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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


I think even the makers realised the current day story is shite. They dialled it back to nearly nothing in syndicate, which worked way better.
For me, having played all the games in the “Desmond” series, I feel no need to play these now unless the setting interests me. As such I skipped the pirates, but did play syndicate and very much enjoyed London.
No interest in ancient Egypt so skipped the current game a well.


Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition PS4

I’ve never played what’s dubbed ‘classic RPG’ (CRPG) and this was on sale for a tenner, so thought it worth a go.

First, even on its easiest setting, this is a conniving, underhanded utter bastard of a game - but it also permits you to be equally conniving and underhanded! Yesterday wasn’t such a good session, but today? Oh yes, today was a good day to die - for everyone else!

This is something I really got my head around today with one fight in particular:

Some enemies are sources of poison. Poison can be set fire to, so if I shoot a zombie with a fire arrow, the poison leaking from it will ignite, so inflicting far greater damage. I also stunned an undead archer by electrifying him and the water he was standing in!

There was also a first boss fight whereupon, after I took out the boss’ pack of dogs one by one, the bastard resurrected each as a poison-sodden zombie hound! After a second killing they stayed down.

I also did a strategy where I let the enemy come to me, so once they drew close I had enough moves stored up to inflict a very deadly offensive.

I still feel I’m nowhere near close to really understanding this one yet - starting to get my head around the crafting and inventory management, which is very different to other games I’ve played. It offers an awful lot of options - which is true of combat too and some of those can really be used, or should that be abused?


I played an indie adventure game called Nancy the Happy Whore and the Perfidious Petrol Station earlier. As you might guess from the name, it’s a comedy rather than a hard-hitting noir drama or anything. It’s pretty short - a couple of hours at most - and not desperately challenging, but it doesn’t purport to be. Surprisingly, it’s by the same guy who did Technobabylon, which was a deep story about heavy themes and with some really intricate and clever puzzles. I suspect this was done between the prototype of Technobabylon and the full release, to blow off steam.

It mostly works, but where it falls down is its characters, which are disappointingly broad. Nancy is joined by Susie the Drug Addict (she’s actually referred to as that in-game), who is a very thin take on drug addict (she looks haggard and complains of being cold). There’s a horrible basement-dwelling geek stereotype present throughout and then, most weirdly (especially given the deft touch Technobabylon had on trans issues) a petrol station clerk who’s drawn as and voiced by a man but who is, an almost throwaway gag explains, a woman who’s taken a lot of steroids. It’s a tad puzzling rather than funny.

Nancy’s the only character that’s… well, I was going to say well-rounded, but that’s not the right term. She’s also quite shallowly written, but she’s entertaining enough to control. The whore aspect doesn’t really come into things though. There’s a flirt option in the inventory, which isn’t actually used much at all and you don’t have to go around charging for activities or anything. In fact, with removing that label (which is problematic enough for marketing that many places just refer to this game as The Perfidious Petrol Station) and a couple of tweaks to the script you’d have a nicely sex-positive female games character instead of a fairly immature and hollow attempt at transgressive comedy.

Still, the puzzles are good and the story’s fun enough to cover for the amateurish production values (mainly on the audio) and for a mere couple of quid, it’s worth a punt if you like adventure games.


I went by my local vintage cafe and arcade place today. They’ve added a couple of new machines:

The Star Wars one is pretty rare, I think. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working (or wasn’t turned on). The Simpsons is quite fun. It’s from very early in the show’s run, so they’ve not got much to work with, leading to oddities like Smithers being the main villain.


I played that Simpsons game so much back in the day.


That Simpsons game used to be at the local hockey rink, I played it all the time.

Loved the Star Wars game as a kid but when I went to the Video Game Hall of Fame a couple of years ago I played it and didn’t enjoy it much, although I did appreciate it.


That Simpsons game was awesome. You could team up special attacks like Bart and Lisa using a skipping rope.

I spent so much money on it…


Didn’t Homer swing Marge around by her hair?


Oh the kick of nostalgia from that Simpson’s game…


Sheesh, I had fun on Divinity: Original Sin EE tonight:

  • Had Roderick and Scarlett packing bows, Jahan armed with a fire staff and Madroga in reserve to kill anything that got too close.
  • Teleported a zombie boar that was already poisoned to the other side of the map.
  • Fire missile’d another zombie boar, igniting the poison that it was covered it
  • Have been more attentive to gear - gave Madroga poison defence as she’ll get hit by it more often.
  • Realised Jahan’s magic missile has no cooldown so abused the hell out of that on zombies.

Combining these tactics saw my lot smash the crap out of 2-3 enemy sets with ease.


So, big Divinity session today:

  • Killed Engldaer - vengeance-obsessed fool that he was.
  • Killed Dietmer and all his goons
  • Killed a sun-bathing sorcerer
  • Killed Diederik in a very close fight
  • Killed a pack of wolves
  • Killed a pile of bandits
  • Killed a flaming archer and then legged it
  • Gave Cecil his staff

Yeah, today has been a whole lotta o’ killin’. But in so many stylish ways - for Diederik, I laid down a flame field and the sucker had to walk through it to get to me!


So, I tried to do the stage quests, I really did.

Except, I go to the library and the ‘stage material’ that is supposed to be there… isn’t. I try it several times and nope, it ain’t there. Without it, the quests are blocked, forever. So, expecting the game to stop me, I opted for the full Anakin Skywalker solution.

That arrogant stage master Chaucer? Dead. Katharine the Fair? All she had to do was stay out of it, but nope, so dead. That fraudster Gallagher? Dead and I got my 100 gold back off his corpse. Those Citizens who decided to intervene? Dead. Those few Legionnaires who decided to protect these wastes o’ space? Dead. That other arrogant arse Reginald? Also dead. The theatre ground is an absolute charnal house that’ll be stinking to high heaven in a few days.

I didn’t really expect to get away with it - I expected infinite waves of super-bastard guards because that’s pretty much a given on most games now, you’re not allowed to do anything that bad without consequences. Here? If you play it right, you might do.


Had more fun on Divinity:

Took out a load of crabs and an abominations, some pirate assassins, plus wait for it… Pontius Pirate! Fecking excellent name. He thought himself a bad-ass, came storming forward and got his arse handed to him. Killed the rest of the mobs, the last one standing was the Pyromancer… Right next to an oil barrel! I had Jahan send one fire missile, expecting a minor to moderate boom. Yeah, scratch that! The entire area went up in flames! Instant kill. Then an Ornate Chest picked a fight…

Before that I also killed a load of orcs.

Went back to town, found the gravedigger and, since he decided to be an uncooperative piece of crap, killed him too. I am bringing law to Cyseal - one corpse at a time. Joe Dredd would approve.


I managed to slog to the end of of Valkyrie Profile DS. It really did feel more gruelling than it needed to. The save file says 16 hours or so, but that’s not counting all the wasted hours from failed attempts at levels. The core of the game itself isn’t too difficult, but it’s compounded by the need to reap sin (and the punishments if you don’t) which force you into a certain play-style and, crucially, the game’s annoying habit of giving you multiple levels with no save point between them. Chapter 5, the penultimate of the game, has you doing four in a row, one of which is a tricky boss fight (thankfully I’d resorted to using a walkthrough so knew that and planned ahead, pluming one of my unneeded characters on it to breeze through). It took about three hours or more to do all of them. I can’t say I’d have been very impressed if I’d failed the last one and had to redo all of them.


So, today’s session was far less homicidal with far more deserving targets of fatal doses of violence being inflicted upon them.


  • Twins-by- Fire-Joined - Say hello to my little friend! That is to say… Freezing arrows.
  • Evelyn - Damn, did she have it coming
  • Granite Statues - Turns out they don’t like being frozen!
  • Plus assorted undead.
  • The funniest were a quartet of Pirate Boomers standing in oil… How can I refuse? One fire arrow and massive boom later and that fight was a one-shot multi-kill!

Now, there’s the tricky matter of taking out Braccus Rex (the Biggus Dickus of this section) and all his friends.


Finished Binary Domain yesterday. Have to say, the extermination of robots never has been so much fun. Graphics and animations are top notch and look so crisp and fluid. Robots differ in the size and shape, and boss fights are neat. However, what ruins the otherwise good impression is the story. Not that is not weak, plotless, or that characters appear one-dimensional. No, problems were more of philosophical implications of it, and if given seriously, it’s very controversial, with that “love conquers all” crappy ending.


I played a video game! I think it’s the first one for 20+ years…

It was called Portal, and it was insane. Really clever puzzles involving getting from place to place by creating portals in doors, ceilings, floors. I enjoyed the puzzles, and the comedic asides the game reads out to you periodically.

But some basic things, like moving through a door, were really frustrating. I would be a fraction off where the game wanted me to be to move down some stairs, for example, and the game would then walk me into the handrail and just march me on the spot like an idiot. Why is the game assuming I want to walk on the spot pushing against the handrail, instead of just moving me down stairs? This is exactly why I got bored with video games years ago never play them now – they have no common sense.


Portal is great. :slight_smile:

And Portal 2 is wonderful and even better than the first. Hilarious, clever and inventive.

(I agree though, most 3D games have movement/navigation issues at some point, often due to where the camera places itself. I don’t remember Portal being particularly bad in that department, though.)


Actually I think it was Portal 2 I played.

Also, what’s not “bad” to regular gamers is crippling when you haven’t held a controller for 20 years :wink:


I totally get that. My wife isn’t much of a gamer these days and often struggles with movement if I ever get her to try 3D games.