Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

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Mongrel
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Mongrel » Thu Aug 05, 2021 5:33 pm

Yep.
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 07, 2021 12:01 am

Okay, "mob boss kills some random brothel owner in order to provoke a gang war, and it works, but only because a homeless ex-Yakuza just happens to make friends with the victim right before it happens, and then at the funeral that guy has a chance encounter with somebody who just happened to be on the phone with the victim during the murder and overheard the mob boss's name" is one of those plot points that...well, it could have worked, if the game had leaned into the absurdity, like "hero pulls Excalibur from the stone, except it's a baseball bat wrapped in barbed war, and it's stuck in concrete."

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby beatbandito » Sun Aug 08, 2021 7:33 pm

Pokemon Unite! update: The game is less fun two weeks in with no friends. It's still not "this is no fun I lose everything I hate this, I need a team that knows what they're doing", but personally, just getting higher in ranked isn't enough motivation to keep going. I don't know if it's matchmaking or global meta, but pretty much everyone seems to grok the basics in every round, even if they then proceed to completely fuck them up. Balance is good, any p2w builds were indistinguishable from any of well fed carry (or possibly not even). I still think it's a worthwhile game to literally download for free to have some fun with.

The Ascent is a pretty dang fun twin-stick RPG shooter. Unfortunately it's quite buggy (crashes, breaks, invisible items, teleporting and possible double-spawning enemies, bad geometry and breaks in levels) and sloppy otherwise. It's built up around co-op, but there's just one story quest with a decent chunk of side quests, no procedural "go here kill target" missions, despite having that exact function for randomly spawning bounty enemies. The plot and writing at times feel like they're specifically trying to push some kind of right-wing take, and other times just feel like it was all written and translated by non-native english speakers. But no one says anything particularly meaningful or insightful, to say the least. The setting is fun, but very little is done with the central conceit, and at the end it feels like they start dumping in new info just as a joke, since it'll never be actualized. Also the gameplay pacing is pretty bad. For all the talk about different builds and class types, there was maybe a 3 hours stretch of the ~30 hours to 100% the game where I felt like I was making a choice about what armor I used, and not just equipping a current clear BIS. Weapons and augment abilities felt the same to me, but there could be more room for personal taste. I'd only pick this up if it's on sale and you really just want a twin-stick shooter with minimal rpg elements. Or if you have a friend that you'll be doing a full run together with, might be great for that.

Phantasy Star Online New: Two Genesis: Yeah, it's okay. It's classic PSO levels of grind. There's like 7 story missions so far, and 3 of them are "grind for gear until you're ready for this" I really like the open world style, though. Killing 100 enemies in a small area where other players killing their own groups can bounce around and focus on the big spawns that show up in areas with activity is more of what I like than going into an instance with a premade group. It feels pretty quick and floaty. All the classes so far play even more fluidly than they ever did in PSO2. I think Phashion is also way better than FFashion, so that's a bonus for me. But I don't know how much time I can invest in this with the current amount of content. Maybe if they add bouncers in soon.
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Tue Aug 10, 2021 3:06 pm

Thad wrote:It's still early days and I'm wondering if it plays out more like the job system in DQ7 or DQ9. I liked 7's better; the way I play is usually to stick with a job until I master it before moving on to the next one. DQ7's job system accommodates that play style nicely, whereas 9 isn't really meant to be played that way (I think I made it to the endgame without ever mastering a single class and, therefore, never changed anyone's class).

Playing it a little more, the Yakuza job system is definitely designed to have you switch around rather than complete a job and move onto another one. So far, there's no tree at all; I haven't seen any job whose requirements are getting to X rank in some other job. (They're gated by level and other stats.)

But the most obvious cue that you're supposed to switch around is, almost every job gives you some sort of permanent stat boost at rank 2. And rank 2 is really easy to attain; one or two battles is all it takes. So there's really no good reason not to have everybody get to at least rank 2 in every possible job.

Not a bad way to nudge you into trying every job for at least a couple battles.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Wed Aug 11, 2021 2:38 pm

Thad wrote:Okay, "mob boss kills some random brothel owner in order to provoke a gang war, and it works, but only because a homeless ex-Yakuza just happens to make friends with the victim right before it happens, and then at the funeral that guy has a chance encounter with somebody who just happened to be on the phone with the victim during the murder and overheard the mob boss's name" is one of those plot points that...well, it could have worked, if the game had leaned into the absurdity, like "hero pulls Excalibur from the stone, except it's a baseball bat wrapped in barbed war, and it's stuck in concrete."

The downside to a world that's alternately wacky and serious is that it's hard to tell when it switches from one to the other (especially since, as noted above, a lot of the ostensibly "serious" stuff is actually really dumb).

There's a bit early on where you meet a character and they give you a backstory that doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense. It turns out that's because they're lying -- but how are you supposed to know that someone telling you a story that doesn't add up is supposed to be suspicious, and not just reflect a game world that's fucking ridiculous?

I feel like that could be played really well to upset your expectations -- surprise, this thing you thought was just the game being silly was actually serious! -- but the script's not strong enough to make that kind of payoff work.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Mongrel » Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:29 pm

The corrosive cancerous trend for online gaming is getting me down more than usual.

Been looking for new games and it's like there's more fucking outright grifts than games. You guys hear about this "Earth2"? (probably... I'm the one in the slow class after all) Some jackasses have made a scale earth 3D space and are selling 10m x 10m plots of land with no actual game mechanics nor even a supposed direction this "game" will take. And I thought Star Citizen was bullshit... Jesus!

I look at established games and I see more lootboxes, more RNG, more exploitative bullshit, and more straight-up BOREDOM, like a VOID of gameplay. That's without even getting into games being completely consumed by bots or RMT. Even TF2 is just seas of bots now (or mediocre paywalled servers), apparently. Like, I thought WoW (never my bag and no way would I support ActiBlizz, but I'm looking all over, y'know?) at least was still plodding along as some sort of cyclopean mediocrity, but apparently even that's been a disaster for a couple years now.

Fucking hell I just want to pass some time online fucking around with other people in a game that's at least modestly enjoyable while trapped in this box hiding from the fucking plague.

Water, water everywhere and not a fucking goddamned drop to drink. If it ain't seawater, it's fucking KoolAid.
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby mharr » Sun Aug 15, 2021 6:27 pm

'Tis all about finding the authors and critics you trust, plus working through the endless archive of last generation classics. The mass market corporate offerings are a dumpster fire, as seen in every medium. I find HG101 a good source of random inspiration. http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/category/feature

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Mongrel » Sun Aug 15, 2021 7:39 pm

Well, the main problem is that large online games are a small proportion of the whole, and tend to be more corporate simply because of the resources involved.

There's not exactly a lot of indie MMOs of any genre, be they from the last generation or this one.

Does that site look at online multiplayer games at all? At a glance it just seems like a river of old single-player games (and just plain OLD games in general), or console games with multiple players. When I type "multiplayer" into the search and the top hits are Doom clones and the Pa Rappa series, I'm not exactly sure this site has what I'm looking for.

In case it wasn't clear, it's not so much that I want to waste some time. I want to waste some time with other people.
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby mharr » Mon Aug 16, 2021 2:25 am

Ah, yeah - threading the multiplayer needle of low monetisation bullshit, servers still live and populated, but not by people enacting a long form Lord of the Flies renfayre. That one's exhausting.

Are you specifically looking for a classic over-the-shoulder numbers-go-up MMO format?

If you're good with Minecraft's engine, Wynncraft is an action combat MMO built entirely from serverside hacks, it has some lootbox nonsense but I've spent a hundred hours exploring without needing to engage with that.

Veloren is an open source attempt to expand on the ideas of Cube World in a Dwarf Fortressey direction, very impressive engine under constant enthusiastic development, public test server is always live with a friendly population of testers & devs. Character progress is saved but probably to be wiped at some future point. https://veloren.net/devblogs

The various City of Heroes pirate servers are still going strong, offering free access to various upgrades and experimenting with new powersets and character design options. https://cohmmunity.com/cohmmunity/index ... /full-list

Or we could get some private server stuff up and running here, maybe. I'm currently set up to host Valheim, Minecraft, Terraria or Starbound (I have a type apparently) although this might not be an optimum central location.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 16, 2021 2:57 am

Not necessarily looking for any particular style or genre, just something that's actually mechanically engaging.

Kind of burnt out on "crude multiplayer FPS" with voxel-world base-building at the moment, thanks to umpteen hours of 7D2D as well as a fair chunk of Avorion (doesn't mean I wouldn't in future, just not right now). So Minecraft and Valheim variants are not really on my radar ATM.
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby mharr » Mon Aug 16, 2021 4:38 am

It's outside my wheelhouse, but I keep hearing good things from the uk pc gamer & rps veterans about Hunt: Showdown. The same sources highlight Star Wars: Squadrons as a hidden MP gem, although player numbers seem dangerously low there. Chivalry 2 looks to be really leaning hard into the physical comedy of the first game.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:06 am

Hunt looked neat, IIRC, though it was still in the "Shiny new expensive" category (also not sure I can run it).
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby mharr » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:43 am

Aye, also mired in the eternity of early access, as all the interesting stuff seems to be these days. Feels like by the time anything officially hits 1.0 it's long since dead and buried.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:45 pm

Unfortunately the combat in Y:LAD is largely boring fight-fight-heal stuff. It has some interesting systems that are designed to make this not the case, but unfortunately they're not implemented very well.

F'rinstance, some classes can equip weapons that replenish MP when they attack. This is, hypothetically, a great idea for encouraging you to use more spells, and it works pretty well in the earlygame when you get a party member who can do that and also has some good healing and AoE damage spells.

But it turns out that's not the norm! That's his unique starting class, that you can't assign anyone else to. And then he leaves the party for a good big chunk of the game. And for the most part, classes that allow MP-replenishing weapons *don't* have good offensive spells. And because buffs and debuffs usually aren't very useful outside of boss fights, I mostly find myself using my MP to steal bullshit from grunts.

Bosses aren't particularly interesting even when they have gimmicks. Buffs and debuffs are more useful in boss fights, but it's not like Dragon Quest where bosses are susceptible to status ailments. You can't steal items from bosses, which felt like bullshit at first until I remembered that, oh yeah, having rare or unique items that you can only acquire from rare or unique enemies, and then only if the RNG comes up just the right way, was always fucking bullshit, and I applaud the game for not doing that.

It's also got the Chrono Trigger problem where positioning on the battlefield affects what you can do but you don't really have much of any control over it. Like, there's a boss fight that's a crane with a wrecking ball, and Kasuga warns everybody to stay out from under the wrecking ball, but...there's not really any way to do that. In order to attack the boss, you have to get in the way of the wrecking ball, and even if you don't tell a party member to attack, they might randomly shuffle into its way anyway. So "stay out of the way" really isn't a viable strategy at all; it's more "make sure you're at a high enough level, keep your defense buffed and everybody at full HP, and learn the timing to block the attacks."

Also while it's got a lot of modern niceties, occasionally it'll hit you with some weirdly archaic limitations. Like I just had a character who'd been gone awhile rejoin my party right before a boss fight, and it didn't even give me an opportunity to change his equipment or choose which party member to have him replace. The game just fucking unilaterally replaced my healer with a squishy who I wasted multiple turns resurrecting, and then wrapped it in a cutscene about how he'd just come in and saved me against impossible odds instead of, you know, being useless fucking deadweight in a fight that wasn't really that hard in the first place.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Lady » Thu Aug 26, 2021 6:13 pm

wtf are gaems

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:38 pm

The biggest problem with the job system in Y:LAD is that every character starts with a unique job with unique abilities and, in most cases, it's more useful just to stick with that initial job than to switch around and try others (aside from the aforementioned incentive to get at least a couple levels into each job for the stat boosts).

I can think of a couple easy ways this could have been fixed. One would just be a plain ol' FF5-style secondary skillset -- let you switch to another job while keeping the skills from your base class. Or even just let you equip a weapon from another class (those MP-regenerating weapons are useful, yo).

Another would be more skills that are permanent and which you keep even after a class change. There are some (it's worthwhile to get everybody far enough along the Musician job to learn the regen song), but most of the useful spells are locked to the class you learn them on, and you lose them if you switch.

As of right now, I've got six characters and four of them are set to the unique job they start with (or, in Kasuga's case, his second and much better unique job, Hero). And of the two who aren't, Saeko's kind of a special case.

See, Saeko is the only female party member. (At least, so far. There may be more; judging by the job icons on equipment at shops, I think there's at least one party member who still hasn't joined.) And she gets a completely different set of available jobs than the men, including Dominatrix and Idol, because I don't want to blow your mind or anything but I think JRPGs might have some issues with sexism, y'all. So effectively, it's not just her starting job that's unique, all her jobs are unique. At least, until/unless another woman joins the party, which hasn't happened yet.

I've had her classed as an Idol pretty much since the job became available, because it's got healing spells and MP-regenerating weapons. But it would be nice if she had more access to AoE attacks.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby zaratustra » Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:06 am

Psychonauts 2 is really fucking pretty. Like, possibly prettier than The Witness, and it has moving objects in it.

Mechanically though it's a little plain. "go find three things" is used over, and over, and over. sometimes you find them in order. sometimes you get to choose which order. Sometimes to get one of the three things you need to get three other things.

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby KingRoyal » Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:20 am

Sounds like Psychonauts, then

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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Newbie » Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:04 pm

Yeah, it's still essentially a LucasArts adventure game if all the puzzles were replaced with lightweight platforming and exploration. Even with game design largely unchanged from 2005, I have really enjoyed revisiting this world and these characters.
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Re: Hey [%target] Whatcha Playin'?

Postby Thad » Mon Sep 06, 2021 12:22 pm

I know the Yakuza series is renowned for its mini-games, and I'm beginning to see why.

I haven't played Can Quest or Dragon Kart beyond the required introductory round, but the kart game in particular made me think, y'know, this isn't Mario Kart, but you could probably release it as a standalone game and sell it for $20.

And now I've spent a few hours on the business management sim, which is technically optional but which the game nudges you strongly toward playing. (There's a point -- and I suspect I'm approaching the end of the game here -- where you have to raise 3 million yen, and, having spent a lot of time on sidequests but none on minigames, I'd gotten less than 2 million yen cumulatively, for the entire game, up to that point. The management game is an easy way to raise money, and also comes with a new party member.) And I'm enjoying it! Enough that, even though I've raised that 3 million, I intend to see it through to its victory condition.

It's not the deepest sim, but it's another one where I could see it doing decent numbers as a standalone game. Maybe like a $5 phone game.

What it makes me think of is, we were talking awhile back about ActRaiser, and how the city-building/god game portion of the game isn't particularly deep or even much of a game, really, but it's charming enough to make up for it. This reminds me of that, a bit -- it's not really the same thing, since these minigames are largely optional, they are actually pretty sophisticated, and they're good enough that I think they'd work as standalone releases (albeit not $60 ones). But it's still, like, here's this fun, charming accompaniment to the main story, that doesn't quite have enough meat on it to compete with more advanced games within the genre, but it's fun to play and it adds some variety.

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