This was my "play at work" game since last semester. So it took me about 6 months to play 4 hours and beat this. Looks like I'm earning my salary. |
I've long been fascinated with this game since I first played it on Dreamcast in college. I enjoy typing and typing fast. When I was like 25-26, I worked as a transcriptionist for a company doing mostly medical and legal dictations for a year. Then I branched off on my own and started transcribing interviews and focus groups for researchers at UGA. So I appreciate a good typing trainer, especially this one where typing letters kills zombies.
It's in the House of the Dead series, that old rail shooter everyone used to play at the arcade. So like. I don't really need to describe this. Instead of shooting a gun to kill zombies, you type letters, words, and phrases. Every zombie has some text in front of it. As they charge you, just type the text correctly. Finishing the text kills the zombie. And that's the entire game. Congratulations. Do that 5000 times.
Boss battles aren't any different really. Since it's a rail shooter, you just worry about typing. No jumping, dodging, or anything else. The last boss was different though, and involved a poorly executed word association game. It displayed characters in the game and you had to type words associated with them. This was what I did today to beat the game, and it was a little difficult since I hadn't played the game since summertime at least.
The main thing that breaks up all the typing, which does get repetitive (play the game in small chunks), is the grindhouse/exploitation film aesthetic. The game is full of sex and violence and probably more F-bombs than in any other game I've played. It's got its own style of self-referential humor, and it knows it's over-the-top, sexist, and generally offensive; occasionally there is some real cleverness in the dialogue. The characters were messed up enough to keep me entertained. So yeah. Easy, short different type of game. Check it out.
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It has taken me forever to get around to playing Planescape: Torment. I somehow missed this when I was playing all the CRPG games of the late 90s/early 2000s and bought a copy on GoG years ago. This is NOT the new enhanced edition, which sounds like it has some nice modernizing features, but the older GoG version. |
I've had two play sessions, one for about two hours, and this one I just finished for about four hours (punctuated by occasional texting). After the first two-hour session, I was tempted to quit because (a) the game is old and has some seriously outdated UI and controls and (b) the combat is horrendous. But I didn't want to quit because (a) the story, world, and characters are really cool and (b) like every reviewer says it still holds up and is one of the best RPGs of all time. I went so far as to find out there are BOOKS based on the game's dialogue, and even downloaded a couple versions (one is 2000 pages long), but after reading forums, the consensus is that the books aren't that good, a couple lack context since they are almost all game dialogue, and that if you're going to spend the time reading a book, just play the damn game. Fair enough.
However, the game is supposed to be about 50 hours, which is long for something so old and text-heavy with bad combat. But I decided to hunker down and try to get into it. I'm glad I did. I was more than engrossed during most of the four-hour session, and wound up getting a bit tired of it because you have a massive city to explore. I'm maybe 2/3 of the way through walking around and talking to all the NPCs. It's a bit overwhelming, but I'll make it through systematically. The writing is outstanding, really. It's definitely the best part of the game.
I just want the combat to stooooop. I have two characters, and one of them has one special ability that I don't know what it does. So all combat is just clicking on an enemy to auto-attack. And I die a lot. And I've pissed off some big dragon thing in one part of town and every time I enter that part of town, it comes after me. I wish it would calm down so I could just walk through there. I'm not sure how linear the game is, as I've several times come across enemies that are overwhelming now.
Anyway, looking forward to getting all this initial exploration of Sigil out of the way so I can get on with probably more interesting stuff in the game.
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Ok, I've sunk 15 or so hours into Darkest Dungeon and I think I'm good. It's getting really grindy and, as promised, is hard and punishing as hell. I'll describe:|
DD is a party-based roguelike with some strategy RPG elements. There's a hub town where you do normal things like upgrade buildings, purchase equipment upgrades, purchase trinkets, recruit heroes, and...wait this isn't normal...send characters to the tavern or the church to engage in stress-relief activities, send characters to get diseases cured, and look at the graveyard full of your dead characters. Oh no.
Form a party and delve into one of the dungeons around your ancestral home. Dungeons can be short, medium, or long, and range in difficulty from level 1-6 (same range your characters can be...well no, they can be level 0 also). You explore from room to room, interacting with curios, avoiding traps, fighting enemies, managing your party members, and micro-managing your inventory to collect maximum treasures. Curios are very interesting, in that there can be all sorts of shit wrong with them that can harm you (e.g., they are cursed, trapped, diseased, etc.). You can use consumables, purchased in the "provisions" phase before actually going into the dungeon, to remove bad stuff on curios (like keys to unlock chests, holy water to purify cursed things), and you learn what these do by a process of trial and error. Once I figured out how to disarm all the curios, I was getting much better treasure and having fewer bad things happen to me.
Now, party management is a huge deal in DD. This is not your typical game. Your characters have two main things for you to worry about: health and stress. Health is health, except that if you get to 0 health, you are at "death's door," and the next hit may kill you. If you heal while at 0 health, you are no longer at death's door; however any bleed effects or crits may be out of your control to trigger death. Stress is more interesting. This builds up over time as you take critical hits, as enemies use stress-inducing attacks, as your torch runs out, as you spend too much time in a battle or in the dungeon, and various other ways. If your stress reaches 100, the character makes a roll and either overcomes it or succumbs to it, usually the latter. When that happens, they develop an affliction. Maybe they will refuse healing, or they will randomly not want to act and skip their turn, or they will be paranoid and make your other characters more stressed out, etc. It's terrifying. If they continue to take stress, up to 200, they have a heart attack and die.
Now, if you do manage to beat a dungeon (and you will; I didn't start having trouble really till the medium level 3 dungeons), you have to deal with your characters' accumulated stress, afflictions, and diseases and quirks (which they will randomly acquire at the end of even a successful dungeon). That's where the inn and church come in, so they can go pray or visit the brothel or whatever to feel better. This costs a dungeon cycle though, so you wind up with a big roster of characters (I was up to 16) of a variety of classes (maybe also 16 that I had, one of each that I'd seen).
Oh, I didn't mention another important thing about combat in the dungeons. Your characters are in a horizontal line, and their positioning is crucial. Their abilities require them to be in specific positions in the formation (spots 1 [in the front] through 4 [in the back]), and their abilities affect enemies in particular positions also. Some abilities move enemies. So putting characters in good order is important. BUT, some enemy abilities will also move your characters. I almost had a party wipe one time because when the battle started my party was "surprised," which randomly jumbled their order, and I just got massacred.
There is a lot of strategy to pretty much everything in DD, but a healthy dose of RNG too, which can be maddening / make you cry. When I lost my three level 4 characters to getting surprised and jumbled up, I couldn't believe it. But I pressed on. The game is about making the most out of terrible circumstances. As I press on though, I feel the entire game is on big terrible circumstance, and it stresses ME out so much to play it. I really like the game. I think it's well designed and is as difficult as it is meant to be. But I'm on the edge of my seat, and it's going to take me forever to progress. I wouldn't mind so much if there were more story, but as a roguelike dungeon crawler sort of game, there's not much. Grind characters that get harder and harder to grind. Then lose some of them and be heartbroken. Pick up the pieces and try again. Etc.
I watched the final Darkest Dungeon levels on YouTube, and this poor YouTuber went into the first floor of the Darkest Dungeon (that's the name of the final dungeon) and just got beaten down with full level 6 characters. He lost them all. It was so painful to watch because I've been playing for 15 hours and have a handful of level 4 characters. This guy had his whole roster, like 20-something characters, at level 6. How long did that take?! Only to have his best ones wiped out. It was like 20 more episodes later in his YouTube channel that he finally beat the game (like 20 more hours of recorded content). And the bosses down there, no thanks! SO, glad I played, but glad to stop.
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