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pinholestar

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  1. I wrote up my final thoughts in the 'Games You Completed' thread: Suffice to say I loved it and I'll be amazed if doesn't feature in the end of year lists, even with 2023 looking to be packed full of great games. The initial wow factor obviously won't be there but I'd totally be down for a sequel, and considering how well this has been received I'd be very surprised if we didn't get one. The music throughout is brilliant but the highlights in this for me are when the squelchy 303's sneak in, and although it probably belies my own personal musical preferences I'd love for a second game to lean more into electronic music. The suitability of beat-driven tunes speaks for itself although they did a great job of utilising the main character's desire to be a rockstar by fusing guitar-led tunes with a thumping beat in this one, so just more of the same would do the trick.
  2. Hi-Fi Rush Shadow dropped out of nowhere, Tango Gameworks' rhythm action brawler is an unabashed triumph. An eclectic fusion of the cel-shaded stylings of the Dreamcast era, the rhythmic combo-heavy combat of Devil May Cry and a groove-laden soundtrack that takes in remixes of Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy and a thumping take on Beethoven's 5th Symphony. The slickness of the presentation is off the charts with beautifully animated story interludes, some wonderfully choreographed set pieces, a world that literally pulses around you with every beat, and a confidently bold colour palette that all serve to contribute towards your mastery of performing every action on the beat, taking down the nefarious corporate overlords one perfectly timed performance at a time. The cast of companions are all endearing and it somehow pulls off the trick of making the main character a bit of an annoying idiot yet sympathetically likeable at the same time. There's also a nicely subversive anti-corporatism message threaded throughout its story and it's a game that just oozes heart and has 'passion project' written all over it. Once all the combat mechanics are introduced and explained and your combo list is fully stacked it straps you in and hurtles you towards the end without missing a single note. The constant, pulsing rhythm is infectious, driving you ever onwards at a rip-roaring pace that doesn't let up for a second, with some truly magnificent boss battle crescendos and a sense of impulsive momentum that reinforces its intention to make you have FUN and smile while doing it. The sense of empowerment as you learn to combine parries, counters, combo finishers and special moves into a precisely timed ballet is tremendous and when it all comes together and you pull off an encounter with an S-rating it feels fantastic. I can't help but feel that the fact it dropped out of nowhere with absolutely zero fanfare has worked massively in its favour, because everyone who sat down to play it had absolutely no idea what to expect, no previews of game mechanics to pore over for months beforehand, no screeching YouTubers to declare it either the greatest thing ever or the work of Satan himself before they'd even played it. Just a tight, crisp, bold, audacious and joyous riot of fun and colour landing straight into your lap to be enjoyed entirely on its own terms with no preconceptions whatsoever. You can tell that Tango knew they'd produced an absolute fucking banger and were unafraid to unleash it unannounced on an unsuspecting public and I admire their confidence in doing so. This is the best Xbox exclusive in many a year, a much needed shot in the arm for the platform after an undeniably weak 2022 for first-party releases, and an early contender for GOTY before we've even reached February. It's been heart-warming to see such a joyously fun game receive such widespread praise and on this evidence it catapults Tango Gameworks into the upper echelons of the Xbox Game Studios stable. 9/10
  3. Of course. 😉 The first section of the game is pretty tutorial heavy and quite stop/start, but once all the mechanics are introduced and it settles into its groove it just barrels along at a relentless pace and builds towards a fantastic crescendo at the end. Track 8 onwards is just magnificent. The pacing is so well done and must have been honed and iterated to within an inch of its life to enable those beats to hit at just the right moment. There’s a wealth of post-game content too.
  4. Utter bollocks. Just finished and it was one of the most gloriously fun, beautifully designed and boldly confident games I’ve played in years. Sheer brilliance from beginning to end. 9/10
  5. No you can only select the mode when starting a new game and can’t change it once it’s begun. You can have multiple save slots though so can try them all out and see which one you like best.
  6. Play Relaxed or Creative mode. Relaxed drastically reduces the need for resource collection, switches off life support needs and means you can just focus on exploring without worrying about any of the survival mechanics. Creative mode goes one step further and gives you infinite resources, all blueprints unlocked from the start and enables you to recharge engines and the like with a single click of the button. I would say that they’ve significantly reduced the resource grind in the normal game mode over the years though, so it’s worth playing that first as it’s probably far less demanding now than you remember it being.
  7. Yep this is an absolute fucking banger. Such a joy to play and it’s boundless groovy rhythm and bold design just makes you feel good and brings a smile to your face. Feels like a PS2/Dreamcast-era game and I mean that in the most positive of ways. More AA gems like this please, Microsoft.
  8. Well when I got up this morning I didn’t think I’d be spending my evening fighting a 50ft tall robot in a rhythm action game to the sounds of Nine Inch Nails, but here we are. The general vibe around Microsoft and Xbox hasn’t been great recently (to put it mildly) but this was an awesome surprise to just casually drop onto Game Pass on a Wednesday evening. I really enjoyed Metal: Hellsinger’s fusion of Doom and heavy metal and in concept this is very much in the same vein, albeit the complete opposite in terms of its boldly colourful presentation and irreverently joyful tone. Great stuff.
  9. I think I preferred the system of quests and progression in World, whereby everything was all under the one banner rather than splitting it into solo and multiplayer playlists like Rise does. I can see why they’ve done it (giving solo-only new players their own separate and gentler introduction and story to work through) but it feels a bit disjointed and kind of pointless to a degree. Saw the credits roll on the village quests last night and I imagine that newcomers who were sticking to solo play in that hub would be pretty underwhelmed by its brevity and lack of fanfare at its conclusion. Of course anyone familiar with how things really work will know that that’s merely the tutorial and now the real high rank fun begins. I’ve been ranking up the gathering hub alongside the village so thankfully don’t have to trundle through low rank quests to get up to parity. Anyone who usually eschews co-op or multiplayer games and has some aversion to playing with others in this should just throw all caution to the wind and get stuck in. Monster Hunter has always shined at its gleaming best when a full team of four are all going absolutely fucking ham on some gargantuan beast, and with all the expanded mobility options in Rise with people wirebugging all over the place like demented acrobats the chaos has never been more glorious. It’s an outrageously compelling and addictive series and although I prefer the broader scale and more expansive and detailed areas of World, the increased verticality, combat options and assorted streamlined quality of life improvements in Rise make up for it.
  10. MH World was my introduction to the series and it became something of an obsession. This one’s got its claws in deep all over again within the space of a few hours. They’ve refined and polished the concept to a fine sheen by now. I especially love the verticality and general expansion of movement options with the wirebugs in Rise. See you in about 300 hours. 🦖
  11. New Zealand trick works for Monster Hunter if anyone wants to play it this evening.
  12. Game of the Year 1. Elden Ring 2. Grounded (video game) 3. Deathloop 4. Tunic (video game) 5. A Plague Tale: Requiem Biggest disappointment: 1. Somerville (video game) 2. Weird West (video game) 3. Scorn (video game) Best visuals 1. Elden Ring 2. A Plague Tale: Requiem 3. Trek to Yomi Best audio 1. A Plague Tale: Requiem 2. Tunic (video game) 3. Metal: Hellsinger Best writing 1. Pentiment (video game) 2. Citizen Sleeper 3. High on Life (video game) Best not 2022 game: 1. Cyberpunk 2077 2. Subnautica 3. Persona 5 Royal Best developer: FromSoftware Best format/console/controller/brain interface: Xbox Game Pass
  13. pinholestar

    High on Life

    Wow, the patch on Series X makes a huge difference. Runs smooth as butter now and the image quality is far sharper. I think this is fucking great and I’m having loads of fun with it. Humour is such a subjective thing, so in a game that’s based on throwing jokes at the player every 20 seconds it’s inevitable that some simply won’t be amused by the particular brand of comedy that it’s peddling. I love the tone of it and the foul-mouthed, puerile irreverence has had me laughing out loud several times. The voice cast has done a great job. So, like, fuck you or whatever.
  14. In Battlefield terms, not very long. You can't really make a proper judgement on a Battlefield game until you've played all of the maps multiple times and learned the choke points and flanking routes, properly leveled up some weapons with attachments, got to grips with all the gadgets etc. It's just the way these games are and have always been - very steep learning curves that don't reveal their subtler qualities until you're properly au fait with the many ways all the systems interact, and that inevitably takes some time. I do absolutely agree that when playing on console it's night and day with crossplay turned off. Going up against PC players is an absolutely miserable experience but against a level playing field of other controller players it's a much more enjoyable game where you're going to have more of a chance to compete. I still think it's by a considerable distance the worst Battlefield game that DICE have ever produced, with some truly abysmal map design and far too much egregious chasing of the CoD crowd woven into its design. But with crossplay off you can have some fun with it and it does have its moments. BF1 and 5 still wipe the floor with it mind.
  15. Gave this another shot now it’s on Game Pass and got up to around level 50 or so, unlocked a load of weapons, attachments and gadgets etc. …and you know what? I still think it’s an utter fucking garbage Battlefield game. Can’t be bothered to waste my time elucidating why, but for a multitude of reasons I find it an often painful experience and when the still utterly brilliant BF1 and BF5 still have healthy populations on console I think you’d be fucking mad to play this crap. Such a huge fall from grace. Yeah they’ve ‘fixed’ some things from its disastrous launch but you can’t polish a turd and as I thought back then, this is such a fundamentally poorly designed Battlefield game that there was never any saving it. The player numbers don’t lie and any bump it gets from now being on subs services will be short-lived I suspect.
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