21 November - 27 November 2016 : What video games are you playing this week?
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1. Video Game: How to Survive [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:4353]
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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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Finally beat this one with Rudy last night. Overall we were both pretty disappointed in this one. It could've been a great game, but instead it was clearly rushed and abandoned, and filled with minor bugs and cheap solutions, that in the end by accumulating made it even annoying sometimes. Maybe the solo version is less buggy and more fluent, but the co-o mode was barely worth the $1.50 I payed for it
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2. Video Game: Her Story [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1170]
Video Game: Her Story
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
Ontario
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This is the last game on my hardcore list and I've been saving it up for just this moment. I've been playing a blinding array of bundle games, each one worse than the one before. Are there no new ideas out there? I've played centipede clones, space invaders clones, super mario clones, galaga clones, railroad tycoon mini-clones, endless puzzle games that all look the same -- in short, I really need something with innovation. And I heard this is it.
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3. Video Game: Metroid II: Return of Samus [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1640]
Video Game: Metroid II: Return of Samus
Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
NC
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I've been playing the excellent fan-made remake of Metroid II, AM2R.

It is very impressive, especially for a one-man project. I can see this being an actual GBA game released by Nintendo, if they ever were to give Metroid II the "Zero Mission" treatment. It feels professionally done.

The game is pretty faithful to the original, but there are a number of added areas, and each area has a distinct graphical style, music, and theme to make them feel unique, which is good. In the original, each area felt pretty much the same and the same few music tracks were used throughout the game. Super missiles, super bombs, and other powerups introduced in Super Metroid are added, along with boss fights for each area. It's really well done, and I highly recommend it to anyone who liked classic Metroid games.

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4. Video Game: Steep [Average Rating:4.50 Overall Rank:7528]
Video Game: Steep
Kenneth Stuart
United States
Chantilly
Virginia
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I saw a video of it a few months ago (maybe during E3?) that I thought looked cool, so I figured I'd try it out since it is available for free in Beta right now.

In short, I am completely unimpressed. The screen is full of floating text boxes that often block upwards of 25% of your screen. New events can only be accessed by manually exploring every surface of the mountain, which is incredibly boring. The player cannot ever control the camera, and the camera angle is almost always bad. The game doesn't teach you the basic controls until after your fourth event, so the first 30 minutes are pretty miserable. Even after learning the basics, the controls never really feel intuitive, neither the controls for your player or the controls for navigating the mountain view. Half of my jumps don't register and most of my commands to do tricks are never executed. Turning causes you to lose a huge chunk of your momentum, and going even a tiny bit up hill causes you to nearly stop, making it impossible to go off any of the "natural" jumps formed by rocks and cliff ledges.

I remember (perhaps incorrectly?) a promotional video for this game highlighting the ability to switch between four different mountain sports, but in practice that is not the case. You can only choose one sport at a time and you have to fully stop at an appropriate location in order to switch to another sport. You will never be able to snowboard off a cliff and then switch to paragliding.

I'm guessing Ubisoft focused far too much on player interaction than on making a sport game that was actually worth playing. I don't feel the game properly teaches the controls, yet there are multiple tutorials teaching you how to create a new challenge on the mountain for other players to find or to play multiplayer challenges.
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5. Video Game: Dishonored 2 [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:768]
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Arlington
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More Dishonored 2.

The second half of the game is much better than the first. Unlike Dishonored 1, which as soon as the tutorial mission was over, dropped you in one of its longest and most complex missions, the first 10 hours of Dishonored 2 really are a badly scaled down version of what the game does in the second half. I'm getting what I wanted out of the game now, although I still say that Emily's mechanical design is inferior to Corvo's.
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6. Video Game: Warframe [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1939]
Video Game: Warframe
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Over the more than 200 hours I have in this game, I have acquired 6 warframes.

This week alone, I'll get 3 more: Oberon, Trinity Prime and Equinox, to go along with Mag, Rhino, Trinity, Zephyr, Nyx and Banshee. The only reason I have to wait is because of the final process taking 3 days.
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7. Video Game: Europa Universalis IV [Average Rating:8.55 Overall Rank:200] [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked]
Video Game: Europa Universalis IV
Todd Pytel
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Real life is finally receding enough to make time for gaming. I tried playing some more Civ V BNW last weekend for the first time since the summer and spent about 15 hours before deciding I'm giving up on the title entirely. I understand why many people love it, but it's just not for me. The whole reason I enjoyed earlier Civs so much was the verisimilitude and alternate history. None of those games held up to any scrutiny as serious simulations, but they were close enough to be entertaining. But Civ V just feels so blatantly gamey, and VI takes that even further from what I can tell. 1UPT is a big piece of that, but not the only piece. The series is simply moving away from what I want. Ah, well... I did have some great times with it...

So, after casting about a bit for alternatives I bumped into EU4, which I'd heard of but never really explored. Did some research and decided to give it a go earlier this week. Very impressive game. For starters, the design is thoughtful and carefully executed, which beats nearly every non-Civ grand strategy game I've tried. It is certainly very different than Civ or a typical 4X, though. For those unfamiliar, it's basically an alt-history sandbox that lets you play any nation in the world at any point from 1444 to 1821. There is no formal "victory", though there are various missions and achievements you can aim for, including World Conquest if that's your bag. There's no attempt at balance - France or the Ottomans simply have a lot more potential than the Sioux or the Timurids in pure power terms. The point is that it's just fun to see what happens, and the history and simulation seem more than tight enough to make it plausible.

I've been playing the Ottomans this weekend, a very strong empire and good for getting your head around basic combat and diplomacy. Restarted a few times as I learned more of the system, which is quite intricate and demanding. My current game is around 1465, and I've been skirmishing with various neighbors while developing the administrative and diplomatic capacity I need to begin building a larger empire. I've made some token gains in the east (towards modern Iraq) and south (down the Levant towards Egypt), but my progress was greatly hampered by the untimely death of Mehmed II in 1450 at the age of just 18. This is an unlikely and catastrophic game event for the Ottomans, as it wrecks your administrative development right when you need to build it up and snap up weaker neighbors while Europe is still divided. I'd like to conquer Serbia and Bosnia, but I'm still not ready to incorporate them, so I'll have to settle for finishing off Byzantium (currently hiding in Greece after losing Constantinople) and taking Cyprus (previously protected by the Mamluks until I forced them to annul that arrangement as part of a peace deal). I would be in an immensely stronger position had Mehmed II lived, but those are the breaks.

Good stuff.
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8. Video Game: Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:3226]
Video Game: Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death
Dave B
Scotland
Glasgow
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I've been playing this the past couple of days, mostly mucking about with cheats and block wars against some bots.

It's alright, for what it's worth I like it, it's easily the best Dredd game out there, but there are better FPSes out there, and I understand this game is considered somehow not "Dredd" enough. Oh well...

I am slightly concerned though that most of my time playing this has involved switching to Incidenary or Hi-Ex mode on the Lawgiver, and blasting as many civilians and fellow Judges as possible. I'm setting everyone on fire and killing more innocents than the vampires and criminals! shake
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9. Video Game: Tales of Xillia [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:2359]
Video Game: Tales of Xillia
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Continuing with this, 7 hours in, at the village of Nia Khera.

I am finding the battles tedious for several reasons. Like the other Tales games it's an action JRPG, and battles are in real time with button mashy attacks. There are various elemental and chain attacks, I find that quite confusing in real time. There are way too many buttons to remember as well; that's one advantage of a menu system like in FFX.

There are a few annoyances, like characters who get knocked out get no experience, and must be manually revived using an item, or they will remain KO. Changing characters in battle is awkward.

And the battle areas are boring and ugly. Maybe I should switch it to easy and not bother. Other stick to one character to minimise the complexity, although this seems like missing out on a lot of the richness.
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10. Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:3461]
Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Andrew Schoonmaker
United States
Long Beach
California
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With some time to kill on the plane to/from BGG.Con, I fired this up, did a little more grinding on the "free battle" available, rethought my team layout, and managed to beat the boss I'd been stuck on since maybe April (Belial, for anybody who knows the game).

The next boss fight was, comparatively, a joke (but I guess I am angling for the "easy" ending ... we'll see whether I can get out without having a bunch of the added content dropped on me), but the one after that is going to require some more thought. No idea how one is supposed to handle the fight if they've screwed up and gotten all of the extra characters killed.
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11. Video Game: Pokémon Sun and Moon [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:1250] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
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Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Surprised I'm the first to break this out, but then again I wasn't even going to get it until I saw a full rack of them at a target and just bought it off the shelf. I'm heading towards the fourth trial, and I have a lot of feelings that I still haven't managed to work out if they're positive or negative.

One thing for instance is that you are regularly in a situation where one of your pokemon is battling two other pokemon. This is most especially notable in the wild, where catching new pokemon is tricky because the wild pokemon will often summon help - I believe they summon help every round if they are in the red. (summoning help doesn't always succeed). The thing about this is that, if there is a second wild pokemon, you can't attempt to capture either, which is just annoying. I LIKE this in the totem fights though. It makes it harder in a different way.

I also feel like the game has been pushing me linearly harder than previous games. Which is not to say that previous games didn't pretty much push you in one direction for a while, and there is a fairly explicit order you have to do things in, but here I feel like every few minutes you are being stopped by someone and told not to go in a direction, or having a short cutscene that amounts to little more than "keep going this way". It's not the worst but it definitely feels more noticeable.

Then... well, I say this because I see it as a pure good but not everyone does, but, they seem to have eliminated HMs entirely. Instead, you can summon a Ride Pokemon who gets a special action like an HM, and you get them quick (I'm not even halfway done but I have the fly and surf travel methods).

I'll tell you what though, even though they're not all winners, I do like the new pokemon. All the starters are pretty good (Popplio included, down with the haters), and I'm really digging the alola forms of new pokemon.

One other thing, I don't know if it's because I picked moon or what but I feel like every damn pokemon has Pursuit, which is annoying because you can get a Slowpoke and an Abra right at the beginning, but I think that's just me overthinking myself with nostalgia (of course I WANT to use these guys all the time but I should go with the game and not get waylaid by how I THINK I should play).

Anyway. Yay pokemon!
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12. Video Game: Civilization VI [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:287] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Video Game: Civilization VI
Still on the Civ VI train. I started a new one as Tomyris. The Scythians bonus for double production of light Cavalry is pretty awesome, plus they heal up when they kill a unit. I stomped all my local neighbours on my continent so far. I say screw Warmonger penalties! Victory on the corpses of my enemies! This Civ was built for conquest! I thought the Greece Gorgo would be good - as Sparta, but nope, the Scythians pretty much roll everyone in the Ancient/Classical eras.
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13. Video Game: Guild Wars 2 [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:468]
Video Game: Guild Wars 2
Eetu Vuokko
Finland
Vantaa
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Living world season 3 chapter 3 got out today (and finished already), I like the new Shiverpeaks map on that.

And aren't those fireworks just beautiful.

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14. Video Game: RollerCoaster Tycoon [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:349]
Video Game: RollerCoaster Tycoon
Amy O'Neal
United States
Mechanicsville
Virginia
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Down to four scenarios to complete... I figure I'll have this done by the end of the week...
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15. Video Game: Tropico 5 [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:2283]
Video Game: Tropico 5
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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It's always hard work and no fun for El Preseidente... that's what El Presidente used to say when I controlled my favourite little dictator in the Caribbean in the complete Tropico 4 collection.

And as mensioned last week I have started on Tropico 5 - and last night I continued a little more.

I am further in the game now; the World Wars have ended, and I have the mad scientist Abraham Zweistein who hopefully in the next mission (MAD) will help me build a super-weapon, here in the Cold War era.

My Contact in The Order, Leon Kane have been murdered in our waters, and The Order suspected ME?! Luckily I found a scape goat, and is again helping me out I hope.

My islands are growing bigger, and better! The cold war turned profitable for Tropico, even with bribery of the UN took away 50,000 dollars from our treasury - and The Order stealing funds from us!
Our once hard working socialist-capitialist island is beginning to be a pearl in the Caribbean where gringos turists come to see the real life and leasure of the world.

The people love me! Despite a few demonstrations and wanting me to tear down factories, or mines... but I just send in the army in case their demands are not for the wellbeing of Tropico. But I always wins elections - even without having to... count them myself.
The Tropican Army is big, and strong! It pushes back all who try to oppose us. We are not some small banana republic!


The status so far: I have finished mission 5 Paranoia, and will possibly get to Mission 6 MAD today...
Never fear; El Presidente is here!

Update for Tuesday 22nd
The Cold war was close to escelating into World War III! I took the choice of taking the bulls by the horns - and start my own nuclear project - and not of the peaceful kind: This might get the Soviet Union and the United States to see that they are not the only super powers in the world! Tropico is a super-duper power - (my words are backed with nuclear bombs!! as they said in Civ II when you talked with civilizations who (also) had Da Bomb). Luckily this made them think differently and stop their cruising around Tropico!

Next mission, I find out that Leon is alive! (well, I knew this because I was having a quick brush over the fanmade wiki over the characters)
And he have a plan! Unfortunately I realized too late that he wanted to send out my nuclear weapons all over the world to create a new world!
I have to change this! Luckily Dr. Zweistein have made a time-machine - and I have to restore the world - and Tropico's reputation!

TO THE T.A.R.D.I.S!

Update Sunday 27th
My fellow Tropicans!

Our threat, the international terrorist Leon Kane, have been eliminated by the great Tropican army. We have now a new threat upon us, by his successor, Miss Diaz. But we will not be sitting on our hands while the world is threatened!

Tropico will summon the other world Super Powers, to make a joint operation against this threat on the world that is now! And we will succeed!

- El Presidente

As I wrote it, so it was - and so it became! The world was rescued by the Tropican nation - the only great super power in the world! So next time you wake up alive, don't forget it was thanks to Tropico that you live in a free world and was not destroyed by nuclear weapons.
... now all I need is to find Penultimo, before he make any trouble...
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16. Video Game: Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:3061] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Video Game: Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
Agent J
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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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I got to the final bit of quest and the quest has disappeared.

Oh well.

Anyway, I'm off to destroy some nations now. I hit the Kraxis empire hard and now I'm hitting the Tarth Kingdom. As I'm a Kingdom, that means I'm in-fighting my own faction, which is appropriate only because I want to. Tarth is proving a tougher nut to crack than Kraxis was, but it shouldn't be too bad. They have a lot of units out there, but I've already taken two of their settlements. They reclaimed one, but it's not a very good one. Should be easy to get it back, and then keep moving forward.

I sent a hero off to capture their outposts, which is a lot easier than capturing a city for sure, and he succeeded but managed to lose the whole army he had with him in the process. It was only a 3-unit army but still!

A big difference between Civ and here is that roads cannot be used in another faction's territory. So as soon as I hit the border, it's slow going. I suppose that's actually a small difference given the whole tactical battle thing.
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17. Video Game: NHL 16 [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
Video Game: NHL 16
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Loving the hockey! Everything is pretty dialed in now.
Sharks are doing well 8-2, but some other teams are equally strong.

In arcade mode, I'm only playing 4 minute periods, yet still getting 40~ shots per game, so it's pretty balanced to normal play. The players skate a lot faster.
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18. Video Game: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:7234]
Video Game: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
For iOS on Ipad

It's been a while since I played this, although I'm too lazy to check these geeklists to ascertain just how long. For those worried about spoilers, even for a Final Fantasy game, then mind spoilers then...

Rydia's quest

Party
Spoiler (click to reveal)

We have Rydia (without any Summon magic angry ), but lv2 black magic is working out pretty decently. And sucky attack, while sucky, helps in a pinch

Luca - underworld dwarf --- not to be confused with "Lucca" from the Chrono Trigger games!
She's the brawler. Use her for solid physical attack
Equip her with a hammer or axe, but the former is a 2-handed weapon, so no shield with that.
Her Big Throw ability does more damage than her regular attack, but depending on the moon cycles, the attack might come out on top.

Her Analyze ability is a freebie. Neat thing with this game is once you use it on an enemy type, ALL enemies of that type will always reveal it. For example, a bat is weak against holy magic, and has x of y HP. You don't have to memorize this, as it's open info. The next bat of that type will also have this info auto revealed. However, I had to look up online to decipher what the symbols meant. Apparantly, a white star like thing is holy/white magic, while ice is actually a crystal ice block. When in doubt, using the magic that a monster is weak against will show "weakness!" when it displays how much HP was lost

Calca - boy doll
has Jive ability which casts a random attack/black magic on enemy(ies)

Brina - girl doll
has Dance ability which casts a random helping/heal magic on allies

For those familiar FF4, CalcaBrina was the giant doll boss you fight. Here, they have a Band ability that combines them into that, and with a Godzilla like complex, it blasts all enemies with both fire and lightning spells

Luca and Rydia also both have Band abilities with each other and combinations with the doll robots


Storyline recap thus far
Spoiler (click to reveal)

I know my next destination is the Sealed Cave of the underworld. As I reached the end of the Sealed Cave after floor B5, I enter the Secret Chamber. Cue trademark FFIV title music see* below. It's been... 2 weeks since I played this? Bad thing about taking such a long hiatus with games with a storyline or sequence to follow is you can forget where you left off. I guess there's a dark crystal for me to take? Yep.

I also remember that in this quest/tale, a "mysterious girl" as our antagonist that's been going around using her uber magic to make everyone her bitch. Won't she just swing on by and take the dark crystal by force, making the whole dungeon itself and the boss we fought a mostly unnecessary ordeal? Yep. We still remember how FF plots work!

Oh well, at least this "gives us permission" to enter the overworld now.


* Final Fantasy title screen music ("Prelude")


other stuff I did
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Also, I did the Kokori place to turn the Kokori ore into useful stuff like Dancing Dagger. I told myself I wouldn't use strategy guides nor FAQs, but I really didn't want to risk turning finite resources (the K-ore) into inferior equipment with no way of undoing it, so Dancing Dagger it was. There's a really kick-ass hammer/axe for Luca, but I didn't have the required base axe for it. We'll see if we can get it now.

REALLY GLAD I didn't give anything to the dolls, as they're no longer with the party! Magic blasted dead by "mysterious girls'" lightning 2 spell. IIRC, it was called "Thundera" in the Japanese version. You'd think how every time they die, a simple Phoenix Down does the magic (literally), but nope.. they need to be repaired repaired this time. I hope they at least get replaced with worthy teammates soon.





ADDITION: We have since then finished up Rydia's tale.

Started Yang's tale. Not to shabby, but didn't get far. I like how the VERY FIRST THING you do for his quest is have him spar against 3 monks. Yes, you do go through roughly 1 to 4 minutes of the "tortured cut scene bullshit" routine, but letting you do a mock fight at least gets soothes that itch to get cracking and whacking.

Speaking of which, his focus ability has been changed from FF4.... previously (in the iOS version at least, and I presume the Wii version, although I don't remember such an option in the SNES version), you use it 1 or more times to store up "potential damage". Then unleash an attack that does more than otherwise, with more damage per stored focus. Now, it does some 1-shot, stronger elemental attack (or was it b/c he was armed with fire and ice claws)?

He also has an cover move that takes damage in the place of the intended target. Unlike Cecil's similar move (from FF4 and this version too) where it can be actively done, but passively activated when a character is low on HP, here, it also includes a counter attack.

Ursula is the daughter of Yang... dark clouds over Baron, Yang trusting Cecil will do the right thing/is on top of it but not knowing what's transpired. We're free to move about the castle!
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19. Video Game: Imperialism [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:2142]
Video Game: Imperialism
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 got into a place where I wanted a new drug game and couldn't find one that grabbed me. I installed Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun and tried to get enthused about it, and it worked up to a point. But I discovered it'd be hell to play on this 11-inch screen--way too much fine print, and I kept having to lean up close to read it.

So I tried reinstalling Imperialism II, which had stopped working after the last Windows 10 upgrade. Sadly, it still doesn't work. So I tried the original Imperialism, which hadn't been working either. Now it seems to run OK again.

Thus, I've ended up with my Victorian Age strategy fix, but I came at it in a roundabout way and kinda had to settle.

I also played some Master of Orion (aborted one game and am in the midst of another) and Silent Service II (in which I won a Navy Cross in my last mission).
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20. Video Game: Super Mario Galaxy 2 [Average Rating:8.41 Overall Rank:47]
Video Game: Super Mario Galaxy 2
For Wii

IIRC, we're up to 88 or 89 stars?


The ultimate goal is to get to 110 stars to reach the end of World S track. Short term is to get to 90 stars to see the next level of that world. Like with previous Mario games, I figured the final, 'secret' world be very hard to stupidly hard. It turns out thus far (playing 3 of them), they're not so much that, but still a lot of fun!


After beating the game, I now have the option to switch between Mario and Luigi at will, so I'm trying out the latter more. He jumps higher, but is also "more slippery" to control when running around.


Got 3 stars in a session, but was shocked to find out that STILL took an hour and 4 minutes! wow (the Wii console keeps track of playtime). I did use the Toad Bank (now up to 6000+ star bits, so he's in his snorkel now), and the Mail Toad is now giving Luigi the letter from Princess Peach for a 5-up! In a hilarious bit, Mail Toad notes that the letter is addressed to Mario, he's sure she meant Luigi too
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21. Video Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:30]
Video Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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I got caught up in Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny and consequently didn't do much in KotOR. But yesterday I took the afternoon off work to take my toddler for her second birthday "well-baby" checkup, and then home for her nap... and KotOR for me while she slept. I'm off Taris, and I'm now a Jedi! Awesome. I'm focusing on strength for raw brutality, and running around Dantooine with my new lightsabre in one hand and a sword in another is pretty fun. I'm having problems with how sparse the game feels - the locations in the game don't feel like places people really live in. It's a function of its age, I'm assuming. Taris particularly didn't feel so much like a city as it did a large cement open space full of wandering NPCs. I'm glad to get out of there. Dantooine so far is much more promising.
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22. Video Game: Rise of the Tomb Raider [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:592]
Video Game: Rise of the Tomb Raider
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United States
Indiana
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Playing quite a bit of this. Just under 50% completion.

Once Rise of the Tomb Raider gets going, it becomes more and more enjoyable, largely because it spends less and less time reminding you how stupid the plot is, gives less and less screen-time to its insufferable villains, and doesn't rub your face in its Assassins Creed inspirations.

Of course, it still does face-palm worthy stuff, like construct a valley and ruins that look unmistakably mediterranean, all while insisting that you are in Siberia, and letting you see ice-flows off in the distance.

(sigh)

External image


But, all that aside, when the game lets you immerse yourself in the idea of a warrior-archeologist trapped in the middle of nowhere, allied with a long-lost tribe, scrounging resources, upgrading gear, and solving environmental puzzles in lost tombs - when it does that, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a lot of fun.

It's basically a very good game wrapped in dogshit. You kind of have to hold your nose and clean it off, but there are many hours of stealth, crafting, and solitary exploration. I'm enjoying it quite a bit now and expect to go for 100% completion.

It's also clear that this is an extremely casual game on the normal difficulty. Way more so than it's 2013 predecessor. I don't mind too much due to the stealth focus (since much of it would be just as easy on the hardest difficulty), but for new players, I recommend giving serious consideration to the Survivor difficulty right off the bat (among other things, on Survivor there is no regenerating health and you can only save your progress at campfires).
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23. Video Game: Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:6201]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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Played some more of this last night. I know the reviews are terrible, but I really like it - there's not a lot of pressure, but there's lots to do and it's fun to organize my time. It's kind of like a worker-placement game where I'm playing as one of the workers, really, and trying to be as efficient as possible in my resource use and to exploit whatever synergies I can. I've now got a couple villagers up to relationship level four, and almost five in one case (where six is the max). Some relationships are going to take much longer than others - there's still two or three people at level one, and a visitor to the village who's a zero (she wants furniture as a gift, apparently. That's going to take forever) - but it'll be nice to have less of that business to do as I max out friendships. I've got my farming going full-tilt, so money is no longer an object, really. I turn my tomatoes and strawberries into tomato juice and strawberry jam, respectively, and sell them for a lot of money on a regular basis. I've got a beetle I tamed growing me oak trees on an island, so eventually I'll be able to craft up an endless supply of endtables or something to give to that unfriendly villager. It's day 5 or 6 of Summer, and I finished the Earth shrine on the last day of Spring. I'm looking forward to whatever Summer has in store - presumably the Fire Shrine, I'm guessing, at some point, anyways. Either way, I'm really enjoying this game.
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24. Video Game: Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:533]
Video Game: Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic
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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At a loss for which game to play next, I decided to reinstall this one and start all over with the tutorials. Just won the second tutorial, so on to the third and final one before the real campaign begins.

I played this years ago, and it's all coming back to me now. I don't remember how far I got last time around, though.

Anyhow, I'm happy. I think this is the kind of game I was looking for.
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25. Video Game: Fantasy General [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:853]
Video Game: Fantasy General
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
While bouncing around from game to game today, I started a "mini-campaign" in FG and played the first scenario. I'm rusty, and it proved to be kinda tough. As time began to run out, I was sure I had lost, but I captured the last enemy city on the very last turn. Sweet victory!
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