jp's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay 2 (PS4) - Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:56:10 played a guided game last night. It was fun, exciting, and there was a lot of weird... Prior to this I had only seen two of the raid areas as I was invited to join an existing group that had lost a member. One area (gauntlet) I knew pretty well - having spent at least a few hours trying to clear it. The other (gardens) I had only played for maybe 15 minutes before the group disbanded when someone else dropped out. Here's a few quick impressions of the guided game experience: a. I waited 45 minutes, a little bit more I think. When I signed in this was the expected (advertised) wait time, so I'm not bringing this up to show that I was angry/surprised/or disappointed... The main thing about the wait is that I couldn't really do much while I waited - I fiddled around a bit with my gear, but other than that I sat with my headset on and my phone in my hand. What I would have really liked would be an opportunity to, say, tootle around on a planet and then get "summoned", say, a few minutes before it's "go time". I don't think this is really that feasible, but it might make the waiting experience better? Either way, once the invite came in you only have about 30 seconds to accept it...I think. It sort of caught me by surprise when I saw it and I was confused because it looked like Iwas getting invited to do a nightfall...but that might be because the group that invited also did those? b. I accept the invite...and then..I'm in orbit with 5 other people! Yay! I'm starting to get really excited because I hadn't see the raid from the start. I quickly get a friend invite which I accept and, unsurprisingly, soon after I get an invite to the party chat. But the PS party chat - I'm guessing people really don't like the in-game voice chat..and to be fair the PS experience is generally better? (also, it keeps on running if someone bails in the game or gets disconnected - which helps) c. I sheepishly start talking and... I get answers in Portuguese! Uh oh. We quickly figure out that at least one person speaks English so we can go ahead..and we chat so they know what I know/don't know. I'm now really curious to know what this looks like on the guide end - do you sign up and say what languages you speak? Does the location thing just randomly give you a group? Might I run into French players next? It's weird because I often do play with spanish-speakers from latin america...but never with Brazilians! It also turns out that of the 5, all Brazilian, one was living in the US, so maybe that's how it worked? Anyways, curious to know how matchmaking happens... d. We spent a LOT of time on the gauntlet which is the first part of the raid (but maybe not really because the order changes). We also spent a lot of time lost trying to get to the bathhouse. It was a bit frustrating and I'm not sure this'll make for a good new raider experience...because the getting lost part was...well, I had a lot of downtime just sitting around with another dude waiting to know where to go. e. We weren't able to finish the raid because the game glitched out severely on the boss. It had been glitchy (graphics glitches for me) and laggy prior to this, but this was pretty bad. So we all bailed... f. If you bail or such you lose rep/points... I'm not sure what happened here. Did my Brazilian raid-guides lose points? I hope not, but I'm not sure what to do about it.... Either way, MUITO OBRIGADO!Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:56:10 CDT 2 (DS) - Tue, 26 Sep 2017 17:01:15 guess there's something to be said for games that do things (mostly) "by the book" yet somehow fall flat when everything comes together in the end. I'm amazed by how much there is in the game - collectables, secret areas, lots of different kinds of gameplay - from puzzles, to action platforming...and the whole thing sort of fits together, but not quite. At least so far...well, I won't be playing it anymore so things might change - but I doubt it. A few things that have really surprised me: a. The game is (AFAIK) 100% voice-acted. The voice acting isn't just for cut-scenes, but is also strongly present in-game. I can't tell if they used the original cast of the movie of if they hired "voice-alikes". I wonder what the real industry term for that is...someone who does voice-acting that's meant to sound like a different actor... I'm amazed they fit all this in the DS cart. b. I'm guessing that prioritizing voice-acting meant that everything else (models, textures, etc.) suffered a bit. It's a DS game from 10 years ago...but it feels older? Or maybe I've lost sense of how fast things have changed and evolved. The models are definitely low-poly...Tue, 26 Sep 2017 17:01:15 CDT 2 (PS4) - Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:24:19 my second Nightfall strike last night. I find it really interesting that they've added a tough time limit (run out of time, you fail and get booted back to orbit) together with some non-shooting mechanics. In the case of the inverted spire nightfall you had to jump through hoops (literally!) to get increments of 30 seconds added. In the current one, you have to destroy hidden/secret lattices for 30 second increments of extra time. I guess it makes the nightfall more "creative" because it's less about DPS and holding out for longer, and more about coordination and tactics. I'm not sure yet if it's more "fun" - because sometimes I just enjoy going in to shoot monsters, and the time pressure sort of gets in the way of that. On the other hand, after you've done them a few times you get into a hyper-efficient mode where you literally run to the end as quickly as possible and hammer away at the boss. I kind of liked the challenges they had at the end of D1, but I guess I also stopped paying attention to those after a while.Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:24:19 CDT Bubbles (DS) - Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:18:29 it to the next-to-last world (Himalayan/Tibetan themed) and I realized I was starting to get a bit tired. Each new world introduces a new mechanic you have to use before moving on to the next world. It's very "by the book" design - competent and solid, but not inspired. Tellingly, new mechanics are usually only used in that world. Mixing them all together wouldn't really work and then there'd be too much to worry about. I've really enjoyed the general "mushiness" that moving the bubble around has. It's quite imprecise, but purposefully so. It reminds me very much of LocoRoco - in a good way. The game feels more organic, more like "play in the real world". However, I got a bit bored, looked at the pile of shame and decided to call it quits when I got to a section where I was unable to do what I wanted after 20 minutes of trying (tried to swing a bubble into a secret area, but kept failing).Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:18:29 CDT (PS4) - Sat, 16 Sep 2017 20:08:29 The only major activity I never did was get to the lighthouse. That's ok I did all the raids! (and, to be honest, I was starting to get a bit bored towards the end because none of the drops were any use at all)Sat, 16 Sep 2017 20:08:29 CDT 2 (PS4) - Sat, 16 Sep 2017 20:07:39've finished the story, cleared level 20 and I've slowly been working my way up to a light level that'll allow me to try the raid. Overall I'm enjoying the experience just as much as I did Destiny 1, but still trying to figure out the new things. Here's a few of my "subtle" highlights so far... a. When you're about to barely miss a jump (didn't get high enough), the character now automatically grabs the ledge and climbs up. It's pretty subtle, but really appreciated! (and more realistic?) b. It's really neat to look at the map and immediately see where some stuff is going on (live events, Cade stashes, story missions, etc.) I now find it a lot easier to navigate and get lost less often even though the maps are much more complicated and convoluted. c. Fast travel between areas in the same map is also super appreciated - especially when all you want is to head back to cash in tokens or something like that. d. When you're in a fireteam and the leader fast travels - it doesn't pull everyone else along. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Sometimes I've wished I did get pulled, other times I wish I wouldn't. e. I miss being able to buy synthetic ammo to use - I've sometimes run out of "heavy" (purple ammo) and it's been a pain. f. I still don't really understand the point of the different weapons types. I understand them conceptually (well, except for the "heavy")...but I often just switch between kinetic and power just...for fun, rather than need.Sat, 16 Sep 2017 20:07:39 CDT 2 (PS4) - Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:21:48've played two nights in a row for a few hours's feels interesting and strange to start fresh. I care again when an enemy drops an engram - cause it's a potential light boost. I don't care what items/weapons I'm using because...well, light level above all. I've hit level 9, and I've done a few story missions as well as some of the patrol-type missions. It all feels so familiar that it's like an expansion rather than a new game because, so far it's more of the same, but tweaked a little. I'm curious to see if there's anything super new waiting for me as I finish the story? (e.g. an entirely new race? more new enemy types? etc.)Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:21:48 CDT Bubbles (DS) - Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:18:10 game has 6(?) different worlds and I've made my up the the 4th. Broadly speaking, the core gameplay remains the same - you can do the same things to the bubble all the time. However, it's been interesting to see how each world introduces some new wrinkle that makes things slightly harder. Sometimes the wrinkle is gameplay related, other times it's environmental. Even so, the game is surprisingly sedated in terms of not adding too many things, which I think was a really smart design choices since moving the bubble around is quite squishy and imprecise. So, there are underwater areas, there are fish you can "deflate", if you make a bubble underwater it contains water (which you then move over a fire to put it out), and so on. Also, each world is themed to a different native population/culture - there's Australian aborigine, central-american (aztec? maya?), and pacific northwest native (not sure what the name is). The music changes as well, and reflects the theme... I'm not sure what this has to do with the overall theme of the game...but it's been interesting to watch this unfold. I kind of want to play more to see how it ends...but the levels themselves are quite sedate, thus not something to get super excited about playing all at once...Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:18:10 CDT & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition (3DS) - Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:52:07 wasn't terribly amused by the mobile version of this game (without Mario) but I was still interested on trying out the 3DS version (with Mario) mostly because I wanted to see how the experience worked when the business model is completely different. There's no events, no micro-transactions, no social elements. Etc. I guess it sounds like I was either expectant of a "pure" (and really positive) game experience where gameplay was now king or, a complete disaster because the core gameplay experience only works - as engaging for the player - when all the other elements are there. I guess the answer lies somewhere in between? My experience so far, and I'm only two worlds in (I think there are 6) is that it's ok. Mostly ok. Nothing special or exciting to write home about. However, I've now realized that the gameplay is MORE interesting than I had realized initially on mobile. So, the core idea is that matching three (or more) lets your "team" attack an enemy. But only the team members that are aligned with the match get to attack. So, match 3 red, and a team member that's red attacks. Ok, that's interesting enough. You have some strategy as you select your teammates and consider what kinds of orbs will be available. Should you go strong on one color to do lots of damage in one big punch? Diversify so that you always do damage even on a lowly 3-match? Enemies also have strengths and weaknesses against certain colors as even a full all-team attack might not be that effective, and so on. So, there's interesting choices to consider there... BUT, there are also tactical choices to consider when you match! I hadn't realized this when I played the mobile game (that's mostly my fault, though it's made harder because you use your finger - that obscures more of the screen, instead of the stylus). Match-3 works by dragging an orb to anywhere on the playfield - then let go, and then if matching happens stuff disappears, new orbs fall in, etc. The (to me) NEW thing here is that as you slide an orb around it swaps places such that you can create several matches just by dragging an orb to its final spot. So, making a match matters but choosing the right orb to drag AND dragging it along a patch where you benefit from the swapping ('cause it creates more matches) makes this a much more interesting (and deeper) match-3 experience! Wow! So, far matches are usually better than close (e.g. adjacent) matches and, as soon as you start dragging an orb a timer kicks in. You have to plan your path before starting because once it's started you have to execute it quickly. This is a much more interesting game! One of my biggest "gripes" against match-3 games is that there's usually limited tactical choices. You can sometimes see a combo (where a match creates a drop that then creates new matches), but for the most part if you get a lot of combos it's because your kind of lucky that the right orbs dropped in from above. Here, you can plan multiple combos from the start! There's a definite layer of expertise you can develop as you play.Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:52:07 CDT Bubbles (DS) - Thu, 31 Aug 2017 22:31:23 a bit more today and was in for a surprise. At first I was worried that, since I hadn't played in a looong time, I would have to re-play the tutorials (fortunately it wasn't necesarry) and I was also worried that (since I was playing on a plane with lots of background noise) that some levels just wouldn't work. I had the vague (and incorrect) recollection that the game used the DS mic. It doesn't! (or hasn't, so far). Anyways, so the mechanics for moving the bubble around are cute and all...but then, in level 3(?) I realized that I could pan the camera independently of the bubbles AND create new bubbles wherever - including outside the regular play area. The game deals with this in a really elegant way, you can move your bubble around a bit even though you can't see it and then it pops. No error, no complaints. It's so nicely done! I've made it on to "world 2" which is Australian-aboriginal themed. The game is mostly the same but they've introduced rocks you can tap on to break as well as these...uh..animals that can grab your bubble and warp it to another location. Sometimes in a helpful manner, othertimes not. I'll play a bit more to see how it goes, but for now I'm impressed by the general feeling of calm I get when playing AND that it's a game by a small (then?) unknown indie team: Mekensleep. Weirdly I was listening to a podcast where they were interviewing a French game dev...and he mentioned that he had worked on this game (as one of his earlier titles). Wow!Thu, 31 Aug 2017 22:31:23 CDT