28 October - 3 November 2019: 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: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:5426]
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Gabe Hawkins
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Virginia
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After struggling a bit to determine what I wanted to play next after beating Detroit: Become Human, I decided to pick up the new Call of Duty since I had some store credit available from GameStop, and it had admittedly piqued my interest when I saw some gameplay footage. I’ve only played around an hour and a half of the campaign and no multiplayer yet, but I personally feel this is a step in a fresh direction for the series.

Modern Warfare certainly feels like a Call of Duty game; there’s no denying that. It does, however, feel like an ever-so-slightly slower paced Call of Duty game with a broader emphasis on working your way through urban areas and buildings, checking your corners, and taking out enemies swiftly and efficiently. That said, there are absolutely those traditional Call of Duty moments where you’re mowing down waves of enemies across vast, open territory. It’s in those moments where the game feels a little too familiar and less ambitious compared to rest of the game.

There have also been plenty of over-the-top action set pieces that the series is known for. In one early mission, you’re helping a group of rebels fight their way to an airplane hangar at an air base. You’re ultimately attacked by an enormous wave of enemies and tanks. You call in air support and you get to control the helicopter, firing machine guns and rockets, which is fun.

The control scheme is interesting. I haven’t fully adapted to it yet, but I do like the idea of using the side buttons on the mouse—I got the PC version—for certain things like melee attacks or breaking down doors. I think I would have preferred a “peak left” and “peak right” control scheme rather than the “mounting” option the game gives you, but it seems to work well enough once you get used to it. Admittedly, it did take some fooling around to understand how to take advantage of it.

The story seems interesting enough so far, although I have to admit that it comes across as Western propaganda. It’s clear that they’re mirroring the Syrian civil war, and it’s equally clear that no one with a sophisticated or knowledgable understanding of it had any involvement with this game. Normally this stuff doesn’t really frustrate me, but this is my particular niche. I’ve been to the Middle East and seen the these conflicts firsthand, so I honestly get a little irritated by some aspects of the narrative. But I digress.

That aside, I have enjoyed my time with the game so far. I’ll hop into some multiplayer at some point, likely after I finish the campaign. It’s a relatively short experience, even for a Call of Duty game, as I understand it.
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2. Video Game: The Outer Worlds [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:1557]
Video Game: The Outer Worlds
Gabe Hawkins
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Virginia
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Picked this up on a whim after seeing some gameplay footage and hearing folks talk about it. I booted it up this morning to play around with it. I haven’t gotten very far at all, but I created my character and played to the point where you get find Hawthorne’s ship. I like what I’ve seen so far. Aesthetically, the game feels like a blend between Fallout, BioShock, and No Man’s Sky. It’s new, but there’s a ton that is familiar as well.

There’s not much I can say about it at the moment other than I’m looking forward to putting some time into it. The character creation and level up process has the classic D&D style skill system, which I’m always happy to see. In some ways, it feels sort of retro and classic, much like original Fallout games. But it also feels modern as well, and I very much enjoy that blend.
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3. Video Game: iRacing [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
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Jumping back into the game this week after a hiatus of about a week and a half. I've just had a lot going on.
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4. Video Game: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:673]
Video Game: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
David H
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I finished up Borderlands 2 and have been working through the Pre-Sequel.

It's a lot better than I thought it would be, the vertical gameplay is great fun, boosting around and combing slams with Borderlands 2 gun play.

The actual story and writing isn't great though and I'm trying my best to rush through, it also seems pretty short as I'm already near the end.
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5. Video Game: The Outer Worlds [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:1557]
Video Game: The Outer Worlds
Agent J
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Coldwater
Michigan
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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Feels like Fallout: Firefly. Space western with a huge dose of corporate greed poured on top. The more Firefly the better, in my opinion.

I've finished the first area, and am moseying on.
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6. Video Game: Tetris Attack [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:207]
Video Game: Tetris Attack
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I played this game as a kid under the name Pokemon Puzzle League. Great SNES game, and probably one of my favorites because of its focus on quick thinking.
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7. Video Game: Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition
Kevin Brown
United States
Parker
Colorado
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XB1X.

Nothing new or exciting just glad I'm about done with the game.

Main character is Cipher Class (a psychic mage), has a skill called psychic backlash which inflicts stun damage when an enemy imposes a mental debuff or attack on him in combat. Or when your own magic equipment gives you a buff at the beginning of battle apparently. I start every combat stunned briefly because my armor and magic items proc, which generates psychic backlash on myself because they're my items. Apparently known bug since forever.

Have completed a half dozen things that should have triggered achievements. Didn't trigger achievements on XB1. Known bug. Obsidian patched the game since this was initially brought up, didn't fix it. People complained and Obsidian shrugged.

Issue with my Ranger pet disappearing (but strangely reappearing 20 hours playtime later). Known rare random bug. Obsidian shrugged.

Obsidian's stance: PoE is a legacy game and we aren't too concerned about doing more patches. It could happen, but don't expect anything. All this info from Obsidian's own forums.

I Feel bad for Switch owners who pick up a recently released game only to find out it's unsupported because it's a legacy game.

Obsidian can write a good story though. Hopefully their acquisition by Microsoft will give them the resources to tighten up the other aspects of their products.
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8. Video Game: The Sims 4 [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2151]
Video Game: The Sims 4
Ozan
Switzerland
Zurich
Kanton Zurich
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My girlfriend is visiting again so we are back at the Sims games. Luckily a while back I snatched this upgrade from the Sims 3 for free from Origin. Can't wait to see how our wanna-be-Chef and wanna-be-Artist turn out.
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9. Video Game: Nantucket [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Nantucket
Greg Maynard
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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Back to have another shot at Nantucket. I remember enjoying this when I first played it and wanted something not too stressful.

However this time I am playing on permadeath mode to be a bit different and get the achievements. I have died 4 times so far, once to natives, twice to pirates and once to blue whales. I may regret my choice but keeping going for now.
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10. Video Game: Stardew Valley [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:155]
Video Game: Stardew Valley
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Becoming a proficient farmer. Planted my first tree, a Cherry and now have a coop full of 4 chicks. You get to name them, so I named them after some of my favorite friends in college.

Making mayo, berry jams, and selling eggplants. Getting into fall. I hope my corn harvest is worth it. I planted it early, but it is taking its sweet time.

About 25 levels into the mine. Upgraded two of my tools.

There are some moving stories in this farm game.
When I ran into the guy living in the tent,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Linus digging through the trash,
I felt obligated to help him out. It might not make any difference in the game, but I like giving him delicious berries I forage.

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11. Video Game: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:2614]
Video Game: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
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Been playing an absolute ton of this on my shiny new 3DS.

Damn, this game is underrated.

Shadow Wars represents something vanishingly rare: a AAA publishing juggernaut (Ubisoft) making a serious foray into the Turn-based Strategy / Strategy RPG genre. I have to believe that this was meant to ride the wave whipped up by the Advance Wars series, which had four titles in the decade prior to this game's release, but did not continue onto the 3DS. I guess the question is: did TBS fans want a Tom Clancy branded game, and all that goes along with that?

Maybe not, but credit where it is due: Shadow Wars is a deeply engrossing and polished tactical game. The interface is especially good, all the mechanics feel finely tuned, and you get maximum versatility from the six playable "Ghosts." Almost every time I play a mission, I pick up on small design details that enrich the experience. I never feel like I'm on auto-pilot. I also appreciate that this game tends to let you discover something that seems super-broken at first, but if you don't learn to exploit it, you'll wish you had later on.

The narrative context might have seemed pretty stale in 2011, but given that Russia really did invade Ukraine a few short years later, and continues to fight a proxy war there, there's a certain prescience here underneath the more hokey Clancy-isms. Probably because the game was developed in Bulgaria. The characters themselves also help keep this a bit tongue-in-cheek, even if the outer-frame of the story (a Russian general does his best impersonation of a jRPG villain!) is pretty bad.

Best tactical game I have played this year.
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12. Video Game: Soul Blazer [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:2755]
Video Game: Soul Blazer
Ian Kelly
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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I've had a hankering to replay the Soul Blazer trilogy. I'm playing around with setting up a RetroPie, so partially to test that out I started up the first game.

First impression: man, I'd forgotten the combat in this game is kind of dull. Most of it revolves around killing the enemies that spawn from Monster Lairs until the lair is empty. At that point it turns green, allowing Blazer (who I've named Timmy for no real reason) to step on the lair which closes it permanently and grants some sort of progress: usually either somebody's soul being released and resurrected or just opening up a path that was closed. Much of the gameplay involves going back and forth between the dungeon area to release people and the town area to talk to the people you just released and watch the town grow, which is gratifying.

The monsters emerge in the flashing invincible state so you can't just stand by the lair and spam the attack button. It's much better to stand a short distance away and spam the attack button so that by the time the monster reaches you it will be vulnerable. Blazer also has a spell attack powered by the gems dropped by enemies. Currently I have a fireball spell that easily takes out multiple enemies and is absurdly strong for its cost. I think there are more spells that I don't have yet, but I'm not sure I need more than this really.

Another annoyance is that without any warning I accidentally walked into the boss room without having the weapon I need to defeat him, and since the door closed behind me I was stuck there and just had to watch myself die, which lost all my gems but had no other real consequence.

Not sure how much time I'll be spending on this. I also want to continue playing Autonauts which I haven't gotten back to this week.
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13. Video Game: CrossCode [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:4614]
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Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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When my studying came to an end, I thought I'd be playing sooooo many more video games...but other stuff always finds a way to fill the gaps! I started a RPG campaign with some friends, so the prep for that is taking up some of my usual spare time. Plus, I've been watching a bit more of stuff on Netflix (watching Breaking Bad for the first time), so that's another reason I'm doing a little less gaming than I expected.


I'm nearing the end of CrossCode. I'm so glad that it's possible to modify enemy damage and, more importantly, puzzle speed. I have enemy damage set to 60% of normal, and the puzzle speed to 50% of normal. Even with puzzle speed set to 80%, I found myself getting aggravated with trying to get the puzzles done -- I knew what I was supposed to do (which is the fun part of the puzzle), but didn't have the dexterity to do everything in the right order in time for the puzzle.

I had some friends over on the weekend for a halloween party and we played a lot of the Jackbox games -- a hit, as always. There are a lot of games in the packs that have the potential to be great, but always fall a little flat (Bracketeering definitely feels this way; the third round of the game is great, but the first two take too long and linger after the initial "punch" of the jokes hit their mark).
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14. Video Game: Theme Hospital [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:546]
Video Game: Theme Hospital
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Two more levels left! Yesterday I managed to finish the level I failed - so in a couple of weeks I may complete the game (next week I will be more or less AFK all week).

I think the next two levels will be even more tough - but I still enjoy the game, so it will be fine
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15. Video Game: Solitaire [Solitaire Card Games Ltd] [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Solitaire [Solitaire Card Games Ltd]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Played this solitaire game for Android, and though there are many solitaire games out there, then I think this one is a quite good one - and also very customizable. There are different faces of the cards - some are free and some have to be bought with gold coins (a standard game rewards 10 gold coins), and many backs and backgrounds which also are either free or paid - but here you can also (for free) add your own images.

At the gameplay it is pretty standard, but works nicely and smoothly. And the winning animations are well made.

Only annoying thing is the huge amount of adds (but it is a free game, so it does make sense) that come after finishing the game and before starting a new game - and a banner in the bottom on the screen blocking for the menu - but this one disappears when you click on the game board and you can then use the menu.
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16. Video Game: GTFO: The Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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David H
United Kingdom
West London
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With the news that Payday 2 is coming back with new updates I have just started playing the GTFO Alpha which is made by old Payday Developers.

A sci-fi co-op game the the same mould as Aliens. Performance isn't great, it is Alpha after all, but it's showing some promise.
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17. Video Game: Traffic Rider [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Traffic Rider
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Last night I tried out Traffic Rider - because it sounded like a cool game. And it is!

Yes, it is hard to make the money to get better bikes to be able to complete the races needed to continue without buying packages, but I still managed to get the third bike unlocked and bought (I didn't bike the second bike which is a scooter, the first one (also a scooter) is free in the start of the game).

The game uses the phone's gyro for controlling your lean and then you just ride through traffic as fast as possible through checkpoints and into the finishline - before the time runs out: Kind of like in the old arcade rally games, right?
You can set up the bike to just keep going, or for you to control the gas. The breaks can also be set up.

You want to avoid hitting traffic and other things that is in the way. Quite a nice game - and really nice graphics! I can see myself playing this a lot more.
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18. Video Game: Conquest of Elysium 4 [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Conquest of Elysium 4
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 had to work all weekend, and time for gaming has been shorter than usual, so I've been resorting to this new-to-me game. It requires less study and planning than the others I'd like to be playing.

There's a lot to learn in order to become a decent player, but so far I'm just fooling around on "jester" level and getting a feel for the game, trying to zero in on a hero/race I like.

At the moment, it looks like I'm about to lose. Playing as the Troll King, I've already lost the eponymous leader and his mom (an elderly troll who appears when she decides her son needs her help). And enemy armies are 94 units strong, while mine have 15 units at most.
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19. Video Game: Cosmic Star Heroine [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:4450]
Video Game: Cosmic Star Heroine
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 finally bit on this after seeing Steam has it 60% off right now. I played a very little bit but only had about 15 minutes. I tried starting out on the hardest difficulty but couldn't get past the very first enemy. So I turned it down to merely Hard which so far seems to be okay. Looking forward to getting more time in with the game.
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20. Video Game: The Silver Case [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Enjoy some homing fireballs!
United States
Arlington
Texas
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Saw this stupidly cheap on GoG a couple of weeks ago, got around to starting playing it last night.

I'm kind of surprised at how dull it's been so far. I knew going in it was a visual novel by Suda51 (so there's two strikes by a lot of people's standard), but given its reputation, I expected much more than I've actually gotten a couple of hours in. Should have gone straight for Disco Elysium, I guess.
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21. Video Game: Master of Orion [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked]
Video Game: Master of Orion
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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My longtime go-to game. All last year it was overshadowed by Age of Wonders III, which is also a very good game. But I always squeeze in a game or two of MOO no matter what else I'm playing.

Lately I've been playing on small maps with two AI opponents, on hard level. Last game I was undone by politics--an AI player got voted in before I could build enough population to prevent that. This time I'm playing as the Alkaris and have the population factor on my side, at least for now.

As I play games, I always look back over the years and reflect on what kinds of games have brought the most enjoyment. For me, it's pretty clearly the Risk-like games--the kind where you spread out across the map (possibly exploring it along the way) and acquire control of all the territory you can get. If I'm playing a game like that, I feel I'm in my natural element. I'm not particularly good at it, but it's comfortable and absorbing. MOO, of course, is in that category.

But recently I've been exploring a couple other games of that kind: Civil War II and Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension (and maybe Distant Worlds, though it's brand-new to me and I've done almost nothing with it yet). One thing I so far like about these games is the very thing that many people dislike: no direct player control over tactical combat. That makes all these games a big departure from AoW3 and MoO; but I've been auto-resolving most tactical battles in those games anyway. Part of what makes these newer-to-me games interesting is that you have to watch the battles (or study the reports) and ask yourself what unit types, spells, ship designs, pre-battle instructions, or whatever might tip things in your favor. Since you don't get to micromanage the battles, it's that much more important to set up all the right conditions for battle.

And that means you're playing just one game, not two. You're a strategist with some knowledge of tactics; you're not a puppeteer moving each and every unit on the field. To me it's refreshing to have just one role to play, and to be able to keep the "big picture" overview throughout the game.

Time will tell if I continue to prefer that.
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22. Video Game: Stardew Valley [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:155]
Video Game: Stardew Valley
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Playing on Android phone.

So, I bought this one week ago and have already played it for ~39 hrs. I am a week into Spring in my second year, I have 6-8 hearts with half the town, I have made it to the bottom of the mines, and a couple of community center rooms complete. On my farm, I have lots of sprinklers, some cows, ducks, and chickens, and I'm planting fruit trees and starting to get into fishing (after not fishing at all for my first year).

I'm finding this a very compelling game, with an addicting and engaging gameplay loop. There's always something else to work on or do. The game was basically made by a single person (who had worked on Terraria before, and it shows. This game's graphics in some areas are very similar to Terraria. I like this a LOT more than Terraria, though).


My farm right now:
From gallery of Aarontu
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23. Video Game: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:172]
Video Game: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
United States
In the middle of nowhere
New York
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Honey + Yeast + Time = Nectar of the Gods
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I did a bunch of level grinding to be able to get a ninja and ronin up to speed. Also got a scout up. The characters I'm using are all 19-25 now and I finished Chapter 6. Also made a star mage so Flonne could learn Star. Went into the item world a bit to get a useful specialist from a Mr. Gency's Exit.

I feel like this is a good time of year to be playing this with all the demons laugh
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24. Video Game: Cthulhu Realms [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:3726] [Average Rating:6.91 Unranked]
Video Game: Cthulhu Realms
Raymond Haaken
Netherlands
Maastricht
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Been playing this off and on on my mobile phone. I love the game, and I like that there is a videogame version with achievements vs an AI. Great for when you feel the need to play, but there's noone around

I've already posted a review on it once on the game's page.
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25. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:594]
Video Game: Path of Exile
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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God messed up and here I am!
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Finished all the acts (died a bunch on the final boss as usual, but this time it was mostly because I wasn't careful, and not because I'm woefully undergeared like usual). Now I've done a whole bunch of maps, 1-3 level stuff.

I found this rad item, even though I can't use it:

From gallery of ColdFrog


I realized that the delve stuff is the best stuff, because it doesn't require you to interrupt your current map, you just click the mine and move on. I don't think any other league has done that. The blight stuff is extremely interruptive if you do it!

But I still love it. This is a lot of fun. I'm a level 75 ranger using Cobra Lash with lots of chaos/poison skill points and working on a boost on my gear. I have a big zodiac leather piece that I just need to get 5 connected links on and I'm set.

Ooof, this game really got its hooks in again.
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