dkirschner's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay the Gungeon (PC) - Sat, 13 Aug 2022 16:06:44 then Enter the Gungeon. A game about gun puns. It was interesting comparing it to Nuclear Throne. There are several playable characters with different abilities. But Enter the Gungeon has way more stuff than Nuclear Throne. Tons more enemies, bosses, guns, passive abilities, secrets, and everything. For that reason alone, even though I'm retiring it and didn't play it that much, I think I like it better than Nuclear Throne. I *could see* myself spending more time with this to see more content. It also seems a bit easier than Nuclear Throne though. None of the bosses I got to gave me trouble like Lil Hunter. Gameplay is a little less hectic. A little easier to wrap my head around. There's a shop and secrets. I think you can unlock shortcuts to the different gungeon levels, which adds some persistence between runs. It also had more of a story, however silly, so was a little more intriguing for that reason too. But like I said, I didn't play much, just a few hours, and I know I'm not going to beat it, so I'd rather move on. I got the gist!Sat, 13 Aug 2022 16:06:44 CDT Throne (PC) - Sat, 13 Aug 2022 16:01:22 this. I was alternating playing this and Enter the Gungeon, two bullet hell twin-stick roguelikes. I played Nuclear Throne the most, and it's the simpler of the two. Deceptively simple, of course. Choose a character, each of which has a perk (e.g., my favorite, the robot, can "eat" weapons and gain ammo or life from them). Start with a crappy pistol, kill everything on each level to progress to the next level. Bosses come at specific points. How many did I fight...Bandit...Big Dog...Lil Hunter...There may only be four. I think after Lil Hunter is the Nuclear Throne. But I only killed Lil Hunter once, and didn't get far after that. Lil Hunter will mess you up. The other two bosses are easy and I could reliably kill them. Then if I made it to Lil Hunter, he'd wipe me every time. Start over. Enemies drop "rads" (experience), ammo, and health. Whenever you gain a level, you choose one of three random perks to add. These are generally useful things like increase the amount of health and ammo pickups you find, decrease enemy health, your shotgun shells bounce farther, better aim, etc. You start having to strategize depending on what weapons you have and what perks are available to you. You might wind up going for a shotgun build, or a melee build, or trying to get every health perk, or whatever. After a while, I found the runs began getting repetitive because there isn't a huge variety of weapons, enemies, or perks. I'd seen most everything and was just looping over and over and over. Die. Restart with boring pistol in the desert for the 100th time. Die. Etc. There's more to it, of course. Secrets, extra characters to unlock, and so on. It's a fun game for sure, but isn't keeping my interest long enough to beat it. Sat, 13 Aug 2022 16:01:22 CDT Exodus (PC) - Sat, 13 Aug 2022 15:51:19 up a few games and clearing them out of here. Metro Exodus is my favorite in this series. It's quite epic. Whereas the first two games take place in the Moscow metro tunnels, this one moves above ground and out of Moscow. After learning that there are settlements outside Moscow, Artyom convinces others to join him in search of a better life. About 10 of the Order, including Anna (your wife) and the Colonel, head out on a train. The leaving is more dramatic than that (involving a heist of said train), but that's the gist. The game takes place as Artyom & co. travel across Russia looking for the Russian government and other survivors. They stop in 5 or so locations for various reasons along the journey. Two of these are open world levels, one is sort of a linear open world level, and at least two more are more linear and resemble more of the old Metro games. New in this one, you can scan the horizon with binoculars and mark places on your map, most of which have goodies to loot like weapon upgrades or collectible journals. I never got tired of exploring. You pick up more characters along the way, a woman and her daughter, a teen boy, an engineer, and leave some at your stops. They find love, decide to go on a quest, die, and so on. The characters are really well written. Metro has always stood out for its portrayals of life in the tunnels. In the games, you always feel like you're entering a (barely) functioning society. The train is similarly realistic. Characters fall in love, have arguments, get sick, develop in-jokes, share hobbies and swap stories, etc., etc. There is a ton of incidental dialogue to overhear and participate in. Often, you can sit down, smoke cigarettes, share a drink, hold someone's hand, play a guitar, and more. The NPCs' interactions, especially in large groups, are so impressively done. Each level has at least one good, memorable character, from the insane technology-hating preacher to the Admiral (also insane from radiation and/or loneliness) who has tea parties with his dead comrades. Actually a lot of the people you meet have gone nuts. There's even a whole area of people who have gone nuts. They are cannibals. The areas out in the world also have a lot of good lore. You can find diary entries and tapes, and occasionally an NPC who doesn't try to kill you and will talk with you about something or other. The next-to-last level of the game, Taiga, is interesting because the inhabitants were school children when the bombs went off. Their teacher led them, and then the group splintered into two rival factions. A woman from one of them, who rescues you in the beginning of the level, tells you the story of why they split and what happened to the teacher. You also find an audio diary of the teacher's for more insight. Don't think too much about why people in a post-apocalyptic wasteland are recording audio diaries on cassette tapes. They just do, okay?! The combat is tight and punchy, the guns and all their upgrades are varied, the survival elements gelled with my preferences (they were enough to think about and make my heart beat fast, but not too much to make me feel I had to be preoccupied with them). Enemies are generally garden variety humans with guns or mutants that run at you. The flying things are back, which I recall being from the library level in one of the previous games. They're easy to kill though. There are a few bosses, though interestingly you can avoid some. And, you can use the same trick in this game as previous ones to conserve ammo if you have an NPC ally handy. NPC allies won't die or run out of ammo, so hide in a corner and let them do the shooting for you! The one--ONE!--thing I didn't like about the game is that there are crafting materials everywhere. Too many. I eventually realized I would walk into houses with the camera down looking at the floor for chemicals or metal scraps or whatever. I didn't need to pick up all that crap, but I felt compelled to. You will use it to craft things, but I always had tons extra. It would have been better if there were fewer stashes of materials. Small complaint. I guess overall, I would describe this game as a journey. It'll evoke a lot of emotion, from joy to sadness, and I really felt like I was part of a group of people. I am stoked for another Metro game, to see where the devs take it. I read that the author of the book is working with the devs on the story. Sat, 13 Aug 2022 15:51:19 CDT 2 (PC) - Sat, 23 Jul 2022 10:19:07 are many things I didn't know when I made my last entry. Funniest is that I thought I was halfway through the game. I was gauging that by my progress killing enemy "rulers," which are like mutated escaped science experiments that appear randomly in battles. Turns out that content is a DLC! I might not have been sweating so much if every mission didn't have the chance to spawn an uber-enemy that took an action after every single action any of my soldiers took. Seriously, those enemies were harder than any other in the game, including the avatars at the end. I am proud to say that I killed each avatar on the last mission before it even had a chance to attack. That's how badass I was at the end of the game. If I'm being honest though, I was only that badass thanks to save scumming throughout most of the campaign. As of my first entry, I hadn't been doing that. A few of my soldiers had permanently died, they were constantly gravely wounded, and I came within 20 game hours of the avatar project being completed. With the fear of having to start the entire campaign over, I started reloading when something bad happened, including a soldier dying, discovering enemies on maps when I wasn't ready, and mis-clicking my moves. I think that if I had played without ever reloading, I would have become frustrated and quit. Or, if I did power through, I think I would have lost my first playthrough and done better on the second one because there is so much to learn. By the end of the game, I was WAY smarter and, like I said, dispatched really the entire final mission with barely a scratch on me. Some things I learned that really helped: - Cover is everything! Never ever be out of cover. And high cover is twice as good as low cover. - Positioning is also everything! Never let enemies flank you, lest your cover be no good. Also, as you face tougher enemies, stop clustering your soldiers together. Spread out and try to flank the enemy. - Don't rush, even if it's a timed mission. If you rush, you will certainly run into enemy sight. Only advance early on your turn so that if you do stumble upon enemies, you have soldiers with moves left to control them. - Focus on upgrading weapons instead of armor. If you are using cover and positioning to the max, and being smart about movement and abilities, you're not going to get hit all that much. But you will be relatively fragile. Upgrade those weapons to do tons of damage fast! - You don't have to prioritize destroying enemy facilities or countering every dark event. It's fine if the avatar project is nearing completion, so long as you can destroy a facility to set them back when you need to. Also, some dark events are fine to ignore. For example, as the above tips suggest, anything that gives enemies poison weapons, spawns an extra enemy, etc., isn't that bad if you don't get hit often. On the other hand, some are high priority. There was one that doubled intel costs when I REALLY needed to make contact with new regions; it gave me a lot of grief for a month. - Other things I learned would have really helped in the earlier parts of the game which, if I replayed it, would be much easier. Those involve the fact that engineers are really valuable. I was so slow to build up my base and it cost me a lot of time and sorrow. Know that you need to build your base, that you will need more power and more comms especially. Get engineers early if possible and put them to work. Turns out I had other DLC too. The SPARK robot is DLC (though mine died and I never rebuilt one) and some special weaponry that I built was DLC, which undoubtedly helped me out. So I wasn't playing the vanilla game. I was playing it refined and expanded. I thoroughly enjoyed it--even the stress--because I had to think and plan so much. Success is immensely gratifying. It's set up for an XCOM 3, and I will definitely play, but hopefully will be better at it from the get-go!Sat, 23 Jul 2022 10:19:07 CDT's Island Express (PC) - Tue, 19 Jul 2022 16:20:24 a charming game. I've never played anything quite like it, as it mixes metroidvania and pinball elements, two things you wouldn't think go together, but do here. The main metroidvania elements are the big, interconnected map that you explore a little more of with every new upgrade/item. One lets you grapple on flowers, another lets you swim underwater, and so on. Moving around the map to backtrack was the only criticism I had of the whole game. Movement can feel a little sluggish, especially over long distances, and using the "beelines" to navigate longer distances was annoying because you can't get on the beeline at any stop you like; you have to go to specific junctions, which likely require you to traverse a lot of the map on foot anyway. And much like Atlanta's MARTA public transit, it usually doesn't take you where you want to go. Of note, there is no typical combat (which makes this super relaxing). Battles are clever pinball puzzles. These puzzles are integrated throughout the map and used not only for boss fights, but also for progression, to get upgrades, to find secret areas, and so on. Your character, Yoku, pushes a ball around, so when you're in a pinball puzzle, you have a little control over Yoku, but mainly control the flippers and bounce Yoku around to solve the puzzle. These (and the game in general) were never that difficult, but offered enough satisfying challenge to feel good about progressing. The art and music constantly made me smile. It's so light-hearted, colorful, and whimsical. I had no idea I would enjoy the game this much. Just writing about it is making me want to give it another go, or at least go clean up side quests and find more collectibles. There is an air of mystery about some things that I never figured out. For example, there are little onion looking creatures hidden around called Wickerlings. For every 10 you collect, you can "activate" them at these magical staves, which goes to a cut scene showing a stone illuminating around an ominous creature in an egg. If you collect all the Wickerlings...does the egg hatch? Is that bad? You sort of find out near the end of the game because you wind up finding the location in the cut scene, but I wasn't clear on it. There is another ominous cut scene every so often when your Yoku-pinball goes between the flippers, when you would normally lose on a machine (but here, you drop down through some thorns, lose some fruit [money], and land safely by another flipper to keep going). The scene shows a number ticking up and some robed figure watching. Does that do anything? Or is it just telling me how many times I've lost my ball? I will look these answers up later... Can we get a sequel?! Tue, 19 Jul 2022 16:20:24 CDT 2 (PC) - Thu, 07 Jul 2022 12:19:23 2 is brutal and I freaking love it. I have no idea how far I am through the game. Halfway? But I almost LOST and it had me so scared. XCOM 2 has a metagame with a lose state. The aliens are working on something called the Avatar project which, if completed, ends the game. They make advances on the project that fill a progress bar on the top of the geoscape screen. I am not entirely sure of the rules governing when and why they make progress. It seems they randomly build a new facility or complete some research. Right now, there is a "Dark Event" I can see that the aliens have queued that, if I don't address it within the month, will add two ticks to the progress bar. I am also not entirely sure of the rules governing when and why I can decrease the progress bar. I know that by completing (some?) main story missions, attacking black sites, attacking research facilities, and so on, one or two ticks on the bar will go away. This "add two ticks to the progress bar" Dark Event has me worried because often you have to choose which of the Dark Events to deal with, and the progress bar only has three empty ticks left. This would bring me to within one tick of losing. Usually there are three Dark Events queued at a time, and they all introduce problems. This is certainly the most pressing right now, but I have to wait for the game to give me the mission to stop the Dark Event. I don't know if it always does! I've had to let several Dark Events happen. Currently, for example, the aliens have beefed up their encryptions and I am burdened with 100% intel costs, which means that contacting new regions is very expensive. But I need to contact new regions because the aliens have built research facilities there. I need to destroy the research facilities to bring the progress bar down. So, the progress bar will keep going up unless I can make contact with new regions, which currently requires double the intel. Will I be able to gather enough intel to contact the new regions and destroy the research facilities before they complete the Avatar project?! Aaah! I learned quickly that there are never enough resources to spare. I am always short. I have a laundry list of upgrades to make to armor and weaponry, research, buildings, communications, that all seem urgent. This is a game of baby steps and meeting a hundred little goals along the way, each of which feels monumental. And since you could have used every upgrade last week, everything feels like it comes too late yet just in time. For example, I recently completed research on magnetic weapons technology, which unlocks the purchase of magnetic varieties of common weapons (assault rifles, shotguns, pistols). This was huge, increasing firearms damage by about 33%. Enemies already use these weapons, so finally I am on par again! Well...except that you don't just "get" the weapons. You have to buy the upgrades after conducting the research. I bought assault rifles first since that's the standard loadout for rookie soldiers (all soldiers begin as unclassed rookies) and the Specialist class. That got me through a mission, which rewarded me with enough cash to upgrade shotguns, which I have equipped on my Rangers, who are killing machines. I skipped pistols because they are only used as secondary weapons for Sharpshooters and instead started researching gauss technology, which will let me upgrade cannons (Grenadier class) and sniper rifles (Sharpshooters). They already dealt the most damage (except for my Ranger killing machines), so I figured they could wait. But I also really need to upgrade armor because I do occasionally get one-shot. In the last mission I ran, an Advent Trooper shot my Sharpshooter for 7. One-shot kill! Of course I reloaded. Death is permanent and this game lets you save scum, which I am not above doing. Or at least, I was above doing until I almost lost the game. But I don't have money for any of these upgrades! I'm three ticks on the progress bar away from losing (again), and I desperately need to spend my resources on contacting new regions, recruiting resistance members, and destroying research facilities. Here is the story about how I almost lost. I've described how you decrease the aliens' progress on the Advent project by destroying research facilities. They had built three, all in regions of the world I had yet to contact. You have to spend intel to contact regions before you can attack the research facility. But let's break down all the things I didn't know until the progress bar had almost filled! I had three ticks left on the progress bar, as I do now. I didn't understand that "regions available for contact" was a resource limited by your communications buildings. You need to build comms in order to enhance your capacity to maintain contact with more regions. When I realized this, I didn't have any free space on my ship to build comms. I had to use engineers to clear debris from empty rooms. This took perhaps 10 days to clear debris. In that time, the aliens filled the progress bar another tick. Down to two! But oh no! Comms cost 3 power to build and I only had 2 power, so I needed first to build a power relay. I assigned an engineer to begin clearing another room and assigned a second engineer to build a power relay. This took another 10 or so days to complete. Another tick on the progress bar. One tick left. I am freaking out. Power relay complete, build a comms station. 10 more days. Comms station is built and I still have one tick left! This might be doable! I traveled to the region I needed to contact, paid 30 intel. 3-5 days to contact the region. Shit, shit, shit. Miraculously, the aliens made no more progress. Region contacted! The research facility is actually one more region over. I knew that, but didn't know that intel costs to contact new regions increase the farther you are from your home base. Shit, shit, shit. I have 30 intel, but not the 60 required for contacting a more distant region. How do I get intel?! I googled this. Some missions, hacking certain enemies, and going back to your home base to scan for intel, which passes time, are all options. I flew back home and started scanning. One day. Two days. *ALERT! The Aliens have made progress on the Advent project!* I thought it was game over. I was ready to start over with all the knowledge I learned during this failed run. But a timer appeared for 20 days. I had 20 days left to delay the Avatar project! I scanned for a few more days to gather enough intel, flew back to the region, made contact, blew up the research facility. The progress bar ticked down by 2 and that seems to have buoyed me. I breathed a massive sigh of relief. I haven't been almost dead since then. Now that I understand power and contact resources, I can plan ahead better, though my soldiers feel underpowered and I have had some terrifying missions, including some painful solder deaths, like my SPARK mech and a pretty advanced Grenadier. Recently, I had to attempt a couple missions while short on squad members. One I had to try with 4 (of 6) soldiers. I went sloooow and steady (luckily it was an untimed mission) and actually beat it with only one soldier getting injured. When soldiers get injured, they take time to recover (sometimes over 20 days!), and you can't use them during this time. This is why I had 4 soldiers to take on that one mission; everyone else was recovering. Playing safe is really important because otherwise, you will end missions with a full squad of injured soldiers. Then on your next mission, if it's thrown at you quickly, you'll have to rely on your benchwarmers and have far fewer options to build a good team for the mission. The biggest factor in playing safe is using cover. Your soldiers are either out of cover, in half cover, or in full cover. Shots have a +20% chance to miss against a unit in half cover and +40% in full cover. Full cover is GOOD. I read advice somewhere that said "half cover is no cover at all." I position units in full cover whenever possible. You can also flank and be flanked, which enhances hit % and critical hit chance. Never end your turn out of cover and do not let enemies flank you. They will ruin you! Another wrench in my plans is when the game (randomly?) puts a boss in missions. There are three escaped alien science experiments that occasionally appear. They always take me by surprise. The first one is a scripted story mission that sets up these bosses. It is a Viper variant with two full rows of health. I don't even know how much that is. 30? 40 ticks of health? Enemy soldiers right now have probably 7 health on average, for comparison. Oh, and bosses aren't alone. They come out with other enemies too. I actually did a good job against the Viper. After depleting one full row of health, he opened up a portal and ran. The game hints that you'll see him again and finish him later. Well, I did see him again and finished him off. Then I encountered another boss, a hulking Berserker who gets a move after EVERY action you take. Not every unit's turn. Every ACTION. You move. He takes an action. You shoot. He takes an action. You reload. He takes an action. This thing has three full rows of health. He obliterated me the first time and it took me several tries to learn. This may have been the mission where I lost my SPARK unit and/or my Grenadier, and I am sure that everyone else was injured. He also warps out when you deplete a row of health. The second time he appeared was actually when I had a squad of four, but I noticed that he was--as a berserker might do--attacking anything in sight. I just set up an ambush, let him rampage around and kill all the other enemies, then focused fire to quickly bring him down a row of health. Poof, warped away, and I even knocked out a good chunk of his final row as he ran. During my last session, I encountered him again in a mission, but saved and quit there. He's far away and has two enemies patrolling with him, and I've got a strong squad on this mission, so I should be able to take him out pretty easily. But there's a third monster somewhere, and he might appear at the worst possible time! As with everything else in this game, all you can do is methodically prepare and hope that you're ready for what it decides to throw at you. Hopefully I have a game victory to report in short order! Thu, 07 Jul 2022 12:19:23 CDT Void (PC) - Mon, 27 Jun 2022 22:23:43 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. Mon, 27 Jun 2022 22:23:43 CDT Constructor Portal (PC) - Mon, 27 Jun 2022 19:18:03 was a freebie at some point and I tried it out because of the Portal theme. The Portal mechanics are cleverly integrated with the building in Bridge Constructor. You basically build bridges to guide little workers and their carts through portals to the exit on each level. At first, I was pretty enamored with it. It's cute, they got GLaDOS to voice. I got stuck on level 20 though (of 60); the challenge really ramps up! I think my struggle with it is that I know what I need to do, but I can't execute. Rather, I can execute, but it takes a lot of fiddling to do it. For example, on this level 20, you have to use panels to redirect some orbs into their holes so that cubes drop on the turrets, such that your carts can pass safely. Okay, so I had the idea figured out quickly! But getting the orbs to hit the surfaces at a specific angle to start a chain of bounces so that they go where you want them to is like...tweak, run test, tweak, run test, tweak, run test, tweak, run test, forever until you get it just right. Granted, my solution (when I looked it up) wasn't ideal, but it was going to work. I watched levels 20-60 on YouTube, and there is no way I would have kept with it. The difficulty ramp happens around where I stopped. The game continues to add Portal mechanics, from speed gel and bouncing gel to laser grids to launching panels, and requires evermore elaborate bridges. I feel like I had a good understanding of the Portal bit, but not the Bridge Constructor bit. I shouldn't be an engineer. Mon, 27 Jun 2022 19:18:03 CDT Cry 4 (PC) - Mon, 27 Jun 2022 18:17:31 had been on my wishlist since it came out in 2014 and the price never dropped low enough for me to grab it. But then it was a freebie through Amazon Prime last month. I had Watch Dogs 2 queued up to play soon, but I downloaded this to play first. Keeping my Ubisoft open world games in order! I hope that Watch Dogs 2 is sufficiently different from this and Assassin's Creed (Odyssey is next after Watch Dogs 2) so that I don't get Ubisoft-open-worlded out. Being Ubisoft-open-worlded out is a real concern because I feel like I've played Far Cry 4 five times before. It plays the...exact...same as other open world games where you capture the towers to reveal the map, liberate the bases, explore the question marks, do the zillion side quests and "activities", etc., etc. I suppose this makes sense and is somewhat forgivable here since this was made in 2014 and helped solidify these genre features. I don't remember exactly when open world games started including 10000 collectibles for you to find and cluttering your map with icons. So I was really playing this for the bad guy, Pagan Min. He always looked intriguing, with his pink suit and fashion haircut. He doesn't disappoint. What a cool bad guy. He took over Kyrat (the Himalayan country the game is set in) in a coup and runs it with an iron fist, very Kim Jong Un, but with more personality. He's got a few lieutenants whom you mow down before confronting Pagan Min (unless you follow his instructions in the beginning of the game and complete it in 15 minutes). Most of the characters have eccentric personalities and are fairly amusing, but they can border on the annoying (the radio DJ, for one). One of Pagan Min's lieutenants is an American expat who lies to his family about where he is. He says he's on a business trip. He'll be torturing a soldier, his phone will ring, he'll stop and pick it up and talk all lovingly with his wife and daughter for a few minutes, then say he's got to walk into a meeting, hang up, and kill the soldier. It's pretty funny. I got a kick out of the two stoner guys as well, who use Ajay to experiment with drugs. Their side missions were trippy and some of my favorites. The BEST missions though were the Shangri-La ones. This is an optional side story that, along with the trippy drug missions, reinforce that the coolest thing about Far Cry is when it goes all fantasy on you. You seek out five parts of a painting depicting the story of a warrior seeking paradise. Each time you find part of the painting, you "enter" it and play the part of the story. You have a bow and a knife, but can also command a tiger, fly on wind tunnels, and ride a rampaging elephant, as you free bells and get closer to defeating the evil spirit that is trying to take over Shangri-La. Where did Far Cry 4 go? Who cares! This was the best part. I generally enjoyed myself while playing. Exploring the map, completing quests, liberating bases, it's all very methodical, and I get into doing that kind of thing, even if I am aware of mundanity and repetition. But there were a lot of really, really, annoying things about the game. I rolled my eyes a lot upon dying. I'll list some at the top of my mind: 1. Healing - You heal in two ways, by using a healing syringe (takes a second, heals all the way with upgrades), or by manually using bandages, setting bones, and so on (takes a few seconds, heals up to one-third of your health, upgraded). The thing that drove me the most nuts is that you can't choose. If you have a healing syringe (which you have to craft from gathering plants), then you will use the healing syringe. Often, I didn't want to use the healing syringe. If there are no enemies around, if it's not urgent, why would I use a syringe? I can just manually do it. But no. It forces you to use the syringe if you have it, which is wasteful and makes you have to go pick so many green flowers. The second thing is that it takes so long to heal manually. I got shot dead so many times while the healing animation played. Super irritating. 2. Rampaging Enemies - There are, of course, enemies roaming the map. No problem. There are also, though, enemies roaming where they would not roam (e.g., enemy trucks leaving outposts that you've captured--how did they get in there??), or seemingly endlessly spawning and attacking you and bases that you've liberated. I "failed" to protect outposts probably 30 times, as enemies would randomly attack them. When that happens, the game removes your current waypoint and changes it to the outpost. At first, I thought I had to go defend the outposts, like the enemies would take them back over if I didn't save them. But one time I ignored it, and it just said I failed, and life went on. Nothing happened! Then what's the point?! It draws you out of whatever you are doing, deletes your waypoint, but then if you ignore it, nothing happens. 3. Climbing and Wingsuit - Oh man, I hated climbing and I hated the wingsuit. You press spacebar near a specific type of vertical ledge to climb it, which usually just made you jump (spacebar also jumps) until you line it up better. The main character, Ajay, seriously needs to work on his ability to scale a rock as tall as he is. He will not jump over ANYTHING unless it's a nice vertical rock wall about 8 feet tall. A sloping rock? Nope, he won't walk up it. The game, being set in the mountains, also features rappelling, but your rope gets stuck on rocks all the time and you have to reset the rope. Now, the wingsuit. You activate this by pressing shift and jumping off a cliff. The problem is that shift is also the sprint button, which you are always holding down. The other problem is that the wingsuit doesn't just activate on tall cliffs; it activates on anything that is like 6 feet tall or higher. Which means that you will unintentionally deploy your wingsuit constantly. Ajay doesn't know how to safely land in a wingsuit. He has to deploy a parachute to land and not die. So, you will often run off of a low rock with no intention of flying, the wingsuit will deploy, and Ajay will immediately crash into the ground and die. You were just running three seconds ago; now you are dead. I cannot complain enough about how bad jumping, climbing, and the wingsuit are. 4. This doesn't have to do with dying, but also made me roll my eyes. The Golden Path (the good guy rebel army fighting Pagan Min) is led by two people, a man and a woman. You occasionally choose which of their methods to use to complete a given task. For example, the enemy has poppy fields that they use for drug production. The woman wants you to secure the poppy fields to use to fund the resistance; the man wants you to burn them down. Eventually, only one of them will lead the Golden Path, so your choices theoretically matter (they don't actually matter until the last one). But I eventually realized that the choices are ridiculously artificial. For example, the woman always wants to utilize Pagan Min's production facilities or whatever to fund the Golden Path. She wants to modernize. The man wants to return to tradition and wants to tear down everything Pagan Min has built. I sided with the man over and over because I didn't want to produce drugs. Destroying heroin production seemed like a good idea. The woman starts making their rivalry a gender thing, which I suppose is suppose to tug on the player. She wants a progressive society with equality. He wants to go back to tradition and maintain Kyratian culture. This is when I started switching sides because it turns out that "tradition" includes men taking child brides. Great. So I can either choose the woman / drug lord (but feminism!) or I can choose the man / child brides (but tradition!). I switched my allegiance after the child bride thing and after talking to a would-be child bride, who "didn't know who she wanted to be the leader." Girl, you're telling me that you're cool with being married off at 12 years old to a much older man? Nah. So I sided with the woman and killed the man. And of course, I let Pagan Min live. Mon, 27 Jun 2022 18:17:31 CDT by H. P. Lovecraft (PC) - Sat, 25 Jun 2022 08:02:35, I played this recently on an airplane at night, which set a fitting mood (and possibly weirded out the person next to me). I really enjoyed this visual telling of a Lovecraft story. It's simple. You're in a 3d environment, first-person viewpoint, a Lovecraftian hellscape made real. The excellent narrator tells his tale. You can move the camera around to look at things, and click on a door or in the distance or wherever to progress the story. Occasionally, there are bits of interesting trivia you can reveal by clicking on other items of interest. That's it. I'd definitely play more of these. Enjoy the horror. Sat, 25 Jun 2022 08:02:35 CDT