28 November - 4 December 2016 : What video games are you playing this week?
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1. Video Game: Blood Bowl II [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:2435] [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked]
Video Game: Blood Bowl II
Liam
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Quite late to the party but picked this up.

I want to love it... but am yet to.
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2. Video Game: Rise of the Tomb Raider [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:592]
Video Game: Rise of the Tomb Raider
Железный комиссар
United States
Indiana
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This week we'll see how much I fool around with the "score attack" mode in Rise of the Tomb Raider, also looking at the DLC that was bundled into the PS4 release. I'm at 99% completion of the main game right now, just one challenge left to wrap up in the Lost City.

If ever there was a game that is sabotaged by bad writing, it's this one. Still, a lot of solid content to enjoy.
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3. Video Game: Europa Universalis IV [Average Rating:8.55 Overall Rank:200] [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked]
Video Game: Europa Universalis IV
Todd Pytel
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Chicago
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I've played about 60 hours of this since last Tuesday. I think my eyes might be bleeding and I do have to go back to work tomorrow, but it's a ton of fun. I put my Ottomans game on hold in the early 1500's. I may well go back to it, but I wanted to play Spain in order to get a better grasp on the rest of the mechanics as well as the politics on the Continent at the time. I've certainly learned some things about history in my ~100 hours so far. The game's simulation value isn't perfect - a few nations just don't do plausible things and some can be manipulated by human players in highly ahistoric ways (e.g. Holland creating the Netherlands far earlier than it actually was). There's conflict in the fanbase between the desire for historical plausibility and the desire for almost every nation to be balanced against one another. Many players want both of these simultaneously, and I just don't think that's possible. Still, the game is incredibly fun. I can easily see myself playing hundreds of hours of this over the next few months.

edit: On reflection, the italicized text above is overstating the case. The fanbase recognizes that playing France or the Ottomans is going to be easier than playing Bosnia or the Iroquois. But most players want every country to have a fighting chance of becoming a great power. In my opinion, that's just not realistic within the scope of the game (1444-1821). History was far enough along at that point that geography, religion, culture, and development put at least some nations far behind the curve (cf. Guns, Germs, and Steel). I think it's OK that some nations simply cannot become great powers within the scope of the game, but I suspect most EU players would disagree with me. And the developers seem quite aware of this sentiment, leaving certain mechanics just a little more abusable than I would like - the expansion packs especially seem to gradually open more avenues of ahistorical abuse. But the devs make the game that people want, and that's fine. It's easy enough to resist the urge to cheese mechanics if a more historical path is desired. And it's still orders of magnitude more plausible and evocative than what Civ has become.
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4. Video Game: Kingdom: New Lands [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:4212]
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Ian Kelly
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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I started playing this again and finally figured out how the unlocks work, so now I'm trying to get all of them. So far I have everything from the first three lands unlocked:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Archer statue
Worker statue
Horse pasture
Dog companion
Farmer statue
Ballista hermit
Stag mount
And the Knight statue from the fourth land.


I haven't attempted the fifth and final land yet. When I first started this I was worried that if I died in the fourth land I was going to have to start over from the beginning. I'm relieved to discover that's not the case as you can actually start with any unlocked land and when you set sail you can also go to whichever land you want. I'm not sure if they added this in one of the updates or just made it a lot more obvious, but either way it's very welcome.
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5. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [Average Rating:8.52 Overall Rank:13]
Video Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
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 keep swording and sorcery-ing away at this one. I've killed four dragons now. Mostly though, I've figured out how to fight good. The secret?

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Have an invincible dog as your follower. Barbas is a wonderful fighter even if he is also the most annoying dog of all time. He runs into you constantly, which I thought was just bad coding but apparently it's intentional. But he's an invincible dog so the dragons attack him forever instead of attacking me.


Eventually I'll have to learn how to really fight, though. Not looking forward to it because so far I've sucked at it. Having followers has helped though.

So I've got like 6 quests going that are main quests, and 20 miscellaneous things to do. I hate the way they seem to want you to go everywhere instead of moving you along in a progression that makes some sort of sense. Quests are all so far away from where they're given. Blech.

I adopted Lucia from Whiterun. My kids wanted me to do so but I had planned to as well. That used up most of my gold, but luckily I'm an adventure
Spoiler (click to reveal)
with an invincible dog
so it was not difficult to make lots more. Maybe I should have bought weapons and armor instead but seriously, who needs that?

So I'm also a Thane in Whiterun and have a housecarl which is nice. She lives in my house with me which is awkward at bath time but all right the rest of the time.

I like the way the game tells simple stories as well as the big story. There are so many books though.
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6. Video Game: Warframe [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1939]
Video Game: Warframe
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Trinity Prime is already max level, and Oberon, Equinox and Nova Prime are close behind. I also have Ember building, to be ready tomorrow, so that makes five new frames in less than two weeks.

I had my first experiences trading with people outside of VGG on Saturday, which went well. Seth had suggested I use the site warframe.market as a price checker. Since Trade chat is a flood of garbage, I decided to make an account and post items for sale on warframe.market instead, which got several requests in-game within an hour of posting. I think I'll stick with that method.
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7. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:594]
Video Game: Path of Exile
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I decided to start a new character again

Making a Shadow (Assassin.) With few available hours this holiday weekend (we did a lot of hosting) I still managed to hit level 49.
Using a 5-L Xirgil's Crank with Blade Vortex. I have no plans to use blade vortex as a final skill, but it is ridiculously strong for leveling. Combined with extra movespeed QS flasks and Seven-League steps, I go fast. Dream Fragments ring and Praxis make mana a non-issue. I have flame totem in a tabula to help with bosses.

I am hoping to get high enough in level to free respec into CI. If I can get my hands on a Cospri's Malice, I plan to make use of that frostbolt mtx I picked up.
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8. Video Game: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:2834]
Video Game: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
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After a couple of very short sessions, yesterday I was able to put a decent amount of time (a little more than 2 hours) into this game. The battle system is okay, but, like the first Final Fantasy XIII game, will probably take some getting used to.

I'm not really a fan of the time limit, even though it seems fairly flexible as far as being able to lessen the burden of it. It's hard to tell how much of an effect it will really have on the game.

I hope I get some explanations soon for the story setup. The swerve that kicked off Final Fantasy XIII-2 was confusing, but was acceptable to make new main characters. This time, I don't know what the justification is.
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9. Video Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:436] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Video Game: Star Realms
I know that I am late jumping onto the Star Realms wagon, but I've installed the free version of this and I quite like it. I have the actual card game as well, but I haven't had the chance to play it yet. I figured the free electronic game would be a great way to learn how to play. So far I am about 50/50 vs. the easy AI. I haven't figured out the best strategies at all yet. It's fun as it plays very quickly.
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10. Video Game: Titanfall 2 [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:864]
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New York
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It's been a few years since I've played a FPS. I'm now about half through the campaign and I like how it's taken the FPS genre forward, at least compared to my most recent experiences (Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare 2, Crysis 2, and Halo: Reach). The wall-running movement is cool, making a lot of the game about figuring out how to get around. And the back-and-forth rhythm of pilot-only versus being in a Titan is great, with an appealing contrast between speed and stealth (pilot-only) and slower asymmetric one-on-one fighting (Titan fights).

Being quite slow at these sorts of games, I dunno if I'll ever be good enough to play multiplayer, but I must say, I'm enjoying it enough that I'm definitely tempted to try to get good enough.
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11. Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1683] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition


Tried out the Frostmarch and Highlands expansions.

My leprechaun landed on woods space 3 out of the 4 first turns, which net 3 gold each visit. By the time I made it to the city I had 15+ gold.

I purchased a flail, 2 magic rings, and a spellbook. Also ended up bartering my warrant for a suit of Full Plate Armor.

The only hindrance I had was getting a Talisman. That took some time. Entering the Portal of Power I had:

12 Strength
16 Craft
10 Gold
7 Lives

The Ice Queen didn't stand a chance with my Mercenary adding +3 STR. Plus a counter spell, just in case the AI got something nasty.

One thing I've noticed is the AI players all seem to flee the main board, whenever the Hag card is coming up.
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12. Video Game: Spec Ops: The Line [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:873]
Video Game: Spec Ops: The Line
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I've been playing this lately. The setting is interesting: Dubai after it has been ravaged and isolated by lethal freak sandstorms.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
An American relief force rules the city like it's Mad Max's postapocalyptic Australia.
One of the main aspects of the game is that it makes you uncomfortable about shooting people. The gameplay is that of a typical 3rd person cover-based shooter, but the dialogue and in-game choices make you think more about what you are doing, which I appreciate. The original Deus Ex and This War of Mine shared similar themes, which made them interesting and challenged typical videogame "kill the bad guys" mentality. I'm interested to see what happens.

Some loading screen quotes:

"Do you feel like a hero, yet?"
Spoiler (click to reveal)

"The US military does not condone the killing of unarmed combatants. But this isn't real, so why should you care?"

"How many Americans have you killed today?"
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13. Video Game: Titan Souls [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:3647]
Video Game: Titan Souls
Kenneth Stuart
United States
Chantilly
Virginia
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I beat 3 titans today. The ball of lava killed me many, many times. I was able to get the first hit almost every time, but I couldn't recover my arrow in time to land the killing blow, until now. It took me 3 days of short play sessions to beat this boss.

I have now beaten every boss except for the penultimate titan. He is giving me a really hard time. Either his arrow kills me or the balls of lightning that float around the room. I noticed that I can shoot his arrow out of the air if I'm fast enough so that it doesn't kill me, but I don't think that's how he can be beaten (since that's how you beat the knight).

Update 1:
I just beat the penultimate boss. I died about 40 times fighting him. That made for 18 kills, 214 deaths. Now I'm losing to the final boss, which I don't much like because he is several boss fights all in one, so you have to perfectly execute a lot of kills in a row in order to beat him. To me this seems to break the whole premise of the game, which is bosses that can be killed in 1 or 2 hits.

Update 2:
19 kills, 242 deaths
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14. Video Game: Battlefield 1 [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1334]
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Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Invested 2 hours in the multiplayer, so far I really don't like it. The pistols seem more accurate and do more damage than rifles. Head shots are a premium. Shooting someone five times anywhere else with rifle will not kill them.

Throwing anti-vehicle grenade meant for tanks dead-center on a truck doesn't destroy the truck. Put TNT on same truck, still there... Two more pieces of TNT (otherwords EVERYTHING I HAVE), truck finally barely catches fire and then explodes.

Constantly spawning directly in enemy sights.

So far the starting semi-auto rifle is the only gun that feels good, but it doesn't kill people. It takes 8 shots to kill. Also for WWI a ton of automatic weapons! I really had hoped for bolt semi-auto action warfare against fixed machine guns. Not people running around with SMG's and MG's.

Glad I didn't purchase the season pass. Probably going back to BF4.
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15. Video Game: Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3873]
Video Game: Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek
Amy O'Neal
United States
Mechanicsville
Virginia
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Started this tonight, and played for about 1.5 hours... RollerCoaster Tycoon is on hold until the weekend, as we are in the middle of an unexpected move right now... Not enough time to waste it playing that...
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16. Video Game: Clandestine [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
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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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Still playing this one with Rudy. Despite the bugs in teh game I'm enjoying it a lot. Sometimes I get a little frustrated when I screw things up and end up doing the same thing over and over again, and forcing Rudy to do all the hacking over and over again by that. Overall, I'm having tons of fun and this is good practice for my patience, or the lack of it
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17. Video Game: Animal Crossing: New Leaf [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:491]
Video Game: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Amanda Zimmer
United States
Decatur
GA
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I'm back into loading ACNL every day. In a bid to get the silver weeding badge, I turned off beautiful town (eep!) so I have to keep up the watering of my hybrid flowers.
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18. Video Game: Tiny Brains [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:6277]
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Kenneth Stuart
United States
Chantilly
Virginia
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Microbadge: Bread eaterMicrobadge: Wine drinkerMicrobadge: Christian
I'm playing through this 2-player with my wife. We finished quite a few puzzles in our first hour of play. I think the game would be better with 4 players though. I find that we're constantly switching characters in order to combine abilities. It gets confusing when we both are switching characters at the same time, or when one player has the character that the other player needs. I figure with 4 players you know someone else will always be waiting to use the ability you need them to use, so there is no rush to cycle through characters.
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19. 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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God messed up and here I am!
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It is my firm belief that little puppy dogs named Mr. Poopytime will bring our country together!
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Microbadge: Black Lives Matter
I finished this and am on to postgame stuff. There seems to be some good content afterwards, especially with UBs. You know, I'm not really huge on the story elements in pokemon games generally but I'm actually really happy with the way this one worked out (after some of the tremendously ridiculous stuff from X/Y, this is both dangerous and yet steeped in reasonable character-based things). The villains are actually nuanced and the plot point, which does hinge on one ridiculous thing, stays fairly non-deus-ex-y and at least tries to feel like it belongs in the universe.

Of course one of the weird things is that the "post game" is really just "Post final four" - the storyline of the world continues after this, which I am fine with but is also just an odd thing I think. It also adds a bunch of harder trainers in places and unlocks some areas, etc. Anyway, still digging it at about 65 hours in. It might be up there for my favorite pokemon, if it weren't for the travesty that is the Festival Plaza (which I think may be one of the worst things in any pokemon game at all)
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20. 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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Microbadge: King of Dragon Pass fanMicrobadge: War of the Ring fanMicrobadge: BattleLore fanMicrobadge: Ultima fanMicrobadge: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt fan
Still playing this. I'm currently striding through the sands of Dantooine, getting the tar kicked out of me by Sand People. I might leave the planet and go check out somewhere else for a while, just to see if I can get some better levels or equipment elsewhere.

I've also been playing some Deponia, which is entertaining. Rufus isn't likable, but then, he isn't supposed to be.
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21. Video Game: No Man's Sky [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:5523]
Video Game: No Man's Sky
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Microbadge: I completed the 2019 Alphabet board game challenge!Microbadge: I completed the 2019 hardcore challenge to play 10 games 10 times each - I came, I saw, I conquered my original list!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level III - Are we geeks because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are geeks?Microbadge: Silver game player. At least 1,000 logged game plays!Microbadge: I completed the 100 Games x 1 Challenge - 2019
Playing the Update 1.11
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22. Video Game: Outside the Scope of VGG [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Outside the Scope of VGG
☆ ✧ ☆ ✧ ☆
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
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Microbadge: Look up at the starsMicrobadge: and not down at your feet.Microbadge: Try to make sense of what you see,Microbadge: and wonder about what makes the universe exist.Microbadge: Be curious. - Stephen Hawking
I'm a regular internet pirate playing an illegal download game with my limewire and my bitcoin and my napster.

arrrharrrharrrh

AM2R

The most recent upgrade I got is the ability to bounce while in morph ball. Which maybe it will come in handy, but I have a hard time imagining what this ability can offer me that bomb stacking can't. I have already been in the area that presumably the bounce ball offers (using bomb stacking). And I have been in many others that the bouncy ball feature couldn't hope to help me reach. I will give it somewhat of a pass since this is the project of one developer, and maybe this ability will turn out useful somehow.

One way I thought I could use it is in conjunction with Spider Ball. But no dice.

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23. Video Game: The Secret World [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:2342]
Video Game: The Secret World
Kenneth Stuart
United States
Chantilly
Virginia
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Microbadge: Bread eaterMicrobadge: Wine drinkerMicrobadge: Christian
Played this with Seth and Rudy. We finished a lot of side quest missions. It was pretty easy for us to stick together as the game allows you to join a party while simultaneously allowing each player to have their own set of active missions. We just chose to all start the same missions so that we could play them together.

I'd like to continue playing with other players. The game is okay, but playing with people makes it a lot more interesting. We all picked different weapon loadouts, which grants each of us different special abilities and attacks.
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24. Video Game: Battlefield 1 [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1334]
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Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Microbadge: ChristianMicrobadge: San Francisco 49ers fanMicrobadge: Oakland Athletics fanMicrobadge: Oakland Raiders fanMicrobadge: Whiskey!
Oh man, this game has a whole new life for me.
I was so bummed that my favorite FPS franchise was no longer fun.

My friend gave me some of her tips, and I read some more, but one little thing changed EVERYTHING! Most of the guns all use iron sights, which I actually prefer a lot of the time, but the default iron sights in BF1 for some reason have a 1.25X Zoom???

Iron's with zoom? Okay, that doesn't make any sense to me. BUT, turning that off to no zoom made a world of difference. Suddenly, I was hitting almost all my shots. So much better!

This game is seriously fun now. I played for well over an hour tonight, only swearing at fools using shotguns rather than swearing at everything.

I was top player on the losing side a couple times, which felt excellent compared to treading the bottom.

Did I mention you can shoot pigeons? You can shoot pigeons too. What could be better? laugh

Super happy now.
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25. Video Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:330]
Video Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Microbadge: Nuclear power professionalMicrobadge: Kai LordMicrobadge: Ameritrash fanMicrobadge: PC BuilderMicrobadge: Latter-day Saint
I've been dabbling in the latest craze in the STALKER mod scene, the STALKER: Call of Chernobyl mod. It has all the maps from all three games, plus maps cut from the final games like Generators and Dead City, and there is a huge vehicle graveyard map that is much closer in size to the real life vehicle graveyard than the small group of vehicles in the garbage. The mod is focused on freeplay, with an expanded system of randomly generated little quests. I'm playing it with "story mode" that adds a few big quests to disable the brain scorcher and stuff. Character generation is simple, mostly just picking a portrait, faction, and start location. The fast travel is nice; better than any debug menu teleport system.

They created an awesome trailer for the mod that was instrumental in getting me hyped up enough to download it and try it:
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