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Alan Stock

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Everything posted by Alan Stock

  1. Yep, out today and only 15 quid on Steam. Website reviews are positive so far, Metro calls it as having similar themes and ideas to Pony Island, making it feel like an almost sequel. That's no bad thing in my eyes, I know what I'm getting with a Dan Simmons game and half the fun is seeing where he takes things and what darkness lurks beneath! Downloading now!
  2. If its a morph-ball sized gap you can hang off the edge and then jump elsewhere. It teaches you this right at the start. You can also wall jump by jumping in the opposite direction when you hit a wall, but the game never tells you this and I think its not necessary to progress, just a nice optimisation to get around quickly and to get some of the optional powerups.
  3. Spoilered just in case people don't want to know how this works:
  4. Weaponised negging, absolutely love it. We should have a competition to see how quickly you can get banned by the mob. The topic I'll choose is mouse vs controller players, wish me luck!
  5. Yep just move the cursor over the icon and it tells you if its already been collected. Although does it appear on the mini map as well? But its happened to me too - the icon should be more greyed or something. There's quite a few missiles I've detoured to get before headslapping when I realise I have them.
  6. Well, I'm very late to the party on this one. Picked this up ages ago on a Playstation sale and finally got around to starting it. It's great so far, I'm maybe 8 hours in, towards the end of the first map, and it's just getting better. Having just watched the Netflix Witcher series, it was the perfect time to hop back into the Witcher world. The atmosphere is on point, even with the stylised visuals the grim, wartorn and monster-ridden countryside is just as emblamatic as the Witcher 3, with very a well written and voice-acted set of characters. Running around the world map picking up resources is a bit tedious, but the overaching goal of collecting cards, making story decisions and getting upgrades is compelling. The freedom to tackle events and combat in your own order and side content is also appreciated. Unfortunately so far the resource gathering has felt a bit meaningless, I've only bought a few cards from the deck shop so far and have been spending all of my coin on camp upgrades, but thats still satisfying. As for Gwent itself, even in this modified version of the classic Witcher 3/Gwent-standalone its still excellent. I have poured many many hours into the previous Gwent iterations so I felt comfortable hopping in on the hardest difficulty and so far its been a good challenge. It is full of variety, there has barely been a standard Gwent fight, which is a bit of a shame, but has kept things very fresh. Even in the classic style fights there's usually a special ruleset, a limited turn limit or a boss to contend with. The puzzle battles are superbly designed and quite fiendish, on par or even better than Magic: The Gathering's videogame puzzles. My only real complaint is an annoying lack of information on the combat screen. Some icons are not explained, and there are usability issues. For example when issuing attack commands, it doesn't showing you how much damage you will do (some units do variable damage), or struggling with seeing how many cards you can fit into a row (I know now it's 9, but its annoying to have to count). To begin with you start with a fairly standardised deck with a couple of main synergies to focus around. I was worried at first that it would get boring being limited to just this. But the game does a very good job of forcing you to learn and adapt those synergies and is slowly expanding the deck to add more interesting cards and synergies. I was also worried the game would be quite short when I saw the world map, but turns out there is more than one map (I just read the playtime is around 40 hours and I've seen screenshots from other areas). So I am confident there will be more variety in your own deck moving forwards. I wasn't very convinced about the story/exploration element at first but it has grown on me. Reading this thread I see rllmukers and reviews have been singing the story's praises. For now its not the main thing I look forward to in the game, but I'm enjoying the developments enough to hear out all the voiced dialogue as things are slowly ramping up. I can't believe I've sat on this for so long, its the perfect aside game from other titles like Metroid I'm playing at the moment. Hopefully the hardest difficulty won't prove too punishing if I make bad choices or mess up in the resource management. So far I am appreciating you can retry with no punishment, but there's no manual saving so I'm trusting you can't take things to an unwinnable situation. Happily they have included the option to switch difficulty mid-game so there is a fall-back if needed. My only regret is not picking this up on the Switch (assuming its on there), like Slay the Spire it is perfect for handheld.
  7. Spoilered just in case people dont want to know how far in he is:
  8. Agreed, I was spouting off about the amazing background music/ambience in an earlier post but into the game proper and it is quite underwhelming overall.
  9. I've never been a big fan of hidden blocks in Metroid either, Super Metroid had some really aggregious ones with no hints whatsoever. But the game design around them has improved a lot since. In Dread even though there's tons of hidden blocks, they are almost always telegraphed in some way through the world or the map screen, and it's also super-easy to shoot suspicious surfaces thanks to the free aim, large fire cone and plentiful ammo. To make life even easier for the secrets they have added in the glowy-map feature to finally stop you wasting all that time scouring every inch of the map to find those last few missile upgrades. So for this Metroid I really can't agree with hidden block criticism, although for a new Metroid player maybe it could telegraph 'hidden blocks are everywhere!' a bit better for the critical path Alex mentioned.
  10. This gets a lot better after the second big boss (in Cataris). I'd figured the boss was a bit too hard and so revisited everything I had opened up to find secrets. At that point in the game you have a lot of freedom and 3 zones to rinse. It also filled out my map nicely giving me lots of icons to revist later with new abilities, so even though all I found were stupid missiles, it was still worth it, and quite fun. Anyway, I returned to the boss with no extra health and managed to beat it after quite a number of attempts. It's all about pattern learning and knowing the right tools to use when. After that, you start unlocking classic and new abilities in quick sucession, the environments get even sweeter and the expanding abilities means the world opens even further up. Definitely in the Metroid groove now, like the old ones it really starts to shine once you have a decent suite of movement abilities, and in this one they have nailed it - its a joy to traverse the world most of the time. Feels like I'm near the end already but hopefully not (I just unlocked access to Ferina). Yes the Emmis can be annoying and the structure is definitely restrictive to begin with but its really showing its 9/10 colours now.
  11. Yep. I'm enjoying this so far, just beat the first proper boss. The controls and feel are really tight, except for the usual Metroid fiddlyness with the aiming. The atmosphere, detail and the layered environments are top notch, as well as the moody synthy background ambience. So far I've been happily surprised to find a bunch of fresh game mechanics to take into account, its definitely what the series needed to reinvigorate my interest. Its very polished and although I'm not rating it in the 9/10 range yet it's really solid and hoping it continues to get better. I've played a lot of Metroidvanias in the last few years (with Hollow Knight being the crown jewel), but its good to have mainline Metroid back with some new ideas. I'm also quite digging the story elements and talky bits so far, which sounds mad coming from a Metroid game. It is quite easy to forget how atmospheric Metroid can be. Last night I watched a Lets Play of Super Metroid on Youtube and I had totally forgotten how oozing with atmosphere and tension it is right from the start. Looking forward to getting stuck into more!
  12. I don't know much about Genshin aside from the odd promo material, is it the character designs that you think are the sort of things they are against? Lots of effeminate males etc?
  13. I don't use adblock on sites like Eurogamer that I use fairly regularly and enjoy. It's their main source of revenue so adblocking them is just getting content for free, and how else do you expect sites like this to stay afloat unless they do go down the subscription mode? It used to piss me off buying magazines to have half of the pages be ads, but that was justified because you already paid upfront for the magazine. With sites like Eurogamer I'm literally paying nothing so even though ads are annoying I won't begrudge them, and at least on Eurogamer they are fairly unobstrustive, like someone already said just go to places like Kotaku, IGN etc and get bombarded with popups and autoplay video ads. I think I'd be happy to pay for an ad-free Eurogamer subscription if it was a lot cheaper, like a few quid a month or 10-20 pounds a year, something in that range.
  14. In one of Oli Welsh's (editor) update posts a while back, he said they are trying to increase the audience of Eurogamer, its pretty clear that the niche it was targeting isn't financially viable any more. Either that or the owners want a bigger push for a wider audience (or a combination of both). For example Oli said that the introduction of hint/guide articles had proven quite successful in bringing in new people to the site overall, so its clear they want to try and diversify and expand. The addition of subscriptions either points to the site struggling financially regardless, or they want to reduce reliance on unreliable clickthroughs/ads etc. I'm curious whether their recent subscription model for Digital Foundry has been sucessful and maybe they just wanted to try that for the main site. Out of interest, what other gaming websites do people use for news/reviews/articles? Maybe I'm missing out on some good ones.
  15. Sad news indeed. Eurogamer is my favourite gaming news/reviews website, but I don't think I use it enough to warrant a monthly subscription. Maybe that's a flawed take though, back in the day I'd happily shell out 4 quid for Edge magazine every month. I guess we are spoiled with so much free gaming content these days online, unfortunately there aren't that many alternatives. Even though Eurogamer has gone towards the trend of clickbaity/forumish articles lately, its just following the trend of other similar sites to get traffic and revenue, so I don't hold it against them, amongst the filler is plenty of well written news, interesting articles and good reviews. Other sites I read are Polygon, Kotaku, RPS and Destructoid, but they either have less content or way more filler than Eurogamer, so I'd be very sad to see Eurogamer go as one of the last bastions of gaming websites which somewhat have magazine-level content.
  16. I jumped on the hype train and finished it today. Really enjoyed it, it's not the best or original show ever, but its a very good and fun twist on the formula. The acting and characters are great, its also a visual treat. I was suprised that for a fair bit of the show the main attraction isn't the focus, which was a nice change, and worked because the characters and drama outside were enjoyable to watch too. I can't say I was super invested in the fates of the characters, but it had some great moments and it was more about wondering what would happen next. For me the highlight was episode 6 which although featured one of the simpler setups, had such great character parts and acting, it was really moving at times. Whole series spoilers ahead: Overall I definitely recommend this, even if you're bored of the setting there's plenty more to appreciate than that. I watched it in Korean with subtitles and found that to be fine, although on Netflix be sure to change your subtitles to without Closed Caption (CC), or it will caption all the ambient noises and music as well.
  17. No, but can't you just use your map to fast travel out of there?
  18. I watched that last night and couldn't stop laughing at the looping sounds, whilst of course Simon bumbles around trying to figure out whats wrong but everything he's saying is going on repeat, comedy gold! I watched about an hour of them playing the game as well, definitely worth a watch although I think it will get pretty painful once the puzzles get harder. Baba is You I never finished, I'm stuck on about 3 different levels, whereas the Witness I completed almost everything. Baba is You requires a totally different way of looking at things and some of the puzzles are sheer insanity. I think what makes the Witness a better puzzle game is that it introduces all of the mechanics so well, and because of the limited scope of the grid there's usually only a few things to figure out for each puzzle. Whereas Baba is You has so many variables you can waste hours fiddling around with completely the wrong ideas. Not that Baba is a bad game but I found the Witness more enjoyable and the setting very compelling. Baba has this dark pallete and is very much a core puzzle game, whereas the Witness has exploration and looks great, which helps to break up the time between puzzles and reset your brain.
  19. Started this last night and its fucking awesome (as Travis would say). Having the time of my life and binged it up to Ranking 7 boss already. I think I only played No More Heroes 1 and not the sequel, but the combat is much better fun than the first and really, really satisfying. The humour, the style, the script, the voice acting, its all on point and constantly has you smiling, confused, in awe, pumped, or usually all at once! The premise is great as well, I thought we were getting trolled with the intro cutscene but no, it is an actual thing. There's a bunch of characters I don't recognise who are probably from the sequel or Travis Strikes Back, but it really doesn't matter. The guy who voices Travis is on fire yet again, and I don't know how the translators do it but what a script, so many great lines and so much comedy. Even though its all as stupid as ever, its still cool as hell, just little things like the start of a fight the sequence where Travis gets out his lightsabre on your button prompt always makes you psyched for the battle. And the soundtrack, oh man, its the best yet - so many great tunes and beats, right from the get-go. One of the dankest soundtracks in recent memory for sure. I switched from the Pro Controller - which I usually use - to the Joycons just like the good old Wii days, its just more satisfying doing throws and swinging death blows with the motion control. Of course as it's No More Heroes there is still a bunch of jankoidery, the open world still sucks massive ass although at least the battles are fun to do. The other mini games mostly suck and the open world itself is awful, terrible system performance, once again an annoying bike that crashes far too easily, basically just a big waste of time. But there's so much good here it doesn't even bother me much. Thankfully just doing battles gets you decent stuff, in the first game I hated the mob fights but in this I actually look forward to them. The only problems with combat are issues with enemies off-screen, annoying ranged attackers, and the awkward use of left bumper to trigger abilities, when left trigger is lock-on - meaning unless you go for a crab style grip, you have to stop locking on to do your abilities, which feels clumsy. Overall though its an absolute riot and you never know what the game is going to throw at you next. Definitely a worthy successor in the series and as one review said, I would say its the best so far. What a breath of fresh air! Really hope Suda 51 and co continue to work on mad-ass titles like this.
  20. I got my 100%/100% as well today. I quite enjoyed hunting down all the secrets, some of them were pretty tough but I didn't feel like any of them were unfair, a few had some really nice little puzzles to them. The compass buff helped a lot to track down the final few once I twigged how it worked! Definitely one of the most enjoyable Metroidvania secret hunts I've done, with just enough direction on progress for each area to avoid too much backtracking (Hollow Knight I'm looking at you!). The soundtrack was great, I think my favourite just in terms of atmosphere was this one: Anyway, quality little game, definitely recommend to Metroidvania fans, a solid 8/10 for me and I'd say I enjoyed it more than the first.
  21. Pretty much my feelings on Stormblood as well. You might be interested to note that the writer for the Doman side is also the revered writer for the Shadowbringers storyline. Also don't miss the post Stormblood side quest that has a bunch of bosses to fight, I forget the name and where it starts but I'm sure someone here will know!
  22. Doing some reading up on Root Double, I discovered the director, writer and some other staff previously worked on Ever 17 and Remember 11. That explains the familiarity with those titles, like being trapped in a dangerous setting, the intertwining character storylines, the amnesia, the twisting back stories, the slice of life stuff. Uchikoshi ultimately left that studio, although I believe he was a writer on Ever 17. But you can see how the director kept the Ever 17 style going through to today's games like Root Double, whereas Uchikoshi went off in an even darker and twisted direction with Zero Escape, ditching the slice of life stuff and introducing more puzzle and whodunnit elements.
  23. Finally got around to finishing Root Double: Before Crime *After Days (40+ hours!). I picked it up years ago after finishing the Zero Escape series and seeing a lot of recommendations for it online as well as lots of good Steam reviews. Sadly it ended up being a massive slogfest with predictable twists, very anime trappings, and its emotional scenes never really resonated for me (unlike Zero Escape, Danganronpa etc). I guess it didn't help that I didn't really care about the characters either. Anyway, I wrote a review on Steam so I'll just post it here: Your milage may vary but I suspect the audience that really loved this game are quite different to me. There are Steam reviews that talk about crying at multiple points in the story and that its the best visual novel ever made. Maybe you need to be of a certain age or emotional persuation to appreciate it, but even those reviews point out the same flaws I had - unfortunately I also didn't really appreciate the things they liked! And its not like I am some mindless monster, the Zero Escape games I've found very tense, surprising, clever and some moments geniuinely moving. This is like a poor-man's version trying to emulate Zero Escape's much tighter and cohesive vision. The game does start out strong with a decent pace, cool setting and lots of intriguing mysteries, but ultimately manages to undo all of its good will over its overly long runtime and delving into minute detail into every character. From the reviews I feel like a bunch of people were blown away by the multiple routes from different perspective and how they all come together - but games like Zero Escape have done this much more elegantly. Hurry up Ukikoshi and Kodaka and make another classic, save us from this visual novel medicority! In the meantime... thankfully I have discovered one visual novel worthy of your attention, coming up in my next post.
  24. Sheila is so amazingly satisfying, just watching those numbers tick up and then people literally explode. I don't play Rampart but sometimes have to for challenges and the Sheila change was much needed. Before I would almost never get to use Sheila, because even if you got it set up on a good angle, teams could very easily flank it.
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