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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


This has crystallised something I’ve been feeling about these games for a while. I don’t know if it’s the use of the same underlying game engines, or just developers conforming to a tried-and-tested popular style, but for many of these open-world games you could swap out the cosmetic details and have the same basic game underneath for a lot of them.

As you say, it doesn’t make them bad, just weirdly familiar (even when you have a fairly original world to play in like HZD).


I think it is definitely the overuse of relatively few game engines.


Certainly it’s where games like the Xenoblade series, which is open world but very distinctive and uniquely so can capitalise.

I think the trick is to give people they haven’t seen before - in the case of HZD that’s the robo-creatures, for Xenoblade games it’ll be the entire world. The emphasis moves away from the technical wizardry that enables open world gaming and more to the design aesthetics of it. I’d see the new Zelda as a case where the design really comes to the fore to give a sense of a new world too.


I Swore I Was Gonna Quit This Goddamn Game But Failed - Part 3

Had an amazing go on MHW this afternoon.

Having found my Wyvern Ignition greatsword to be excellent at killing just about everything that walks in Monster Hunter World, for the hell of it I decided to try it on super-bastard Nergigante.

At first, it didn’t go too well - got carted, went back to it, he managed to cart me with his supermove, though I was able to successfully block it - still a hit, yes but not a one-hit KO.

So it all came down to the last run - managed to whack him down to skull icon, legged it to his lair, blocked super move and, at this point, I’m going full offence, whacking him as often as I can. Then, he died! First time ever. Sure, killed him before, but that by the bomb sneak method, this was a full-on, greatsword stand-up scrap. And it turns out I still don’t quite have the parts for his armour, but am closer and do know he can die now. With better evasion and protection, it might become easier still - just have to get the gems to enable that or charm parts.

After this, I then went and smashed the crap out of Jyuradoctus, twice - which got the parts I was after, but I still need to get a load of low rank parts to get the weapons through the upgrade tree.


No Man’s Sky Next

Is this better? Yes. Does that make it the stunning, excellent game everyone wanted? No. It may get there, but this big step on the road is still a step on the road.

There are improvements like it gives me a distance to this abandoned building, but the size was nuts. The distance was 220,000km! In comparison, the circumference of Earth - thanks to Google - is just over 45,000km. So, it generated this massive planet but not to good effect - bigger was not better.

Combat was better - I somehow took out all three pirate ships that picked a fight, what also was quite cool was Vy’Keen ships also engaged on my behalf, so it wasn’t as one-sided as it could have been. They have removed the insane go to menu that covers screen, hit this to recharge whatever, but it’s still not as easy as it should be. What’s needed is a one-button ‘recharge’, not go into this menu, which while you’re in it, you can’t fire! It needs to allow the player to fly, shoot and recharge on the fly.

Did find the crafting aspect not as good as it could be in terms of what equals what and after touchdown and take off, launch thrusters are at 50% - the stuff to refuel them? I don’t have, so that immediately blocks the exploration aspect.

The biggest improvement is the ability to switch to 3rd person view, even with them burying it in options in a really odd spot. With that, the game plays far, far better - the dogfights I had were far easier with this view, similarly being on planets and in space stations.

I haven’t yet tried building stuff and may go back to Creative, as it avoids all the crafting crap the game gets hooked.

I still think they need to refine their engine further and I’m certain they know that too, but yes,this is a step forward.


Monster Hunter World: The Elder Dragon Chronicles - Part 1

If we’re going to do this, let’s do it - full Klingon-style intro: Warriors all, gather round and harkon to a tale of glorious battle, terrible beasts and death!

Stuff it, can’t keep that going Martok-style, it’s exhausting.

So, had quite a time today.

First, Teostra - this hot bastard, literally for he be a fire dragon, I had a plan for. Stack up fire and blast resistance as much as possible, attack/defence boost, ancient and max potions in addition to the usual set, have heat guard armour for the environment, evade or block - for full Urugaan armour allows blocking of unblockable supremoves, like Teostra’s supernova - and the game is not kidding about that. I also went and recruited Galajaka support and then went after him.

Even with all this, it was still one almighty scrap, but a lot of his hits were blunted from what they were doing before. The flame resistance was particularly useful in nullifying his fire aura hits, though there was still blast damage to watch out for. The strategy was simple: Hit and run, along with legging it when he went nova - though I did block a couple of those. Not easy, still a huge hit, but I was still standing after it.

After a sustained span of whacking him over multiple locations, skull icon came up! This was unexpected, so I pursue to his lair. What followed was utterly fucking insane, with the lair having lava cracks that explode with flames all over the place and this is where the fight had to be finished. By this time, it’s into full “one shall stand, one shall fall” territory and it wasn’t going to be me falling, cue full offence, he kept taking it, I kept giving it and, after he had received much of “the gift”, he finally died.

Then on the results page, it turned out I’d killed him one go. No faints, no carts - just whacked his arse good.

Following this, I decided to see what effect the sole Miasma gem would be against Vaal Hazak’s cheap crap health debuff move. The answer is some but nowhere near enough. There is armour that has health debuff protection, but it requires Vaal materials. This is MHW Catch-22: In order to kill enemy, you need resistance perk you can only get from having killed said enemy. Or can you? Turns out there is a Palico gadget called the Plunderblade and it allows your Palico to grab monster parts in battle, which you get to keep even if you loose! Now I had a plan, did one run, lost, but got some stuff.

Reviewed the charms I had and noticed I could upgrade the Blessing charm, which does damage reduction on attacks, first to 15%, then 30% then 50%. So went and whupped the hell out of Paolomu, upgraded the charm and then found I could get it to the max - 50% damage reduction from attacks. Right, that ought to give me a good chance to kite Vaal while my Palico harvests his organs! That was the plan. The plan didn’t work because…

I killed Vaal.

I didn’t expect to kill Vaal because I was without the Palico vigorwasps that I tend to rely on. It also saw me go through my entire stock of Nulberries, potions and Megapotions, plus a couple of Max potions and an ancient potion, plus a recrafted new set of Megapotions. Anybody would think I was fighting a zombie dragon with a huge health debuff… Wait… I was.

Turned out afterwards that Vaal had a major weakness to fire and I had fire attack as an extra gem on my rocket greatsword! Well, how about that? I’m not complaining.

After this, I did a handful of small, easy quests to get armour spheres and restock my now blasted supplies.

So, to my surprise, two of three elder dragons are down. The one left is Kushala, who, save for plunderblading, I don’t have a plan in the same way as Teostra and Vaal, but it’s probably going to involve using that max protection charm, full stun resist and evasion, with evade window included - that specific combination might work. I don’t yet have it, but know how to get it so that’ll be next.

Today’s run showed up a bit more subtlety of the game, in that you can get parts from enemies you haven’t killed in order to have a better chance against them. Similarly it shows how if you work out a good combination of interlocking skills, it helps far more on the toughest beasts. I didn’t ever expect to do both dragons in one go, as I’d had huge difficulties with Nergigante. I certainly didn’t expect to pull it off with less than total protection against Vaal’s moves and lacing Palico health regen.

So yeah, quite the run on this today.


Monster Hunter World: The Elder Dragon Chronicles - Part 2

So, I went and took on Kushala Daora, the last Elder Dragon and quickly resorted to the cheapest method possible to win - flash pods. Why? Because the thing is a pain in the arse. Vaal you can find a way to negate his ability at least partly, if not all, similarly Teostra with high blast, heat and flame resistance but there is no corresponding skill to deal with this bastard’s tornadoes. In the final part I was running around, pulling a flash pod, running up to hit it and then trying avoid being hit while not being able to see much. Graphically, the tornadoes were superb to look at but a total pain as a tactic. In the end he nearly got me, I legged it off the cliff, I healed and climbed back up, she was back to snoozing so I hit her in the head fir 300 damage, she woke up pissed, another hit and she was dead.

After that it was weird, I was hoping for a new armour upgrade tier - didn’t get it. New optional quests? Very, very few. The game pretty much funnels you into doing the final story quest straight away as there’s nowt else to do.

So, the final boss - utterly massive dragon, but somehow remains incredibly agile! While you can mostly avoid its attacks, its amazing how frequently something so massive goes off the camera completely. Did I try it? Yeah. Did a strategy of hit and run, heal, sharpen, hit again work? Yes. Eventually. The criticism of this fight is that your enemy is MHW’s version of a bullet sponge, you keep hitting, he keeps going. One thing is for sure - for all that it was a pain to get, I can’t see myself having been able to take out the Elder Dragons without the upgraded Wyvern Ignition broadsword. A couple of times it hit this thing for +500 damage, which increased the odds in my favour.

This did open up a new armour tier, quite a pricey one and new meld options, but it consumes material and I’m not sure how I obtain it again. Hopefully, not by having to duff up Xeno’Jiva.

When I got back and went to the Workshop, it was quite satisfying seeing all the weapon upgrades now named and exceedingly few ??? ones. There’s a couple due to DLC content but that’s fine. Plus some of those quests will likely return for the Autumn festival in a short while.

So, the DLC? I already have Deviljho open. To open up Kulve requires being online, so that’s out. Getting to Lunastra requires taking out a Teostra and, having done four elder dragons in two days, I really can’t be arsed. Maybe in a week or so. The aim is only to identify and get it registered.

I did try the new crossover FFXIV content. Just about managed to do the first quest, involving a powered up Kulu-Ya-Ku, which’d be fine except they gave the thing the ability to leap through solid rock! And amped up its attacks far too much. I get the clear sense I shouldn’t have been trying it, but still killed it. Then I got introduced to the walking pile of bullshit that was Behemoth. They’ve set it so this thing casts high-level FF spells, along with major physical hits. It also appears to have major health regen, as a couple of hits somehow hit it for 1000-1100, hits that should have made a dent and the quest was only to drive it off. Instead I get killed 8 times by meteors, tornadoes, lightning and other crap - it feels like a quest designed for multiplayer because unless you’ve got mad skillz - I don’t - solo you have no chance to even drive it off.

I sort of expected the DLC to be full of crap and lo and behold it was. Do I care much about not completing it? Nope. I got far, far further than I ever expected to. Took out enemies I never expected to. All save DLC armour / weapon options are available and identified, all regions opened up, the main story complete - yeah, I’m content with that.

I probably have some canteen quests to do, some camps to still find and build and there’s various weapons and armour I haven’t developed but want to. Of the 14 weapons, I’ve only used a bare handful - bow, longsword, greatsword, lance, that leaves 10 for whenever I like. Still got Aloy’s bow and armour to upgrade, for the bow I need the quest to return. So, no shortage of optional stuff.

There is a long, grind of an endgame which doesn’t appeal to me. It involves going after Tempered Monsters, which is the next rank after High Rank. But in order to go after them, you have to find traces of them in the world and these traces may open up an investigation for you to take them on. If you are successful in taking out this bigger, badder version it might drop gemstone(s) and a streamstone, but nothing’s guaranteed. Gemstones, when appraised, randomly become a decoration, it’s entirely luck of the draw as to what you get, if anything. I don’t know about you, but I like more definite rewards for taking out bigger, badder monsters.

Then there is the next quest that involves taking out two, yes two, Tempered Bazelgeuse! I haven’t even taken out the normal version, never mind a pair of its steroid-overloaded buddies. So, yeah, stuff that too.

And if you spend loads of time getting used to the Tempered Monsters, which will likely see OHKO and other cheap crap, guess what follows? Yes, you guessed it, Arch-Tempered Monsters. Yeah, stuff that lot as well.

What impressed me about the transition of Low to High rank was the way the environments changed, as did the monster patterns. The new armour system was far deeper and more intricate. In contrast, this feels a far lesser transition to bigger monsters but a reward system based on even more random luck. Rumour is Capcom is working on a new area DLC, which given the quality of those done, both micro - for core quests - and the five world locations, is of far more interest to me.

So, some stuff still to do sure, but on the whole, after just under 150 hours of play that ran the entire emotional gauntlet from hugely satisfying to screams of frustration? Yeah, I’m done with it for now. Will keep an eye on the exclusive timed quests and drop in on those weeks they are active.


I could write a big long post like Ben has done to put into words how much I’m enjoying Metal Gear Solid V.

Or I could just post this video and leave it at that.


I loved that feature when I unlocked it. Not sure how/when I’d use it in game - it must have a function.
I’m playing a lot at the moment but quite enjoy doing the side missions over the main missions so I’m only about 8% through.


If the horse poops in a road and then an enemy vehicle drives through it, I think it causes them to skid and then stop to check what happened.


Likewise. I’m about 12 hours in and sitting on 4%.


So I finally finished Arkham knight…

I said before that the Riddler was last because the riddles and trophies were left and it was tedious to get, but I used the cheat engine to turn off the timer on a few challenges, put myself in god mode on others, and got them all for the boss fight. It may have been cheating but since Batman wouldn’t play that fair to begin with, it was in the spirit of the character. :smile:

I got to 100% and the closing credits were so long…

So I now have closure.

Next … who knows? maybe the star trek bridge game.


I’ll have to give that a try later.

Just waiting for this puppy to grow up.

I was disappointed that the bear I extracted didn’t get added to the buddy list.


That’s interesting. I might be the biggest Metal Gear fan here and it was the side missions in V that felt the most pointless to me. You’re just doing the same scenarios in different places, and I get that the game engine is so wonderful and the gameplay offers a lot of freedom (rewarding experimentation) but they felt a little too rote to me. That being said, I focused on the story missions and still got 70+ hours without going back to the side ones.
My friends who S ranked everything took 200+ hours.

Is there something that you’re not enjoying about the main chapters?


That is one of the many great parts of the game.
And hey, at least you can visit the bear in the zoo.


So, the MHW maths:

  • Started playing just before the end of April
  • Have just hit a really good end point start of August
  • Just over 150 hours on the game clock
  • (Though you can’t ever pause this game so some of that 150 hours is needing to take a crap before starting a long hunt fight)
  • Even so, this means, roughly, 50 hours per month for three months straight.

Sure, I knew the game was addictive. It’s been years since I’ve been so hooked by a game, that central gameplay loop is quite something and that’s before it really starts building on it with gusto, which only amps up the addictive, but 50 hours a month? Even allowing for the short evening session and big weekend plays, the figure looks like overkill - and my to-read pile of trades proves that it is!

It’s also the hardest game I’ve done in years. After my experience with the Behemoth quest, I’ve looked online for answers - for which there are few because that quest is literally two days old. The DLC launched 2 August. Turns out I also found some posters raging about the Kulu quest being next to goddamn impossible, which makes me feel quite satisfied as I just did that bastard, it was very close, but it died.

The last well-known hard bastard game I did? Has to be Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on Easy, which was nothing of the kind. Before that? Probably Killzone 2, on easy - again, nothing of the kind.


It’s not that I’m not enjoying them. It is just that I dip in and out and side missions are usually much quicker to play.

Having said that I was doing one of the rescue a captured dog typed side missions last night and it was literally miles from the nearest landing point. About halfway there and a good hour into travelling the Quiet encounter started. Once that was complete I had no desire to go back and complete the side mission.


Can anyone recommend some decent (but not rare and expensive) games for the original Playstation?

I’ve had the system on my mind lately. I didn’t have one back in the day and never really explored its back catalogue when I got my PS2 (I was pretty busy with the PS2’s mammoth range of games to go beyond Spider-Man: Enter Electro and Final Fantasy I and II). It’s a gaping black hole in my knowledge of the medium and I want to try and rectify that a bit.

Any suggestions are welcome (some detail would be nice if you can) but obviously I’m aware of the really famous stuff like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil. But beyond those, assume I’m completely unfamiliar with what’s available.


Soul Blade is a pretty good Beat Em Up if you’re into that.

Crash Bandicoot is a bit of a classic.


Ape Escape, Spyro the Dragon, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddeyse are three that jump to mind straight away. I rember the original Die Hard trilogy game being fun too but I’m unsure how much of that is nostalgia. The PS1 port of Doom is meant to be really good too.