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What game are you playing?
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geggis
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June 26, 2017 - 9:58 am
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It has its moments but I think generally SOMA is a lot more... I dunno, respectful of your nerves? Like, I just couldn't bring myself to even start Amnesia. There's no lamp oil or going crazy in the dark or hiding in cupboards or inventory puzzles or combat to get hung up on. Don't get me wrong, I shouted FUCK ME numerous times and whimpered in the dark upstairs on my own but as I've said before SOMA reminds me most of System Shock 2 and Gone Home in that it has this very natural momentum and focus with a sense of dread and foreboding lingering throughout that keeps pushing you forwards. This is helped by there being no collectibles or items or other bollocks to vacuum up so once you've done what you need to do you just get the fuck out of there like any sane person would do. I think the sci-fi setting is the sugar to help the medicine go down. That said, Routine looks like a whole pile of Nope so... I've no idea.

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xtal
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June 26, 2017 - 11:28 am
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I quit Soma after playing it for probably less than two hours. A lot of people praised it and I believe them. I just wasn't in the mood for a game of that kind when I was trying to play it. Sorry, Soma.

You're clearly a fan, Gregg; do you think it's fair to describe that game as a love child between the atmospheres of Bioshock and Penumbra: Overture? That was the vibe I got. I liked the vibe. I don't know, I just wasn't into the horror elements it was throwing at me at the time I played it. I wanted to like it so much too, because I can't think of many other games that take place, even partially, in Toronto.  *sadface*

Canadians love it (generally) when the rest of the world notices us, pathetic as it may be. I'm sure there will be bits of Far Cry 5 where people (read: me) are hooting and hollering, I think I can see Saskatchewan!!

 

Also, not sure how closely any of you have followed news about IO Interactive (the Hitman people) and their breakup with Square Enix (SE's doing) and its happy ending. Square Enix dropped them, but IO somehow managed to get the Hitman IP rights in the breakup, so they can make more Hitman! From all accounts I've heard the episodic game released last year was brilliant.

Anyway, IO has gone ahead and made the first episode free on all platforms. So go get it! (It's just called "Hitman" FYI)

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

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geggis
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June 26, 2017 - 7:00 pm
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It's funny, my friend who also played SOMA on PS4 did exactly the same as you. He just wasn't in the mood for it. Quite frankly I'm amazed folk can walk away from such a set-up and mystery!

I think SOMA's only likeness to Bioshock is its setting, really, and even then it's still very different. PATHOS-II is kind of the opposite to Rapture in a lot of ways! Hoo boy. It definitely has more in common with Penumbra, not just mechanically--although, again, it differs from Frictional's previous work in some key ways--but in the way it makes you feel hopelessly isolated and alone. I wish I could say more but suffice to say that SOMA isn't just more Frictional horror in a sci-fi setting. That's not why I think it's so special! 🙂 How far did you get exactly Max? Just so I have some idea of what you know...

I ought to look at Hitman. Never played one despite owning most of them...!

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Synonamess Botch
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June 26, 2017 - 10:18 pm
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I'll tell you how far I got in SOMA, although you didn't ask! 🙂

I would call it the first "gotcha" moment after you manage to get out of the first room.  Not very far I know.  I remember now having some trouble getting the visuals to an acceptable quality while retaining a decent framerate.  My rig is getting rather feeble, although I bet a simple graphics card upgrade would do wonders (I really have lost patience for dealing with this stuff).  I just stopped at that point for some benign reason and haven't picked it back up.

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geggis
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June 27, 2017 - 12:02 pm
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Ah, there! The "What the--" and "How the--" was too strong for me to resist at that stage!

I hope you both return to it at some point, perhaps later in the year when the nights are drawing in earlier.

Oh, Max! I played Three Fourths Home the other day. Enjoyed it and was really drawn into its short tale. Great format. The epilogue was confusing so I'm uncertain how much it added to the rest of it. The sound design was surprisingly effective too despite there being no voice acting.

I've been dabbling with Crypt of the Necrodancer and, damn, that's a tough game. Amazing music though:

Not sure how long I'll stick with it, but that's fine: I think I'll be digging into Skullgirls, unexpectedly, and giving Nuclear Throne some more time. I'm in a roguelike mood.

Armello is also a really delightful (and gorgeous) multiplayer digital board game that I've been playing with Brandon, Armand and Luke.

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Synonamess Botch
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July 14, 2017 - 12:53 pm
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Any of you have your eyes on Days Gone?  I guess it's more open-world/survival/zombies in a pretty crowded market but nonetheless the premise appeals to me.

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xtal
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July 14, 2017 - 9:30 pm
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Days Gone could be interesting. It's very weird that the studio developing it (Bend) hasn't put out a game since Uncharted: Golden Abyss on Vita. I wonder what sort of changes or false starts this game (or other, canceled games/versions of this project) has gone through.

As for Soma, I got to at least one encounter with some scary thing. I can't remember if there were any before that. Maybe an hour I played? I unlocked one trophy for dealing with the first task to do, I guess. I didn't enjoy trying to pass that encounter I reached, even though I'm sure it was barely anything. I didn't really want to continue playing and so just moved on. I'm trying to do that more. It's also basically essential to make decisions on games installed when you have a paltry 500GB PS4 hard drive.

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

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Pokey
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July 16, 2017 - 9:49 pm
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I've been playing Soma and really enjoying it. I agree, it does remind me of System Shock 2, one of my favorite games. I hear the new Prey is also similar to SS2, so I will look into it as well. The game gets more interesting as you play. The story is great. I have to find out what happened and how it turns out in the end. There is a scene in a bathroom, where you look into a mirror, that is a bit shocking.

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Steerpike
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July 18, 2017 - 9:37 am
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Prey has a lot in common with System Shock 2, Pokey -- I guess if you want to get really specific it has more of a Bioshock flavor to it, just in space, but that's essentially SS2 so you're in the same territory. The thing with Prey is that despite pushing all the right buttons, the game ultimately feels kind of juiceless to me... it's hard to get excited about, for some reason, when I think about playing it. Its story is rather dull, the characters are kind of wide-brush, and there are just enough annoyances with the PC version to be frustrating when it comes to stuff like control mapping. If you're thinking about it, check out Harbour Master's writings on Prey. That part is relatively spoiler free, and a later article discusses story and the emotional experience of playing the game.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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geggis
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July 18, 2017 - 10:16 am
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Pokey said
I've been playing Soma and really enjoying it. I agree, it does remind me of System Shock 2, one of my favorite games. I hear the new Prey is also similar to SS2, so I will look into it as well. The game gets more interesting as you play. The story is great. I have to find out what happened and how it turns out in the end. There is a scene in a bathroom, where you look into a mirror, that is a bit shocking.  

True story: I missed that bit! I've mentioned before that SOMA's sense of reality does a good job of questioning your bad habits as a gamer, that is, rooting around in lockers, cupboards, drawers, desks and, yeah, bathrooms, because most of the time there's simply nothing there. It's often a waste of time and I kind of love that. As a result I just avoided them or at least didn't hang around long enough to realise I could interact with mirrors...!

That's exactly how I felt though Pokey: I had to find out what happened and how it turned out. That was the initial strength of the story but it's the turns it takes and the resolution that left me reeling. Anyway, I'm glad you're enjoying it and keep us posted on your thoughts, I can't wait to hear them 🙂

I've started playing Transistor with a side helping of Nuclear Throne and GoNNER:

I'm not much good at these twitchy roguelite shooters but they're so satisfying if incredibly tough. I've got Enter the Gungeon lined up as well which I hear is also great.

I started playing TumbleSeed but that game can fuck right off. If something's tough and satisfying like, say, Teleglitch, then I'll happily keep trying but when it's tough (maybe probably perhaps possibly tougher than Teleglitch, which is tough, man) and infuriating and sort of empty at the end then I just want to rage uninstall it. I haven't done that yet but I don't think I'm far off, which is a shame because the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic and presentation is lovely too.

Edit: Max, major Boards of Canada vibes with that OST. Listen to Chasms to see what I mean.

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xtal
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July 19, 2017 - 3:33 pm
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"Chasms" definitely would fit right in on Tomorrow's Harvest. I hear the BoC sound far and wide, high and low, Gregg. Those two guys are like the electronica/ambient Velvet Underground, what with their seemingly endless influence. "Desert" sounds like a BoC tune if they drank up a bunch of sugar water and then jammed with Richard D. James for an hour.

How are you finding Transistor? I liked Bastion but haven't ever felt like Transistor was something I wanted to check out. Despite having a "free" copy from being a ps plus member.

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

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geggis
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July 19, 2017 - 5:12 pm
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Oh, Max! Here's Orbital from a couple of weeks back at the Bluedot festival that I attended. I was just blown away by them, so much so that I've picked up tickets to see them again in December for a full set! Great to be hearing that kind of music in that setting at that time with that weather and sound set-up. Just magical. The Twitch stream is a direct audio feed so the sound quality is fantastic and the visuals are awesome too. I've ripped it and got it stored locally now.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/157760675

Personal highlights from 47:30 - Satan, Halcyon and On and On (some xtal style vocals in this track) and Belfast. Holy shit, so good. Then there's a surprise performance! Great reading the chat too while it was streaming live.

So Transistor! I started it a few weeks back but the festival pushed a lot of it out of my mind so I started it again the other night and it's going a lot better now. The story is clicking with me more but the combat is still a little... confused. I dunno. It's too messy for real-time but the 'planning' phases are punctuated by what feels like 20 seconds of waiting for your planning bar to replenish while you run and hide. It doesn't flow. It's definitely a SuperGiant game though. Same composer, same vocalist, same narrator, same isometric view and crisp visuals, and the level pieces sort of appear and slot in again (in this case bits of cover to hide behind). Will report back!

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Steerpike
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July 20, 2017 - 9:00 am
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Yes, I'd like to hear more about Transistor too. It's come on sale several times but I've never quite gotten around to buying it, though the art style and Super Giant-ness certainly appeal to me.

I hope to finish up Persona 5 by the end of next week, then on PS4 it's back to Horizon for me. I only stopped playing Horizon because Persona came out, so it seems fair. I might give Mass Effect Andromeda another try as well, probably start over, treat it as a new experience, give it another chance. 

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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geggis
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July 20, 2017 - 11:08 am
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How'd you fare with Sang-Froid, Steerpike?

It's free on Steam now everyone, FREE!

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Steerpike
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July 20, 2017 - 3:50 pm
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I'm getting my ass kicked! It'll take some time for me to get my Sang-Froid brain back. I usually struggle the first few nights, as I refamiliarize myself with the dos and don'ts of French Canadian werewolf hunting.

But my god, the acting. I can only think of two games -- this and X Rebirth -- where the voice acting was bad enough to actually make me want to stop playing. It's painful.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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July 20, 2017 - 9:26 pm
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I grabbed Sang-Froid for a pittance a good while ago and completely bounced off of it.  Neither the art style nor the gameplay appealed to me.

What's your P5 in-game date Steerpike?  I'm on Nov. 12 and not really clear on how much remains.  While I adore the game, I'm getting ready for something more action-y.  I may even finish up Dark Souls 3, but will most likely dive into Nier Automata (which I'm really looking forward to).

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Dix
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July 20, 2017 - 9:35 pm
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*is summoned again by a P5 question directed at Steerpike*

I finished P5 a while ago, and if you're in mid-November, you've still got several hours of play time left (I'm not sure how best to estimate, since I spent quite a while finishing the last stages of the game but I was also playing on Hard and died a lot), but not many calendar days. So start wrapping up stuff that you need free time to do!

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

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geggis
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July 21, 2017 - 4:46 am
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I've got an almost finished review of Sang-Froid in my drafts that I wrote several years back. It's long and detailed and as my memory of the game's intricacies faded, so too did my energy to get it wrapped up. It's annoying because I read it back and think it's great but there's no end to it yet, only a list of stuff I wanted to cover that links into what I've already written. Anyway, the bottom line was that I loved it.

The voice acting ranges from decent to truly dreadful and I found it much more bearable to treat the whole thing like an amateurish small-scale stage show. I'm almost inclined to believe that that was the intent because of the theatrical framing, the recurring sets, the unremarkable delivery and wooden movements of the characters, the gleeful flamboyance of the devil who could be straight out of a pantomime. He's one of the better voice actors for what it's worth too. Either way, the story itself is quite interesting (co-written by Amos Daragon author Bryan Perro, if that means anything), it's just hamstrung by bad voice acting. If I could have muted the voices and enabled subtitles, I would have!

All that aside though, it's a fantastic, unique and finely tuned strategy game for many reasons that the review was meant to cover! It's one of the few games I've played though twice, once as each brother, and it was always a joy deliberating over how to approach each level as efficiently as possible; hatching a plan then trying to execute it under pressure. The name of the game is absolutely perfect.

I think when I'm done with Transistor I'll be hopping on to either Hyper Light Drifter or Nier: Automata.

I'm super excited about Cryptark at the moment after Tom Chick brought it to my attention yesterday. By the folks who did Capsized, and seeing as I'm on a roguelite shoot 'em up binge at the moment and, as evidenced above, love a good a plan, this looks right up my street.

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Synonamess Botch
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July 21, 2017 - 8:14 am
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Dix I switched over to Hard sometime after Maderame I think.  Anyway, a fairly good while ago.  There are moments of difficulty, but overall I think even Hard is a bit too easy.  That said, one of the things I've always enjoyed about Persona games and SMT in general is that you can completely dominate fights with good tactics, but make one mistake and you might just get a party wipe.  It's that knife edge which keeps things compelling.

I've got all the Confidants I care about maxed save a couple, and all my social stats maxed.  So I'm starting to look forward to the end-game swinging into view.  But first I'm eager to resolve the Palace which features at the very beginning of the game.

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Steerpike
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July 21, 2017 - 8:45 am
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I'm around the same time as you, Botch -- November 15 maybe -- and beginning to feel the crunch of mistakes I made early in the game. All the advice warns of spreading yourself too thin in terms of confidants, and even now I tend to go with mood or "character" reasons for hanging out with someone rather than actually good reasons. This is hurting me in confidant levels. I have Dr. Takemi maxxed out, and the website kid is close, but my work is cut out for me if I mean to make much more progress than that. Everyone else is between 4 and 7.

I second Gregg on Sang-Froid. It takes some adjustment because it's sort of a mashup between two game types, and it has mechanics of its own that require familiarization, but once it clicks it's a delight of a game. The Indiecade avalance has begun for super-jurors so I may not be able to get back to it for a while, but it's something I'd like to finally finish after years of starting over.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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