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What game are you playing?
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Dix
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May 24, 2017 - 7:15 pm
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Yeah, if you have enough SP restoring items (and especially if you're careful about your combat decisions), you can take down palaces pretty quickly, in terms of in-game days. That makes all the other things way more accessible, of course, since it leaves you with a lot more time to do things in.

"Home is not a place.  It is wherever your passion takes you."

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Synonamess Botch
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May 25, 2017 - 12:10 pm
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I am really enjoying the gameplay changes/additions they made in P5.  There is the recruiting mechanism obviously taken from the main SMT games, which I think is great and beats the 3-card Monte from P3/P4.  I also see elements from Digital Devil Saga (which I adore BTW if I haven't said that enough times), namely the guns.

I may not be far enough yet, but it seems the old quest mechanic has been replaced with the Mementos targets, which is a huge improvement.

It just seems as though they took many great ideas from other games in the SMT universe and crammed them in to P5 and I think it's awesome.  Lots of effort in improving various systems with the result of lots more fun.

I was thinking about the coolness factor of the visuals and menus and such.  You could make an argument that the actual game is rather boring and all that flash just disguises this fact.  On one hand, there is some truth to this, but on the other it completely misses the point (and makes you a joyless jerk; don't do that!).  Persona is as much about the style and cool aesthetic as it is the gameplay, such that the two are inseparable.

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Synonamess Botch
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June 6, 2017 - 4:56 pm
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I just found out that the P5 Japanese audio track is available as a free download (it's over 2GB!).  You can start a new game with the Japanese audio, or load your saved game as either English or Japanese.  Pretty cool.

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xtal
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June 10, 2017 - 1:06 pm
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I heard a lot of people in the west were clamoring for the Japanese audio of the game. Good to see they delivered that.

The whole streaming kerfuffle Atlus got themselves into seemed so shortsighted, similar to how Nintendo has treated streaming over the past several years. Both on the wrong side of history of course.

All they need to look to is Playerunknown's Battlegrounds; yes, I'm still watching people play this on Twitch constantly. Has anyone else here gotten into this, whether watching or playing? I haven't bought it because I don't think my laptop will run it very well. Though it's a great spectator game. This is a special game, and I'm betting it only gets bigger, especially if a console version is announced.

If you've ever been interested in any of the last-man-standing games from the mod lineage of ARMA III (H1Z1, etc.) you have to check this game out. "Playerunknown" is, I guess, the guy behind it all. He created those first mods in that otherwise semi-popular ARMA game, and I guess he left those projects to others? Battlegrounds seems to be his sole focus currently.

Here's a stream from earlier this week, featuring Austin Walker and Patrick Klepek of Waypoint. This particular episode is a mix of fun and tension that conveys pretty well what's great about this game.

 

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

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Synonamess Botch
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June 10, 2017 - 2:09 pm
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Yeah I know the backlash about the embargo was pretty strong, but I guess I kind of ignored it since I had no intention of watching any LPs.  I believe the onus is on Atlus Japan, who seems to be less in-tune with what a big deal streaming and LPs are.  Atlus USA wasn't able to convince them.  Anyway that's just what I've heard but haven't verified myself.

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geggis
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June 10, 2017 - 7:50 pm
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I'm pretty much done with Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I persevered for another 50 hours or so since my rant on the main thread but I just find the whole thing incredibly repetitive and tedious. It's a gorgeous and vast game but the density of interesting stuff happening is simply too low for the time footprint involved. The emergent systems are impressive in themselves but rarely did anything particularly exciting actually emerge from them. And for such a polished experienced the voice acting is cringe-worthy at times, not helped by an eye-rolling story. I just don't get it folks.

I can say, however, that Cosmic Express is a wonderful little puzzler that's available on most platforms, including your phone where it's just perfect.

And Vectorpark's Metamorphabet is utterly delightful, just like his Windosill was. God I love that guy's stuff.

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xtal
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June 11, 2017 - 12:06 pm
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Well, Gregg, prepare to cover your eyes and ears come game of the year time  🙂

As part of me wants to leave the topic alone, part of me wishes I knew who stole all your birthday parties. Did a bad man take all the birthdays, Gregg? I'll stop the jokes now because your opinion is valid. I'm just surprised and saddened that you dislike the game so much, and sorry if my glowing take on it made you get the game (I think you already had it and were just saving it but can't remember). I guess the voice acting is mediocre; I wouldn't praise or condemn it really. As far as the story, I can get behind you there, but it just doesn't bother me in the same way. Were there any Zelda stories you did like? As an outsider to the series before this game, I've never thought anyone except the nerdiest of nerds cared about Zelda's story anyway. It seems mostly like a generic and inoffensive canvas.

I'm sorry you'll have to put up with all my Dark Souls and Breath of the Wild talk for the rest of internet time, Gregg. You're still my brave and wonderful pilot. (This is a GOIO reference)

Whenever I think I'm a contrarian and an outlier, I can always look to you.

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

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Dix
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June 11, 2017 - 12:11 pm
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I certainly was starting to feel the drag of repetitiveness near the end, but if I'm only getting bored of a game 60 or 80 or 100 hours in (I don't want to know), then it's still a pretty damn good game. I'll admit that, for me, part of my elation with it is probably how far it was from the problems I felt had plagued Skyward Sword and, to a lesser degree, Twilight Princess. There's a big bump from a series I want to be great feeling like it is great again.

"Home is not a place.  It is wherever your passion takes you."

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geggis
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June 12, 2017 - 10:50 am
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xtal said
You're still my brave and wonderful pilot. (This is a GOIO reference)

Whenever I think I'm a contrarian and an outlier, I can always look to you.  

Bless you!

I've only ever played the Wind Waker so my experience with Zelda is very limited! Still, after that epic trailer and all the hype I expected something more interesting than the usual 'Kill Ganon, save Zelda, save Hyrule, profit'. That trailer made it look so much more exciting and dramatic, like a Studio Ghibli film or something.

I dunno, like, I didn't go in expecting Planescape: Torment or anything, but reducing the importance of plot to that of a Mario game just doesn't work when it seems every other NPC is banging on about it. 'Link, you must save the princess'. 'Link, you are the warrior of legend'. 'Link, blah blah blah'. Zzz. Not to mention, for a game that has plenty of NPCs I'm struggling to remember 99% of them. The only character I encountered who was interesting was Purah. She was cool.

I look at Anachronox and think, yeah, the story was good, but it was the characters, dialogue, delivery, subplots and side quests that elevated it to incredible. Breath of the Wild doesn't really manage any of that. While some of the voice acting is decent to tolerable, characters like Zelda herself and Mipha sound so utterly unconvincing. I've no idea how Mipha went gold. Hailey said she could do better and the thing is, she could. I could! This is a multi-million pound Nintendo behemoth, not Sang-Froid. I loaded The Cat Lady up over the weekend and the voice acting in that is so much better.

There's a fine line between charming and irritating too that Zelda wobbles back and forth over. Charming is accidentally dropping a rock on the Korok you just found underneath and it crying 'Ouch!'. Irritating is an NPC counting all ten luminous stones that I've brought him, one by one, every. Damn. Time.

I'm also amazed how much people are celebrating that Breath of the Wild removes map markers. Has UbiSoft really made us so easy to please? Go and play Miasmata, I'll be right back here, if you can find me. Don't forget your compass and blank sheet of paper, and don't travel at night!

Do you ever get a shovel in Breath of the Wild? I feel like that would make for some cool treasure hunting.

'Zelda respects players enough to allow them to find things themselves', but the problem I have with this is that... there's not really that much to find or see if you discount the same ol' korok seeds and boring chests. I remember so many more spectacular places in Guild Wars 2 and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (and that was only a few hours long!), and so many curios and cool details in the likes of Proteus and Bernband and Anachronox (like some trainers dangling from an overhead cable way above the city streets, or the Mug Mug shacks hiding in a quiet corner of the Routubes under Sender Station). Hell, I could include Demon's and Dark Souls here too, or STALKER. Hyrule by comparison just feels hollow and, dare I say... *looks around and whispers* soulless? Eek!

I think I preferred the Wind Waker to be honest. It too was beautiful and vast, but I recall it having much better pacing and flow thanks to it being more linear and smaller (obviously). It felt like a more focused and authored experience but with plenty of loose ends that you had to come back to when you had the ability to tie them up. It had real dungeons, no vacuuming up ingredients and craft materials, weapons that didn't break, simpler controls, no inventory faff, better targeting, auto-jump! I miss auto-jump! I remember specific quests and places and characters. Whether I'd be able to stomach the Wind Waker now is another matter but at the time I got a lot more out of it. Breath of the Wild I was starting to feel repetition fatigue a good 10-20 hours in and that feeling's not really let up.

I'm sure there's plenty more to enjoy in the game and, don't get me wrong, there's still a lot I really dig about it, but I doubt I'll be spending much more time trying to find it. I've given it £50 and 50-60 hours of my time which is absurdly generous for me so I've paid my dues I think.

Next game for me is FRACT OSC, Spec Ops: The Line and probably State of Decay. I had a dabble with The Witcher 2 but bounced off it, unlike the first one, weirdly.

Anyway, phew, that was longer than expected.

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geggis
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June 12, 2017 - 10:51 am
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Got to say, I wouldn't mind dipping back in for this though:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/9/14868814/zelda-breath-of-the-wild-secret-island-quest

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xtal
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June 12, 2017 - 1:16 pm
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Eventide Island was really cool. In my experience, moments like this have been plenty.

It's worth acknowledging here that there is a hard-to-define difference between playing a game during its release window-- and without having had your expectations built up-- and playing it a few weeks or months later when you've soaked in the public consensus.

I believe you when you say you've been disappointed and uninterested, to paraphrase you; and I assume you believe me when I try to express-- tripping over my own words while I go-- that Breath of the Wild has become one of the best gaming experiences I've had, filled with revelations. I think we're, in a way, almost looking at different games. Or having wildly different interpretations of the same game, rather. Also noteworthy is that I've looked past some complaints you've leveled, like the story and characters. Both have always been fluff to me, because nothing in my entire life has led me to believe that the Zelda games ever mastered either. I agree with you that neither is good - I just don't care because it hasn't affected every other brilliant thing.

There's also the elephant in the room - that you're a Brit; and so you're just a big sad ball of tea and crumpets, aren't you?

The dog's bollocks! Fish and chips! Crisps and biscuits! Silly mailboxes! (Or is that postboxes?)

No but really, that was a joke to illustrate that I think you're a bit more of a cool hardass, whereas I'm the open-hearted joy-seeker.

While I come to understand your perspective, I'll concede nothing in my own enjoyment - I still recommend every other person on the planet not named Gregg B play Breath of the Wild!

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

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Dix
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June 12, 2017 - 1:27 pm
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I imagine there's also an element of Breath of the Wild being a great Zelda game for Zelda fans, but people who have limited or no experience with the series before may expect things that have seldom been a major part of Zelda. Story, for instance, is not something I even thought about; the entire setup of being asleep for 100 years and whatnot actually was a lot more novel than I anticipated. Zelda games have taught me that the story is usually going to be the same structure; that even if it doesn't look like Ganon, it's still Ganon; that only the weird side games (like Majora's Mask or Link's Awakening) are going to offer something more narratively nuanced. Hell, Zelda's given much more of a character arc in Breath of the Wild than she is in 90% of Zelda games, but because I have that expectation of Zelda being nearly a non-character, her being a character with hopes and dreams (aside from "Save me, Link!") is a pleasant surprise, not a disappointment that they didn't do more.

I do wholeheartedly disagree with the idea that there isn't much to discover; I feel quite the opposite. Of course, that's my criticism of every Bethesda game, and I know there are people who like what they can find in those. I, for my part, cannot remember anything I've ever stumbled across in an Elder Scrolls or Fallout 3+, but I imagine I'll never forget Eventide Island, or stumbling across a Leviathan skeleton, or the labyrinths at the edge of the map, or the crazy place with the lightning, or any given time I found a broken Guardian and crept toward it wondering if it was going to spring to life and kill me, or the repeated times I ACCIDENTALLY FOUND A DRAGON.

"Home is not a place.  It is wherever your passion takes you."

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xtal
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June 12, 2017 - 2:02 pm
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Your mention of the 100-year sleep jogged something in my memory, Dix. I do like the way that Link himself, as a character, is framed in the game. He is still the savior of course, but there's resistance and skepticism from some characters, which I wasn't expecting at all. Also appreciated is the way that Zelda is framed; herself presented-- if you take the fact that she has been fighting Ganon alone for 100 years-- as not only a heroic figure, but the sole reason the world hasn't been swallowed up by Ganon. Even if the vagueness of a 100-year battle is inconceivable.

If that counts as the story, then I do like the story more than I've let on.

At the end of the day, I've fully allowed myself to be swept up in the epic hero's journey.

Quick take: I'm curious, Dix, what's been your favourite place in the game? From a large general area to a small specific one, doesn't matter. For me the answer is the general area of Death Mountain, and the town of the Gorons. I fucking love that place. I still haven't fully explored the Gerudo desert, and haven't been to the two northwest-most regions of the map.

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

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Dix
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June 12, 2017 - 2:43 pm
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I rather like the Lanayru and Necluda regions, in general, though some of that may be that I so frequently went back and found new things I couldn't access the first time I was there (being as you go there relatively early in the game, probably. The coastal areas also had a certain air of mystery I liked quite a lot, and Eventide Island was one of the most tantalizing landmarks I spotted well before I reached it.

I also liked the area to the west of Hyrule Castle, wedged between that long canyon and the realm of the Rito. Oh, and also the jungle in the south.

"Home is not a place.  It is wherever your passion takes you."

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geggis
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June 12, 2017 - 2:48 pm
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Wasn't Zelda some sort of pirate in the Wind Waker? And wasn't the ocean above a flooded Hyrule? I mean, that's a pretty badass set-up.

I personally like the grassy fields of Central Hyrule and that field with all the smoked Guardians in it, in front of... Hateno? I like fields.

Edit: in front of Fort Hateno!

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Dix
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The Ash Plains, I think, is where you're talking about, Gregg. It's one of my favorite single locations for sure.

And yes, you are correct about The Wind Waker, but it's a pretty outstanding Zelda game and more exception than rule.

"Home is not a place.  It is wherever your passion takes you."

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Steerpike
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June 15, 2017 - 7:32 pm
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This is an interesting discussion to follow, because I haven't played BOW at all and Gregg has thankfully itemized and detailed his objections. His was the first negative viewpoint I've heard on the matter, but I would never discount it just for that, especially when the specifics are right there for the reader to ponder. Obviously different things bother different people in differing amounts, but I find myself wondering how I'd feel about BOW if I did play. It would be the first Zelda for me since The Adventure of Link in 1785, which might color the experience too.

Gregg, I think you'll like State of Decay. I liked it very much, and liked the second DLC, Lifeline, even more. While it's not a perfect game and some of its innovations are actually rather frustrating for players who aren't able to commit to the schedule, it is overall a truly remarkable experience. Xtal's review of it summed the feeling up perfectly.

As for me... Persona, of course. And Endless Space 2, just started in on that. The Developers Cut of STALKER Lost Alpha is finally here, so I'm heading back to Chernobyl at some point. IndieCade judging begins soon though, so when I'll find time to play commercial games again I just don't know.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Dix
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June 15, 2017 - 7:35 pm
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I actually found State of Decay kind of tedious after the first few hours, so maybe the takeaway here is just that Gregg and I look for different things in our open worlds!

"Home is not a place.  It is wherever your passion takes you."

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geggis
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Honestly, I've written a lot more notes on Zelda than I've let on to here! The thing is, I've discussed all this with so many people in different places that I'm kind of getting sick of hearing myself so the above is a rough summation of my thoughts.

I've not played many open world games to be honest so I'm still working out or 'calibrating' my tastes on them. I've bounced off most of the Bethesda games and now Zelda. It's another interesting data point and State of Decay will hopefully help me further.

In the case of Miasmata it's the way that all the different elements of the game nudge and push you--sometimes violently--into tough and memorable situations. It's the way that exploration is fraught with danger from your momentum moving down slopes (lots of people grumbled about the inertia in Miasmata but it's a fundamental aspect of the game), the weather and daylight affecting visibility to plot your map (and not get lost), hydration, factoring in the journey back so you don't get trapped out in the dark, the creature stalking you. These are all simple elements individually but they all bump and jostle and overlap with each other in all kinds of interesting ways, particularly when you consider the mapping system and the scraps of information you have to work from to find the flora to formulate the cure for your illness. Finding these rare plants on the island, all on your own, is incredibly satisfying because you have to use your wits. And it's worth adding too that the Johnson brothers managed to recreate that feeling of being amidst nature better than any other game I can think of so exploring is its own kind of joy, peril aside.

While Sir, You Are Being Hunted started to run out of tricks towards the end, I really appreciated its focus and the elements it used to put you in sticky situations and make you take risks; drifting searchlights, roaming gangs of robots, dogs, day and night, hunger, bleeding, bear traps, startled birds, scarecrows, shards in awkward places, hunting pheasants, (inedible) raw meat and cooking (and the smoke/light that fire creates). It fits more neatly into an open world survival game but the survival aspects are dialled down somewhat so you can get on with things, although there were occasions when I'd get stuck from starvation. Looting was simplified so that instead of walking into buildings and rooting through stuff you just walked up to the door of the building and interacted with it like it was a giant container. This was weird at first (and clearly a technical limitation) but I thought it cut out a lot of unnecessary busywork, again, allowing you to just get on with things. The fact that it was all delivered with a very quaint British sense of humour and bags of atmosphere, helped by a very minimalist ambient soundtrack (that I swear was channelling some of Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II), made it a very enjoyable experience, and one that just managed to escape overstaying its welcome. I don't think it took more than 20 hours to complete, with plenty of deaths and exploring.

Looking further back, there's Guild Wars 2 which I mostly fell in love with because it was a beautiful world to explore and with little surprises sprinkled here and there. And then there's STALKER which doesn't really need to be spoken about. Does Beyond Good & Evil count? I loved BG&E. Just a really great balance of interesting things to do, places to go and characters and story to follow. The best photography quest. Actually, Wind Waker's on Windfall Island was great too. I'd add Wind Waker to my list. Oh, and Brutal Legend. Brutal Legend is a weird one. Loved the world and combat and story, hated all the repetitive quests padding out the (amazing) space.

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Steerpike
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June 16, 2017 - 9:27 am
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Gregg and I first bonded over STALKER, which to this day would be my go-to for Steerpike's "ideal" approach to open world: handcrafted, lacking the annoying filler (like races and non-Anachronox TACOs and such found in many open world games, put there to populate what would otherwise seem unnecessarily large and empty), and a sense that even with the size and scope there's a structure to it. This also is what Clear Sky did well, encouraging you to linger in the open world part despite there being no real reason to do so once you'd accomplished a few missions.

Miasmata is a really worthwhile game. I hope IonFX tries its hand at another, similarly innovative piece of work some day. Like many "open world" games that really stand out in my mind, the focus of its openness is different from the traditional Horizon/Mordor/Saints Row type. Everything about Miasmata is subtly different from the norm -- the way you move, the way you explore, the way in which you're obstructed, etc. Not all of it worked but the effort overall was fabulous.

Oh! Deadly Premonition. Totes. Obv.

What I liked about State of Decay was the sense of making your own stories within the game's story. Smaller experiences tied to emotion rather than narrative. I agree it became a little tedious, especially once you figure out that in a battle of Zombie vs. Moving Car, the vehicle wins almost every time. It had a clever base building model though, and such a colorful cast of characters.

This dude at work in the office opposite mine just announced that he can't think of anything he doesn't like about Breath of the Wild. "Anything?" I said. "Anything!" He shouted back.

Gregg and I tend to share opinions on games of this nature, so I'm really curious what my reaction to BOW would be. I need to see if there's a way to rent a WiiU or something... or I guess I could just burgle a Switch-owning household. I think I'd be a good burglar.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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