What games are you playing now?

I played through the prologue and a few of the early quests in Ghost of Tsushima. It seems really solid even if it doesn't bring anything new to the table as far as the gameplay loop. It's very much the same open-world paradigm as other PS4 titles of the time like HZD and Days Gone.

Melee combat is good, but I find the archery just so-so. That might be due to using a gamepad though.

Cool game, but I really think how much a player likes it is going to strongly depend on how much they like the setting.
 
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Cool game, but I really think how much a player likes it is going to strongly depend on how much they like the setting.
Very much so. When I was younger I had a bit of usual obsession with feudal Japan and the whole culture, as a lot of teenagers do. I kinda grew out of it, but it still has a place in my heart.
Even so, I still find myself geeking out like a little kid when I manage to slash my way through bunch of mongols, and then end it with a blade clean.
https://www.reddit.com/media?url=https://i.redd.it/0i6ynag19c071.gif


I've started getting into the higher groups/patrols of mongols, where you got deadly archers just pelting me with arrows; dual-wielding dudes that shred me to pieces. It's a real challenge and I love that.
There's even the equivalent of "mages" in this more realistic setting; with dudes throwing exploding bombs that make it hard to see. Pretty cool.
 
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I played around 30min of Hellblade 2, and it does look great but it's also very demanding. At my native resolution (close to 3840x1600, since it has a custom ration akin to some cinematic standard that they used) with everything on max, and with DLAA for scaling. But with no Frame Generation (I tend to first try games without it, since it does double your framerate but it also introduces some blurryness).
With all of this I average 50 fps and my 4090 stays at 70-75 degrees C. Which is pretty certainly a top for any game I've played so far. Even CP2077 stays are 65-70 max (though, for that one I do use framegeneration).
Unless I find the 50fps to be not ideal I might turn on FG. But I'd like to try it without. It's stable enough but I want to wait for some combat.

Anyway, so far the only thing I can remark on is that the visuals and audio are very impressive. Using headphones is very much recommended.

Too lazy to search for some PC footage at a proper resolution, but I think this gives an idea. And this is on an xbox.
View: https://twitter.com/Stallion83/status/1792827675398029759

Also, I've avoided most media and reviews since I want to get into it myself.
But I could not fully keep away, and I did listen to ACG's review. Listened, in that I did not look at the footage he included.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKmczMfqb7o

And I liked what I heard. I'm stoked for my workday to be over.

EDIT: at the risk of some spoilers, I took a look at some screenshots captured on neogaf. Damn, pretty impressive.

EDIT2: fuck me.
 
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I got through what looks like the prologue of Hellblade 2, and even did a little bit of fighting. I have to say I love it so far. It's got mood and attitude up the wazoo.
And the fighting system is slightly more streamlined than in HB1, but it's way more weighty, visceral and impactful. It's really like you've got combatants that are dead tired (at least at this point in the story), barely able to lift what would seem like heavy weapons, and swinging at each other trying to chop parts off.

I also love how tall the norsemen feel compared to Senua, like she's fighting almost giants. They're probably only slightly taller than her, but the angle of the camera really makes them stick out. And it really feels like they customized the combat animations for the particular story moments. As I said, during this prologue since it's right after a shipwreck, everybody's tired and swinging weapons very slowly. It's really something to see and hear. Oh, yeah. The sound is top-notch. Had 1 moment where the visuals didn't sync up with the audio, but otherwise very punchy sounds.

The visuals of the locations and places are just on another level compared to any game. Probably the most photorealistic visuals in any game. Not sure I've seen anything with this amount of visual fidelity.
Some shots I captured from the prologue:

 
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Another chapter down. Man, in terms of wild cinematography and cool storytelling elements Hellblade 2 is definitely there.
I really enjoyed chapter 2. The ominous sounds and lights were fantastic, with the whole mood of the setpiece. And there's a few great moments where they beautifully play with the shadows projected onto stone walls. Also really morbid stuff.

I also had my first multi-enemy encounter, and now it's really obvious how much they've simplified the combat system. Not sure if they did it for technical reasons, since choreographing this much custom animation content while also allowing free expression of movement doesn't sound like works together. But I still hold that for the type of narrative heavy game that this is, I'm very much fine with this. In these sorts of games too much game can actually hurt immersion, introducing the fancy ludo-narrative dissonance if the player doesn't behave and role-play accordingly. Of course, it also works against the idea that the best form to tell this narrative is a game. Suggesting that maybe a movie might've been better. But I'm perfectly fine with these movie/game hybrids. All I really want is a solid story and good characters that I can attach myself to.

And comparing the combat system to the one in HB1 again, I still maintain that this is much better than just the repetitive ones in HB1, that look more like tacked on than needing to be there.
 
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Not really spoilers, since I don't mention any specifics. But maybe not worth biasing any reader at all.
Just hit chapter 5. From the looks of it there's only 2 more.
While the visuals and production budget continues to be high, and the visuals continue to be very impressive, the story itself is probably not going to be as good as it was in HB1.
It's very much that the whole narrative arc in HB1 felt way more personal and meaningful to Senua. This one, kind of jumps off that, and goes to some cool places but it's just not as important for her.
Anyway, it's still very enjoyable. With some cool narrative moments; even some mind-bending ones. And some very visually impressive fights.
 
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I gave Endless Legend a try today since it was free on Steam. It was a pretty brief try. I don't know why, but I just can't get into 4X games anymore. They literally put me to sleep. I'm sure it's pretty engaging once your empire gets established, but I can't get past those early stages.

I recently picked up Civilization: Beyond Earth. I'm going to see if I fare any better with that one.
 
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Another chapter down. Man, in terms of wild cinematography and cool storytelling elements Hellblade 2 is definitely there.
I really enjoyed chapter 2. The ominous sounds and lights were fantastic, with the whole mood of the setpiece. And there's a few great moments where they beautifully play with the shadows projected onto stone walls. Also really morbid stuff.

[...]

The thing that I remember most of the first game was the constant voices whispering in Senau's head, commenting on the world, the actions, her feelings and everything. This added greatly to the atmosphere and was a very unique experience for me, especially when playing the game with headphones (which I usually don't, but with this one it is definitely worth it).

Has the new game again this feature?
 
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The thing that I remember most of the first game was the constant voices whispering in Senau's head, commenting on the world, the actions, her feelings and everything. This added greatly to the atmosphere and was a very unique experience for me, especially when playing the game with headphones (which I usually don't, but with this one it is definitely worth it).

Has the new game again this feature?
Yeah, that is still present.
 
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I'm at the start of the start of the final chapter, and according to steam at 7h or more. I really have no idea how some are saying they got through it all in 5h. I do explore everything, and do take a lot of pictures (did I mention how jaw-dropping gorgeous it all is), but there's no way I'm wasting around for 2-3h extra hours. I've done basically zero backtracking, since every level is very linear and really the only way to miss most is to simply mindlessly sprint past everything.

Now as far as the story, as I expected, the production value is as high as ever; everything looks impressive and beautiful. But unfortunately there isn't a lot of emotional attachment, for me at least. Nothing compared to HB1. And it's primarily because it's really not a very personal journey. It's a fine and decent norse tale, very much a lot like your classic fantasy tales. But there's not much that ties to Senua's past. Aside from the initial springboard that started all of this. I'm also sad Druth didn't play a bigger role. But it is kinda cool that now, that I'm close to the end, they've apparently unlocked Druth as the main narrator, on a new playthrough.

Anyway, it's off to the last mission. Not sure I want to sprint through it now, since it might take a while. And it is getting pretty late over here.
I'm curious how it wraps, but so far it's a decent norse folk tale with some stunning visuals (world, characters, animations, etc). But so far doesn't have the gut-punch that was the first one.
Also, at a certain point I thought they would tie into the little story surprise they were strongly hinting at the end of HB1, if you got all the lorestones. But nothing so far. Anyway, more on it after I'm done with it.

More shots of the environments. Not really spoiler, but considering how strong an element the visuals are, maybe watch only a few of them :D
 
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Being out of inspiration, I started a new playthrough of Hellblade 2, with a different narrator this time. While the narrator has different things to say, it's not as much as I initially imagined. I guess I sort of conflated the narrator with the voices that Senua hears.

Anyway, what's first apparent on this replay is how amazing the audio is, which I forgot about in some of the scenes. Very impressive.
 
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Playing the just released Crown Wars: Black Prince and the offline mode of Inquisitor.
 
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Being out of inspiration, I started a new playthrough of Hellblade 2, with a different narrator this time. While the narrator has different things to say, it's not as much as I initially imagined. I guess I sort of conflated the narrator with the voices that Senua hears.

Anyway, what's first apparent on this replay is how amazing the audio is, which I forgot about in some of the scenes. Very impressive.
Intereseting idea about adding additional narrators for a "new game+". I hope the game will come to GOG one day so that I can play it, too :)
 
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Intereseting idea about adding additional narrators for a "new game+". I hope the game will come to GOG one day so that I can play it, too :)
Yeah, I also hope it'll come to GOG. The first one did.

Apparently it's rumored that Ninja Theory had their next game greelit. I would like to think it's a 3rd Hellblade, but as expected it apparently didn't sell too well.
Plus these games seem to take incredibly long for such a small studio (only around 80 people worked on HB2, and 20 were on HB1)
 
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As mentioned in another thread, playing the Wizardry remake on Steam Deck - it is kicking my butt on occasion but really a lot of fun.

Also started a replay of Dragon Age: Origins on Steam Deck - it has been at least a dozen years since I've played ... really enjoying getting back into it - definitely a special game.

On the Switch I grabbed the cozy platform game 'Planet of Lana' - gorgeous world, fun gameplay with unlimited tries at things.
 
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I've been playing Dark Deity.
It's all @Carnifex 's fault.

I was sitting in front of the fire with my laptop and thinking of something a bit lo-fi I could play on it, and I remembered my convo with Carnifex about Dark Deity and that I had it free from Epic.
First impressions weren't good - anime characters wittering on about stuff I didn't care about, presented in a way that I didn't find engaging. But the combat seemed like fun.

4 hours later...
WTF? Where did the time go?
I'm now about 80% of the way through it.

I haven't played a Fire Emblem game since the DS (and I didn't finish that one), and that is basically what this is.
It has some nice extras though.
There's a branching class promotion system, so when your mage (for example) gets to a certain level you can turn them into a battlemage or a conjurer or whatever. And then after another bunch of levels you can choose from four in the next tier. Their abilities stack, too - they seem to keep the passives from prior classes.
As well as the usual rock-paper-scissors of weapon or unit vs armour, there is a nice system of weapon variants. Each weapon or magic type has four different variants - one that does more damage, one that has a higher chance of crit, one that's more accurate, etc - and you can independently level each weapon type up for each character.

Stuff I didn't like?
The mission sequence being so linear. That's probably fairly standard for this sort of game, but it would have been nice if you could have made choices that put you into different missions.
Also, the "binding" system pretty meaningless. If characters fight near each other on the battlefield you get a chance to go through some "bonding" dialogue between them after missions. Other than fleshing out the background of some characters, this didn't seem to have any affect. (Well, as far as I could tell, except for one character that had a 5% bonus on some ability if used on a bonded character). Much more needed to be done with this. Because I didn't really enjoy the dialog or story (might have been a presentation thing), I started skipping this stuff.

Overall, I found the gameplay fun enough that it overcame my prejudices. I might even check out the sequel when it comes out. Apparently the designers have taken a lot of criticisms on board, so maybe all that bonding n stuff will be more worth it next time.
 
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Like you I didn't care for the linear-ness of it all, also some of the bonding conversations were a little....difficult to take at times. Then I got back into the combat and was lost all over again, lol!
 
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Been really enjoying Zoria: Age of Shattering, it's been a very nice blend of an arpg and crpg.
It's a game I can play when I want something little bit simpler than a Owlcat game.

Has an old school feel to it that reminds me of a game like Dungeon Siege 2, which I had a lot of fun with back then.
I've been impressed with how fast they released patches for it that improved it a lot since it's release, fixing bugs and adding QoL features. And only a 3 man team to boot.

Best $25 I've spent on a game for awhile!
 
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