What Are You Playing?

Johnstantine

Skibbidy Boo Bop
Kind of hard to explain, but playing it on the higher difficulty just pulled me into the world a bit more. Naughty Dog's games really shine on harder difficulties (Uncharted series especially). I think I've played the game all the way through three or four times in the past year.

As for what I'm playing now, I started Symphony of the Night after never having played a Castlevania game. Apparently I glitched the game accidentally at the beginning once I get control of Alucard (sliding in and out of the area where you first see Death before the cut scene does this--something I didn't even know was a thing). I've progressed far enough where I don't want to restart, but, despite having all of his beginning armor and weapons I'm still enjoying it. Makes me want to go back and actually finish Hollow Knight.
 
Just beat Deus Ex Mankind Divided, not so easy game, but too short and there's not enough action for me and it's too depressing. I would say it's solid 7/10.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Kind of hard to explain, but playing it on the higher difficulty just pulled me into the world a bit more. Naughty Dog's games really shine on harder difficulties (Uncharted series especially). I think I've played the game all the way through three or four times in the past year.
Well, I'm bored enough with Uncharted 4, which I still feel I've barely started yet has had 4 starts already by my count, that I put The Last of US in the PS4 and installed/updated it (but did so with GTAV as well =). I'm so impatient, no wonder I gravitated towards the Souls games once I got the hang of them, "You're in a dungeon full of monsters and have a sword: GO!" Thank you! Sometimes I think cinematic storytelling, even in dumb action games, is the worst thing to happen to the medium. Like I don't need hours of FMV to present a bog standard melodrama as a pretext for why I'm jumping around punching guys. Give it a rest.

As for what I'm playing now, I started Symphony of the Night after never having played a Castlevania game. Apparently I glitched the game accidentally at the beginning once I get control of Alucard (sliding in and out of the area where you first see Death before the cut scene does this--something I didn't even know was a thing). I've progressed far enough where I don't want to restart, but, despite having all of his beginning armor and weapons I'm still enjoying it. Makes me want to go back and actually finish Hollow Knight.
I still recommend starting over, though I bet you've progressed because your dude is basically a twinked out terminator with that setup. It's like starting Souls with an NG+ character; you ain't getting the same experience. I was actually trying that particular glitch the other day but don't know if it works with the version of the game I'm using (no matter how quickly or how many times I went in and out of the room, Death was waiting =).

ANYWAY, playing Symphony of the Night again it dawned on me I should just play it's spiritual sequel instead, so I fired up Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night in earnest and after a few hours am officially INTO it. It was a little bit of the slow start, I'm not particularly into the goofy characters or lore and am impatient as I said, but once I started getting some cooler equipment and abilities, and seeing how I could use them together, I was hooked. It really is like SotN reborn with some enhancements from its sequels and a few new twists. I saw some reviews critical of it for it being too much like SotN without more modern innovations, but that's basically the point, and I think the different weapons and movesets add plenty of variety to compete with today's fare. I found a greatsword that's "steam-powered," and while I don't use it for bosses where I want to be striking as often as possible, it's fun as hell for regular enemies/exploration while I simultaneously upgrade Bloodbringer, which is both a familiar summon and equippable weapon, though not simultaneously. Like I said, fun!
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Sometimes I think cinematic storytelling, even in dumb action games, is the worst thing to happen to the medium. Like I don't need hours of FMV to present a bog standard melodrama as a pretext for why I'm jumping around punching guys. Give it a rest.
My basic review of Last of Us is: Sure, I liked The Road, who didn't? But this absolutely did NOT need to be a video game though. It's sort of Kojima-like in that way. Just go make a movie, guys.
 
Well, I'm bored enough with Uncharted 4, which I still feel I've barely started yet has had 4 starts already by my count, that I put The Last of US in the PS4 and installed/updated it (but did so with GTAV as well =). I'm so impatient, no wonder I gravitated towards the Souls games once I got the hang of them, "You're in a dungeon full of monsters and have a sword: GO!" Thank you! Sometimes I think cinematic storytelling, even in dumb action games, is the worst thing to happen to the medium. Like I don't need hours of FMV to present a bog standard melodrama as a pretext for why I'm jumping around punching guys. Give it a rest.
Honestly Griffith, if you want the best of Naughty Dog when it comes to cinematic storytelling just play Uncharted 2; I admittedly found the others to be forgettable.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
My basic review of Last of Us is: Sure, I liked The Road, who didn't? But this absolutely did NOT need to be a video game though. It's sort of Kojima-like in that way. Just go make a movie, guys.
Well, I can't speak to Last of Us, but in Kojima's case, aside from his style just being too... unencumbered for the movies (and even games apparently), you can't have the contents of your memory card affect your viewing experience in that medium, unfortunately. =)

I just need to set aside time to start these games with the proper atmosphere, like alone in the dark at night with no time constraints... hard not to hear the clock ticking, though. Even in Bloodstained I've reached that nadir in every Metroidvania where I've seemingly exhausted every accessible area and logical application of my abilities, the next step is unclear, and am now retreading the same ground trying every illogical application to open a new area. *sigh*

Honestly Griffith, if you want the best of Naughty Dog when it comes to cinematic storytelling just play Uncharted 2; I admittedly found the others to be forgettable.
Yeah, I willfully ignored that one's reputation as the best and most worth playing, and might have errored. On the other hand, my point is I might NOT want the best when it comes to cinematic storytelling in games! I much preferred the recent Tomb Raider where the plot was just good enough pretext and window dressing to do a bunch of cool game shit.
 
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The debate over which Super Mario Bros. platformer is better, Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World, is over. The winner is Yoshi’s Island!

Yoshi’s Island is the best platform game I’ve ever played (and I’ve played a few). Everything from the gameplay to the art to the music to the physics and game mechanics themselves is sublime. If you haven’t experienced this masterpiece yet, pick up an SNES Classic as soon as you can. It alone is worth the price of admission.

After getting 100% in Yoshi’s Island last week, I’ve been playing Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. While it’s nowhere near Yoshi’s Island in terms of perfection, it’s a challenging little platformer with gorgeous visuals. I’m liking it a lot better than the original, both in terms of gameplay and graphics. I’m trying to get 102%, and I’m at 75% or so at the moment.
 
That Baby Mario crying though... :stop:
It didn’t bother me, but my wife sure got sick of it.

:ganishka:

I should’ve ended that paragraph with the troll.

Edit: I finished DKC2 the other day. Man, those last few levels were tough. Oddly enough, the final, final boss fight was easier than the final boss fight and the last two or three levels. I had a great time playing it and am looking forward to the third and final entry on the SNES.

Right now I'm working my way through Marathon 2: Durandal. I love this series. I was apprehensive about playing it, based on some screenshots I'd seen, but I'm so glad I gave it a shot. Even better: it's totally free through the Aleph One engine. Fans of FPSs should check these games out for sure.

Edit: I finished Marathon 2 and started playing Suikoden. It took me a while to get into it, but I'm really enjoying myself now. I hear the sequel is the best of the series, so I'm looking forward to playing that one day.
 
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nomad

"Bring the light of day"
Well... After like whatever years later, I won a Switch and bought Breath of the Wild. I can’t put this thing down. Haven’t enjoyed Zelda since Ocarina of Time. It definitely deserves the compliments given. I barely scratched the surface and I’ve spent a good 10+ hours just exploring. The story I find it interesting as well. Very glad for the purchase.
 
I just got Resident Evil 2 Remake. I kept waiting for a big sale and it hasn't happened but I got it for 40 on psn. I remembered Walter recommending hardcore so I fired it up as Leon and died three times in the gas station lol. Anyway I've gotten a handle on the difficulty and am enjoying it. Pretty blown away by the fidelity and atmosphere. Been playing Dead Cells non-stop all summer so it's great to slip into AAA graphics with gameplay that doesn't disappoint.
 
Borderlands The Pre-Sequel. Pretty good game I must admit, a lot of weapons and it's fun to play, however story and humor is better in Tales from the Borderlands. After this I'm going to play Borderlands 2.
 
Recently beat Dark Souls 1 and the DLC for the millionth time. Now playing Dark Souls 2 again for the second time.

Since I have this game down from the first time, it's pissing me off infinitely less and I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit. I do really love all the different levels and atmosphere, even if the designs themselves aren't the best in comparison to something like DS1. This is the only game in the series where I felt like I had to change up my play style completely, which is cool and lame at the same time. But it's making the lackluster gank squads that are a dime a dozen in this game a lot easier to deal with.

It is a pretty cool addition to the series though.
 
I finished Suikoden yesterday. I missed one Star of Destiny before the event during which Gremio is resurrected, so I didn't get the best ending. I don't feel like playing it again, even though it's on the shorter side of JRPGs, so my Suikoden II file will be incomplete. Oh, well.

The next game on my list is Duke Nukem 3D, which I played on the N64 back in the day, but never on the PC (I was too young when it came out, though my friend and I played it at his house). However, the only legal way to play it right now is via the 20th anniversary edition, which is $19.99. There's no way I'm paying that much for a game that doesn't even have all the previously available content, especially if the game is 22 years old, so I'm going to wait for it to go on sale or for another version to be released (hopefully around the 25th anniversary, but we'll see...).

The game after that is Super Mario RPG. I played a little of it this morning, and it's so ugly looking I don't think I can keep going. It might be playable on the 3DS, if it ever gets released there, but it hurts my eyes too much to play it on my TV. I tried all the different filters on my SNES Classic, but none of them worked well enough. It's a shame, because I was really looking forward to it.

Next up on my list is Quake. I rented the N64 version for a weekend, but never got around to playing the original. I know what I’ll be doing this Labor Day weekend.
 
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Well, it was a very productive weekend, as far as video games were concerned. I finished Quake and Panzer Dragoon Zwei, and started playing Crash Bandicoot.

Quake was awesome. I already miss playing it. Even though it was missing NIN’s soundtrack, the Steam version played almost perfectly. I’m looking forward to playing the two expansions and the sequels.

Panzer Dragoon Zwei was better than the first game in terms of graphics and gameplay, and thankfully incorporated a save feature. I enjoyed playing it, if only for a few hours.

I’m about a third of the way through Crash Bandicoot. It’s both enjoyable and frustrating, but overall I’m having a good time.
 
I picked up Collection of Mana and Astral Chain this week, perfectly timed for a three day weekend of no classes or work.
I've received them as well.
Almost finished Mystic Quest, such a good game... brings back a lot of memories.
Only did the first level of Astral Chain, I'll try to play more this week-end.

Rhombaad, Panzer Dragoon Zwei and Quake, good choices !
Last time I did Quake was a few years ago with the NIN's soundtrack and fuck, I love this game too.
 
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RaffoBaffo

Ex-Newser of the late Berserk Chronicles
I'm replaying FFVII after finishing the Bhaalspawn Saga, needed a change of scenery.
I want to replay all the Infinity Engine games before my first playthrough of Pillars of Eternity 2 and
Tides of Numenera.
It's going to be a looooong journey.
 
I'm currently playing Berserk Millenium Empire Arc on PS2 emulator. It captures Berserk feeling better than Musou, especially how Guts is fighting with Dragon Slayer, it feels heavier and really looks like struggle ( like in manga ) Cutscenes are done in very atmospheric manner and boss fights are actually challenging and look very great with fighting/attack sequences taken just out of manga pages - attacks on Grunbeld in his "human" form for example. What I like and what I don't like about the game:

+ Good combat
+ Good boss fights
+ Good cutscenes
- Too much fighting with average enemies and clearing monsters nests
- Fillers were not necessary imho, they could've done it in different way, covering more story from manga
- In-game graphics aren't that good, could be better!

It's 8/10 imho. But could be higher than that. Obviously I recommend it for Berserk fans.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I beat Trials of Mana ("Secret of Mana 2") last night, officially completing a childhood dream of mine. Aside from FF7, there's no other game that I have accumulated so much baggage for over the years. This is a game that US audiences were deprived of for 20 years, because it came out on the tail end of the SNES, and was apparently a nightmare to translate, due to cartridge restrictions, text box issues, # of characters on screen, etc. For anyone who lived through the game industry in those days and saw the screens in magazines of Seiken Densetsu 3 (the game's Japanese title), it was like an open wound that we never got to play it. So being able to finally play it on a real home system, even though I'd played it emulated a few times, was really an incredible experience.

Bounding around the field stays a blast the whole game. There's an impressive day -> night cycle which affects enemies, spell effectiveness, music. And the game just looks gorgeous. Even with all the leaps in graphics over these years, it's no understatement to say this is one of the most beautiful sprite-based games ever. But time really has otherwise been cruel to this gem. It's been 2 decades since most of us were accustomed to putting up with the quirks of playing a relatively complex 90s action RPG. And as much as I personally love the game, in particular the standout graphics and music, which are genuinely some of the best the SNES has to offer (and that's an incredible statement on its own), I openly acknowledge that it has a huge list of problems.

Aside from some technical, menu-focused slowdown difficulties, which likely stem from limitations of what could be on-screen on the SNES, most of these problems lie in combat. That is a real bummer, given that the seamless melding of exploring->combat was such a milestone for Secret of Mana. Here, combat slows everything down. When enemies appear, your characters are forced to crawl slowly across the screen in their attack stances. And once combat pops off, it can quickly become chaotic and hard to follow. Who is being hit? Are your attacks hitting? How much did that last attack do? Who is hitting who? While there are certainly ways to confirm most of these actions if you squint, the design is obtrusive, even the font gets in the way, so these questions and confusions never really cease, and in fact get worse as your combat options diversify later in the game. Speaking of which, despite this being an action RPG, by the end of the game, most of your time is spent in menus navigating between characters, casting heal on one, switching to another to initiate a spell, then back to your third to cast a buff, etc. Then you wait for all three of those to play out, rinse and repeat. None of that is very fun, unfortunately.

A bright spot of the game's design is how the story bends to fit your custom party. At the start, you choose your main 3 characters of a list of 6. The story you'll experience is primarily wrapped around the first character you choose, with the remaining 2 being sub-stories. This means you'll encounter zones in a somewhat different order, or face certain story-themed bosses exclusive to that character. It all adds up to about 3 or so distinctly different playthroughs, if you were willing to pursue it a second or third time. But on the whole, you won't be leaving very much on the table if you just go with one set of characters and call it a day. Paired with the gorgeous graphics, the story is a massive improvement over Secret of Mana. But the flattering comparisons cease there.

In all, I can't recommend getting the Mana Collection for $40 just for Trials. But as a whole collection, with SoM and the first game too (Final Fantasy Adventure), I've had a lot of fun with it and I don't regret it at all.
 

nostyleart

Quixotic
Been playing the new season of Path of Exile last two days. New season has a tower-defense like mechanic. I also beat Mass Effect for the first time last week after a long break from gaming; that was a really fun game and story.
 
I finished Crash Bandicoot over the weekend. I tried to get 100%, but stopped at 85%. It was so stressful trying to get through some of those levels without dying and with destroying all of the boxes, I'd be covered in sweat and two hours would've gone by after finishing one of the later levels. I just couldn't take it anymore, so I beat the game without getting everything and watched the extended ending on YouTube (wouldn't have been worth it).

Next up is the final entry in the Marathon trilogy: Marathon Infinity. Can't wait!
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
d be covered in sweat and two hours would've gone by after finishing one of the later levels. I just couldn't take it anymore, so I beat the game without getting everything and watched the extended ending on YouTube (wouldn't have been worth it).
:ganishka: This was incredible. Are you normally that focused on collectibles, or does Crash just *do it for you*?
 
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