Half the time, for me at least, it feels like that. Land somewhere away from the crowds and begin to scavenge. Find one scope, some 9mm ammo and a puffer jacket.
How aggressively do you play? The guys I watch tend to find a place, scavenge and move on quickly. After two or three stops whoever is still alive tends to have rifle and SMG or shotgun, and then they gradually head towards the final circle (OR DEATH)
I’m a search and move player. Unless I end up pretty central to the circle (and find good gear) early on then I tend to camp.
My favoured load-outs are a pair of rifles, one with a long range sight (if I find one) and one without.
In a game last night I was perfectly set up on the roof of a building near the school and had managed to pick off a few players from range. Then the host disconnected and the whole thing was lost.
So, Black Flag…
I decided to relent and went with the ‘screw the campaign, just do free roam’ and the game started to improve, but it also turns out it blocked upgrades during the story mission. When I was out of it? Oh, look, I can buy stuff to make it easier now. Couldn’t before.
Found an area where there’s mostly weak ships - but then every single time I had any success, the game went and undid it. Like giving a hunter ship three friends out of nowhere or sticking a damn island in the way to help two hunter ships. I was actually getting better at the whole boarding thing except, every damn time, my crew decides to fight me so I have to kill a few them and the melee combat is so damn awful. Had this bar fight earlier, I must have hit counter 10 times, the game registered it half that and then decided that, as I had been unarmed in that fight - where the hell that came from I dunno, since when was a pirate all Marquis of Queensbury rules? Just stab ‘em all and leave their corpses to decorate the place - I must want to stay that way! Fuck, no. So after a really good run, King Ponce gets killed by a super-bastard because he never fuckin’ runs and he never fuckin’ kills anyone and counter only works in the game when the game wants it to. Melee combat? Pray for a killstreak or die. Oh and pray that the camera behaves itself because it does some real weird shit at times.
Compared to that, once there’s an upgrade or two - the ram especially - shot a ship, rammed its arse, looted its cargo as it sank - the ship combat at least doesn’t screw around with your crew picking a fight. Might go with the shoot and explode option instead, screw boarding - they can all die by water or fire, their choice. I’ll make up for the lost cargo by slaughtering more of the bastards.
When it’s just sailing around, stopping off at an island, blowing up a few vessels, with a day / night cycle - it is now at least mostly fun, unlike the exercise in frustration that was Sequence 3’s Raise the Black Flag bollocks. Since just about everyone agrees the campaign is shite and the good stuff is with the ship and sailing around blowing shit up, I’ll stick with that and build my Jackdaw into what is, in Samuel L Jackson, parlance, a bad motherfucker.
Graphically, it is astounding - day / night, weather effects are excellent, especially the tide and water effects. The crew singing shanties is pretty damn cool too and I can now at least kill ships. Then there’s the ship combat graphics which are quite something.
And yes, I have been doing better at ship combat - landing a broadside, following up with a swivel hit, then altering position to hit them again - it finally all clicked - once I found some opposition to practice on that allowed me to put the pieces together.
This pirate is cunning. He’s left a swath of ruin across the Caribbean - gunboats, schooners, Hunter ships - boarded, destroyed. Yet, he keeps his activity to a certain level to avoid the kind of attention that would destroy him, He has even released captives to this end, before returning to destruction to the point of taking out a Hunter ship, after which a captive is released and he starts the cycle again.
Yep, had a quite a time tonight. Took on all kinds of ships, lured a Hunter ship out, blew the crap out of it - even managed to successfully board one, but it turns out I get more metal for blowing the crap out of it completely. So, did that, kept a wreck or two of a gunboat or schooner in the area and used that as repair or wanted level reduction. Getting the second armour upgrade made a huge difference and I now have upgraded broadside guns too.
Actually felt like I knew what I was doing, sped up, slowed down, cut through curves, lined up broadsides, followed up with swivels. Went through day, night, lightning storm, high winds - and those were suitably scary, while looking amazing.
Found a few islands, got some more treasure. The only irritation was how they’ve done the treasure maps which seems unnecessarily fiddly.
How is the rest of the year shaping up for you all, games-wise?
Next up for me is the new God of War, which is due out on the 20th. Unless it gets terrible reviews I’ll pick it up on release. I think the press embargo is later today, a week early, which bodes well.
After that, May brings some new retro compilations - the Street Fighter and Megadrive releases - which I’ll pick up and have fun sharing with the kids. And I’ll grab the Sonic Mania update.
Then the back end of the year is Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2 (assuming it doesn’t slip again).
(I was thinking of checking out Days Gone too, but I gather that it has been pushed back to 2019 now.)
I’ve been deep in NinoKuni 2, which I don’t totally love. It’s pretty basic, and there are some half-assed RTS an city-building bits that grind things to a halt. However, it’s so beautiful that I’m just drawn in by the world. Once more it is basically like playing a Ghibli movie.
I’ve put Horizon Zero Dark on hold while I play this one, but I was loving that game.
I’ve got Yakuza 6 pre-ordered, partly to encourage Sega to do western releases of Yakuza Kiwami 2 and what looks to be a gloriously bonkers Fist of the North Star.
God of War does look very good, but I’m finding I’m more relaxed about games now. Partly because there’s about 5-10 games from the last 3 years I still haven’t got to and games are much bigger affairs for the most part, so it takes more time to work through them.
I’ve got Monster Hunter World on the hitlist too, that looks quite something.
There’s also a Wargammer action RPG that will either be fantastic or total arse, no idea which.
For the rest of the year I’m happy to be surprised.
Yeah, it’s not like I’m rushing out to buy it but I got a bit of cash for my birthday recently and thought I’d treat myself to a new game (I think the last one I got was Horizon Zero Dawn at Christmas).
If you’re going to go for a big release and want a story, then that gives Kratos the edge over Monster Hunter.
It also looks fantastic. I know we keep noticing this, Witcher 3 got topped by Uncharted 4 which got topped by Horizon Zero Dawn then Uncharted: Lost Legacy took the prize back and now a big, angry bloke is going to come along and nick it again.
Next contender? Shadow of the Tomb Raider has to be in there.
Yeah, it’s easy to get used to how amazing these games look and feel now. With Horizon Zero Dawn it was just pleasant spending time in that world, even without the objectives of the game.
I did so much casual stuff on that game. Just working out how the world connected and the density of it all.
Battletech’s out this month, but I’ll probably get it later on. I want to get Mario Tennis Aces, assuming it reviews well, when it’s out soon. There’s a new WadjeyEye game out at some point and about half a dozen other indie adventures I’ve got an eye on.
Beyond that, go through more of my retro back-catalogue and try and track down a copy of Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology (I forgot to pre-order for its release in Feb and it sold out everywhere instantly).
Talking of graphics, I did a bit more of Black Flag tonight, the part of Sequence 3 that was previously driving me nuts. With all the upgrades I’ve acquired? Took out a Brig, a Gunboat, another Brig and a Hunter ship, to invoke the Klingons “It was glorious battle” - then started on Syndicate.
Now here’s the thing, at this point Black Flag is 4-5 years old and still looks good - as does the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, so what does Syndicate do? Go several levels up still. Facial animations, lighting, little details, I can only imagine how good Origins looks. It’s also a game which you have to see moving to see the full graphic effect, screenshots can’t really convey it nor can YouTube vids.
And the game? It has a much better intro sequence than Black Flag, explains its systems better and the combat is more straight-forward. It’s brought back health bars, so you batter them down and then kill them when they’re out - so far, I prefer it to zombies of Black Flag. Done the first sequence with Jacob, have just started the second one with Evie.
I like that they’ve brought back - or maybe I’m not far enough into Black Flag - the white assassination death sequences. It’s a neat touch and an effective narrative tool.
Has anyone played Stardew Valley?
It’s not the sort of game that would normally appeal to me - an agriculture simulator, effectively, like Harvest Moon - yet it’s got great word of mouth and there’s just something about it that keeps grabbing my attention. But then Animal Crossing does that too and I couldn’t stand that when I tried it a few years back.
Anyone able to recommend Stardew or not?
The God Of War reviews are in, and… yep, I’m definitely getting this.
Currently 94% on Metacritic:
Here’s some reviews.
Yeah, but does it let you play as a gorilla in a bandana?
Wow, I might end up being tempted too.
The single continuous shot concept is intriguing too.
Yeah, I’m interested to see how that’s going to work.
Kratos gets a beard? The game plays out in one continuous shot? If a crowbar appears during gameplay I’m going to call shenanigans.