23 July - 29 July 2018: What video games are you playing this week?
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1. Video Game: Valkyria Chronicles [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:83]
Video Game: Valkyria Chronicles
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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Started this yesterday and spent 7 hours on it so far. I passed chapter 4 and probably will do some training missions to build up XP and money before I continue with the missions.

The battles are challenging and interesting. Thing is, I'm not the biggest X-COM fan and the battles are similar. For my taste, they are too long. I prefer quicker battles to get back to the story part in RPGs and I'm not looking forward to the necessary grind to improve my soldiers. My other issue with Valkyria Chronicles is that I can't liaise with the Japanese style and the heavy usage of adolescents as heroes. A 14 year old tank mechanic? A heroine fighting battles and wearing miniskirts in between battle scenes?

Other than that, the game is extraordinary in terms of art style and production value. Will this carry me over the approx. 70 hours it's supposed to take?
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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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Still checking out the aquatic update and moseying around. I am running out of goals, so if I find the time, I might look into starting a new game that lets me play sporadically. Now to look in my mountain of games and see what would fit the bill.
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3. Video Game: BioShock Infinite [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:121] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Video Game: BioShock Infinite
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I beat some games last week, so I'm on to some new stuff.

My gf is still dominating the TV playing Horizon, so I decided to knock another FPS off my backlog (since controller-centric games are better played from the couch whereas mouse + keyboard games are typically better at the PC). I started up Bioshock Infinite, a game that I beat not long after it came out. I had tried replaying the game about a year ago or so but didn't get absorbed in it. Going back to it this time, I'm actually kind of blown away by it! The world is so colorful compared to the first two Bioshock games that have various shades of brown and grey. I had to fiddle with the controls a bit, and it seems weird to play a FPS that doesn't have zoom on the right moue button, but rather on a toggle key. I'm playing on the default difficulty and haven't come across any roadblocks so far.

I picked up Enter the Gungeon on Switch. They just released "Advanced Gungeons and Draguns", a content pack that is a free DLC for the game, and currently have the game 50% off on all platforms (Swtich, consoles, PC). I was pondering picking up a new Switch game, and seeing this game on sale for under $10 sealed the deal (compared to, say, Dead Cells which is currently 20% off but still C$28).

I'm a little disappointed with my experience with the game -- it's fine when playing with the Pro Controller, but it's very uncomfortable to play with the joycons (either attached to the console or without the grip; I haven't tried with the grip yet but there's no reason to when I have the Pro Controller). It's not easy to be aiming with the right analog stick while shooting with the right trigger. It's also a fair bit more difficult to track what's going on on the console screen compared to a TV. I'm still able to enjoy the game docked, but I prefer using my Switch in handheld mode.

I started Ni No Kuni 2 on PS4 with my girlfriend, passing the controller off every now and then. Aside from the fact that the game is not fully voiced, I'm very impressed with the game so far and look forward to playing more. Combat is just the right amount of flashy.
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4. Video Game: Darkest Dungeon [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:464] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Video Game: Darkest Dungeon
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Minnesota
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According to Steam, I've played this for 62 hours now.

I picked up the free DLC, the musketeer, and added one of those to my roster. A pretty useful ranged character.

I'd been accustomed to being annoyed by inventory management, but lately it's roster management I have to put some thought into. For a while I had no experienced healers. Now I notice I have no front-line fighters moving up from the lower ranks. May have to do some dismissing and hiring.
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5. Video Game: Heroes of Might and Magic III Complete [Average Rating:8.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.61 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Heroes of Might and Magic III Complete
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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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And for a change of pace, I decided to play another section of a campaign in this game. Even on "knight" level" (next easiest) it was all too easy. Guess the campaigns start out that way.

My experience with HoM&M goes back to the mid-1990s or so. I started with Heroes of Might and Magic II. And I always liked the game well enough, though I never cared for the art style. However, from time to time I'd get frustrated; I'd take a wrong approach or dally too much, then find myself pestered by enemies or even overpowered. That'd sour me on the game, and I'd back off for a long while.

For now, I'm back into it and enjoying the experience.

Since I wanted to like Civilization but just couldn't, HoM&M may be my TBS game of choice (if I can stop reacting every time I suffer a setback). When I'm not playing Master of Orion, that is. I love MOO, but HoM&M has more to it--more cool stuff to do--and it's all good (unlike Civ, where I hated war but was bored with peace and overwhelmed by economic necessities).
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6. Video Game: Tomb Raider (2013) [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:123]
Video Game: Tomb Raider (2013)
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Played this one when it was relatively new 5 years ago; decided it was time to dive into the PS4 remaster.

A bit of a wobbly start, but a couple of hours in turns into a great "action adventure." Some definite flaws here, but a lot of heart as well. I recognize that Rise of the Tomb Raider improved on some things and offered considerably more content, but the original has a sense of momentum and focus. Genuinely not sure I'd ever go back to Rise, but this is quite a bit of fun.

Forgot how satisfying combat is in this game. Mixing it up between bow-sniping, point-blank shotgunning, and Laura's bizarre hand-to-hand proficiency with her climbing axe.

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7. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition [Average Rating:8.96 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.96 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition
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Sigh...I think I'm in a rut..



Been trying to find a new kind of kick(to me, or not the usual fallbacks). Thereby I've played at least 30 minutes of Divinity: Original Sin, Undertale, Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition, and Civilization V (admittedly, this was ~2 hours one night. I'd prefer IV, but can't find the disks).

Tripeaks Solitaire and Pyramid Solitaire (also, WAY more than 30 minutes, these things are so mindnumbingly easy to access, I find myself 1 deck in before I realize that I'm getting no actual enjoyment out of it).
Meanwhile, if I pick up my phone, I get stuck in Sudoku, Antiyoy, or Circuit Scramble. Or scanning Ars Technica for new stories (again).

I'm currently downloading Warframe to see if that holds my ADD'led attention.

And without really doing anything in any of these, I'm back in Skyrim running after someone's macguffin for a pittance.

Suggestions?
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8. Video Game: Tomb Raider (2013) [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:123]
Video Game: Tomb Raider (2013)
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Finished today.

Overall a solid and fun games. Large mix of things to do game requires some platforming, quite a bit of shooting skills, QTE sections, there is a lot of exploration if you want to find every last piece.

The skill requirements end up being quite low in my opinion as just about any failed challenge puts you only moments back with the frequent saves. And none of the dexterity challenges are all that high on their own. There were some shooting sections I had to do a few times, including one I needed to move to mouse+keyboard. Those were the most difficult. The QTE sections could be frustrating but mostly because the player has no idea what to do at first. Any time you lose at them I learned a bit more what not to do and was able to brute force the ones I found difficult.

My biggest gripe with this game was the dark tone and horror aspects. I don't think it really fits the Tomb Raider aesthetic. But this is my first Tomb Raider game so for all I know every Tomb Raider game has horrific death cutscenes worthy of the Mortal Kombat series whenever Lara is killed.

Though I strongly suspect not.
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9. Video Game: Obduction [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:3477]
Video Game: Obduction
Jonna
Finland
Helsinki
Uusimaa
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Started playing this one, I have a feeling I might not be patient enough to finish this one, too much thinking to do. I mean, I love puzzles and all that, but with my flat being constantly between 28 C - 31 C (82.4 F - 87.8) my brain has pretty much already melted with sleep deprivation So far I did enjoy the game though, even with so much running around trying to figure out what to do next.

In addition I've been playing a lot of Payday 2, and managed to get some achievements I didn't think I'd ever get, like managing Car Shop Heist in Death Sentence with One Down mechanic and the 12 Angry Minutes (successfully finish The Big Bank Heist in or under 12 minutes). We almost got the Entrapment (Finish Big Bank Heist with 12 bags, default escape plan and all the lasers active). We will go back to that one, as we were so close at succeeding, so hopefully soon I will have that one too. We did the Big Oil Heist in Mayhem (stealthed the first day). At the end of it, I had 425 kills (78 specials), that one was so crazy even on this difficulty, I have no idea how people can managed the two highest difficulty levels. 18 heists short from having done all the heists in Mayhem or above difficulty. So getting closer to that one too.
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10. 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 Level 3 of this game, which is becoming frustrating. There is a lot of backtracking, which is annoying. The controls are good but the perspective is not always conducive to making the jumps or moves you need to make. And most irritating of call: Combat is essentially a waste. There is no Experience, so you can't level up and get more powerful by combat. You only get Coins, and Coins have no value in the action areas, only back in the Town, and are so plentiful that I can fill up my Sticker Book and have a few thousand Coins left over. Combat uses up Stickers since you have no "freebie" attacks, so I find myself running away from most battles just to save Stickers and to save time. The combat system is cleverly designed but also is extremely repetitive.

I'm continuing to play, looking to beat this because it is part of my VGG Challenge hardcore list.
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11. Video Game: WarioWare Gold [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
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WarioWare Gold (DEMO Version) -- Downloaded this off of the 3DS Shop and ran through the 4 Demo stages. WWG uses all 3 of the control input styles of the 3DS family hardware -- "Mash" using the D-Pad and A button, "Twist" by turning the system to the left or right, and "Touch" using the stylus (or, as Wario calls it the "stick-thingie") and touchpad. The Demo contains 4 sets of games, one for each style and then "Ultra" which has all of the styles mixed together.

The bright, colorful cartoon graphics of the cut scenes look great on my 2DS, and Wario's dialogue sounds great. The gameplay is similar to previous entries, although I am only familiar with the original, so the Twist and Touch games were a new experience.

This Demo is fun and it appears you can play it as many times as you want (many 3DS demos are limited to 30 plays). This demo did it's job in that I am very much considering buying the full game.
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12. Video Game: Tomb Raider (1996) [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:530]
Video Game: Tomb Raider (1996)
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It's been a long time since I played this game, so the controls take a bit of getting used to whistle

Lara takes forever to rotate to the left/right lol
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13. Video Game: Warframe [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1940]
Video Game: Warframe
Adam
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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So this weekend on Warframe I had a couple of big moments, unveiling my first riven mod (for the Ankyros, unfortunately, especially as it had great stats for a sparring weapon) and solving the quest Patient Zero in addition to building a number of new weapons and frames. I'm almost through all of the commonly available primary and secondary weapons, and soon all I will have left are prime / faction variants and melee weapons. At almost 700 hours in this is a game that I obviously continue to enjoy.
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14. Video Game: Pokémon GO [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:2606]
Video Game: Pokémon GO
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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15. 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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Wow, this was released in 2013? I'm so behind lol.
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16. Video Game: Grow Up [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Video Game: Grow Up
Raymond Haaken
Netherlands
Maastricht
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So cute, peaceful and fun!
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17. Video Game: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Video Game: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
Enjoy some homing fireballs!
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Finally getting around to playing this. So far, kind of disappointed; based on what I've seen so far (just killed the Chameleon boss), the design is much less tight than previous modern Ys titles, with consumable spam being fully encouraged, a combat system that over-relies on the "Flash Guard" mechanic from Seven and Celceta, and party members have been homogenized compared to Seven, so the fun and rhythmic "this character builds SP/this character spends it" dynamic from well-chosen Ys Seven parties is gone. The result is a game that, in many ways, feels more like a watered-down "Tales Of..." game than an Ys game. It's not a bad game, at least not five hours in, but it's a lot closer to that than the "OMG, BEST YS GAME YET!!!" that a lot of people had been hyping it to be.
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18. Video Game: Octopath Traveler [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:1542]
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Bobby F.
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Henrico
Virginia
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After trying the demo, I liked what I saw but was a bit afraid of how much it would offer. But some reviews reinforced that I will be okay so I made the purchase and am enjoying it so far (about 6 hours)
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19. Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Average Rating:8.93 Overall Rank:6] [Average Rating:8.93 Unranked]
Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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I'm looking to focus on this now that I'm done with Dragon Age: Inquisition. I'm maybe five hours in and am very impressed thus far. It's kind of surprising how superficially similar it is to DA:I (wandering around a map ignoring the main quest in order to check out various markers), but the quests are better and the world's more interesting and visceral. ...It just seems like a straight-up better game. Not that DA:I was bad (it really wasn't), but still.

I tried playing a little Firewatch with my wife as a co-pilot - she was not a fan. I think it was a little fiddly and amateur for her. It looks good, but there was a lack of polish in places. I liked it, and will continue playing it solo.

And I'm still playing Jade Empire. I've fully powered up Mirabelle and am now saving my points in case there's any future styles I find appealing. Really, though, Leaping Tiger seems to do the job most of the time. There's very few bosses (excepting the Ravager, I think) I couldn't just run up to and stun-lock with punches. I had to replay the final arena fight a number of times, but mostly due to bugs - I shot the horse demons and Kai Lan couldn't do much when I just repeatedly fast attacked him in Leaping Tiger. I enjoyed the Black Leopard subquest, although I don't think I took any damage in the entire series of fights - again, Tiger style! It does feel like a solid B kung fu movie, where a stranger walks into a martial arts school, is rudely challenged by four novices, and beats them all without getting hit. (I like to imagine cheesy B-movie dialogue - "So! You would attack an innocent traveler. But can your Black Leopard defeat my TIGER STYLE!?" The game lends itself to that sort of thing). Anyways. Tonight I plan to infiltrate the Lotus Assassins.
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20. Video Game: Mario Tennis Aces [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:5014]
Video Game: Mario Tennis Aces
For Switch
No longer the demo, but the full game, on physical media

.

Played local 4p mode. I figured it would do just one screen, with 2 in the foreground, and the other 2 players in the background. Nope! It's split screen so that each player will always have the option to play with the camera behind them.

Disappointed how there are no option to allow 2 or 3 rackets. It's just 1 racket, or infinite rackets (IOW, getting your racket destroyed won't cause your team to insta-lose)

Also interesting is when an opponent is doing a zone shot or super shot where a targeting reticle appears and they get to aim for a specific spot, they see it on their split screen, but it doesn't show up on yours. When playing online, makes sense, but with any other game (like FPS), I suppose you're on "scout's honor" to not look at the opposing subscreen.

.

Also played a few levels of adventure mode. Unlocked 2 special courts... playing on a ship with a mast in the middle, and one where there are 3 pipes over the net and piranhas will pop up to gobble the ball, and spit it right back at you!

Story mode leaves a bit to be desired, but I guess it works in a Mario game. For that same reason, you look past the absurdity how every level in your adventure conveniently happens to have a tennis court. Still, most unique level thus far is the one where you need to defeat 30 piranha plants within 120 seconds. Getting hit by them instead of hitting fireballs back incurs a 5s penalty. You do need to aim, but the zone shot does help since you literally aim it where you want it to.

Last but not least, Mario can actually level up to improve his stats (run faster, accelerate faster, and balls hit move faster). Also 3 other stats for different rackets (e.g. wooden racket.. with a fully functional gear in it). You're directly encourage to revisit levels you had trouble with after leveling up as it should be easier now. Yeah, this is bit more RPG-ish than I would've liked it to be. It seems like an asinine trick for vg these days (not just here), but I guess it works here as well.


EDIT: Added an extra paragraph to 2nd section
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21. Video Game: Gauntlet (2014) [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:1663]
Video Game: Gauntlet (2014)
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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United Kingdom
Manchester
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for gifting me this game some time ago! I finally installed it and played it a bit and it's quite good. Better than I thought it would be. I introduced it to my kids and they had fun with it, too.

It's fun for local co-op casual dungeon crawling.
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22. Video Game: CastleStorm [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:6520]
Video Game: CastleStorm
Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
NC
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I saw this game being talked about on the geeklists around here and it sounded interesting so I picked this up for cheap during the Steam sale and have played it a bit (my kids have been playing it a lot more than I have).

It's basically one of those catapult games (e.g. Crush the Castle, Angry Birds) with some RTS/MOBA type stuff thrown in, and the ability to customize your own castle. The art style is sort of WarCraft-ish, which doesn't look bad at all at the distance you are usually zoomed out at. Playing a local multiplayer skirmish, you win by either destroying the other castle with your catapult/ballista shots or by capturing the flag inside their gate with your troops, whichever happens first. It's a fairly fun little game from what little I've seen.
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23. Video Game: ELEX [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:5637]
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Henrik Lantz
Sweden
Uppsala
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As I saw some interest when I last posted about this game, I wanted to update my impressions. I am now 30 hours into the game, and I am hooked. If you like open world games like Skyrim and Fallout 4, I think you should at least check a few gameplay videos. This could be just your thing.

The world is a mix of post-apocalyptic buildings (very similar to Fallout 4) and more lush forested areas. There are three main factions, and I have managed to avoid joining any one of them yet, but will soon need to make a choice. If I follow the Berzerkers I will get access to magic, the Clerics will give me Psi-abilities and good plasma weapons, while the Outlaws will allow me to get good regular weapons and chems (which boost stats). I have three companions (only one can follow me at a given time though) and have started to get some good equipment, but need to raise stats to be able to use some of them. Need better armor in particular. Still plenty of beasts that knock me out with one or two hits, in some areas I need to be very careful.

I recommend this game. If you like choosing factions, making in-game choices that very much affect game play, and an open world that allows for a lot fo exploration, then I would advice you to at least check a few gameplay videos. Oh, and you have a jetpack in this game.
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24. Video Game: Master of Magic [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:42]
Video Game: Master of 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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Well, I started a game of this. Not sure I'll finish it.

I noticed the unofficial 1.51 patch has been upgraded a couple times since I last tried it, so I downloaded the newest iteration (RC7).

MoM is a playable game as it is (i.e., with the last official patch, 1.31, which the GOG version of MoM comes with), but it has some bugs and other defects that you start noticing over time, if you play often enough. It's such an enjoyable game, with so much cool stuff to do, that many players just turn a blind eye to the imperfections. But they're there, and fans have been working for years to fix the problems.

One thing I notice is that the lairs on Myrror are many and formidable. But that may be because the default settings, as I belatedly discovered, include "Monsters Gone Wild"--an increase in the number of monsters in the game. I'll probably restart now that I've turned off that option.*

With the 1.51 patch, the starting cities blend into the terrain in their square and are harder to see, but that's a minor issue. So is the fact that combat movement is much quicker (I might be able to slow down DOSBox to adjust that).

Otherwise, the game seems to run fine. I'll experiment some more even if I don't finish my game.


*Edit: I think I was wrong about "Monsters Gone Wild." Apparently it's just the default setting that allows for wandering bands of monsters. Since I switched it off, I've experienced no monster attacks at all. So, I'll have to turn it back on.
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25. Video Game: Brave Story: New Traveler [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Video Game: Brave Story: New Traveler
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
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In the middle of nowhere
New York
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I left off about half way through this game over 11 years ago whistle

I decided it was an easy one to play on breaks at work (being portable). Of course, I didn't really remember anything about it, so I had to watch a playthrough up to Ch. 8 to remind myself.
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