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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


There will be no Witcher until later this evening.

I have found myself playing it in lengthy runs - sometimes four hours, which, I admit, is a tad longer than I would play checkers with myself for.


Coming to the PS4 quite late, the fact that PS Plus gives you free games is a great way for me to not spend anymore money on new games. Do I really need to play those latest releases? Not really. I’m happy with free stuff at the moment. With that in mind I had a quick spin on This War of Mine last night. I say a quick spin but it was actually more like 3 hours. I was sucked into this war torn survival management game.

It’s kind of like The Sims meets Civilisation meets any other resource management game. Except it’s bleak. Oh so bleak. There’s a war on and you and two friends must somehow find warmth, beds and food in a desperate bid for survival. At times it seems like it’s a matter of how long will you hold out rather than if you will survive at all. You need to scavenge for goods, make decisions about robbing people for meds, help others (?), protect your home and comfort depressed friends. On day 9 I sent a friend off to help some kids who were trapped under some rubble only to find that during the night whilst I was out scavenging the house was raided and my other friend was lethally wounded. My character sat on the floor sobbing that he couldn’t go on. I was then greeted by this screen that siganlled the end of the game.

The preceding screen actually showed my character dangling from a rope. Horrible stuff. I want to try again and see if I can last more than 10 days as it is a compelling game for sure but it is also harrowing. Those who want something a bit different should definitely check it out. Especially if you have PS Plus as it’s free.


A great game. The bleakness reminds of me Papers Please, which I can’t recommend enough.


I got an old NTSC-PAL adapter cart for my SNES today, as a stop-gap til I get my modded console working. It’s a bit finnicky, but works (and seems to have enough pins/connectors/whatever to support Super FX games) which means I’ve finally been able to have a go on the Super Famicom games I bought last year.

Super Bomberman 2 is, surprisingly (thankfully) entirely in English, for what little screen text there is. I played this on the SNES back in the day and it’s everything I remember, so not much use until I get some multiplayer in on it.

Ganbare Goemon 2 is the Japanese only sequel to Legend of the Mystical Ninja and is absolutely nuts. It’s ostensibly set in feudal Japan and based on folklore characters, but I’m a few levels in and have already fought robot samurai rabbits, ridden around on a goldfish jet-bike, a mouse shaped car thing, driven sumo wrestler mini-mecha and the current level sees you piloting a giant Mecha of Goemon himself. Nuts (and there’s a fair bit of Japanese text) but fun.


Old and new…

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

The GamePad screen for items / map is a neat touch, haven’t yet used it much as I kind of ended up remembering my way through the Forsaken Fortress. Was a cheap bit when I got the sword, I immediately get hit by a sneak attack from behind with the camera flipped - Ninty was supposed to be fairer than that. Still, managed to get to do all that and get to Dragon Roost Island.

One thing it really highlights is how much game design has changed the last decade or so - for instance the Uncharted games get criticised for being basically ‘corridor games’, you go from A to B to C, yet this misses this was the structure for most games until recently. Open-world games, to the degree we now have them, are new. Wind Waker is sort of open, but be under no illusion you are doing this quest, when it tells you to.

The design element remains very clear though having to hold the button to get Link to do things ages it- why can’t I press whatever and the enemy stays targeted? Nope, you can’t.

Tales of Berseria demo

This actually does what a demo should - show off the game in the best possible and accurate light and it does! Rather than go with the open world of Zestiria (which I need to return to), this opts for a structure more akin to that of the Xillia games.

Combat is in the style of Zestiria, in that it’s full 3D, where the previous games were on a horizontal plane. One thing the Tales series has excelled at is chaotic combat, with excellent moves. Combine that with the current console tech and it’s never quite looked quite as brilliantly nuts as it does now.

I’m on the fence as to whether to get this soon, I’ll probably hold fire until I’ve cleared the previous game. (There’s the also the quite major distraction of Yakuza 0 due next week too.)


I have continued to play the Witcher 3.

I have noticed how, even thematically, the game points out that it is no more narratologically complex than a card game or a chess game. In fact, there is even an option to indulge in an entirely different form of game, one of cards, in the game Gwent. Also, having just met with the “character” King Radovid - who makes mind numbingly glib musings on the nature of chess and politics and psychology - I am further convinced that the Witcher 3 will go down in history as one of the great family board games, such as Monopoly, with a complete lack of narrative which means it will be ever accessible despite generational change.


Tim is my favourite tonight. I wish I could like posts multiple times.

John Cena channelling Meryl Streep as Aussie Thor should play him in the adaptation of the movie of the story of the narration of the game. But that would be but a pale imitation of a photograph of a painting of a sculpture. There’s a story there somewhere. Or maybe just an epic session of Ludo.

I only came here to say I think I completed (?) The Stanley Parable (again). It’s the Ackbar of videogames. It’s a labyrinthine lack of choice or a commentary on a board game filled with choices depending on the narrative tangent you follow or don’t. Is the story the videogame or is the videogame the story? Maybe it’s not even a game or a story.

Trouble is, I don’t know how to follow Tim’s reviews of Witcher 3. So, here’s the internet to the rescue. It’s not really spoiler-filled, but Tim will be too lazy to read it anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:


I remember the Stanley Parable.

I don’t quite remember how it ends, but it’s so goddamned awesomely meta.


Yeah - I mentioned it in the other thread. I think a review once called it the Eternal Sunshine of videogames; maybe they meant Monopoly. It’s sort of why I referred to Adaptation, but I think my point got lost. If I ever had a point, I would have made it eventually. Eventually, I would have even made my way back to the circular narrative of Star Wars. Then Chris Pining Star Trek. Ah well, too late now.


That was a good year for narrative games - I think Stanley Parable, Going Home, Papers Please and the Telltale Walking Dead series were all released around the same time.

It was a year that really pushed forward what we could expect from the medium.


Is that based on empirical evidence and fact or just your, and also, my opinion? :slight_smile:


It’s expert opinion - there was enough critics, reviewers and designers losing their shit over those games to give legitimacy to the idea that those games were novel.


See, there’ll always be a need for experts. But some leave me with nothing to say in answer. That’s actually false news. I do have the perfect answer.


Still basically Parcheesi or Crazy Eights though, let’s not go overboard.

Edit-are you liking Witcher though?


You have me there, sir, you have me there.

EDIT: Yeah - i have to say the Witcher is flooring me.

I tend to like RPGs anyway, and I haven’t played the first two, so I don’t know too much about the previous story, but there’s enough summarising that it doesn’t leave you in the dark.

I’ll admit, I went from playing Tomb Raider, Uncharted and Metal Gear, which are all pretty cinematic, to the Witcher, so my initial feeling was that it wasn’t pushing the envelop too much. I’m pleased to say that feeling has dropped away completely - the really impressive thing here is just how detailed the world is - the wind blowing through the trees, the ambient sounds, the lives of the town people and so forth. I have never played something with this much detail - full stop. It leaves the prior games mentioned for dead, and every single playthrough I’m impressed by a detail that I can’t believe the developers thought to add - guards go for wee wees on trees and so forth. It feels more ‘living and breathing’ than any game before, and I remember thinking that of GTA3, 4 and 5 and other sandbox games so I feel like the trajectory is set and it’s only going to get more and more detailed as we go into the future, VR and so forth.

I spent almost all day playing through Novigrad - I was a bit bummed about the house and a few other things so just kind of wanted pure escapism - Geralt is at Level 14 with some decent enough weaponry and I’ve just finished the questlines where he finds Whoreson Junior and confronts Menge.

The downside is, because I was such a sloth yesterday I have heaps of work to do today, so probably won’t get much playtime today.


Novigrad is an incredible creation, you actually get lost in it! (Beauclair in Blood & Wine is also incredible but it’s not as sprawling.)

Combined with what has to be one of the most brutal game worlds I’ve played in - you’ll be going along and suddenly there’s three hung corpses on gibbets or you cross a corpse-strewn ghoul-infested battlefield - it really makes it stand out.

And yeah, first time I played it, I was floored by the wind effects on the environment, it’s uncanny - there’s other effects like sunlight, but animating foliage in response to wind was the one that I saw first.

Did you end up telling the Baron’s guys in the inn to fuck off?


I can’t remember what I did there - probably, I usually do that.

I have a good amount in my Axii sign so I usually go that option.

Although that backfired in the Menge quest with Triss, if you know what I’m talking about.

I ended up on pretty good terms with the Baron.


The other thing I love about W3 is the brutality of the combat system, where I’ll have played Shadow of Mordor and done 10 strikes on an orc without killing him because you have to manually trigger the kill move, Geralt goes straight for the kill every time. You’ll get in the fight and then - did he just slice that guy’s head in half? Yes, yes he did, along with a couple of literal disarmings.


Yeah the dismemberings are pretty crazy.

I have to say I haven’t mastered the combat yet at all - in the beginning I found it pretty tough, but at my current level where I’m about 2 levels above the quests im doing and have more or less pretty good weapons, I’m finding I can clear out whole buildings of enemies.

But inevitably I’ll be faced with a werewolf who regenerates at an absurd rate and left wondering what I’m doing wrong.

I’m actually pretty surprised you came to it so easily, Ben, given your history with these things.


I had help! Quite a bit of it! And you’ll likely be playing on a higher difficulty than me and I’m told the difficulty levels really do differ on W3!

So, with those provisos in place:

The trick is getting your head around the amount of combat options the game gives you. Your Bestiary will give you the weaknesses of enemies, the game leaves it to you to put them to use and it does make a significant difference.

Even so, you’re being tasked to combine potions, oils, bombs, swords, signs in free-flowing 3D combat - it’s brilliant but it takes a while to pick up.

I haven’t had many health-regen enemies save for Anghouls, but again it might be there are enemies with those abilities that don’t use them on the lower difficulty level. It is near damn certain there will be a way to counter or neuter the effect and if you haven’t found the answer, the internet will have.

A trio of potions you really want to acquire ASAP:

  • Golden Oriole - Poison immunity
  • Killer Whale - Makes swimming missions far easier
  • White Raffard - Instant health refill

EDIT: Fights I found complete murder at the start:

  • Noonwraith
  • Golem / Gargoyles
  • First Wild Hunt boss