16 July - 22 July 2018: What video games are you playing this week?
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1. Video Game: Horizon Zero Dawn - Complete Edition [Average Rating:8.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.52 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Horizon Zero Dawn - Complete Edition
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After finishing the final dungeon in Persona 5 on Thursday, and the substantial epilogue on Friday, I moved on to Horizon Zero Dawn, another Playstation must-play game.

So far, so good. The game looks incredible, the combat and hunting are fun, and the story is intriguing. There is one thing I still need to get used to about the player character, though: Since Aloy is voiced by Ashly Burch, who also voiced Chloe in Life is Strange, I keep expecting to hear the post-collapse tribal hunter say something like "that's hella lame."

I had also started a Persona 5 NG+ run after I finished it on Friday, but that's just for achievement hunting, so it will probably be on the back burner for a while. Along with Final Fantasy V, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Beyond: Two Souls, and Skyrim Remastered. That's a lot of burners, isn't it?
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2. Video Game: Minecraft [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:112] [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked]
Video Game: Minecraft
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Got a bunch of wheat, a powerful sword, plenty of torches, and caves for days.
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3. Video Game: LEGO Batman: The Videogame [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:796]
Video Game: LEGO Batman: The Videogame
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Manchester
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My yougest is really enjoying playing this with me, so we played a few levels this weekend.
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4. Video Game: Rocket League [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:280]
Video Game: Rocket League
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my eldest is really enjoying playing this, so I got in a few matches with him. He also played it a bit with a friend on Saturday.
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5. Video Game: Fallout 4 [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:184] [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked]
Video Game: Fallout 4
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still loving this my self.. I am now level 49 having completed a ton of side quests and settlement radiant quests etc.
Still haven't progressed the main story all that much... but am currently on the trail of some guy.
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6. Video Game: Alpha Protocol [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1449]
Video Game: Alpha Protocol
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Continuing on in Alpha Protocol. The game is growing on me. Finished Russia and Rome, boosted my martial arts and stealth, bought fancier armor, and continued trusting people who lie to me.

Warframe in fits and starts, occasional short run w/Luis. Finally nabbed the last Limbo Prime part, so that's in the foundry. Then the only frames I'll be missing are Khora and Umbra.

Also played Don't Take It Personally Babe, a visual novel about being a teacher snooping on your students' relationship issues. Which if I had *known* that's what it was about, I might not have bothered playing.
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7. Video Game: Darkest Dungeon [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:464] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Video Game: Darkest Dungeon
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I seem to have found a new favorite. Been playing this steadily for two or three weeks now. Maybe I have more patience than most for grinding; you have to go through a lot of low-level, repetitious runs to fund longer or more lucrative runs--and to level characters up enough to possibly handle the tougher challenges.

And after doing that, you risk losing all your best characters on a single run. I've been devastated like that three or four times so far.

Yet, permadeath isn't so bad when you've got a whole roster of characters to continue on with.

Besides, there's also the repeated satisfaction of missions accomplished. And the dazzling lure of cooler and more challenging missions ahead. And for me, so far, there's always a lot more to learn.
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8. Video Game: Super Metroid [Average Rating:8.72 Overall Rank:8]
Video Game: Super Metroid
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Almost no gaming at all the last week-ish, but this weekend have a few things up and running.

Sat down and played a couple of hours of Super Metroid, which has been a lock as one of my two or three favorite games for 20 years now. The last time I revisited it, in 2011 IIRC, I managed to get 100% in 2:18. This time I'm content to just mess around a bit. 50-5-10, saved outside of the Wrecked Ship. I have a feeling I should have at least one or two more super missile pick-ups than I do. My wall-jumping skills are still solid.

Also played a bit more of The World Ends with You. Apparently you get a certain amount of experience toward your "pins" just for shutting the game off from day to day? We'll see how that goes. I'm doing OK in combat but... if they really want me to rapidly coordinate between both screens on the DS, that seems like asking a lot.

Also played a bit of This War of Mine. Controls are poor on PS4. Even managing to grapple with those... I feel like this game is caught between very different artistic/development goals. Artistically it's all about ordinary civilians living shitty lives in a war zone, barely scraping by and feeling forced to do shitty things occasionally if they run into other folks. For example, I had a character who ended up killing two people, who in short order became: "broken, exhausted, hungry, and slightly wounded." The "broken" part meant she wouldn't even get up off the floor to sleep in bed overnight. But, gameplay wise, this is a rather dry management sim. Feels like the game is simultaneously saying: isn't optimizing all of these things fun! And, doesn't the human drama here crush your soul!

goo
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9. Video Game: Slay the Spire [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:266]
Video Game: Slay the Spire
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Have 'won' with The Silent and The Defect, now trying to get a win with The Ironclad. Am particularly intrigued by thin decks using event-specific colourless cards like Apparition, Bite, and Madness.
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10. Video Game: Payday 2 [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1724]
Video Game: Payday 2
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Finland
Helsinki
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Still playing this game, helping some new to the game folks get into it and also working on the achievements with my friend. Finally managed to successfully stealth Breakin' Feds yesterday, on Mayhem difficulty. Apparently I had been VERY near finishing it all the time, but failed at the very last moment. Now to get it done on Death Sentence!

There are some achievements that require a four man crew and things like wearing certain masks or not using any skills and such, so if anyone's interested in helping me and my friend out, shoot me a message. He already has done every single heist on Death Sentence with One Down and I will start attempting that with him soon. Since I've been able to do all the heists I've tried on Mayhem by myself, I should be ready to start trying the crazy difficulty levels So, in case anyone's interest in joining us for Death Sentencing, you'd be very welcome to do so.
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11. Video Game: Xenoblade Chronicles [Average Rating:8.36 Overall Rank:304]
Video Game: Xenoblade Chronicles
Andrew Schoonmaker
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Long Beach
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I've made some more forward progress in Xenoblade Chronicles (I'm about 25 hours in). I have four party members now, which would be great if I could think of more than two sensible configurations for them (the active battle party size is three). I've had to revise my estimate of the size of the game upwards, again. I'm enjoying the game, a lot, but it would be nice if the game took more account of the possibility that players might actually do some of the side quests on offer -- I think everything in the current zone is either five levels below me or fifty levels above, with the exception of a couple of unique monsters (which were actually interesting fights). I don't really understand a lot of the systems, and haven't had to spend any time optimizing my equipment, ether gems, etc.

I've also intermittently been playing Slay the Spire, mostly working my way up the ascension mode ranks. I'd like some way to play around with putting together decks of various sorts, with some assurance that adequate cards for the sort of deck will appear, but I don't know how they could add any such thing. Perhaps I should try fooling around with specified random seeds in custom games.

Last week I also dabbled a bit in Cultist Simulator, which is slow-paced but manages to be tense and engaging (YMMV, with this game more than most). I've learned some stuff about the early game, but the manner of progress past where I am now remains cryptic. I'm sure I'll put more time into this, but for the moment it may get back-burnered.

Lastly, I'm also still doing weekly reps in Destiny 2, gradually increasing my gear level. Currently the level-appopriate activity available to me is heroic strikes, which I haven't felt confident enough to queue up for by myself (aside from once when I was way undergeared and hit the wrong thing accidentally). I've mostly run out of new things to do in one of the zones, and am pretty close in another. Still, public events are interesting now and again.
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12. Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:58]
Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V
Raymond Haaken
Netherlands
Maastricht
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I'm in love with this game. Will certainly play this during my vacation!

And maybe some Worms Armageddon with Kristof if he has time, for the videogame challenges.
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13. Video Game: FTL: Advanced Edition [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:1164]
Video Game: FTL: Faster Than Light
p55carroll
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Played some of this yesterday, just to remind myself what it's like. I was thinking that if I like Darkest Dungeon, I ought to like FTL. But, not so much.

For one thing, the real-time aspect bugs me a little. For another, there's not the sense of cumulative progress, as there is in DD. In FTL, you do the best you can, get as far as you get, then start all over from scratch. In DD, disaster is a setback and disappointment, but you keep your upgraded facilities in town, pick up new recruits there, and forge ahead; as far as I can tell, you only lose if you quit playing.

Now that I'm thinking along those lines, I'm curious about X-COM: UFO Defense again. The steady supply of recruits is similar to DD. A big diffrence is that in X-COM you have to build and maintain an economic engine to support the whole effort--and win often enough to keep attracting funding. I think it was the strategic/economic side of X-COM that turned me away from the game years ago, but I still remember it as one of the best PC games ever.
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14. Video Game: Caravan [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
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Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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Started playing this casual trading game because I can't get myself to try and finish the end battle in Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship and the first hour of playing Loom didn't grab me enough to continue playing.

I'm in 5 hours now. It's enjoyable but after finishing two of the five chapters I'm afraid that Caravan will get very repetitive.
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15. Video Game: Final Fantasy XV [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1193] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Video Game: Final Fantasy XV
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I'm about 25 hours into Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition. I like the road trip atmosphere, although I would appreciate a little more female presence, and I'm not talking about Cindy's boobs. I'm getting a little bogged down on hunts and side quests (which are definitive fetch quests), so I'm almost always over-leveled, but I'm in it for the experience, not the challenge, so I'm enjoying it nonetheless.
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16. Video Game: Paper Mario: Sticker Star [Average Rating:5.87 Overall Rank:5485]
Video Game: Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Paper Mario: Sticker Star -- Still working through World 3, hunting down segments of Wiggler to reunite the wormy guy. The game has definitely started leaning towards the Mario 64 school where it is pure exploration with not much in the way of puzzles in the traditional sense. A lot of backtracking at this point to round up the Wigglers, curious to see what comes later on in this World.
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17. Video Game: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:335]
Video Game: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Caroline Berg
United States
Washington
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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I'm currently on Day 6 out of 10 and given how fast Days 4 and 5 went, I'm hoping to make it to Day 8 this week - or if I'm lucky, Day 9!

Day 6 is Saint John's Eve, so you know things are going to go down this night in game! Gabriel just needs to get everything ready for then.
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18. Video Game: Desktop Dungeons [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:852]
Video Game: Desktop Dungeons
Caroline Berg
United States
Washington
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I keep playing this game too - slowly making progress. I finally have a bank in my city, so I can hold on to more gold - and I have unlocked Dwarves! (I had previously unlocked Elves) so I have more options for when I go questing.

The quests are brain-burners. There is far more strategy to what you need to do than just random hack-and-slash. It took me a while to figure things out (the tutorial levels helped) and even then I still fail more than I succeed.

But I do feel like I'm making progress. I have beat all the copper quests for the classes I have, so time to go back to general quests to unlock more options so I can do the silver quests...
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19. Video Game: Afro Samurai [Average Rating:5.22 Overall Rank:7257]
Video Game: Afro Samurai
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Continuing with the quest for revenge and getting the Number One Headband... I beat the boss I had some issues with (Brother 6 with a flamethrower) - and now I have an issue with him again, but this time with a rocket launcher... I don't seem to be able to deflect those rockets! I watched and read online what to do - but it just doesn't work for me...
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20. Video Game: Fallout 4 [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:184] [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked]
Video Game: Fallout 4
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Got the credits for one of the endings, but I'm still cruising around doing stuff for fun.

I love how much the green grass mod changed the morbid to a little bit more pleasant landscape. I like the morbid, but sometimes it's nice to chill in green grass and green leaves.

The modder mentioned having different seasons.
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21. Video Game: God of War (2018) [Average Rating:8.61 Overall Rank:222]
Video Game: God of War (2018)
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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My pops got this for me for my birthday.

Beautiful world. I like the changes in combat to the older GoW's. Wasn't ever a fan of the old QTE finishing moves. Just pressing the same stun button is a lot more enjoyable.

Story reminds me a bit of the Last of Us, which is great. I loved that game.

I find myself playing for about an hour and then moving on to other games. For awhile, I trekked into an area over my level. When one enemy touched me once, and I instantly died, I decided to go back in the other direction.
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22. Video Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:640] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Video Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I'm nearly at the end of Wolfenstein: The New Order. It's been a fun ride, and of course the story brings me to
Spoiler (click to reveal)
a Nazi base on the moon.
I'm not sure I'd replay in the future though; it's a very linear game that relies heavily on scripted moments. I don't think I could play the game differently if I tried (short of doing a different difficulty).

I finished West of Loathing the other day -- very abrupt end but I guess this sort of game is all but impossible to give a satisfying ending. I am still playing to uncover more and find more locations.

I had a friend over and we played all of the games in the Jackbox Party Pack 4 with 3 people. They're all kind of...ok. Maybe I've just been spoiled on the concept from the earlier collections.
Fibbage was same old Fibbage and the questions about the players are more fun when they are used for comedy rather than an actual competitive game, which is one of the things that set Fibbage out from the other games.
I'm not sure how I feel about Survive the Internet...I enjoyed it and see some potential in it, but it fell flat with us at the same time. The players are supposed to choose the reply that looks the most ridiculous? As opposed to the funniest? I'm not sure.
Monster Seeking Monster was fun, but doesn't really work with 3 people. It's the most complicated and kind of gives you the least to work with. There's nothing compelling people to tell the truth when saying they'll go on a date with someone, so the matchups always feel random.
Bracketeering was fun, but perhaps overly simple. The game implies that you should provide an argument for your reponses to sway the other players, but the timer stops abruptly if no changes have been made in 2-3 seconds, so everyone just votes based on their initial impression.
Civic Doodle was most liked by my friends, but I found it a little too frantic; combined with the usual imprecise drawing via phone, everything just looked like a scribble, and one player was left to choose the best scribble. As expected, things devolved into penis doodles by the end.

At work, we're having a "talk about an obscure game you like" event, and I settled on talking about Helldivers (I was torn between Helldivers, Atlas Reactor, Payday 2, or Growlanser 2; they're all games that I think have some really interesting design elements). So, I'm going to spend some time replaying that to re-familiarize myself with it and to get some screenshots and maybe video to use.

I gave up on Kingdom Hearts earlier this week, and added it to the Abandoned list. I could restart on a lesser difficulty to address some of my issues, but there's no difficulty setting for atrocious platforming sections.

Now that I'm finishing up West of Loathing and New Order, and gave up on Kingdom Hearts, I'm probably due to start another game. Not sure what it will be...
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23. Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:240]
Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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Yet more inquisitioning. About 92 hours now. Last night I finished up a fancy ball and reunited two lost lovers. I'm currently sorting out Blackwall's personal quests as a function of him being my elven mage's romantic partner - a choice I'm increasingly regretting. These Bioware in-game romances flesh out characters and build inter-character attachment, which is all well and good, but I don't like Blackwall (or whatever his name is). The more I find out, the less I wish I knew. Because I've so thoroughly pillaged the various "open world" places to go, there's really just character-specific quest stuff and main plot stuff, both of which hopefully won't take too long. I was pretty over-leveled for the ball, to be honest. I've got all non-plot achievements excepting one for making equipment out of tier-four stuff - I'll get to it eventually. But I'm starting to tire of the experience (I'm 92 hours in, though. That's not bad), so I hope it wraps up in, like, the next twenty hours or so.

I'm also playing Jade Empire. I like it. I'd heard it was some kind of black sheep in the Bioware stable (or whatever one keeps sheep in), but honestly I rather like it. The combat is easy and a little same-y - I punch guys, jump around a bit, then punch some more, if I can actually get next to the guy I want to punch (more challenging that it should be, really). The combat is definitely the weak point, but it's not bad, and the rest of the game is engaging. It feels an awful lot like KotOR I and II, only in fictional China, but the plot and metaphysics of the setting are interesting to explore.
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24. Video Game: Endless Space 2: Vaulters [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
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I've been playing ES2 a lot and this will continue for a few more games. Just in the final push of my Sophons game. Good times.
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25. Video Game: Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition [Average Rating:7.40 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.40 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
Ryan S
United States
Dallas
Texas
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Still playing this almost every day on my Switch (usually on my lunch breaks from work).

I unlocked Twili Midna not too long ago, so I've been leveling her up a bit, along with trying to find better weapons for other characters. I'm having a lot more trouble getting good weapons in this game than I do in other musou games.
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