30 July - 5 August 2018: What video games are you playing this week?
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1. Video Game: Gems of War [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:5194]
Video Game: Gems of War
Monica Elida Forssell
Norway
Sandnes
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I have worked through the Daily Challenges through the week, and upgraded some of the Kingdom troops, unlocked more traits and tried to finish Events for this week. Most have been easy enough, but I have run into some challenges.

sometimes it`s just nice browsing through my contents in there, do a bit of casual fighting. I have my own, ever changing group of fighters, that are altered to the challenges` specifications. So if I need three red troops, I find three, possibly even low, red troops, upgrade them, and bring in my hero with a fitting weapon. I also try when it`s possible, to combine two challenges, like 4 red troops from a certain Kingdom. If that Kindom has 4 red troops, I use them to finish both challenges in one go. Meanwhile I help my Guild getting some more goodies from our statues.
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2. Video Game: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:134]
Video Game: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
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Indiana
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Fired this up on the SNES classic.

Fun game, well made, lots of good ideas and an accomplished visual style. Still, never quite been a favorite... maybe just overshadowed by the original SMW for me.

The bosses are hilarious, though

Ready to dive into a deep RPG but things are hectic - that will probably have to wait a couple of weeks.
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3. Video Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:252] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
Video Game: Lords of Waterdeep
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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I enjoy the boardgame so much, but there is not often time or people to play with. Playing the computer game scratches that itch. So far, I had added all the expansions and played with a full AI player count set at medium. (The easy were easy to beat consistently). I've managed to win the majority of the games, so I am starting to increase the difficulty to hard (though I am not sure how the AI changes its strategy). I have not ventured into the online game yet. I just don't feel like creating ANOTHER account for an online game.
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4. Video Game: Serial Cleaner [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
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Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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I got stuck in the infamous level 7 of Valkyria Chronicles and needed a break after another hour-long and futile attempt.

I needed a simple diversion and chose Serial Cleaner which was part of a Humble Monthly recently. It's a stealth game with a disgusting theme and great 70's style. I mastered 12 of the 20 storymode levels so far. I'll continue playing but the game can almost be as frustrating as Valkyria Chronicles. As a crime-scene cleaner you have to clean up the mess your customer has left. Usually, you have to dispose of evidence, remove the dead bodies and clean the blood. A level takes about 10 minutes to complete. The thing is that you have to restart from the beginning when you get caugt, no matter how far you progressed.

Learning the patterns of the officers in a level and figuring out a way to master a level is satisfying enough to continue. A level each session seems a good rate to aim for.
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5. Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild [Average Rating:9.21 Overall Rank:3]
Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I've started LoZ Breath of the Wild on Switch; I've got a trip coming up soon so it's the right time for a good portable game. Some surprise is a little ruined for me since I watched my girlfriend play this game (obsessively) already. The beginning is a little frustrating; the game has basically told me "please explore this open, sprawling world (but don't explore it because you don't have enough stamina or hearts to actually survive anywhere)!".

I'm also making progress in Ni No Kuni 2 on PS4, a game which I originally intended to be played by my girlfriend but which I have now monopolized. If I'd known I'd be playing it I'd likely have bought it on PC to benefit from shorter load times and whatnot, but here I am. I'm enjoying the game although combat is overwhelming -- almost every combat pits you against 5+ enemies, and with all the flashy attacks coming from your allies and higgledies, it's difficult to learn enemy attack tells or to notice when another enemy is attacking you while you are watching another enemy. I find my own controlled character taking more damage than my allies, so I'm playing a little more defensively, trying to finish off low HP enemies and triggering my higgledies rather than getting knee deep into the fray.
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6. Video Game: The Order: 1886 [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2799]
Video Game: The Order: 1886
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Had a go at Battlefield: Bad Company 2; I'd heard it was one of the better single player campaigns in the Battlefield series, but it's extremely dated and the flakey controls put me off. Like many FPS, it wants to be Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare but it's not.

So then I loaded up The Order: 1886 on PS4. I'd heard it was a decent third person cover shooter in the vein of Gears of War. The opening is a bit gruesome, but it seems you mostly play as a kind of policeman in an alternate 19th century London. Pretty typical TPS although the camera is very close in, like in God of War (2018). Seems ok so far.
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7. Video Game: Fallout 4 - Automatron [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:2466] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
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United Kingdom
Manchester
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Although I've not progressed much through the main quest, I decided to start this DLC last week and I finished it on Sunday night.

It was relatively short, but the story was fun, especially the end.. and it adds a new mechanism to build your own robots.. either as a companion, or just to have around your settlements... if you use your companion purely as a pack-horse, then why not have a sentry bot with additional storage armour.
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8. Video Game: Pokémon GO [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:2606]
Video Game: Pokémon GO
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Got some pokemons from New Zeeland and Australia, and traded them, so now got Pilot Silver. Will do some more trading this week.
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9. Video Game: SteamWorld Dig [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1506]
Video Game: SteamWorld Dig
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
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Pretty mellow game so far with nice character upgrades, even if it seems a bit too platformy for me.
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10. Video Game: Paper Mario: Sticker Star [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:5775]
Video Game: Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Paper Mario: Sticker Star -- Continuing to work through this game. Still hunting Wiggler segments on the seemingly interminable Level 3. Puzzles continue to have some obscure bits with few hints -- for instance, level 3-11 required you to jump into a pit which appeared to be poison water, but was actually a hole to fall through the floor to a level below. There is no indication anywhere that this is the case. *shrug*

I want to beat this game so I can move on with the VGG Challenge. If I start something else, I will be hard pressed to come back to it.

UPDATE:
Beat the Level 3 Boss last night, and I was reminded of another frustrating aspect of this game.

In addition to the Stickers, you find various Things in your adventures. This can range from Scissors to High Heeled Shoes to Fishing Hooks. These Things can be turned into Stickers which have powerful effects. Except... you have no idea what any of them do before you use them.

For example, in beating the Level 3 Boss, you had to use the Sponge to soak up his poison attacks and throw them back at him. Which is fine except the only way to get a clue to use that is to lose to the Boss TWICE and let your guide give you a hint. It's frustrating trial-and-error bordering on "go find a rock" rather than giving the player an honest explanation of what the item does.
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11. 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 into another game of MoM with the unofficial 1.51 patch. This time I'm playing a customized wizard using Sss'ra's portrait, and I chose to start on Myrror (making me the sole inhabitant of that plane at start).

Got off to an OK start, I guess, but Oberic has expanded far and wide and broken through to Myrror. Freya is belligerent as usual and has already declared war on me.

For anyone interested, the creator of the 1.51 patch has also created a complete mod called Caster of Magic. Might be worth checking out. Has anyone tried it?

Just reading about CoM, I'm a little torn. The modder, Seravy, brought MoM up to snuff with the 1.51 patch (built on top of Kyrub's "Insecticide" patch, which needed more work), but then he went on to create CoM and further improve the game (i.e., make it more to his liking). It does sound better to me, but it's also clearly a departure from MoM, which is kind of a classic that ought not to be messed with.

One thing that draws me to CoM is that city development (buildings) is speeded up. It always has felt too slow to me. MoM drags in the early game and only picks up to a good pace later. But ... maybe that's as it should be. I don't know.
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12. Video Game: Brave Story: New Traveler [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Video Game: Brave Story: New Traveler
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In the middle of nowhere
New York
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I'm on Chapter 9 and I got a couple of sidequests to do/turn in. Not sure if I'll end up doing them all.
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13. Video Game: Pokémon Quest [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Video Game: Pokémon Quest
Clark Timmins
United States
West Jordan
Utah
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Green to feel blue? Is your vision purely golden? Is your humour black or olden? Do you find you're getting yellow? 'Though you know you're in the red dread...
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The Pokémon advancement method in the game is odd. They gain XP and level up (as Pokémon have done for decades), but their levels don't yield much in -and-of themselves. Instead, every n levels they gain a new "stone slot" in which you can drop a "stone" (a power-up item). The socketed stones are what grant the 'mon its actual power.

So, it's different. I don't see much rationale behind going this "innovative" route. But it does mean that your 'mon can gain several levels with virtually no improvement, then when they get that level that gives a complete socket... they have a huge incremental jump in power.

And the random move learning process in the game is horrible.

But, I'm playing...
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14. 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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Continuing through Ys 8. While it's doing a bit better now than my first impressions, it's still clear that this is the weakest of any of the modern Ys games that I've played (which is all of them except Celceta). I do appreciate the fact that, for the first time since Felghana, the random mobs are a real threat and the challenge isn't all concentrated in the bosses, but that's about the only place where I can say that Ys 8 isn't strictly worse than its predecessors. The boss fights are particularly disappointing; usually a highlight of the Ys games, they barely register as more than speedbumps here, being by far the easiest in the series.

At a design level, so many of the reworked mechanics in this game really harm the flow and pacing compared to previous Ys titles. The abundance of healing items, for instance, is a clear step backwards; while it takes about the same number of hits to find yourself at the "game over" screen as past titles, having to bring up the menu screen and select a healing item after taking a hit or two just murders the pacing compared to previous titles that either had no healing items (Felghana and Origin) or limited their usage very severely (Napishtim and Seven). The overreliance on Flash Guard is really harmful as well, since that kind of parry mechanic tends to have poor transparency and feedback, and is closer to playing "simon says" than the movement-based defense of Napishtim, Oath, and Origin. In Seven, it has so many drawbacks that you usually only want to use it as a last resort; it seems clear that it was originally added to make up for Seven's drastically reduced mobility (caused by a shift to a fully 3D engine), but 8 encourages you to use it at every opportunity, and the game feels really static compared to previous Ys titles as a result.

In spite of all of the above, I can't say it's a bad game (at least based on what I've seen so far)... just a very average one, from a developer and a series that I expect much more out of.
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15. Video Game: NBA LIVE 18 [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Video Game: NBA LIVE 18
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Warriors made it to the Conference finals versus Oaklahoma.

Started using the Icon Passing button. Wow, my passes finally are going towards the intended player, and I'm racking up Assists. The normal passing buttons don't follow any direction for some reason.

All I needed was 1 more Assist for 100 to unlock 2000 bonus XP. But I didn't use\know the icon passing then, so no bonus.

UPDATE:
Rookie of the Year!

Finished the Playoffs with a sweep of the Bucks. They were slamming everything, but Warriors 3-point shooting spelled the end.

I wish EA Sports followed the Dark Souls formula. If you push a button, the player does what you press. Too often, I'd press something and the player would refuse to do what I pressed or delayed it way too late.

After getting to know the controls through a whole season, these little delayed-action annoyances start adding up and becoming really frustrating.
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16. Video Game: Hitman: The Complete First Season [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Video Game: Hitman (2016)  - Season 1: Episode 1: The Showstopper
Josh Malbon
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Santa Cruz
California
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Nearly got a Silent Assassin on the Bangkok level, one security camera got a pic of me. Took out the Target's bodyguard with a fire extinguisher to the back of the head, and then threw it into the Target's head to knock him out. KO! He flew down the stairs and almost collapsed in front of another guard. Dragged him back up the stairs, executed the Target and then hid them both in a closet.

Also, I finally made it past the Colorado level. Man, the militia compound was tough going. Nowhere near Silent on that one. Ended up just sniping from a distance and squashing another with a carlift.

On to Hokkaido, Japan!
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17. Video Game: Uncompromising Trash [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Uncompromising Trash
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Wauw! A rare happening: I get to play a game on a Monday!
Usually it would only be to 5-10 minutes mobile game, but in the evenings I am usually at my vintage car workshop or sailing with the navy..

But here I am - playing Uncompromising Trash!

A few quirks when playing this on Steam: First of all the Overlay does not work - even if you get a nice little popup saying you can open it by Shift+Tab. That is okay... But when playing the game in full screen, the aim does not work - at least not on my computer (1920x1080 widescreen) - it the aim is perfect in Window mode.

The game... sort of okay, but probably wouldn't play it again after completion...
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18. Video Game: Endless Space 2 [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:2711]
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ES 2 and more ES2. Onto the Lumeris! So far so good. Enforced peace is kind of funny actually. They get mad at your for being peaceful?? I could be mean and conquer everyone - eventually but I am trying for something else this time.
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19. Video Game: Euro Truck Simulator 2 - Scandinavia [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Video Game: Euro Truck Simulator 2 - Scandinavia
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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It have been having a long break from Euro Truck Simulator 2 - and although the Italian expansion is out and in my library, I haven't gone south yet.

My headquarter is located in Copenhagen - and the contract today was starting in Helsingborg, so I had to drive to Sweden to pick up a 10 tonnes of scooters - which I had to haul back through Denmark to Cardiff in Wales.
Now the map had been calculated to go through Germany, Holland, Belgium and France to take the EuroTunnel to England and then to to Cardiff - but I thought it would be easier and actually save me some rests by going to Esbjerg and then sail: the sailing is calculated in the resting, so if I was lucky I could manage with that one. Also this let me explore more of the English road net - but it would also take me out on small carriage roads!
But I did it anyway!

Normally when I am having such a long break from the game my first couple of deliveries goes really bad! I can't control the truck... but this time there were no real issues! The trailer was delivered without any damages - it was delivered on time (World of Trucks contracts are delivered in real time, so for this one I had until sometime Tuesday so unless I fell asleep I would be able to deliver it).

On the way to Cardiff I also took the time to drive through Sheffield to unlock that city.

Now my Globetrotter is parked in Cardiff - waiting for the next contract! But I don't know when it will be - or where I will go! When I checked just for fun I could get a couple of aprox. €100,000 contracts: One to Poland (Warszawa I think it was) and one to Italy!
My current account says €2,000,000 (I got €100,000 for that last delivery - and one of my girls also delivered a good amount to the firm! I do not remember how much, but more than what the other girls do!).

I look forward to the next haul... but I should be doing some cleaning at home - and play some other platforms soon...
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20. Video Game: Borderlands 2 - Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep [Average Rating:8.69 Overall Rank:265] [Average Rating:8.69 Unranked]
Video Game: Borderlands 2 - Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep
Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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Andy caught me online and we had at it again. This is just a really well-done campaign and we are having a good time with it.

Ahhhh, If only life wasn't so busy. I told him earlier that my Steam profile read that I have gamed for 1.1 hours over two weeks. After playing this tonight, the stat jumped up to 2.4 hours. Life'll do that to ya.
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21. Video Game: Final Fantasy Tactics [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:52]
Video Game: Final Fantasy Tactics
Ryan S
United States
Dallas
Texas
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What!? I finally get my very own video game, but it's a mobile game?!
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I tried this out again to see if I could get past the awful sluggishness and got kind of hooked again. Man this game hasn't aged well, but it's still intriguing. If any game could use a full remake, it's this one.
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22. Video Game: Wild Arms 2 [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:3658]
Video Game: Wild Arms 2
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
United States
In the middle of nowhere
New York
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Microbadge: Tea drinkerMicrobadge: I'm part of the 2020 Mindful Spending ChallengeMicrobadge: Lost in Subscription!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: "I'm a really good liar." —Jester Lavorre
I left off pretty far into this game when I last played. So, I went to the Sacrificial Altar. Then I got a call from Irving that someone had been kidnapped. Went to go save them.

Apparently I've only had Tim learn 3 spells. Gotta work on that. Kannon needs to learn a few more skills also. There are a couple more mediums I could get.
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23. Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5 [Average Rating:9.20 Overall Rank:136] [Average Rating:9.20 Unranked]
Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5
It's V-Y not V-R
United States
Alabama
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オーケー・ブーマ
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Microbadge: Who cut the cheese?Microbadge: Golden GeeklisterMicrobadge: Final Fantasy VII fanMicrobadge: Feeling lousyMicrobadge: Alien fan
Continuing my NG+ run a little bit at a time. Currently halfway through Kamoshida's palace and set to finish it in one in-game day. That should leave me with plenty of time for the daily activities I need to take care of in order to round out the trophy list.
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24. Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2
It's V-Y not V-R
United States
Alabama
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Up to Chapter 3, out of who knows how many. I've collected more than 50 demons, of which 20 or so were fused rather than captured. Most of those were 1 or 2-star rating, so they're sacrificed to my 4 and 5-star standouts.
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25. Video Game: Enter the Gungeon [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1814]
Video Game: Enter the Gungeon
Joshua Van Donselaar
United States
West Des Moines
Iowa
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Been playing the Hell out of this game recently, the new Gungeons and Draguns update has me back for more. Still haven't beaten the Dragun myself, but at least I've finally gotten to the Forge lol.
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