The currently playing and random game thoughts thread (Feb 7 to 14)

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Zloth

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I need a relaxing game for now due to work load, so I fired up Civilization IV once again. This is an annual play for me, and my saves tell me I haven't played since July 2020. What a lovely welcoming feeling when it launched, like catching up with an old friend. If Civ4 was female, I'd be in love… shh, not a word to GF :D

Why not Civ 5 or 6? I've put ~700 hours into Civ5, fine game with the second expansion—I basically don't like that it penalizes large empires. Civ6 ~15 hours, didn't grab me but I'll give it another shot sometime.

I have both major Civ4 expansions, and strongly advise anyone to play with the final Beyond the Sword expansion, which makes a great game superb.

I play with 2 mods:

Civ4 - BTS Unaltered Gameplay [BUG] is essential for me, it's what's made a 2005 game still as enjoyable today as it ever was. It's all QoL improvements which reduce much of the tedium of checking for info, has my highest recommendation.

Full of Resources map script which is part of BUG above—link is mainly only for historical interest, hasn't had a post in 6-7 years. I find the resources too sparse in the default game, which makes empire building slower than I like. If you try this and are confused, you are not alone—but it's a great map customization script, has a lot more than just resources.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
I agree with respect to Civ 6. I got it (and Stellaris) for cheap off a Humble sale. I tried playing it without any expansions to see if it was worth investing in, but I just wasn't having all that much fun in the first parts of the game. Those are normally my favorites, so I haven't gone back.
 
I haven't really gotten into Civ 6 yet either, I'm waiting until I can get both expansions for my wife and myself for cheap. I played one game that was going pretty well and I had fun checking off all of the little objectives the game gives you for speeding up research and getting influence with city states. But then I played with my wife and a friend and it didn't go very well, it was already less fun checking off those same things again and I didn't know the game well enough to work towards anything else.

I started another co-op campaign of Warhammer 2 last week, which I hadn't mentioned yet. We abandoned the last one as I just kinda got stuck in Lustria as Luthor Harkon while my friend was just doing his own thing as a vampire count in the empire. This time I'm playing as Noctilus while my friend is playing as The Sisters of Twilight. As Noctilus it's much easier to just sail directly to my friend, though I made a few detours to plunder some high elves along the way and set up some pirate coves. When we ended the game we had just started a war with the Cult of Pleasure and my army had almost reached his.
 
Spent a couple of hours today trying to get my machine to work in various ways. Couldn't get a signal out to monitor and motherboard warning light was flashing VGA, was working perfectly the night before. Turns out clearing CMOS and changing the battery fixed my GPU, fancy that.

Been playing God Of War still, continues to be be really good. Switched to normal difficulty though, started to get a bit tough.

Also playing Inscryption, wont talk about it too much because I think you should go in fairly blind. Lot of fun, very weird game. Should finish it off, so I can concentrate on GOW but I started both and trying to fit them in.

Crusader Kings 3 is my current idle/calm game, the Kingdom of Denmark lost its first King last night. The heir is not great, need to start breeding in some decent traits now the realm is big enough and my domain counties are well developed enough to smash anyone local who wants to try any funny business.
 
Nicely figured out—or boy, you got lucky! :D


Don't let it idle too long or something will go rotten.
Yea it was very lucky, I'd have had to spend significantly more than I spent just over 2 years ago for about the same performance with local prices. Guess how long Powercolor warrantly is as well? I havent touched the BIOS in several months, no idea why it would do that suddenly.

The state of Denmark is anything but rotten as long as I keep raiding :)
 
Been playing a lot of Dying Light 1. Other than that Horizon Zero Dawn, PUBG, and Lost Ark will definitely be on the playlist this week. I also need to get my weekly skin in PUBG so I can get, erm, exactly the same skin in another color. It's PUBG at its best, great minds in the marketing department...which I guess says a lot about myself also :unsure: At least it's free:grin:
 
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I've just finished Halo: Combat Evolved from the Halo: Master Chief Collection (Christ almighty, all these modern remasters have such uninspired names), and I dislike it as much as the other time I tried to play it on the Xbone, and before that the original Xbox. I appreciate why it was so well loved, it really did deserve the "Combat Evolved" subtitle, popularising things that we take for granted today (using the butt of a weapon to perform a melee attack? Grenade types outside of infantry in RTS games? Deployables? Vehicles? While many games had done those things before then, I believe it was Halo that refined them.

However, I hate the level design. Again, I know why people love it and find it clever. The way it loads levels up with elevators or corridors. The vast spaces to cover without loading screens are gorgeous, and the remaster is by no means a disservice when it comes to enhancing the visuals and audio of these awe-inspiring zones. But they're a nightmare to navigate without a map, and the rare waypoints are not particularly helpful. It's why I'm so glad Halo 2 and onwards (I've not played 4-Infinite's campaign yet so I can't speak to them) became much more linear, or at the very least clear where you're supposed to go.

The thing is, the corridors and whatnot don't get any easier to navigate, however many times you see the same design. The vast majority of the game is spent in Forerunner complexes, and complex is the word. No matter how many winding staircases or square labyrinths you walk around, there's always some pit, some ramp, some cubbyhole you have to climb through. Add to that conservative checkpoints and very resistant enemies, and it can be a nightmare to recall where you have to go next. I continued playing at times for fear of forgetting where I needed to go the following day.

I look forward to doing the rest of the series in co-op with a mate to get PvE weeklies and as a break from Halo: Infinite's multiplayer. But the only way I'm doing Combat Evolved again is with him taking the lead, and a fully loaded shotgun.
 
I've just finished Halo: Combat Evolved from the Halo: Master Chief Collection (Christ almighty, all these modern remasters have such uninspired names), and I dislike it as much as the other time I tried to play it on the Xbone, and before that the original Xbox. I appreciate why it was so well loved, it really did deserve the "Combat Evolved" subtitle, popularising things that we take for granted today (using the butt of a weapon to perform a melee attack? Grenade types outside of infantry in RTS games? Deployables? Vehicles? While many games had done those things before then, I believe it was Halo that refined them.

However, I hate the level design. Again, I know why people love it and find it clever. The way it loads levels up with elevators or corridors. The vast spaces to cover without loading screens are gorgeous, and the remaster is by no means a disservice when it comes to enhancing the visuals and audio of these awe-inspiring zones. But they're a nightmare to navigate without a map, and the rare waypoints are not particularly helpful. It's why I'm so glad Halo 2 and onwards (I've not played 4-Infinite's campaign yet so I can't speak to them) became much more linear, or at the very least clear where you're supposed to go.

The thing is, the corridors and whatnot don't get any easier to navigate, however many times you see the same design. The vast majority of the game is spent in Forerunner complexes, and complex is the word. No matter how many winding staircases or square labyrinths you walk around, there's always some pit, some ramp, some cubbyhole you have to climb through. Add to that conservative checkpoints and very resistant enemies, and it can be a nightmare to recall where you have to go next. I continued playing at times for fear of forgetting where I needed to go the following day.

I look forward to doing the rest of the series in co-op with a mate to get PvE weeklies and as a break from Halo: Infinite's multiplayer. But the only way I'm doing Combat Evolved again is with him taking the lead, and a fully loaded shotgun.
I agree with you about not having waypoints, and how it's confusing sometimes where you're supposed to go. And also about the repetitive rooms, especially in that section where you're indoors, and room after room is the same thing. I heard that happened because they were forced to finish the game sooner than what they needed, so they ended up cloning rooms to pad the game out because of that.

But other than that, I love Halo CE. In fact, it's probably my favorite Halo game. As far as gameplay and graphics go, I'd say that Halo Reach is probably the best one. But CE is always going to be my favorite, just because of the awe and wonder of it. It's the first game where you learn about the concept of Halos, and they don't just talk about it, they land you on it. It's so awesome to look at the skybox and see the terrain of the Halo, and realize this big area you're exploring is just one part of that vast Halo.

It's also the first time you experience the Flood, and the way it happens is just so out-of-the-blue and unexpected. It's really a surprise, and it just adds to the wonder when you have a whole, underground area to explore with completely new kinds of enemies than what you've been experiencing for so long. You can't get that same feeling from any other Halo game because you already know about the Flood, and you're expecting that it might be coming.

I'm sure nostalgia is a big factor for me, but CE will always be my favorite. Maybe even my favorite FPS of all time. It's probably a close call between that and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.
 
Mass Effect is getting to be a slog. I'm remembering more than I thought I would. The game seems easier than it was when I played it, too. (Except Threshers, which are still a difficult fight!)
I think Mass Effect was pretty easy most of the time, as you could usually stay in cover and take your time killing off enemies. The one time I remember dying a bunch of times is when a group of Krogans came out of an elevator into a small room with minimal cover and kept rushing me with shotguns.
Threshers I remember just taking a bit of time, I don't think I ever died to them.
 
@Zloth & @Pifanjr - I use the old "circle-strafe" maneuver when fighting the Thresher Maws in ME1. It's always a large, flat oval area, so I just circle the parameter and fire every time the Thresher pops up. I died a couple times way back when I first played the original ME1, usually from those acid spits, until I learned to do the circle strafe. The Thresher Maw that was challenging for me was the one in ME3, where you had to fight on foot, up close and personal.

I'm anxious to play the entire LE version, but I'm holding off for 2 specific mods: the Citadel Epilogue Mod (CEM) and the LE2 Community Patch. There are community patches for LE1 & LE3, but the one for LE2 has yet to be released. Even if those mods released today, I'd still probably wait until after I played Elex 2 which releases on March 1st.

I know Elex 2 will be pretty much brushed aside in the gaming press (no offense to PCG) because of the release of Elden Ring (ER) on the 25th of this month, as it has many more gamers excited about it than a little AA RPG from a small developer. I'm sure ER will be an excellent action-RPG, as all the other "souls" games were (though I've never played them); so I'm happy for all you gamers looking forward to ER. Just for me personally, the Dark Souls, and "souls-like" games just aren't for me. I think it's those games focus on all the boss battles that keeps me away.

@Zloth - Have you had any issues of sounds cutting out during combat in LE1? I played a bit of it last year and had issues with all audio stopping in some combat scenarios. Not every one, and going to the options menu or loading a saved game brought them back, but it was a pain because I had to do the combat over again. I never solved it, and decided to wait to play the whole LE series until I could mod it.

Still currently replaying Elex in anticipation of Elex 2.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Sound cutting out? Nope, no problem there.

I don't know if I could circle strafe with the mouse/keyboard setup. If you turn the turret more than a little off the center line, the Mako steers toward it. The only way a 90 degree angle would work would be to stop moving completely.
 
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@Zloth & @Pifanjr - I use the old "circle-strafe" maneuver when fighting the Thresher Maws in ME1. It's always a large, flat oval area, so I just circle the parameter and fire every time the Thresher pops up. I died a couple times way back when I first played the original ME1, usually from those acid spits, until I learned to do the circle strafe. The Thresher Maw that was challenging for me was the one in ME3, where you had to fight on foot, up close and personal.
Yeah, just driving in circles around it works perfectly once you get the hang of it, it just takes a while.

The thresher maw that shows up when you're on foot wasn't much of a problem for me because I had a sniper build, so I could take him out from far away sitting behind some cover.
 
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Yeah, just driving in circles around it works perfectly once you get the hang of it, it just takes a while.

The thresher maw that shows up when you're on foot wasn't much of a problem for me because I had a sniper build, so I could take him out from far away sitting behind some cover.
That's usually my method when I do any up close melee or bow fighting in HZD. I just keep dodging in circles around the enemy and attacking. It works out really well.
 
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Sound cutting out? Nope, no problem there.

I don't know if I could circle strafe with the mouse/keyboard setup. If you turn the turret more than a little off the center line, the Mako steers toward it. The only way a 90 degree angle would work would be to stop moving completely.
The sound issue is a weird one to me, as it's very sporadic. Truthfully, I haven't investigated it in depth, as I decided to hold off playing the LE version until I modded it as I mentioned. The fact that it happened only during some combat scenarios but not others, and not every time, was just strange to me.

I know the default Mako controls changed for the LE version of ME1, though there are (I believe) some options that can either change that, or revert to the old control scheme. With the original controls, it was easy (relatively) to drive forward while aiming the turret in the direction you wanted, whether it was a 90 or 180 degree angle.
 

Sarafan

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I'm playing Mass Effect Legendary right now, getting a lot of reminders of just how old the game is.
I'm also playing Mass Effect Legendary Edition, I'm on the first game and have different opinion about it. :) For me it looks the same as 15 years ago and that's a huge compliment for a remaster of game that was made so long ago. I think BioWare did a solid work this time.
 
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Zloth

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I know the default Mako controls changed for the LE version of ME1, though there are (I believe) some options that can either change that, or revert to the old control scheme.
There is! I didn't understand it when I was starting the game the first time and forgot about it. It's called something like 'relative control'. Turn that off and the turret moves independently. It's already been a huge help!

I don't know what BioWare was thinking for the majority of those combats in the Mako. You can engage from a LONG way off, and the Geth attacks come in crazy slow. You can sit there at an angle, shoot a couple of times, back up a car length to "dodge" the slow-poke shots, shoot a few more times, and repeat. Even if they hit, it takes a lot of shots before you even start to take damage. Threshers, on the other hand, ignore shields and do plenty of damage! Those are good fights!
 
I don't know what BioWare was thinking for the majority of those combats in the Mako. You can engage from a LONG way off, and the Geth attacks come in crazy slow. You can sit there at an angle, shoot a couple of times, back up a car length to "dodge" the slow-poke shots, shoot a few more times, and repeat. Even if they hit, it takes a lot of shots before you even start to take damage. Threshers, on the other hand, ignore shields and do plenty of damage! Those are good fights!
You're supposed to run the Geth over with the Mako.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Guess I might as well. They weren't hurt too much when I did that earlier, but I guess I can back up over them reliably now. {evil grin}

P.S. Freedom Force 2 is on sale. (So's the first game, but Steam reviews make it sound like its wonky on Win10.)
 
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Getting closer and closer to beating HZD. I finished the whole Zero Dawn section and had to fight the Behemoth in the arena. Wow! That thing was tough. One thing I learned bigtime in that fight is the value of the ropecaster. I had never used it once until that fight. That's the only way I was able to beat it.
 
My random thought of today as i go into my 40th hour of playing Lost Ark, that im happy to see a game i was so interested in and looking forward to just sit upon 1st place on steamdb/steam charts longer than most other games outside of CS:GO and Dota 2 (the 2 that are always #1 and 2 regardless of what comes out). I know peak players is still being held by PUBG, CS and Dota 2, but LA has sat up at 1st for a solid 24hrs so thats no small feat. Loving the game btw.
 
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