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Jer

The dotage of a dotard
It’s not the game, it’s my brain. It’s broken. I can’t play games out of order or skip games in a series. I’m a sad.
Well, if you ever play AssCreed 1, try doing it with all the UI elements turned off and without using the map, as it was originally intended to be played before the focus groups made them freak out and change course. Eagles will circle high points of interest, you’ll be able to see assassin guild locations based on roof markings if you look down from above, and you’ll have to listen to random NPC conversation and use Eagle Vision to figure out who to go after for information. And use road signs to figure out how to get where you’re going.
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Got heavily distracted by Slay The Spire, which was a free PS Plus game for April. I don't normally get into deck building games like that, but I'd gotten strong personal recommendations for it, and it was free, so why not. Well, it didn't disappoint. The cards for the 4 different characters encourage very different play styles (and genuinely fit the characters in what the cards do and how they're used), the rogue-lite elements are cool, and there are some interesting goals in the trophies that encourage extremely different approaches to the game. I finished the game with everyone and got the "true ending" with one character before starting to burn out on it. I might come back to it a little more, but my backlog is deep.

I also remembered that I'd bought Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered on deep discount a couple years back and never got around to playing it -- it actually transferred over from my PS4 to my PS5 and was sitting there all along. So I finally gave it a shot and was very pleasantly surprised. It definitely feels like a PS3-era game, but it's buttery smooth, was scripted by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, has all of the original actors doing their voices, and has surprisingly good recreations of the actors for their in-game models, all the way down to Bill Murray's facial scars. You play as an always-silent new recruit (bizarrely there's not even a lazy attempt at character customization, so you're always a white dude) with different combinations of the main Ghostbusters as AI co-op buddies. The in-game banter is a little hit and miss, but when it's working it really does a good job of making you feel like you're in the movie universe. The combat is really well done for its time -- different ghosts have different weaknesses (which you can determine by scanning them), and you have to work with your teammates using a variety of weapons to wear ghosts down and wrangle them into your traps while they're trying to kill you. You have health that slowly regenerates when you're not getting hurt, and any of your AI teammates can insta-revive you if you get taken down (and vice-versa), so you have a decent safety net most of the time, though there are some sections where you're alone or only have one partner and things are dicier. There were also 2-3 fights that got fairly absurd with the KOs, so you spent most of your time in those running around reviving your teammates so at least one of them would be able to revive you when you inevitably got knocked down yourself, which was a little frustrating. But overall it was good fun, well worth the $8 I spent on it.

Didn't get around to any of my other backlogged VR games after finishing Iron Man VR, but Falcon Age is the one I'm most likely to go back to finish first. I'm also likely to jump back into Cyberpunk 2077, which I'd only completed the tutorial on before, since it recently got its big v1.5 patch and I'm ready for another large backlog title again.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
When did you play it? There's a sizable difference between paying $40 for a game that's had over a year of fixes and paying $60 for the mess it was at launch.
I bought it in February and played it then. Didn't touch it in broken status. And worth noting that's $40 CAD so roughly $30 USD.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
So the Cyberpunk bugs are fixed now? I saw that it was buggy at launch and figured I'd wait.

I got a Series X in March (finally) so I'm ready do dive into games that had an upgraded version. The exception was Resident Evil Village, which I had to play at launch because I'm a diehard RE fan.

Currently I'm taking a break from Assassin's Creed Valhalla to run through Doom Eternal again. I played it at launch and was disappointed by it compared to Doom (2016). I beat the main game and liked it better this time around (still not as much as 2016), and now I'm diving into the Ancient Gods DLC. It's difficult!

Far Cry 6 is another game I need to pick up.
 

Boroking

In the mire of an ancient swamp
Bought 'Star Wars Battlefront II' for a couple of quid when i had a spare afternoon and fancied something fun and straightforward to play. 9 Hours later it had finally finished downloading and i find myself running around with zero tactical foresight going pew, pew pew a lot. It's pretty enough and i feel like i should be enjoying myself, but i'm not. The game is utterly hollow
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Plugging away at Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5, which is solidly good, but not great. The architecture of the city is cool and the worldbuilding is pretty well done, but the dialog tries too hard to be cool and the weapons and vehicles don’t feel quite right. (They feel weighty, but strangely inaccurate.) The city also doesn’t feel like a living environment in the way that the Grand Theft Auto games do — the vehicles and random civilians feel more like props than organic parts of the whole. That said, taking more of a hacking and stealth approach, and using blades in close quarters, makes for a pretty interesting experience so far.

Came back to Lonely Mountains: Downhill recently when the Eldfjall Island DLC finally went on sale. This is a really well done physics-based precision downhill biking game from a German developer which I thoroughly enjoyed when it was new, and Eldfjall Island offers up an additional multi-track area with a similar number of challenges and day/night modes, including some interesting scenery with active lava flows on the final track. They’ve also released a couple of free additional tracks for pre-existing areas, and added a competitive “daily ride” mode that applies modifiers to an existing track (adding new obstacles, different checkpoint positions, running in mirror mode, giving you time penalties for crashes, etc.) and then runs a leaderboard for 24 hours before moving on to the next one. You can unlock special cosmetic items for participating in these over time, and the new obstacles can completely change your approach to a track, including steering you toward alternate paths that you may not have even noticed before, which could improve your performance in the regular solo modes. This is all pretty cool, and adds a lot of value to the base game, which was already great.

Also picked up I Expect You To Die 2 on sale, a sequel to one of the best early PSVR games. Played through a couple of scenarios and it’s just as good or better than the original so far. Kind of funny that the main villain is voiced by Wil Wheaton, but somehow it works.

Tracking sales on PSN has been good for my wallet but bad for my backlog. I would have thought that retiring would let me catch up on that quickly, but so far that hasn’t happened. Oh well.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Plugging away at Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5, which is solidly good, but not great. The architecture of the city is cool and the worldbuilding is pretty well done, but the dialog tries too hard to be cool and the weapons and vehicles don’t feel quite right. (They feel weighty, but strangely inaccurate.) The city also doesn’t feel like a living environment in the way that the Grand Theft Auto games do — the vehicles and random civilians feel more like props than organic parts of the whole. That said, taking more of a hacking and stealth approach, and using blades in close quarters, makes for a pretty interesting experience so far.
Pretty much my exact feel about the game. I did enjoy using swords though. I got the sword-blades put in my arms and the extra jumping, so it became very fun to leap down on someone from above like some sort of avenging angel and hack them to bits. But the game wasn't nearly what it was promised, but I definitely got my $40 CAD out of it.
 
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Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Sweet, Resident Evil Village on PS5 will be getting PSVR2 support, presumably for the launch of the peripheral. Resident Evil 7 was outstanding in VR, and I haven’t played Village yet, so I’ll wait for its VR release.
 

Spambot

Meme Lord
It has been a while since I played it, but if I recall correctly, the PS4 version released in 2018 (and recently released for PC, I think) is not too far from what you describe. But it shifted from Greek to Norse mythology.
Yeah, I've seen a bit of gameplay when it came out, don't really care that if shifted to another mythology. I was more worried about that kid Kratos keeps dragging around. But I'll definitely spin it one day.
For what it's worth, I think this is the appeal the new "RPG-era" Assassin's Creeds (Origins, Odyssey, Valhalla) are going for.

Works for many gamers, me included.
I completely forgot about AC after Black Flag and was surprised how many came out. Origins look like something that would definitely up my valley. But somewhere through God of War:Ascension I did a terrible mistake. I borrowed PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) and man... that shit is addictive (if you're into that stuff). Screw booze, drugs, cigarettes - it's PES kids should be warned about in school.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
Sweet, Resident Evil Village on PS5 will be getting PSVR2 support, presumably for the launch of the peripheral. Resident Evil 7 was outstanding in VR, and I haven’t played Village yet, so I’ll wait for its VR release.
Capcom also plans on releasing PS5 and X/S upgrades to RE7 and both recent RE remakes later this year. Additionally, the RE4 remake was teased…

 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Capcom also plans on releasing PS5 and X/S upgrades to RE7 and both recent RE remakes later this year. Additionally, the RE4 remake was teased…

Cool, I’d probably replay RE7 on PSVR2 to get the enhancements (and finally play the “Not A Hero” DLC that I got for free, but never got around to playing on the original game).
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Just played through the Outer Wilds DLC Echoes Of The Eye, which sunk its teeth into me quickly and didn't let go until I finished it. It's a meaty amount of new content that provides extra context to the overarching story of the original game while still existing mostly separate from it, and it introduces a number of new gameplay mechanics that are unique to the DLC locations. Much like the original game, the first couple of hours are mostly exploratory and low-key; but once you start to learn more about the new areas and how they operate, the layers of the onion are peeled back and things get cooler and cooler.

The DLC is integrated into the main game, so you can jump back into a preexisting save and just focus on the new DLC if you like, or if you're playing the game for the first time the DLC will just seem like another destination within the main game's environment. Completing the DLC will also influence the "true" ending of the main game, and provides a couple of alternate ending options as well, so there's some incentive to revisit the endgame after you're done. And much like the main game, the DLC's trophies are focused on achieving interesting feats that you wouldn't normally attempt during a regular playthrough, so there's some fun to be had checking those off after you've finished things the traditional way.

Some of the new stealth scenarios can get a little frustrating at times, and the immediate feedback from the game upon completing the DLC was a bit vague, but otherwise this was pretty much on par with the high quality of the original game. Well worth the $10 I paid for it.
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Finished up I Expect You To Die 2, which was done well, and was a little bit longer and more involved than the first game. I have some trophy hunting left to do there to pad things out, but beyond that there isn’t much replay value after finishing each scenario, aside from some built-in speed running goals. Still well worth the money, though.

Lately I’ve gone down the rabbit hole with Jackal Squad, a mobile game that’s a love letter to arcade games like Top Gunner and Speed Rumbler, and of course the NES version of Jackal. For those unfamiliar with these games, they’re 8-bit top-down military vehicle shooters where you drive through a level shooting at and dodging fire from enemies on land, sea, and air while rescuing some POWs, with the occasional obligatory boss fight. Jackal Squad leans into this formula and expands upon it greatly, in both good ways and depressingly microtransactiony ways, though ads and real money spending are always optional, and you can get through at least the first 40 levels without doing either.

Jackal Squad takes inspiration from 8-bit visuals, but makes the rotation smooth and provides a lot more environmental and enemy variety, as well as a host of vehicle and weapon customization options. As a mobile game you only control the driving while your weapons auto-fire, but this works out fine since you’d just be mashing the fire button anyway. Early levels are pretty easy, but the combat becomes surprisingly tactical after you reach the 50th level and you’re beset by artillery, helicopters, grenadiers, RPG dudes, and suicide bombers all at the same time. This creates a pretty hard difficulty wall, but it’s manageable with a change in tactics and some resource boosts from watching ads.

While you have the typical loot box bullshit at work here, I found that you can get plenty of materials from just playing the various game modes and watching a few ads for daily rewards. You only get pinched once you get pretty far into the game and find yourself having trouble beating anything on the easiest difficulty level, at which point you either figure out a new approach or keep pecking away at it until daily rewards give you a needed boost and you finally have a breakthrough.

Triplets of customization materials can be combined to create higher rarity versions of the same item, and items you no longer use can be deconstructed to reclaim the in-game money and materials that went into upgrading them, so the material economy is actually pretty fair. There’s also a nice feature with vehicle upgrades where if you get any vehicle up to a certain upgrade level it provides a stat boost to all of your vehicles, so there’s some incentive to mix things up. (Most of the alternate vehicles just have a permanent base effect that mimics an in-game power-up, but their balance of health vs. attack power is also different, and they obviously look a bit different.)

Since I’m up against the difficulty wall now I may end up losing interest soon, since I never spend real money in these free-to-play games; but I’ve had a lot of fun with it up to this point, and I’ll probably keep poking at it until it gets really hopeless. As someone who owns a Speed Rumbler arcade cabinet, this game was right up my alley.
 

Saapanael

Ancient Mariner
I’ve been playing Diablo 2 Resurrected lately. D2 is my favourite game and it’s been fun to discover all of the game’s charms in modern video quality. My first impression of Resurrected wasn’t the greatest but I’ve come to love it. Little changes such as a shared stash are wonderful.
I play Hardcore only and died with my lvl 61 Paladin just upon reaching Hell difficulty. Ran out of the encampment, found a pack with Might and Cursed, thought: “Why not?” and got killed in two hits. Stupid, a deserved death. I really liked playing a Zealot, wondering which build to go with next.

The cool thing about Diablo is that you keep finding new information after years of playing the game. Like if you want to craft Blood Gloves, the optimal way to do it is at lvl 58 with magical heavy gloves found in a lvl 63 area, which gives you the best chances of a good roll. There’s loads of hidden information about the game.
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Picked up Superliminal on sale recently for $10. It's a first-person puzzle game whose gimmick is that objects you are actively manipulating change their size based on perspective shift relative to the background when you drop them. For example, if you picked up a soda can, then turned so that you were facing a far away wall and dropped it, the soda can's size and position would change to whatever it would be relative to that wall (much larger and further away). You can manipulate this in both directions to grow or shrink objects per your needs.

The game winds up being mostly a one-trick pony in this regard, though there were a few flashes of cooler compound mechanics that weren't fully exploited. One was a situation with two linked doorways (one was a portal to the other) where you had to manipulate their relative sizes and walk through them enough times so that you and they were just the right heights to clamber up the frames of the doorways to an exit higher on the wall without being so large that you couldn't fit through the exit. There were also some situations reminiscent of The Witness where looking at the game world from a specific angle would reveal an object you could pluck out of nothingness, and then at least one time where setting down an object did the inverse, and turned it into paint on the game world where you could no longer retrieve it.

The game gets a little weirder later on, with parts of the world only existing when objects are present in them, and solid color walls sometimes not being walls at all, but open space with that solid color being the only thing beyond what you thought was a wall.

The game felt a little short, though not aggressively short for $10, and the game's trophies even acknowledge this with speedrunning trophies for finishing the game in under 60 or 35 minutes. I did have one unfortunate incident where I tried to exit the game on my PS5 (it's a PS4 game) and it just wouldn't quit, so the PS5 OS force-killed the app, and that corrupted my save file. But it didn't take much effort to get back to where I was before, so it wasn't that big of a deal in the end. For completionists there are a number of hidden objects strewn through the levels, as well as a notation of whether you pulled every fire alarm and set off every fire extinguisher in each area. Some of these require keen observation and clever thinking to get, but the fire alarm and extinguisher goals are just empty nonsense, so I probably won't bother with them.

In the end it was a good core idea with less than inspiring execution. Not a steal at $10, though I didn't feel ripped off.

Still plugging away at Jackal Squad on mobile. After some changes in tactics and weaponry I've gotten past the first 100 levels, and I've been pleasantly surprised by the continual introduction of new enemies with different attack patterns and capabilities. Some of the levels wind up putting you in kill boxes that can feel pretty cheap at times, but with sufficient stats and dexterity they're all eventually manageable. They also introduced some random drop items specific to each game zone (each group of 10 levels) which give you permanent stat boosts, so I was replaying some earlier levels and it's pretty hilarious how much more powerful I've gotten since those early stages. I can barrel through the first couple of zones on Hard without even thinking about damage, and I can 1- or 2-shot just about every enemy there. At this point I'm taking all of the ad-supported bonuses I can get, but it's still possible to make progress, so I'll keep at it until it isn't fun anymore.

Still need to get back to Cyberpunk 2077, and I have quite a few backlogged PSVR games that I really ought to finish before PSVR2 is released in the fall. I just remembered that I picked up Eve: Valkyrie on deep discount a while back but never played it, and the developer just announced that they're killing multiplayer support at the beginning of August, so I may be SOL on that one...LOL. First world problems.
 

JudasMyGuide

The resident reactionary
Just finished Sekiro, a third fromsoft game I managed to complete (along with DS 1 and Elden Ring).

Went through all the bosses (apart from those in the Shuro ending) and decided for the "best" ending, the Return one.

Oh my...

Honestly, it was the hardest game I ever finished, the hardest "modern" game I ever played (that means excluding Battletoads or Contra and such).

But man, was it just beautiful. The graphics, the music, the story, the emotions, the atmosphere...

I mean, I really am not one for Japanese culture - nothing personal, it just mostly does absolutely nothing for me - but this game would make me a real otaku. It was one of those games. A unique experience, and a beautiful one as well.

Honestly, the hardest boss must have been Owl (Father), he took me about two months and what felt like 150+ attempts. After him and Demon of Hatred, Isshin the Sword Saint felt ... almost easy? Anyway, still hard, but manageable epic closure to the game, THE fight to end all fights.

The dignity. The feels.

Probably gonna replay this one sooner than I expected.
 
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