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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


So, good news, bad news on Zelda

  • Managed to navigate the frozen hell part of the Great Plateau, do find the atmospheric hazard element to not be that great. Still, did have a Goblin fight where I killed two, then with the other one hanging back shooting arrows, I threw a bomb near an explosive and detonated. Cue mini-holocaust and one very dead Goblin.
  • Did the other two trials, got the back story, got the paraglider, which is damn cool… That’s the good.

The bad? Once you get off the Great Plateau the game decides, without telling you, its open season on you! The travel directions you get from the King? Utter shite. If that guy weren’t dead, I’d be killing his arse - turns out all the new areas are Zones of Total Death:

  • Death 1: Get ambushed by skeletons, walk on slope, find slope is super-sllippy, unlike all the others you’ve been on to date, get dumped into fast-flowing river, drown.
  • Death 2: While fighting Mounted Goblin, get targeted by Bastard Guardian’s Laser of Super-Instant-Death. Barbecued. (Oh yeah and all the enemies have the Trump eyesight, it’s incredible, you’ve never seen enemies who can see so far.)

Also, just for the hell of it, between death 1 and 2 it threw in this massive boss that came out of nowhere - I deployed the Rincewind Strategy!

So, went old-school: Very frequent saves, very frequent use of map, eventually made it Karakaiko Village and went and quit while I’m ahead.

Difficulty spike? Fuck, yes. Rewards from completing the Great Plateau? 1 heart, 1 fucking heart, cheap fuckin’ Goddess. I’ll take it sure, but it was 4 Spirit Orbs for 1 Heart!

Despite all of that, it does look amazing. In a way navigating to the village was very much akin to a much more lethal version of Xenoblade’s wide-open spaces, and yes, some tricks from there were also used.


What was the “massive boss”, Ben?


As I’ve since looked it up, it might not have been that big after all, the game just gave that sense of it being so. A Stone Talus near Lake Hylia North, didn’t get a good look due to legging it.


Ah, I’ve not seen one of those yet, but I got whomped by one in the preview event. I killed my first Hilux (hylux?) this evening, which was quite fun. And some Guardians. I hope they don’t respawn with the blood moon.


One thing it does do well is the auto-saves, it is reasonably frequent though no substitute for frequent manual saves.

On the other hand, just to add insult to injury, it does mark where you’ve died on the map!


Have done a reasonable chunk of Horizon: Zero Dawn - am getting a lot of “First bla bla bla discovered” trophies.

So far have cleared my first Bandit Camp, scaled my first Longneck (brachiosaur type machines), cleared my first Corrupted zone (areas on the map where the machine are super crazy for mysterious reasons) and finished my first cauldron (“dungeon” type places that are super-techy and weird).

It’s sort of a strange game - but what it does it does very well. The post-post-post-apocalyptic aesthetic is sort of all-consuming but it’s undeniably beautiful, especially when you start traipsing through the ruins of cities and so forth.Tackling the machines can be tough - each one has certain weaknesses and requires particular strategies and/or particular types of ammo or weaponry. It can be a bit of a pain of an ass to learn.

The game is pretty generous with it’s resources and levelling - you pretty much hit a new level every hour or so - so you don’t ever feel like you need to grind. With that said, the game is pretty much built around grinding aesthetics, in terms of collecting certain types of resources to upgrade your equipment and so forth, but it’s pretty well balanced in that, as long as you’re doing the quests/side-quests/errands/challenges/hunts, you’re pretty much always improving.

As for the story - I dunno. The kind of core mystery is what happened to the humans and what are the machines - then there’s a bunch of other mysteries like who is Aloy’s mother, who are the weird cultists, what’s going on with the politics between tribes, what is the “corruption”, and what happened to Rost. They all seem to be tangentially related to the central mystery so Im sort of expecting little revelations on the way to the bigger one.

I wouldn’t say the story is particularly engrossing - it is more the world then the story that’s compelling - but it’s interesting enough. It reminds me, quite a bit, of the way that “Dragons Age: Origins” unfolded that you sort of have one major goal and then littler ones that become clear along the way, including making allies and so forth. It’s more of a “last gen” style of story-telling and doesn’t really hold a candlle to the Witcher or Last of Us, but I’ve heard it gets a little more interesting in the second half. Aloy isn’t much of a character though, I mean “determined” is pretty much her core character trait - and that’s fine I guess. I guess I’m hoping for more down the line.

It’s worth pointing out that the game isn’t super-forgiving. When you’re in the open world everything is more or less manageable because you can use terrain to your advantage, and so on and so forth. The scripted boss-fights are HARD though. They are HAARD man. At the end of the first cauldron you fight a bellow-back (sort of like a dragon type thing) and it took me like an hour and a bit of retrying to get it dead. Mostly because the only way to kill it in the cauldron is by laying TONS of traps before you “wake it up” , so there’s a huge amount of preparation and planning involved, that means that if you fuck up while you’re leading it around your traps you have to retry and lay all your twenty or thirty traps out again. I’ve killed two in the wild too and they’re still tough, but the terrain means there are more places to hide and plan from - the one in the cauldron was such a bitch.

Anyway - good game.
Pros: Incredible graphics. By far the best graphics on the machine. Interesting world. Solid mechanics.
Cons: Premise is interesting but characterization leaves something out.


tut. Don’t you know that videogames aren’t stories?


Come on David, that’s like saying Bob the Builder isn’t a story!!!


Can we say that? Yes we can!


That’s like saying Deep Purple’s “Made In Japan” live album isn’t a story!!


Now you know you weren’t supposed to open that David:

One review I read picked up exactly this - that they have this great, well-designed open world that is easily it’s ace card, but the main story relies on slinging you in corridors and arena boss battles, with the various bosses being total bastards even on easy.


The main story mostly takes place in the open world. The cauldrons are their own thing and not “really” compulsory (but they give you the ability to control certain machines so they’re more or less essential.)

There are enough encounters in canyons, or during blizzards and so forth that the game can control your maneuverability etc.

Maneuverability is super-key here, like Doom, so when that’s taken away from you it’s a different story.


Thanks, not that I’ll be giving it a whirl for a while due to Zelda / ME:A.



Is that list just Suda games by any chance? And uh, maybe the Nier guy? I can’t remember his name though. But Drakengard 3 certainly seemed to mock the player with it’s last level.


Some of those are great.

I used to like the way Sam & Max got angry with you if you kept trying to pick up or use objects that you weren’t able to access.

Now you’ve done it! You’ve broken Sam’s spirit with your stupid attempts to pick up that silly object! In fact, if I didn’t find his pitiful sobbing so amusing, I’d come out there and rip your limbs off! Just ignore them, Sam, maybe they’ll go away.


A mixed day, but overall, still very good.

Made the mistake of trying to climb Central Tower, which has at least 3 Guardians, yea, they of the Instant Death Laser, guarding it. Got killed 3 times, gave up.

Did find a host of shrines, which I’ve activated as fast travel points, but not done yet. In the course of getting to one of those shrines I was starting to view the game as a sadistic bastard, due to it throwing enemies in my path that did one-hit kills. Then, after finding the shrine, doing a flowers mini-quest (can I kill Magda? No? Why not?) bumped into a merchant and found I could flog a lot of the monster loot, cue Loaded Link! More importantly, I could get better clothes, which means better armour. OK, that changed quite a bit.

Found I could take out the big Moblins with a two-handed weaponry, it’s still hit them first and keep hitting until dead, but it’s a neat touch that they shrug off the one-handed hits. Doing the shrine outside Karakaiko gave me a set of new techniques but I’m still doing more of the run to enemy and hit strategy. Found a pair of Lizalfos quite tough, until I started using a Moblin club on them, they didn’t last long after that.

Managed to get the Haetano Tower active, so that’s another map chunk got - that also involved duffing up a few enemies with farming implements this time. Turns out a Farming Hoe is a pretty good weapon. Did a sidequest where I blew up 2 of 3 goblins off a mountain, so they died, the other one I had to descend and kill because he avoided drowning, as reward, there’s the option to expand inventory if I find Korok Seeds. O-K…

At the Haetano Lab there was this pain in the arse quest of getting a torch, lighting it with a blue flame and getting it back to the lab. If it decides to rain? Sucks to be you. Worse was that I got it all the way back, so saved in case of rain or error extinguishing it, which happened, re-loaded, the save did not save that I had the torch out and lit! Git. So did another run, it didn’t rain, got the upgrades, which was mostly camera-related, so not all that after all.

Looks like I can get better clothing at Haetano too. Have gotten better at cooking as well, which is quite clever.

What makes the game stand out are all the little details - I got a guide around Haetano, but it was raining, so still did it but the guy’s running around with a and over his head as an impromptu brolly. Some of the sunset / rise effects are fantastic and it’s the only game where rain feels unpleasant (also buggers up your climbing ability) while looking amazing. (No thunderstorms yet.)

EDIT: One big plus point I forgot earlier: Many are the game maps for a big open world game that fail to factor in three dimensions - Witcher 3 is notorious for placing ? mark locations underground!

How does Zelda improve on this? Its maps include relief information, so you have a far more detailed view of the world than ever. It is very smart and a huge step forward for game maps.


Well, that was quite the run-through, I now have:

  • 6 hearts
  • Upgraded Champion's Shirt and other upgraded armour
  • Expanded weapon inventory - only 1 more slot mind, but it'll be useful.
  • Managed to deck a Yiga Clan, with only 4 hearts and no shirt upgrade.  Very satisfying after one of those bastards killed me a couple of days ago with their ambush.

The Champion Shirt showing HP count of enemies is very useful - now I know why those red-eyed blue Bokoblins have been murder, they have 240HP, the regular eyed variant is a mere 72HP, the Moblins 144HP, then I walked out of Lanaryu Gate East to see this Centaur, who turns out to have 2000HP! Time to leg it…

Also have gotten better at enemy tactics, well sometimes. When it’s good? Take out the lookout with arrows, throw bomb at Bokoblins, then finish off. Had one skull hideout, with an enemy not coming out, so rolled a bomb in and blew the explosive barrels!

On that one I’d just killed the lookout when the Blood Moon hit, so killed him again, then did all his friends. Have also done a couple of dodges and Flurry Hits which is very cool.


Everyone remain calm…

…but I just pre-ordered Yooka-Laylee.