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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


Got an email from Harebrained Schemes, BattleTech keys are going out at the moment, so I’ve added it to my Humble Library. It’ll be available for download Tomorrow and live on Tuesday


This is one of the issues for me with digital games too. And not just the downloading but also the disc space. (Although so many games have massive 50GB+ installs nowadays, even on disc, that the difference is probably negligible.)


Just jumped back on Sonic Mania with the kids, and noticed that the menu system is changed and a few new options had opened up. Apparently the latest update (in anticipation of the Sonic Mania Plus DLC/physical release) has added quite a bit.

Love the hanglider from Master System Sonic 2.


Looks like this update is just PS4 at the moment. I loaded up the Metal Sonic level and there was no change. Oh well, happy enough to wait for the update and dlc.


Oh, that’s weird. Maybe it slipped out early or something.

It looks like they’re making more changes/polishes than I expected. The only disappointment is that some stuff (like the final stage of Metal Sonic) is actually being overwritten with new stuff and lost.

Which seems like a bit of a shame - although perhaps the full version of Plus will offer the option to play either the old version or the new updated version.


Yeah, I did a bit of reading online and a few sites are claiming it’s an accidental update.


Yeah, that’s the kicker now - digital or download, you still end up with a fat game install file on the hard drive.

They really need to get back in the habit of compressing data, because even in an age of multi-TB drives, space ain’t going to last long.


I still manage with an original 500GB PS4, but there’s a lot of deleting and reinstalling that goes on.

And the sounds its fan makes when trying to keep up with Uncharted 4 or God of War would have you think there was a space shuttle launch imminent.



I finally got the main villain in Arkham Knight but there a Riddler trophies left and the Riddler himself.

I don’t care about getting him. The game is 97% over for me and that is good enough.

I saw the Knighfall protocol on YouTube already

Time to move on to another game or go outside in the Summer and get a life…


… or push for that extra 3%…


For me it got the the point that I could no longer choose what to delete before adding something new. I probably should have taken it as a sign to actually finish games instead I asked for, and got, a 4tb external hard drive for Christmas.


Easy answer: Go with the Shatner route i.e. get a life.

Resist Al, resist!

Back to Yakuza 6 - on the final chapter, but that’s not what this post is about.

Turns out, in this one, you can have the fight with the thugs in a shop. So, you get spotted, they pursue, you run into a shop and they follow you! You then can basically bust them up by throwing into shelves and walls, with much produce going flying and property destruction. If you have the move unlocked, you can throw a guy over the counter, smashing his head into a microwave and tell the guy behind the counter to switch it on! Guy’s head gets fried. This series has some mad moves, but that one takes the prize.

Of course, if you do this, the shop owners are pissed and you get told to fuck off, they refuse to serve you for a while because you smashed the place up.


So it turns out that my completism instincts have made me close out God of War 3 (Remastered) before properly getting stuck into the new GoW game. I finished it off tonight and realised that I never actually fully completed this one back when it first came out (I definitely did 1 and 2 though).

It’s lots of fun anyway, and mostly holds up pretty well today. There are some great imaginative puzzle sections and the combat is an ideal balance of challenging and satisfying to plough your way through. It also has a perfect knack for pulling off that Doom thing of introducing new enemies that initially feel insurmountable, only for you to soon be fighting several of them at once as well as loads of other beasties and taking it all in your stride. And the big setpieces are tremendous fun on a huge scale.

Unfortunately the end lets it down slightly, though - the final boss fight with Zeus is overlong and gets tedious towards the end, and then there’s a surreal abstract closing section that probably felt quite unusual and innovative at the time, but in retrospect is just tedious guff that robs the climax of a lot of its momentum. Along with that whole sex minigame thing halfway through, it dates it in a way that isn’t true of most aspects of the game.

Back on to Nu-GoW now though, and I’m feeling the graphical leap even more with GoW3 to compare it to. Just passed an amazing boss battle that leaves you gaping at what you’re seeing. It’s a great experience so far, and it’s still very early days yet.


BattleTech is downloading now. Woot.


So between a huge download, getting the game as an installer independent of Steam (And having to unzip it after downloading), I managed to play most of the first mission for BattleTech.

And it’s pretty good. As a long-time player of the tabletop game, this is different but it still feels like BattleTech, I can select what weapons to use in order to manage my heat - the inclusion of heat as a game mechanic, which was absent form MechCommander! - the gradual damage that units take are reflected on the models in the game (and the bulk of the unit designs are based on art by veteran BattleTech designer Duane Loose and recent BT superstar Alex Iglesias, so they look amazing), and I kicked a Shadow Hawk to death after bowing its arms off, which is peak BattleTech, really.

The initative system allows for stong tactical choices: there’s 4 sub-phases in each turn where you can choose to activate your mechs or wait till the next one, with larger and slower units only available at the later phases. So you need to decide if you want to use your light mechs early on, but then allow larger enemies to move close and engage them, but also you need to decide between attacking enemies that have activated or not, and balance the immediate threat vs the medium and long-term risks in the fight. You’ve also got to balance the desire to put a lot of damage into an enemy right now and overheat as a result against being able to move and fight effectively the following turn.

Storyline wise, it’s a great example of gaming in the gaps, with the setting being a bunch of worlds that are on the tabletop game’s maps for older eras, but have been ignored by the great powers for centuries and as a result have been almost forgotten about by the time the game is set. This allows the creators to have a dynastic battle with the cutthroat politics BattleTech is known for, while but without having to set the game apart from the official canon, which acknowledges that many of the so-called lost worlds are still out there, as well as noting the dozens of tiny human polities that ring the Inner Sphere and nobody cares about.

So yeah, thumbs up so far.


Finished Yakuza 6.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, I can see what they were thinking but I’m not sure it works.

There were also some significant errors on the way to the end that really broke the spell for me too. Things like saying they’ll storm the shipyard, but instead of fighting through enemies, it’s an immediate cutscene jump to the final confrontation. Nor did Kiryu get to do his now trademark 'if you wish to die, come at me! speech. Nor do I get to beat the crap out of Sugin. That Iwami was this super villain didn’t work either. Only at the end scenes do we get to see the characters of Daigo, Majima and Saejima too - who were great, but they were absent for the entire game. Granted, Daigo was in the slammer…. It’s hard not to look at it and think it should have been more than it was.

All in all, it’s a more stripped down game than either Zero or Kiwami and I think Kiwami 2 will really demonstrate how much was cut back.


A bit further into BattleTech, and one of the things I’m enjoying the most is what happens between the missions - one of the most popular ways to play the board game is an ongoing narrative, usually where the players run a mercenary company, and that’s the framework which the narrative campaign sits on - you’re the commander of a merc unit that has ties to a minor power on the edge of human space, and get caught up in a dynastic battle for control.

This is represented in the game by a few elements. Like Many BattleTech games you can refit your mechs, and you’ve got to repair them between battles. But the game has a ticking clock and these things all take time. And at the end of the month the bills are due and you’ve got to pay maintenance fees, cover your loans and pay your pilots. Travel between worlds can take weeks, and while that gives you time to repair, it’s also time you’re not doing missions and making the money to keep you in the black.

It’s the best representation of the merc experience in a BattleTech computer game to date. I mean, I loved MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries back in the day, but if I wanted to refit my mech I just changed the layout, and paid whatever cost it cited. When I needed to refit a Vindicator last night because I didn’t have a spare PPC after its arm got blown off, it took that mech off the line for 8 days. You start dreading damage that ends up with a pilot hit, because they’re going to be in the sick bay for three weeks. You wind up making decisions in the combat segments of the game in order to keep the unit running better overall.


It sounds like everything I loved about MechCommander, but more.


It somehow feels less unforgiving than MechCommander 1 was. I remember there being a very steep difficulty curve a few missions in that I had a lot of trouble getting past.


So Monster Hunter World

It tries, it really tries to screw itself over - a crappy story, weird control scheme, half-arsed cutscenes with cardboard characters, an erratic camera, a hard to get your head around map and a general failure to really give a sense of introduction at least.

Yet, despite all of that - what does it have going for it? When you upgrade a weapon or armour, more so weaponry for me, it feels like an upgrade. When you put your new gear to use, there is a sense of progression, it hits harder than what you had before. So, where before the Great Jagras was a pain, now it’s an easier adversary. (OK, so yes, to help in killing him, I kill all the Jagras as standard to prevent the bugger consuming a couple as a health gain.)

For all its multi-tiered map display is a royal pain in the arse for pursuing a monster, the levels and the zone itself interlink effectively and it is very well designed. Graphically the world looks very, very good indeed - on one bit I was going on these vine ropebridges above the roof of the forest at night - it was stunning.

The monster design itself is excellent, as are the other creatures. Whack a herbivore that didn’t do anything to you and you will feel guilty. That not everything is instantly hostile makes it feel far more like a world, especially when combined with the world animations - water, breeze effects.

The one potentially serious issue is the combat isn’t precise enough to allow me to target specific body parts with any confidence of actually hitting them - but those parts are needed for specific armour sets / weapons. The capture net mechanism doesn’t seem to do much either, had a Jagras on its belly, fired the net and it did… Bugger all. Both are more serious issues, but might get worked out in time.

The game’s hub is a wonderfully put together location, it’s excellent in design terms.

But the central mechanism of killing monsters and then using what you get to craft better stuff works very well, well enough to overcome the game’s best efforts at doing itself in.