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Videogame thread

My biggest problem with Wild Area is the horrendous framerate drops that happen, especially when online. Granted I know the Switch isn't the most powerful thing in the world, and I don't know how you could even fix an issue like that. I like Wild Area as a general concept, in fact I love the idea of overworld pokemon if only so you know what you're getting yourself into before fighting, though the technical issues with it whether it be the pop-in or sluggishness just leaves me disappointed.

Other than that, I guess the leveling was a bit weird. I'm so used to a more...I don't know, grindy sort of Pokemon game and I think just getting exp share right off the bat is great. Though I ended up outleveling everything for the first three gyms before things calmed down. It was uneven for me.
 

Finland

TRUE!
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My biggest problem with Wild Area is the horrendous framerate drops that happen, especially when online. Granted I know the Switch isn't the most powerful thing in the world, and I don't know how you could even fix an issue like that.
I do at least wish it wouldn't lag when I'm using local communication with my two friends and no internet. Feels like that ought to be fixable, at least. For internet though yeah not sure if/how that'd happen.

Fantastic name you have, by the way!
 
There have been some games like Breath of the Wild, Mario Odysee and Fire Emblem Three Houses that I genuinely struggle to find fault with. Pokemon Sword and Shield hasn't been like that. I've had no trouble finding faults, such as the bare bones story, the lack of postgame and the occasional graphical glitches in the Wild Area. BUT. I've still had a great time playing Shield. I'm actually going to enter VGC for the first time ever in 2020, and am currently training my team for it.

Overall I'd give it an 8.5/10. I still think HGSS and SM were better games overall, but I've still had a great time with Shield.
 

Stratos

Banned deucer.
Just finished The Messenger (2018). This is another Ninja Gaiden inspired retro platformer, similar to Shovel Knight. You have your jump and your sword slash with shitty range. Unlike Shovel Knight though, it's actually fun to play.

The "unique" draw of this game is the cloudstep: if you slash something in midair, you gain a midair jump. This can be chained infinitely, as long as you have targets to slash—and there are plenty. This is a really fun mechanic to work with (although it isn't actually that unique—look at Ori's Bash or Shio's... thing) when it is utilized, but honestly it doesn't come into play particularly often. The game doesn't feel built around it. What the game is built around is generally solid platforming and combat that addresses many of the long-standing issues with the genre in creative ways. Two examples immediately come to mind.
  1. We all know the feeling of getting hit in one of these jump-and-slash games and taking the knockback arc directly into a pit. Messenger doesn't remove the classic knockback animation, but it gives your character the ability to jump out of it.
  2. Nothing ruins the pace of a fun action platformer like enemies that take forever to kill and block your path. Most enemies in The Messenger have one HP, and all of them are weak across their entire body. If you can avoid their attacks, you don't have to slow down at all to mow through them.
I died fairly regularly (the game has a death counter, and I was somewhere in the 300s at the end), and there are checkpoints only every 2ish minutes. But design decisions like these and others make it not a problem. After every death you run back to where you were faster and faster, and it feels very rewarding, because the only real limit to how fast you can go is your own skill. I can see how this game would be very fun to speedrun.

That's not to say the gameplay doesn't have its niggles. There are a few times throughout where local cycles force you to wait. I hate the fucking Jumping Quillshrooms. There are about ten unique enemies (not counting bosses) so if enemy variety keeps you going, you might not be thrilled—they're mostly there to enhance the platforming challenges. Most of the bosses, including the two final ones the game has been building up to, are too easy, though they are at least fun to fight. And the game's second act makes you run through most of the levels again, which kind of wears thin, though it at least has a ton of new content mixed in. All of these niggles don't detract from the main thesis here though: the gameplay is generally good.

As for the ancillaries, they're nothing extraordinary, but I was generally impressed by them as well. The story is less clever than it thinks it is, but there are still some extremely cool setpieces and moments, and the writing is enjoyable and absolutely packed to the brim with actually funny jokes. I found myself reading all of the optional dialogues. The art is good, while the music is only okay (some themes get kind of grating after a while honestly). But in the second act, you can swap between 8-bit and 16-bit art and music, which is exactly as cool as it sounds, i.e. very. It's not a sprawling epic like Hollow Knight, but there's probably 15-25 hours of content depending on how fast you play, with a good amount of variety.

So that's my take on The Messenger. It's hardly the cornerstone of the genre, but I definitely recommend it to any fan of action platformers. If you liked Shovel Knight and your taste isn't bollocks, you'll like this more.
 
Just finished Astral Chain. The combat was flashy and enjoyable in smaller bursts, but coming back to it after a break, I totally understand why I didn't exactly devour it at a rapid pace like I have other games. Felt a little shallow sometimes - switching legions was enjoyable, but felt mostly unnecessary even though it was the game's main selling point. The ranking system is also kinda jank. I often took some time to figure out enemy attack patterns but because I ended up stacking up so many bonuses from sync attacks, chain binds, headshots, etc it never really mattered and I got S+ regardless. Maybe that changes on PT Expert, dunno. Only had access to Standard on playthrough 1 of course and don't see myself immediately going back to the game.

Story wasn't amazing but I didn't go in expecting much, so I was fine with it. Hope we get to see more of Kyle in a future sequel, should we ever get one, and it looks like we would. It would also be great to learn a little more about Jena/Yoseph.

Environments were a pretty mixed bag, but the Astral Plane stuck out as particularly unappealing. It looked sort of neat the first time, but they never really made any significant changes to how it looks. And you go there a lot. The enemy, legion, and character designs were all good, though. The music was also pretty solid.

I'd also like to speak to whoever thought it was a good idea to include platforming sections in a game without a jump button... I may just be bad, but I feel like I can't have been the one frustrated with some parts of the game in that area.

This all may feel sort of negative, but overall: enjoyable combat, looks good, blue missions were a nice break between combats, liked some of the characters. I enjoyed my time with it overall and definitely think there's room for a fantastic sequel, should they choose to make one and improve on the formula.
(My internet's been freaking out, really hope this doesn't end up a double/triple post)
 

Mr.E

unban me from Discord
is a Two-Time Past SPL Champion
I'd also like to speak to whoever thought it was a good idea to include platforming sections in a game without a jump button... I may just be bad, but I feel like I can't have been the one frustrated with some parts of the game in that area.
literally every 3D Zelda
 
I've been playing the following games as of late:

Fallout New Vegas (Which I've been playing for years, repeatedly. It'll always be one of my favorites, if not my favorite game of all time).
Destiny 2 (on Google Stadia)
Halo Master Chief Collection on PC
Dying Light
Pokemon Sword
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
 

LucarioOfLegends

Master Procraster
is a CAP Contributor
So I've been letting my thoughts on Luigi's Mansion 3 simmer for a while, and I think I've come to the realization that while its great, I have 4 problems with it, one a minor one and three more major ones.
Let's knock the minor one out first.

1. Super Suction: This is a waste of an ability that we didn't have to go back to B1 for. It gets used exactly 3 times and has no other practical applications. Why does it exist? Well...

2. Padding: I already mentioned the B1 return, which was mildly interesting because of Toad physics, but I would like to share my disdain for that fucking cat. It appears twice before catching it for good and it feels like actual intentional story padding which is a bad. Backtracking is not a bad thing if it is done to utilize newly acquired skills and abilities. Its why Metroidvanias work. The cat is doing the same fucking thing you've been doing and its a waste if when I'd rather explore new floors.

3. Combat: For the first 2/3s of the game I wanted to use the slam as little as possible and for the most part I did because early game and possibly midgame non-boss combat is completely trivialized by it. It just does a dumb fuck amount of damage and ghost outside of your current target can get husband eventually comboed and it just sucks because it makes so many encounters easy. If a fight was hard it was because of room factors 90% of the time (fucking Indiana Jones ass rocks). Fights significantly improved late game and particularly in Fitness Center and Grand Suite. Removal of dodge function also sucks because I despise when ghosts drag me into another's attack zone. Also also enemy variety is lower than DM sans bosses wtf.

4. Boss Floors: For context these are floors like the music stage that are mostly there for their boss fight, usually more complex with the others. The first one, the music one, is fine because whilst a tad smaller it still feels comparable to early floors. The rest are jarring and tiny, which is disappointing considering all the sick ass floors like the various suites and the castle. These don't feel like actual floors to me, they feel like glorified boss arenas. Disco floor especially since its even smaller than Pirate floor and this is the second to last floor of the game. Its very disappointing to me and bugs me immensely.


Still like it tho, I hop on scarescraper from time to time. Not really yearning for a second playthrough.
 
I finished Bug Fables the other day.
For those who haven't heard of it, it's basically the spiritual successor to Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door in that it is a paper themed RPG with similar mechanics. It's made by an indie studio that really enjoyed Paper Mario. I have to say, for just 20 dollars and logging almost 60 hours of playtime upon completing the game... what an amazing buy!
Graphically, the paper style is charming and nostalgic, the characters are varied and adorable, and the lands range from gorgeous meadows to unsettling caves to stylized kingdoms.
Difficulty-wise, the game provides a nice challenge and customizable difficulty via badge equips that allows for casual players to enjoy the game but also challengers to find difficulty levels suited to their tastes.
The battle system is similar to Paper Mario but provides even more options which grants additional depth and strategy such as swapping, turn relay, etc. Plus, there are many abilities to choose from along with interesting badges to equip!
The platforming is interesting and allows for some cool puzzles while not being frustratingly hard.
And where the game really goes above and beyond is the story and characters! There are three main characters, each of which get characterized as the story goes on. They all have amazing stories, with backstories and character arcs spread out through the game and honestly I cried several times while playing from how nicely written they were. You really feel for the characters while you play. The story is also really interesting, with great pacing and nice lore too, really hooks you!
There is a lot of content and the quality is amazing! And playing the game, you could really tell all the love that went into it. I had so much fun and I recommend this game not just to Paper Mario fans or RPG fans, but anyone! It's on steam but I think it's coming to switch and other consoles in 2020. If you play, feel free to message me! I want more friends who have played the game, there's so much to talk about lol.
 
Some recent games I've enjoyed (fair warning if you buy digital games some of these RPGs are pretty huge GB-wise)

Xenoblade 2 - Very cool title. The combat is pretty cool, and the world building in top-notch. Heavy emphasis on exploration. There's a ton of side areas, hard to reach treasure, side quests, Merc missions, and developing the main Titan communities. The Legendary blade quests really help flesh out otherwise bland side characters, and give them more personality. Rex is a little bit annoying due to being a kid, but is more than balanced out by Tora, Nia, and the other characters in your traveling band being very enjoyable. The backstory between Mythra and the other blades from the past was interweaved into the story well.

Final Fantasy X / Final Fantasy X-2 - haven't played either of these before, although I have dabbled in some other FF games in the past. Found these to be very enjoyable. Titus took a while to grow on me, but about halfway through he became a pretty strong lead character. The sphere grid system is a cool level up system, especially with some of the more limited spheres. The only real complaint I have is that FFX doesn't let you backtrack until the very end of the game. FFX2 is noticeably lighter in tone, and it's nice to see a different version of Spira. FFX2 also uses a different combat system making it a better change of pace in a lot of respects, even with a mostly returning cast.

Dragon Quest XI - My favorite switch game so far, I think. My first playthough ran over 130 hours, and that's not even 100%ing it - excited to start another playthrough with Draconian rules on. There’s an overwhelming amount on content. It's a classic RPG in its structure, but every single aspect is so fleshed out. The characters do fall into classes to a degree, ie the Luminary as a paladin, Eric as a Thief, Serena and Veronica as mages, etc, however the game does an excellent job fleshing them out and developing their characters, especially in Act II. The games UI is top notch, it’s beautifully animated, and the in-game bestiary and item listing are incredibly robust. The forging system is really novel as well. The areas are all very distinctive with one or two exceptions, and it didn't feel laborious trekking through them again during each act. The endgame was pretty challenging and some areas are really difficult even at level 99 with great equipment (especially if you avoid cheesing with Eric).
 

Acklow

I am always tired. Don't bother me.
Are you still finding enjoyment out of Destiny 2? After the change up I just couldn’t dive back into it. Especially after all the money I sunk into that game.
The gameplay loop is far from ideal by a long shot, but the endgame is there quite unlike back in year one season one. Seasonal content seems like the right way to go in a practical sense as well as in a story and business sense. The gunplay remains top notch and honestly is the reason I play. There are few games that match the tactile feel when fpsing like Destiny 2. Also it’s one of the few games that does a decent job intertwining PvE and PvP in a shooter (it does have its problems but that’s not unusual for any mmo). My only biggest gripes are the bounty grind and Eververse economy.
 

Ortheore

Tournament Banned
For those of you who are really picky/stingy and don't buy shitloads of games in steam sales or w/e, how do you go about finding new games to play? I'm really struggling to find new games that I like. Video game recommendation services aren't very common, and the ones that do exist tend to be fucking garbage. Research is tedious and often fruitless, but I still want to pursue it because I know that when I do find those good games it will be worth it
 

Martin

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For those of you who are really picky/stingy and don't buy shitloads of games in steam sales or w/e, how do you go about finding new games to play? I'm really struggling to find new games that I like. Video game recommendation services aren't very common, and the ones that do exist tend to be fucking garbage. Research is tedious and often fruitless, but I still want to pursue it because I know that when I do find those good games it will be worth it
Ask ur friends what they’ve played recently and enjoyed; watch gamers on YT to see what looks fun to u; browse stores and buy one or two games on a whim every now and then.

I think the only way to viably be stingy without largely forgoing the hobby is to either work with reccs from ppl u chat with or to be happy to try maybe one or two games every month or two that you think you might possibly want to play because u saw a pic of it on the eshop/whatever. Well, that or playing one game at the expense of all/most others. If you would still like to research but don’t want to dive into a deep rabbit hole, perhaps try looking at a magazine’s graphic of games by console or w/e and playing some of them—as much as game criticism is sorta bleh, it’s probably worth looking into stuff critics like if only to keep up with conversation.
 

Asek

Banned deucer.
For those of you who are really picky/stingy and don't buy shitloads of games in steam sales or w/e, how do you go about finding new games to play? I'm really struggling to find new games that I like. Video game recommendation services aren't very common, and the ones that do exist tend to be fucking garbage. Research is tedious and often fruitless, but I still want to pursue it because I know that when I do find those good games it will be worth it
find something that you know you can sink a lot of time into and enjoy - most often this is a (grand) strategy or multiplayer game. this alleviates the need to find new games because you can keep returning to these and they have (almost) infinite replayability.

alternatively you can see other titles from the same developer / team of games you liked. i dont know what games you like to play, but i know if i pick up a square(enix), new world computing or paradox title ill almost certainly enjoy it.

i dont find big video game review websites too useful..... but if you find a small reviewer who shares your general tastes and opinions in a significant enough number of titles they can be useful to find new games. for me thats been ssethtzeentach for the last few years, who i found for his might and magic reviews and put me onto other games which i enjoyed a lot (deus ex, vampire masquerade bloodline).
 

Oglemi

Hooo
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Agree on finding a smaller reviewer you like. I personally enjoy Dunkey, he's very quick to let you know if the next triple A title is garbage or not (I think I've disagreed with his take maybe once) and he has a whole video (or two) dedicated to going in depth on why large scale reviewers like IGN are completely worthless.

When it was a thing I really liked Gamefly, which let you rent games for a monthly subscription. We also used to commonly go to the local video store and rent and that's how I found the Tales series which is now probably my favorite all-time, so I would check your local listings to see if you still have one near you, it's a very cheap and effective way to try out new titles without having to commit and I wish it was still a common practice tbh. Personally haven't done this in a while but worth a look imo
 
I agree with pretty much everything said above on The Messenger. Except for maybe the part about it being better than Shovel Knight, or at least the original Shovel Knight. Both Scepter of Torment and King of Cards felt like they were trying too hard to add a unique twist to the platforming formula, and while I appreciate the work that must have gone into redesigning the levels to accomadate the different movesets, it just isn't that much fun to play for me. Also, the card minigame in King of Cards is one of the weaker token card games I've seen.

In other games, I played Disco Elysium recently, the game where you play a cop after a blackout in an alternate Industrial Revolution-y world. The skill system is a bit more complicated than it needs to be but the dialogue is well-written and engaging and frequently pretty funny which is good because the dialogue is pretty much the entire game. In particular the way that your skills talk to you and comment on whatever is going on at the time adds a rather unique feel. I wish it was a bit longer but that's usually a good sign for a game, I quite enjoyed my time with it.
 

Da Letter El

Officially internet famous
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Want to second recommendations on Dragon Quest XI by the way; have had a lot of fun with it. It's not a game I'll recommend if you don't like JRPG's, but if you do, this is just great execution of it. I've sunk in almost 60 hours and am only at the first real boss of part 2. Draconian settings of "no xp from weak monsters" and "more difficult enemies" have been a legitimate challenge at times (including this current boss) without feeling hopeless or a chore.
 

Deck Knight

Blast Off At The Speed Of Light! That's Right!
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So TemTem is being super hyped up before it's release as a competitor to Pokemon. It does seem like they took the features people liked most about various mons games and emphasized them, and also implemented an ASB/Battle-By-Post stamina system. It releases tomorrow.

I think it will ultimately end up as a flash in the pan, but it is nice to see indie developers alter a successful formula and take a shot at it. I think Pokemon arrived in the public consciousness at just the right time, as something meatier than Neopets or Tamagotchi and just as handheld systems were taking off, the original GameBoy being insanely dominant. The original anime theme was also so awesome it generated a lot of series interest.

Anyone else considering taking it for a spin?
 
Pokemon is too big for some random indie knockoff to topple overnight. I don't plan on playing TemTem (I probably wouldn't pick up Pokemon if it wasn't already a game I played and am familiar with), and while it might enjoy some temporary popularity, labeling it a competitor to Pokemon is... generous at best.
 

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