23 February 2015: 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?

Subscription thread for this list:

What Videogames did you play this weekend: WVGDYPTW subscription thread

Check out these other great VGG geeklists!

Videogames New To You February 2015
Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2015
Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2015
Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2015

RPG tabletop players, how did your sessions go this past week?
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1. Video Game: Darksiders II [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:891]
Video Game: Darksiders II
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After finishing Fez earlier in the week, I've jumped back into the 2015 Hardcore Challenge, tackling Darksiders II.

I was not a big fan of the original Darksiders and gave up on it about a few hours in. I found it to be discouragingly mediocre and derivative, failing to live up to its obvious God of War and Legend of Zelda inspirations.

Darksiders II makes a much better first impression. It's equally as derivative, but this time around broadens the influences, taking basic traversal mechanics from the Prince of Persia series and leaning heavily on a World of Warcraft visual style, sprinkling in stats-and-loot for good measure. Continuity with the first game is there in name only. The tone is much different - in the first eight hours (which is about how far along I am), the game abandons the 'angels-and-demons,' apocalyptic focus, and distances itself from the real/modern world. You play as Death, brother to the first game's protagonist War, and find youself in an eerily de-populated Tolkienesque realm, where only a few "Makers" live on. Makers are basically giant dwarves (same proportions and traditional dwarven style, but they're 8-9 feet tall).

What cracks me up about Darksiders II is that Death comes off almost as a droll, well-intended protagonist. He doesn't seem evil or murderous - far less troubling than, say, Kratos. In name, he is Death, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, but in the context of Darksiders II, he may as well be any fantasy do-gooder speaking in a dry, at times vaguely British accent. It's hilarious.

All of which is to say that Darksiders 1 was in thrall to God-of-War style angst, was very late to that party and met with very little success. Darksiders II still wants to be a game built around Zelda dungeons (the formula is copied in every respect), and is trying to lighten up.

It's not great. The dungeon design can feel perfunctory (Zelda b-sides or final projects from a Zelda 101 course). Loot and leveling feel like so much pixie-dust to me... not quite irrelevant but not very meaty, either.

It's pleasant. It's shaping up to be LONG. It has no real story to speak of, stringing together generic fantasy errands that Death performs gamely because at some point he will establish his brother's innocence (how silly is it that we have a game starring Death, seeking justice for the wrongfully accused War). If I had to compare it to any other title of last gen, it would be Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, without the same level of busywork (good) but also without the same level of depth in the skill progression (not so good).

I wish the game were better optimized, that's for sure. It's a very sketchy product, technically speaking.
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2. Video Game: Subterranean Animism [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:3906]
Video Game: Subterranean Animism
Simon Hammar
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Täby
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I actually had a couple of goes at this.

Also played some Portal.
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3. Video Game: Batman: Arkham Origins [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1058]
Video Game: Batman: Arkham Origins
Jan
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Continuing with Batman Arkham Origins and while I was wondering if it would grip me again this week I must say it did. I had some great fun already running through the game. Just crawled out of the sewers and I'm doing some sidemissions at the moment, stopping anarchy and the weapon shipments before going to the bank. Decided to ignore enigma as much as possible.

I was strange though that you had to knock down the police as well. That seems so unlike batman to me. (only seen movies and tv shows) but I did understand when I heard them talking about them taking me out because of the bounty that 'black' mask put on my head.
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4. Video Game: Shadowrun Returns [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:655]
Video Game: Shadowrun Returns

Finally finished the first storyline in this game. Then the game dropped me into
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the firefight at the cemetery
and I was not a happy shadowrunner. Hoping to get a chance to play some more tonight but then again there's about 10 different games I'd like to play today. Stupid RL and stupid responsibilities.

Every time my father tells me he's bored in retirement I want to throw a table at him. Bored my ass, retirement would finally let me sit down and play.
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5. Video Game: Diablo III [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:516]
Video Game: Diablo III
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I had a friend visit the other day and we continued our foray into Diablo 3. We did Act 1 in a sitting late last year and did the same for Act 2 yesterday. I'm playing a Wizard, and he a Monk. I now have my wizard rigged up for the following playstyle:

-Surround myself with an aura that chills enemies and reduced incoming melee damage
-cast a set of four arcane orbs that orbit around me and explode when enemies are too close
-cover myself with diamond that blocks a bunch of damage
-set myself to explode in a second-and-a-half
-run into a group of enemies, explode, and finish off stragglers with lacerating blades

It's a fun novelty, and there are lots of other skill setups that I've played around with that are great fun as well, though after getting a decent set of equipment, enemies aren't that difficult.

I really admire Diablo 3's design approach. One thing I really dislike about ARPGs and older MMOs is that you can't play around with skill options in the short term (many seem to have skill reset options, but those are often designed to be used infrequently). Attribute and skill points are locked in stone, so you'd better know what you want your character to do from the beginning. In Diablo 3, you can change your skills every half hour or so and feel like you're playing an entirely new character. For hardcore players who might want to play through the campaign with a dozen different characters, I can see how this would feel like a big step back, since once you've played one Wizard, you've effectively played them all. For a casual player like me who will probably play through the game once, maybe twice if my girlfriend ever wants to play, it's great. I get the variety I crave whenever I want.


More Guild Wars 2 this week, and this week I was able to play with both Seth and Rudy. We completed some daily quests and got some fun rewards. We F'ed some cows, played Ghostbusters, and did a bunch of horrible jumping puzzles. My Mesmer just hit level 20, so there is a new round of personal quests, and I can finally equip some sinister sounding clothes that I got a few levels ago (mantle of the lich and vampiric shirt, or something). I still have yet to get rid of my spaceman pants though.

I started up Stranger's Wrath and played for about an hour total, but I don't think I will continue. It has a lot of nice flairs (like when you "shake off" to recover health, and all the bullets and knives that have hit you come flying out of your fur), but also a lot of shortcomings which all feel pretty excusable since the game is ten years old. The design and the main conceit of the game (you use fuzzy creatures as live ammunition in your crossbow) all feel like they come from the same place as Psychonauts, but the world feels really empty. In particular, there only seems to be one design for villagers and one for generic enemies. Even worse is that every character of a particular design shares the exact same voice actor doing an over-the-top bad old-west accent with no nuance. If this were the only game I owned, I'd happily continue, but I feel like I'd get more enjoyment out of other games in the same time.

(On a tangent, does anyone else get bummed out that there are so many great games that you won't be able to experience in your lifetime? I guess I am the type of person that doesn't want to have to pick and choose one life experience over another. It doesn't help that I listen to lot of gaming podcasts, so between the ~10 hosts that each mention the one or two games they've been having a lot of fun with, I want to play them all. Add to that all the games I've enjoyed a lot the first time through and want to re-play...I don't comprehend how anyone can devote hundreds of hours to one particular game.)


I played a bit more Payday 2, with Andy, Rudy, and Jan. Andy and Rudy went infamous and so now I am the one with the highest level. Poor Jan was so proud of his drills, but I can't see a safe and NOT use my C4 on it!

I had an interesting thought the other day: I think that Payday 2 does for me what I imagine Monster Hunter does for some others. Monster Hunter seems really interesting to me; you pick a creature, hunt it where it can be found, and then learn the nuances of how to survive it and defeat it. When you do that, you make some marginal progress toward using the rewards to craft better equipment so you can tackle more difficult creatures and repeat the process. The jobs in Payday are very similar; you learn the nuances of how the heist flows from scene to scene, and when you complete it you hope to get something to improve your equipment and skills (money, experience, and weapon mods).


Alright, I feel like I've tried my hardest to add some interesting thoughts to this post, so I'd better see some darned replies this week!


Edit: After finishing Arkham Asylum earlier this week (huh...I guess I forgot to add that to this list!), I picked up Bioshock 2 last night while others were doing Starbound. It is my goal to finish all the Bioshock franchise games after playing each of the main games once through in the past. I'm starting to wonder what my motives are though, since I could probably be having more fun if I were playing Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon instead, but I feel like the Bioshock games have become an important part of gaming history and want to try to understand it a bit better. It's like watching the Godfather series instead of, say, Face/Off (sidenote: I am in the middle of watching Face/Off).

I know that many say that Bioshock 2 is the weakest part of the franchise, but I think I am enjoying it more than my replay of the first game in terms of game mechanics and pacing.

I've also been spending a lot of time on Divinity: Original Sin given the fact that I don't own it. I've watched a few gameplay videos, character creation videos, read up on game mechanics and whatnot...I really hope that I enjoy this game when I wind up playing it, because it could easily go either way.
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6. Video Game: Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:253]
Video Game: Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
p55carroll
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Minnesota
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I enjoyed this DS title when it was new, and I saw it all the way through. Then I kept playing single battles for a while, but it got to where I could beat the AI too often. I don't do multiplayer, so that's an unfortunate limit for me.

But now that I've been away from CoH for a long time, it's all pretty fresh and new to me again. I'm warming back up to it, and I've gotten into a campaign game again.
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7. Video Game: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:215]
Video Game: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Trying to complete the kenway's fleet minigame. Soon there.
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8. Video Game: SolForge [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1739]
Video Game: SolForge
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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This happened:

From gallery of chris4games


Second Wegu-from-a-booster! Woohoo!
I tried to play random, I dropped a Wegu + stag, my opponent forfeit. Yikes! is it bad form to bring a Wegu deck to random queue?
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9. Video Game: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:743]
Video Game: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Hmm, this game. I feel quite mixed about it. It is mindbogglingly huge and yet detailed, and many of the environments are rather pretty, but at the same time it's hard to get a good view of them, as the camera is typically a little high behind your shoulder. Ah the camera, that so often ends up in a not-very-useful place during combat...

Getting heaps of loot, which I then have to constantly thin and hope to find a merchant to offload it (same problem as Darksiders II). The wooden dialogue and voice acting. I've given up on blacksmithing, and might give up on alchemy as well. At least alchemy gives me something to do as I travel (pick flowers).

I want to search every nook and cranny but that would be a 200+ hour game. I am currently around 30+ hours and just entered the 3rd of the 5 main areas. I spend about 20 hours doing way too much in the first area (almost everything I think). The second area I skipped a lot more. I'm just not sure how to play this game so it feels satisfying. You can do every little sidequests and explore every little place, or you can ignore most things and push on just with the main quest...

Also, there are no children anywhere, which always strikes me as weird, and I don't think there's been a single bit of humour either, which is a pity. In fact my guy has never spoken a single word!

Although it is an equal opportunities game, you slaughter just as many women enemies as men.
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10. Video Game: SolForge [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1739]
Video Game: SolForge
Osirus
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North Adams
Massachusetts
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Yep, more SolForge. Wytefang is now starting to be a credible threat against me, which is good. I love teaching people the game because I love the game, but what I really ought to do is play more against my few far-more-skilled acquaintances I know who almost always kick my ass, since that's the only way I'm going to get better. But man, so many deck themes to build.

More Guild Wars 2 with Kevin and Rudy, as mentioned above. It's just a pleasant game to play, there's something very calmingly streamlined about it. Except for underwater combat, because screw that.

Wakfu with a local friend. I am playing this ambivalently, and writing this sentence has reminded me to add it to the Games Ambivalently Continued list linked in the header.

This week I finally beat Clicker Heroes, having put 10 million souls into Morgulis so the number is high enough to break the display, and then I ground all the way up to zone 3000 over the course of two weeks to get the last of the achievements. Done and dusted.

After spending all afternoon shoveling out my driveway, I joined the Starbound game going on for a very enjoyable 70 seconds or so before my brother arrived for a visit and I had to drop out of the game.
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11. Video Game: Valkyria Chronicles [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:83]
Video Game: Valkyria Chronicles
Brandon
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St. Paul
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I didn't play it but I watched a let's play. I do not know why anyone has not done another similar game like it. The art, first off, is fantastic and I enjoy the story quite a lot. It has great gameplay and a large dearth of characters that can be fun to use. It mixes up roleplaying and strategy wargaming quite well. Too bad the additions were on handhelds.
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12. Video Game: Hydrophobia: Prophecy [Average Rating:5.50 Overall Rank:6848]
Video Game: Hydrophobia: Prophecy
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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I had a weekend away with the family from Friday to Sunday, so didn't get much videogaming in... and when I got home on Sunday night, it was Starbound night (just saying.. not looking for sympathy!), so I ended up installing Hydrophobia Prophecy, which is one of my VGG 2015 hardcore challenge games. I played for almost 2 hours last night, completed act 1 and got a good way through the longer act 2.
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13. Video Game: Team Fortress 2 [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:186]
Video Game: Team Fortress 2
Mike
United States
Cicero
New York
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Played some more mann vs machine with my buddies. Getting some practice in preparation for a TF2 LAN party this Sat.
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14. Video Game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:26] [Average Rating:8.40 Unranked]
Video Game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Mike
United States
Cicero
New York
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This game really is as good as everybody has been saying and I'm glad I finally gave it a chance. Really having a fun time playing through the campaign.
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15. Video Game: The Tiny Bang Story [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:2551]
Video Game: The Tiny Bang Story
Mike
United States
Cicero
New York
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Ended up getting a 90% off coupon from a Steam badge craft so I decided to give this game a shot (nothing to lose with 50 cents). I was pleasantly surprised at how good this game was and played straight through to completion, which took about 3 hours.

It's a point-and-click puzzle game with some nice variety of puzzles, charming music, and a very elegant art style. The game has a neat mechanic where you can get hints if you're stuck by clicking on flies that are constantly swarming around.

Highly recommended. This is a game that's definitely worth experiencing.
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16. Video Game: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:1835]
Video Game: Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Mike
United States
Cicero
New York
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My brother-in-law came over during the weekend so we got some time in to play fighting games. This game I used to play regularly online on the XBOX until I got too frustrated with it and had to set it aside for my own sanity. It's the only XBOX game I actually got 100% of the achievements for.
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17. Video Game: Injustice: Gods Among Us [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:987]
Video Game: Injustice: Gods Among Us
Mike
United States
Cicero
New York
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Didn't play for too long since my brother-in-law was out of practice and it wasn't really a fair fight. I experimented with some characters I hadn't played too much. Ares is my main.
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18. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [Average Rating:8.52 Overall Rank:13]
Video Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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I hoped to finish this before the end of the month, and it will be a close thing.

I've completed the civil war quests, siding with the imperials (they seem like the best defence against the Thalmor who, let's be honest, are the real bad guys here. I recently completed a story quest in which I infiltrated their embassy, and I noticed in internal documents they refer to the Great War as the 'First War'. Interesting. I'm exploring the possibility of scouring their strongholds in Skyrim). The civil war quests have been fun, as I'm level 60 and have some solid gear, and thus "battles" have been nothing but fast and brutal slaughter. Also, the Slow Time shout is really good. I'm currently working on a mix of plot quests and odds-and-ends miscellaneous quests that appeal to me, including hunting down new shouts, and am probably over half-way through the major plotline (which does not seem very long, although I'm rushing through any dungeons without looting at this point).

I've really enjoyed the game, but it does suffer from some of the same problems as other Elder Scrolls games - there's a lot of repetition, and the dungeons can get super tedious. Draugr and Falmer evoke annoyance whenever I encounter them. There are a lot of interesting things to do, however, and it does feel adequately real enough that I can suspend my disbelief and feel like I'm actually exploring a place, which has been more than enough to make the game fun for me.

I also played some PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, which is something that passes the time when I've got a half-hour or so to kill while I wait for someone and the PS3 is already on.
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19. Video Game: Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:742]
Video Game: Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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Played on my iPad quite a lot last week. Struggled through the Blue Dragon cave. It's pretty annoying because there are a lot of pools and only one takes you to the next level, but the others have monsters. So I got drained of magic points pretty quickly and started eating through my supply of Star Lights. But I did level everyone up and am almost to the end of the cave.

It's a good thing my love for the game is so high because the app controls are not great and I have to save after every battle because the app likes to shut down on its own, whenever it feels like it. shake

But that's why I'm also playing The Nine, a light hack & slash with some lite RPG elements. It's not in the VGG database yet so I can't link to it. But the company has been doing updates, which is great. They've added 3 more characters, though the soccer player doesn't fit the fantasy theme at all, but whatever. It's neat to have more options.
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20. Video Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1786]
Video Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
I got back onto the Civ BE wagon. Its still a nice ride for me. Trying out an Atlantean (Ocean) type world. I have claimed a fairly large peninsula and attack anyone who started a new colony in my claimed region. I finally got my health up after some rapid earlier expansion, so now I'm ready for phase 2 of my expansion to actually settle all of the land I have claimed. I am playing as Hutama with the economic bonus, so energy is not a problem and I am using all my espionage to steal wealth from everyone else. It allowed me to rapidly build many buildings in my newer colonies and get them productive. I don't pursue the wars actively just killing the trickle of units they send against me and then not making peace until they give me one of their cities for free. Its worked well for me up to this point.

I also played a little bit of Company of Heroes 2 with the Ardennes campaign I picked up on a Steam Sale. Its pretty fun. I haven't gotten too far into it though.
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21. Video Game: Victoria II [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:1519]
Video Game: Victoria II
James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Okay, much of the spare time this week was working on the version 2.0 of the F&E Vassal module. Got test 4 put together, with a new feature. ...And I'm still having trouble with the big map being too big for some people.

But I got about two hours of Victoria II in yesterday. I'm now up to 1870 in my game as Spain.

I started with a continued emphasis on culture techs, getting my research and prestige up. The prestige gains boosted me from a general 20/21 standing to 16 or 17.

There's been a fair amount of aggression in the game. Russia has slowly been taking territory from the Ottomans, and are now nearly to Syria. Austria has been taking over Bavaria, who had been the number 8 Great Power. The latest war knocked them out of that, which promoted the Ottomans back into the Big 8, only to be replaced by Sweden a couple years later.

The United States has been a bit slow this game. They were in the middle of the Mexican-American war in 1858, and only claimed New Mexico.
Dred Scott didn't happen until 1860. Secession kicked off very late in 1861. It was the usual suspects (which seems to include Kentucky, the way the game handles it) minus Texas, but plus Oklahoma and... Oregon.

The South had a good amount of industry this time, so the CSA instantly became the #7 Great Power, above Belgium. Despite that, the CSA doesn't seem to have had any military success, though it took until 1867 for the Union to be restored.

After the ACW, the Ottomans reclaimed the #8 Great Power slot, and has stayed there.

Meanwhile, Great Britain decided to take another chunk of Portugal, and I helped Portugal defend itself. This immediately wrecked the budget as military upkeep goes up in wartime, and Great Britain blockaded the both of us. I assisted Portugal in a large battle against the British army and then chased it down. I eventually realized that Great Britain was using commerce raiders for much of the blockading force, which while more advanced than what I had, were still no match for actual Man o' wars. So, I started wearing down the blockade, and Great Britain accepted a White Peace from Portugal.

My economy still hasn't fully recovered from that (I think the extra maintenance on a couple of new Man o' wars is part of the problem). I've improved the fleet a little with new Fire Control Systems, and hope to develop Steamers soon.

But in the mean time I'm focusing on industry, having developed Early Railroads and Clean Coal. The former has demonstrated just how bad the economy is, as investors leaped all over Experimental Railroads, but there hasn't been much money to throw at upgrading the infrastructure, and I may have to start promoting it myself, and my budget isn't great.

Politically, the upper house had been going more and more liberal, even though the population and voters were still largely conservative. The dominant issue turned out to be weighted universal voting (as opposed the existing system of just the middle and upper classes voting), and after I enacted that, the upper house immediately went conservative again.
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22. Video Game: Destiny [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1034]
Video Game: Destiny
Ronster Zero
United States
California
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Man, I am really enjoying this game. Finally found a group to start doing the top tier raids. Then I got Legendary and Unique equipment, so I've been trying to level those up. Always seems to be something to grind.
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23. Video Game: Starbound [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1615]
Video Game: Starbound
David
Switzerland
Buchs
St. Gallen
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Played some more Starbound on Sunday with: Amy, Rudy, Debbie, Marius, Cylon? and silent Seth I think.

As always the accompanying banter was at least as fun as the gaming itself. I finally managed to beat the Emeritus Mining Base mission and fix my FTL drive. Now I'm trying to dig up some fuel.
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24. Video Game: Fez [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:484]
Video Game: Fez
David
Switzerland
Buchs
St. Gallen
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I'm now FEZd up with this game.

The highlight (aside from simply throwing me into an insanely long cutscene and then telling me "your done") was the puzzle that required me to change my PC clock about 10 times because one part could only be solved every minute, another could only be solved every hour, a third part could only be solved every DAY (but not matching at an even increment from the last step) and the final part could only be completed EVERY 7 DAYS (also not at an even step from the third part)!

I AM NOT *#!%ING PROJECT BACKSTEP!!!

Anyway. 1 HC game down, 9 to go.
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25. Video Game: Payday 2 [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1723]
Video Game: Payday 2
Jan
Belgium
De Haan
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Pay Day 2 night yesterday with:

Jonna
Finland
Helsinki
Uusimaa
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"Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering." ― Steve Maraboli
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Amy
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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And after that Jonna left

Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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Had a couple of fun heists again. Did have some hard problems especially with the failed bank jobs.
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