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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


Sounds akin to people playing Crash Bandicoot and finding it harder than they remember. :wink:




The reviews have said that the UFO levels don’t have great controls and so are hard.


They seem to be deliberately slippery, which is fine, but will take a bit of getting used to.


Ghoul Patrol is a game I’d never heard of until last week. It’s a sequel to the classic Zombies Ate My Neighbours by LucasArts. I’ve not played Zombies much, but enough to know it’s a breezey arcade style co-op game that’s a lot of fun. It’s also quite expensive to pick up second hand. Ghoul Patrol isn’t, so I thought I’d try it out (on an emulator) and maybe get it as a nice stop-gap for Zombies proper. or maybe even instead of - it’s a sequel, it could be better. A hidden gem, even!

I’m really glad I tried before buying, because it’s a near perfect example of how bad a sequel can be when handled by a different developer. Ghoul Patrol is made by JVC, they just licensed the assets of Zombies from Lucas. Instead of zombies, you’re fighting monsters and demons, starting in a library. There’s a whole cut-scene at the front of the game to show what summoned them (the stupid player characters) which is totally unnecessary. Right from the off, the game feels wrong. There are new sprites for Julie and Zeke, which aren’t too bad, but the movement speed for them is atrocious. It’s like walking through treacle. For a game that’s all about quick reactions and moving and shooting, sluggish controls are unforgivable.

But everything else is bad too. The level design is ridiculously confusing, even on the first stage. Zombies had complex maps, filled with secrets and short-cuts, but it at least eases you in. The first stage on Zombies can be done in about three minutes with no fuss. I spent fifteen on Ghoul Patrol’s opening, schlepping around its maze of dead ends and infinitely spawning enemies. You get the Zombies style shout-outs of “save me” and “over here”, but they’re completely useless, as they’re usually coming through a wall, giving you no suggestion of how to actually get to the civilian and they’re often just coming out of nowhere, indicating nothing. When I finally got through saving them all, the game repeatedly told me to “exit”. Ok, fine. In Zombies, an exit opens up next to you. In Ghoul Patrol, it doesn’t. And I have no idea what you’re meant to do or where you’re meant to go, because they removed the mini map and I’d got sick of muddling around the stage by then.

The weapons are really lame too. By default you have a crossbow. Nice horror movie cliche, should be fun. But it’s almost literally useless. It takes about four shots to kill even the weakest enemy with it. The default weapons in Zombies (I want to say they were water pistols?) were at least powerful enough to use as a last resort. Here you’re better off just trudging away, or using the dash-slide ability. It doesn’t do any damage, but it’s the only way to move with any real speed and essential for getting past the endless areas of flying books blocking your way, that you can’t shoot. But of course, the enemies are placed so you’re usually dash-sliding straight into something else.

The whole thing’s a total mess and I can see why it’s been quietly brushed aside from history, while Zombies is largely lauded.


So returned to FFXV and… Well, didn’t have a great time. The story mission felt tedious beyond belief, but did open up the Duscae region. Wasn’t getting on particularly well with the combat either. Yes, you can sometimes just rely on level superiority and curb stomp everything but that doesn’t always work. The main difficulty was a combination of the camera being crap, even with Wait mode, so it’s hard to tell whats going on and the game literally dropping in new enemies from airship too often. I get the story concept behind but it makes for a crappy game. It all culminated in a crappy hunt that emphasised all the flaws and lack of control I have on the characters.

Then, remembering that I hadn’t upgraded the gang in quite a while, I went back some time later and grabbed a load and then went hunting. Also remembered there is Libra and worked out how to use it. Combination of those two made for quite a different fight experience, even when the game dropped an airship contingent of enemies on me.

I still think the game makes healing harder than it should do, but those upgrades changed the picture enough for me to stick with it.


I have to say, I’ve been finding the main plot lines of the expansions of Witcher 3 infinitely more intriguing than the main story. I finished Heart of Stone today, and began Blood and Wine. I had a blast with HoS, and am already very excited about BaW even though I’ve just began.

If you enjoyed Witcher 3, and have not tried the expansions yet, do yourself a favor and pick them up.


I just went on a gaming board to check something about Sonic Mania and saw several threads complaining about how hard some of the game’s bosses are (including some of the ones based on the old games), and how many times players were getting a ‘Game Over’ after trying to battle them.

It made me wonder whether games are in general easier now (or at least, more forgiving in terms of restarts, saves and infinite lives) than games of the past, and whether that’s encouraging a different approach from gamers? Playing all those '90s video games with no ‘safety net’ trained me to beat most of the Sonic Mania bosses pretty easily, but a lot of gamers who grew up in subsequent eras seem to have had more trouble.


Absolutely (and that’s no bad thing).

Probably. I don’t know. It’s nice to be able to buy a game with an expectation of being able to finish it, rather than just hitting a wall of your own ability part way in. I think people expect an experience more than a challenge now.


I’m not sure games are easier now, exactly, but they are challenging in different ways. The days of needing fast reflexes and the ability to memorize patterns and levels seem to be fading out. I find some new games to be very hard but they use a different part of my brain—they require you to memorize complex control schemes, utilize your environment in a three dimensional space, and spend a million hours customizing your character and weapons, none of which I can be bothered with. About a third of the time I’ll turn the settings of a game to “easy”. I did that with Prey recently.

To me it’s a pleasure when a new game engages that part of my brain that I’m used to (such as the treasure chest chasing levels of Rayman).


Those are very good points.

I do find a lot of games today a bit difficult to get to grips with, but I think that’s because I lack the patience (and time!) that a younger player might have to get acquainted with complex control and inventory/crafting systems, and the like. I also find it difficult to bother with all that stuff. I wonder whether it’s as much a time-of-life thing as anything else.

A great counter-example of this for me was Portal and its sequel. It felt very inventive and completely unlike anything I had played before. And tapped into that element of orienting yourself in a three-dimensional space (and then played with it in a very fun way). I found that quite hard but I liked it a lot, and stuck with it to the end.


I played Sonic Mania yesterday and thought it was fun. It did seem harder than I was expecting though, especially for a first level. I’ve played the original Green Hill Zone before, obviously, but this time I got lost. I don’t know any classic Sonic games intimately enough to know what’s new and where things have been lifted from, but it seems fun enough in short bursts (which is my preferred method of playing Sonic).
Quick question: what’s the difference between playing a level with Sonic & Tails versus just doing it with Sonic? Is there any advantage to being a lone hedgehog?

I bagged Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice today, along with Firewatch and I’m hoping that the more soulful and story-based experiences on offer there will provide good counter-programming to Sonic Mania.


In fairness, even the original levels from the old games have been redesigned quite heavily for Mania, so it’s not just you. :slight_smile:

Tails is sometimes helpful in terms of picking up stray rings, and is often useful in boss fights as he can get hits in without you risking losing rings (or death). I’d call him a human shield if he wasn’t a fox.

(Also, if you have a second controller you can get him to fly, and carry Sonic to difficult/inaccessible parts of the levels.)


(I had no idea about that!)
I’ve done what @Bruce said and stayed away from the trophy menu, so I’m still waiting for a few other mechanics to reveal themselves to me.


I actually missed some of the gimmicks on my first playthrough (like the chipping machines in Press Garden and the gondolas in Hydrocity, so I’m hoping to encounter them on my second.


Best to spoiler code it if you can get it working but what did you decide in HoS? One of the things I noticed in HoS add-on was enemies were far more coordinated. Have you reached Beauclair in B&W yet? It’s quite something.

This. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it does tend to work against a quick pick up and play session at the end of the day.


Decide with respect to The fate of Olgierd? I decided to help him in the end. Not that I thought he deserved saving necessairly, but I just liked the character.


Is Beauclair the big city?


Yup. It’s a masterpiece.

As for Olgierd, I really hated that bastard.


He was totally a bastard, but less of a bastard than O’dimm. If you save him he gives you a kickass sword.

The whole continent in B&W is beautiful, but Beauclair especially so. I did the quest at the bank, which was ridiculous and hilarious.