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#4401 Nightstalker

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 07:16 AM

Nice, make sure to check out the Consumed King's Garden. It's an optional area that connects to another optional area. It also has a very unique gesture that you need to reach another optional area.

You are almost done with the base game! Keep it up!
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#4402 Ocelot

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 03:53 AM

BOOOM! BSHHH KRKSHHH BANG KERPOW! That's the sound of me beating Dark Souls 3, baybee. Come at me. Meet me somewhere. Huh? HUH? Yeah, I thought so.

 

So I killed all those big bois. Went through the Consumed King's Garden and beat Oceiros, which was a weird fight because he kept screaming about an 'Ocelotte' who I can only assume is my secret female body double or something. The rest of Lothric Castle and the Grand Archives was an excellent level, with a wonderful sense of adventure as I worked my way through an enormous castle filled with scary monsters, cutting in and out through tortuous hidden paths, through all manner of barracks, kitchens, keeps, opening a portcullis or two and even soft-shoe-ing it out on the rooftops and dicing with gargoyles for the final stretch up to the Prince of Lothric's chamber. That has to be one of the best areas in all of Sekiroulsborne. With the exception of the part where you kill a big ol' guy in a suit of armour on a bridge and get a Bonfire, then walk LITERALLY TWENTY SECONDS and get another Bonfire right outside the library. That was bizarre. I've included a helpful visual aid:

 

ds3lcjuh.jpg

 

I found Archdragon Peak and the Untended Graves with a little help from the internet, too, and I plundered those areas dry, too. Champion Gundyr didn't give me too much trouble, but the Nameless King was definitely the hardest boss in the main game for me. At first I didn't even know if I'd bother with him after getting woefully screwed over by the camera on my first few attempts, but once I took my time with it and worked out that the strat was to keep my distance and run in after the King's attacks to punish his poor dragon's face I was able to get through the first stage without even taking damage pretty reliably. That second stage, though... boy oh boy. That fellow hits hard, and a few of his combo strings have that devious little moment of hesitation before the third or fourth hit that's perfectly timed to nail you if you roll too early. Once I realised that the safest place for me as a melee character was to rub myself right up against his giant torso and always dodge past him, though, I had his number.

 

After that I went and beat the final boss, which I found pretty anticlimactic after the Nameless King. I beat the Soul of Cinder on my first try and was actually surprised to see he wasn't a three-phase fight. The first two phases went down so easily that I fully expected him to refill his health bar one last time and come at me for reals, but... nope. Oh well, they can't all be big bois. Anyway, that's the entire main game finished, so tomorrow I'm going to start on the DLC. I hear that the DLC bosses are the real big bois, so we'll see how that goes :P



#4403 Nightstalker

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 06:09 AM

The DLC is amazing! The last boss of Ariandel is my favorite boss of the game. The Ringed City also features great boss fights as well. It also has some amazing lire bits to it.

The hidden boss for the Ringed City is one of the worst bosses though.

Damn sponge...

Glad to see you had fun with the base game. When you do finish up, I'd highly recommend playing the other two. You'll find no surprises, but they are still great games.

It is quite a joy reading your reports. Keep it up!

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#4404 Jociva Flcol

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 05:33 PM

Been playing a lottttttt of GTA V on X-Box one. I was on a Hitman binge for a while when Hitman 2 dropped, I got the both together. Loved those games. I'm also trying to get through the Master Chief Collection on Legendary, which is fun.

 

 


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#4405 Ocelot

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 10:50 PM

I started up the Dark Souls 3 Ashes of Ariandel DLC, fought some doggos, ran away from some scary tree ladies who threw fire at me, found my way to a little settlement filled with gross bird corpses and then got straight up merc'd super hard by a terrifying crow man with giant claws. So I'll be back to see what I can do about him soon, but the last few days I've been taking a Souls break to play some new releases:

 

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan: This is the new interactive-cinematic-QTE-thing from Supermassive Games, makers of Until Dawn (which was great!) and Hidden Agenda (which was actual garbage!) and a bunch of Playstation VR games (which I haven't played!). The Dark Pictures is apparently a horror anthology series that they're going to be making over the next few years, a series of shorter games on a fairly regular release schedule, all connected by the same sort of horror-y themes; it sounds pretty cool. Unfortunately I don't think Man of Medan is a very good way of kicking the series off. It pretty much feels like one of those dime-a-dozen 90 minute Netflix horror movies, where there's no real central theme to the horror and they just kind of throw whatever hodge podge of jump scares they could think of into the one mixing bowl.

 

It's about 4-5 hours long, which is fine for the price, and it has a few different branching story paths, but after finishing it once I just wasn't interested enough to go back and see any other options. Most of the game is spent slowly walking down hallways, pressing the interact button on things to veeeery slowly pick them up and turn them over so you can read some dry lore, and with no way of fast-forwarding or skipping through scenes you've already played through it means a lot of repeated content to sit through if you just want to experiment to see how the paths can branch. None of the characters are especially interesting, the story itself is nothing you haven't seen before. I don't know, it's OK, but nothing amazing. I still think Until Dawn is the game to play from these guys.

 

Control is the new game from Remedy, and I loved it. Remedy is back. I thought they might have lost their way after Quantum Break, a game that rivaled The Order 1886 in terms of non-interactivity, but Control feels like the return to the Remedy that gave us Alan Wake and Max Payne 1 & 2. The delightfully weird tone, where you never quite know what's serious and what's tongue-in-cheek. The strange, unique characters you'll meet along the way, and the dialogue written by a non-native English speaker who nevertheless has a wonderful turn of phrase. The excellent shooting gameplay, this time augmented with cool psychic powers like telekinesis and a cheeky bit of levitation just for fun. There's a gameplay sequence in Control called the Ashtray Maze which is going to go down as one of the best moments in a video game of 2019. You thought the big shootout in the middle of a rock concert in Alan Wake was cool? You ain't seen NOTHIN'.

 

So Control is about Jesse Faden, a young lady who walks in through the front door of the Federal Bureau of Control in New York City only to find that a video game is already popping off, and it's up to her to pick up the magic gun at her feet and kill everyone here before... well, I won't spoil it. This is essentially a gorgeous, big budget SCP video game; the FBC is an agency devoted to Securing, Containing, and Protecting the world from all manner of other-worldly paranormal entities that pop up in our world looking to do harm, colonise, or even just be generally weird. Everyone's got creepy powers, there are monsters everywhere, the fourth-wall is paid absolutely no respect at all. It's Remedy, baby.

 

Also one of the best-looking games I've ever seen. Boy this game is gorgeous. It has some visual quirks that bring it down, like a weird motion blur that leaves smudgy after-images sometimes and apparently a pretty wretched framerate on most of the consoles (I played on XB1X, which is the best of the lot, and it still chugged in certain spots), but when it's on it is on. It uses photo-scanned actors for the main characters, as every big game does these days, but it also does live action stuff with those same actors, and pretty often I found I genuinely couldn't tell which was the character model and which the actual actor. And it has some amazing environmental destruction, too. You can pick up and throw practically anything in the level with your telekinesis, including just tearing chunks of concrete and marble out of the walls and floors, and the sheer carnage that's left over at the end of a big firefight is just beautiful. It's one of the best games I've played all year and I'd highly recommend it.



#4406 Phaedrus

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 12:14 AM

Hmm ok I might have to check Control out. I got a code for it (and the new Wolfenstein) with my new graphics card but have literally never heard of it. I thought it was some sort of indie horror game or something. Also I have to install the Epic Games Store to play it and I already have like eleventy game launchers/platforms/stores so I was feeling tepid about that. But from your description it sounds really cool! I need a good, new game for PC. I feel like I've just been replaying the same few games over and over again these last few years, even if the titles are different. But this sounds unique, and fun!

#4407 Ocelot

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 12:47 AM

Did I mention that you can fire a rocket in one direction, change your mind, grab it back with your telekinesis and throw it in a different direction? While flying?

 

Control-air-tek.gif



#4408 Ocelot

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 04:37 AM

So I've been playing that there Gears 5, and something I didn't realise until just now is that I'm apparently playing it before the official release date. It's only supposed to come out on September 9th, but if you pre-order the Ultimate Edition you get to play it on September 6th. And, because I have Game Pass Ultimate, I get the special treatment, too. This sounds like an amazing deal until you remember that the day one patch only comes out on, y'know, day one, not day negative three, and these days games are hardcore broken without their day one patches... and what I'm saying here is that I'm not having a good time with Gears 5.

 

I've had to do a full quit application -> restart from the dashboard cycle four times now, to fix scripting bugs where the thing that needs to happen for me to progress further into the game simply doesn't happen, and every time I do it the game eats about fifteen minutes of progress. This is a bad way to experience the game. This whole "pre-order the expensive edition of the game to get EXCLUSIVE EARLY ACCESS!" trend needs to go away ASAP.

 

When the game does work, it's... OK? I don't really like it, to be honest. There's a lot of influence from God of War 2018, and I don't believe it's for the better. They've co-opted that game's small open world, given you the sail skiff to zoom around it, thrown a few sidequests in, and given you an Atreus in the form of the little invisible robot that's always buzzing around you in Gears games. You loot, craft, find hidden upgrade points to plug into the robot to unlock new robot abilities, and it all just feels like unnecessary AAA video game bloat to me.

 

The difference between Gears and God of War is that none of this RPG-ery has any tangible effect on the moment-to-moment gameplay. In God of War you were unlocking new abilities and upgrading old ones, making you more powerful as a character. You couldn't wait to unlock the next Leviathan Axe level because it would bring a slew of new ways to clobber people. Maybe you just wanted to change your look with some new armour; you could do that, too. But Gears is Gears, though. The Lancer is the Lancer. You can't upgrade any of the weapons, you can't equip different armour pieces. The only thing you can do is give your little robot buddy new abilities, and considering there are five other Gears games that play identically to this one where you don't have a robot buddy... you can do without him. To put it in GOW 2018 terms, imagine if you could only upgrade Atreus for the whole game.

 

But the graphics are amazing, and it's got some big dumb setpieces I've really enjoyed. The story has that same modern Halo thing where I feel totally out of the loop and I don't know if it's just poor storytelling or they expect me to have read all the expanded universe books, but I get the broad strokes, at least (honestly it's so much like Halo. There's even a new enemy they call a Warden. Halo, Gears and Destiny might as well be the same universe :P). I'm probably going to wait for a patch and then finish it off, hopefully within the next couple of days.



#4409 Phaedrus

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 11:39 AM

Huh, I've been having the exact opposite experience. No technical or connection issues of any kind on my end. I am playing on PC for what it's worth; I'm not sure if the console version is more buggy or not. I've also been enjoying the pseudo-open-world bits. They're a nice change of pace from the strictly single-path nature of, well, every other game in the franchise. Plus I find it kinda soothing driving the skiff around, finding secrets and collectibles, listening to Kait and Del talk about the world. You are kinda right about upgrading Jack not really affecting gameplay all that much though. Other than a few specific abilities that you need to use to progress through the levels, they aren't incredibly useful. The best method of killing giant ugly muscle men is shooting them in their beefy faces or relieving them of their limbs via surprise chainsaw amputations.

Story-wise, I'm keeping up. I'm not sure if there is any 'required reading' for this game. There definitely was for Gears 3 (ugh, Karen Traviss. WHY), but this game picks up where Gears 4 left off, which was definitely a little ambiguous in it's own right. I guess First Minister Jinn said "my bad" about the whole "tried to murder everyone with robots" thing and the gang rejoined the COG. And... that's it.

#4410 Ocelot

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 08:05 PM

From what I'm reading it sounds like the progress-stopping bugs are mainly due to the servers taking a hammering right now, and because the game is one of these modern always-online nightmares where it wants to create a lobby before you can even play the singleplayer campaign on your own, server issues affect every aspect of the game. Apparently if you go offline it all works perfectly, so I'm going to do that and try and finish it off today.

 

The part of the story I feel out of the loop on happens early on, but I'll spoilerise it anyway:

 

Spoiler



#4411 Phaedrus

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 08:49 PM

Spoiler


Spoiler


#4412 Spark

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:11 AM

Nah, there's no real required reading. The Settlement 2 thing was mentioned in passing in Gears 4, and elaborated on in the collectibles IIRC. Long run wasn't a big deal, it's just a story prop used to demonstrate the COG hasn't changed at all once it was rebuilt. It's still systematically obsessed with controlling its population and ordering their lives to the letter. Some people in Settlement 2 didn't take very kindly to this when they started clenching the iron fist.

 

Jinn's one line about in Gears 4 says really all you need to know about how the COG views the situation: "A highly successful operation. It's now our most compliant settlement."

 

The big conflict rift between JD and his dad in 4 was going against his wishes and joining the new CoG. Marcus didn't want anything to do with the CoG, and he always had a problem with how the old one dealt with society to begin with.

Spoiler

 

Aaaaaanyways, Finished with Gears 5. Hoooo boy, what a ride. This thing goes crazy off the rails after Act 2.

 

Spoiler

 

And then at the ending

 

Spoiler

 

Actual EDIT (instead of all the little microedits I did): I do love the insane number of callbacks to pretty much every nook and cranny of the Gears lore that exists either in the story itself or through the collectibles.


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#4413 Ocelot

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 04:42 AM

Nah, there's no real required reading. The Settlement 2 thing was mentioned in passing in Gears 4, and elaborated on in the collectibles IIRC. Long run wasn't a big deal, it's just a story prop used to demonstrate the COG hasn't changed at all once it was rebuilt. It's still systematically obsessed with controlling its population and ordering their lives to the letter. Some people in Settlement 2 didn't take very kindly to this when they started clenching the iron fist.

 

Jinn's one line about in Gears 4 says really all you need to know about how the COG views the situation: "A highly successful operation. It's now our most compliant settlement."

 

The big conflict rift between JD and his dad in 4 was going against his wishes and joining the new CoG. Marcus didn't want anything to do with the CoG, and he always had a problem with how the old one dealt with society to begin with.

 

OK, well I guess that's on me then. I did just play Gears 4 fairly recently, but I have no memory of any of that :P

 

Gears 5 story spoilers:

Spoiler



#4414 Ocelot

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 12:38 AM

I forgot to tell you guys about my new Nintendo Switch. Late last year I sold my old one that I bought back at launch, and this month I bought one of those new ones that has the upgraded battery life. Here's my full, exhaustive review: it's the same as the old one but the battery lasts longer now. Considering I  always leave my Switch in its Dock when I'm not playing it and never played in handheld mode for more than three hours anyway, this isn't exactly a huge deal, but... oh well. I got the grey one this time (my first one was Neon), so that's a nice change, and the left JoyCon fits more snugly on this one (it wobbled a bit on my old one). Also I got a tempered glass screen protector this time, and I managed to get that puppy on with ZERO air bubbles, so I'm pretty happy with that.

 

But what have I been playing on this new Switch of mine, you ask? Well, let me tell you about a little game called...

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses: This may be the most difficult video game experience I've ever had. I am atrocious at strategy games, I don't really have a whole lot of experience with the waifu genre, I've never played a Fire Emblem game before, and here I am trying to jump into all these disparate challenges while playing the whole thing in Japanese. After three-ish years of study, I can pretty much hang with most games in Japanese, but it's always a learning experience when you come across some new genre or theme that you don't know any of the words for. Yakuza ranks and culture in the Yakuza games, law terms in an Ace Attorney game, that kind of thing. Fire Emblem is obviously based on medieval Europe, so to start with I have to learn the Japanese words for describing great houses, lords and ladies, the entire peerage ranking system and all the various lines of succession. Then I have to learn all the medieval battle-related nomenclature, like military ranks, battle formations, knights and infantry and spearmen and cavaliers and such. Then I have to learn all the Fire Emblem-specific stuff, and all the made-up names of empires and kingdoms and realms and all that junk...

 

What I'm saying is that it's an absolute nightmare, but I'm kinda sorta getting through it. Another spanner in the works is that I find Ye Olde Nipponese very difficult to understand at the best of times, so you add all these things together and you end up with a situation where I baaaarely understand anything that's going on with the story or the characters or even the game mechanics. But, I mean, I'm making it happen. I'm going to keep plugging away at it until I just genuinely can't get any further. I'm up to a point where a bad guy is planning an attack on Hogwarts during an upcoming holy celebration day, and I think I'm doing an at least reasonable job of training and teaching all my students so far. We'll see how it goes.

 

I've also been playing a bit of Astral Chain, which is looking like a VERY solid contender for Runner-Up Game of the Year 2019 so far. I'm about eight hours in, and the combat system that is unfolding as I progress through the game is so wonderfully original and delightfully fun to play. Much like The Wonderful 101, it's something totally new, so it's taking a while just to wrap my brain around it, but I've had a few fights where I can feel it all coming together and I feel like once I can really make it sing it's going to be amazing. There is so much more to it than I thought from just watching the trailers, and it's all designed so cleverly; it isn't about complex button inputs, but rather using every part of the buffalo that is a pretty simply control scheme. New moves and abilities cascade into and out from eachother in really interesting ways, with a big emphasis on timing and situational awareness that I really love.

 

I'm also really surprised at how meaty the game is. This ain't your grampappy's 6-8 hour Platinum game; this is a real thicc boi of a game that feels like that sequel to The Wonderful 101 that we're never going to get. Levels are long, with some nice opportunities for exploration and some fun little sidequests, and there's a high-tech police station to explore in your downtime between the main operations where you can catch up with your buds, customise your look and the colour schemes of all your Legion summons (I'm going with W101 colours, of course, so the Sword Legion is blue, the Arrow Legion is Green, and so forth), and just generally have a fun time. The characters are a likable bunch, and I really like the way the story is going so far, too. This is one of very few games I play where I actually want to go and track down and read all the lore of the world.

 

Oh, and it gives you a camera and it wants you to take pictures of every person, monster and assorted thing that you meet on your journey, so of course I have to do that.






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