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    Slay the Spire (PC)    by   jp       (Feb 8th, 2020 at 23:35:25)

    I've really, really been enjoying this. Perhaps what I like the most is the feeling of discovery you get when you figure out/realize some new combo or strategy. It's a bit of a shame you can't always plan/execute them (since a lot of it depends on the cards you get/are offered), but, it definitely scratches the same itch I have with magic.

    I guess the difference is that in MtG, it seems like everyone else has already figured out all the combos and so I always play against these stacked decks (when online). Here, since it's a single-player game, I guess it's all me all the time.

    I think I've been able to slay the spire at least once with all the characters - but I haven't unlocked all the cards. So, need to play some more!

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    Mutazione (PS4)    by   jp       (Feb 8th, 2020 at 18:33:09)

    So, I finished it. And uh... it gets more interesting, but not substantially so. I think it's mostly a matter of taste for me - the game is "fine", I just wasn't that interested or intrigued by the story and characters.

    Yes, it was interesting to learn more about the world's backstory and such...and yes, it was interesting to know more about the characters and see their relationships evolve. But, I guess I'm not that drawn to soap operas?

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    Watchdogs (PS4)    by   jp       (Feb 8th, 2020 at 16:10:43)

    The longer I play, the less I like the protagonist - mostly because he's acts all righteous but then (when I control him) he does terrible things. Actually, he does terrible things in the cut-scenes as well.

    Still, I have enjoyed the game immensely, but I've decided I won't finish the campaign. I'm 2/3 through the 2nd act and I've realized I don't like the shooty bits THAT much - mostly because I often die because I'm stuck "crouching/in cover" and can't run/move to another place fast enough. I'm blaming myself for that for the most part - it's a way to do combat that emphasizes patience and stealth (I think?) and...I sometimes don't have that much patience.

    I think what I've enjoyed and appreciated the most about the game is:

    a. How large and interesting so much of the world is - there's all kinds of little details in the things you intercept as well as the places you can go. Having lived in Chicago is a real treat - since you recognize places and also recognize the differences. And then, a lot of the fun really comes from trying to figure out what certain places are meant to be - if anything. Sure, I lived in Chicago - but I'm no expert on the there's lots of doubt in my mind about what some of the places really are. I guess this is why I decided to get the "visit all the special locations" trophy.

    b. The hacking was fun and I enjoyed it as an alternative to busting in to places guns blazing and all that.

    c. While I had a hard time shaking cops when I got into trouble, in some of the later missions I really enjoyed being able to "hack" stuff in the street to help me get away and so on. It felt pretty cool.

    d. I also did all the "Privacy Invasion" missions - those were REALLY interesting. Not so much the doing them, but watching all those little vignettes of life. In my view, it's one of the best things about the game - especially in the sense of them (often) being a place for social commentary on the challenges of daily life. They're kind of all over the place and some of them are REALLY serious, touching, moving, thoughtful, and thought provoking. There's one that still sticks with's basically an empty house, and you see a body on the floor and the phone you hack has a message from someone the owner's son talking about how he wants to see him, he's not a bother, etc. The homeowner, an older man, is dead. Did he kill himself? Have a heart attack? So many questions! ...and so many privacy invasions were like this.

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    Assassin's Creed Origins (PS4)    by   dkirschner       (Feb 5th, 2020 at 08:10:45)

    Whoa, new Assassin's Creed! It's been a few years. I thoroughly enjoyed Black Flag (4), the last one I played. I miss my crew and the sea shanties and firing cannonballs at other ships. But my how the series has changed. My, how it looks and feels more like The Witcher 3 and Soulsborne games! Someone's aping trends.

    What's Witcher about it? Well, it's got the old Ubisoft map bloat with a million icons on it, but I notice question marks all over the place now. These points of interest encourage exploration, and when you arrive you will find a beast den, a stargazing area, a guarded fort, a treasure hunt, and so on, with little objectives (kill this, steal that) to complete for a small amount of XP and some treasure. Cool, but already those question marks feel like bloat. I remember the question marks in The Witcher revealing lots of really cool things, possibly because of the fantasy setting you never knew what kind of awesome thing you'd discover. Here, trekking across the map to shoot a ram with a bow-and-arrow just doesn't seem as appealing. My favorite are the constellation ones where you get some mythology and play with stars. I've pretty much started ignoring the question marks though. There are also more refined skill trees, and the gadgets tree feels very much like the Witcher's potions tree. Side quests are more fleshed out, which is certainly an improvement over previous AC games.

    What's Soulsborne about it? After just finishing Bloodborne, I was surprised that the controls and combat were so similar, as AC's combat before felt unique (even though it could sometimes be frustrating). R3 locks on to enemies, just like Soulsbornes. R1 is light attack, R2 is heavy attack, hold R2 for charged heavy attack. Press circle to dodge. I suspect that some later fights may be more challenging like in Bloodborne. So far, I'm kind of shocked at how much melee combat there is (this was always a weak point in AC games), though I did just get the hidden blade, so more stealth and assassinating is in my future.

    I'm certainly enjoying the game. Egypt is stunning, and thanks to my new PS4 Pro, I am playing a game for the first time in 4K. I see a future where I just walk around in a video game to marvel at the environments to relax after work. Sometimes when I climb up to a view point, I'll sit up there for 5 minutes just looking out over the landscape below. I mean, it's utterly beautiful. I would love to watch an Egyptologist play the game. I'm sure there's a YouTube video for that with a clickbait title.

    My only real gripe is the intrusion of Ubisoft into what I wish was a single-player experience. I mean, thanks for the amazing recreation of ancient Egypt, but would you just let me enjoy it in peace? The game constantly reminds me to check out the store, it forces other players' screenshots onto my minimap which clutters it even further, and it thinks I give a shit about avenging VapeMan69's death at the hands of a hyena. Look, I don't know VapeMan69 and I don't care what he was doing or why he was killed by a hyena, but can you kindly STOP CLUTTERING THE MINIMAP UBISOFT or give me more refined filters please and thank you.

    I look forward to playing more and continuing with the story, which has me oddly intrigued as far as AC goes (even the Abstergo part is neat!). I look forward to uncomfortably watching Bayek and Aya make out and have sex in weird places, and I'm already sad because there's no way they would show this much making out and steamy romance if they weren't going to kill Aya. Bayek has already lost his son and he lost is ring finger (symbolic for severing of the marriage??) and he's going to need some more motivation to keep assassinating for 30 more hours. WHAT IF the twist is that Bayek gets killed and you switch to playing as Aya?! That would be awesome.

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    Bloodborne (PS4)    by   dkirschner       (Jan 31st, 2020 at 22:24:46)

    I actually beat this. I can't believe it. Take that, FromSoftware.

    Bloodborne is definitely one of the most difficult games I've ever played and one that punishes you harshly for mistakes. I learned patience, lots of patience.

    Here are some other things I learned that I didn't mention (or had incomplete knowledge of) in my other post:

    1. If you find a good route of enemies that give lots of blood echoes (especially after you get runes that increase blood echoes), just plow through that route a handful of times and boost your level. I found a great run near the end that also supplies health potions, and I thought, "Great! I can farm health potions here if I need to!" And I did that run probably 5 or 6 times because there was a sad, weeping mother with blood on her white dress in a boss-ish looking area who I didn't want to go near. I was getting over 2 levels worth of blood echoes for that run, so I just kept doing it.

    2. You might have to farm blood echoes later in the game. It's okay, very easy to do. Go back to Central Yharnam and crush all the enemies around there. You'll rack up 20+ potions and it takes like 5-10 minutes. I did it like 5 times while I was on the phone with my mom and never had to do it again.

    3. If you think you might be coming up on a boss (big, open arena? check. big, double doors that you have to push open? check), don't be afraid to go back to the Dream and spend your blood echoes. It'll be relatively easy to get back to the boss and you won't lose all your experience.

    4. Tired of running out of health potions on bosses? Don't use them until you can knock a chunk of the boss's life off without using one. Learn its moves. Then when you're smarter and more confident, commit to using potions and finishing the rest of the battle.

    5. Learn how to do a visceral attack. I didn't know this existed until I got a run that enhanced my visceral attack. The game doesn't teach you so...I don't know how you're supposed to know. I looked it up when I saw that rune. You can do some major damage and get some rune effects.

    6. Don't be afraid to use help from the summoning portal things. You can use insight to summon another hunter (NPC offline, human online). You can use the bell to summon players any time I think. I never did this. But I gather that you have to be careful because they might kill you.

    7. Stat scaling on weapons is useful to pay attention to and can determine how you can best level up. I realized at some point that the sword I was favoring scaled with skill and I should quit putting points into strength.

    8. Frenzy is a pain in the ass. I didn't understand how this worked until very, very late in the game in the Nightmare of Mensis. I didn't understand until then because every time I got frenzied until then I died. My resistance was super low or I just didn't get it or something. Again, no explanation for this in-game!

    9. The special altars or whatever they are called are unnecessary. I went into one toward the end of the game just to see what it was. Looks like randomized or procedurally generated dungeons crawling. Probably special items in there or something. Extra content for those who love the combat I suppose.

    10. Before the last boss, which has that great experience and potion run I mentioned earlier, if you don't plan on New Game Plus or anything, just sell all your shit that you don't use and level up as much as possible. I squeezed like 5 levels out of selling things and using the rest of those blood gems. I think in doing that run 5 or 6 times and selling everything, I gained about 20 levels. Perhaps that's why the last boss only took 5 or so tries.

    11. The story is...hard to parse. It's told sparingly, largely through environmental means. You have to work to piece it together. I read wikis.

    That's gotta be about it. I don't think I'm going to go back and play the Souls games, but I will look forward to Sekiro when the price drops. There's no way I can play too many of these kinds of games. My nerves.

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    GameLog hopes to be a site where gamers such as yourself keep track of the games that they are currently playing. A GameLog is basically a record of a game you started playing. If it's open, you still consider yourself to be playing the game. If it's closed, you finished playing the game. (it doesn't matter if you got bored, frustrated,etc.) You can also attach short comments to each of your games or even maintain a diary (with more detailed entries) for that game. Call it a weblog of game playing activity if you will.

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    1 : jp's Dicey Dungeons (PC)
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    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)    by   SeppukuHC

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Monday 6 October, 2008
    My final game session began with a mission called “Drive-Thru” in which the main characters go to eat at a fast food joint only to catch a rival gang's car on their way to your neighborhood to presumably kill some of your fellow gang members. You are then asked to follow the car and stop it before it reaches your neighborhood. Then problem is the means by which the car is stopped. In this mission the game actually presents a very crucial moral dilemma, essentially the tipping point before the game stops holding your hand and starts asking you to kill, steal, and commit a number of other acts. You see in order to stop the two gangsters from killing your own, you must drive up close to their car. While you keep within close proximity, the passengers in your car shoot at the rival Ballers vehicle and eventually kill them.

    The dilemma is an excellent mirror of the common train problem. On one track is two men who wish harm upon your friends, on another are one, maybe two, if you're especially unlucky maybe four or five of your friends. Your switch is your proximity to their car. If you peruse them you are essentially choosing to end their lives. Which is an important statement. Choosing to end their lives. You are not killing them yourself. At no point in this mission do you handle a gun. At no point in this mission do you even need to make contact with their car and run them off the road. You are simply following them. Tailgating if you will, which at face value registers as nothing more than a nuisance far from an ethical violation. However this simple act carries with it the baggage of knowing that in doing so you will be leading to their death. You can say you have no control over what happens when you get there that your passengers decided to kill these men not you. But the fact remains, they told you they were going to shoot them when you got close enough. You know fully what will happen they will be killed.

    On top of this is the fact that if you do not pursue them, your friends will most likely be killed. However there is still that chance that no one will be outside when they attempt their drive-by, or perhaps that they are just passing through as you often pass through their neighborhoods on your way to missions. They could just be there to write graffiti just as you go to their neighborhoods to do the same. There are a number of variables that are uncertain. It is simply assumed that they are here for a drive-by shooting. If you take it for what it is and believe they will kill your friends your decision is still not over. It is an often accepted rule that, one persons ends cannot be another's means. That you should not kill one to save another. So you must decide are you killing them by knowing they will be killed based on your actions? Then determine if they need to be killed or if this might be a misunderstanding, and last if you must kill them, who will benefit and how much? It is all very complicated.

    To aid in your dilemma that occurs in the mind in a split second as you decide to hit X (the gas pedal) or not. The game does a number of things to try to make the decision for you. Whether thats the right one or not is up to you. First and foremost as with most morally questionable things in this and the following missions including three after this, “Sweet's Girl”, where you deliberately kill numerous people, you are faced with the issue of failure to complete will prevent progress. There is no morally acceptable option. You can say no, but you will not gain access to the rest of the city and you will not advance in any way. There is no moral way to climb the ladder in this game through honest means. It almost forces you to ignore morality. The other thing it does is dehumanize the murder victim. A text appears above their head the first time you meet them acknowledging them as your sworn enemy. It assures you that anyone in purple clothes wants you dead. With this the game is almost trying to give the player a false sense that its ok to kill these people because we said so.

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