What game are you playing?


I’m slow on gaming, so I’m just now getting around to Horizon Zero Dawn, it’s on its way to me now. I just finished Breath of the Wild, and tbh while I loved that game, it did burn out open world games for me a little bit. My compulsion to see everything there is, regardless of how insignificant, made exploring new areas so molasses-slow that towards the end I just gave up on exploring. Opened the last two towers I had left, found the memories in those areas, and abandoned the areas to go beat the game. I thought I would revisit it after the endgame to clean up, but my brain automatically started looking for something new, so I’ve picked up once since I beat it a week ago.

Anyway, HZD is in the mail and I’m kind of dreading another enormous open world experience. I’ve become acutely aware of my backlog lately, and I kind of don’t want to spend another 4+ months on a single game. We’ll see.


My suspicion is that, if you ignore the side quests and just push through, HZD is going to be a much shorter game, especially if you fast travel. The map looks large, but is actually a lot smaller than BOTW, which makes traveling everywhere by mount or foot actually possible (if not practical).

Also, HZD is not really an exploration focused game like BOTW. Part of this is that it doesn’t have a climb anywhere mechanic; climbing is an annoying puzzle of “guess which of these things you can barely see is a grabable ledge”. The other is there’s a lot of gating, where you can find areas that you can’t interact with because you haven’t triggered something in the story. It’s super frustrating when that happens, and I wish they’d found a way to handle it more elegantly.

HZD is really all about the hunt. It’s about learning the limits of your stealth, knowing when to set traps and when to lay still, and using the right arrows on the right targets to take down an entire herd. It’s also about those moments when roving enemies you completely forgot about show up to spoil a kill, and frantically changing your tactics on the fly to avoid being overrun. The leveling loop is very similar to Monster Hunter; you hunt specific creatures to get specific parts, which you craft into arrows, bows, and armor to help you hunt bigger enemies. The twist is that being able to see and target individual parts on enemies takes the RNG out of the equation; it’s up to you whether you want to harvest that explosive tank, or blow it sky high.

I spent almost the entire game NOT fast travelling, just to see if I could. It obviously took way longer, but I found it to be incredibly rewarding, because the combat is just that good. If someone combined the exploration, free climbing, and huge world of BOTW with the combat of HZD, that would be amazing.


Just finished the Master Trials DLC of Breath of the Wild, finally, after many hours of hand-wringing in the advanced trials. Turns out there are more than 3 Ancient Arrows. Who knew?


I’ve got 3 Witcher 3 Problems. 46 hours deep, and I’ve spent a lot of that time in side quests. Normally I practice restraint in open worlds, only grinding activities until I feel powerful enough to move on. But the side quests here are actually compelling. The fantasy of being a folklore problem-solver, a superhero-for-hire killing ghosts and griffins, works for me. Which means I somehow ended up like 8 levels above the quests I’m doing. This is starting to make me think Bethesda’s level scaling might actually be a good idea. I could skip ahead and do quests at my level, but those lower-level quests aren’t leaving my log until I finish them, and they’re not getting any harder.

My second Witcher 3 problem is good old open-world burnout. The writing, performances and fantasy context continue to drive me on, but I’m becoming increasingly aware how whenever I’m not talking to someone I’m either fighting, tracking, or running to a map marker, and all three of those are getting old. From what I’ve heard I have at least another 50 hours ahead of me, and I’m not sure I can do that. But I’ve seen a tremendous amount of love for the expansions, Blood and Wine especially. If I stop now I’ll probably never see them, because picking up a giant game like this in the middle would be daunting after a month’s break, and it’s not like I’m ever going to start this over.

My third Witcher 3 problem is that it isn’t Celeste, and playing games that aren’t Celeste is a tall order right now. I almost never 100% complete any sort of game, but Celeste is practically perfect and I don’t want it to end. I’ve collected all 175 strawberries, 8 blue hearts, and now I’m working through B-sides. Watching myself get better has been such a great experience, not to mention the sweet story and charming everything. I actually think I’ll see this through. Maybe even learn the speedrun.


well you’ve succeeded in making me excited about the game I’m decided I’m going to play next. my Wednesday has a little less ennui thanks to you!


You’re exactly where I was the first time I quit playing. I started over again from the beginning a couple years later and pushed through and I adore the game (mostly…I know it has its issues with representation, etc). You really can mostly ignore a lot of the “points of interest” and come back to them later, at least give yourself a breather where you’re allowing the story to develop and do some interesting things (which it certainly does). Most of them are just a few monsters and some minor treasure that you don’t need. Few of them lead to actual quests, and you can always come back to those later.

Also, there’s an option in the menu that makes enemies scale to your level that I recommend turning on right away. The game works to keep you from leveling too far but its curve isn’t very well designed (it’s really mostly designed to make sure you cap at a certain point in the endgame), and that helps keep things interesting. If you want to go down the road of mods there are some that might help with this as well. I use a few that feel vital at this point, like Auto Apply Oils, but nothing too drastic.

If you can stick with it there is certainly some really worthwhile stuff happening there.

Disclaimer: I’m actually still playing it right now. I don’t really know my time played at this point but it’s a bunch and I’m probably 75%ish done with the main story. Haven’t played the expansions yet but I’m excited to see where they go.

Also I’m an insane person and went to every single one of those goddamned smuggler caches in Skellige. DON’T DO THAT. (That is directed to players but also CDPR. Please never do that again. Don’t put shit on your map just to fill it up. The rest of your game proves you know better.)


Oh crap, thanks for this! There should be a loading screen tip about that.


You’re totally right, not sure why they didn’t make that option more apparent!


Yeah, the open world setting really did a number on Witcher 3’s pacing. My advice would be to stick to the main story whenever you’re feeling even a bit burned out on side content, but I know that’s easier said than done.


Where the Water Tastes Like Wine came out today and W-O-W, the writing, narration, music is phenomenal. The entire conceit of trading, telling and evolving stories is so interesting and fresh, for the medium. Despite a few rough edges, this is really something special.


Small, spoiler-free warning for Celeste - 100%ing that game is harder than you might think, even as you work your way through the B-sides. If you’re willing to try to learn how to speedrun it, you might have more patience than me, but as someone who felt the same around the point that you’re at, I’ve mostly given up on the 100% dream and am just enjoying trying to tackle some of the final curveballs that game has to throw at you.


I’m still playing Dead Cells during most of my time spent gaming, but after actually “beating” the game I’m just experimenting and messing around with boss cells. It’s still incredible and earlier today I saw that there’s a beta patch so I’m excited for whatever that brings when it comes out of beta.

When I haven’t been playing Dead Cells, I’ve been digging ever so slightly into my Steam backlog. I played VVVVVV and Thirty Flights of Loving recently, each on a different night. I know plenty about each game, but had never actually played more than a few minutes of either so it was nice to experience all the deserved praise for these older gems.


Eyes veiny and red, hair disheveled. Furrowed brow.

Into the Breach.


Hooked the 360 back up after packing it away for the move. I’d bought a few games for it while it was sitting in a storage unit, because they were cheap, or for other reasons (one of which was Transformers Devastation, but I haven’t loaded that up yet)

The only major commentary I can provide is finally booting up Midnight Club Los Angeles, which is a weird ass game for a lot of reasons. It feels like a game Rockstar was probably developing before GTA4, as it feels like this weird half-step between the PS2/Xbox and PS3/360 era. Parts of the game look a little too good, while other parts feel like they fell out of a time warp from 15 years ago.

Lighting is really good. Motion blur looks really good. Characters are definitely PS2-era quality, and the writing is embarrassing. It’s got this weird sort of amateur Source Filmmaker vibe to it sometimes. (compare: Midnight Club LA - Hunt The Freeman)

It kind of ends up coming off like a fake video game you’d seen on an episode of Law & Order or CSI or something.

And for a Rockstar game, it’s weird in other ways, too. Everybody made fun of Need for Speed Underground 2 for its branded mobile phone UI in 2004, and somehow Midnight Club LA thought it needed to do the same four years later, as you interface with characters and races through, of all things, a T-Mobile Sidekick.

Branding is everywhere else in the game, too. Footlocker, Air Jordans, American Apparel, Godiva chocolates, Best Buy, Sears, 7-11, even Apple gets in on it with giant iPod billboards. And the game has real cars, with real parts manufacturers, too. It’s a weird thing to see in a Rockstar game, but also it was Rockstar, so obviously a lot of sponsors wanted to get a piece of that action.

It plays fine. Maybe a little too easy for me at the start, but it seems like there’s tons to do. It’s crazy how Rockstar kind of invented the open world racing game with earlier Midnight Club games, but how differently they did things compared to games like Need for Speed.


Picked up Mafia III from the Humble Monthly.

Really enjoying the narrative portions of Mafia III too bad there is a lot of open world collectahon bullshit in the game. Find these parts, use these parts to bug junctions, transport this weed, find this truck, steal that truck, etc. Also the voodoo doll stuff is so bad and I barely use them because there has not been a point in the game where I thought I needed them. I can just shoot everything or punch stuff since the enemies are really dumb.

Also finished Life is Strange : Before the Storm’s bonus episode Farewell. The original voice actors are back for Max and Chloe! So thats rad! I finish another thing of Life is Strange that has left me an emotional wreck. I will miss these characters. I really hope the next Life is Strange game at least has some of the Blackwell students show up and interact with the new cast.


I mentioned this in a different thread, but after a few tries, I’ve completely bounced off of Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap. File it under “you knew it was a snake when you picked it up”. It’s literally a reskin of a Sega Master System game, with no change to the mechanics or the levels. As someone who didn’t have a console growing up, I’ve found that going back and playing a lot of those games has been mostly unrewarding, with the exception of some older RPGs. It’s made me even more wary and suspicious of retro nostalgia than I already was; sometimes I wonder if it’s just another form of gatekeeping.


I never played the original and I enjoyed the remake for it’s wonderful art, but yeah, in preserving the original game (you can hotswap the graphics and music on the fly, and it will even give you passwords that will work on a cartridge) there are some archaic design choices that linger. It’s not Simon’s Quest bad, but I definitely had to look up an FAQ in order to finish it.




recently i’ve been playing loads of PUBG, Fortnite and Bayonetta 2.
I’m also waiting for my copy of Nier Automata to land in my mailbox.
I play PUBG when im feeling serious
I play Fortnite when i wanna see the pretty visuals
I play Bayo 2 when i wanna scream and get the high flashes from all the chaos on screen.


Someone mentioned that Into The Breach works on Mac with WINE, and of course it also works perfectly on Linux! :smiley:

Binged it today but going to put the games away tonight so I can get on with essential work.