What Are You Playing?

I'm currently playing Final Fantasy X HD Remaster. I used to play FFX back then, so I'm enjoying it in general, even though the pace of the game and the constant unskippable dialogue and scenes kind of tire me out nowadays.

Other than that, I've played a lot of games lately due to covid restrictions but most notably Starcraft II, which rekindled my interest in the RTS genre.
I played up to the HotS expansion and I'm planning to go for the last one soon.

But, the best one I played is hands down Disco Elysium. What a game! I have no idea why it's not more popular. I wouldn't even know about it if I didn't randomly read the Secret Schnoz topic. It has been a really long time since a game made me want to read so much and follow the plot and conversations.
The leveling up and perk system is something I have never seen before. I don't know if there is something comparable to it?

On the other hand, the game kind of seems more replayable than it really is. When I was 10 minutes in my first save, I wanted to just go back and play it with a different character, but it turns out it doesn't make that much of a difference. Plus the ending kind of dissapointed me but that's about it. I highly recommend it and I can't wait for the final cut!
But, the best one I played is hands down Disco Elysium. What a game! I have no idea why it's not more popular.
I personally am waiting for the console release. I heard about this game maybe two years or so ago and was interested in it ever since. I think it'll actually be released as a final version for consoles and with the added audio dialogues it'll probably gain a huge popularity boost. From what I've heard and read about in reviews it's a great game so no doubt it'll gain more attention then.


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Alien: Isolation (MotherVR) - I finished this and the story DLC last night and was not disappointed all the way through. If anything the main game went above and beyond, including several points I thought it was ending but it just kept giving more until I wondered if you'd ever escape the alien scourge. Just an incredible VR experience and a marvelous, unique and unlikely game that serves as a faithful sequel and recreation of the lo-fi future world of the original 1979 Alien (my only gripe in fact is the DLC should have been the whole 1979 movie instead of just two scenes; they already had the cast and all the set assets present!).

The campaign is honestly in the same tier as the original movie and Aliens, and the best thing to come out of the franchise since, it's that good in its own right, and I found the plot, characters and story beats to be as faithful as the environment and xenomorph simulator aspect, while fully expecting it to go off the rails by the end, but it never actually did. The set pieces are really good too and there are a lot of them, and the only time it showed its age was some of the environmental effects and in the faces of some of the original film cast; they're not bad, Ripley looks great in fact, but the rest reminded me that, oh yeah, this game is seven years old and they probably didn't do model perfect facial scans, but the fact I expected as much is a tribute to how good and film accurate the rest of the game looks. The xenomorph itself is almost a perfect recreation of Giger's original film design, right down to the elongated skull visible underneath the semi-translucent dome, with the exception that they added digitigrade legs and locomotion so the alien didn't ambulate like a guy in a suit during extended close encounters.

As a survival horror game it's basically RE7 before its time, only twice as long and of course with the titular alien hunting you setting it apart. The alien is basically like Mr. X on steroids, but even if you can't see it it's a physical presence with a location that will evolve tactics the more it has to hunt you, even within the same scenario (it even becomes flamethrower resistant if you abuse it =). I don't know what else to say about the game without gushing over all the details except maybe a word of warning that it isn't the most accessible game, to its ultimate credit and authenticity.

This is not a power fantasy FPS, this is more like Dark Souls where getting past the latest scenario is a small triumph (IGN famously dinged this game for the AI being too mean =). On the recommended difficulty you will die in 1 or 2 hits from humans with firearms, androids will beat you to death (though at least you can escape them), and if the alien gets you, you're insta-dead. Even when you get a gun, it's got six shots, you manually reload one at a time, only a direct hit will kill humans, more for androids, and finding more ammo amounts to one bullet, maybe some more in drawers if you get good RNG.

Again, this is no FPS: running, hiding and sneaking are not optional mechanics (though most of the game if you run for any extended period of time, you're dead anyway =). Even later when you get better weapons the best they can do is stun or fight off the alien, you can't even temporarily remove it from the board like Mr. X, and the later androids are so strong you really have to weigh whether they're worth the resources to kill when the alien is still lurking. During one of the latter challenges involving heavily armed security forces and androids I was pretty proud that in one go I was able to torch open and sneak around through the air ducts, set an android on the humans and neutralize them while completely avoiding them all and not alerting the alien. Only the previous hours spent in game prepared me for this.

Anyway, if you love Alien and want to see it returned to its classic form, like or can do survival horror, and all this sounds tantalizing as hell to you, definitely give it a try. If not, and that gameplay sounds frustrating as hell, probably not for you, but it easily cracks my top ten of the last decade and might be top five.
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I'm sold. But how can one play Alien: Isolation in VR?

Good question, and thankfully surprisingly simple to get launched: you just download the MotherVR file here, put it in your game folder, start steamVR before starting the game, and then it will automatically start in VR (there's a read-me with more specific instructions). You might have to turn off VR theater mode too in the Steam game options, but it'll prompt you when things go wrong (like if you accidentally start the game without starting Steam VR first)

What potentially isn't simple, and the biggest issues, are orientation and controls. It's supposed to adjust your orientation so you're not technically looking to the side or behind your character sometimes (because your head is moving like a mouse while you move your body independently via controller), but this never worked for me and I just got used to adjusting manually (it becomes apparent when you perform an environmental interaction animation and you're looking the opposite direction during it =).

Control-wise it has support for Vive and Rift controllers for a VR-like control scheme, but that doesn't quite match the Quest 1 setup, so I emulated an X-Box control scheme on my Quest controllers using Virtual Desktop. The simplest way if your Quest 2 controllers don't ultimately work is to do what I did or just use a regular wireless PC controller of your choice. If your Quest 2s do work for it I'd definitely use the default scheme because when I did it was way more natural and immersive (depress the grips to bring up/hold weapons and items in that hand, etc), I just didn't have enough control options, or buttons, overall to include d-pad support that way, which meant switching for certain actions and puzzles, which I didn't want to have to do in the heat of the moment.

Simple, right!? Obviously, all that took some trial, error and time to get used to, but the visual immersion kept pulling me back in until I eventually did. On that note, if you have the speed I also recommend streaming via Virtual Desktop to play untethered and it'll give you that X-Box emulation option too (switchable in-game), not to mention you're interacting with your desktop and headset simultaneously to start the game, so it just makes everything easier and ultimately a much better experience overall for every PCVR game.
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I'm playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Catherine: Full Body on Nintendo Switch - I've just received one. It's very cool console. Zelda BotW has everything that many open world games do not have - interactivity - which is incredible.


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I enjoyed the Project Triangle Strategy demo from Square Enix on Switch. Helped scratch the T-RPG itch a bit. Combat system is pretty good (feels classic but with modern conveniences) although the UI could be better. Story however felt very laborious and not particularly riveting. It's some kind of lukewarm political intrigue thing doesn't feel too original and really couldn't get me interested. There's also a lot of cutscenes back and forth using the overhead map, which isn't great (both the map and the loading times). I think it's made to give you the illusion of choice, but I'd rather those cutscenes play out directly. Voice acting was also not great, hopefully those were placeholder performances.


Excited for the next chapter!
Just finished Red Dead Redemption 2 after being gifted a console. It was a treat to play! Drove my significant other crazy such a long game, especially when rapidly pressing buttons to spur my horse.

Good? Best sound design in any game I've ever played. Best horse physics and best Texas Hold'em (you can see people's facial ticks and judge their hands). Focus is on immersion in the world and I genuinely felt Arthur was a hardcore badass. Also cared about most of the characters. Going to new locations was genuinely surprising, especially when you assume "well, that's probably about all there is to this game... wow, nevermind."

Since this actually was the prequel, I'm now playing through Read Dead Redemption 1. Extremely impressed to find the exact same voice actors and same game engine. Plus, the story picks up exactly where it left off. Cool! Despite the dated graphics it is clear that rdr1 must be one of the best games ever. I cannot imagine how I would have felt playing it back in 2010. Locations still feel alive and genuinely interesting. Feeling stoked to see how this whole mess actually reaches a conclusion.


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Since this actually was the prequel, I'm now playing through Read Dead Redemption 1. Extremely impressed to find the exact same voice actors and same game engine. Plus, the story picks up exactly where it left off. Cool! Despite the dated graphics it is clear that rdr1 must be one of the best games ever. I cannot imagine how I would have felt playing it back in 2010.

Oooh, you get the rarer treat of experiencing it all the first time in chronological order. That's pretty sweet, and yeah, RDR1 is arguably even more impressive given its age and more straightforward design. That's not a knock on 2, just that 1 is more like a classic western whereas RDR2 is seemingly trying to embody frontier history. Or, one's a Western, one's trying to be the Great American Novel.

I'm firing Street Fighter V back up tonight to try out Dan; looks like fun! I also checked back in on MK11 and not only am I slow now, but Kombat League seemed pretty dead. I had three sets where I fought the same guy twice and the other match was with someone with way more season progress, so clearly not a lot of players to choose from.
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