I may or may not have booted up Gears Ultimate Edition last night and had that exact same thought…
Count me in on the Gears replay. That FPS boost is so nice.
Continuing on with Disco Elysium, there was definitely a period probably around the 5-6 hour mark where the initial excitement around the dialogue system was wearing off and I was feeling a bit lost, but things are heating up now narratively, and the writing and role play keeps getting better as my decisions, small and large, begin to cascade and form threads. I was cackling with laughter several times last night. This game is cool, actually.
I played through The Forgotten City in the last few days and got the 4th ending earlier today. Game’s superb. I may go through it one more time and do a couple of the easier trophies but I wholly recommend the game if you can get it on the cheaper side - it is pretty short.
Isn’t it on Game Pass?
It is, both PC and Xbox. It’s how I played it!
Also, I second the recommendation. Game is really good.
Over the last couple of weeks, in anticipation of maybe seeing the new movie, I’ve been watching every previous Spider-Man movie from Raimi on up. By the end of it I got the urge to finally play Insomniac’s Spider-Man game which has been sitting on my shelf for several years now. I did try it a couple of times before, but I kept bouncing off it - and then they announced the remastered version for PS5 so I decided to wait for that. Well, I still don’t have a PS5, but I wanted to scratch that web-slinging itch anyway.
Verdict, now I’ve put a few weekend hours in? I’m still not as enamoured with it as its positive reputation suggests other people are, but I’m actually getting into it this time. I’m digging the Arkham Asylum-style of it being an established Spider-Man with his own existing backstory that you get dripfed through the game, rather than an origin story or movie tie-in. I also have to credit the way it doles out additional open world things over time so it doesn’t quite have the Ubisoft thing of immediately overwhelming you with a map full of icons.
Plus: I feel like it “gets” Spider-Man. An early plot beat of getting evicted is perfectly delivered. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the story and character stuff.
Started playing Solar Ash. I’m debating about turning it down to easy for the boss fights just because the momentum-based nature of the controls mean that you need to concern yourself with speed quite often, and they’ll ask you to make several consecutive jumps based on speed that you’ll only find out are consecutive after you fail the jump and they send you back to the beginning of a 10-part chain
do you have glide set to Hold or Toggle on?
Hold, I think. That’s an interesting point; I might give that a shot.
Finished up Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown today. Liked it a lot. It’s surprising to me that these games aren’t bigger.
More detailed criticism/thoughts
I was unclear on some of the basic controls until the end of the campaign, and the game never gives you pointers on how to dogfight. I would have liked more help.
War is played very straight. Characters bemoan war being bad, but your specific choices to participate in the war and, like, bomb civilian oil refineries are never interrogated. Your player character is treated cruelly by the nation you’re fighting for, so it’s interesting that your loyalty and participation is always a given. I’d call it a missed opportunity, but I suspect that kind of analysis is not really what Ace Combat is here to do.
Everything else was strong. The story is perplexing, but the individual characters grew on me. They’re your buds and you want to protect them - even the guy who reacts to literally everything by reminding you he has a son. I fist pumped when my pals escaped near-death. While the plot itself is suspect, the world feels lived-in. It’s cool that the series’ games all occupy a continuous world. Made me want to play some of the others.
Most importantly: the game is Fun To Play. It is the best when video games are fun to play. The variety of mission design and objectives was terrific. I miss that kind of structure. The music is also great. Overall, I came away from my first Ace Combat game impressed.
It is of the few games I have played recently where I finished the campaign and wanted more. I own the DLC Missions, so I’ve been thinking about doing those, trying the campaign on Hard, or hunting down some of the game’s named ace pilots. Lots of meat left. If you’ve played these games before and know what extra things are most fun, I am all ears.
About 15 hours into House in Fata Morgana
Like I mentioned before, the music is quite good. I haven’t played that many VNs before, this one is living up to all the praise. I’d say I’ve been reading about an hour a day. Possibly finish this by the end of the month.
Sample of the soundtrack:
I’ve gotten to a slightly annoying point in A Monster’s Expedition (through puzzling exhibitions), where I’ve not played it for a few days, and I have lost almost all memory of the larger scale structure of the map being explored. (I still solved a few more puzzles, and found a Snowman… but I’m now losing a bit of momentum because I don’t really have the drive to remember what all the stuff was that isn’t directly in my path.)
I beat that one boss in Solar Ash but turned it down for the boss after that. I feel like there’s some kind of “boost” button that I’m missing or something. I just don’t feel like I’m fast enough.
UPDATE: R2 is boost lol
Started art of rally last night and I’m really impressed with it.
Bit of background on my history with rally games. At 13 I got a copy of DiRT for my birthday because my parents didn’t want to get me Bioshock, and I ended up digging it. I’ve had a lackadaisical relationship to rally games, and racing games in general, since DiRT 2 (which is basically the blueprint for the vibes and progression that Forza Horizon has taken and driven off with). Never played the Dirt Rally games, or any of the WRCs, but I’ve been playing Forza Horizon 5 and it sparked that offroad racing fervour back up in me again.
art of rally feels like an important work because it’s deeply interested in conveying an aspirational idea of what Group B racing was, while centering the player’s goal on getting better and garnering a greater understanding of the sport. While I have no idea if this is true, there’s something incredibly Scandinavian about how this game looks, feels, and approaches a racing game. It feels educational in a weird way, like it’s trying to convey information through play rather than purely entertain. It’s very hard to keep your car on the track, but you’re able to mess up without feeling like you need to restart. Podium finishes feel like the goal, rather than a 1st place finish every time. It doesn’t want the player to win, it wants the player to race.
Contrast this to Forza Horizon 5 - which I’ve been playing for around a month. It’s a really fun game, and also pure neoliberalism. The Horizon festival is an ecological disaster visited on a country by a gang of Bang-swilling thrill-seekers whom you can deck out with all manner of prosthetic limbs, choose pronouns, and express yourself through the acquisition and customisation of the most expensive and destructive consumer goods in the world. All the while, radio DJs tell you how awesome you are at literally everything and the game’s built-in casino drowns you in cash prizes and free cars. There’s no 2nd or 3rd place in FH5. Either you come first, or you haven’t completed that particular race event. It’s a game about individual expression and the fulfilment of fantasy through consumption, and that’s fine because everyone else is having fun.
Consequently, I’m really happy that art of rally exists as it is. It invites you into a space where you can learn and improve, with that also being the only goal. It’s a game that thinks stimulating a player’s curiosity is sufficient, rather putting their ego and need for validation on a pedestal.
Really well said, art of rally is something special. However, one thing that bugged me about it that your comment makes clear to me, is that the game really did not need to lock special liveries behind first place finishes. I ended up retrying races a lot to “win” the rally and that did feel antithetical to the vibes it was wearing on its sleeve. I honestly think I might like the game more (and I already like it a lot) if it didn’t reward first place.
Roll credits on Solar Ash. A nice little game (like a cross between Shadow of the Colossus and Sayonara: Wild Hearts). I don’t know that it’s worth snagging right now, but if you see it for like, $15-20 or it comes to Game Pass, it’s worth a look.
I just finished the first Great Ace Attorney game. It’s definitely one of my favourites in the series already. Herlock Sholmes is such a hilarious and fun take on Sherlock Holmes, the cases are all super interesting and full of fun twists and turns and it’s also just incredibly stylish. Especially the Sholmes deduction sequences, where you’re correcting Sholmes’ nearly correct deductions
Just all around fantastic game. Can’t wait to dig into the second one.
Meanwhile, dipping back into Stephen’s Sausage Roll, and I’ve near-instantly solved 3 puzzles I was in the middle of doing last time I played it, a week ago!
I think this is the kind of game that benefits from a bit of time away, letting your subconscious work on and internalise things whilst you’re not paying attention to it explicitly.
(I am 1 puzzle away from completing all of Island 3, for those wanting to know where I am in things - and I know how to do that puzzle, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.)
edit: I did that puzzle, and Island 4 is… interesting and involves wearing sausages as headwear
Finally started Guardians of the Galaxy. I am admittedly very early (a hair under an hour) but it reads like the kind of game that I’m going to turn down to Easy at like, three hours in just so I can see the story.