GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay Original Sin (PS4) - 12 Jun 2019 - by jp'm playing this co-op and it's REALLY neat how some of the game's co-op stuff works... So far (we're just barely ready to leave the town): a. Sometimes the characters have a (scripted) conversation with each other - each player can often choose their response to the other character. So, there's some agency and character defining there. Cool. b. But, sometimes characters are talking to an NPC...and, they can DISAGREE with each other! What happens then? (e.g. Being asked what to do about something, both players disagree with each other in their character responses - so what should happen?) Well, you play a version of rock-paper-scissors against each other AND it is modified based on your character stats (you play until you get X points, how many points you get for a win is possible boosted by the stat). Super neat, and super elegant AND - I really like how it doesn't force the players to agree, but it settles the player disagreement in a way that moves the game forward and also feels like a game - but not a high-stakes one. So, each player can choose whatever dialogue choices/responses they feel better represent the character they are role-playing without worrying about it de-railing the co-op experience in any significant way. So far, I'm SUPER IMPRESSED.jpWed, 12 Jun 2019 19:17:38 UTC Adventures (PS4) - 12 Jun 2019 - by jp I don't think I've seen a game as simple, yet as finely polished in its presentation, controls, etc. as this one. It's been a while! It was simple enough to get into that I played through the first 3 worlds (which each have a lot of levels! But they can go pretty fast...) before realizing that I was done. I'm still surprised by how simple the core gameplay is: you move a character from left to right and you can fire. You only fire upwards. Pop all the bubbles before time runs out and you clear the level. That's it. Of course, there are more types of bubbles, and you can pick up different kinds of weapons that fire/behave differently. But, you only fire upwards. There's no jumping, sliding, ducking, etc. Super simple! As I played, here are a few things I think the team got "right" a. There's a quick-restart button. It's super quick, so when you mess up... b. There's all kinds of incentives to try each level again for a better score - from leaderboards to "incentives" like telling you what score you should aim to beat. c. The boss battles were interesting. It's always the same boss. You fight it on the wing of an aeroplane of sorts (a different location than all the regular levels) BUT the boss behaves differently each time and part of the fun is figuring out what to do and when for the boss fights. Strangely: a. The boss fights happen "en route" to the next "world". The first one came as a surprise - because it interrupts your "travel" to the next location on the world map. After the first I was kind of expecting it. But, I think it was a neat design choice.jpWed, 12 Jun 2019 19:12:11 UTC & Puzzles (iPd) - 11 Jun 2019 - by jp, I hit the goal I had set for myself and promptly deleted the game. I didn't spend any money, but I was somewhat surprised to read an article about how well the game seems to be doing commercially. I guess some people are really getting sucked in! Playing a bit longer than I initially wanted was helpful in that I was able to gain access to another of the game's progression loops that was previously unavailable. When your hero hits max level AND has been "ascended" the maximum number of times a new tree opens up! You basically spend tokens to buy buffs for your hero - the tree is mostly linear but it does split and rejoin a few times. So, there are choices you have to make which is...uh...a little bit of choice in a game that otherwise is solely focused on more is always better and you just need the patience to get there. So, I made as much progress along the way as I wanted though I'll admit the last week or so felt much more like a slog and progress with the building timers getting to days and more, which isn't really all that fun. In other words, I was accumulating resources faster than I could spend them in progressing other areas so it was starting to feel like I was wasting time/resources.jpTue, 11 Jun 2019 13:41:25 UTC Way Out (PS4) - 28 May 2019 - by jp playing this last night with my wife and it's been quite fun and interesting so far. I've really been enjoying it! Perhaps the design element I'm most surprised and impressed by is the split-screening that happens. I had assumed it was/would be a split screen with both players "in the same place" kind of situation, but there are moments where there really are two different things going on that you can't pay attention to at the same time (e.g. each character having a conversation with a different NPC at the same time). Oh, and the split screen transition moments are also really smooth and well done. It feel cinematic in a good way!jpTue, 28 May 2019 18:41:00 UTC (PS4) - 28 May 2019 - by jp, wow. This is really intense. (been playing in PSVR) I can tell I'll cycle out when the difficulty level spikes and I'm not a fan of how long some of the levels are (I'm currently on level 4, at the first boss). BUT, the game really is heart-pounding and intense, and stressful. Lets see how far I get?jpTue, 28 May 2019 18:37:30 UTC't Starve (PS4) - 28 May 2019 - by jp really enjoyed the cut scenes (the introduction) and the art style, but man this game feels REALLY hard to play on a big TV when I'm sitting on the couch. It seems so obviously a PC game ported to console that, for me at least, the few sessions I played felt incredibly onerous - I'm trying to learn how to play this punishing rogue-like while at the same time trying to figure out how the interface works while simultaneously struggling with text that is really hard to read and iconography that is too small to adequately distinguish. So, on the shelf it goes. That being said, I'm not entirely sure I would have enjoyed the experience had I been sitting in at my computer instead. I'm fine with hard games, and with rogue-likes too...but this one felt a bit too unstructured for my taste? I spent a few games just wandering around and it FELT like I had no real purpose or goal to aim towards, which makes it hard to figure out what to do and when. I didn't really have a sense of "making progress" other than "the background is different" but was that a good thing? Was I going in the right direction? How long should I stay in a place? How will I know if I've gone too far or not far enough? Most other games have rooms, or dungeon floors and you know that you just need to keep on going down...and you also know what it is you're balancing (I need to find more loot, treasure, coins, food). Here, I was just randomly crafting stuff but...not sure to what end. So, the game would either benefit from a hand-holding tutorial that explained what my big picture goal was and broad strokes of how to get there...or I'd need the patience to play a bunch more to figure things out, or I'd have to spend some time reading FAQs and such...and, I can't be bothered really...jpTue, 28 May 2019 18:35:24 UTC of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series (PS4) - 28 May 2019 - by jp playing this over the weekend - I had two and a half episodes left and I've just realized I didn't write anything about any of those play sessions. Sigh. In no particular order: a. This one was definitely more "puzzley" than the last few I've played (Borderlands and Game of Thrones) which was a bit of a surprise. I was under the impression that Telltale had veered away from puzzle elements - but perhaps it was a different internal team thing? I also haven't checked the release dates so I could be wrong in my sense of the timeline. b. The game obviously is/was meant to capitalize on the success of the movie - so it was strange to see the characters NOT modelled after the actors from the movie. But then, inspired by them? I'm not all that familiar with the comics, but my guess is that Peter Quill's outfit came from the movie, but the character doesn't look like the actor. Drax and Gamora don't look at all like the movie, maybe based off the comics? As for Rocket and Groot - maybe modelled after both? I'm not sure, and it all seems a bit confusing. The whole thing works fine, but I was just thinking how tricky character design must have been for the artists who worked on the game. (and to what extent the legal/licensing department was involved?) c. I got the impression that this game diverged more than others at the end - mostly from the summaries you get showing you the status of all the characters at the end of the 5th episode. For me, a whole bunch of characters were dead (Nebula, a bunch of the villains), but Drax was alive and Groot seriously injured. The game has what seems like a major plot point for divergence (do you destroy/not destroy the forge? I went with destroy) in episode 3 (I think) - so I'm curious how that plays out along the other path? I can't be bothered to play it, but I'll dig around online just to sate my curiosity. d. There's a scene I REALLY enjoyed (episode 4?) which plays like those montage scenes in movies where there's no dialogue, only music, and there are cuts from different scenes (e.g. a training scene, or a "let's have a day out with cuts to all the different activities). I'm sure there's a special term for them - but anyways, I think that's the first time I've seen something like that scene in a game AND with playable (QTEs) as well. The scene was mostly Quill getting the rest of the crew to calm down, be quiet so that Mantis can trace a location in space we needed to get to. Overall I enjoyed it and it felt like a "bona fide" Guardians story. Oh, and we killed Thanos...which was pretty surprising (given that I think the game came out before the Thanos stuff in Avengers? By that, I just mean the last two movies where he has all the stones and stuff). Yes, there's a final "teaser" scene that intimates it might not be the end of Thanos - but I was still surprised by that bold move in the game!jpTue, 28 May 2019 13:44:04 UTC Trust of London (DS) - 28 May 2019 - by jp think I might have kickstarted this game way back when receiving a "special" version of it in a sealed thick envelope. I then bought another copy (thinking that it might be necessary for two-player matches but...mostly because I didn't want to open the sealed thick envelope. I don't think the game has sold particularly well, so I'm not really looking at high collector's value or anything. Not that I'm really into that anyways. So...I finally played this over the weekend - only against AI, which I understand is not the ideal way to play the game. And the game's ok? I guess. It's basically a 2-player euro boardgame with an additional element of bluffing - you can bribe your opponent's "pieces" such that they'll tell you what their actions will be next round and you can use that info to change your actions. It's fine. But it's not really THAT special/interesting and it might even run a bit too long? (matches are 10 rounds - I'd like to try it with 8). There's so many good euros out there with bluffing and what not that I'd rather play face to face - oh, and with more than two players. Also, it doesn't quite work well enough for me as an ethically interesting game - sure, it's about the diamond trade and there's bribery (even the UN officer is bribeable), but...there's not much more to it than that as far as I can tell. So, as much as I'm a huge fan and really respect Jason Rohrer, I'll be putting this one up on the shelf as a "novelty" of sorts. As a good note, I did enjoy reading the rulebook, and that definitely helped me to wrap my head around the game. I think this might be the only videogame I've seen with the core loop in the manual? (which makes sense since the game is fundamentally like a boardgame, so easy to wrap your head around that way).jpTue, 28 May 2019 13:30:14 UTC Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light (DS) - 28 May 2019 - by jp've played a bit more, and the game switched over to the characters that had bailed on me originally. Oh, and I now understand how to upgrade the hats and how they work. You have to slot ALL the gems into a hat to upgrade it - you can't just put a few gems in at a time. It seems like hats are basically classes - wear a hat and you get some stat buffs/debuffs and pick up a new skill/ability as well. The "new" characters are now a white and black mage respectively. I spent some time wandering around - you start in a little village where, it seems, most of the characters are the game's developers! It's very 4th wall breaking and all that, which was fun. And they even poke fun at themselves - sort of like, "we hope you enjoy the game, but I should get outside more often". Anyways, it was a nice touch. I've decided to shelve the game though because I made my way into the pirate's lair to fight the pirate boss (who isn't what he seems!). He has a "hit all enemies" attack that one-shots one of my party members which is really frustrating because it's too easy to wipe. So, I looked around and I'm currently under-level (by 3 levels) and I really don't want to grind my way up until the boss doesn't one-shot me. I've been enjoying the game, but it's starting to feel "too simple" in a way? This would be fine if I didn't have to, I'm out!jpTue, 28 May 2019 13:21:18 UTC the Gungeon (PS4) - 23 May 2019 - by jp is the sort of game I can't really play alone - co-op is the only way it works for me. I just don't want to spend the time learning, practicing, and "getting good", so it's more fun to have someone else you can rely on. It is fun though, and I've enjoyed the within-level teleporting system that makes backtracking really painless. I wish more games implemented things like that. As a rogue-like, I've also enjoyed learning about all the different secrets and things - for example, if you leave something behind a rat comes and nicks it. BUT, you can prevent that and give yourself an "extra room" to visit without the rat coming by. It's a little strategy/subtlety you can engage with to maximize your chances of success (e.g. save a "ammo reload" for when you really need it). The different kinds of guns are also fun and I've enjoyed how you mostly pick up buffs that help. Oh! And the added incentives - kill a boss without taking a hit and you get an extra item!jpThu, 23 May 2019 19:07:51 UTC