17 February - 23 February 2020: 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 2020
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1. Video Game: Borderlands 3 [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:1277]
Video Game: Borderlands 3
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Came back to this to try out the Valentine's event and actually start the Handsome Jackpot DLC.

Didn't get terribly far in either. Not really feeling it I guess.
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2. Video Game: Team Fortress 2 [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:186]
Video Game: Team Fortress 2
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Been playing a lot of Team Fortress 2 again. I always go on multi-month long hiatuses from this game, but I inevitably come back to it.
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3. Video Game: Hotel Dusk: Room 215 [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1811]
Video Game: Hotel Dusk: Room 215
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Been playing a bit of Hotel Dusk, along with Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure.

Hotel Dusk got a lot of attention in the early years of the Nintendo DS, when the system felt so fresh and innovative. I tried playing it a decade ago, but was just not in the mood for it at all (it strikes me that I've gotten much better at figuring out what I want to play over the years). Coming back to it now, I can see both sides - on the one hand, it's fun to play a Visual Novel / Adventure Game with the DS oriented sideways (like a book), and the art style is distinctive and evocative of Film Noir. But on the other hand, Hotel Dusk is just about the slowest-paced game out there, slow even by VN standards. Enjoyable in smaller doses, nearing the end of Chapter 2.

I think the main issue with Hotel Dusk is that, it sort of pretends that you're a down-on-his luck ex-detective conducting a personal investigation, but after 2-3 hours you realize that almost everything progresses according to a script. It's kind of a bummer. Instead of taking the initiative and doing detective work, often you just walk to a new location, certain that along the way, something will happen or someone will appear to talk to you. I'd prefer a more active role. I guess the series didn't exactly work out for the developer, although I'm still curious about the sequel Last Window: The Secret of Cape West.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure is considered something of a minor hidden gem on the DS, often described as a "puzzle platformer." I think that's a really bad term for it. It's a platformer on one screen with a Match-3 Tetris Attack game on the other screen.

This seems like a very bizarre combination that would limit your audience. I don't hate it, but it feels like a dead end. Also feels like it will get extremely difficult.
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4. Video Game: Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1943]
Video Game: Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise
Kevin Brown
United States
Parker
Colorado
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XB1X via backwards compatibility.

I don't now. 100 hours or so?
Level 151 gardener, which is a bit obscene. 2.5 million chocolate coins, which is more obscene. Farming Cluckles, Buzzlegums and Goobaas for money is very effective.

I've seen it as "Microsoft's Animal Crossing" and have no idea how accurate this is. I've never played Animal Crossing. Lure Pinatas into your garden by meeting requirements, get them to stay by another level of requirements, get them to breed by another level of requirements. Occasionally change them into other species by feeding them obscure things. It's all very good.

Such a good game but I've been playing it too long and I'm growing weary. There are a bunch of sins this commits due to game design understanding and platform constraints that could be cleaned up in a new version. Those aside, this is still a brilliant game. Just unrelentingly charming and at the same time incomprehensibly dark when you really stop to analyze it. There is so much about this game that is deeply disturbing when you really digest it, but all the while the presentation is so colorful and joyful.

Now, more than ever, this is a game of our times.
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5. Video Game: Hero of the Kingdom III [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Hero of the Kingdom III
Andrew Hodkinson
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Owen Sound
Ontario
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Just finishing up this game before moving back to games from last month. I'd forgotten how pleasant this game-style is, busily doing quick quests and having a story line slowly move up from the background. There were some irritants, such as the slow crafting times for food, potions, and weapons. Plus the over-arching plot is a bit silly.
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6. Video Game: Mario Kart Tour [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:6606]
Video Game: Mario Kart Tour
Jeff G
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Santa Rosa
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I'm mildly addicted.
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7. Video Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1753]
Video Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
Rudy
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No too far from Philly
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Anomaly mod - Still playing through this slowly.

I got caught north of the great swamp during evening twilight. I've been warned in forums that you do not want to be outside in the dark in this mod. Worried, I figured I would run south and make my way to the rookie camp in Cordon, but I couldn't run and would collapse to the ground after a few steps. Panic! I reloaded my save a few times before it realized my health was draining slowly and it was too low to do anything. So I popped a medkit and then made a tense dash through the reeds to the entrance to Cordon. I was sure a bloodsucker was going to lynch me but I came out unscathed. There were a bunch of huts that I didn't try to scavenge from since I was in a hurry.

So I get to camp and the game would not let me sleep because I was irradiated. I checked my inventory and pounded some vodka, smoked a cigarette and let the duration of the effects bring me down to an acceptable level to sleep. Apparently I slept through another emission, woke up hungry and thirsty, and then headed to the trader. I needed more supplies, especially more bullets since I have been running uncomfortably low.
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8. Video Game: Pokémon GO [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:2606]
Video Game: Pokémon GO
Amanda Zimmer
United States
Decatur
GA
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I've been doing more pvp in POGO, which has overall been cool, giving purpose to what I've been collecting.

In the app itself is the "Go Battle League". It's neat that you can be matched up with someone else online, and there is some sort of "ranking" (though in practice it seems like "participation points" as your "ranking" doesn't go down when you lose). The rewards for winning matches are nice. I haven't been very aggressive on doing my battles though--after you do a set of 5, you need to walk 3km to "recharge" your ability to do battles. I've never actually hit this snag. Because I guess either I walk more than I battle eh heh.

I wonder how long the open nature of Go Battle League will be fun though. People tend to just use the same core of "good" Pokemon, so it seems a bit bland for so many opponents to have the same thing, with no reason to use something different.


Then I've also been participating in a remote tournament, following the rules put together by the Silph Road website. It's neat how each month there is a fresh meta. Lots of good picks, but also sometimes weird/niche situations to let some Pokemon have some time in the sun that normally never would. This month's cup is the "Rose Cup": Pokemon allowed are those that are mostly pink, red, purple, or gray. But no legendaries/mythicals/water-types or Bastiodon.
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9. Video Game: Final Fantasy IX [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:104] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Video Game: Final Fantasy IX
Gabe Hawkins
United States
Virginia
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I'm about 21 hours into the game, and I'm approaching the end of disc 2, having just visited the Black Mage Village. Still enjoying my time with this one. The writing continues to impress me, working in elements of humor while also maintaining a sense of maturity and seriousness in the story. In particular, the subplot of the Black Mages becoming aware and dealing with their own mortality is well delivered. As dark as it is, it's also touching, especially in their conversations with Vivi. In fact, Vivi has emerged as one of my favorite characters in the Final Fantasy series.

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Vivi has emerged as one of my favorite characters in the Final Fantasy series


I've just continued to take my time with the game and explore areas at my leisure. The world is a creative one, and I've very much enjoyed spending time in each location talking to the locals, shopping, and finding a surplus of hidden treasure. I've upgraded tons of weapons and equipment thanks to the synthesis shops, and I found a couple areas that are great for grinding levels--although grinding levels has yet to appear necessary in this game; it's just a habit I have.

While I'm still bummed about how bad Tetra Master is and I think combat can be sluggish, most of my complaints with this game are minor, and the positives have certainly outweighed those negatives so far. Except for $#@!^&# Quina. I know it's irrational, but I hate everything about that character and was disappointed it wasn't killed in Cleyra. But that's okay, back at the marsh, I repeatedly walked into the area with frogs just so I could deny it permission to capture any.
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10. Video Game: Assassin's Creed Odyssey [Average Rating:8.54 Overall Rank:1012]
Video Game: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Had some good fun in this for 30 hours, but the further I get into the game, the buggier the missions become.

Currently, I have two missions that will not start properly, even though it is telling me to start them, because I need to find some other hidden mission that is the secondary lock on the mission to start it.

Usually you can loot chests with items that are quest items and provide them later, but now I found a chest in a cave that I cannot complete the looting, because it wants me to come back to it later.


The gameplay was fun for awhile, but there is only so many forts I can conquer. It's the same thing over and over again. Fly in with eagle, spot stuff, then do the fort thing.


The beautiful world is getting boring as well. AFter you find Athens, everything else is like less stellar Athens in smaller scale. To complete the game will by record cost another 30 hours of my life... and the story and gameplay don't feel worth that investment of time.

The world is too big for it's good. There's hundreds of missions and as many fetch quests as you can dream up.

Think I'm ready to call this one quits.
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11. Video Game: Warframe [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1939]
Video Game: Warframe
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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I am tempted to get a move on and pick this one up. The chatter on these lists and people's willingness to help has inspired and moved me. Being me I would like to read up on the game first, learn the best ways to start and so on. Should probably just fire it up and experiment.

In other news, I continued my Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition save yesterday. I am entertained but truth be told cannot really get into the story. Since it is on my Hardcore list I will stick with it, but might play in shorter sessions.

I am also playing a bit of Valhalla Hills for the last unlocks in the game. Over the weekend I got my first and then 20+ viking(s) to Valhalla. There are a number of missing achievements too, but those are probably out of reach in terms of interest.

Finally, playing 12 Labours of Hercules VI: Race for Olympus and discovered that they added a few more achievements to this one, like beating the devs score on all maps, not just 10. Time will tell if I will accept the challenge or not.
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12. Video Game: Satisfactory [Average Rating:8.75 Unranked]
Video Game: Satisfactory
Ian Kelly
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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I got my first Hyper Tube set up, running between my main base and the steel foundry about a kilometer away. I have just about everything unlocked through Tier 4. Time to start working on the space elevator parts to unlock Tiers 5 and 6, I think.
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13. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:595]
Video Game: Path of Exile
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Do we have to go over this again?

I realized that things like Apex of Sacrifice and Courtyards (or courthouse? I already forget) offer multiple bosses for one run. Apex has six, and that is a real fast run for me right now, plus I'm not tempted to do anything else and I can put on some high rarity gear and not have any troubles. (still annoyed that 1/4 fragments are rarer than the others, just like with the stupid shaper/elder maps, leaving me with too many of one and only needing the other).

But if I can get the last fragment from elder I can give a try at the ultra-hard "Deadly Encounter" instead of grinding another 350 bosses.

I also spent a lot of time creating a Lush Hideout, which has been real fun.
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14. 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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Kind of a pleasant and addictive strategy game with a touch of roguelike. Early game involves a lot of exploring, and your party stands to be abruptly eliminated, as in a roguelike game. But if you survive (or save and restart enough times), you begin to establish a viable kingdom with bases that can generate more troops and leaders. You usually can't sufficiently garrison all your holdings, though, so there's a lot of capturing and recapturing.

Halfway into the game, the human player and AI players will be traversing the map with huge armies, and you'll need to capture all enemy bases or destroy enemy armies to win.

But there are many nations to play, and each is distinct, with special choice resources, powers, and goals. And some of the "NPC" powers are a force to be reckoned with. So, there's plenty of variety and randomness.

Not a very pretty game, and not for players who like to micromanage tactical combat (because you can't), but overall I think it's a pretty wonderful experience.
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15. Video Game: Tales of Symphonia [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:495]
Video Game: Tales of Symphonia
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
United States
In the middle of nowhere
New York
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Finished the Ice Temple, headed to Altamira, and wound back up in Palmacosta
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16. Video Game: Battlefield V [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Battlefield V
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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The Pacific is winning me over. Iwo Jima is hardcore madness.

Still not happy with the guns though. Need two more levels in Assault to get the STG 44. Hoping that one will shoot like butter smooth. A lot of the other guns feel jammed.

Also attempting going LMG with Support roll.
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17. Video Game: Grandia [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:467]
Video Game: Grandia
☆ ✧ ☆ ✧ ☆
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Made it to New Parm.
Heading into the storeroom soon.
Bought Water and Fire magic for Justin.
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18. Video Game: Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark [Average Rating:8.88 Unranked]
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Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Been plugging away a fair bit at Fell Seal on Switch. I think I've unlocked all of the classes in the game now, save for a few of the special ones that require particular items to unlock. I'm trying to mix and match my classes, but like other games of the kind, a character that focuses entirely on all magical or all physical classes is going to be way better than a character that dabbles in both. I'm at a pretty difficult battle now, so I might have to grind a little bit to get past it -- probably not more than 2-3 battles (and I could probably brute force my way through the battle in as many attempts, but I don't get any permanent progress for losing a battle).

I'm in the final stretch of Shadowrun Hong Kong, so I should be able to finish it up this week. Once I'm done, I think my next lunchtime game will be Divinity Original Sin 2 -- it's another turn-based game I started and never wound up finishing, like Fell Seal above. I'll have to spend some time in the quest journal re-acquainting myself with what I was doing in the game.

I did a bit of Monster Hunter World with friends earlier this week -- I'm really liking the Heavy Bow Gun! It's really satisfying to unload the Wyvernheart or Wyvernsnipe. It's a good complement for co-op play as well, since the monster will often be focused on someone else on the team, giving me the space to reload and change ammo as needed. Plus, with two Shield mods on my gun, I can power through SO many huge attacks that would otherwise knock me down.
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19. Video Game: Slay the Spire [Average Rating:8.36 Overall Rank:283]
Video Game: Slay the Spire
Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Seeing other people playing this made me circle back to it some more. A few runs as the Defect, but failed all 3 of them. Apparently ascension 7 is a bit of a wall for me. Doesn't bother me overmuch though, as this is the rare game I just enjoy playing and am not playing for the progress (?!?!?!)
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20. Video Game: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1
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
At the beginning of the year, I had some VGGers recommend I play Tales of Berseria, which is in my steam library. I added it to my vgg challenge list. I liked Tales of Symphonia, had been excited to play Berseria at some point. I had already decided that was probably going to be my next game, Matt has been playing Berseria and highly recommending it while Stephanie has been playing Symphonia, and reading about both just made me think it was time for Berseria. I figure now that Enderal is the only big RPG I'm in the middle of, I could totally start a jRPG, and Berseria would be the perfect game to pick.

Then last night I just felt like starting Hyperdimension Neptunia instead, so I did. Another illustration of how past me is terrible at predicting what future me is going to want.

Anyway, while the story is different, the game seems very similar to Neptunia VII; characters are based on game publishers or consoles, game is a little silly with a little 4th wall breakage (though so far not as much of either as VII), and is the kind of pleasant jRPG nonsense I was in the mood for.
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21. Video Game: Shakedown Hawaii [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Shakedown Hawaii
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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I own 90% of the island, so I think I'm closing in on the end.

Usually a go lasts about 30 minutes of fun, but tonight took an hour as i spent $12,000,000 buying up much of what is left of the island. Already in the black.

There's been so pretty hilarious moments. The squatters taking over a place and the law protecting them was too hilarious at the reality of it locally.

This game has provided some real laughs.
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22. Video Game: Dead Cells [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:908]
Video Game: Dead Cells
Jim Arpin
United States
Baltic
Connecticut
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I bought this game almost as soon as it popped up in early access on Steam maybe 2-3 years ago and played a good amount of it back then. It was brutally hard. I only beat the early access version a couple times.

The new DLC came out so I grabbed that and played a bit, starting out on a completely new save file with no unlocks/upgrades. I beat the game on my first run handily in about an hour. Beat my second run. And third. They really toned down the difficulty since I played last. The new scroll system (new since I played at least) is so much more forgiving for making a balanced build. I think I am 7 for 10 in wins right now (on normal mode) with one death being from finding out what a cursed chest does, another from finding out there can be cursed runes dropped by monsters, and another because I didn't know they put an item globe in the game that buffs monsters near it. Basically, if I wasn't killed learning a new mechanic I can get the win.

If you like Metroid-vanias and/or Rogue-lite games I think this one should be on your radar. If you passed on it due the talk of it being difficult, maybe give it another look now. I know I am not as mechanically skilled/practived at the game as I was when I stopped playing it a couple years back and back then I was getting stomped regularly, now, not so much.
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23. Video Game: Dying Light: The Following [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
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Jim Arpin
United States
Baltic
Connecticut
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Microbadge: CLICK MICROBADGE to see what I have FOR SALEMicrobadge: Wheaton's LawMicrobadge: Spread joy and wear purple for Lexi!Microbadge: I Pay it Forward FirstMicrobadge: Omnis singulus exemplum Declarationem Libertatis fuerit frugalis or Every single extra copy of the Declaration of Independence has been thrifted
Moved on to the Following DLC in my co-op run through with my buddy. Well, I moved onto the DLC once I found it. I figured you could just get to it by hitting continue so we were wandering around trying to find the new content for like 15-20 minutes with no luck. I looked it up and it turns out you have to go to Play > The Following to get to it since it basically functions as a new game you start with your character from the base game and not just a DLC.

Once we got into it we had a lot of fun. The buggy driving is a nice addition to mix into the game and I am definitely down for another big map to explore and quest in, hopefully the story is a little more interesting this time than in the base game.

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24. Video Game: Paladins [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:6526]
Video Game: Paladins
Jim Arpin
United States
Baltic
Connecticut
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The only other game I have been playing is Paladins still. I am about a level away from finishing the first Battle Pass of season 3 (with 20ish days to spare) so once I finish that I will be giving it a break until the next one comes out. They changed the pass structure over a bit so the bonus XP challenges in the BP aren't tiered and grouped anymore, but individual, making them much easier to complete. They also removed daily login bonus system and put the premium currency from it into the BP rewards. So, if you buy a BP for 600 crystals ($10-15?) and you level it all the way up you will earn all your money back in crystals. Basically, you buy 1 pass and get all the rest free as long as you are playing the game a decent amount. I bet you could complete it playing around 5-10 hours a week fairly easily if you knock out some daily quests along the way.

They have really improved the game in the last handful of patches. It got a lot of flack as an "Overwatch knockoff" but it is far from that. With 44 champions/characters in the game now, 3 main talents on each, the ability to build card loadouts for them, and a limited MOBA style in game shop each game the variance of play and ability to tune how you like to play each character is really pretty amazing for a team shooter.
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25. Video Game: Torment: Tides of Numenera [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:1690]
Video Game: Torment: Tides of Numenera
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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I just finished playing 11-11: Memories Retold. More about this can be found here. A great game I can recommend to anybody interested in story-focused games.

Next up this week will be Torment: Tides of Numenera. I played Planescape: Torment last year and I'm curious how they relate to each other. A question to those who already played Torment. Is there anything I should specifically consider in my character build? For Planescape, the recommendation was to focus on wisdom, no matter what you are planning otherwise for your character. Is this valid here as well? Or can I just go with whatever I fancy?
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