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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


I’m still with F-Zero GP Legend. I ended up wiping all the data and starting over, as it turned out, despite deleting their profile, all the previous owner’s time trial times were still present. Plus, I’d unlocked a load of racers through play that the game hadn’t bothered to tell me about, so doing everything over at least let me see which I’d got from doing what.

I’m on the expert level cups now and the spike in difficulty is quite big. Not only do the AI cars vastly improve (on the lowest difficulty you never see them, on the middle they still rarely trouble you, on expert you can easily get out-dragged on the start and then fall back massively from there) but all the tracks have massive changes to them - new layouts for boost panels, new areas of low-friction surfacing, a hole shoved in the middle of a straight on one track. It’s a bit of a surprise, because there’s no difference between tracks in easy or normal.


I’ve somehow managed to get to Level 18 and unlock Class III in Redout. Got about 25 tracks unlocked, so just 10 to go. Oh and have broken 1400 on the speed.

I still find a good few of the events incomprehensible in terms of their mechanics, can see they were trying to go for variety of events but, for me, it backfires as most of them aren’t that great or innovative - though that’s hard to do in a racer.

The ace card for the game remains the track design, though the more recent ones have been feckin’ evil. And those goddamn 360 degree tube sections…


Also finished the main game of Yakuza Kiwami

It unfortunately marred the final level with a couple of less-than-great moves:

In the penultimate boss fight, he has 2 super-goons with him and they tend to rely on staying out of camera a bit too much, then, once you’ve decked them, they get totally revived and souped up - it was crappy. I still beat the trio but it wasn’t a suitably good fight.

So final boss will be better, right? No, because of the Kiwami function in boss fights. Turns out you have to also unlock the Dragon one, but that’s far, far into the Majima fights you have to do so I didn’t have it. There is a way round it - just keep punching the crap out of the scumbag, so that’s what Kazzy did. Also finished him with a newly unlocked and very brutal move.

Fortunately the story delivered for the most part, though Kazzy was far more forgiving than I was inclined to be! What really sells it all are the Haruka-Kiryu scenes which are very sweet indeed.

Started on the Adventure mode and am working my way through beating up Majima. Also found a killer heat move - I’d thought I’d seen it all with the kettle one: Kazzy whacks a guy in the head with a kettle, then when on the floor he holds them down and empties the boiling water all over the guy! Hard to top, right? Well, Kazzy got this firecracker, lit it, shoved it in a guy’s mouth and then held it closed as it went off, then kicked him in the head!


Redout is being a damn idiot of a game.

They decided to stick in pipe sections - well that’d be fine except:

  • Regardless of what you try on the controls, you will go all over the place - some tip said counter-steer - go right on left stick and left on the right. Oh? Really? Because that’s not at all obvious. Tried it - bugger all impact. Basically? Nothing works.
  • End up on the pipe ceiling on exit or spin too much in it - what is ‘too much’ ? The game doesn’t tell you - Instant death.

It really didn’t need these shitty, bullshit instant death pipe sections - it’s at the point where I just don’t want to play tracks where I know pipes feature, which isn’t a sentiment any video game should really encourage. Combined with the AI and it becomes a serious disincentive to play certain parts of the game, which says to me they pitched the difficulty too high, even on the lowest setting.

Graphically and musically it remains superb, but the pipes are a serious problem due to how hard to work out the ‘right’ way to do them is. Everything else you can at least work out by some visual cues, but on the pipes you only have 2 lines to follow but the sensitivity of the controls is so increased there’s no way to stay on track. Cue death.

Still, on a couple of the Volcano tracks, I somehow - I can’t tell you how - I got Silver. That was at least something good.

EDIT: Seems like it’s not just me on the Europa courses that have pipes:


I just nigh-on crippled my eyes and blasted my brain with a 1hr 15min session on Redout. Why? Well, there is an awful lot to the game including a boost function I’ve only just started using. So this started off as a way to continue experimenting with it. Then, I got a couple of golds, few silvers, a ton of XP that took me to midway through Lv 21. So having pulled off this unlikely string of successes, I figured I might as well try to keep going to unlock Lv 22 and the final ship class, IV, which also happened.

I then tried a couple of Class IV events - feck, it’s fast - including one that should have total stupidity - a Class IV Last Man Standing? Yes, that should have been massively dumb for these races elimanate you if you are in last place on a lap. It was also on a Europa track! Yes, the very same set that I was cursing a storm on to high heaven last night. Somehow, I got 5th out of 8! With the AI on Maximum Bastard tier - albeit on ‘easy’, but even on that this game really isn’t when it comes to the AI. So, having got that, I’ll only rate that 80% of the Europa are irredeemably, unfair crap!

Another improbable win was on a Speed run on a Volcano track of all things.

The way is now open, if I keep playing - and I will, if only via the speed / time attack options - to get those last 7 tracks unlocked.


Back to Redout - I somehow managed to get to Level 24 and unlock the final Vertex and Volcano tracks.

The Vertex one is mad but relies a bit too much on screwing your line of sight, whereas the final Volcano track, Hell, is a masterpiece with the jump to end all jumps.

So, having got that I started experimenting with a passive power-up called Augmented Propeller that the pros at this game pretty much swear by. Why?

Well, take a couple of nuclear rockets, strap on a third, attach the trio to your craft and watch the bastard go faster than ever! Which in this game is saying a hell of a lot. As a result of this I’ve racked up silver and golds across the afternoon, even getting 3 golds in a row on a set of time attack / speed races and gone from Lv 24 to Lv 28.

What does this mean? That 3 of 5 Neptune tracks have been unlocked. Those tracks are, admittedly, very creative, but throw in zero gravity so the craft handles totally differently. It’s not quite as bad as Europa’s accursed pipe section (Volcano has 1 too, but Europa has lots) but it’s getting there! Still, 33 down, 2 to go and I know the game will only give these grudgingly as I hit the final two levels. (Not that there’s a level cap as such, it’s that apparently once you hit Lv 30, that unlocks all the tracks by offering them to play in career mode.)

I still have all the other active and passive power-ups to experiment with and all the other craft, and to unlock them all to Class IV standard. It’ll be nowhere near done per se, but I’ll have nailed my aim of getting all the tracks open.


Oh Yakuza Kiwami and you were doing so well…

I’ll probably be in the minority here but I’ve never cared about Yakuza’s vaunted array of minigames, but neither do I mind them so long as they remain optional.

This is where Yakuza Zero went wrong in that it locked both Kiryu and Majima’s ‘true’ fight styles behind completing a convoluted sub-game, which in turn required certain successful minigame completion to do. So, due to that idiocy I never got to access those styles and had thought Kiwami had learnt from Zero and wouldn’t do the same kind of crap. I was wrong.

They set up the Dragon style as requiring you to fight Majima to unlock it but there’s a couple of issues with this: Majima’s appearances are random, as is the type of Majima that turns up and the completion reqs go as far as requiring that you defeat a certain Majima a certain number of times. Worse is that this also extends to you having to beat him at minigames! So I went to the Bowling expecting a fight but no, the fight is as minigame bowling. It sucks. Along with the irritating structure for Komaki’s training where you have to do a number of Coliseum fights, to get points to buy images to access the lessons, in combination it means I’m not ever unlocking all of the Dragon abilities. I might get as far as nabbing the Kiwami move, which I’ll just have to put up with as a consolation prize, as the way they’ve structured it is massively disappointing.


It is done! All tracks on Redout unlocked!

Is it the success I expected? Well, not exactly. Unfortunately, like Surface Sprint on Europa - a mean, nasty bastard of a track but in all the wrong ways whereas Volcano’s Hell is a nasty track in the right ways - the final tracks of Neptune are a disappointment. Why? Neptune adds zero gravity but it doesn’t really work that well and these last two tracks use a lot of it! Given the amount of work that is required to unlock them, the transaction now looks to be lacking in value.

Still, I’ve spent a lot of time climbing the levels, 30 of them, and unlocking the ships, upgrades and power-ups, with upgrades to the power-ups too. It’d be fair to say that the power-ups, boost and other controls in combination give you a fairer chance against the AI, but for me, that AI setting is a bit too brutal and is a disincentive to play certain events in the Career mode. Nor am I a fan of the majority of them, but for others they’ll probably find the variety excellent.

On the whole the track design is wonderfully mad and it is a very strong graphical showcase for the current generation of consoles. It does have an unfortunate habit of screwing around with the jumps, you might think you’ve made it and the track isn’t there. Nor do the pipe and zero gravity sections work at all for me, I’m sure some will persevere with them but I can’t see myself being among them - I wouldn’t mind if it was clearer in each how I’m supposed to control it successfully but even that minimal signposting is absent. On the other hand, these factors only affect a minority of tracks and even the crappier environments will tend to have at least one decent track.

The bulk of the Europa tracks rely on blind turns, limited view, removal of track barriers and pipes, whereas the bulk of the Volcano tracks are hard but far fairer in the main. There are a couple of barrierless sections but they don’t come up anywhere near as harshly as Europa’s set.

Cairo and Alaska are a smart set of intro tracks. I can’t say I like Abruzzo’s set as much, whereas Volcano is excellent, as is Vertex. Neptune? It can bugger off to Uranus.

Should you buy it? I say yes for these reasons:

  • It has been years since a future racer to match the likes of Wipout and F-Zero has been done - it may be years if there is ever another one.
  • It is the antithesis of a big publisher AAA game, but has the looks to match them - smaller companies need consumer support.
  • It’s not just a homage to past future racers - the track design is, overall, very, very good indeed and does things you will have not seen before.
  • It’s a cheap buy - RRP £29.99


I’ve been playing Witcher 3 the last couple of weeks. I finished the first area, which I guess is largely intended to let you get a handle on the main game mechanics.
I’m in Velen now, currently doing the bloody baron quest, which has a nice narrative.

Like most open world games I find the sheer scale of the world map and the number of things to do, a bit daunting. Guess that is the nature of RPGs these days.

I also find the combat a bit limited. Basically dodge, two attacks and some limited spells. Seems to lack the depth or a full on RPG combat system, but also lack the complexity of a modern action game.


You’re not using bombs, oils or potions? They make a decisive difference against enemies.


I haven’t come across anyone I need them against yet to be honest. Still early days really.


That’ll change! Took me a good while to work out the significance of them but once I did…

Oh yeah, expect to get many quests in Novigrad when you get there as you spend an hour or so exploring and getting lost in it.

Have you had any of the sections with Ciri yet?

The big thing I noticed graphically when I started laying it was the degree of animation, trees swaying in the breeze - that was new and quite uncanny.


Rather than using any of that stuff I switched the difficulty level to easy.


My battle with GameDHD continues… XCOM:2 was on offer on Xbox live and I couldn’t resist.

It is just as bastard hard and unforgiving as XCOM but it seems to ratchet up the difficulty much more quickly.

I quickly found myself in a situation with a deficit of troopers making it impossible to take on any new missions with any reasonable chance for success.

Once I had, finally, got enough troopers to fill a team they were quickly dealt with due to the fact they were rookies and that a number of new enemy types were introduced.

Having said that the game is more forgiving than XCOM when it comes to failed missions. XCOM always felt like even a single mission failure could lead to the loss of funding and overall end of the game.
In my opening play the other night I was able to ignore missions and go on a multiple mission losing streak and not suffer an immediate shutdown.


Yeah I had to turn down the difficulty in order to win Xcom 2.


I’ve still got all my old consoles (NES/SNES/Master/Mega etc) but some are temperamental and are all stored in the loft. With that in mind I’m thinking of getting a retro clone console. Does anyone have an experience with them or any recommendations.

I’m considering the retron5.


I’ve heard mixed things. They’re handy for playing foreign games (and using languge patches on them) but the compatibility isn’t total and the packed in controllers are crap. That’s all second hand, but I’d stick with the original machines, if you’ve already got them.


So finished off Yakuza Kiwami, or as far as I’ll get anyway.

The good? Got the Dragon style nearly fully unlocked due to duffing up Majima about 50 times, including one time with him in drag - yes, seriously. When you’ve got it fully restored, Dragon is quite good but it’s not necessarily stronger than the other three in the way the game claims, but you do get some sweet moves.

The bad? Tried to progress Komaki’s training and it throws in this pile o’ bullcrap requirement where you have to dodge all shots from a shotgun for a minute - get hit once and it’s instant fail. Yep, screw that crap and screw you old man, Kiryu should have taken that shotgun off you, stuck it up yer arse and pulled the trigger.

So, next it’ll be one of returning to:

  • Skyrim
  • FFXV
  • Mass Effect Andromeda

Or starting FFXII Zodiac Age.


The trouble is playing the original consoles on a new TV means the picture looks worse than on an old CRT, even if changing the aspect ratio to 4:3. At least the clone consoles are hdmi and sort out the picture issues, although it would feel a bit dirty not using the original machine.


An HDMI output isn’t going to magically make the games look better. Even if it’s upscaling, it’s upscaling fairly blocky pixels to start with.