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Videogames: Spooktober Season


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Pathfinder: Kingmaker Enhanced Edition is this week's free game on Epic. For £0.00, it's well worth it, though you might want to look at optimised build guides online before playing it. It's not the most forgiving of games if you go with an iffy build choice early in the game.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is down to £24 on Epic, which is surprisingly cheap for a pretty new game.

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Speaking of Epic, people who guessed the last two games based on data mining believe that Arkane's Prey is tomorrow's free game. Something for fans of Dishonored and Deathloop who skipped Prey for whatever reason.

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1 hour ago, Argonath Diver said:

I did a couple more Meg failures. As with Path of Exile, Grim Dawn and every other game forever, my issue with gaming is failure to identify cues and react accordingly. So even the simplest rooms in the game I will dash right into a trap if there are more than 2 monsters to dodge. I've failed Meg maybe 10 times and did get her down to half once. I still honestly haven't figured out when she is safe to attack. I won't really ever get better at this, I know my lane. Heck I have several thousand hours in Path of Exile, make an endgame capable character several leagues a year, and I have watched streamers do endgame bosses hundreds of times, but I won't even bother to attempt the hardest couple. I'll never be able to down them. 

I'll give Hades a few more fails against the easiest boss in the entire game then likely turn on God Mode and not look back. Unlike the vast majority of gamers, I am not playing games for the challenge. I'm playing for distraction or immersion. So roguelikes that are based around learning your way through challenges inherently turn me off. I know what my hands should do but I can't do it correctly. Same with every game since Contra III and Dungeons & Dragons.

The style and voice acting are so damn good that I'll keep at it and perhaps I'll figure out enough to try it on normal difficulty again down the road.

The first time I played I Hades I was the same way; probably got stuck on Meg around 10 times too. Eventually you just figure out the tricks to her, like focusing entirely on movement rather than attacking when the AOEs pop up. And recognizing when she's doing her charge move.

Also, once you've filled out the mirror of darkness a bit more, she's just not capable of doing enough damage to you to be a threat (at least, not until you unlock the pact of punishment challenges, which are a long ways off). Hades really is designed for you to fail a lot at first, it's why there's so much story in it. In fact, you progress too fast, there's a ton of conversations you'll never even get to see because the dialog priority system will have already moved on to the next stuff.

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That's a good point, I would assume God Mode, even though it's more like Casual Mode sounds like, might not be balanced for the plotlines, which are a major reason I'm playing anyway. Deciding who to gift is a delight. 

I understand I might eventually get good at Meg. Again going back to POE, a major act boss gave me absolute fits for years, but after a bazillion re-rolls over the years, he's now friendly territory even if I'm severely undergeared. Then again, his mechanics are 7 years old and the newer bosses have an insane amount more going on. 

I also need to do some controller gaming with it. I know some streamers play certain weapons with keyboard and mouse and others with a controller. I'm incredibly weak with a controller alas, so finding a weapon best suited for KB/M is my best bet. Tonight I'll be swapping to the bow, even though I'm very much a melee or caster guy for isometric gaming.

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I played on controller for a while and then went to keyboard and mouse. Much better for me, especially with the ability to attack one direction and move another way. 

For me what made things click for hades was the ability to control boon paths. Then being able to target boon combos, especially duo boons. Using good casts alone (dionysis is great, ares can be amazing) makes for a massive difference too.

An early easy way to progress is to go chaos shield and get the ares special. It's slow, but super safe. 

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1 minute ago, Mexal said:

How do you control boon paths? I read about all these ways to choose your build but I'm just not seeing how yet. Might be too early though i've done like 25 attempts...

The keepsakes you get for giving Nectar to the various gods and demigods for the first time. For example, if you equip Zeus's Thunder Signet at the start, you're guaranteed that the initial boon you get is one of his, and so you start building around his lightning or the Jolted effect. Maybe you choose treasure or health rooms instead of some boon from a god you don't want because it doesn't fit the build you're trying to make, and you try and play your way to some Duo boon between Zeus and another diety (like Vengeful Mood if you do a Zeus/Poseidon Sea Storm build where your Poseidon knock-backs automatically trigger lightning damage on affected enemies).

 

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5 minutes ago, Mexal said:

How do you control boon paths? I read about all these ways to choose your build but I'm just not seeing how yet. Might be too early though i've done like 25 attempts...

The first time you give a God a nectar they give you a keepsake. If you equip that you guarantee that your first boon will come from that God. If you switch that boon for a new boon at the start of the next level it does the same thing, but only if you switch. 

So for example you can start with the rose, get aphrodite for a first boon and guarantee getting a good shot at a major damage boost via heartbreak strike or flourish. And then go with dionysis after beating Meg and go for a drunken cloud as a cast. And then after beating lernie go for Athena for a dash or ultimate. 

As you get more darkness and mirror abilities you can start planning around getting duo boons with using higher rarities and specific rolls.

Also note something i found out late- the game tries to guide you into only getting 4 gods per run. It's usually better to do a build that uses those 4 and not going for a 5th God boon so you have a better shot of legendaries or duos. 

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Thanks. That makes sense. I still need to get all the keepsakes to start the way I want. The two I don’t have that I want is Ares and Aphrodite :laugh:

ETA: just used Artemis boon and got Daedalus hammer…

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8 minutes ago, Mexal said:

Thanks. That makes sense. I still need to get all the keepsakes to start the way I want. The two I don’t have that I want is Ares and Aphrodite :laugh:

ETA: just used Artemis boon and got Daedalus hammer…

Well ,true, you can get the Daedalus at the start, and that's another good way to start building. But the next boon generated that isn't a Daedalus or a special event (like a Trial of the Gods) will be from Artemis.

 

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4 hours ago, Ran said:

Speaking of Epic, people who guessed the last two games based on data mining believe that Arkane's Prey is tomorrow's free game. Something for fans of Dishonored and Deathloop who skipped Prey for whatever reason.

I really liked Prey, I found it exceptionally difficult though; maybe it's just me. I had to use alien powers to get through, the human abilities did nothing for me.

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

Something for fans of Dishonored and Deathloop who skipped Prey for whatever reason.

That would be me. 

I actually did buy the game, and every time I try to play it, I get to the point where fit has hit the shan, and then I almost immediately lose interest. I don't mind wandering around and exploring, but I end up feeling like: "well what am I supposed to do now?" and just kind of meander around a pretty looking station in a game that feels to me like a less-focused remake of the System Shock games. 

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Also, it's very gamey, but the first several rooms (at least) in each Hades run are seeded; and that seed doesn't change if you select "give up" in the menu. It only changes when you die. So something you can do, and this is what most speedrunners do in fact do, is do a "scouting" run to see what boons are coming up the first few rooms. And then give up and pick whatever weapon and trinket would be the best fit for that run (also, knowing what future boons are coming can influence what boons you want at he start.

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5 hours ago, Fez said:

I did a couple more Meg failures. As with Path of Exile, Grim Dawn and every other game forever, my issue with gaming is failure to identify cues and react accordingly.

Apparently with Hades this is part of the point of the game, as I have been led to understand it, as the game wants you to suffer, die, have rooms be rearranged, etc. 

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2 hours ago, Fez said:

Also, it's very gamey, but the first several rooms (at least) in each Hades run are seeded; and that seed doesn't change if you select "give up" in the menu. It only changes when you die. So something you can do, and this is what most speedrunners do in fact do, is do a "scouting" run to see what boons are coming up the first few rooms. And then give up and pick whatever weapon and trinket would be the best fit for that run (also, knowing what future boons are coming can influence what boons you want at he start.

While manipulating the seeding is a valid way to get a fun and strong run I'll note that at least when I was heavily invested in Hades and getting in to speed running (I never got great but loved the game and was deep enough in to it before eczema on my hands forced me to stop working on my time and skills to have managed a PB of 8:02) unseeded runs were the defacto standard and run recordings needed to include the previous death to be counted to ensure that they were unseeded.

5 hours ago, Argonath Diver said:

I also need to do some controller gaming with it. I know some streamers play certain weapons with keyboard and mouse and others with a controller. I'm incredibly weak with a controller alas, so finding a weapon best suited for KB/M is my best bet. Tonight I'll be swapping to the bow, even though I'm very much a melee or caster guy for isometric gaming.

Anyway @Argonath Diver I'd encourage you to keep at it, you will get much stronger as you progress through the mirror, and I'm sure you're underselling your gaming skills and capacity to improve, but at the same time if you merely want to experience the game's writing, story, and characters I don't think there's any shame in using God Mode. That said having just bragged somewhat about my Hades skills I'll note that despite many attempts back in the day I was unable to finish a fresh file run (ie. first run, so no mirror or any of the other numerous power upgrades and unlocks that you earn over time) so I wouldn't feel too disheartened that your early runs aren't getting too far just yet. With the bow one thing I think is very important when using it is that the dash-strike (that is when you press, and in the case of the bow hold the attack key while dashing) charges up the attack much more quickly than a normal attack so you'll feel a lot more mobile and be able to attack more frequently rather than being stuck stationary for ages if you just dash in to your bow attacks. Also you won't have it unlocked yet by there is another ranged weapon down the road that you might enjoy too.

By the way caster play styles are available but unfortunately you probably won't be able to use them effectively for a while yet as the weapon attacking based things are, in my opinion, much more straightforward to build and need less support from various unlocks in order to be powerful. Honestly the slowness with which the unlocks are parcelled out is my only real criticism of Hates - especially with God Mode (or some more granular sliders/options like Celeste for instance offers) but actually just in the normal course of playing through the story they should've made some efforts to make more of the game's many fun toys available more quickly - I think that while Hades benefited hugely from using Early Access to develop, balance, take feedback etc. the long slow pace of the Early Access period probably masked or even contributed to this issue.

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Thanks for the kind words, @Poobah. I indeed sat back down tonight for a solid session, a rare night off the holiday rush. For you fellow tokers out there, I had a great sativa and really focused instead of my usual hard-hitting zone-out indica bombs. Specific to Hades, I went through a couple trial runs where I specifically just tried my damnedest to simply never walk over a trap. Spending a half hour or so solely working on that, like a free throw drill, got me much better at keeping track of my positioning.

Much more importantly, I had a weird breakthrough with the targetting. I wasn't really tracking my mouse well to go with the WASD movement, and once it 'felt right', I became like twice as effective. I am much more comfortable with Meg now after slamming my head against the wall against her for maybe 10 fails. The Mirror definitely helped a lot. Also, the bow is an order of magnitude easier than the sword, at least right off the bat. Kiting is very easy, and finding one good CQ boon had me taking no damage even on the small little boat battle in the second act. I even got to the second boss on my third ever bow run, and got it down to about 25%. I don't really like the feel of the bow, but it's carrying me for now. Perhaps next week I'll try out the shield.

Still loving all the banter more than anything.

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The bow with the aspect of chiron is possibly the best non-rocket launcher weapon in the game. If you aren't using that yet try and get a Zeus special boon so each secondary arrow does a bunch of fixed damage. Poseidon boons work well on it too. 

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Just to be clear how minor it is, because I assumed it did a lot more than it does, all God Mode does is reduce the damage you take by 20% initially, and then it increases by 2% each time you die.

I think I had about 50 escape attempts without it, mostly getting to the third act boss and sometimes the last one before the game actually prompted me to turn it on and I realized how minor it was. Once it stacked up to 30% or so it hit the threshold I needed and I was able to successfully escape, only to almost immediately have an escape streak of about 30 runs or so as I'd hit my sweet spot of getting comfortable with boon builds and damage mitigation for my slower reflexes.

I'm not comfortable with controllers and using the back trigger buttons still feels alien to me as I've never played enough to get used to them, so I'm pretty sure I'd be worse - it just might be less painful lol. And I'm totally going to do a run or two tonight after this conversation.

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So Prey was indeed the Epic free game today, and includes the Mooncrach DLC.

Apparently the data miners believe Control will again return as the free game for tomorrow, for any who missed it the last time Epic had it free.

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