22 December 2014: What video games did you play this past week?
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It is time again to share with us all what video games you played this past week! What video games have you been playing?

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What Videogames did you play this weekend: WVGDYPTW subscription thread

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Videogames New To You December 2014
Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2014
Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2014
Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2014

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1. Video Game: The Legend of Dragoon [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:1095]
Video Game: The Legend of Dragoon
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Indiana
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This week its a new-school old-school jRPG exhibition match.

I put about 90 minutes into Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I'd say my odds of completing the game are less than 10% but I intend to push forward a bit more before making the final decision.

I put about 5 hours into The Legend of Dragoon. I'd say my odds of completing the game are a solid 80% at this point, but still to early too call.

Legend of Dragoon is one of those PSX hidden gems that I missed at the time. The game has a very strong art style and makes excellent use of pre-rendered backgrounds. It's also far enough into the PSX cycle that the hilarious low-poly, low-res character models are at least tolerable. The game hits the ground running the way few jRPGs do, getting you right into things and ramping up the tension in the plot right away. While it does have random encounters, it uses a unique variant where, after each battle, you get quite a few seconds during which the encounter rate is zero. As soon as you're in the red, you can use a charm potion to reset the timer. Charm potions are very cheap, and most exp seems to come from boss battles... so it all seems like a surprisingly progressive "set your own pace" sort of system. Combat itself relies a lot on syncing button presses with your attack animations - usually a couple of presses per attack - but the game does a better job than most at visually telling you when to do this. Not my favorite mechanic overall, but it's not too bad here.

One thing that is surprising about Legend of Dragoon is how poor the Japanese-to-English translation is - one of the worst I've ever seen, in fact. But the awkardness has its own weird consistency and it's very entertaining as unintentional genre parody / localization parody.

Star Ocean, on the other hand, is doing pretty much nothing for me. Premise, storytelling, combat, characters, setting - it's all a chore to get through.

The side-by-side comparison is amusing, for sure. Despite the two-generation hardware disadvantage, Legend of Dragoon is running circles around the competition in this case.
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2. Video Game: Wasteland 2 [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:724]
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Still loving this game, so far.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Finally got past the AG center (who knew giant mutating plants, rabbits, larvae, and flies could be so tough?) and quite enjoyed it. It felt just perfectly balanced in terms of ammo/health packs provide and risk/difficulty.

Left there hoping to rescue and help the Hightower fort, only to find (to my dismay) a fully ruined and devastated outpost. Apparently my decision to aid AG meant that Hightower suffered and I really like that my original choice between responding to Hightower or responding to the AG Center had some extra meaning and consequences. Bravo devs!

After seeing the disaster at Hightower, I was compelled to wipe out the Wrecking Crew, which was disappointingly easy, I must admit.


It doesn't hurt having one character who can snipe really well.

I've learned quite a bit through trial and error on how to best manage the combat encounters. First I move my characters into position from the farthest ranges of the encounter, so as not to trigger the encounter (though it still happens sometimes). I get them crouched for the bonus and/or near cover. Then, once everyone's in position, I have my sniper gal take a solid long-range shot to start things up. Sometimes it's enough to kill outright OR at least badly wound the first foe.

The other trick to be aware of - and this will help folks maximize their health-pack & healing usage - is to be fully aware of when your characters are close to leveling up because when they level up, they get their hit points fully restored, so you're getting a full healing fix each time that happens and you don't want to waste health-packs on characters who will immediately after a fight, get free hit points.
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3. Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:240]
Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Still going strong on DAI. Although I am feeling a little saturated with the game now after playing it for a month. Too much of a good thing. I need more variety. I start up a new Civ:BE game this weekend. Although I want to play DAI a lot until I'm fully finished. This is no Mass Effect 3 that I finished in massive 5-day long session to do the whole 50hour game. I am guessing that DAI will be over 100 hours for me as I am doing all the side quests that I can - plus trying to get all the exploration done that I can - of which there is plenty to do!
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4. Video Game: Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:3572]
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Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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I'd had my eye on Bookworm Adventures for a while, but recently I saw this game was listed has having similar mechanics but more RPG elements, so I grabbed it instead. So far, so fun! It's not difficult, but it's a delightful casual game with upgrades, achievements for spelling certain types of words, &c. Good for when I don't have the mental energy to play Wasteland 2.

I did play Wasteland 2 for a little bit, but after a lengthy combat I just felt like something less involved, hence Letter Quest.
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5. Video Game: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:289] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Video Game: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Ian S.
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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PS3 Version

I continued on the life of my Hardcore Demon Hunter from basic Diablo 3 into Reaper of Souls. I found the Raven's Wing bow in Act 4, which basically made her unstoppable. This has been how it's gone for me with each character that makes it to Act 4: Find Legendary weapon, become tank forever.
So I decimated Diablo and have been playing through Act 5. Think I am in the last section of the game
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Just entered the fortress in Pandemonium
.
I've liked Act V so far. It's a lot bigger than I was expecting and the look of it is a lot different than the previous acts. The story is alright...somehow feels anticlimactic after the events of the previous two acts. I do like that they added the little mini missions to help wrap up the story arcs of your various friends and such. I use Kormac the Templar pretty exclusively so his mission and aftermath was the most interesting to me.
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6. Video Game: ArcheAge [Average Rating:5.45 Unranked]
Video Game: ArcheAge
James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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This has been an off week for me. Not much in ArcheAge, and not really anything else. Just an antsy feeling of, 'what do I want to do?'

There's been a little bit in ArcheAge. Slow progress on the new house (Smudge has been running out of labor trying to get all the stone). Lots of charcoal has come in for the basic alchemy recipes. Lingli has her own ship, and did a crest for the sail (she's in the guild <Night Owls>. APEX is steady at 250 gold, and Smudge has one already, and getting a second should be no real problem in the next week.

We talked about a number of things over lunch yesterday. I diagnosed some of my apathy to the fact that my crafting projects are at a halt right now. I need the second round of alchemy recipes for our level-40 gear. That requires 10000 skill. Which is in line with what a few other things are wanting, but they have ways of getting the skill up there. I'm spending gold getting items to burn through, and am up to ~1800 skill....

We talked about dungeon content. Neverwinter largely lived on its string of nice dungeons that we went through. This one has five dungeons total. Five. Two level 20s (one for each faction), two level 40s (same) and a level 50.

We've talked about 'sandboxes'. Smudge doesn't follow games like I do, and has been a bit confused as it gets applied to ArcheAge and doesn't entirely seem to fit. Being a little cynical today, I'm going to say that ArcheAge is a crafting/trading system designed to provide PvPers a sandbox, all built on top of the skeleton of a normal MMORPG.

Anyway, there was a new content update yesterday. This actually included a new dungeon. It has a 'normal' mode for 10-man parties, and an 'easy' mode for 5-man parties... which is only available during the weekend. This last has induced a fair amount of ire on the forums. (Okay, what doesn't?)

And got Smudge's ire up. She really likes dungeon content, and while weekends are a time we can game, time-locking something like that is not an idea she's willing to tolerate.

So, this may be the beginning of the end of our time here. We want to do some more questing (I particularly want to see the end of the Firran quest line), and finish the house. But it may be time to wrap things up.
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7. Video Game: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:795]
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Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Don't know how much of this has been played this week vs. last week vs. since I got it, but I'm up to 110 hours and have so much completed.I have four characters with full clears (Isaac, Cain, Azazel, Eden), two who achieved the 16th ending (Cain and Judas), and well over 400 coins in the bank.

I think I might actually write a review of this game, only for real this time, not just saying I will and then not.
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8. Video Game: Elite Dangerous [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1321]
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Alan Monroe
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Columbus
Ohio
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Did all the tutorials, and will start on some regular play later this evening. I'm didn't care much for the combat in the tutorials, but I didn't play much of the original, so I don't have a good basis of comparison. Docking in this game has a reputation for being difficult, but I found it a piece of cake.
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9. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1867]
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Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Last week I tried to get to level 50. But made it to level 48. I also had some main quests to do. During monday evening I did go thru those and only had 2 levels and the last main quest left...I thought.

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But I had to do another quest line before the last mission. Doing quests in Coldharbour. So it took one more evening of playing. But after that I could meet Molag Bal and fight him.

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So now I'm finished the main quest of this game. Maybe I will not play this more. Not for now anyway. Will leave my pc and sit by my ps4 in the evenings for some weeks, playing FarCry 4.
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10. Video Game: Far Cry 4 [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:515]
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Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Started to play FarCry 4. Played the prologue. The gameplay here is really fun and good. And the graphics is really nice, the best looking game I have played. It is not perfect, if you look at the grass you see those are "standing" like in a row and you can also see if you are standing close to a rock lines in the graphics. But looking at the trees, this is the best graphics I have seen so far. The water looks really good.

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In the prologue I believe there is some things I didn't like. I think you get to seen the villian to much. Not the best way to build up the drama in my mind. You also see an elephant and the Mount Everest. Why not save those three for later. But I will have a great time playing this game. So lets go on.
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11. Video Game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:202]
Video Game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
M@tthijs
Netherlands
Venlo
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Felt an urge to play my fav. FPS online shooter again; MW2 (vanilla). Even though it's from 2009 and there are a number of expansions (which I didn't buy) and new games in the franchise like MW3, Adv Warfare (which I didn't buy), you can still log in any time of day and jump into a Team Deathmatch easily. The other game modes are underpopulated by now, regret to say.

Anyway, started working towards some challenges. I'm a mediocre shooter, judging by the scores, but still having great fun. I'm now forcing myself to use pistol and revolver much more, because I want to get to the unlock where you can run around with a handgun+tactical knife and shoot/stab the hell out of everyone!
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Weird gaming experience last week: logged in a game with some (I think, by the names) 5 Russian dudes. The moment the game started, each of them ran to a spot, some 10 meters apart, each covering an entrance with overlapping fire zones. First couple of minutes they did this "team camp" and shot the crap out of the incoming team. Wow, never saw that before. I felt like the royal jester, running through their fields of fire from left to right, trying to get a piece of action while getting shot a lot, while they just kept popping opponents.
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12. Video Game: Parasite Eve II [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:869]
Video Game: Parasite Eve II
Michael Conti
United States
Canyon Country
California
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So I was struggling with the third boss and finally overcame the battle. I was caught surprised... this game holds no punches. I have a habit of only keeping one or two save files and it has killed me in some early RPG's and Survival Horror games. The way I look at it, if I kept an archive of the play through in save file format it would feel less like a game and less immersive to me. I don't like sorting through 25 save files either... I have to come up with a better system... but depending on the game, it's challenging to find the right save file. At least, when I have done this for Final Fantasy games it has felt this way. I started just keeping the one or two save files. I know I should use more and have gotten burnt, but kind of look at that as part of the gaming experience. Old school gamers don't mind restarting a game if it's worth it. If it isn't it probably wasn't worth continuing in the first place.

As long as I don't get stuck in this game, I should be playing it for a while as I don't think the end is anywhere near in sight and it is taking me a great deal of time to advance from scene to scene.

thumbsup Resident Evil style old school game play
thumbsdown The gaming system is more complex than Resident Evil but with less explanation (in terms of upgrading, weapons, etc) Part of this might be the exploratory nature of an RPG
thumbsdown Bold move to change the game play from the first game, which had a more interesting combat scheme. Unfortunately, I'm starting to think Capcom does a better job at fixed control action.
thumbsup Parasite Eve has a great crazy B movie theme and this definitely continues that trend.
thumbsdown Weird lockouts from item upgrades and saves that were available before which could be game ending if you get stuck needing -- put in place for a survival horror feel.
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13. Video Game: Master of Orion [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked]
Video Game: Master of Orion
p55carroll
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‘Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said—’ the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep. ‘After that,’ continued the Hatter, ‘I cut some more bread-and-butter—’"
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A long, losing game as the Sakkra (large map, average level, against Humans, Mrrshans, Psilons, and Darloks).

I got my corner of the galaxy, but I wasn't able to juggle the politics to prevent the other factions from voting me out. I rejected the verdict and fought on as a rebel, but it proved hopeless in the long run. I lasted a good while, hoping for a tech breakthrough that would turn things around. But my enemies got the tech, and by the time I stole it, it was too late. Their fleets overwhelmed me.


Update: I played again, this time as the Darloks. I was doing well in the initial expansion phase. Then the Alkaris ignored our nonaggression pact, jumped in, and took over one of the planets I had just colonized. I would have let that go, as war hadn't broken out and I didn't want it to. But I had colonists en route to that planet, and there was no way to order them back. When colonists arrive on a planet that turns out to be occupied by someone else, they automatically fight. They fought and lost, and that caused the Alkaris to immediately declare war.

I wasn't ready for that. Not as ready as they were. We went back and forth for a long while. I finally got the Bulrathis to ally with me against the Alkaris, but that wasn't enough to draw them off. I lost a few planets but held on. I managed to ally with the Sakkras too, and I was making progress in diplomatic relations with the Klackons.

Then the balance tipped toward the Bulrathis, so they and the Alkaris were up for a shot at galactic leader. The deciding vote was mine. I could abstain (or vote for the Alkaris), and the war would go on; or I could vote for the Bulrathis and give them the win. It was bedtime, and I was frustrated with the game, so I decided to play kingmaker.
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14. Video Game: Master of Magic [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:42]
Video Game: Master of Magic
p55carroll
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‘Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said—’ the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep. ‘After that,’ continued the Hatter, ‘I cut some more bread-and-butter—’"
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Played as Freya this time--all green (nature) magic. My enemies were S'ssra, Ariel, Jafar, and Oberic. Normal level, small land areas. My starting race was Lizardmen.

I got lucky and started on the biggest Arcanian continent, and I had it all to myself--except that I had to fight off incursions, mainly from Oberic. He didn't officially have an erratic personality, but he sure behaved as if he did--making peace one turn and attacking me the next. I was always able to beat him, though (sometimes just barely).

Ariel and Jafar mostly behaved and stayed on their small continents, with about three cities each.

It looked like S'ssra started on Arcanus, given that he showed up there very early. But it turned out he just captured a wizard's tower right away and slipped through from Myrror. For at least half the game, his armies were huge and powerful and could have conquered everything. Luckily, he didn't manage them well.

I stayed on pretty good terms with everybody diplomatically, but Oberic pissed me off. Finally, when I was strong enough, I just went for his capital and eliminated him from the game. Made me feel good in the short run, but soon the other powers hated me.

When I broke through to Myrror, I found that S'ssra had stayed confined to one small continent there. I started settling and expanding into the vacant lands.

By midgame I was ahead in magic power and research, but S'ssra's army was more than double the size of mine. And he declared war on me. And Ariel and Jafar joined his side.

I decided to make the most of my advantage in magic. I summoned some strong creatures (basilisks at first, then behemoths, colossi, and great wyrms) as well as a champion (Mystic X) to lead them. I also had a lesser hero in that army--Baghtru, the Orc Warrior. He'd been with me since the beginning and had some experience and powerful items, so I decided to keep him around. He did surprisingly well right up to the end.

Actually, once that single army stack got going, nothing could stop it. I sent it all over Myrror, capturing nodes and lairs at first, then S'ssra's cities. After a very long campaign, I banished that rival from his home plane. Just before that, though, he defeated Jafar, leaving only Ariel as my other enemy.

Next my army dropped down through a wizard's tower to S'ssra's first Arcanian continent. He had stacks of hammerhands and golems all over, but they were no match for my fantastic army, especially without S'ssra himself around to cast spells.

The endgame was a cakewalk. S'ssra cast the spell of return and reappeared in the very next city I was about to attack; so he got banished again immediately. Then I systematically marched through the rest of his cities and defeated him. Finally, I water-walked over to Ariel's little continent and gave her the same treatment.

I was actually very pleased with this game. Lately I've been finding some games too long, others too repetitious; I wasn't expecting to like this one as much as I did. But I never got tired of it. It was a satisfying experience from beginning to end.
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15. Video Game: The Room Two [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:1827]
Video Game: The Room Two
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Alright, lots of rambling this week!

Earlier in the week, I played and beat Mega Man X2 in what I think was a single 24 hour period. I found the final bosses much more accessible than the first game, though I did refer to some YouTube videos to ensure I went in with all heart tanks and subtanks.

After that, I started up Mega Man X3, but the version on the GameCube MMX collection is a port of the Playstation/Saturn version of the game, and it's throwing me off. Mainly, the music and sound effects just don't feel familiar, so I think I will opt to play via a SNES emulator instead.

On Wednesday I had a flight home, and I spent some of it playing The Room 2. I enjoyed the first game so downloaded this some time ago when it was on sale. I finally got around to playing it, and it sometimes feels a bit of a slog. Sometimes I'm just lost at what I'm supposed to do next and need to wait for a hint. All the puzzles are set in very dark rooms, so it's very difficult to play unless you are in a dark room.

I've also had a pop-up interrupt my game telling me that my save game has been updated from the Cloud, with no option to ignore it, which boots me back to the menu and usually sets be back a step or two on the puzzle I was doing. The latter time, it almost completely borked my game since I was unable to pick up items from a door I had slid open. Thankfully I was able to access the buttons on the door from an awkward angle to trick the game into opening the door again, and all was well. Now I have to play with WiFi turned off.

I also downloaded 80 Days for iPad after hearing good things about it on the Idle Thumbs podcast, on top of whatever awards its won. I'm about 60 days in and am halfway across the USA. I was feeling confident when I hit Calcutta and came into a lot of cash from selling goods, but the ensuing trip across the Pacific took longer and had an unexpected detour. I have a clear route back to England, but I'm not sure I can do it in 20 days.

The game is neat; I'm usually not a fan of Interactive Fiction, but this game has enough bells and whistles to keep my interest. Sadly, I'm not a good enough storyteller or, uh, "thing-rememberer" to give an interesting account of my travels so far. Nothing outlandish has happened, aside from recently knocking out Jesse James who was attempting to rob me and my gentleman whilst on a train.

I'm still kind of unclear on the game mechanics, like what it means when it says "your character is now organized", or what the second half of an item's cost is on maps and such when it says something like £3/100d. For the prior, I suppose the opacity is a design choice, though the latter is indecipherable to me.
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16. Video Game: Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2225]
Video Game: Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard
Adam
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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I'm still plugging away at this one, and probably played more of it than any other game this week. I'm up to the tenth level, which is about the end of the second strata. I'm still trying to find all the gems I need for the necklace for the Duke's Daughter, though I could end the quest now with 8 out of ten of them found, if I wished.

The maps have already started to get more complex and three dimensional, as there are parts of level that you can now only access from the level above. For example, arriving at the tenth level involves moving back and forth between then eighth and ninth levels twice along the way! This sort of map design really adds to the fun and challenge of exploration. Another thing that is making me take my time is that I've really worked to build a diverse guild, trying to have options to deal with any situation I potentially encounter. This means putting in some effort to level up the whole roster. I'm currently favoring a Protector / Ronin / Forester / Medic / Gunner, party, but I'll probably swap the Forester back out for my Minstrel or War Mage fairly soon.
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17. Video Game: Okage: Shadow King [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:4537]
Video Game: Okage: Shadow King
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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So last week we beat the sewer evil king (looked like a giant rat) and this week was the evil bubble king (looked like a giant frog of some kind). He was hiding out in this old ruins that looked like a sunken Big Ben tower. We rescued the princess, who's a brat. So we're at the end of chapter 3 and we're off to Tenil, but first stopping in Madril.

And the characters are leveling up well and finally getting some cool abilities. And we finally found a shop that has good equipment. That's really been lacking. While I thought we had accrued a lot of money, it wasn't enough to get all the equipment so next step is to fight more for money and leveling up.
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18. Video Game: Batman: Arkham City [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:48]
Video Game: Batman: Arkham City
Jan
Belgium
De Haan
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Continued playing Batman Arkham City. I did quit advance a bit last week so this weekend I was able to go into the final chapters. I also did the after the match game in which Catwoman went to take care of Two Face. Now to see what else I'm going to play in this game. Altough I'm thinking of starting up another game instead. Not quit sure which one but the next entry has a good chance to be the one.
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19. Video Game: Limbo [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:224]
Video Game: Limbo
Jan
Belgium
De Haan
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I heard such good things about this game and with the summer sale I was looking at it. I found a free demo and decided to play it to see if I liked it. I liked it. I'm generally bad at puzzle games but this is such a beautifull and nice game that I am thinking of picking it up. The demo went well I must say.
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20. Video Game: Starbound [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1616]
Video Game: Starbound
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
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I saw that most of the content for the forthcoming update was pushed into the unstable branch a couple of days ago. Being impatient for some of the new content, especially ship upgrades, I made the transition from stable to unstable and started a new game with my wife. We're still working on making our respective ships space-worthy, but I'm certainly enjoying the changes from the most recent stable build.
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21. Video Game: Jade Empire [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:325]
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Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Got back to this one for a little bit. Was at the point where I was supposed to advance to the Fortress of Evil but wanted to tie up all the sidequests in town first, including beating the very difficult boss of the arena. Having exhausted my non-cheap abilities during a few failed attempts, I finally defeated him through the time-honored tradition of
Spoiler (click to reveal)
alternating a damage stance (white demon) with stunlock (paralyzing palm)

Tiger Lifts the Mountain is now the Champion of the Arena! Fear her wrath!
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22. Video Game: The Binding of Isaac [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:624] [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Video Game: The Binding of Isaac
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Australia
Ashfield
NSW
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The original version. After getting over no controller support in a dual stick shooter!!! I had a lot of fun with this. The humour is a bit puerile but the gameplay is excellent, and really captures the best of the new roguelike approach.

I also played a bit more Super Hexagon and KAMI.
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23. Video Game: Styx: Master of Shadows [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:4015]
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Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Picked up a few games on the PS4 holiday sale.

Styx: Master of Shadows is a pretty fun old school style stealth game. Reminds me a little of Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, one of my favorite games. Sneaking around as a goblin is fun, except when you get caught--

--When encountered close with an enemy it goes into this parry mode, where you time parry and then finally kill the enemy or be killed yourself. This system is second rate. Without it, the game would have a greater potential. Still fun stealth action.

Not a Triple A title, but they don't charge it as such either.

Also been playing Mousecraft. A nice puzzle game that uses Tetris style blocks to try to get 3 blind mice through the challenge to the cheese. Better than I expected. Some levels are quite a brain wrack. thumbsupthumbsup

Picked up CounterSpy too. Reminds me of Spelunky, in the case of giving the procedurally generated levels a go for a few runs at a time, but then setting it down for something else. Good in bursts of 20 minutes. The humor and art style are lots of fun, with the 60's James Bond theme. I almost want to watch the intro every time.
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