What game are you playing?

This is something a lot of people don’t remember about Sonic. All they remember are the fast loops and the out of control speed. Most of Sonic 1 is really tight, challlenging platforming.

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Same. Back when I played it, I ended up playing through Journey mode on Easy and have no regrets. I can maybe tough it through most of Normal (I’ve tried), but it just gets in the way of the vibes. I think Easy is probably the right difficulty for anyone who’s not particularly well-versed in the nuances of Tetris.

Also speaking as someone who loves Sonic Mania and Hydrocity Zone in particular, that zone goes from terrible and punishing to really, really fun when you take the upper path instead of the mid or lower ones (i.e., the one that doesn’t put you through too much water). Which goes toward what everyone’s already said, but yeah.

I’ve been playing a whole lot of Divinity Original Sin 2 with my girlfriend. In our first playthrough, I had a Wayfarer and a Rogue which got a bit stale by the end because I had pretty simple builds that didn’t allow me much interesting potential but now on our second runthru I’ve got a Summoning/support character plus a melee tank/CC machine and it’s been a much more interesting experience. The writing has, for the most part, not really been anything special for me? It’s pretty okay across the board, just not anything particularly great to me. We’ve got Fane this time around and it’s kind of wild how much extra lore and world stuff he gets that you just don’t get with anyone else. It kind of feels like they wanted him to be the main character that you build a party around and not just a companion you could bring with you if you want, y’know.

I’ve also been slowly chipping away at Blue Reflection: Second Light. It’s good and it’s gay and I’m liking it but I haven’t been enjoying the combat as much as the first game so it’s a bit more of a drag to get through to the story bits. I was thinking of dropping the difficulty down to just blow through it but I think the problem is more than sheer volume of fights I have to go through. There’s so much fighting in between story pieces, it feels like they’re forcing me to grind. I’ll get through it eventually but the going is slow right now.

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Like @Ryguy I’ve been having a “do I even like video games anymore” crisis. I still do, obvi, but playing banger after banger over the summer, and then starting a horrible, awful teaching job in a horrible, awful district in a horrible, awful town really brought me down. Other than a few hours with Momodora: Reverie Under Moonlight I have not played anything in 3 months that I’ve really enjoyed.

I’m playing Shining Pearl right now, and even though I liked the chibi characters in the trailers, wow in motion this game does not feel or look good! Grid based maps with free movement doesn’t work well at all, if you use a d pad to move and talk to someone your character walks forward after dialogue ends (sometimes resulting in getting stuck in geometry), and the exp share is tuned way too high. I played Platinum in January of this year, so honestly returning to Sinnoh so soon in a game that feels incredibly inferior to Platinum (and tbh even Pearl) is a huge bummer. Fire Red and Soul Silver were great games, and Alpha Sapphire is my favorite 3d Pokemon game. It didn’t have to be this way! I’m 3 gyms in and about to face the 4th. I’ll finish it because I have family members playing it, but it’s gonna be slow moving. It’s just not good, and doesn’t even feel like “coming home” which is the main draw of Pokemon for me.

I am building a PC tomorrow, so I will finally be able to play Dragon Quest V at 120 frames/second! That’s a joke (kind of? I’ll probably mostly use it for emulation). I plan on getting Guilty Gear Strive and maybe a pc game that Waypoint loves? Battletech? Crusader Kings? Or maybe something a little different like Halo Collection or Forza Horizon. It’s not the best PC, but according to pc benchmarks I should be able to run all of those games just fine, I have the recommended specs.

Any other suggestions for pc games would be cool! Prove to me I still love games and didn’t waste [redacted] dollars on this machine. Here’s what I like:
Souls games
JRPGs, especially SNES and DS ones
Yakuza games
Fighting games
Mario

Here’s what I wouldn’t mind trying out:
Strategy/tactics games. I’ve never played much besides Age of Empires as a kid and Into the Breach, but intrigued by Battletech
FPS multiplayer. Also never done this. I have friends that Apex Legends, and Halo is always fun
Sim games. Stardew Valley intimidates me, but modding it seems like the move
FF XIV. How hard is this to get into in 2021? Am I just too late? Is the Waypoint discord a good place to make friends and play with people?

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Continuing with The Witcher 3, and it continues to be merely okay I guess.
The voice acting is good, the music is fine, the graphics are nice bordering on pretty in places, and the subquests all seem well written so far…

… but combat I am just not really enjoying. There’s a lot of buttons to remember for dodging and blocking and apparently you can time counterattacks if you press block at the right moment (except I am yet to manage this outside of the tutorial - and everyone seems to just do heavy attacks that stun you if you are blocking anyway…), and I am still yet to work out how you quickly switch between Signs rather than having to pause the combat to back out into the Signs menu and then pick a new one to be active, and then come back into it again.
Plus, everyone seems to hit really hard - I’ve died about 4 times in combat so far… including the one time I apparently managed to annoy the local soldiers by attacking a drowner nearby to them, and was actually killed by a soldier when I had only just survived the whole drowner combat thing. This seems mildly ludicrous - why should soldiery mind me having a drawn sword if I’m killing monsters that they themselves want to get rid of?
(At least, for some reason, being killed by soldiers “only” results in you waking up some hours later, inexplicably having been looted of money, which makes very little sense given that everything else seems to just kill you.)
The random drops are mildly annoying too: I’m currently scouring the map looking for drowners deliberately, since I need a drowner brain as part of a side quest. But apparently almost no drowners drop suitable brains - so far, I’ve gotten “monster livers” and “drowner tongues” and a host of other exciting organs, but not a single brain. This is, given how bad I am at the combat, mildly irritating by now.

(It’s also not exactly making me feel like Geralt of Rivia, given that he probably doesn’t stand around looking stunned when a drowner hits him hard when he’s blocking, and then die soon after.)

Oh, and there is an equipment durability / repair system in the game, as I feared. How tedious.
Oh, oh, and fall damage seems to be very silly - I died at almost full health from falling maybe a story’s worth of distance onto sand.

Not really sure if I should just drop the difficulty all the way from Normal to Easy so I can ignore the worst part of the whole thing for me, or just accept that I’m not the person this game was made for.
(I’m happy, incidentally, for a game to have a deep combat system: but I shouldn’t need to have mastered it to take on one or two early game enemies. And it certainly shouldn’t be this hard to counter things.)

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Discovered (perhaps late to the party) that I did not, in fact, hallucinate Regency Solitaire coming to Switch and so put in some time with that today. If you haven’t jumped in with that family of games, you are in for a treat.

Also Call of Duty’s still happening. More on that later, probably.

Just a heads-up that you can currently get XCOM 2: War of the Chosen for about 13 bucks on Steam (it’s normally like ~$150). Probably the OG Waypoint PC game (or maybe that would be PUBG? I don’t remember whether Breakfast and Battlegrounds or Tactical Tuesdays came first).

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Roll credits on Call of Duty. Activision can kiss my Wookiee.

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There’s actually never a bad time time to get into FFXIV. Well, actually, today is a terrible time, but that’s only because the game’s log in servers are melting with the release of Endwalker.

The main attraction of FFXIV is the main story, so it doesn’t matter when you start, you’ll spend a considerable number of hours just playing through that. As you do, you’ll unlock plenty of other content that you can pursue at your leisure. The main story does include a whole bunch of dungeons and big boss fights that you need multiple players for, but the game provides plenty of incentives for experienced players to fill in the slots for those as needed, so queues for those aren’t that long.

It’s designed to be a game with lots of things to do throughout, rather than a set of end game areas everyone is grinding in. Leveling alternate classes is painless, since one character can learn every job- no need to play through the story again, and everything you unlocked stays unlocked. Crafting is an intricate game in and of itself. There are just tons of stuff to choose to do. Hard end game raiding is just one of those things, and is not compulsory. I sure don’t do it.

There’s is a very generous free trial that includes the entire first expansion. The only issue is that free players aren’t going to be able to get on servers until the rush dies down- maybe in a week or so?

Usual warning: the story stuff doesn’t get consistently good until Heavensward kicks off. It has it’s moments even before that, and it’s laying a ton of groundwork for what is to follow, but some parts can be a little bit of a slog. It’s still a slick, friendly MMO even then.

These are kinda scattershot and the connection to things you like might be a bit tenuous.
The Banner Saga is a fun game. It’s a tactics game, but I think it’s closer to Fire Emblem than something like X-Com or Battletech. It might be a good point middle point between a JRPG where you have a party of characters who interact with each other and an X-Com-like game where you mythologize characters based on what happens. I will say I’m unsure how long it will take to for this game to lift off the ground; it’s been a while since I played it.
Devil Daggers is a maybe an unsolicited rec (in that it is a single-player shooter), but I think if you want the intensity of a multi-player shooter without the stress of other people it could be a good fit.
CS: GO is my favorite shooter in terms of how the guns act, so I would recommend it as a multiplayer shooter, but if you are looking to have a more communal experience (not muting everyone when you join a game) I would not recommend unless you could get people you know/trust to play with you.
Dustforce is some of the most fun I’ve had with a platformer, but for me it was very leader-board driven. So combo trials and labbing new combos out in fighting games seem like the best comparison to me. It does control very well too, so maybe the enjoyment isn’t as idiosyncratic as the fighting game comparison implies.
Battletech is also a good choice.
Also this is totally unsolicited but I found In Other Waters to be a pretty refreshing game to play.

I would definitely try dropping the difficulty. When I played I started on the hardest mode and went down to the easiest after maybe a dozen hours. It didn’t make the combat more enjoyable, but it did get finished quicker. I also did stop playing after a few more hours on easy because of the combat though. If you’re playing on PC something I didn’t think of at the time was to try cheat engine, but I’m not sure if making the combat more trivial would make the game more enjoyable on the whole.

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if you’re a fan of Into the Breach, and are looking for another tightly designed tactics game, and didn’t get a chance to play it on PS4, maybe check out Invisible, Inc

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The early game Witcher 3 combat and difficulty curve is just plain bad and I’m a huge fan of the game. The game starts off hard then gets easier the more you play it. I changed difficulty regularly throughout my play through. Dropping to the story mode at points just to plough through combat. Late game I was on the hardest difficulty as it gets trivial when Geralt has all his skills. It makes no sense from a lore perspective that Geralt starts off level 1 with no access to his powers when he’s a badass mutant monster killer.

Combat gets better once you level up and open up more options. Quen is your friend early game, and late game, cast it and re cast it every time you get hit, level it up into exploding Quen. There’s definitely a button that brings up a sign wheel so you can switch your active sign on the fly. Also never roll, just back step.

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Not only no access to his powers, but also barely any memory of how to do alchemy except the bare minimum. I know enough about the games that it’s a plot point that he loses his memory at the start of the first game, but you’d think after 2 games worth of canonical development, he’d be better than this at the start of the third…

I’m yet to find the sign wheel button (and really don’t understand why I can’t just bind each sign to a key: this is why I have a keyboard! [Edited to add: looking in the keybindings menu, the signs all do have quickswitch bindings to 4 to 7… but the tutorial is so console-targeted that this is never mentioned, despite being the most natural thing to use on a PC]), but the advice on dodging is v helpful. I switched the roll/dodge keybindings around (for some reason, the game uses the easier-to-hit space for rolling, and alt for dodge, when as you say, you really want to dodge more than you roll since it keeps you more in combat whilst avoiding hits). I’ve also basically completely given up on blocking/parrying in favour of just dodging stuff and that seems to work considerably better.
So, part of my conclusion is that the game tutorial on combat is just extremely misleading… (that said, I still find that I die very easily, even managing combats and trying to dodge).

I have tried to get into The Witcher 3 multiple times, the farthest I ever made it was 15 hours. I have rarely been more bored. I could not get on with the combat at all. Perhaps it does get better over time, but I simply could not put up with that for however many dozens of hours a complete playthrough would take. I was really excited for the vibe of rich monster hunting, where you learn to exploit monster weaknesses and equip yourself appropriately. But equip with what, exactly, apart from oil I am constantly reapplying to my sword? The whole thing felt superficial to me. It’s been awhile so maybe i’m forgetting some of it, but 15 hours is a long time to wait for the good stuff IMO, particularly in a world that in theory I think I should be taking my time to explore rather than pushing ahead deliberately.

And I had the same problem with the other aspects of the game that are more celebrated. Sure, I hadn’t reached the big city or the apparently better quests, but 15 hours?? I’m not gonna die on this hill because people keep saying the writing/quests/world/lore are good, and I won’t say I’m right and they’re wrong. But that early game had be bored across the board. Very, very bored.

15 hours doesn’t seem far off for me - I’m still on the Prologue after 8 hours, and I expect it’s probably going to take me at least another couple to get onto “Chapter 1”, so assuming the same pace for you, you were probably only a little bit into the game “proper” by then?

[The extremely inaccurate “assume the time you need for each Chapter is proportional to the number of main quests it has in it” measure suggests that Chapter 1 would take ~5 to 6 times longer than the Prologue - or around 50 hours for me, by itself, and that the entire game should take ~100 hrs, not including DLC.
Working by level scaling instead, assuming each level should take about as much time, produces a similar estimate - you leave the Prologue at about level 4 I think, and finish the end game somewhere in the 30s I guess, so maybe 80 hours in the entire thing?
This is, as you say, a lot of time to invest in a game if it isn’t literally the best thing ever. It’s 2 and a half times more time than I’ve spent on Heaven’s Vault, which was much more interesting, and that was with getting 50% of the way through NG+!]

Hard to recall exactly, but a bit into the game proper sounds about right. I may have a sunk a few hours into gwent, which I found to be far and away the most fun in the game.

If the combat and the overall pace of the of the game works for people, godspeed. Do ya thing. Soak it all in and enjoy. Don’t bother with the remainder of my sour thoughts.

I recall being in a dark dungeon on a main or main-adjacent side quest where I had to escort a seemingly notable named character. They were slowly walking and projecting light or a spell of some kind around them, I believe, and I had to defend them from a bunch of ghouls or whatever that were running in from all directions. I recall being utterly and completely fed up with the combat, made worse by the escort encounter I was on. I put the game down. A bit of time passed and my excitement returned to explore the world. Booted up the game, realized I’m still in that dungeon and will have to complete the escort mission. Quit. Playthrough done then and there. I think I returned once years later and tried to start anew, but couldn’t even get through a couple hours as I recalled my previous experience.

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As a note, I did search around for discussions “how much time you spent in White Orchard” on the internet. There’s a pretty strong division between people who took less than 5 hours (and are horrified that it would take longer), and people [like us ;)] who took 8+ hours, usually around 10.

I am filled with foreboding at the possibility of slow-moving escort quests though - at least the closest thing in White Orchard is actually not that bad (and the client has a dog who’s actually quite helpful in backing you up).

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Cross another one off the Remedy playlist: I finished Quantum Break. It’s an oddity of a game - I think Rob and/or Gita discussed its strange place in Microsoft’s early, abandoned “the Xbox One is a media platform” philosophy when they talked about Alan Wake Remastered. I’ve always kinda thought that it might have been better served as something more like a Life is Strange or a Telltale game, being all exploration, dialogue, and no real combat. It’s not that the combat is bad, exactly, but it’s definitely the least interesting part of an otherwise fascinating bit of time travel fiction.

Replaying it in a post-Control world though it’s super interesting to see the connecting tissue in terms of gameplay. It’s not nearly as fluid as Control, but the same sense of stringing together powers and gunplay is there, in a way that is more or less absent in Alan Wake or Max Payne (bullet time aside).

Which brings me up to Control. I’ve been a little nervous about replaying it, because when it first came out I had a couple of big problems with it, even as everyone was raving about it. One was that it ran horribly on a base PS4 (later patches did help… a bit). Two was that it could be incredibly hard, in a way I’m surprised doesn’t find its way into more ‘difficulty discourse’.

I’m revisiting it on Xbox Series X now and at least the performance issues are solved. The Series X version - I can’t speak for other platforms - offers ‘performance’ and ‘graphics’ settings. I’ve always heard people talk about the way the game looks in hushed tones and finally on this console, in graphics mode locked to a fairly stable 30fps, I can actually see what they were talking about. I don’t think graphics make a game, per se, but they do really help sell the world of the Oldest House in a way playing it on a last gen console just didn’t.

I also get to fiddle with the Assist Mode settings. For those not in the know: when the game originally launched there were no difficulty options. I finished the game on PS4 like that (never getting to the DLC). Some time after launch, Remedy added options to tweak how much damage you take, how fast your ammo and energy regenerates, and even toggles for invincibility and one hit kills - the only thing I’d suggest is missing is an option to tweak how much damage you do before getting to that ‘one hit’ toggle.

It’s a really robust set of options for taking some of the edge off the difficulty which I found off-putting, even though I was able to beat the game on its defaults. I’m currently playing with a 20% damage reduction: it barely affects most enemy encounters, who were never particularly dangerous anyway, but makes meeting enemies with high explosives or extremely damaging psychic attacks less frustrating as they have the potential to dang near one shot you under default levels. Frankly, though, I might crank up the damage mitigation and just sit back and enjoy the atmosphere more without thinking so much about the combat - it depends how tricky the endgame and DLC gets.

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I can imagine moving a few hours more quickly through White Orchard would have helped my experience, but honestly it’s a drop in the bucket with a game this size. Sure, I could’ve landed at the writing everyone raves about sooner and perhaps they could’ve hooked me, but ultimately the way that game plays just ain’t for me and I’m not one to tough out games I don’t vibe with anymore.

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Oh, totally. I’m always a bit annoyed with the phenomenon where games with annoying/super-slow beginnings that you need to wade through to get to the actual good stuff (especially since it usually results in a fan community where anyone with criticism of the game who hasn’t played it for more than 20 hours or something gets dogpiled on for “not having given it enough time”).

“Oh, it gets better, when you’ve played it for twice as long as it would take you to start-and-finish a bunch of other games with equally good reputations” isn’t really the best argument.

I’m sort of into a “mostly this isn’t annoying to play” groove with TW3 at the moment, though [just starting the 1st Chapter] - although I still find that any given “challenging” combat either goes perfectly (enemies several levels above me just all dying in a row with very little impact) or it goes disastrously (exactly the same foes killing me in about 2 hits that I couldn’t even dodge or whatever).
Seems very swingy. That said, it is fun being able to Igni people on horses to get the horse to rear up and drop them (stunned) to the ground…

(That said, I am also starting to realise that I don’t super vibe with a bunch of common “open world RPG” mechanics - levelled gear, especially when they’re all just swords that look the same, but somehow some of them can only be used at higher levels and are vastly more deadly (how does that even work, in setting?) ; the interplay with equipment damage (this is either meaningless, since you can upgrade to “higher level” kit before the old stuff falls apart; or really annoying, if you can’t and need to keep getting it repaired every other fight) ; etc - although at least once you make a thing, Geralt replenishes his stocks of it when he meditates (on the reasonable difficulty settings). It still doesn’t explain why Geralt can’t remember how to make half of the alchemy recipes he should know about without finding inexplicably distributed recipes across the world, but…)

Oh, and I also seem to have already gotten myself into a position which is probably going to annoy me enough that I might just stop playing:
I accepted a quest without knowing what level it was [is it possible to know what level a quest is before you accept it?], to defend some people from waves of ghouls.
The problem is: I quicksaved at the start of it, and my last save is long enough ago that I really can’t be bothered to reload it… but this quest turns out to be hard enough that I’m not quite high enough level for it, and I don’t have a full collection of potions and stuff on hand. I’ve just died three times in a row, on wave 1

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