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Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


I almost bought Mortal Kombat XL since it’s on 70% right now… buuuut I’m thinking I’m gonna wait for it to be 75 or 80%… It’s not much of a difference, but I literally just want to try a newer MK knowing full well that I might not like it at all and not play at all… so I guess I might as well buy it as cheap as possible.

From what I’ve seen of MK11’s video footage, that looks a lot more in my wheelhouse, BUUUT there’s still the issue of that goddamned block button… but at least they got rid of the run button, so that’s a start.


Well, AC Origins went and off the rails tonight. Started off good, I assassinated the target from long range, carefully killed everyone else then it does this ‘kill everyone else’ final part, which included having about 10 enemies be somehow cloaked from Senu’s sight, including 2-3 elites and tower shield brutes! It threw strategy out the window for a crude and crappy ambush that was utter arse.

Generally, it’s a very good game but its worst moments are when it decides to railroad instead of trusting the player. It’s that freedom of solutions that have made it so great for me. Being able to switch from covert to overt action and back again.


Well, a real mixed day today…

AC Origins: The Hidden Ones

Did the remaining main quests of this one today - they were mostly good, though the experience was blighted by the game flat-out lying a lot of the time - like say the headshot, one-hit-kill indicator coming up but the target is saved because there was something in the way or could evade the strike because they all this strange super speed ability. I’ll admit to a certain satisfaction in taking Rufio out by burning his soulless arse. The final boss though? Very, very bad. Just about all the online guides say to use mounted crossbows, don’t. The damage is nerfed way down, instead just go in the water, break out the Predator bow, he’ll die fast.

End sequences are quite smart. All in all, it’s not a bad little DLC.

The high point was doing the Walls of the Ruler quest. The biggest, most intricate fort so far - I had a huge amount of fun taking out the soldiers and their bosses, then I looted the place. All of it. There was a lot of loot to get.

AC Origins: Curse of the Pharaohs (aka AC Origins: Dark Souls )

An enemy who, when playing on Easy, when I have Bayek on max level, with all upgrades save for those granted by this DLC, can take off 66% of life in one hit? Yes, that is pure Dark Souls and is massively irritating for me as I feel conned. I have no interest in that particular sub-genre, I know it isn’t for me, so finding that AC Origins decides to do it by stealth is a lousy result. It also does it by telling porkies - no enemy at Lv 46-49, or even 50, should be able to inflict that level of hit on a Lv 55 Bayek but it happens again and again.

It then compounded its error by unleashing a new enemy type, who is also Lv 55. Another bad move, as the whole point of a level system in games is to allow the player an advantage, it is not a ‘fair play’ mechanism.

Up until this point, I had had mixed experiences with the Pharaoh’s Shadow enemies - that they bugger off back to the afterlife irks, as does the feeling that success is dependent on luck. That they look to be immune to everything perhaps save fire doesn’t help. When I see the message ‘a Pharaoh’s Shadow has arisen’, I’m not thinking that I must stop it, instead I’ll just let it kill whoever and stuff it. Screw this lot.

It’s kind of a shame as the idea of there being different Pharaoh afterlife realms is a good one and the depiction is impressive, as is the region of Thebes. But adding in the amount of super-bosses they have massively reduces the attraction and interest in the DLC for me. What is likely is that I’ll explore the other afterlifes, get the view points, complete the locations, power Bayek up a little more and get those final upgrades by slaughtering scorpions and call it a day. Unless the upgrades suffice to pull the teeth on some of the super-bosses but I doubt that.

If anything this DLC has made me far more wary of Odyssey , as that game has the Mercenaries system and more limited level superiority - both of which I don’t like here, so I’m unlikely to respond well to an entire game of them.


Visited the other afterlifes in AC Origins and ended up grabbing loads of the star shards for the new upgrades. Did a handful of doubles on Bayek - health, melee and range attacks, tried out on a Pharaoh’s Shadow and it was a quite different fight, still not sure how’d it work against them in their realm though.

The big accomplishment was doing a quest in the Duat that, in its conclusion, became real end-game content in the best way possible and is, alone, reason to buy this DLC. In it:

you’re told a toxic, hate-filled, poisonous to the touch and air soul is attempting to break into the Duat. There is a way to annihilate the soul - this Bayek recoils from initially. He is then told that, in order to fool Osiris and the scales, this being ate the heart of a child. That puts any hesitation Bayek had to rest. You work through the steps, there’s a ‘protect while doing the ritual’ but and then it plays its ace card…

The soul trying to break into the Duat is that of Septimius! What follows is Bayek feeding Septimius’ spirit form to Apep, who devours him utterly!

It’s wonderfully satisfying and a great pay-off that takes full advantage of the setting.

As to what I made of the afterlifes:

  • Aren - Nice enough
  • Aaru - Very nice, Nefertiti clearly loves herself with statues all over the place.
  • Hed Seb - Total shitpit and monument to Ramesses’ ego
  • Duat - Pretty much a shitpit but an interesting one.


I might get back into games again with that Star Trek bridge game or the Star Wars KOTOR.

Any reviews?


Today’s AC Origins session:

I may have been a tad harsh dubbing this DLC as Dark Souls as, with those upgrades, along with some very King Cheese tactics / strategy I not only survived in the duels with Akhenaten and Nefertiti but decked them. I then dueled Rameses’ Shadow three times over winning each time! Quite surprising, as I don’t tend to rate my combat abilities that good in games like this. Had it been a full-on Dark Souls -style DLC, the upgrades would have done sweet feck all, which also happens the style of Monster hunter World .

So, all the afterlife sidequests are done, plus two Pharaohs laid to rest. Also did a couple of sidequests, one of which was a great pay-off to doing the afterlife sidequests.


Got a bit further on the main quest in AC Origins , mixed with random fort slaughters, treasure nabbing, convoy hitting and bandit torching - yes, torching, Bayek has a fire sword! The chaos that fights become due to that is insane - bandits on fire, horses and camels on fire, oil jars exploding - it’s gloriously nuts.

What’s been surprising is I notched up another three wins on Pharaoh Shadows, two were Ramesses and one was Tutankhamun, first time he’s shown up.

The big win was against a Shadow of Anubis. I didn’t expect that to show up, so game says this thing has arrived - an afterlife warrior but in the real world, so I just go and engage, then see it has a big, red Lv 55 indicator! “Shhhhiiiiiii… Screw it, I’m going to have him!” Bayek goes at it, sets it on fire, every so often it gets its guard up, then the flames bite, guard drops, whack it some more, which only adds to the flames, some more hit and run and it went down… In flames. One down, one to go.

Starting to think I might actually have a chance of finishing this DLC which certainly wasn’t the case a few days back.


“Give my regards to King Tut, asshole!”

To my surprise I managed to finish the Assassin’s Creed Origins DLC Curse of the Pharaohs .

The final fights were quite tricky, Ramesses turned out to be a bit more straightforward despite the sandstorm gimmick. He managed to get in a few hits in, but nothing thay the overpower ability couldn’t restore. Tutankhamen, however, nearly did take me out with a very vicious spear combo. That led to a change of strategy where it was King Tut meets King Cheese. Light bow, shoot, get Overpower ability active, hit, repeat.

I would agree with the criticisms of the final act - the way it resolves is all kinds of weird. You confront who’s really behind it all, but get warped to the final boss fight and then walk out of the Duat and that’s that. In a way the far more substantive content that truly feels like a pay-off to the main game and Hidden Ones DLC is to be found in some of the sidequests.

After doing the main plot, I then cleaned up remaining sidequests, completed the remaining locations and even cleared out the inventory, which is a ‘do only when nothing else is left’ task, racking up over 150,000 gold out of Reda!

Also took out the other Shadow of Anubis - got a line on it and unloaded the entire Predator bow ammo into him, taking 90% of his health. After that, I finished him with a Warrior bow close quarter blast.

Where the game really succeeds for me is in the world design, the main game and DLCs managed to rarely repeat itself, each of the new set of regions felt distinct from those already seen. The sheer array of offensive options and abilities for Bayek are stunning and hugely fun to work out and combine - 7-8 melee options, 4 bow options, shield, tools, mount and boats, along with mostly universal climbing ability. It did have rare moments where it was more restrictive and those times are when it was weakest. I’d also agree with the idea that the boss fights weren’t that much fun. Like Horizon Zero Dawn , it’s far better when you’re scoping out enemies and deploying pre-emptive strategies than when you are forced to engage in overt, arena style combat.

The main game and DLCs probably cost me about £35 in total… Out of that, I racked up 128 hours of play time across a massively world that was a huge amount of fun.

Does Assassin’s Creed Odyssey beckon? Despite some wariness around some of its systems, once the price drops low enough? More than likely.


I have started Odyssey. Only a few hours in but I’m really enjoying it. Terrible voice acting but a neat world that feels alive and tosses some random things at you. The other day I was using stealth to take out a compound full of bandits and steal the cyclops eye back from them, when a mercenary who had been following me for the bounty on my head happened to stumble in and complicate things, but I like that unpredictability and the fact that someone else might have a totally different experience there.

I am playing it on easy and it’s a bit too easy, although I’m not enjoying the combat enough to take the challenge up a notch.

Also I hope the developers are paying royalties to the makes of Witcher 3 as they’ve outright stolen so much from that game (no complaints here).


It may be valentines but I’m considering staying up till midnight and having a bush at Crackdown 3 as soon s it goes live.




Stupid new phone/fat fingers combo!


So, tried a few other things…

Anthem demo

You require PS+, my reply: Fuck off.

Devil May Cry 5

Who the hell signed this piece of crap off? Unclear mechanics, unclear controls, had to pause and go to the menu to find there is a dodge move because the tutorial can’t be bothered to mention it, even though it’s practically mandatory with the boss. Talking of whom, that thing makes a case for boss battles being old, obsolete and pointless.

Monster Hunter World: Witcher 3 crossover

Does anyone else remember Geralt in Witcher 3 doing 10-foot high leaps into the air and following up with a ground pound? No? Neither do I. Up until you actually have to do any combat, it seems quite smart, but once you’re in a fight? Geralt doesn’t handle right, he’s cursed with all of MHW’s limiting crap and rubbish interfaces and the quests are crappy affairs too. I got the Galajaka chief, died as you can’t tell what the hell is going on, the range of his weaponry, what damage you’re really doing and because it’s all sped up you take too much damage to heal from.

The Leshen? The warm-up is a Jagras pack, which is where Geralt starting doing ninja crap, it looked flash sure but it just didn’t feel right. The Leshen itself? Has a bird pack and roots attack, but also gets to inflict Bleed, which in this game kills you very quickly.

The other big sin of this crossover? They’ve slung the Ciri quest behind a Hunter Rank 50 wall. One of the things people would most like to do, but most won’t have access. So I’ve come full circle in the gaming experience: Fuck off.


Are you much of a fan of the earlier games? I figure that they made this one for the fans and that only closely acquainted need to buy.


You don’t put millions into a triple A level game “for the fans only” and, whatever else I think about it, it’s had some resources allocated to it.

What I’m referring to is that when I was playing it I had no clue why my character was targeting this enemy, rather than that enemy, or why the camera was doing what it was doing. And while all of that were hall marks of the series way back when, much of it was due to tech limitations that simply aren’t the case now.

The thing that really killed it was the dodge move requiring two buttons, two? The majority of games use one! It felt like playing Resi Evil 5 after Fallout 3, where I found that no, I can’t move and shoot at the same time, having been doing that in F3 no problem.

The whole point of any demo is to show a game off as good as it can, introduce to the basic systems clearly and generally make you want to buy it. This doesn’t do any of that for me.


So, returned to Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.

The only problem is the game really shows what a gigantic amount of progress and improvement Origins is! Most of the time that game has no problem letting the player do whatever they like to achieve the set end, but Syndicate? Oh no, the principal difficulty in its missions, in the quartet I played tonight, is restriction. Restrictions and limitations like:

  • Dropping a hijack mission with a 2 minute time limit out of nowhere. You just about do it and cue a chase sequence. In that sequence it flips your camera to a rear view to show pursuers - and leaves it there! If you want to see the route you are to take you have to manually rotate it back. That and the carriage physics and offensive options are rubbish.
  • Talking of rubbish offence, ever see people shrug off a shot to the head? You will in this game. It’s another chase sequence, this time you’re shooting but the gun does next to no damage, the aim is crap and you have severely limited ammo. It then follows this off with a poorly directed ‘jump to the train’ bit.
  • Investigations - follow the tracks, OK, except they disappear completely, oh and reappear on a building some way away with no indicator of them being so! Excellent. Did that one by pure luck. And the fight with Spring Heeled Jack? Was OK until the end sequence where he suddenly manifests super countering ability. It is as blatantly transparent as it is rubbish.
  • An old AC favourite - tail this guy, who you must have in your line of sight at all times. They followed this up with an escort mission where you have to take out snipers, with only 10 seconds time. Yeah, that was crap too.
  • Finally - a gang fight! These were already crap, but this one? I’m kicking seven shades of crap out of the guy when suddenly a cutscene kicks in, grants him super protection. Turns out you have to counter to end it and you can go back to whupping his arse. This happens about 3-4 times in the fight. Contrary to the clear intent of the developers, it does not make for an epic fight - instead the game just looks to be engaging in bad protection of its boss character.

When it wasn’t pulling any of this crap, it was almost fun. Shooting a hallucinogenic dart into a fire to whack 5 enemies at once and watching the carnage ensure is massively fun, which is why the game limits you to 2 at a time. The combat is OK, but not a patch on Origins. 19th century London and the line launcher are the stars of the show.

In all likelihood, I’ll set this aside, forget about it, go back to in a few months, do a few more missions, remember what was so irritating about it etc. Eventually I might complete it, but it certainly isn’t exerting anything like the pull Origins had.


Also returned to Steep, which has to be one of the best, pure fun video game experiences.

Add in a custom soundtrack via the PS4’s media player and you have pretty much perfection.

It still looks amazing, you end up doing ludicrously risky descents at insane speed and there’s always a few ‘how the hell did I survive that’ moments.


I did end up staying up and trying Crackdown 3. However despite it having been on my hard drive for a good few months it needed an immediate update of 9 gigs. So at around 1am I finally got to have a go.

The opening was a great setup for the game and had a nice little twist within the first cut-scene. This also sets up the premise of the game series without it feeling old hat.

The tutorial also eases you in nicely, starting just outside the main city you are then able to quickly get into the action from there.

As with both previous titles the feeling of slowly evolving your character into a near god-like superhero is great. Skills are added every couple of progressions and these flow well from one to the next so you don’t feel the need to learn an entire new element. For example one of the first skills added is the double jump. Next you get dash, which uses the same mechanism as the double jump but you can chain all three making jumps even longer/higher.

I had a much longer play yesterday. Opening up a few more zones and a some of the crazy weapons.

Two small gripes:

  1. Vehicles - I have played for about two hours total, I can already run faster than most cars in the game. Obviously vehicles help with the living world but for the character they, so far, seem redundant. Hopefully once I unlock the agency vehicles that will change.
  2. New items, to complete some areas you need to collect an item. Usually stored within the enemy base you are fighting in. Unfortunately these are automatically added to your inventory and replace your current item choice. What this can mean is that mid combat you lose access to your grenades in place of the thing you just collected.


Ugh, I increased the number of Purge events in my current single player game of Conan Exiles in hopes of farming Tier 4 Purge Thralls.

Instead of human adversaries, the game turned mobs of giant poisonous wasps on me and I lost two of my prettiest, I mean, most valued thralls in the raid. I feel so guilty… and irked because their bodies were buried under a pile of wasp corpses and I couldn’t retrieve their gear before the game made them go poof.


The Link’s Awakening remake trailer has inspired me to charge up my Gameboy (Advance Sp which would be the perfect Gameboy if it had a proper headphone jack as well as the back lit screen) and revisit the original game. Still holds up though I’m playing it mostly through muscle memory rather than actually solving any of the puzzles.