What game are you playing?


Oh I was originally going to post that in the hot takes thread after I realized how mild my video game opinions truly are lol.

For me it isn’t so much of a backlash (if anything, most of the hot Final Fantasy takes I’ve seen lately are outpourings of love for some of the more overlooked main series entries like 8 and 9) as my history of being left kinda cold by a lot of the Classics™, especially of that era. Stuff like Ocarina of Time and Half-Life kinda got hit with the “Seinfeld effect” where all the stuff they did that was new and fresh at the time got adapted and iterated on by everything else that came after. Coming to games like that late makes them feel a little underwhelming compared to the hype.

FF7 by contrast feels more like an evolution of what Square was already great at than a huge sea change forward - the switch to 3D lets them go even wilder with art/animation but doesn’t fundamentally change how a Final Fantasy game plays. I feel like what makes this game special is the amount of time, resources and talent that have clearly been poured into it; it’s constantly throwing cool, weird, authored stuff at you in a way that feels refreshing compared to a lot of modern open-world games.

(Anyway not to imply I’m some sort of iconoclast for liking the Thing That Everyone Likes, more that I’m in Natalie’s situation where nobody I know has played this game and I gotta talk about it! It’s good!!!)

Also speaking of good RPGs I just finished West of Loathing’s first DLC which is predictably fantastic. Highly recommend for anyone who’s played the main campaign and wants to hop back in that world for a few hours and solve some ghost mysteries.


Yeah! The variety and weirdness of stuff in seven is crazy. All that stuff probably took some time to make but they just stick it in there for five minutes to break things up and it makes it so special and memorable. Modern developers should take note.


I’ve played 8 hours of Breath of the Wild this weekend. Why is this game so fucking gooooood.


Breath of the Wild is unkillable, I’ve done like 4 different playthroughs and enjoyed them all as much as the previous one. It’s the map design, I think; it’s huge but never repetitive, every moment you’re doing something a bit different, discovering a new objective. Very few games have this delicate balance of scope and density. It keeps itself alive for a long time.

I’ve been playing almost nothing but the Resident Evil 2 remake for 2 weeks, it’s starting to wear off and I and am now bemoaning the complete lack of survival horror on the modern market. The last big game in this genre was Alien Isolation and it’s 5 years old now?!? At least there’s no lack of old classics to fall back on.


Anyone playing Ape Out? I already know I want to pick it up, but its something I want to show my art/design friends so getting it on Switch would be ideal, just want to know if theres any technical issues between that and the PC version!


So, I’ve finished the main storyline of Anthem. There’s some real old Bioware magic in there, buried in the little conversations you have with the random people around Fort Tarsis (particularly the old lady who lost her son in the war with dementia and the spy couple) but sadly the actual plotline feels oddly truncated. It’s an odd feeling, because really it feels a lot shorter than Mass Effect 2 or 3, but there’s only the one large location split into regions, and not really that many missions, all of which are pretty short. It’s an odd one, because what’s there is fun enough; it just feels oddly truncated, like there was more but it all got cut for time. The Legion of Dawn story segment, in particular, just… ends. The twist - a way over telegraphed one to Bioware fans - is basically unresolved. And then the ending goes and adds a new wrinkle, before any of the old ones are really sorted. It just feels disconnected and truncated, and there needs to be more everything. More guns, more gear, more possible rolls, more missions, more reasons to do freeplay, more storyline, more resolution… it’s just odd this is the state it was released in. I plan to keep going - still got two side story threads to finish, I’m at level 21 of 30, and there’s ranks in the factions to gain still - but when Division 2 launches on the 15th I have no doubt it’ll be back-burnered until a serious content update.


Ape Out is my game to beat in 2019 and as top down murder puzzles go, I think it might be better than even Hotline Miami.

The Saul Bass aesthetic, the Art Blakey/Buddy Rich inspired music, the clear theme of violent liberation and rebellion, it’s all so GOOD. There are times when it can be a bit difficult, the rogue-like level design means you will sometimes run straight into a murder closet, but at least I’m not seeing the same thing over and over.

I can also report no bugs on the Switch version, so far, and I’m halfway through the second of four “discs” (stages)


My Anthem trial ended literally minutes after I completed all the tomb challenges, which was a very sour note to end my time with the game. That said, there’s enough in the combat and bits of lore that I will eventually get back to it, probably when it goes on discount. It might be shitty to say, but I smell blood in the water for an early price drop so I’m hesitant to pay full price right now.

Seeing as I really liked the combat but wanted more story in Anthem, I went to the game that would essentially provide me that. Yes, I’m now replaying Mass Effect Andromeda. Gosh it feels good to be back in the Mass Effect universe and get lost in endless dialogue trees. Combat is very much a proto-Anthem but it’s enough to get my fix. If anyone is wondering how the game is running nowadays, the patches and bug fixes seem to have done the trick. The game runs great on the One X and animations look about as good as The Witcher III or Vampyr. That may have to do with the fact that I’m playing a male Ryder on this playthrough, but I’ll take the improvement regardless.


Well deltarune came out on the switch, and I realized that I never played more than 20-30 minutes of it and I decided to change that. I think I’m about halfway in or so. I still dislike Susie quite a bit, but she isn’t the worst. Overall an interesting advancement of the undertale formula, and as always the music is fantastic.


I’ll praise Alien Isolation to the high heavens forever. Shame we’ll never see a sequel like as not.


Almost finished with Broken Reality, a walkabout adventure game drenched in internet irony and vaporwave. It’s honestly already a strong contender for my best of the year list.

The music is fantastic, coming almost entirely from vaorwave and chillwave artists, and the art style is absolutely stunning. It’s a big, ridiculous game made up entirely of 90s web colors and glitches, where characters can range from simple polygon models to 8-bit sprites, and memes and Japanese characters litter the virtual wasteland. Just presentation wise, it is an absolute winner.

What surprised me is how fun the actual play part is. The game tasks you with completing quests to gain likes (the physical manifestation of online popularity), plus makes you learn to use some really fun tools to figure out surprisingly tricky puzzles (trying to find all the triangles is not easy). The bookmarker, which returns you to a designated spot, hyperlinker, a sort of hookshot style tool, and the camera tool’s glitch lens result in some really clever puzzle design that made me feel great once I figured out the trick. I don’t think a puzzle in a game has made me quite as happy to get it since I played Portal.

Highly recommended, just be warned - there be irony and memes and you will never escape either, and it’s not clear if the narrative detests all this gaudiness or revels in it (good story, btw).


I’m really curious about Ape Out, but…

[tw for racism]

…the name’s bugged me since I first heard about the game. I can’t tell whether Ape Out is meant to be reminiscent of an online racist term


chimp out

but I’m not inclined to give game devs the benefit of the doubt any longer. Plus, the symbolic/semiotic overlap between jazz, simians, and liberation heavily connotes associations with black people, their history and culture. Basically, what I’m saying is that even if these connections are all unintentional, they’re still maybe racist, and absolutely unfortunate. I’m possibly overthinking things, but Devolver stopped getting the benefit of the doubt after they published a game with explicit neo-nazi iconography.

Anyhow, so as not to veer too far off topic, I’m taking a break from Divinity: OS2 to play Kingdom Hearts 3 and Spider-Man. I’ve never played a KH game and I can’t say that I’m loving this one, but it’s amusing how insane the concept/plotting/dialog is in the minute to minute. Spider-Man is superlative, despite the whole Spider-Cop vibe. Looking forward to being done with these two, so I can move on back to D:OS2, and some other new game.

Oh yeah, also playing Deltarune on the Switch. That’s a good game. I don’t think I have that much left of it, tho.


You’re not wrong, those implications have been swimming around in the back of my head as well, but I’d like to think it’s the result of being hyper aware of this sort of thing thanks to the current times.


I’ve been playing through Spyro Reignited and it’s an absolute delight. These are some of my most nostalgic games, and after playing the Crash remakes when they came out, I think I’m forced to concede that Spyro was (and is) better.

The level design encourages you to explore every nook and cranny, while the scale of each level prevents that from ever being exhausting. Spyro’s movement also feels fantastic. Spider-Man received tons of (rightful) praise for its web-swinging and wall-crawling, but I think people should have seen it coming - Insomniac has always been among the very, very best at movement in a 3D space. Gliding and hovering, while simple, are extremely satisfying and intuitive. It’s easy to mix in charges for boosts of speed and attacks.

Spyro as a character is charming, with an excellent supporting task. Lots of games go for a “saturday morning cartoon” vibe, but most don’t really capture it - Spyro does. I think a new Spyro game could be released with the same general structure and mechanics today and be very well received.


Spyro reignited is pure nostalgic delight. It’s just so… fun!


I spent the weekend going back over the Devil May Cry series to get ready for the release of DMCV. I had replayed DMC1 last year, which held up decently, all things considered. I got through a replay of 3 this weekend though and wow, that game is remarkably good, even by today’s standards. The combat is as brilliant as ever, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the story.

Then I started digging into 4 for the first time, and oof. The core combat mechanics and the boss fights are brilliant, but pretty much everything else is a hot mess. Levels are kind of miserable, orb requirements for your rating feel oppressively high, and the narrative is doing nothing for me. It’s super clear that the game got rushed out, since there’s an aggressive amount of asset-reuse on display. Then there’s the women. The development team sure was proud of their jiggle physics… I’m really hoping 5 can be better on this front, but it’s hard to be optimistic after that ridiculous cutscene introducing Gloria.


After bouncing off 3 consecutive games (theHunter: Call of the Wild, Tsioque, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky) I’ve landed on a game that’s surprisingly great. After almost 2 decades, I’m finally getting around to playing Thief: Deadly Shadows. This game was maligned when it first came out for being a less open ended than its (excellent) predecessors. It was the first of the series to come to consoles, and RAM restrictions forced the devs to break up each level into smaller sections stitched together with load screens.

I’m playing with the Sneaky Upgrade, which is a mod that removes some of the load screens to make the main levels seamless. They still feel less open ended than the best levels from the first two Thief games, but I’m surprised at how enjoyable they still are. The devs are still excellent level designers, and each space feels lived in and logical. Each building feels designed for its in-world function, which makes traversing them super intuitive. The story and lore are nonsense, and some of the NPCs are embarrassingly of the time (e.g. a female shopkeeper who is constantly coming on to Garret) but overall it has been a great experience. I still haven’t gotten to the haunted orphanage level, which is supposed to be really good, so I have that to look forward to!


I played Faith: Chapter II, the sequel to last year’s Faith, a pixelated retro horror game about exorcising demons. Like another horror game i played recently, the previous game was the better experience, but it was still an engrossing experience. Its still got a great ZX Spectrum style graphics, with excellent rotoscoping work, and great music and text to speech style dialog.

I do however, think the first chapter was better. One of the splash quotes from the first game was “less is more”, and for the second chapter, they strayed just a bit from it in the story department. Whereas in the first game, it was pretty straightfoward, there were several moments where i was like “Uh what?” in the sequel. Still, i recommend it, you can get both games for only 2 dollars, though i would recommend kicking them a bit more if you can.


It was on sale on Friday so I just started playing Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle my first X-COM(ish) game. I love turn-based strategy like FFT or Into the Breach so this was an obvious choice. I’m about halfway through since there’s only four worlds but the second major boss fight was legitimately really hard. I should use dash attacks more, I think, they seem OP.

I wish I could get a better idea of enemy range or what draws their aggro. Sometimes it seems like they hit the closer target, sometimes it’s lower HP, sometimes it’s the easier shot. It might actually be random, I dunno.


So, after seeing that Chris Avellone is working on the narrative in Dying Light 2, I decided to give Dying Light a shot! I’ve had it for years in my steam library and never had the urge to try it until I was recently in a zombie mood.

Wow. How did I pass this up? I’m still in the frustration period, and I started my difficulty on hard seeing as it was the center difficulty choice, but I’m having a ton of fun. I can’t tell you how many OH FUCK moments I’ve had playing this game, getting chased by undead. I swear, the sound design has to be some of the BEST in the genre. Firing a round to quickly kill a hulking zombie, only to hear a number of screams from runners miles off being alerted to your presence is TERRIFYING.

I’m actually surprised how much I’m enjoying the story so far, despite reading that it was lacking. Crane sounds like your every day HEY BRO kind of protag, but I am growing to him, and his slow arc from working with the GRE to start sympathizing with the survivors and mistrusting his commanders has been great. I recently got to a moment where Crane yells his superiors, “Hey, these assholes want me to hand over my friend as payment for drugs. Fucked right?”

And they’re like, “And?”


I’m also surprised how this seems to be a game set in a Muslim country with a majority of the characters being POC, and no one gave the game props for this??? Of course, the voice acting could be better, but I just love that this game is set around Muslim and Middle Eastern characters without focusing on the War on Terror or any bullshit like that.

Also, the music is fucking awesome: