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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


Last night I started Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the latest game from Ninja Theory. You play as Senua, a young woman heading into the territory of the Northmen in the hope of entering Hellheim. At this point the story hasn’t unfolded much beyond that but I don’t mind because the focus is sharply put on Senua herself.
Ninja Theory have tried to create a character for you to play that suffers from some sort of psychosis, and the game is really designed around these elements. There is no HUD, no tutorial level, no customisation. The closest thing to hints are the voices in your head that seem to nearly always be talking, filling you with doubt and urging you onward, sometimes at the same time. These are really effective and unsettling if you play the game with headphones, like I’m doing.
The combat may not seem great at first, but it seemed to come together during my first boss fight, and I’m excited to see how the other ones play out (despite not being a fan of bosses in general).

Reviewers have said this is about eight hours long, which is pretty much the length I’m looking for from games these days. It also seems like Ninja Theory are selling it at a fair price (£25 on PS Store) as they’ve managed to keep down their costs here and essentially making an independent game that looks like a AAA title.
I’m hoping that this ends up being something special.


I do think there’s something to be said for this, similar to the 90-minute film argument.

The new Uncharted sounds ideal for that reason. Previous games in the series have felt padded in places, so I’m quite looking forward to a tighter, shorter instalment.


I’m laid up with a broken toe today so as soon as the mail comes I’m probably going to play that whole Uncharted game in one sitting.


You get it a day ahead of the UK, I think - it’s not out here until tomorrow.

I’ll be interested to hear how it is.


As you likely haven’t played it yet I will put this in spoilers.

The game is exactly what you expect.


It’s been delivered but I haven’t played it yet.

I wish I hadn’t clicked on that spoiler though, that’s ruined everything. I might as well not bother now.


I will say that there was much less setup than I was expecting, and from a run through the first few chapters my assumption is that it will have the same number of chapters as every Uncharted game, but they are much shorter.


I had a quick hour or so on it to run through the first couple of chapters. Your spoiler was correct. :slight_smile:

It’s still lots of fun though, and as with U4 I continue to be blown away by the visuals. There are some really impressive moments already, very early on in the game - like the war-torn cityscape at the end of Chapter One, or the lush jungle that you explore in the 4x4 after you escape the city - so I can’t wait to see what’s lined up for later.


To wind down the gaming session tonight I’ve been playing through some more Sonic Mania to pick up the bonuses that I missed on my first playthrough.

I’m going to hear that Special Stage music in my dreams tonight.


Fucking yesssssss.


So FFXV - when’s it’s good, it’s very, very good and when it’s bad it’s horrid. The bigger problem is it can go from one to the other quickly due to two factors - the combat system and the camera.

Those two occasionally combine to wreak a whole lot of unholy hell on the player - the combat system is set up for moves to be made depending on enemy position. Now when the camera stays at a good distance and doesn’t decide to suddenly zoom in, around and up and down in a bid to be ‘dramatic’, it can work OK, assuming the enemy weaknesses are not to a crappy weapon or magic, for they really nerfed that here by deciding its effects extend to your party too! Realism? Screw realism, it’s a pain in the arse and it deters me from using magic unless I absolutely have to.

The game has these various moves but it explains them badly, so much so they remain incomprehensible to me 20 hours in. I’m pretty much instead relying on level superiority, good weaponry and enemy weakness coupled with dodging, but depending on how long it arbitrarily decides to give you on the ‘block’ prompt that can vary quite a bit too. IF you get enemies that are weak to rubbish weapons and you are near trees, it’s nigh-on guaranteed that the camera will place those trees right in your line of sight because button-mashing to kill enemies you can’t see is fun.

It also relies far too much on warping in enemies or even, quite a few cases, literally dropping them on top of you. At a time when other games are making their enemies visible, this marks out FFXV as being quite anachronistic, particularly as, in combat system terms, Xenoblade was doing similar seven years ago without that reliance and was far more dynamic. (Also the frequency of Imperial airships is too damn high, I know they are going for the plot point of the Empire hunting you but the size of the gameworld argues against the frequency with which I end up legging it from Imperials.)

When the combat works, you know what to use, you can tell what’s going on, you even pull off some blocks and parries - it can be absolutely superb, but it can always change to the opposite extreme on a knife-edge. It would be even better if you had greater control over your party like being able to coordinate attacks on one enemy or get Ignis out of battle before using hi Regroup ability. That and there’s times when enemies will be running around with zero health but no one’s killed them. Is it an ambitious system? Yes. Has it realised that fully? I don’t think it has.

So, what’s it’s like when not doing dumb shit like that without warning? It can be very good. Quest/hunt structure is uninspired ‘go here / get this / kill that’ for Quest Giver Captain Cardboard - yes, neither Witcher or HZD will be losing any sleep on this. The characters of the party work well, the world is unique and well designed. There are some quite impressive vistas when you get to Duscae. Town design is very good, save for the slow pace the game inflicts upon you. Manual driving remains rubbish, as does its tendency of giving you a list of controls on either left and right and, with your eyes on that side of the screen, it puts a button prompt dead centre. The car is too slow, it takes you hours to drive 3 mile! The auto-driving, to old FF soundtracks, is far better and allows you to appreciate the world design.

I’m only on Chapter 3 still, so loads still to do and go. I’ll probably stick with this, though it probably isn’t going to survive for my immediate attention once Yakuza: Kiwami arrives.



That may or may not have just been a jealous outburst!


I’m wondering if there are any games left in the year that I should consider getting on release, outside of Cuphead and maybe Samus Returns. The best other options are:

Midde Earth: Shadow of War (I never played the first one)
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (eh)
Assassin’s Creed Origins (hit or miss series, but this looks good)
Mario Odyssey (looks amazing but would need to buy a Switch)
Wolfenstein 2 (never played the first in the rebooted series)
Call of Duty WW2 (I’ve liked all of their WW2 set games before)
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (never played the first)

It’s looking like nothing there is an opening-day lock to me! Probably the closest is Assassin’s Creed but that can wait for the price drops in 2018.

The other thing I’m tempted by is NBA2K18. I won’t get it because sports games are too much of a time-suck for me to play anymore, but the graphical leap even over last year’s edition is insane.

38 PM


If you don’t like the idea of microtransactions blighting the game, go get the first one on the cheap.


What micro transactions were there in the first one? I don’t remember any and certainly didn’t purchase anything while playing it.


You can pick the first one up dirt cheap these days if you want to try it out. The marketing makes the sequel look like more of the same, albeit with a fair bit more polish. (The first one straddled two gaming generations, but the new one looks far more like a current-gen game.)

Ditto Battlefront - it’s so cheap that trying the first one might be a good way to go, rather than paying full-price for the new one.

(I enjoyed - but didn’t love - both of these, for what it’s worth.)


The only upcoming games I definitely have on my buy-on-day-one list are The Last Of Us 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War and the new Spider-Man game (and that’s probably my order of interest too). I think those are all next year though.


That’s what I’m referring to Rory.

The net has recently gone nuclear over the news that the second game will have microtransactions.

I really can’t get my idea around how the Lootbox concept has taken off - I pay money for a box of stuff without knowing what’s in it? That looks and sounds like gambling, but not even for real money.


The Jak & Daxter game that came free with Uncharted is quite good fun. I never played the series the first time around but the kids are quite enjoying the remaster.

It’s a real throwback to those early 3D platform/adventure games. (It even still starts with the old Playstation 2 logo.) Weirdly you can really see elements of Uncharted in parts of it.


That is all next year and in the case of the Last of Us possibly 2019 too.

There is a lot in 2018 that should be great. The ones you mentioned plus…supposedly…Kingdom Hearts 3, Psychonauts 2, Ninokuni 2, Skull & Bones. It’s going to be a great year.

I will probably hold off on new games until then. Maybe I should play this stack of about 5 games that I already own first???