What game are you playing?

I did know that, and I’m very much looking forward to whatever that is. Keeping myself as in the dark as possible.

This game is just astounding to me. It’s like Rain World being from an alternate dimension with its own perspective on everything from animation to AI and world building. Or Kentucky Route Zero continually messing with the format of adventure games and incorporating a dizzying number of influences from art and academia. I enjoy a great “one of those” sort of game, but these “where did this even come from?” kind of experiences are what I play games for.

Gushing over.

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Though I’ve dabbled in other things, I’ve spent the better part of the last two months playing Hunt: Showdown and grinding through the (just about to end) Serpent’s Moon event. I love Hunt, it’s one of the few multiplayer games I’ve put significant time into, and I like events in general because they give me a reason to continue with an online game that I might otherwise ignore in favour of whatever singleplayer campaign has my eye. It’s the sort of thing where I’ll play it intensely while an event is running then drop out for a while. I do have to say the balance of this event - with its very grindy battle pass - was frustrating though.

There’s definitely some middle ground I like this sort of thing to hit where it’s not so easy to complete it feels like there’s zero challenge and no reason to keep coming back (see: Halo Infinite’s battle pass which expires… in a couple of months? and I’ve finished despite only popping in for the events), but not such a huge grind it feels like you’re facing either a second job playing a videogame or that it’s blatantly encouraging you to buy boosters/levels/whatever it may be.

So - I’ll probably put Hunt aside for a little while, at least until the next event, though October is coming up and they usually do something for Halloween which means I may not be putting it aside for very long. In the meantime, I’ve been checking out the open beta for Modern Warfare 2 - feels a whole lot like the last Modern Warfare. I joked that it was more a demo than a beta, or at least more of a marketing tool, but it’s actually pretty janky; lots of weird animation and UI issues. Glad they’ve brought back mounting weapons to surfaces, which was missing in Black Ops Cold War, but otherwise I don’t really have any thoughts. CoD and it’s super fast time to kill is not really my bag, I prefer Halo or Destiny, the fragility of hunters in Hunt notwithstanding. Also - blatantly inspired by the Waypoint crew - I’ve dipped back into Fortnite. Don’t know how long I’ll stick with it, but I haven’t played it for a few years, and it’s definitely a refreshing change vs. Hunt as a much lighter, less sweaty game.

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Part of the reason I found myself drawn back to Black Flag was that it’s my understanding that Ubisoft Shanghai was tasked with a “what if we had a game that was just the pirate stuff” project after Black Flag went turbo gangbusters, that project being the recently-emerged-from-development-hell Skull and Bones.

I am very pleased to report that the ship stuff holds up super well (the Assassin’s Creed bits not so much). They obviously min-maxed the ship controls for “does this feel fun,” all of the weapons feel punchy, sailing off into the sunset in Travel Mode having the lads singing “Lowlands Away” feels as right as swinging in Marvel’s Spider-Man. I’m not convinced that there’s enough there for a full $70 game (and I’m not super sold on Pirate Destiny as a pitch), but I’m dying to see the Quick Look.

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Had the most frustrating experience with Deathloop today. I spent about an hour scraping an early level for clues and details, and managed to bag myself some cool guns by ferrying some batteries back-and-forth. I had gotten everything I thought I needed to get done and headed for the exit waypoint, only for the exit prompt not to trigger.

It was at that point that I put the game down. Not necessarily sure whether or not I’ll go back to it. A huge reason why I have fallen heavily off the Souls train is their inability to pause, and the limitations of a “run-based” game don’t exactly harmonise with my life either. Simply put, if your game won’t let players pause, or doesn’t allow one to restart the game without significant loss of material progress, then your game might not be for adults.

Deathloop hasn’t endeared me to it in other ways. While the kinaesthetics of the game are delightful, they really are just a drag-and-drop from Dishonored. The thing about Dishonored is that all that mechanical freedom is part of the tension of a stealth game. You’re a coiled spring in those games, ready to release and destroy absolutely everything in a flurry of violence that you’ll immediately feel the consequences of. Deathloop struggles to strike the same balance and I’m not having enough fun with the gunplay OR the stealth when dealing with these braindead Eternalists.

As an ‘im-simp’ I feel like I should soldier on and retake some of that lost ground, but I wasn’t having a good enough time to justify my continued engagement with it. Dishonored 3/Prey 2(lol) when?

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I remember having a couple of significant crashes during my playthrough that really tested whether I’d actually finish it. It’s a fine line where any loss of progress is (theoretically) mitigated by the run based nature of the game, but between the threat of a Julianna interruption and straight up technical problems it started to wear on me, making me play it in a far more circumspect “get in, get out, get the job done” way. There were mysteries I didn’t uncover because it just didn’t seem worth banging my head against repeated failures (dragging batteries around is especially tiresome when you have to do it multiple times in a row).

All that said - I think I enjoyed it a lot more than some critics. I came to it late already knowing most had found it lesser than Dishonored or Prey and that there was some backlash around the ending. I actually dug the series of reveals leading up to and including the endgame (I’m curious what the update that was released simultaneously with the Xbox version does to expand it and whether I’d need to start over fresh to see it).

So I’d kinda say - push through, if you want to? There are worthwhile reasons to do so, related to both the plot and frankly some very cool art design (one thing in particular turned out to be designed by an artist moonlighting from Wolfenstein’s Machinegames and I love it). But I don’t want to oversell it, because I absolutely hear where your frustrations are coming from.

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I’ve been reflecting on Dark Souls 2 since finishing it, I wish I had written about it more regularly while playing as it would certainly have been easier to catch a lot of the stray thoughts after a session and better map my overall experience. I’m taking a small break from From for September but when I start up Bloodborne for Spooky Game Season in October I’ll try to do a better job of taking notes be it here or just in a Google doc. For now probably the easiest way to sum up my time with the game is to break it down in three parts. First,

As a Sequel to Dark Souls
there are narrative and thematic connections between the two games which I’ll go into, the most interesting tie between the two in the mechanical one. Dark Souls 2 is the Patches of video game sequels and it looooooves its nasty little tricks. Because its a From game and you’re presented with a lot of the same aesthetic signifiers throughout its easy to think you know how a system works, and enemy will act, and in general whats coming next, which makes the divergences all the more shocking and hilarious. Some of the changes are front loaded (QUICK TAKES on major system changes: Estus/healing - YAY, hollowing - YAY, leveling/soul level - NAY, invasions - annoying but YAY) while others you don’t encounter until you’re well settled in like dudes just fucking body slamming you when you try to backstab them YAY. My fav of these, and an example that speaks to how well this part of the game design was thought out, was running into my first hostile shade. What a brilliant way to completely recontextualize a part of From’s design that after a game and half had faded into the background a bit. What makes these divergences in design work its they are still effective within Dark Souls 2 as an isolated text and aren’t entirely reliant on knowledge of From or the first game. They also tie really nicely into the overall theme and narrative of the game which feel

Like a Dream
and trying to remember one in the moments after waking up. I’ve been drafting this for a few days weeks and am still finding new ways to phrase what this game is about, the best of which I have at the moment is this is a game about the interaction of power, time, and narrative on landscapes. Landscapes of nature, landscapes of cities and cultures, and landscapes of memory. Over the course of play we see how different powers exerted their own narrative over people and nature, how they all, eventually, gave into the flow of time, and how the traces of their influence fade at disparate rates, and then how new powers come to discover and write their own narratives about those traces. This cycle is endless, there is always something below where you stand, shaping what you see now. Its in the repetition of this cycle that the details begin to lose their potency, changing and morphing through time and framing until the grand cathedral becomes a decrepit hall. This, plus the lack of urgency in the PC quest is what led me to take what felt like the most radical ending option of just walking away from the cycle and the stories told about it. Finally to get a little bit more nuts and boltsy I think

The pacing of the game
largely worked to communicate this theme and kept me curious to move forward and discover more. The one lull I felt was after Drangleic castle where I just sort of lost the plot for a bit. I’m really curious if I missed some key interaction in the castle itself? Before the first boss fight I saw the queen sitting in the distance (who I guess is also one of the final bosses?), but I never encountered her again. Was there something else here that puts the following areas in slightly more context? The ambiguity around the end of the castle followed by the frustration of Shrine of Amana and switching to a teleportation focused style of exploration left me burnt out until the amazing DLCs and what felt like the real end of the game, the final fight and conversation with Vendrick. After that fight the actual last stretch of the game was pretty blah.

To close out I was curious why this game is so often mentioned as the ‘worst’ From game? True I think theres been a reevaluation of it post Elden Ring (which I’ve sometimes heard called DS2 2) but I still pretty commonly dismissed. What do y’all remember about this game and have your opinions changed at all?

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I think there were a couple of factors against DS2 when it came out. The big one was that Dark Souls 1 was such a towering presence that any deviation from its formula would be met with derision. A good example is the lack of interconnectivity in level design, which many took from DS1 to be a core tenet of souls. Another would be the hollowing of your life bar, which for many who did not play Demon’s would feel like a cruel new slap in the face. It’s also an all around more difficult game than DS1 in terms of the mechanical dexterity that it requires of the player. For many who came out of DS1 as the hardest gaming mountain they ever had to climb, this may have been a bridge too far.

Anyway, there are a million 2 hour+ long videos on Youtube with folks telling you all about how they hate DS2, and a million more about how it’s Good, Actually. The discourse never stops.

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I was also inspired by the Waypoint crew and tried Fortnite out for the first time yesterday. I played Zero Build mode with a friend and it was a surprising amount of fun!

I’m not an FPS player generally and haven’t touched an FPS at all since the early days of Overwatch. We still managed to get 3 victories. I’m assuming we were matched up against bots and other new players? Never thought I’d get a win in any kind of shooting game.

I enjoyed the exploration aspects of the game and the shenanigans that ensued when we forgot that the circle was closing in and suddenly had to book it across the map. Get in a car. Crash the car. Suddenly in a shoot out. Miraculously survive the shoot out. Run out of ammo. Panic and pickaxe a player to death. “Is that person doing a BTS dance?!” Laugh out loud.

Fortnite is good actually.

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There are two things that have stuck with me about Deathloop, but I’ll just focus on the one thing that it does that I haven’t experienced in other games; its unique cat-and-mouse take on PVP.

I’d say outright that it’s the defining feature of the game and what made it a special experience for me. It’s what made the bevy of system interactions all click into place.

It rewarded intimate knowledge of the intricately designed levels, from the static physical layouts to the dynamic differences that come with the time of day and whatever setup that was put into place from a previous level, such as the presence of certain Eternalists and Visionaries. For example, I enjoyed hacking the turrets and mines laid out by Egor for Colt in the Complex at night to turn the entire level into a death gauntlet for an invading Julianna.

I was more conscientious and experimental with my loadout. Specific slabs, weapons, and trinkets may be OP against the simple AI, but useless against a relatively unpredictable human player that is also wielding powerful gear, some might which directly counter what you have. If you’re playing as Colt, you also have the added challenge of knowing how to balance your loadout in such a way that lets you accomplish your PVE goals while dealing with, if not outright beating, a human opponent. It was particularly thrilling to use Aether, the invisibility slab, with the Ghost and Flicker upgrades that keep you invisible forever as long as you’re standing still and attacking only makes you shimmer for a second, in combination with the game’s one sniper rifle to hunker down and try to spot Colt without getting spotted whenever I’d invade as Julianna along the many rooftops of Updaam.

It made death real again. From the anxiety of losing progress as Colt to the pressure of only getting one shot as Julianna, the fear of dying made it so that tension ramped up considerably during an invasion. That tension was always powerful enough to keep me going through multiple half-hour-long invasions! Not to mention the mechanical considerations to be made, as Colt has three lives compared to Julianna’s one, which fed into my strategic and tactical decision-making. Bum-rushing is much more of a viable method for Colt when you’ve got lives to spare, whereas you’d have to be more measured as Julianna while accounting for Colt’s respawn locations and paths to his loot-filled corpse.

It reinforced Colt and Julianna’s strange relationship. The AI-controlled Julianna makes Julianna look as bad as the rest of Blackreef’s hapless residents that you can effortlessly toy with and run over. In turn, it renders a lot of the expertly delivered banter between her and Colt hollow, or at least so far removed from what actually happens in-game where she falls far short of what the narrative is selling her as.

Player-controlled Julianna, however, is that conniving, calculating, and chaotic wild card that has been killing Colt over and over for what seems like an eternity. I distinctly remember getting completely rag-dolled and riddled with bullets by a Karnesis expert Julianna on the final day, in a way that was reminiscent of cutscene Julianna making her appearance on the first day.

As Julianna, I came to witness how crafty and tenacious, and on the flip side, how timid and predictable Colt can be. There were Colts that were basically Solid Snake and finished their missions without me ever seeing them or snuck up silently behind me to impale me with a machete, Colts that got into ill-advised gunfights with me and a bunch of Eternalists, and Colts that carelessly tripped over mines I’ve strewn about objectives and health stations.

I understand why players don’t want to engage with the PVP in Deathloop, much like how the vast majority of Souls players don’t want to engage with player invasions. They want a single-player experience where they are in full control of how they engage with the game, which is largely disrupted by the presence of an uncontrollable second party that can be too stressful to handle or result in a lop-sided encounter that doesn’t feel fair or fun. I felt that way sometimes in Deathloop, and in a way I’m glad that invasions are opt-in with a toggle you can set in the options, as I’ve made use of it myself for sessions where I just wanted to accomplish specific objectives without additional pressure.

However, I do think it’s a bit of a shame that there’s probably a good chunk of people who were looking for a systems-driven, improvisational immersive sim experience in Deathloop but missed out on it by immediately opting out of player invasions, and instead only played through a way too hand-holdy and linear first-person shooter with little to no challenge or incentive to experiment.

I’ll eventually go back to it sometime in the future when I’ve mostly forgotten the solutions, and I’ll do the thing that some people recommend where you turn off all the objective markers and leads, so I can figure out things on my own and maybe have a better time with the “break the loop” portion of the game. The other thing that stuck with me is discovering all its strange secrets, which the game thankfully doesn’t hold your hand with. But I’m pre-emptively mourning the inevitability of the playerbase thinning out by then that invasions will be effectively gone.

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So, about 50% of the way through Return to Monkey Island (playing on hard remember), and… most of the puzzles have been incredibly straightforward (to the extent that we’ve solved 3 puzzles essentially before we knew there were puzzles to solve), and the ones that haven’t have mostly been because we didn’t talk to everyone at some point or other.
Some of this is due to the incredibly simplified verb system - in that there’s not really a verb system at all, just “combine this item from my inventory with [some other item either in my inventory or in the world]” - which both makes easy puzzles easier, and makes “harder” puzzles just an annoying “guess which verb Guybrush will use when you put these two things together” game.
The rest seems to be a genuine case of not wanting to make people bounce off the game due to frustration, which seems to be missing the point of the whole genre…

(There’s also, plot-wise, still a huge amount of self-referentialism - most of which isn’t really very transformative.)

So, I’m really in two minds about the game at the moment, to be honest.

I think something also worth pointing out about the PVP in Deathloop is that you can limit to friends. This is definitely going to become a game that when I hear a friend is going to give it a try that I’ll just be watching their status and then sneak in and try and get into their match.

The one caveat to the PVP I will say is I have gotten some people who are clearly on a less then stable connection and that REALLY sucks when you know you got the drop on someone and then they just lag around a corner.


Gundam Evolution is really fun! I think they have managed to make a very competent team based character shooter that is a lot of fun. If you are wanting an Overwatch alternative definitely give it a shot.

I am worried about character unlocking though. The prices on unlocking a character seem quite highly both in terms of grinding or outright buying. Characters are about $10 each or if you buy the pack you can get all 5 plus some skins for $41, which is kind of a lot but I get they need you to pay for something. On the bright side you get 12 for free and they don’t feel like they put the strongest mechs behind a paywall (although melee Zakue II seems very strong).

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Watching Natalie and Rob play System Shock last night made me want to play it, but I’m holding out for Nightdive’s remake (if it turns out to be bad I guess I’ll go back to the remaster but that’s a future problem). But they also namedropped BioShock and I remembered that whole remastered collection has been sitting in my PS+ library.

Up front: I don’t have fond memories of the original game. I’ve long bristled at the way it’s treated as a classic in most quarters. Some of my negative reaction was down to the political/philosophical swings it was taking being so heavy-handed it didn’t sway me even as an undergrad; some of it was not entirely the game’s fault, because when it came out I was dealing with the death of a family member and I wanted a game to escape into, and BioShock wasn’t it.

I’m not sure I ever revisited the original. I did play 2 and Infinite, and I know there’s a dark horse theory that the best thing in the series is the Minerva’s Den DLC for 2, but much of it blends together for me thinking back on it now. I don’t know whether I’ll play through them all or even finish BioShock itself: I’m immediately struck by the bizarre control choices that cannot be edited even in the remaster, from odd button mapping to frustrating things like being unable to top up your plasmid power manually; you have to fire off some plasmids and let the game use a syringe automatically.

So the controls immediately made a poor impression, and the narrative made me groan right away, but I guess I do have to praise the aesthetics of Rapture. They were always delightful and no less so now. There’s also just something - even at this lightest of lightweight end of the immersive sim spectrum - about poking around environments, hacking machinery, finding hidden stuff. If nothing else, that might keep me going, even though I’d maybe be better served replaying Dishonored or checking out the new stuff in the Deathloop update.

But oh boy! There are some things a younger me either didn’t notice or forgot. My eyebrows were all the way up reacting to an early recording by Tenenbaum, a concentration camp survivor, explaining how she corrected a Nazi scientist because, paraphrasing, “if he was going to do medical experiments on the inmates he should do them properly”. Or a recording of Steinman, a cosmetic surgeon who the game depicts as going too far in his obsession with aesthetics and beauty to the extent he wants to be ‘Picasso with a scalpel’, complaining that the ethics of the surface world held him back from changing people’s “looks… sex… race”, casually lumping gender reassignment in with his ‘unethical’ procedures. It makes me wonder what other misguided nuggets I’m going to find if I keep playing.

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Not for nothing, but the game takes place in the 50s and 60s in a place run by assholes. It’s been a minute since I played Bioshock, but from what I remember those things you mention were not tacit endorsements by the game, but rather assholes saying and doing asshole things.

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I hear what you’re saying, and I don’t read these as endorsements of any particular position, but I find them representative of a carelessness or ugliness to the whole game’s approach: I don’t think the writer who had Tenenbaum helping Nazi scientists intended to endorse ‘science at any cost’, that’s clearly something they’re putting on the character. But putting that on a Jewish holocaust survivor is incredibly gross and is not paid off with nuance or other qualities that make me go “oh yes, that was a fascinating narrative choice they made, an interesting moral dilemma they made me confront”. It just sucks, and I’m not sure they knew how much it sucked.

Or in the case of Steinman, my problem is not his surgical obsession, it’s that the way the game frames it to the player suggests that there is a slippery slope from, quote unquote, “normal” cosmetic surgery to “other” things that are beyond the pale. When a character like Steinman talks about “phony ethics” the player is meant to think that ethics are good, actually. Again, I don’t imagine the writer was particularly thinking “gender reassignment is bad” when they wrote his line - but I do imagine they were thinking “what can I insert into his dialogue that sounds increasingly shocking” without considering the implications.

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outside of that way-too-long deathloop post, haven’t really been posting much on here lately but hey i’m here now and have just very recently finished two 2022 games, two more since completely obsessing over elden ring for the first half of the year, so why not talk a little about two other good 2022 games


OlliOlli World is the 2D Sonic game I never knew I wanted. It’s fast, it’s colorful, it’s got cool jams, it’s got cute and chic fits, it’s got a whole bunch of clever and challenging levels with a lot of reasons to replay them, and it gets me into that good, good flow state so so smoothly in a way that all the Sonic games I’ve played only make me wish they could.

this is maybe the most difficult thing i’ve accomplished in gaming all year, and i beat malenia solo with no spirit ashes and a couple of daggers!!!

The only thing that holds it back for me is that the last couple of areas demand such a mastery of maintaining momentum that I don’t think the game actually teaches you how to accomplish. I figured that you have to trick off of ramps and grinds at the right moment, but I could just never get the timing down consistently with the increasingly tight and complex layouts. I did just about every challenge and beat every high score in the first three areas, but I hit my limit with the default high scores in the fourth area, and the fifth area’s high scores were basically impossible for me. I couldn’t ever reliably maintain the necessary speed to clear the difficult jumps in those levels to keep your combo going, which you basically have to clear in one single combo if you want to get even a whiff of those levels’ high scores.

Still had a real good time with it! I also just adore the combination of the bubblegum cartoon Adventure Time aesthetic with the perfectly curated licensed chill-hop/jazztronica soundtrack for the ~vibes~ that made it easier for me to retry runs for hours. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants an arcade-style runner/platformer disguised as a skating game.

And just because I love the soundtrack, I’ll just drop some of my favorites that are now just part of my playlists.


NORCO is bizarre and beautiful. I was actually taken aback at how its final sequences shook me, almost to the point of tears. I have such a weakness for stories about families and the distance we put between ourselves and family for all sorts of reasons, intentionally or not. The game’s layering of religion on top of that core conflict, swinging wildly from its maximally absurd and blasphemous grotesque representation to a light touch with how the more grounded characters treat it, made it all hit a little harder for me, a lapsed Christian from a deeply religious Christian family.

Don’t have it in me to unpack those themes or the other heavy topics the game tackles that are very much about that specific space in New Orleans, but they certainly made me feel some type of way! The off-beat humor also certainly made it all go down a little smoother, which its disarming presence reminds me why I was also so taken by Disco Elysium.

It also deserves a lot of praise for its music. The synth soundtrack is brooding, melancholic, sinister, and at times surprisingly chipper, setting the mood perfectly for every scene. It does so much to elevate the storytelling, and I hope more people appreciate it as being just as important as the striking pixel art and excellent writing.

Here are some standout tracks:

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I feel like a broken record here saying Dragon’s Dogma is great, but just in case anyone isn’t totally convinced… Dragon’s Dogma is great except maybe actually playing through the Everfall and Bitterblack Isle, those spaces tend to drag and feel less exciting than the rest of the game.
This is one of the few games I’ve ever played that really convinced me I was in a mountainous area that seemed real (up near bartan crag and the great wall). Most “open world” games shrink the scale of everything to fit the “you can go everywhere” game play, but the mountains in Dragon’s Dogma do feel immense and properly insurmountable.

Other than that I’ve just been playing Civ 6 for the first time and despite it really being just more Civ, I really enjoy it and the changes its made. Districts are a great move and the game looks amazing as you and in these neighborhoods and other types. Just won a science victory and the end game is still kind of a drag. I feel like 4x games like this need to rethink their victory conditions or even just how you end a game. Maybe something like the board game Tigris and Euphrates where your lowest score among the victory points is the one used to determine victory once an end game condition is met… who knows, but there needs to be something to push a more varied style in game play instead of rushing for your one chosen victory condition.

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Finally got around to checking out that new Hitman 3 map, Ambrose Island. As expected, it’s another finely crafted clockwork level from the geniuses at IO that’s sprinkled with silly sequences and multiple methods of murder.

I vaguely remember some criticism about it clearly being a “DLC map” for not having explicit Mission Stories where the game more directly guides you through a linear sequence of steps that result in a dramatic finish, but I dunno, I’ve triggered a couple of events with fairly involved interactions leading to fun assassination opportunities. Maybe they lack the more cinematic framing of the Mission Story assassinations of the base levels, but they still have complex setups, unique NPC dialogue and interactions, and satisfying payoffs.

I’ve only played through it twice, and like with every other Hitman trilogy map, I’m looking forward to completing all the challenges and discovering more of Ambrose Island.

also, this was all an excuse for me to drop this link to a fantastic essay on NORCO that talks about how technology shapes people’s perception of reality. there are unmarked spoilers for the end of the game fyi:

https://lotusrootrecords.neocities.org/posts/2022-09-15-notes-on-norco.html

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Been picking away at Zachtronic’s Infinifactory for a couple of weeks. I’ve reached all the stages. I have no idea what I’m doing - How the hell can I weld this??? - Wait I know how to reuse this element - Wait what?

Frustration and fun is truly intermixed. Story is a lot more dry than, say, Shenzen IO but the game seems a bit easier to pick up once you get into it.

And when after a lot of trial and error you get this score screen you feel like a master. Nothing beats that feeling.

Good game imo.

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I finished Deathloop and I while I enjoyed the game overall I do not think I like any of the endings presented. I also understand they added an additional cut scene to one of the endings and I think it’s a really bad cut scene in both quality and what it adds and almost feels like a joke?

It feels like they had a really cool idea overall but had no idea how to really end it.

Just random thoughts while they’re on the mind:

  • The gun quality system is not needed at all. I think even if I didn’t end up with a very good gun at the start you spend almost no time with grey and blue quality weapons before you have all purples and legendary.

  • Gun jamming was a mechanic I think I experienced twice because as said you get high quality guns that can never jam very fast. I also think gun jamming is a terrible mechanic in general.

  • Overall I think a lot of the guns and the random perks are meh? The only one they kind of matter against is a enemy Juliana as all other enemies die in about 2 or 3 hits.

  • The quality system for the trinkets works well but it also feels like maybe they need an additional mechanic like making them expendable and craftable so you are encouraged to play around more instead of finding THE trinkets that work for you and never changing.

  • The Visionary who throws a masquerade party and you have to try and figure out which one he is while a neat idea does not execute well as the easiest solution becomes “kill everyone” because the AI does not fight back well and you can jump around on the rooftops and setup turrets.

  • Abilities shouldn’t have been locked to just Visionaries. I get why it was done for story purposes but I think if more of the AI enemies had cool abilities it would have made for more interesting combat. Teleporting for example would be a great reason to not break stealth.

  • Teleport is so strong that it feels like a necessary take. Once I got it I never unequipped it.

  • Grenades became an after thought quickly. Nothing ever really seems to increase their strength or make them more interesting. There’s some trinkets for turning them into heal grenades or to mark enemies but why would you waste a slot on that when you can mark them on your own and there’s a large abundance of health items. They’re a more interesting thing for Juliana to play with IMO

  • I wish there was a coop invasion with other Colts

  • As Juliana it feels like you should have some kind ability or something on the map you can interact with to reveal Colts location temporarily to prevent them from hiding for 30 minutes.

Dropped Deathloop like a hot rock after my progress-ending exit bug. Not for me. Not my scene. It’s really unfortunate that Arkane made Prey and then decided that after making their first truly excellent im-sim it was time to make two roguelikes and a live-service Wolfenstein.

Instead, it’s Control time baby. Playing through the rest of the Alan Wake DLC got me itching for the games where Remedy cut loose. The opening hour of that game is Bioshock-levels of confidence. Ever encounter a piece of art that knows it’s a classic? Control is a class-act precisely because even though the game is clearly made on a shoestring compared to both Alan Wake and Quantum Break, it’s bolder and riskier in its presentation. Every time you see that blue Trench silhouette I’m clapping like a seal. Every time the iridescent shimmer of Hiss smoke fills the room I am hooting and I am hollering.

Also this game starts with a Stephen King reference that DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE IN ANY CONTEXT. hats off Sam Lake some absolute king shit right there. Way to make a game that’s a TV show, have everyone hate the TV part, and then make a modern classic with dumber, cheaper FMV. That’s commitment to the bit.

The Ultimate Edition has the DLC which I never played, and also a bunch of QoL changes that I’m not sure were in the original like the ability to apply damage modifiers so make the game a bit easier while preserving the adaptive difficulty. I like that because the final run of this game slapped me down to the point where I have up on seeing the finale. It’s nice to know I can turn on one-shot kills at any moment.

I feel like some people were posting about The Foundation and AWE in that thread. We’re those good? I know people were disappointed with them initially but how much of that was because Remedy didn’t plan for the game to be a smash hit?

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