New DLC came out for Dragonball Xenoverse 2 so I’m back on my bullshit.
That game is the game that keeps on giving. They should probably make a third one.
New DLC came out for Dragonball Xenoverse 2 so I’m back on my bullshit.
I feel like this is somehow “cheating”, since it’s a translation of the CCG, but I’ve been basically only playing Magic The Gathering: Arena (open beta), recently. I never really got into MTG itself, mostly due to not having the funds to actually get enough useful cards, and not knowing enough people who actually wanted to play it and had the time/organisation to meet up actually do that. At least for the moment, though, MTG:A’s freemium model is pretty reasonable at the free end (you get “coins” for various “quests” - like play this many cards of this type - per day, at a rate which lets you pretty reliably get a pack of extra cards a day if you’re trying), and whilst the matchmaking isn’t great, I’m not particularly bothered about “building my ranking”, so I’m happy to just play magic against people. (Plus, each game lasts usually less than 15 minutes, often less than 10, so they’re not a big timesink, and I can do other stuff between and around playing, which is really important to me.)
It’s not cheating at all. I spent a good month this summer playing nothing but Magic Arena and not regretting it. It’s a great recreation of the physical game, and finally being able to draft without dealing with the maladjusted teens at my local card shop has been a blessing.
Red dead redemption 2 + red dead online. (Hi BTW, I mean new).
I’m currently playing through the campaign of Parkitect now that it’s out of early access. The Roller Coaster Tycoon series has always been a favourite of mine, and this scratches a very similar itch. The main difference so far is in having to connect the shops to a larger warehouse to supply goods. I don’t love this change, but I understand the idea behind it, and the basic process of building / managing a park is just as fun as I’d hoped it would be.
CURRENT DEVIL MAY CRY THOUGHTS
DMC 1 - Holds up better than I expected, but still very messy in a lot of areas, notably more bullshit contained than average DMC game (and that includes those angel looking fuckers in 3). Just like with Bayonetta, the best in the series came after Kamiya made the foundation and left.
DMC 2 - I have to make a correction. That boss fight against the giant monkey in the train station did not require I hit his head and the game didn’t glitch, the transparency of the very dark red they used for the last health bar is just incredibly hard to read, especially if you have mild color blindness. It took me hours before I realized the enemies did not have bugged and empty health bars, I just literally could not see the health indicator. Though falling through the world and seeing the RED EYE was still a real bug. Genuinely one of the worst games I have ever played, the Infested Chopper fight should go in the hall of the worst boss battles ever designed. Only two good boss battles in a game jam packed with boss fights. Lucia controls better but the poor design of the game still prevents her campaign from being any good (plus a ton of it is just recycled from Dante’s).
DMC 3 - Still quite possibly the greatest action game ever made. Also, I learned how to use Nevan and that weapon is fuckin’ ridiculous. It is a style machine if you know what you’re doing (and have swordmaster maxed, of course).
DMC 4 - Finished it today and tried both the Vergil and Lady/Trish campaigns. It is a step down from 4 overall, especially in Dante’s sections where he encounters enemies designed to be really fun to fight with Nero. They are…less so with Dante (though the thunder guy, Blitz, was pretty awesome). It’s still really good, though, and probably the most mechanically in depth of the whole series. It just needed more content for those mechanics, and a lot of narrative fleshing out, mainly with Nero’s back story and maybe a better villain for the final battle than Sanctus, who is easily the lamest bad guy in the whole franchise.
DmC - Just got past the slurm factory (come on, we all know that’s what it is) and got the dumb hulk hands. I’m liking this one a lot more than I thought I would, and I came in fairly optimistic. It’s a really well designed action game, especially now that I’m getting used to the control changes here, like angel and demon modes, not to mention the learning curve of using R1 to dodge. I greatly enjoy that Dante is just the biggest dumb-ass in this game, even if Vergil’s portrayal is pretty lame (though I like the trilby). Also suggest playing on the hard difficulty if you’re used to the other DMC games, it feels like an authentic experience.
I should point out I’m playing the PC version, which does not have the recent re-release tweaks, so there’s no lock on and other such stuff. I don’t mind at all, honestly. It controls just fine without lock-on. That said, I do utterly despise the colored enemy system, because it limits what moves you can do greatly, and you can get randomly no-sale’d when you’re trying to combo an enemy of another color. So glad the re-release fixed this, go try that version instead (even if it lacks Vergil’s stylish trilby).
My current rankings…
DMC 3 > DMC 4 > DmC > DMC 1 >>>>>> A burning pile of garbage >>>>>>> Elon Musk >>>>> DMC 2
I was really excited to try Asphalt 9. For those who don’t know what that is, you may remember a Nintendo DS game called “Asphalt Urban GT.” It was by Gameloft, and after the DS, it ended up on mobile. It touched base a few times – there was an Asphalt game on the PSP, one on the 3DS, etc. But it mainly flourished on iOS and Android.
With the advent of Windows 10 and “Universal Windows Platform” software, Asphalt 8 could run on a PC. There, it was tons of fun! Ubisoft/Gameloft really leaned in to it working on a PC and gave it proper controller support and everything. You could still have all the simplified touch-focused control stuff if you wanted, but you could turn it all off and had a fantastic free-to-play arcade-style racing game with full controller support. I loved it.
So I heard Asphalt 9 was coming and got really excited. Asphalt 8 got kind of grindy (as most f2p games do), so the chance to start a new game and get another solid two hours out of it for free was an interesting prospect, and the trailer made it look like the game had a significant visual upgrade (A8 is, at this point, about four or five years old).
Unfortunately… Asphalt 9 is not so ready to drop its mobile game roots. When the game first booted up it defaulted to a new control scheme that took ALL direct control away from me. No gas, no brake, not even any steering. You watch the game play itself, tap a button to start a boost, and get a QTE every now and then to pick either the left lane or the right lane. Even by the standards of a mobile game, it felt kind of insulting.
But Asphalt 8 let you turn all of the mobile control stuff off so you had the accelerator on the right trigger, brake/drift on the left trigger, a boost button, steering on the analog stick, etc. right? You could play it like a console game. And sure enough, Asphalt 9 has a “manual steering mode”…
…but the only manual part is the steering. You still don’t get to control your gas pedal. You get analog steering, a drift button and a boost button and that’s all. You can’t ever slow down. You’re always driving at the speed the game wants you to.
Maybe I could get with that. I like Sonic Riders, after all, and that game doesn’t have an accelerator, just boost and drift buttons. Except that the other way Asphalt 9 pushes back in to feeling like a mobile game is how long a given race is. In A8, you have full length, multi-lap races. A single race could take upwards of 3-5 minutes.
In Asphalt 9, of the three race events I tried, each one was between 30-45 seconds long. No laps, just… you turn left, you turn right, you turn right, you turn left, the race ends. Period.
And… man. What a bummer. I guess I can kind of understand why, but… just… there weren’t, and still aren’t, many games like Asphalt 8 out there. Pure arcade racing games, I mean. It was both the closest thing to a new Burnout and a new San Francisco Rush in more than a decade. Asphalt 9 could have been something truly special!
And it’s just… a mobile game. Unashamedly so.
Here’s a tweet of mine containing Asphalt 8 gameplay footage when I complained about this in a twitter thread. Here’s Asphalt 9 in video form, from the same thread.
I just finished playing Timespinner yesterday and y’all that game is really great. I feel like it’s gotten a little looked over because of the sheer number of indie platformers and metroidvanias over the past year or so.
I’m not usually super into platformers or metroidvanias, I’ll try them out for a few hours and then just never get around to finishing it but Timespinner had me hooked in a way that so few games get me. The movement feels great, the way the combat works with the melee orb system is really cool, the art is good, and the music is wonderful.
Probably the most important thing I want to bring up, though, is just how fantastic all the queer representation in it is. Gay characters, bi characters, trans characters, poly characters. And they’re all really well written. There’s a scene you get when you finish all the sidequests in the game and it’s such a wonderful, heart-warming moment.
I beat my first B side in Celeste! I dunno how many i’m gonna beat, but i’m pretty proud of myself.
I’m also meandering along in both Breath of the Wild and Hitman 2. I beat the last Divine Beast, so i’m just polishing up as many of the more extensive side quests/memories/shrines that i want, before messing with Hyrule Castle. And in Hitman, i just did my first run through of the Columbia level, and i enjoyed it, even though Miami was defintily the better level.
I’ve been playing Dusk and loving it. It’s a classic, fast-paced DOOM or Quake-style first-person shooter, but with a heavy emphasis on horror and atmosphere more in line with recent indie horror games. It has a modern control scheme and modern customization options, but it’s really scratching my itch for this style of weird classic shooter. It also has an awesome soundtrack by a composer who has done a lot of recent work in this style of shooter. Each chapter is weirder than the last, and it really builds well in terms of weapon and enemy types.
Ive been getting into the Souls games for the first time this year, and last night I beat Dark Souls 2 on PS4. Not nearly as bad as everyone claims, still enjoyed it for sure, but the sheer amount of mobs I had to fight all at once was pretty annoying.
So far I’ve done Bloodborne, DS1, then now DS2. Can’t decide if I want to go to DS3 next, or try out Nioh in anticipation for Sekiro next March! Either way, for whatever reason I’m saving Demon’s Souls for last.
After complaining long and loudly about difficulty in games … I’ve started playing CrossCode.
Well, more accurately, I played the demo of CrossCode, thought “well, this isn’t that hard”, bought the game, and quickly realized the demo doesn’t reflect the difficulty at all. More specifically, it doesn’t reflect the steep and arbitrary difficulty spikes that show up without warning as you progress, symbolized by the addition of a one hit death maze at what was the end of the demo. (Guess we know why they left that out!) This is a game where you can cross 2 or 3 screens, and watch the enemies jump up in difficulty 5-8 levels. (That assumes that you even know how to see enemy levels at all … which is a function that doesn’t have a tutorial, and which I stumbled on by accident.)
Once I (sort of?) figured out what the game wanted from me (farm tons of RNG shit for equipment, defeat enemy mobs as quickly as possible to get more XP, maybe? It’s not clear???), the process of leveling up got a lot smoother. But that sense that the game has no sense of pacing at all, that it will just let you walk into major areas underleveled and get crushed at the end … that hasn’t gone away. I guess if the point is to simulate needing to read a Wiki to know ahead of time what equipment and level you need to beat an area boss in an MMO … mission successful? But also, that’s not how I want to play a single-player game with heavy story elements that can be easily spoiled.
I’m torn between loving how the game movement feels and the sense of exploration in the levels, and hating everything about its pacing.
Katamari Damacy Rerolled
It’s fantastic. Of course it is though, it’s motherfucking KATAMARI DAMACY. There’s not much I can contribute to the discussion of the game, beyond echoing everyone else saying it’s one of the greatest things ever. Top 5 ps2 game, easily, and now I can take it wherever I want. Stop reading this, go play it. NOW.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Atm, I’m just trying to unlock all the characters before a family Christmas dinner. It’s a pain, but I think I love this game? Idk, I’ve always had a positive relationship with Smash, but I think this is the first one I kinda want to take seriously?
Apart from that… I’ve been continuing my trip through the Red Dead series. I finished Red Dead Redemption last night and, man, this was a tough one. Ya’ll know, I’m the really vocal RDR2 fan on this forum, but going back to the previous game, with the benefit of age was, well, pretty fucking difficult.
It still looks amazing, I actually got a UHD tv yesterday so the finale looked crisp, the music was great, Far Away still slaps and with the exception of a few singular games, I think Rockstar are the kings of making worlds that are just cool to “inhabit”.
Buuuuuuuuuuuuut… I think roughly 75% of that story was trash. The first two chapters of the game, which take place in New Austin and Nuevo Paraiso and make up the majority of the length, sees John Marston, an asshole who is virtually unrecognizable if you played RDR2 first, surrounded by annoying, occasionally offensive, caricatures who just exist to hit you over the head with a point. Marston will smugly quip about how dumb they all are, with a few exceptions like Bonnie and Landon Ricketts, while continually doing every shitty they tell him to do. These “characters” run the gamut of libertarian cops, eugenicist revolutionaries, puerile homophobic trash, snake oil salesmen who exploit the poor and grave robbers, none of which are substantively challenged in any way because the only coherent throughline for most of the narrative is this extremely dated “don’t tread on me” bullshit. “Modernity and progress are bad” felt like the only thing this game wanted to say FOR THIRTY HOURS.
sigh It’s not until the game reaches West Elizabeth that the nugget of a compelling narrative starts to reveal itself. The greater focus on John’s personal journey to try and leave the past behind, the contrasting ideals between him and Ross, pretty much everything with Dutch, it all starts to improve. There’s still shit like MacDougal (Even as a teen, I think I knew his and Nastas’ arc was garbo), but it’s better. Instead of being a story about how “the frontier is dying, isn’t that sad”, it becomes a grim, existential, tale about the futility of trying to pretend the past can be erased. Does John Marston have the right to move on from the things he’s done in pursuit of his “Eden”? Does America? When I rode back home to my ranch to finally be reunited with my family, I thought about what I had just done as Marston. I strolled up to Dutch’s hideout, with the army and the feds in tow and slaughtered every single gang member there, mostly by gatling gun, the majority of which were native american. I thought: “What the hell just happened? I committed an act of genocide and now I get to just go home? Like nothing happened?”
And it turns out, despite your best efforts, no, you don’t. In this game, an inability to reckon with your past will get you fucking dead and because of John’s failure, his son will inherit his legacy. Jack Marston shot Edgar Ross, who, funnily enough, has been hounded by the bureau after his retirement, 15 times and while it felt good to put down that horrid man, I didn’t accomplish anything. I’m just another sad, angry, young man with a death wish and I’ll probably be killed by someone who cared for Ross. Crazy, and manipulative, and foolish as Dutch was, he was right about not being able to simply move on. I’m honestly getting depressed just typing it out and I know I’m rambling so I’ll cut the rest short.
The stuff on the Marston ranch is great, with the exception of Uncle who got significantly less charming in the intervening four years. The relationship between John and Abigail is really heartfelt and cute and the missions with Jack are still probably one of the best “bad dad tries to be a not bad dad” stories in games. If nothing else, it at least tells nu-GoW’s story in a fraction of the time.
Anyway, blah blah blah, RDR1 has some stuff going on, but you have to wade through a ton of trash to get to it and I wouldn’t blame anyone for deeming it not worth the effort.
And all the stranger missions were dreadful.
I just beat CrossCode a few days ago, let me know if you want any non-spoilery tips.
This game’s equipment is split in two: for the good stuff you need to farm drops (or get it from certain quests or secrets), but there’s good-enough stuff available for plain cash in a shop in every town. I’m pretty sure the cash gear is viable to beat the game, if you want to skip farming completely. Also, side quests near your level usually pay substantial amounts of experience. It’s almost always better to do quests than grind overworld mobs. I spent most of the game running right past mobs, and I was only slightly underleveled for each new area because I was keeping up with quests.
The rank system is a cool grind alleviator (it increases both XP and drop quality), but it’s not about how fast you kill enemies. You increase your rank by killing mobs, and you keep your rank until you leave combat mode. So if you can run from fight to fight without dying or letting the timer expire between fights, you can get rare drops a lot faster. I never really found it that useful until late-game when I had health regen and wanted fancy gear for the final stretch.
And if you ever just get sick of the combat and want to run through the story, the devs recently patched in a Celeste-style assist option that lets you turn down the damage enemies do or how often they attack.
This is definitely not the case for the very beginning of the game, where you get maybe a couple of lvl 6 quests … and a pile of quests that are like lvl 12 or 15 or higher (I forget the exact number – the point is you arrive there at level 3, so …) The cash gear in Harbor Town is mediocre to bad, and I wasn’t really able to make decent headway until I stopped fighting mobs and started seriously farming for better equipment. As far as I can tell, there isn’t any decent cash gear until you hit Bergen.
If going by the levels of the mobs are any indicator, the game wants you to level up and do it fast. The enemies hit level 17 before you even get to the first proper town after the starting Harbor, which is just bizarre to me, and maybe speaks to a pacing issue?
I know this, but didn’t communicate it precisely enough. I don’t recall the game emphasizing or even mentioning the XP boost, it just says that you can rank up if you want better drops. (Not being able to review tutorial tips doesn’t help.) I had to read forum threads to find out about the XP thing, and because of the frantic nature of fighting mobs (and the fact that it doesn’t give you a summary of XP, gold, etc. when you time out of rank), I pretty much had to guess by “feel” whether or not it was actually helping.
I don’t want to sound 100% negative about this. Now that I know how the general grind works, dealing with those mechanics is a lot easier. The issue is that getting to that point is a lot rougher than it should be, and since the devs seem to love untelegraphed difficulty spikes, I have my doubts about how the rest of the experience is going to go. (I haven’t touched the difficulty sliders yet; I at least want to see how bad the first dungeon is before I think about it.)
Right, I don’t want to defend it completely either. The first parts of CrossCode throw a ton of info at the player all at once, and it definitely felt like a steep hill up to the first major dungeon, which was where I really started to feel comfortable with how the game plays.
Some intermediate quests between Rookie Harbor’s lower-level and higher-level quests can be found in Autumn’s Rise. Unfortunately there’s no quest board so you need to find the quest-givers yourself.
To nobody’s bigger surprise than my own, I played quite a lot of Fallout 76 over the weekend.
The occasion was that the drummer/audio engineer of my wife and I’s band got an Xbox One X and so we were all able to play together for the first time, and he’s way into Bethesda Fallout, and so we all hopped in together, along with a gal and guy he knows and a super-high-level, very energetic rando she met.
This was my first time playing the game with human beings I know - I’d spent the barest amount of time in it solo before - and the experience was…interesting.
I definitely had fun, but I’m 90% sure the reason was solely because of the crowd I was with rather than anything super inherent to the game. We pretty much ignored any actual story/quest stuff, so that definitely wasn’t what it was. Mainly, the gal and the rando were much higher-leveled than the rest of us and were off battling super creatures at a nuke site, so a lot of time was spent trying to see how the rest of us could survive long enough to get some of that sweet sweet experience from her and him killing the Totally Not A Skyrim Dragon in the nuke zone. The rest of us survived mainly ten to twenty seconds at most, even with our hazmat suits that we found when we went off and explored a power plant.
At one point, my game bugged out when I died, and I got trapped in an ouroboros of Bethesda Bugs. The game wouldn’t let me respawn at my camp, or the vault, or anything except right smack dab in the middle of the nuke zone, full of creatures dozens of levels higher than myself and ridiculous amounts of radiation. So I’d spawn…but there were a few seconds where the game loaded me in before loading in my hazmat suit, so I’d respawn, die instantly of radiation poisoning, and respawn again right in the nuke zone, repeating the cycle all over again. This went on six times, even across me killing the game and relaunching it. The only solution was for me to quit the team with my wife and our drummer, join the super-high-level rando’s team, and depend on him to protect me long enough to get out of the zone. He equipped a perk card that shared his super-radiation-resistance with his team, and I spawned into the nuke zone one more time and didn’t instantly die. So the next short bit was me pointing at the nearest edge of the nuke zone and starting off running as fast as I could, dodging absurdly powerful radiation monsters and three Not Skyrim Dragons overhead, while this extremely leveled-up rando in power armor ran alongside me slaughtering creatures left and right while yelling over the voice chat “Don’t look back! Just run! Keep running! We gonna get you out!”
When we all successfully survived and they completed the nuke event, we went back to the rando’s camp, which was no joke extremely cool - an elaborate, multi-leveled treehouse he’d built in a genuinely gorgeous, moody swamp environment in the northeastern corner of the map. Like, I was actually surprised by how beautiful this setting was.
It was genuinely entertaining, though not from much actual intent on the part of Bethesda’s designers, I guess. In quieter moments, when my wife and our drummer actually did a quest, I was struck by how weird the quest design is for a multiplayer game - we were all doing the same quest at the same time and all on the same steps, but, like…you’re really all just doing the quest individually, rather than as a group. I had to collect blood samples from three mutated animals…and so did they. Then we took them back to a lab. I had to load the samples into a centrifuge and analyze them…and then they did, one at a time. It basically just tripled the amount of busywork we had to do as a group - the game didn’t give our team credit for the quest as a group, just as three people by themselves. The other two of us just had to stand there waiting our turns to load our blood samples into the centrifuge and analyze them. I couldn’t help thinking “uh, shouldn’t this just be a shared goal the three of us work toward, rather than the same goal the team has to do three times?” It felt less like a group accomplishment and more like three individuals just happening to be doing the same individually-instanced quest in proximity with each other. It’s friggin weird, to be honest.
Meanwhile, I did pick up Hitman 2 during a sale and I’m itching to dive in. And on the Switch, I am going to be playing Gris soon and very excited for that.
Like a trash child, I have returned to Dad of War and still find that game super enjoyable. Throwing that ax is real good. And I still like the story, even if it kinda ends in a wet fart of a last battle I totally wasn’t into.
Finished Undead Nightmare.
I liked the ambient music, it lent good spooky atmosphere. I liked breaking the mythical horses. It was pretty “eh” otherwise. I think I just got burned out from RDR1 and grew bored of John Marston and killing zambos got fairly monotonous.
Unlocked all the characters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate and I think I’ve settled on a main, Rosalina. The trickiest part is finding out when to use her, objectively kinda bad, final smash.
I’m trying to gut through the 1st dungeon of CrossCode, but it’s rough. It reminds me of a bad adventure game, where every single room is some sort of overdesigned puzzle box designed to show off how clever the devs are. If this is how the rest of the game is, I’m tempted to just say fuck it, call it a loss, and watch a Let’s Play.