I’m Rob, and here’s what I’ve been playing – 08/10/17

I’ve been playing games mostly.

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One of my all time favourite games is Baldur’s Gate II.  I played an unbelievable amount of it over the years after it released.  And whilst I tried a number of other games set in the same world, even made with the same engine, I couldn’t find anything that hit me in the same way.  With recently releases like Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity bringing back those classic CRPGs, I decided to give one of them a try (and a thank you to my wife for buying it for me).

Baldur's Gate 2
I haven’t played the Enhanced Edition, but any enhancement on perfection can only be a good thing.

So Torment: Tides of Numenera turned out to be pretty damn great.  The main plot and side stories were engaging, the characters were varied and interesting, and the gameplay allowed you to deal with situations in a lot of different ways.  Pity about the bugs and the occasional difficulty spikes.  Still, there was a world full of different (and often very creative) things to discover and I enjoyed my time there.

Torment
Torment is pretty great. I haven’t played the original so I don’t know how it ties in.

My wife bought me Nier: Automata for my birthday.  This is a game I’ve been wanting to play since release and now I might finally get around to it.  Pretty much anything made by Platinum grabs my interest by the simple virtue of my having never played a game made by them that I didn’t immediately adore.  Metal Gear Rising anyone?  I’ll get onto this one pretty soon I think.

Nier Automata
I’ve been very keen to give this one a try. Platinum tend to make very good character action games and I’ve yet to play one that’s disappointed me.

Another birthday present I received that I’m very keen to try is Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.  Our family would play Pandemic a lot, so any opportunity to play more of it is welcome.  I had heard of this one but didn’t know anything about it.  Having read the instructions, I’m quite excited to give it a try as this feels like more than a simple reskin.  The game plays in mostly the same way but with some significant twists, such as Old Ones rising and altering the game’s rules in place of epidemics.  Plus the board looks gorgeous which certainly helps.

 

Cthulhu
Fear great Cthulhu! And my carpet.

I picked up Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite at the weekend ago on a whim.  I enjoy playing Street Fighter V with my daughter and figured something with Marvel characters in might be fun.  We’ve enjoyed playing it together (although I regret playing as Dormamu at one point as he seemed to scare her a bit), but I haven’t touched the story mode yet.  Personally I find the gameplay a little too…floaty?  I don’t think that’s the right word.  But I feel like none of the attacks really have any impact.  I do enjoy fighting games, in spite of being terrible at them, but this one’s moment to moment action hasn’t grabbed me as well as I’d hoped.

Thanos
Still don’t want to get into a fist fight with this chap.

My new PC finally arrived, ready to take on some games that need a GPU more powerful than a cheese sandwich.  I’ve yet to really try anything particularly taxing on it, but I didn pick up the XCOM 2 expansion and I’m keen to give it a play.  Any opportunity to hop back into that game is one I happily take.

XCOM 2 Faceless
Hopefully my new computer will be able to run this at more than 30 FPS

Oh, and I downloaded and played Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.  But more on that another time…

So what about you?  Have you started up anything new and/or fun recently?  Something freshly released?  Or maybe back to the backlog or a classic that you’re returning to?  Let me know!

Dark Souls III

I did it!  I finally finished it!  30 hours of punishing gameplay later and I finally…saved the world?  I think I did.  My guy sat down by a bonfire after beating the final boss at any rate.  The Souls games (and Bloodborne for that matter) are notorious for having obscure stories that you have to find by reading through various item descriptions before piecing it all together.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I read up on what the hell was going on after I finished the game.  But enough about the bonkers story.  How about the rest of the game?

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HOLY GOD WHATTHEBLOODYHELLISTHAT?!  My reaction to most of the enemies in the game.

Dark Souls and co. are also notorious for their difficulty, and Souls 3 is no exception in terms of enemies.  The main enemies and bosses are as challenging and ever, and in many cases are much faster and more aggressive than those in the past (probably as a result of Bloodborne from the same development team).  But as is ever the case in this series, perseverance and jolly co-operation will win the day!  Whilst hard, none of the bosses are unfair and every time you fall you know exactly what you did wrong.  You didn’t manage your stamina, you mistimed that dodge, you got greedy and attacked to heavily.  After every loss you’ll feel a greater determination to go back and try again.  It rarely frustrates and frequently pushes you to try again, almost saying “You know you can do this don’t you”.

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It’s not just the bosses that are tough.  Chompy McTongueFace here killed me on more than a few occasions.

In some ways though, the game feels easier than before.  It may be due to having played the previous games, I’m well versed in how this game works before going in.  It is a lot more linear than the previous games though.  For the most part you’ll just be following a path, fighting as you go.  Chances for finding hidden areas or ending up in the wrong area for your level are rare at best.  Some people may enjoy the straighter path, I would have preferred and experience more like the first game though where pretty much everywhere was open to you right from the off.

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I have nothing special to say about this one, I just think it looks brilliant.

The game certainly looks gorgeous, with lots of varied enemies (there’s some Bloodborne influence here too) and environments.  I think they may have tried to push the console versions a bit too hard though as the framerate suffers in places.  Fighting a large enemy that had an impressive frozen mist effect around it slowed the game to a crawl and made dodging near impossible.  This is a rare occasion in which enemies can be frustrating.  It’s a real shame that they decided to make it look prettier rather than optimising the game to run at a consistent framerate.  If you can cope with that nonsense though, there’s one hell of an experience

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I’m sure there’s some sort of crabs joke I could put in here.  But I’m far too grown up for that, honest.

Dark Souls III was developed by From Software and published by Bandai Namco.  I played the game on Xbox One and would recommend it if you like an esoteric, challenging action RPG.  Just be prepared for the occasional slowdown as the hardware struggles to keep up with the game.  Maybe the PC version runs better!