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Video Games: Shadow of the Rise of the Live Madden War III- HD Remaster

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Old thread was locked, and there's been no new thread in a while.

I finally beat They Are Billions on my fifth attempt, though it was the easiest of the four maps (only one unlocked at first) and only with a 55% score modifier. Still, it was super satisfying. The secret was realizing that you can never stop growing your economy. You need to turtle up, yes, but you also need to be regularly expanding out your walls to have more space for resource gathering and building houses. My winning attempt I had more than double the population of any previous attempt, which gave me enough money to really go all out on my defenses. I also got a bit lucky on map generation, with some really nice chokepoints to defend in some directions. I'll try the other maps, and harder score modifiers eventually, but after putting 30 hours in in a week, I'm ready to put it aside for a while. There's going to be a campaign when the game leaves early access, so I'll play that as well.

I picked up Pathfinder: Kingmaker as well, and the game is far better than the steam reviews suggest ("mixed"). The two big issues are that the game currently has a lot of bugs and also that the game is extremely difficult, especially on the higher difficulties. The first is being fixed, there's been three hotfix patches in three days, and a big patch due in a week. The second is kinda two sub-issues, one being an inconsistent difficulty curve on lower difficulties, which is already being smoothed through the hotfixes and the devs say they will continue to do so, and the other being that the higher difficulties are simply extremely hard, which are just getting a warning message if you select them. The thing it seems a lot of players didn't realize is that the higher difficulties are very faithful to the tabletop Pathfinder rules, which means there's a lot stuff you need to deal with; though there are a lot of toggle options to customize difficulties.

Outside those two issues (which are being fixed), the game is great. I'm enjoying it a lot more so far than the other recent isometric CRPGs (except D:OS 1 & 2). The combat is a bit more finicky, since its extremely true to the tabletop rules (which are a modified D&D 3.5), but everything else about it just makes it a lot more fun than something like Pillars of Eternity. The writing is better (the prose isn't always technically as good, not as many vivid descriptions for instance, but its more interesting), the party characters are better written (except the barbarian, who is kinda cringy) and more involved in the main story, the world map is massive, and the story is epic in a way these games usually aren't. I haven't reached it yet, but at the end of Act I you become a Baron and grow your lands through a meta-game to become a Duchy and eventually a Kingdom. From what I've seen/read, there isn't the depth of a dedicated strategy game there, but its far more to it than the keep in PoE; plus the plot revolves around you being a ruler.

As another plus, you actually get to be truly evil if you want to be (hello D&D alignment system) and there are tangible effects to it and your alignment in general. There's a great bit at the end of the prologue where your party splits in two and which characters stay with you and which leave is based around your decisions in the prologue. And its not just the good party and the evil party either. I lost the chaotic evil, chaotic good, and lawful neutral members and kept two chaotic neutral and one neutral evil members. I know there are other characters that join after the prologue, I've got one so far (neutral good); I don't know if they can potentially join the rival party instead. It may be worth waiting until some more of the bugs get ironed out, but so far this one of the best of this kind of game I've played.

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1 hour ago, Fez said:

Old thread was locked, and there's been no new thread in a while.

I finally beat They Are Billions on my fifth attempt, though it was the easiest of the four maps (only one unlocked at first) and only with a 55% score modifier. Still, it was super satisfying. The secret was realizing that you can never stop growing your economy. You need to turtle up, yes, but you also need to be regularly expanding out your walls to have more space for resource gathering and building houses. My winning attempt I had more than double the population of any previous attempt, which gave me enough money to really go all out on my defenses. I also got a bit lucky on map generation, with some really nice chokepoints to defend in some directions. I'll try the other maps, and harder score modifiers eventually, but after putting 30 hours in in a week, I'm ready to put it aside for a while. There's going to be a campaign when the game leaves early access, so I'll play that as well.

I picked up Pathfinder: Kingmaker as well, and the game is far better than the steam reviews suggest ("mixed"). The two big issues are that the game currently has a lot of bugs and also that the game is extremely difficult, especially on the higher difficulties. The first is being fixed, there's been three hotfix patches in three days, and a big patch due in a week. The second is kinda two sub-issues, one being an inconsistent difficulty curve on lower difficulties, which is already being smoothed through the hotfixes and the devs say they will continue to do so, and the other being that the higher difficulties are simply extremely hard, which are just getting a warning message if you select them. The thing it seems a lot of players didn't realize is that the higher difficulties are very faithful to the tabletop Pathfinder rules, which means there's a lot stuff you need to deal with; though there are a lot of toggle options to customize difficulties.

Outside those two issues (which are being fixed), the game is great. I'm enjoying it a lot more so far than the other recent isometric CRPGs (except D:OS 1 & 2). The combat is a bit more finicky, since its extremely true to the tabletop rules (which are a modified D&D 3.5), but everything else about it just makes it a lot more fun than something like Pillars of Eternity. The writing is better (the prose isn't always technically as good, not as many vivid descriptions for instance, but its more interesting), the party characters are better written (except the barbarian, who is kinda cringy) and more involved in the main story, the world map is massive, and the story is epic in a way these games usually aren't. I haven't reached it yet, but at the end of Act I you become a Baron and grow your lands through a meta-game to become a Duchy and eventually a Kingdom. From what I've seen/read, there isn't the depth of a dedicated strategy game there, but its far more to it than the keep in PoE; plus the plot revolves around you being a ruler.

As another plus, you actually get to be truly evil if you want to be (hello D&D alignment system) and there are tangible effects to it and your alignment in general. There's a great bit at the end of the prologue where your party splits in two and which characters stay with you and which leave is based around your decisions in the prologue. And its not just the good party and the evil party either. I lost the chaotic evil, chaotic good, and lawful neutral members and kept two chaotic neutral and one neutral evil members. I know there are other characters that join after the prologue, I've got one so far (neutral good); I don't know if they can potentially join the rival party instead. It may be worth waiting until some more of the bugs get ironed out, but so far this one of the best of this kind of game I've played.

I played most of the tabletop adventure campaign for Kingmaker and it is pretty epic. I kind of want to try this out. 

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2 hours ago, Fez said:

I picked up Pathfinder: Kingmaker as well, and the game is far better than the steam reviews suggest

Thanks for that review. I, too, have been somewhat disappointed with the characters and writing in the POE games (I don't even care so much for the "vivid descriptions", to me they often cross the line into purple prose), so that aspect of Pathfinder sounds promising, plus I really liked the D&D 3.5 ruleset.

I won't have time to try this out for the next couple of months, but I'd be interested to hear if your opinion stays this positive throughout the game.

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1 hour ago, Guy Kilmore said:

I played most of the tabletop adventure campaign for Kingmaker and it is pretty epic. I kind of want to try this out. 

44 minutes ago, Jon AS said:

Thanks for that review. I, too, have been somewhat disappointed with the characters and writing in the POE games (I don't even care so much for the "vivid descriptions", to me they often cross the line into purple prose), so that aspect of Pathfinder sounds promising, plus I really liked the D&D 3.5 ruleset.

I won't have time to try this out for the next couple of months, but I'd be interested to hear if your opinion stays this positive throughout the game.

Yeah, I think its definitely worth a buy for people who like CRPGs; though maybe worth waiting a bit for more the bugs to get ironed out. I'm about 5 hours in and haven't encountered any yet, but my understanding is that the hotfixes have mostly focused on the prologue and Act I and that the kingdom building metagame in particular is pretty buggy still. Also, I'm playing on Normal, so I don't have deal with stuff like a party-wide encumbrance system on top of the per-character encumbrance and the party member death mechanics are much more generous. I think Hard is basically the full tabletop ruleset (though again, there are toggles for all the big things), and it seems like at least some of the steam reviews are players who picked that, or even the Unfair difficulty, and weren't ready for it.

I do want to see the how the game is further on in, and if it keeps up the party member reactivity and plot involvement, or if that goes away over time. Because that's been one of my big complaints about these recent CRPGs, that each party member basically has their own separate storyline and might as well not exist when it comes to anything else.

 

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I've been playing quite a bit of XCOM 2. I wouldn't say I'm good at this type of game, so I'm playing on standard difficulty. Still finding it quite the challenge. Probably too challenging for me really, I find my self saving and reloading a lot to get through missions to avoid high rank soldiers dying. If I take some rookies on missions I'm less concerned about them dying. I think I was too slow at developing psionic soldiers. I am glad you can't just brute force every mission. But I feel like in some missions it's a bit too easy to avoid the hardest enemies. I think for the hack / plant explosive / retrieve the package missions the Ranger ability to go back into stealth once you've been revealed is OP. I am enjoying the game, so I expect I will see it all the way through to the end.

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40 minutes ago, The Anti-Targ said:

I've been playing quite a bit of XCOM 2. I wouldn't say I'm good at this type of game, so I'm playing on standard difficulty. Still finding it quite the challenge. Probably too challenging for me really, I find my self saving and reloading a lot to get through missions to avoid high rank soldiers dying. If I take some rookies on missions I'm less concerned about them dying. I think I was too slow at developing psionic soldiers. I am glad you can't just brute force every mission. But I feel like in some missions it's a bit too easy to avoid the hardest enemies. I think for the hack / plant explosive / retrieve the package missions the Ranger ability to go back into stealth once you've been revealed is OP. I am enjoying the game, so I expect I will see it all the way through to the end.

It does get a little easier as you find tactics that work. When I played, the timer made me rush and die a lot until I realized that it isn't too tightly tuned and there is no benefit in finishing way before timer runs out. So I started to rush less. My first squad member usually travels the furthest (like a scout) so if I trigger enemies I can still set up the rest of the squad to minimize casualty, by either focus firing and taking out hopefully one or two of the enemy squad before their turn, or setting up defensively. If I don't trigger enemies, then I always assumed i will run into them next turn and set up an overwatch ambush (instead of going further than the first squad member).

Smoke bomb is your best friend. Try to get it as soon as possible. I've found it more useful than grenades as it can save your squad from getting wiped.

Still sucks when your squad miss so much though. That bloody Aim base% could've done with a bit more tuning.

Edited by The Winged Shadow

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10 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

I've been playing quite a bit of XCOM 2. I wouldn't say I'm good at this type of game, so I'm playing on standard difficulty. Still finding it quite the challenge. Probably too challenging for me really, I find my self saving and reloading a lot to get through missions to avoid high rank soldiers dying. If I take some rookies on missions I'm less concerned about them dying. I think I was too slow at developing psionic soldiers. I am glad you can't just brute force every mission. But I feel like in some missions it's a bit too easy to avoid the hardest enemies. I think for the hack / plant explosive / retrieve the package missions the Ranger ability to go back into stealth once you've been revealed is OP. I am enjoying the game, so I expect I will see it all the way through to the end.

I've never really developed psionic soldiers. I generally find it a waste of research and resources to go that route, and much prefer to try to advance to the next level of weapons & armor ASAP, and more importantly get the resources and soldier ranks needed to get those guerrilla tactics bonuses. I've beaten the game without the use of psionics.

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5 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

Red Dead month! :commie: 

New gameplay video 

 

 

And the hype has finally really gotten to me.  Too bad I don’t actually own any console of this generation.

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Life is Strange 2, Episode 1 dropped a few days ago.

Now to decide if I want to play the episodes as they come out, or wait until the last one.

Edited by A True Kaniggit

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8 hours ago, Corvinus said:

I've never really developed psionic soldiers. I generally find it a waste of research and resources to go that route, and much prefer to try to advance to the next level of weapons & armor ASAP, and more importantly get the resources and soldier ranks needed to get those guerrilla tactics bonuses. I've beaten the game without the use of psionics.

Perhaps the implementation of psionics could have been different, if instead of having Psionic soldiers, your research on alien psionics allowed you to make a variety of modifications to the mindshield so that instead of making a soldier immune to panic etc a mind shield could have one offensive capability with a cooldown. 

The psionic attack that ignores armour is pretty good as you go later in the game with more and more enemies having multiple stack of armour.

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I just played through the Baba Yaga dlc and I still love Tomb Raider.  Best thing is I haven't even started Shadow yet.

I can feel a Dragon's Dogma binge coming on soon.  Also Evil Within 2 has been creeping up lately.

 

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Finished my first big dungeon in Pathfinder: Kingmaker last night. It was only three map screens, but two of them were massive and the whole thing took close to three hours to finish up. It was the first video game dungeon that I've gotten legitimately lost in (RPGs only, I get lost in metroidvanias regularly) in a long time too, which was fun. It was only because of the somewhat silly conceit that the inventory map is as dim as the lighting of map screen that you're on, and two of the screens were underground cave systems. But because of that, and all the twists and turns and branching paths (including jumping between the three screens regularly) I had to actually backtrack a couple times and look for landmarks.

The dungeon also highlighted the upside and downside of being so devoted to the tabletop ruleset (and having a DM who is a stickler for the rules). On the upside, because of fatigue mechanics and some negative status effects that only go away from resting, camping is important. And camping is a whole thing in this game. You have to assign party members to tasks (hunting for food, camouflaging the campsite, praying for a blessing, cooking one of your recipes, and guarding) and they all have to make successful roles to do their task. There's a little campsite that shows up right on the map screen you're on and there's some brief, unique party banter. It's not the largest thing in the world, but its more involved than pressing a single button to use one unit of camping supplies and that's it; the one some recent CRPGs have done.

On the downside, traps can be a serious pain, more than they should be. One section of the cave system had a spider infestation and there were a few places that had permanent webbing on the ground that functioned as a trap that immobilizes characters. To not be immobilized, or to break free of it, characters have to pass a dexterity saving throw. Unfortunately, one of my party members had extremely low dexterity (and it was further damaged at the time), and because this webbing was permanent (whereas the webbing that a spider might shoot in combat will disappear pretty quickly) at one point I was standing around doing nothing for almost four minutes, waiting for my character to finally make a successful saving throw. I'm not sure how many he failed (combat rounds are the standard six seconds, but I'm not sure if rolls are made every six seconds out of combat too), but it was a lot. That's just too much. I've DM'd before (D&D5 though, but still), and my understanding is that a big rule for DMs is that its okay to fudge the numbers a bit if players aren't having fun. Seems that the devs here do not subscribe to that idea.

The dungeon was mostly just combat, so I don't have any new thoughts on the writing. I think I'm one more big dungeon away from finishing Chapter 1 and unlocking the kingdom management system. However, I've been seeing some real horror stories about game-ending bugs in that, so I'm probably going to wait for the next patch (due Friday) before playing much more. I've put around 12 hours in so far and my characters are all level three, except one recent addition who is level four; its a big game.

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Free X-Com 2 DLC (if you have War of the Chosen) comes out the ninth.

https://www.polygon.com/2018/10/2/17928542/xcom-2-dlc-war-of-the-chosen-tactical-legacy-pack

Quote

Today Firaxis Games, makers of the rebooted XCOM series, announced XCOM 2: War of the Chosen — Tactical Legacy Pack. The downloadable content, described as a “gift to the fans,” creates a bridge between 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown and 2012’s XCOM 2 as reimagined in 2017’s excellent War of the Chosen expansion. The new DLC will be free to all PC owners of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen until Dec. 3.

Quote

The lead offering is a new game mode called Legacy Ops, stand-alone missions created to bridge the narrative gap between Firaxis’ original reboot and XCOM 2. They include the following:

Blast from the Past – After the fall of XCOM HQ, Central Officer Bradford begins his journey to build the resistance by returning to where it all began.

It Came from the Sea – The broadcast of a fledgling radio DJ is reaching an audience he didn’t intend. It’s up to Central to save the DJ from an endless horde of hungry listeners.

Avenger Assemble – Join Lily Shen as she works to retrofit the Avenger into a new home for the growing forces of a reinvigorated XCOM.

The Lazarus Project – ADVENT is kidnapping key members of the resistance, and it’s up to Central to rescue some of XCOM’s most renowned operatives.

 

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That's cool. Gives me a reason to play War of the Chosen again.

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Picked up Dragon Quest 11 the other day for PS4.  Have not had a chance to play it yet (I'm still an hour or two from finishing God of War :( )  But I look forward to getting my hands on some old school RPG goodness.

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And I've stopped playing Pathfinder: Kingmaker for now. I think there's an incredible foundation there, but there's just too many bugs right and the daily hotfixes they're pushing out are sometimes making new bugs. I'll check back in a couple weeks and hope that things are cleaned up some, because I've really, really enjoyed what I've played so far.

Meantime, I've been playing some Magic: The Gathering- Arena, the new free-to-play client WotC put out. Its MTG, though there are a couple quality of life improvements they've made since there's the benefit of it being a digital version. It also seems pretty generous with the available daily and weekly rewards, plus cardpacks have the potential to have a wildcard (of varying rarity) that you can use to get any card you want. I'm sure some players will spend a fortune buying packs to get the cards/wildcards they need to build perfect decks, but between the available rewards and the available one-time only $5 starter purchase (I've had enough fun to buy it) I've put together a pretty solid white/black deck and don't feel any urge to spend more.

I'm also getting pretty excited about the new Assassins' Creed. I really liked the new structure and mechanics from Origins last year, but I bounced off the game from the story and from not really caring about Bayek, Egyptian Super Cop. I've seen some reviewers say Odyssey is just more Origins, but I'm fine with that because I didn't play enough Origins to get burned out, and the female main character, Kassandra, just seems incredible. Everyone seems thrilled with her voice acting, with the male main character getting a much more tepid response. 

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On 10/2/2018 at 7:35 PM, RumHam said:

Free X-Com 2 DLC (if you have War of the Chosen) comes out the ninth.

https://www.polygon.com/2018/10/2/17928542/xcom-2-dlc-war-of-the-chosen-tactical-legacy-pack

 

Excellent. Makes me wonder if they're gearing up for an XCOM3 announcement. Based on the cliffhanger ending to XCOM2 which hints at a much bigger threat hunting down the aliens and trying to find Earth, that always seemed to be the plan.

That said, I'm still not paying fricking full price for War of the Chosen. It's astonishing it hasn't come down at all yet.

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I held out on WOTC for a year, but caved this summer. Its good, really good, but not full price good.

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The Wall Street Journal is saying Nintendo plans to release new Switch hardware in 2019. Doesn't seem like it's gonna be a New 3DS situation where certain software will only run on the new system. Just a better screen and more battery life and maybe a few other things. 

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