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    Elden Ring (PS5)    by   jp       (Jul 1st, 2022 at 11:47:30)

    Last night I started playing Elden Ring. It's a game I'm excited by while at the same time recognizing that it's probably not a game I'll enjoy and I'm not entirely sure I have enough time and desire to improve my skills playing it while also figuring out the intricacies of its RPG systems. That being said I've decided that I will give it an honest try and we'll see how it goes. Will this be like Nier Automata where I almost bounced off and then figured out I'd been playing it incorrectly?

    So, I'm barely an hour in, which is probably closer to 10 minutes in for everyone else on the planet. I just barely levelled up once and got access to the horse. In terms of geographical distance from where I started - I'm essentially still at the doorstep.

    I would say that it went "ok". I did not make the mistake of avoiding the tutorial section - it does seem kind of stupid to me that you have to purposefully jump down a hole to do the tutorial - but I'd been warmed through a little bit of "general cultural osmosis". So, all's going well in the tutorial. I can see I'm going to struggle a bit with the attacks being on the triggers - and I'm also wasting my starting resource (some shrimp thing) by using them by mistake - but, it's ok.

    And then I get to the tutorial boss - some knight with a long sword.

    And I fail. And fail again. I fail a handful of times and it's frustrating because the game has taught me to block, but it doesn't seem to work all the time. Is my timing off? Should I have the block button pressed all the time? Should I not have the block button pressed all the time? Is it a problem of distance? Blocking only works when you're at a certain range? I don't know, I'm struggling and I'm starting to get a bit frustrated. It doesn't help that I'm also practicing how to lock on and realizing that facing really matters - and that you cannot assume that the game will automatically adjust things in your favor.

    I did eventually beat the boss and I think I learned something: Some attacks you just cannot block so you need to roll out of the way.

    The bad news is that I have yet to figure out how to tell which attacks are which (blockable vs not).

    So, I wander out of the new area talk to someone who basically says to head in the direction of some flashy lights that float in the air are pointing toward - and there's a giant guy on some giant sort of horse thingie on the way.

    Oh! That's my next target.

    And he basically one-shots me.
    Multiple times, because I figure I must be doing something wrong.

    And then I decide to screw it and sneak around...

    I discover a camp - talk to some guy who sells stuff and recommends getting a crafting kit. So, I'm intrigued - but can't afford anything.

    I also have no idea how/where I get cash. Is it from killing monsters? Chests? I've also been picking up random plants/fruits and bits of stone.
    I imagine these will all matter at some point, but we'll see.

    I'm still worried about the giant guy on the horse-beastie...like he'll just run me down when I'm looking the wrong way.

    So, I hop over a wall - and head in a direction orthogonal to the direction I think I'm supposed to go just because...let's go exploring.

    I'm cautious, and moving slowly, and picking 1:1 fights with soldiers who are sort of guarding in this foresty area - and dying ocassionally and starting over.

    I do find a soldier camp. It has a name I've forgotten.

    And here I grind.

    I kill a soldier. His buddies come out and cut me down.

    I try a new approach. Same story, then I decide to use this opportunity to practice fighting - to see if I can tell when blocks dont' work and so on. I think I'm a little better at it, but not really.

    I stuck around that one area just attacking, dying, retrieving until eventually I had enough runes to level up. Found a camp. Levelled up - an underwhelming experience to be sure - and then got a horse.

    Wow, that seems like a lot of time for very little progress... I want to feel like I'm learning the game and so on, but it still feels like I'm really in the dark with little opportunities to test/try out things to see how they work.


    So, things I need to decide:

    (1) Should I try a different character class? I picked Bandit because I saw it had a bow - and using the bow was awful. I wanted to try something ranged, but I guess the bow and arrows are not it. Magic might be the option?

    (2) Do I carry on with this character so that I have a more "true" experience and just play until I cannot take it any more? Will I be able to "crack" the nut of combat or will each enemy/boss pose it's own puzzle I'll have to bang my head against the wall to solve?

    (3) Do I try to cheeze/grind my way by basically levelling up ever so slowly by farming weaker/easier enemies and opponents?

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    Kingsway (PC)    by   jp       (Jun 28th, 2022 at 19:04:31)

    I'm 6 hours in and I've had a win!

    After banging my head against the wall a bit with the Warrior class I was able to succeed with the Rogue. This was mostly because I got the upgrade (chose, not randomly received) were each successive attack was a bit faster and I had a weapon that did poison damage. It was a good run and I now feel like I have a better sense of the game's progression (generally go up/down and head east warily - there's a timer of sorts so you're forced to move eastwards).

    The game's main gimmick is the fake windows-style OS that runs the entire game. It's fun and cute, but some aspects get a bit cumbersome/tiresome - for example managing inventory gets annoying but the biggest is the shopping. It takes too many steps...add to cart, confirm, then drag thing you bought into your inventory.

    I do want to try out some of the other classes - the Rogue was more fun than I expected, and I guess the other classes probably have their own special perks/skills to use. I'm played mostly as the Warrior without success, but now that I get the game, perhaps it'll go easier?

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    Rayman Origins (VITA)    by   jp       (Jun 28th, 2022 at 12:54:13)

    I often mixup Rayman Legends and Rayman Origins. I know I played both on the PS3, but don't remember which one came first and so on. I fired this up the other day because I was curious - and it turns out that I had not played the PS Vita version of Origins. Such a great game...and it looks like the game levels are the same - which is nice.

    The Vita adds a few things that are new - you can use the touchscreen to tap on lumis that are inside bubbles, as well as tap enemies that have inflated (popping them). There might be other stuff but I'm not sure I want to continue playing the game because, well...as great as it is, I've already played it. That being said I did play through the entirety of the first world/area. I wanted to play one of the musical platforming levels that I adore - but rather I played a flying on the mosquito 2D shooting level as the final one. I don't recall this exact level, though I did remember flying around on the mosquito, so I'll just blame my memory for this one. Though...I am curious...

    I did see a note that the Vita version has the most "content" with unlockable stuff - and I think this refers to these "half ying-yangs" you need to find - you just tap on them, which is why I think they're new. I'll do a bit more digging just in case.

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    Neopets Puzzle Adventure (DS)    by   jp       (Jun 28th, 2022 at 12:07:22)

    I don't really know much about Neopets - I mean, I know it existed and what it was about in the general sense, but I'm not familiar with the Neopets lore - names of pets and so on. So, I have no real way of knowing if this game is "true" to the source material. But, it's been fun to play what is essentially a kids game that clearly has lots of background material that I assume kids would have been all over. Sort of like playing a Pokemon game without any knowledge of the types and so on, and the characters are just like dropping these references assuming that you know what they're about.

    The game itself is...not that interesting. I've been playing the story mode, eschewing the mini-games for now, and...it's pretty linear, there's a map - but you don't choose where to go really and the character you create walks from place to place automatically (sometimes this takes quite a while, when going someplace on the other end...and you can't interrupt it or do anything about it once the character is moving along). The game's core gameplay is essentially a version of reversi (or was it Othello?) - the two-player abstract boardgame where you place a piece on the board and then flip over your opponents pieces to your color if they are between two pieces of yours. You continue doing this until the board is full and then you see who has the most pieces. Confusingly, as you place pieces you can also earn XP - which doesn't matter in the context of the match, but your character levels up and, I think - gains the ability to have more neopets (neopetpets?) than give you a special move you can use in the regular match.It's not all that exciting and seems like it's under-utilizing the Neopets stuff? But then again, if I recall, the neopets webgame was mostly about raising/hatching neopets...but still, there isn't any of that here either...

    That being said, the game is connected to the bigger game - you can get codes which I presume unlock stuff for you on Neopets "main". There's also a fair amount of multiplayer options that, for obvious reasons, I'm not going to try out.

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    Post Void (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jun 27th, 2022 at 22:23:43)

    Another recently acquired freebie that looked insane. Post Void is a retro FPS, but like in some psychedelic Hotline Miami vein. It's fast and frenetic with bright colors and flashes. Don't ask me what the story is about. There are 11 increasingly challenging levels, but if you die, you die. Enemies are vicious and come charging at you. Every enemy you kill returns a little bit of health. If you don't kill an enemy after a short amount of time, a timer counts down from 3 and you die if you don't get a kill.

    After each level, you choose a perk from among three options. Perks include faster reload speeds, new guns, slower enemy bullets, a compass pointing toward the exit, and so on. I always liked to get the one that slows their bullets, gives more health, and get an Uzi. Not sure what is optimal though. I can reliably make it to level 4 after about 45 minutes of practice, but get annihilated by various enemies that I haven't been able to clearly see yet. They kill me so quickly!

    This is fun and gets my heart rate up. I watched someone finish a run on YouTube. This has me curious about other modern retro FPSes, as that's a genre I haven't dabbled in.

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    1 : jp's Elden Ring (PS5)
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    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)    by   ethanholmes@rocketmail.com

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Wednesday 10 March, 2010
    The thing that hit me is that you can drink gamble and kill at will everyone in this game can be killed. There is stereotypes at every corner and rock-star makes no apologies at all about what this is about being a cold blood killing booze drinking weed and you dont care about life you show know remorse and you just go on and kill I love samuel as the police officer to its a very nice touch and that you can have a base in the middle of the dessert and drive a f16 around.

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