10 September - 16 September 2018: What video games are you playing this week?
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Tell us what you're playing, how much progress you've made, what you like, and what you dislike this week.

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1. Video Game: Shining Force [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:694]
Video Game: Shining Force
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United States
Indiana
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About 40% of the way into Shining Force.

I had been playing straight through (never exiting battles to re-try for more experience or whatever), but I stopped at the fight with Elliot, both to get multiple Heat Axes, which are amazing this early, and to pick a small number of characters to "promote."

From what I can gather online, you should either promote characters as early as possible (level 10) or wait until level 20 if you're concerned with very long-term stats. The game doesn't seem too hard so I'm going to try a mix. One character in particular, the Knight Pelle, is the strongest 'early bloomer,' so I've got him wrecking everything as promoted level 4 Paladin (from Level 10 Knight).

I do think this game's cast of characters is a strong point. Currently I'm fielding:

Zylo: a fast moving werewolf with few terrain restrictions and vicious attack power
Balbaroy, a fast moving birdman with no terrain restrictions but modest attack power
Gort & Luke: normally middle-of-the-road warriors made lethal by early-game Heat Axes
Tao & Anri: offensive mages, fragile but with great AoE attacks
Lowe & Khris: healers, but with the power-ring equipped on Khris to constantly cast attack-boost on damage dealers
Mae & Pelle: Knights with very high defense and extra range (spears)

Currently debating the last slot (in addition to the main character). I just recruited Domingo, a goofy/secret bonus character that is some kind of floating mage-octopus, so probably that over another Knight. I've stopped using Archers altogether.
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2. Video Game: Anachronox [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1847]
Video Game: Anachronox
Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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I wish this game wasn't so &@%$*!@ DARK! I don't mean thematically, the theme has actually been a pretty fun romp that has ranged from stealing labcoats to get into a scientists' hangout, to a mad dash to escape disaster.

No, I mean literally too much of the game has involved wandering around darkened tunnels trying to find things hidden in them, whether it's tiny objects or an ordered series of switches. And of course, there's no torches or light spells or any way to see where you're going, and no map, and I had to resort to a walkthrough to muddle through because I was so frustrated.

There are some good and funny things in this game, but annoyances like this keep me from really recommending it.
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3. Video Game: Champions Online [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3402]
Video Game: Champions Online
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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One good thing about an anniversary is that it brings back the regulars and sparks some new life back into the gameworld. After the anniversary week ended, many still remain to begin new heroes and team up with newbies (there are a few every now and then).

This week, I am working my way through missions to raise a few new heroes up to level 25, when I can create my very own nemesis. The nemesis creation is, bar far, the best part of the game. I especially enjoy the nemesis group missions when a group of heroes tackle one of the nemeses. Afterwards, we all ask, "Whose nemesis was that?" cool.
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4. Video Game: The Battle for Wesnoth [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:488]
Video Game: The Battle for Wesnoth
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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I've dabbled at this off and on (mostly off) for a few years. Just noticed it's available on Steam, so I uninstalled my old version and installed the Steam version. Should help keep it up-to-date, I guess.

It's a free game, btw, in case anyone doesn't know. And it's a pretty darned good one, if you like hex-grid wargames like Panzer General and its spin-offs. Or Advance Wars.

I started a novice-level campaign but set the difficulty on "knight--challenging." Inadvertently lost my leader and the game. So I played again on "horseman--novice" level, took a little more care, and won. Really just wanted to get a feel for the game again.
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5. Video Game: Age of Wonders III Collection [Average Rating:8.15 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.15 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Age of Wonders III Collection
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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‘Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said—’ the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep. ‘After that,’ continued the Hatter, ‘I cut some more bread-and-butter—’"
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"‘But what did the Dormouse say?’ one of the jury asked. ‘That I can’t remember,’ said the Hatter."
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I just acquired this version of the game last week, though I've played its three predecessors. AoW3 appears to be the best so far. But besides the new rules and systems, I'm struggling to get used to the 3D map (I almost never like those things). With the help of the hex-grid overlay, it looks like it'll be doable. And I'm so far enjoying the game.
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6. Video Game: Forza Horizon 3 [Average Rating:8.61 Overall Rank:1404]
Video Game: Forza Horizon 3
Kevin Brown
United States
Parker
Colorado
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Sunk a bunch more time into this but I think I'm pretty much done bombing around Australia. Forza Horizon 4 is on the, ahem, horizon. Soon it will be time to bomb around England with vehicular shenanigans. FH3 is very much the best racing game ever devised by man. Curious to see what FH4 brings to the table.

Anyways, played a bit online with a bunch of randos to unlock a Porsche 959 and won the matches. Hilarious how they've taken typical FPS multiplayer and made it into car multiplayer. Played a couple rounds of Infected (car tag), a round of King (car tag), and a couple of rounds of capture the flag (more car tag). It all worked pretty well in a goofy way.

Just killing time until Tuesday [edit: Wednesday. Got a little too excited!] when I get to start playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider two days early because I am but a pig at the video game consumerism trough and preordered the fancy version that gives early access.
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7. Video Game: OpenTTD [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:741]
Video Game: OpenTTD
Greg Maynard
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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I have been watching youtubes of Transport Fever being played by Skye Storme. Looks like a lot of fun. Since I don't own that game it has inspired me to go back to this oldie OpenTTD which I used to play a lot. I have the opponents turned off (they usually aren't much of a challenge and are just annoying in the way they mess up the map) and am enjoying creating a train network with mainlines and sidings off to local industries. Getting the stations, signals and junctions arranged in an effective manner is quite challenging and a lot of fun.
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8. Video Game: Path of Exile: Ascendancy [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Path of Exile: Ascendancy
Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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Yeah, I know. But the devs keep finding neat ways of making the game fresh and fun.
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9. Video Game: Monster Hunter: World [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:1116]
Video Game: Monster Hunter: World
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Very diverse game week for me this past week-and-a-bit!

I’m still playing Breath of the Wild – I’m about 55 hours in, though it feels like over a hundred. I’m done all the Divine Beasts and am now working on the DLC content (in addition to stumbling across some shrines and quests that I haven’t found yet). I was super frustrated with the DLC content at first – the first thing you have to do is clear out four monster camps without getting hit at all, and then do four shrines without getting hit at all. One of the shrines was super frustrating, and took me a dozen tries or so; every failure resulted in seeing a loading screen and having to do the earlier parts of the shrine over again. Very odd choice to lock all of the good DLC content behind very difficult hurdles.

On a whim, I decided to buy Monster Hunter World on PS4; I saw that it was 40% off for PS Plus subscribers, so I started my 14 day trial (and will likely get the 12 month sub once I confirm that I can play online with friends adequately). I played a little bit, not quite out of the tutorial stuff yet. MHW is a very dense game, though I knew that going in. Most of the tutorial comes in very small font on very cluttered screens. I am definitely learning the basics as I play though. After beating the Great Jagras I have been fiddling around trying to figure out which weapons I want to stick with. I think I’ll work on the Hammer and Switch Axe; they’re both pretty straightforward from what I’ve seen so far.

I also downloaded Destiny 2 (base game) which is available for PS Plus users for free at the moment. I started a Warlock character and only just got to the point where I can group up online (which I hope to do with a friend at some point this week). I’m having a real hard time adjusting to controller FPS aiming after playing FPS almost exclusively on PC for so long. So far the game is pretty neat; I don’t see myself falling in love with it, but I’m approaching it as a fancy Halo-style co-op campaign game rather than a games-as-a-service lifestyle game.

Playing on PS4 is kind of a nice novelty – even though I could play MHW or Destiny 2 on PC on my TV, I picked them up on PS4 to play with friends that play on PS4. One thing I find is that I get a little less distracted when I play on PS4 as I just grab that controller and I’m back in the game (as long as I’m not switching titles). On PC, I might get distracted checking reddit, or VGG, or my email, or checking out the Steam store, or whatever else. Plus, now when I start Steam I feel like I’m being bombarded by my game library; on Switch and PS4 I just have a handful of games (so far) and don’t stop and think “oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to get back into X game…”.

I haven’t played too much of Bravely Second in the last week, since I’ve been playing my new shiny games. I found a cheesy grinding strategy where I am:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
All the enemies are undead, so I can have all characters use the Freelancer skill “Halfsies” to use Phoenix Down on all the enemies with a 70% chance to kill each one. Doing that usually lets me get up to a 2.0x multiplier or higher without any thought whatsoever.

I’m really cash strapped so I felt a little obligated to grind for money (thankfully I have the Merchant job available for 1.5x pg after battle now), and the higher job level requirements are pretty nuts as well.
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10. 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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Of the three (all very good) games I'm mired in, Witcher 3 is probably my favourite. I don't know how they did it, but it seems like it has all the merits of open world without the downsides, combined with the quality story-telling of a much more linear game. Everything feels hand-crafted, the sidequests are all well done with excellent plots, and yet there's so much to explore and discover. I didn't have much time yesterday so I spent 45 minutes checking out some question marks on my map yesterday - found a neat cave full of spectres, and then got suddenly killed by a giant level ??? monster with a goat's skull for a head that appeared out of the darkness. Reloaded and that guy was gone, finished the cave... but when I got out, my horse was surrounded by dead animal bodies and that that big goat-skull-head guy warped in and started trying to kill me. Luckily, while he hit like a freight train, he was pretty easy to dodge and my quen shield took the odd hit that I didn't manage to sidestep. After about ten minutes of dodging and stabbing he went down. I don't know who he was or what he was doing there, but it was a neat encounter, and the sort of thing that's all over the place in the Witcher 3.

I'm also playing Siralim 2, still. I made a modification to my team that's resulted in some improvement, and I beat a max level sigil (level 10) - creatures 15x my highest creature's level and gene strength. That was my goal, but I've set my eyes on new, lofty heights. Over 100 hours (and 57% of the 608 achievements available), and still going strong.

And I've been dabbling in Super Mario Galaxy. I like it, but it's not something I can sit and just focus on. It is quite charming, and some of the mechanics are fun. I find the little one-off galaxies you unlock from feeding those talking star guys star bits really challenging (I walked away from Rocky Road galaxy in the first galaxy cluster for a while because it was too much, until I came back and managed to finish it), but very satisfying to complete.
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11. Video Game: Endless Legend [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:1065]
Video Game: Endless Legend
I've been playing Endless Legend with a new Ardent Mages game. I lost last game by expanding too quickly and tanking economy - then my two neighbours invaded in my moment of weakness. This new game I have been more methodical in my expansion and kept the finances in order. I have taken out the Forgotten first as their numerous spies were becoming a real problem despite us having good trade agreements in place. Now I have become friends with the Drakken and been in a simmering cold war with the Broken Lords.

I really enjoy the quest system that they have in place. I feel like this is the computer game equivalent of what I want Runewars to be.
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12. Video Game: Pillars of Eternity [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:324]
Video Game: Pillars of Eternity
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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Time for another big game. I like the idea of CRPGs but haven't played many. Pillars of Eternity is one more step in resolving this gap.

I'm following my usual approach of deciding tactically what seems to be good and not thinking too much about an optimal strategy. Thus, I chose a godlike ranger as my character which turns out to be the most worthless character in the group I've gathered so far.

I like Eder and I've created a barbarian character myself to make my simple battle approach of rush-in-and-see-who-comes-out feasible. I'm having trouble with keeping Aloth alive and use his potential. He just died permanently in the battle with Maerwald, so I have to replay the last 15-20 minutes to get my fortress and keep a wizard in my party. Kana the bard is a fun addition to the party and might turn out to be my favorite character.

As usual, I'm playing on the good side of things although for practical purposes I had to side with Raedric as my party was much to weak to survive not siding with him.

I'm thinking about Pillars when I'm not playing it. So I'm hooked for now.
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13. Video Game: Final Fantasy IX [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:101] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Video Game: Final Fantasy IX
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
United States
In the middle of nowhere
New York
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Went into Esto Gaza and Mount Gulug to rescue someone.

2 of the characters in my party don't have any more accessory skills to learn right now since I leveled so much off those grand dragons (Zidane is like lvl 43).
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14. Video Game: Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1842]
Video Game: Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017)
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Played some more of this game. I mostly want to experience all the maps, because I really like how they made them, but I just don't find the gameplay all that compelling. I definitely prefer the previous Battlefront game, though that game was also a disappointment.

The space battles in this one are better than the Starfighter skirmishes of the last one, though. They have objectives and interesting features and more ship types and are just more fun.

I still hate the unlock system. It's convoluted and unfun.

Worst of all is the terrible matchmaking that won't find me any matches unless I pick the main modes. I wanted to try out Ewok Hunt, but no luck, yet.

I played the Naboo Hangar map from episode I, which I thought was a neat inclusion, except that the area where the final part of the duel took place is "out of bounds", which is lame.
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15. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:594]
Video Game: Path of Exile
I literally had not played in years. I racked up 13 of 14 achievements for 40K Inquisitor over the course of 209 hours this summer. Then I just... needed a break. So I kept to the ARPG schtick and I thought "Well, usually I miss out on everything that everyone else has played. Why are people still playing Diablo III? Jesus Christ, it's how old? And where do I play it, if not on Steam?"

So on to Battle.net I went, and I picked up D3, six years after everybody else on the planet had already finished it. (Seriously, I don't know where other new players come from.)

I had fun with D3 for a bit. It was fun to hear Caine's voice again and stomp around Old Tristram. And then I thought, hey, I wonder what PoE is doing these days?

I put in 10 hours to PoE over the past two weeks - would have been more if I haven't been sick in some way or other every couple of days. 45 YOA really sucks when you're not ready for it.

Playing as a Shadow and still experimenting with lots of stuff. I probably should have played as a Duelist, the way I'm equipped. Still, the game doesn't punish experimenting. I haven't once felt shackled. Having a good time so far.

I do need to get back to D3, though...
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16. Video Game: Shadow of the Tomb Raider [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:1738]
Video Game: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Kevin Brown
United States
Parker
Colorado
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It's fired up and live on my XB1X, but I'm making dinner. Oh responsibility, you are a cruel master! But in the next hour I will be playing this.

So excited!
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17. Video Game: Marvel's Spider-Man [Average Rating:8.84 Overall Rank:310]
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Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Really like the web-swinging mechanics. Zooming around Manhattan is pretty awesome.

Fun taking photos too. This Peter Parker is post his Daily Bugle days, so no photos for stories, but fun anyways.

Starting to really get the hang of kicking butt.

Hunting down all the sidemissions, unlocked a bunch of XP. There's some gadgets that do different things like shock and sonic powers, but I'm pretty much sticking to standard web-shooting.

The white spider spidey suit is growing on me, but I'd like the original Web of Spider-man black suit if I find it.
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18. Video Game: Minecraft [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:112] [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked]
Video Game: Minecraft
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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I took a bit of a break from Fallout 4 to play minecraft.... it has been about 3 weeks now since I paused playing Fallout!!

Currently playing both on a local server with my family (we now have 4 minecraft accounts between us) and on the spielcraft server with other BGGers.
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19. Video Game: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:55]
Video Game: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Been a while ago I last played Alpha Centauri - but I needed something I could play while eating, and also would close down without being in the middle of action!

Like the Civilizaition games it is of cause a lie that you can "just quit anytime you want" - always you have to play "just one more turn".

I play as the Moguls; and I have eradicated three factions already: The first were the Believers; they plead for their lives but it was too late: THEY made a vendetta against me, because the Spartans had asked me to wage war against them - and I couldn't let down the saucy Santiago just because of some purists didn't want to die, right?

The treehuggers also died; they were fighting with the Hive, which I also was at war against - and because I used a ballistic weapon that pretty much destroyed everything around the colony they put a vendetta on me! I mean... I actually didn't know that the missile worked like that... In the end they had only one city left - and they still put a vendetta on me: She is now captured and put under my "personal interrogation" as the game calls it (Good evening, Mr. Grey).

Short after Santiago of the Spartans were also captured and the faction eradicated. All three female factions are now out - out down by my hands - which does make me feel bad....

I am still fighting the males; the scientists, the Peacekeepers and the Hive: The Hive is my main enemy and we are really have had a long going war for a long time! I try sparing the Peacekeepers a little bit, especially since the University nuked one of my cities! Which I replied with a nuke that wiped out three of their cities (they were close clustered):

Global Warming have started and I have lost a few men that way.

My strategy at the moment is simply to use my air force to thin out the cities so my troops can just walk in.

After saving I retied (I always end the game by Retire to get to see the scores and so) - and I have a good margin to the remaining four factions!
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20. Video Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:640] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Video Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order
It's V-Y not V-R
United States
Alabama
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I went to (and returned from) the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Lunar Base.


I unlocked 3 perks: Assault 8 (dual wield expert), Stealth 7 (Scout II), and Tactical 8 (quick reload).

Edit: Unlocked a few more perks and finished it on Thursday night.
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21. Video Game: Epic Battle Fantasy 3 [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Epic Battle Fantasy 3
Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Microbadge: Pebble of the Community - Always present, only occasionally kicked aroundMicrobadge: Dood!Microbadge: GameChat League - Swedish Meatball DivisionMicrobadge: Fallout fanMicrobadge: 'When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning' - Dr. Reiner Knizia
I know, I know, it's mindless flash-game crap. But I just wanted a game to play in short few-minute bursts between boardgames during evenings this week, since Debbie and I are ensconced in the 11th annual Alphabetic Boardgaming Challenge.
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22. Video Game: Trials Rising [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Started the beta tonight. Sadly 4th track is bugged. Myself and others can't get past, because it instantly fails, despite being ahead and winning the race.

The tracks run far away from what was fun in the original. All these explosions and loops don't really challenge you, getting a great smooth line. It focuses too much on special FX and doesn't really let you challenge the tracks.

I was really looking forward to racing my Dutch friend's ghost, like the last game. But these tracks really stink. I don't want to play more.

The beta is pretty buggy for an AAA title.

The bikes feel weak. Currently, I wouldn't buy this on sale.
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23. Video Game: Book Series: Alice in Wonderland [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Book Series: Alice in Wonderland
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Started up this visual novel since I have had it in my library for some time and I needed something simple... Well: it have taken me longer than what it says on HowLongToBeat - and I am still not finished!

The story - well, I don't actually know the original story very well - in broad sense the Disney version, but never saw that one to the end either; but it seems to be mostly about a crazy girl! Oh, yes she is a bit wacky... But might just be my interpretation of it.

The art work is very nice when it comes to the backgrounds - but a little sloppy when it comes to the characters; an example is that the White Rabit, Mouse, Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse are called "he", but most of them looks like girls - some of them are definitely depicted as girls!

The audio is mainly classic music running in the background - and that is very nice. As well as a few sound effects here and there.
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24. Video Game: Crackdown [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:644]
Video Game: Crackdown
Ryan S
United States
Dallas
Texas
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So I've recently decided that my Xbox One is going to work better as an Xbox 360 than a current gen system, so I've been delving into the backwards compatibility stuff. I've played a number of games lately just playing around with how the BC works. It's kind of funny, but every game I've tried so far requires a huge file download before it'll work.

Crackdown is the one I've played the most. I thought I already had this game, but apparently I only rented it back when it first came out. I found it for $2 in a clearance bin a couple months ago, and it's in the XB1 BC list. It's mindless fun that feels a bit like Saints Row IV, but way earlier.

Rumble Roses XX - I actually forgot I owned this game, but when I saw it was one of the 2 games added to the XB1 BC list, I looked over and noticed it on my shelf. It's super ridiculous, but still a pretty fun fighting game with wrestling based move sets.

Burnout Revenge - Man this game is fun. It makes me sad that Criterion went to Burnout Paradise after this. Burnout Paradise isn't a terrible game, but it just didn't feel like a Burnout game. A lot of former Burnout devs went on to make the Danger Zone games on PC. I need to pick those up because the Crash mode was my favorite part of the Burnout games.

I am getting tempted by the Game Pass. There are a few games I'd like to play in the list, like the new Hitman, and supposedly Crackdown 3 will be on it once it launches.
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25. Video Game: Mercenaries Saga 3 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Ryan S
United States
Dallas
Texas
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I need to add the Switch compilation to the VGG database.

The Mercenaries Saga Collection (physical edition) released on Tuesday for the Switch. It's a collection of 3 formerly mobile tactical RPGs.

I figured it would scratch the Disgaea itch, if even just a little bit, and I decided to get the physical edition.

Bad idea. I've only played the first few missions or so, but I'm really not liking this game. It's so sluggish, and it has reversed controls from any other tactical RPG I've played, with no way to change the controls in the options. When you press up on the D-pad, it goes up and to the other direction from other games. Almost every other tactical RPG has the ability to switch those directions, but not this one.

Fortunately the game was only $31 with prime discount, so I didn't waste too much money on this.
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