What game are you playing?


Wow, those are a lot of choice games! I played enough Yakuza Zero to know that I want to watch a Lets Play/Twitch stream of it. It’s too much button mashing for my poor, already stressed out hands, but that game had a really fun tone.

I wanted to get a taste of all the big games before end-of-the-year stuff started rolling out and I started with Horizon Zero Dawn. I’m two hours in and I can see myself tiring of this very pretty world quickly. It’s got that gotta-get-em-all kinda collection loop that the Far Cry games have. I might knock it down to the easiest mode just to see the sights and then call it quits.


I switched to easy mode on horizon and enjoyed it much more. It’s a great game but I preferred it when I wasn’t getting half Aloy’s health took off with one hit.


Oh man, what am I not playing at the moment?

  • Assassin’s Creed: Origins: This is my first Asscreed game and I’m loving it. I am pretty sure it will GOTY for me, mainly because I just love turning of the HUD and wandering around Roman Egypt.

  • Pokemon Ultra Sun: This is my first Pokemon game and I’m loving it. It’s weird coming to such a storied franchise and understanding what’s happening simply because you’ve seen so many references to it elsewhere.

  • Total Warhammer 2: I thought this would be my GOTY, but I’ve only ended up playing around a little bit with it while I wait for all the updates from Warhams 1 are ported into the Mortal Empires campaign.

  • RimWorld. Hey, it’s in Beta so time to start a new colony.

  • The Operational Art of War IV: Yes this may just be a glorified TOAW3, but the unique time mechanics in the game (effectively making a turn based game a real time game) are great.

  • Helium Rain. OMG this is the greatest space game ever.


Still on Battle Chef and a bit of Pocket Camp, but got Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a few days early so have started that. After a couple of hours of not being too sure there is a rather long, dramatic, action-packed cut scene and I am now all in. All in.


Continuing to go through BotW and Odyssey when I’m on the go/my wife is using the tv. Destiny 2 when my people are online. Wolfenstein 2 when they are not.


I have a bunch of newer things I’d like to finish before the end of the year so naturally I got overwhelmed and instead started playing the Banner Saga from 2014 for the first time and I’m completely in love with it.

I bought it on psn during a sale way back and completely forgot I owned it until Rob mentioned it on the podcast recently, so I gave it a shot. I’m about 3 years late to this party but I’m stunned at the high quality of the art in this game and completely baffled how it was achieved by a small team. The writing is top-notch, the combat is rewarding and the world-building is so damn good. I finished the first one and immediately opened the PSN store and purchased the sequel at full price. I’ve been in a bit of a rut with games recently, just sort of bouncing off of things over and over but this one made such an impression.


I’ve always played bits of Half-Life but I recently just plowed through it on hard and followed through with beginning Half Life 2 on hard. I guess I’m just working shit out with the series; it’s one of the few I’ll go back to.


Just beat ending A of Nier A. As I understand it it’s past this point that most people start loving the game, so I’ll push on. But the ending itself made me think of how narrative and gameplay really stand against each other most of the time in gaming.

In this case it was a truly lousy boss fight, with boring attacks which almost incited you to play it in the most boring way possible rather than push you to the fun parts of the combat system. No doubt a very good player can get through it in a stylish way. But for me, after dying a few times I was (and still am) slightly pissed off, because it felt cheap both to die to a boring attack pattern, and to win through keeping a distance and just hold R1.

That’s a terrible emotion to finally beat a boss with and then have a presumably emotional cutscene sprung at you: It did absolutely nothing for me. Except highlight a dilemma that narrative heavy games face: How do you keep a story going in a game at the same time as you challenge the player?

Sure, you can lower the difficulty of your game, and have the player just run through it for the story. This isn’t without some problems of its own, such as the ever present problem of making sure that the player isn’t bored by the systems you make them run through, but not challenged enough to annoy them (unless that’s what you want to do, in which case, you’re a brave soul). I’m not really convinced that this is a good solution. It often hits the middle ground between the difficulty itself being a part of the narrative (as in eg. what I’ve played of Dark Souls) and the narrative-only route of games like Kentucky Route Zero.

Yeah, you can add a boss fight that is challenging for a decently skilled player, but then you hit a snag if a player just bumps against this boss but just gets annoyed at them, while you want to them to get to the next cutscene in a certain mood. I’m just not sure that this sort of narrative-heavy-but-with-challenges style works in most cases. Unless the narrative and the difficulty complement each other they are going to feel as dissonant parts of a whole.

This is sort of the feeling I have when playing Nier Automata. For the most part, it’s pretty simple. But what do the boss fights add by either giving the bosses a ton of hp (most of them have a shit ton) or boring attack patterns that seem to rely on you screwing up rather than pushing you to perform well? There’s certainly a tone of escalation that they capture (and I wouldn’t call most of them bad), but they just don’t bridge the gap to enhance the experience itself for me. They’re not challenging enough to be fun, nor straightforward enough to not disturb the pacing. It’s an uncomfortable middle ground that doesn’t please me.

I’ll see how this develops in the rest of the game, but those are my thoughts one ending in.


On a whim I reinstalled Sonic Generations and in case anyone was wondering: It still kicks arse.

Why SEGA decided to follow up this absolute belter with Sonic Fucking Boom is beyond me. It’s absolutely baffling. Like, you fuckin’ HAD it, yo? You’d locked down a Sonic that worked, you’d actually done some iterative design between Unleashed and Colours and got an actual FORMULA. Then someone decided to scrap the whole series for a reboot which produced a grand total of 3 terrible games and a passable TV show.

I’d glad as hell that Forces is a clear attempt to drag the forumla out of the trash and plug it in again, but it’s still a big step backwards from Generations. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Generations team got laid off at some point and Forces is a new team trying to rebuild and relearn what the old team already had. Definately feels like an immitation rather than a continuation. Lot of good stuff still in Forces though, hopefully everyone identifies what those are rather than scrapping everything again like they used to.

Also, I miss the self-serious stories of the Adventure era. Even Sonic 06’s absolute bollocks is extremely entertaining.


Finally diving into Hollow Knight. About 10 hours in, and I can see how some people would love it and others would think it’s utterly generic. There’s little new in its design or its mechanics, but the world it creates is stunning and haunting and wonderfully melancholy.


If to speak about PC games then I often play ‘The Escapist’ game. But it can’t be compared with real escape experience. I had such in the 'The Knight’s Legacy ’ quest room. The room was great. It took about 40 minutes to escape and we managed it with only one clue given.


Bought Cave Story+ for the Switch. Yea, it was expensive, yea, I already own it on several platforms, yea, I’ve beaten it several times, but boy do I not regret it as I’m falling in love all over again with this game.


Currently playing Metal Gear Solid 4. Have decided that I will not tranquilize the beast bosses. They’re introduced in a scene where they kill countless dudes. I’m sure they have shoehorned backstories, but screw that.


Just got to the part in Wolfenstein II with trip to Venus, old man Hitler is just too good as it just the right amount of how he would fall apart in his old age.
Also chipping away a Battle chefs


Divinity Original Sin 2, and Assassin’s Creed Origins. Really enjoying both. That being said, I am in the early stages of these 2. I’m hoping they stay solid & build on their strengths.


Having seen the Beast bosses’ background scenes, I can confirm that “shoehorned” is exactly the right description for their backstories.


I started playing ARK yesterday because I have friends who are dragging me along to the neat parts of ARK without any of the bullshit.


Started KOTOR. Well, started with KOTOR 2, but I decided I should play and finish both for a big article. You can tell they were made by very different studios. KOTOR is very much a Bioware game (solid character writing, engaging stakes, quips, choices are either “do good thing” or “random murder”), which is perfectly fine. However, Obsidian’s ideas in KOTOR 2 is way more interesting. I like that it actually tackles something the first game kind of breezed over and turns gray morality and the absence of identity or purpose into central themes.

I also love that the obviously evil space witch chews you out for doing either of the default Bioware choices.


All the ways you can take KotoR2 makes it such an endlessly replayable game as well. Are you playing it on PC with the Restored Content Mod? I’d definitely recommend it if you haven’t already.

Currently replaying Final Fantasy IX myself. For some reason I kept losing interest on disc 3 so now I’ve got it stored on my PS4 hard drive there’s no excuse not to finally see the end.


Day 1 of my second Subterfuge game in 2017.

Pray for me, Waypointers, I started next to Zacny.