The Currently Playing & Random Game Thoughts Thread (25 September to 1 October)

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Just in brief, what is "the good stuff" for you, and what delays you getting to it? There's a good chance there are mods to alleviate the issues.
I can't speak for @Pifanjr but most open world games don't do as good of a job as the Far Cry games of putting you in the midst of the action at the start. Far Cry usually just has a short intro and then throws you into the fire. But part of that is because, compared to a lot of other open world games, Far Cry games don't have much narrative and also not a lot of character progression. Compare this to Dying Light 2, which makes you work for every advancement you get. It's a parkour game and for the first few hours you can barely hop over a dead mouse; you've managed to get maybe one cool gadget out of 6, and your fighting skills are just beginning to approach acceptable. Plus, it plays cat and (dead) mouse with the narrative during the first half of the game, and you really don't have a clear picture of what is going on. Don't get me wrong, I loved Dying Light 2, probably as much or more than I liked Far Cry 4, but it's a whole process to get into the meat of the game, and I'm not in the mood for that process right now. In Far Cry 4, right after the intro, they hand you a perfectly fine bow to go with your assault rifle, and you basically know the whole story and what you have to do right then. Pagan is evil and you're going to take his territory. Unfortunately they took that philosophy to extremes in Far Cry 6, and I didn't end up liking that at all because I was doing EXACTLY the same stuff with EXACTLY the same gear at 25 hours that I was at hour 3.

So, yeah, I'm easy to please is what I'm saying...
 
Far Cry usually just has a short intro and then throws you into the fire
FC3 has a pretty silly intro, and I wouldn't play FC4 or 5 without my skip-intro mods. FC4 took about 20 minutes before you got to click a mouse or press a key meaningfully. FC5 has another horrible cinematic sequence followed by an abysmal opening mission, which a lot of players say is unbeatable on Hard difficulty.

So no, nothing to recommend FC starts in my book.

it's a whole process to get into the meat of the game
I think I recall you saying you don't replay games? In which case it makes sense process, story and character dev would count for a lot. But for the great games—those worth replaying for a lifetime—those aspects give way to the gameplay.

@Pifanjr it's not clear if you were referring to a new game or a replay. If you go in blind to a new game, which many like to do, then you get what you get. But if you research a bit and don't like the sound of some things, then hit the mods to see how they can help you.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Dungeon of Neuwhatchacallit has been getting easier and easier. Suddenly, it hit me with a tough one! A wizard with more hit points than a pair of ogres summoned up a bunch of nasty strong knights and a priest to help out. The real kicker, though, was that every turn the wizard would cast an AoE power that would put some sort of DoT on a bunch of character then move - leaving behind a clone of the wizard! The clones didn't have as many hit points and weren't as strong as the original wizard, but they could certainly hurt, and you weren't going to take one down with a single arrow shot.

My first attempt was a pretty big fail. I tried fighting in the classic way: get a line built to stop the knights, whittle them down, and toss the dwarf back near the priest to stop any healing. No way. The DoT that was being cast actually seemed to stack so it got to the point where the front line characters were taking more damage just from that than I could heal, never mind the damage the knights were slicing out. Meanwhile, the wizard just kept making more and more clones.

Second attempt: kill the wizard first! Except the wizard has a monstrous hit point pool and is pretty dodgy to boot. Stuns, freezing, and such don't work on him at all. So I couldn't send everyone after him or the knights would slaughter the squishies before I could finish the wizard. Instead, I ended up sending the ogre and barbarian. I was healing everyone I could as much as I could, using every potion I had, but my thief fell, then my priestess, then my elf, then the ogre, then the dwarf... the barbarian and the evil wizard were both down to just a few hit points. The barbarian swung his mighty sword and slew the wizard!

Great, now what? There's still a bunch of knights and clones doing terrible damage and most of the party is dead. But no! When the wizard fell, the clones fell, the knights un-summoned, and even the priest went back to whatever hell of Tuff'luk he came from. Victory!!

(For those not fluent in RPGish)
AoE = Area of Effect
DoT = Damage over Time
Squishy = a character with few defenses, meant to stand back from battle, not go toe to toe with death knights
 
FC3 has a pretty silly intro, and I wouldn't play FC4 or 5 without my skip-intro mods. FC4 took about 20 minutes before you got to click a mouse or press a key meaningfully.

But for the great games
Not trying to ruffle your feathers, but I have severe ADHD and I've never considered the (less than) 20 minutes at the beginning of any FC game to be anything but brief.

And you and I would have completely different ideas on what great games are and especially what constitutes gameplay. You only consider the action or parts that you enjoy to be gameplay, apparently. To me, if I'm doing it, it's gameplay.

And, yes, I do replay games, just not as much as a lot of people and especially not you. If I were going to play FC5 for the 3rd time (I've played it twice) you'd have to find me a mod that skips to the closing credits.
 
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Ridiculous BS in Forza Horizon 5 Solo Play

This is a real story that happened to me this afternoon. I was playing FH5 solo, and I was experimenting with different cars. I had the difficulty on Expert, which is third from the most difficult.

So I start a race.

Lap #1: My first lap is very good for a first lap. I manage to navigate through traffic without either hitting anyone or being held up for too long.

Lap #2: Is my best ever lap on this track. Not only is it in the top 1 percent of all player laps, but it's in the top 0.5 percent (barely)

Lap #3: Is somehow even better by 3 tenths of a second. For me it was an amazing lap. Probably the best lap I've ever run in any racing game. I'm solidly in the top 0.5 percent of 8 million players.

And I finished the race in second place. I didn't care. Winning wasn't the point. But what exactly would I have had to have done to win that race that was on the third highest difficulty? Did I need two 0.1 laps? What? I'm sorry but that is flat out ridiculous.
 
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Jan 13, 2020
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Cyberpunk 2077 for the 4th playthrough, as CORPO this time. Just loving it, the game doesn't get old but even in the recent 1.6 there are still the weirdest of bugs, the most common is some UI popups staying on the screen and not going away and the choppy map/crafting menu bug if in the game for long periods of time.

This time I am a combination of Netrunner, Smart Shotguns, Smart SMG's, Katana's, and Throwing Knives. Very rarely I'll do stealth, as I did a LOT of that for my previous 3 playthroughs, so I am doing a lot more run in guns blazing, or Short Circuiting/Detonate Grenade/Suiciding/Contagion the enemy NPC's. Flaming Gorilla Arms for Beat on the Brat quest series, but after I may finally try Monowire, which I heard was a lot of fun.

I am not using the transmog/wardrobe system, just wearing whatever I want, usually as little as possible, and upgrading the specs of items, game is more challenging that way. Legendary crafting is still tons of fun, and I am filling up the Weapon Stash on V's wall at the apartment for the second time.

Looking very forward to Phantom Liberty next year, I'd love to see PCGamer convince CDPR to release some exclusive info & screenies on the expansion, I have a feeling the Pacifica map is gonna be a little outdated soon...
 
Grats on your Forza performance :)
Not trying to ruffle your feathers
Missed opportunity! :D

different ideas on what … constitutes gameplay
I go by the general 'definition' of gameplay, the bit you see early in any Wiki game article, or in reviews, gameplay videos etc. Take a universally recognized great game like Skyrim—94/100 from PCG and on Metacritic—which after Wiki's intro has:

Gameplay is always #1 and its own topic—the other aspects are often lumped together like this as important, but clearly secondary.

Other random 'great' games:
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time—99/100

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2—97/100—only has a Gameplay section, no other factors.
And so on.
PS I haven't played any of those, so not cherry picking :)

If I were going to play FC5 for the 3rd time … you'd have to find me a mod that skips to the closing credits
Good news, no need for a mod—just don't handcuff The Father at the end of the abysmal intro sequence, ie launch the game, go have dinner, game over…no click or keypress required :D
 
Just in brief, what is "the good stuff" for you, and what delays you getting to it? There's a good chance there are mods to alleviate the issues.
@ZedClampet already mentioned intro scenes, but that's only part of it. Open world games need a lot of content to be interesting, but a lot of that content is fairly mediocre. Stuff like basic fetch or escort quests, which sometimes happen in the middle of otherwise interesting quest chains so you can't just ignore them.
Games with crafting mechanics also often require you to hunt around for ingredients, either by visiting multiple shops or roaming around certain areas.
And even with fast travel there's usually a whole bunch of walking you need to do where nothing much happens.

Which isn't to say all of this is "bad stuff", it creates some moments of peace in between the more action-y parts, which is nice for longer play sessions. But if I spend all day being understimulated, I don't want peaceful moments, I just want something engaging.

So "good parts" is a bad way of phrasing it. I meant the parts where you get completely absorbed by the game, the stuff that grabs and holds your attention. And sometimes just walking around in a game can do that, but not when it's the same town you've been to a 100+ times to sell the crap you've picked up from the last random encounter which you've encountered a dozen times before.
 
So I finished with AC: Black Flag and I overall had a good time with it. Played it for about 33 hours and I feel like I've gotten all I wanted to out of it. Right now I'm mostly playing The Witcher 1 on the desktop. I'm having a great time just taking it slow, just looking around and taking in the atmosphere. It has its problems, but honestly I think I enjoy it even more than I remembered. It's a really strong RPG.

On the Steam Deck, I've been mostly playing Vampire Survivors and Final Fantasy VIII. I'm glad I waited to play Vampire Survivors until now, because it's perfectly suited for handheld play. In terms of FFVIII, for now it just seems "fine". Not bad, not great, just kind of a decent experience. We'll see if my view changes but for now it isn't anything special.
 
Grab this for $2 on Steam now! @PointnClicker01, you got this already?

Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise

Lovely point n click spy adventure, 5-10 hours play or more if you're not familiar with the genre. Should be a good intro to PnC, the puzzles all make sense so far and aren't horribly difficult like PnCs of old.

Humor, style, 60s vibe—I'm about halfway thru and loving it!
I wouldn't pay the full $20, but maybe $10.
 
My Forza wasn't as successful today. I was trying to get cars ready for the new season, and I was testing them in AI races, and one minute I'd be ahead and the next minute I'd be waking up and my car would be skidding through a field. Guess I need to figure out some way of getting some sleep tonight.

*****

Guido and I are playing the Empire in TWW3. Unfortunately, Guido thought it would be cool to be able to recruit Wood Elves. In TWW2 it really wouldn't have mattered much, but in 3 his sucking up to the Woodies got us in deep water with the people we were supposed to ally ourselves with. Now we're at war with some Dwarfs and a couple of Bretttonia factions.

And don't worry. All the people who were supposed to hate us still do.

Love playing the empire armies with their tanks and outrider grenadiers.
 
Rise Of The Tomb Raider



Noticed Rise Of The Tomb Raider in my library and gave it a shot— ~2 hours later, uninstalled it.

Shame, really wanted to like it, it's quite impressive for a 7yo game. But things which don't work for me wore me down.

Graphics are excellent, and Lara's whole presentation is top notch—voice acting and animation, particularly facial. The 2 locations I played—initial Himalayas mountain climb and following big tomb—were beautifully done, with a clear Indiana Jones vibe from the latter.

The relevant things from my list of what doesn't work for me:
3rd Person Perspective
Cut Scenes long-often
Intro long and/or difficult
Mods not possible
Platforming

♣ TPP—it's the easiest TPP control I've ever played, so don't let that put you off.

♦ Cut Scenes—I checked that Kojima wasn't involved. So many action sequences were interrupted by really dumb cut scenes. For example, you make/discover an opening in the wall and go to walk thru—game takes control and walks you thru.

♥ Intro—was okay, and may have been similar to later play, so it may have been just me figuring out the controls. Bonus points for respawning me just before where I died—I appreciated that respect for player. So again, don't let that put you off.

♠ Mods—as far as I could see, the only mods are graphic ones. I also read a comment that devs have actively tried to break mods via unnecessary updates—you can apparently roll back game version on Steam so mods work again, but not on Epic. I'm also fairly sure you can set Steam not to auto-update.

Mods are close to a deal breaker for me. If I enjoy a game, it gets replayed, and I'll almost definitely want some changes.

♣ Platforming—yeah, I knew going in this chewie was heavy on the platforming, and that I would probably not stick with it.

Seemingly incessant platforming and lack of mods are the biggies. Game scores 86 on Metacritic, so clearly top notch if its gameplay suits you.
 
Rise Of The Tomb Raider



Noticed Rise Of The Tomb Raider in my library and gave it a shot— ~2 hours later, uninstalled it.

Shame, really wanted to like it, it's quite impressive for a 7yo game. But things which don't work for me wore me down.

Graphics are excellent, and Lara's whole presentation is top notch—voice acting and animation, particularly facial. The 2 locations I played—initial Himalayas mountain climb and following big tomb—were beautifully done, with a clear Indiana Jones vibe from the latter.

The relevant things from my list of what doesn't work for me:
3rd Person Perspective
Cut Scenes long-often
Intro long and/or difficult
Mods not possible
Platforming

♣ TPP—it's the easiest TPP control I've ever played, so don't let that put you off.

♦ Cut Scenes—I checked that Kojima wasn't involved. So many action sequences were interrupted by really dumb cut scenes. For example, you make/discover an opening in the wall and go to walk thru—game takes control and walks you thru.

♥ Intro—was okay, and may have been similar to later play, so it may have been just me figuring out the controls. Bonus points for respawning me just before where I died—I appreciated that respect for player. So again, don't let that put you off.

♠ Mods—as far as I could see, the only mods are graphic ones. I also read a comment that devs have actively tried to break mods via unnecessary updates—you can apparently roll back game version on Steam so mods work again, but not on Epic. I'm also fairly sure you can set Steam not to auto-update.

Mods are close to a deal breaker for me. If I enjoy a game, it gets replayed, and I'll almost definitely want some changes.

♣ Platforming—yeah, I knew going in this chewie was heavy on the platforming, and that I would probably not stick with it.

Seemingly incessant platforming and lack of mods are the biggies. Game scores 86 on Metacritic, so clearly top notch if its gameplay suits you.
I might give these a try. Don't mind TPP or cutscenes (not including some Kojima games). I need to start with the 2013 one first, though.
 
I'm currently playing Ebola 3 and Monster Energy Supercross 4.

Ebola 3 is a low budget RE style survival horror game with UE 4 graphics. You are asked when first launching the game to report any bugs you find, but surprisingly, nothing major so far graphically or gameplay wise, just a bit of monster peek a boo moments as they partly no-clip through locked doors. The voice overs and animations are really the only things that stick out like a sore thumb as lacking polish. The game is in first person view, and has some challenging puzzles. It uses common RE features like recording tapes (reels in this case) to save game, many puzzles to get keys, weapons, etc, similar statues seen in RE games, and of course big eyes to shoot. It has it's shortcomings, but at $17, it's really not bad.

ME Supercross 4 brings in a new system of skill building via accruing XP points to spend on Abilities. Oddly enough though, one of those so called abilities in increasing your bike's brake power. Another is the Tail Whip trick, or Whip as it's called, which is not all all beneficial to racing. Another new feature is riding classes are now categorized as Futures, Rookie, and Pro. Futures is an amateur class trying to break into factory sponsored racing, and it even includes female riders. Futures has a very short 3 race season. Rookie class is basically the 250 West and 250 East classes, broken into a separate season for each as before. There are training sessions to hone specific skills, and training races, both of which can earn you skill points to spend on Abilities. I have already maxed out all my Abilities for Futures and Rookie classes, but Pro is locked until I start a Pro career season, which is 450 class.

One of the HUGE differences in SX 4, and one the developers clearly are not responsible for and have no control over, is most of the tracks are far more technical in this game, which follows the 2020 AMA Supercross season, as well as the track designs used in it. On top of that, even with abilities for the class you are racing maxed out, the things you can do with the bike have been nerfed considerably. Weighting back on jump takeoffs and landings only gives you a slight acceleration boost now, and you can't even pitch the bike forward or back in air unless you let off gas. This makes zero sense since you can weight back or forward while on ground no problem WHILE accelerating. You are also far more likely to crash if you don't land a jump perfectly, and it is also harder to steer sharp angles. This makes it really tough since you need to rail some berms well enough to hit triples out of them to keep up with even Med level AI.

Some of the crazy track features I've seen are small, oddly shaped tabletops used as sharp and dogleg turning points (Oakland), REALLY deep sand in hairpin turns (Tampa), hairpin turn right at the bottom of a big air double landing (Salt Lake), and it's common now to see really tough rhythm sections with steeply faced jumps that sap your momentum and seem to swallow you whole like Moby Dick. The Salt Lake track is the final venue for the 250 West career, and I call it the Geritol track (a supplement claiming to keep old people young). It literally feels like you're going in slow mo the whole way because you really can't get up much speed on it. I fully acknowledged the need to make Supercross 3 harder on Realistic mode, but these changes seem drastic and strange. All they needed to do was make the AI a bit faster and more consistent in rhythm sections. As I said though, the tracks matter a lot too, they are like the toughest opponent, and Milestone has no control over that. However I think they should have seen that the tracks for this season are far more technical, and that nerfing what you can do with the bike would only make matters worse because of that.

So far I am only racing on Very Easy AI, the lowest level. This is mainly to get the feel of the tracks and max Abilities without constantly battling AI. I have managed to win some races by 10 sec or more, but a lot of times I get knocked down to only a 2 sec lead at the end due to crashing or going off track. I have already won 250 West, but last night I spent a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to win the first race of 250 East, Tampa. It's kind of ironic I'm struggling so much at that one track after they just got hit by a massive hurricane. SO many people down there really bad off right now. I'm wishing I will find some way to master this game, but I feel like I'm clinging to false hope. :(

I get the feeling no matter how much time I spend trying to master this game, at best I might only be able to compete on season points, winning some races, losing others. While that is certainly more true to how real Supercross race seasons go, I'm not sure I can manage even that on Realistic AI, or finish 1st at the end of the season. It could very well come down to having to accept a season win, or even some podium finish, just on the default Medium AI. One of the things I'm not sure of is whether Pro level Abilities apply to Rookie class if you go back and race the 250 careers after obtaining all Pro Abilities. This is a key factor, because the 250 bikes have less power, and these tracks require power to manage some of the jumps. It would certainly help some if even in Rookie class your steering sharpness and degree of controlled lean would continue to increase, but I'm worried that increase will only apply to 450 racing.
 
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The relevant things from my list of what doesn't work for me:
3rd Person Perspective
Cut Scenes long-often
Intro long and/or difficult
Mods not possible
Platforming
A difficult intro, no mods, and excessive platforming would keep me away from that game. No QTEs? QTEs are why I abandoned the TR series, I think with the Angel of Darkness game. I used to love TR games, back when they came in the triangle shaped boxes, and the first game is special to me, as it was the first game that I played with an add-in 3D video card (one of the Voodoo cards). The screen shots I've seen from the later day games (and I include Rise of the Tomb Raider in that grouping) look fantastic, but like yourself, I don't think I would be able to enjoy the gameplay elements.
 
Aug 31, 2022
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Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise

Lovely point n click spy adventure, 5-10 hours play or more if you're not familiar with the genre. Should be a good intro to PnC, the puzzles all make sense so far and aren't horribly difficult like PnCs of old.
Finished Agent A after 3 hours of fun play. :) Only this jetpack really cost me some time and nerves…
I agree with you @Brian Boru that it is a good PnC to start with, though it may be a little frustrating for beginners as there are no hints at all.
I‘m glad though, that I got this as a deal… For me it would have been too short for the full price 😅
So if you are experienced with PnC, I‘d recommend to get it now :)
 

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