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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


I can see why Doom 3 got backlash after Doom (2016). People wanted balls to the wall, not horror Resident Evil in space. But I still think the third was fun. And it’s nice to see Doom one and two, as I got BFG edition. There is something powerful in that you blast someone with shotgun at very long range and with only a shot or two. Still, Blood was the game I remember most from my childhood. And how hated those fucking hands. Then I didn’t know you could just throw them with pressing proper key. To me, it was instant death.

Right now, I am doing The Wolf Among Us and gotta say, despite that Telltale knows how to pull this adventure games, And totally in the spirit of the original material (Fables); there is something neat to see how you performed compared to the rest of TWAU players tab. Surprisingly (or not), my choices usually were in minority (sometimes large minority). But, because it’s such a game, I tried to squeeze much of myself in it, and my actions and reactions.


I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption II on and off for the past week-and-a-bit, but didn’t want to comment on it immediately as I had heard it takes a bit of getting into.

Like Lorcan said earlier, the first couple of hours that constitute a general tutorial are actually pretty boring. It does the job in situating you in the world of the game and teaching you the controls, but there isn’t anything particular dazzling about it, and it’s surprisingly linear.

(It all looks nice though, with a bit of a Hateful Eight vibe of cowboys stuck in snowy cabins in a harsh wilderness.)

But after the first section, the game opens up quite a bit and it becomes a lot more enjoyable. There’s immediately a huge amount of freedom in terms of how you play the game - pursue missions, explore character, or simply kick around the landscape looking for something interesting to crop up.

It’s a detailed and rich enough environment that it supports any method you choose, and it feels like this is really the heart of the game: it’s what you make of it. I’ve said a few times that I think the real triumph of modern sandbox games is in creating fully-realised worlds that you want to spend time in, and RDR2 fits the bill. There’s lots to do and see, and it feels like it’s going to take a long time before things get boring.

It’s not perfect - controls are a bit unintuitive at times, getting the character in the right position to execute certain actions can be frustrating and fiddly, and there’s a level of fussiness in terms of the details that goes beyond what I want from a game: eating healthily, shaving regularly and changing clothes paper-doll style to match the weather isn’t particularly enjoyable for me, although I guess some must enjoy it.

But overall it’s an impressively-realised game that feels like it will give out what you put in - so if you invest time and effort into its world, you’ll be rewarded, but it won’t amount to much for a quick pick-up-and-play.

I’m enjoying it as a slower-paced and laid-back alternative to the more immediately satisfying Spider-Man - they make a good pair and offer a decent choice depending on my mood.


So, my failure to quit No Man’s Sky continues.

I now have completed the renovations and have a quite nifty underwater complex at the Mon Calamari base. Just have a handful of pipes to finish a long tunnel section.

I’ve got the Nautilon exocraft upgraded - with three drive upgrades the thing certainly moves! Just taking it out and exploring the world beneath the waves is quite relaxing and it looks amazing. I’ve also started bumping up the cannons, if the local wildlife want to play, that’s fine - it’ll be seafood on the menu.

Also been seeking a new hunting ground, but might stick with the one very busy port I’ve found instead.

Have got the Roamer tweaked too, added three laser and engine upgrades, it has near double the speed with sharp turn ability. This and the Nautilon are the main ones I use but I’ll get around to the others.

Think it’s time to start the new story quest.

Oh and I bought about four frigates for the fleet, haven’t yet summoned the freighter to see how it looks when all the ships come out of hyperspace.

There was this new quest, but I went through the portal and it’s a planet of Frenzied sentinels, requiring that I get an underwater photo but there’s no water in sight. Played the ‘get tae fuck’ card and legged it out of there, screw that quest.


I’ve been playing Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door on the GC lately. It’s one of the last games on my list of shame - titles that I bought in my less focused youth and didn’t manage/bother to finish (I think the only other one left that I will bother with is Prince of Persia: Sands of Time).

Playing it again now, it’s quite enjoyable and really funny. But I can see why I dropped it originally. I got 5/7 of the way through before and I’ve nearly caught up to that. The last two chapters have been a little tiresome.

Chapter 3 is a pro wrestling parody. While it’s quite funny, it means there’s next to no exploration, as you’re forced to just go through battle after battle, with little to do between them beyond a drip feed of intrigue. And that runs to about three hours.

Chapter 4 promises to go back to a more realises RPG experience, as the earlier chapters were. You go to a small village and then travel to a neighbouring castle, which is pretty much what you did in chapter 1, except everything’s smaller here and there’s less to do. And then the game has you traipse back and forth between the village and the castle about four times, going through the same few forest screens and the same few enemies. It feels like padding, frankly.

The worst bit though is the frequent interludes with Princess Peach and the computer of the people holding her captive. You have to endure long conversations between the two, punctuated with lots of corridor walking and ieez is it a buzzkill. Each is followed by a comedy bit with Bowser (which make him look like a moron - something I have no problem with) which are far more entertaining and, crucially, shorter.

Anyway, those qualms aside, it’s a good game. The combat mechanics are a lot of fun and require some nice timing skills rather than just straight turn-based stuff. And the game is very funny and silly. I especially love all the black chests that swear they’re not going to do anything bad to you if you open them, but then curse you with a new ability that they try to spin as being terrible rather than incredibly useful.

I’m definitely going to finish it this time too.


I’m over 50% through Red Dead now and the story is fantastic bar an ill conceived aside that plays out like an Uncharted level. It really just looks like Rockstar did it just to show Naughty Dog how easy it was. I’m slightly annoyed by two things that happen late in the game have been spoilt by the headlines media click bait posts including one from the Daily Mirror.

Whist this game is fantastic the controls remain infuriating at times and the speed and intensity and which even something minor can lead to being wanted ruins the amount of fun you can have outside the main story. I ended up with a $110 dollar bounty just for staying on a train past the stop. If the bounty came a little later, say even a day later in-game, it would be much more playable as you could go talk to witnesses or change clothes easier, having to be discreet in areas you are wanted. Sometimes there are witnesses to your crimes on an empty street. It’s doubly annoying as a mission later on in the game expects just that from you.

In any case it is fantastic story and world wise - side missions are genuinely fun and add to the character and the main story in terms of lightening up what is essentially a very dark story charting the spiralling destruction of an old west gang. That’s something we already knew would be the story but it’s done with such conviction, pilling mess upon mess and stupid decision upon stupid decision while the gang itself struggles with just why everything is falling apart for them so badly, even taking the chaos that follows them into consideration.

For me the story is the real star here - the world itself, as beautiful as it is, would feel detailed but empty without the narrative and performances that make the characters, for the most part, shine.

It’s always going to be hard to manage what Red Dead one achieved, it’s main character is one of the best of all time - a Rock Star character that actually makes you want to be a good, upstanding and moral person, in-game - and no one expected a western that, story-wise, could sit with the greats, but despite having such big boots to fill, there is emotional impact and resonance with the characters that adds to Red Dead 1 and makes 2 an incredibly enjoyable experience getting pulled along by the actions of others whilst your character decides there may be much more to life than killin’ an’ Robbin’.


So this is where the telepathic Legion Enforcers of Oblivion ended up then?


I have a patch for that somewhere.


I’ve fallen into the open world trap with RDR2…I’ve barely been doing any missions, and I’ve just been pissing about in the world. Which even after a couple of weeks, is still a lot of fun.

I was playing as a cowboy with a heart of gold for a bit… But I’ve now gone full outlaw, and pretty much butcher anyone that looks at me wrong. It feels like the most entertaining way to play the game.


Couple of demos, both of which demonstrated why videogames moved on:

Megaman X

So, let’s get this straight - the little bastard you control in this game cannot duck. He can jump once He can fire left or right, but that’s it - and not very fast. Yep, this game is an exercise in frustration.

Horizion Chase Turbo

This is intended as a homage to the style of games like OutRun, SCI or Chase HQ - the problem is there was a reason these games are history and this demonstrates it perfectly. Limited controls, graphics and a cheating bastard AI set of enemies.

I’m certain there is a retro market for both of these games, but that market certainly isn’t me.


I got back on RDR1 when Westworld came out. I’m tempted to go fire it up again.

Having never finished it when I first played it, going back to it a few years ago and picking up where I left off I’d forgotten a bunch of side-points - one funny thing was at one point there’s an inventor guy you run into in the canyons who’s trying to build a flying machine or something and he asks your character to find some bits and pieces to help him; he’s going to wait for you to return.

I totally neglected his “mission”, and as you proceed through the game your main character dies and you continue the story as his son, some 15+ years later - as the son I made my way back to that canyon part of the map and ran into the guy, having picked up the necessary components - he was able to attempt his flight. He hadn’t aged, but he’d been waiting there for a decade and half and wasn’t even mad…


Is that the original Mega Man X? It’s a classic! One of my favourite games ever. Ducking is severally over-rated, frankly. When was the last time you or anybody you know ducked?


You’ll be asking to be able to jump in Doom next.




I finished Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door last night (in only a couple of hours more than in my old, abandoned save file which was only half way in - that’ll be from mostly not bothering with the Pit of 100 Trials, which is a real time sink). It’s… yeah, it’s ok. It’s better than its follow up, Super Paper Mario, which stripped out the RPG combat in favour of more platforming (which was odd given there’s some minor platforming stuff here and it’s not great), and it’s still funny and all that throughout, but I was getting itchy feet to move onto something else by the end. That might just be me struggling to rein in my short attention span, maybe.

The final chapter does seem somewhat drawn out though and the final boss fight takes the piss slightly. You start the fight and have to go for it - if you die you get a game over (I assume - I didn’t actually get a game over at any point in this playthrough) but when you get to a certain point the boss seems to stop taking damage, so the battle stops for a magical montage of everyone you’ve met powering you up with good vibes. Ok, fair enough. Then you have to start the fight over again, except it doesn’t really feel any different from before. You’re doing the same amount of damage and it’s still got the same ridiculously high amount of HP. It basically just resets itself to pad it out a bit, though if you used many items in the first go, you’re a bit stuffed on the second. I don’t think they quite thought it through properly. While the boss has got more than double the HP of any other character in the game, it doesn’t seem an insurmountable amount. I’d have whacked it up a few more notches, so that fighting it feels properly futile and then in the second round amped up the damage Mario and co deal so you can actually defeat it and everything feels more titanic in scale.


I totally feel like I’m in Westworld when I play the new one. Just waiting for the characters in the game to come through the tv to kill me.


Sonic Mania Plus - £15.99 - worth it?


Most definitely. At that price, what are you waiting for?


Are you seeing this price on a site with a US presence?


£28.99 for a physical copy of Spider-Man is a pretty good deal.