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Coming the Week of November 18th (18 Nov 2019)

We have reviews of Horrified, Kingdomino Duel, Dragon Market, Flesh & Blood, and Rolled West. "Why Do I Own This" and "Beyond the Veil" returns. And more TBA

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What VIDEO GAME(s) have you been playing?

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01 Nov 2019 09:02 #303010 by ThirstyMan
I would highly recommend looking at beginner build guides before diving in. Really well supported and fun game for the beginner or the die hard gamer.
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04 Nov 2019 16:29 - 04 Nov 2019 18:46 #303104 by jeb
I have thoughts on this and nowhere to put them. Welcome to my talk therapy session.

For context: A HEARTHSTONE player won a tournament and took the opportunity to use the post-match interview to praise Hong Kong activists and call for revolution in our time. Blizzard, corporate owner of the game, banned the player for a year, rescinded his prize money, and their Weibo account issued a bizarre pro-China message about protecting the honor of the great nation of China or something.

They were roundly condemned; they were chastised by Congress; they rolled back the ban to six months, awarded the prize money, and have since issued some corporate apologies. Here I am, a month later...

I have a lot invested in Blizzard. A lot of my gaming time over the last year, probably more than 75%, has been spent in their products (HEARTHSTONE and OVERWATCH). My older kids and I bond over controller passing in Mystery Heroes. My younger kids open my packs and we help each other in HEARTHSTONE games. I have hundred of hours in these, and hundreds more in the DIABLO franchise over the years. God help me, I played HEROES OF THE STORM more than once.

I've been in limbo since the Blitzchung story broke. I canceled my OW Switch pre-order, I haven't played a game of HS--and I played that shit every day. I want Blizzard to succeed. They have brought me a lot of joy. Their games are fun and pretty. They serviced the Mac community when almost no other AAA company did.

I see folks deleting accounts and calling others to do the same, but what are they losing? They played DIABLO 3 for a couple of months four years ago and won't get DIABLO 4? They had a WoW account and bought Cataclysm or something? Without a hesitation, I will gladly delete my CoD accounts and stop watching NBA games because those are things I never did. How much of this outrage is coming from a real place of righteousness and loss and not just the heat of this week's online attack?

I've had some discussions with someone about this and their opinion is this kind of reaction needs to be internally driven, which is hard given the constant barrage of coverage, PR, and comments on everything the company does and has done in the last month. Am I being had? By whom? To what end?

I believe the Blizzard CEO when he says they were too hasty and the Weibo posts by NetEase (Blizzard's Chinese partner) don't align with corporate messaging. But I don't believe when he says their position vis-a-vis China was no factor in this--that's an obvious lie. Now I have to wonder if the NetEase comments don't align with Blizzard corporate messaging, but maybe they do align with Blizzard corporate policy.

Not sure what to do with all this. Not looking for answers either, just working through this.
Last edit: 04 Nov 2019 18:46 by jeb. Reason: clarity
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04 Nov 2019 18:14 #303113 by Jackwraith
I'm in a similar situation. I'm done with Blizzard until there's been some kind of obvious change. I wasn't playing as much HS as you, but as soon as the Blitzchung news emerged, I dropped it and haven't touched a Blizzard pixel since. I have no interest. I'm done supporting a company that isn't just content to look the other way in the name of profits, but is actively punishing people who aren't willing to look away. Maybe by the time Diablo 4 emerges (you know, 2024) they'll have made that change. Until then, my time with them is in the past. I'm playing solo Tiny Epic games these days as some kind of distraction. Oh, and Neuroshima Hex on my phone.
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05 Nov 2019 03:41 #303126 by san il defanso
I wouldn't have expected this in 2019, but my most-played game this year has almost certainly been Torchlight 2, which I picked up in like January and am still playing as a way to unwind in the evenings, maybe with a podcast in the background. I am at about lvl. 34 with an Engineer build that I'm enjoying a lot. I'm actually seriously thinking about picking up the Switch build, so I can play on the road without my laptop.

Lots of LucasArts adventure games with my kids. Currently I'm replaying Day of the Tentacle with them, and it's been a ton of fun.
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05 Nov 2019 21:57 #303164 by Ah_Pook
Torchlight 2 is on sale for $14 on the PS4 atm, and I had already been almost buying it every couple of days in there...

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05 Nov 2019 22:08 #303165 by san il defanso
A lot of ARPG hack-and-slash games are really geared toward number crunchers, which totally makes sense. But Torchlight 2 can be played intuitively as well. It's also a lot shorter than other games in the genre, so you can finish the main quest after about 20 hours instead of 40.

The big one for me is that it is a bit less grimdark than a lot of the standbys in the genre. Diablo and Grim Dawn are cool and all, but the chunkier Warcraft 3-esque visuals of Torchlight 2 work better for me.

It's not as deep as other games, but it still has plenty to do, and it's becoming one of those games that I try to always have installed on my laptop. Doing the same thing for a console makes a lot of sense to me.

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06 Nov 2019 01:13 #303166 by Frohike
If anyone is playing Disco Elysium, report back. I'm hearing good things from the Jim Sterling camp.

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08 Nov 2019 04:12 #303848 by san il defanso
In keeping with my policy of playing about 5 hours of every major RPG, I'm about 4.5 hours into Pillars of Eternity. I was skeptical, because while I enjoyed the Baldur's Gate series I was not good at them and had to resort to Story Mode to finish them at all. But Pillars has at least taken me in for this first little stretch. To give some context, I've put in those 4.5 hours in about two sittings.

I'm playing an Elf Ranger, which is not a common build for me in roleplaying games, where I normally favor tanky fighters. It looks like you could go in that direction with a Ranger in PoE, but my gal is focusing on ranged combat right now.

It's clearly in the Infinity Engine tradition, but it's definitely a modern game. Aside from the graphical improvements, it's a much more accessible design. It feels a lot less grindy to me, and far more thought-out in its difficulty. One huge difference to me is the actual design itself. The BG games are great, but D&D is, if you ask me, kind of an imperfect fit for a video game. This seems to be thinking far more in terms of what works in a video game, and I am very thankful for it. It helps also that there are lots of explanations for different keywords, and that the whole thing is pretty transparent in its mechanics. It reminds me a little of the Civ games this way.

Aside from that, there are tons of little QoL improvements over the older games. You don't have to track ammo for ranged weapons, and the game throws your ingredients and treasure items into their own spot, so they don't take up an inventory slot.

The story is a slow burn at this point, but I feel like it's doing a good job of making me care about personal stakes, rather than world building. Which is good, because the world-building is really thick here. Lots of books to read and a lot of deal souls to converse with, just to add texture to the game. But you can ignore large chunks of that if you want, which is a blessing for me, because I get tired of that stuff in a hurry. The characters are, so far, well done and enjoyable.

My life is littered with CRPGs where I put in 10 hours and quit. We'll see if this is any different. But I can see myself getting further into this one, mostly because I don't feel like it's trying to push me away by being grindy and punishing. There's always time for that to start happening, but for now I'm optimistic.
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08 Nov 2019 12:04 #303904 by Rliyen
Reminds me that I have to get back into The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. I've beaten the game, but I want to unlock all the achievements before moving onto the sequel (because I'm stupid like that).

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08 Nov 2019 14:00 #303921 by Ah_Pook
Torchlight 2 seems like exactly what it says on the tin, which happens to be exactly what I want out of it. I like the graphical style. The story was like a short opening cutscene and then "I dunno there's a bad guy, anyway there's monsters kill them" which is precisely the level of caring about the story I've got. Enjoying it so far.
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10 Nov 2019 14:56 #304049 by Frohike
I'm playing what Tim Rogers @ Kotaku coined "the Gran Turismo of walking simulators" which is a near-perfect description of Death Stranding. The setting feels like what you would get if David Lynch created some sort of post-human, post-Black-Lodge singularity nightmare and sat down with Hideo Kojima rather than Mark Frost to hash out the fractal sci-fi details of the plot, stilted dialog, and punny acronyms. It's beautiful, strange, and laden with systems that are squarely on-brand for Hideo Kojima. The purposefully awkward physics of your character combined with some "push your luck" in terms of managing your weight & center of gravity can collide with dangerous encounters to create some really horrific moments that remind me of Silent Hill 2, with the added risk of losing progress/resources if you don't manage to get out of it.

I've avoided almost all media concerning this game, including the rest of Tim Rogers' review once he started getting into specifics that he warned would spoil the really obtuse pleasures/frustrations that I might undergo in the game.

I know some folks here have enjoyed No Man's Sky and, while radically different in its narrative setting and systems... there's something similar in the vibe here, surviving long & potentially dangerous treks on foot while managing resources & planning other paths than the immediate geographic one at hand.

I'm really enjoying it, but I'm also still in the first 20 or so hours of the game and a sucker for anything post-human that approximates a walking simulator (e.g. I played Eidolon much much longer than I care to admit).
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10 Nov 2019 15:15 - 10 Nov 2019 15:16 #304050 by Gary Sax
Thanks for checking back... I've followed the media on it, it is an... audacious thing to do with a huge budget. I hate Kojima ass Kojima stuff but I'm tempted.

I think I'm going to buy Death's Gambit tonight. I need a new Souls-like thing in my life. I fell off Sekiro once I got to the last two bosses and never returned.
Last edit: 10 Nov 2019 15:16 by Gary Sax.
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10 Nov 2019 17:29 #304051 by Yugblad
Spent a huge amount of time, building ziplines and forts in THE FOREST - I still played the thing for ages after finishing the story.
Now, I'm a few sessions into METRO EXODUS.
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10 Nov 2019 22:03 #304054 by Michael Barnes
The only reason I’m not playing Death Stranding is that it will be $30 in about two weeks. I haven’t really followed the reviews but I’ve seen that they are divisive...which to me usually means interesting and possibly great. I mean, when garbage like The Last of Us and whatever Rockstar turd log is currently on offer are feted as the best the medium as to offer...

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is utterly delightful. Like the best Nintendo games, it’s a joy to play. The Mario Party-like multiplayer games are really fun too.

I started playing Persona 5 since it’s this month’s PS Plus offering...pretty blown away by the opening and fairly intrigued by it despite a pretty lengthy lead-in. The visual style and presentation is just stunning. I’ve liked the past SMT/Persona games I’ve played so this looks like it will be well worth $0.

Return of the Obra Dinn is a masterpiece. Possibly the best mystery game ever made- it requires actual investigation, observation, deduction, and the occasional lucky guess. I’ve only solved half the identities, but I’ve worked out the story and what happened and it’s pretty darn awesome. The Mac graphics are really neat, and the music is unusually great. Absolutely love this game to pieces.
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10 Nov 2019 22:12 #304055 by Gary Sax
Obra Dinn is amazing.
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