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Everything posted by pinholestar

  1. Gave this another shot now it’s on Game Pass and got up to around level 50 or so, unlocked a load of weapons, attachments and gadgets etc. …and you know what? I still think it’s an utter fucking garbage Battlefield game. Can’t be bothered to waste my time elucidating why, but for a multitude of reasons I find it an often painful experience and when the still utterly brilliant BF1 and BF5 still have healthy populations on console I think you’d be fucking mad to play this crap. Such a huge fall from grace. Yeah they’ve ‘fixed’ some things from its disastrous launch but you can’t polish a turd and as I thought back then, this is such a fundamentally poorly designed Battlefield game that there was never any saving it. The player numbers don’t lie and any bump it gets from now being on subs services will be short-lived I suspect.
  2. While you’ll still probably eventually disagree, I’d say reserve full judgement in that regard until you’ve completed Act III. While there’s certainly choices to be made (and very consequential ones too) earlier in the game, having played the entirety of Act III in one sitting this afternoon, that final section of the game felt far more funnelled to me and as a result it soured my overall impressions a little. There’s still places in that final stretch where you can influence conversational approaches and outcomes for sure, and I don’t want to spoil it in any way, but I still would have liked there to be a little more meat on the bones of what interactivity and player agency is offered.
  3. Finished this today and I'm in two minds about it. On the one hand I think it's wonderful that such an evident passion project from a first-party developer could even be made, and its mere existence is something to be celebrated. When Josh Sawyer himself has stated that he wouldn't have even pitched it (let alone made it) had Game Pass not existed, then you'd hope that it would go some way to silencing those who tiresomely trot out the tedious prediction that a subscription service will inevitably lead to endlessly monetised GaaS titles. It's an argument that I've always thought is utter bollocks and Pentiment is perhaps the best example yet of precisely the kind of artistic freedom, free from the commercial considerations that a traditional release would be subject to, can bring. It's a beautifully written and observed game, rich with period detail and an unfaltering dedication to bringing the lives and travails of the denizens of a Late Medieval Bavarian alpine village to life. It's almost scholarly in its descriptions of the most esoteric of sacred and sometimes profane texts and the minutiae of monastic life of that era. A lot of the characterisation and interplay between the assorted villagers and their relationships with the religious figures who influence their lives for good or ill is wonderfully captured too. Coupled with the central mystery that underpins the whole thing there's a lot to love about it. I just wish that it hadn't leaned quite so heavily into the visual novel style when it comes to the actual mechanics of the game. Large swathes of it are very long and protracted conversations that tip over into self-indulgence just a little too often. It almost feels as if what very limited interactivity there is in the game was only incorporated very reluctantly; as if they'd rather it be something you sit back and watch/read entirely passively, but they had to give the player a small amount of agency as a sop to its status as a video game. I kind of feel that the detective aspects could have been made a lot more of and the game would've been far more satisfying as a result. That's probably a symptom of my struggles to really get on board with overt visual novels more than anything else, and I'm sure big fans of them will vehemently disagree with me, but as magnificent as many aspects of it are I can't help but feel a little short-changed by the experience it ultimately provided. As this post so ably demonstrates though, its often rambling verbosity has most assuredly rubbed off on me, and I'd encourage anyone with even a passing interest in the era it depicts or who is after something more relaxed yet cerebral to give it a shot. There's certainly nothing remotely like it and it'll comfortably get my vote as the best written game I've played all year.
  4. I love The Long Dark too, so I think you'll enjoy Grounded a lot. I found the default difficulty setting (Medium) to be a real challenge in places, so if you're already au fait with the demands of survival games then I'd stick with that and see how you get on. The harder difficulty (Whoa!, I think it's called) seems to be there for repeat playthroughs for people who are already intimately familiar with the systems and mechanics of the game and/or for co-op groups of 3 or 4, so wouldn't be recommended for a first time through. You can change the settings at any time with no penalty anyway.
  5. Haven't played Valheim so I can't really make a comparison in that regard, but I've played Grounded entirely solo for around 50 hours or so now and have absolutely loved it. On the default difficulty setting it can be a very challenging game at the start, there's no denying that. But once you get rolling with the gear upgrades and understand how the combat properly works it blossoms into one of the very best games I've played this year (and if the difficulty doesn't appeal there's nothing to prevent you whacking it down in the options anyway). Its world design and atmosphere are absolutely masterful. Grounded in my opinion combines the best aspects of the survival and survival horror genres, and so for that reason I think it works really well as a solo experience. It's incredibly atmospheric at night-time and you're guaranteed to shit your pants at least once. I can't give any higher praise than that.
  6. Well Somerville turned out to be disappointing after showing so much promise, so here’s hoping that Pentiment, which after reading this thread I understand is set in the pre-Biblical post-modern Dark Ages, does the business instead.
  7. Completed this tonight too and it was… OK. Visually and aurally it’s very well done and captures a bleak world gone to ruin and peril quite well in places, with some really crunchy and menacing sci-fi sounds to accompany the often evocative landscapes. It’s a very woolly feeling game though, with controls that never feel right, clunky animation, and a halfway-house between 3D and 2D navigation that has you frequently clumsily bumping into scenery and awkwardly mashing the A button while you attempt to place your character in the precise spot to interact with the environment. It’s worth playing and has some cool moments, but I can’t help but feel disappointed by how it turned out in the end considering that it was one of my most anticipated games and the trailers suggested it would be something really special. I know the developers' link to Playdead has been overstated a little but it’s clear from where this game’s legacy is derived and it’s not a patch on its progenitor Inside. I’d give it a 7 and will probably have forgotten it within a month or so.
  8. This and Somerville releasing on the same day on Game Pass is quite the treat. Both look fantastic.
  9. Yes, it's out on console and has been owning my soul all afternoon.
  10. Finished this in two pretty mammoth sessions over the last couple of days. What a delightful experience all round. It's a meticulously crafted gem of a game and when its true secrets are revealed it's comparable to The Witness in its ability to part the very fabric of what you thought was before your eyes the whole time, only for the mysteries to unfurl even further than you imagined. Late/endgame puzzle spoiler: but other than that I feel quite proud of myself for piecing it all together with my own noggin. The instruction manual aspect is one of the most original I've come across in years and the scraps of paper with various esoteric scrawlings that littered the floor around me once I'd finished attest to how engaging that side of the whole experience was. I'm very thankful that accessibility options were included too, because the default combat difficulty is way overtuned and makes some encounters brutally fucking difficult. Usually I bump the difficulty up because I like an engaging challenge that encourages you to use the full gamut of a game's mechanics, but here I was perfectly happy to whack it down on occasion and just focus on the core of the game, which is exploring and uncovering the many secrets of the world. Easily one of my games of the year, with not an ounce of flab on it, and Lifeformed's accompanying soundtrack of nostalgia-drenched synths and ethereal arpeggios is superb too. It's rare that you come across a game that fundamentally understands the critical elements of what makes its inspirations truly work, but they mixed the key ingredients of Fez, top-down Zelda, Dark Souls and The Witness and added a sprinkling of Metroidvania to make a potent and engaging brew.
  11. Yeah Backbone takes a truly bizarre turn and suddenly goes from a very intriguing detective noir in a highly original setting to something incredibly mediocre that seemingly wants to end itself as quickly as possible. It’s really odd how sharply it drops off a cliff.
  12. Hotfix for the ant food hoarding issue that was causing frame drops has been released.
  13. My game on Series X started to chug really badly after the last update and having found out that this was the culprit I went to the offending area, cleared it out of the several hundred apple bits that had built up there, and then built a little grass wall barrier to prevent the ants depositing their food there. Seemed to fix it in the interim but as you say a hotfix will be imminent I imagine because it’s literally breaking people’s saves right now.
  14. I brought it up in the Game Pass thread where it didn’t seem to get much attention, but I’ve been playing the shit out of this since the full 1.0 release a few weeks ago, and it’s gradually revealed itself to be something quite amazing. The world design is phenomenal and the way in which its many aspects are revealed as you push out into it further and further with each bold but unknown step are incredibly well done. Playing solo it’s pretty brutal to start off with and the early steep difficulty curve almost saw me abandon it, but I’m so glad I didn’t because once you get to grips with its systems and start to move through the gear/crafting/upgrade tree it opens up like a flower and the sense of progression is brilliant. Perhaps because it’s been in early access for several years and there wasn’t much fanfare for the full release it’s flown under the radar somewhat, but it’s comfortably one of my games of the year. It should be being discussed far more than it is, and feels like the first game to adequately capture that sense of the terrifying unknown as you venture out into its many perils since Subnautica. Those fucking wolf spiders will be haunting my dreams for years to come. 🕷
  15. I tried hard to like this and gave it a fair chance, but once the enemies turn up it becomes an exercise in frustration and with so much else to play I just can’t be arsed with it. The combat, such as it is, is terrible and having monsters spitting acid at you from across the room adds a needlessly annoying element to the puzzling. Taking them on with the shitty biopneumatic holepunch that you’re initially given is a waste of time because you’re almost guaranteed to lose precious health, which is strictly limited by the healing system. The core premise of getting constantly lost while running up and down endless murky corridors that all look the same, while occasionally flicking the same three types of switches is less than compelling, and as impressive as the aping of Giger’s biomechanical style undoubtedly is, it’s not nearly enough to carry a game with such weak underlying gameplay. It’s a shame because I was quite looking forward to it, but it’s a bit of a dud unfortunately.
  16. Yeah that was really scummy on their part. Their ‘apology’ was pathetic too. Moronic thing to do for your dedicated overseas customers if you’re looking to grow the appeal of the sport abroad. With that said, the playoffs have been fantastic so far. My Mariners coming back against all the odds from 8-1 down last night to win 10-9 had me hopping round in ecstasy. On to the ALDS to face the pantomime villain Astros who’ve had our number for years now, so I’m nervous about our prospects, but this Mariners team has defied expectations time and time again, so you never know. It’s been an incredible season of high drama so far. Cleveland walking it off in the 15th against the Rays earlier in the day was pretty dramatic too, not to mention the rubber match between the Padres and the Mets tonight, which is finely poised to be a tense affair. Post-season baseball is such a great format. Loving it.
  17. Their plans seem absurdly ambitious (3 new Witcher games within 6 years, 2 new global studios, a brand new IP and a Cyberpunk sequel) and you can’t help but feel they’re setting themselves up for an almighty fall, especially considering the egregious hit their reputation took with their last release. But with all that said, I’m really glad they’re going to have another crack at Cyberpunk. 2077’s a deeply flawed game but there are moments under the seedy neon glow of Night City when it all coalesces into something truly extraordinary the likes of which has never really been done before, and you can see just what they were trying to pull off. With all the many lessons they’ll have learned from the first game, a more focused development schedule and no need to futilely attempt to shoehorn it onto severely underpowered ancient consoles they could potentially make an absolutely seminal fucking banger of a game. My overriding feeling when playing it for the 120 or so hours I put into it was that it was a real tragedy it stumbled so badly out of the gate in terms of public perception and that it would be a crying shame if it was destined to end up as an infamous footnote, its true potential never realised. CDPR taking a second bite of the cherry and the prospect of being able to return to Night City at some point in the future is very welcome news indeed. (Unless it’s just some multiplayer spinoff or something, which doesn’t really hold much interest for me personally.)
  18. After a post-season drought spanning 21 years (the longest of any team in all 4 major North American sports leagues) last night my Seattle Mariners found themselves in this position: They needed just 1 more win to finally end the drought after over two decades of long suffering. Game's tied 1-1. Bottom of the 9th. 2 outs. Full count. Cal Raleigh (affectionately known as 'Big Dumper') comes in to pinch hit and does this: Absolute fairytale stuff. I believe it's the first time in MLB history that a team has reached the playoffs with a walk-off pinch-hit homerun, which is extraordinary enough in itself, but for it to happen in those circumstances is a script worthy of the cheesiest Hollywood movie. Well worth staying up till 6am for
  19. I’ve been playing it since the full release a few days ago and it’s great. It’s a survival game, so your enjoyment of it will be somewhat dependant upon how much you like the genre and how much stomach you have for maintaining your thirst, hunger and stamina meters and building shelters as you venture out further into the world etc. But as survival games go it’s pretty straightforward and untaxing, very polished in its presentation, and the focus is on exploring the fantastically well-realised Lilliputian world of a back yard inhabited with giant insects and spiders (that are fucking terrifying). I’m having a lot of fun with it and would encourage people to check it out.
  20. You’re quite safe to leave a level the first time the game suggests it, as you’ll be returning to each of them multiple times and you can’t miss anything, as such. It’s best to just follow the objectives until you’ve completed one loop and obtained a certain slab/ability, and then you’re free to do as you please.
  21. I have played as Julianna yeah. Tended to do a few runs as her at the start of each session and had a lot of fun. It can be a bit of a lagfest and having only 1 life to Colt’s 3 can seem a little unfair at times, but if you get a good match with someone of similar skill there’s some brilliant cat and mouse mayhem to be had.
  22. Grounded is really great. I’ve been waiting until the full release to give it a try but it seems very polished, looks lovely and is absolutely fucking terrifying when it turns to nighttime.
  23. Hammered this over the past week and completed it last night. I think it's tremendous. Huge fan of everything Arkane do (easily one of my top 5 developers) and although it may not quite reach the heady heights of the Dishonored games at their very best, Deathloop's still a brilliantly designed and distinctively quirky take on their immersive sim formula. The superfly twist on a groovy alternative 60s setting, inhabited by grotesque hedonists and soundtracked with the swinging sounds of that era make for a uniquely stylish combination. I love the giant interconnected puzzle box concept of it all, and discovering and interlocking more and more of the cogs that with each turn of the loop will open up more and more opportunities with each run is very compelling. All the systems are quite overwhelming at first but once you get a grip on how it all works it's great fun choosing how to spec your Colt with slabs, trinkets and weapons before emerging from the subterranean tunnels and causing absolute mayhem across Blackreef. The combat is secondary to the exploration and puzzles but it's still wonderfully chaotic and punchy (if not a little too easy to just annihilate everything in your path) and led to some frantic cat and mouse scrambles on both sides of the multiplayer too. It's very clearly a response to the criticism of Dishonored's propensity to shuttle you down a stealth-only approach that punished you hard for cock-ups and prompted a lot of quick-saving and reloading whenever things went tits up. Here there's no real penalty for going loud when you feel like it and it's all the better for it, enabling you to be liberated and set free to enjoy the full gamut of the combat options at your disposal. I don't agree that it's just a case of following the objective markers in rote linear fashion at all. If you just want to 'beat' the game and declare it conquered then I guess you could do that, but it's very much a case of getting out of it what you choose to put in, and there's huge scope for experimentation with loadouts and approaches and a shit load of hidden puzzles and off the beaten track mysteries and things to find. Prodding and teasing out all the possibilities buried within each level has been a joy and when I finally closed the loop I had around 40 hours on the clock. In an age when many lament the formulaic, design-by-committee and risk-averse approach of the vast majority of big budget video games, I'll always be thankful for the likes of Arkane who are out there ploughing their own distinctive furrow and creating experiences that stand apart and dare to do something different. Long may they continue because there aren't nearly enough developers like them. For my money they're the crown jewel in Microsoft's first-party stable of recent acquisitions and if the financial security they're now afforded enables them to continue doing what they do better than anyone else then I'm all for it. Really looking forward to Redfall next year.
  24. I roleplayed my V as a Nomad who was the mechanic of her clan and scavenged, dismantled, crafted and upgraded whatever she could get her hands on, so those aspects of the game have been a significant aspect of my playthrough. In truth, as fun as it was hunting down crafting blueprints and making ever more powerful guns, it’s a very messy and unwieldy system with its only real benefits being virtually pointless bonuses like 5% damage to crafted weapons. I played the entire game on the highest difficulty setting and it still becomes an absolute cakewalk once you hit level 20 or so no matter what you do, so those supposed perks are negligible. The unique craftable clothing items you unlock if you level the relevant skills high enough are very underwhelming as well. Aside from upgrading iconic weapons and ensuring their damage output is commensurate with your character level, it can safely be ignored and you won’t be missing out on anything. Now that there’s a functioning transmog system in the game it makes the crafting even more redundant.
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