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Video Games- At least 2023 looks like a banger


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On 10/25/2022 at 9:53 AM, Darryk said:

So PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, what's the verdict?

I guess I can't say as I haven't bought either one yet. Right now I have a PS4 Pro and a XBox One X. I like the XBox quite a lot more...except Sony exclusives ruin everything for everyone all the time forever. I have copies of some games on both consoles because aww yiss. At some point I will continue this redundancy with the new consoles...probably XBox first and then PS5 later if they ever sell them to humans. Maybe I'll wait until they drop the upgraded versions like the One X and the Pro.

I have been obsessed with my Skyrim replay for the last two weeks or whatever since I bought the anniversary edition for my PS4. I was a dedicated mage previous and went to Winterhold as ASAP, but this time I am in the Thieves Guild and plan on Nightingales then Dark Brotherhood then maybe Winterhold again.  I saw a cool looking target lock mod that I would really love to have but it is for PC and there is no console equivalent...so bummer.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Great post here on Terra Invicta. I'll probably never play it, but the sheer scope and scale of the game sounds very impressive.

I'm in over 50 hours on Terra Invicta. The above review is pretty spot on for the first part of the game but doesn't really cover the middle and endgame. Also his idea of uplifting smaller nations will get you beaten down and lose. You simply don't have time to uplift Brazil to a modern army and enough money to finance your system.

The game breaks down, roughly, into three areas that are wildly different in how they play and what they require, and all are way more complicated than they need to be. The three areas are: 

- Taking over the world

- Creating a space economy

- Fighting the aliens

The first part plays (I believe) like CK3 - where you have a lot of influence but aren't running nations super directly. This does feel very shaky; it's very easy to lose nations that you have been working hard on, and alliances split out. It's also not clear what actions will piss off aliens until it's too late and they're stomping you. The biggest problem with the first part is that the main thing to focus on is agents who can get administration, which allows you to both take over more countries and take over orgs, which are huge bonuses each agent can get. This isn't remotely clear that it's so crucial, the UI is crazy complicated with absurd amounts of bonuses for all sorts of things and figuring out what traits are especially critical (admin, having government, having criminal) doesn't happen for a while. The tech tree doesn't help here either, where it's totally unclear what techs leads to important things to get things into orbit or what will help you expand your reach. This part of the game is interestingly broad - the modeling of real world economies and societies is interesting, and there is something satisfying about making India into a massive powerhouse based on their population - but is not as compelling on a turn-to-turn basis with too many things you have to annoying do manually. This could easily be a full game by itself. 

The second part is about doing the space economy, and this is where you start really getting into something special IMO. Putting outposts into the solar system, tracking launch windows, establishing mining facilities and orbital factories, seeing how BIG the solar system is and how much you can do - it's absolutely wonderous. The choices here are again far too opaque with too much data coming at you at once, the importance of mission control to control bases and ships is not clear, and the tech tree again blocks you from knowing what is best to do without a guide. 

The final phase is the actual war. This comes significantly late in the game and that timing makes it really easy to fuck up due to previously bad choices. The alien threat is significantly stronger in basically every way, so a lot of the game is simply not trying to attract their attention too much before they decide to destroy all your space assets. The tech projects that you get are amazing in description and coolness - tons of weird-ass ideas for space engine techs and radiators and heat sinks and weapons - but also really hard to understand what is good and what isn't, and there are just too many absolute trash choices that are worthless. The UI here is hard to parse without a guide. And yet it is the closest I've ever seen to an actual, real near-future space war. You have delta V and thrust profiles, you have to worry about maneuvering in combat and overall thrust, you have hull and spinal mount weapons, colony ships, you have to worry about intercept vectors and choosing to engage and how much fuel you'll use. The ship battles look awesome and epic as missiles are avoided, nuke torpedoes explode, lasers glitter and railguns get barely dodged at long range as you move to kill zones. There's also a ground war of dealing with alien invasions. This tends to not be hugely complicated - you basically throw armies at them - but you can use nukes and if your armies aren't high enough tech you might simply lose Earth and be wrecked.

Something that wasn't talked about in the above review is the alien threat itself. They did a really good job of establishing an alien that is mysterious, that is powerful but not roflstomp powerful, that has a lot of surprisingly cool ideas and is satisfyingly high-tech. I'd love reading a story about this world. The factions are brilliantly realized in their asymmetrical goals and viewpoints too. The graphics are beautiful in their scale. 

IMO, it really needs a lot of tuning to simply remove a lot of redundant, irrelevant crap. Making the countries choices smaller, making the tech options smaller and bundled, making it more clear what is important and speeding up the game would make this far nicer to play repeatedly. 

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RPS have hosted a reader-voted Top 100 PC Games list and it's fairly solid, although a bit too heavy on having multiple games from the same series. Having Half-Life 1 and 2 is understandable, just, as they're both so hugely influential, but having three Civilizations and two modern Fallouts and the last three Elder Scrolls feels a bit OTT. But then again, that's the nature of this kind of list.

RPS did their own list a few days earlier but it was a bit weird, very heavy on recent flavour-of-the-month indies people will probably struggle to remember in six months, let alone six years, and very light on the strategy genre.

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38 minutes ago, Werthead said:

RPS have hosted a reader-voted Top 100 PC Games list and it's fairly solid, although a bit too heavy on having multiple games from the same series. Having Half-Life 1 and 2 is understandable, just, as they're both so hugely influential, but having three Civilizations and two modern Fallouts and the last three Elder Scrolls feels a bit OTT. But then again, that's the nature of this kind of list.

RPS did their own list a few days earlier but it was a bit weird, very heavy on recent flavour-of-the-month indies people will probably struggle to remember in six months, let alone six years, and very light on the strategy genre.

If you’re doing a top ten I think it makes sense to not allow duplicate franchises.  A top 100 is fair game, though, and honestly it seems inevitable.  Many people probably haven’t even played a hundred different games. 

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2 hours ago, briantw said:

If you’re doing a top ten I think it makes sense to not allow duplicate franchises.

I think the problem then is that like FFIV is Person A's favorite game and FFVI is Person B's favorite game and Person C loves VII and they're all counted towards one game then what chance does Chrono Trigger have? Maybe restrict people from voting for more than one or two games in the same franchise. 

(sorry I'm a console guy and it's a console metaphor.)

Terra Invicta sounds awesome. 

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10 hours ago, Werthead said:

RPS did their own list a few days earlier but it was a bit weird, very heavy on recent flavour-of-the-month indies people will probably struggle to remember in six months, let alone six years, and very light on the strategy genre.

 

I had a look at their list. Even if they are gonna prioritise indies, which is a reasonable choice, even a 100 game list is gonna miss something from some genre, they absolutely have gone for recent games that did something 'different' over some that actually stood the test of time and/or shook the genre up. Also: really over-heavy on the visual novel theme.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Werthead said:

RPS have hosted a reader-voted Top 100 PC Games list and it's fairly solid, although a bit too heavy on having multiple games from the same series. Having Half-Life 1 and 2 is understandable, just, as they're both so hugely influential, but having three Civilizations and two modern Fallouts and the last three Elder Scrolls feels a bit OTT. But then again, that's the nature of this kind of list.

RPS did their own list a few days earlier but it was a bit weird, very heavy on recent flavour-of-the-month indies people will probably struggle to remember in six months, let alone six years, and very light on the strategy genre.

Hm yeah they're definitely making some... choices with their own list. Very heavy on the recency bias, visual novels, and "indie game you've probably never heard of" but I suppose when you do one of these lists every year you're going to end up basically copying over last year's list and calling it a day some years and nobody wants to read that again so you've gotta apply something to mix things up. That said even (or perhaps especially) if you're focusing on Indies there's no excuse for Celeste being so low in the list IMO, on my personal list of greatest games of all time it'd almost certainly make top 10 and I feel like there are a number of other indie darlings that didn't even get mentioned - recency bias strikes again? 

The user votes list is pretty fun and gives a pretty accurate look at the age and interest demographics of RPS with its heavy skew towards older games, RPGs, and especially strategy games. 

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On 10/27/2022 at 1:20 AM, RumHam said:

I suspect Starfield will run on the Steam Deck. I'll probably have to make a windows 11 partition though.

God I love Stellaris. I'd still love to organize a quick 4+ player multiplayer match. I've never gotten to play the multiplayer. 

Haha, I've never had a Stellaris multiplayer match that can be described as "quick." Usually, when my friends and I do it, even on smaller maps, it's the sort of game that will take us many nights over many weeks to get through.

I've been playing Persona V, now that it's out on the Switch. Given that I'm not really an anime person and I've fallen pretty heavily off JRPGs in the past ten years, I was curious if I'd appreciate it. I'm still in tutorial mode after four and a half hours, which is a bit irritating, and there are a few other JRPG/anime tropes and decisions that always get me: why do the characters need to always be so stupid? Why is there always ten lines of dialogue when two will do? Why is there so much yelling? Does the talking cat really need to sexualize a teenage girl?

But even in the tutorialized beginning, it's a really enjoyable game. It's just so fucking stylish in every way: animation, music, cutscenes, hell, even menus. The turn based combat seems like it has some interesting depth for what's essentially Pokemon, and it's also just so fast and responsive. I'm excited to get more into it, especially now that it seems the life simulator aspects are opening up a bit.

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On 10/29/2022 at 12:25 AM, Werthead said:

RPS have hosted a reader-voted Top 100 PC Games list and it's fairly solid, although a bit too heavy on having multiple games from the same series. Having Half-Life 1 and 2 is understandable, just, as they're both so hugely influential, but having three Civilizations and two modern Fallouts and the last three Elder Scrolls feels a bit OTT. But then again, that's the nature of this kind of list.

While I might disagree with rankings and some titles, and putting so many Fallout and Civ games is silly and Oblivions shouldn't be in it at all (it's not a bad game, it's not nearly as good as Morrowind and Skyrim and isn't a top-100 game) and I'm sure there are better "visual novels" than Edith Finch, it's one of the most solid lists I've ever seen for video games - though it sorely lacks one SimCity and Max Payne (1 or 2).

Edited by Clueless Northman
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1 hour ago, Clueless Northman said:

While I might disagree with rankings and some titles, and putting so many Fallout and Civ games is silly and Oblivions shouldn't be in it at all (it's not a bad game, it's not nearly as good as Morrowind and Skyrim and isn't a top-100 game) and I'm sure there are better "visual novels" than Edith Finch, it's one of the most solid lists I've ever seen for video games - though it sorely lacks one SimCity and Max Payne (1 or 2).

Oblivion was a great game for its day and gave me some amazing emergent stories, but yeah, Morrowind was more original and Skyrim much more accessible and straightforward to play (plus less fiery vagina-portals of doom).

I am looking forwards immensely to Skyblivion which should solve a lot of the accessibility issues, and it actually finally looks like a release date is starting to hover into view for next year (or early 2024 at the latest).

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At first I nodded my head since the list closely matches my own gaming preferences, but the more I think about it, the more I realized how niche, highbrow, and unrepresentative it is.

I mean, zero GTA games in top 100? At least Vice City and San Andreas are legitimately great games. Zero Call of Duty games? No CounterStrike? Zero modern multiplayer games that younger generations actually play? No sports games? No racing games?

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10 hours ago, Gorn said:

At first I nodded my head since the list closely matches my own gaming preferences, but the more I think about it, the more I realized how niche, highbrow, and unrepresentative it is.

I mean, zero GTA games in top 100? At least Vice City and San Andreas are legitimately great games. Zero Call of Duty games? No CounterStrike? Zero modern multiplayer games that younger generations actually play? No sports games? No racing games?

It also got the VR Half Life game which is incredible niche. It is an awesome game no question about that but how many people have really played it?

 

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On 10/29/2022 at 9:08 PM, Caligula_K3 said:

The turn based combat seems like it has some interesting depth for what's essentially Pokemon,

 

To be fair, Pokemon has some interesting depth, it's just that it only ever comes out in multiplayer (which I don't really play, but hey, maybe with the new one) because Gamefreak are deathly afraid of making the single player campaign too difficult.

I'll have to try Persona at some point. But I have a few too many RPGs cued up on my Switch already.
 

 

Anyway, currently getting into Moonscars, a clearly-Souls-inspired Metroidvania type thing. I had to wait a bit because apparently it came out with a few gamebreaking bugs, but they're reportedly fixed now and I'm enjoying it. In a lot of ways it's quite similar to Ender Lillies from last year, in pretty much everything from its tone and broad aethsetic (near monochrome world design, insanely grim world with a heavy religious theme, red flashes for parry opportunities) to its spell and combat system (the story elements behind it are different, but both feature a more-complex-than-usual for the genre setup with various equippable skills, and also it's a bit more methodical than the usual whizz-whizz of metroidvanias).

But I'm, initially at least, liking it more. Just seems a bit more polished in its actual end design, I never finished Ender Lillies because it just seemed... it had the good ideas but was just a little off in both its level design and its art style. Whereas the monochromatic pixel art is gorgeous and, at least on early impressions, levels/areas here are more deliberately designed than just a string of connected rooms and sections, which was how Ender Lillies felt to me.

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Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus is this week's Epic free game. One of the better recent 40K games and well worth absolutely nothing.

On 10/30/2022 at 2:11 PM, Luzifer's right hand said:

It also got the VR Half Life game which is incredible niche. It is an awesome game no question about that but how many people have really played it?

A couple of million, from the sounds of it, probably far more than half of the indie games on the list.

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Been playing a bunch of Persona 5 Royal since it dropped on PC Gamepass. I like it a lot, but I haven't decided yet how it compares to Persona 4 Golden. I love the style of the game, and there are several QoL improvements that I like. Also, I've only done one palace so far, but it was far better than the generic hallways that P4G's TV shows had. And the first villain was wonderfully awful (although I wish the game clarified just how awful he was:

Spoiler

It seemed to suggest several times that Kamoshida was sexually abusing, and possibly even raping, students. But then at the end of his arc the dialog just kept going with the much lower "sexual harassment" accusation.

).

But I'm not particularly enjoying 2 of the first 3 party members at all, which is a major downer. And it seems to be even harder to get anywhere close to seeing all the content without a guide. In P4G, I didn't use a guide and only missed maxing one social link. I suspect I'll be way further from the mark here. But maybe I'm overestimating the calendar crunch.

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Just started Planescape Torment on PS5 (double pack with Icewind Dale).

Main gripe is no mouse/keyboard support.

Will play a mage as I put all my stats into Wisdom/Intelligence/Charisma. 
Never completed it; my PC playthrpugh years ago ended abruptly when the save vanished

 

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