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Game On

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:10 pm UTC
by tarascon
Which game(s) are you playing atm?

I'm waiting right now for Shadow of Mordor to install. I spent years on the LOTRO MMO and loved it. I know SoM is not lore but I'll give it a shot.

I would recommend State of Decay... it's fun. Speaking of MMO's, I spent about 3-4 months playing Dayz when it first came out but it remained sooo dang broken that it devolved into a straight-up PvP (and I do not love PvP only game play) with many bugs and Uber-zombies with one hit killing blows. I could go on about this and knew it was an Alpha when I bought it. Still. The last I checked, Dayz has not improved; so much potential, so much despair. So. If you want to play a fun and survivable zombie apocalypse game, try State of Decay.

Edit: I'm also leaning towards buying Guild Wars 2. The thing about LOTRO is that to remain VIP, you have to pay monthly (or yearly) or you lose 3/5 of your avatars and areas which were once open to the gamer are then closed. And it had a lot of pointless meet & greet quests. I loved the game but it cost me a bundle. GW2 is a one-time purchase.

Re: Games you are currently playing

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:10 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
I'm bouncing around between The Forest, Space Engineers and Planetary Explorers. When I'm looking for something a little lighter and more focused, Heroes of a Broken Land.

....and I'm kinda sorta going through my occasional replay of one of the Ultima 7 games.

Re: Games you are currently playing

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:40 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Dragonrealms, always Dragonrealms.

I picked up Evolve, and actually really enjoy it. The matches are strategic but also frantic, and I find at the end of a good fight my adrenalin is up in a way that I haven't felt since playing EVE.

Also, KSP, because KSP isn't really a game as much a way of life, and OOOOOOOOOOOOOMYYYYYYGOOOOOOODSPAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE

Re: Games you are currently playing

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:26 am UTC
by Xanthir
Bounding back and forth between Endless Legend and Endless Space. ESpace is good, but feels a little light. ELegend is a touch more complex, in a good way, but GOOD LORD is the AI stupid. The ESpace AI doesn't know how to make ships worth a damn (it never puts nearly enough offense on them, so if you just do a little defense, plus an armor and repair module, your ships are invincible), but at least it can put together an empire and make decent pushes. ELegend just maintains tiny armies and doesn't do anything with them.

A major problem with both of them is that the trade system is damn near worthless, because all your opponents are dickasses, and never stay in Peace for very long. (You default to Cold War, where you can attack each other in neutral territory without repercussion, but no trading happens.) In particular, you can only trade with your neighbors, but the "I'm angry because you're too close to me" relationship modifiers virtually guarantee you can't remain friendly with them. There's a whole branch of trading techs and buildings and hero upgrades that are basically worthless, because you spend less than 10% of the game with any trading happening at all, and that's if you're lucky.

I'm just gonna go back to Civ 5. It always treats me right. It also lets me tell more interesting alt-histories, like the Al'Kemizri history I just did a write-up of.

Re: Games you are currently playing

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:01 am UTC
by rmsgrey
I'm playing Life Is Strange as new chapters spawn - so it'll probably be about a month before my next session.

With the recent 1.1 patch, War for the Overworld is looking more like a real game, so I'm replaying the campaign to see whether the unit movement bugs have been fixed. The revised tooltips now give useful information in a convenient form. Still not sure I'd actually recommend it just yet, but it's now definitely the best Dungeon Keeper clone I've played.

I'm also continuing to put hours into Everyday Genius: Square Logic.

Re: Game On

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:12 pm UTC
by tarascon
So Shadow of Mordor finished installing (after 3 hours--and this with FiOS) and it's better and more fun than I'd expected. I thought it would be a run & gun loosely placed in Tolkien's world. It's more like the Assassin's Creed franchise. Stealth is the name of my game.

Re: Games you are currently playing

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:48 pm UTC
by Koa
SecondTalon wrote:I'm bouncing around between The Forest, Space Engineers and Planetary Explorers. When I'm looking for something a little lighter and more focused, Heroes of a Broken Land.

Have you heard of ARK? Still early access but it sounds up your alley.

Xanthir wrote:Bounding back and forth between Endless Legend and Endless Space.

And have you heard of Distant Worlds? One of the nice things about that game is that diplomacy makes sense. Friends actually stay friends, and you can feel when relationships with other empires are becoming strained. Smaller empires are much easier to coerce and win over, large empires become the superpowers. There's much less silliness like you get in Civ with the AI refusing to trade with you even though it's vitally important to them, or getting randomly war dec'd. It's a pretty complicated game, though you can decide how much micromanagement you want to do by letting the computer control the various aspects of your empire, which helps a little. It's also not turn based, it's real time, but you have control over the speed.

I guess I've mainly been playing Starcraft and then smaller weird games like Lemma, Factorio, Distance, and Toren now and then.

Re: Games you are currently playing

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:32 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Koa wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:I'm bouncing around between The Forest, Space Engineers and Planetary Explorers. When I'm looking for something a little lighter and more focused, Heroes of a Broken Land.

Have you heard of ARK? Still early access but it sounds up your alley.

ARK's description wrote:& team up with hundreds of players...


I know the very next bit is "or play locally" and the description says single player, but ew. People are terrible.

Think it's even on my wish list to track it, but I'm not really that interested as it sounds like they're focusing on multiplayer. And that's awful.

Re: Game On

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:03 pm UTC
by Koa
A lot of youtube personalities were given access and they uploaded a lot of gameplay. So the people seemed nice for now, but you do make a compelling point. People are terrible, and I think they are designing the game a bit more towards the multiplayer end.

Re: Game On

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:46 pm UTC
by tarascon
Replaying Fallout 3

Re: Game On

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:25 pm UTC
by mosc
I play diablo 3 and Civ 5, same answer I would have given two years ago. Civ5 got new life when I realized how great a fit it was for my surfaceP3. I think the last OTHER games I played was mass effect 3 and skyrim when they came out, been that long. I also play a fun economy based baseball game "9innings2015" (they seem to change the name yearly to confuse people) on my phone. I'm also occasionally working on leveling some FF6 secondary characters on my phone.

Wondering if I still have it in me to really dig into the next big Bethesda or Bioware RPG. Would be sad if I couldn't. Just thinking about it makes me want to fire up Morrowind or ME3 again. "There are a few ways we can do this and the Choice. Is. Yours."

Re: Game On

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:21 pm UTC
by Xanthir
Playing Dungeon of the Endless right now. It's a fun and challenging, um, roguelike tower-defense? You crash into the bottom level of a dungeon, and have to explore each level to find the exit (elevator to next level), building resource extractors and defenses along the way to help fight off the monsters that show up as you explore, and you finish each level by taking the power-crystal from the elevator that brought you in to the elevator that'll take you out, while monsters swarm in from *everywhere*. The last two levels before you escape get legit risky and hard, forcing you to exit early rather than grind the whole floor (or else it fills up with unkillable room-guarding monsters >_<).

Since it's an Endless game, there's tons of callbacks and in-jokes to the rest of the games. (It takes place *on Auriga*, of course.) Also, I once lost a character during a between-levels *cutscene*, due to the story interaction she was having with another character in the party.

Re: Game On

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:38 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Factorio is amazing, but I don't think I'm smart enough for it.

Re: Game On

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:43 pm UTC
by Zohar
As I didn't have access to a computer lately, I've been playing Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions on my husband's iPad. It actually works fairly well. The translation is so much better than the original, but the the PSX version was much smoother and didn't have random crashes.

I should be getting my new laptop real soon, at which point I'll probably get back to playing The Last Remnant, and after I'm done with that, I think I'll delve into one of the Assassin's Creeds I haven't played.

Re: Game On

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:20 pm UTC
by Jesse
How is The Last remnant? I've nearly bought it a few times.

Re: Game On

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:48 pm UTC
by Zohar
Jesse wrote:How is The Last remnant? I've nearly bought it a few times.

Weird, in both good and bad ways. The main attraction of the game, to me, is its unusual game mechanics. There are pretty expansive crafting systems (which I hardly use because I almost never have all the materials), convoluted class systems (which don't even have a good FAQ that explains them online, from what I can see, but they don't have a huge effect on battle, mostly bonuses), multiple skill trees your characters can learn (which are a bit clearer but you only control the direction in which they expand their skills, not the actual skills learned), unusual stat growth (essentially your characters will gain stats in small increments almost every battle), and an elaborate battle system that pulls all of this together. In battle, your characters (up to 18 I think at game end) are divided into squads ("unions"), each union has its own formation (which you choose and also impacts stats), and instead of giving specific commands, you give general orders such as "Use offensive magic!" "Revive fallen allies!" "Cure people" etc. Geography also plays a huge role in battle, and your unions act in many different skirmishes with enemy unions throughout battle.

In short, it's complicated, and elaborate, and there's a ton of depth to explore. In addition to all that there's a massive amount of side quests and whole towns and areas that are completely optional - if you go through the main story only you won't find a lot of those areas. The battles can also be very difficult at times, especially the random rare monsters that pop up in dungeons from time to time.

So if you like that sort of thing, awesome. The downsides are none of it is explained very well in-game. The story is decent (so far), the voice acting is not great, but not grating. The music is fine but probably not something I'll enjoy. The graphics are lazy PS3 era - they do the job, the models are detailed enough, but the environments aren't particularly lively (not many swaying trees etc.).

Overall I'm enjoying it and liking the battle system. I would recommend it specifically to people who might enjoy those features.

Re: Game On

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 6:01 pm UTC
by Xanthir
My opinion is that (a) I really quite enjoyed the game, and would recommend it to others, and (b) the mechanics are a tortured, extremely-over-complicated-for-the-sake-of-complication, almost completely unexplained mess.

A few things you need to know in particular that will *really fuck you up* if you don't know them, and the game gives you zero training in:
  • Each union chooses its commands randomly from the things that all the individuals can possibly do. People without that kind of skill just attack or wait, which is useless. Group people together with similar skills - mages with mages, fighters with fighters, etc.
  • Being in a union that uses a type of skill trains everyone in it, so again, group similar people together for best skill training.
  • That said, make sure you have at least one healer (item- or magic-based) per union, and push them to learn the revival skill for their healing type. Losing your one union capable of revival in a tough battle is killer.
  • Rush can learn *anything*, so decide what you want him to be (physical, magic, etc) immediately and stick him in a matching union for the rest of the game. (I recommend physical; magic Rush is good, but magic in general is a support skill, and will never deliver most of your damage.) If you don't choose early you'll get a painful mixed-skills character that doesn't work well in any union.
  • In magic unions, try to specialize your people on particular magic types, as that makes it more likely they'll be able to auto-cast Arcana (big powerful magics that require multiple people to be casting from the same school at once).

The wiki also has a lot of good guidance. You don't have to get crazy into optimizing the mechanics to still get a *ton* of good out of reading up on them - I went from having trouble with the mid-game to having a fairly easy time up to the final bosses, mostly just from realizing how to rejuggle the characters in my unions to make my battle commands work better. (Nowhere near enough to actually take the optional bosses, as that requires real optimization and, frankly, is impossible on Xbox due to some bugs, but still.)

Re: Game On

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:27 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
I have to say, the way you guys are describing the combat system it actually sounds pretty awesome. Unions are groups of characters that are given general orders, and generally act on their own? That's pretty rad sounding. There are group abilities that require multiple members from the union acting in coordination? That's raddest sounding.

What's the crafting system like? How long is the main story?

Re: Game On

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:25 pm UTC
by Xanthir
Well, "general orders". Each union offers up to five commands which are randomly chosen, based on some interesting weighted choices - they'll normally try to use the best skill group among their units, but they'll respond to another union being weak by offering healing, etc. You get to see what each union-command causes the units to actually do, so it's not really "act on their own", but you also don't have control over what actions they're choosing or what commands you have on offer.

Crafting! It's weird, to be honest.

So, upgrading Rush's weapon is simple. You can buy weapons, they have branching upgrade paths, you use monster loot and money to do the upgrades. Nothing too complicated. There are some *good* upgrade paths and some that are mediocre, which you can look up on the wiki, but suboptimal upgrades aren't a huge deal.

Upgrading everyone else's weapons, tho... This is yet another place where the game refuses to tell you anything and there's a complicated hidden system that you only see glimpses of within the actual game. You don't buy or upgrade weapons yourself; they come with a weapon, they know how they want to upgrade it, they know what monster loots they need to upgrade it, BUT THEY WON'T TELL YOU. Occasionally when the after-battle screen comes up, a character will ask if they can have one of the monster loots, that's it. You'll then randomly get notifications that someone has upgraded their weapon. (Turns out that characters also have their own gold supplies, I'm still not sure how they get it, but they do need gold to spend on their upgrades too.)

There's actually a whole funky (and 100% unexplained) system underlying it, where the unit can be on a martial, magic, or mixed path, and that affects how their upgrade path works (and what skill groups they pick up). This is influenced by the questions they'll occasionally ask you, like "I'm not sure how to direct my training, can you help?" and you get to choose martial/magic/mixed for them.

Another protip! Units will occasionally ask you if they should learn a particular new skill group. DO NOT JUST BLINDLY ANSWER YES, THINKING MORE SKILLS IS MORE GOOD. The opposite is in fact true - you want your units to be lean and focused, so their unions act more reliably, and they spend more time working with the skills they have and level them up further. Every new skill is an opportunity for the union to generate a shitty command that only a few units can contribute to. In general, say yes to healing, say no to everything else unless it actually sounds like something you want to push them in. *Never* tell a magic unit to learn a new martial skill, and vice versa.]

You also only really need one magic union. Get some good casters, put them together, and dedicate the rest of your unions to physical attackers. Especially in mid/late game, try to get your magic union up to 5 casters, to maximize Arcana chances (and again, make sure they can cast from the same magic skills, and generally try to minimize the number of distinct magic skills your units have).

I'm not even going to go into the complicated (and, again, 100% unexplained) interaction between character experience, skill experience, skill group experience, and weapon experience.

Oh, and units in your Reserve will gain exp too, based on whatever Rush is doing. If you've got a martial Rush, they'll all learn martial skills, etc. That's one benefit to a magic Rush - if you hold some of the good casters in your Reserve through the whole early game, they'll level their skills *really* high, much higher than is usually easy to do for an active unit. I got the Quitsi advisor dude to be an *excellent* healer that way, by accident.

As long as you're okay with a game that feels pretty random, you'll be okay. Or if you're okay with digging into the wiki and learning how all the invisible systems work, which is actually rather fun imo.

Re: Game On

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:51 am UTC
by Zohar
Re: abilities, on the PC version you can actually enable and disable abilities, so there's nothing inherently wrong with letting a unit learn extra things, I believe - Pretty sure you can just disable an entire ability tree if you don't want them to use that skill set.

Re: Game On

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:59 am UTC
by Xanthir
Oh shit, right, it's just the XBox version that's totally fucked up. Dont' worry about all that on the PC, then.

(I was so pissed when I learned just how much shit they fixed for the PC version that made the XBox version much more difficult for the stupidest reasons.)

Re: Game On

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:23 pm UTC
by mosc
I played the SHIT out of last remnant. Every drop of that game.

It's a very ambitiously scoped RPG and it's DIFFERENT and it's INTERESTING. It's also maddeningly impossible to control. On one level it's a good thing because it's much too detailed for non-obsessive power gaming nerds to enjoy otherwise. On the other, it's extremely frustrating because basic control you take for granted in every other game is not available. It's also worth noting though that the game's difficulty relies on you being basically out of control. If you read up enough (sure as hell not getting that info in game) and know some tricks you quickly make a joke out of the game's difficulty not because of what your characters do but instead what you keep them from doing! No joke.

A couple things to note that help:
1) Leveling up itself doesn't help you. In fact, the enemies are auto-leveled to you so it actually hurts you. Progress for your characters isn't really leveling as much as it is abilities. Getting abilities is a semi-randomized progression and getting abilities quickly at low levels makes things much easier.
2) Every group needs a res-er. Herbs work fine they're not expensive but prioritize learning that herb based res skill. That means using groups to heal and having lots of herbs.
3) There are essentially two kinds of unions you should set up: Those you want to be in close combat and those you don't. Close combat and ranged attacks are quite different paths on the skill tree and you want your group to level one or the other. You also need to actually look at that crazy map thing to see your groups and enemy groups and keeping your ranged groups out of close combat is really the main combat "tactic". It's not easy because you don't really move your people directly and only get to tell them general directions. The game's big attacks are generally long range so keeping a big hitting group "out of deadlock" lets them do their thing.
4) Half way through the game or so you really need to understand "arts" and how they are triggered and construct your groups so you have them. Don't worry, the game doesn't explain a damn thing about this and the first 5 times you read a wiki on it you won't understand what they're saying. A little later, same comment for "summons".

It will piss you off. You will read sections of wiki and not understand anything about what they're saying. Even explaining last remnant is layers upon layers of un-intuitive garble. It's also very unique in a JRPG genre that sees very little innovation.

The graphics are fine. The story is not overly stupid. The game is big and the mechanics innovative. The depth is substantial.

Hopefully someday they make a lost remnant 2: same game with polish!

Re: Game On

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:08 pm UTC
by Ixtellor
Replaying Fallout 3 in hardcore mode.
League of Legends, Hearthstone (just started this), and World of Warships the most (open beta, hella fun).

Re: Game On

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:29 pm UTC
by Quercus
Just started playing NaissanceE. It's already overtaken Antichamber as the most beautiful game I've played: the lighting, the music! It's jaw-droppingly gorgeous in a darkly minimalist sort of way.

Re: Game On

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:07 am UTC
by Koa
Oh yeah I played NaissanceE. That's what I want from a walking simulator. I got it when it was released and was half expecting it to be awful like all of the other games with a similar concept that I've played (Ultraworld is my new worst game ever. If a personal hell exists, that game would be mine). One of my favorite parts was a dead end -- walking through a doorway that led to infinite darkness, and looking back at the doorway to see the walls extend forever into darkness in every direction (pic in spoiler). It's a clever game that has a lot of unusual moments like that. It's good to see that it has been well received because I really enjoyed it.


I've been playing Witcher 3, and I have a lot of jumbled thoughts about it. It's a very intricate game with some things that I like and some things that I don't. I need to separate the various aspects to express my true thoughts and feelings towards the game. A little background, I've played the two previous Witcher games and didn't finish them, though I came close enough. I could appreciate them but they didn't click with me. For a while during my playthrough I thought Witcher 3 was the same deal. I also have no interest in the books.

First up, I don't like the controls. They're obviously designed for a gamepad and I'm not using one. There are only two quick inventory slots. There are so many more consumables that you will be using and the inventory menu breaks the flow of the game more so than the others in the series (Witcher 2's inventory system was worse but consumables were mostly linked to meditation). I have plenty of space on my keyboard for more quick slots. I would love to hit 'g' to throw a bomb and so on.

The camera is frustrating as it's constantly trying to take over. Again, it works for a gamepad, but not for a mouse. Full control over the camera is a huge aspect of why the limited WASD movement works. And if they didn't patch in the responsive movement option the controls would be outright unbearable for me. It's bad enough sometimes even with the option enabled.

The way horse riding works is pretty awful too. It glues itself to roads even if you don't want to be on a road, and it will take turns into other roads unexpectedly. When riding through the wilderness it will constantly try to avoid obstacles that aren't there or that you wouldn't have collided with if it hadn't felt the need to veer hard into a tree. I've never played a game where riding a horse was awful due to the AI assistance before. I don't bother with the horse much.

The combat is easily the best in the series. There was probably some pushback for having two different dodge buttons, but it works perfectly with the other systems. The enemies are varied and fun. Weaker enemies rush you down relentlessly but are easily dispatched. All of the signs are used for weaknesses. You're discouraged from mashing the attack button, it's always efficient to maintain a certain flow that I found to be much more interesting to execute than the flow of Witcher 2.

The only negative thing that I can say about it is that the game uses MMO logic where an enemy that is 5+ levels higher than you is essentially an impossible fight. Even if you manage to avoid getting one hit killed, a minor enemy fight could take half an hour to down because you're doing so little damage, and that's ignoring the fact that many enemies can self heal. It also punishes exploration to some extent. You can't know that you aren't going to run into an enemy that is too powerful for you, and once you are powerful enough to explore haphazardly, the loot that you get is kind of worthless. "I wish I knew that sword was here 10 hours ago."

There are hundreds of redundant items for blacksmithing, and a lot of them can be dismantled into others. I don't see why you can't just supply the metal, maybe a rare gem and some crowns to the blacksmith. If you're looting containers frequently, the items you need for crafting don't really matter. You're probably a walking variety store and you don't know a tenth of what you have. If you aren't looting containers frequently, the whole crafting system is a tedious shopping list chore, assuming you can even find all of the items needed. It seems like the system was made redundant by some higher level design decisions to make the game easier, like only having to make a potion once (a clever idea if alcohol wasn't so very abundant or meditation wasn't so readily available). Or maybe it was just a poor design decision along the lines of making the game bigger.

The majority of the alchemy/green skill tree seems to be survival based, but survival doesn't matter if you're playing well. Offense is the best defense in this game. The faster you can drop things, the less likely they will land a hit on you.

The writing ranges from okay to excellent. The voice acting is stellar, consistently very high quality. The main story is engrossing even when it does occasionally seem Deadspace/Alien Isolation/horror-y where you're constantly fixing one problem then running into another, and favors for favors to drag the game out. There's also so many minor characters that it's hard to remember them when they return a favor down the line. I'm really stretching to try to fault it. The story feels much more personal than Witcher 2 did. You can't help but care about the main characters because they obviously very much care about each other.

Despite the quests having strong thematic elements (investigating and following tracks), they all boil down to follow the quest marker. If anyone says that other RPGs are bad because of quest markers and not having to think, and say Witcher 3 is good in that regard, they're wrong. I think that is the most misguided praise that this game is garnering, perhaps unintentionally by people reading between the lines of what they personally think a good RPG is about. (Addendum: I've heard that disabling the minimap helps with this.)

There's also the bit about the graphics having been downgraded due to console limitations, if you care about that sort of thing. I care about the idea of it, but otherwise I don't particularly care about the result. It's a rather pretty game.

In conclusion, it's a slow burner, and I almost gave up on it a few times earlier on. But it slowly grew on me and I'm really enjoying it now. I'm at least 3/4ths of the way through and am looking to finish a Witcher game for the first time. It's fun, often striking, and an impressive accomplishment for CDRed.

[some weeks later]
I finished it. I did something of a 95% completion run, and I felt that familiar sigh of when a good game ends and there is nothing left to do. Not much to add. The ending was good. I did figure out how horses worked but still didn't like to use them. I might try the NG+ to rush through the game. I'm undecided.