What game are you playing?

Pathfinder: Kingmaker - I didn’t play yesterday, which I worry may be the beginning of the end. I love the game, but I made the mistake of checking how long it is and like, fuck
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And discouragingly, this isn’t taking into account a key factor: I’m not playing realtime, but turnbased, so encounters are longer on average for me. I’m already at 50ish hours on this playthrough and I’m only beginning “chapter” 3.

Nonetheless I’m having fun, my NBA smallball party lineup is the bees knees and I think I’m at the beginning of an interesting chapter people are turning into owlbears and wyvern and such, which is a problem, but a cool one I guess


CW Fitness

Ring Fit Adventure - This game kicks my ass, and I can only do about 15 minutes at a time before feeling exhausted, but I’ve been playing for a week and a half and I’m impressed with how it makes me feel so much less embarrassed about exercising. Definitely has some problems, but it’s fun, and a good break in my work day!

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Playing Jurassic World: Evolution, since it was free on Epic recently. I’m a big fan of management sims, and Jurassic Park (I got married to the theme song, even), but… I don’t know how else to describe it except ‘what if Reigns had no nuance and a dinosaur skin on top’. You gotta manage your rep with three factions (they’re ostensibly your employees, but they also pay you money for doing what they ask?) but doing something for one faction lowers your rep with the other two, seemingly universally.

Which becomes silly and annoying when the science faction leader asks you to build a gift shop to fund research, and you still get negative rep with the guest services dude who is always asking you to build gift shops.

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I did it! I finally beat Pathfinder: Kingmaker! It only took me 95 hours but I did it! Doing realtime combat on Easy difficulty definitely cut out a few dozen hours, I think, since I ended up doing just about everything I could find to do. Overall I’d say I liked it! At the start it took me a bit to get a handle on Pathfinder’s systems (I’ve never played it before) and even by the end there was still stuff that I was having trouble with but luckily the internet is full of virtually any question you could ask about the system. And even when I ran into issues at the end, good ol’ Cheat Engine saved the day. No need to worry about bad dice rolls or confusing mechanics when you have infinite health and kill everything in one hit!

I was mostly in it for the stories and characters and I’d say it did pretty well on that front. While a lot of the questlines didn’t have much that stood out to me as being really great it was pretty rare that anything stuck out as particularly bad either (but there were a few things here or there that bothered me). The main plot of the game was solid as well and I actually quite liked how it ended! Something that sticks out to me is how much I liked how this game worked all my previous decisions into events and small changes at the end without it feeling shoehorned in like it can sometimes be with this sort of “choices matter” games.

Now after playing that and Like A Dragon back-to-back, I desperately need to play a shorter game. Preferably something with a single-digit hour count.

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This is what I’m finding as well, the game just has a decent floor to its writing and stories and encounters. There are only a few times where I’ve been blown away by something going, but it’s consistently good fun! Also helps that most of the characters are good. As we’ve discussed before, they feel like player characters in a trpg campaign, and sort of capture the different sorts of folks you might play with. Like i keep thinkjng aboht how Linzi wants to get involved in everyone’s story like a player trying to push everyone else to be on their level of roleplaying. Or how Ekun is really quiet, but at least for me, is one of my strongest party members and reminded me of like my brother who just wants to get to combat and be really damn good at it.

I think my biggest issues currently lie with the things that are built into pathfinder and d&d, mostly that some species are inherently evil in the game, and I wish the game strayed from that.

Congrats on finishing btw!

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Jeff Goldblum cutting everyone, including you the player, down is probably my favorite part of the game. He wants to congratulate you but at the same time remind you that you brought dinosaurs back into the world purely to turn a profit.

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Wait. Did Jeff Goldblum provide his voice for a video game and no one in the industry kept his phone number?

He also did a voice for the Blops 3 zombie mode and he’s so bored and clearly ad-libbing his lines. It’s actually pretty great. He has a reaction bark when you get a head shot that scans as “This is… fun?”

Speaking of beloved comic actors, Danny Devito be in a non-Kingdom Hearts videogame challenge.

Jeff Goldblum ad-libbing combat barks for a Call of Duty game is wasted in the Zombies mode.

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I’m playing the Monster Hunter: Rise demo with my brother and people, I get it. Never been able to get into MH before but this demo has really sold me hard. Having a lot of fun experimenting and failing with all the weapons.

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So, I went back to Umurangi Generation, and I’m getting a little better at “ignoring” the timer, I guess. (By which I mean, I’m just treating every run where I don’t get everything before 10minutes as a practice run for the one where I will, and I found a cheat sheet for film canister locations that I’m letting myself look at if I have 3 goes and can’t find all of them still. I still can’t bear to actually move on to the next scene until I’ve “hit par” though - Umurangi Generation was made by someone who doesn’t understand completionism! - so I’m only just on Scene 3.)
Despite the huge buzzkill that is the timer, I’m getting into the game a bit more now, and it’s still very well constructed…

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I went back and played the Macro DLC for Umurangi Generation, and it was Great! All the levels felt new and interesting, and there are moments that are really incredible! If I had played this before I made my year end list, it probably would have been my GotY!

For me, the most frustrating part about the base game was how some really critical upgrades were locked behind making that time limit for all the objectives. In the DLC that’s no longer the case. All the movement upgrades and lenses are unlocked by beating the levels, while completing the side objectives gets you some interesting, but less crucial tools for making your photos look cool. This change feels like it helped ameliorate the frustration I had playing the levels in the base game because often the upgrades I got for beating the level the first time helped me hit the objectives faster for the subsequent par attempts. (Also, as an aside, there’s a late game upgrade locked behind the 10 minute timer that is so incredibly helpful, but has the classic JRPG-postgame-boss-drop problem of unlocking after you’ve done everything and feeling like kind of a let down. Getting a chance to use that upgrade in the DLC was great!)

So, yeah, if you can push past the flaws there’s some really special stuff waiting for you! But as a fellow completionist, I feel your pain.

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I am about 10 hours into 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, and am also now laid up with mono (yaaaay), so the bite-sized 20 minute chunks that this game tells its story in are actually pretty perfect. I can play a couple and then stare at a wall for an hour and wait for enough energy to come back so I can keep going. I almost wish this game could have been on Switch to facilitate that playstyle even more, but the hand-drawn art really does look lovely on my giant TV.

Anyway, it’s impossible to talk about this game without spoilers, so I’m gonna spoiler-tag everything after this point.

So I’m about ~30% of the way through the story, and finding that the 999 comparisons feel very apt. It feels very well paced, with each character’s story building up to overarching revelations, and I do like the way it manages to be nonlinear yet cohesive by gating certain characters’ progression with other characters’ stories. (That said, the game does feel pretty linear — but I’m enjoying it, and I wasn’t coming in under the premise that it would branch in the way a traditional VN might, so that’s not bothering me at all). I’ve unlocked everyone except Gouto so far, and gotten the farthest in Megumi, Natsuno, and Nenji’s arcs.

Speaking of which, likely my favorite part of the game is the way that each character’s story is distinctly different in genre and tone. It gives the game a great sense of variation and pace and makes avoiding burnout very easy — which is important for me, because I usually burn out on visual novels almost immediately. And it can lead to real surprises — like my utter joy at realizing that Nenji’s story was a time loop. Not only do I just love time loops, but it made use of the mechanics perfectly, and masked the game’s linearity a lot better than most of the other stages do by throwing you back to the train platform with each run. The tone coupled with his character also just become so endearing, and the development at about 50% — that it’s all Okino’s simulation — just ups the intrigue. I think I just spent 3 hours last night going back to his story, and ugh, it’s just so good. I’m really excited to see where all this goes.

I finished The Flower Collectors yesterday and it was pretty good. Solid Neo-noir story, some big Firewatch vibes in the art and narrative design, and it was short enough that the gameplay didn’t get frustrating. The story is interesting because it’s so grounded in a setting of political change and action, but that doesn’t come through in the story or character motivations strongly enough imo. The main character is an ex-cop, and it’s revealed that he used to be part of a squad specifically formed to brutalise queer people and leftists until he was attacked by a group of them and left disabled, but the inciting moment for his slide to the left in game is that he sees another cop attack a guy. Something he personally did a lot. It feels like a game with a very surface level understanding of what makes someone a fascist or makes people enable fascism that boils everything down to tradition, order, and the church with no exploration of a person’s psychology or thought processes, and you kind of need that inner exploration when the player character is a former fascist who’s coming to terms with his past.

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Yeah, I think the “inherently evil” stuff is some of the worst writing in the game (and maybe the absolute worst). Luckily that stuff was mostly contained the ‘Troll Troubles’ questline but it does come back up when Nok-Nok, a goblin companion, joins your party. People sure do hate goblins and it is extremely weird and bad!!

It makes me wonder what an ‘evil’ playthrough of the game would really look like. Or at least one where you’re not just constantly murdering everyone for fun. Like, if it’s ‘evil’ to try and live in peace with trolls, kobolds goblins, etc instead of killing them all, then what else does the game consider to be the more ‘evil’ thing to do.

I do think there’s some really good writing later on, especially in the management mode, though. Like, I had a choice to either side with merchants in a conflict or with, for lack of a better word, the commoners. And when I chose the commoners the reaction was something along the lines of “wow, you helped the people directly and it made crime go down and everyone is happier now!” which was more than I was expecting, if I’m being honest.

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I’m actually very curious about this as well. So far it seems chaotic evil alignment is designated to attacking people at random. I didn’t have the opportunity to live in peace with trolls, but I did with kobolds, but the shitty part was I wasn’t trusting that the game would create a fine conclusion for doing that, knowing how D&D and pathfinder treat “”""“inherently evil speicies”"""" pretty bummed about the whole situation tbh

That said, the scenario you describe is reassuring. It definitely feels like the game is interested in undercutting some of the inherent conservative shit these sorts of trpg games have built into their systems, just obviously wish it undercut them more aggresivley

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I note that some of this has gotten a lot better in Pathfinder 2 versus PF1 (which Kingmaker is based on). In particular, Goblins are not inherently evil at all in PF2 (and, indeed, in an in-universe retcon, it’s explained that previous beliefs that Goblins were all evil were based on stereotyping by other cultures - plus a tendency for the actual goblin tendencies towards fascination with fire, very wide concepts of what “edible” means, and short attention spans to produce behaviour that others might consider negative).

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I’m enjoying stealth archer in Skyrim but I find I’m kind of squishy if I goof on the stealth (which I tend to do because the interiors of that game are dark and so is the “costuming” of the game, so to speak).

I’m playing Slay the Spire again but this time with mods.

I don’t have a good opinion to give on any of them yet because I’ve only done a few runs now BUT this person made a new robot character with artwork by their 7 year old son and it is super cute.

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Total War: Three Kingdoms

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Just finished the campaign for Project Wingman. That game rules. The melodrama in the last few campaign missions is completely off the charts, and they top it all off with a mission where you have a multi-phase boss fight against a prototype aircraft that’s constantly pulling post-stall jinks while shooting off mini-missile barrages and spamming railgun beams as the enemy ace is ranting at you that all of the war crimes he did are your fault, actually, for not rolling over and dying like you were supposed to.

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