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What game are you playing?
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Synonamess Botch
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August 7, 2019 - 8:39 pm
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Anyone else play the Resident Evil 2 remake?  I did, finishing the two playthroughs required to see the "true" ending.  I love this game so much.  It does so much right with the Biohazard formula: puzzle and inventory management wrapped in a B-horror movie presentation.  I love the little missions and goals you set for yourself throughout, trying to navigate its levels in the most efficient way given your limited resources and firepower.  I can't recommend this one enough.

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Steerpike
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August 27, 2019 - 9:42 am
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Lots of people are saying great things about it. It's definitely on my list, after the Girlfriend Reviews video and your endorsement. Of course, that list is very long these days. I can't even get properly into a game without another one coming along.

Currently I am very busy with work, which makes me sad, because I just want to play games. I have managed to find a little time for my current obsession, that being the Early Access of Satisfactory, which is all I hoped it would be and more. My factory is epic. The concrete production alone is worthy of poetry.

Of course, Control is out today and downloading now, so the factory may go on the back burner for a while too.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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geggis
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September 18, 2019 - 4:00 pm
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I meant to respond to your Dead Space post aaaaaages ago Botch. Yeah, shadow detail can be a real bastard sometimes. If it doesn't tank your performance, it can look proper weird at times so I'm glad you managed to identify the culprit behind your graphical woes and finally get through Dead Space.

Dead Space was the game that ushered in my Sony Bravia 32" 1080p TV (which my girlfriend still uses downstairs -- I think the speakers may have gone last week) and my AV receiver and 5.1 system which I still use and love to this day. In fact, I still have my PS3 plugged in for Blu-rays (and 'synbotch' frequently pops up while we're watching something! haha). I don't think it was the virgin experience of hearing a 5.1 game that made Dead Space so impressive, I think it just honestly had remarkably good sound design. Few games come close to what I recall my ears experiencing back then. Off the top of my head: Sea of Thieves, Hunt: Showdown, DICE's Battlefield games... they all have incredible sound. Anyway, yeah, I was never too keen on the story or the direction it took but the gameplay was solid and I found it extremely tense back then. I bought Dead Space 2 cheap some years back but still haven't played it!

I think the System Shock 2 inspiration is pretty clear when you get to the hydroponics deck where you have to mix some sort of chemical to kill a plant or something. I think you also start in the medbay and there's a basketball sort of game in there too. It reminded me of Doom 3 as well.

I played the demo of Resi 2 and was impressed, but not enough to sweep everything else aside and drop some dough on it. Mat C, being the Resident Evil nut he is, adores it though!

Steerpike, did you ever play Factorio? Luke tried getting me and Armand into it but I just hit a point where I was like 'Okay, this is getting exponentially more complicated and it's starting to feel like work'. I think it was around the time we researched oil. Gawd. I think perhaps co-op was the problem because, a bit like SpaceChem and other factory games, I wanted to discover stuff myself and own my creations. Luke was really digging into guides and YouTube videos describing optimum builds and I think that sucked some of the life out of it when Armand and I were creating inefficient monstrosities (but our monstrosities, damn it). Either way, the first-person perspective and full 3D of Satisfactory looks way more appealing to me. Aesthetically it does remind me a bit of Subnautica. It looks clean and solid.

I hear great things about Control but that's one for the future!

So this year I'd like to get back to doing a Games of the Year list because the last two have been a bit too busy to squeeze one in (and I've played so many great games!) but spoiler: Outer Wilds blew me away a couple of months ago. It's been many years since I felt so strongly about a game. You know how everyone talks about Zelda: Breath of the Wild? That's me with Outer Wilds. That's my wild, baby. It's on Xbox and an Epic Store exclusive on PC but I picked it up after hearing Austin Walker praising it and, damn, I'm so glad I did. Better still: I paid half price for it but the devs still got the full price cut (allegedly, courtesy of Epic) which is win-win.

The thing everyone needs to understand about Outer Wilds before anything else is that the more you know about it, the less there is to enjoy. It's all about the unknown, curiosity, exploration, discovery, knowledge and piecing it all together. It's spiritually similar to Subnautica, minus the survival and crafting elements, but every bit as terrifying and awe-inspiring. It's beautiful and mind-blowing and unique and I'm so sad I can't experience it again for the first time.

I was going to post a trailer but they're all too revealing. Just play it.

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xtal
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September 19, 2019 - 11:16 am
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Yasssssss Gregg, Yasssssss...Outer Wilds!

Halfway through this year and that was the only game I could think of that would for sure end up on my games of the year list. Holy incredible what a game. And I agree, everyone needs to go in blind. The only thing I would say to people is the first half hour of the game is, while still interesting, pretty boring, and the rest of the game is way way better.

I played it for weeks non-stop, not playing anything else when it came out in late May. I think I got pretty deep into the mysteries, but I've now reached a point where my puzzle solving intuition (read: lack thereof) has slowed me down significantly, and I'm having trouble envisioning myself getting to the end, but I am determined to. I think I'm going to allow myself to read some tips and hints, because I've tried, but there are some puzzles I just don't have the patience for anymore.

I'm also really trying not to let my frustration colour my opinion of the whole experience, because that game has transcendent moments that I need to not forget about. It's such a clever game!

I appreciate that they released months before Obsidian's upcoming big-budget title, but I think they should have used some sense and given the game a different name. I mean, Outer Wilds is an appropriate and beautiful name; but when you know one of the most beloved developers of all time is releasing a game called The Outer Worlds in the same calendar year...ya gotta figure that shit out.

I genuinely think the lasting memory of both games will be the lame joke everyone can't stop throwing around about the name similarity. Which sucks. The legacy of Outer Wilds should be how stunningly creative it is.

Gregg, make a spoiler thread and give me tips! I want to finish the game but I'm too stupid.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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geggis
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September 19, 2019 - 6:31 pm
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Yeah, the first half hour or so is laying the foundation. I actually think it's really well done; introducing you to the basics of play while giving you some background on the world and so carefully hinting at what's to come. Like, some of the stories you hear and things you see get your imagination going right off the bat. I love the warmth of that place.

I think I might know where you're stuck though because it happened to me and is (or was) a common sticking point. (I ended up asking for some pointers over at Qt3.) You'll be pleased to know that the developers have made some changes to the game since launch to hopefully smooth over that particular section but, either way, I'm going to start a thread just to be sure. The game's so open it could be anything!

Also, Max, I only know two other people who have played Outer Wilds and I nearly exploded when they told me. We are few!

Off to start a spoiler thread!

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Steerpike
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September 20, 2019 - 5:25 pm
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Oh, Outer Wilds. That's one that's been so very on my list and I just haven't gotten around to it yet. The raves, and the idea of it, the innovation and crazy ballsy cleverness, I feel like I have to try it out. So many people whose opinions I admire are using phrases like "obsessed with," plus you have to support brave concepts. Even when they don't work you have to support them, and it sounds like this one works.

I'm eager to play Obsidian's similar-name-game too, but in terms of great contributions to the medium, I have little doubt that Outer Wilds will come out on top.

Gregg, I spent several hours with Factorio but in the end the interface and my own small brain drove me away. Elements of it require a certain level of geometric... I don't know, an ability to logick certain processes several steps into the future, I guess you'd say, and I struggled with that. Satisfactory certainly rewards beautiful geometry, but monstrosities work well too... and it's fun figuring out why your monstrosity is slowing down here or there. I love it. It's multi, too, so if you and/or Armand get it, we should try some co-op!

As the front page notes I'm having a wee problem with Control, but it hasn't diminished the quality of the game overall. Just the visuals.

Also, I'm semi-ashamed to admit... I've hooked up the PS3 to my old 40" Samsung and set it up in my bedroom. Thereby making me That Guy, the guy with a giant TV in his bedroom. Something I've avoided for 44 years. Until recently my bedroom contained:

  • a bed

Now there's a table thing and a TV and a PS3 and a lamp and all kinds of stuff. Why, you ask? Because I so loved Red Dead Redemption 2 that I bought a newer, larger TV to play it on, leaving me with a size-doesn't-matter first world monstrosity spare, and I decided to give RDR 1 another chance. This despite trying years ago—twice—to get into it and failing. 

It also necessitated my buying a new copy of the game, since my 360s are all dead. I am awesome. So cool. So very cool. The coolest, even. 

I haven't started yet but maybe this time I'll get it. Who knows?

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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September 21, 2019 - 12:05 pm
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I admit to not really following the games industry very closely (with a few exceptions) so it's no surprise that I've never heard of Outer Wilds.  It sounds like something my kids, who love games like Don't Starve, would dig.

It's no revelation to state that it's satisfying to scratch a title off of the backlog.  But finishing Dead Space was especially satisfying.  Perhaps because it was so long in the doing.  But also because it was one of those standard-setters.  Given the publisher, it's a minor miracle it ever got made.  EA has since dropped the big-budget single-player game like a dirty shirt.  I had no desire to play any of the sequels, but I did watch a Let's Play of Dead Space 2 and thought it was excellent, with much better story-telling than the first.

Maybe this modest contributor (what hasn't actually contributed anything) could participate in the end of year list.  Mind you, I don't play many games, and I often don't play them in a timely manner.  Does that disqualify me?

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xtal
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September 21, 2019 - 1:46 pm
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Synonamess Botch said

Maybe this modest contributor (what hasn't actually contributed anything) could participate in the end of year list. Mind you, I don't play many games, and I often don't play them in a timely manner. Does that disqualify me?  

I say no, it doesn't! I think it's a valuable perspective, actually.

Also, have a search through the site archives to find my review of Dead Space from a loooooooong time ago. If I remember, I believe the gist was that, ultimately, I came out negative on the game. I thought the first level was thrilling, and then once I realized how powerful the plasma cutter was, the tension was lost. But still, I played the shit out of that game. A look at my Xbox achievements says I got all but a single one. So I played it thoroughly.

I do have to admit based on the feelings of many others, that Dead Space has no doubt proved to be an influential game. I skipped Dead Space 2, which seems to be the Dark Souls 2 of that series: the "weird cult classic one." I played Dead Space 3, mostly co-op with randoms, which was frustrating, but the game itself was fine.

Other 2019 gaming tidbits from me so far:

- waiting for Link's Awakening to come in the mail; after Breath of the Wild, I'm on board with Zelda games.

- I left Metro: Exodus quite early on and still want to play it. We all know how that goes...

- Control starts off very confusingly (intentional no doubt) but a few hours in, I'm really feeling the Remedy-ness of the game, and I like the way Jesse is getting incrementally improved combat/mobility talents.

- Xbox Game Pass is very good. This service, while $13 a month, has kept me from buying many new games this year. The previous three games mentioned above are the only full retail price ($60 USD / $80 CAD) video games I've bought this year. Game Pass has given me, off the top of my head: Ashen, Outer Wilds, Void Bastards, Mutant Year Zero, Stellaris Console Edition, Gears 5, and quite a few others I can't recall at the moment. Game Pass is really good, and it's almost certainly the future of video games.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
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September 21, 2019 - 2:07 pm
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Of course it doesn't disqualify you! Our Games of the Year lists aren't necessarily even all games—I mean at least there's no rule—and certainly no rule that says they have to be timely. 

I'm behind on GOTY lists and need to get cracking. I have 2016, 2017, and 2018 all needing to get written. Before long 2019 will be over. Catching up is hard!

Xtal: like you I quit Metro Exodus very early. I want to play it—I liked 2033 and loved Last Light—but something about this one put me off. Is it the mind-bogglingly stupid plot? I don't know. But I do have it and I do want to finish it. If we both get back into it we should do a back-and-forth discussion. OH! And speak to me of Void Bastards. It's on my to-buy list.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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geggis
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September 22, 2019 - 7:20 am
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Synonamess Botch said
Maybe this modest contributor (what hasn't actually contributed anything) could participate in the end of year list.

I don't see any reason why not!

I finished Void Bastards a few weeks after it released. It's great, but not as great as I was expecting. It's got a lot of cool gear and systems that I feel the roguelike elements discourage you from exploring. Some gear combos are so versatile that bringing anything else feels like a major risk which could cost you. Void Bastards was at its best when the game forced you out of your comfort zone and got you to experiment and react to tough situations. Basically, when you were trying your damnedest to survive. So my advice would be to crank the difficulty up as high as you can bear it. That said, it's such a funny game that is simultaneously atmospheric and tense. The presentation is sublime. It definitely feels like BioShock and System Shock 2 meets the excellent Cryptark.

Cryptark is brutal.

I think I'll be picking up the Bang Tydy DLC for Void Bastards and returning to it on Hard Bastard difficulty!

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geggis
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September 22, 2019 - 7:44 am
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Steerpike said
I have little doubt that Outer Wilds will come out on top.

Honestly, Outer Wilds comes out on top against most games I can think of. I enjoyed it that much. And being able to say that makes me so happy. In fact, this year has been stupid. I practically had three 'top 100 of all time' games back-to-back. Quadrilateral Cowboy, Return of the Obra Dinn and then Outer Wilds. All first-person, all non-violent, all ridiculously good, and all unique--visually, conceptually and mechanically.

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xtal
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September 24, 2019 - 10:01 am
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Obra Dinn seemed like a really cool game. I remember watching the Giant Bomb Quick Look for it and was mesmerized by the bizarre and beautiful graphical style. It also seemed like a pretty interesting mystery solving lark in general. That's a game I'll definitely play at some time.

Public service announcement: For anyone who thought this is okay but could be highly improved when trying out State of Decay 2 in May last year, check it out again. Undead Labs has made so many quality of life improvements to the game. It's great.

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geggis
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September 26, 2019 - 6:00 pm
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Obra Dinn is another 'the less you know' kinda game. Even the game trailer (which I watched after completing it) shows so little of the game while totally selling it. That's an achievement in itself (Outer Wilds' trailer doesn't really manage this). It's very cool that Lucas Pope understood the power of surprise. It would have been so easy to put some of the spectacular scenes in the trailer and screenshots but I admire his restraint and confidence in knowing that he didn't have to do that. Blows my mind that he's pretty much the sole developer. 2D and 3D art, code, design, music and sound. Unbelievable.

Mind you, Blendo Games/Brendan Chung isn't far off either. Polymaths, man. Anyway, yeah, Quadrilateral Cowboy is also incredible. It and Outer Wilds both made me well up, which... games don't really do that to me. Or haven't done.

Max, I still have the original State of Decay to play. I've been wanting to get round to that (and so many others!) for a long time. Do the games follow on from each other? Could I just jump into 2? Is the original still worth playing?

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xtal
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September 29, 2019 - 12:24 pm
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The original State of Decay is very much worth playing. I wouldn't bother with any of the DLC they made. The original "story" mode is pretty satisfying, and you get the gist of State of Decay.

State of Decay 2 is technically a continuation; there are two characters from the original that appear as radio voices in SoD 2. Other than that, you don't need to know anything about the first. It's a refinement in every way. The character variety and skill combinations add immensely deeper replay value.

The only aspect I would say someone may enjoy 2 less than 1 is that SoD 1 has an actual consistent story to it which is actually pretty good. Whereas SoD 2 has recurring story lines, but there's never really a developing story that you play. The only way the story in SoD 2 ever develops is that the radio conversations of off screen people will not repeat. For example, the first time you play SoD 2 there's a radio character named Kami Baez; you hear her calling for help and trying to escape a Red Talon camp. Depending on how long the first play takes, she may escape during that one, or maybe your second, and then she broadcasts from within a different group of people. So there is a sort of narrative continuity with radio people. No matter how many campaigns you play (I've "beat" the game probably a dozen times or so now) their stories won't reset. Some of that stuff is interesting, but it's all window dressing.

tl;dr - State of Decay 1 is part sandbox zombie sim and part cool story with largely the same group of playable characters who are not randomly generated (plus a few randomly generated ones).

State of Decay 2 is full on sandbox zombie sim with no fixed characters or story elements. On paper I think that sounds worse, but State of Decay 2 is the vastly superior game in my opinion.

But it's one of those games where you'll get out what you put in. If you don't like building your own stories in video games, State of Decay 2 is not for you. If you do like building your own narratives in games, State of Decay 2 is one of the best ever.

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xtal
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I'm having trouble wrapping the many loose ends of Outer Wilds because a little game called Control keeps calling me. Uhhh Control is reallllly good! Really good! The more of it I play the more I think yes, Control is the perfect name for this game because I feel like I'm in total, well...

I played maybe 2-3 hours of Quantum Break and my final verdict on that game was strong dislike. I liked Alan Wake a lot when I played it and still think highly of it, but it was still no Max Payne 1/2. But Control. Control ... this feels like Max Payne 2 height of Remedy's powers-good. And weird. The Remedy weird is back in full force. I can't believe the same developer made Control and Quantum Break. With the latter it seemed like Remedy was resigned to just shitting out a few run-of-the-mill bad mystery/police procedural style romps. But then...something inspired them to make Control, which is the opposite of all the blah of QB.

Control is good, people. Check out Control.

Also, The Outer Worlds comes to Xbox Game Pass in two weeks! Obsidian is back again!!

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geggis
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October 10, 2019 - 5:30 pm
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You mean The Outer Worlds? 😉

I'm pumped about Disco Elysium, though I doubt I'll manage to fit it in. I was day-one-ready for Doom Eternal but it's been delayed. I hope to play some John Wick Hex after Mutant Year Zero.

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xtal
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October 11, 2019 - 10:22 am
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Haha yes, I did the thing. Fixed with an edit. The Outer Worlds!

Here's another comment on Quantum Break. Don't put brilliant character actors in your game and give them a lame script. It's a glaring weirdness when you have Lance Reddick (fantastic actor) and I forget his name (Mayor Carcetti from The Wire, or probably more people now know him as Littlefinger from Game of Thrones - another fantastic character actor) and give them garbage to talk about when they're on screen.

I'm sure if I went back and played Wing Commander IV that I would roll my eyes at Mark Hamill and Tom Wilson and all the rest too.

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geggis
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October 11, 2019 - 2:44 pm
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Dude, Lance Reddick in Destiny 2 was one of the few things that entertained me in that game, purely because of how bollocks the script was. Here's this great actor with such an amazing voice trying his damnedest to deliver the most inane (but super serious) proper noun littered nonsense I've heard in ages. Dear lord. Even the gear/inventory screen had a lore button! A fucking lore button! What's the history of this helmet? Literally the last thing I wanted to know more about in Destiny 2 was the shit you were vacuuming up.

My brother is into Destiny 2.

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xtal
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October 18, 2019 - 11:23 am
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Yeah one of my close friends, who as far as I know used to have a deep and varied love of video games, only plays Destiny 2 now. It's so bizarre to be fixated on such a bad (sorry) game. But like ... man, I don't understand Destiny at all. The best compliment I've ever heard said about it is "it has those good tight Bungie shooting mechanics." That's it. It's just such a milquetoast thing to me. Layers of vague sci-fi ("The Darkness" lol) layered on a never ending loot shooter.

I don't know. I've played two good Bungie games, and they're called Halo: ODST and Halo: Reach. Hot takes.

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Synonamess Botch
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October 18, 2019 - 1:54 pm
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Yeah I don’t get Destiny either. I played a bit of the demo (Destiny 1) and was almost immediately put off by it. Maybe now that Bunjie is out from under Activision’s thumb they’ll be able to make sometime with a soul.

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