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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


Well, I’ve now worked it out: Monster Hunter World is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They’re selling this thing as a mainstream game when it really has more in common with super-bastards Bloodborne, Nioh and the Souls games, why and how?

  • Whatever weapon you have tends to forever need sharpening, you can only do this by stopping from combat or hoping to get time enough with the monster being distracted by your Palico.
  • Potions - take too damn long to drink and bar refill is sloooow.
  • When the monster legs it, you have no chance of keeping up.
  • You think ‘near death’ means ‘fight over’ ? Think again, it doesn’t.
  • Game is premised on you observing the monster and working its attacks, but the camera does not support you in this - instead it’s your biggest enemy. (Focus camera? Waste of time, much like “guard”, which also does sweet feck all.)
  • Your ‘Palico’ heals you randomly, it should be ‘your health hits x%, you get healed’ but nope. That little bugger does whatever it likes.
  • “Mounting” - Just jump on a monster, easy right? No, because you cannot easily tell your jump range and the monster’s position. If you do pull it off, what follows is an unholy mess of bad signposting so you don’t know what to do or how, so you get thrown off.
  • Weapon range and speed - limited and slow. You will not believe how often you miss a huge monster right in front of you.
  • Sheathing weapon - the amount of fucking of times this happens is supremely irritating, why not have an auto-draw function? Witcher 3 was only doing that four years ago.
  • The “evade” move - is pathetic. You want to see a real dodge move? Aloy in HZD, that’s how you evade, not this weak arse imitation - also HZD allows a dam sight more tactics and strategy. (I’m sure if you get far enough, the game allows far more on that as you’d have the materials to craft superb custom weapons, but I’m nowhere near that so it doesn’t count. Right now it’s a shallow ‘dodge and hit it until it dies’, without precise targeting.)
  • Poison is overpowered - it made the entire Pukei-Pukei fight a nightmare, as you have to heal it quick, but the antidote takes so long you won’t have time to drink it before being hit, you don’t drink it all? No effect, so your health plummets, you get hit trying to heal, it’s practically a one-hit kill move due to how the game’s other mechanisms work.

But, above all of these, is the fact that the game’s story “works” by giving you quests you are manifestly not equal to and cannot become so to. You might think doing a sidequest will help, it’ll give you materials so you can upgrade the armour and weaponry, right? Wrong. Each time the jump is such that whatever preparation you’ve done is torn through like paper. Nor do the Hunter ranks give you more health or stamina, it’s purely on gear, which it restricts heavily. This is nowhere near the ‘play as you want’ game it’s been claimed to be. Nor is it grinding in the sense if you do enough you’ll be able to get a decisive edge on the new monster, you won’t - the game doesn’t permit it. Ah, but what about the research? Gives info only. Nor are all the zones open at the start - it’s much, much narrower game than all the articles out there suggest.

If you like the super-bastard genre then you’ll probably love every single factor that pisses me off about this game, you’ll love the realism of slow actions, of the monster’s speed, that it’s so, so uneven and you can’t do much to even it up - as might be evident, I don’t! So, I generally, as a point, avoid it - I know it’s not for me. Monster Hunter World’s biggest sin for me is it’s a lying scumbag about what it is!

When I was able to, when the game wasn’t upping the difficulty every chance it got and throwing into fights I didn’t want - or starting cutscenes to trigger said boss fight way, way early - when I was able to take time exploring the two zones, seeking out materials to upgrade specific gear, that really work. What didn’t was the next bit, where you do all that, think you have a chance, and of course you don’t. That removes my incentive to play, if all I’m going to hit, every damn time, is a brick fucking wall, then why bother? They’ve screwed the entire ‘reward / progression’ cycle that is their big thing. Nor is it that you defeat the big monster you get parts, no, you need to do that several times at the same level you more or less are, which again really detracts. I only just did the damn Pukei-Pukei before, the only way I’ll have a chance is with better gear but that’s locked off until I kill it again. Excellent. That’s impressive but for all the wrong reasons.

I just about managed to take out a Baffour, but only by switching to using a big bastard hammer. Each boss fight also became a tedious affair because the monster legged it so often, threw out special mud whirlpools, it took so damn long to chase after it, stamina doesn’t last long enough - basically all it’s “realism” aspects drain away the sense of engaging in an epic fight. Again, the one I look to in terms of how to do epic fights against huge adversaries is HZD, but this game is nowhere near that. It relies on hobbling the player too damn much.

Monster and creature design is excellent, as is the world aesthetics - well, the ones I’ve got to see - but, for me, the gameplay is severely lacking.


Have persisted with MHW, got Investigations active but guess what:

  • I scope out a cavern of Kestadon, there’s about 5 in there and I have to kill 10. The problem? One is that the investigation fails to make it clear that it’s 10 adult Kestodon, so I’m killing these things, but only a handful count. Second, the game is teleporting them in. It’s not even being subtle about it. It did the same thing on a main quest - I kill a load of Gaiju to stop them interfering in the Juryductus fight, pursue it to another area, we go full circle, the little bastards have already been regenerated!

  • In other respects that fight got quite interesting, as this time I was more strategic. Evaded its attacks, made it come after me, let a Barroth beat the hell out of it, before finally killing it - was the first time I felt like I was close to having a sense of knowing what I was doing.

  • What’s is very strange is I have about 90% materials I can’t use - you’d think it woulkdn’t happen, but the materials used to upgrade gear are a very slim subset of everything you get. For armour, only armour spheres count. There’s different investigations, so you’d think a more major quest gets bigger reward in terms of those spheres, right? Wrong. I do harder quest, I do easier quest - I still get one sphere only.

With the fights tonight, especially the big one with that piscine wyvern, I did really notice the way it was animated and behaved - that’s quite superb, but a whole lot of things stop the game being as awesome as it could be.


I keep dipping in and out of PUBG especially on days where I don’t have the time to get into a more traditional narrative driven game.

Yesterday I tried an entirely new tactic that I had only observed before. Vehicular Manslaughter - There are a range of vehicles dotted around the maps to make it easier to travel some of the large distances needed to stay ahead of the ever decreasing game area. Instead of using the vehicle just for that purpose I decided to stick with it for the entire round. I racked up my best kill count (5) with three of these coming from running players over.
It seems most people can’t resist taking pot shots at a passing vehicle and this in turn can reveal their location.
Near the game end as the game area circles became much smaller I was able to cruise in between the new play zone and the encroaching wall of death and catch players making the mad dash to safety.
Unfortunately this vehicle tactic was also my undoing as the game area became too small to manoeuvre easily or pick up speed. I went for one last kill by vehicle but was moving too slowly and the player ended up being pushed along by my jeep. They took advantage and blasted the jeep until it exploded. We both died but fortunately/unfortunately it seems neither of us was credited with kills as death was the result of a vehicle explosion.


Or this happens:

and this happens:


I don’t think this is what you ment to post but I’m having serious Amiga flashbacks at the phrase Guru Mediation.


Ultra-violence difficulty play through of Doom (2016) done. In all honesty I expected it to be harder. That’s not to say it was easy though. Intense is probably the best way to describe it. Let your focus drift during a skirmish and the game punishes you. Keep your concentration up, keep moving and you feel unstoppable. Now… Nightmare difficulty next?

One thing that I absolutely love about the game is the way the story plays out. There’s no fucking about along the lines of: a shadowy corporation up to no good, oh I wonder what they’re up too, what’s causing all this carnage and at the end the big bad guy lays out his plans to monetise a dark dimension just before the final confrontation. Nope, they are quite open with that from the word go and wear the “we are mining the actual Christian Hell for profit” badge proudly on their sleeves throughout.





Monster Hunter World - the good and the bad:

The good:

  • Got vengeance on Pukei-Pukei, with the level 1 poison resistance being surprisingly effective in reducing the hit. Went at the bastard with a katana - broke its tails, its wings, its head, its poison sac, by the time it died it was a mass of broken bones and parts.
  • Killed another Great Jagras - hammer is definitely better on that bastard.
  • Now have Level 2 poison resistance active too.

The bad:

  • Tried an arena quest on the Kula enemy - it didn’t go well.
  • First, you get set armour with the weapon and items.
  • Two, no Palico.
  • Three, no skull icon when it’s near death and it recovers quicker than in the environment.
  • Eventually killed it and then only had 20 secs to loot it! Not fun.

The Focus Camera remains very erratic. I might have a way to order the Palico around, but it’s not come yet.


Bought a new sealed copy of Pikmin 3 for Gamecube for £10.85 last week so thought I’d fire up the old GC and try out some old games before it arrives. I have Pikmin, Eternal Darkness, Metroid Prime and Burnout (the first one) lined up. Wasn’t sure if they would hold up but very pleased to say that Burnout (the only one I’ve tried so far) remains excellent. For me, the Burnout games should only be played in first person view as it drives the intensity and speed way up. The game is still rock solid right from the off but I found it thoroughly engaging albeit occasionally frustrating when after 8 mins into a 9 min race I ran out of time. Oh well, the joys of the arcade racer. Good stuff.


I’ve been playing Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology the last couple of weeks. It’s a 3DS remake of a DS game, a dense (I’m 12 hours in and about 15% into the story, I think) JRPG that, after some thought, I guess is best described as Chrono Trigger meets Sliding Doors.

You play Stocke, a former soldier turned CIA type in the kingdom of Alistel. It’s at war with Granorg over the diminishing resources in the world, as everything turns to desert. Stocke is sent on a mission and given, by his (shady) superior, an old book called the White Chronicle, as a good luck charm. It turns out, the White Chronicle allows Stocke to time travel to “nodes” (branching points) in history, and he ends up bouncing between two distinct timelines (one where he rejoins the army, the other where he stays in special ops) trying to save the world.

If that sounds complicated, well, it is a bit. The game takes a while to set out its stall, it’s several hours before you’re even out of the “prologue”, but it justifies that by being pretty good. The story’s not amazing, but it’s above standard. The game plays with the idea that actions in one timeline will affect the other, which is a bit questionable, but interesting enough. In practice it means that you’ll hit a narrative roadblock in one timeline and then have to jump to the other to find a solution.

The combat is quite fun. It operates on a grid system - your three characters are in a column on the right and enemies array themselves on a 3x3 grid to the left. You can use attacks to push them around, rearranging to suit your needs - getting them to hit trap tiles you’ve laid or lined up for row/column attacks. And you can push multiple enemies onto the same space to attack them simultaneously. There’s a lot of tactical depth to it. The only problem is that the game’s Magic Power is a bit broken. To make the most of combat, you have to do a lot of magic and special attacks, which cost MP. But it’s ridiculously hard to regenerate it. Consumables that regenerate MP cost a lot more than health ones and drop from enemies with much less frequency. Frequently I’ve found myself struggling through combat to a point where I can time travel to an inn without losing progress, just to recover MP, not health. The game’s economy is a little broken too. New weapons and armour cost an absolute bomb, with trade-in values being barely 10% of their cost. This makes upgrading your team’s equipment a very costly and piecemeal affair, but it doesn’t feel like that’s the intention.

Weirdly, this remake adds an easy mode that completely removes combat, essentially turning the game into a visual novel. Before I got it, I thought that was a ridiculous idea, but a dozen hours plus in, I can see the appeal, especially if you’re replaying and trying to find all the various branchings of the story.

If you’ve got a 3DS and like JRPGs, I’d recommend this. There’s a lengthy demo on the eshop, so I’d try that first though.


I bought my brother in law a copy of PUBG and we spent a few hours last night playing some of the duo game modes online.

Playing as part of a squad, even just a duo, adds a new dimension to the game. On one had you are supported and never feel quite so vulnerable but on the other you are fully responsible for keeping your teammate alive and reviving them if they are downed.

A few times it ended up with me playing solo after BiL got killed. Unfortunately as he had only a few rounds experience there was a lot of hand holding going on last night.

He came away from it quite excited about playing again and, hopefully now he has a little more experience, we will do a little better.


Got a new Doctor Who pack for Lego Dimensions.

As ever, we’re having lots of fun with the crossover possibilities.


So, it turns out there are ways of getting more of those damn armour spheres in MHW, without having to kill monsters - well, at least, not all the time.

Did a couple of quest sets and ended up with 5-6 spheres from each. Applied to armour that made a more noticeable difference, to the degree that I now think I can end up with an armour set that can give me a chance and I better know how to craft future ones.

The amount of things you have to do manually in the game still frustrates - drink a potion! No, I’m putting the weapon away first, prompt me again when that’s done. The camera remains a pain the arse, with every fight being a dual battle against it and the camera. If the gameplay matched up to the audio-visuals it’d be fantastic. As it is, it feels ludicrous at times. Never more so when I’d just killed a Great Jagras, an Anjanath turned up - a massive, fire-spewing T-rex - I leg it down a small tunnel. What happens? It follows me through this tiny tunnel that it cannot possibly fit into physically except the game now says it can!

EDIT: So 9 hours later… (no, I wasn’t playing all that time!)

Wow - went and killed 2 Great Jagras, did a handful of search quests and somehow ended up with 10 armour spheres that enabled to max out an armour piece - nice!

Going to have to go Barroth hunting tomorrow to get the materials to craft another piece, or, if I’m lucky, two.

What’s noticeable now is the attacks from the Jagras, great and small, were doing far less damage. The resource quests, combined with each other - the game double counts in a way that can really be exploited - and an expedition, actually results in a rewarding structure that incentivises further play.


My love affair with Burnout on the gamecube is over. Had my last session tonight. The issue was the tracks are so long. 3 minutes and change per lap and 3 lap races means almost 10 minutes per race. When you get to 40 yards from the finish line and your timer runs out 4 attempts in a row and you realise you start from the beginning yet again, it stops being a fun game. I took out the disc and snapped it in frustration. I don’t regret that decision, but i do regret the 40 mins I wasted on the play session.

Next up, Pikmin.


So, Monster Hunter World

First, Toba-Kadachi, who is, supposedly, highly susceptible to poison. No, no it isn’t, so that was the first problem. Whacked him a good few times with a poison hammer and it did sweet feck all. Second is his entire strategy boils down to jump-out-of-camera-view, ambush-you-from-off-camera - which is the major problem of the entire game. For all it goes on about observing the monster to tell what it’ll do, the game camera allows too few opportunities to really do this. The result are frustrating - I’ve really noticed that on vids of Bloodborne, the enemies don’t tend to go off-camera like they do here.

Following up on that was the Anjanath fight which emphasised the other aspect of the game I dislike - on the mandatory story quests, regardless of preparation, you will still be under-powered for the fight you are doing. After I just about managed to kill the bastard and it added a final insult of sending me off a cliff so preventing me from getting the crave rewards - an entire new armour rank “opened up”, so that couldn’t have been there before? It’s blatantly arbitrary in how it artificially limits the player.

Still, a fight with Zorah Magdros! That’ll be epic, right? Er, no, it’s about as far from that as you can get - with cannons and ballistate that have these strange, far away ammo piles that mean you are going back forth while being attacked by flying enemies, walking really slowly too. Then you fire the cannons and keep doing that. Then you fly and board it and you have to destroy some cores, but it turns out you only do one and then some cutscene cuts in, then some new dragon turns up, you fight it for a bit and it legs it. This was supposed to be the grand first boss fight of the game, it was a huge anticlimax. The only thing that looked cool was going through the great ravine it had created - it’s just a section of running through some territory but it looked incredible.

Cue the new area that almost, almost, makes all this crap worthwhile - Coral Highlands. This is an aesthetic masterpiece and probably the one area above all I wanted access to. So, it doesn’t matter as much how much further I get in the game now. The story’s not exactly compelling and now I have new armours, new options and a stunning new area to run around.


So, I got the most incredible revenge on Pukei-Pukei, but that’s for later.

First, did an explore and took on Tzitzi-ku-ya - not too bad a fight except he has this flash-blind attack that goes all the way in front and partly behind him! Oh and it has infinite range. Despite his spamming that towards the end, he still died.

Continued exploring and looting the Coral Highlands, with the result that I got a whole load of new stuff. Headed back to base, turns out I can craft a Poison Charm. That, with the other two poison resist armour pieces, raises the defence ability to ‘prevents poison’. Now I was expecting it to be some less than 100% probability crap, but had to test it, right? Cue another round with Pukei.

This is where it became spectacularly. At one point I’m standing in a poison cloud that the thing has vomited and I’m not poisoned. Pukei’s main attack is poison, it’s doing zero damage. He still got some hits in yeah, but the other defence was high enough that that was minor. Oh yeah and the Palico is now, at Level 12, far quicker to chuck out the vigorwasps. He also has the ability to recruit others so I’m now sometimes fighting with a Jagras or Kestodon present!

Also had crafted a new weapon, a greatsword - damn, did this thing bash the crap out of both Pukei and Great Jagras. The big hit whacked him for triple figure damage! One quest was to kill it in 15 minutes, the lowest time setting I’ve come across - 5 minutes and 30 seconds later… So, having killed one, went and killed another and same result. They say revenge is a dish best served cold… This one was very cold.


I’m playing Firewatch. The unravelling mystery is making a nice change from the shooty climby ness of Tomb Raider.


There needs to be a new Castlevania game soon. Not counting the mobile one.


Don’t you mean bury-axe-in-head-of-bastard, shoot-rapist-bastard-with-fire-arrows and rip-off-face-of-other-rapist-bastard Tomb Raider?

The story’s damn good but Lara kills an entire army, often by some very bloody CQC tactics - by the midway point of the game the other guys should be fleeing in fear. Then again, if they did that… I’d never have got to use the napalm arrows on them!


I doubt Konami’s going to do one (they’re making too much money from pachinko), but the guy who was the series producer of Castlevania through the 00s is doing a crowd-funded ersatz-Vania called Bloodstained. I think it’s out this year and there’s a retro, Castlevania 3 style, pixel art companion game to go with it.