What game are you playing?

I’m still on the Hunt: Showdown train. Last night they started a Halloween event that involves… smashing pumpkins. While you can expect to smash a few on the way to the regular objectives, and that’s what the randos I’ve been teaming up with have been doing, I was curious whether farming them on my own was feasible. So I’ve played a couple of solo rounds and it’s been fascinating.

Hunt solo is weird. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I find the monsters a lot scarier on my own, as it doesn’t have the ‘three goofballs crashing through the bayou’ energy of team games. Everything is more threatening. The bayou itself can be eerily quiet and there’s a lot of “did I just hear footsteps? Did a zombie just walk on broken glass, or did a hostile player?” Conversely, it’s also been a great way to explore the maps at my own pace without feeling like I’m slowing down a team, and Crytek have really done incredible work (I mean, the game is gorgeous, and perhaps that’s to be expected given their previous titles being graphical benchmarks).

I’ve also had a hilarious amount of luck. I suspect other players are also jumping in solo more often than normal because they’ve been leaving bounties behind - when you kill a boss, it drops two bounty tokens, but each person can only carry one at a time. If you have a team of two or three, you can walk away with both, but if you’re on your own, you have to leave one. This has led to a couple of situations where I’ve been able to creep in after the fact and leave with a bounty without ever meeting another player.


Thanks for clarifying. I googled him to see if anything popped up, but didn’t find anything. I wasn’t sure if it was just one of those things a bunch of people knew about, but it didn’t get any media coverage. I’m not on social media, so a lot of times, I am disconnected from discussions about that type of stuff.

I finished Superliminal yesterday. I liked it quite a bit. I understand why there were a lot of comparisons to Portal when it came out, but I think that ultimately hurt Superliminal. It’s not as good as Portal, but few games are. For what Superliminal offers, I really enjoyed the puzzles and level design.

I just downloaded Moonglow Bay. Ready for some chill fishing.

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So my partner and I finished up Forgotten City yesterday. It was perfectly enjoyable. It definitely had the ‘this was a Skyrim mod’ vibe, but oddly enough the character interactions made me think of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines which I think was just because of how the character models looked. There are definitely some goofy “jokes” they include which didn’t quite land for me, but overall I thought the game was enjoyable and, thankfully, rather short. I hit credits on one of the less good" ends in about 5 hours doing only 5 loops. Took another loop to get the canon ending. I did definitely run into an issue at one point where I found a location where a key item was located but the clues as to how to get that item were way too vague. My guess is that there are multiple paths to get to that item and because I had already figured out some other puzzles and implemented the solution that I was locked out from the suggested path. The game suggested that I had to talk to a Christian and despite knowing that there are three people in the town who were Christian (one of whom I discovered when I overheard them praying as the town was being punished, which I thought was very cool) none of them gave any possible clue as to how to access the item. Eventually I found that you could just climb some vines on the other side of a wall to get past the locked gate. Also, minor grievance, but there are characters that wander around that are incredibly hard to track down unless they are actively marked. Overall, I enjoyed my time with it and some of the puzzle solving felt pretty good to figure out. I’ve included some additional thoughts below that definitely involve spoilers, so let this be a warning.

There were definitely multiple things in this game that rubbed me the wrong way. One of the characters who has been harassing the “openly” gay character turns out to a) just be ornery because of their rheumatism and b) turns out to be gay himself. Not really into the idea that the homophobe is a just a closeted man who needed ibuprofen. Also, I’m really bothered that there is a character who has some sort of mental issues named Duli who is currently locked up because they cannot be trusted to not steal something and doom everybody in the city. In what is essentially a perfect loop, you solve all the other possible crimes that could be committed and Duli is let out of his prison cell and then immediately proceeds to inadvertently steal something and doom the city and this fucking sucks.
I know that the whole point of the game is that the definition of right and wrong, especially as applied in the city, is blurry, but it still sucks for the game to tell you, actually it’s better for the city overall if this person is just locked up forever. I also think this game does have some issues with its conception of modern society vs a “barbaric” past, but I’m still kind of working through those thoughts and this section is already too long.


So, sort of inspired by seeing each of them (no, I’m not sure why in one case we’ll get to) in lists of “games to play if you liked Outer Wilds” [on the basis that, whilst I didn’t like Outer Wilds, the things I did like about it are mostly the things Outer Wilds fans say they like]… and these ones being on sale on Steam at the moment, I just got: The Talos Principle and Heaven’s Vault (both of which were on my list to get anyway eventually… and which I totally see the Outer Wilds connections to), and, left-field suggestion: Sayonara Wild Hearts.

I’ve only actually played any of the latter, since it seemed like it would be the easiest to dip into and… aesthetically at least, it’s fairly amazing. Not just in terms of the actual neon art design itself, but the Tarot / Zodiac motif is already being used in interesting [if not entirely accurate ways - I think they’re using Death as a “negative force”, when Death is really “very significant change and transformation” - the “death” of the old in the emergence of the new]… and there’s some lovely signalling of how the gameplay interacts with the visuals which is very crisp. And the music is also exactly the perfect kind of pop for the story and design.
So far, the first four or so episodes have taken me through at least two and a half different genres-via-rhythm game, and I think I’m having fun. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to keep up with getting Silver ranks for much longer, but…

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Hunt: Showdown is so good. I like most Battle Royale games but Hunt: Showdown is just so different. Graphically it’s probably the most ‘realistic’ out there, the way light works in that game, when your out in the open you feel so exposed but when your going into a building it really feels like your stepping out of the light into the shade and god knows what else… The sound design is amazing as well. I feel all Cryengine games have felt like tech demos, but Hunt: Showdown is the best use of ‘all the graphics’ into a really unique gaming experience. I’ve been trying to get my friends into the game but they’re not into battle royale games.


I think I agree! The use of lighting as disorientation is really interesting. In a recent round I came out of a dark building interior that was a boss lair and the sunlight temporarily blinded me. And sure, I’ve played other games with HDR (this isn’t even a HDR monitor, so it’s more like Valve’s rendition of HDR from the old Lost Coast Source engine demo I guess) or lighting that reacts in this way, but I’ve never seen it done so realistically or with such an effect on gameplay. I knew there were enemy players outside and momentarily not being able to see them had my heart racing.

The audio is the same - plenty of games render directional audio, but again, I’ve never seen (or heard) it done so well. With headphones on I really can work out which direction distant gunfire is, or listen out for footsteps or rattling chains.

Yesterday I managed to convince a friend to try it for the first time and yeah, it’s a good game solo or queuing with matchmade groups, but really sings with a partner.

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Short update on Sayonara Wild Hearts, about 2/3 of the way through all of the levels/tracks/scenes - this would actually be a fairly short game if you just played each of the scenes through once (maybe even as little as an hour?), but there’s a certain amount of “score attack” about the rhythm genre which this definitely partakes of, and I’m trying not to go too far without at least getting some rank on each stage. What rank that is has quickly decayed, as I suspected, from Silver (on the first few) to Bronze (on most of the rest), although I find that the difficulty of ranking seems pretty variable.
There’s one level which is essentially a driving game where I was sure I was going to get unranked on and got Silver - I think because, ironically, my poor driving control fighting the momentum of the car meant I was sliding & drifting a lot, which gets you extra points!

Talking of difficulty, I am sort of 90% happy with how Sayonara Wild Hearts handles this - there are no lives, although “deaths” near-instantly reset your progress in the level to the start of the sub-sequence they occur in (and zero your multipliers, so not dying is important for high scores) which can be frustrating if you’re also enjoying the music, but is usually less than 30 seconds of time. However, if you fail enough times in any particular sub-sequence, you’ll be offered the opportunity to skip it [and if you just say “no” and not “never”, you’ll be prompted again after a similar additional number of failures]. I’ve not done this so far - mainly because the music and visuals are too good to not retry a section 10 times or so - although I can definitely see it might become tempting in particular levels with some unique (and confusing) mechanics.
(So far, the only two tracks I’ve still failed to rank are: one with a whole “alternating tracks” mechanic, where the entire map switches between two alternate versions on a particular rhythm, and you have to be in the right place to avoid obstacles/collect items on both maps and a deliberately blocky 3d first person “autoscroller” which just messes me up because I am awful at judging my location in 3d paths. Both of which are unique mechanics.)

As with all games like this [and actually, basically all games], I’m very aware that I’m probably never going to be able to Gold rank most of the stages, but so far I’m managing to cope with just hoping that I can at least rank on each of them. [There’s a bunch of “optional challenges”, each of which are described in cryptic riddles, at least one of which obviously does need you to gold rank a particular stage… but I’m trying to ignore that for the moment…]

Still, it’s still super inventive - and super confident with it - and I’m enjoying myself despite knowing I’m not good enough to do it justice.

Edit to add: okay, so I finished / played the last level/sequence for the first time just now. (Not really “completed”, since I have a bunch of tracks which I’m not ranked on, and I’ve only unlocked one of the challenges). I have to say, the ending did bring a tear or two to my eye - it’s not as emotionally affecting, as, say, Transistor was for me (which got me to actually choke up for most of the ending song), but it’s definitely doing something.
Weirdly, I found the later sections really variable in difficulty - I managed silver rank first try on one of the tracks which apparently people often find particularly difficult (Hate Skulls - the one with the floating skulls you have to target with your bow), but also utterly failed to rank on the level following it. And I did finally skip a section, in the really super-long epic final track, just because my fingers were getting tired.

This is partly primary-recency effect, but Sayonara Wild Hearts is genuinely up there with my games of the year contenders at the moment.

edit edit: also I totally see why this is recommended by some Outer Wilds fans (having watched a playthrough of the latter) now I’ve finished it. It’s that emotional and philosophical through-line expressed in gameplay.

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I’ve been playing a handful of video games over the past week or so.

I started Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony and finished it in a frighteningly fast pace of ~45 hours in about 4 days. Despite wrapping it up a few days ago now I still have no idea how I feel about the game as a whole. I really thought I had an opinion on it until I got to that last chapter which… really did a number on me. At the very least, I now completely understand (and kinda agree) with the sentiment I’ve seen surrounding the ending that they shouldn’t continue to make any more Danganronpa games after V3.
That being said, Danganronpa S comes out in about a month on the Switch and I hope they put that out on PC eventually because I really want to play that.

I was able to play The Good Life to completion via Game Pass and while I could go into further detail on it I’ll just keep it succinct: This game sucks. Not even in an entertaining way either. It’s a mostly functional, obnoxiously designed, bafflingly charmless and utterly unremarkable game. On the plus side, the photography aspect of The Good Life (which also sucks) really made me appreciate how much more enjoyable snapping photos is in Umurangi Generation!

After enjoying the demo of it I bought and started playing Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars. I’m about 3 hours in and it continues to be what the demo presented it as: a very modest JRPG with a huge tabletop influence to it. I really appreciate all the ways the game adds physicality of everything from the way light shines off the foil parts of each card, the fact that combat takes place on its own little box that gets brought onto the table, to all the extra items you use to like the crystals and the (multiple) kinds of dice you roll to resolve encounters.

The game’s unseen DM is also a lot of fun because he uses practically the same unenthusiastic tone of voice and intonation irrespective of the mood of the scene or if he’s directly addressing the player in an aside. The writing in general is pretty solid, very terse considering every line has to fit on a card but has a ton of humor and character to it. I’m very much expecting some kind of narrative twist later down the line since everything seems suspiciously ordinary so far but if not then I’m sure it’ll continue being as pleasant of an experience as these opening bits have been.


Didn’t buy a game the day it came out or preorder it please clap.

I made it all the way until Saturday.

Now downloading Guardians of the Galaxy because apparently it’s better than it looks?


Still on that Deathloop with what little time I have to game atm, and I am getting really into the PvP invasions as Julianna. I had pretty mixed feelings at first, but I’m really loving it right now. I’ve had some truly great encounters, and the cat-and-mouse of it all is exhilarating. My framerate and connectivity could be a bit better and play a huge part in the experience, but it’s great even still.

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I finished all 4 acts of Back 4 Blood with friends finally and I liked it for the most part.

What I will say without spoiling it is Act 4 is not well designed IMO when compared to the rest of the game. It’s nothing but one long boss fight and it’s not a good boss fight. The mechanics this boss fight uses are nothing like the rest of the game outside of the swarms of enemies constantly dropping in.

The final stage of Act 3 is 10x better I found. It feels like a good final challenge. It’s tough but it is using mechanics that you have used and learned throughout the rest of the game unlike the way Act 4 is and in addition it found ways to introduce new mechanics that felt good and like a fun climatic game end challenge.

Act 3 final chapter had everyone using their character and deck the way they have been but needing to perform better then normal. Act 4 I felt like I needed to pick a different character and use a deck that was specifically crafted for that boss fight because certain mechanics are no longer in play that my original deck I had crafted was focused on. And that last part in particular really sucks because of how much emphasis is on building a deck. If your deck has cards for finding additional gear, copper, or offensive consumables congrats your cards are useless for the last fight practically. If you are using melee congrats you can not damage that final boss with melee, at best you can guard your teammates so they can damage the boss.

Watching the end of Act 3 cutscene and how Act 4 then goes I feel like there was originally supposed to be additional levels in Act 4. I can easily see how you could expand Act 4 to make it feel more like an actual act that puts other parts into play. Instead it feels like the least polished part of the game. The difficulty ramp is massive I found. We had not wiped out until Act 4 at which point we proceeded to lose 6 rounds in a row before finally winning.

The ending was not even satisfying. The way the boss fight concludes is so incredibly anti climatic that it feels like a final stage of that boss fight was cut.

Has anyone else who has played through all 4 Acts felt the same?

Edit: Some additional thoughts:

  • UI/UX is bad. New players have a hard time understanding you do not pick corruption cards because it looks exactly the same as the interface for picking your perk cards. The carrying over of the bonus unlocks at the start of a level from level to level is not mentioned anywhere. Certain items get additional effects from upgrades that is not shown anywhere until upgraded and even then you have to go into your inventory menu to see it.

  • Difficulty mode descriptions are written in a way that tricks new players into playing harder difficulties then they should be playing. Recruit is written like it’s the casual “I want to play for the story” mode and Veteran is just the normal mode you should pick if you like playing shooters.

  • Supply point payouts vary wildly with almost no reason sometimes. I had a mission in Act 3 where almost everyone died and took us a good long while to complete including a very hard gauntlet at the end with unending waves and we got 15 points for it…

  • The cosmetics are terrible. Not something that is a big deal but it sure would be nice if the Doctor could keep wearing their lab coat and replace just the undershirt instead of losing just about everything that makes her look like a doctor so she can wear a pug tshirt. The gun skins look like a task given to the interns to do, most of them are not even UV mapped well. It’s like they took a texture that tiled well and just slapped it on. Just contract out some of the community weapon skinners from CSGO, a lot of them would gladly do it for cheap considering how few of them get in every CSGO season.

  • The visual distinction between different ridden mutations in the same family are terrible. I should be able to tell at a glance if the Tall Boy approaching is going to pound me or grab me considering what a difference that can make.

  • Visual indicators in some maps on where to go are not good especially if a fog card is drawn. We spent 10 minutes looking for where to go in one level involving a large number of houses in early Act 3.

  • There should be a training level that just teaches you basic mechanics that are not explained well in game. As an example car alarms and door alarms. Birds killed with explosives not triggering hordes. Why buying team upgrades is a good idea. Etc.

  • The inclusion of a PvP mode but no co-op wave survival seems like a weird choice especially when that PvP mode is wave survival and not like L4D’s Versus mode speed run the level.

  • I don’t like using the word cringe but that ending cinematic was cringe. Everything from that horrible trope monologue to the “LOL GETS BREAKFAST NOW XD”.

  • Muting players mutes their pings.

  • Not having a streamer mode from the jump that masks usernames and removes all licensed music in the year 2021 in what they want to be a popular multiplayer co-op shooter is quite the oversight.

  • Every single time I load in it tells me congrats I have supply points to spend so I should go spend them when I have like 5 and nothing I can afford is just obnoxious.


I love V3’s ending but it is a franchise killer for sure. You can’t point out how the worldbuilding is just made-up nonsense as an excuse for teen murder drama, and expect the player to care again in future games. I think that was the intended effect though, the creator was done with the series at that time.

So, I started The Talos Principle (as well as trying to on-and-off rank higher on some of Sayonara Wild Hearts’ harder tracks for me - there’s still one I just can’t rank on!).

I’m not sure if it’s just that it’s a super common plotline now, but my immediate thought when a disembodied voice tells me that it is “Elohim” is “sorry, buddy, you’re obviously just some guy with a god-complex, and this is probably a testing facility for your AIs”.
(It’s possible that there’s twists coming, but the first couple of terminals already make it fairly explicit that: AI project, some kind of global cataclysm happening externally, and we are in the far future. So, “twistless” interpretation is - humanity died out, there’s some kind of ongoing project to develop AI in a testing program (which is what we’re “acting out” playing the game), and the disembodied voice is actually just a recording of the long-dead creators, designed to condition the AIs in it to be correctly obedient.)

Also, the philosophical chops of the writers seem rather superficial as far as I can tell. There’s this “apply for admin rights” personality/logical thought quiz you get given (which is presumably deliberately “hard to pass”), but I completely disagree with its ridiculously facile “conflict” report on my responses. It acts like, for example, wanting to try to maximise both liberty and quality of life is an irreducible conflict - but it isn’t, if you argue that “true quality of life comes with liberty”, or that you can try to maximise both, and manage the situations where they oppose each other dynamically. Similarly, you can oppose moral authority, whilst still arguing that moral claims can exist, it’s just that you have to accept that the moral claims won’t be universals. (And you can argue that value can be both discovered and created, without inconsistency - both can be true!)
So, I’m currently in a huff with the limited sophistication of the authors too…

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I love The Talos Principle but yeah, it’s not the deepest philosophical text. I head-canon that away with the idea that your character and the other program you interact with are still “young”, intellectually, for AI presumably meant to endure for a long, long time. The voice in the computer is also characterized with personality and perspective so I don’t necessarily need it to be presenting me with purely fair questions. But yes, I frequently feel confined to picking the answer that seems least incorrect as opposed to one that actually represents how I’d respond.

I first played the game years ago I suppose when I was still discovering that games could be more intellectually ambitious, and my own brain and intellectual thought were still developing. At the time it kinda blew my mind.

I’m presently playing it through with my SO, and while we do often take issue the naive and/or false philosophical quandaries it presents, it does make for a great jumping-off point for our own conversations to fill in those gaps.

It’s also gorgeous, and I like just letting the philosophy act alongside the really good soundtrack to set the vibes.

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I go back to Slay the Spire every now and then. This time was brought on by re-watching Austin play it years ago on Waypoint’s Youtube. I had beaten the “base” campaign many times. I had reached ascension level nine on all characters (beside the Watcher), but had never beaten the Heart. My goal for this run of games was to beat the Heart and finally just make it through the Spire with the Watcher. I think the furthest I had gotten with the Watcher previously was to the beginning of the 3rd stage.

Well I can say that I’ve now down both. I don’t know why, but it finally occurred to me to drop the ascension down so I could beat the Heart. I first did it with the Silent, then the Defect. and then finally the Ironclad. It felt great to finally make it past that final barrier for those characters that was in my way of fully completing the game. Now I’m making my way through trying to do that with by adding ascension levels back. Once I completed this, I set my sights on the Watcher. They have a unique playstyle that I enjoyed when I played it, but it just never fully clicked with me. I would always get hung up on entering wrath state and then getting rocked because I didn’t have a way to get out of it. Well the RNG gods blessed me with a run. I was able to get a rare card at the start of my run and chose the one that upgrades a card if it inflicts a fatal attack. My entire deck was pretty much upgraded the entire time. I also realized the importance of the wallop card. It gives you block to the amount of damage you do. So of course it is smart to use it during wrath state. I feel like I have a much better grasp on that character now, and can’t wait to play as them some more. I do need to defeat the Heart with them now to make it a perfect 4 for 4!


To be fair to it, it has gotten a little better after the start, although I am not sure how I feel about the “scavenger hunt for stars” aspect to the game, which feels like it’s going to be needed for the Golden Ending, just from the way the mechanic feels like it’s introduced.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say there are indeed multiple endings, I didnt collect every star the first time I played through the game, and this time my SO and I are collecting every star.

Some of the star puzzles are really good, quite literally requiring you to thinking outside ~the box~ but making use of all the tools and skills the game teaches you. Others are painfully obtuse and require you to identify solutions that are entirely distinct from any of the other mechanics in the game before or after. So honestly if you’re really, really stuck on a star, there’s no shame in just looking up the solution, because it might well be one where the game hasn’t taught you the key thing to do/know. But this is a game that loves it’s Easter eggs though, so having a reason to carefully search can definitely lead to other fun little finds.


I just finished Inscyrption and read up on the ARG.

The idea that one person had enough future planning to build part of an ARG for a game that would not be released until 2021 into their 2014 kickstarter demo for something completely unrelated is mind blowing.

What a great game both mechanically and in story!

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I’ve been playing Eastward for the past week and I’m really conflicted about it. On one hand, I absolutely love the overall art direction. The 8 and 16 bit pixel art aesthetic in games are a dime a dozen these days, but this game follows the slightly less treaded path by complimenting the pixel art with more realistic lighting in a similar fashion as Octopath Traveler.

The ost is also quite a joy to listen to. It seamlessly blends a lot of chiptune and 80’s synthwave influences together. My only complaint about the music is that the transitions between different music cues and tracks can be a bit jarring.

Now for the bad. The game play runs between being passable to insufferable. The combat is extremely finicky about spacing with limited options despite gaining numerous tools over the course of the game. Fighting enemies is such a chore when you have very little counterplay against enemies that hit hard,fast, and in large numbers. In addition a large portion of the common enemies have such large health pools that I’m just spamming the melee for at least 9 or 10 times to kill em. The gun is a little stronger but you have limited ammo and the range is actually barely longer than the melee. You don’t even get an upgrade to your melee until about 10 hours into the game with a story mission and it doesn’t even feel like you got an upgrade because the enemies seem to scale up and I feel like I’m constantly spamming the melee at enemies just as often.

When I was first playing, I wasn’t bother by this. The scope was pretty small in the beginning and I was so intrigued by the world opening up that I was able to gloss over the mechanical misgivings I had with it. Unfortunately the farther into the game you get, the more combat they seem to throw at you. I’m currently at a section that’s just pure enemy waves and enemies can kill me so easily despite me having a highly upgraded health bar (you upgrade your health with random story rewards and finding heart pieces around the world). I want to keep playing because the story has a lot of interesting world building and characters, but the game play is really holding me back.

Edit: oh i just got to the part in Friday’s podcast talking about eastward. I had no idea they were gonna talk again about this game again, but the take is similar.

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Aside from feeding what may now be described as a dangerous addiction to Hunt: Showdown, I’ve been blitzing through the Halo series. Some quick thoughts having finished Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 3.

Halo 2? Fascinating sequel. Whenever I think back on it I’m distracted by that notorious cliffhanger ending - one that, revisiting it now, feels unfulfilling not just because it punts the conclusion to Halo 3, but because it leaves the dual storylines feeling out of balance. I’ll use some spoiler tags here because I think some people are exploring the series for the first time ahead of Infinite. Basically, the Arbiter gets a dramatic boss battle and caps off the story - and the Chief just runs a gauntlet and sets up the next game (never mind that there’s essentially [scene missing] between the conclusion of Halo 2 and the opening of Halo 3 that perhaps could have been an additional level for Halo 2 aboard that Forerunner dreadnaught). Lingering misgivings about the ending aside - and they hit far more softly now, over a decade later and with the follow-up immediately available in the same collection - I described it as a distraction because Halo 2 does so much interesting stuff. A second playable character, deeply fleshing out the Covenant, establishing the series’ on-again, off-again relationship with dual-wielding. The works.

Halo 3 is just a blast to play. It’s like Halo: Fan Service. Almost every level has some absurd set piece, usually of a vehicular nature. It’s funny that one of the things I really hated in Halo 5 is the recurring Warden Eternal boss fight, which escalates until you’re just facing… three Wardens Eternal. When Bungie drops a recurring Scarab boss fight, culminating in two Scarabs? Art.

Post-Halo 3 I had a “what to play next” dilemma. Halo 4 is the next episode in the story, but Halo 3: ODST and Reach both slot in first in terms of release order (and I already missed the opportunity to start the whole thing with Reach!). Ultimately, I’ve decided to go right into 4. The Halo 3 ending/Halo 4 opening fits together so nicely. I’ll probably run right through 4 into Halo 5 and only then wrap back to see if I still want to play Reach and/or ODST.