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    Slay the Spire (PC)    by   jp       (Feb 8th, 2020 at 23:35:25)

    I've really, really been enjoying this. Perhaps what I like the most is the feeling of discovery you get when you figure out/realize some new combo or strategy. It's a bit of a shame you can't always plan/execute them (since a lot of it depends on the cards you get/are offered), but, it definitely scratches the same itch I have with magic.

    I guess the difference is that in MtG, it seems like everyone else has already figured out all the combos and so I always play against these stacked decks (when online). Here, since it's a single-player game, I guess it's all me all the time.

    I think I've been able to slay the spire at least once with all the characters - but I haven't unlocked all the cards. So, need to play some more!

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    Mutazione (PS4)    by   jp       (Feb 8th, 2020 at 18:33:09)

    So, I finished it. And uh... it gets more interesting, but not substantially so. I think it's mostly a matter of taste for me - the game is "fine", I just wasn't that interested or intrigued by the story and characters.

    Yes, it was interesting to learn more about the world's backstory and such...and yes, it was interesting to know more about the characters and see their relationships evolve. But, I guess I'm not that drawn to soap operas?

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    Watchdogs (PS4)    by   jp       (Feb 8th, 2020 at 16:10:43)

    The longer I play, the less I like the protagonist - mostly because he's acts all righteous but then (when I control him) he does terrible things. Actually, he does terrible things in the cut-scenes as well.

    Still, I have enjoyed the game immensely, but I've decided I won't finish the campaign. I'm 2/3 through the 2nd act and I've realized I don't like the shooty bits THAT much - mostly because I often die because I'm stuck "crouching/in cover" and can't run/move to another place fast enough. I'm blaming myself for that for the most part - it's a way to do combat that emphasizes patience and stealth (I think?) and...I sometimes don't have that much patience.

    I think what I've enjoyed and appreciated the most about the game is:

    a. How large and interesting so much of the world is - there's all kinds of little details in the things you intercept as well as the places you can go. Having lived in Chicago is a real treat - since you recognize places and also recognize the differences. And then, a lot of the fun really comes from trying to figure out what certain places are meant to be - if anything. Sure, I lived in Chicago - but I'm no expert on the city...so there's lots of doubt in my mind about what some of the places really are. I guess this is why I decided to get the "visit all the special locations" trophy.

    b. The hacking was fun and I enjoyed it as an alternative to busting in to places guns blazing and all that.

    c. While I had a hard time shaking cops when I got into trouble, in some of the later missions I really enjoyed being able to "hack" stuff in the street to help me get away and so on. It felt pretty cool.

    d. I also did all the "Privacy Invasion" missions - those were REALLY interesting. Not so much the doing them, but watching all those little vignettes of life. In my view, it's one of the best things about the game - especially in the sense of them (often) being a place for social commentary on the challenges of daily life. They're kind of all over the place and some of them are REALLY serious, touching, moving, thoughtful, and thought provoking. There's one that still sticks with me..it's basically an empty house, and you see a body on the floor and the phone you hack has a message from someone the owner's son talking about how he wants to see him, he's not a bother, etc. The homeowner, an older man, is dead. Did he kill himself? Have a heart attack? So many questions! ...and so many privacy invasions were like this.

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    Assassin's Creed Origins (PS4)    by   dkirschner       (Feb 5th, 2020 at 08:10:45)

    Whoa, new Assassin's Creed! It's been a few years. I thoroughly enjoyed Black Flag (4), the last one I played. I miss my crew and the sea shanties and firing cannonballs at other ships. But my how the series has changed. My, how it looks and feels more like The Witcher 3 and Soulsborne games! Someone's aping trends.

    What's Witcher about it? Well, it's got the old Ubisoft map bloat with a million icons on it, but I notice question marks all over the place now. These points of interest encourage exploration, and when you arrive you will find a beast den, a stargazing area, a guarded fort, a treasure hunt, and so on, with little objectives (kill this, steal that) to complete for a small amount of XP and some treasure. Cool, but already those question marks feel like bloat. I remember the question marks in The Witcher revealing lots of really cool things, possibly because of the fantasy setting you never knew what kind of awesome thing you'd discover. Here, trekking across the map to shoot a ram with a bow-and-arrow just doesn't seem as appealing. My favorite are the constellation ones where you get some mythology and play with stars. I've pretty much started ignoring the question marks though. There are also more refined skill trees, and the gadgets tree feels very much like the Witcher's potions tree. Side quests are more fleshed out, which is certainly an improvement over previous AC games.

    What's Soulsborne about it? After just finishing Bloodborne, I was surprised that the controls and combat were so similar, as AC's combat before felt unique (even though it could sometimes be frustrating). R3 locks on to enemies, just like Soulsbornes. R1 is light attack, R2 is heavy attack, hold R2 for charged heavy attack. Press circle to dodge. I suspect that some later fights may be more challenging like in Bloodborne. So far, I'm kind of shocked at how much melee combat there is (this was always a weak point in AC games), though I did just get the hidden blade, so more stealth and assassinating is in my future.

    I'm certainly enjoying the game. Egypt is stunning, and thanks to my new PS4 Pro, I am playing a game for the first time in 4K. I see a future where I just walk around in a video game to marvel at the environments to relax after work. Sometimes when I climb up to a view point, I'll sit up there for 5 minutes just looking out over the landscape below. I mean, it's utterly beautiful. I would love to watch an Egyptologist play the game. I'm sure there's a YouTube video for that with a clickbait title.

    My only real gripe is the intrusion of Ubisoft into what I wish was a single-player experience. I mean, thanks for the amazing recreation of ancient Egypt, but would you just let me enjoy it in peace? The game constantly reminds me to check out the store, it forces other players' screenshots onto my minimap which clutters it even further, and it thinks I give a shit about avenging VapeMan69's death at the hands of a hyena. Look, I don't know VapeMan69 and I don't care what he was doing or why he was killed by a hyena, but can you kindly STOP CLUTTERING THE MINIMAP UBISOFT or give me more refined filters please and thank you.

    I look forward to playing more and continuing with the story, which has me oddly intrigued as far as AC goes (even the Abstergo part is neat!). I look forward to uncomfortably watching Bayek and Aya make out and have sex in weird places, and I'm already sad because there's no way they would show this much making out and steamy romance if they weren't going to kill Aya. Bayek has already lost his son and he lost is ring finger (symbolic for severing of the marriage??) and he's going to need some more motivation to keep assassinating for 30 more hours. WHAT IF the twist is that Bayek gets killed and you switch to playing as Aya?! That would be awesome.

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    Bloodborne (PS4)    by   dkirschner       (Jan 31st, 2020 at 22:24:46)

    I actually beat this. I can't believe it. Take that, FromSoftware.

    Bloodborne is definitely one of the most difficult games I've ever played and one that punishes you harshly for mistakes. I learned patience, lots of patience.

    Here are some other things I learned that I didn't mention (or had incomplete knowledge of) in my other post:

    1. If you find a good route of enemies that give lots of blood echoes (especially after you get runes that increase blood echoes), just plow through that route a handful of times and boost your level. I found a great run near the end that also supplies health potions, and I thought, "Great! I can farm health potions here if I need to!" And I did that run probably 5 or 6 times because there was a sad, weeping mother with blood on her white dress in a boss-ish looking area who I didn't want to go near. I was getting over 2 levels worth of blood echoes for that run, so I just kept doing it.

    2. You might have to farm blood echoes later in the game. It's okay, very easy to do. Go back to Central Yharnam and crush all the enemies around there. You'll rack up 20+ potions and it takes like 5-10 minutes. I did it like 5 times while I was on the phone with my mom and never had to do it again.

    3. If you think you might be coming up on a boss (big, open arena? check. big, double doors that you have to push open? check), don't be afraid to go back to the Dream and spend your blood echoes. It'll be relatively easy to get back to the boss and you won't lose all your experience.

    4. Tired of running out of health potions on bosses? Don't use them until you can knock a chunk of the boss's life off without using one. Learn its moves. Then when you're smarter and more confident, commit to using potions and finishing the rest of the battle.

    5. Learn how to do a visceral attack. I didn't know this existed until I got a run that enhanced my visceral attack. The game doesn't teach you so...I don't know how you're supposed to know. I looked it up when I saw that rune. You can do some major damage and get some rune effects.

    6. Don't be afraid to use help from the summoning portal things. You can use insight to summon another hunter (NPC offline, human online). You can use the bell to summon players any time I think. I never did this. But I gather that you have to be careful because they might kill you.

    7. Stat scaling on weapons is useful to pay attention to and can determine how you can best level up. I realized at some point that the sword I was favoring scaled with skill and I should quit putting points into strength.

    8. Frenzy is a pain in the ass. I didn't understand how this worked until very, very late in the game in the Nightmare of Mensis. I didn't understand until then because every time I got frenzied until then I died. My resistance was super low or I just didn't get it or something. Again, no explanation for this in-game!

    9. The special altars or whatever they are called are unnecessary. I went into one toward the end of the game just to see what it was. Looks like randomized or procedurally generated dungeons crawling. Probably special items in there or something. Extra content for those who love the combat I suppose.

    10. Before the last boss, which has that great experience and potion run I mentioned earlier, if you don't plan on New Game Plus or anything, just sell all your shit that you don't use and level up as much as possible. I squeezed like 5 levels out of selling things and using the rest of those blood gems. I think in doing that run 5 or 6 times and selling everything, I gained about 20 levels. Perhaps that's why the last boss only took 5 or so tries.

    11. The story is...hard to parse. It's told sparingly, largely through environmental means. You have to work to piece it together. I read wikis.

    That's gotta be about it. I don't think I'm going to go back and play the Souls games, but I will look forward to Sekiro when the price drops. There's no way I can play too many of these kinds of games. My nerves.

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    GameLog hopes to be a site where gamers such as yourself keep track of the games that they are currently playing. A GameLog is basically a record of a game you started playing. If it's open, you still consider yourself to be playing the game. If it's closed, you finished playing the game. (it doesn't matter if you got bored, frustrated,etc.) You can also attach short comments to each of your games or even maintain a diary (with more detailed entries) for that game. Call it a weblog of game playing activity if you will.

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    1 : jp's Dicey Dungeons (PC)
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    Random

    DOOM (PC)    by   callofcthulhu6

    An awesome experience. A must for any First Person Shooter fan, not only for historical significance, but for perfection of gameplay.
    most recent entry:   Saturday 9 February, 2008
    Gameplay

    I progressed through a few more levels. I was pleasantly reminded of how amazing the music in this game is. Several of the songs are actually covers of popular metal songs, and some are just fittingly awesome--both the fast paced adrenaline pumping tracks, and the eerie tense ones.

    Graced with the Rocket Launcher during this session, I was also pleasantly reminded of the joy of fragging. That satisfying flesh obliterating sound effect, and the grotesque explosion that reduces your enemies to a red blob. Of course this weapon is nowhere near as useful as the shotgun or the chaingun when it comes to standard combat, for the obvious reason that it damages you as well, and it's outclassed when it comes to heavy duty tasks by the later acquired plasma gun, and, naturally, the BFG. Also, conserving your rockets mean those few occasions when you really need them (the final boss battle of E1 for example).

    The awesome scene at the end of E1, wherein, having just vanquished the big baddies, you enter the portal to what you presume to be home, only to be torn to shreds by a horde of monsters, has always been one of my favorites. An excellent segue into the E2.

    Design

    As I mentioned, DOOM is a game of simple, fast paced action. Though not the first FPS, it was the first to make use of a Z axis (though without the ability to directly manipulate your position on said axis, save dropping down.) The player progresses through increasingly difficult levels, each one reflecting a different portion of the Phobos-Diemos stations (and, climactically, Hell itself, each level representing a circle of Dante's Inferno.)

    The player never has a chance to lose interest, because while each level is simply a matter of reaching the final switch of the level (which is usually behind any number of sectioned off rooms, accessed through keys and switches) at every turn you're simultaneously trying to survive the horde of demons infesting the place.

    The AI is pretty amazing, relatively speaking. The monsters can interact with the gameworld in every way you can (with the exception of hitting switches or unlocking doors), which is to say, they can move, shoot, and open unlocked doors. They're also fairly vicious, seeking you out even if you move out of visual range. A quirk of the AI (and it can be argued whether this is a bug or an intentional mechanic to be manipulated by the strategically minded) is that monsters, if by chance they happen to damage each other while aiming at you, will immediately turn on each other. If executed properly, you can get an entire room full of monsters to eliminate each other, reducing the amount of work you have to do.

    All in all, every mechanic of this game is executed in spades. From the suitably creepy music and sound effects, to the tight controls and brutally paced action. Even the graphics are impressive for a simple sprite based game, and they succeed very well at establishing the atmosphere.

    [read this GameLog]

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