GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplayhttp://www.gamelog.cl/gamers/GamerPage.php?idgamer=Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) - 02 Jul 2020 - by jphttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7075I finished this last night! Yay! It took a lot longer than I expected in the end though, which was pretty frustrating. I think I probably spent 4 hours just grinding at the end in order to have a chance at the final battles. Even after all this, I took me three attempts before I was able to beat the final end boss! (I kept on losing during the 3rd battle after defeating the White Witch (1st and 2nd stage)) Overall I've been super impressed and I'm surprised that, at least in my mind, the game hasn't received more accolades. Perhaps I'm just remembering? While it has many "flaws" (for my personal taste) the art direction is superb and the combat system had much more depth than I was expecting - I really enjoyed trying out different spells and tactics during the different boss battles and I had a definite sense of "learning" and "getting better" at the game. The final bits were especially challenging for me since a 1/2 second of distraction could easily lead to a TPK. This is not something I'm used to in RPGs and especially not so in Japanese RPGs. TPKs in a boss battle, sure - but not from your regular random encounters as you move around the world. Once I beat the game I did a little bit of pottering about to see if there were a few other fun things I wanted to take a look at. So, I wandered into the Casino! (manned by the undead) I wonder if someone has written a paper or something about why Casinos are so prevalent in JRPGs. They're definitely super common in Dragon Quest games - but, now that I think about it, perhaps I'm biased? (are Casinos in JRPGs a common trope?) Due to other academic work (on goals in games), I also noticed something (I find) extra interesting about Ni No Kuni. So, there's a character called Horace who's a ghost and each time you visit a new city you can find him, talk to him, he asks you a riddle/question, you answer, and then he gives you some new spell(s). What's interesting is that you have to type in the answers to his questions/riddles! It's a really "old" mode of interaction that you don't see in modern videogames. The exceptions are those where you type in your character name - but as a regular part of gameplay, it's pretty rare nowadays! So, cool? (and some of the answers were pretty long!) During the course of the game you get spells, stories, and information that are all part of a Wizard's book - it's the main place where the game's lore is stored. And the book is beautiful! I wonder/wish they'd publish it as an actual book? Or, if there was a TRPG version of Ni No Kuni - that would be the sourcebook in a 2-book slipcase edition?jpThu, 02 Jul 2020 16:25:33 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7075&iddiary=12565Viewtiful Joe Double Trouble (DS) - 29 Jun 2020 - by jphttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7088I recall really enjoying the Game Cube game and feeling proud because it was hard and I got to the end. (I'd have to read my old gamelogs from then to see if this was true...as I type this I don't even know if they exist). The game remains stylish in the visuals, but pared down of course. The action moves pretty fast and I've had fun so far BUT I have a hard time telling what's going on and I'm worried about the introduction of all the special abilities. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with them (more buttons and combinations to remember). One of the powers is pretty neat though I have trouble getting it to work consistently - you can tap and swipe (left or right) the screen to get the top/bottom halves to be misaligned for in-game effects/objectives. So, if the bottom half has a fire hydrant, when you slide the bottom of the screen it loses the "cap" and water sprays and you can then use the water spray to put out fires on another part of the screen. Or, you can slide the top half of the screen to open up access to an area otherwise closed off. It's pretty neat! Bad news is that there are some areas I have a REALLY hard time getting to. These are usually higher up and require the double-jump. I don't know if it's my bad eyesight or if they're tricky in terms of getting into the right position. But, it was pretty annoying to be honest. We'll see how long I play, but for now I'm pretty impressed and enjoyed "refreshing" my memory on the GC game. (was there a sequel? perhaps"?)jpMon, 29 Jun 2020 17:07:41 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7088&iddiary=12564Anno 1701 (DS) - 29 Jun 2020 - by jphttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7056I hadn't played since April so I decided to pick this up just to see where things were at. So, I'm trying to get stuff going on a new island that doesn't have enough fertility, but it has a "watering hole" and I'm supposed to build something there. But, there was no option for that type of building/structure...and I have no idea how to build the thing I'm being asked to build. Couldn't find any info online either. So I gave up. Sigh. THAT being said, there are quite a few things I thought were interesting about the game: a. I enjoyed the "advisor" who would let you know when something was wrong and what you needed to do to fix it. b. I easily lost track of my production and resources. I think that problem is that it's easy to build a lot of stuff, but it takes time for things to get rolling. It's interesting how this does NOT happen to me in boardgames - mostly because of the limits on actions AND the turn-based side of things. It's easier for me to notice when things produce and so on. Here it's a lot less transparent. c. I enjoyed buying random "contracts" to go get looted/treasure resources. And, sailing around to avoid the pirates was an interesting action element to an otherwise "turn-based" feeling game... I wonder if they added this to give players something to do while they wait for their economy to build up (e.g. get to X resources so I can build the next thing). d. The road building system is super cool. You basically get two end points and then located them where you want them. It's pretty intuitive and you get layouts that align with what you want. The interface for this was pretty slick IMO. e. I enjoyed how the campaign slowly opened up - with new options being added and things being introduced slowly. (This entry has been edited1 time. It was last edited on Mon, 29 Jun 2020 17:01:41.)jpMon, 29 Jun 2020 16:56:55 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7056&iddiary=12563A Mortician's Tale (PC) - 27 Jun 2020 - by dkirschnerhttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7086Wow, I really liked this. Last time I taught Death, Grief, & Dying, I had students play That Dragon, Cancer. Then I asked them to seek out other games with themes related to the course, and this was one they came back with, along with Gris, which I have queued up. So, first thing, the game is short. Like an hour or so. It took me almost an hour and a half because I was trying to win a stupid Minesweeper mini game. But it packs a lot of information and story into that hour. I wouldn't have wanted it to be any longer unless there was a lot more gameplay variety. A Mortician's Tale is a death-positive game that aims to educate people about the death industry, burial practices (especially eco-friendly types), cultural differences in death and grief, and so on. They obviously collaborated with Caitlin Doughty, who has become quite well known as a...if this is a term...public mortician? Go read her books and check out her YouTube channel if you're interested in the death industry. In the game, you play as a mortician (who looks suspiciously like Caitlin Doughty) for a mom-and-pop funeral home. You check email (you have a friend, a friendly co-worker, a boss, and a listserv that will email you). The email from your boss always has some description of your next job (who died, what their family wants, etc.), and then you go prepare the body. You have a few tools, and you just follow explicit instructions each time. It's a bit zen in that way. Once you prepare the body, you go to the funeral parlor and can talk to the attendees. I enjoyed this because some will be acting quiet and reserved at the funeral, while others will be sobbing, others will crack jokes, others will be on their phones. They'll discuss feelings, cultural differences, wonder whether they've made their loved one happy, and so on. It's often sweet. The purpose is to show the player that there are many different ways to grieve and that not all funerals are alike (point driven home at the end of the game). The game's strongest accomplishment is teaching players about alternative (eco, mostly) burial practices, which are gaining popularity in the US. Before I taught this course for the first time, I had never heard of green burials, alkaline hydrolysis, orbital burials, or anything! But most everything I've heard of is in the game, including cremation jewelry. The game also discusses grieving, seeking help, considerations for preparing trans people, wills, religious perspectives on burial practices and corpses, and a major narrative thread shows how small funeral homes struggle in the face of large corporations buying them out. There are two cases in the game that stood out. The first was when you get an email about a suicide victim. The game asks you (the character, but you) if you want to take the job (the only choice the game ever asks you to make). If you opt out, then you just get another body to prepare. This is nice for people who may be triggered having to interact with a (virtual) person who killed themselves. The second was when you have to prepare a homeless man. When you take his urn to the funeral parlor, there is no one there to see him. It was sad and made me reflect on inequalities related to death. I noticed as I played that I became desensitized in a short amount of time to the work of preparing bodies for burial. This reminds me of Paul Kalanithi's excellent memoir When Breath Becomes Air, where he discusses this at length regarding his time as a hospital resident. When you get a job, you stand over the body and are instructed to clean it with a sponge. The first time doing it, I did it slowly, like wow, I'm washing a dead person. It was reverent. By the end of the game, I was just like yeah yeah, wash wash scrub scrub, into the furnace you go! It's awful! But that's a main theme of the game, our desensitization to death, our distance from it, the impersonal nature of burial practices especially when they become handled by corporate entities. Yeah, so I really, really enjoyed this and will definitely create an assignment for my students play this in Death, Grief, & Dying this semester. Perhaps they can choose between this and That Dragon, Cancer. We shall see. dkirschnerSat, 27 Jun 2020 17:48:17 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7086&iddiary=12562The Witness (PC) - 27 Jun 2020 - by dkirschnerhttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7058Played this for 4 or 5 hours and am over it. This is a puzzle game from Jonathan Blow of Braid fame. It's set on a big, beautiful island that you explore in first-person. Scattered around the island are a number of "hubs" containing grid-based line puzzles with many different rules. These begin simply enough, but I quickly found myself scratching my head. A cool thing about the design is that there are no tutorials. Every puzzle follows some logic and you can figure them out by doing other puzzles and observing the world around you. At least, it's cool because you will have great "aha" moments, but it is also maddening because if you get stuck, there is no help. The first puzzles just ask you to draw a line through a maze. Then, black and white dots appear and the line must also separate the two types of dots. As you complete puzzles, you will usually see a power cable light up that leads to the next puzzle in the area. Eventually the powered cables open doors and whatnot. So although the island is open, and you are free to explore most of it at any time, it does do a decent job of guiding you through easier areas first. That is, until you discover the town in the middle of the map, which apparently contains the hardest puzzles. When I saw the town for the first time, I was so confused, though based on previous experience, I realized that the answer to "what are the rules of these puzzles" must be in other areas, so off I went to explore some more. Suffice it to say that there are many, many clever takes on the "draw a line" mechanic. Another neat thing that The Witness does is force you to use the environment to solve puzzles. In one area, I realized that I had to draw lines around objects in the background behind the transparent grid. In others, I realized that I had to trace shadows cast by tree branches behind me, or trace a line to an end corresponding to an apple on a tree in front of me. Despite being periodically like "wooow" and impressed with the puzzles, like I said, they were also maddening because I could not figure out for the life of me how many of them worked. What are all these colored shapes? What do I do with the tetris shapes? I sort of figured out the latter, but only on a surface level because more advanced tetris shape puzzles stumped me. My previous "rules" didn't work, so they must be incomplete. The island is so big that finding where to find a rule can be quite the challenge. Eventually, I discovered a boat, which enabled me to zoom around the island faster and see some things I had not previously seen. So, that's about where I stopped, just aimlessly looking at new places in the boat and not feeling like I was making progress. Progress toward what? You would expect a puzzle game in a 3D world to have some sort of story, but although I had the feeling that there was a story, I can't tell you what it is. I don't know who I am, what this island is, why there are line puzzles all over it. If someone said what's the story like, I'd say I don't know. My motivation to continue a difficult or drudging game is often bolstered by wanting to know what happens next, but that doesn't happen here. So I quit. Then I watched this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZokQov_aH0 First, this guy is phenomenal. I will be watching more. But, most importantly, this video confirmed that I made the right decision to stop playing. Watching it, I am certain I would have made some more discoveries, but also certain that I never would have finished because the game is so obtuse. While I appreciate Jonathan Blow's work here on an intellectual level, actually playing it through is not something I would subject anyone to. It turns out that you get no story until you beat the game, and that it's a game about perspective. Like, to get you to think about perspective itself, both in terms of observation and epistemology. Oh man. I don't want to play a 30-hour difficult puzzle game to think about perspective. I'll just think about it! If someone was interested in the game, I'd suggest playing it, but not pursuing it too hard. Struggle a bit, but if you really want to stop, stop and listen to someone smart talk about it. dkirschnerSat, 27 Jun 2020 12:49:38 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7058&iddiary=12561Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (PC) - 24 Jun 2020 - by dkirschnerhttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7080This should be the last log I write for a minute! My Microsoft Game Pass subscription is lapsing in a couple days and I managed in two months to play most everything on there that I was interested in (that my computer could run, and that I didn't want to own). 2 months, 15 or 20 games, and...$5.99. Frugal victory! I no longer feel compelled to play games with all my free time. Just finished this one up because I had started it before I realized that Wolfenstein II was removed from Game Pass. This one isn't as good as The New Order, but it's got some neat tricks. You get a new weapon/tool, a pipe that can be taken apart. Whole, you can pry things, pop off heavy enemy armor, and execute enemies. In parts, you can execute enemies and climb some walls using them like ice picks. The story is a direct prequel. Some new enemy types include flaming zombies (which only pose a threat in two sequences near and during the final boss) and giant mechanized supersoldiers that are on rails. It's funny. They're the technological precursors to the armored dudes in the first game, but the Nazis haven't developed the technology to power them free of power lines. The neat perk system is still here where you unlock permanent upgrades by doing things like "get 50 kills with the shotgun" but there are fewer than in the first game and it was less fun for some reason to try and unlock them all. I think that's a summary of the game really. It's basically The New Order again, but everything is turned down a notch. EXCEPT the final boss battle. I remember complaining that The New Order could have used more memorable fights. Well, good job Old Blood! There are two boss fights, one against a character I very much enjoyed killing, but the fight itself was easy and not memorable. But the second, it took me 20 tries. I figured out one little trick after another and finally won. And like the last boss in The New Order, there are no tells for how injured the boss is (well, the gutters of flame might be, not sure), so I never had any idea if I was really on the right track or not. Then finally, one time, he died. Yay! Looking forward to The New Colossus at some point. I'm sure it's a romp.dkirschnerWed, 24 Jun 2020 19:28:13 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7080&iddiary=12560Goat Simulator (PC) - 24 Jun 2020 - by dkirschnerhttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7085I do not know what I expected. This game doesn't need to exist. It amused me for 5 minutes, then I rounded out the half hour trying to find some hidden depth or meaning and, well, it's not there. You're a goat. You can sprint, headbutt things, lick things, and do flips. You're given two tiny levels with some people, cars, houses, a Ferris wheel, and all sorts of silly set pieces (Stonehenge, an art show, a castle where goats worship you, etc.). You run around and cause mayhem. Get points for headbutting things and blowing up things. Cross off a list of achievements for doing double-backflips or headbutting something really far or destroying Stonehenge. The game was released on April Fool's Day and it's clearly a joke. Coffee Stain Studios made the excellent Sanctum FPS/TD hybrids and, I just read, surpassed all sales of Sanctum 1 and 2 with Goat Simulator. I just remember it being hyped. Now I think it must not have been honest-to-goodness hype but like joke hype. Like it's-so-bad-it's-good hype. It's purposefully buggy and the ragdoll physics are exaggerated, and it can be kind of funny flying, twirling, through the air after getting hit by a swerving car, then landing and headbutting through the glass of an art museum and disrupting the hipster show going on. People must love it because aside from the two levels, there are at least 5 paid DLCs. Is there anything substantially more interesting in there? I wonder. I think that Untitled Goose Game must have gotten inspiration from this. Also, I was thinking about Mister Mosquito the other day, which is a bizarre old PS2 game where you are a mosquito who harasses a Japanese family. Is there a long line of "animal harasses humans" games? Should this be a genre?? I wish. Anyway, weird. Glad this was on Microsoft Game Pass so I could check it out, even if it seems pointless. dkirschnerWed, 24 Jun 2020 15:43:53 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7085&iddiary=12559No Man's Sky (PC) - 24 Jun 2020 - by dkirschnerhttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7084I had a friend who was STOKED about No Man's Sky back in like 2014. I followed it with mild interest. Hello Games' previous series, Joe Danger, never clicked with me, and I wasn't sure how they would go from a little stunt-based motorcycle game to one of the most ambitious games I'd heard of. Well, many years and a giant scandal later, I finally got the chance to find out! To preface, I know there is a lot going on behind the scenes regarding the infinite procedurally generated universe, and I'm sure that is very cool and whatnot. You start off on a planet and quickly fly to another one, which I learned no one has ever discovered. I even got to name it (Nachtluz). I also got to name my eventual base (David's Turf KEEP OUT or I will throw durian). I toyed around with No Man's Sky for a few hours and while it is certainly wonderful on paper, I was quickly bored and felt no real purpose in advancing further. On the planet on which you begin, you must fix your space ship. The game expertly teaches you its systems, first the basics like how to manage your space suit, repair tools, use tools, use your inventory, craft something from materials, and so on. You follow a mysterious signal to whatever planet was generated for you and proceed through the missions, which drip feed you new tutorial information. This is basically what I did for the duration of my play. You're instructed to build Thing A, which you need to do Activity B. Once you do Activity B, you must build Thing C. To build Thing C, you need to collect Material D and Material E. Once you have these, you must build Thing F to combine the materials and form Material G. Only then can you build Thing C. Once you build Thing C, you are instructed to build Thing H and Thing I so that you can do Activity J. This requires Materials K and L. And so on. In the process of this mindless, sometimes-enjoyable-because-it's-relaxing tedium, you start learning about some alien races ("knowledge stones" teach you alien words, for example), discover flora and fauna on your planet, explore the technology tree for building, and start learning to terraform and construct buildings. These latter bits I didn't know were a part of the game. You have a mining laser that drills into the earth. You use the laser on everything else to get raw materials too. You use those materials, or resources, to build shelter from weather anomalies, teleportation devices, and later an entire base to call your own. This is cool, but I usually don't care to build things in video games or to create my own spaces. This is probably why my real-life abodes are always so minimalist and, as many friends have commented, "looks like a serial killer lives here." Occasionally space ships flew overhead. Are these other players? How DO you play with someone anyway? There's a more game to understand, but it does seem like the first few hours introduced me to the gist of the experience. I imagine that you go to other planets and essentially do the same kinds of things I have done on this planet, explore it and mine its resources. The story is really bare and, from what I've read, continues that way. I also wonder how varied the planets are. Are some very dangerous with many wild animals? Are some incredibly beautiful? Or do they all pretty much look the same with minor differences? I could see myself playing around in No Man's Sky because it is pretty and relaxing and (at this point at least) mindless. If I ever sign up for Microsoft Game Pass again and it's still there, I might jump back in for a little while. dkirschnerWed, 24 Jun 2020 15:27:22 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7084&iddiary=12558Battletech (PC) - 23 Jun 2020 - by jphttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7070Battletech - the original miniatures strategy game is something that I never really got into. It seemed interesting - but quite fiddly. However, a close friend of mine was really into it but I don't think we ever played more than once or twice. And this was 20+ years ago? All of this to say that the Battletech universe has always been sort of on my periphery - I know a little bit, but I know more about it. I've read some novels, briefly played some of the videogames (Mechwarrior) and was always curious to try the TRPG despite not making any efforts to buy any of the books or to find a group to play with. Cue a few weeks ago when a friends group of mine got all excited about the "latest" (it's not the latest, but it's pretty recent) Battletech game. I'd been pinging them for a while, but no one seemed interesting. This time, however, it was on sale on Steam and, apparently within a few minutes they were all excited and hooked. I was decidedly less warm about it, I don't need ANOTHER game on my steamlist. And it was definitely cheap but not "almost free" cheap. So, I passed. Over the next few weeks my friends all started playing and sharing stories and pics via our shared whatsapp channel. And now the FOMO set in hard. Really hard. But, the game was no longer on sale. More days passed, more pics. More FOMO. But, I did find the game on sale on GOG (or was it Humble?). Anyways, I'm now IN. The game really scratches an itch - it feels really cool, and deep, and there is so much going on. It's been fun to slowly learn how to play, and to start messing around. I haven't made much progress to be honest - but when I do play I'm pretty sucked in. It's everything I imagined played the miniature game should be - including bad die rolls/results, but with all the number-crunching fiddlyness ironed out. And then some - there's pilot progression and skills, there's interstellar travel, repairs, pilots getting wounded, and the threat of never having enough money to make ends meet. The campaign (so far) does deal with some of these - e.g. making the money grubbing less critical, but it's still pretty tight and scrappy. Which I've enjoyed. Am I any good at the game? I don't know. I still feel like it's hard to figure out which mechs to field - other than bigger/tougher is better. I want the small, fast, light ones to be useful - but so far it's been a bad idea. Oh, while I'm not playing on any sort of super tough difficulty setting I have decided to NOT save scum. So, I'll save the game to continue later, but not to "try again" to get a better result. THis means that I've had setbacks - a killed pilot and trashed mechs that took forever to repair. But, it's been worth it. Funny thing is I mentioned it to ANOTHER friend, and how he's sucked in bad.jpTue, 23 Jun 2020 17:01:00 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7070&iddiary=12557The Banner Saga 3 (PC) - 22 Jun 2020 - by dkirschnerhttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7083Done! Man, what an epic trilogy. This is probably the weakest of the three games, but it was fantastic still. I decided to import my save from Banner Saga 2, which I think made me a bit overpowered. Any character who was below level 8 automatically got bumped up, and I had several level 9 and 10 characters with great items from last game to begin. The game picks up right where Banner Saga 2 left off. Rook/Allette's caravan has arrived in Arberrang, the human capital, and Juno, Iver, and Eyvind's caravan is off to reverse the spreading darkness. There are some notable changes in this game from the previous one: 1. You no longer manage caravans like in the other two games. There still are technically caravans, but supplies and morale are not things to worry about anymore. I did miss this, as the Oregon Trail element was one of my favorite things in the series. Instead, in Arberrang, you are playing politics and trying to keep the city from devolving into chaos. And this is the Banner Saga, so you know that it eventually devolves into chaos. The new caravan-esque mechanic emerges in the latter part of the game and involves you bouncing between your two groups. In Arberrang, you fight to control the city and fend off the attacking Warped (creatures turned by the encroaching darkness). Based on choices and how you fare in Arberrang, you are able to hold out juuuust a little bit longer so that Juno & Co. can stop the darkness. When you run out of days with Juno, the game bounces back to Arberrang, where you have another fight and make some more decisions to buy a little more time. I am unclear though what the consequences are for doing this indefinitely. Can you lose? I think I ran out of days three times, and each time, there was more to do in Arberrang. Would the city eventually have been overrun? 2. Since characters start at level 8 now, and some characters will max out stats and stat talents, they needed further progression past level 10. Enter "titles." You can give your most badass characters fancy names like "The Oath-Maker" or "The Wolf." There are a limited number, each character can only have one, and each can only be used once. That means you can't go around calling everyone "The Wolf" and using its stat boosts, which I think were +movement, +damage, and -aggro. Each title has 5 levels and they do some pretty amazing things. One adds 5 damage for every consecutive attack. I have an axe-thrower, Oli, who has a skill, "Axe Storm," that attacks an enemy x times in a row, until he misses, with a -10% chance to hit on each subsequent attack. So, first hit at 100% chance, next hit at 90% chance (+5 damage!), next hit at 80% chance (+5 damage!), etc. Oli could one shot anyone. He actually almost one-shotted the last boss (story continued in next point!). 3. Waves are the new risk/reward system here. In some battles, after you clear the battlefield, you'll be given the option to flee or fight. If you fight again, you can swap out characters to get some fresh ones in (this is why it's important to spread out leveling among a lot of characters!), enemy reinforcements will come, and you'll get more renown and possibly a powerful item. I usually fought again, but sometimes the waves keep coming at least three times! It's terrifying to consider losing on a later wave because you wasted time and your characters will all be injured (strength penalty until they rest). Okay so, back to the last boss story. He comes out during the third wave of the last fight. I actually screwed up and let a timer run out so I didn't get to send in reinforcements and a couple of my characters were in dire straights. I barely made it through. Anyway, the boss is this angry berserker who you control for much of the second game. He has an amazing ability called "Cull the Weak" that gives him an extra turn when he uses the ability to kill someone. In the second game, he was so strong I literally had completed entire battles with him in one string of turns as he one-shotted every enemy. Well, unfortunately he uses Cull the Weak against you now. He came on the battlefield with like 28 strength (A LOT) because I'd let some enemies cast too many spells that increase strength and he immediately killed one character. I could envision my party dying to his rampage. Well, after killing the one character, he walked into a trap and stopped (ha!). I knocked his armor down a couple times and then it was Oli's turn. He Axe Stormed him from 28 to 6 Strength. At 6 strength, you're pretty much neutralized. Someone else killed him off within a turn. It was awesome. 4. There are some nice new animations, cut scenes, and some voice acting this time around. This helps tell the narrative, which by the third game has gotten a bit bloated. There's a lot going on, and you really should play all three close together; the series is basically one long RPG. Because of some narrative bloat though, the game struggles to wrap up a bit. There are dozens of characters in several different spots. The game keeps hinting at this epic final battle with a giant serpent, but you never get to fight it. In fact, that's one thing I would criticize the series for, it's lack of real unique boss battles. Instead of another 4-tile enemy like a varl or dredge champion, it would have been cool to have a different kind of fight with a giant snake, with phases of the fight, a new ability to deal with, and so on. This third game does add more new enemy types, but the epic ending (present in narrative) was absent in terms of gameplay. I'm not sure I should have been able to almost one-shot the final boss. The only other thing to note is that I suffered some crashes in my play through. It would get stuck on loading screens and I'd have to restart the game. One time it didn't save my progress and I had to complete a long battle again, but other times it did save. That was annoying. There was also a bug (present in BS2 too) where I think I duped an item somehow, and some characters wound up with items that I couldn't remove. That sucked because they were crappy low-level items. It made me not level those characters because I knew they couldn't equip anything really good, which is a huge perk of leveling in the game. I wonder if there will ever be a Banner Saga 4. It wrapped up this story, but it's a rich, rich world that could easily spawn new games. I would totally play more. This is a phenomenal strategy RPG series that I am so glad I got to play and would recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in the genre. dkirschnerMon, 22 Jun 2020 13:52:15 UTChttp://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7083&iddiary=12556