4 January - 10 January 2016 : What video games are you playing this week?
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Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2015
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1. Video Game: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:611]
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Indiana
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Still playing copious, irresponsible amounts of The Phantom Pain.

The game is breathtakingly excellent for a while, but after the initial (not "true") ending, one of the major NPCs says "this doesn't feel like it's over..." and the 'postgame' en route to the true ending feels a bit like squeezing too much juice out of the orange.

I'm still having a blast with it, but I finally hit that moment where the common criticisms of MGSV clicked for me. There are postgame challenges where, for example, you replay an earlier mission with crazy requirements, like being dropped in with no gear at all and having to finish your objectives scrounging weapons from guards (or ghosting with no tools/advantages). I like the 'challenge mode' nature of these missions, but the game is somewhat deceptive about the legitimate length of the campaign, because a good chunk of missions 32-50 are retreads. Which is weird, because the game would be epic with the true count (somewhere closer to 36), so it just feels like you're being faked out for no reason.

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The Side Ops were also starting to feel like a chore... for the first couple of weeks I was playing this, I would sprinkle in a free-roam deployment, take D-Dog and a Jeep, and then drive a route linking 4-5 Ops, aiming to complete them all between sun-down and sun-up. This is much easier to do in Africa, which has relatively few mountain ridges, than it is in Afghanistan. But even with the four-wheel drive and a decently optimized loop (and total nonsense like Stun Arm L3 for guardposts), the driving ends up being padding. Not enough Side Ops are available on one map at one time, and some of them begin using story locations in hard to reach areas (like Codetalker's Mansion). "Box travel" can help with this a little (I know it's a classic Metal Gear easter egg, but I wish I would have known about it right from the beginning).

Eventually I reached a point where the actual rewards for side-ops were negligible compared to online FOB infiltrations, so I just do individual deployments for most Ops and then immediately use the "return to ACC" option once they are complete. I also developed the tech that doubles plant collection, so usually my deployments pay for themselves the instant I land.

My loadout is holding steady in the 35k range. The big changes this week are Big Boss's super-ridiculous prosthetic arm upgrades. The Rocket Arm is absolutely delightful (especially if you have D-dog equipped to electro-stun enemies on command). The level 3 Stun Arm may as well be called the Wrath of Zeus. It slightly prefer the Rocket Arm, for entertainment value, flexibility, multiple charges, and quick recharge. But the Stun Arm is obviously the most devastating non-lethal weapon if you can position yourself correctly.



I've researched everything below grade 5 (I know I'm somewhere north of 300 individual development projects). Shortly I will have researched everything at grade 6 (for the moment, I've ignored several grade-5 projects if they don't unlock anything else).

D-dog is hands-down my favorite companion, but Quiet has her moments, and shines mostly during Side-Ops or against the Skulls. I no longer use D-horse at all... and I need to experiment with D-walker. It's been hard to give up my trusty canine companion.

I'm enjoying the online component of the game, but I don't think I'm going to be invested in it past the single-player campaign. I don't want to go on murderous rampages because of the heroism penalties, and I'm not good enough to penetrate serious defenses (though my Rocket Arms skills have given me some limited success past the beginners' league).

Anyway, I'm rambling. Awesome game. I probably will not get all 50 S ranks and 100% optional objective completion, but I'd like to get close.
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2. Video Game: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:571]
Video Game: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Been playing this for the last three weeks, doing post-game things. I have now only one trophy (except the big one) left, and that is the one there you do all the alchemist receipts. This will take awhile. The game designers have made it so evil, that you need ingrediens that very rare drops from animals that spawn very rare. So if you find one, there is only a small procent that you get the drop. So, farming, farming, continues.

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3. Video Game: SolForge [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1739]
Video Game: SolForge
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United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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Me last week.

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Here I am again. Can't quit you babe. Draft as Alloyin Uterra. 3-1.
Oriean Battle Droid + Uterra buffs. GG. Managed to get him L3 in a few games and drop seals and twinstrengths to the point where all opponents conceded before lethal damage was done.

I love drafting in this game. I just wish there was a way to do it where you get to specify the players in the draft and maybe the pool itself. This game has a good amount of potential but a current lack of customization. or even basic bug-free functionality. Interested to see how the big client update goes.

One additional random thought on the latest card rebalance: why did you nerf nanoswarm???
It went from decent stall/"removal" that had to stay on level to not worth playing. soblue
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4. Video Game: Lord of the Rings: War in the North [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2209]
Video Game: Lord of the Rings: War in the North
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Have began to play this on the Xbox 360. The game doesn't seem to be that good. But hope that it will be a little interesting to explore some areas in the north of Bree.

Video Game: Lord of the Rings: War in the North
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5. Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:58]
Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
Ontario
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I played GTA V Online during Christmas and want to settle into the far superior single player game. Maybe I can keep up with Barad's progress.

I find myself sidetracked by indie games on Steam though, so far Make It Indie, Horizon Shift, and Heckabomb.

But I've also settled into Gemcraft: Chasing Shadows as a filler game.
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6. Video Game: Clicker Heroes [Average Rating:4.88 Overall Rank:7629]
Video Game: Clicker Heroes
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United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Still just Clicker Heroes.

I need to finalize my Hardcore list. But first I want to make sure all the PC games I am considering actually run.

I really don't want to be in a situation where I am troubleshooting a game on my hardcore list. If I have to troubleshoot, I don't want any external stressors on top of that.
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7. Video Game: Freedom Force (2002) [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:781]
Video Game: Freedom Force (2002)
Gus
Spain
Valladolid
Castilla y León
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Despite being somewhat light compared to others of the same gender, it is a game I'm enjoying it immensely. Besides, being a fan of comics doubles the enjoyment. The screens are not made long and I love the humorist touch, from grandiloquent phrases of the Minuteman to the seriousness of Mentor or jokes of El Diablo.

Another feature, which it seems to be very useful to extending the life of the game is the option to create you your own heroes, but so far I have not used because pre-built (and guess who "plagiarize") I find more entertaining.

For Freedom!!
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8. Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:58]
Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V
Jan
Belgium
De Haan
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Like Andrew pointed out, I'm playing GTA V. Got it from my secret santa and I'm enjoying it already. Played it since the 1st and I'm about 8 hours in the game. Did my first heist yesterday in the game, looted a jewelry store. I was wondering how that will go but I found it rather pleasant. Looking forward to more playing time.

I'm wondering about the online mode. But I will first familiarize with the single player before I get into that.
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9. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:595]
Video Game: Path of Exile
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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My Talisman league templar, Fire_Priest, hit level 66!
Midway through merciless A3.

I have decided on a righteous fire totemancer. Originally planned on using flamesurge, but with RF totems I can reserve 100% mana. Searing bond is used to added additional burning, but RF-Spell totem is the main attack.

Righteous Fire costs 0 mana, so support gems multipliers are *0. Blood magic linked to utility spells and searing bond.
Currently using dual curse, will probably go tri-curse eventually with doedre's ring. Using Blasphemy+Flammability+Temporal Chains+purity of fire for auras/curses. when I can use a 3rd curse -> CWDT+Enfeeble.

I saw a good guide on RF totems demoing the ability to take down Atziri, which has been a goal of mine for a while, and is on my 2016 challenge:
http://videogamegeek.com/geeklist/201276/item/4368132#item43...

Currently using a searing touch unique staff for searing bond(4-L), and a rare chest armor 5-L that I bought for a chaos orb from another player.

I am also trying to reach 21 challenges met in the league for the mtx rewards. Currently @ 4, but I have identified > 17 more that are possible to achieve.



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10. Video Game: Company of Heroes 2 [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:1321]
Video Game: Company of Heroes 2
I am trying out all the Commanders that I never use. Some of them are really great and have given me new tactics that I will try again for sure, some others will never get used again... I am not convinced that the Premium Commanders are that much better then the free ones or random drops that you can get. They do however add some pretty awesome units, but I have found that I have pretty much already won the match by the time I can bring out my Elite Tiger Tank for example.
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11. Video Game: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:611]
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Pat
United States
Marcellus
New York
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Inspired by JohnRayJr, I am now committed to focusing on this game for awhile instead of jumping back and forth between games during the rare opportunities I actually get to play. As I recall, I'm somewhere around level 20, having not been in Africa that long. Just starting to hear ramblings among the NPC's about Codetalker, so I know he's not too far off on the horizon.

I've been playing through the game very tactically, and rarely leveraging lethal weaponry. Have yet to get into FOB's (haven't even been prompted to use them, actually), and probably spent much, much more time on Side Ops than story missions. While I've only had her available for a short while, Quiet is becoming my go to, especially once I figured out how to actually use her to scout ahead. Not as good as DD with identifying threats, but she has saved my bacon a couple times. I really need her non-lethal sniper rifle on my current mission, as there are several targets I want to extract, but they're under pretty heavy guard. Too much for me to handle at the moment, but perhaps with another gun flinging tranqs, there's a chance...
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12. Video Game: The Secret of Monkey Island [Average Rating:8.31 Overall Rank:40]
Video Game: The Secret of Monkey Island
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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I just finished up New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which I'd been working on, so I've fired this up for half an hour, as I picked it up on the recent Steam sale and put it on my hardcore list (mostly to have something short that lets me feel like I'm actually playing my newly acquired Steam games). It seems entertaining, and I'm looking forward to working my way through it. I'm mostly playing it to explore it and see the much-vaunted humour of the game, so I've got no problems resorting to walkthroughs where useful.
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13. Video Game: Zeus: Master of Olympus [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:802]
Video Game: Zeus: Master of Olympus
Brian Cooksey
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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I'm using Gog.com to catch up on games I didn't play back in the day. I picked up a bunch of RPGs and city builders during a sale a while back and I'm just now working my way through them.

Zeus is a hit! The controls are intuitive, the animations are fun, and the simulation is excellent. I've run through all of the intro scenarios and I'm starting on some of the more challenging ones but I keep coming back to the sandbox game I've saved just to see how big I can get that city.
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14. Video Game: Her Story [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1170]
Video Game: Her Story
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Australia
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NSW
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Absolutely loving this. I stumbled across the solution pretty early in the game, but it's just an endless rabbit hole of ambiguity and weirdness anyway. Currently teaching myself a semi-obscure code so I can understand some secret video snippets...
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15. Video Game: Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:7328]
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Ryan Gatti
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I'm playing this every day this week.

And I've been playing it pretty much every day since June 2015.

It's Final Fantasy themed. It's free. Yes, you CAN spend money on it, but you definitely don't need to. It's a free phone game with AAA intellectual property done right. It certainly feels like the game is constantly rewarding players for their loyalty, independent of how much (if any) money they spend. Yes, there are always opportunities to spend more money on things, but it isn't aggressive, it isn't mandatory, and it doesn't undermine your ability to enjoy the game if you've never spent anything at all (and spending money doesn't guarantee you elite super powers... it merely gives you more chances to get more cool stuff, but the game is constantly giving away free cool stuff just for logging on frequently.).

...I'm also in the middle of playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, but FFRK gets more of my time/attention on a daily basis.
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16. Video Game: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:133]
Video Game: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Finally reached San Fiero, GTA's version of San Francisco. I love driving hills in GTA games and the nitrous cars are lots of fun.

One thing I've noticed in this PS4 version of the PS2 game is the Triangle button seems to be a bit delayed. Hijacking cars and motorcycles is a bit delayed. It's just enough to be an annoyance.

I had no problem in GTA III, but San Andreas, when the cops are chasing and some other points can be the difference in getting WASTED. And hijacking boats is nearly impossible. At one point, I just let CJ drown, because I couldn't get in any boats. (Got a wonderful trophy for it. )

Now my goal is to start dating Katie, I think that's the nurse in SF. She's the best, because while dating her, if you die you don't lose your weapons, which is King in a GTA game.

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17. Video Game: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1268]
Video Game: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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I've been playing this a lot since we let our eldest, Joe (5), play it. I've mostly been playing it co-op with him, but sometimes I play solo to earn studs and try for collectibles.

Stud collection became a lot easier once I was able to buy the 2x score brick, I'd almost saved up for it twice and each time Joe had spent the studs on unlocking characters and ships, many of which we didn't need! The 2x also helps with achieving "True Jedi" status on levels, when playing with a 5 year old!

One thing I was really impressed with in this game, over other Lego games, is the introduction of the RTS mode, with almost a third of the story levels playing this way... you collect studs to build production buildings at your bases, which produce troop and vehicle units that then go off autonomously and fight the enemy. You can also jump into the vehicles and ride around causing destruction... or, with the right character, command the troops to follow you and attack your target. Generally the idea is that you have to take control of the enemy basis. There's a very basic tech tree too... the more bases you control, the higher up the tech tree you are, and the more advanced buildings you can construct. This section also uses the familiar Silver and Gold lego mechanics, with silver lego buildings only damageable with certain characters/vehicles that fire rocket type weapons and the same with gold lego buildings and rapid fire type weapons.
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18. Video Game: LEGO The Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:589]
Video Game: LEGO The Lord of the Rings
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Microbadge: The cake is a lie... But VGG's 5th birthday is not!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 5th birthday party!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 10th birthday party!Microbadge: VGG Community - Why not join today?Microbadge: Video Game Geek of the Week
I picked this up in the Steam winter sale to play with Mary, as she is a fan of Lord of the Rings.
So far we've played about 9 hours, of which 5 hours were in 2015.

We're liking it quite a bit, especially since all the story missions are based on scenes from the movies.

Compared to Lego Batman and Lego Star Wars, this has much more of an open world feel... the hub where you choose missions is gone, and has been replaced by an explorable world, including towns like Bree. There are still discrete story missions, but you tend to happen upon these as you explore the countryside (a trail of studs will always direct you to the next story mission if you so choose). There are also mini-games and challenges that you can take part in.. like riding through a set of gates in under a certain time.

There are side quests too, that you pick up from lego characters dotted around.. basically they want you to go back and free-play a particular mission to find something for them... but often you'll need to have unlocked a certain character or tool in order to do so.

Like in other Lego games, the characters have different abilities, but there is also an inventory system now, allowing you to pick up and keep things. This includes tools like a bucket, trowel, or Frodo's phial containing the light of Eärendil, as well as different weapons (Legolas can switch between a bow and his daggers) and sundry objects that you need to complete a puzzle.. like collecting firewood, or feeding fish to Gollum!

The standard Gold bricks that you usually earn for completing levels have been replaced with Mithril bricks, and these are used at the Blacksmith in Bree to craft new Mithril items.. though you first need to find the designs for these within the levels. Mithril bricks can also be earnt by completing challenges, or found in secret places throughout the land.

Overall we're having a lot of fun, and often when we sit down to play "for a few minutes" we end up playing for at least a couple of hours.
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19. Video Game: Evolve [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:5292]
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Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Microbadge: The cake is a lie... But VGG's 5th birthday is not!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 5th birthday party!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 10th birthday party!Microbadge: VGG Community - Why not join today?Microbadge: Video Game Geek of the Week
I picked this up last year in the hope that it would become my next multiplayer "Payday 2"... being a tough FPS co-op game with something of a learning curve. Recently I've been playing it quite a bit just against bots to get a better feel for the game and to level up my characters.

I have to say I am really enjoying the game, even against bots, and I am hoping that eventually a few other of the regular VGG Steam'ers will pick it up to play co-op.

Aside from a couple of goes at the monster tutorial, I've mostly been playing as one of the hunters... initially focusing on the Medics, but then broading my horizons to try the Support and Trapper class characters as well. This week however, I decided to try out being the monster, and level up my monsters a little... It is still much harder playing the monster, and I haven't won a mission yet against the bot hunters, but by the end of the session last night I was doing better and at least surviving to evolve to stage 2... and doing some good damage against the hunters.
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20. Video Game: Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:633]
Video Game: Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
Darren Martin
United Kingdom
Lincoln
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Microbadge: Game of Thrones fan - Tyrion LannisterMicrobadge: Ewoks!Microbadge: Terry Pratchett fanMicrobadge: A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything.Microbadge: Yorkshire Rose
Currently flitting between Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale enhanced editions at the moment. It took me ages to roll up the characters I wanted to use, so haven't managed to get very far yet!
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21. Video Game: Rocket League [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:281]
Video Game: Rocket League
Agent J
United States
Coldwater
Michigan
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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What a great game this is. It's just fun. Played with Sicaria some more, played with Quaseymoto a bit, played with CrimsonFox, played with Wytefang. So lots of people to play with, which keeps me playing it instead of, say, Elite or... anything else, really.

But the fun level is definitely worth it. I had a series of 5 or so really great games two nights ago, and then found myself back where I was before today. I think I just got lousy opponents for a bit, which is cool. I'm also getting better slowly.
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22. Video Game: Out of the Park Baseball 14 [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:5770]
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Agent J
United States
Coldwater
Michigan
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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Microbadge: Rolling Stock fan - game end cardMicrobadge: Phineas and Ferb fanMicrobadge: ChristianMicrobadge: I read the Babylon Bee!Microbadge: Rocket League fan
Actually we're on 15 now.

The game is pretty neat. I enjoy it a lot. I like making roster moves, and I'm really enjoying watching the games.

We've had 2 games so far in the playoffs, one was an insanely close wildcard playoff of a single game. The other was a huge blowout from one of the best teams to one of the expansion teams. 19-1, I think? It was horrible. THey both took the same amount of time, though, which is nice. Games clock in at about an hour. I read the commentating and put it on Twitch.
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23. Video Game: Broken Sword: Director's Cut [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:1813]
Video Game: Broken Sword: Director's Cut
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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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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"‘But what did the Dormouse say?’ one of the jury asked. ‘That I can’t remember,’ said the Hatter."
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Microbadge: CaliforniaMicrobadge: I love solo gaming!Microbadge: Master of Orion fanMicrobadge: VGG: Turn Based Games fanMicrobadge: Minnesota
Not my usual genre, but I got lured into it on New Year's Eve, when I noticed Beneath a Steel Sky on my GOG games shelf. Installed it just to see what it looked like, and then I ended up playing it through to the end.

Next day I reinstalled Myst and played at it for a half hour or so, but I couldn't get into it. It's uninstalled again now. I also played Dragonsphere but didn't get very far.

Then a Geekbuddy recommended a few games, including Broken Sword. I bought it (along with Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis), and I'm well into it now--probably near the end. I've been playing nothing else for days.

Might be too much story and too little game for me in the long run. But for now I'm delighted with the story, the characters, the puzzles (and in-game hints), the humor, the artwork, and everything. It's top-notch entertainment. I probably won't complete the series (and I may not stick to the genre), but it's great to be getting a taste of it.
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24. Video Game: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:1741]
Video Game: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Im going to get this out of the way. on the grind with this.
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25. Video Game: LEGO Dimensions [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:1192]
Video Game: LEGO Dimensions
Andrew Goenner
United States
St. Cloud
Minnesota
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Yup, changed the Avatar for self-promotion.
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Go vote in the 24-Hour RPG Design Contest!
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I'm going back and forth between this (on my own I do the story, with Kiddo Geek we do Adventure zones) and The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. Both were Christmas presents are are for XBONE. Both are fun, lighthearted games that suck all my time.
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