rare), food,water and rest you might survive. But 9 times out of 10, you are dead.
I wish the Zombie Outbreak mods for Rimworld didn't get abandoned :/
 
Eastward


It really is beautiful. Gameplay wise it's like old school SNES Zelda a lot with a bit of Earthbound design and style. There is actually a game in the game that is basically a roguelite Earthbound that's pretty good as well. Been really enjoying it so far.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Ok, this is literally Fallen Enchantress with better graphics and a sci-fi paint job. It has ludicrously high reviews, and... I guess it's... fine? I mean, if I hadn't played Fallen Enchantress before, this would have been UH MAZ ING to me, I guess... but it's exactly the same game. Exactly. Just... you know, with pretty models and textures and plasma rifles instead of fireball spells.

On a semi-related note, I am soooooooooo tired of games that rename common tropes and concepts just to be different. If your game is about zombies, stop trying to call them something else (looking at you, Back 4 Blood, and your stupid "Ridden"). If your sci-fi game has a research tree, there's no need to bend over backwards to call it something else and run every single research objective title through a thesaurus just so you don't look like you're making an ununique game (especially when your game is a CARBON COPY of a game from 10 years ago)!

Seriously I don't know how Paradox released this with a straight face, and why Stardock doesn't call foul. It is the SAME. GAME. Just prettier. And it's my understanding that this is like the 4th game in this series, and the comparison has been made in the past, too.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
Project Zomboid is scratching that itch that i have had for the longest time. A hardcore zombie survival game with basebuilding. State of Decay 2 is in that genre,but the zombies are kinda meh.
The survivor can get infected when bitten in Zomboid. When you are infected,thats it and you have enough antibiotics (super rare), food,water and rest you might survive. But 9 times out of 10, you are dead.
So you got me interested in playing this... and I'm trying... but I'm having a hard time seeing what the allure is. I tried starting as a nurse because I thought first aid might come in handy, but without any kind of carpentry or electronics or stuff, there's just so much that is obviously needed to survive that I can't do. Maybe it's meant to be multiplayer with people covering roles? Help me out here, what am I missing?
 
Beat Saber

Or maybe 20 minutes of it. I bought it on the recommendation of...well, pretty much anyone who owns an Oculus or VR rig at all.

I hated it. I'd played it a little before but I thought now that I'm a little more familiar with handling a VR headset, I might enjoy it. Instead, it was just an exercise in frustration. It didn't help that I first bought it through the Oculus desktop app, only to discover it's not cross-buy and I can't access it on my headset, even though it's the SAME ACCOUNT.

As far as the game goes, it was just an exercise in frustration for me. For one, it was just too overwhelming, like sensory overload but mixed with multitasking. I've honestly never liked rhythm games like Guitar Hero because I couldn't keep up on what I had to hit next. Same here. I couldn't keep up on which box to hit and also track which way to hit it. Especially once the boxes started flying at me faster. And then I'd get frustrated and overwhelmed and I'm just not having fun.

Secondly, the music. It's what, skrillex, techno, and dance pop? I don't know, I really don't know music. Either way, none of it is stuff I've ever enjoyed listening to. I tried seeing if there were maybe 80s or 90s tracks I could add on, but no dice. If it was songs I was familiar with or enjoyed, I MIGHT be able to get into it, but I doubt it. The music isn't the problem, it's the overwhelming gameplay as a whole. It's just not my thing.
 
Beat Saber

Or maybe 20 minutes of it. I bought it on the recommendation of...well, pretty much anyone who owns an Oculus or VR rig at all.

I hated it. I'd played it a little before but I thought now that I'm a little more familiar with handling a VR headset, I might enjoy it. Instead, it was just an exercise in frustration. It didn't help that I first bought it through the Oculus desktop app, only to discover it's not cross-buy and I can't access it on my headset, even though it's the SAME ACCOUNT.

As far as the game goes, it was just an exercise in frustration for me. For one, it was just too overwhelming, like sensory overload but mixed with multitasking. I've honestly never liked rhythm games like Guitar Hero because I couldn't keep up on what I had to hit next. Same here. I couldn't keep up on which box to hit and also track which way to hit it. Especially once the boxes started flying at me faster. And then I'd get frustrated and overwhelmed and I'm just not having fun.

Secondly, the music. It's what, skrillex, techno, and dance pop? I don't know, I really don't know music. Either way, none of it is stuff I've ever enjoyed listening to. I tried seeing if there were maybe 80s or 90s tracks I could add on, but no dice. If it was songs I was familiar with or enjoyed, I MIGHT be able to get into it, but I doubt it. The music isn't the problem, it's the overwhelming gameplay as a whole. It's just not my thing.
So, check oculus's refund policy, I know they have one. And yeah, if you don't like rhythm games, beat saber isn't for you.

One thing I've noticed about the oculus store is it doesn't do a good job of showing you what has a demo. You need to actually search for the demo because it won't show it to you on the game's main screen. And while you're digging through demos, try the demo to superhot, because I like that game.
 
So, check oculus's refund policy, I know they have one. And yeah, if you don't like rhythm games, beat saber isn't for you.

One thing I've noticed about the oculus store is it doesn't do a good job of showing you what has a demo. You need to actually search for the demo because it won't show it to you on the game's main screen. And while you're digging through demos, try the demo to superhot, because I like that game.
I've already submitted a refund for it. Technically twice because I refunded it once through the Oculus store, then bought it directly on the headset, played it, then refunded that, too. Shouldn't be an issue.

And yeah, I guess I hoped I could break my dislike of rhythm games and see the game everyone praises but I just can't. As always, it's a bad mix of sensory overload and a feeling of being overwhelmed (an emotion I never deal well with).

I have played a bit of Superhot VR through my friend's Oculus. I liked it but not sure if I like it enough to buy it. I don't know if Oculus store games ever go on sale, but I'll wait for hopefully a time when it does.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
If you want a game that is a lot more sedate, with no time pressure at all, but is still engaging, you might try Hot Dogs, Horseshoes, and Handgrenades


Basically it's more of a realism sandbox. Lots of guns, lots of galleries, all painstakingly made to work as realistically as possible.

And here's an anti-recommendation: Stay away from VRChat. Unless you use it to make a private room to talk to people you already know.
 
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