Talk about anything and everything Squad-related here -- what you've been playing, what you're looking forward to, and how big your Pile of Shame has grown after that last Steam sale...
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Bowley

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Bowley » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:13 pm

Beige wrote:Never Alone


No need to be politically correct here, although this sounds like a straight-up two player game, where both roles are critical. I'd categorize a "girlfriend game" (aka "little brother" or "playing with a two year old" game) as one where the player 2 role is mostly superfluous, e.g. Tails in Sonic 2, or the little star cursor thing in Mario Galaxy.

Regardless, Never Alone sounds interesting, if a bit edutainment-y. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, Valiant Hearts took the same approach and was not worse for it. Inuit culture is one of many blind spots in my personal knowledge of the world, so if I'm not going to seek it out through regular, old-fashioned learnin' I might as well absorb it through a video game.

On some level that's sad, but better to gain some understanding while being entertained, than having next to none, right?
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Alex Connolly

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:26 pm

I find myself soaking up new things in tandem, or at least spreading elements across games, books, film etc. as much as possible.

Steel Armor: Blaze of War (Angola campaign) game + The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale: Cold War Angolan Finale book + Bok van Blerk - Afrikanerhart CD (specifically, Die Kaplyn)...

Really enjoyable to spread it across the mediums. Dynamic, living education.
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Bowley

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Bowley » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:38 pm

Image

Quick post here, mostly for Alex Connolly. Some part of my brain remembered your post on Expeditions: Conquistador months ago, probably because I am utterly fascinated with this period in history (I was hoping Assassin's Creed would do Cortez/Mexico after reading Bernal Diaz's firsthand account), so when I saw it on deep discount I had to give it a shot.

After a few hours, I'd say I'm pleasantly surprised. I like the flavor and the troop management/survival systems, really like the text encounters between that, but am struggling a bit to enjoy the combat. That last point may be because I just finished Wasteland 2, which has a very nice, polished, and not too dissimilar system. I don't think I understand how to choose my troops for battle very well, either that or the RNG is pissing me off.

I think my love of the era will carry me forward.
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Alex Connolly

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:06 pm

Hurrah for Piezzo de Bowlisimo! Great little game. Agree that the combat can be hit or miss, but it gets much easier in the second half of the game. Bit weird like that.

Love the writing and party survival mechanics, though!

Tell me more, Bowls!
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Bowley

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Bowley » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:29 pm

Alex Connolly wrote:Hurrah for Piezzo de Bowlisimo!

lol, close.

Also, be honest, did I fuck up? Too many soldiers? Not enough leadership? I can't beat Esteban, I get murdered by all the poison and bowmen. Nighttime Edit: Nevermind, got him with the ambush story path

I went into this game like Spain into the New World, blind.

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Calin Kim

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Calin Kim » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:33 pm

I can't believe no one else has posted this yet, but Persona Q.

I got my special edition 3DS on Monday, and I booted it up for the first time last night, but it is full of glorious, glorious fanservice. I'm still early game, and I am playing as the P3 protagonist before eventually doing it with the P4 team (gotta have Mitsuru more than anything else).

I'm not averse to dungeon crawlers (in fact I quite like Wizardry and the like), and it's an absolute delight to play a dungeon crawler with the Persona 3 cast. I've only played for an hour because I've had a stupid amount of work to do at night lately, but I'm pretty sure I had a smile on my face the entire time I played last night. The mechanics feel like pure SMT goodness, though the press turn combat system isn't a thing here, and you'll find all of the usual damage types to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

This is also the first thing I've played on the 3DS, and it is pretty slick. I turned off the 3d after playing with it for a bit, but it is so cool to have voice acting coming from something that is so tiny and handheld.

Anyone with any amount of love for the P3 and P4 characters will find something to like here. It's just a joy to be around these characters again, and it's like seeing old friends after some time away. I can't believe it's been seven years since I first played Persona 3... Oof, that means it's been over 10 years since I first played Persona 2... Yikes.

I also have SMT IV and Soul Hackers, which I will go through once I have finished Persona Q. Let's Positive Thinking!

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My wife and I also picked up Assassin's Creed IV and Far Cry 4, but I will have to save those thoughts for later in the week.
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Grant Heaslip

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Grant Heaslip » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:21 pm

I gave Etrian Odyssey IV a shot earlier this year and just couldn't get into it. The world felt bland and there was basically no story to speak of. I know that's the whole point, but I've come to realize I really need interesting story and interesting gameplay in JRPGs.

I'm a few hours into Persona Q (most of the way through the second floor of the first dungeon), and I think I'm into it. The Persona characters and atmosphere may be what it takes to hook me on EO-style dungeon crawling. I'm loving the banter (of which there is quite a bit), and I imagine it's going to get even more fun and fanservicey when I meet up with the P4 party.

Even the gameplay seems more interesting than EOIV. I'll admit I don't remember everything about EO, but the ability to shape each character with Personas and the dynamics of the Boost system seem cool. I liked P3 and P4, but I was never anything more than lukewarm about their battle systems -- Q's battle system seems more nuanced and better-balanced. The auto-mapping is a godsend -- I didn't realize it was there at first, and drawing walls was getting old pretty quickly. I'm still very much in the honeymoon period with the game, but I'm feeling it so far.

Also, that P3 MC battle theme:



The P4 MC version is also really good, but I'm glad I started with the P3 team:

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Rampant Bicycle

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Rampant Bicycle » Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:04 pm

I can now speak from experience when I say:

Fantasy Life is EXACTLY the right kind of game to have on hand when you have a five-hour layover each way on a long flight.

Even better if you have someone else with a copy to go local-multiplayer with.

Details forthcoming as time permits over on the Fantasy Life thread.
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RedSwirl

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:01 pm



Kromaia might be some shit man. It's one of those games where you can immediately tell the developers threw all their favorite games together. In this case those games being Descent, REZ, Star Fox, and Shadow of the Colossus.

You're immediately introduced to a title screen and introductory sequence with some cyber-looking liftoff scene and a menu with slow-pounding kinda reminiscent of the Zone of the Enders 1 title screen (maybe some of that's in there too). At the beginning this voice that might as well be cyber-Dormin tells you to go into some zones from a hub world to kill these four gods after collecting jumpgate components. The zones are look like space and cyberspace at the same time but are also filled with structures just sensical and mysterious enough to elicit curiosity. Some of them contain secrets like dungeons and upgrades.

The enemies act like rail shooter enemies, shooting stuff to dodge, but they give you Descent's 6DOF controls (and did a really good job mapping them to a game pad) with which to dodge all around them. Oh, and each zone seems to start you off with a completely different weapon set and color scheme to learn. There seems to be extra challenge in beating each zone with each set.

I went in expecting REZ music, but got something that reminds me more of Fury3 and Descent. Look at the trailer on the Steam page to get a good idea.

What I really like is how plainly Kromaia puts itself together. Tutorials cone in the form of nodes you can just touch whenever you want. Items are dispersed and hidden in ways similar to old arcade games but also older adventure games.
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Beige

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Beige » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:39 pm

Hey yall, back in action after a surprise family situation took both Lynette and I down to Texas for a whole week. Just gettting caught up on the Squadness now. Whew!

Thought I'd chime in here with a couple of things, since... well, what have I been playing?

Fantasy Life:
Still grinding on this. Yep, it's Animal Crossing with crafting and a quest log. Not winning any stars for originality and I'm not sure it's Uematsu's best work as a composer, but it's the perfect game to have on hand when you're stuck in Houston on a 12 hour layover TWICE. Craft craft craft, all day long, grind grind grind while I sing that song. Press X to make fluffy hats and blacksmithing tools.

Actually, for the record I would play an entire game which was just about crafting stuff that you could use or sell, like Racetear but with more active making involved. It's a strangely satisfying feeling to stride into the dungeon decked head to toe in the game equivalent of +5 enchanted plate mail smithed by your own hand where every piece is polished to twice the quality of what you're getting from random drops.

While shoveling snow last night I bumped the coat pocket that had my 3DS in it and lost more than a day of save progress in this fucking game. Sadness.

Bayonetta 2:
Everything you've heard is true. Bayonetta 2 is more of that gonzo Platinum sauce you crave, polished to a stunning degree. Implausibly tall bespectacled Amazons kicking eleven flavors of ass, strapping flamethrowers onto high heels and doing splits, killing angels while mugging for the camera. The plot is absolutely nonsensical, something something squirrel boy something something fimbulvinter. Samuel L Jackson is a demon.

I don't know whether it is a character action game requirement or what, but whoop-whoop-what-is-even-happening-here plots have been par for the course since Devil May Cry 1 and maybe before. I'm not stressing overly about it. The peanut gallery derives plenty of laughs from the absurdism of what's happening on screen. Women kicking things in the face, doing sweet moves, Witch Time. I don't know what else I can say about it besides the fact that between this, Capn' Toad and all the rest, the WiiU is pretty much the compulsory console for 2014 if you must own one.

Dungeon of the Endless:
This is the big one. The one that's keeping my steam clock rolling and rolling all night and contributing to my general lack of sleep. Ask Bowley, he's been sitting in on my DotE Steam Streams thanks to the new broadcasting feature, quietly observing like Jigsaw as another unfortunate party of unfortunates gets loaded into the breach and propelled like a musketball into the killing fields.

Dungeon of the Endless is a goddamn masterpiece of a game. I don't know if it trumps La-Mulana or not but holy cow you guys. Amplitude is doing some nutty stuff with their Endless franchise(s) -- the closest comparison I can make is to the board game company Flying Frog, whose signiture titles such as Touch of Evil or Fortune and Glory all involve a stock set of characters (Cartrights!) and certain stats like Honor and Spirit remixed to mean different things. In this case, you have your dust, science, industry and food except they all represent slightly different concepts to what you're used to in other Endless titles. Dust in particular is a cruelly implemented thing, representing essentially the wattage of your dungeon's power output - the thin glowing yellow line between you and powered defense turrets and Thar Be Darknesss. As you advance up through 13 increasingly difficult levels, the thin glow of safety becomes harder and harder to maintain. Levels 10 onward are just a tiny pinprick of warmth surrounded by howling monster closets.

I played Endless Space and was favorably impressed, played Endless Legend and was even MORE impressed, but Dungeon of the Endless has ended up being the game that's completely blown me away. It's a slow burn -- super slow. The game gives up its strategies and secrets only with great effort and lots of trial and error. It's a rogue-esque thing that prioritizes patience and caution(not always my strongest suit) and intricate strategy (my strongest suit) in equal measure. Endless is a game you can just feel board game DNA dripping from, I can't even begin to imagine the eternity they must have spent balancing and tweaking and balancing and tweaking just to get every character and item and monster feeling Right but not broken or overpowered. Everything about this game, from the card-like character draw to the tile-flipping nature of the room exploration is drawn straight from the realm of dice rollin', except much like the XCOM board game there is now a computer handling the paperwork of all the aspects that would be too inconvenient to track were this actually played out on the table. DPS, armor, speed, etc.

I both love and hate the character selection aspect. Love it because it's so goddamn good, hate it because I am always paralyzed by my own decisions. Do I take a strong support character this time? Heavy tank? Light explorer? I can only choose 2 of 4 party members explicitly each run and catch as catch can on the other 2 -- experimenting with the combos is an endless well of strategic trade-offs. I really like how each character's portrait, art and skills gel together to create a character gestalt which is both vaguely sketched and yet totally identifiable - theme and mechanics in perfect harmony. You are given just enough information to project your own personalities onto the little units -- Muskateer bug striker, lone wolf lurker, the chain smoking wrench wench, the Baron Harkonnen guy in the chair. Arnold Schwartzenegger. Mechanics and art work in tandem. Of course the fast lurkey thief character eventually gets an ability that makes her unnoticed by monsters in the darkness. Of course her drawback is not being able to equip any weapons. Of course the Dust Ghost character drawn from Endless Legend's race of Dust Ghosts is both swift and strong with a dust consuming penalty. The pixel art is glorious and evocative yet impressionistic somehow.

I've played 35 hours of DotE and have yet to finish it, whatever that means. Like FTL, I watched my characters go down for the umpteenth time at about 11:30 last night on floor 11 (again!) just 2 short hops away from freedom and victory. Aaaaaaarrrrrrgh. At times like this, you so completely feel the weight of the 4.5 hours of playtime building up behind each run, adding gravitas and consequence to every click. On floor 12 you will sweat bullets with each door opening -- characters, bulwarked by skills and powers and items BUT IS IT ENOUGH??? Will this door be the one to end everything in a hail of gunfire and panicked flight? As Bowley commented, it is breathtaking how quickly death can come to the party. How, after hours and hours of play you can lose it *all*, right down to the last man in less than 15 seconds of panic. Let the tears flow.

After my tragic flame-out last night (this time, huge crystal monsters striding past both my defenses and my impossibly equipped party, straight through the front line to just smash the hell out of my crystal core directly) I sat quietly, sipping a whiskey, staring at the YOU DIED screen for a few minutes. How. How? How did this happen? We were... we were almost...

Then I went online and bought the Crystal Pack upgrade. I never do this, by the way. Never purchase DLC or superfluous flourishes. But I love this game so damn much, how could I not shell out a few bucks more to support the makers and unlock the dashing Professor Josh N'Tello, operator extrordinaire. He and the crew of Elise the Space Marine and Warden Mormish are making another run for it. I'll let you know how it goes.
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