17 September - 23 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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Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2018
Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2018
Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2018

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1. Video Game: Final Fantasy IV [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:144] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
Video Game: Final Fantasy IV
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I'm at the start of Mt. Hobs. Cecil and Rydia are in the low 20 levels. Edward and Rosa are 14 and 15.

Preparation is making all the difference. Even on hard difficulty, I haven't had the party get killed yet.

While the occasional occurrences of voice acting are pretty awful, I'm disappointed that the game's most infamous line didn't get the treatment.

From gallery of vyran
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2. Video Game: The World Ends with You [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:692]
Video Game: The World Ends with You
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Slow but steady. Near the end of Week 2 (so I think that means I'm about 65% of the way through the game). The characters and overall scenario of Week 2 are not as enjoyable/intriguing as week 1. We'll see where it goes.

I've mastered about 75 pins (equipable attacks), and have all six slots open, allowing for more involved strategies. Currently have the drop rate set to 25, giving my characters about 1100 HP. I've also been able to build up bravery enough that I can wear whatever I want.

Cool game, hoping it ramps up again in Week 3.
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3. Video Game: Anachronox [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1847]
Video Game: Anachronox
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This game is so frustratingly close to good. It has a nice interesting cast of characters, surprising plot twists, cool worlds to visit, two scoops of great humorous moments... but once again, I find myself running in circles around an area, with bunches of darkened corners that I can't see, and then having to know that THIS computer console is one I need to click on to progress, as opposed to the 50 identical-looking computer consoles which were just cosmetic and non-interactable.

Still, I've gathered all of the party members, so it seems likely that the end is not far off.
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4. Video Game: Metroid: Samus Returns [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:2297]
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Kyle Mann
United States
Fontana
California
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Finally managed to beat Samus Returns after eight or nine months playing off and on. It was a fantastic game: gorgeous visuals, tough gameplay but good feedback so you could learn from your mistakes, fun sense of exploration. No desire to go back and 100% it cause that's not my bag.
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5. 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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Still playing a lot of minecraft on both my family server, and on the spielcraft server.
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6. Video Game: Borderlands 2 [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:91]
Video Game: Borderlands 2
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Started a play through of this with my brother now that we are done with Borderlands.

He's playing a siren, while I'm a mechromancer.
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7. Video Game: Chrono Trigger [Average Rating:8.83 Overall Rank:4]
Video Game: Chrono Trigger
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I'm under the sea.

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8. Video Game: Monster Hunter: World [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:1116]
Video Game: Monster Hunter: World
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
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I think I'm in love with Monster Hunter World. blush Twice this last week, I got out of bed early to do "just one hunt" (spoilers: I was late for work both days), and it's been a long while since a game took precedence over five more minutes in bed.

I played a fair bit with a friend in co-op, and it's pretty fun to play the game co-operatively. I think it's interesting how this game is filled to the brim with grinding, but somehow it doesn't feel like grinding since usually it's done with intention ("I need to hunt this monster again because I want a water-based weapon, and it drops water essence") and is done to craft new equipment, rather than to just make your numbers a bit bigger. After a bit of experimenting, I think I'm going to stick with the Hammer and Switch Axe.

I finished the "Champion's Ballad" content in Breath of the Wild, which means that I'll head to Hyrule castle to face off against Ganon (rather than try to find the ~35 shrines I haven't yet discovered, or try to hunt for items to upgrade my equipment even further).


I bought a sound system for my setup this weekend (first I intended to buy only a soundbar, then a soundbar+subwoofer, but wound up walking out with the soundbar+subwoofer+rear speakers setup). It's a considerable upgrade from the TV speakers, and I'm enjoying the novelty of 5.1 surround sound on PS4.
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9. Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (1993) [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:85]
Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (1993)
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10. 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
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I decided to go back and complete some more challenges in Hitman. In Hokkaido, I finished all the escalation contracts, and finished the Kill Bill themed "Art of Revenge" challenges to unlock a new katana, and found out how to get on the roof, killing the lawyer by destroying the cable car, and a few other little challenges.

I started working on the Christmas level challenges, but figuring out all 12 items to take is really annoying. I'm sure if I really want to finish it someday, I'll just look up a guide to where all of them are, first.

Great murder-sim-game. Fun to go back to and revisit.
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11. Video Game: War for the Overworld [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Video Game: War for the Overworld
Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
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After playing Dungeon Keeper 2 earlier this year, I finally got to trying out War for the Overworld.

I've only played a few missions and some of "My Pet Dungeon" mode, but so far, it seems like a nice modern continuation of the Dungeon Keeper series. The narrator voice acting is good, and similar to that of Dungeon Keeper. The UI and general feel is all pretty close to Dungeon Keeper. You're still a floating hand attached to a stationary "dungeon heart", but there is more story/explanation around it to make sense of it in this game. You're basically some kind of non-corporeal Elder God type evil being that came to the planet via some kind of mystical asteroid that shattered into many pieces that became your dungeon hearts or something. New to this Dungeon Keeper entry is a large tech tree where you spend research points accumulated by cultists in your library/archives to unlock new spells or traps or upgraded rooms. Gameplay is still mostly building up your dungeon and army to fight or conquer an enemy dungeon owned by either the empire of men or a rival dungeon keeper, so it still feels a bit like a classic RTS where you can't directly control your troops: you can put down a rally flag to make your army all fight towards it, or you can possess a unit to control it in first person.

So far, it's pretty fun.
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12. Video Game: Dungeons 2 [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:5061]
Video Game: Dungeons 2
Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
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I've also been playing Dungeons 2, a different take on the Dungeon Keeper theme.

I quite like it, so far. It's more like what I would like an evil dungeon building game to be than the original Dungeon Keeper games were. I feel like the dungeon mechanics are generally more intuitive. The biggest difference between Dungeons 2 and the Dungeon Keeper/War for the Overworld games is that you don't see any other rival dungeon keepers or big enemy dungeons. Enemies mostly take the form of a single room or area or town or castle or fort or drarven mine or spider den that has or spawns enemies to attack you. Also, there is an overworld to conquer. Each map has an underworld and overworld part where you can travel between them through several dungeon/cave entrances. Controlling minions in the dungeon is similar to how Dungeon Keeper works, but when you send minions to the surface, you control them like in a traditional RTS.

A few reasons I enjoy this game more than Dungeon Keepr/War for the Overworld are that the pacing is a bit slower and more forgiving, it gives you a lot more space to build a dungeon in, and thematically it makes a lot more sense, in my opinion.

Both games have great narrators; this one has the narrator from the Stanley Parable, and the game's tone is very silly as a result, but it's still pretty good if you don't mind him breaking the 4th wall multiple times a level.

The graphics look very similar to Warcraft III, which isn't bad at all. In some ways, it makes rooms and some units easier to differentiate than the more gritty style of DK/WftO.

Instead of a single evil overlord fielding a mixed army made up of all kinds of creatures you normally don't find together, this game has three factions, each with their own units. The default faction has goblins, orcs, trolls, etc, with you as a Sauron-like overlord, bound to your throne room because of some curse you gained when a bunch of heroes defeated you in the intro mission. There is also a demon faction made of cultists and various demons, and an undead faction of vampires and zombies in a DLC thing. Each faction has their own different room types and some different mechanics, too.

The humor is mostly referential with some pop-culture references and lots of silly parody of other fantasy works like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Warcraft, etc. Some of it is funny, though a lot of it kind of falls flat or is dated. You can set how chatty the narrator is in the options, but I haven't tried changing it.

Overall, this is my dungeon-sim of choice. I haven't felt in danger of actually losing a game, yet, but we'll see if it gets challenging later. I'd like to try out Dungeons 3 sometime, now.
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13. 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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Zipping around doing all the sidequests, until I'm forced to do story missions. Catching pigeons and other important Spidey business.

I fear the hidden landmark photos. I think the game gives an audio clue to their locations, but I don't know much about Manhattan, so I'm taking lots of photos that aren't landmarks. I hope you don't need those for a Platinum trophy, or I'll have to use a guide.

Normally, I don't chase trophies, but this game I kind of want to find everything.
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14. 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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Second week playing this and I already spent more than 40 hours with it. I can't remember when a game last hooked me like this. Saturday, I played until 2am and would have continued if I was younger. Pillars has this just-one-more-quest/turn quality.

I finished the second act and also explored the middle part of the dungeons of Od Nua. Currently, I'm mixing up my party to progress on the specific quests of some of the party members. I completed Aloth's, Kana's and Eder's quests but still have five more to go. Durance, The Grieving Mother, Sagani and Hiravias all need to be part of the party for a longer time. Thus, they are currently in. The only permanent member of my party beside my sucking own character is a self-created adventurer, an Aumaua barbarian who is a better tank than Eder. Pallegina has to wait until I arrive in Twin Elms. This is where I'm heading for now.

While Eder and Kana looked fun first, my current favorite is Durance. I found him late in the game as I didn't fully explore his area when I first passed through. I like the mix of support and offensive prayers he offers. He is replacing the wizard in the party. My party currently has two rangers which feels odd but somehow works. My self-created barbarian and the two animal companions form the frontline and everybody else is doing long-range attacks. Hiravias and Grieving Mother are used in melee occasionally although most of the time I don't manage these characters myself in battle as I don't have a good idea what to do with them.

By now, I have come to terms with the complex tactical battle system. There's probably enough opportunity to achieve better results but I get on so far. When a battle gets too hard, I try something else first. The last third of Od Nua and the fourth bounty hunt are such examples.

I like the mature story and the world-building. I don't mind reading long texts although they could be more concise. The writing sometimes suffers from an unreflected more-is-better approach. Nonetheless, I'm glad that I chose Pillars to leave my comprehensive backlog.
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15. 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've played a lot of good games this year, but Witcher 3 stands out. I think it's because it provides a lot of space to explore, it makes that exploration meaningful by providing a lot of exciting "hand-crafted" (not procedurally generated - lookin' at you, Skyrim) content, and there's few barriers to ongoing exploration. ...That last item might need some explanation. I played Dragon Age: Inquisition a couple months ago and, while it was excellent, when I think back on my time with it, I remember a lot of time spent trying to get to the places I was going to, only to have terrain itself get in my way - there was a lot of fighting with the map. In the Witcher 3, travelling logistics aren't irrelevant, but only brief interludes between usually interesting and even challenging encounters, some of which feel truly epic. The writing is excellent, albeit pretty dark at times. The world itself is an interesting and engaging place. I do feel like the actual combat mechanics could be a little richer, but it works well enough.

I'm still playing Siralim 2, although that may end soon as I'm getting the itch to move to something else - that, and the atrocious UI combined with my cluttered inventory makes spell and item management a real hassle. I'm routinely wiping out max level primal sigils, gaining twenty or so levels at a time - I spent about half-an-hour or so yesterday gaining 250 levels (low 500s to high 700s), which is pretty ridiculous. But my party damages by dying, and high level monsters are really good at helping me along with that, so sigil fights actually take no time. There's the occasional party wipe when they managed to eliminate my source of resurrections or block my on-death triggers, but maybe one fight in ten, if that. I unlocked the ability to make nether creatures yesterday, but I have no real idea what to do with that. I'd like to try fighting the gods, which apparently is a thing I can do pretty soon in the game, but I have my doubts they'll be much harder than what I'm already up against with those sigils.

I'm also still playing Super Mario Galaxy, which is a good game. I'm not keen enough on it I'm going to do things like those shooting star challenges - I doubt I'll get all the stars, although I'll probably get more than I need to beat the game. I've already skipped an optional star that involved throwing bombs to blow up garbage, as it was less fun than it was worth. And I'm sure there's more I'm missing.

And my almost-four-year-old daughter has discovered the joys of Mario Kart Wii, which I'm playing a little with her - really just watching in agony while trying to be supportive and not stepping in when she takes 40 minutes on a track. It's her first introduction to video games, and so far it's successful - as in, she doesn't want to stop playing, anyways. Which can be a problem in its own right. Her enjoyment of the game seems to come from using mushroom boosts to launch karts into cacti or cows, or off cliffs into the water, while giggling maniacally (now that she's figured out how to steer, and specifically go straight, which was a really challenge at first). It's amazing how much enjoyment a preschooler can get from such simple pleasures. I'm glad she's having fun with it. I don't know that it bodes well for thirteen years from now when she wants the keys to the car.
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16. Video Game: Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:454]
Video Game: Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress
Ian Kelly
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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Allow me to introduce myself. I am Hexachlorophene J. Goodfortune, Kidnapper-At-Large, and Devourer of Tortoises par Excellence, at your service.
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I pulled this out recently as something that's pretty easy to play on a Chromebook over Steam Link. It's been a long while since I've played, but I didn't notice any major, glaring changes, other than it looks like you can now send dwarves off to raid other settlements.

I wasn't looking for a lot of external threat so I looked for a site with low savagery and low evil, and I found one right next door to a large elven civilization. Instead of building a traditional fortress, perhaps partly inspired by watching streams of Graveyard Keeper, I decided that I wanted to construct some sort of temple and burial center. First order of business was to get situated, however.

I brought with me a miner, a carpenter, a mason, two growers, an herbalist, and a swordsdwarf. The miner quickly got busy digging out some space for workshops, a dormitory, a dining hall, and fields in the soil layers. The carpenter cut down some trees, which were large and plentiful, and started making furniture. The growers planted seeds and the herbalist gathered plants, while the mason and the swordsdwarf mostly just hauled stuff with nothing better to do.

Unfortunately, I quickly discovered there was an aquifer layer just three levels down from the surface, blocking my access to stone. I made an initial attempt to pump out the water by hand with screw pumps (powered pumps would require stone mechanisms, which I didn't have) which I quickly had to stop after realizing that (a) the hole I had dug was much too big to be pumped out with a small number of manual screw pumps; and (b) the pond I was dumping the water into was very quickly flooding and some of the water was coming into my tunnels.

I expanded the pond to create more space for water and tried again with a much smaller hole, but was thwarted once again when the temperature dropped and the entire pond suddenly froze, including the pump output. Sometime later the swordsdwarf was noticed to be missing and eventually found frozen; I think he was actually in the water for some reason when it froze. Fortunately I had some caskets ready and I quickly buried him.

At some point a horse also died of starvation. Doh, I always forget that tame animals for some reason just hang out in the meeting hall and are too stupid to go eat the vegetation if you don't explicitly pasture them.

I now made a third attempt to pump past the aquifer. I dug out a large underground space (which turned out to be much larger than needed) to hold the water, and I dug two adjacent holes at a time with pumps on each of them to evacuate the water just enough to be able to replace the earth with a wooden wall, until I had eight wall segments in a ring to hold the water at bay, with an unexcavated tile in the center. Finally I dug down through the center, and it didn't flood! Success! It occurred to me that I would probably like to have more than one stairway descending through the aquifer, but oh well, I can expand it later.

An elven caravan arrived, and I gave them an ice block and some pig tail clothing in exchange for a tame jaguar. Shortly after that, a weretortoise suddenly arrived, slaughtered the elves and several dwarves, and infected who knows how many. I didn't want to deal with that and abandoned the fortress. Oh well, better luck next time!
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17. 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
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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 only had this game for a week or two, so I'm still learning. I can't help but feel I should be better at it by now, though. After all, I've been playing AoW (off and on) since 1999.

In AoW3, I'm finding that the independent stacks are more than just nuisances. I keep losing armies and cities to them. Because of that, I've become extremely cautious about guarding my cities; I'll leave a full hero-led army there as a garrison. But because of that, I have few troops to spare for offensive armies.

I just looked at the setup screen, and it says a small-map game usually lasts 20-35 turns. In my current small-map game, I'm on turn 86 and have barely settled a fifth of the map. There are lots of monster lairs and such I've yet to clear, just in my own territory. As to my rival, he's on the far side of the map somewhere, and I've been ignoring him. From my point of view, it's still too early in the game to even think about anything but expanding and creating a cohesive empire.

The only way I can even imagine a small-map game being over in 20-35 turns is by playing it like StarCraft: build a base, build an army, attack the enemy and build another army; and keep up the pressure until the game is won. But man, it's hard for me to even think like that. And when I do, it kinda spoils the game for me. I want it to be about territorial acquisition, not about going for the jugular and destroying a rival.

So far, I'm having a lot of fun with the game. But something tells me I'm not playing it right. Strategy games seem to be designed for players who are much more aggressive than I am. I don't want a sandbox game, but I don't want to be under a lot of pressure either; I'd like the game to be slow-paced enough that I can relax and enjoy the experience.

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18. Video Game: Jotun [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:4149]
Video Game: Jotun
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United States
Indiana
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Looking for some lighter, palette cleanser games to have going while I progress through The World Ends with You and before I start another RPG.

Jotun is pretty cool. Beautiful art style, very hands off, immediately authentic. I like that the narration is in some kind of old Nordic, with english subtitles.

Thinking this is like an indie Shadow of the Colossus. So far I've faced down two mythic bosses that were both superbly designed, aesthetically and mechanically. Explored another level where the twist is that you don't engage the boss (a giant bird) but have to dodge him a la Dark Souls periodically.

I'm not sure how non-linear this is but it sure seems like you can kind of wander off anywhere and see what happens. Curious to see how far I get.
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19. 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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Got the lock picks and the rope ascender so now I'm fast traveling around getting some stuff that was previously locked to me. Really enjoying the challenge tombs so far.

Look. I know the world is ending, blah blah blah. You're all worried and stuff. I get it. I know I need to get the McGuffin. Just quit pressuring me. I'll get to it. But I've tombs to raid and collectibles to track down. Sheesh, you people are so impatient.
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20. Video Game: Shadowrun Returns [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:655]
Video Game: Shadowrun Returns
Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Started this one tonight. It's... a lot more on rails than I expected. Combat is the familiar Original Fallout / Wasteland 2 style, but my shaman doesn't seem to have any spells that do damage. Haven't decided whether to re-roll as mage or just plow ahead.
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21. Video Game: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director's Cut [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director's Cut
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I didn't know much about this, other than that it was a reasonably acclaimed 2D platformer. Picked it up during a flash sale a while ago.

Makes a strong first impression. Gorgeous visuals - smooth, crisp, detailed, vibrant. I feel like this is the game that Unravel should have been. I would put it in the same vein as Puppeteer.

You can change between the two sisters on the fly (kind of like the only Donkey Kong Country games), which sometimes has minor effects on the environment, and gives you access to two jumps with different uses.

The game is a straight platforming collectathon. The goal is to find as many gems as possible in each stage - the shorter ones having 250-300ish and the longer ones more in the 600-750ish range.

My one beef with the game so far is that the individual levels are much too big, and for no good reason. If the goal is to scour every nook and cranny and try to "perfect" a level, it shouldn't go on for 15 minutes. So far the game is pleasant to play through, but it's hard for me to imagine going back to individual levels to boost my numbers.

Also, I don't expect much story in a game like this, but I'm even less clear on what is going on here than I would be in the old Super Mario Bros games or DKC etc.


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22. Video Game: Darconika: The Cube of Soul [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Darconika: The Cube of Soul
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Continuing a bit in this Russian visual novel.

Still a lot of broken English - and the story is not super good... I do hope that I can drag myself to the end - but I can tell you right away it wont be getting a good score from me!

Our hero is now teamed up with the hooker from last time when I played; she is apparently a C-Class mercenary.

And some action have happened: A zombie-warewolf have attacked us and died - and we are now on the run: Drained from mana, and need to get some rest and get on with the quest.
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23. Video Game: Bear With Me [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Video Game: Bear With Me
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United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Cute little item-adventure game, started this one on a whim. Another in the category of "wouldn't rush to buy it, but if you already own it from a bundle, give it a whirl".
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24. Video Game: Warframe [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1940]
Video Game: Warframe
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I'm a little underwhelmed with Destiny 2 on PS4 and the system already had Warframe installed on it, so I decided to give it a try (I'd already put a dozen or so hours into the game on PC, a few years ago).

As part of the tutorial, I picked up the staff, throwing knives, and bow which are all items I'd not used on PC. The mobility in Warframe definitely stands out from Destiny. I find the game too fast paced -- every mission I've done, I've completed in about five minutes and didn't really get any sense of what I was there for, aside from following the next minimap icon. I'm also able to one-shot most enemies with either my bow, my frame power, or melee (maybe two hits in melee, but still definitely no thought needed). On top of that, the extra mobility really seems to encourage me to just run past enemies rather than to fight them.

For those who have sunk lots of time into Warframe, what do you like about it? Do the enemies get hardier later in the game? Do missions get longer, or is the game all about doing lots of missions in less than ten minutes each?
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25. Video Game: World of Tanks [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:1215] [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Video Game: World of Tanks
Patrick Zoch
United States
Kansas
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Happy New Year!
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There is a x3 this weekend, and I try not to missing those extra scoring opportunities to advance my crews. The latest release added some new maps, which is always nice to have a new place to explore (provided I can survive long enough to recon the map).
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