27 June - 3 July 2016: What video games are you playing this week?
Jonna
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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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नमस्ते (Namaste) – I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.
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1. Video Game: Firewatch [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:670]
Video Game: Firewatch
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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नमस्ते (Namaste) – I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.
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Just finished playing this one. I really enjoyed the game, the story was interesting enough to keep me want playing, the voice acting was really good and the game is really beautiful.
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2. Video Game: Undertale [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:602]
Video Game: Undertale
☄️ LJ ☄️
United States
Dist of Columbia
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With Trigun being this lock consensus good read for so many people, I find it really bizarre that she's alive. There's a threshold where if she's still alive she should probably be murdalated.
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Finally picked it up in the SSS.
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3. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1867]
Video Game: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Started the session doing some quests in Rivenspire, ending up going down in a Smuggler King's Tunnel, over in Alik'r Desert.

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4. Video Game: Pools of Darkness [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:2064]
Video Game: Pools of Darkness
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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So in a previous week's entry, I mentioned discovering I'd dual-classed a paladin into a ranger for some reason. I've also been frustrated that I only had one mage, but I didn't want to do all the work that dual-classing into another mage would require. ...I've also discovered in the past couple of weeks how to make copies of characters (complete with the same equipment) and add them into your party. You can probably see where this is going. Unnecessarily dual-classed ranger is gone, and my mage discovered he had a long-lost (well equipped) twin brother.

At the same time, I decided to deal with another problem. I was naturally putting the best armour I could on my dudes and, as they are all (sometimes dual-classed) warrior classes, that was plate mail. However, something I noticed about Pools of Darkness is that characters wearing plate mail seem to get no benefit from magical cloaks and rings, so I generally have been tossing them when I find them. Also, spells, not swords, seem to be the real danger in this game. Every battle has a few spell casters who can do things that will instantly drop a character, and try as I might, every character fails a saving throw every now and again. And cloaks and rings are the only way I've seen to get a bonus to saving throws, as far as equipment goes. So, while cloning my mage, I decided to go the extra step and try out a new equipment regime on my characters, using character cloning to copy items. I've replaced their armour with the best set of rings (prot +2), cloaks (+3), bracers (AC4) and helms (+4) that I can. The result is that none of my characters are wearing armour but their ACs have all improved to -14. I hadn't done the math, so that they're all better off now is a big surprise. Some combat has shown they're more resistant to spell effects than they used to be (although I still had someone fail a saving throw, they almost never do - I'd guess they're down to about 1 in 20 on average). Plus, as they're no longer wearing armour, they move faster, too. (Also, they're all now wielding +3 vorpal longswords). So I just kicked my party into high gear, albeit by taking undue advantage of some in game systems. I can't bring most of their gear across planes, however (although there may be a loophole I may or may not exploit), so it won't do me that much good in the hardest fights, but every little bit helps.
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5. Video Game: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End [Average Rating:8.44 Overall Rank:146]
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United States
Indiana
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Had the opportunity to borrow this, fresh off of replaying through the trilogy remaster a month ago. Psyched!

Obligatory tedious prologue.

Forced slow-walking, check. Flashback to child-Drake, check. Some brief shooting on a boat, check (wait, why did they recycle the first few minutes of Uncharted 1? What?).

Terrible opening treasure hunter quote that uses the word "fortune" twice in eleven words.

Pretty meh start, to be honest. I tend not to read too much into the first hour of an uncharted game, but this is dull even compared to Uncharted 3. I mean, the boat sequence in the first game is silly, but it's quick and at least they don't make you drive around and play bumper cars with other boats (/eyeroll).

Did I ever need to see the orphanage of Drake's childhood? No. Do I care at all about his retconned big bro? Nope.

Most common thought for the first 30 minutes: "god this would be a chore to replay."

So far, the photorealism seems to come at the expense of style. Prefer the environments and engine in the remaster, to be honest. Hopefully that will change.

I'd say I'm reserving judgment, but that would be a lie. Rough start. If expectations are aligned with U2 and The Last of Us, this is hardly up to par. Also, the copy-pasted telephone polls that are used for your adolescent Tarzan swings make this feel an awful lot like an Assassins Creed prologue, and I can't think of a worse way to set the tone.

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6. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1867]
Video Game: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
I played a bit with my brother on Saturday night, we did a couple dungeons. It was fun actually, more so than my usual random wanderings picking up quests as I go along. He knows the game quite well and helps me with everything in the new game a lot.
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7. Video Game: Alan Wake's American Nightmare [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2497]
Video Game: Alan Wake's American Nightmare
Kevin Brown
United States
Parker
Colorado
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Still plunking away away this here and there between real life's demands.

Found out that once you get through all the areas surprise! You get to go through all the areas again!
Seriously?
From the number of manuscript pages I've found I know I'll have to go through the areas at least a third time. Well, that's one way to stretch out gameplay without having to generated a bunch of assets and areas.

Still and enjoyable game, but I wish it was more puzzley and less shooty shoot. Remedy really makes interesting cinematic games.
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8. Video Game: Wargame: Red Dragon [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:5790]
Video Game: Wargame: Red Dragon
Pat
United States
Marcellus
New York
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War.
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War never changes.
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Microbadge: Syracuse UniversityMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: The Geek Citizenship Recognition Program Rolls On!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level VI -  Is six any more shiny? ... Well, it's one shinier isn't it? ... Okay, why don't you just make five a bit more shiny and then that would be the most shiny? ... Because these go to six.Microbadge: Level 18 VGG poster
Of course...
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9. Video Game: ArmA III [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:1819]
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Pat
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Marcellus
New York
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War.
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Microbadge: Syracuse UniversityMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: The Geek Citizenship Recognition Program Rolls On!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level VI -  Is six any more shiny? ... Well, it's one shinier isn't it? ... Okay, why don't you just make five a bit more shiny and then that would be the most shiny? ... Because these go to six.Microbadge: Level 18 VGG poster
Picked up during the Steam Sale. Only put in a few minutes of the campaign, but missions are short enough that I suspect I'll be able to grab one or two a week.
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10. Video Game: Jagged Alliance [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:732]
Video Game: Jagged Alliance
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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I've been meaning to give this game a proper try for a long time, and I finally made some progress over the weekend. In the past, I read the manual but forgot most of it, then bumbled around in the game and accidentally shot my own mercs half the time.

So this time I printed out the "quick reference card" (actually 17 pages) and used that to stay oriented. I searched the first area, then moved west into the next sector and cleared that of all three or four enemies. My whole team stayed alive, but not without suffering some wounds. And we found the gadget we were after too.

However, I didn't save the game correctly. I used Quicksave several times, but when I exited and came back, all my saves were gone. What I really wanted, apparently, was the "C" key to compress time and get to the end of the first day. I found out about that later, when I went back to reading the manual.

I think this game and X-Com are the only games I've ever played which are real-time until combat starts, then turn-based. In some games it's the opposite. The effect on me so far is that I forget the "strategic" part of the game is real-time; I dally around, oblivious to the fact that time is passing.

Anyhow, it's shaping up to be a great game. But now I have to start over, finish rereading the manual, and try to catch on to all that's happening.

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11. Video Game: Apotheon [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:6724]
Video Game: Apotheon
Ian Kelly
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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Allow me to introduce myself. I am Hexachlorophene J. Goodfortune, Kidnapper-At-Large, and Devourer of Tortoises par Excellence, at your service.
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I'm slowly making progress in this where I find the time. I played through the Artemis section, which was enjoyable and had an interesting boss fight. I'm now working on Hades and have just crossed the river Styx. Here all the enemies so far seem to be undead who continually pick themselves back up after you defeat them and start attacking you again, so I'm not sure that I'll enjoy this segment as much. I like to be able to take a breather between moments of action. I do have a fair number of invisibility potions and the ability to craft them, so if it gets too hectic then I may start relying on those to get through.
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12. Video Game: Overwatch [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:288] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
Video Game: Overwatch
Adam
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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AaAaAaAaAaAaA! Oh no! You shanked my Jenga ship!
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"We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can't think what anybody sees in them."
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I played this with Jonna and Amy. It's not bad, and far less vile and loathsome than most pvp based shooters. In that, it joins a very short list with Team Fortress 2 and Splatoon.
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13. Video Game: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Console/PC) [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:841]
Video Game: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Console/PC)
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Played for a few more hours on Monday night. We're close to finishing year 2.
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14. Video Game: South Park: The Stick of Truth [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:406]
Video Game: South Park: The Stick of Truth
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Last night, I was a bit grossed out and offended, so this is South Park through and through. laugh

After I got past the gross part, things were rocking. I sided with the elves and betrayed Cartman, who had it coming to him.

Now, there is this little problem at Taco Bell.


This game has had some quite hilarious moments. Right now I'm trying out all my different allies, to see their special moves. Jimmy is one of my favorites for his Bardic abilities.

My thief has throwing knives and some manbearpig claw with gross things attached to it. I do miss my flaming sword, because it looked serious, but I need the extra attack versus the Nazi zombie cats.
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15. Video Game: Gauntlet (2014) [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1673]
Video Game: Gauntlet (2014)
Valencia Victorious Von Verrata is the
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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YAY! I can finally say something other than Guild Wars 2 XD. I player is tough, but I love playing with the Warrior and Valkyrie !
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16. Video Game: Xenonauts [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:2379]
Video Game: Xenonauts
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I've played a few hours of this game so far, and from what I can tell it's a nicely done X-COM UFO Defense clone, with some improvements. Some features in the battlescape are oddly missing, like a tactical map, but the UI in general is much better, and it takes less clicks and button presses to do things than in X-COM, which is nice. The aesthetic look is straightforward and functional, nothing special, and the setting is the cold war era, which is interesting. The geoscape is a mercator projection, which is a bummer, but air combat is a nice little pausable RTS-type minigame where each side can command up to three ships in an engagement. Also, UFOs will leave little blips of reported activity in their wake (e.g. crashed airliner, crop circles, abduction, etc), which is a nice touch, and can tell you where a UFO is even if you don't have radar there. Sometimes, local militaries will even shoot down a UFO for you. The game has a suppression mechanic that allows for useful LMGs and flashbangs.

So far, it seems to be like oldschool X-COM, plus improvements, but a lot less campiness. It seems very functional. I'm looking forward to playing it more.
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17. Video Game: Overwatch [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:288] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
Video Game: Overwatch
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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नमस्ते (Namaste) – I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.
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I've been playing this with my Finnish friends and Amy & Adam. And I even have been playing with complete strangers, that is how much I've been enjoying the game. Everyone who knows me, knows that I don't prefer to play with people I don't know.

Anyway, one of the highlights was the last match we played in with Amy last night: I got 31 kills and 5900+ healing done with Mercy. I'm pretty darn pleased with that
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18. Video Game: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:2560]
Video Game: The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
Ryan Gatti
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Finished the Prologue. Into the first chapter.

So far, I'm liking this game. The story has a lot of potential. I'm starting to figure out the magic system a little more. With the game set on Hard, combat is a good mix of challenging and interesting without being too brutal (or requiring too much grinding), but also requiring careful consideration of tactics and usage of healing materials (which often have a tendency to accumulate and be ignored in many RPGs).
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19. Video Game: Gauntlet (2014) [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1673]
Video Game: Gauntlet (2014)
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Played some Gauntlet with Jan and his wife. We were playing endless and again we didn't get much further than about level 12.

Jan
Belgium
De Haan
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...and videogaming, boardgaming, RPG'ing and helping users as an admin!
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20. Video Game: LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Continuing my solo completion. I completed Degobah and Cloud City Trap tonight on free play and got "True Jedi", red brick, and all minikits on both levels.
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21. Video Game: Game of Thrones - Episode 4: Sons of Winter [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:5740]
Video Game: Game of Thrones -  Episode 4: Sons of Winter
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
Ontario
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I'm determined to get through this series this week. I still don't really know what's holding me up: plot's good; characters are good; not too much gameryness getting in the way of progress.....

Continuing with a bunch of new games, most of which have been 1/10 or 2/10. Steam and bundles are really bottom dragging these days. At least they only take about 5 minutes each before I realize they're lame. And even if every 50 games I find something I like, that's still pretty good. But the asset flips and mobile ports are starting to wear.

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22. Video Game: inFAMOUS Second Son [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:799]
Video Game: inFAMOUS Second Son
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Started this up. Not too bad.
I was expecting the main character to be a lot more annoying than he is.

The fighting is okay. The shooting and melee feels a little weak, but hopefully when he levels up it feels better.
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23. Video Game: Resistance: Fall of Man [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1018]
Video Game: Resistance: Fall of Man
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Pulled out this PS3 FPS launch title that I picked up cheap. Apparently the story is quite good, and it gets better through the 2 sequels. It's kinda of a WWII feel, with alien invasion. It feels quite similar to COD4-MW, not quite as polished perhaps.
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24. Video Game: Psychonauts [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:107]
Video Game: Psychonauts
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I started playing this, and it's a fun 3D platformer. The graphics aren't actually that bad on the PC version, considering when it came out. It's basically a game about teenage drama at summer camp, with the added twist of psychic powers and going into people's brains/imaginations as levels. There's a lot of stuff to collect, too, it seems. I'm a fan of Richard Horvitz, so I'm really enjoying the voice acting.
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25. Video Game: Inside [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:343]
 Missing Image
Kevin Brown
United States
Parker
Colorado
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Inside is the newest release from Playdead, developers of Limbo. If you haven't played Limbo, Inside is a side scrolling puzzler with a bunch of trial and error and quick, merciless deaths involving boy running and trying to escape from ominous bad guys, dogs, etc. If you have played Limbo for a point of reference: take Limbo, reduce the sense of misery, change the graphics a bit so they lose the black and white silent film flavor and gain a more cinematic feel with a severely muted color palette. Now make it much more unsettling and add in a hefty dose of anxiety. Keep the same amount of trial and error but take the puzzles up a notch.

Wow. This game. After playing for an hour this evening my heart was pounding and I could feel anxiety building in me. As I moved left to right across the play area a sense of dread kept mounting. I've been running for a little bit now and nothing has happened. What's up ahead? What's going to kill me? Oh crap oh crap oh crap what's behind that door? I kept pushing the thumbstick hoping I could rotate the camera or pan to the right so I could see what was around me, but true to 2D side scrolling fashion this just won't happen. Nope, just run left to right and deal with the dread and anxiety.

Once again, wow. This game. only an hour in and this game is awesome. It is a visual masterpiece and the puzzles are clever and build up nicely in difficulty. But the atmosphere this game generates with absolutely no dialog is brilliant. Limbo was moody and creepy, Inside is completely unsettling. It isn't scary really. It's just a boy running and trying to survive. But the fact that it is a boy running from adults who are shooting at him, setting dogs after him, etc. is really rather disturbing. These antagonists are only part of the hazards the boy faces.

I absolutely cannot wait to play this some more.

From gallery of Lurkfish

From gallery of Lurkfish


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